Review: Unknown Artist – Stop/Remember

Mysterious edits imprint Gallery returns with two slices of cosmic Italo genius.

The 2019 Brexit People’s Vote protests were a pivotal moment in recent history, with over a million people gathering in the UK’s capital to demonstrate against the country leaving the EU on disastrous and arguably undemocratic terms. They were at once a celebration of unity in the face of a grave crisis, an angry stab at a complacent and unhearing establishment and, perhaps most importantly, the moment the world was first introduced to a new and mysterious label known as Gallery. 

In a moment that has now come to define the mood of the protests, their first release, an inspired vocal edit of the Thelma Houston version of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ ‘Don’t Leave Me This Way’, was debuted by Artwork as the police moved in to shut down R3 Soundsystem, a crew that have become infamous for sound tracking a number of left-leaning protests.

The bittersweet, almost mournful flip of the classic vocal, underpinned by the thumping, tribal 808 rhythm of Marcello Giordani’s ‘Oh Superman’ seemed to crystalise the atmosphere of the day, which was both celebratory and melancholic: a love letter to the country’s lost partners, pounded out into the concrete of Trafalgar Square by moving feet.  No pressure, then, to follow up what will surely be considered a seminal piece of UK dance music.

If there was any, it clearly hasn’t been felt. With the second instalment on the Gallery imprint, the label reveals its modus operandi – cosmic, synth-heavy, disco and italo mash-ups designed for the dance floor, but which hold their weight in the artful selection of samples that will have listeners Youtube digging into the early hours.

A1 ‘Stop’ injects the eponymous Valerie Wilson track with steroids, adding a driving, chuggy 303 and beefy master that repurposes with dangerous effect. Similarly, B-side ‘Remember’ takes a screaming piece of 80s soul and amps up the sequencers, revamping the track with bassy Italo synth licks. 

While details on the producer and label remain thin on the ground (Gallery… Artwork, anyone?), the second Gallery release doesn’t suffer from the lack of a zeitgeist moment and clearly the label intends to furrow a path that will delight fans of proto-house deep cuts and spacey synth-driven disco. Expect big things.

Gallery’s latest release can purchased from Phonica Records.

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