This 44th studio album from the mind of Niko Marks is little short of excellent. It not only fuels your brain with all sorts of possibilities but also informs your soul about fresh ways of feeling into the bargain. It begins with the exhilarating, dancefloor energy of Crank Shaft and its explosive bassline plus contrasting atmospheric underscore, then proceeds to surprise your expectations as the music weaves between soulful joy and jazzy heights. The exquisite instrumentation of the tile track being a case in point with meandering piano keys rounded off by punchy bass guitar and percussion, sounding assuredly tuned-in yet intriguingly other-worldly, and is complimented by a first-rate remix by Santiago Salazar. Or you could explore the deeper ambience of This One with its probing Acid styled bass working its way into your consciousness care of a spacey array of sounds and emotive vocals all traversing the stereo. The robust Thrill Of The Chase completes the experience as open-ended rhythms work together over accompanying keys and an exotic arrangement of strings and fuzzy stabs. Typically drenched in emotion, however determinedly rigorous.
Conceived as an aural tribute to the ‘Hansa recording studios’ on Köthener Straße No. 38 in Berlin, this long player courtesy of Matt Edwards (aka Radio Slave) and Thomas Gandey (aka Cagedbaby) not only boasts purely live instrumentation but also the transcendent atmosphere of the music produced. Hansa was made famous by the likes of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Tangerine Dream and Depeche Mode, amongst many significant others and is obviously a hard act to follow with the album taking its main inspiration from Bowie’s 1977 masterpiece Low. The result is a suitably stunning experience which blends a rich mixture of beats and percussion augmented by an intense musicality that is as far away from the mindless repetition of Tech House as you could imagine. Indeed, you could for example say that the piano played on Piano 2 Variation 4 has been spiritually guided. Or, try soaking up the haunting, ambience triggered by Hansa itself complete with taught electro drums, while the concluding title track ends on a wash of Fender Rhodes echoing your imagination to hear the excellence all over again…
release: September 15
HEAR DIS SOUND (Remixes)
Hipp-e and Halo’s distinctive release from just under ten years ago now gets revitalised via an excellent set of remixes transforming this gem directly into 2014. Beginning with Yousef’s great version that sets addictive organ notes against a fiery backdrop of hypnotic percussion and pulsating beats this is built for the repeat button. The Space Coast take is next combining sparkling synths and tough bass, followed by Sneak’s relentless attack on the senses. Franck Roger’s outstanding funky bassline driven remix then scores high, while DJ Buck adds a cool Disco flavour with a twist. Craig Richards then defies expectations by dropping the tempo into darker territory with a heavy dose of sound effects, leaving Adam Shelton to pick up the pace once again with another suitably punchy rendition that rocks the floor. All good.
Surpassing the computer functionality of the title this strips it back to basics via a pumping House beat and accompanying bassline. Not quite so sure about the vocal line despite its obvious catchiness but then there is always a great Dub version to contend with. Or, the excellent PBR Streetgang Remix which transforms the vocal into filtered nirvana via an array of swirling synths and an ecstatic arrangement. Second track, The Project delves deeper again with a detuned vocal loop, as does the addictive The Pattern which is complimented by a first rate rhythm section.
release: September 11
Everything (We Are)
Wolf + Lamb Records
What’s not to like about this. After all if breathy vocal deliveries and syncopated basslines backed up by punchy drumming are your thing then this is just right on the opening, ‘Miss White’. While the title track has a restrained yet slightly epic feel to it care off a rousing chorus line backed-up by Dave Robertson’s vocals and atmospheric instrumentation. Who then re-appears as Cameo Culture for the remix by adding a funkier attitude to the proceedings. Finally, Second Fiddle again weaves the delicate vocals through a musical fabric that sounds playful and enjoyable.
release (digital): September 15
Guido Schneider & Jens Bond
Here I Am
This delicious, brooding production from Guido Schneider & Jens Bond is little short of outstanding. Not only do the intriguing electronic rhythms captivate your attention creating a hypnotic, inviting soundscape but with the addition of commanding voice, trumpet and timbale the picture is warmly complimented by the human touch. Another first rate piece of music from the Cadenza stable. Planet E’s Monty Luke then remixes the title track with pulsating drums, acid styled bass and squelchy keys. The likewise excellent Flags Of Peace, finishes with punchy instrumentation featuring infectious organ stabs, spacey effects, flourishes of Balearic guitar and a spoken message that will surely resonate throughout the summer…
release: June 10
Julien Chaptal & Lauhaus
Julien Chaptal & Lauhaus challenging collage of sounds fly high along the lines of tribal and hypnosis. It’s a deeply intoxicating blend of slightly unsettling moods coupled with dark, pulsating rhythms and striking sound effects firing off in all directions, with the relief of subtle melody only occurring via moody synths some six minutes in. Franck Roger’s Remix as you would expect adds quality House bass to the equation while supplying his own take on the effects with as usual inspired consequences. Second and equally good is, Watching You which supplies sleazy suggestion vocally running alongside various Acid tweaks and building layers of percussion.
release: June 10
sound clips at http://www.deejay.de/__124765
Yamen & EDA
Another great release from One records this time seeing the label explore seductive possibilities by Frenchmen Yamen & EDA. You could describe this as very late night or illicitly early morning depending on your sense of time but either way this excellent production simmers with low-slung tension. Powered by throbbing bass and tough percussion this features an entrancing monologue playing alongside the whirring instrumentation. Remixes come from Shaun Reeves, Jay Haze & Bill Patrick who pick up the tempo as they inject twisted electronics into the mix while concentrating on the Rap part of the vocal. Next, All Out continues the tension with deep beats and echoed stabs giving it all spacey far flung quality. The Subb-an 5am Remix completes with an all out Techno assault that spins an invigorating basslines against quick-fire drums.
release: June 10