A breath of fresh air is how we all like to start the New Year. And while this latest release from Lance DeSardi couldn’t exist without the past it still feels beautifully resonate for 2017. I guess that’s mainly down to the sweet melodies drifting across the stereo care of the vocals spacey treatments, plus the confident keyboard motifs that help fuel the groove alongside the crisp, insistent drums of Future Time. Either way this sounds like a great track and a proud addition to the Lazy Days canon, which comes complete with a sublime instrumental. The fashionably titled, Field Recording follows with a definite Detroit flavour coming across all emotional and poignant pushing you in the rewarding direction of atmospheric climes. Leaving the 90’s referencing, Wild B&^ch hitting you next with all the brutal intensity that the title suggests.
Nacho Marco/ Roberto Rodriguez
That Smile/ Giving It All
Lazy Days Recordings
Celebrating ten years of almost anything these days is, of course, cause for celebration and this two track release continues with the second of the cumulative 10 by Ten series. Beginning with the aptly titled That Smile and Nacho Marco’s soulfully charged Acid grooves, which prove to be almost too hot to handle, this emotive seven plus minutes juxtaposes intense 303 attitudes alongside cool piano notes and feels refreshingly excellent. Next, Giving It All delivers deliciously wonky basslines amid undulating funkiness in the shape of effected keys and percussion, which increase energy levels as the production unfolds with the later introduction of vocals only fuelling the fire.
I get the sense that this isn’t so much good as great. Partly because it thinks outside of the box as something imagined on its own terms, not for cynicism. Three equally challenging pieces of music co-exist to form this debut release from (the mysterious) Growin Music starting out with the unpredictably beautiful Holding The Four Winds. Underscored by rough edged Techno beats it’s the swirling, soaring synthesisers that captivate the attention and feel little short of epic. Digital Crush, continues the theme again scoring high on atmosphere this time punctuated by drum hits and meandering percussion, leaving the excellent Walks On The Boulevard to finish on classy Deep House tones and a more traditionally executed arrangement of sounds.
Naples based collective Marsupials and London’s Marcus Raute join minds to deliver four addictive slices of House for your pleasure via the always impressive Large Music imprint. The tough-edged title track takes centre stage with gritty beats and organ lines feeling increasingly intense as the addition of punchy stabs and vocal touches furnish the arrangement with all the necessary soul required. The Dub version then proceeds to strip it all back to basics revealing its deeper essence. Unless You Play picks up the pace next with brighter keys and sizzling hi-hats, while the 90’s inspired I Don’t Want You ends with yet more soulful vocals and biting organ hits feeling frisky and funky.
Art Of Tones
Elephants & Flies
Lazy Days Recordings
Ludovic Llorca aka Art Of Tones first release on the label comprises three originals plus one dub version. And it’s all too easy for me to say that title track Elephants is a simply outstanding slice of music that cuts the atmosphere it generates with a knife. I’d be intrigued to know what the Elephant reference is, but in the meantime this captivating exploration of tones sees punchy keys and swirling notes feel cinematic and thoughtful against a backdrop of shuffling rhythms and stinking sounds. The Dub tweaks the elements providing something altogether more dancefloor orientated, although doesn’t capture quite the same emotions. Next Myself, My Body has bluesy voices over tougher beats, bass and accompanying strings, while The Right Movement’s intense, jazzy inflections provide yet another reason to pay attention.
Another Darius Syrossian production, time for another killer bassline. I’ll Do Anything does anything but disappoint with its funky Detroit flavoured bass offset by soulful vocals and abrasive yet seductive drums. Straightforward and straight to the point, how could you not like this? The remix is from label heads Leftwing & Kody and they give it a fresh sheen with snare rolls and infectious House riffs complimenting the original perfectly. Second track I’m Not Weird, You’re Just Normal says all that needs to be said as jazzy keys get lost in another slammin’ succession of big time beats completing a great debut for this brand new label.
Don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting Bonar Bradberry’s vocal to be quite so appealing in such an infectious way, but it is. The title tracks deep, shuffling rhythms underpin it all as the voice intones with a uniquely English quality which provides such a refreshing change here, that of course and that the music’s so hot too. Mario Basanov provides the remix with trademark eighties influences sounding tastefully funky as always, and indeed gives the vocal that extra something. Rollerball doesn’t have the same charm but is none the less is an atmospheric journey through the landscape of European electronics.
