The underlying tension suggested by the title, It’s A Trap is carried throughout this distinct collaboration. And if music of this calibre is what comes out of the creative lockdown then I’m all for it. As you would expect from Nolan the grooves are taught, fizzing with excitement and suggestion, while Mr. V’s captivating voice says all there is to say. Remixes occur from SIS and from Re:You both delivering invigorating interpretations that do the original version justice in these challenging times. The former expands the breath and light generated via chiming motifs and contemplative breakdowns, the later contrasting with an addictive nervous energy from edgy keys.
One of the most sublime things about music as an art-form is the way it morphs and transforms itself of its own volition. The mind of the artist is the driving force in all this proceeding to challenge in creative ways, while transporting sound into the future. Squire AKA ex-Formula 1 driver Jaime Alguersuari translates those sorts of ideas into Common Sense, which not only feels resonantly tantalising but also tastefully sublime, coming soulfully charged via Graham Baxter’s breathy vocal adding the human touch. Peacock Ritual, then dances around a series of electrical pulses, sensing danger, over and across an array of punctuating beats to complete this excellent release.
Scorching release from Magdalena who also runs the annual EGO AIR event in Hamburg. But back to the music which delivers high on atmosphere while darkly sketching out intense, teasing moods via a web of engaging synth lines and probing low-end theory on the title track, Morphosfalter. Next, Monarchfalter undulates in a different direction with chiming keys punctuating a rush of fizzy electronics, again expansive by nature. Leaving third number, Schillerfalter to satisfy the quest further care off fiery snares and waves of robust sound.
Hello and welcome to magazine Sixty Dean. Your label: Dazed & Confused is celebrating four years in existence. How would you describe the highs and lows of running a label in today’s environment?
Hi Greg, thanks for the opportunity, yes Dazed & Confused Records is now celebrating 4 years of existence, exactly on the 29th April were we will have our own label party in Malta. I started the label back when I was living in Berlin and the idea was to have an output for my music and music from artist that I liked, which didn’t have any labelling and just had great ideas to put out. From then on it just kept developing into having an office and a team in Malta, showcasing our artists through events and now pressing vinyl for the first time, this will be for the Summer Blue release. I feel very lucky to have gotten so far.
Congratulations also on your great new release for Tenampa Recordings: Tabula Rasa EP. Can you talk us through how you produced one of the tracks from the EP, including any favourite pieces of software/ hardware that you like to use?
Thank you for the compliment and also for having the premier. The Ep was done through a special moment in my life, it was the moment when i decided to go back home to Malta, hence Tabula Rasa which amongst many meanings it also means a clean slate. Along these years I have been traveling quite a lot so it was important for me to have a mobile studio.
Since some years now I have been using the Maschine for my beats, it has made my life much easier. Some months ago I also got a Roland JD Xi synth which I used for my main synth sounds. I really love the raw sound it produces.
What is the electronic music culture like on Malta? Any favourite bars/ clubs you would recommend?
The scene in Malta is a small but lively one, I call Malta a holiday Island so parties and good life are a big part of our culture. The electronic scene is getting more professional and varied by time and people are getting into the music culture day by day. As a holiday island there are a lot of tourists that come by and that helps influence the scene a lot.
At the moment we are running a monthly event at Ryan’s pub which has been a landmark for music enthusiasts. There are a lot of cool places to go actually!
Tell us about your working relationship with Lee Van Dowski and which tracks produced together are you most proud of?
Working with Lee was very stimulating and a pleasure as a friend and a colleague, we spent over 2 years working in the studio together, day in day out. We both learned from our strengths and combined them to get the best possible outcome. We had many highlights but the ones I’m proud of are the mobilee releases, it was a very big achievement for me personally.
What are your main influences both within and outside of electronic music?
I like to live a normal life as much as possible, so my influences are coming from everyday sounds and situations. As time passes i’m getting more and more selective of my music and releasing music which mean something to me and transports me into a particular moment.
Recently I started doing Dj sets, as of before I was just doing live shows for years. I believe that this triggered something different in the way I think and produce, so I feel I’m constantly evolving.
Where are you looking forward to playing over the coming months? And tell us about your plans for the rest of 2017?
