Gecko Beach Club Formentera: Volume Two
Compiled and mixed by Chris Coco and Pete Gooding
I’m disappointed I didn’t catch that boat to Formentera now. Still, that was years ago and listening to Chris Coco’s super easy blend makes the thought of happy day come one step closer. And what better way to celebrate than with a statement of intent as Seu Jorge & Almaz’s version of Everybody Loves the Sunshine feels very suitably breezy. This is of course a first rate selection that seems particularly telling in the June sunshine. At this stage I was going to talk you through the standout tracks but there’s really little point, as they all standout. However the best thing I can recommend is that you buy a copy and switch it on in the sunshine, beside water and drift away…
The second CD is mixed by Pete Gooding and picks up the pace with a more House orientated selection that again starts sublimely with his self-penned opening track, Malibu. The sunshine vibes continue with further of his own compositions alongside those from M.A.N.D.Y. while ending on notably Waifs & Strays electronically charged Remedy. Happy days.
Argentinean born DJ/Producer, Pablo Ranacat’s first EP for the label is simply spellbinding. Feeling and sounding distinctively unique this inspired collection of notes sees deep, atmospheric keys strung out across soaring string lines and funky percussion while tense voices colour the atmosphere on In Your Face, producing a touch of class. Next, the title track itself adds in a sense of melody via punchy piano and cascading synths, while The Real Milton Flow gets friskier with bouncing chords and invigorating vocal edits. Leaving final track Urself To Me to get tougher with yet more vocal snippets vying for your attention in amongst rich, deep chords and creative percussion.
Dropping right at the perfect moment is this latest production from Robosonic & Adana Twins. Let’s cut straight to the chase, La Fique is so funky it hurts, not least of all because this classic funky disco sample is so refreshingly familiar, but also just because it’s so f***king good! Not a lot goes on apart from some smooth filtering and the odd vocal addition but then this is so infectious it doesn’t matter. Barracuda again plays a classic eighties moment though this time over low-slung beats to sound seasonal and summer. Smiling faces.
Steven Hall’s (Arthur Russell produced) solo project from 1985 gets revisited and updated for 2013. But to only add to the intriguing history lesson, legendary disco producer Bob Blank recorded and engineered the project, which has only recently been unearthed. Originally intended to come out on Rough Trade this just shy of three minutes track has Steven’s aka Nirosta Steel sassy vocal build the tension just before the tempo suddenly changes to challenge your preconceptions. The labels’ own Pocketknife version then expands the track letting the funky bass led groove breath over punctuating beats while likewise changing the rhythm on the outro.
release: 21 June
“Edition of 500 copies
7″ black vinyl
Full-colour insert with liner notes by Bob Blank
Hand-stamped and numbered with love”
Set your speakers to stun as this latest release from Visionquest will surpass your expectations by moving forward into 2013 with a bang. Clarian is one half of Footprintz who alongside Guy Gerber has produced the opener Claire which fuses eerie atmospheres together with haunting voices and crisp drums to sound somewhat epic and emotional. Destroy, She Says follows with timeless Beach Boys harmonies feeling golden, as always, against melodic electronic riffs that bizarrely sound just like they were made for each other – you can but dream. Renaissance continues the same mood inducing reaction, as Remove Control turns it upside down with further dancefloor energy with likewise Through Your Mind feat. Spaceman adding Acid tweaks into the mix. U (Unfinished) then returns to moodier electronic wizardry to complete this very aptly titled Chemical Gardens EP.
This has been playing my head for a time now. There is in fact something about Underneath the Pines that I can’t quite pin down. Although, needless to say that Justin Robertson’s latest single (under his Deadstock 33s guise) plays beyond irresistible, indeed it’s the sheer distinctive quality that he lends to his vocal, alongside the tastefully funky electronics, that defines its very own space and time. Put it like this. The House Mix is on repeat. Excellent remixes come from a breakbeat fuelled Ewan Pearson, and a Chicago referencing Disco Bloodbath both of whom only add to the sensory pleasure. If this sounds appealing then listen out for his forthcoming album: The Pilgrim’s Ghost in March.
Pool’s follow up to their debut for the label is in ways perfect Pop music: its got melody, lashings of cool instrumentation, which along with a razor sharp edge sounds little short of magnificent. Flex leans on Indie for sure with awkward guitars and grinding bass feeling breezy while its playful vocals embrace you in a happy sort of melancholy way that’s particularly appealing. Aeroplane provide the remix, and they don’t disappoint either, transforming the rhythm into something altogether European with bright keys and buzzing chords competing with bouncy Disco bass. Botox is the second original composition and has gentler, more endearing melodies despite its title, which Stimming then re-imagine as intoxicating Deeper house with twisted bass and shuffling drums.
release: February 18
Electric Avenue Records
Memoir’s low-slung chugging groove is situated somewhere in Acid drenched bliss. And things only get better when the deep bassline hits. Backed up by an array of classic sounding drums and deadpan Organ this is all about building mood and your anticipation, which it does expertly via its undulating Acid. Label head J Cub’s Deep Dub does just that with tougher drums and punchy keys eventually giving way to warm pads and hints of enticing vocal on his fist-rate remix. But back to the title Pulling Strings which ups the tempo alongside a Yello styled euro bassline that sizzles with energy to round off this notable release.
released – Feb
ruary 18 (Vinyl only)
Let It Go
Black Vinyl Records
Entering their seventeenth year Black Vinyl’s latest release delves once again into guitar inspired, soulful rhythms which this time feature the unmistakable vocal of Old Bastard. Part One of the package sees the smooth melodies blend into neatly shuffling percussion on Mauritzio’s Original version. However, try N’Dinga Gaba’s remix which highlights the voice lifting it over bouncier tribal infused grooves, that are then accompanied by an instrumental for good measure. Mauritzio also explores further Jazzy aspects on his two remaining versions to focus your attention on the versatility/ quality of the music.
