MUUI – Seminal EP – microcastle

If you want your music to delight yet invigorate and tempt you into the future then here it is. If you like to inhabit the past and want to relive it endlessly, then perhaps you should remain asleep. MUUI supplies four new tracks of such exquisite composition that it makes a return to Disco seem redundant. However, transporting your soul to places you sometimes didn’t imagine via a hard-wired succession of fizzy electronics that hit you low and hard, high-end and infused with emotion is what lies instore form the labels first outing in 2017. Klibi, begins with an all out assault on the senses to the very point of distraction employing gritty techniques and simmering Acid attitude. Next, Hide Seek toys with deeper notions and thought-provoking melancholy atmospheres across pulsating beats and bass. Nema, proceeds to lift the mood again care of a sparkling array of synth hits injecting the probing drums with a life all of their own. Which only leaves the aptly titled title track, Seminal to evoke challenging questions with robust notation playing out over pulsating machine rhythms while very gently tearing at the edges.

Artwork: Andjana Pachkova

http://www.microcastlemusic.com
https://microcastle.bandcamp.com

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Kevin Knapp – Find Me featuring Baby Luck – Rebellion

If on the other hand you never want to leave the dancefloor Kevin Knapp returns to the fold to point you in the right direction. There’s something just ‘right’ about these productions beginning with Bumpin’ as it grinds its way forcefully into your line of vision. The beats and bass are tight while the commanding vocal delivery exists in its own space accompanied by whirring synths plus a heavy yet understated bassline. Flipped then follows in a similar mood, although with more throb added to the bass with the excellent title track, Find Me contrasting nicely via an edgy combination of tempting vocals care off Baby Luck and elastic, probing bass plus deliciously moody keys electrifying the atmosphere. Without Purpose, ends on yet another high with a familiar vocal sample working its way across the stereo field amid fiery snare drum hits and super-funky basslines. Lovely.

Release: March 17

https://www.facebook.com/KevinKnappMusic
http://www.crosstownrebels.com

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Donald Byrd And The 125th Street, N.Y.C – Love Has Come Around The Elektra Records Anthology 1978 – 1982 – Big Break Records

Donald Byrd blew some of the coolest blasts of Jazz-fusion (one of the few terms that works) through seminal releases such as Change (Makes You Want To Hustle) and Places & Spaces by the mid-seventies. And went onto to score even higher with the classic (the most over-used word since Beethoven) Love Has Come Around in the later seventies – the way the Piano and Trumpet sends tingles and shivers does it like little else. Following hot on the heels is the almost equally wondrous, in my opinion, Loving You which you may well be acquainted with care of others sampling the bitter/ sweet refrain. As the selection continues so the Funk influences dominate, of course punctuated by those Horn blasts, but are also contrasted on occassion by Disco flavoured numbers like the R&B referencing Midnight, altering again with the gentler, breezier sounds such as Morning. The second disc opens with the robust Thank You For Funking Up My Life, a life lesson for us all. And again traverses the sounds and sights of his imagination talking about the frailty and beauty of our human condition amongst the consequent world of possibilities. Cristo Redentor, returns to that poignant, heart-tearing infusion from the earlier timeline on this compilation (most tellingly from 1978) and I guess you take from the music what you require. But, whether that’s yearning melodies, hard-funky instrumentation or moodier, midnight Jazz then one and all are apparent here.

P.S a big thankyou to Malcolm McKenzie for informative sleevenotes.

Release: March 3
https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/love-has-come-around-the-elektra-records-anthology-1978-1982/

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Shaun Reeves & Tuccillo – Origin 99 EP – Visionquest

Launching themselves into 2017 with just the sort of typical flair you would except from the two producers (and label) this new four track EP does all you desire (then a bit more). Origin 99 soon takes hold of the airwaves care of a riveting, direct funkiness that repeats its signature commandingly over a brisk percussion loop. One Two Five, hits next and is all about the bassline which is once again augmented by some sassy percussion and accompanying keyboard chimes. Then the aptly titled, Prowler feels more dangerous with nervy synth lines caressing dark Acid basslines, leaving the freer rhythms of Blood Moon to establish an irresistibly funky sensation as gritty stabs clash with Latin styled percussive elements. All too hot to handle.

