An eternity of words has already been written about Nu Groove, and of course the Burrell Brothers specifically, that it almost feels like old ground re-treading the path. Although as music is timeless, or at least great music is, then revisiting these compositions is always going to be a tantalising pleasure. Started in 1988 by Frank and Karen Mendez the imprint and its accompanying logo have been sited and praised as influencing much that has been produced since and you can hear those musical strains coursing throughout recent history. Now remastered for 2018 and beyond this compilation chosen by Luke Solomon sees a variety of tracks excite technological potential at the same as delving deep into the heart of the matter. Beginning with Burrell’s X² Mix of Equation – The Answer you get a taste for the electronic, while Bäs Noir – My Love Is Magic represents what became the ‘Garage’ sound of the era. No selection of Nu Groove would be complete without N.Y. House’n Authority and here the sleazy, Detroit flavoured Fort Green House is the excellent choice. As is the inclusion of The Sound Vandals – On Your Way. Indeed it is easy to work your way throughout feeling in exactly the same way. Capturing the essence of House Music and its accompanying variations between 1988 and 1991 may seem like such a short amount of time to do so, but as the music is so rich and rewarding this says in abundance the value of Nu Groove’s contribution to history. And in ways you could say the label transcended all of that and was a form, and genre, all of its own: Nu Groove. Listen to the exquisite Aphrodisiac – Song Of The Siren, perhaps you might agree?
This ticks all the boxes for me. Informed by the past yet diving straight into the future with rigours delight. If you still want to call it House Music rather than a mutation into something else then here is your starting point. Sizzling with electronic possibility, sleazy intention although capturing a sense of communal spirit, peaking at Acid attitude while reaching spine-tingling moments is the artists’ succinct five plus minutes of gorgeous ecstasy: After Dark. Conversely, Look Don’t Touch provides more brutal to the point movements again sequencing a past drenched in Roland 303 plus a deft dancefloor sensibility, along with Ted Rogers’ human vocal touch. Leaving the more retrospective Reckless to delve back into late night, early morning rhythms that fire hot snares and caustic notation right at you.
Revisiting rather than reviving this often overlooked number from the past is always refreshing to experience. That and the fact that the original 1986 version remains intact testifying to the strength of the song plus its vocal delivery, alongside the proud production by other vital figures in House history: Boyd Jarvis and Timmy Regisford, while not to forget the essential tag line ‘Mastered by Herbie Powers’. Nobody’s Business was a 1920s blues standard by Porter Grainger and while Boyd Jarvis lifted the refrain and changing some of the lyrics its essence still reverberates from then to now. Typifying the ‘Garage’ sound of the period which was subsequently exported to the UK a couple of years later via now classic compilations the track boasts all of those hallmarks loud and proud: from the rolling drum machines to the soaring soulfully charged vocals – just close your eyes and who knows where your imagination could end up.
Welcome to Magazine Sixty Severino. Can you begin by telling us about how and where you first got into Dance music and about which DJ’s you initially admired?
I was very young (7) when discovering my sisters records got into them
Love the vinyl’s and playing them for their house parties
An Italian DJ called Moreno was a huge inspiration
With of course Baldelli etc.. it was 1982 when I discovered them
I was 12 years old
Your new single: Smoking featuring Princess Magnifique is out on Classic Music Company. How did you meet the labels’ founder Luke Solomon, and come in contact with New York’s Princess Magnifique?
When I used to buy promos from Ideal distribution for an Italian shop called Disco Inn I met Jonny Rokk and Classic people
Used to love Luke and Kenny sets at Bar Rhumba on wed and Plastic People fridays with Rob Mello too
Princess Magnifique thru friends in NY
He was dancing at DJ SPUN party where i played few years ago
Where did the idea come from for the track and can you talk us through how you produced it (including any favourite pieces of software/ hardware you like to use)?
I made at Andy (Yam Who)studio
Know him for long time
Little tiny sample idea in there
But just inspiration
Then Luke help to adjust few parts
Horse Meat Disco must been one of the UK’s longest running nights. What do you put its success down to?
We still having fun
Make people happy and dance and kids to discovered disco
They are our fav when we DJ
Students full of energy
How would you describe the current state of House Music in 2017? Do you feel too much of the music is looking back to using older sounds and ideas, or does the passage of time not diminish its impact?
Its pretty cool the way the used old ideas but i love also new different kind of music ..not only House
Theres lots of talents out there
Maybe at the mo too many average labels putting out too much music
What are your plans for the year in terms of production and remixing?
