“Street Life” is a track featuring singer Phil Joseph and first released in 1995 on the Streetlife EP produced by Charles & Jeremy Sylvester for Cream Productions (UK). Since then the track has appeared on many compilation records. Recently Phil Joseph produced the video of the song’s 2017 version. Compared to other mainstream UK dance acts such as The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy or Basement Jaxx, Phil Joseph’s track still sounds pretty relevant and looks like the most versatile, and least obsessed with dance floor credibility. It has an almost chill house groove that just won’t let up, once you drop the needle on it.
This track has the kind of flowing depth that it’s immediately rousing, and relaxing at the same time, thanks to the help of hugely understated, yet strident vocals by Joseph, descending keyboards and incessant percussion, but the attention given to detail in the background is also heavily indebted to a kind of soul-pop echoing.
This impressive telescoping of old influences and current backdrops is perfectly displayed on “Street Life” which showcases Phil Joseph’s suaveness which graces every second of the song. The simple yet delicately pulsating synth lines fit the song’s analog mood and the vocal delivery to perfection.
If you took the song at face value, you might think that this track would be filled with contradictions, clashing styles and conflicting aesthetics because of its dated first release. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The producer has perfected his art by focusing on a tighter, warmer, and cutting edge production.
Early fans will recognize what defined the UK Garage style in the first place, but will appreciate the stylish ass-shaking embellishments to be heard on the 2017 updated version. The obvious common denominator is Phil Joseph’s voice which has triumphantly carried each subsequent version since 1995.
“Street Life” is so far removed from the genre’s heyday it’s impressive how it has remained intact—and more impressive that soon clubs will still be bowing to its smooth enveloping synth exposition and Joseph’s oscillating vocals.
And unlike the gluey, glazy bedroom recordings that define the current electronic landscape, Phil Joseph has taken pride in polishing the song to a mirror shine. No, it doesn’t push the electronic genre forward; in fact, it probably pushes it back, and that’s about the damn best thing that could have happened to it. “Street Life” impeccably delivers on everything you could possibly want from a 22-year-old song!