Belfast’s finest export, Extended Play plays havoc with the senses as any expected notions of Electro fly out the window. While Dublin’s Daser effortlessly blends a wild combination of pulsating, futuristic beats together with fizzy, energetic Acid lines. You can hear that knowing nod to the early 80’s in there but you can also most definitely feel 2018 reaching throughout. Then Sub Club resident Domenic Cappello delivers the kind of excellent remix which really deserves that description. He turns it all upside down releasing a darker inscription across the arrangement, reworking the synthesized arpeggios into a blaze of contrasting moods and signs too. Remaining tracks, Convent Inferno works an element of Detroit into the equation and the more playful, tempting atmospheres of Low Serotonin complete this most notable release.
In one way this isn’t anything to do with Disco, Boogie or whichever retrograde label you would like to apply at the time. It feels much more about the here and now despite the fact that you know exactly where its essence is ripped from. Perhaps best to put it this way, the clue is contained in the title. But projecting beyond that is revealed a wonderful, emotionally resonating number which sequences soulfully assuring keys while offsetting them by tastefully crunchy drums and sizzling, punctuating rim shots on the title track. Jordan then gets down to the eighties with bouncing basslines fuelling electro beats on his no questions need to be asked ‘let’s party’ remix. Don’t You Know, is the second track contrasting nicely with the breezier melodies of Touch Me hitting harder, that bit more Acid in attitude. However, for me it’s T-Bone’s remix which packs a sure-fire intensity and when the hi-hats make their presence felt it all makes perfect sense. That plus the caustic ripple of stereo expanding synthesizers and the spirit of Detroit all go to this more than notable proudly celebrating the labels 65th release!
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.
‘Back To The Tower’ is your new single for Jamie Jones & Lee Foss’s Hot Waves. How did your relationship with the label come about?
I have known Jamie for I guess around 6 years or so now. We met really through Jamie doing regular guest slots for us at Back to Basics and I first met lee about 3 years ago in Leeds when some friends brought him to play a house party for their birthday. Also it was round that time that Jamie had remixed a track that I made with Jon Woodall called Kitsch n Sync, which was the 1st release on the Basics label that had started up again after 15 years. Although, I had already sent Jamie and Lee some tracks that they were digging and interested in for Hot Creations but then they chose this for Hot Waves – even though I already had the connection with the guys it was really Richie Ahmed who made sure they heard it.
The track features the vocal of Ives St Ange. How did you meet and can you tell us about what the words mean to you?
I 1st met Ives in the summer of 89, we were both 18 and in Bridewell police station, which is closed now, but used to be underneath the Leeds town hall. We had both been arrested for nonpayment of some stupid fine which we had both managed to pick up along the way for some nonsense or other, and that was really the 1st encounter. But by the end of that same summer we were pretty much hanging 24/ 7. A big group of us would travel to Manchester every Friday for the Hacienda and then pretty much crash at Ives place all week, which was a block of high rise flats in the Little London area of Leeds, called Lovel Park Towers. Which is why I called it: Back to the tower, as in back to them times.
At the time though when this was going on they were a crew who we were friends with, who used to rap and write rhymes round at Ives place, and of course Ives was one of them. Fast forward 20 years and there I am, I haven’t seen or heard from Ives in maybe 10 years (and before that another 5) so basically twice or so in 15 years. Anyway, I was making what started out as an album at the time and I found myself well out of what was then my comfort zone. All of a sudden I was working with singers, writing/recording lyrics, bringing in sax players, pianists and while all this was happening I randomly seen that Ives was on facebook. And, as I’m in the studio I said ‘hey do you want to?’, actually what I really said in a jokey way because it had been so long, and thought it maybe a funny ice breaker was: ‘Yo! Are you still spitting rhymes’ like I was all down and ghetto! By time I got him down to the studio I already had the basis for the track written and laid down with the bassline on it. I suggested that it might be cool to rap about what we did back then in a kinda tongue ‘n’ cheek way and touch on where we were when we didn’t see each other too much, then bringing it back to today and where we are now, and what we are doing. He totally 110% nailed it for me. It was the most fun and easy track I’ve ever made. I wasn’t even thinking about anyone liking it let alone signing it. It really did just come from the heart; I wasn’t putting any limitations on it. I just went with the flow and that’s how it turned out.
Can you give us an insight into the process of producing Back To The Tower?