Few remixing for sure and def need more music
But same time busy DJ’ing and travels
But its all good
As a London resident since 1997 how would you say the Capital’s nightlife has changed over the years to where it is now? Do you think there will come a time when the internet takes over and there will be less need for nightclubs to meet people and hear music in?
Well u just say
Need to see in the future
Looks like few kids out there are into but not too much
Difficult to say tho
I was wondering how you feel about the strength of song writing in Dance music currently given that previous generations and Disco especially celebrated it so much?
Because it was and still happy and positive
At some point we need that in our life
A bit dark out there sometimes
Having already appeared a couple of years back via Fine Human Records this excellent production now receives fresh impetus and revisiting care off Seth Troxler’s timely imprint. Kicking matters of is the Dino Lenny & Seth Troxler Re-edit which tweaks and re-energises the arrangement to highlight that addictive bassline, cool piano lines and of course the spoken word which delivers a fitting narrative to engage with. New to the party are Luke Solomon’s Live Forever Remix compounding an inevitable hit of Disco juice to the affair by adding different bass and drums along with a more twisted array of keyboards. Plus, the aptly titled Doorly Re-Chunk Mix which does precisely that attacking the speakers with more punch and grind, although allowing space for the subtle elements contained within the piano and vocals.
Your excellent new single: Demuir & Friends EP is due out on Classic Music Company, August 15. Featuring three equally fiery tracks can you talk us through the influences and situations that went into inspiring the creation of the EP?
The track selection and setup of this EP was mainly a result of Luke Solomon’s feedback. He had first listen to a bunch of tracks I already had finished and I’m happy with what it has morphed into.
As far as influences and situations, we both wanted tracks that told a story that people can relate to while showcasing a diverse musical landscape. For example, “My Predictable Locals” recounts what many DJs / Producers feel in their hometown in terms of acknowledgement. I find it ironic, when a headline DJ comes to your town playing a bunch of your songs, but the local factions are either not interested or aware of what’s in their backyard. I placed this over a Jackin’ House beat and some pointed vocals that underscore the point.
We also wanted to feature collaborations. Mark Farina found some great vocals for “Story of A DJ” that describes a DJ’s evolutions that spoke to both of us. The reference to Hip Hop is especially clever because that’s where I started my journey in DJ’ing and Production and I think the same goes for Mark considering his Mushroom Jazz background.
Lastly, Cynthia Amoah is a stellar vocalist who spoke about how she gets through the week in, “Here’s To Friday”. She steps us through each day with positive vibes all the way through. The beat was originally written for a collaboration project with Colette that just didn’t pan out in time. I wanted something upbeat and Cynthia nailed it 10 fold.
Can you also talk us through the production process of one of the tracks, including any favorite pieces of software/ hardware that you like to use when developing your ideas?
I’m a big believer in digging for records as a primary sample source because I learn so much in the process about the music, artists, and history. So I lean very heavily on that to find unique sounds that you just won’t find in an iTunes mp3 library.
I use a combination of software and live instrumentation. My main software / hardware gear is Logic Pro X along with Native Instruments Maschine. I love these tools along with UAD plug-ins because of the flexibility and impact they have in modern production.
How did the relationship with Classic Music happen and how important do you feel it is in 2016 to have the right label behind you to get your music heard?
DJ Sneak introduced me to Luke several months before and Luke was familiar with my music as he charted a few of my tunes and saw that I had releases on I’m A House Gangster. It just so happened that Luke had a gig in Toronto (my hometown) and Sneak thought it a good idea for us to all connect and hang out. Unfortunately, we all couldn’t get together, but I went to see Luke at his gig and he was banging out, “Ode to Chicago II” and a couple of my songs when I got to the club. It’s always a nice feeling to see people enjoying your music that way.
I think it’s important to have the right labels representing your music for exposure and to distinguish yourself as serious artist. Anyone can buy a laptop and put out songs now. So the distinction is important for your brand and the people you’re looking to reach.
Is it true that you can do 100 Meters in 10.2 seconds!?! Can you still do it? And how would you compare the rush of running with the emotions of DJ’ing?
Hahaha! That was so many years ago! I can probably give it a go, but I may blow my hamstring out. It is similar rush to taking people to a peak in your set, but not nearly in as short of that time!
How would you contrast the Funk/ Soul & Disco of the past in relation to song-writing and musicianship with today’s production styles?
