An outstanding piece of music. That not only captures the joy of life but also marks Universal Children’s Day 2018 as Gruuv celebrates the date alongside UNICEF. The notes are as important as the message delivered by the tongue of Lazarusman who, as words progress, paints a positive picture of inspiration for young and old. Musically the Lucid Version smoulders eloquently with treated piano chords feeling poignant as rolling percussion propels the movement and thought forward. A Vivid Version compliments reworking the elements, while remixes come from Tiefschwarz who injects more energy into the arrangement, plus there’s an excellent Audiojack mix who likewise add more power to the drums while teasing out the tension to almost nine minutes of ecstasy.
Behind schedule. But bang on time. I’m reviewing this latest gem from youANDme post release simply because life doesn’t always allow for being precise. Though never mind that, it sounds as vibrant last week as it does this and will no doubt continue to do so ad infinitum. Stare at the artwork. Does it remind you of anyone? Or is that just me. Raw, loose fitting drums add fuel to the fire as throbbing bass plus gritty stabs ignite what is essentially first- rate, audibly fiery House Music on Common. Audiojack supply the remix which feels that bit more energised reworking the elements into a differing and very satisfying conclusion. Meanwhile, Orange Loop sees Heidi enter the frame as tough edged rhythms are underpinned by tribal flavoured beats plus suitably atmospheric keys, again adding grit and grain to the sequential electronics.
Whitesquare lands firmly on Gruuv with this first-rate, sizzling infusion of chiming Mirimba’s offset by warm pads, funky percussion and a playful sense of musicality that resonates perfectly for the introduction of 2018. The excellent, Solivagant is all that and more. Who else but Pezzner could reinvent the production retaining the original essence yet transforming the spark of life into something deeper. Achieving startling results with the melodic pulses intact you are then treated to a fresh bassline backed up by cool keys plus the white heat of splashing hats. Makgeolli, takes its turn exciting fuzzy synths and pounding drums, as Tzom returns to African influences scored across a ripple of beautiful electronics, resulting in picture perfect music.
The first listen said: really good to me. But by the second it was, this is seriously excellent. One of those standout pieces of music that fools you with simplicity yet unfolds layers of exciting, probing sounds which cumulate into something altogether uplifting and gorgeous. The original version of Switch has anthem stamped all over it as undulating synth stabs work their way into fever pitch, accompanied by sizzling percussion plus a suitably heavy-duty kick drum. The Hobo remix feels brighter in comparison with sprinkles of keys and more invigorating synth hits all working their magic. Moaning, then proceeds to get warped care off unforgiving keyboards and big, splashing drums. Leaving the funkier touch of My Instinkt to end with punchy organ and sassy, swinging snares.
Your latest release for Hot Creations is excellent ‘Pinball’. Where did the idea come from for the track and can you talk us through how you produced it?
In the first step we were looking hard for an interesting bassline to make up the track, much like how we began our successful tracks ‘Take Some Time’, ‘Get This!’ or ‘Spunk’ for example. We did find a couple of interesting sounds that when we mixed together and played around with really excited us. Then we followed the unusual sequence of claps and percussion and by that point building the track up became quite simple as we felt we had secured most of the winning elements.
You also have music coming out on Gruuv, Noir, VIVa MUSiC and more. How would you describe your relationship between DJ’ing and Producing – could one work without the other?
Yes, there are a lot of good DJs around that don’t produce very much but these days’ producing has become a full part of a DJ’s job. We’ve been doing this with a lot of passion for so many years and the difference is that in comparison to the early days you produced a track to promote it in the club and not necessarily with your own name on it because what counted was to be a good DJ… today you have to make tracks to promote yourself, so in that sense the scene has completely changed. But that’s ok – if we are known around the world because of our productions then let’s go! 🙂
Italy has a long and important history with Dance music. What were your earliest encounters with the music, and who were you first inspirations?
We get into Disco Music and Funk since we were very young. We always loved that kind of sound and at the time Giorgio Moroder was our hero and everything he produced together with Pete Bellotte as Donna Summer, Munich Machine and all the albums under his own name. Other great artists of that period were Gregg Diamond, Kraftwerk, Dennis Coffey, Chic and Vincent Montana Jr – just to name a few!
