20.06.19

Words by: Felicity Martin

The 10 Best Quiet Storm Soul Records, according to Deetron

"Hate to say they just don’t make them like this anymore..."

It’s not often that one album can inspire an entire new genre, but that’s what happened with Smokey Robinson’s 1975 album ‘A Quiet Storm’. After a late-night D.C. radio show in the late ‘70s took its name from that LP, with Robinson’s title cut coming to be the show’s theme song, the format really captivated listeners and a whole new sound was popularised. In terms of genre, this meant R&B ballads and jazz-inflected pop, almost like a soft soul version of soft rock, while in the ’90s it came to include neo-soul.

It’s a genre that Swiss DJ and producer Sam Geiser, aka Deetron, has been inspired by for his forthcoming EP, ‘Body Electric’. Arriving on Gerd Janson’s Running Back label, the sound aesthetic was inspired by quiet storm records, “drawing on influences from the euphoric and pioneering vibe of raves in the early ’90s,” Deetron says. With that in mind, he’s shared his ten favourite records from the genre that have informed his EP, which comes out in full next week – and you can listen to the title cut underneath.

1. Isley Brothers – ‘In Between The Sheets’

“This record got me hooked on the genre and I started to investigate more about quiet storm records and how they often make use of synths and drum machines. The synth break starting at 3:27 was a direct influence for my ‘Body Electric’ EP in terms of sound aesthetics.”

2. Bobby Caldwell – ‘What You Won’t Do For Love’

“I rediscovered this gem a while ago in FlyLo’s amazing ‘Lovers Melt’ mix, one of the best soul records ever made I believe. I absolutely recommend checking out the ‘Lovers Melt’ mix series as well!”

3. Marvin Gaye – ‘Sexual Healing’

“Obviously everybody loves this record, so just stating the obvious. The synth chords, bass and 808 beats are incredible and make this sound weirdly modern and classic at the same time.”

4. Isley Brothers – ‘Footsteps In The Dark’

“I can listen to this over and over again, it’s simply genius. The beats (as used in Thundercat’s – ‘Them Changes’) are simple yet instantly recognisable in the way they are played. Same goes for the 2-tone bassline that builds the tension until it is released in the bliss of the chorus part.”

5. Michael McDonald – ‘I Keep Forgetting’

“Massive Michael McDonald fan here, I admit it. Hate to say they just don’t make them like this anymore; dreamy, catchy and full of sensuality without leaning over to the cheesy side (too much!).”

6. Sade – ‘Your Love Is King’

“It’s funny but some small elements can make songs great for me and I am really obsessed with the hi-hats in this tune. They kind of sound like they could be 606/707/727s, as are the bongos. Sade’s otherworldly vocal appearance and the silky chords form the epitome of smoothness!”

7. Smokey Robinson – ‘Quiet Storm’

“So here’s the name-giving record to the (sub-)genre starting with this somewhat weird thrilling synth lead and white noise that introduces the (quiet) storm to come. The bassline and beautiful background choirs are building up to my favourite part of the song starting around 5:05 with the return of the lead sound, which could be a Moog. The whole album is great, in particular the synth bassline on ‘Love Letters’!”

8. Tower Of Power – ‘Love’s Been Gone So Long’

“I only recently discovered Tower Of Power as my father introduced me to their early work and apparently the band is still touring nowadays as well. I’m not normally a big “brass” fan but the horns here combined with an incredibly cool groove just do it for me.”

9. George Duke – ‘Someday’

“The bassline is an all-time favourite, it hits me every time. George Duke was one of the greatest keyboarders ever and not just that. If you need further proof, head over here to check out his live performance at Montreux Jazz 1976.”

10. Stevie Wonder – ‘Part Time Lover’

“It’s all about the synth chords!!”

Listen to Deetron’s ‘Body Electric’: