I guess it’s fair to say that this mix by Noir for Defected’s In The House series is pretty much on the money. And in ways it captures the essence of what’s going on in House music today. Now that we have the obvious benefit of hindsight with regards to roots and influences (real and distorted) it’s telling how much this selection touches upon sounds from the past as well as hitting tomorrows tone. Also worth noting just how contemporary Sandy Rivera ‘Changes’ from 2003 still sounds today and by the time it blends neatly into Noir’s own aptly titled ‘I’m Satisfied’ somewhere around the 30 minute mark the temperature has seriously intensified. The deeper moments are well represented and the dancefloor movements reach their peaks at various points throughout the journey, but what is always truly consistent is the sheer quality of music and vocals, plus the excellence of the mix itself. If further proof is needed then simply check the playlist which opens with dOP ‘Kisses’ and ends on Shlomi Aber ‘We Dont Fit’.
Just Be aka the new solo project of Matthew Bushwacka is a delicious way to start 2013. And after all the trimmings care of 2012 this production clearly points to the direction we want to be going. After The Storm, begins by building your expectations via deep, bass-heavy beats alongside edgy percussion and then adds in vocal touches and punchy piano chords to reach the next level on the ‘Up Mix’. The ‘Deep’ version follows with a more Cosmic feel to the synthesizers along with what sound like Flutes to accompany them. Next and finally, Out Of The System adds Techno notation together with staccato drums and more spine-tingling atmosphere for your heightened pleasure.
Watch: to accompany the release Frogspawn Creative have produced a video for ‘After The Storm’
Theo Parrish The Twin Cities EP Robsoul Recordings
As you can expect from Theo Parish this music is set to challenge you while making dance. Licensed to Robsoul from Rick Wade’s Harmonie Park the title track cleverly blends old-time Jazzy vibes with abrasive percussion to sound both exploratory and feel-good. Backed by a succession of mellow piano notes and punctuated by atmospheric stabs this strange blend binds together disparate elements while retaining an evocative mood that sits somewhere between melancholy reflection and a bizarre hint of Disco, or am I imagining that? But either way this is tempting, exceptional music. Second track, Dance Sing continues further down the path of your imagination with picturesque ideas played out over equally rough beats, which this time run to over fifteen minutes, yet never once feel uninspired.
Returning with their third release sister label Fixia compliment Jamie Anderson’s original Artform with these latest productions from London based artists Roberto and Nick Dubz. Comprised of two equally striking pieces of music, however, it’s The Blind Leading The Blind that hits a particularly resonate chord. Driven by deep pulsating, tribal drums and accompanied by hypnotic ambient repetition this moves beyond the dancefloor into somewhere else creating a unique mood with its own sense of sound and voice – a great composition. Visions, on the other hand feels that bit tougher, mainly because of the Techno bass, which along with brighter synths is a perkier, more energetic affair.
The Salsoul Orchestra
The Salsoul Orchestra
Listening to The Salsoul Orchestra it becomes easy to understand why some people choose to live in the past, despite 1975 seeming like such a very long time ago. Never-the-less their blend of fiery Latin inspired Disco will always stand out because of the punch it packs, and with those dreamy minor chords playing so perfectly together your imagination is left free to run riot. Can’t say there is a filler on here and if the horn blasts, string lines and Vincent Montana Jr’s sublime vibes sometimes feel noticeably familiar then that’s because some of the players have also played on various other classics, both on Salsoul and beyond. However, I guess for me three tracks are particularly indispensible: Chicago Bus Stop (Ohh, I Love It), Tale Of Three Cities, and You’re Just The Right Size. All sassy, each suggestive in their own right – the latter’s title couldn’t be more direct! And, as with all in this series of reissues from bbr the accompanying sleeve notes are essential reading. Go try it on for yourself.
Rob Pearson & Jay Dynan
The Babestation EP
It’s tempting to speculate about the meaning of the EP’s title, but…l’ll pass on that for now. The confidence of this production is obvious as the bassline and drums entice you straight from the off. In fact, it’s one of those combinations that could simply run on a loop and you would repeatedly love it. Babestation, employs unnerving sounds and fx, and feels consistently imaginative with that said killer combination running the duration alongside minimal appearances from Trumpet and deadpan voices. Naughty Von Shuffler continues the theme with its dark blend of Tech sensibilities and crisp values, while third track Neigh Your Neighbour feels friskier with perky percussion and expanding sounds. Label boss Jamie Anderson rounds things off with a deeper interpretation which, as always, hits the spot.