You DJ all over the world, do you find that people like different sounds in different countries?
Honestly no! We always bring our own sound and generally it goes very well. In recent years promoters calls us because they know our tracks, of course, so they expect to hear that kind of sound during the night and the audience seems to appreciate it 🙂
How do you feel about the importance of song writing now as compared with the past, and its relevance in today’s music?
If you have a good songwriter and singer it’s always worth taking risks. It also depends on the target you want to achieve. The main thing is to always have a great idea and a great song and if you do not have that it is better create a good track instead. This is a rule that was true yesterday and still is today.
For sure it would take more effort, energy and investment to produce a song instead of a club track with some spare sample voices here and there, but obviously if is a good one it will have a much longer life and better chance to have success .We use to do that in the early 2000s when I produced as Bini & Martini together with Gianni Bini. We are very open minded, so maybe in the future we will do some features as well if we find the right partners.
Can you tell us about your studio and a typical working day there?
We have a really basic studio and work with Logic and both analog and digital instruments. We listen to lots of music and everything inspires us, including old tracks, samples, or whatever brings us some energy and strong emotions. We don’t have any rules, though we often start from a strong bassline, a simple percussions or listening to a DJ set from some of our heroes that inspires us.
What plans do you have for 2016?
We produced a lot of stuff throughout the last six months that will get released between now until March next year. At the end of this year we have releases on Hot Creations and Gruuv as well as remixes on VIVA, Time Has Changed and Noexcuse. Then from January onwards we will have releases on Suara, Material, UNI and a remix on King Street of the anthem Johnny Dangerous ‘Beat That Bitch’ – a track that we really love, so we were really excited to get our hands on it when we were asked to do it. We are also working on a collaboration with Anek that will probably be release on early 2016.
As DJ’s, besides Italy where we do most of our gigs, we have already scheduled Berlin, London and Ginevra for the beginning of the next year so we’re looking forward to it!
Alex Niggemann recording undercover as fresh alias C’est Moi hits the spot with this effortless combination of deep bass, shuffling beats and lush Detroit tones. When a song won’t satisfy the age tested addition of timely spoken words always suffices, which in this case adds that authentic human touch to the energised electronics. Dario D’Attis supplies the remix of This Song with rougher drums alongside a simpler arrangement of notes complimenting the voiceover nicely, leaving second track From A Bird’s Eye View to delve deeper with undulating keys and soulful vocals.
Oliver Fritsche & Alex Bach aka Superlounge latest release for Motek is a blissful piece of music that no doubt stand the test of time. The words deep and moody apply here with the breathily spoken vocals only adding emotion to the equation; however the music is richly rewarding in its own right complimented by an excellent production of enticing, hypnotic sounds. A set of striking remixes come via Eric Volta’s sizzling electronics, Maher Daniel’s darker interpretation and from Hands Free & Kosmas progressive feeling tones.
The EP’s title track is a provocative amalgamation of electronic sounds that all at once unnerves your sense of time and space via its clash of striking effects and creative rhythms. Thinking outside of the box results in an irresistible, if unsettling, listen from the producer and that theme is continued through to Pendulum featuring Heral, and again imaginative percussion keeps you guessing alongside an insistent vocal loop plus vibrating synths. Detlef then delivers a rough and tough remix that employs fierce hi-hats against unforgiving, pounding beats and bass for full dancefloor effect. To end the first-rate Metaloop adds a funkier sequence of plucked guitar and abrupt basslines completing the standout track on the EP for me with more a musical flair.
Matusoiu Alexandru’s pseudo name gives the game away somewhat with spacey, far reaching rhythms feeling explorative and engaging as on the opening, certainly apt Cinema. The wordplay continues next with Paradox which again develops dark themes across moody electronics, as indeed does the proceeding Shamanism. The rhythmatic, Un Mit ends this captivating set of instrumentals which all succeed in their mission of creating intoxicating atmospheres and as such score high.
