Deliciously, pounding production from Celestial’s Steve Kelley which doesn’t pull many, if any, punches igniting the senses via rolling, warm waves of bass alongside suggestive tones and sizzling drums on the title track. The questions then continue to be posed as Clubs or Discotheques follows with taught drums, sparse yet resounding stabs and occasional voices all asking you to answer the proposition. 4×4 ends the release with more tough bass underpinning a creative process of sounds teasing and tearing at the edges, feeling warm yet tough. Three equally rewarding tracks.
Two tracks adorn this new release from Celestial and both score high. Very high in fact. Hold Back, begins with a chiming sequence of notes that work their way into your consciousness, almost to the point where you don’t want them to end. Coupled with punctuating snare hits plus the flourish of shuffling percussion it’s a combination that works particularly well along with the tracks notably sombre vocal line. Next, True Emotion feels that bit more soulful with expansive pads colouring in the pallet of deeper sounds that come suitably charged via its respectively voiced message. The more I listen the more there is to love…
The Salsoul Orchestra
The Salsoul Orchestra
Listening to The Salsoul Orchestra it becomes easy to understand why some people choose to live in the past, despite 1975 seeming like such a very long time ago. Never-the-less their blend of fiery Latin inspired Disco will always stand out because of the punch it packs, and with those dreamy minor chords playing so perfectly together your imagination is left free to run riot. Can’t say there is a filler on here and if the horn blasts, string lines and Vincent Montana Jr’s sublime vibes sometimes feel noticeably familiar then that’s because some of the players have also played on various other classics, both on Salsoul and beyond. However, I guess for me three tracks are particularly indispensible: Chicago Bus Stop (Ohh, I Love It), Tale Of Three Cities, and You’re Just The Right Size. All sassy, each suggestive in their own right – the latter’s title couldn’t be more direct! And, as with all in this series of reissues from bbr the accompanying sleeve notes are essential reading. Go try it on for yourself.
Rob Pearson & Jay Dynan
The Babestation EP
It’s tempting to speculate about the meaning of the EP’s title, but…l’ll pass on that for now. The confidence of this production is obvious as the bassline and drums entice you straight from the off. In fact, it’s one of those combinations that could simply run on a loop and you would repeatedly love it. Babestation, employs unnerving sounds and fx, and feels consistently imaginative with that said killer combination running the duration alongside minimal appearances from Trumpet and deadpan voices. Naughty Von Shuffler continues the theme with its dark blend of Tech sensibilities and crisp values, while third track Neigh Your Neighbour feels friskier with perky percussion and expanding sounds. Label boss Jamie Anderson rounds things off with a deeper interpretation which, as always, hits the spot.
Berlin producers Werner Niedermeier and Sefty Sersseludis are the names behind Soul Camp Recordings and now bring their captivating sound to Something Different. The label’s been busy of late and for me this is one of their strongest releases to date with I Wonder If You Know combining atmospheric electronics together with sharp European synth lines and beguiling, tripped out voices. There’s something almost early 90’s Murk about this, so can’t think of any better compliment than that for this invigorating piece of music. Sean Danke provides a great remix by adding extra energy to the drums while retaining the sense of mystery. Leaving, Baby Don’t Go to again creatively fuse the dots together, while still feeling emotive, and surprisingly, even more powerful via the inclusion of some fevered stabs.
Something about this production lends itself to a dark room and a Function One sound system. Opening track, Gritty Tails is one of the most involving recordings I’ve heard in a while when it comes down to tension building blocks. Someone is clearly very talented. I for one can’t get enough of the explosive sounds which pepper the arrangement, and the devastatingly simple array of drums that couldn’t feel huger if they tried. In fact, I’m going to play it again – LOUDER. The two remaining tracks are no less impressive with Nocturnal coming a close second…
Coyote feat. Gavin Gordon ‘Minamoto’ Is It Balearic
What a great record. And let me suggest to you why. Not only does this remind me of many great Balearic moments rolled into one but also because this doesn’t neatly fit into any single genre – the point of being Balearic after all. It does however carve its own niche in terms of sassy and tastefully funky rhythms that are all at once joyous and anthemic, with soaring notes and floating guitars capped by Gavin Gordon’s commanding yet breathy vocals. There are also excellent three remixes to compliment the original from DJ Steef, Hardway Brothers and ShoCKs whose Chillout version goes way beyond psychedelic. Bonus, and it is a bonus, track El Sueño Oscuro serves beautifully tuned flamenco guitar to remind you that variety is the spice of life. 9
Beauty in simplicity is the maxim as Angel Mora’s subtle though invigorating bass-led groove demands that you hit the repeat button. It’s just about all on here too from imaginative spacey fx and tripped out voices to the sumptuously deep chords and Balearic beats on the Original version. Soulmelt then remix Sunshine with typical flair by tweaking fizzy acid pulses and expansive keys to provide a gorgeous twist, leaving Finn Bell to alter it radically with a creative array of sounds and captivating moods. 8
Scratch Massive’s latest album will have you reaching for your adjectives in a hurry. But in the meantime let’s just say that this is like listening to the future backwards. You could spend all night trying to piece together the musical references, which to place you in the right decades can be lazily described as late seventies/ early eighties, but then you would miss out on how good this album is all in its own right. Everything from dark synthesizers to Jimmy Somerville make their appearance on this classic sounding electronic record which sometimes feels like John Carpenter’s imagination getting trapped in an analogue German heaven. Or to put it another way, you’ll love it with the lights off. 9
Various Artists ‘Celestial Recordings Chilled’ Celestial Recordings
There’s Chilled, there’s Tedious and then there is Boring. But thankfully being Celestial the music conspires to a heavenly quality with this admirable selection of alternative sounds. Like with all music the question is, does it cause an emotional response? And of course this does. Opening on the beach with Basement Jazz Ensemble’s gorgeously jazzy, Better Life the music meanders from the horizontal to the vaguely vertical, via the haunting ambience of Hichael Mareno to the Balearic funkiness of Downton’s Lemon Heaven. Think I might love Joelle Atkins, Hold On To Your Dreams most but then the even more apt, Chill It by Marco Loco makes it all too close for comfort. 9 http://www.beatport.com/#release/celestial-recordings-chilled/400165 http://www.celestialrecordings.net
Celestial Recordings: Where did the name come from, what was the inspiration behind setting up the label and when did you launch it?
Celestial Recordings was launched June 2010. The strategy was to release a weekly single and featured compilations. The name came about after being inspired by Luciano’s album with a track on their called Celestial. Thought it was a great name for a label and brand. Inspiration came about as a result with hooking up with Jim Shaft Ryan from a recent booking and we got talking about setting up a label.
The label covers a range of styles so what makes a good Celestial release?
Solid House Music with a feeling. We don’t want to be categorized by narrow genres, we both have a broad interest in all sorts of House Music.
What is your opinion on the digital vs. vinyl debate?
Both from a vinyl era of Dj’ing and still enjoy playing vinyl to date. We realized that the digital platform allows more choice but we are now intending to start releasing special editions of vinyl as we are in discussing with vinyl distributions presently.
How do you approach production/ Dj’ing: any particular favourite pieces of equipment for either?
Production wise Cubase, Logic and Ableton. For dj’ing I use Traktor Scratch either with time coding CD’s or Vinyl, which is great for travelling on gigs.
You have just reworked Massive Attack, Unfinished Sympathy: why this particular track, and how do you feel about song writing today?
One of my all-time favourites tracks. I feel that there is a big opportunity for real song writing to find its way back into House Music.