Over the coming months I’m really excited to play in a festival in Brno (CZ) called Spilberk Open Air. We will be having Hosh a special guest along the team. Apart from this I’m also excited to play in Berlin at Kosmonaut on the 5th August along the Inmates team and another one in Malta alongside my old friends Pig&Dan.
2017 has already offered me and a lot and I really look forward to keep on developing both the label and plans and my personal career.
Various Artists Collaborations 1 Unlock Recordings
Igniting their vinyl-only series of releases is this first of three collaborative productions – hence the title. What’s great here are the range of sounds and styles escaping the usual cliques while offering up an exciting cocktail of ideas. Opening is Leonel Castillo ‘Vibraphonistix’ which sprinkles playful jazzy notation across a suitably cool bassline and shuffling drums all sure to excite the dance floor. Next in line is Jorge Savoretti & Paco Wegmann’s ‘Din Cartier’ which has undulating synths played out across a succession of splashing rhythms, while Fosky’s contrasting ‘Benefits’ gets more rewarding with a thought-provoking array of deeper pads and atmospheres. Finally, Franco Cinelli’s unfussy ‘Mind Out’ sequences smouldering electronics alongside pounding beats to end part 1.
Enjoying yourselves at Paradise this season? Then no doubt you will have encountered either of these two numbers during the course of the night. Haus Boo, delivers fiery Chicago flavours direct to your soul care off infectious basslines and sassy drums galore. While the deeper, Shady fuses more in the way of intense low-end theory together with soaring synth lines plus edgy vocal touches for heightened effect.
Erlin’s Adel and Jan-Eric aka Autotune proceed without due acre and attention to pulzarise your senses into submission via their rousing My Wife Mix of the title track, She. Offsetting its funkier bassline are sizzling drums and repeating, bruising stabs but what perhaps sets this up to ensure your attention is grabbed is its ‘tell-it-like-it-is’ vocal. The Original version feels breezier in comparison with almost jazzy notation colouring the soundscape. The moodier, uncomplicated rhythms of Circles then bounce around in engaging fashion as the equally compelling Mind Judgement feat. Dirty Paul digs deep with dark voices amid throbbing grooves.
Gecko Beach Club Formentera: Volume Two
Compiled and mixed by Chris Coco and Pete Gooding
I’m disappointed I didn’t catch that boat to Formentera now. Still, that was years ago and listening to Chris Coco’s super easy blend makes the thought of happy day come one step closer. And what better way to celebrate than with a statement of intent as Seu Jorge & Almaz’s version of Everybody Loves the Sunshine feels very suitably breezy. This is of course a first rate selection that seems particularly telling in the June sunshine. At this stage I was going to talk you through the standout tracks but there’s really little point, as they all standout. However the best thing I can recommend is that you buy a copy and switch it on in the sunshine, beside water and drift away…
The second CD is mixed by Pete Gooding and picks up the pace with a more House orientated selection that again starts sublimely with his self-penned opening track, Malibu. The sunshine vibes continue with further of his own compositions alongside those from M.A.N.D.Y. while ending on notably Waifs & Strays electronically charged Remedy. Happy days.
Argentinean born DJ/Producer, Pablo Ranacat’s first EP for the label is simply spellbinding. Feeling and sounding distinctively unique this inspired collection of notes sees deep, atmospheric keys strung out across soaring string lines and funky percussion while tense voices colour the atmosphere on In Your Face, producing a touch of class. Next, the title track itself adds in a sense of melody via punchy piano and cascading synths, while The Real Milton Flow gets friskier with bouncing chords and invigorating vocal edits. Leaving final track Urself To Me to get tougher with yet more vocal snippets vying for your attention in amongst rich, deep chords and creative percussion.
Dropping right at the perfect moment is this latest production from Robosonic & Adana Twins. Let’s cut straight to the chase, La Fique is so funky it hurts, not least of all because this classic funky disco sample is so refreshingly familiar, but also just because it’s so f***king good! Not a lot goes on apart from some smooth filtering and the odd vocal addition but then this is so infectious it doesn’t matter. Barracuda again plays a classic eighties moment though this time over low-slung beats to sound seasonal and summer. Smiling faces.
