Leftroom return to the fray with this great release from Andre Salmon who neatly infuses the uber funky, shuffling bassline and drums of the title track together with the sleazy, breathy curiosity of effected vocals. An inventive, playful production for sure and one that sits proudly on the label. A Dub follows engaging the trippy aspects of the arrangement, although you do miss the rush of all those heavily treated vocals meandering around the airwaves. Next, The 93 feat. Mr. Bud tightens up the rhythms with a taught selection of sounds that invigorate robustly while again applying a creative sense of dub to the process. Alex Arnout then delivers a sure-fire rendition that captures the spirit of the original and extends the intensity as the grinding drums pound more intently alongside the captivating vocals and insistent keys.
Sergio’s back is doing better, slowly recovering. We hope to be back on the road and fully operational in December.
Your new release ‘Old Streets’ on Soul Clap once again highlights your musical skills as well as your song writing abilities. How do you compare the importance of your timely melodies and sassy grooves with the more minimal, functional sounds that have been dominating many dancefloors?
I think essentially it comes down to a slightly lesser focus on sound “for the sound”. We love to explore sounds and try to find innovative textures but ultimately we search for a sound that inspires us to play. We likely have a more “old school” approach when it comes to melodies than modern days tracks. Some tracks today literally have the same note repeated but the sound itself varies in such ways that it creates a convincing and catchy hook, almost sounding melodically complex sometimes. I think this is as commendable as a more melodic approach. We’re just more on one side than the other.
Can you talk us through the process of how you produced/wrote the track?
‘Old Streets’ was produced in Washington DC. The “recipe” there has been the same pretty much every time: jamming on synths sync’d up with drum machines and recording as much as we can… occasionally going to the computer to start picking up the right loops and elements. Finally, we recorded the vocals that Sergio had written. The final sequencing is usually what takes us the most time. Sometimes it is obscenely long. It’s almost as if the infinity of combinations of sequencing freezes us. You can completely change the vibe and almost the style of a track with sequencing… Letting the tracks develop slowly and repeating some elements for a while can make a track real deep, whereas changing things fast will make it more pop. These decisions are also part of the process.
Your current release for Matt Tolfrey’s Leftroom Limited ‘House With 500 Rooms’ showcases a tougher more robust side to your productions. What’s the story behind the title, and how did you first hook up with Leftroom?
“House With 500 Rooms” is a play on an amazing old song from the 80s by a band from New Zealand called The Chills. Their song is really pretty and gentle classic 80s, lofi indie pop. And it was called “House With A Hundred Rooms.” Since our track is all about a macho braggadocio, it just seemed sort of funny to try and be that way even in the title of our track by topping another title that uses “House” even though that song has nothing to do with the genre. It is indeed a tougher, darker and more dancefloor side of us that’s showcased in this case. This diversity is probably because we enjoy a lot of different genres and never really limited ourselves to any subgenre.
Leftroom makes sense for this EP as it represents a label with a classic sense of House music. We are really happy Matt wanted to release it. We met him through friends at parties and always had connected with him. He’s a great person.
Having already released music on the likes of Culprit and Visionquest what plans do you have for moving into 2016?
We have few more tracks/EPs we hope to release in the near future. One is more on the House side and the other more rock. A bit like the “Old Streets”/”House With 500 Rooms” combo.
And finally, how would you say that your main influences play into your music?
A lot, essentially. I would say they play 70% of the part. Then there is probably a good 20% of “direct” influence from playing in the club and experiencing a track there. This is a different kind of influence in a way kind of like the difference between studying a textbook vs practice. The last 10% comes from being in our “bubble”. We tend to be also relatively isolated when it comes to production and this 10% accounts for that.
