If you feel that music still has the power to excite, educate and define life then Francesca Lombardo’s wonderfully compelling Flumen is for you. An exciting piece of music that touches the soul, as much it may damage the dancefloor, while washing the stereo in the mood of anticipation. Its futuristic fusion of electronic sounds plays fast and loose with tantalising rhythms, alongside the melodic punch of humanity as the final moments of heavily treated guitar-like plucks infuse a timely, intense refrain. Psycho, then flips the coin to reveal energetic, twisted Techno beats, bass and keys all flying high.
ReKreation & Saytek
Dub Poetry EP
Deep Edition Recordings
It’s always reassuring to hear the voice from Bobby Konders ‘The Poem’ feature on a track and this excellent production from ReKreation & Saytek is no exception. Driven forwards by sizzling hi-hats and throbbing beats this has a timely quality that transcends the House Music timeline by taking its inspiration from such a classic, and then transforming the nostalgia into something completely contemporary. Love the demanding sequence of creative stabs and organ pulses that join themselves together here to make this such an exciting and thoughtful ride – this is first rate coming with such an apt title. The Patrick Podage & Nikola Kotevski Remix continues the excellence with funkier, fuzzy bass as the Pretty Criminals Remix gets deeper again. Second track, Experiments in Kaya is tougher in ways with striking configurations of undulating chords and staccato bass, although Poetry is always best.
Release: December 3 Beatport exclusive. All other stores December 17
Music can be beautiful just like it can get ugly and cynical. This latest collection from Irish imprint DhARMA begins by reclining gently into the former with moods pitched somewhere between relaxed ambience and cinematic cool. So if you like music to project itself imaginatively across your line of vision then both Kyson’s beautifully bluesy ‘Drifting On By’ and Akito Misaki’s exquisite ‘Do You Remember Me’ are pretty much essential listening. Tibalt’s ‘Midnight Travellers’ sparks the ignition with fast beats and European synthesisers galore, leaving Silly Rabit ’Subsonic Sunset’ with fizzy electronic atmospheres and Skai Nine’s energised ‘Beta’ to complete the picture.
106 Miles to the Matrix EP
If you’re a sucker for break beats then this is most definitely for you. As with the other current release from hi-life! this percussion fuelled gem is all about energy packed rhythm that simply feels irresistible. In this instance 106 Miles has been produced by Mexico City’s Victor Ibarrola and if this is anything to go by you’ll be hearing a lot more from him in the very near future. Second track, The Matrix also features a sampled voice over, although this time the music feels less frantic exploring deeper bass and imaginative soundscapes leading eventually to deliciously dark pads and a breathtaking breakdown.
Returning to 22 Digit Records for his second release Newcastle based producer Midicult has produced a distinctive and unique piece of music in ‘Who Am I’. Spanning the breadth of almost ten minutes of low-slung bass action this may deceptively come across as minimal programming, but listen closer and it reveals itself to be intricate funk of the highest degree. It’s all contained within the frisky drum editing, which alongside the rumbling bassline and jolting stabs, provide the basis for the disconcerting voice to weave its coda. Tom Ellis then highlights that vocal and funks up the bass, while Jerico adds a more progressive feel, leaving Steve Legget’s shuffling Techno to finish off.
Day Zero Sound Of The Mayan Spirit
Damian Lazarus is ambitiously staging the Day Zero festival (as decreed by the ancient Mayan civilisation) on December 20/ 21 of this year at Playa del Carmen, Mexico. For further details check the link www.dayzerofestival.com
And so to the music which comprises of thirteen new compositions, and as you would imagine is all about serious intent. Ranging from artists such as Jay Haze, Acid Pauli, to Mathew Jonson the resulting album plays out across the full spectrum of sound and light, and is undoubtably a reverential experience. What I really like about the way the album flows is the fact that each contribution is excellent in its own right, this isn’t really about standouts taking priority, although I am slightly tempted to point out Francesca Lombardo’s sublime ‘Cosmic Dancer ‘ as well as Fur Coat’s ‘Greed, Insanity’ which in essence spells it all out to you loud and clear. I also suspect that you could listen to this almost anywhere, and I do mean that literally, while still receiving the same level of satisfaction in doing so. The message is in the music.