Great question! I would have to say the past is similar in some ways, but we miss a lot of human element in production today. I don’t say that to criticize anyone today, but rather, it’s the reality of having a higher presence of technology in music production and song writing today. In the past, you had live musicianship with no ‘click’ track and much older singers and musicians putting paper what they were going through to create very believable and not-so-perfectly synched beats that gave things an organic feel at every turn. However, I can say the technology does allow us to get more creativity if you allow yourself to put in the work.
How much time to you spend in the studio, can you talk us through a typical working day?
I’m in the studio as much as I possibly can be depending on travel and anything else that’s going on. My typical day involves me going through stacks of records from a recent dig, chopping samples, and making beats.
What do you listen to (or read, or watch) to relax?
To relax, I like to take in a good documentary to learn something new and to broaden my perspective. I’m also a member of an art gallery and I try to go see what they got going on, which often leads to inspiration in some form.
Can you share with us any forthcoming projects for the remainder of the year and beyond?
Certainly. In talks to release my,“TruSkool” album on DJ Sneak’s Magnetic imprint, which will feature Jackin’, Techno, Tech House, and Brazilian tracks to keep this interesting. We are all pretty excited about the release. Aside from this, I was lucky to have remixed Linda Clifford and Tiger Stripes for King Street and also did a remix for Luke Solomon and Justin Harris’ Music For Freaks label.
Great production by Frag Maddin who delivers unforgiving and most certainly unrepentant rhythms that force the word gritty through the mill while coming up smiling. Three tracks for Riva Starr’s imprint kick off via the sizzling, bombastic beats and bass of Up To You – which even makes the Loleatta Holloway vocal feel fresh. 1st Reason, follows with a continuation of sinister synths lines and probing low-end theory, while 2nd Reason explores funkier (dare I say melodic) climes to complete this first rate release.
Next in line of killer releases from the label is this irresistibly funky number from jozif who transports a neat sequence of cowbell hits into something altogether more huge care off fuzzy bass notes, plus punchy synthesizers and commanding voices. All My Life, then gets moodier with repeating electronics alongside the relative warmth of harmonious melodies. Either way, great music.
Four equally captivating productions adorn this latest outing from the French duo for One Records. And as you’d expect they cut right to the edge via tough, smoky drums and low-slung bass. The EP’s title track does all that and more with chiming keys playing out across rich yet moody atmospheres perfect for those deep and possibly late-night moments. The Mankind, then adds a swing to the drums along with more brooding chords, leaving the excellent Hustle to get freaky via break-beats and heavy synths. The aptly titled Running Out completes via energetic rhythms that will no doubt leave a satisfied dancefloor once again.
Luke May & Paul Sidoli aka the Monday Club are the perfect partnership to deliver what is essentially excellent Acid House with a vaguely contemporary twist – and that’s just fine by me. The title track obviously combines feverish Acid loops along with punchy drum machines and current production values that sequence fresh synthesisers lines together with the tried and tested. Luke Solomon then proceeds to extend the pleasure somewhat further across almost thirteen minutes of suitable craziness playing commanding Organ hits against shuffling percussion and gritty bass. Footprints is next with addictive vocals again riding the Acid intensity this time accompanied by moody pads and if anything feels even hotter than the title track. The deeper and sleazier Girls Jackin ends on immoral high with irresistible basslines plus adventurous vocals telling it like it is (or could be).
This great new release from Larry Cadge only gets better with the addition of the stunning animated video (see below). You can hear echoes of the timeless Manuel Gottsching plus Adeva in here as the excellent production delivers pounding beats amid more subtle touches lending the arrangement an enticing, hypnotic feel.
Another first rate release from this Moscow based label which again succeeds in blending a sense of individually alongside the most engaging music. First thing to be said of Trust Me is that it’s low-slung nature appeals very much to the horizontal with captivating drum rhythms combining with smoky, cool vocals producing an almost melancholy though tempting arrangement of words and sounds. Lost, is next and gets darker with moodier basslines plus background synth lines, leaving Fly to retain the tempo although this time adds more energy to the vocal that sits neatly alongside funky guitar licks.
This is GREAT. Not only because I loved the original’s Hi-Energy fun and cheeky words but because this new set of remixes simply develop and continue the theme. First and foremost is the WhateverWhatever Remix by Justin Strauss and Bryan Mette which delivers deliciously dark basslines, swirling synthesisers and heavy drums that set the vocal touches on fire on what is undoutbaly the standout version. Josh Druckman’s funky cowbell driven Outlier Inn Remix follows with a more playful groove that hits party central hard, as indeed does the self-explanatory Disco Edit of the original. Bartellow’s more up-tempo version ends.
