So ok, the title grabs your attention. But before you go getting all hot under the collar rest assured that the gash in question actually refers to the artist’s best friend (one Jey Kurmis). Back to the music and the title track is indeed an excellent combination of fiery drums, creative stereo effects, cool pulsating bass plus commanding vocals – an irrepressible production for sure. Next comes, Shabby which drives squelchy Acid bass into Detroit and comes up tasting of Berlin (via Leeds). While leaving the high energy rhythms of Connected to end this great release on a further high, ably assisted again by more captivating vocals, beats and bass.
It’s not so often these days that the more traditional sounds of Soulful House (to use the clique) have anything new to say but these luscious harmonies are simply too hard to resist. Renn Washington supplies the honours with heartfelt abandon and does a first-rate rendition over some cool, shuffling Afro Beats for you to lose yourself in. The Dub is great too playing out the warm backing vocals over the punchy key driven rhythms, while an Alternative Mix adds provides another angle to it all.
Ejecting all sense of taste and decency (good) the wonderfully named Sex Judas sets the Disco balls spinning with this trip down into dancefloor ecstasy. Big Sex Thing is all about the feeling and this arrangement of 70’s punctuating synths and rolling bass set the scene perfectly for the baritone vocals to strut their stuff – you either love it, or you don’t I guess. Label head Tim Paris then supplies remix one with a darker infusion of Acid keys giving it all a moody, more contemporary edge, with the second remix from Arttu adding bouncier beats and further Acidic intensity to the equation. Next, Cocksucker Blues again detunes the vocals over fresher sounding twisted, synthesisers amid strains of rocky guitar to deliver another feverish production.
Ginger Johnson and His African Messengers
I Jool Omo
If you love rhythm, and who doesn’t, then you are going to fall in love with this. Life is great when it’s that simple. Historically an important figure with regards to the beginnings of The Notting Hill Carnival along with his own North London venue, Club Iroko. Plus, as an influence on Fela Kuti and having played with The Stones (performing live with them in 1969 at Hyde Park providing the percussion to ‘Sympathy For The Devil’) and Quincy Jones amongst many others. I Jool Omo feeds the percussive fire with a steady stream of sassy beats and life-affirming song, accompanied by horn blasts and raspy Latino flute lines all recorded in the late sixties. Talking Drum is the edgier of the two with less emphasis on harmony and more on banging those drums with horns and rocky guitar adding further tension.
You’re debut release: Blame Game was released on Hot Creations just over a year ago. How did you get your track heard by the label and how would your describe your career since then?
I met Jamie and Lee when they were doing a show in Montreal. Luckily I knew the opening DJ, wandered backstage and asked them for their email addresses to send them my work. I sent them a few songs and some pictures of my artwork which they were digging and then when Jamie heard Blame Game he signed it right away. Things have definitely been very colourful since signing the record, and I’ve been welcomed into an amazing family of musicians, dancers, artists and people all connected to the label and the Paradise parties in some way, shape or form. I still have a lot of hustling to do to make my career as an artist sustainable but it’s all about the journey anyways. I have to say though that the label has been a huge help in getting my name out there and promoting me as a DJ. I moved to London recently and it’s not easy out here but it is very rewarding and there are always talented people around you.
Can you tell us about your family background and how come you have lived in so many different countries?
I had kind of a weird childhood… My dad’s job moved my family around every 2 or 3 years so I was always going to different international schools. It was sometimes a real pain leaving all of your friends and school but overall it was really cool because I got to meet new people all the time, many of which I still see randomly all around the world. I definitely didn’t realize how cool it was to grow up like that until later in life. When you are 16 and your parents tell you that you’re moving in the middle of your junior year from Peru to India, somewhere you love to somewhere you’ve never even thought about living in, it’s devastating at the time. Looking back on it all now though, making those moves made me a much more open-minded and versatile person.
Where did you first encounter Dance music and who are you biggest influences?
