I could simply list the music on here and you wouldÂ demand it all. But let’s just say: Ashford & Simpson â€˜One More Try, The O’Jays â€˜This Time Baby’, Lafleur â€˜Dub Till We Drop, The System â€˜It’s Passion’ and that’s only half of the story. The remainder includes Klein & MBO, B Beat Girls and Kasso which all sum up into an energy packed blast through the styles and sounds of the late seventies and early-ish eighties. Never a dull moment as they say as Johnny D excitedly cuts-up and mixes the beats with dedication that is heartfelt and inspiring. The mixed version of the CDÂ even comes complete with starry voice overs, although nothing could really come close toÂ the sublime bliss of the penultimate Ultra High Frequency â€˜We’re On The Right Track’. The range and influences on offerÂ here areÂ neverÂ less than impressive and the combination of song, electronics’ and real instrumentation is clearly a lesson in love – fast and slow. 9
Eight years in and with his eighth release for the label perhaps not surprisingly the Lost My Dog co-founderÂ producesÂ something rather excellent in that old-school House kind of way with peak-time stabs and razor sharp beats all feeling very dancefloor – the suitably classic claps and moody pads fill in the gaps just like they used too. Moodymanc then picks up the pace with more staccato stabs and rushing hi-hats giving the remix typical intensity, aided by a flourish of funky timbaleÂ it all becomes peak-time business with the introduction of the held strings which then sweep alongside the deep vocals. The d-d-Drum Dub follows playing out the percussion against sizzling background tension on his second and equally excellent remix. Next up is Rush which does just that with more fuzzy Strictly styled stabs and strings sounding sensuous, while Peace La Paz dishes outÂ 909 beats and more deliciously juicy basslines. 8
Uppercut â€˜Turn The Music To Your Head’ Kult Records
More prime-time action from Kult as Montreal’s Dj Uppercut makes his return to the fold with this shinny sounding production. Driven along by an insistent electro riff this builds and drops withÂ prowess and is supported by heavily treated voices and perky keys. Remixes come from Mikel Curcio and the excellent Zoltan Kontes who’s perfectly named 4hour dub version delivers a typically devastating tribalÂ workout which Kult do oh-so-well. Love the Fx, love the Drums. 9
If you inhabited the early nineties then â€˜I Wanna Dance The Night Away’ was one of many sampled vocal refrains that made a repeated appearance at the time, however it makes a most welcome return now in all its detuned glory. Sounding all the more exciting played against this brutally simplistic bassline and moody keys the mix also builds up space-age fx along with a repetition youÂ won’t want to escape from. Mind Games proceeds with more enticing deepness combining classic drums sounds and chords that again get feverish with a well timed arrangement. Finishing off for the Spanish label is Visit From God which breaks up the beats while deliveringÂ big P-FunkÂ attitude. 8
More excitement from Kult as David Roped first of all teases you with shuffling electro beats and then hits you with deep bass and unpredictable, sinister synthesizers which out scream winter is coming. Touched by an compelling sense of rhythm and reminiscent of classic European electronics this may not do lots, but what it does do it does extremely impressively, and sounds even better the louder it gets. Chris Costanzo’s ridiculously good remix follows full throttle with blazing beats and intoxicating notes reaching an inevitable climax of gorgeous feeling. Think I’ve made the point – where’s the dancefloor! Cyberx then gets syncopated with melodic percussion until more dark keys provide yet another tempting alternative to savior. 9
More seasonal faire for your delectation as the next three pieces of music fall neatly into monthly running order. Beginning with the excellent, Blue October and its sumptuous bassline it’s hard to not to fall for the sparkling chords and sweeping fx which conjure up just about the right image. Station Novembre proceeds with a crowd scene of people and places while haunting pads end up with a more tech feel and reverberated voices, while Sweet December finishes succulently with mood enhancing strings and electronic pulses. Atmospheres. 8
My sound is the result of different influences. I always liked every style of electronic and dance music: from eighties electronic bands like Depeche Mode to the nineties US House of Masters at Work, from the German Progressive-Trance of people like Jam & Spoon with their Tripomatic Fairytales album to the Funky Techno of the early Intergroove label. The only requisite is that it has to be well produced and artistically valuable. I highly dislike cheesy, manufactured and vulgar music: essentially 90% of what you find these days in the UK charts. Having said that: I would describe my style as energetic, eclectic and cheeky.
