The smouldering tribal beats that inform Deniz Kurtel’s excellent release on the label once again prove that innovation, and being tuned into the future, isn’t always obtained by reverting back to a Disco that’s already past. The Fifth House fuses together echoes of dancehall voices over punchy organ hits that denote an energised sense of occasion as the sizzling arrangement courses throughout. The remix then comes from Marcus Intalex (who recently passed away) in the form of his Trevino guise leaving a legacy of well-respected productions to his name as indeed is this probing, Techno infused reworking. Second original, Coming From Dance finalises with a funkier release of rhythm shooting across darker basslines plus an array of sounds effects and treatments which set it all to go off.
Deniz Kurtel’s second album defies time and space with a collection smouldering electronics that fuse technology together with provocative vocals and emotive synthesisers. The Way We Live goes a long way in proving just how excellent music is at the moment, from the opening I Knew This Would Happen, which is one of the most atmospheric pieces of music so far this year, through to the exquisitely rapped Right On featuring Michael Franti. While this is more about horizontal listening there is an occasional nod towards he dancefloor such as on the Soul Clap collaboration, Safe Word – the album being enriched throughout with an amalgamation of impressive guest artists. By and large the album feels like sharing someone else’s introspection – which is what I think art is supposed to be about after all, isn’t it?
release: June 4
Matthias Tanzmann’s Leipzig based label again delivers another selection of captivating productions, which in this case have been provocatively mixed together by Dan Drastic and whose own percussion fuelled Freaks and Geeks makes its timely appearance too. Despite being three years since the last one standards haven’t slipped either, with the likes of Guido Scheinder’s excellent Luna sitting alongside music from Marinez and of course Tanzmann himself. Watch out for Reboot’s devastating Bucaboca if you like your bass twisted and Luna City Express, Ultimo if you’re more into seductive atmosphere!
release: June 6
The mystery unfolds as Cocoon’s yearly compilation now explores the lovely letter L. Standing for the love of… the music here builds from Tale Of Us & Visionquest’s ambient foundations of Equilibrio and then twists and turns through a first rate selection of electronic music. The sounds get progressively heavier, though all contain that funky intensity associated with Sven Vath’s label, and while it would be easier to simply say that all the tracks are good/great it has to be said that there are some particular standouts: Tim Green’s shuffling Curious Green, Sian’s buzzing East Of Eden and Daniel Stefanik’s expansive Everything Goes Green which also goes to finish off this highly recommended compilation.
release: June 8
Five tracks go to make up this debut release for the label and there’s something almost restrained, yet deeply intense, about the way the opening production Runner plays out. Its imaginative use of vocal snippets and old school – sounding very new school – stabs work with the shuffling rhythms to become purely addictive. Some of the same principles apply to Things with its warmer, funkier bassline and this again hits the spot. Amore then explores more in the way of spacious tones, while the more apt Attitude goes tougher with yet more vocal cut-ups and moody keys, leaving the equally impressive Standing to end on a – not feeling too blue in the process -Jazz note.
release: June 4
Sassafras comprises of label bosses’ Mirus (Norway) Paul Loraine (U.K) and Dominic Plaza (Sweden) who along with seriously hot sounding vocalist Nikol Kollars (Hawaii) have combined to deliver one of the more curious highlights this week. Deep, stripped back grooves set the scene while haunting spoken vocals sizzle suggestively on top, accompanied by the occasional burst of organ and spaced out fx. The Hatikvah remix then treats the voice and adds in even moodier sounds, while Paul Loraine flavours it heavily with percussion, and Vlad Malinovskiy’s remix pumps it up still further for the dancefloor. Though for me the original is best.
release: July 5
Three heads are clearly better than one as this new ep goes to prove from Culprit. LAX begins with deep beats and ends up with a punchy tech bassline competing for your attention along with striking tribal snares, edgy keys and voices which all feel tastefully irresistible. Globe, then provides another thoughtful collection of ideas which this time play intriguing keyboards over quick fire eighties percussion, leaving Metronomy to get deeper with gorgeous lush bass and mood enhancing synths to round off.
release: June 4
The multi- talented Nigel Hayes shows what all the fuss is about with this new selection of carefully crafted grooves that lean heavily on the Jazz/ Funk side of life – good. Whether it’s the squelchy funk of the opening Santos or indeed the ‘Expansion’s’ flavoured Jazz Funk this unquestionably plays like a touch of class. Moody Cha Cha’s excellently titled number finishes off with jazzed-up percussion and sassy vocals combined neatly with expressive horns, though not before the Northern Lights has the chance to shine in your direction with gorgeous piano, double bass and cool muted trumpet.