Release: February 24 (Vinly) and March 10 (Digital) 2017.

http://yourvisionquest.com

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Chasindub – Still Here EP – Phonogramme

Existing in the twilight of his imagination these four new tracks care of Dan Gheorge pitch you all sorts of possibilities combining a jazzy sense of playfulness together with more intense moods and atmosphere’s. The title tracks’ swirling ambience leans heavily on that notion with funky bass notation riding the evolving, expanding keys which colour the stereo tellingly. Yellowstrate, continues in a similar vein, though this time with crisp snares punctuating those classic synthesizers, while She Is attacks the senses with a tougher more robust groove and shuffling drums. The final track, Monza returns to more atmospheric climbs with spikey Acid styled bass tweaking the intensity levels against punky percussion raising the emotional levels in all sorts of meaningful ways.

Release: February 27
https://www.facebook.com/chasindubz

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Alessio Collina – Night Walk – Unclear Records

Trying to describe this combination of bass plus delicious low-end theory is almost impossible. It plays like a  of warped travesty of Disco that undulates, squelches slightly, then hits you hard entirely and squarely funking you up in the process. However, Night Walk takes it all in its stride with fiery sequences that journey through the dark atmosphere’s eventually celebrating the warmer, more soulful sounds emanating from the gorgeous, life-affirming chords. The Easy To Remember Remix then transforms it all into the 80’s, with a twist of course, with the decades drum machines and reverberating bassline all leaving an indelible impression. Planets, then reaffirms those deeper notions once again with further pads and hissing h-hats catching their own pace amid uncertain times.

Release: February 20
https://www.facebook.com/alessiocollinareal

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Various Artists – Fear Of a Rose Planet – La Vie En Rose

It’s always with a sense of anticipation to hear what Terence:Terry’s La Vie En Rose imprint has next in store. And in this instance it’s the labels second compilation of sounds which in this case explore deeper moods across eight tracks with contributions from Liou, Baby Ford, Fr!sky Business and more. What sets the selection apart is the care and attention to detail plus of course the sheer quality of the music which feels contemporary, international and very much of the moment. I love all the soulful, emotive and thought-provoking ambient references contained within the arrangements as they expand and exert themselves, and the fact that with each new play something else is revealed in the process.

http://lvrose.fr

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AWARE – The Book Of Wind LP – Glacial Movements

Aware aka Alexander Glück presents this startlingly impressive collection of music as you would read a story, albeit one without a definitive ending. Each track blends seamlessly into the next telling as each composition does via its title beginning with: so he got up and ate and drank, then leaving you at number fourteen, and went out. These charming soundscapes evolve courtesy of your speakers in a most thrilling way if you value the words mood, music, ambience. Funny, but I don’t you could describe any single piece as a favourite – except perhaps the tearing melancholy of, but god was not in the storm – however The Book Of Wind merits and demands listening to in its saturated, blissful entirety.

Release: February 28
https://glacialmovements.bandcamp.com

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Deee-Lite – World Clique – WEA (Cherry Red Records)

Deee-Lite exploded onto 1990 with a dizzy sense of excitement that is still very much obvious with the re-release of their debut album. And typically of that year while House Music fuelled the rhythms other elements are proudly at play too. Their music is as much a celebration of club culture both historically, featuring the likes of Maceo Parker and Bootsy Collins, while placing what had gone on before in a typically contemporary setting. Never afraid to use breaks and reference points but then they didn’t shy away from injecting a brash melody into the arrangements either with Lady Miss Kier proving to personify the groups sheer exuberance. What Is Love and Good Beat sound just as hot as back then, though some of what were new sounds from that era feel dated now, as is inevitable. But equally the final track, Build The Bridge should leave you in no doubt as to the impact World Clique had and has. The album also comes with a second CD containing all the essential remixes.

