On a more positive note come these hot reworking of Abel’s wonderful album cut featuring Marcel & Elliott, although don’t let the opportunity to soak up all that gorgeous soul-tripping intensity of the original first – an outstanding piece of contemporary music. Firstly is the Rocco Warrior Mix which breaks down the elements, then adds a caustic synthesized loop setting it all alight in a totally different way. Next, and I can’t think of anyone more appropriate, is Fred Everything’s version which expands the originals emotional richness adding a tougher, more playful quality care of funky breaks and bass while sounding most heavenly in the process.
Remembering the more soulful end of the spectrum is this most choice release from Atjazz. Jullian Gomes cool original version not only has keys to die for but when the deep bass hits alongside the breath of Sio’s delicate voice then this is clearly heaven sent. Spine-tingling in the way that only certain sounds and notes can provoke. New remixes come from Kaytronik, Osunlade, Fred Everything and Atjazz himself, with the latter two reworking the emotional intensity into blinding proportions. Please go listen for yourself.
Max Chapman does Kaluki proud with this EP. Rhythm Stick’s bold bassline provides the reason that made you fall in love with House Music in the first place. Plus with its creative combination of smart drum programming, ear pleasing sounds and wish you’d thought of it arrangement this proves hard not to love. Escape again adds together notable sounds with fresh feeling perspective, with Another Time and a Julien Sandre collaboration finishing with yet more addictive bass, perilous synths and haunting voices. 9
I:Cube ‘Lucifer En Discothèque EP’ Versatile Records
Transpiration sounds like a Todd Terry stab on acid. And as tempting as that may, or may not sound, what’s truly exciting about I:Cube’s shimmering production is that it makes you want to jump up and down in no particular order. Coupled with big Disco hi-hats and edgy electronics this has to be heard to be believed! Jah Menta then delivers a scratchy soundtrack to tempt you further into mysticism, while the title track is an instant rush of new-wave disco that is purely party. Forward thinking music and a perfect teaser of what’s in store from the forthcoming album, Megamix. 8
Matthias Vogt ‘Under The Radar EP’ Lazy Days Recordings
Everything begins with a C as this Chicago inspired EP kicks off with the effortlessly cool, C-Scat. Built around jazzy vocal snippets and one mother of a bassline this hits the spot nicely. Under The Radar, follows with deeper chords and toms producing tasteful moods, as The Flow version of the same proceeds to explore the atmosphere further with poignant piano and classic techno percussion. And if all of that wasn’t enough the Pad-A-Pella does just what you would expect with funkier beats and even more space and time. 8
Le Vinyl ‘Time For Change’ Deep Edition Recordings
It isn’t all just about the drum and the bass as this imaginative production shares frequently excitable rhythms and effervescent chords with you, alongside a spoken sample that feels warmly familiar – or maybe not. Picking up the pace the ‘Chris Minus a bit Deep Fried Remix’ wobbles the bassline over snappy snares and disco attitude to provide a notable alternative. 8
Michal Schwa and Nick West wear the confidence of their convictions proudly on their respective sleeves as this two CD (vinyl and digital) set has the audacity to be released alongside the accompanying remixes on their own label. Which in this case come from the likes of The Timewriter, Jef K & Gwen Maze, Soul Minority. The original music is packed with energy and comes with a cool European edge that only adds to the charm, as both vocals and dubs vi equally for your attention. The counterparts then rework the lot. At times this leans towards the dancefloor – witness First Kontakt – while at others has ambience in mind such as on the captivating, Illusions. Beats range from straight-up House to the more twisted variety while funky instrumentation and the smart use of effects always keep you plugged into the loop. 7
Tell us how Dark Energy Recordings happened, and what is its mission statement?
Dark Energy has no mission statement – it’s essentially a vehicle for Barry (Milton Jackson) and I to have creative control over our music. It sort of evolved to include other artists but it’s a very ramshackle organisation I think essentially I keep it going because I enjoy writing our facile promo texts. That said we are the only house label that I’m aware of that has our own strategic space program. A guy in the US who makes rockets contacted us and asked to use the name and logo on a rocket he built – as we are massive geeks we said yes of course – and to be honest thats pretty much the only justification we need for the label.
