Sphesihle Mshana Ndlovu delivers three equally tasteful tracks for his debut release on the heavenly Black Vinyl. But, I’m going to skip straight to the third number: You Show Me Love which appears in two versions. First is the glorious Raw Mix which sequences a blissful array of shinning stabs together with brisk, insistent hats and bold bass, producing one of those truly sunrise moments. Next, the Vocal Mix teases out yet more soulfully rich vibes care off additional vocals and a selection of heart-warming string lines. Now, back to the beginning as both Light Years Ago and then Sabela Africa each create intriguing, playful music completing this excellent release.
Love this brilliantly, exciting trip to Acid heaven that never feels like it’s looking too far back. But then all of those the big, splashing hi-hats and furious 303 lines are simply too explosive to ignore. Things get even more twisted towards the end as synthesizers get even more electrifying, and all of this contained within five and a half minutes of ecstasy fuelled pleasure. New York-based DJ/ producer Justin Cudmore then attacks the sensibilities with renewed vigour, plus a more brutal tempo agitating the punchy keys and delays.
Lazarusman’s poetry feels defiantly emotional in these days of cold, hard facts. And it is a pleasure to hear it spun out across Jay Hill’s warmly embracing set of keys, which at once recall the 1990’s yet pulse throughout with visions of the future. It’s a fierce experience for sure accompanied by a surprisingly uncomplicated arrangement, given the power it supplies, connecting addictive qualities to melody and meaning. Remixed by Richy Ahmed who squares the deal via a viciously, beautiful bassline plus additional percussion, generous big-time stabs and a bag full of attitude on his typically first-rate reworking.
Time erodes memory. Especially when you chuck in a shed load of Drugs and mix it up with Acid House. Which is precisely why you need to (re)read this collection of Manchester’s long gone, though not forgotten Freaky Dancing. Euphoria can get lost to the cynicism of age but perhaps the remedy to that is contained somewhere inside the crazed, wild-eyed excitement that played out at the cities Nude night, as the shock of the new sent waves of inspiration charging through the minds of its creators Paul Gill and Ste Pickford. The first issue appeared for free in July 1989 and ran its course by August 1990 after eleven issues, in-between the so-called second summer of love and before The Hacienda closed for the first time in 1991 due to the surrounding violence engulfing the venue – an ironic state of affairs, even then. Billed by Tony Wilson as “the most important piece of journalism I’ve read in the last twenty years” a typically overblown pronouncement, there is however a grain of truth to that given that you feel part of the experience, living the lifestyle as it happened like a diary of events. Consequently, in ways the graphic content illustrates better than most studied books on the subject have the significant highs and lows of experience revolving around the turn of that decade. And yet in amongst all the youthful zeal and resolutely, idealistic belief in pill formed culture (alongside its institution) there lies an acceptance of the enviable downfall. That resulted, by the end, in the collapse of a dream and a demolished club. Which thankfully is now poignantly, though starkly contrasted via the evangelical conviction in the transformative powers of ecstasy celebrated throughout the pages, without the substance it would have meant a lot less content – in fine style even that is joked about in October’s Volume 5, as are students, i-D, Boys Own and ‘the south’ basically in general.
So what’s left? A document and a bagful of memories. A bunch of worn records. And that maybe you were part of something that felt important – life changing.
Freaky Dancing: The Complete Collection is published February 21, by TQLC
Tough, brisk and beautifully funky are words that flow easily over this excellent production from James Teej. Dolby B is the sort of track that feels instantly epic as irresistible drums and taught electronic stabs punctuate your life in a series of stages with the whirring intensity of stark synthesizers creating an abundance of atmospheric charges playfully igniting all of the senses. Jay Tripwire delivers the remix that takes all of that and condenses it into a liquid mess of undulating notes and signatures excelling and exhilarating, pulsing along a future fuse hints of electro dance dangerously alongside chiming repetitions, plus the insistent splash of sophisticated hi-hats. Then to the title track itself which has Solder Solder reach for moodier climbs as slow voices suggest sinister intent, with another original Two Set Six completing the release returning once again to funkier rhythms to elevate proceedings.
