Boulevardd induces the type of sizzling energy not quite heard since the electrifying days of DJ Pierre’s extended creations. Caustic, distorted snare beats feel fierce in amongst the general dirty goings on but this also points toward a jazzy sensibility that makes perfect sense once the rousing piano drops in. When you think about – and after all that’s what we should like to do – this is a clever production that all at once sounds future / retro. Middle Proves continues the jazz/ funk theme via meandering synthesisers and tasty drum programming, while Ashley Beedle’s North Street Mix lays down a much sassier interpretation smartly primed for hot summer nights ahead. Finally, the covers blown to reveal a pure roots version of the music complete with smooth trumpet, piano and awkward rhythms on Hero.
A seriously excellent piece of music by Ecuadorian producer/ DJ Ordonez which hits all sorts of the right notes in the right order. It’s tinged with hints of sadness but as with so much melancholy music it succeeds in producing uplifting feelings as well. Another release that’s certain for the summer ahead with its Balearic leanings, poignant guitar strums and delicate piano’s all capped off by smouldering vocals. Picture perfect. Next, Back Home picks up the pace with a funkier line in Horns and shuffling drum rhythms completing another killer outing from Mother.
How’s life beside the sea in Ramsgate? What music provides the most apt soundtrack on a blue-sky day (or night)?
Life beside the sea is tranquil and fantastic. I’m surrounded by like minded musical types who are also enjoying the benefits of living by the sea. Neighbours include Adamski, Congo Natty, Adrian Sherwood, Taz, Bam from the Jungle Brothers, Clem Bushay to name but a few.
My soundtrack at the moment is all the music that I’m working on for my label, Back To The World https://soundcloud.com/back-to-the-world plus my every expanding reggae collection. My most recent purchase was Owen Gray’s ‘Free Up Jah Jah Children’
You started your own label: Back To The World Records in 2014. How did you find that process and how is the label going in 2016?
The latest release is the infectious ‘Tell Me’ by Waterson, which also features remixes by yourself. Can you talk us through how you approached the remix?
I wanted to achieve a classic Frankie Knuckles sound which I felt leant itself to Waterson’s vocal. I always start from the drums upwards when I do a mix and then Darren Morris adds the bass and keyboards. The process for this doesn’t take too long but it’s the fine tuning of the mix which is where we take the most care and apply the most love.
Do you have a favourite instrument and or piece of hardware that you like to use in production, and why?
I like to use ‘Maschine’ because for me, this is an update on the MPC drum program. Also, live ‘shakers’, handclaps and Darren’s extensive and beautiful keyboard skills. You can never have enough Rhodes…..
Do you think Dance Music is in a healthy place in 2016 in terms of clubs, festivals (overground/ underground) and the digital world?
Dance music is a very broad spectrum so I’ll narrow it down to House music. With producer/DJs like LayFar, Martin Atjazz, Disclosure, Claptone, Moon Boots, Kenny Dope, KDA, Detroit Swindle – it’s in a pretty healthy state. Festivals? Plenty of them that cater for all tastes seem to be springing up all over the place plus the established ones like Electric Elephant, Festival #6, Latitude etc. Night clubs/venues – globally, things seem to be on the up. At any of the venues that I’ve played, the crowd always seems informed and into the tunes – sometimes more ahead of the game than the DJs 😉
Historically, was House the last great youth movement that will happen in the UK – does it matter?
Every generation has their youth movement – Mods with Soul and Ska, hippies with Prog and Psyche, Northern Soul, Soulboy Tribes, Punk, New Romantics, Hip Hop…..House was massive and made a deep impact on our culture, not just here but worldwide. But, those callous youths have grown up and their grandchildren are listening to Grime and Trap – HUGE scene. Does it matter – not really – just listen to the music…..
What plans do you have for the label?
More collaborations with remixers, finding new DJ/producers as well as showcasing established artists. Licensing tracks for comps and synching music for films.
Where can people hear you DJ in the coming months?
Best thing to do is to follow me on Twitter @theashleybeedle. I update the account daily with any info on gigs and latest releases from Back To The World and anything that interests me.
It’s hard to top the Larse reworking of Endless Feeling from the tail end of last year’s E.P from Gavin Herily. I mean not that the original was more than good enough (it was after all excellent) but this new version adds some extra fizz to the production for 2012. The array of impressive vocal treatments remains intact as indeed do the tension building guitar/ synth licks but Larse re-tweaks it all supplying energetic, shuffling hats and a choice pounding beat. Inxec and Shaun Reeves then replay Tell Me What You Need by perking up the drums and evolving the sounds into a blissful climax, while Geddes hits home with a heavy-duty bass driven 928 version that shimmers distinctively with funky percussion and emotive electronics. 8
Lawnchair Generals ’Don’t Stop’ Lazy Days Recordings
Not only does this reference a personal Disco favourite but also screams syncopation is King and/ or indeed Queen. Produced by Peter Christianson and Carlos Mendoza this Hi-Nrg trip down memory lane is nothing less than excitement personified, although this time with added punch, fresh synth and a faster tempo. Try the Original or the Dub which has extra chords and drums for satisfaction most definitely guaranteed. Rob Mello’s No Ears Mix reconstructs everything bar a touch of voice and neatly transforms it into deeper tech styled intrigue. 8
Pulp Disco & The Outcasts ‘Witches’ Legendary Sound Research
Following on from Overnight To Dusseldorf on Ashley Beedle’s Out Hear Audio comes this smoothly pulsating and rather fabulous exercise in Cosmic/ Disco/ House (definitely not a genre but certainly a cool clash of ideas). Sensibly paced and augmented by tasty percussion throughout this blends together sassy euro-syncopation with a timely House chord sequence and breathy voices impressively, leaving The Legendary 1979 Orchestra to rework the elements with hats to the fore and additional off-kilter keys. Second track Rimini (Estasi Dell Amore) feels even better getting sleazy with nasty synths and a climatic arrangement that oozes European appeal, and then some more… 8
Sandman & Riverside feat ft. Kymberli Wright ‘It’s Too Late’ Fast FWD Records
The Original version of It’s Too Late combines a powerful sparing of percussion played intently with Jazz in mind alongside heavy Rhodes and notable scat vocals. And as truly impressive as it that all sounds (and is), for me Ron Trent once again provides the icing to the cake. Intensity is the middle name here as an array of rhythms envelope you in a series of dance reference points that score equally high on passion and imagination. The Dub proceeds to play around with the gorgeous instrumentation paying perfect compliment. KZR then strip it all back to highlight more voice on their Late Night Dub with a neat Reprise taking care of the rest. 9
Alter Ego Nolan’s instantly appealing production sounds like it was recorded in the hot sunshine on a sandy beach somewhere in the Med. I know it’s only February but who’s counting. Out soon on NYC’s sister label to the seminal Nurvous imprint this is based around a familiar, though not obvious, party-time piano loop with competing vocal edits and thumping beats all vying for your attention. However the HXU aka Huxley vs Timo Garcia remix is an altogether more sober affair: dropping the mood, feeling deeper, more soulful and is sublimely fine. Cocktails at dawn. 8
Jon Sweetname ‘Dulce Amor’ (Remixes) Loco Records Supreme
Love the Touchan remix of this track from Barcelona’s Jon Sweetname precisely because it delivers the unexpected. Which in this case is a slightly sinister bassline aided by a whirring vocal loop and creative electronics all of which create an unsettling, though thoroughly enticing mood. The Martin Nowakowski follows with yet more imaginative touches and treatments on his slightly more ‘up’ feeling version. Something a bit different and therefore clearly worth your time. 8