I didn’t see this coming. But sure am glad it has arrived. This excellent cover of one of Pink Floyd’s very many seminal moments, in this case Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun, was dated originally from 1968 (post Syd Barrett). Driven by crisp shakers and that signature bassline all sorts of wonderful atmospheric sounds are then added to the intensity as you would imagine of such a song. Particularly effective are the haunting strings as indeed is the vocal delivery which sounds suitably striking. Guy Gerber delivers a remix which transforms any notions of the sixties into something altogether future-charged with probing electricity existing readily amongst the various percussion and building layers of synthesized sound. Additional track, Guacamole proceeds to explore pulsating waves of resonating electronics providing a welcome contrast to the hazy strains of Set The Controls….
Set your speakers to stun as this latest release from Visionquest will surpass your expectations by moving forward into 2013 with a bang. Clarian is one half of Footprintz who alongside Guy Gerber has produced the opener Claire which fuses eerie atmospheres together with haunting voices and crisp drums to sound somewhat epic and emotional. Destroy, She Says follows with timeless Beach Boys harmonies feeling golden, as always, against melodic electronic riffs that bizarrely sound just like they were made for each other – you can but dream. Renaissance continues the same mood inducing reaction, as Remove Control turns it upside down with further dancefloor energy with likewise Through Your Mind feat. Spaceman adding Acid tweaks into the mix. U (Unfinished) then returns to moodier electronic wizardry to complete this very aptly titled Chemical Gardens EP.
Release: February 25
This has been playing my head for a time now. There is in fact something about Underneath the Pines that I can’t quite pin down. Although, needless to say that Justin Robertson’s latest single (under his Deadstock 33s guise) plays beyond irresistible, indeed it’s the sheer distinctive quality that he lends to his vocal, alongside the tastefully funky electronics, that defines its very own space and time. Put it like this. The House Mix is on repeat. Excellent remixes come from a breakbeat fuelled Ewan Pearson, and a Chicago referencing Disco Bloodbath both of whom only add to the sensory pleasure. If this sounds appealing then listen out for his forthcoming album: The Pilgrim’s Ghost in March.
release: February 11
Pool’s follow up to their debut for the label is in ways perfect Pop music: its got melody, lashings of cool instrumentation, which along with a razor sharp edge sounds little short of magnificent. Flex leans on Indie for sure with awkward guitars and grinding bass feeling breezy while its playful vocals embrace you in a happy sort of melancholy way that’s particularly appealing. Aeroplane provide the remix, and they don’t disappoint either, transforming the rhythm into something altogether European with bright keys and buzzing chords competing with bouncy Disco bass. Botox is the second original composition and has gentler, more endearing melodies despite its title, which Stimming then re-imagine as intoxicating Deeper house with twisted bass and shuffling drums.
release: February 18
Electric Avenue Records
Memoir’s low-slung chugging groove is situated somewhere in Acid drenched bliss. And things only get better when the deep bassline hits. Backed up by an array of classic sounding drums and deadpan Organ this is all about building mood and your anticipation, which it does expertly via its undulating Acid. Label head J Cub’s Deep Dub does just that with tougher drums and punchy keys eventually giving way to warm pads and hints of enticing vocal on his fist-rate remix. But back to the title Pulling Strings which ups the tempo alongside a Yello styled euro bassline that sizzles with energy to round off this notable release.
released – Feb
ruary 18 (Vinyl only)
Entering their seventeenth year Black Vinyl’s latest release delves once again into guitar inspired, soulful rhythms which this time feature the unmistakable vocal of Old Bastard. Part One of the package sees the smooth melodies blend into neatly shuffling percussion on Mauritzio’s Original version. However, try N’Dinga Gaba’s remix which highlights the voice lifting it over bouncier tribal infused grooves, that are then accompanied by an instrumental for good measure. Mauritzio also explores further Jazzy aspects on his two remaining versions to focus your attention on the versatility/ quality of the music.
release: February 11
Sixteen new productions from Guy Gerber go make up this latest compilation in the fabric series totalling 64. And as you have come to expect from the producer this is another selection of exquisite resonating music that reaches way beyond your imagination. Always spirited, yet incisive and experimental, this effortlessly deep compilation of sounds are as invigorating first thing in the morning as there are very late at night. Weaving between haunting vocals and cinematic instrumentals this once again highlights Guy Gerber as one of the world’s finest in this field of electronic music. Every track stands out in its own right and it would almost be pointless in suggesting particular highlights, but here goes anyway: the completely infectious One Day In May loops heavenly ambience into dancefloor nirvana, while the opening Store-House Consciousness and The Golden Sun And The Silver Moon sound as blissful as the title suggests. The music plays between dancefloor and horizontal listening with consummate ease, with number 64 proving yet another to be a winning formula.