Berlin producers Werner Niedermeier and Sefty Sersseludis are the names behind Soul Camp Recordings and now bring their captivating sound to Something Different. The label’s been busy of late and for me this is one of their strongest releases to date with I Wonder If You Know combining atmospheric electronics together with sharp European synth lines and beguiling, tripped out voices. There’s something almost early 90’s Murk about this, so can’t think of any better compliment than that for this invigorating piece of music. Sean Danke provides a great remix by adding extra energy to the drums while retaining the sense of mystery. Leaving, Baby Don’t Go to again creatively fuse the dots together, while still feeling emotive, and surprisingly, even more powerful via the inclusion of some fevered stabs.
Something about this production lends itself to a dark room and a Function One sound system. Opening track, Gritty Tails is one of the most involving recordings I’ve heard in a while when it comes down to tension building blocks. Someone is clearly very talented. I for one can’t get enough of the explosive sounds which pepper the arrangement, and the devastatingly simple array of drums that couldn’t feel huger if they tried. In fact, I’m going to play it again – LOUDER. The two remaining tracks are no less impressive with Nocturnal coming a close second…
Sixteen new productions from Guy Gerber go make up this latest compilation in the fabric series totalling 64. And as you have come to expect from the producer this is another selection of exquisite resonating music that reaches way beyond your imagination. Always spirited, yet incisive and experimental, this effortlessly deep compilation of sounds are as invigorating first thing in the morning as there are very late at night. Weaving between haunting vocals and cinematic instrumentals this once again highlights Guy Gerber as one of the world’s finest in this field of electronic music. Every track stands out in its own right and it would almost be pointless in suggesting particular highlights, but here goes anyway: the completely infectious One Day In May loops heavenly ambience into dancefloor nirvana, while the opening Store-House Consciousness and The Golden Sun And The Silver Moon sound as blissful as the title suggests. The music plays between dancefloor and horizontal listening with consummate ease, with number 64 proving yet another to be a winning formula.
Tracks From The Crypt
Jamie Jones second album for Crosstown Rebels sees two of the world’s most significant players combine forces again successfully, after the DJ’s string of awards plus the labels succession of killer releases. The collection features unreleased tracks – although heaven knows why – alongside new productions, and if you’ve witnessed Jamie play live then Somewhere, Paradise and Frequencies may already be well known to you. But waiting eagerly to get out there too is the equally fresh future-funk of Mari 2D Underground and the uneasy edge belonging to Tonight In Tokyo feat. Luca C. Also make sure you listen out for the sinister bass experience that is Over Each Other with Livia Giammaria’s vocal sounding tastefully bitter in the process too. All the signature sounds are present, with those defining original House influences playing their part to reinforce what is undoubtedly another essential in the canon.
The fifth release from the label sees Remi Mazet deliver breezy summer sounds to quench your thirst for all things funky. Playing with a hint of Gwen Guthrie in the air, the punchy bassline buzzes over introspective Rhodes chords and technological synths on the Original version to great effect. Boris Horel then provides the remix of Le Kiff with bouncy European bass and perky percussion, leaving second track Are you There feat. Mr.Matlar completing the picture with more easily accessible grooves backed up by intriguing voices and frisky snares. Good release.
This three track EP marks the labels 58th and presents their trademark style perfectly. Opening with NTFO & Karmon ‘Nobody Else’ and its punchy melodic bassline, which plays against snare rushes and atmospheric touches, this neatly infuses together a thoughtful production with dancefloor sensibilities. The title track is then provided by Karmon who works moody bass over sharp percussion and classic early-eighties keys, and this again proves to be easy to fall for. Betoko’s, Raining Again provides a potential anthem for the North of England with shuffling synthetic rhythms and detuned vocals intoning the wet stuff.
If you haven’t already checked Amirali’s beautifully crafted album for Crosstown Rebels then you’re missing out on an experience. In the meantime here is the chance to love the hauntingly atmospheric new single which also come s with some great remixes. Such as, Franck Roger who expertly builds the tension by adding fresh chords and drums to re imagine the vocal, while the MK version surpasses the remit with typically classy bass and beats feeling totally big-time. Appleblim’s aptly titled Black Mirrorball Mix then twists the elements over throbbing kicks into something altogether more space aged, making his statement loud and clear.
Dance With The White Rabbit EP
Love this production from Ahmet Sisman whose Dance With The White Rabbit feels all at once like a party in your head. Impressive sound fx and dubbed vocal treatments give the track a very big feel indeed, but it’s also the combination of differing styles that give it all such a unique edge. Nico Lahs provides the remix with funkier bass and a deeper mood, while Audiofly cleverly break up the beats on their abstracted version. Meanwhile, Hello To Alice continues the Wonderland theme with more expressive voices and dark electronics to finish.