Probably when I moved to Thailand when I was about 6 or 7 I was already obsessed with soundtracks and albums and when I saw the film Hackers, with Orbital’s Halcyon+On+On in the opening credits and then Underworld, Stereo MCs and Sneaker Pimps later on I was hooked! I guess once I started getting a few mix cds and learning more about it, Danny Tenaglia and Danny Howells became my biggest inspirations as they always seemed to make the most beautiful journeys with their mixes. Music and art were always the constants in my life. No matter what country I was in I could get lost in that stuff.
Outside of Dance music what also inspires you?
This crazy multiverse we live in! I love how different societies express themselves and am a huge fan of different art from around the world, especially Western pop art, South American and Australian patterns and South Asian architecture. I believe every society and every person has their own forms of art. We all have ways of expressing ourselves and that’s what makes us unique. I also love the idea of having a set of influences and borrowing techniques and ideas to create new ones.
Your latest single: Connected People is being released soon on Culprit. Can you talk us through how you produced it?
Connected People came together in a flash… When I came back from BPM festival last January, I got in the studio the day after I landed and within 8 hours later, the song was born. That festival this year had such a good vibe I felt very close to all the people I attended it with. I took the vocal snippets from a conversation I recorded with my dad ages ago about how amazing it is people all around the globe are so well connected. Those vibes combined with some analog goodness from 1981… It just came together. After I was finished it, somehow I just knew it would go to Culprit.
I believe you have an album planned as well. How have you found recording that and what can you tell us about it?
The album has been a huge challenge. That whole concept will take its time and will happen when the time is right. Its been one of the things you think is gonna come together fast but actually takes longer for it to evolve. I do have a bunch of material saved up though and much of it’s just waiting…. While it simmers I have some other music coming out in the fall, the biggest is a record of mine called “Last Night” coming up on Nic Fanciulli’s Saved label. The cuts on that EP have been doing some serious damage for me on the dance floor. The B-Side is a collaboration with my friend, Andre Salmon.
Where are you looking forward to DJ’ing at over the remainder of the summer?
I’m still just coming back down to earth after two back magical gigs down in Ecuador! I’m doing a special Blacklight party at the Delano in Miami which means I always spend a bit more time there in the studio with my Miami music family. I also have some good stuff coming up in Dublin and a party underneath a bridge in London in early September which is apparently incredible every year. Sounds like the kind of stuff I used to dream about!
You have impressively already secured a number of releases on Jamie Jones’ Hot Creations. How did you build a relationship with the label and what advantages have you found with being on such as prestigious imprint?
It came about through a demo a friend sent to Jamie who liked it and for a year after I was in touch with his tour manager and sending a few of my unsigned tracks, which Jamie started playing. Then the 4th track of mine he played was Walk On, Jamie then signed it and since then I’ve been sending tracks directly to him.
It’s so amazing to be releasing with Hot Creations, as everyone knows them and that has helped so much with raising my profile. I’m so lucky for my first 3 releases to have been on a label, which is so highly regarded and associated with so many wicked artists.
Your latest single: Get Beasty, has already received play from the likes of Pete Tong. Where did the inspiration from the title come from and can you describe the process of producing it?
Beasty was just a daft word one of my mates made up whilst frapping me! It then just stuck for a laugh between us and then kind of turned into a meaning for wicked music or getting wrecked. It’s nothing serious, I wasn’t really expecting the track to then be an A side on Hot Creations haha.
The production process was more or less the same as I normally do. I rarely start a track with a certain sound or style in mind. I just go in and start experimenting or looking for samples, until I find something I like, then just run with it and see where it ends up.
What is the concept behind your night, Motion in Newcastle. What plans do you have for it in 2014?
Motion started out in 2010 with the idea of bringing some of our favorite artists to the city we live in and it’s basically still doing that but on a much bigger scale now, started out at a 300 capacity venue, now we fill Digital which is 1400.
The city has always had a party reputation. How would you describe the health of the Dance scene there now?
It’s really good at the moment. There is so much going on. Very rarely you will have a weekend without a few decent options, even mid-week is going off now. Motion and Shindig are bringing some of the biggest names to the city and then Ape-x also have cutting edge lineups, but are more student orientated, same with Audio Asylum. Loop do a cool weekly party each Friday and the likes of Jaunt, Dada and others bring more niche bookings in, so there is so much choice really.
