The core of “This Ain’t Freedom,” the debut track from newly formed duo LIIFE—featuring house legend Roland Clark—comprises a pulsing bassline, ping-pong beats, marching hi-hats, and synth burps so funky, you can almost smell them. A twist after the break, however, is what sets it apart.
Refreshingly, instead of building to a predictable drop, the fiery and uplifting slice of wobble-tinged gospel house spins down just as it gets rolling. Then Clark’s sermon kicks in, chased by ticklish piano house chords that carry the tune to a smooth, deep fade.
Lyrically, as its title suggests, the track name-checks familiar shackles like meaningless jobs and insurmountable debt. It also calls out our delusion of choice and presumption of liberty. Like a lot of inspirational house, the goal is to get woke, get free, and get down. Vocally, Roland Clark is sharp as ever, his soulful voice conveying humor, hope, and frustration with clarity and conviction, moving between moods effortlessly.
LIIFE (Australian DJ Jamie Vale and German producer Philipp Peltz) wanted this, their first track, to be representative of what they have to offer. If that’s what this is, we’re in for some sophisticated house just this side of left-field.
Available February 9 via Club Sweat.
Buy LIIFE & Roland Clark’s “Freedom” here.