The Basement Jaxx began as Simon Ratcliffe and Felix Burton, but expanded their lineup to include Corrina Joesph, several semi-regular singers and drummers. They have spun and partied in Brixton since 1993, remaining underground until after the release of their first LP Remedy in 1999. The album was basically the culmination of years of dancefloor experimentation. Starting from the basics of House, Hardcore, and Garage, the two developed a style all their own. They're usually pidgeon-holed into "Deep House," but bear little resembalence to other Deep House Artists such as Armand Van Helden and Roger Sanchez. The Jaxx sound is a mix of funk, house, 2 step, soul, garage... just about anything. The cornerstone of the Jaxx that differ them from most of the current acts is straight funkiness which drips from every track.
The Jaxx got their start after a chance meeting on a riverboat party organized by Felix. The Simon and Felix were into UK Hardcore and Chicago House, respectively, and one could say the development of the two is basically a marriage of Brixton, Hardcore sound, and House style. After the two met they began working together and released their first EP in 1994. It was picked up by several DJs and got much play. Their second single, Samba Magic, cemented their rep as house stars and was picked up by Virgin Records for major distribution. The third EP released in 1996 displayed all of the characteristics that are now Jaxx trademarks. They dropped two more EPs in 1996 and 1997, but for the most part began developing the material for a full length album.
The Jaxx auditioned lots of new material by spinning and playing at clubs around Brixton, London. The result was the full length album Remedy. Remedy met astounding praise and sucess inside and outside the club scene. The album was repped as the best house album since Daft Punk's Homework, giving rise to a much needed counter-French House trend through clubs. Tracks like "Red Alert" became overplayed, while tracks like "Bingo Bango," "Rendez-Vu," and "Jump N' Shout" were heard in clubs across the world. They became the definitive sound of House for the next two years.
After this was established, everything was cool, the tour was over, they went back to school. School for the Jaxx consisted of the same auditioning process as Remedy, but this time the weekly club night was called Rooty. Rooty happened every week for about six months, and near the end, the entire new album (and then some) was played A to Z. The result is another smashing album, named after the weely party, completely dancable, completely solid top to bottom. However, unlike some artists the Basement Jaxx went further into their sound and tried to put at least a little meaning into every song. Nearly every track on Rooty has some sort of vocal, which doesn't detract from the party atmosphere, but makes the album a lot easier to export out of the club in verbatim. The entire album is excellent, with DJ-friendly tracks like "Where's Your Head At?," "Jus 1 Kiss," "Crazy Girl," and "Get Me Off" and radio-friendly tracks like "Romeo," and "Breakaway." The two boys from Brixton have strengthened their rep as a musical powerhouse, and have guaranteed themeselves at least another two years in the spotlight.
Of course, a group like the Basement Jaxx focused on keeping people dancing has to have an incredible live show. The Jaxx show is at least as crazy and funky as the music. Simon and Felix man the machines, with Felix coming out to sing, and Simon riffing on a guitar for a few tracks. Corrina Joesph sings most of the vocals, giving an entertaining front to the group, but three other singers (in America, at least) also make appearances riling the crowd. The four also dance around the stage through the show, appearing like four crazed MCs at an insane hip hop gone clubbing show. The show is not as involving as others but there is a huge bassed out groove expounded through the crowd. The only complaint is that the show is much too short, a party like that shouldn't stop until dawn.