Sid Vaga’s decisively irresistible number feels all at once punchy yet refreshingly re-invigorating as Detroit stabs poke at you while chugging drums and rolling basslines tease you into submission. The suggestive voice being the icing on the cake. Complimenting all that festivity is perennial Magazine Sixty favourite DJ W!LD who once again delivers all that is supremely funky with his tough, expertly produced rendition. Think bass, tough beats and general wildness and you’ll be half way to heaven.
Yaww’s third vinyl only escapade is unleased upon the world with the EP’s title track topically referencing that famous location in New York City via a smoky spoken narrative that blends perfectly with the tough, rugged drums and low-end theory. The light relief occurs in the sprinkle of bright keys on the Original Mix which is followed by a typically excellent remix by DJ W!LD who adds extra juice to the beats and a dark, filtered undercurrent to drive it all home. The second first-rate remix is from Fidia & Abner who then treat the voice to a burst of FX and again lend the arrangement a tenser, dangerously edgy atmosphere. Second original Follow That Car completes the package with a combination of Detroit styled stabs and splashing, breathless drums that leave no room for doubt.
Ok. So what’s not to love. The DJ returns kicking out those tough and ready beats and basslines all over again. Mercifully the title track, Gangster Paradise has nothing to do with Coolio but is in fact more irresistibly hot House grooves that sooner or later just deliver that big, rousing moment. In this case that’s down to the uplifting piano and heartfelt strings of the second breakdown. Ma Tendre Ennemie, hits you next with looped Acid attitude, while the more thoughtful Only Lovers Left Alive proceeds with funkier percussion along with organ driven bass. The contrasting and deeper Please Please Please ends the release with a more playful combination of ideas that flit between a couple of styles to again leaving you fully satisfied.
The unmistakable rhythms of DJ W!ld return to the ever excitable Robsoul for yet another breathless journey into repeating beats and grooves. First up is Breakin which comes fully armed with splashing hi-hats and rough-edged bass twisting their way until the breakdown refreshes you via a splash of heated Disco. With You, again hits you with tough drums and unrelenting low-end theory, while dreamy keys seek to add a more soulful flavour to the affair. The excellent Only What I Am is next with super funky bass looping across an inevitable sea of beats coupled with the eventual evolution of the funky sample. The equally excellent, All About You then ends on a more tender note with emotive keys summing up thoughtful, uplifting atmospheres to finish.
The title track doesn’t pull any punches by delivering smoking hot, deliciously sleazy grooves that recline on just the right side of dangerous. Powered by powerful, hypnotic Chicago styled bass and aided by darkly spoken words, that don’t sound all that sensuous, this is best experienced with the lights down low. Energize, proceeds with tougher rhythms that secure the dancefloor with an excitable array of sounds, while third original Love or Money poses the question via breathy French voices and classic Soul vocals over yet more distinct, creative arrangements of sound. Breath-taking remixes come from a typically energetic DJ Sneak who pounds out the beats while highlighting the voices and synth tones, and from Louie Fresco who conversely creates moodier atmospheres most effectively.
‘Brought to you from the mean streets of Burnley’ which may not have the same ring as ‘The Big Apple’ but then you could transport these grooves anywhere and they would work just as effectively. Some Bang, kicks things off with rough, tough beats fuelled by brutal low-slung bass accompanied by a voice over plus a tweaked slice of Disco that keeps you guessing. Next, is the irresistibly hot ‘Take House’ which is an altogether funkier affair via its crisp, rattling hi-hats and juicy basslines along with warmer undercurrents that combine into one infectious production. Great début release on this brand new UK label….
Düsseldorf based producers Die Wilde Jagd remix Etienne Jaumet’s La Visite (taken from his latest album) with such wild abandon it’s startling – You’ve got to love this. Feeling experimental yet making perfect sense its sizzling blend of fizzy electronics, soulful instrumental touches, alongside playful drums and captivating voices make this first rate music. Low Jack then re imagines the while episode care of a heavy dash of Dub sensibility that lets the hypnotic synth tones race free. Leaving the Gilb’R Midnight version of Midnight Man to drop the beats altogether, aiming the controls for (edgy) ambient bliss and producing another exceptional sequence of sounds and thoughts.
