If you were (un)fortunate enough to have lived through the eighties than you will remember the flash of brilliance that exploded musically across the decade. I only mention that because, Feelings Coming Back barrows heavily from all of the excitement and plugs it straight into the electrical mainframe of the Original version. This is one of those Play It Louder moments that channels Electro and Italo sounds together with LC Anderson’s perfect injection of vocal sass and the results are addictive. The Cosmic Disco pioneer Daniele Baldelli & Marco Dionigi Remix then adds some syncopated drive into the affair, while their Funkadiba take reworks it all over again via a bubbling funkiness alongside a neatly stripped down arrangement.
Tobias ‘Tooli’ Lidström’s Omena imprint returns with this strikingly distinctive, rather excellent song. Think the lick of 70’s breaks sitting alongside a warm, atmospheric rush of Detroit keys and all cooked up over grainy, resounding machine drums. And you will be half way there. But add in the smouldering, soulful vocals and Evanescence stands out loud and proud from the crowd. Man Power’s Sweden 92 Remix reworks the elements delivering a tantalisingly great version that adds a dubbier feel and some tasteful additional instrumentation, accentuating all the lush emotion while expanding the possibilities to a rewarding eight plus minutes.
Release: December 12
Reflecting back three new variations from 2015’s Klavirni album these are a precursor to next year’s promise of Klavirini II. Dilo numbers: 7, 8, 20 and 11 all receive fresh punctuation for this forthcoming single release, while each bear testament to the invigorating translation of Piano played by Emika. All poignant promise. All deeply moving. Especially the timeframe suggested by the beautifully breath-taking, 11 whose notes suggest a yearning to connect with times past, while implying the balance of nature as rejuvenating sound.
Release: December 1
The brilliantly titled: TO THE OUTSIDE OF EVERYTHING continues Cherry Red’s equally wonderful series of invaluable histories. This time round tackling, or rather defining Post Punk. The tempting question here is about whether it was really just Punk after all. The ‘Post’ bit a journalist tag line applied to sell the repackage while continuing our national obsession with labelling everything that moves – look at the subdivision (monetization) of Dance Music during the 90’s. Punk was an umbrella term covering a wide variety of causes, stance and styles and subsequently that D.I.Y attitude remained intact, as did that sense of independent, non-conforming spirit. Maybe even more intensified as a reaction after the blatant commercialisation of Punk itself. Although, of course, everything boils right down to the music. Which in this case is so blindingly excellent that it still sounds and feels highly-charged, excitement-personified dragging you back to when possibilities seemed endless. Evolving from the breath of what was essentially the sneer of high-energy Rock n Roll bands felt free to do things that contradicted the original medium – thank god. All that Sid Vicious stood for, was, in the end, vacuous and meaningless (cheap swastika included). But on a more positive note there are five CD’s here to truly indulge yourself. Starting with Ultravox is most fitting as the fiery music feels and smells very much like Punk, thrashy guitars and shouty attitude, but underneath the sound of something else is happening – people are thinking. Besides all that strumming you will also find the early-ish strains of electronic music in the UK from the likes of Throbbing Gristle and The Human League. And as time moved on so did the incorporation of distant influences allowing room for manoeuvre showcased by the diversity of Echo & The Bunnymen, Poison Girls, Joy Division, The The, plus The Associates. So as you can see it covers the full spectrum and beyond. Then there’s The Slits and proceeding onto the liquid funk (not a term) of New Asia, 23 Skidoo, and Biting Tongues on CD five while finally reaching the destination outlined by This Heat who end with Radio Prague. At a time when lots of things all seemed to happen at once, colliding headlong, maybe you can indeed learn from history taking on board such a wealth of ideas. And maybe if you take time to look below the surface then that is exactly what is still happening today.
PS. Neil Taylor provides 48 pages of sleeve notes. So expect to have your horizons expanded and informed further.