release: STOMPY EXCLUSIVE : JUNE 4TH
Next in bbr’s superlative series of reissues sees the legendary Odyssey’s 1980 album get a fresh make over, and as is the custom with the label it’s accompanied by invaluable sleeve notes. No matter what you may, or may not, think of Use It Up And wear It Out (which is also on here) the group wrote many bone fide classics such as Going Back To My Roots and Native New Yorker in their time. But back to Hang Together and its opening title track displays the musical and vocal process which made them famous and this you can also witness on supremely funky Don’t Tell Me Tell Her. But as was the want at that time some bands filled out their albums with ballads and even flirted with other styles of music, although not always successfully. Never the less this is excellently produced by Sandy Linzer at NYC’s Hit Factory…
Following on from XXX Jimmy Edgar begins Majenta with a bang, and then keeps on banging. From the opening Kraftwerk referencing, Too Shy you’re immediately captured by the sheer funkiness of it all but with the arrival of Punk attitude declaring itself: This One’s For The Children, all hell breaks loose. Tempos continue to lift and drop as the machine-funk proceeds to probe different moods and agendas, feeling sometimes dangerously sleazy, sometimes joyus and uplifting. The one thing that is patently apparent is that this simply gets better with each consecutive listen. And so to highlight the diversity the warmth generated by R&B flavoured, Touch Yr Body and Hrt Real Good is equally offset by the cosmic discotheque of Heartkey. While the albums finale: In Deep draws together such a far reaching set of musical ideas that they are probably too long to list here, but which combine – like everything else – to feel very much like, Jimmy Edgar. 8
release: May 7
You could say: hotly anticipated, but then that would be somewhat of an understatement. And even if you haven’t made it to London’s premier installation, then the story so far plays like the best excuse to indulge yourself in Geddes first rate selection of deeply involving music. Featuring productions that expand the possibilities from Maya Jane Coles stunning, Dubchild through to Delusions Of Grandeur’s quietly immense, Don’t Sleep the party never seems to end. That realization of course also comes care off Okain’s very sublime, Scream and via the Murk classic, If You Really Love Someone. The journey through the timeline smoothly twists together the lows and highs of everything worthwhile, yet feels every bit about the here and now. 9
release: May 7
Just ahead of the June release of, The Way We Live album alongside The Marcy All-Stars comes this stunning set of three singles. Worked in collaboration, with firstly, Tanner Ross on the very divine, I Knew This Would Happen featuring Pillow Talk, which sequences together gorgeously haunting pads and expertly played bass along with Jazzy attitudes and heavenly treated voices to produce what is simply sublime music. The Jazzy notation follows on, The Beat Drops with Tanner Ross again and Jules Born developing a Saxophone theme across pulsating electro-beats and moody vocals. Leaving, Thunder Clap complete with thunderous fx and Voices Of Black to deliver P-Funk inspired funkiness to entice you further into the cosmos. 9
release: May 7
Featuring features two tracks: Harder (with Jaw) and Timeline (with Francesco Tristano). The former works Jaw’s detuned vocal over bubbling synthesisers and consequently feels tastefully sinister yet bizarrely funky. Reaching almost twelve minutes long the arrangement delivers aural surprises along the way, not least of all the way the bassline climaxes the into a fizzy contortion. Timeless, is almost conventional in comparison, although while acclaimed pianist Francesco Tristano challenges you with abrupt, improvised notes it never-the-less makes sense via the engaging technological rhythm section and its familiarizing repetition. 7
release: May 7
You get the feeling that you don’t know where this is going to end up – which I like – as the opening title track unnerves you with its brooding beats and dark electronics, despite LK’s unsettling voice telling you to conversely relax in the process. Never less than interesting this creative production always holds your attention even right down to the very ending at almost eleven minutes. What Where, continues in a similar vein though rewards you funkier percussion and bass, with the tINI remix of Lonber Attract sounding excellent with imaginative drum programming and further carefully- crafted hypnotic atmospheres. 8
release: May 9
Nikola Gala’s relentless production doesn’t indulge much in the way of subtlties but does dive headlong into pulverizing beats coupled with classic House stabs and vocal edits for quality measure. Indeed, the kick drum is soo harsh it makes everything else seem like light relief – which I guess of course is the whole point – with the resulting experience being uplifting almost despite itself. Ryan Elliot plays with an altogether different beat and indulges in mood enhancing pads and funky hi-hat fuelled percussion to provide a sassy alternative. 7
release: May 7
If you’d have asked twenty years ago where House Music would end up? I might not have imagined such an exquisite progression but here we are with Maceo Plex, who for good reason is all over the place at the moment. It can sometimes be hard to put into words precisely how music makes you feel. However, this combination of epic ambience, technological stabs and with yet another unfeasibly funky bassline in place, Frisky does things that are perhaps better left to the imagination. Sex Appeal continues the theme with heavily treated vocals feeling heavenly alongside rapid-fire acid bass and perfectly toned beats. The word Artist is aptly applied. 9
