The enviable warmth of emotion that greets you upon hearing the title track to this latest release from Moodymanc’s alternative guise is sheer delight. The sequence of heart wrenching, cinematic styled strings and delicate percussion are then defiantly toppled by cavernous, rumbling double-bass and plucked nirvana, amid the biting sizzle of rough and ready hi-hats. The Club Mix sees a tougher approach via the addition of a truly thumping kick drum while all the jazzy goodness remains proudly resolute. Next comes a re-visit to JCub’s excellent Mestizo and a remix care of Tony Lionni who takes things in a suitably deeper direction accompanied by breezy horn blasts, as the air of hot keys and summer days inform the rest. And as a digital bonus you’re also treaded to a final version of Evans Above in the shape of a Club Dub which does exactly that. More beautiful strings and more tinkling keys please. Thank you.
Next in line from 3am. And first off is the unforgiving Acid intensity spun out by Ceri, neatly called Acid Jam. Next up is Moodymanc under his Dubble D guise with the excellent Darkdays which combines life-affirming chords together with buzzy synths, while Michael Lovatt’s moodier Say What You Want reaches for deeper bass. Then finally, the brilliantly named Twisted Puppies leaves you via Disco Kicks, which not surprisingly has funky basslines and percussion square up to tough beats and anthemic feelings.
Sometimes when you’re lost in a haze of smouldering electronics it’s good to get recharged by the flair of relatively real music, which of course tempts you in the direction of this label. Have to say second listen and I’m hooked into the opening salvo of Balinese Saints which fires off irredeemably energetic percussion breaks together with a jazzy, latin-esque sense of rhythm and language. Mondays, follows fuelled by jaunty shuffles, reversed sequences plus the joy of guitar all rolled into one. While the excellent Sunflowers In Dub then exits via a final, reassuring blast of resounding Balearic echo plus stereo enhanced, life-affirming goodness.
Release: September 22
Danny Ward’s second outing on this imprint bares all the hallmarks of not only his Moodymanc moniker but also employs that finely attuned Jazz ear into this stark reminder of what musicality can be about. Featuring a handful of expert players as you will soon hear opening via Gone with its fine feast of sassy drums, melancholic vocals and unsettling yet thoroughly engaging slices of music, matters then feel all the more Jazzy on Cherries with its blazing Trumpets accompanyed by irresistibly tough filtered dance grooves that almost transport you back to the beautifully black and white 1950’s. A more revealing Dub follows exploring the brassier aspects of the tune, while the very excellent and sumptuously luxurious tones of Mark Francis’ piano led Stunt completes this first rate experience.
Kim Ann Foxman
It’s You That Drives Me Wild EP
Next in line from Kim Ann Foxman’s joint Firehouse/ The Vinyl Factory production house comes this superlative, dark somewhat sleazy yet ecstasy saturated release. The aptly titled, It’s You That Drives Me Wild title track joins dots between House Music of 80’s and todays fiery infusion of sounds. It also boasts a striking arrangement that effortlessly ignites the tension care-off of Foxman’s captivating vocals which are accompanied by a series of brutal beats plus an array of captivating sound effects. Maya Jane Coles provides the remix in her own inimitable style with deeper, chiming tones underpinning the voice. Second originals, Give It All You Got and the break beat fuelled Magic Window complete the picture in compelling style.
Black Paint (Lenny Middles’ Acid Reprise)
Well Cut Records
Originally released on Tsuba records back in 2011 and as you can’t keep a good thing down Moodymanc’s notable Well Cut label revisits the Larry Heard remixed gem charged with a sense of wild Acid abandon â€“ the clue’s in the title after all. What can I say about this apart from the excellent, simmering 303 styled tension sounds just as compelling as it ever did, while suitably accompanied by Lenny Middles faultless production prowess alongside finely tuned percussion seeing this journey into the electronic heart of the matter. Two mixes on offer. One with the compelling smoky voice-over, one without.
Label boss Joachim Spieth returns with two tracks for his Berlin based imprint. But while, Evaporate didn’t quite grab me on first listen the rush of emotionally charged ambience on Decelerate certainly did. Which, in turn led me back to the title track as the very same swirling atmosphere’s make their presence felt conversely over pounding drums that all of a sudden ignite your senses in unexpected ways. Whichever way round you like it this is impressive music.