Who inspired you to become a DJ and likewise a producer?
I wouldn’t really say there has been one individual who inspired me, more a series of experiences, such as going to Tall Trees in Yarm, where I experienced a proper DJ led club event for the first time (Eddie Halliwell was playing as it happens!), visiting Ibiza for the first time and sneaking in to the likes of Shindig and Habit in Newcastle, whilst under age. Those were my first real interactions with underground dance music and I’ve been hooked ever since.
What’s been playing on your home stereo in January?
A couple unreleased new productions from wAFF, have been getting hammered, always love his stuff. Also Ark – Emba Anthem, such a lethal track.
You have a busy gigging schedule ahead of you. Which nights are you most looking forward to playing at?
I look forward to all of them, honestly I’m still quite new to this and fully buzz from all of it. But I think idea of going over to Australia for 3 weeks to play in March, is mental! Especially cannot wait for that.
Can you tell us about the background to forming Mineo and where the name originated from?
The background to Mineo is a lot of work and a few years’ isolation making and making and making tracks. The name (with 10 minutes to a print deadline) was a quick clash of minds. It was born and it just sounded good. And I can see it at the top of a flyer… Or… e-flyer, or facebook event invite probably, as it’s not 2001 anymore and diesel jeans have almost disappeared.
Your new single: Turn Out The Lights is out now on Hot Creations. How did your relationship with the label come about?
I sent Jamie the track sometime in august just on email I think and a few hours later it was getting played at his paradise party at dc10 for the first time and that was it..
Can you talk us through the process of producing the track?
It can start from anything, could be a beat, a vocal idea, a sample, just got a new plug in or bought a new synth or toy… that’s what I love about it. It’s like every time you sit down to make a track, it’s like there is a hit in there, it’s hiding from you until you convince it to come and hang. It’s just about being inspired, and well, that there is a separate thing and the biggest mystery of it all. That’s when you start to really respect those producers and artists who are prolific, and don’t stop being inspired and even if you don’t love their music, you have to admire that. Coz when you’re not inspired you can have all the kit in the world plugged into an ssl desk but you won’t make a thing… the days you wake up and feel inspiration… get the laptop out, do anything quickly, coz it might be gone in an hour….
How did you first get into Dj’ing, who initially influenced you?
I first got into it when I was 15. I saw the silver Technics 1200’s at my mates house and would go round most days, I’d even go round when he wasn’t in coz I knew the family and would mix drum and bass and early house music straight out the record shops in Kingston, which is where I grew up. White labels with just a phone number on… I just loved it…and my decks are set up again in my home. They are iconic forever and look dope in the flat too. The actual aesthetic of the Technics was a part of it as well for me, it’s the same with my Akai MPC, it just looks nice, someone designed it with care and love and a vision and sadly that is something we lost for a while. They disappeared out of clubs and as much as I use them and love them for what they do and how well they actually do it, cdj’s don’t look as nice do they. Technics once made a cd player that looked like a mini 1200 deck. They just didn’t work that well though. It’s such a shame… but you can’t mess with a having usb stick as a record collection. Although it takes a certain mind to be able to memorize the contents of a usb by name, its not easy and I forget to play tracks. You know, a complete banger that I just don’t know the name of yet. When you’ve got a box of records, you can see them by their sleeves, the colours and the names, it’s much easier, and it’s better, let’s face it..
Do you think that Dance Music should always look forward – what are your thoughts on Disco re-edits and current vogue for the early House sounds?
There’s something innovative about making something sound authentic and retro in a nice way at the right time. Although you get bored of hearing your own stuff after a while. The moment of creating something and for one moment if you can capture it and do it with a confidence and a purpose that the listener can feel..that’s kind of it I guess. If you wanna make garage that sounds like the 90’s again or do a re-edit, go for it just do it well, take a good sample, not a shit one. And make the beat skip right.
