With Back in Flight School, Miguel Campbell reminds the dance music world why LPs still matter
Last year Leeds-based producer and DJ Miguel Campbell made his Hot Creations debut with the release of his hit single “Something Special.” The track was discovered by Jamie Jones a year prior at Miami Music Week, and fully embodies the throwback deep house sound that Campbell has come to represent. With said release, his recent Essential Mix, and this Back In Flight School artist album, he is showing that he is not a one-track success, but more likely a music producer that is pioneering a wave of inspirational sounds in the deep house realm. Read on to hear our take on this impressive album from the man himself.
On this LP, we are really reminded why full length artist albums are still so worthwhile amongst the sea of shotgun track releases and skimpy EPs we see by the boat load in our world dominated by accessible laptop productions. We’ve given this 15 track package many careful listens over the last few weeks and can attest that Campbell’s attempt — according to a recent interview with Beatport — to “creat[e] cohesive journey pieces that tell an aural story from start to finish” was certainly not in vain. It’s obvious that he draws influence from all a wide historical range of dance sounds — from heavy funk bass lines and synth-heavy 80s vibes to jazzy guitar riffs and hip-hop flows to the techier driving house we’re seeing a ton of in today’s scene.
The album is a carefully crafted mix of spoken monologues, powerful instrumentals, soulful vocals, and lighter dance-floor-ready tracks. Take, for example, the first three songs on the album. Campbell begins with “Flight School,” setting the theme for the album and quite literally giving the listener “clearance to fly” through the remaining fourteen pieces while still restraining the full potential of his production abilities for this bit. He moves to one of our favorite instrumental tracks on the album “Love Electric” and takes it up a notch right after with the radio-ready “Not That Kind of Girl” — a song refined by the ladylike touch of Becks Lott on vocals.
Other Dancing Astronaut faves? We loved the glitchy robotic (and totally addictive) feel of “Rockin Beats,” the almost gospel-like touch (not to mention an absolutely killer bottom line) to “Beams of Light,” and “Life,” because it reminded us of some of our favorite emotional hip-hop from years past. The album is a journey, a flight, a cycle — whatever you want to call it. Campbell shows us not only that he knows how to be true to his craft and his predecessors, but also quite honestly this burgeoning Hot Creations sound coming from the likes of Lee Foss, Jamie Jones, Danny Daze, Waifs and Strays, and others. Please take your time to listen to the full album preview as well as some of the tracks we’ve mentioned via full stream below.
Gabi Musayev contributed to this review.