The Craig Charles Funk And Soul Club
We all know Craig Charles by now and if you’ve had the pleasure of catching his long standing show on BBC 6 Music then this exhilarating selection of Funk, Soul and even Ska will have you jumping in the aisles. What’s important here, aside the music of course, is that not only does this hit upon classics from the past but also swings right up to date with current artists like T Bird & The Breaks and Smoove & Turrell. A couple of good covers included here too, not least of all Prince Fatty Ft Horseman’s version of Cypress Hill â€˜Insane In The Membrane’ and of the few available cooler moments â€˜A Time For’ by Lack Of Afro Ft Wayne Gidden is a particualr standout -Â special mention must also go to theÂ Incredible Bongo Band’s bizarre rendition of the Stones â€˜Satisfaction’. All in all from the blistering opening of ‘Amen Brother’ by The Bamboos this is simplyÂ about good music whether that’s for mind, body and soul, or all three at once.
Swiss label Oh So Coy poses the question of just how often you can hear that classic refrain â€˜House Music All Night Long’ without losing interest. The Original version plays the sample over frisky tech textures with a perky organ riff sounding undoubtedly irresistible. However, when you listen to the excellent Late Night Mix, which slows it all right down to an intriguing, funky pace it’s only really then that the track truly shines. The vocal feels just right while the stabs are heavy and hard-hitting – first rate actually. Moodymanc then picks it up again injecting much funkier drums and chords to reinvigorate the groove, while added string-like pads give it extra depth on another typically quality re-interpretation. Definitely also check hisÂ impressive Breakhouse MixÂ that strips back the drums to a shuffling intensity, which along with hypnotic keys and rousing cowbells give it all an impatient sense of urgency. To finish the labels impressive 50th release the also excellent YUNOME version twists the chords around taught techno bass and undulating stress levels that are best played loud.
With a long involvement and list of productions since the early 90’s Johnny Fiasco keeps up the momentum for this release on Vancouver’s Nordic Trax. Fuelled by very insistent hi-hats and a fevered acid attitude this production is as much about emotion as it is about bounce. Coupled with tastefully moody pads this excels simply because it isn’t afraid to play with texture in the process, operating on more than one level. Having said that, the Dub becomes even more single minded in a most unsettling way with nasty synths creating a grating edge for repeated impact.Â Leaving, On & On to engage with further bleeps and evolving layers of sound with the semi-melodic motif sounding typically Chicago.
I’ll Be Waiting For You
Displaying all the necessary hallmarks Paolo Marturano’s second release for North West (UK) imprint Muchiq is both deliciously moody and seductively sleazy. Propelled by deep bass and quick-fire 909 snares, alongside a rich assortment of dark noises and captivating deadpan vocals, this ignites the touch paper between Tech and House while remaining funky and energized. Joint Label head Dan Muchiq provides the first remix with brisk drums and atmospheric chords adding fuelling the fire as the addition of extra nagging synth only increases the tension. The final Dansco version replays the originals’ elements, concentrating on the great percussion, to give a more introspective angle on what is a sterling from release from the label.
The third in the series of compilations from Lost My Dog’s catalogue of Deep House, and other imaginings, sees one of the label heads Pete Dafeet mix together a smooth blend of moods into one altogether very satisfying experience. As with previous editions this features old and new music from the imprint, although this time is the preserve of Pete’s own productions, along with the added twist of some hot remixes such as Giom’s excellent take on Beneath The Fold and Moodymanc’s likewise Dub of Stutter. Got to say my favourite track has to be Hit Em Up, which appears both as the uplifting intensity of the Original version along with the stab nirvana of Pezzner’s remix. Generously an unmixed selection is also available so you can unpick all those favourites for yourselves.
