There are promising signs that something of a renaissance in dance music is taking place in the greater New York area, helmed by one of the new school progenitors of deep house. As one half of New Jersey based, Sfere Recordings along with house legend Kerri Chandler, Dennis Ferrer can only be described as the face of hope for a new generation of soulful house producers. A real artist with an aptitude for songwriting and new production concepts, Ferrer is undoubtedly at the top of his game.
Known first and foremast as having the Midas touch with remixing, Ferrer has reworked and defined classics for everyone from Blaze to Martin Solveig to Reel People. His most recent shaping of Fish Go Deep’s “Cure And The Cause” created huge noise for the start-up Go Deep Records before being picked up by Defected. This track will, without a doubt, be a permanent fixture on the house scene for years to come. His interpretation of Martin Solveig’s soul / funk “Jealousy”, forthcoming on Defected, will also raise eyebrows as he offsets a devotional melody with a sparse, deep groove. Hi s current, original production “Son Of Raw” (Ibadan) captures a similar vibe with an organ hook laid over a deep, techie beat. The phrase “less is more” is perfectly fitting of many of his recent productions although this is an apparent departure from previous works.
Perhaps best know in the early 2000’s for his signature Afro-house and gospel sounds, Ferrer made a name for himself as the go-to person for a particular kind of lush, heavily percussive record. “Funu” (Basic), “Reach 4 Freedom” (King Street) and “Dem People Go” (King Street) are undoubtedly genre defining, created using elements of African Hi-Life music. “Orixas” (Lost Tribes Of Ibadan) and “Ko Ko” (Ibadan) similarly developed these guitar based, fusion themes. During the same period, tracks such as “Wonderful People” (Metaphor), Stephanie Cooke “Rain” Remix (King Street) and Kenny Bobien “Reality” (Sfere) showcase a parallel passion for devotional songs and opulent arrangements.
It is nevertheless a fact that Ferrer discovered the power of economy in an electronic musical arrangement many years ago. He launched his career in dance music as a techno producer in the early 90’s, producing some of the first ever records on NYC’s renowned Synewave label. These early production values have served well as a foundation for his current forays into “techie” house. In 2003 he co-produced “Sandcastles” which is one of the biggest crossover dance records of the past five years. Already placed within the pantheon of dance classics, “Sandcastles” represents the sound of an evolving genre melding deep house, techno and Afro rhythms and has become the cornerstone of DJ sets across all genres from Jeff Mills to Timmy Regisford to Deep Dish. This track represents a revival of sorts in Ferrer’s production style. That said, he continues to defy expectation and in the midst of “Sandcastles” euphoria he delivered a lush, Afrocentric reworking of Glen Lewis’ “Life Everlasting” (Funk La Planet) and a quintessential Shelter classic entitled “Grateful” featuring Kenny Bobien (Sfere).
2005 has quite possibly been Ferrer’s most successful year to date. He was nominated in no less than three categories of this year’s UK House Music Awards for Track Of The Year, Remix Of The Year and Breakthrough Producer. His 2006 schedule is looking similarly busy with two full-length artist albums for King Street and Sfere. He is also locked in to do the next Soul Heaven mix CD along with Kerri Chandler, to be released in May 2005 on Defected Records.