release: June 25
Jamie Jones second album for Crosstown Rebels sees two of the world’s most significant players combine forces again successfully, after the DJ’s string of awards plus the labels succession of killer releases. The collection features unreleased tracks – although heaven knows why – alongside new productions, and if you’ve witnessed Jamie play live then Somewhere, Paradise and Frequencies may already be well known to you. But waiting eagerly to get out there too is the equally fresh future-funk of Mari 2D Underground and the uneasy edge belonging to Tonight In Tokyo feat. Luca C. Also make sure you listen out for the sinister bass experience that is Over Each Other with Livia Giammaria’s vocal sounding tastefully bitter in the process too. All the signature sounds are present, with those defining original House influences playing their part to reinforce what is undoubtedly another essential in the canon.
release: June 25
The fifth release from the label sees Remi Mazet deliver breezy summer sounds to quench your thirst for all things funky. Playing with a hint of Gwen Guthrie in the air, the punchy bassline buzzes over introspective Rhodes chords and technological synths on the Original version to great effect. Boris Horel then provides the remix of Le Kiff with bouncy European bass and perky percussion, leaving second track Are you There feat. Mr.Matlar completing the picture with more easily accessible grooves backed up by intriguing voices and frisky snares. Good release.
release: June 25
This three track EP marks the labels 58th and presents their trademark style perfectly. Opening with NTFO & Karmon ‘Nobody Else’ and its punchy melodic bassline, which plays against snare rushes and atmospheric touches, this neatly infuses together a thoughtful production with dancefloor sensibilities. The title track is then provided by Karmon who works moody bass over sharp percussion and classic early-eighties keys, and this again proves to be easy to fall for. Betoko’s, Raining Again provides a potential anthem for the North of England with shuffling synthetic rhythms and detuned vocals intoning the wet stuff.
release: June 25
If you haven’t already checked Amirali’s beautifully crafted album for Crosstown Rebels then you’re missing out on an experience. In the meantime here is the chance to love the hauntingly atmospheric new single which also come s with some great remixes. Such as, Franck Roger who expertly builds the tension by adding fresh chords and drums to re imagine the vocal, while the MK version surpasses the remit with typically classy bass and beats feeling totally big-time. Appleblim’s aptly titled Black Mirrorball Mix then twists the elements over throbbing kicks into something altogether more space aged, making his statement loud and clear.
release: July 2
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Love this production from Ahmet Sisman whose Dance With The White Rabbit feels all at once like a party in your head. Impressive sound fx and dubbed vocal treatments give the track a very big feel indeed, but it’s also the combination of differing styles that give it all such a unique edge. Nico Lahs provides the remix with funkier bass and a deeper mood, while Audiofly cleverly break up the beats on their abstracted version. Meanwhile, Hello To Alice continues the Wonderland theme with more expressive voices and dark electronics to finish.
release: July 4
This is the second release on Artform’s sister imprint, Arthouse and comes from Erase Records’ Dimos Stamatelos. The Original version sets a punchy tempo against cool Rhodes chords, a taught tech bassline and with hard hitting vocal snippets this is set to induce frantic head nodding. The effective Frogs and Socks remix then teases extra tension from its undulating synth and smart dancefloor arrangement, while label head Jamie Anderson’s Latin Hustle version introduces the chords to warmer possibilities with the intensely funky percussion giving it all a precise edge.
release: June 18 as a Beatport exclusive for 4 weeks. July 16 general release.
If you like to think outside the box then this will most definitely tempt you. It’s distinctly impossible to categorise but then that is precisely its charm. Sometimes House-ish, sometimes Techno-esque, other times sounding like Pink Floyd through a Dance blender, this isn’t always a comfortable ride but is a rewarding one. One half of Zombi, Steve Moore supplies the remix in two parts with his ‘remix’ making some sense of the madness by building layers of arpeggios over a steady kick drum, as the ‘Off-World’ version provides more of an ethereal landscape by gently playing with voices and pulsating rhythms over an epic feeling eight minutes.
release: June 25
Jerome Derradji Presents: 122 BPM
The Birth Of House Music – Mitchbal Records & Chicago Connection Records
This three CD set from the early to late Eighties catalogues of Mitchbal Records and its subsidiary Chicago Connection Records is pretty much indispensible listening if you’re in any way interested in the history of Chicago House Music. Mitchbal Records was founded by Nemiah Mitchell Jr and released their first influential 12” single by Z Factor aka Vince Lawrence (before starting the infamous Trax Records) I Like to Do It in Fast Cars in 1983 (hear below). The selection also includes music from Mr Lee and Libra Libra, and joins together the diverse set of influences that went to make up what became known as House Music: from UK New Wave/ Synthpop and European/Italian dance all the way through to the soulful end of American Disco. The CD comes with invaluable extras such as a 28 page booklet on the labels’ history plus mix from Still Music’s Jerome Derradji, and also features one of Frankie Knuckles rarest remixes: Unfinished Business.
release: June 2012
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.
release: June 2012
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.
release: June 18
Laura Jones interview http://www.magazinesixty.com/?p=498
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.
release: July 7
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.
release: June 11
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.
release: June 11
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…
release: June 11
Ghettos & Gardens
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.