If you’re looking for a viable alternative to the current vogue of 90’s inspired House then try Danny Berman’s innovative interpretation of the Post-Punk/ No-Wave sound. It’s got all the elements right down to a T from the enviable, deadpan cool vocal of City Hayes to the chopped-funk guitar by Crazy P’s Chris Todd, which you will find draws you into the after-dark world of late seventies/ early eighties New York. Trans-Media-Lab artist Jacob Korn provides a stunning remix with a more contemporary electronic twist featuring lush pads and probing bass. Freestyle Lover then sees Berman’s own vocal delivery cut across â€˜Fripp’ guitar and an assortment of caustic percussion. But, perhaps looking at the cover alone will reveal all you need to know about this, and more!
Mario Basanov’s debut album for Needwant is little short of stunning. Not only does it sound perfectly polished but the breadth of styles it indulges in is equally as impressive. From down-tempo ambience to dancefloor madness just about everything you can imagine is touched upon here, including at times even Pop sensibilities. From invigorating instrumentals like Skywalker to classy songs such as the deliciously soulful Something About featuring Edwin Williamson it’s all about the quality. The title, Journey is certainly an apt one running to some sixteen tracks in all. And when experiencing the cosmic-funk of music like Damn Girl you can only really refer to this as highly accomplished.
A Brazilian Love Affair
George Duke’s Brazilian celebration cumulates in the title track of this reissue album by redefining the possibilities of Jazz/ Funk at that time (in 1979). Recorded with a handful of Brazilian musicians you can hear their influence along with the sounds of sun and the sea throughout. You’re also left in little doubt as to the dexterity of the players involved, although at times it can feel aÂ touch muso, however lighter relief is always on hand via the hot Latin melodies experienced on the likes of Cravo E Canela. Generally regarded as a classic in its field it is probably fair to say that they don’t actually make them like this anymore.
Love this. The capitals’ Alexis Raphael captures the invigorating sounds and feel of contemporary House music perfectly with this inspired production. Tempered by strident beats and deliciously dark sounding synths the arrangement sets you up for its fall into bassline nirvana, with a timely nod to early nineties vocal samples’ and a twist of infectious Disco toms into the bargain.Â Hot Natured then proceed to deepen the bass and add edgy attitude to their sublimely powerful remix, as second track I Know feels almost church-like in comparison: with heavenly Organ cumulating in a succession of hypnotic handclaps and cheeky selection of yet more classic vocal lines… 9
Cesar Coronado’s debut for the relocated Flumo label sees splashing 909 hats play off against nagging vocal snippets and cool fuzzy chords. Meanwhile, the impressive Atapy Remix gets funky with its Bass while playing pounding synthetic drums as it evolves into a creative collection of electronic notes and pads. However, it’s down to Ed Maddams Soul Dub to transform the mood of it all by breaking up the beats and adding excellent Jazzy tones to a particularly stinking sequence of events. Hats off, this is good. The Way I Feel About You replays another classic vocal from the 90’s over a suitably fashionable b-line to compliment it all stylishly. 8
Have to say I made the mistake of underestimating this when I first heard it. But, much to my delight it’s all you could hope for and more from Parisian Joss Moog, whose distinctive selection of influences hits all the right buttons. Slinky bass and infectiously funky percussion effortlessly work their way into your consciousness as Motown inspired voices and moody chords do all the rest. That Old Feeling:Â simple and yet totally effective. As indeed is, Xtra Bass which again plays a collection of beats and breaks as smooth dancefloor filler. The much perkier, That’s What UR follows by adding Disco flavour and the 70’s party-time inflections of Blue Paradise complete. 8
You will be well familiar with Manuel Tur reading Magazine Sixty so it’s a definite pleasure to be introducing you to his new, and second, album for Freerange. Both label and artist espouse certain qualities when it comes to the music they release and thought-provoking tracks such as new single, High Needs Low are a perfect case in point. From heavy-duty deepness to more spacious atmospheres the curiously titled album (via Salvador Dali) never fails but to thrill you with its exploration of ideas about sound and their possibilities. That may sound a touch pretentious but on songs like, Maybe Next Lifetime featuring BlakKat you can get the general idea.Â The cinematic collages continue through the uncertain repetition of, Mirrors and on the eerily perfect, Just Love with Elina Monova – whose probing use of vocals lifts the music above and beyond. 8
Various Artists Baker Street 5th Anniversary Baker Street Recordings
