Picking our One Song of The Year gets harder every time we do it, so for the 2012 we just kissed goodbye too, I made a shortlist. On it was a song by Tame Impala, another by this pair and three Disclosure songs. Three. Not content to blow our brains out with ‘Latch’ (which came later in the year), the horrifically young brothers also offered up an EP full of excellent garage house in the first quarter and backed it up with some killer remixes that I heard scattered across BBC Radio Mixes and live sets from SBTRKT, Jamie XX and more in the year gone by. Very rarely does the musical world converge on a sound with such universal adoration, but that’s really what Disclosure are; universal. They may be slower and more sensual than their contemporaries but their deft musical touch is undeniable. And nowhere did they shine brighter in 2012 than on their truly excellent reupholstering (because honestly, that’s what good DJs do) of Jessie Ware’s instant classic, ‘Running’.
‘Running’ was the business even before it got a makeover, and it helps to start with good material. It also helps when you get the right people to mess with it; with more and more friends who work at labels, I’ve been privy to some of the exhausting negotiations reps have to go through to get a mix across the line with the other side’s management, and then to have it approved by the artist themselves. Many of them actually never see the light of day for this very reason, or get stuffed on B-sides of vinyl that nobody but purists and nightclub fiends end up buying. And then you have two lads who signed to the same label as Julio Bashmore (before he started his own) taking hold of this thing and literally injecting it with steroids that don’t look like steroids. The newer, shinier version of ‘Running’ may up the BPM, but it doesn’t do it in a tasteless way. Rather it takes Ware’s emotive vocal line and makes it a call to arms, looping the highest notes into tumbling bass drops that land on foam padding, and transforming her from smooth Sade to jumping Janet Jackson in what seems like a matter of seconds. What was a lovers’ lament (‘And once again/It keeps happening’) becomes this hysterical, spiky thing that throws arms into the air as airy synths play havoc with syncopation underneath. I am being perfectly honest when I tell you I have listened to this song in almost every context about a hundred times. Like Mr Xx taking on Adele, it just fits.
Yesterday I had the privilege of bringing in the New Year by seeing these brothers do their thing live, and unlike most of the times I’ve been really into an electronic artist and then seen them in the flesh, they actually delivered. ‘Running’, augmented by live mixing and mountains of percussion, was the highlight of their set, and I am unashamed to say that I completely lost my shit. From the humming introduction, through to the pizzicato pinpricks of the verse as the bass ebbs and flows underneath, Disclosure take the verse/chorus structure of the original, expand it out and then make it their plaything. The car has the same engine, but that’s about all that remains. It’s energetic without being loud, engaging without being offensive and just completely, utterly blissful. My two favourite new acts of 2012 in one hit. Honestly, could I not write about it?
Jessie Ware – ‘Running’ (Disclosure Remix)