Ambassador`s Reception head-honcho Stevie Kotey has started sorting out his archives. Relaunching the label and assuming the pseudonym Steamy Windows he’s been dusting off and souping up crowd-pleasing cuts by the score. The first fruits of this labour to be made public will be One Of Those Nights – a collaboration with cool Californian dude, Woolfy – King Of The Sun-Baked Balearic Boogie. The two of them turning in a breathless bedroom berserka of balmy, heat-stroked, blue-eyed electro street soul – suitable for fans of Apiento, Harriett Brown and Lexx` Cosmic Shift long-player. Its bass bumping bionically, keys and guitar blown in like a breeze. Percussion like seashells gently washed and made to shine by the tide. While Woolfy`s whispers are the male equivalent of Brenda Ray`s intimate coo. I’ve been privy to six mixes which range from a beatless ambient calm – showing off the electric axe work and celestial synthetic flute – to bottom-end bolstered dub. L.U.C.A`s Quirky Version puts the beat right up front – big snares behind treated vocal fragments. Gating everything for a trippy, serenely stoned glide. Taken altogether this sextet forms a kind of suite, finally refocusing on the love song at its root.
Also on the way is a super seductive acidic remix of CLNBRK`s Corpse Flower – which sets bubbling and gurgling 303s dueling in a gentlemanly manner between a tropic of chimes, slow 6-string shapes, and fractal detail. Then there are a pair of tracks signed to Rogue Cat Sounds – the label co-founded by Stevie`s former Chicken Lips co-conspirator, Dean Meredith. Where A Peak Through The Window slices and dices old school Chicago drums into a mid-tempo march and kosmische / new age synths lift the whole thing toward the heavens. Its vinyl partner, Laserlight And Smoke, again mixes Deutsche and disco, throwing motorik shapes. Where complex but careful key arrangements are carried by pitched-down but still charged arpeggios – chugging like a slo-mo Bobby O – and attention-grabbing arms-in-the-air piano illuminates its darker undertow. Talking to Stevie it seems that this is all just the tip of a musical iceberg.
When was the Steamy Windows project born?
In May 1974, I was named Stevie at birth, but deep down I knew I would always be Steamy.
Is there a “concept” behind the project?
Steamy Windows is a concept / idea I`ve had for many years now. The idea first came from memories of queuing up, waiting to get into a warehouse rave, that feeling of excitement – seeing the laser lights bouncing off the walls and the steamy blacked out windows. Steamy Windows was meant to be music for the those moments, however since COVID-19 hit I’ve had the time to go through my archive of hard drives and found many pleasant surprises – loads of unfinished works and unreleased music – so I just thought let’s make Steamy Windows a home for all this stuff. I’ve spent a lot of time releasing other people’s music, so I wanted to spend some time on my own for a change.
Is anyone else involved?
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some really talented people over the years but Steamy Windows is just me. I do have some amazing collaborations like Adrien Durand from Bon Voyage. We made some recordings in 2011, which I’m only just now completing. There’s a lovely stripped back early techno track called Fenderstorm. I also have another two songs with Woolfy which are nearly ready.
How did the collaboration with Woolfy come about?
I literally can’t remember. But I’ve always been a big fan of his music. I’m sure we were messaging each other about stuff and then the file sending started. After few recordings, we both knew it was going to be a fun project. He understands the way I construct my tracks and the level of emotion needed for each song. He just gets it!!
What prompted the reunion with Dean and the Rogue Cats?
It’s never a reunion with Dean! Years can fly by but Dean is someone I always connect with musically. Over the years, Dean has programmed drums and collaborated on so many recordings for me and my labels. I owed him a few tracks, so I said “I made these and they’re yours if you like them”. Rogue Cat is a great label, Ben and Dean are doing some lovely bits – which are made and released with real passion.
Have Steamy Windows collaborated with anyone else?
Adrien, Bon Voyage, as I mentioned, plus I have a few surprises up my sleeve.
Is there any more material good to go? An album?
I’ll never do an LP. I don’t have the time. Music isn’t my main occupation anymore so I’m just releasing music when it feels right.
When are the records due to be released?
One Of Those Nights is due on Ambassador’s Reception very soon. I’m not sure when the Rogue Cat release will come out – but hopefully it’ll be this year.