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


Leftroom Presents… Laura Jones

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!/leftroom


Cutting Edge mixed Luke Solomon

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


Luca Lozano
Klasse Recordings

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


Walker & Royce
You’re Not Welcome
Crosstown Rebels

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
In Alpha EP
Versatile Records

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


Justin Martin
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.


Laura Jones interview

What first attracted you to music? Which artists / songs are your earliest influences?
I started playing many musical instruments from an early age as well as vocal training in my teens so I was surrounded by a lot of music when I was growing up. The majority of this was classical but there was the odd bit of jazz and contemporary too. 
I took a liking to pretty much every genre of my music going in my early to late teens, indie, trance, hip-hop and garage and it wasn’t until going to Ibiza in my early twenties that the penny dropped with electronic music. 
I decided I wanted to become a DJ in the summer of 2005 while spending a season out there for the first time. I went to DC10 almost every week and became inspired by watching DJs like Tania Vulcano, Clive Henry and Dan Ghenacia. I was 22 and had just graduated from University and had never tried it before but my gut instinct told me it was the right thing to do
 How did your relationships with Leftroom and Visionquest come about?
I actually met Tolfrey the same summer in 2005. We met one Monday at DC10 through a mutual friend. We became good friends over time and when finishing my first few tracks in 2010, he was one of the first people I sent them to. I met Seth at WMC in Miami in 2007 and later that year warmed up for him and Ryan at Mint club in Leeds. I’ve since met Lee and Shaun and we’ve all become good friends. During DEMF in 2010, Matt played the boys the first few tracks I’d sent him, they really liked ‘Live A Little’, decided in the October that they were going to sign it and it got released the following summer.
Tell us about the process for selecting the tracks for your new mix compilation: Leftroom Presents… Laura Jones?
I knew I didn’t want to do a straight-up club mix so opted for something a little deeper. With liking so many different types of tracks, pin-pointing the angle to take with it was a little tricky but just picked tracks I liked and hoped that a good selection would come back to me having been agreed by the labels involved. I commissioned three exclusive remixers which was the fun part – Matt Tolfrey & Russo, Gavin Herlihy and Ryan Crosson. They were able to choose their own track to remix from Leftroom’s back-catalogue and then I very much left them to their own devices. I picked the three I did as I knew I could trust them all to deliver which they did so it all worked out perfectly in the end.
How did you go about producing music – any favourite piece of software / hardware that you like to use?
I currently share a studio with my boyfriend Gavin Herlihy. We have a desktop iMac with Mackie HR 824 monitors, a 72-key keyboard, Maschine, a Roland Gaia synth and a Korg Electribe. My main DAW is Logic and the main plug-ins I use are Native Instrument’s Kontakt and Spectrasonic’s Trillian and Omnisphere for its collection of hardware synth samples
I’ve used primarily soft-synths to create my tracks thus far as we didn’t have any hardware at the time. We’ve only just started to invest in hardware this year so the aim is to build up the hardware collection and continue learning the ropes.

How you describe your sound in terms of DJ’ing? What do you prefer to dj with?
I love and play a real variety of music in my sets. I tend to keep things pretty moody but melodic at the same time. I play anything from stripped back Deep House and right through to techno. I even play the dubbier, more breaks-style music if the mood suits. Ultimately it doesn’t really bother me what genre something belongs to, if it’s good and it’s right in the moment I’ll play it. I also think it can really work in your favour if what you play is relatively diverse as one thing I’ve noticed when touring round Europe and the rest of the world is that every country seems to be at a very different stage in the evolution of underground dance music so it helps to be able to tailor the sound on the night.
Right now, I am playing with Traktor Scratch as I don’t have the best vision and it’s easier for me to see the computer screen than it is text on a CD or vinyl sleeve. I only started using it a couple of months ago and am using CD at the moment but will be moving to vinyl pretty soon and actually I think longer term, once I have a tour manager in tow (and someone to carry the bags), I’ll most probably go back to vinyl. Ha!
What are the positives and negatives affecting dance music in 2012?
The main negative affecting dance music in 2012 is the fact that the underground scene is losing its identity a little. I remember when I started collecting vinyl, I couldn’t get enough of searching for tracks I’d heard out in the clubs and it wouldn’t be that difficult to find and the quality would be next-level. Now, you try and look for something and you have to wade through reams of noise to find it. I think now that it’s easier for people to start labels and put out music digitally, it’s diluting the quality of the music. 
More and more DJs are becoming involved in the commercial side of things at the expense of what they believe in order to make more money. Some club-owners seem to be doing the same. I recently played at a new club in Europe, amazing sound, great vibe but tarnished slightly by the fact the owner can’t decide whether to keep it underground or go commercial. I really think people should stick to their guns regardless of the money that’s involved but guess I’m not a club owner in the current economic climate.
I think the main positive would have to be the continued comeback of vinyl. I’ve been living in Leeds since coming to uni here in 2001 and I’ve been witness to the best underground record stores in the city gradually closing down one by one with exception of one or two who sell a wider range of genres as well as tickets for events. In the last month, one has opened again in Leeds selling only underground dance music and it seems to be a roaring success thus far. It’s called Waxwerks and is adjoined by a new club space called The Garage, which is also the best underground clubbing experience Leeds has seen in a good while.

Who do you like to listen to outside of house music?
I’m finding very little time for alternative listening at the moment but when I have the time, I love a lot of different music, old and new. I’m really in to electronica and downbeat stuff. I still love hip-hop, garage and the more stripped back musical dubstep like Burial and Consequence. Early influences who I still like to listen to are bands like Radiohead and the Rolling Stones. I love Arthur Russell, Prince and Stevie Wonder too, they’re all big big inspirations of mine. And I guess more recently, artists such as Blood Orange, Jamie Woon and Junip.

‘Leftroom Presents… Laura Jones’ is released mid-June on Leftroom with an accompanying vinyl sampler appearing at the same time…!/laura___jones