In the sheer rush to get to the next two tracks I’m kind of bypassing the opening Outlaw. I don’t know if that’s necessarily right but once to get to grips with the fevered excitement, infact the surreal beauty of For It you’ll perhaps see my point. This is the kind of energised, Acid number that we could do with a lot more of. It pulsates with loaded percussion while expanding and getting hot in all sorts of ways. Then, Right Up completes the picture care off the sort of twisted Disco that shames tired re-edits while brimming with tough, compelling repetition that is at once heavy-duty plus funky as hell.
A timely rush of soulful emotion drives the opening number forward with due care and attention given to the words. 4 The Lovers, sounds temptingly delicious with undulating funky beats and bass underpinning the cascading piano notes, all which it has to be said sounds rather beautiful. By way of contrast robust, brutal drums then accompany the more intense tones generated by Where My Girls At, while the deeper sounds of Blomst complete the picture care of more heart – crushing rhythms that feel jazzy, probing and rewarding all in one easy lesson. If you lay hands on the vinyl edition then you’re treated to the bonus of Soulsista which again sees sizzling arrangements of soul plus funk across strident House beats.
Release: April 28
Once again proving that electronic music has the power to shock you into belief and to connect you with the past, while sounding like the future. Darius Vaikas supremely gifted production is now released via Catz & Dogz own imprint lending even more kudos to both. The short, tempetuos sounds of the beatless Brother begin the EP perfectly, while the drums that punctuate Bells ignite the rush. Oasis then plays and reworks the theme adding hints of playful melody into the equation, leaving the more introspective strains of the vocalled Save Me to complete this stunning release of sound.
Release: February 10
David van der Leeuw and Luigi Vittorio Jansen aka Beesmunt Soundsystem deliver what can only be called kick-ass House Music with this latest outing from Pets Recordings. Matters ignite in fine style with the irrepressible Searchin’ feeling frisky with its blaze of fiery drum machines sounding classically tuned yet remotely fresh all at the same time. The stripped back arrangement allows the vocal space to breath along with a nagging, agitated synth line plus occasional effects. Borrowed Identity supply a tough remix via pounding drums contrasted nicely by more subtle, soulful chords. The equally demanding Raindance is next with another round of timeless drums hitting the repeat button alongside irresistible bass and atmospheric electronics filling in the spaces. Finally, the excellent Ominous ends on slightly sleazy syncopation which is soon joined by gritty (to put it mildly) accompanying synthesizer lines sizzling with possibilities.
The man behind the North West’s infamous Cheshire Garden Party gets deep, down and dirty with this excellent production for Resonance. I’ve been playing this for a while now on my DeepHouse-Radio show and still sounds just as addictive with its funky combination of rolling bass, shuffling drums and most notably the spoken words with a message adding spice to the mix. Try the original version for all this and more. Remixes come from a frisky sounding Max Chapman who adds a distinct sting with rattling percussion and low-end bass pulverising the grooves, plus from an edgier and on-point Leftwing & Kody. Second original, Someone again hits you with a neat bassline and vocals adding the human touch, while third track ‘One, Two’ joins Chicago styled vocal stabs together with more rough, tough drums and bass to only further the experience.
Mind In The Clouds EP
You start off thinking this is cool, then the drum break drops and then the dark gorgeous bassline goes and introduces itself amid the ethereal hypnotic voices. If you like things moody and very late night then this is most probably/ most definitely for you. The great Steve Mac then remixes with big splashing hi-hats driving it all into distraction alongside a suitably striking arrangement set primed for the dancefloor to explode.
This is a great EP from Werner Niedermeier and incidentally his second for the label. There is a first-rate combination of ideas going on in the title track, Escaping with a flourish of Disco percussion fueling a hot rhythm section, that is offset by warmer chords and contrasted further by dark low-end theory and suitably smoky vocals. Easy Peeler, follows with distinctively pulsating beats plus a P-funked bassline and an irresistible sense of rhythm. The excellent, ‘Tansan’ is up next with addictive Acid lines demanding being turned up to eleven and then repeated, while Puzzled gets twisted amid a sea of inviting deepness to end.
Pyramid Of Mars
This hot blast of super psychedelic funk has just about everything going for it, not least of because it was the last thing I expected to hear today in amongst all the tedium. Witches blends – if that’s the correct word – crazed Adrian Below styled guitar together with Talking Heads/ Eno infused rhythms that are perhaps best sample in a darkened room, but which are sheer delight none the less. For those inclined to a Balearic deposition this will have you weak at the knees/ foaming at the mouth. Stringray then compliments the insanity with a brooding slow-burn jam pitching atmospheric guitar against shuffling drum brushes, and let’s put it this way the album sounds like it should be an absolute gem.
release: June 24
Davina’s sizzling production for Hot Trax sees sassy percussion fuse alongside addictive organ stabs and thumping kicks drums to immediately demand that the volume is turned up. Love the uncomplicated yet thoroughly invigorating way the production envelops you in rhythm as vocal snippets tease out some soul on 9 Weeks. Second track, Moskitoes Cries cleverly delivers tough, wobbly bass, infectious voice edits and inspired guitar stabs that lend it all a distinctively original flavour that you just know is going to sound huge at around 3am.
release: June 24
sound clips: http://aboveboarddist.co.uk/hottrax/HXT003
Don’t Make Me Wait For You feat. Jesse Monroe
You could play this Sandee referencing bassline all night long and not get bored of it, however this latest production from Just Be transcends beyond pale imitation. This is in fact a beautifully atmospheric piece of music as Don’t Make Me Wait For You combines sensuous synths alongside classic drum touches, with Jesse Monroe’s emotive vocal proving to be the icing on the cake. The Dub version then explores all of those instrumental possibilities to the full, leaving the Subb-an 5am Remix to re-imagine the bassline while tripping out the vocals across the light fantastic. Another first rate release from Crosstown Rebels.