Overground/ Underground? Never mind all that. I’d much rather this deeper, funky number in the charts then most of the rest of it. Lifted from their album and with remixes forthcoming their latest single sees Howard Lawrence on vocals sounding rather fine. Judge it all for yourself….
release: August 18
Hold Your Horses – Expanded Edition
You know that expression: beg, borrow or steal? Well, this is exactly what they were referring to. Time to get very excited!! The history bit reads a little something like this: After scoring major dance classics such as Let No Man Put Asunder in 1977 the group went on to record their second album also in part produced by Norman Harris, but now with the additional magic of Tom Moulton and Thor Baldursson was released in 1979. Not only does it include Let Me Down Easy but also the seminal Love Thang with that â€˜gets you every time’ vocal delivery from the trio, and Double Cross which both appear here via various remixes including Larry Levan, Tee Scott and Bobby DJ Guttadaro. Once again there a superlative sleeve notes care off Christian John Wikane whose invaluable reading of history is essential.
It’s hard to top the Larse reworking of Endless Feeling from the tail end of last year’s E.P from Gavin Herily. I mean not that the original was more than good enough (it was after all excellent) but this new version adds some extra fizz to the production for 2012. The array of impressive vocal treatments remains intact as indeed do the tension building guitar/ synth licks but Larse re-tweaks it all supplying energetic, shuffling hats and a choice pounding beat. Inxec and Shaun Reeves then replay Tell Me What You Need by perking up the drums and evolving the sounds into a blissful climax, while Geddes hits home with a heavy-duty bass driven 928 version that shimmers distinctively with funky percussion and emotive electronics. 8
Lawnchair Generals ‘Don’t Stop’ Lazy Days Recordings
Not only does this reference a personal Disco favourite but also screams syncopation is King and/ or indeed Queen. Produced by Peter Christianson and Carlos Mendoza this Hi-Nrg trip down memory lane is nothing less than excitement personified, although this time with added punch, fresh synth and a faster tempo. Try the Original or the Dub which has extra chords and drums for satisfaction most definitely guaranteed. Rob Mello’s No Ears Mix reconstructs everything bar a touch of voice and neatly transforms it into deeper tech styled intrigue. 8
Pulp Disco & The Outcasts â€˜Witches’ Legendary Sound Research
Following on from Overnight To Dusseldorf on Ashley Beedle’sÂ Out Hear Audio comes this smoothly pulsating and rather fabulous exercise in Cosmic/ Disco/ House (definitely not a genre but certainly a cool clash of ideas). Sensibly paced and augmented by tasty percussion throughout this blends together sassy euro-syncopation with a timely House chord sequence and breathy voices impressively, leaving The Legendary 1979 Orchestra to rework the elements with hats to the fore and additional off-kilter keys. Second track Rimini (Estasi Dell Amore) feels even better getting sleazy with nasty synths and a climatic arrangement that oozes European appeal, and then some moreâ€¦ 8
Sandman & Riverside feat ft. Kymberli Wright â€˜It’s Too Late’ Fast FWD Records
The Original version of It’s Too Late combines a powerful sparing of percussion played intently with Jazz in mind alongside heavy Rhodes and notable scat vocals. And as truly impressive as it that all sounds (and is), for me Ron Trent once again provides the icing to the cake. Intensity is the middle name here as an array of rhythms envelope you in a series of dance reference points that score equally high on passion and imagination. The Dub proceeds to play around with the gorgeous instrumentation paying perfect compliment. KZR then strip it all back to highlight more voice on their Late Night Dub with a neat Reprise taking care of the rest. 9
Alter Ego Nolan’s instantly appealing production sounds like it was recorded in the hot sunshine on a sandy beach somewhere in the Med. I know it’s only February but who’s counting. Out soon on NYC’s sister label to the seminal Nurvous imprint this is based around a familiar, though not obvious, party-time piano loop withÂ competing vocal edits and thumping beats all vying for your attention. However the HXU aka Huxley vs Timo Garcia remix is an altogether more sober affair: dropping the mood, feeling deeper, more soulful and is sublimely fine. Cocktails at dawn. 8
Jon Sweetname â€˜Dulce Amor’ (Remixes) Loco Records Supreme
Love the Touchan remix of this track from Barcelona’s Jon Sweetname precisely because it delivers the unexpected. Which in this case is a slightly sinister bassline aided by a whirring vocal loop and creative electronics all of which create an unsettling, though thoroughly enticing mood. The Martin Nowakowski follows with yet more imaginative touches and treatments on his slightly more â€˜up’ feeling version. Something a bit different and therefore clearly worth your time. 8