How did you originally hook with up with Lazy Days and how did this single come about?
I worked with Fred before with the Simply Yes EP back a few years ago. Fred has real love and enthusiasm for the scene and it’s great to work with someone who cares about the music. You need someone who can get excited about your music, it’s easy even for the most established artists to sit in a studio and fret about whether your latest track is ‘good enough’, relevant etc, so to have that feedback is important. There’s not much money in retailing recorded music at this level, so you better have the love!
Do you have a favourite piece of studio equipment/ instrument that you like to use?
Not really, I own a Fender Rhodes of which I am fond of but I lent that to a very talented keyboardist friend of mine a few years back and I’ve yet to get it back! 🙂 One day!! Till then I work 99% in the box. Dull but true. I recently moved into a new studio so the temptation to fill it full of equipment will no doubt increase.
How do you feel about the vinyl vs. digital debate?
It’s a bit boring. I say, each to their own. Fundamentally people choose vinyl because they value the esoteric qualities over the convenience of digital. That’s their personal choice. Myself I take convenience because I’m a very busy person. I’ll buy vinyl if I have to or if I want to own the packaging, but it will end up digitised either way.
How do you approach Dj’ing and what for you makes a good Dj?
It’s quite simple – I pick tunes I like that I think will work in a club environment and play them in a sequence that I think will work well. Some sequences are more successful than others, but that’s where experience comes in. I try to balance between what people expect from coming to see me and also to introduce some new sounds that I may be into to keep things fresh. The main thing is never to bore yourself, that’s why I don’t play every weekend I’d get bored quickly.
I liked MGMT’s last album, Congratulations. The care-free, breezy melodies reminded me of fun times in the seventies and naming one song after Brian Eno also has to be a definite plus. You could say this 10th anniversary selection for Late Night Tales (one of the best compilations around by far) continues the theme by focusing on what influenced that same album. You get everything from melancholy to sheer intensity or to put that in band terms you get Suicide, Velvet Underground and Durutti Column, along with a range of equally pivotal artists and songs. You also get an exclusive version by MGMT of Bauhaus, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything and if you can handle the sorrow Dave Bixby’s late sixties, and somewhat self-explanatory ode, Drug Song. Don’t know about saving the best for last but always pays to pay attention to Paul Morely as he reads from the self-penned, Lost For Words it somehow feels strangely fitting. 9.
Miguel Migs ‘Outside The Skyline’ Om Records/ Salted Music
You know you must be onto something when you listen to the first track on an album twice in a row. So here’s hoping that one of my favourite producers – star of Naked Music- lives up to expectations. And just looking at the credits you see the names Evelyn ‘Champagne’ King, Bebel Gilberto and with the exquisite Lisa Shaw amongst many other notables prospects are obviously good. But then you just know this is going to be excellent, don’t you. From the down tempo Funk to up-tempo House – and by that I mean quality – this his third studio album never fails but to deliver a wealth of inspiration. You’ll love all the reference points and influences which come together under Migs’s school of exceptional production. Freddie McGregor even makes a welcome appearance on, They Don’t Know and just about every style worthwhile is represented with Georg Levin’s soulful tones finishing in heavenly fashion. 9
Is staying in the new going out? Couldn’t care less about the answer to that one, give us music like this and we’re happy. There’s no easy way to tell you this, but main track Staying In is f**king excellent. It touches neatly upon the classic House cut-up technique which when it works it works just like this. Explosive, joyous, uplifting are words to go…Second track, Life Live is a typically deep Shur-I-Kan production though eminently danceable whereas One Ten eases down the tempo into a luscious piano-led journey back to the nineties. Nice. 9
released Beatport 20 Sept 2011. everywhere else 4 Oct.
Amsterdam producer Maurits Verwoerd makes his second appearance on the label with this striking set of three tracks. Ad Rem kicks off in blistering fashion with an up-tempo foray into Tech related House that keeps the genre moving forward. An inventive production for sure this twists off-kilter keys against thumping beats and works a treat. Schwung, follows with a deep sub-based groove which again throws up aural surprises on its way, while Warmloper picks up the pace with open hats and warm pads until the chords progress onto the payoff. 8
release Beatport 3 Oct 2011. everywhere else from 17 Oct.