What is the concept behind the compilation – are there any tracks you particularly like on the CD?
The compilation, which is the follow up to mine and KULT Records’ DIGITAL GENERATION from 2010, appropriately titled DIGITAL GENERATION 2 aim to capture the essence of one of my live DJ sets. It is hard to concentrate in approximately 80 minutes what is usually spread over 3/4 hours during a live set. But I think I managed this time too. I like every track I have included or they would not be there in the first place. But if I have to point out a track in particular, I am quite proud of the single HISPANICITY. This track shows the more organic side of my sound and it is currently storming the Beatport Techno Top 100 sales chart. I hate being pigeon-holed as a Progressive House DJ, because I am not. I play a lot of House and Techno during my sets too, but people always seem to have the need to categorize everything. I hate boundaries, you know what they say: sky is the limit…
What equipment do you like to use to DJ with – any hidden extras in your set-up?
Yes, my hidden extras are imagination and creativity: the most powerful tools ever invented! I started DJing nearly 20 years ago with vinyl and always using 3 decks. I now continue the tradition by using 3 CD players. I realize that with a laptop you have more effects and tricks up your sleeve. But using a laptop is cheating. This guy recently messaged me to ask: what were the beats per minute of one of my productions because the program he used on his laptop could not figure out and he could not beat-match the track. I mean: seriously? There were no beat counting tools in the nineties, yet Carl Cox and many other DJs mixed flawlessly with 4 decks simultaneously. You cannot call yourself a DJ if you need a machine to beat-match and do everything for you…perhaps more like a programmer?
Which clubs have you most enjoyed playing at?
Too many too mention. But clubs in Northern and continental Europe or in Northern America are usually the clubs where I have the best time and where I can be really creative with my music selection.
What are you listening to at home to relax from it all?
I usually listen to a lot of electronic, rock and indie bands. I find there is so much good music around these days, but you have to dig for it. My favorite artists at the moment are Chad Valley, M83, Cut Copy, Holy Ghost!, Gotye, Hurts, Monarchy, Robyn, Delphic, I Blame Coco, Bag Raiders and the list goes on and on. Check their stuff out!
Hotwired directly from his Valencia recording studio into your system is Indy Lopez’s inescapable release for NYC’s Kult Records. Hitting all the right reference buttons his production administers a killer synth hook, fierce tribal beats and party-time vocals to remedy any given situation, or at least that’s how the feeling goes. Eddie Cumana takes a different direction with relentlessly moody stabs, heavy duty sub-bass and invigorating percussion on yet another skillfully executed remix which I’d seriously suggest you try out for size. 9
Timmy Regisford feat. Lynn Lockamy â€˜At The Club’ Tribe Records
Tribe’s motto of, One Sound One People encapsulates the sentiments of this powerful song perfectly. Lifted from Timmy Regisford’s album for the label, from earlier in the year, this now has added urgency with this brand new set of remixes. The Da Capo Afro Mix impressively blends together mean techno stabs and shuffling shaker rhythms with Lynn Lockamy’s smoking vocals, which when combined with the imposing pads feels nothing less than epic. The Rocco (Rodamaal) remix picks up the pace with perky chords to give the song a different perspective while DJ Mbuso reworks it yet again with cool breaks and pulsating beats. 9
Manchester based producers Niall and Liam aka Kamo are ones to watch if this trip through twisted funk is something to go by. Pitched at a less intense tempo, and all the more forceful for it, Set The Routine manages to throw together all sorts of twists and turns by way of eighties synths through to a classic House bassline and comes up shinning. Second track Shoot Your Shot feels that bit more retro but then with a slap-bass of this magnitude that’s fine by me. Classic Recordings Luke Solomon provides an impeccable remix of Set… by combining an intense set of disorientating rhythms leaving you dazed and pleasantly confused. Buenos Aries DJ Manuel Sahagun then ups the tempo on Shootâ€¦ and gives it a techier though no less funky feel. 8
