Boomkat Product Review:
Necessary reissue of No Smoke’s rootikal house vibes from 1990 - London’s answer to NYC deep house, paralleling the deep Bristol tremors of Smith & Mighty and the SoYo sound of the same era
No Smoke was an early alias for UK legend Tony Thorpe (Moody Boyz) and his production partner Fred McPablo. They realised ‘International Smoke Signals’ in 1990 as a deep answer to the frivolities of the Acid House phenomena, offering a style that was much more connected to Black Atlantic culture - dub, soul and Afro-Latin rhythm - than the vast majority of cod-spiritual squashiness and rote party music that exploded into circulation from ’87 onwards.
The album is perhaps best known for its opener, ‘Koro Koro’ a classic blueprint for breaks-driven tribal house that would be licensed by Profile in the US and later appear on Warp compilations. But the rest of the album is also ace and worthy of closer attention, ranging from the UK-styled deep tribal house of ‘East of Eden’ featuring vocals by Jah Tekla, thru to the mesmerising chants and NYC suss of ‘O.A.U. In Music’, onto the deep acid electro rub of the LP’s title cut, featuring sax by Manu Dibango and additional production from Soul II Soul’s Jazzy B, and the AGCG/808 State nod in ‘Oh Yes (Freedom)’.
Vibes for eons.