The End of Layo & Bushwacka!, As The Duo Bid Farewell With Final Album
Six years is a long time in any business, but it can seem an eternity when that’s the gap between album releases in the dance music sphere, where trends and scenes rise and fall at the drop of a turntable needle. But UK tech-house veterans Layo & Bushwacka! (Layo Paskin and Matthew Benjamin) have done just that, leaving six years between previous album Feels Closer, and their latest full-length, Rising and Falling, which will be their final album before the duo cease working together in 2013. The end of an era, for sure.
Unsurprisingly, Layo & Bushwacka! are bowing out in a wave of cosmic club-house glory, in what Benjamin calls the duo’s “most grown-up” and “most electronic” album, perfectly nailing a balance between refined headphone indulgence and blissful dance floor fodder.
But let’s be clear – the six years since Feels Closer weren’t spent twiddling thumbs or resting on laurels. “We were touring so much back when Feels Closer was released and after putting so much studio time into [that] album we concentrated on just releasing a steady stream of dance floor singles and on our other interests … It has taken 18 months from the first studio session until now to release [Rising and Falling],” explains Benjamin.
Those other interests included Benjamin pursuing photography on a “semi-serious” level, and Paskin closing legendary London club The End in 2009, which he and Mr. C, from nineties pop ravers The Shamen, ran for 14 years (and where he first met Benjamin, who held a residency at the club), marking a truly pivotal point in UK clubbing. “[The End] was part of the development of so many scenes and DJ careers, as well as other clubs just copying it outright,” says Paskin. “But clubs are of the moment too and it was a fantastic period in UK clubbing, one which is not mirrored today, movements go in phases. The End was very unique, very much London.”
The End held a special place in the heart of many a DJ and clubber alike, and played a key role in bringing underground electronic music to London’s dance-hungry masses, through nights like Trash, run by electro stalwart Erol Alkan, drum 'n' bass night Full Cycle, with a crew of residents including Roni Size, and tech and house night Subterrain, which saw residencies from Derrick Carter, Laurent Garnier and Sven Väth.
The legacy of The End lives on today, as will the legacy of Layo & Bushwacka! themselves as their journey comes to its own end. After doing more than their fair share in shaping and spreading tech-house, through timeless tracks like “Love Story (vs Finally),” and influencing the UK’s clubbing landscape over the last 15 years, through both The End and their acclaimed Shake It! warehouse party series (which shut up shop earlier this year), the duo are calling it a day.
“We are drawing a curtain on it now,” says Paskin. “There will be a handful of gigs together in 2013 only and that will be it for us. We maintained so much through passion and key work, four albums, maybe 50+ singles, remixes, compilations for XL and Global Underground and The End. I believe deeply in the quality of music from 1998 to 2013 and that is what kept us relevant. Though I think that has come to a natural conclusion.”
Benjamin will be concentrating on his Just Be project, and Layo and Bushwacka! will play their final dates together in 2013, including a tour of South America over January and February.
It will be sad news for many, but the duo are certainly leaving on a high, with a fine last album – reflective yet full of energy – and a track record of consistently high quality releases still very much intact. Adios, Layo & Bushwacka!, it’s been quite the ride.
Rising and Falling is out now on Olmeto.
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