Mic Newman ‘Knickerbocker’


Mic Newman (aka Fantastic Man) along with Lewie Day (aka Tornado Wallace) is part of a deep house regeneration of sorts emanating from the unlikely environs of Melbourne. Spearheaded by Andy Hart’s label, Melbourne Deepcast, this regeneration only seems unlikely due to the heritage of Australian dance music in comparison with the nucleuses of Detroit, Chicago and Berlin and their still pervasive influence across Europe and America. This is not to suppositiously deny Australia and its credentials in terms of electronic dance music – The Avalanches ‘Since I Left You’ is frequently nominated one of the greatest of the genre and more recently, Hit It and Quit it with Frank Booker and Recloose is a great outlet for a more underground reflection of dance music in Australasia and beyond –  though the success of Day and Newman seems to suggest that a more underground dance community is being established around Melbourne and is only now translating to a wider, more significant acclaim outside of its immediate locality.  

Newman and Day have delivered on the early promise of this Melbourne deep-house renaissance garnering success in wider circles with releases on Instruments of Rapture, Delusions of Grandeur and Kolour Ltd in the last few years, probably due to the recurrently warm atmospheres and restrained execution of groove they bring to their productions.

Newman remains true to this form with this release on London’s Tsuba Records, though ‘Knickerbocker’ shows more brawn than Newman’s work under his edit pseudonym (Fantastic Man) with a propulsive bass-line rhythm framed within a warmth which sounds iridescent due to the woozy variance in pitch. Newman keeps it interesting in the close with fragments of a jazzy jaunt on the xylophone that Roy Ayers wouldn’t disfavour. ‘Forever in My Chart’ recalls Space Dimension Controller in some of its cosmic sonority and retro boogie but remains tied to a distinctly deep-house development with a repetitious cycle of a melodious chord and a high-pitched vocal sample which is nonetheless inviting. ‘It’s Time’ unfortunately, doesn’t negotiate deep-house warmth with the traces of acid-house and techno which arise as well as the previous efforts, but completes an EP which is on the whole, consistent and one which continues the success of a refreshing interpretation of house from an unlikely origin.

Tim Wilson