There is music. Then there is music created by Ron Trent. The review could end there but I have loved his output for too long to keep quiet about it in so few words. There is a kind of surreal feeling attached to listening to this album, his first in eleven years, because this sounds like everything you have ever heard intertwined with the imagination of how perfect music feels free from all the online noise. That personal aspect courses throughout the vein of What do the stars say to you as if you are engaged in an exchange of conversation.
Upon reflection some of the styles of music which once drew me close now drive me away in a different direction. I guess along the way as you encounter more radical propositions, even if they were created decades ago, that search for the new to you alongside ever exciting ideas feeds a hunger that never quite leaves. Maybe that’s as much to do with life as it is about music itself, all the wild cards dealt from Punk to Acid House – fill in your own blanks. Then again perhaps the already known is where you are most comfortable. It is all a matter of personal taste, not unforgiving opinion. In the difficult process of trying summon up a question it would be to ask if the musicality almost seems a little dated, more suited to the lost decades of jazz-funk. Maybe on occasion such as on Admira Feat. Gigi Masin a sense of that might prevail amid the instrumental solos and familiar array of synthesised sound. Perhaps not so on the engaging balearic chug fuelling WARM. Does it reflect timeless musical escapades, or simply reflect our seemingly never-ending desire for the reassurance of soft nostalgia?
The album obviously is built around a set of circumstances, one part of the artists being, which as we already know has produced some of the most wonderful music alive. Therefore if the cornerstones touched upon here work for you then you are going to love listening to this.
I began the album with the embrace of Cool Water feat. Ivan Conti (Azymuth) and Lars Bartkuhn, then the sublime Cycle Of Many but by the time I reached the end I wasn’t quite so sure….
Revisiting Tears To Sound from 2018 Ron Trent delivers on the originals vocal promise with this immaculate instrumental version. First appearing on NuNorthern Soul this release now marks the third from the accompanying Through Gods Own Eyes and as you would expect dives headlong into deeper territory, while remaining resolutely soulful. Pounding drums alongside robust low-end denote this production as a fiery array of heady keys and sizzling percussion compliment it all most tastefully. Next, Barnaby Bruce of Palms and Charms flips the groove with something altogether breezier in nature, channelling early house influences throughout the sequence of chiming rhythms.
Disclaimer: Ron Trent. There I’ve stated it. The man who has created some of the finest House Music since I fell in love with his sublime treatment of Braxton Holmes â€Ž- 12 Inches Of Pleasure way back in 1992 (Emotive/ Clubhouse Records). And who now interprets Jungle By Night’s ‘Spending Week’ with invested passion, producing soulfully realised music that tastes history and infuses the present with it. Lifted from the band’s fifth album: Livingstone this journey’s through notes of Jazz and Funk blending seamlessly across summer days and warm, breezy evening affairs like no tomorrow with robust horn blasts, vigorous drums and punchy eighties styled keys all working up a fever. Japan’s Kuniyuki is up next reworking, Loveboat with a wash of chiming funkiness that tingles with melody and positively pulsates via trumpet and finely-tuned drum machines. Jungle By Night are set to play Earth, Hackney on Friday 12th April. Be quick.
Ahh, the re-assuring bliss of classic instrumentation to soothe you all the way down. Sounds that reoccur and are endlessly satisfying. Sprung from the well of Jazz, compacted by House, accompanied by the breath of emotion that surrounds Lono Brazil’s effortlessly cool words which never lose their impact. Shinning a light on the path of a promise to a promised land and at over ten minutes the arrangement doesn’t lose sight of its goal, serving a succession of brisk bass and repeating keys augmented by string stabs and occasional sprinkles of piano. And that’s before we even get to the brilliant Dazzle Drums version. Which injects the rhythms with further percussion and breezier vibes that simply emanate soul.
Since when was music not meant to be challenging? It is also most important to note new life being breathed into sounds like these, refreshing them for the next generation. Ron Trent turns Ad Bourke & ROTLA’s brilliantly, fiery production upside down infusing it with all manner of excitable punctuation, exalting the very finest Jazz-Funk and Latin rhythms around. Breathe in the sheer bliss of it all when the beauty hits full-on at around five minutes as the full weight of instrumental intensity strikes. The dreamier intonations of the Original version are no less punchy though serve a slightly different emphasis, and looking forward to hear just how it will all play out over their forthcoming album. In many ways this is all about how the Drums challenge the Music for prominence. But either way the results are a total pleasure.
