One of the most sublime things about music as an art-form is the way it morphs and transforms itself of its own volition. The mind of the artist is the driving force in all this proceeding to challenge in creative ways, while transporting sound into the future. Squire AKA ex-Formula 1 driver Jaime Alguersuari translates those sorts of ideas into Common Sense, which not only feels resonantly tantalising but also tastefully sublime, coming soulfully charged via Graham Baxter’s breathy vocal adding the human touch. Peacock Ritual, then dances around a series of electrical pulses, sensing danger, over and across an array of punctuating beats to complete this excellent release.
Following Jing’s debut album for Steve Bicknell’s imprint from earlier this year the artist proceeds with due diligence and this set of five pieces constructed as Diffraction. Beginning with the exploratory: brighter the light, darker the shade which sets brisk electronic tones alight amid fevered thoughts. “β α θ δ” then treads darker paths highlighting unnerving sculpted landscapes, much like videodrome does next, though this time with treated voices colouring the way – both of which prove to be a deeply involving listen. Drum machines introduce themselves on Malentonion amid repeating, pulses of atmosphere, leaving Constant Human Game to further tease out those rhythmic structures with something more akin to Techno.
Release: November 23
Funny to think that After Dark originates from 1995. I could have been made today. Rekids offshoot R-Time Records continues to deliver its neat line in re-issues with the aforementioned punching out shuffling Electro rhythms amid a series of grainy, pulsating kicks and sizzling hi-hats. All offset by the poignant rush of emotive pads which perhaps give the timeframe away but are none the less just as resolutely effective. The more strident Into Space follows with provocative Pierre influenced Acid grooves which come complete with splashing snares and the knowledge of time. The Loft completes with classic Detroit/ Chicago sounds all feeling emotionally charged and notably resonate in 2018.
Release: September 7
An exhilarating and creative piece of music form the mind of Doubting Thomas sees the opening Tandem produce an unsettling sense of self. Coupled with haunting instrumental blows amid fidgety sounds effects and an almost eerie, tense probing arrangement it’s a startling, rewarding listen. Good Words continues the introspection albeit this time with more prominent, probing drums accompaying the warmer ambience, leaving an excellent, tougher interpretation of Tandem by Alexkid to hang in the air.
Release: July 6
If you like basslines. And let’s face it who doesn’t. Then the one delivered on Spence-Chicago’s dangerously hot remix of I Came To Jack is to be savoured. It’s a cross between infectious Acid and the inappropriately Heavy-Duty cumulating in an excellent remix that stretches out the safety valves of funk to extremity. Big, brash, loud and full of attitude this packs more sonic punch than most with its fusion of stabbing keys and dangerously, tempting percussion. Next is Project 268 who ease down the intensity to reveal deeper shades provoked by cool bass and stereo resonating vocal treatments.
Release: March 13
Music has that innate ability to transport you somewhere else. In one place and time that’s back to the 1990’s at some random point in the evening with music just like this pounding away. Perhaps it is the fact that Remember is musical, featuring an actual song that provokes that sense of past times. Maybe it’s just that it is a good record. Either way the playful bass and punchy drums do all the work as brilliant, occasional keys add that extra something on the original version. The remix comes from Javi Bora & IAAM who add a more brutal kick to their arrangement, while the essence remains intact care of the vocals touches providing a more open Dub feel. Eggshells In The Ghetto, then simmers with Acid tension as the vocal once again adds spice to the sequence amid fiery snares and deep intention. Fine times.
Release: March 23
M.F.S.B. will always be synonymous with some of the most transcendent moments Disco ever reached. Truly cherished records like T.S.O.P (The Sound Of Philadelphia) featuring the wonderful Three Degrees typified the breezy yet hard-hitting productions which they became most celebrated for. While perhaps the era’s most defining break, care of, Love Is The Message rightly secures their place in all-time history. The instrumentals they created are second to none and as musicians their like are sorely missed. Jazzy, soulful, rhythm and blues evolved into part of the first wave of ‘Disco’ in the 1970’s yet they were not averse to getting down, hard and funky on the likes of the joyous Sexy alongside K-Jee either. They also provided the backing to other releases on the famed label: Philadelphia International Records and the driving licks that drove the fevered Let’s Clean Up The Ghetto by 1977 pushed the music into socially conscious directions. It’s also interesting note how sounds and moods altered by the close of the decade with the jazz-funk strains espoused by the seminal Mysteries Of The World. A great selection of words from MOJO/ Record Collector scribe Charles Waring accompanies too. An essential addition to your collection.
Release: March 9
Lifted from his the current album Paradise Sold this joint collaboration alongside Langenberg seeks out an urgency that becomes all too apparent depending on the numbers. From one aspect the undulating stabs feel like haunting, atmospheric ruminations. Yet viewed from another the reoccurring, sizzling Acid lines are purely fierce, cutting determinedly through the airwaves backed-up by a single strident kick drum. Never one to underplay the power of music in all its forms NGC 6240 supplies and then satisfies the demand for invigorating moments. Remixes come from Tim Engelhardt who lifts the rhythms skyward adding hints of melody amid the rush of synthesized keys. Plus, from Vince Watson who inevitably stokes the fire igniting the array of stabs punctuating and building the tension in expert fashion.
Release: February 23
Founding member of the Scissor & Thread imprint, Francis Harris delivers two exquisitely cutting arrangements in the shape of More We Cannot Do and Minor Forms. The former heightens a sense of circumstance via repeating loops pf teasing, unnerving sounds that tantalise your senses against a backdrop of playful percussion until the energy is released at breakdown point. The later breathes jazzier notation into undulating rhythms pushing and expanding temptations, indulging in breezy trumpet led melodies in the process. Valentino Mora then delivers two remixes of Minor Forms transforming the concept with robust kick drums on the Underwater Rephrase version, while the Cosmic Trans Rephrase explores deeper climbs feeling rather lush and reassuringly blissful.
Release: February 23
A magnificent piece of music which I have been waiting to review. Not least of all because it challenges, tearing at your heartstrings while unsettling you by the insistent, haunting atmospheres generated via the not-so-gentle whir of synthesized repetition. The fizzy electronics which only enhance the tension are then soothed and smoothed over care off the icy, yearning voice of Elizabeth Wight, who alongside Mike Simonetti form Pale Blue. As a casual aside it is also interesting to note that, You Stopped Dying could be reflected almost as clearly care of acoustic instruments but then that’s important music for you. However, the two remaining tracks remain firmly in the box with the fevered Acid tones produced by Daughter Of Babylon, and the brutal drums of contrasting Love both fizzing with the type of dangerous excitement thats demands you leave the edge of your seat.
Release: February 16