Brutal House Music, just the way we like it, sees Breslau-based producer Jacob B deliver three equally unrelenting tracks plus a remix from JMF. The self-explanatory ‘The Weapon’ kicks things off via heavy duty beats, cutting techno bass and a rave-era hoover stab that works surprisingly well. The aptly titled From The Underground follows with more harsh drums and staccato organ stabs on JMF’s addictive Fatty Rub, with the original version again hitting you with moody synths and classic House vocals. The Warehouse Stomp finishes with yet more uncompromising kicks alongside ‘muthafucker’ vocals just in case you were left in any doubt!
Taking a sideway step from Dance music production Emika has thankfully taken the time to share her keyboard skills with us. I say thankfully because this haunting selection of works is rather beautiful, in a melancholy sense, and also goes to prove that people who create Dance tracks can be real artists/ musicians too. The lone piano passages simply ooze with emotion and slightly remind me of the exquisite compositions of Erik Satie. That said, you can also hear modern motifs played but either it’s a definite pleasure to listen to. Try for yourself below – play loud or quiet.
Gramme’s long overdue but most welcome debut album sounds more than exciting in 2013 than it could have done at any time in the past. Because just like everything else takes its cues from historical influences which in this case range from the genius of ESG to Liquid Liquid etc – i.e. Gramme live in inspired company! But moving beyond easy comparisons, and from their initial EP released way back in 1999, this collection of spiky Punk-Funk and interesting soundscapes is also an edgy blend of razor sharp vocals and hot danceable grooves. Try the heavy percussion of Rough News or indeed the punchy Acid of Laugh Out Loud for potential starters. However the Factory referencing rhythms exist far outside of Manchester’s winter grey and are broadcast via the colourful imagination of Tim “Love” Lee’s NYC record label Tummy Touch. Check the videos for the very excellent ‘Girls Talk’ & ‘Too High’ below and get animated.
Initially only released in 2011 through his website GFI Music this collection of smoky grooves now gets a full vinyl outing. Nail aka Neil “Nail” Tolliday is perhaps best known as one half of Bent, however this evocative blend of all and sundry feels just as delightfully imaginative as much as it does tough and raw-edged. Kicking off is the superb Bad Drainage with its stunning chords and liquid bassline proving that this is music to get lost in and/ or move too if you so desire. Never falling easily into any one category, which is certainly part of the enviable charm, this hints at funk on the closing Blueberry Pill while journeying through the gritty Dub of Fucked Off along the way. Beats Per Minute….
Don’t Do That EP
Something Different Records
Keeping up the pressure from Something Different is Junior Gee’s latest title. Put simply Don’t Do That is devastating heavy-duty House music that again sees the label move in a more exciting direction. Powered by a hypnotic drum loop and insistent hi-hats this comprises of a peculiar amalgamation of sounds that sit somewhere between clocks and piano, but which result in this notably original production. Stop and Spin delivers yet more of those pounding grooves, leaving the more topical This Society to play out with jazzy snares, dark messages and strange notation. Excellent.
It’s always refreshing to hear melody adding colour to music and with the first release of the new year from Audiojack’s Gruuv imprint that’s exactly what happens. Emotive, breathy vocals adorn the original version of this in style as bass punctuated rhythms succeed in giving it all a frisky edge. Remixes come from Chris James aka Coat Of Arms who treats the voice to a sizzling variety of pulsating electro beats and deep keys. Plus from X-Press 2 whose version applies tribal flavour to the drums backed up by weird and wonderful synths creating a defining edge. Next, is Tom Budden’s own production Falling which sees chiming basslines offset by funky handclaps that you just know are going to sound absolutely huge on the right sound system. OOFT! supply the remix with classic Chicago/ Detroit influences sounding every bit as big as that suggests.
Italian producer / DJ Tony Barbato sets the clock back to 1961 to relay his message about war and cash, which is no doubt a timely one from then to now. Although, perhaps the breezy combination of melody and music, albeit with a taught funky backing, lend themselves better to sunshine listening rather than such serious subject matter. Jazzanova/ Sonar Kollekitv stalwart Alex Barck then rearranges the sentiments to give the vocal more depth of feeling while adding a contemporary twist to the production via tense percussion and moody synths . Last but certainly not least is Patrick Podage’s excellent remix with its deliciously in-vogue bassline coupled with undulating electronics that award the edgy selection of treated words a heavy impact.