Can you describe your studio set-up and any favourite piece of equipment?
I’ve got nice synths I’ve collected over the years and thankfully never sold any… from Korg to Rolands to Oberheim ob8 (always needs a service but is off the chain) I’ve even got a Wasp…. stop showing off!! But really now it’s all pretty much based around my laptop as I’m sure is the case for most. I have an Akai MPC 3000 which is the first thing I bought and I dip in and out of using, don’t know why though. I turned it on yesterday and listened to a two bar loop I made for about two and a half hours with no stopping. It’s a little hypnotic the way it does that. When you get a beat sitting right, you can listen to it for hours. I do treasure that machine. It’s how I started making music and I’ll have it forever…
What piece of music has been most inspiring you recently?
Artie Shaw- Nightmare. Someone really special to me showed me it a year ago. It’s dope from 1938. and just people who make stuff with character…tempting to list a load of people but the question was one so i’ll leave it there..
Where can people see you play?
Mineo 5 year world tour starts now… Just played first set as Mineo at Fabric last week which was really good after years of not going there. Doing something at showcase Barcelona for Fact who do great parties on Nov 23 and something in London end of November for Space Cowboys at Cuckoo Club which looks like a lot of fun too… It will all get posted on facebook and very soon a website for all that info at www.mineo.co.uk
For openers I can’t really recommend this album highly enough. But don’t go expecting gospel inspired cliques either lyrically or musically, however what you do get is creative, forward-thinking sounds that all at once engage and challenge you. Of course, this being My Favorite Robot Records you probably guessed that bit already. Love the guitars on Rain, the delightfully sleazy vocals on Minireich (feat. Sex Judas & Rupert Cross), and the dreamy electronics generated by the concluding Backseat Reflexion. The remainder is equally invigorating too blending moods, words and atmosphere’s notably together alongside the starry array of guests. Listen for yourself below!
This excellent set of productions from DAVI, who you will already know from his releases on Crosstown Rebels, now comes to light in their own right. Three tracks beginning with The Bay 6 (Pt. 1) which comprises of tense, plucked guitar lines alongside what is undoubtedly the EP’s signature: deep, brooding bass complimented by swirling textures of sound that give the music real depth. (Pt.2) replays those very elements, while third number The Time Has Come is perhaps the standout simply because of the heightened sense of emotion it captures. There is an almost a cinematic quality to this arrangement coupled to what is certainly a first-rate production.
Paolo Martini (of Bini & Martini fame) and fellow Italian Paul C deliver one of my favourite Hot Creations releases in a while. The title track, Get This! is simply a case of turn it up! Especially once that bassline hits with you with all the fevered determination it can muster. Then powered by hot tribal drums, plus nagging synth lines, these six minutes of sheer pleasure proceed to lift and drop in just the right places complimented by sometimes sinister voices. Bull Revenge is an altogether funkier affair with an infectious loop of guitar and snazzy percussion, leaving the pulsating Flying Lizard to end on a repetitive high.
With the autumn sunshine breaking through the grey clouds this morning Oba, Lá Vem Ela plays like the perfect accompaniment to the change in seasons. A brave and substantial cover of Brazil’s Jorge Ben (wrote Mas Que Nada!) by Swedish folk rock band Junip but one which they pull it off in style with their introspective melodies drifting most pleasingly over a sea of strummed acoustic guitars and spine-tingling synths – Balearic heaven. Fans of the band will also know that ‘Line of Fire’ was used to advertise the last series of Breaking Bad, which says it all really. The track also features on the labels forthcoming ‘Brazilian Beats 7’ so that’s something to look for too.
Why Can’t We Live Together: Expanded Version
Big Break Records/ TK Records
Originally released in 1972 the single Why Can’t We Live Together is one of those defining moments whose impassioned plea for unity still resonates today (with the possible exception of politicians). Its defining sounds were the percussion played by Thomas on his Lowery organ, which also produced the raspy chords and notes to embellish the vocals. And in one sense it’s that very combination that peppers the album throughout working particularly well on The Chi-lites cover ‘The Coldest Days Of My Life.’ The smoky, soulfulness of his voice is also notable on Dizzy Dizzy World and on this expanded edition bonus track People Are Changing, with the surprisingly up-tempo Funky Me finishing in a blaze of fiery percussion and pumping bass!