Max Chapman does Kaluki proud with this EP. Rhythm Stick’s bold bassline provides the reasonÂ that made you fall in love with House Music in the first place. Plus with its creative combination of smart drum programming, ear pleasing sounds andÂ wish you’d thought of it arrangement this proves hard not to love. Escape again adds together notable sounds with fresh feeling perspective, with Another Time and a Julien Sandre collaboration finishing with yet more addictive bass, perilous synths and haunting voices. 9
I:Cube â€˜Lucifer En DiscothÃ¨que EP’ Versatile Records
Transpiration sounds like a Todd Terry stab on acid. And as tempting as that may, or may not sound, what’s truly exciting about I:Cube’s shimmering production is that it makes you want to jump up and down in no particular order. Coupled with big Disco hi-hats and edgy electronics this has to be heard to be believed! Jah Menta then delivers a scratchy soundtrack to tempt you further into mysticism, while the title track is an instantÂ rush of new-wave disco that isÂ purely party. Forward thinking music and a perfect teaser of what’s in store from the forthcoming album, Megamix. 8
Matthias Vogt â€˜Under The Radar EP’ Lazy Days Recordings
Everything begins with a C as this Chicago inspired EP kicks off with the effortlessly cool, C-Scat. Built around jazzy vocal snippets and one mother of a bassline this hits the spot nicely. Under The Radar, follows with deeper chords and toms producing tasteful moods, as The Flow version of the same proceeds to explore the atmosphere further with poignant piano and classic techno percussion. And if all of that wasn’t enough the Pad-A-Pella does just what you would expect with funkier beats and even more space and time. 8
Le Vinyl â€˜Time For Change’ Deep Edition Recordings
It isn’t all just about the drum and the bass as this imaginative production shares frequently excitable rhythms and effervescent chords with you, alongside a spoken sample that feels warmly familiar – or maybe not. Picking up the pace the â€˜Chris Minus a bit Deep Fried Remix’ wobbles the bassline over snappy snares and disco attitude to provide a notable alternative. 8
Michal Schwa and Nick West wear the confidence of their convictions proudly on their respective sleeves as this two CD (vinyl and digital) set has the audacity to be released alongside the accompanying remixes on their own label. Which in this case come from the likes of The Timewriter, Jef K & Gwen Maze, Soul Minority. The original music is packed with energy and comes with a cool European edge that only adds to the charm, as both vocals and dubs vi equally for your attention. The counterparts then rework the lot. At times this leans towards the dancefloor – witness First Kontakt – while at others has ambience in mind such as on the captivating, Illusions. Beats range from straight-up House to the more twisted variety while funky instrumentation and the smart use of effects always keep you plugged into the loop. 7
Tell us how Dark Energy Recordings happened, and what is its mission statement?Â
Dark Energy has no mission statement – it’s essentially a vehicle for Barry (Milton Jackson) and I to have creative control over our music. It sort of evolved to include other artists but it’s a very ramshackle organisation I think essentially I keep it going because I enjoy writing our facile promo texts. That said we are the only house label that I’m aware of that has our own strategic space program. A guy in the US who makes rockets contacted us and asked to use the name and logo on a rocket he built – as we are massive geeks we said yes of course – and to be honest thats pretty much the only justification we need for the label.Â
How did you originally hook with up with Lazy Days and how did this single come about?Â
I worked with Fred before with the Simply Yes EP back a few years ago. Fred has real love and enthusiasm for the scene and it’s great to work with someone who cares about the music. You need someone who can get excited about your music, it’s easy even for the most established artists to sit in a studio and fret about whether your latest track is ‘good enough’, relevant etc, so to have that feedback is important. There’s not much money in retailing recorded music at this level, so you better have the love!Â
Do you have a favourite piece of studio equipment/ instrument that you like to use?Â
Not really, I own a Fender Rhodes of which I am fond of but I lent that to a very talented keyboardist friend of mine a few years back and I’ve yet to get it back! 🙂 One day!! Till then I work 99% in the box. Dull but true. I recently moved into a new studio so the temptation to fill it full of equipment will no doubt increase.Â
How do you feel about the vinyl vs. digital debate?Â
It’s a bit boring. I say, each to their own. Fundamentally people choose vinyl because they value the esoteric qualities over the convenience of digital. That’s their personal choice. Myself I take convenience because I’m a very busy person. I’ll buy vinyl if I have to or if I want to own the packaging, but it will end up digitised either way.Â
How do you approach Dj’ing and what for you makes a good Dj?