Superlative Leeds based label Baker Street celebrates its five years in existence with this collection of choice moments from its past, complimented by a selection of new remixes pointing towards the future.Â Split over two CD’s, with the initial featuring the new versions, let’s start with the second as it opens with Matthias Vogt’s killer remix Paul Hardy’s SwirlÂ – which just so happens to be a favourite from last year. All the labels stalwarts are present here from Moodymanc to Jay Shepheard and Baker Street’s distinctive twist on American House music plays out fluently flitting between moods and instrumentation. The remix CD then comes care off the likes of Murray Richardson, Martijn and also includes the spectacular Lo Tech Remix of Lie To Me, so you know what quality to expect. 8
Opening with the breezy, Jazz Cafe the album develops its theme with titles like the succinctly funky standout cut, Disco On The Dancefloor and cruises through everything from deeper to techy territory with ease. Although, it’s not always as straight forward as that may sound due to the colourful use of styles which are playfully incorporated into the mix: a hint of Jazz here, a touch of Ska there.Â But that’s precisely what makes Basement Story quite so enjoyable. The album also includes a couple of bonus remixes and ends on the down-tempo orchestration of, The Black Cat Gismo for the sheer hell of it. 7
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 aÂ notably heavenly production. Title track, State progresses mattersÂ 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 AndersonÂ 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 â€˜Primiera Vez’ and KrayZ â€˜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 â€˜Runaway Girl’ amongst the electro flair and ends up at Max Linen’s hedonistic anthem â€˜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
I could simply list the music on here and you wouldÂ demand it all. But let’s just say: Ashford & Simpson â€˜One More Try, The O’Jays â€˜This Time Baby’, Lafleur â€˜Dub Till We Drop, The System â€˜It’s Passion’ and that’s only half of the story. The remainder includes Klein & MBO, B Beat Girls and Kasso which all sum up into an energy packed blast through the styles and sounds of the late seventies and early-ish eighties. Never a dull moment as they say as Johnny D excitedly cuts-up and mixes the beats with dedication that is heartfelt and inspiring. The mixed version of the CDÂ even comes complete with starry voice overs, although nothing could really come close toÂ the sublime bliss of the penultimate Ultra High Frequency â€˜We’re On The Right Track’. The range and influences on offerÂ here areÂ neverÂ less than impressive and the combination of song, electronics’ and real instrumentation is clearly a lesson in love – fast and slow. 9
Eight years in and with his eighth release for the label perhaps not surprisingly the Lost My Dog co-founderÂ producesÂ something rather excellent in that old-school House kind of way with peak-time stabs and razor sharp beats all feeling very dancefloor – the suitably classic claps and moody pads fill in the gaps just like they used too. Moodymanc then picks up the pace with more staccato stabs and rushing hi-hats giving the remix typical intensity, aided by a flourish of funky timbaleÂ it all becomes peak-time business with the introduction of the held strings which then sweep alongside the deep vocals. The d-d-Drum Dub follows playing out the percussion against sizzling background tension on his second and equally excellent remix. Next up is Rush which does just that with more fuzzy Strictly styled stabs and strings sounding sensuous, while Peace La Paz dishes outÂ 909 beats and more deliciously juicy basslines. 8
Uppercut â€˜Turn The Music To Your Head’ Kult Records
More prime-time action from Kult as Montreal’s Dj Uppercut makes his return to the fold with this shinny sounding production. Driven along by an insistent electro riff this builds and drops withÂ prowess and is supported by heavily treated voices and perky keys. Remixes come from Mikel Curcio and the excellent Zoltan Kontes who’s perfectly named 4hour dub version delivers a typically devastating tribalÂ workout which Kult do oh-so-well. Love the Fx, love the Drums. 9
If you inhabited the early nineties then â€˜I Wanna Dance The Night Away’ was one of many sampled vocal refrains that made a repeated appearance at the time, however it makes a most welcome return now in all its detuned glory. Sounding all the more exciting played against this brutally simplistic bassline and moody keys the mix also builds up space-age fx along with a repetition youÂ won’t want to escape from. Mind Games proceeds with more enticing deepness combining classic drums sounds and chords that again get feverish with a well timed arrangement. Finishing off for the Spanish label is Visit From God which breaks up the beats while deliveringÂ big P-FunkÂ attitude. 8
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