Fair to say that this acts as a trip down memory lane that stretches beyond House music to Balearic gems such as It’s Immaterial â€˜Driving Away from Home’ and features many â€˜hard to find’ remixes which came to define the sound of the UK from the late eighties to the early nineties. The list of who was who reads like a dream from The Beloved to Leftfield to The Grid, and includes seminal versions by Andrew WeatherallÂ and David Morales amongst many others. This compilation plays for people who feel the need to relive their youth as much as it does for people yet to live it. Bill Brewster’s wise words provide the notes to accompany the two CD set on the first of much more to come (I hope). 9
Â Lisbon based producer Vahagns’ sultry infusion of deep bass and pounding four/ four beats fuse together perfectly to ignite Buzzin’ Fly’s aptly timed August release. Substitute the word deep for intense here as the undulating synth stabs build into some kind of ecstasy and then transform more subtly into acid tweaks. Hypnotic in the extreme this beautifully tuned instrumental exudes perfect pitch. Brouqade Records own Dana Ruh adds reverberated drums and old school claps to her uber cool take on the affair with second remix from Nick Chacona adding partial melodic sense to it all. 8
Deep yet twisted. Dark and definitely dangerous. Those are the only ways to fittingly describe Guvernment resident Ovi M’s excellent EP for Manchester Underground Music. Although of course hailing from Toronto the label is nothing if not cosmopolitan in scope. Opening with Ashfault, which immediately dispenses with formalities via heavy sub-bass, nasty drums and insistent voices this proves to be intense House Music for extremes. DJ Meri aka Cylon then takes it all to another level with all sorts of twisted sounds going off , while Lisum does much more of the same, as indeed does Marium, with the apt Links 2 Past finishing by touching on Sneak’s heavy-duty Disco. Â 9
Karol XVII & MB Valence â€˜Vintage Box 3′ Loco Records
By my far my favorite in the series of sumptuous music from choice producers Karol XVII & MB Valence number three most effectively combines contemporary style with past influences. The interestingly titled Cottage Cheese Dumplings references jazzy keys and live sounding drums which give it a supremely funky feel perfect for the bar and/ or dancefloor, although preferably somewhere hot and sunny. The Rusty Piano features an almost Murk styled bassline for good measure and climaxes with a bizarrely oddball treatment of said piano. Muzzik then has the vocal of the same name add a human touch to commanding funky rhythms which again put you in mind of somewhere else, perhaps even the windy city. Â 8
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Hohle â€˜Conviction EP’ Deep Edition Records
Hohle comprises of Leicester’s City Fly residents Kieran Clare and Lloyd Lindo along with notable sound engineer Francis Sevier. This feels like one the labels’ most accomplished releases to date on Martijn’s already quality imprint, so that’s probably saying something. The Original plays an infectious melancholy vocal over warm keys and pulsating rhythms all of which are undeniably impressive. Moodmusic’s Sasse provides an excellent remix packed with punchy beats and exaggerated claps driving the vocal once again to distraction and back. The Submantra version then picks it up with more energy injected into the drums and filtered vocal treatments, while Martijn’s own remix surpasses himself in terms of his creative use of sounds and their arrangement. 9
Â Soulmelt â€˜Spot The Difference’ Celestial Recordings
That’s the thing about House Music sometimes it doesn’t necessarily have to sound new to feel right. And in this case it scores on both points. If filtered tough repetitive grooves with uplifting sentiments are your style then this plays just for you. Same Difference comes as an Original plus a deeper Nohijo edit with both versions featuring more and less of the gorgeous trumpet. Rising Tides, not surprisingly, has as touch of the beach about it delivering shimmering atmospheres across tough beats while Daydreamer’s lovely pads and trippy voices feel dangerously close to retro to finish off this excellent release. 9
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Diego B From SP â€˜Backlash*Pecto EP’ Kult Records
