House in the House

Kobbe and Austin Leeds, Rise, December 29, 2007
By MICHAEL FREEDBERG  |  January 10, 2007

Belgium’s Kobbe, a tall towhead, and Miami’s Austin Leeds, a stubby brunette, have become one of house music’s most prolific and eloquent and best-liked production teams. The Friday before New Year’s Eve, they brought their sound — dirty, hard beats; slippery rhythms; “tribal” textures — to Rise for a five-hour set that kept the pressure on dancers almost without pause. Playing to an almost full dance floor, they were a true team: Leeds chose and Kobbe mixed, or Kobbe chose and Leeds mixed.

They stuck mostly to their own work as producers/remixers, to dance-floor hits like Katherine Ellis & Superchumbo’s “Dog” and Joe T Vanelli & Rochelle Fleming’s “Get It On.” But they also have a substantial repertoire of their own tracks, one that includes Kobbe’s “Slave” and his new “The Floor Is the Limit.” Except for a digression into a softer stream of “electro house” at about 3:30 am, the sound hardly changed.

The beat was sexy, the monologues were too, and sex was in the air: dancers hugged and kissed, egged on by a rhythm that was supple, strutting, horny. There were sleek guys and joe-college guys, tall curvy gals and petite gals in butt-tight jeans, some trannys, and a few guys in hoodies or scally caps — a crowd you might find at any bar or club in downtown Boston, house music or not. They were drawn by the sexiness, the funky but not soulful rhythms, the catchy beats, the simple and efficient mixes — overlays from one dark dirty beat to another or quick cuts from a vocal coda to the beat intro of the next track. It was dance music as basic as two-chord rockabilly, and just as raw.

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