Classic through the eyes of: Severino
The Classic Music Company
For one of the most emotive intros around please press play. Nail’s 1997 classic ‘Time For Change’ opens with timely piano notes and warm pads to set the soulful scene on what then soon alters to something altogether darker, deeper: LIT ‘Brown Dwarf’ (Hyena Stomp Red Giant Mix). Not a problem of course as the music proceeds to traverse the full scope of House taking in everyone from Robbie Hardkiss to Rob Mello, while winding up at Brett Johnson’s extremely sublime ‘Slow Down Baby’ (Severino Remix 2012) – yet another album exclusive. As you’d expect from the label the music doesn’t easily slip into any particular cliché, which along with the diverse nature of Severino Panzetta’s stellar selection only lends the album its unique strength. Recommended.
Odd Parents & Maceo Plex
This Odd Parents and Maceo Plex combination does of course hit all the right buttons when it comes to hard-hitting House music, twisting together computer-funk rhythms from one extreme to another. The obscure nod to melody, introduced towards the end, comes via a sinister sounding vocal loop which lets the acid synthesizers sizzle away underneath while feeling never less than funky. Mark E supplies two versions with his ‘Remix’ giving it a spacey mood, plus the stunning ‘Future Doom Remix’ which delves deep into classic keyboard sounds over the course ten minutes, and has that rare quality of transporting you somewhere else entirely via the use of sound alone.
Francesca Lombardo’s effervescent journey into sound is nothing if not completely captivating, relying upon strange evocations and weird twists of fate. Eyes, is an amazing piece of music that stands well apart from most other releases that you will hear in the coming months, not least of all because it speaks its own language in terms of originality and use of instrumentation. It crosses acid rhythms along with dark pads, invigorating beats and the occasional vocal treatment speaking in volumes. Wander and Wonder, featuring Julien Riachi’s delicious voice then adds a funkier edge to the array of pulsating sounds, and again locks you into another excellent production. When words are not enough…
No Equal Sides is one of those knowingly satisfying tracks which are tailor made for the dancefloor. It’s a simple enough premise but a devastatingly effective one none-the-less as deep, pulsating bass builds over reviving keys and shuffling beats to induce the desired effect. What more can be said: this works! Next, Tunnel Vision begins with sci-fi electronics but then develops into an unexpected, and very impressive vocal cut which you will find yourself returning too repeatedly. Dished out over smoky, broken beats and reversed chords these spoken words are direct enough to offset the spine-tingling atmosphere created by the music. In Principle, finishes by again playing with shuffled rhythms, although this time aided by moodier stabs and techno bass that sit strangely somehow in-between jazz and funk.
Brazil’s Henrique Oliveira aka HNQO gets it just right with this succession of seductive bass notes and sassy female vocals, which envelop you in funky syncopation and provocative dancefloor arrangements. Creatively evolving its theme Point Of View expands uncomplicated possibilities into something extremely rewarding while never losing its cool. Pain n Love follows featuring more hot voice, this time from a blissfully stereophonic sounding Effluence, feeling that bit tougher – though no less funky – with impressive vocal editing combing with sumptuous sounds to again highlight the labels’ prowess in any language.
And so the story continues with this excellent production care of new comer Francesca Lombardo whose sense of timing has delivered the perfectly pitched production for the summer. Comprising of four tracks with the opening The Change pitching twisted vocals against 80’s styled bass lines, classic House chords and beats, while Is It True explores more in the way of ambient textures and features Francesca’s own striking vocals. Old School Anna is the more Techno sounding of the four with more Detroit bass firing off against punchy beats, leaving the stunning Sofiel to complete the picture with its radical clash of influences and imaginative programming.