‘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.
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.
Love this. The capitals’ Alexis Raphael captures the invigorating sounds and feel of contemporary House music perfectly with this inspired production. Tempered by strident beats and deliciously dark sounding synths the arrangement sets you up for its fall into bassline nirvana, with a timely nod to early nineties vocal samples’ and a twist of infectious Disco toms into the bargain. Hot Natured then proceed to deepen the bass and add edgy attitude to their sublimely powerful remix, as second track I Know feels almost church-like in comparison: with heavenly Organ cumulating in a succession of hypnotic handclaps and cheeky selection of yet more classic vocal lines… 9
Cesar Coronado’s debut for the relocated Flumo label sees splashing 909 hats play off against nagging vocal snippets and cool fuzzy chords. Meanwhile, the impressive Atapy Remix gets funky with its Bass while playing pounding synthetic drums as it evolves into a creative collection of electronic notes and pads. However, it’s down to Ed Maddams Soul Dub to transform the mood of it all by breaking up the beats and adding excellent Jazzy tones to a particularly stinking sequence of events. Hats off, this is good. The Way I Feel About You replays another classic vocal from the 90’s over a suitably fashionable b-line to compliment it all stylishly. 8
Have to say I made the mistake of underestimating this when I first heard it. But, much to my delight it’s all you could hope for and more from Parisian Joss Moog, whose distinctive selection of influences hits all the right buttons. Slinky bass and infectiously funky percussion effortlessly work their way into your consciousness as Motown inspired voices and moody chords do all the rest. That Old Feeling: simple and yet totally effective. As indeed is, Xtra Bass which again plays a collection of beats and breaks as smooth dancefloor filler. The much perkier, That’s What UR follows by adding Disco flavour and the 70’s party-time inflections of Blue Paradise complete. 8
You will be well familiar with Manuel Tur reading Magazine Sixty so it’s a definite pleasure to be introducing you to his new, and second, album for Freerange. Both label and artist espouse certain qualities when it comes to the music they release and thought-provoking tracks such as new single, High Needs Low are a perfect case in point. From heavy-duty deepness to more spacious atmospheres the curiously titled album (via Salvador Dali) never fails but to thrill you with its exploration of ideas about sound and their possibilities. That may sound a touch pretentious but on songs like, Maybe Next Lifetime featuring BlakKat you can get the general idea. The cinematic collages continue through the uncertain repetition of, Mirrors and on the eerily perfect, Just Love with Elina Monova – whose probing use of vocals lifts the music above and beyond. 8
Various Artists Baker Street 5th Anniversary Baker Street Recordings
Superlative Leeds based label Baker Street celebrates its five years in existence with this collection of choice moments from its past, complimented by a selection of new remixes pointing towards the future. Split over two CD’s, with the initial featuring the new versions, let’s start with the second as it opens with Matthias Vogt’s killer remix Paul Hardy’s Swirl – which just so happens to be a favourite from last year. All the labels stalwarts are present here from Moodymanc to Jay Shepheard and Baker Street’s distinctive twist on American House music plays out fluently flitting between moods and instrumentation. The remix CD then comes care off the likes of Murray Richardson, Martijn and also includes the spectacular Lo Tech Remix of Lie To Me, so you know what quality to expect. 8
Opening with the breezy, Jazz Cafe the album develops its theme with titles like the succinctly funky standout cut, Disco On The Dancefloor and cruises through everything from deeper to techy territory with ease. Although, it’s not always as straight forward as that may sound due to the colourful use of styles which are playfully incorporated into the mix: a hint of Jazz here, a touch of Ska there. But that’s precisely what makes Basement Story quite so enjoyable. The album also includes a couple of bonus remixes and ends on the down-tempo orchestration of, The Black Cat Gismo for the sheer hell of it. 7
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