Not often an artist album comes along displaying not only valuable words but musical skills on this level. Marc Mac (also one half on 4Hero) who whose been producing music for the past couple of decades has arrived at this point, again, with his second Visioneers album, Hipology. Listening to this reads like a history lesson in sight and sound while expert instrumentation is employed via a sterling set of players. Indeed, try an instrumental track like LaAnne from Harlem and tell me it doesn’t move to tears of joy. The album creatively evokes moods and plays with words both spoken and sung throughout, while for the dancefloor try the take on B-Boy legend, Apache (Battle Dub) for size, plus any number of other sure-fire gems. Something for everyone exists on here with the summer funk of Come Sand Play in the Milky Night destined for any beach party worth its salt, or Shine which feeds your mind with meaningful word and soulful tones.
Laura Jones invigorating exploration of electronic sound continues with her first compilation mix for the prestigious Leftroom imprint. Starting with moody brilliance of dOP & Masomenos Hello! the album rapidly proceeds to entice you with its emotive selection of beats and rhythms that never fail but to ignite your imagination. Combining a diverse selection of music from labels like Vitalik Records, Visonquest, and of course Leftroom means that you know you’re always in safe company. What’s also particularly notable here is the way the album weaves between styles, flipping from Techno to House while never feeling contrived. The second half of the mix picks up the pace with a sure succession of killer tracks from Gavin Herlihy and Polyrhythmic, amongst many significant others, finishing on Guy Gerber’s masterful The Mirror Game.
Sao Paolo’s D-Edge combines with long standing House Music impresario Luke Solomon to release this testament to the DJ’s undoubted prowess in all things musical and techincal. The Classic Records co-founder carefully teases every inch of rhythm from this truly intense mixture of distinctive House, unsettling Techno and general electronic madness into the bargain. Whether that’s Red Rack’em’s bassline master class of How I Program, or Boo Williams severely funky Devil Music this will truly rock your discotheque. Any mix that climaxes in the process with the Roberto Rodriguez version of Seven Reasons can only probably be described as transcendent.
Excellent EP from Germany’s Klasse Recordings beginning with the melodic technology of Soul123 which references Detroit like it was just around the corner. Next, Skeleton Keys gets busy with classic House bass and organ creating perfect tension in the air. While, Fakie Snot Bubble cleverly hits you hard at first with fizzy old-school stabs and ‘work this’ vocals, then turns it all upside down with warm pads and House strings causing emotive confusion? Despite its somewhat dubious title the more I hear this, the more seriously impressive it sounds.
Walker & Royce You’re Not Welcome Crosstown Rebels
You don’t really need me to tell you that this latest from Crosstown is excellent, do you? Put it like this: it feels ever so slightly sinister with sumptuous bass notes driving the taught beats, as the uber cool vocals feel deeply soulful in a Trans-European setting with sparkling keys lifting it all skyward. Stare If You Want To feat. Javi happens next with killer syncopation feeling like disco never went away (I know, it didn’t) but coupled with tripped out voices and more contemporary chords plus guitar, this again transcends the timeline. The Francesca Lombardo Remix of You’re Not Welcome resists the titles negative appeal with addictive notation and proves the vocal to be defiantly happy.
I Cube once again produce’s something so startlingly original that when it’s primed it will explode all over your dancefloor. Y.O.U.R.O.C.K is somewhat self-explanatory here as shimmering electro keys clash with strident disco beats, while repeating to infinity and beyond. This has to be heard to be believed! Followed by Popular Electronics which frays the edges with twisted synths and a lot more besides, but possibly saving the best to last is In Alpha which replays eighties guitar funk, via the curious mind of I Cube, to feel compellingly uplifting and certainly rather beautiful. The album is coming…
Clearly in his own class Justin Martin’s debut album acts like a conduit for his myriad of influences and own particular brand of music. Encompassing everything from U.K bass to Acid the album avoids treading a cliqued path by its use of trippy voices and unexpected combinations of styles, which none-the-less always feel exciting and pertinent. Butterflies is a case in point with edited child-like voices playing off against synthetic chords and squelchy basslines to sound like not a lot else out there. Also try Molokini for some heavy-duty business, and The Gurner with Pillow Talk for something a little deeper and more spiritually motivating.