Green Velvet, or Curtis Jones’, career has been characterised by his ability to adapt to changes in tastes, with his releases under the Cajmere and Green Velvet monikers spanning contrasting styles. Hailing from Chicago, the longevity of his career cannot be overlooked; when an artist has been going this long, there’s usually a reason why. Whilst his Cajmere alias came first, the Green Velvet pseudonym arguably gained Jones more recognition. Curtis holds the role of head honcho at two record labels. Relief Records, an outlet for pushing the heavier, more techno oriented aspects of Jones’ tastes, has put out records from legends including Glenn Underground, Boo Williams and Paul Johnson. Cajual Records on the other hand, has been pivotal to the popularity of the Chicago deep house scene, with a roster boasting artists such as Derrick Carter and Spencer Kincy.
A devout Christian, it is no surprise that the first Green Velvet record samples a speech delivered by the preacher Reverend CL Franklin, over a relentless beat, incorporating both acid and techno elements. As the first track on his Relief Records, it represents the signal for a fulfilling career in both house and techno. A deserved classic, Preacherman is a track that perfectly displays Jones’ production capabilities.
The Portamento Tracks EP followed the Velvet Tracks release, two years later in 1995. A long way from his more recent, tech-house leaning tracks Flash is another sample heavy production. It is a techno classic that would feel at home in any underground venue, from Berghain, Berlin to Wire, Leeds.
Give Me Luv (cajmere)
A true Chicago house anthem. The tripped out bass and synth lines are entrancing from the moment they come in and with a range of bleeps and a memorable vocal hook to accompany, it’s almost impossible not to like. Jones serves up a real treat for any house lover with this one and it has become an essential in any serious collector’s bag.
Brighter Days (cajmere)
Brighter Days is the perfect demonstration of the contrast in the Green Velvet and Cajmere styles. Dajae’s beautiful vocal over the top of a stellar deep chord sequence makes for a classic that would send any crowd into raptures. The lyrics of the chorus, ‘I’m looking for brighter days’, are indicative of the change in direction of Jones’ productions under the Cajmere name. There is a sense of optimism not previously heard in earlier Green Velvet productions and it’s great.
Another harder release to finish off. This is quite simply Green Velvet at his best; a deep, syncopated bassline and an almost haunting vocal sample. The result is reminiscent of the 90s rave sound and a great starting point to discover the sound of the legendary Relief Records.
Green Velvet plays in Leeds this weekend, performing at the MiNT Festival warm up Terrace Party at MiNT Warehouse on Sunday 27th August. After that, he’ll be back in the UK in November for a spell at The Warehouse Project, courtesy of Jamie Jones’ Paradise night.
Photo courtesy of Green Velvet