Through the myriad libraries of Chicago, Detroit and New York house and techno, for me one name has kept cropping up; Green Velvet aka Cajmere, or Curtis Jones. Like many DJs/producers who began making tunes in the late 80’s, Jones initially messed around with cheap drum machines, samplers and four-tracks in his bedroom. His first official release came in 1991, with the “Underground Goodies” EP, and just one year later he had his first big hit as Cajmere with “Coffeepot”, a wonderful tune that refuses to go away, making an appearance as recently as October last year on Diplo’s exquisite Fabriclive 24 mix. These releases and many more of his were part of an extensive, prolific and high quality output on Jones’ own recently established Cajual record label, which would later include the likes of DJ sneak and Gemini.
Jones took a radical new direction in 93/94, setting up a sister label to Cajual, Relief records, and starting to make unconventionally brilliant releases as Green Velvet. These included a string of mid-nineties tech-house classics such as Preacher Man, Answering Machine and Flash, which are all included (with many more worthy tunes besides) on the The Nineties (1993 A.D through 1999 A.D) (1999) compilation (my personal favourite Green Velvet work) and his debut LP Constant Chaos (1999).
He took a more angsty (but still brilliant) turn with Whatever (2001). Laden with socio-political references and a heavy, almost existential tone, the album is challenging to digest at first, but ultimately very rewarding. More thoughtful lyrics are accompanied by fuller and more complex sounds, with Jones really delivering on tracks like Sleepwalking (an abstract piece seemingly on alienation) and Stop Lying’, an edgy and gritty techno track. I had the privilege of seeing Green Velvet live at this point, supporting an Orbital which at this stage paled in contrast to the three-man (Jones was accompanied by Mr. Zook and Spaceboy for the tour) rock-band style aural assault on offer from the former.
His latest album entitled Walk in Love was released in 2005, and pathetically enough, I still haven’t heard it. Once again, anyone who has may leave their two cents below. On Friday, August 25th The Templebar Music Centre, Dublin plays host to Green Velvet. This should be one not to miss, so if you feel like going, tickets are 20 quid and are available from Selectah Records and tickets.ie
Niall Byrne is the founder of the most-influential Irish music site Nialler9, where he has been writing about music since 2005 . He is the cohost of the Nialler9 Podcast and has written for the Irish Times, Irish Independent, Cara Magazine, Sunday Times, Totally Dublin, Red Bull and more. Niall is a DJ, founder of Lumo Club, event curator and producer of gigs, parties & events.