It’s quite simple – I pick tunes I like that I think will work in a club environment and play them in a sequence that I think will work well. Â Some sequences are more successful than others, but that’s where experience comes in. I try to balance between what people expect from coming to see me and also to introduce some new sounds that I may be into to keep things fresh. The main thing is never to bore yourself, that’s why I don’t play every weekend I’d get bored quickly.
I liked MGMT’s last album, Congratulations. The care-free, breezy melodies reminded me of fun times in the seventies and naming one song after Brian Eno also has to be a definite plus. You could say this 10th anniversary selection for Late Night Tales (one of the best compilations around by far) continues the theme by focusing on what influenced that same album. You get everything from melancholy to sheer intensity or to put that in band terms you get Suicide, Velvet Underground and Durutti Column, along with a range of equally pivotal artists and songs. You also get an exclusive version by MGMT of Bauhaus, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and if you can handle the sorrow Dave Bixby’s late sixties, and somewhat self-explanatory ode, Drug Song. Don’t know about saving the best for last but always pays to pay attention to Paul Morely as he reads from the self-penned, Lost For Words it somehow feels strangely fitting. 9.
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Miguel Migs â€˜Outside The Skyline’ Om Records/ Salted Music
You know you must be onto something when you listen to the first track on an album twice in a row. So here’s hoping that one of my favourite producers – star of Naked Music- lives up to expectations. And just looking at the credits you see the names Evelyn â€˜Champagne’ King, Bebel Gilberto and with the exquisite Lisa Shaw amongst many other notables prospects are obviously good. But then you just know this is going to be excellent, don’t you. From the down tempo Funk to up-tempo House – and by that I mean quality – this his third studio album never fails but to deliver a wealth of inspiration. You’ll love all the reference points and influences which come together under Migs’s school of exceptional production. Freddie McGregor even makes a welcome appearance on, They Don’t Know and just about every style worthwhile is represented with Georg Levin’s soulful tones finishing in heavenly fashion. 9
Is staying in the new going out? Couldn’t care less about the answer to that one, give us music like this and we’re happy. There’s no easy way to tell you this, but main track Staying In is f**king excellent. It touches neatly upon the classic House cut-up technique which when it works it works just like this. Explosive, joyous, uplifting are words to go…Second track, Life Live is a typically deep Shur-I-Kan production though eminently danceable whereas One Ten eases down the tempo into a luscious piano-led journey back to the nineties. Nice. 9
released Beatport 20 Sept 2011. everywhere else 4 Oct.
Nachtbraker â€˜Schwung Ep’ Deep Edition Recordings
Amsterdam producer Maurits Verwoerd makes his second appearance on the label with this striking set of three tracks. Ad Rem kicks off in blistering fashion with an up-tempo foray into Tech related House that keeps the genre moving forward. An inventive production for sure this twists off-kilter keys against thumping beats and works a treat. Schwung, follows with a deep sub-based groove which again throws up aural surprises on its way, while Warmloper picks up the pace with open hats and warm pads until the chords progress onto the payoff. 8
release Beatport 3 Oct 2011. everywhere else from 17 Oct.