I just happened across this today, by possible accident, and so glad I did. For this is an outstanding production of ideas, sounds and sheer bravado. It’s uncompromising, includes some beautifully random classically-tuned piano along with not so delightfully twisted vocals, and simmers with ecstatic Acid tension painting a climatic, cinematic portrait that sits in a class all of its very own. Matt Jonson & Jesse Heartthrob provide the remix, with bouncy rhythms added to the equation, but for me its just relish in the Original version for now.
Release: March 30 on Vinyl, April 6 on Beatport Exclusive, April 20 Worldwide all stores
Joeski’s fabulous Acid infused XXX Part 1 kicks off this release with a deceptively uncomplicated arrangement, which in actual fact is brimming with creative tension amid a crisp clash of percussion accompanied by understated, brooding effects. Part 2, not surprisingly, continues to build the theme pushing the Acid lines, breathy vocals and caustic fx to the fore while in the process producing tantalising, hypnosis inducing Dance music. The excellent, Come On, finishes with more superb sound effects stretching out the stereo alongside more in the way of unrelenting drums.
If this is anything to go by then watch out for Deep House Amsterdam’s brand new DHA Records. The Original version comprises of melancholy, smoky vocals accompanied by fine bluesy guitar and captivating drums sounding both intriguing and compelling. Andre Lodemann’s remix then adds more energy and gritty Techno textures while stripping back the song, as Poupon takes it a step deeper with the more of the Originals’ ambience played out across tougher Dance beats and bass.
Reimaging two of last year’s tracks from the Freak EP comes this latest release from the artists own Bpitch Control imprint. First up are AUX 88 who riff dark techno notation together with animalistic sound effects plus pulsating drum machines to sound heavy-duty yet infectious on Butterfly. Ejeca’s Acid version of Freak The Night does just that with trippy Acid sounds amid suitably electronic drums for your pleasure, as the Radio Slave remix transforms it all into something altogether more moody and atmospheric. The excellent LA Williams proceeds to turn it upside down again with pumping Chicago rhythms feeling energised and dangerous, with Radio Slave’s Acapella finishing off for good measure.
Our House is Your House
Ministry Of Sound
Launching another Mix series for Ministry comes this rough retrospective of Todd Terry’s musical output. I can’t remember who coined the Todd Is God phrase but thankfully that was back in the sad old days of 90’s dance journalism. To put it basically though, Todd falls loosely into the pre and post Missing phase: the former representing those glorious Acid years from 1988 through to the tough Hard-House of the early 90’s and for me it’s that number of classics that are hard to beat – period. Try any of the Todd Terry Project productions and listen for yourself (including a couple of disappointing omissions from the T.T canon on this compilation below). The second CD has a selection of some of his current tracks and remixes, including three new tracks from Terry two of which are exclusive to the compilation: ‘Give Me A Reason’ feat. Robin S, and ‘Go Away’ featuring Martyna Baker. The shuffling rhythms espoused on his infamous Everything But The Girl remix is perhaps what he’s currently most celebrated for, and it’s maybe curious to note that those sounds are still contemporary in today’s climate? For a producer who helped define the landscape of House through the late 80’s and early 90’s (and for some beyond) is a big accolade for anyone to achieve. This compilation gives you the chance to sample that justification for yourself.
Can you tell us a little about your background and how you first got into Dance music, the clubs you used to frequent, and which Dj’s initially inspired you?
I often thank my Mum for putting me on the road to becoming a dj as she was a proper music lover with an ever growing record collection and was more prone to putting on a good album for entertainment over plonking me in front of the box as a kid. The soundtrack in our house covered everything from Blondie to the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Stevie Wonder and it was wasn’t long before I was trained up to put on the precious black stuff myself. I even remember when my Mum’s taste started getting more electronic and albums from the Pet Shop Boys, Kraftwerk & Depeche Mode started to appear in her vinyl.
As a kid growing up in Belfast through the eighties the whole Breakdance scene was in full effect and I watched the Beat Street movie on repeat and was blown away by the soundtrack which basically started a life long love affair with 80’s electro music. I promptly started collecting the Street Sounds and Electro compilations with any pocket money from week to week, I couldn’t have been any older than 9 or 10 at that point.