Fair to say that this acts as a trip down memory lane that stretches beyond House music to Balearic gems such as It’s Immaterial ‘Driving Away from Home’ and features many ‘hard to find’ remixes which came to define the sound of the UK from the late eighties to the early nineties. The list of who was who reads like a dream from The Beloved to Leftfield to The Grid, and includes seminal versions by Andrew Weatherall and David Morales amongst many others. This compilation plays for people who feel the need to relive their youth as much as it does for people yet to live it. Bill Brewster’s wise words provide the notes to accompany the two CD set on the first of much more to come (I hope). 9
Lisbon based producer Vahagns’ sultry infusion of deep bass and pounding four/ four beats fuse together perfectly to ignite Buzzin’ Fly’s aptly timed August release. Substitute the word deep for intense here as the undulating synth stabs build into some kind of ecstasy and then transform more subtly into acid tweaks. Hypnotic in the extreme this beautifully tuned instrumental exudes perfect pitch. Brouqade Records own Dana Ruh adds reverberated drums and old school claps to her uber cool take on the affair with second remix from Nick Chacona adding partial melodic sense to it all. 8
Deep yet twisted. Dark and definitely dangerous. Those are the only ways to fittingly describe Guvernment resident Ovi M’s excellent EP for Manchester Underground Music. Although of course hailing from Toronto the label is nothing if not cosmopolitan in scope. Opening with Ashfault, which immediately dispenses with formalities via heavy sub-bass, nasty drums and insistent voices this proves to be intense House Music for extremes. DJ Meri aka Cylon then takes it all to another level with all sorts of twisted sounds going off , while Lisum does much more of the same, as indeed does Marium, with the apt Links 2 Past finishing by touching on Sneak’s heavy-duty Disco. 9
Karol XVII & MB Valence ‘Vintage Box 3’ Loco Records
By my far my favorite in the series of sumptuous music from choice producers Karol XVII & MB Valence number three most effectively combines contemporary style with past influences. The interestingly titled Cottage Cheese Dumplings references jazzy keys and live sounding drums which give it a supremely funky feel perfect for the bar and/ or dancefloor, although preferably somewhere hot and sunny. The Rusty Piano features an almost Murk styled bassline for good measure and climaxes with a bizarrely oddball treatment of said piano. Muzzik then has the vocal of the same name add a human touch to commanding funky rhythms which again put you in mind of somewhere else, perhaps even the windy city. 8
Hohle comprises of Leicester’s City Fly residents Kieran Clare and Lloyd Lindo along with notable sound engineer Francis Sevier. This feels like one the labels’ most accomplished releases to date on Martijn’s already quality imprint, so that’s probably saying something. The Original plays an infectious melancholy vocal over warm keys and pulsating rhythms all of which are undeniably impressive. Moodmusic’s Sasse provides an excellent remix packed with punchy beats and exaggerated claps driving the vocal once again to distraction and back. The Submantra version then picks it up with more energy injected into the drums and filtered vocal treatments, while Martijn’s own remix surpasses himself in terms of his creative use of sounds and their arrangement. 9
Soulmelt ‘Spot The Difference’ Celestial Recordings
That’s the thing about House Music sometimes it doesn’t necessarily have to sound new to feel right. And in this case it scores on both points. If filtered tough repetitive grooves with uplifting sentiments are your style then this plays just for you. Same Difference comes as an Original plus a deeper Nohijo edit with both versions featuring more and less of the gorgeous trumpet. Rising Tides, not surprisingly, has as touch of the beach about it delivering shimmering atmospheres across tough beats while Daydreamer’s lovely pads and trippy voices feel dangerously close to retro to finish off this excellent release. 9
As soon as the bassline hits you know this means business. Gentlemen of a certain age with a fondness for Giorgio Moroder will love the Electroviolin Mix of Pecto instantly as it transports you back and forth, to then and now, with sublime ease. Searing synths and irrepressible drums complete the picture on this almighty energetic instrumental. Backlash gets nasty with another storming succession of electro beats and harsh stabs leaving you little time to catch your breath… 9
Holy s***t I love this. Following on the epic ‘Bring back the drums’ with Kobbe comes this latest for Kult. Subtlety isn’t exactly the strong point here as techno clashes with Huggo Rizzo’s undoubtedly twisted (that’s in a nice way) mind to produce this rollercoaster ride of electronic beats and original sounds, complimented of course by one almighty breakdown. There’s also the remix of Cytric ‘Filthy Beats’ with Unik which provides a quirky trip through more unexplained notes and another crazed breakdown. 9