The revealing voice tells you: I think more people have discovered that it’s not for them. Which I guess is open to interpretation but what isn’t is the sheer, uber funkiness in operation as the rhythms unfold across 848. Supported robustly by pounding beats the amalgamation of probing, punctuating synth lines plus atmospheric effects all point to the sublimely realised hi-hats making their presence felt at around 3.30. The possibly even more intense, I Know You follows blending a hit of Acid together with further drum-machine fuelled percussion, leaving the faster Sun Down to end via its breathless pace of chopping keys and soaring, searching inevitability.
There is a haunting eloquence contained in Joram Feitsma’s playing, let free to fly, connecting you to the artist in profound ways taking your thought processes and emotions on a journey to somewhere else. The pianist gently reworks ideas of melody and association to meaning on the beautifully lilting Lente for example, while the unfolding landscapes of Hoede Pt. II reach their destination via a looped drone of tones, other notes are charged with more brutal intensity such as on Kept. It was co-produced by label founder and one half of Âme, Frank Wiedemann with the productions highlighting the happy/ sad aspects of life which chime notably in current times. It also feels very much like a series questions asked, perhaps resolved by the progression of keys found within When Lost. In the end Flux plays like heartstrings of sound pulling you in different directions, yet feeling composed and open to creative interpretation.
Achieving peace is by no means an easily attainable goal. I guess we can all agree. Michiru Aoyama’s disarming collection of sounds wash over you inviting your senses into differing directions from when you first pressed play. Musically rich, emotionally beautiful seeking a heightened awareness of the space surrounding you it is as meditative as it is challenging, provoking and evoking memory while accepting the moments drifting into view. Completing via the blissful expanse of WET this album simply is. Above and beyond, time and place.
Beginning with Marcus Schmickler’s unearthly Particle/Matter is sure-fire way of grabbing attention, sonic or otherwise. Tobias Thomas’s mix then proceeds to contact and connect all in its path as sounds from the future, occasional the past, are transporting into an emotionally changed journey into sight, tone and timbre. Have to say that the feeling compacted into the opening numbers is sheer and forceful touching the human senses in mind expanding ways, as the playlist unfolds so does the introduction of melody alongside drums plus a wealth of imagination. The list (selected from the labels back catalogue) takes in everyone from DJ Koze to DJ Tennis at over almost two hours’ worth of time, although it’s the overall mood created across its entirety which pays testament the innate strength and ability of both the DJ and accompanying music.
The collision of light and shade on Mind Is In A Daze which opens the EP is all at once soulful yet brutal. Exploding in a tantalising array of colours this fierce combination of tough, rolling rhythms alongside heavenly keys welcomes the inclusion of breathy voices like it all means something. The intense percussion informing The Kiss feels equally fiery, while the treated drums of Let Me See You Jack takes you back to an imagined 1980’s somewhere lost in the wealth of the underground. Optical Illusions completes with deeper tones exploring fresh conclusions to musical existence, contrasting the need for dancefloor crunch plus a satisfying emotional resonance.
Put simply this is an extraordinary remix by Andhim, but then again what else might you expect. Taking the breathy melancholy of the originals striking vocals the duo transform its setting by twisting synthesized lines around a furiously funky, tough yet incredibly groovy rhythm section reigniting the voice. Words such as breathless, soulfully resonate and contemporary combine here much like the superlative sounds do.
It’s not as often these days that the more traditional sounds of House appeal in quite the same way they once did. Having said that Malik Hendricks’ elegant, wonderfully smoky productions really hit the spot. The aptly titled Deeper Than feels resolutely contemporary in the timeless sense of the word combining soulfully charged rhythms, chords and voices all making their presence most tastefully felt. The remix comes care of Byron The Aquarius who injects added bounce to the groove, peppering it with vibraphone plus tougher edges. Remaining numbers excite the template with the perky punch of the title track feeling particularly feverish. D.W.E.L.E then sequences more playfully exquisite drums, while Dance To The Music retells past glories through the power of jazzy flavoured guitar and the innate strength of the human voice likewise in inviting ways.
Beginning this brand new imprint is the exciting proposition of three artists getting to choose a piece of Art from the Tate Britain gallery to inspire the creation of music from. The starting point for Jim Stewart is Dead Sea by the British artist Paul Nash whose painting of the same name conjures up a rich, intensity suitably reflected in the surge of brutal energy which eventually reaches a more contemplative end. Simon Whiteside chose the architecture of Inversions by Mary Martin and his free flow of shimmering instrumentation captures its essence perfectly. Next is Arthur Hacker’s 1892 painting Annunciation and Joe Wilkinson’s work provides an ethereal blend of voice and blissful conclusion to this inspired selection of music and musicians.
Eventually I came to the realisation that melody only accounts for part of aural experience. That is was equally down to the pureness of sound itself to escape the restriction of words while proposing an altogether different story in the process. Roman Bezdyk’s blistering landscapes of notation unfold in a rush of meaning as Studded By Stars 1 begins this EP via a series of tantalising, electrical impulses seeking out new horizons and possible bliss. The awkward rhythms of Vulpine Smile are next, followed by the possible memory of an American Western chime on the striking Dazzling Darkness. The excellent Little Nurse completes the release as shimmering grooves, alongside a warm glow of textures, are then highlighted by questioning voices. Something Came Over Me.
To begin with. It took me a while to figure out whether this book was primarily concerned with regret, coloured by being unfulfilled as a DJ’s life in the fast line unfolded, fracturing to the point of almost lost consequence. You could equally add the words bitterness, guilt and envy in amongst the long list of those rather fine, uniquely human frailties we all have to introspectively feast upon. Or is Long Relationships more simply a story of timely reflection about giving your all while having a great time doing so, driven purely by all the right reasons i.e. Love, Art and Music (although not necessarily in that particular order).
I don’t know Harold Heath but after reading this I feel like I do. At least in the sense of what makes him tick in terms produced by the excitement surrounding the culture of music we indulge ourselves in. However, it runs much deeper than that doesn’t it and it’s that very human aspect which shines a light on the highs and lows of musical existence in such rewarding, particularly illuminating ways. If you’ve ever lived and worked in music at least one part of this book’s story will touch memories you have also experienced, recalled here sometimes with an air of mournful disappointment, but then also in absolute genius, hilarious fashion – that description of boat parties alone is priceless. The joyous cynicism on offer similarly does its job by getting aimed squarely at blasting the trivial nature of Dj ego’s where merited, even if names aren’t mentioned you know the type, you’ve already seen the T-Shirt.
The contrast of serious, thought-provoking topics are offset by tales of the more mundane realities of Dj’ing and running nights. In fact a lot of what is written may prove painfully familiar as the tired repetition takes hold, perhaps shaking the foundation of why you may still care so much about it all. Likewise, the earning money aspects of contemporary music production are scrutinised wringing out every cell of financial pleasure that it should come with a health warning. But we still do it because Art is primarily the search for meaning in existence and how that is expressed. Not about cold-hearted, calculated reason.
His understanding and evaluation of Dance Music culture, its current state of play, alongside the way finance plays its role is necessarily spot on. Brutally truthful, yet leaving cause for optimism in some shape or future form. I hope. In fact this has to be some of the most telling writing on the subject there is to date.
Harold Heath’s book is happy, sad, celebratory and fascinating all in one read. I wouldn’t say cautionary because being alive should already tell you that. But its honest, sincere appraisal of what has preceded is both heart-warming and life assuring, even the more crushing aspects as you reach the end.