D’Julz returns to bass with more inevitably smoky reflections on culture beginning with the immense title track, Lemon Juice. To say this reaches deep inside your soul, fizzing with an Acid infused frenzy, would be somewhat of an understatement. There’s just something about the wild abandon loosely contained in this production that makes you want to scream as the breath of raw intensity generated by the basslines erupt across shuffling kicks and snares – feeling succinctly funky, yet hard as nails. Wrecka Stow, then adds more musical flair with rolling rushes of emotion unfurling over pounding beats, leaving the contrasting drum-breaks of Singularity to explore deeper ground while completing yet another first rate EP.
Posing questions and seeking answers Cypherpunx reveal themselves with these two new richly rewarding productions for Rebellion. Hier+Jetzt is a standout number in any book referencing the electronic output of 1970’s Germany yet feeling defiantly here and now. Brooding synthesizers create darker edges which in turn are surrounded by fizzy, drum-machine encoded percussion, existing alongside warm envelopes of beautifully engaging sound tactfully teasing out lavish scenarios. The English translation of the title then forms Here+Now which reworks the elements lending the arrangement a more forceful, robust feel as energy levels are engaged and then tuned up a notch via choppy keyboard strikes, adding a deft intensity amid heady swirls of ambience.
An undoubtedly first-rate release from the Vatos Locos imprint sees Hector and David Gtronic’s brisk, occasionally brutal rhythms ignite all the senses and then some. First is the excellent: Holding On which sequences an intense roll of drums together with hot punctuating bass hits, while neatly contrasted by warmer moods created by the wash of emotive pads. A never less than excitable escape into the unknown as each section releases a new found release of energy. Next, the even more robust Gabacho fuses sizzling percussion and tough basslines with otherworldly effects for relentlessly, devastating results. Leaving the equally fast-paced Villa Kubu to finish you off with yet more heady atmosphere’s playing out alongside the perpetual rush of furious rhythm.
Re:Sound‘s very own Michael Hooker kicks off his production with the type of resounding intensity that leaves you grasping for air. Teasing, grainy percussion accompanied by a solitary, pulsing keyboard stab are all that is required at this point in time. However, when the bassline hits at two minutes in the rush of soaring emotion lets you know all about it. It is almost like the producer has hot-wired the stereo into creating a wealth of fiery effects to go alongside the defiant rhythm section, but whatever has happened in the process it very much sounds hot and excellent. Theo Schmitt’s deft rework then adds a tougher element into the arrangement with taught Kick drums demanding centre stage while the array of dazzling effects remain resolutely in place.
Some of the most beautifully inspiring movements and moments exist without the foundation of drums, signified by the sole occupation of mood coloured by emotion and atmosphere. Falling into a breathless bliss of the imagination, but does that mean overlapping sounds only eventually evolve into themselves, not actually going anywhere? Perhaps, but as with all music it’s the emotional reaction it causes which testifies as to its importance. A sense of turmoil populates this series of drone inspired pieces by Lowering with the wild range of feelings and pictures generated solely by the twisting together of a diverse, bewildering electricity of notes and noises. Tear back the surface and sometimes a wondrous rush of happiness gets exposed just like that on, Derecho. At first I thought the swirling ambience, pads and chiming resonance was situated in only one of life’s aspects, as melancholy sequences drifted past grabbing meaning in one-sided almost sombre ways. But, by the second listen these notions also sat more comfortably alongside a thrilling sense of uplift. As time elapses and you reach Gone, with its gentle piano motifs, it is easy to think that album is quite excellent, exhilarating in fact. And, as the final number, the expansive fifteen minutes which comprise In Our Time completes (with just a hint of a drum pulse) you realise these soundwaves are all that is required, rippling with sensation, equal to the life-affirming action of any other music: Cause and Effect.