I laid down the kick at 115 BPM as I knew he would come and rap over it. So didn’t want it too fast, this is all in my head at this point as he’s on his way to the studio. I already had the big clap which I wanted to use so played that over the beat, loop-edit and then played the bassline over it and that was all I needed for that point. We recorded the vocal then Ives left and I worked with it, as in putting some arrangement on it, getting a nice feel to it and it was there. It was like it wrote itself, as in it was easy to hear what I needed to do next. It was a great experience and being back with Ives after all this time, just for that project and then pretty much back off our separate ways we went. I loved it.
When/ where did you first begin to DJ and who initially inspired you to do so?
I bought my 1st pair of Technique 12.10s in 1990 from Sasha. The speed pitch was knackered at a certain point and the arm on one of the decks was bent, he had me over bless him. It took me about a year to realize it was the deck and not me! The story though, was that Sasha had been dj’ing at an 808 State gig and they fell off the stage, and that’s why it was broke. So I thought that was a quite funny history to have behind the decks, but it was 2 years later in 92 that I started to play clubs and was lucky as my 1st residency was at Renaissance, and by 93 the Hacienda so I had the best training ground ever to DJ. But without doubt my biggest DJ influences at that time were Mike Pickering and Graeme Park
From your perspective how would you say Dance (House) Music has evolved from the 90’s until now?
Its evolved in the way that technology is now available to make music on, which is much more out there, but I would say there have been many styles and fads that have come and gone, and still continue to do so, but for me the roots of it all are House. And even at the time when it looked like House was having trouble staying for good, it didn’t and it’s still here. But I do think the spirit of House Music from the 90′s to now is still the same…
You can hear a range of influences when listening to your productions. Can you tell us about some of the most significant to you?
That’s a tuff question really because I feel those influences are just in me naturally from years of playing and listening to music. It’s not like I’m always trying to do an old-school flavour or anything like that, or thinking I’m going to make a track like something that is a direct result of wanting to make a certain type of record. They just come out the way they do, but mainly always with moving the dance floor at the forefront of my mind.
Where you are currently Dj’ing? And what are your forthcoming plans for 2013?
As well as regular guest slots up and down the country, as well as around the world, I would like to play at DC 10 again and at as many festivals. I’m also resident at Back to Basics which I’ve held for over 10 years now. This year I intend to release more music and I have an EP coming out on Future Boogie around April time, plus I have a couple of irons in the fire that are yet to be unleashed! More tracks also for Extended Play – I have already released 5 tracks with them last year through a sampler and on my own EP.
I’m also really looking forward to working closely with the Blueprint Artist Agency who Ive recently signed to. So all that combined with as many holidays and staying happy, and healthy, and true to myself…..that’s my plans for 2013.
Dance Like Nobody’s Watching EP
Rodriguez returns to the label after his previous 2008 outing with two new tracks that define 2013 as much as they do speak about the flux between old and new. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching is nostalgic for sure, but then that will either delight or bore you in equal measure – depending on your outlook on the current retrospection of the American House Music sound which evolved out of 1991. Perhaps, not surprisingly, I love this and Roberto gets it right down to the bone with punchy organ and piano chords adding neat definition to the ‘feel alright’ vocal snippets. Oxymoron then flips the coin with the trackier style that came out of the same era as dark stabs and sizzling hi-hats take center stage. Lusciously intense this keeps you waiting with a tension building arrangement which peaks at the breakdown, while proceeding to push forward with the addition of trademark funky cowbell. The Black Madonna ‘We Still Believe’ version of Dance… finishes by proudly reaffirming the sentiment with heavy-duty kick drums and pure House bass spread out across a sparser selection of piano.
What I love about Mike Wall’s debut long player for Hidden is the fact that the German producer doesn’t dwell too much on subtleties. Its fast, pounding and very insistent music that is little short of compelling despite its brutal, sometimes beautiful intensity. The title track does what the excellent Mr G does only from a different angle with driving rhythms offset by moody stabs coupled with that breathless quality which you can’t quite seem to escape from. The fierce syncopation continues with All I Ever Wanted getting freaky with its twisted combination of stabs and (almost) Jazzy Sax. And so the story continues until you reach the titles: Suicide, Choose Life, Ketamine, then ending at Suggestion and I guess a climax is reached. Having said that the drum programming is always invigorating while the mood Mike Wall creates throughout is never less than spectacular.