Solomun’s five year milestone is celebrated thoughtfully via this charity based album that sees both the labels back catalogue getting remixed plus the additional bonus of new music. To state the obvious first is the impressively diverse nature of the imprint that flits between styles of House and Techno, and a whole lot more in between, with calculated yet consummate ease. The second being just how soulfully satisfying the music is and the way it always feels fresh and invigorating, while acknowledging its past respectively. Neatly spread across two cd’s the compilation starts with UNER pres. Fools ‘Positive’ and then DJ Phono ‘New Year Eve’ which is sublime listening for sure, but not to rest easy the sounds also progress through the likes of Hunter/ Game, David August, Stimming and Solomun, whose Cloud Dancer reaches for the stars and ends up in a dancefloor frenzy occupying its own space and time.
Love Cannot, immediately captures you with its melancholic vocal sample and warm selection of deep atmospherics, which are deceptively quick and tough when played louder. The Mr Beatnik Dub of the same blends sometime Chicago bass with contemporary production values for a refreshing change on this completely enticing version. Second track, Let Them Know moves towards Detroit with moody combinations of electronics over motor-city rhythms, with the Original mix available ‘digital only’ which, just like the title track, blends light and shade together notably.
Rodion & Mammarella
Slow Motion Records
Excellent spaced-out Disco action from Italy’s Slow Motion imprint sees sizzling syncopation still very much in fashion with a nod to the early eighties cosmic sound. Crazy electronics combine with hissing hi-hats and robotic voices to evoke not only the past but good times ahead on the superb sounding: Escape From Kyoto. The Alien Alien Dub proceeds by re-tweaking the elements into yet more intensity. Leaving, Majella to authenticate it all with its shimmering kaleidoscope of Euro-Disco sounds, which sound simply heavenly.
Versatile continue to surpass themselves with this latest release from Zombie Zombie who perhaps not unsurprisingly have chosen this Sun Ra track to cover. Things kick off with the monstrous Gesaffelstein remix which paces itself with edgy electro beats and then hits you vocally along with a somewhat huge array of stabs . A suitably off-world sounding A Capella follows, as does Joakim’s Extended 808 mix which pushes the dimensions still further with sci-fi synths and twisted Saxophone – at least I think that’s what they are. The Original version finishes a typically distinctive release, which may not hit the dizzying Jazz heights of Sun Ra but does none-the-less sound mind-altering in 2012.
Jona’s excellent three track combination begins by deconstructing Acid and rebuilding it as the Masteplan. Albeit in a funky yet suspenseful way, which isn’t so much about one dimensional tones as multi-layered invigorating slices of instrumentation that tease your expectations. Out Of Sight, begins traditionally with a Latin cowbell but soon cleverly detunes itself into something much more spectacular, couple that with what is ultimately a killer bassline plus ultra-sharp drum programming, and this is in a class all of its own. Superstition ends with yet more in the way of dramatic electronic-funkiness expanding the theme even further…
Saint Etienne Present Songs For The Lyons Cornerhouse
Cherry Red Records
On what could possibly turn out to be one of the wettest days this summer Bob Stanley’s compilation of post-war, pre-rock nuggets seems all the more appealing. After all, who said romance was dead. While the melodies swoon and the rhythms sway this pays homage to a bygone era of ‘Lyons Corner House’ cafes, at least as they may have sounded in the mind of Mr Stanley. If you like melodrama then look no further no Frankie Laine whose Blowing Wind says it all, though plenty more of that comes from the likes of people you probably never heard of – but when did that ever matter. Great version of Theme From The Threepenny Opera from Billy Vaughan and with Peggy Lee’s irresistible Johnny Guitar this all makes for strangely exciting listening in that old fashioned way…accompanied by historical sleeve notes by the man himself.
