Album Review: Low Steppa - Boiling Point

Low Steppa is, apparently, a House artist. If that's the case, the definition of House has certainly changed over the years. When I think of House, I think of Frankie Knuckles, Jamie Principle, all the Chicago House guys. Of course, that was the 1980s, and 'House' has since become a term just meaning 'Dance'.

As one of the hottest DJ artists around, Steppa's work is in high demand. As if to answer those calls, he has released Boiling Point, a 35-minute, 14-track House-fest which goes through the motions well whilst never pushing any boundaries. In fact, this record is indicative of an issue that extends beyond Low Steppa and beyond Boiling Point.

This record is, in a word, repetitive. Every song has the obvious hard pianos, the same beat track after track, and similar lengths. It's one base idea recycled again and again 14 times - but that's nothing I blame Low Steppa for, as this problem extends beyond him. For many years now, the House/Dance genre has been stuck in this rut, unable to move beyond this formula. House evolved in its early days, and it led to new subgenres, the most successful of which was the late 90s/early 000's Trance wave. But since it found the hard-piano formula, it has settled with it and stopped moving on.

Low Steppa is part of this scene and, in a way, is a victim of this lack of evolution. One website has praised his "unique sound", but I don't hear it. The album is formulaic, and in that respect, there's nothing wrong with it. The record isn't bad by any means, despite the more critical nature of this review. Rather, it's just serviceable. Stick this on in the club and people will be dancing for sure - but will anyone really be taking note of these songs, wondering who it is?

Boiling Point, then, is a bit of a misleading title. A more accurate title would be Simmering, as this never quite hits those heights. I've talked a lot in recent weeks about consistent albums, and this certainly is that, but in a way that just becomes a bit dull, despite the album's short length. Again, it's all suitable for a club, and perhaps a bedroom rave, but not if you actually want to listen to something. It's good as background, or for a dance, but for a proper, I-want-to-listen-to-some-music moment? Not particularly.

Low Steppa is clearly very good at what he does, but what he does is a genre that has stopped pushing the boundaries, stopped changing and stopped evolving. Modern House music, though perfectly serviceable for a dance floor, lacks excitement and lacks originality. Someone needs to take House music by the scruff of the neck and steer it in a different direction, start taking it somewhere else. Until that happens, Low Steppa won't be the only one releasing records like this.

Boiling Point isn't a bad record. However, it is undeniably repetitious and a microcosm of its genre; that is to say, not particularly creative or interesting. If you love House/Dance in its current form, the chances are you will enjoy this album, especially seeing as it is from one of the hottest names in the scene. But if you're looking for a great album of music to really, properly appreciate, you'll have to look elsewhere.



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