Release: February 21

https://www.cherryred.co.uk/product/world-clique-deluxe-2cd-edition/

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Niko Marks Q&A

Hello Niko and welcome to Magazine Sixty. Your brilliant new album “Day Of Knowing” is such an exciting journey through many different styles and moods. And that bassline from the opener “Crank Shaft” is an absolute killer! How long did it take you to make the album?

The “Day of Knowing” album was actually two and half years in the making.

Can you talk us through where the inspiration came from and then how you created one of the tracks from the album?

The inspiration for the album came from having a desire to bring all the genres that I’m influenced by under one umbrella.
With the track “Crank Shaft”, I started with a chord progression that was almost jazzy but because I wanted it to fit the dance floor, I reflected on how the late, great Bernie Worrell would play smooth, jazzy and even classical chords atop of a funky groove so I began playing around with different bass lines until I found one that felt good and helped the track to flow.

Can you describe your studio set-up to us?

Yes. My studio set up has a few analogue pieces which include two Nord keyboards, Roland V-Synth XT, Roland 700NX , some NI products, Yamaha HS7 and, BX5 monitors and a Mackie ProFX mixer. Lately, I’ve been out of the box experimenting with software developed by Arturia. I’m also using Ableton, Logic and Pro Tools DAWs. The set up changes depending on what project is taking place and sometimes different pieces are brought in to replace others. I like having the flexibility.

What is your favorite instrument? Do you own one?

My favorite instrument is my voice. It’s the one that I got for free.

How do you feel about the importance of musicianship in today’s Dance music?

I feel that having musicianship in today’s dance music takes the genre to another level.
For me, it’s paramount to my sound and helps when engaging with an audience. It gives diversity to my performance. I’m more captivated by a performance that has someone playing an instrument as an accompaniment to the dance rhythms.

This is your 44th studio album, which is quite an achievement in today’s transient world. How do you approach your working day and what do you do to relax outside of the electronic environment?

I approach each day with an open mind, making sure my thoughts are clear in order to receive positive vibrations, be it musically or interacting with fellow musicians, producers. Checking for sessions with other producers as well as handle the business as it relates to U2XProductions Detroit. Outside of the electronic environment, I find pleasure and relaxation in drawing, painting, exercising, reading, nature walks, bike riding and traveling.

How would you describe Detroit’s musical culture at the moment?

Detroit’s current musical culture, from my perspective, seems to be gaining momentum in the way that it once had. Examples include several new projects, some of which I’m a part of due out later this year. Because of the current situation that faces Detroit, the passion of many music makers is at an all-time high, which usually results in new forms of music and revolutionary ideas. With dance music and its worldwide appeal, it’s only natural that attention be focused on Detroit where the techno sound has its origins.

There is talk of music becoming more political again with the inauguration of Trump? Do you see that happening?

Yes, I do. In fact, as an artist, I feel a responsibility to occasionally speak to certain issues that affect the masses. Furthermore, the voice of the artist is what many people will hear via music – whether it’s on radio, internet, TV or stage performance.

Who are your favorite vocalists?

Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan, Luther Vandross, Nancy Wilson, Al Jarreau, Michael Jackson, Prince, Bono, Bob Marley, John Lucien and a few more.

And finally. What are your plans for the remainder of 2017?

I plan to continue recording and touring to promote the album. There will be more collaborative works with other artists. I will also be completing material for the BXT project along with Amp Fiddler. Most of all, I plan to continue growing spiritually, mentally and musically.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
U2XProductions // Detroit, MI USA

Website: http://www.nikomarks.com
YouTube: https://youtube.com/user/U2XProductions
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Niko12tha2
RA: http://www.residentadvisor.net/dj/nikomarks
Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/nikomarks
Beatport: https://www.beatport.com/artist/niko-marks/29006
Bandcamp: https://nikomarks.bandcamp.com

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