Steven Hall’s (Arthur Russell produced) solo project from 1985 gets revisited and updated for 2013. But to only add to the intriguing history lesson, legendary disco producer Bob Blank recorded and engineered the project, which has only recently been unearthed. Originally intended to come out on Rough Trade this just shy of three minutes track has Steven’s aka Nirosta Steel sassy vocal build the tension just before the tempo suddenly changes to challenge your preconceptions. The labels’ own Pocketknife version then expands the track letting the funky bass led groove breath over punctuating beats while likewise changing the rhythm on the outro.
release: 21 June
“Edition of 500 copies
7″ black vinyl
Full-colour insert with liner notes by Bob Blank
Hand-stamped and numbered with love”
So excited to get to review Derrick Boyd and Zoe Presnick’s Tone of Arc debut album. The Time Was Right captures everything I love about music that sits just outside that very loose term of soulful dance music, although of course this packs more emotion than a lot of that very same cliché. With song titles like Surrender, Lost In The Machine, and Hardly Standing setting the scene this plays out like life’s alternative with a smouldering, funky drive that would make Bowie blush with envy on the irresistible Love Kissed! Sure, you can hear the influences loud and proud but it makes for sparkling refreshment not to hear the early 90’s replayed over and over again, with the intriguing vocals referencing the lost era of new-wave. All that and their superlative cover of ‘Goodbye Horses’ go to vary the light and shade of the album while tempos live at varied speeds giving you that rush of excitement Tone of Arc do so very well.
Slightly late in reviewing this but none the less a first rate release from the Dusseldorf duo sees the excellent All The Time at the top of the list with its infectious, brooding atmospheres and darkly sophisticated arrangement sizzling with infectious energy. Given the human touch via yearning spoken vocals this has to be one of my favourite releases from the label so far. Feelings, follows with more of a sense of urgency coupled with sleazier bass. Leaving, Get It On to deliver more of that Acid attitude as yet another excellent production sparks your imagination with fiery electronic sounds and rhythms.
InnerCity Records Vol 1
InnerCity Records is the brand new Manchester based label from Mark Horsfall and Danny Stott and their first volume points the way forward to good times ahead. Music from the likes of Giom’s impressive bass-bizzy Exhausted and from Dale Howard’s typically pulsating Go Deeper indicates what lies in store in terms of fresh thinking House Music that isn’t afraid to look forward. The remaining artists included are: Leigh D Oliver, Roland Nights, Gutto Serta and finally Casey Lee Jones whose invigorating Feel It ends this most promising package. Listen below…
The Black 80s aka Hollis P Monroe & Overnite deliver a strikingly original piece of music with their latest for Air London. Not least of all because Give Me Something features a soul infused vocal that sits somewhere between light and shade, although with a haunting edge that will you find yourself mesmerised by. The music does a similar thing with drum machine beats and atmospheric electronics feeling distinctive and other worldly. Meanwhile, the Hollis P Monroe Mix replays the elements with a pacier tempo and further spaced out sounds to compliment the original.
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.
Konrad Black & Art Department Graveyard Tan No.19 Music
Things do indeed only get better as this ridiculously good release from one of the world’s hottest labels No.19 testifies. Following quickly on from Tone Of Arc’s excellent single comes this from Konrad Black (Wagonrepair) and No.19’s very own Jonny White who along with Kenny Glasgow form Art Department. Graveyard Tan, as you might suspect from the title plays with hauntingly deep tones and simmering moody tensions that are at once deliciously intense and beautifully epic. Played over crisp hi-hats the expansive bass broods its way into your consciousness with the simple intonation of the word Baby all that needs saying. Version Two replays those very elements but either way it doesn’t get a lot better than this.
Behling & Simpson ft. James Fox EP2 Futureboogie Recordings
It can’t just be about the sunshine but every time I hear something new from Futureboogie smiles appear. You’ve got to admire the sheer audacity of the low tempo which always feels thrilling and of course deeply funky. This is no exception as the apt Work That Body stretches out uplifting chords over crunchy percussion and a vocal sample that weaves its way into your brain. The second track to feature James Fox is Tangled and if anything feels more expansive with its huge bassline and nagging synths complimented by oriental-esque chimes. AAW picks up the pace with more loose percussion and cool piano, while Good Thang feels that bit moodier, though equally effective, with more infectious rhythms and hot production values.
Huxley & Sam Russo Jamma’s Basement EP Leftroom Limited
Love the combination of daring styles on this latest from Huxley & Sam Russo whose stars are clearly in ascendance. Opening with off-kilter keys the continuing sense of being warped is offset by crisp percussion, familiar delayed vocals, and a dancehall styled bass which you can’t help but move too. This inventive production simply shines. As does the curiously titled William’s Trainers which follows with more sizzling hi-hats and classic House sensibilities adding reason to the twisted vocal edit.
