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Ezel & Rona Ray - Take Me Home LP (Bayacou Records)

Bayacou Records presents the long anticipated collaborative album between soulful powerhouse duo Ezel & Rona Ray. Having consolidated their position with an array of previous singles, all of them achieving critical acclaim, they are now ready to unveil to the world their magnum opus in a full album experience showcasing the depth of their joint creative vision.

Having had significant success both together and individually, Dominican producer Ezel and singer / songwriter Rona Ray are no strangers to the global scene. Hailing from Russia, Rona Ray has become a strong staple in the modern soulful house landscape. Owner of an inimitable vocal timbre and a masterful conjurer of both lyrical and harmonically feats that set her apart as force to be reckoned with. Just recently she landed her first single on the mighty Defected Records and in the past has worked with such legends as Dj Spen & Terry Hunter to name a few. To describe the musical phenom that is Ezel you really have to take in consideration in the last 3 years he has single handedly risen to the elite of house music producers, landing #1 chart topping hits with original work and remixes that features his special touch as it seems everything he touches make its way into the top of the ladder of modern underground dance music. As the owner of his own imprint, Bayacou Records he has managed to produce, release and promote 3 significantly special previous singles with Rona Ray that now become the cornerstone of this album release that in essence needs no introduction as they have prepared its stomping grounds to perfection.

'Hard to Stay Away' their first collaboration together back in 2021, that is also included as one the songs of the album, still sits at the helm of the main editorial charts in Spotify, has seen the constant spin of Djs such Dj Spinna, Kai Alce, Isoul8 among others and its currently on its fourth repress cycle on vinyl as its physical inception has become a strongly coveted item featuring one of the most distinct and memorable remixes of UK house maestro Atjazz. Their follow up single 'No Gravity' unique for its clever use of an odd time signature 5/4 over 4/4 dance constancy hits you like anything else you have heard and immediately makes big guns in the genre notice, as if these two are trying to really tell us something here. Later, in the summer of 2022 their first real summer hit arrived in the form of 'Don't Know Yet'. Even to this day you can hear house music royalty like German house don Mousse T, new generation powerhouse Ash Lauryn, the iconic Natasha Diggs and even the world famous Seth Troxler include it in their sets as it has been documented on several social media posts. And if you are thinking that marked the ceiling for these two, what they did with their latest single 'History Repeating' was the last straw that broke the camel's back as they say, an instant #1 traxsource overall hit that saw massive overall support and was literally played everywhere especially in discerning floors in the UK and the United States as their superbly sound was put in world Dj Spen conveyed to Ezel as 'how modern soulful house should sound in 2023'

That brings us to the present time where they finally connect all the dots for people to see and bring us 'Take Me Home', the definitive testament of their collaboration that spans over 3 years. It highlights the chemistry between the duo, their wondrous interplay of influences, all encapsulated in deeply satisfying modern dance music, and especially with the common denominator that is soul and authenticity that is what they bring. The album starts with a 1 minute 20 sec intro track that feels almost as what you would imagine if they put together a live show, which we hope they do. It immediately reel you into their sonic world bringing a sort of wow factor as depicting things to come. The next 14 songs take you thru the motions of the distinct 'house flavors' they pick to display above all amazingly written songs that depart from what you would expect from the vocal house anthems they have established before as in 'Don't Know Yet' 'History Repeating' going to the more stripped down 'Hard to Stay Away' but they dive into new territory, adding new spice to their core soulful house groove and that's how they tease us some live funky bass, throwback percussion with the disco infused 'Endless Summer', some heavy 90s energy with the crafty and lyrically unique 'Forrest Gump' and even more electronic almost disclosure like propositions in the case of 'If I Am Being Real' and 'Nothing is What it Seems' where Ezel's precise use pitched vocal samples enhance Rona's inherent classic R&B flair in her vocal delivery. Other memorable cuts are 'Floating' that features tasty horn licks, a contribution from the famous Horn section that accompanies DJ Natasha Diggs on their infamous 'Soul in the Horn' parties. The album also features a song homonymous to the album name 'Take Me Home'. It's dropping as a single parallel to the album and it's already taking the world by others once again, as it carries the essential elements to their now trademark formulas for soulful hits: a great song composition arranged to perfection with the most infectious groove.

The album also features some distinct notes, altho not so divorced from what we would expect from these two highly talented individuals that in essence are bonafide musicians dedicated to the craft of really the best music they can come up with despite the genres. The two downtempo moments of the album mark a very welcomed change of phase that allow the listener to take in the back to back dance floor excellency previously heard while basking into some sultry R&B & Neo-soul vibes that they both share as a style that they also love and wanted to feature a hint of that on the album. With 'Trees Don't Hide Underground' you can easily hear Hiatus Kaiyote's influence on Rona's delivery and something similar happens with 'Can We love and Be Free' where Ezel's choice of arrangement exude a flair that makes us wanna have Childish Gambino's Red Bone and we say this in the best form of compliment.

Great albums deliver on a number of fronts, and perhaps most importantly it's the ability by those who create it to keep the listener on side at all times, bringing them into the fold from the word go and taking them on a journey they won't forget in a hurry. Ezel and Rona Ray, through the successes of their initial singles, created a basis for album success, and what a success it is, with so many superb moments found on here to last a lifetime. A chemistry that feels effortless will always result in top notch results, and with all the tracks on this record there is a satisfaction that exists within each cut, and as we flow from one experience to the next. As house records go, this one has it all, so go on, put this on and free yourself for the foreseeable.

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