There seem to be a few different business models for classic labels, the first being to sacrifice fashion for endlessly mining the label’s classic back catalog. The second is to eschew that history and grab on to whatever millennial producer happens to whizz by, regardless of whether or not they fit the label’s sound and style. People who can barely spell “branding” like to call this “branding,” which is a nicer word than a few others that come to mind.

Then there’s the other way, which is to find really good producers who make really good records and pay really good remixers to edit them. This ingenious strategy is not the kind of thing that will impress the branding experts but it deserves a shout out because it’s a FUCK of a lot harder than just releasing boring tech house loops from whatever shithead your touring agent tells you to.

Pablo Bolivar is not exactly an unknown – he’s not ANYTHING close to an unknown – but he has it, and this record from Peppermint Jam is the epitome of the third way for a classic label – and they don’t get much more classic – that just wants to find good music from good people and make it flash.

“A Special Night” and “Awake” see Pablo Bolivar teamed up with John Vermont; the former has the uplifting zest, simple arrangement and snappy vibe that it comes across as infectious as fuck. The vocal is breezy and casual and it helps that most of us who can’t sing will think we can sing along with this one anyway. Two remixes from Ian Pooley don’t hurt either, and that’s one hell of an understatement. The Mainline Mix and especially the Bassline Dub drag a somewhat radio-friendly pop ditty down kicking and screaming into the underground. “Awake” is more of a chilled vibe, oozing with glitchy soul. The title track? I don’t know, maybe the best track on here?

I’m not sure if this came across right: this is a stone cold monster of an EP, with five tracks that don’t just make the grade but belong among the best in Peppermint Jams’ rarefied catalog.

Pablo Bolivar: Back Door EP (Peppermint Jam)
1. Pablo Bolivar ft John Vermont: A Special Night (7:01)
2. Pablo Bolivar ft John Vermont: A Special Night (Ian Pooley Main Remix) (6:49)
3. Pablo Bolivar ft John Vermont: A Special Night (Ian Pooley Bassline Dub) (6:02)
4. Pablo Bolivar ft John Vermont: Awake (6:21)
5. Pablo Bolivar: Back Door (7:07)

First published in 5 Magazine #150 featuring Brian Tappert, Marc Pomeroy and the Making of Traxsource, DJ Three and Hallucienda, Kiko Navarro, Richard Earnshaw and Lee Bright, the decline & fall of SoundCloud, the House Music Canon & more. Become a member of 5 Magazine for First & Full Access to Real House Music for only $2 per month.