Sound advice from Mobilee whose 93rd release once again reminds you just how vital the label always proves to be. The title track featuring Daniel Wilde begins with deliciously funky toms and then works its way into frenzied arpeggios by way of space aged vocal fx and a taut rhythm section. Next, Junction plays with heavier tribal toms and further haunting voices, this time over tech stabs which the louder they get the better they feel.
Release 35 sees the label on perfect form with one of their strongest to date. Kicked off by a classic House Music (all night long) bassline sparse percussion then invites you to dance alongside pounding beats and Take Me Higher vocals which, in this case, have survived the nineties unscathed. There’s something inescapably cool about how all of this sounds. The Argy Remix then sensibly retains the bass and adds early nineties Detroit styled organ to his suitably sparkling production. And speaking of the motor city, the legendary Rolando rounds it all off by displaying typical flair via excellent, yet unsettling, drum programming which makes the whole experience shine even more brightly.
More in the way of old music sounding new as Diynamic see Italian duo Hunter/ Game join up the dots between the eighties and now, while sounding vital and energised in the process. Cool synth lines combine with acid tweaks and Deep House bass to produce something instantly pleasing on opening track, Under. Boogie Music co-produced with FreakMe follows on to explore avenues of Electro-Funk bass and smoothly soulful vocals, as the title track goes down the classic Chicago route employing an infectious Reckless Lady vocal loop and melodic keys. Crazy Enough, finishes by building the tension superbly with staccato guitar and also takes its cue from the same influence pool, but as with all the music on the EP feels completely contemporary.
Don’t know why I was quite so surprised to hear Sean Miller’s gorgeously jazzy Soleil through the speakers but I can tell you I will be hearing it a whole lot more over the coming months. This thoughtful and frankly inspired production eases you into a gentle Latin groove which contains irresistible amounts of percussion along with beautifully haunting voices. Trust me this plays like a sublime treat. The title track then follows in the footsteps with even hotter rhythms accompanied this time by fevered vocals undoubtedly yearning for the return of sunshine. 9
Two killer productions for Be As One sees the label start 2012 in style. However let’s begin with Veto first by arranging the letters: d e e p a n d n a s t y and then turning up the volume as loud as it will feasibly go. You’ve got to admire the sheer intensity as this perfectly heavy production pulls little in the way of punches with its pounding groove and occasional nod to musicality feeling sexier than Santa ever did. Back to Scene feels that bit funkier – though no less grinding – with excellent shuffling drums, delicious throbbing bass notes and someone saying motherfucker rather a lot – exquisite! 9
The third excellent record this week comes from Estonia’s Merimell Sokk and as we used to say back then: TUNE! Opening with the huge Daft Acid with its set of sizzling drums and incendiary acid attitude this only needs to be heard once and you will be wishing it was 1988 all over again. The Day After Tomorrow is a more subtle though just as electrifying with its edgy yet funky drum programming sounding fresh and impressive with atmospheric pads and dark notes completing the arrangement. The Deepest finishes with the Liquatech remix exploring more of the same possibilities along with a lot of gorgeous sounds too. 8
Volume two sees Phil Weeks once again revisit another selection of Gimini’s recordings for the Cyclo label in the 90’s. Four tracks beginning with the perky though sumptuously deep Spirals take the unmistakable Chicago sound and reply it for 2012. Next up is the supremely funky Return Of The Jack which does just what it says, followed by the insistent Take Your Time featuring timeless commanding vocals and pumping beats. Wanna Push You finishes it all off with an excellent Disco/ Funk cut-up that is as much in style now as it was all the way back then…guess that says something. 8
Neil Kurland & Davidson Ospina ‘Dizzy’ Ospina Digital
I’m guessing the old style vocal sample is referencing Gillespie hence the title (or of course maybe not?) but either way this deliciously heavy duty exercise in bass and beats works a treat. Coming in two versions the voice appears on the Main Mix with punchy organ chords and a relentless arrangement doing the rest. Meanwhile The Strip Mix gets down to the nitty-gritty of the rhythm section to revel in all that’s great about this sizzling House Music production. 8