Single of the Week
Me & You EP
Hats off to Neil Parkes for delivering such an exciting production which doesn’t follow the rule book, consequently sounding rather spectacular. Me & You is the led track and combines a distinctive, undulating synth line along with brooding chords and suitably leftfield vocals. A great remix comes from Richy Ahmed who punctuates it with Chicago styled vocal stabs and Detroit synthesizers augmenting the certainly tough bassline. Dixon, then sees the producer in deeper territory with moody atmospheres and shuffling percussion again delivering singular results. The excellent, ‘You Were’ ends on a high with provocative basslines amid weirdly addictive vocals and further tech keyboards that feel uniquely soulful.
release: November 10
Beats & Bobs Vol.2
I did mean to bring you this a couple of weeks ago but circumstances got in the way. Never-the-less the sumptuous Klearkut chimes with the current vogue for shimmering, marimba styled keys underscored by tough beats, which is in this case superbly highlighted by an extra layer of percussion and subtle synths at mid-point. Great track, for sure. However, it’s to the timeless quality of Earth These Beats that attention turns. Replaying the Beats version of the 1990 classic Earth People ‘Dance’ and extending it out to ten minutes is tempting on paper but played loud releases all that funky energy at full blast.
Max Chapman & Kieran Andrews
The Factory EP
We’re just about to hit November and already there’s a great list of music in store. Following neatly on from their Temperature EP for the label comes this blistering, bassline infused production in the shape of Factory 7. It’s all thumping beats, crisps sounding snares and atmospheric noises swirling round the ether, and it’s positively nasty. Philip Bader’s remix drops the loser funkier vibe of the original in favour of more attacking House beats surrounded by a pulsating vocal stabs and a creative selection of sounds for high impact. Leaving, Loving Arms to feel more emotive with hooky vocal loops and driving rhythms to end the show.
release: November 17
For one of the most emotive intros around please press play. Nail’s 1997 classic ‘Time For Change’ opens with timely piano notes and warm pads to set the soulful scene on what then soon alters to something altogether darker, deeper: LIT ‘Brown Dwarf’ (Hyena Stomp Red Giant Mix). Not a problem of course as the music proceeds to traverse the full scope of House taking in everyone from Robbie Hardkiss to Rob Mello, while winding up at Brett Johnson’s extremely sublime ‘Slow Down Baby’ (Severino Remix 2012) – yet another album exclusive. As you’d expect from the label the music doesn’t easily slip into any particular cliché, which along with the diverse nature of Severino Panzetta’s stellar selection only lends the album its unique strength. Recommended.
release: November 5
This Odd Parents and Maceo Plex combination does of course hit all the right buttons when it comes to hard-hitting House music, twisting together computer-funk rhythms from one extreme to another. The obscure nod to melody, introduced towards the end, comes via a sinister sounding vocal loop which lets the acid synthesizers sizzle away underneath while feeling never less than funky. Mark E supplies two versions with his ‘Remix’ giving it a spacey mood, plus the stunning ‘Future Doom Remix’ which delves deep into classic keyboard sounds over the course ten minutes, and has that rare quality of transporting you somewhere else entirely via the use of sound alone.
release: November 5
Francesca Lombardo’s effervescent journey into sound is nothing if not completely captivating, relying upon strange evocations and weird twists of fate. Eyes, is an amazing piece of music that stands well apart from most other releases that you will hear in the coming months, not least of all because it speaks its own language in terms of originality and use of instrumentation. It crosses acid rhythms along with dark pads, invigorating beats and the occasional vocal treatment speaking in volumes. Wander and Wonder, featuring Julien Riachi’s delicious voice then adds a funkier edge to the array of pulsating sounds, and again locks you into another excellent production. When words are not enough…
release: November 5
No Equal Sides is one of those knowingly satisfying tracks which are tailor made for the dancefloor. It’s a simple enough premise but a devastatingly effective one none-the-less as deep, pulsating bass builds over reviving keys and shuffling beats to induce the desired effect. What more can be said: this works! Next, Tunnel Vision begins with sci-fi electronics but then develops into an unexpected, and very impressive vocal cut which you will find yourself returning too repeatedly. Dished out over smoky, broken beats and reversed chords these spoken words are direct enough to offset the spine-tingling atmosphere created by the music. In Principle, finishes by again playing with shuffled rhythms, although this time aided by moodier stabs and techno bass that sit strangely somehow in-between jazz and funk.
release: November 9
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.
release: June 4 (vinyl)/ June 18 (digital)
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.
Release: May 28
Huxley & Sam Russo
Jamma’s Basement EP
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.
release: May 28
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.