There are certain producers you can reply upon to create music that’s satisfies on more than one level, escaping what defines the ordinary. Fred P is one such being that is never reticent to challenge. His Construction EP doesn’t any point feel workmanlike but soulfully heightened to the point of distraction. Each carefully crafted number on this release sees different aspects of sound and mood explored in numerous ways. From the strident opener, Stranger In The Night with its fiery Techno drums plus pumping attitude through to the ethereal, For The Dome and its atmospheric pads neatly contrasted by an array of sizzling drum machines. The thirst for knowledge is quenched.
Jazz has always breathed a vitality into dance music that can’t be found elsewhere. And this from Black Jazz Consortium perfectly illustrates the very point. The accumulation of soaring, life-affirming chords and keys of Essential Paradise, featuring Slikk Tim, plays testament with this first release on Fred P’s brand new imprint. Taste the Fred P Reshape with its rich abundance of soulful goodness, or next try the hot envelope of the Mystery of Fantasy Reprise which equally surrounds you in beautiful musicality. Contrasting that is Mr G’s Fantasy Mix which leaves you in little doubt as the brutal, grainy realisation of drums and bass hits you hard. Or there is the probing ambience of the Continuation Interlude of 120 Black Key Experiment to choose from, asking questions minus drums and rhythm.
It suddenly struck me that the use of generic terms to describe much of the music I share with you is completely pointless. In my book that’s pretty much an essential attribute as it’s the music that tears the edges of the page which often proves to be the most absorbing. And that’s what I love about this collection of reworking’s of Satoshi Tomiie’s 2015 album New Day. Now all gathered together under the one roof the self-explanatory title track from the album receives three remixes plus there’s an array of equally sparkling gems for you to dive into. Standouts for me are from Ron Trent who reworks Thursday 2AM, Fred P’s Reshape of Landscape, and Pablo Mateo’s version of New Day itself. All tease with fresh possibilities and don’t weigh you down with trying to file music into any neat, labelled, or pre-determined box. Soul-satisfying and total.
In one of those revelatory moments Fred P literally transports your mind, body and soul into the cosmos care off this electrifying set of sonically charged, teasing jazziness. The Soul People Music head begins a trilogy of releases with this album, under his FP-Oner guise, for Toshiya Kawasaki’s Tokyo based label and is quite simply extraordinary. With reassuring titles such as ‘In The Mist Of Sunrise’ and ‘Cycles of Life’ you can expect music that probes and searches rather than merely functions as dancefloor fodder. Indeed 5 exists on so many different planes that you could become exhausted trying to figure them all out. Suffice to say you could listen to this album anywhere, most probably at any time, and it would always say something to you. If you’re not afraid of chord progressions or funky, soulful meanderings then try the exceptional ‘The Law Of Correspondence’ if nothing else today and get amazed.
Achieving the accolade of the label’s fourth artist album Alexandre Paounov AKA delivers a set of finely tuned gems for your pleasure. Flitting between breezy melodies and darker moods, Love Somebody sounds just about right for 2015 capturing smouldering intensity on Your Eyes, while opening via the bouncy rhythms of Words Gone feat. Arno Joey. That playful funkiness continues on Get Together and is contrasted again by the demanding peak-time beats of I Want U, striking a neat balance between styles and flavours on what is essentially a most rewarding listen.
Brought to my attention care off the Blagger himself this four track release for Supersexy captures the essence of pumping House Music and delivers it loud and clear into your stereo. Can’t Stop Now fuses Detroit bass together with Chicago Acid accompanied by suitably feverish vocal edits. Next, the bizarrely titled Blagger Rids The World Of Evil Vampers hits you with Todd Terry styled stabs amid plenty of attitude, while third and standout number Keep The Peace gets frisky with the percussion, leaving Blag On Mars to replay familiar synths over fizzy hi-hats and awkward beats. Consider yourself blagged.
In anticipation of their forthcoming album Dance Spirit deliver this second instalment to tempt you with their typical panache. Suitably atmospheric the title track develops tastefully over some eight minutes with haunting pads setting the scene for occasional voices and hand claps. It may not sound like much is going on but what they do they do so most effectively. Remixes come from Fred P who expands the chords to heighten the atmosphere further across both of his impressive versions. Next up are, Late Night Ritual and Late Night Morning which again secure cinematic atmosphere’s that cross the horizon via the perfect soundtrack for sunset/ sunrise, while an excellent Bedouin Remix completes with a striking take on the later. You just know that the long player is going to be epic after hearing this.
Darin Epsilon & DeeProgressV
The Conclusion (Remixes)
Talking of richly atmospheric music is this breathtaking remix from Hernan Cattaneo & Soundexile which combines tense swirling synthesisers alongside pulsating beats and bass. Hypnotic yet punchy this version of The Conclusion reveals itself in layers of emotive sound that may well surprise you care of its powerful rhythm section. Marcelo Vasami then delivers a darker mix with bouncier beats aimed squarely at the dancefloor, while Mike Griego’s great remix goes straight for techno jugular despite being offset by warmer pads and stunning, ethereal voices.
Tommy Vercetti aka Tom Cox producers one of the labels hottest to date by combining a savvy sense of musicality alongside a big-time arrangement of sounds that engage your mind, body and soul into the bargain. Opening with the aptly titled and excellent Big Love which plays punchy stabs against fiery snare rolls, plus emotive vocals, while sounding in a class all of its own. Good Feelings is next and re-tweaks the formula into another addictive House jam that does little wrong with its effortless 90’s reference points. We All Do, finishes off the originals with a brighter more accessible track that’s big on bounce and energy. Leaving the Scott Forshaw remix of Big Love which doesn’t try to compete but instead breaks up the beats and adds warmer keys and piano supplying a fresh alternative.
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
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
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
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
Cielo Sunrise (mixed by Nicolas Matar) Nervous Records
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
“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….
Cheryl Lynn 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