Not often an artist album comes along displaying not only valuable words but musical skills on this level. Marc Mac (also one half on 4Hero) who whose been producing music for the past couple of decades has arrived at this point, again, with his second Visioneers album, Hipology. Listening to this reads like a history lesson in sight and sound while expert instrumentation is employed via a sterling set of players. Indeed, try an instrumental track like LaAnne from Harlem and tell me it doesn’t move to tears of joy. The album creatively evokes moods and plays with words both spoken and sung throughout, while for the dancefloor try the take on B-Boy legend, Apache (Battle Dub) for size, plus any number of other sure-fire gems. Something for everyone exists on here with the summer funk of Come Sand Play in the Milky Night destined for any beach party worth its salt, or Shine which feeds your mind with meaningful word and soulful tones.
Laura Jones invigorating exploration of electronic sound continues with her first compilation mix for the prestigious Leftroom imprint. Starting with moody brilliance of dOP & Masomenos Hello! the album rapidly proceeds to entice you with its emotive selection of beats and rhythms that never fail but to ignite your imagination. Combining a diverse selection of music from labels like Vitalik Records, Visonquest, and of course Leftroom means that you know you’re always in safe company. What’s also particularly notable here is the way the album weaves between styles, flipping from Techno to House while never feeling contrived. The second half of the mix picks up the pace with a sure succession of killer tracks from Gavin Herlihy and Polyrhythmic, amongst many significant others, finishing on Guy Gerber’s masterful The Mirror Game.
Sao Paolo’s D-Edge combines with long standing House Music impresario Luke Solomon to release this testament to the DJ’s undoubted prowess in all things musical and techincal. The Classic Records co-founder carefully teases every inch of rhythm from this truly intense mixture of distinctive House, unsettling Techno and general electronic madness into the bargain. Whether that’s Red Rack’em’s bassline master class of How I Program, or Boo Williams severely funky Devil Music this will truly rock your discotheque. Any mix that climaxes in the process with the Roberto Rodriguez version of Seven Reasons can only probably be described as transcendent.
Excellent EP from Germany’s Klasse Recordings beginning with the melodic technology of Soul123 which references Detroit like it was just around the corner. Next, Skeleton Keys gets busy with classic House bass and organ creating perfect tension in the air. While, Fakie Snot Bubble cleverly hits you hard at first with fizzy old-school stabs and ‘work this’ vocals, then turns it all upside down with warm pads and House strings causing emotive confusion? Despite its somewhat dubious title the more I hear this, the more seriously impressive it sounds.
Walker & Royce You’re Not Welcome Crosstown Rebels
You don’t really need me to tell you that this latest from Crosstown is excellent, do you? Put it like this: it feels ever so slightly sinister with sumptuous bass notes driving the taught beats, as the uber cool vocals feel deeply soulful in a Trans-European setting with sparkling keys lifting it all skyward. Stare If You Want To feat. Javi happens next with killer syncopation feeling like disco never went away (I know, it didn’t) but coupled with tripped out voices and more contemporary chords plus guitar, this again transcends the timeline. The Francesca Lombardo Remix of You’re Not Welcome resists the titles negative appeal with addictive notation and proves the vocal to be defiantly happy.
I Cube once again produce’s something so startlingly original that when it’s primed it will explode all over your dancefloor. Y.O.U.R.O.C.K is somewhat self-explanatory here as shimmering electro keys clash with strident disco beats, while repeating to infinity and beyond. This has to be heard to be believed! Followed by Popular Electronics which frays the edges with twisted synths and a lot more besides, but possibly saving the best to last is In Alpha which replays eighties guitar funk, via the curious mind of I Cube, to feel compellingly uplifting and certainly rather beautiful. The album is coming…
Clearly in his own class Justin Martin’s debut album acts like a conduit for his myriad of influences and own particular brand of music. Encompassing everything from U.K bass to Acid the album avoids treading a cliqued path by its use of trippy voices and unexpected combinations of styles, which none-the-less always feel exciting and pertinent. Butterflies is a case in point with edited child-like voices playing off against synthetic chords and squelchy basslines to sound like not a lot else out there. Also try Molokini for some heavy-duty business, and The Gurner with Pillow Talk for something a little deeper and more spiritually motivating.