The brilliantly titled Weirdo is the relatively new label from Juan Kidd who also supplies this release, and why not as this is very excellent. I Want You combines fierce old-school piano chords along with punctuating hits of organ which squeeze every atom of energy out of the snare infused groove. Matters then continue to intensify with the introduction of blasting horns and sprinkles of smooth Fender Rhodes. You need this in your life…
Nice Up Your Dance
Two reasons why I suspect this is an outstanding piece of music. First is that almost despite the straight up shuffling 909 drums everything else feels quite unique; from the shivering bassline to the array of wildly atmospheric synths. Second, is the darkly inspired ‘heavenly father’ voices that pepper the arrangement. Jaymo and Andy George’s Refix ’96 version then turns it upside down with a seriously heavyweight bassline, hints of Sylvester and an altogether deeper reworking of the atmosphere that feels equally sublime and enticing. Second track from Stefano Ritteri is the EP’s title and is a much looser, funkier affair complete with 60’s organ, 70’s guitar licks and Train line sound effects that give it Balearic sense of cheekiness that is too exciting to ignore.
Bubba & T-Bone Feat. Abe Duque
Extended Play start the new year on the high that they ended 2012 on. This forward pointing arrangement of machine-funk from Bubba & T-Bone employs tempting Electro beats from the past while also engaging with the current House sensibilities so beloved by the label. New York’s Abe Duque supplies the spoken word and receives a heavy sci-fi treatment on the stunning Original version. A series of five remixes then proceed to deconstruct its meaning starting with Lee Webster who impressively reinterprets Bloodline with low-slung reggae styled bass and techno chords. JC Williams visits Detroit for further inspiration with classic trademark drums and taught rhythms reigniting the vocal, with the Ten Story version getting deeper, and Sean Roman & Dick Diamonds Re-Salt mix doing likewise with a sprinkling a cutting stabs. Denney rounds off with more hot bassline action and stripped back beats which develop the mood notably as the breakdown arrives.
Mr Nice Guy/ Classic Masters
Soul Music Records
I guess when you think of Ronnie Laws you probably think of his timeless classic Always There from 1975. But as with most artists it’s good to dig a little deeper to see what else there is . For the record Always… (also covered by Side Effect & Incognito) is undoubtedly a gem and is featured here from his 1985 Classic Masters album, which also collates his finest work from the 70’s to early 80’s. The following Love Is Here moves along similar lines, although with a slower funkier groove that again displays his undoubted prowess as a player/ composer. Indeed apart from the very occasional dated 80’s sounding moment there are plenty of Jazzy movements to savour here as the finale of Saturday Evening plays out with some seriously tasty piano. The first half of this double set re-release is his 1983 album Mr Nice Guy whose opening Can’t Save Tomorrow holds a curious appeal, as does the darker Rolling with its taped voices and haunting Saxophone proving to be most alluring.
Ten Story aka Stephen Guy and Dan Gleeson’s debut for the Belfast label continues their defining sound reassuringly so. That is deep, thought provoking House music that’s built to delight a dancefloor as much as it engages with your emotions. Keep On, digs deeper with fuzzy chords and perky hi-hats set against undulating vocal snippets from yesteryear. Simple, yet very clearly effective – just like the video below. Bubba supply the remix easing the tempo and indulging you with funkier rhythms, which immediately satisfy both your mind and soul. Found Out and Time Inside develop the settings with further exploration into the deep as the latter’s moody chord structure and atmospheric vibes prove to be the more tempting.
Second label debut this week sees German artist Rico Puestel’s beautiful melancholy production envelope you in warm layers of looped sound, which pitch themselves together like a dream. From the stirring piano to the edgy beats this intriguing combination of moods is one of the more imaginative this week, and should reflect something movingly ambient right back at you. Plumb The Depths then defies that logic with something more energetic with invigorating piano and a mind of its own, though not quite sure if this just pales in comparison to such a moving composition.
With a pedigree that stretches way back to Chicago and the eighties, it’s about that time for some of the real deal. Taking its cue from that era the music plays across four tracks with the opening, Hold Me by far the most effective with its swirling atmospheres and classic drums feeling vibrant alongside the instantaneous, and just as exciting, bassline. Big Papa follows with shuffling piano and typically pumping Chi-town beats, with Mystic’s sizzling hi-hats and soulful vocal providing a tasteful compliment. You!!! finishes with an exclamation of sweeping sound fx and funky, deep beats which again work effectively.