It suddenly struck me that the use of generic terms to describe much of the music I share with you is completely pointless. In my book that’s pretty much an essential attribute as it’s the music that tears the edges of the page which often proves to be the most absorbing. And that’s what I love about this collection of reworking’s of Satoshi Tomiie’s 2015 album New Day. Now all gathered together under the one roof the self-explanatory title track from the album receives three remixes plus there’s an array of equally sparkling gems for you to dive into. Standouts for me are from Ron Trent who reworks Thursday 2AM, Fred P’s Reshape of Landscape, and Pablo Mateo’s version of New Day itself. All tease with fresh possibilities and don’t weigh you down with trying to file music into any neat, labelled, or pre-determined box. Soul-satisfying and total.
You may find yourself in no better a location right now than listening to this excellent release via the invaluable label that not only acts as historian of beautiful music but also as harbinger of the new. Ron Trent treats us to what he’s great at fashioning the already sublime gem into something above and beyond. My words wouldn’t really do the sounds justice so feel free to relish below!
It’s hard to top the Larse reworking of Endless Feeling from the tail end of last year’s E.P from Gavin Herily. I mean not that the original was more than good enough (it was after all excellent) but this new version adds some extra fizz to the production for 2012. The array of impressive vocal treatments remains intact as indeed do the tension building guitar/ synth licks but Larse re-tweaks it all supplying energetic, shuffling hats and a choice pounding beat. Inxec and Shaun Reeves then replay Tell Me What You Need by perking up the drums and evolving the sounds into a blissful climax, while Geddes hits home with a heavy-duty bass driven 928 version that shimmers distinctively with funky percussion and emotive electronics. 8
Lawnchair Generals ‘Don’t Stop’ Lazy Days Recordings
Not only does this reference a personal Disco favourite but also screams syncopation is King and/ or indeed Queen. Produced by Peter Christianson and Carlos Mendoza this Hi-Nrg trip down memory lane is nothing less than excitement personified, although this time with added punch, fresh synth and a faster tempo. Try the Original or the Dub which has extra chords and drums for satisfaction most definitely guaranteed. Rob Mello’s No Ears Mix reconstructs everything bar a touch of voice and neatly transforms it into deeper tech styled intrigue. 8
Pulp Disco & The Outcasts â€˜Witches’ Legendary Sound Research
Following on from Overnight To Dusseldorf on Ashley Beedle’sÂ Out Hear Audio comes this smoothly pulsating and rather fabulous exercise in Cosmic/ Disco/ House (definitely not a genre but certainly a cool clash of ideas). Sensibly paced and augmented by tasty percussion throughout this blends together sassy euro-syncopation with a timely House chord sequence and breathy voices impressively, leaving The Legendary 1979 Orchestra to rework the elements with hats to the fore and additional off-kilter keys. Second track Rimini (Estasi Dell Amore) feels even better getting sleazy with nasty synths and a climatic arrangement that oozes European appeal, and then some moreâ€¦ 8
Sandman & Riverside feat ft. Kymberli Wright â€˜It’s Too Late’ Fast FWD Records
The Original version of It’s Too Late combines a powerful sparing of percussion played intently with Jazz in mind alongside heavy Rhodes and notable scat vocals. And as truly impressive as it that all sounds (and is), for me Ron Trent once again provides the icing to the cake. Intensity is the middle name here as an array of rhythms envelope you in a series of dance reference points that score equally high on passion and imagination. The Dub proceeds to play around with the gorgeous instrumentation paying perfect compliment. KZR then strip it all back to highlight more voice on their Late Night Dub with a neat Reprise taking care of the rest. 9
Alter Ego Nolan’s instantly appealing production sounds like it was recorded in the hot sunshine on a sandy beach somewhere in the Med. I know it’s only February but who’s counting. Out soon on NYC’s sister label to the seminal Nurvous imprint this is based around a familiar, though not obvious, party-time piano loop withÂ competing vocal edits and thumping beats all vying for your attention. However the HXU aka Huxley vs Timo Garcia remix is an altogether more sober affair: dropping the mood, feeling deeper, more soulful and is sublimely fine. Cocktails at dawn. 8
Jon Sweetname â€˜Dulce Amor’ (Remixes) Loco Records Supreme
Love the Touchan remix of this track from Barcelona’s Jon Sweetname precisely because it delivers the unexpected. Which in this case is a slightly sinister bassline aided by a whirring vocal loop and creative electronics all of which create an unsettling, though thoroughly enticing mood. The Martin Nowakowski follows with yet more imaginative touches and treatments on his slightly more â€˜up’ feeling version. Something a bit different and therefore clearly worth your time. 8