Fast forward to high school and a girlfriend had a brother who was a DJ in Belfast around the time the whole acid house scene was forming and I used to ask her to let me hear his promos at her Mum & Dads house when he went out. I clearly remember him getting sent A Homeboy, A Hippie & A Funky Dread “Total Confusion” and loved it and early Rising High Collective & R&S releases. Soon tales of raves in the city centre put on by a group of hairdressers and their mates had myself and some school friends straight down hassling the guys for tunes and mix tapes in a make shift record store that had been set up in an area of Star Hairdressing where they practiced their djing in between clients. One of these guys happened to be a young David Holmes.
We were way too young to go to the parties at first so we just collected the flyers and a friend and I made do with Dj’ing at school discos and practicing on the decks at the youth club with the 12’s we’d bought in Makin’ Tracks & the Gramophone Shop until we at least looked old enough to hit clubs in Belfast. Tokyo Joes provided my first proper club experience and Glen Molloy was a mind blowing resident, he really made an impression on me with the way he mixed and moved through genres. From then, there were trips to Kelly’s in Portrush before eventually regularly attending most of the Art College events in Belfast. A group of friends and I really fell in love with the music and vibe in there, mostly down to Holmer and McCready’s fantastic Sugar Sweet events and the amazing soundtracks that we were lucky enough to get educated on. Getting to see people like Slam, Weatherall, Christian Vogel and more, alongside these fantastic local guys is something I’ll never forget. We were lucky enough to get asked to play ourselves a few times before the demise of the Art College events, which meant the most logical thing was to start putting on some nights of our own.
Your label Extended Play (co-founded with JMX) is going from strength to strength having recently celebrated the 30th release. How would you best describe its sound and what do you look for in signing a track?
I guess it’s safe to say it’s a straight up house label but that could mean deep, acid or peak time vibes as John and I both have varying individual tastes but also meet somewhere in the middle, which means the releases can have a classic house feel or slightly darker electronic edge. Only rule is a track has to get both thumbs up or it simply can’t go out. We both love early Chicago house as well as people who push things forward, so hard to say exactly what we look for in a track but something fresh sounding but retaining elements of the origins of house or techno is most likely to grab out attention.
Can you describe the process involved in producing a track (perhaps something you are currently working on), tell us about the studio you work from and what your favourite things are in it?
My home studio these days is a pretty modest affair compared to the one I previously owned with my friend Glenn when we recorded as the New Aluminists. It consists of a decent PC, Mackie HR824 monitors, a Novation midi keyboard, Ableton and a shedload of samples and vst’s. I generally always start with my drum programming, then work on the bass line as this can often provide the backbone for something decent before I start trawling for synths and interesting vocal samples. My monitors are easily my fav bit of equipment as they helped no end with getting the mix down process right but I do honestly believe good tracks come from good ideas and not banks of equipment, we always say ‘it’s the ear not the gear’. I’ve a mountain of projects on the go at the minute including some collaborations with JC Williams, Bubba, Slack Society, Cromby & Chris Hanna as well as some projects to complete that I started in Toronto when I was there earlier in the year, a few remixes have just been completed for Made Fresh Daily in Scotland and Molotov 21 in Brazil as well as putting the finishing touches to a batch of new T-Bone originals.
How is the club scene in Belfast at the moment, how do you feel it has developed over the years?
It’s pretty good right now with bigger nights and smaller parties all covering a broad range of styles from disco and techno to house and drum & bass. Sadly it can be a little over-saturated at times meaning sometimes a promoter wins out and sometimes not, but if you look at the amount of nights that are going on and the guests that visit Belfast on a month to month basis compared to the population of the city it simply means people can often be too spoilt for choice. The opening times and related licensing issues are fairly embarrassing, especially when explaining to visiting guests about going on earlier than usual & length of set times but that aside it rarely dampens the atmosphere and most Djs will agree that Belfast crowds can often be the best in the world to play to. My friends and I do agree that we feel fairly privileged to have been going out around the time of the events that happened in the Connor Hall at the Art College though as the atmosphere, attention to detail and dedication of people who attended those nights has rarely been repeated in the city.
If someone was going to start their own label what advice would you give them?