Pablo Nouvelle’s second self relased single sounds even more stunning with each proceeding listen, and that’s always a good sign. His voice captures the moment perfectly with a deeply soulful refrain that glides elegantly across warm Rhodes and arresting, acoustic guitar. Perhaps it’s just me but I’m thinking along the lines of beautiful beach and sunshine, or night-time and poolside (bar). True To Me, continues in the same vein, and although not quite as strong it still makes you inquire about an albums’ worth of this.
Following urgently on from their superlative Law Of Attraction EP comes this equally great release. With trademark content intact you get more in the way of super-funky bass and crisp, shuffling percussion, plus this time with the added bonus of a ‘Work that body, move that body’ vocal loop to raise the temperature. Miguel Campbell’s remix imagines Imagination’s Ashley Ingram playing bass and of course feels effortlessly funky, while also stripping back the track to reveal yet another killer production. The impressive Fur Coat then get twisted with edgier synths and darker notes alongside some great vocal treatments to finish.
Slok/ Djuma SOundsystem
Lonely Child/ Come Together
My Favorite Robot Records
Two artists, two tracks. First is Italy’s Slok whose Lonely Child (from his 2005 release on SAW Recordings) now features here with this superb remix for My Favorite Robot. Feeling fresh with that smoky vocal remaining thankfully intact the music now gets that bit deeper with haunting and pulsating electronics filling in the spaces. Next Norwegian producer Djuma SOundsystem delivers another cool piece of music with clever, funky drum programming and spacey, vocoder vocals intoning: It’s all gonna come together. Music is such a pleasure.
The debut single from Capetown based producer Yannick Iluga aka Petite Noir is called Till We Ghosts. It’s good, at the very least. Very good, at best. Great video to accompany the booming beats and warped sounds too…shame it fades away so soon…
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
If the title: The House Of… transports you back to New York in the early nineties then the music plays every bit for 2012. I like/ love this album in the same way I do the new Azari & III and for the very same reasons too – you can spot the influences and reference points yet relish in just how contemporary and fabulous it all is – and it certainly doesn’t sound like a revival. From the big room beats of Opulence to Roland Clark featured on Million Miles Away the productions sizzle with ideas and moods with a series of collaborations that pull in the calibre of Timo Garcia to Tim Deluxe: who’s Lost the Feelin’ takes tension to an impressive extreme. Other highlights are undoubtedly the opening This Is War with Doll – not least of all because of the ecstasy inducing E2-E4 sequence – and the extra squelchy funk of Dark Matar. In ways this album could have been recorded at anytime over the past couple of decades but the fact that it feels this exciting says all that needs saying. 8
More records like this one and someone will be suggesting the return of House Music’s golden era. The strongest release on Kaluki so far – could be, if that is you like moody European electronics crossed with Chicago via Detroit (ish). What’s more Italian producer has added a totally succinct vocal refrain giving the track all the soul required against the backdrop of sinister synths and euro-beat references. The first remix is from Luca Bear and Romano Alfieri who add yet more haunting qualities coupled with a fierce bassline, the final from Marco Effe is simply outstanding as it deepens the mood and draws you into a life all of its own. 9
Italy’s magical combination of Dj/ producers Giuseppe, Andrea and Vins deliver four equally dazzling cuts for Kerri Chandler’s Madhouse. Dogzmatic starts with a high octane sequence of hypnotic synth and piano rushing headlong into oblivion, or there abouts. The excellent Euphoria follows with one of those irresistiblly in-vogue organ led basslines played off crunchy handclaps and intense atmospherics. New Era gets moodier with yet more organ and drum machines invoking the past on this cool number, leaving the stunning Powerplant Powered feeling heavenly with its hands-in-air marimba vibes shouting sunshine all the way…
Release: 16 January 2012 on Beatport. General from 30 Jan.
‘I Really Do Believe’
(Jet Project Remix)
Initially released last October Chris Duckenfield’s effervescent combination of legend Etta James and an assortment of Disco beats and House attitude (see killer bassline) now gets the Jet Project treatment – not forgetting the heavy duty Chicago Damn version which accompanied the original of course. Their Believe In Dub version again hits the spot with carefully crafted bass notes and shuffling rhythms offset against delays’ galore and a smart arrangement of sounds set to stun. Head-nodding, soulful and to the point. 8