Danniel Selfmade & Karretero
Say What? Records
Exceptional production in the shape of Subzhero which pulls all sorts of trippy ideas together into a formula that not only feels expansive but also devastatingly explosive. Driven by sassy electronic drums which feel compellingly organic this strives for all sorts of intensity and reaches fever point somewhere along the way via an undulating, twisted amalgamation of rhythm and atmospheric sound. Formatz, then drives harder with repetitive beats and twisted vocal touches all pounding their way into oblivion.
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.
Who inspired you to become a Dj? How did you first get into producing music?
Laurent Garnier. I was living in small city in France, Dijon, and we had the chance to have the best club in that time called “l’enfer”. And Laurent was resident with his wake up parties! Amazing. My first production was in 1996 when I met Peter Rauhofer and we decide to do a track together released on Twisted America called “Magic Orgasm”
How would you describe your sound?
Well, difficult to describe!!! But if I have to it will be D!RTY, sweaty, sexy, powerful, hypnotic and acid. Then it’s a mixture of many kinds of music that I like and listen to.
Your second album: D!RTY is a combination of great club tracks but also has many atmospheric parts too. What inspired you to create the album in this way?
All my travels and trips. I always record many sounds, voices, ambiance and I used these to give even more a personal aspect to the album.
Can you tell us about any favourite pieces of software/ hardware which you used to make the album?
I’ll say 2 master pieces are the TB303 and TR909 – they are for me the base of everything.
Why did you start your own labels: Catwash Records and W? What are going to be your next releases?
I started Catwash first because I wanted to release new artists and push music I like (Catwash, Chris Carrier, Lula Circus, Boris Werner, Gauthier DM …) and also create a crew: Catwash family with no spec! We have producers from all around. Then W is a label I created to release my music only as I have so many new tracks every month. And inviting all my friends to it as well! Next releases on Catwash are Lula Circus, Chris Carrier, Alex Noto, Jack Wickham, Adam Shelton and a big compilation with around 20 unreleased tracks. Then for myself 9 new projects coming on Rekids, W, One Records, Homecoming, Snork Entreprises, Unik Musik, Roots and Wings, Act Natural, Systematic …and many more to come. I’m already working on my next album 😉
Where are you looking forward to Dj’ing at this summer and why?
Well this summer was my D!rty tour so I’m looking forward going to USA, Russia, Spain, England, France, Italy, Canada … but also Circoloco season at DC10 in Ibiza where i m staying the summer.
Which artists do you listen to outside of Dance music?
Marc Moulin, Grace Jones, The Cure, EPMD, Heltah Skeltha, Gangstarr, Serge Gainsbourg, Nina Simone, Kraftwerk, ESP…
Even if Amirali played the opening: The Harmonious Song and then left the building you would still be stunned by the collective beauty of the notes spread across the Rhodes. Thankfully the long player continues to revolve developing its journeys through hypnosis that somehow fits the month of May perfectly – at least from where I’m sitting. The playing is never less than outstanding, as is the production, while this collision of ideas appeals to heartwarming melancholy as much as it invigorates the spirit on tracks like the imaginary, Just An Illusion. Love the way expectations are then thrown to the wind as Painting On A Canvas follows on proudly down- tempo while tastefully placing art back where it belongs in music. In fact each track provides its own unique surprise spiraling in directions from the dancefloor to the horizontal with Amirali’s mesmerizing vocals adapting perfectly throughout. And it all sounds so easy… 9
Hurt Russell Queensbridge Jams EP Vol 1 ILFONX Records
This excellent EP from Belfast based Ilfonx Records opens with the ridiculously good, Soul Kestrel which sounds like choice Jazz and Deep House rolled into an excitable experiment that pays off big time. Love the way all the disparate elements work for position, and that they almost don’t quite sit at ease with each other – that’s Jazz for you – but I highly rate this production for that very reason. And just to prove the diversity, I Can t Go On slows right down to cope with its unfeasibly funky bassline and infectious chopped-up vocals. The equally impressive, Piano Saved My Life finishes off by deepening the mood with sassy percussion and booming beats. Next please. 9