Release: December 1
First things first. This is undoubtedly a great piece of music. Not quite this, not quite that but a collection of smouldering notation that touches melancholy melodies while feeling completely energised, imaginative, thought-provoking. The arrangement allows room for manoeuvre as ideas lift and fall while Antoine Becks breathy voice intones and beckons. By the time the hypnotic arpeggios make their presence very much felt in the final third your head will nod in agreement.
Release: December 1
Is music more about textures, sound-escapes rather than chord structures and musical finesse? Either side of that argument pales into insignificance as Toki Fuko’s engaging productions in a sense do both. Underpinned by a bass whir, punctuated by deft percussion plus stabs and augmented by looped voices along with the occasional flourish of musicality the Tagir Edit of, Sept plays out over ten minutes of all of the aforementioned. The intensely emotional DC Theme then drifts across a series of echoed Detroit keys and smoky drums, leaving the brutal structures of Control Voltage to bind unrelenting drum machines together with repeating atmosphere’s and moods to end.
Release: November 30
As the numbers multiply so does the inevitable excitement surrounding where it will all end. Track 8, is one of my favourites to date as it channels an unbridled joy. Funny that music can do that in unexplained ways, but there’s something about Atjazz’s choice of ‘Vibes’ which play alongside an ever expanding array of life-affirming pads and swirls all twisting into a composition that is worthy of getting lost in – daydreaming with a punch. And in the end you’re almost sad to see it go.
Release: December 15
The artist continues his exploration into all things resolutely emotive plugging into the mainframe of electrical authenticity. The beautiful musicality of Dharmony unfolds over eight plus minutes of carefully curated ecstasy combing chiming keys along with brooding drums and low-end notation. Next, Momento provides a neat contrast with more insistent, caustic synths realizing unnerving atmospheres as KnowKontrol’s heavily effected voice adds a sublime, yearning quality to it all, augmenting the pulsations of the timely machine drums perfectly.
Release: December 8
Reviewing music can be a faceless activity. Sometimes it seems the sounds exist in another place, you have to reach out for them. Perhaps that’s what’s happening here because this kind of ethereal beauty is not always easily realised. It feels like it’s being played in the room, in front of you, such is the connection it generates but then that otherworldliness pulls you apart. The haunting sense of reality that informs the second release from the label grabs at all sorts of emotions and part of what is so intriguing here is the brilliant combination of the classically trained, orchestral styles alongside the futuristic – Drum machines are included. I also like the way the album offsets itself, as in one moment your senses are rigorously challenged and then chillingly relaxed the next, circa the lounge smooth of Pedestrian Jazz. (re)Turn completes the session via a return to the unveiling tensions which in the most part typify this excellent album from Brandon Wolcott & Emil Abramyan. Although also typically the track seeks to contrast itself resolving in an unsuspected and brilliant way.
Too hot to handle? At a total of 86 soul-soaring tracks this is almost too much to get a handle on. But that breathless feeling soon equates to inspiration plus good times galore. Detailing the electrifying era between 1957 to 1977 the story begins with the Rhythm &Blues/ Rock’n’Roll strains of The Falcons delirious ‘Sent Up’ and then proceeds to highlight the various soulful leanings, tempo’s and harmonies all employed by a dizzying array of groups from that period, initially pre-dating and then running along the same timeline as Talma Motown. Revealingly this plays as the other side to Detroit’s more readily familiar story to explore a stunning selection of music, which for those who like to study the development of such things, excitingly evolved while retaining that all essential element: Soul. Very much evident across the breadth of CD two ending suitably on the Just Brothers beautifully voiced, resolutely hopeful – Things Will Be Better Tomorrow, from 1967. The Wigan Casino ‘oldie’ Can’t Turn Around by Fork In The Road features on the third CD as the music proceeds to traverse those sights and sounds that came to typify the Northern Soul scene’s succinct, crisp story telling. While the third disc ends on the Edwin Starr penned and most joyous, Oh How Happy covered by Shades Of Blue. Soul On Fire secures an exemplary, trip down memory lane which at the very least provides a timely education in Detroit’s rich and most varied musical past. One that unquestionably helped lay the initial foundations of what eventually became today’s Dance Music – though you might not quite believe it!
Release: November 24