Do you remember where you were when you first heard Basement Jaxx? What got you? Was it the confidence, the sheer euphoria of Red Alert coming over the airwaves? Perhaps it was standing on a dancefloor wigging out to an earlier underground club anthem like the devastating Fly Life? Or jumping around like a loon to the brazen cheery cheek of the summer anthem Rendez Vu or ragga house mash up Jump & Shout ? Either way you can't but fail to have been blown away by the two producers who have, in the poetic words of New York house DJ Armand van Helden, "taken house music and f***ed it in the ass". Felix Buxton and Simon Ratcliffe's universally acclaimed debut album Remedy showed us that basslines and classic tunes weren't mutually incompatible and that Dance music could have star quality in spades. Basement Jaxx took underground music and fused it with Latin, with ragga, with hip hop, with all the sounds and attitude of their native South London and threw it back in our faces. And God, did we all love it.
If last time Felix and Simon offered us the Remedy, this time Basement Jaxx are got you to get Rooty. Named after the underground parties the pair have been throwing with their mates in a down-at-heel Irish pub in (where else) Brixton, Rooty invites you back into the insane soundworld of Basement Jaxx. It's been too long: we've forgotten the excitement, the sheer audacity of their genre car crash, as they merge r&b songs with house tempos, brutal punk shouting with bone-crunching garage beats, booming bass with tijuana trumpets and a cavalier disdain for the dancefloor's strict tempo rulebook. By rights it should leave us all utterly bamboozled but instead it will have you throwing caution to the wind and leaping up and down like a mad thing for it's whole length.
Basement Jaxx have kept themselves busy since Remedy redefined the pleasure you could reasonably expect from a dance album. There was the live show for a start: watching most dance acts is about as exciting as watching someone repair a car, but Basement Jaxx took the carnival spirit of their club nights up on stage and out on the road. Playing at the same time as one David Bowie, they completely stormed Glastonbury 2000 with a riot of flamenco dancers, MCs, singers and somersaulting percussionists. They've taken the sound of SW9 to Australia, America and Japan. They've kept their old skool fans more than happy by releasing uncompromising underground releases like the punk screech of "I live In Camberwell, She Lives In Brixton" and some shifty looking sampletastic white labels. And somehow they've found the time to start the Rooty nights, where - the complete antithesis of the aloof superstar DJ - Felix designs the flyers and paints the banners himself. At first the night was somewhere they could have a drink and listen to the musical mix they love, maybe test out a few new tracks. Before you knew it, the word of mouth event was prompting articles in papers about how pubs were the new clubs. There can't be many acts out there who can change trends just by going down the pub.
And, of course, it's been a testing ground for this album, where tracks like the anthemic Romeo have taken shape over several chaotic months. The sound is still recognisably Basement Jaxx of course: it's just a whole lot more so. Bringing in British r&b singer and diva-in-the making Kele Le Roc they've created "Romeo" - surely this summer's car radio anthem: it's No Scrubs meets Independent Woman at a warehouse rave. Get used to it now: you're going to be hearing it a lot in the next few months. Then there's the jumping, shouting bongoloid mentalism of "Where's Your Head At": a rough edged punk garage call to arms and the best record The Clash never made. And while tracks like "Breakaway"," SFM" and booty bouncing electro cut "Crazy Girl" confirm their reputation as the most experimental producers to ever grace the top five, the sugary melodies of "Just 1 Kiss" confirm they haven't forgotten how to write a killer tune. Destined be to this summer's Ibiza anthem, we guarantee you'll make new friends to this and still hug your old ones every time you hear it. Elsewhere, Elliot May leads us through the gospel jazz romp of "Do Your Thing", while Chicago DJ Derrick Carter keeps it surreal on one of their by now traditional interludes.
Fresh from a successful tour in USA and Europe, the Basement Jaxx (as they say in America) have scored another chart hit with the stomping 'Where's Your Head At' (accompanied by a the brilliant video with them as monkeys. Dark is not the word) and are about to begin the UK leg of the tour. They also won 'Best Band' at this years Muzik Awards and have appeared had countless end of year album and single charts. Basement Jaxx might have their feet on the dancefloor, but their music is far more than simply dance music: this is the future funk, the kind of album Prince fans wish their idol could still make. Basement Jaxx are imagination, playfulness, soul, emotion, guts, songwriting and innovation.
The video for 'Where's Your Head At' can be found on the still wonderfull microsite (link at the top).
Which also includes is a full biography, pictures and the chance to chat to other Jaxx fans via message boards. For those that want news delivered direct to their inbox there's also a mailing list to sign up to.
As well as placing each track from the album on the site, there's some background about each song on Rooty written by the people who know. Named after the pair's legendary undeground parties there's a mini history of the Rooty nights and some pictures from the club.