How could you possibly not love this? Diynamic Music’s sister label release Kolombo’s solo debut featuring a good-time rap (albeit even funkier for being stylishly detuned) alongside fuzzy synths and a particularly, perky bassline. Meanwhile the voice intones I Want It All and then lists a series of demands – sounds reasonable. The vocal theme is then explored across the next three tracks linking the EP together like a concept. Musically the grooves never stray from the dancefloor and all feature a creative sequence of electronic events that never fail but to excite and electrify. But, let’s cut to the chase. It’s the final track, Dancing On The Floor that caps it all with a knowing, infectious chorus line to grab you coupled with a bassline which completely destroys it….
Gas Masks & Crazy-Girls
Cosmic Disco Records
Dubtribe Sound System’s maverick producer Sunshine Jones returns with this latest long player. Jam packed full of emotion this plays like sunshine for a hazy afternoon. Exploring moments of melancholy one minute, such as on the opening Fall Down, then transferring the pleasure to the dancefloor on the following Mem Mem Mem with its slap-bass and Acid extremes, the album is never afraid of taking chances with your expectations. The gorgeous Absurdity Of Possession works especially well by evoking an array of feelings with its stirring pads and deep, velvety vocals. I suspect the more you listen to Gas Masks & Crazy-Girls the more will be revealed, and its finishing Beautiful Daydream conjures all sorts of memories with the Balearic infused rhythms and spacey voices striking the perfect note (to end on ).
This Swiss based label has been releasing plenty in the way of quality for the past number of years and this also sits comfortably within that description. Opening with the EP’s title track, My Pleasure is underpinned by harsh synths cutting out a distinct edge, while the remainder peaks with building tribal drums and layers of vocal harmony. Not surprisingly then Percussive View is also big on drums and swirling delays that are once again complimented by rough synth sounds, and which again has a intriguing, hypnotic quality. You, keeps the feeling going and is the most uplifting of the three with cool organ sounds and funky bass taking you there.
If it was still safe to use the word ‘awesome’ without being sniggered at then that’s just how I would describe Always Again. It’s the opening track from Maigret Jnr’s forthcoming Sick Friends EP which is so inspired that I had to play it again, just to check I wasn’t dreaming. Powered by beautifully low-slung beats, heart-wrenching strings and topped off by a rich baritone vocal delivery this feels enigmatic, yet all too familiar – and that’s an excellent place to be.
Best Of Robsoul Recordings: Phil Weeks
Phil Weeks brings his inimitable brand of funk to the table with the release of his part of the series explaining the labels ethos since 2000. Do expect plenty of sassy samples and repetitive loops to work their way pleasurably into your brain and then take up residence. Don’t expect fluffy melodies and uninspired rhythms. The ‘Best Of’ series is an impressive succession of six mini albums from many of the labels stalwarts such as DJ Sneak, Joss Moog and DJ W!LD. Beginning as weekly releases in mid August the final instalment reaches its climax on September 14 with Fries & Bridges selection. But back to the labels head, Phil Weeks who journeys his way through tough, unrelenting beats on the excellent Jack To My Groove and winds up at the tastefully atmospheric Don’t Give Up.
Who Is The Bitch, Anyway?
Blue Note Records
Her fourth album for the prestigious Blue Note label saw Shaw release this strikingly titled long player in 1975. Influenced by the name of Richard Pryor’s That Nigger’s Crazy, which won a gammy the previous year, the album opens with a steamy dialogue between the singer and a (factitious) random client who meet in a bar. You, Me &Ethel/ Street Walkin’ Woman then rips through a tempo changing exercise in funky/ soul proving to be the most energetic song on the release. Already revered for songs such as California Soul and Woman Of The Ghetto she was impressively the first female artist to be signed to the label which happened, as late as, 1973. The selection of music here ranges from tearjerker to mid-tempo shuffles such as Davy, although even more notably Gospel as on the fiery rendition of The Lord Giveth And The Lord Taketh Away (written by Shaw). The album is always adult without ever feeling AOR or MOR with Marlena Shaw’s impassioned voice always cutting to the bone. And, is backed here by a wealth of skilful players, which are much in evidence on Loving You Was Like A Party the second most spirited track. A touch of pure class.
After having released Philadelphia International Records first album Billy Paul went on to win a Grammy for Me And Mrs Jones, which is also included on this album released in 1972. It’s hard to imagine now the impact music such as this, with its socially/ politically aware lyrics, must have had in the early seventies, especially when dwelling upon Ziggy Stardust’s cultural repercussions here in the UK the same year. And unlike his mid-sixties counterparts what became so much more exhilarating is how the raw blend of Jazz, Blues, Soul and Psychedelia expanded beyond 3 minute singles into self-aware anthems. It’s hard to argue with the hard funk of I’m I Black Enough For You or the Psychedlic Soul of Brown Baby, and certainly not with the sheer authority of Billy Paul’s smoky vocal. Or indeed with Gamble & Huff’s superlative production which still sound s as timeless as it always will do. Having said that, and after all the album is titled: 360 Degress Of… you also get a number of covers ranging from Carol King’s It’s Too Late to Elton John’s Your Song, so perhaps there’s something for everybody, as they used to say.