I did think of Durutti Column when I first heard Rivero Brito’s sensitively plucked guitar streaming through stereo and that’s of course a most welcoming experience. But, it’s also equally refreshing not to plant thoughts in your mind as this EP conjures up all sorts of people you could reference, despite the music having a life very much of its own. After experiencing the rather beautiful title track, the even more so, Keep Your Eyes Closed defies logic with uber-cool Double Bass and fizzy electronics blending together impressively with thought-enhancing arrangements and subtleties. The Arkist Remix adds beats, though cleverly doesn’t lose the charm, on an excellent version that can only come highly recommended. The Live Take of Last Page then finishes off with what must have put a rather large smile on Ben Watts face… 9
release: April 16
Fresh remixes of Boris Dlugosch’s biggie from the mid nineties sees Inaya Day’s vocals revitalised once again, and this time round over equally contemporary versions. Firstly from the excellent Joel Alter who swings delicious bass off hissing hi-hats and funky organ, while utilising snippets of appropriate voice to deliver more typically irresistible grooves. The Coyu Kitty-Push remix gives the drums much more of a tribal flavour and uses more melody, all of which eventually reaches the joyous chorus line. 8
release: April 18
This new instalment from Moda Music begins life with another notable Leeds artist, Hot Since 82. Hurt You, fuels the senses with an infectious bassline, tripped-out voices and insistent hi-hats which punctuate the production throughout – you couldn’t really ask for a better start from the label. Second track, Sundown compliments the picture with darker notation and funkier percussion being offset by semi- melodic vocal snippets and dark, brooding synth chords which all feel suitably lush. 8
release: April 16
Sounding enviously similar to The Cure circa 1980 with its evocative, gothic overtones and that uniquely, haunting bass-guitar sound, this even manages to transcend that very possibility via heavenly treated voices and shimmering electronic percussion. A truly excellent piece of music to refresh the soul – or at least words to that effect. One Day In May, proceeds with a stunning chord progression that deifies simplicity and is again aided by a surreal collection of voices and sounds so tempting that you can almost taste them. The Snake Pit Dub of the title track ends by tweaking the elements into yet more ethereal beauty as a special bonus for the digital package. 9
release: April 16
Leftroom’s Matt Tolfrey teams up with Chicago’s Kate Simko to produce this devastating collection of one, two, three tracks. Opening with, Take It Easy which blurs the lines between Jazz, House and Electro – which if you ask me sounds like the perfect idea – by playing cool guitar alongside big fuzzy chords and electro-funk bass, this also boasts a clever arrangement that is never less than electrifying. Synthetic sounds continue to flow with, Lazy B coming complete with refreshingly funky percussion, leaving No Shame to develop the Chicago theme further into the ethos. 9
release: April 16
Dropping the tempo but never easing up on the mood comes this latest from the creative hands belonging to Voices Of Black. It’s hard not to admire the audacity of their spirit as these laid back vocals tease a sense of drama from the quietly addictive, head-nodding rhythms, and it’s even harder not to nod likewise. Remixes are from the even more down-tempo Taner Ross, who furthers the tension still to highlight the vocals’ charm, and No Regualr Play feat. John Camp Remix who pick up the pace again giving the song some House pizzazz via the detuned voices and funky arpeggios. 8
release: April 23
Proving once again the strength of contemporary music, The White Lamp show the way the way forward with their combination of irresistibly cool grooves and knowing vocals. I guess the clue is in the labels’ name: Futureboogie. The drive of It’s You lies within the pulsating basslines and a vocal delivery which places tension against melody, and is nothing but completely enticing. Ron Basejam aka Jim Baron from Crazy P supplies the remix with typical panache and comes up funky as ever with a selection of deliciously soulful chords, leaving the Eats Everything and Christophe Acid Ouse remix to do that very thing in equal style. 8
release: April 16
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
release date: April 12
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
release: April 9
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
Release: April 9 (digital)/ April 2 (vinyl)
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
release: April 9
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
release: April 9
“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….
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