This new album from Argy is full of surprises, tones and textures in ways that fully reveal themselves by a second listen. The Interior Journey is obviously the perfect title as the music traverses darker terrain, feeding on influences from the past, while retaining a thoroughly contemporary vision in terms of production. The mystical pulse of Power Of Detachment is a case in point as incantations work themselves around punctuating post-punk bass and an impulsive rush of drum machines. Those rich atmospheres feature equally on a number of tracks and these for me prove the most engaging. Try the tempting syncopation of Damanhur for an alternative, or the Acid/ New Beat reflecting Psychedelic Revival for elements of sheer danger. Or, the brutal charm of the commanding opening salvo, Ketuvim. This album is about the process of thought and its translation into the emotion of sound. Which is of course most welcome in 2021. As is the resolutely beautiful cover by Leipzig-based graphic artist, Lion.
Bassline. Syncopation. Funk. Are three word which readily fit the description of Argy & Ernest & Frank’s remix of Alex Niggemann’s exquisite gem from last year. The sparkle of captivating keys remains intact as does the exhilarating sense of melody they provide but it’s the unadulterated brute force supplied by the drums and bass that really drive this. Breathless.
Like living life in the fast lane Rich Nxt’s stream of consciousness fires ideas in such quick succession it’s almost hard to keep up. This next release sees the producer aim squarely at the dancefloor via tough, rugged drums that are once again imaginatively offset via a dazzling array of sounds and signatures on the undulating Sauna De Plastico. Argy delivers an excellent, true to form remix with pulsating beats and sleazy bass working up to fever pitch, while still feeling supremely funky care off punctuating congo. Malin Genie remixes the more probing rhythms of Attery as insistent basslines tear up the stereo injecting a release of defiant energy. Number six is yet another killer release of forward-thinking ideas from Nxt Records.
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.