San Francisco outfit 40 Thieves has been serving up cosmic, dubbed-out and otherworldly contemporary disco treats since the mid 2000s, and have been part of the Leng family since 2011. The crew, headed up by Layne Fox, Jay Williams and Corey Black, have released countless killer cuts on the label, as well as an expansive debut album, 2014’s The Sky Is Yours.
They’ve worked with other artists before, but nobody at the same legendary level as Cinnamon Jones and Gary Davis. The latter cut his teeth as a musician working with iconic disco producers Patrick Adams and Peter Brown at their P&P Records stable, before becoming a producer and artist in his own right writing and arranging the disco classic ‘Got To Get Your Love’ performed by Clyde Alexander & Sanction. Jones, meanwhile, has enjoyed a hugely successful career both in her native New York (as Joyce Jones, an original member of First Choice) and on the West Coast, where she not only became an in-demand performer, but also snagged a role in the Supremes biopic Dream Girls.
‘The Gift’ is one of Jones’ most cherished solo songs – a joyful celebration of a new day dawning that has long been popular in her live sets. With input and instrumentation from Davis and a fantastic delivery of her own lyrics by Jones, 40 Thieves has successfully re-framed the track as a sunrise-ready future Bay Area free party favourite; a dubbed-out, suitably cosmic creation that’s presented in three potent versions.
Leading the charge, and stretched across side A of the vinyl version is the band’s ’Disco Mix’ which boasts a fully realised instrumental arrangement and extensive use of passages from Jones’ vocals. Not all the lyrics are present as the Bay Area band has chosen to focus on selected lines that most neatly fit their musical vision and celebrate the joys of dancing at sunrise. There are more spaced-out keyboard solos, sharper guitars (smothered in effects in true 40 Thieves fashion) and sound design that’s as immersive as it is heady and intoxicated.
On the flip is the ‘Disco Dub’. A bona-fide dub disco chugger rich in relentless synth-bass, addictive guitar licks, echo-laden vocal snippets, sparkling nu-disco electronics, tactile, deep house style electric piano stabs and cosmic effects aplenty, it’s a track tailor-made for slowly shuffling while the sun peeps over the horizon.
To complete an inspired package, 40 Thieves have also included a killer DJ tool: a ‘Beats’ take that wraps energy packed percussion hits, trippy electronic noises, trailing dub delays and sparse melodies around a metronomic drum machine beat. It’s a wavy, groovy and pleasingly mind-altering way to conclude one of 40 Thieves’ most magical EPs to date.
A1. The Gift (40 Thieves Disco Mix)
A2. The Gift (40 Thieves Disco Dub)
B1. The Gift (40 Thieves Beats)
B2. The Gift (40 Thieves Radio Edit)