It’s not essential but I think it’s a good idea if you have already been producing for a while yourself before starting a label or have a group of friends who do so that you can generate releases more easily and build some core artists from the off. Try and do as much as you can in-house, so if you have friends who are graphic designers, web designers, into mastering etc. then aim to get some mates rates action going on where possible therefore keeping overheads to a minimum, especially at the start. All label profit should be invested back in to help keep momentum going, aid with getting the right remixers on board and generally help build the following for the label. You’ll most likely not retire on the profits of running an independent label these days but if you make ends meet and keep your quality control high then the labels output will not go unnoticed.
What releases have you got planned for the coming months?
The label releases are more or less mapped out for the rest of the year now and we are about to release our first vinyl in the coming months. Tracks will be coming from De Sluwe Vos, Chris Hanna, Timmy Perry, Dale Howard, & H Wax plus remixes from the likes of Jamie Trench, Kastil, Chesus & Organ Grinder, JMX & myself meaning we feel we could have a best year for Extended Play lined up to date.
Where can people get to hear you play?
On the home front I’ve got three regular monthly gigs and can pop up in various guest spots. Keep Diggin’ is on the first Saturday of the month in a great venue called Love & Death which is basically a music collectors dream. Myself and Lyndon, the other resident, get to play anything and everything from the collections we’ve built up from the last 20 years right up to the present day, so funk, disco, acid house and Detroit techno can end up in the mix.
Work at The Hudson is a monthly Saturday hook up with the Twitch guys and is a proper heads down house and techno affair. We also host Extended Play label parties on the last Fri of the month, JMX and I make up the residents and are joined by the artists who record for the label and it’s great to hang out and play with everyone in our crew. We’ll be popping up all over with our Extended Play take overs which have so far been hosted in London, Liverpool & Dublin but are soon to start appearing all over the globe.
Mitchbal & Larry Williams Jack The House Still Music Chicago
Seem to remember a quote along the lines of: You can’t move forwards for looking backwards – or at least words to that effect. But in music it seems you can only move forward by looking back. After all if it wasn’t for records like this then where would we be? If you haven’t already checked out Still Music’s essential 122BPM: The Birth Of House Music compilation then you’re missing out, in which case this previously unreleased gem, also from the vaults of Mitchbal and Chicago Connection Records, may well move you in the right direction. Jack The House pretty much speaks for itself and ticks all the boxes either as the Original. or more especially, Frankie Knuckles more Club orientated Remix which combines all the classic sounds from the era with a knowing arrangement primed for the dancefloor.
Having barely recovered from hearing Matt Tolfrey’s excellent debut album for Leftroom this now hits squarely aimed at the previous seasons memories – assuming they are hot ones of course. This is Nicolas Abalos aka Shall Ocin’s second release for the label and is based around George Gershwin’s 1935 classic ‘Summertime’ though of course sounds markedly different with electronic beats and the rest giving you reason enough to reply the timely refrain all over again. It also made ‘ESSENTIAL NEW TUNE’ on Jamie Jones & Seth Troxler’s standin for Pete Tong recently too. Having said that I much prefer Feel The Same with its delicious spacey vocals and sassy, syncopated rhythms feeling altogether contemporary and typical of the label. I Know, finishes with a love of ‘real’ instrumentation played in a slightly unnerving fashion, and feeling all the more inventive and effective for it.
First release on Martijn’s brand new sister/ brother label to the excellent Deep Edition Records is this stunner from Marvin Zeyss. Although you’ll need to move at light speed to get your hands on one of these very limited ‘vinyl only’ pressings as they have been numbered to 100. Three numbers beginning with Hotsauce whose bass punctuated groove is little short of addictive. Power, follows with funkier percussion and deep tones rewarding your senses with a breath of perfectly pitched ambience. While, Downtown finishes with more invigorating sounds, although is also possibly third in line for your attention.
Having recently reviewed Ejeca’s release for Extended Play we now find Garry McCartney’s inescapable grooves on the notable Needwant imprint. You could say that its title track Horizon is about looking back, or you could say it’s where we’re heading, but either way its self-propelling energy is hard to resist. Driven by blazing 90’s stabs and rough-edged beats this is a combination that simply works. Dazed, feels easier with deeper, pulsating notes creating atmosphere as funky vocal edits complete the combination neatly. See Through You, ends with broken beats and an intensely soulful attitude that places Ejeca a step above the rest.