Guess you could say that the opening track, Go With The Flow has it all: crisp, pulsating beats; haunting, energising synths: lots of cool fx and vocal; plus last but never least, a killer bassline. So, yes I love this, and strongly suspect you will too. Climbers aka Jay Blakk and Kiko Deal then proceed to explore more in the way deeply invigorating music with the next three productions, which all develop similar bass infused rhythms over the course of the release – the choice is then yours. 8
Second excellent release out of Belfast this week and city stalwarts Extended Play once again do themselves proud. That Girl, opens with fierce, pulsating electro-beats and then gets nasty with classic heavy-duty stabs that are destined to be played out LOUD, but if that doesn’t seem like enough by the time the full vocal hits this is so obviously peak-time business. Feed Those Hoes, turns up the heat further with explosive Detroit bass lines played against crisp hats and percussion, but while I can’t say the Rap works for me the instrumental is original House heaven. Bubba and T-Bone’s tasty FTH remix thinks along similar lines by stripping back the vocal and adding shimmering electronics to the equation, proving to be yet another notable version from the duo. 8
Three new tracks from Issac Christopher which get back to Madhouse basics and aim straight for the dancefloor. The aptly titled Shake That kicks off with booming beats, shake that body vocals, and brutal basslines all playing like they were made for each other. Been Thru The House, keeps the relentless tempo but adds funkier percussion and imaginative electronics, while I Need You is the deeper of the three with warmer vibes and retro piano all feeling like summertime. 7
More thought provoking music as DJ W!ild sets upon us with his second album opening with sound effects warning: please mind the gap between the train and the platform. Dirty then proceeds to play between ambient sequences that lull you into security such as Apres La Plage, and then pulverize you with heavy-duty Kicks on the likes of Voyage (complete with sampled spiritual guidance). If dirty refers to anything in particular then the one thing that’s consistently so throughout are those trademark and edgy beats – although perhaps the answer also lies within the title tracks’ explicit voice over too, with imaginative samples appearing consistently throughout giving the album warmth and colour. Eventually it all reaches an acid drenched climax on Remember and the album contains more than its fair share of dancefloor gems e.g. the hypnotic bassline driven, In Love. 8
Session Victim The Haunted House Of House Delusions Of Grandeur
Don’t be fooled by the Vincent Price styled title or indeed by the name of the first track, Dark Sienna – which just so happens to be one of the better Disco sampling records I’ve heard in a while – into thinking this is something sinister. What rapidly strikes you here is the liberal use of cut-up which gives it all a reassuringly familiar feel, that of course and the inherent joyous qualities of those time-scales that are best executed on Zoinks and said title track. Despite the possible limitations that very reliance may suggest the album wisely plays with intriguing moods and tempo working particularly on Bison. However, the up-tempo numbers suit best with the funk fuelled, Good Intentions proving to be a particular favourite with many. While this isn’t challenging or pushing at boundaries in the way the above albums could be said to do, its none the less always welcome at parties. 7
release Date: May 14 (Vinyl/CD) / June 11 (Digital)
And so to the ever reliable soulful-funkiness of Jazzanova who are now captured ‘live’ with this selection of old and new music recorded as played in their studio. Great organic feel to the album which grooves and leans in the right direction all along. The musicianship is exactly of the standard we’ve learnt to love but then how could you really go wrong with titles such as Jazz-Funk epic, Theme From Belle Et Fou and I Human. Slow burners such as No Use and the beautiful lyrics and piano of Little Bird vie for attention along with the more dance floor orientated material but quality is, as always, rest assured. 9