Released by La Fleur’s own label she undoubtedly has the courage of conviction and I have to say that this is excellent/ beautiful in equal measure. The title track eases you into a deep sense of security with gently shuffling rhythms contrasted with a heavy bass and sprinkling of emotive chords. The vocals add even more effortless charm to the production which should gain the labels third release the attention I would suggest it merits. Tjuvlyssnerskan follows by twisting the Swedish noun for feminine around a beautiful, melancholy keyboard loop and more infectious bottom-end. 8
release date: April 12
Back with their second release for the label the Polish duo deliver more in the way of contemporary electro-funk that sits very neatly upon Freerange. Open Your Arms plays off-kilter voices against an imaginative arrangement of beats and basslines, which while they throw back to the past also veer cleverly towards the future. The Fred P Reshape then dispenses with that entire notion and delves headlong into subwoofer oblivion, which quite frankly is somewhere you’ll also want to be when you hear this. Love the uncomplicated but deeply intense combination of moody pads and drums which say it all here. Dreamin’ About You finishes you off by the harsh reality of distorted kicks complimented by jazzy stabs, and feels sort of early nineties but then f**ks with that idea completely – cool. 8
release: April 9
More sizzling hot Bass action for you, which in this case emanates from Hot Waves and Favourite Robot recording artist Sean Roman. Bocuse, kicks things off with acid tinged deepness and feels very much of the moment, as its centered around the Bass, while the remainder of production is adorned with all sorts of intriguing electronic sound: some funky – some weird. Moan, follows via the same approach although this feels just that bit funkier. Remixes come from the excellent MANIK, who take the fuzzy tones one step further, plus Waifs and Strays who factor in a 90’s sensibility into their equally fiery interpretation. 7
Release: April 9 (digital)/ April 2 (vinyl)
There’s nothing like the sound of a real bass guitar (or even its digital approximation) to get the juices flowing and Jozif’s latest for Culprit is set to do just that. It would be hard not to love this and the way it pulls all sorts of reference points together: from 80’s synths and Disco styled Strings, to that Funk bass line and 2012 arrangement. Tea, is a spoonful of excellence. The Cure inspired version of Lullaby will appeal to those of a Balearic persuasion and makes ‘just for old time’s sake’ feel like a very good proposition indeed. Which leaves the tasteful, swirling atmospheres of Serenade and the bold electronic textures of down-tempo, Boesen to complete the picture. 8
Jesse Siminski, or better known as, Heartthrob crosses the lines between Techno and electronic House music to feel uniquely spaced-aged. Odyssey’s journey begins with tense beats, supplemented by scratchy keys, and proceeds into darker territory generated by an array of odd-ball electricity that’s nothing but tempting. You would be surprised to hear that, The Liar follows in a lighter note but it doesn’t. It does however offer you funkier cow-bell driven percussion, although even this turns out to be deliciously sinister with the introduction of sleazy sythns and suspect voices. 7
release: April 9
NYC’s Cielo co-owner and resident DJ Nicolas Matar delivers what’s best described a beautiful journey through the sights and sounds of AM:PM. Titled, Sunrise for good reason this perfect blend of soulfully infused rhythms gives you the very best in sassy songs to more vigorous workouts. As you continue listening, Matar proves to be a classic DJ in every sense of the word with the mix tripping through light and shade while touching upon a selection of styles, Cielo is destined to always get the better of your curiosity. Beginning with Guy Gerber’s excellent remix of Deniz Kurtel’s ‘The L Word’ you pass through DJ T’s ‘City Life’ and end up at Jimpster’s beautiful Summer Of Love Remix of ‘1988’ – which is almost right back we all started from. 8
release: April 9
“To celebrate Baker Street Recordings 5th birthday we are giving away an hour long mix featuring some of the labels best tracks from the last 5 years and new remixes of some of the classic Baker Street releases. Mixed by our very own Paul Hardy & McKai. All the tracks in this mix and more are available on the 5th anniversary release out on the 23rd of April at all digital retailers.”
Album review to follow plus interview with Paul Hardy….
In The Night
bbr (Big Break Records)
Some three years after the release of her perennial party favourite Got To Be Real, Cheryl Lynn teamed up with producer Ray Parker Jr to produce her third album, In The night in 1981. Opening with her second classic single Shake It Up Tonight the song sees the songstress deliver a pantheon to the cult of Nightlife, encapsulating both its joy and energy and feeling every bit as exciting as …To Be Real, but just that bit more sophisticated. The vocal does that distinctly American thing of sounding soulful, while reaching the extremities of emotion which only singers of a certain calibre can truly do. Also worth noting – if you do such things – are the Gene Page arranged Strings which soar, then hover, with pure Disco class. The album devolps with a selection of hit and miss ballads, mid-tempo popish grooves, and then reaches the rather tasty What’s On Your Mind. 8