This is the second release on Artform’s sister imprint, Arthouse and comes from Erase Records’ Dimos Stamatelos. The Original version sets a punchy tempo against cool Rhodes chords, a taught tech bassline and with hard hitting vocal snippets this is set to induce frantic head nodding. The effective Frogs and Socks remix then teases extra tension from its undulating synth and smart dancefloor arrangement, while label head Jamie Anderson’s Latin Hustle version introduces the chords to warmer possibilities with the intensely funky percussion giving it all a precise edge.
release: June 18 as a Beatport exclusive for 4 weeks. July 16 general release.
If you like to think outside the box then this will most definitely tempt you. It’s distinctly impossible to categorise but then that is precisely its charm. Sometimes House-ish, sometimes Techno-esque, other times sounding like Pink Floyd through a Dance blender, this isn’t always a comfortable ride but is a rewarding one. One half of Zombi, Steve Moore supplies the remix in two parts with his ‘remix’ making some sense of the madness by building layers of arpeggios over a steady kick drum, as the ‘Off-World’ version provides more of an ethereal landscape by gently playing with voices and pulsating rhythms over an epic feeling eight minutes.
Jerome Derradji Presents: 122 BPM
The Birth Of House Music – Mitchbal Records & Chicago Connection Records
This three CD set from the early to late Eighties catalogues of Mitchbal Records and its subsidiary Chicago Connection Records is pretty much indispensible listening if you’re in any way interested in the history of Chicago House Music. Mitchbal Records was founded by Nemiah Mitchell Jr and released their first influential 12” single by Z Factor aka Vince Lawrence (before starting the infamous Trax Records) I Like to Do It in Fast Cars in 1983 (hear below). The selection also includes music from Mr Lee and Libra Libra, and joins together the diverse set of influences that went to make up what became known as House Music: from UK New Wave/ Synthpop and European/Italian dance all the way through to the soulful end of American Disco. The CD comes with invaluable extras such as a 28 page booklet on the labels’ history plus mix from Still Music’s Jerome Derradji, and also features one of Frankie Knuckles rarest remixes: Unfinished Business.
Moodymanc surpasses himself with two new tracks and a variety of mixes to once again tempt your taste buds into action. The self-explanatory Glasgow relives its vigorous namesake with a heavy clash of bass notes hitting you hard while an imaginative selection of electronics sizzle away against a blast of Sax. The excellent Elef remix then replays the city with a sprinkling of melancholy keys and gorgeous, sumptuous bass which all culminate into a notably heavenly production. Title track, State progresses matters further still as Kuntri Ranks intones wise words over a superlative combination of undulating pads and thoughtfully crafted notes. Pryor adds cool tribal flavor to his version, and the Al Calavicci Tea Bag Remix endlessly builds the sense of anticipation over choice fx. Leaving Artform’s Jamie Anderson to twist and transgress the barriers between Techno and Dub and sound completely invigorating in the process. 9
Phonetic Presents Miami Night & Day: Mixed by Rob Roar Phonetic Recordings
Following on from their Ibiza inspired compilation comes this version set for Miami. In ways that doesn’t actually matter for as someone once said, good music is good music – whatever the time and place. And to give the game away Disc 1 (Poolside and Sunset) really doesn’t require you to engage your imagination to guess what going on. But better than any relaxation technique this hits that spot especially when you factor in the March sunshine here in the UK. The music is of course down-tempo, picturesque and tastefully reassuring coming from the likes of Michael E ‘Primiera Vez’ and KrayZ ‘Suite 212’. The second Disc transports the mood into Rob Roar’s natural environment with up-tempo party beats featuring the Michael Gray re-working of Sterling Void’s ‘Runaway Girl’ amongst the electro flair and ends up at Max Linen’s hedonistic anthem ‘Flashback’. 8
The O’Jays We’ll Never Forget You (The Imperial Years 1963-66) Shout Records
Chances are, like myself, you’ve always thought of the O’Jays in terms of their classic seventies output on Philadelphia International Records from I Love Music straight through to Backstabers’. However, if digging a little deeper to reveal where that music came from appeals then this surely is a crucial starting point. The compilation contains The O’Jays complete releases for Imperial Records which began in 1963, so you can expect a blend of styles both vocally and musically, touching upon the cornerstones of Rhythm and Blues and Doo-wop’s influence. As they evolved through the sixties into what became termed Soul music the arrangements begin to get a little sweeter, though the earthy production never feels less than strictly sixties i.e. Analogue and grainy. Putting all of this in context are John Reed’s fascinating sleeve notes which spell everything out in black and white as the music aptly finishes on Time Is On My Side. 8