release: June 17
Nikola Baytala EP
Next excellent release this week is from San Francisco’s Nikola Baytala whose self titled EP is nothing short of mesmerising. Setting the scene is Zero $ and its neat blend of hypnotic Techno elements that never stray too far from being totally captivating and soulful. In a sense it’s more about the atmosphere created than individual beats or basslines, because as a whole this tension inducing arrangement feels near perfect. Catz ‘N Dogz then proceed with a great remix that picks up the pace hitting you with heavy bass on another typically effective number. Cityz Angels, is next and is likewise an intriguing succession of musical ideas from Nikola Baytala taking cues from classic Disco and House while giving it all a curious twist. MT’s Pillow Talk remix ends on first rate terms developing the ambience of the track even further while retaining that timely guitar lick.
release: June 10
Rodriguez returns to the label after his previous 2008 outing with two new tracks that define 2013 as much as they do speak about the flux between old and new. Dance Like Nobody’s Watching is nostalgic for sure, but then that will either delight or bore you in equal measure – depending on your outlook on the current retrospection of the American House Music sound which evolved out of 1991. Perhaps, not surprisingly, I love this and Roberto gets it right down to the bone with punchy organ and piano chords adding neat definition to the ‘feel alright’ vocal snippets. Oxymoron then flips the coin with the trackier style that came out of the same era as dark stabs and sizzling hi-hats take center stage. Lusciously intense this keeps you waiting with a tension building arrangement which peaks at the breakdown, while proceeding to push forward with the addition of trademark funky cowbell. The Black Madonna ‘We Still Believe’ version of Dance… finishes by proudly reaffirming the sentiment with heavy-duty kick drums and pure House bass spread out across a sparser selection of piano.
What I love about Mike Wall’s debut long player for Hidden is the fact that the German producer doesn’t dwell too much on subtleties. Its fast, pounding and very insistent music that is little short of compelling despite its brutal, sometimes beautiful intensity. The title track does what the excellent Mr G does only from a different angle with driving rhythms offset by moody stabs coupled with that breathless quality which you can’t quite seem to escape from. The fierce syncopation continues with All I Ever Wanted getting freaky with its twisted combination of stabs and (almost) Jazzy Sax. And so the story continues until you reach the titles: Suicide, Choose Life, Ketamine, then ending at Suggestion and I guess a climax is reached. Having said that the drum programming is always invigorating while the mood Mike Wall creates throughout is never less than spectacular.
The brilliantly titled Weirdo is the relatively new label from Juan Kidd who also supplies this release, and why not as this is very excellent. I Want You combines fierce old-school piano chords along with punctuating hits of organ which squeeze every atom of energy out of the snare infused groove. Matters then continue to intensify with the introduction of blasting horns and sprinkles of smooth Fender Rhodes. You need this in your life…
release:.January 29 on Beatport
Two reasons why I suspect this is an outstanding piece of music. First is that almost despite the straight up shuffling 909 drums everything else feels quite unique; from the shivering bassline to the array of wildly atmospheric synths. Second, is the darkly inspired ‘heavenly father’ voices that pepper the arrangement. Jaymo and Andy George’s Refix ’96 version then turns it upside down with a seriously heavyweight bassline, hints of Sylvester and an altogether deeper reworking of the atmosphere that feels equally sublime and enticing. Second track from Stefano Ritteri is the EP’s title and is a much looser, funkier affair complete with 60’s organ, 70’s guitar licks and Train line sound effects that give it Balearic sense of cheekiness that is too exciting to ignore.
release: January 14
Extended Play start the new year on the high that they ended 2012 on. This forward pointing arrangement of machine-funk from Bubba & T-Bone employs tempting Electro beats from the past while also engaging with the current House sensibilities so beloved by the label. New York’s Abe Duque supplies the spoken word and receives a heavy sci-fi treatment on the stunning Original version. A series of five remixes then proceed to deconstruct its meaning starting with Lee Webster who impressively reinterprets Bloodline with low-slung reggae styled bass and techno chords. JC Williams visits Detroit for further inspiration with classic trademark drums and taught rhythms reigniting the vocal, with the Ten Story version getting deeper, and Sean Roman & Dick Diamonds Re-Salt mix doing likewise with a sprinkling a cutting stabs. Denney rounds off with more hot bassline action and stripped back beats which develop the mood notably as the breakdown arrives.
release: January 21
Mr Nice Guy/ Classic Masters
Soul Music Records
I guess when you think of Ronnie Laws you probably think of his timeless classic Always There from 1975. But as with most artists it’s good to dig a little deeper to see what else there is . For the record Always… (also covered by Side Effect & Incognito) is undoubtedly a gem and is featured here from his 1985 Classic Masters album, which also collates his finest work from the 70’s to early 80’s. The following Love Is Here moves along similar lines, although with a slower funkier groove that again displays his undoubted prowess as a player/ composer. Indeed apart from the very occasional dated 80’s sounding moment there are plenty of Jazzy movements to savour here as the finale of Saturday Evening plays out with some seriously tasty piano. The first half of this double set re-release is his 1983 album Mr Nice Guy whose opening Can’t Save Tomorrow holds a curious appeal, as does the darker Rolling with its taped voices and haunting Saxophone proving to be most alluring.
release: January 21