The third release from the label I’ve reviewed in as many weeks sparks the reoccuring thought that Visonquest remains an essentially important imprint to the fabric of club culture. Not least of all because they unleash music such as this defiantly futuristic number. Creatures Of Habit are in reality Shaun Reeves, Maher Daniel and Amir Javasoul and the title track they have created asks probing, mind enhancing questions while delivering taught, tense bass amid deliberately electro drums plus an intensely invigorating selection of keys and punctuating sounds. Cumulating at two thirds via a heart-warming rush of emotive pads. Blink, occurs next creating a darker impression as nervy synthesizers wriggle over brutal beats, leaving Out Of Orbit to complete with rumbling bass aimed at pointed drums feeling stripped down yet fully formed.
These warm, resolute repetitions of chiming sound, sound as hot accompanying sunrise as they do sundown. Eric Ricker and Ted Krisko aka Ataxia tune their highly charged currents of grainy emotion into analogue referencing pleasure on their opening and most brilliant VHS. Memories are also engaged by Kodak Moment which again captivates your attention by a series of seductive, finely tuned electronic events, this time punctuated by rugged bass mapping out atmospheres and resounding stereo in equal measure. Ryan Crosson alongside Shaun Reeves then deliver an excellent Edit which shuffles the wonderful elements still further into a succinct six minutes.
Launching themselves into 2017 with just the sort of typical flair you would except from the two producers (and label) this new four track EP does all you desire (then a bit more). Origin 99 soon takes hold of the airwaves care of a riveting, direct funkiness that repeats its signature commandingly over a brisk percussion loop. One Two Five, hits next and is all about the bassline which is once again augmented by some sassy percussion and accompanying keyboard chimes. Then the aptly titled, Prowler feels more dangerous with nervy synth lines caressing dark Acid basslines, leaving the freer rhythms of Blood Moon to establish an irresistibly funky sensation as gritty stabs clash with Latin styled percussive elements. All too hot to handle.
Release: February 24 (Vinly) and March 10 (Digital) 2017.
youANDme & The Analog Roland Orchestra feat. Black Soda
Poker Flat Recordings
This stunning release from the label engages you on many different levels flying the flag somewhere in-between haunting and spiritual. Black Soda’s unnerving voice only serves to heighten the tension created by youANDme’s dark fusion of terse electronics and while this may not always be a comfortable ride it most certainly is a captivating one. A Dub and Acid mix accompany the original again sitting you at the edge of imaginative forward-thinking atmospheres. The Hyenah remix then explores warmer elements of rhythm on a welcome relaxation of all that simmering tension, while the equally engaging ambience of the Morning Light version provides similar pleasure.
You could use the adage: method in the madness here but that doesn’t quite get to where it needs to be. Sascha Dive’s forceful repetition drives into the heart of the night with an unsettling combination of whirring, synthesized sounds and undulating bass hits along with spoken echoes plus brisk drums. All of which induces a kind of hypnotic wonder that you will either plug into gaining the sonic rewards, or not. Ion Ludwig supplies the remix with a succession of deep, pulsating low-end notes and a warm rush of keys defining extra possibilities that surprisingly make you forget about which genre to attach to the music you’re listening to.
Excellent production from the main-man Ralph Lawson who sets the controls to stun on this fiercely underground arrangement of sounds. Setting aside the five remixes which accompany the original this smouldering combination of dubbed chords and sizzling drums breathe fresh impetus into the electronic soundtrack, bravely defying your expectations with this percussion fueled gem while satisfying your thirst care of its brooding ‘Storm’ ignited sound effects. The remixes then all play on, and around, the theme with the enviable list beginning with Hector Couto, Barem, Shaun Reeves, Fernandos and ending up with Rui-Z. Leaving you with the suitably abrupt Storm FX to finish.
Gari Romalis begins his own label Future 1701, alongside Subwax Distribution, with the this typically pounding yet soulfully rewarding set of numbers. The Quarentine Mix of People Under The Stairs begins this set of four care off its warm, oversized kick-drum amid a gentle wash of atmospheric keys. Itz Krazy (Word) follows with a perkier tempo which again engages emotive keys alongside the thumping rhythm section. Next, God of Dawn supplies suitably expansive, filtered ambience across this captivating production, leaving the undulating electronics of Hard Limiter (Trading Spaces Mix) to end this notable debut from the imprint.
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…
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.
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.
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 ‘Witches’ Legendary Sound Research
Following on from Overnight To Dusseldorf on Ashley Beedle’s 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 more… 8
Sandman & Riverside feat ft. Kymberli Wright ‘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 with 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 ‘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 ‘up’ feeling version. Something a bit different and therefore clearly worth your time. 8
Fabric 61: Visionquest
I’m confused. Is this Techno, or is it House? If you really have to draw definite distinctions between electronic music (which you can sometimes dance to) in 2011 then please be my guest. However, the reason I feel this selection from Visionquest merits ten/ ten is because it transcends the distinction and thoroughly blur’s the lines between soul and technology – or are they now one and the same. Also, because listening to the soundtrack evolving produces the same intense involvement derived from playing Miles Davis or John Coltrane. If I can use a word such as beautiful in cold December, I can also use haunting and eloquent too. I love the way the music doesn’t shy away from songs either and they are at once thoughtful and thought-provoking. Musically the productions are skilfully crafted and engage with funk – if you can suggest a better bassline than on DJ T’s remix of Phreek Plus One ‘Passion’ then go ahead – as well as being cinematic in scope for those more heady aspects. Exemplary. 10