As soon as the bassline hits you know this means business. Gentlemen of a certain age with a fondness for Giorgio Moroder will love the Electroviolin Mix of Pecto instantly as it transports you back and forth, to then and now, with sublime ease. Searing synths and irrepressible drums complete the picture on this almighty energetic instrumental. Backlash gets nasty with another storming succession of electro beats and harsh stabs leaving you little time to catch your breathâ€¦ 9
Holy s***t I love this. Following on the epic â€˜Bring back the drums’ with Kobbe comes this latest for Kult. Subtlety isn’t exactly the strong point here as techno clashes with Huggo Rizzo’s undoubtedly twisted (that’s in a nice way) mind to produce this rollercoaster ride of electronic beats and original sounds, complimented of course by one almighty breakdown. There’s also the remix of Cytric â€˜Filthy Beats’ with Unik which provides a quirky trip through more unexplained notes and another crazed breakdown. 9Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
What year did Kult start and what was the inspiration behind it?Â
Kult started up in 1994. I did not come into the picture until 1998 so I can only speak for myself and as to what inspired me to come work for the label; I simply loved the label’s sound plus my love for underground house music.Â
Would you say that Dance music has become less song orientated and does that matter?Â
Yes it has, and yes it does matter. DJs are spinnin more instrumentals or dubs in clubs now a days. This trend has become a very popular partly due to underground clubs being very drug oriented and therefore more into the hypnotic ride that is created without the use of vocal records and so vocals do not work on many of today’s underground dancefloors. The drugs people take are different and much harder than stuff around a decade ago. Maybe being so stoned requires less vocals to please the brain…however it has also contributed to the loss of live performances in many clubs and the loss of many great club singers that stopped making records because they can’t sustain themselves without gigs.Â
There still is a small number of DJs playing vocals whether they are commercial or underground releases. Most trance DJs play lots of vocals unlike a Tech-House DJ that just plays snippets of vocal samples every few tracks. It’s really a matter of what genre is your question inquiring about as not all of these recently created genre or style include vocals or song structure for that matter. If you are into vocals then the short answer is that clubland is not gonna deliver.Â Â
How do you approach production/remixing, do you have a favourite piece of studio equipment?Â
A lot of inspiration will come from either a sound or vocal performance from whatever project or remix I may be working on. I don’t really have any favorite piece of gear but really on a few to execute the job. Logic & Protools on a MAC is where all the magic happens accompanied by a few trusted plug-ins like McDSP, WaveArts, Sonnex plus various others. I alsoÂ favorÂ out-board gear by Summit Audio, API, Tube Tech + others.Â
Vinyl / digital: do you have a preference and why?Â
I’ve been DJing for over 20 years now and miss Vinyl for its warm sound but don’t miss carrying creates of records from gig to gig. Â Digital CDs started off being time consuming to burn and in the end heavy all most as Vinyl to carry around but discs made it easier and much more organize for the DJ on the go. Ultimately, the weights is shaved off considerably and the organization is improved even more once one goes all digital . Going digital is as a matter of convenience for most djs and not a matter of liking using dj software Â over using turn tables and vinyl (which is always more fun to use). I currently use NI’s Traktor Pro with the X1 controllers.Â
What makes a good DJ, how do you put a set of music together?Â
Being able to connect with the crowd makes a good DJ along with having a sharp technical sense of sound and musicality. I do not prepare my set, i feed of the crowd and the club’s vibe and take it from there….sometimes i lock on a ride a vibe a sound and carry forth from song to song a particular element that seems to sow the otherwise unique songs together..whatever I do is just spontaneously chosen on the spot and I have fun with it…