More than most of dance music's subgenres, deep house is all about roots, and Milo Johnson's run just about as deep as they go. Back in the 1980s, he was a founding member of Bristol's Wild Bunch sound system — the punky reggae crew that brought us Massive Attack, Tricky, and Nellee Hooper. But Johnson struck off on his own, and by the early 1990s, he had transplanted himself in New York's nascent underground house scene, where he turned out raw, hypnotic tracks under the alias Nature Boy, in a style that he called "ruff disco."
New York's Golf Channel Recordings has been flying ruff disco's tattered flag ever since the label launched, in 2007, with Mark E's slow-moving Janet Jackson edit, "R+B Drunkie." So it felt particularly apropos when Johnson joined Golf Channel as DJ Nature in 2010. He released six EPs of lovingly worn-in, old school house in short order, establishing an unbroken thread back to his Nature Boy days, nearly two decades earlier.
This fall, Golf Channel will release DJ Nature's Return of the Savage, a nine-track double LP that finds Johnson in top form, with rugged machine grooves and funk breaks cushioned by scraps of jazz and R&B. A testament to house music at its most intimate, it's a record made for basement parties with the morning sun leaking through the window bars, businessmen's feet shuffling by outside as the dancers dig deeper into woozier and woozier grooves. It's a testament to the undying spirit of classic deep house in the mold of Pal Joey or Bobby Konders — one for the heads who know, and the heads who want to learn.
Watch the video for "Savage Reprise" here now, and keep your eye out for Return of the Savage, which arrives late September or early October.