Sunday, 29 June 2008

V/A – Elaste Volume 02: Compiled by Tom Wieland (Compost)


V/A Elaste Volume 02: Compiled by Tom Wieland (Compost)

Web: http://transeuropaexpresradio.blogspot.com

Tom Wieland is best known for his fractured beat and housified productions as one half of 7 Samuri and Panoptikum, but he’s also a DJ of repute who enjoys playing a broad range of music. Here, he takes over the Elaste torch from DJ Mooner, delivering a hot selection of lost European discoid gems, primarily from the 70s and 80s. Purring instruments, weird synthetics and buoyant vocals dominate on this gorgeous selection of music, which Wieland can certainly be proud of. Winners include Jagg’s calm Take Your Time, Two Man Sound’s marching Que Tal America and the super deep Hallucinogenic overhaul of Rufus & Chaka Khan’s magnificent Ain’t Nobody. Compost have a long tradition of sourcing cool music from a variety of places and the Elaste series underlines their ability to turn to different genres and pick out prime musical cuts.

JF

Munk – Cloudbuster (Gomma)


Munk Cloudbuster (Gomma)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/munkfromgomma

Mathias ’Munk’ Modica is back with a groovacious album of modern electronic fun. Pushing discoid, punk-funk, pop, off-kilter electronica and other buttons, Cloudbuster is an odd, but welcome treat. Munk has the ability to captivate with his silly songs and strange instrumental efforts. Key album tracks appear in the form of the weirdly hedonistic Live Fast! Die Old!, an organ driven jerky number called You Never See Me Back Down and a confused ode to bananas amongst other things named No Milk. This is an entertaining album from start to finish!!!

JF

V/A - 5 Golden Years In The Wilderness (Buzzin’ Fly)


V/A - 5 Golden Years In The Wilderness (Buzzin Fly)

Web: http://www.buzzinfly.com

Ben Watt’s London based Buzzin’ Fly label has released some amazing music in the last half decade and this compilation brings together some of the imprint’s finer moments. Buzzin’ Fly has shifted in scope from funikified and deeper grooves to techier soundscapes, but they’ve still delivered excellent releases, regardless of the sub genre. Disc 1 is essentially a house retrospective and features killers such as Darkmountaingroup’s bass fueled Lose Control, Ben Watt & Estelle’s shoplifting narrative entitled Pop A Cap In Yo’ Ass and Charles Webster’s melancholic retread of Justin Martin’s The Sad Piano. Disc 2 features chilled favourites such as Kayot’s hushed One Week On Cuba, Two Armadillos’s stunning Nostalgia and Manoo & Francois A’s mellow key kissed A Day In December. Disc 3 features brand new techy delights, such as Stimming’s polite Kleine Nachtmuzik, Lovebirds’s string driven The Beat Goes Boom and Here Today’s cool Good News. 5 Golden Years In The Wilderness features some excellent tracks from the Buzzin’ Fly archives and suggests that there is still more cool music to come from the label in the future.

JF


V/A – Kon & Amir: Off Track 2: Queens (BBE)


V/A Kon & Amir: Off Track 2: Queens (BBE)

Web: http://www.bbemusic.com

After mixing up the best in rare breaks for their own On Track series, Brooklyn vinyl obsessives Kon & Amir moved to BBE for a new series entitled Off Track. In contrast to On Track, Off Track features full versions of obscure cuts from the 60s, 70s and 80s and everything has been licensed. The first disc of Volume 2 is given over to Kon’s cool discoid, latiny and soulful selection, where highs include his own edit of The Fabulous Conti Family Band’s You’ve Got Me Going Baby and Eddie Benitez’s key dripping We Are The Ones (Somos). Amir picks traditional and modern African gems for his disc, where winners include Honore Avolonte et L’Orchestre Black Santiago’s key driven Asounon DJE Dokoli and Theadora Ifudu’s cool soul walk entitled Hello There. Kon & Amir have done a good job here, picking out the sort of obscure gems that would otherwise never have made it to our ears.


JF

Morgan Page - Elevate (Nettwerk)



Morgan Page - Elevate (Nettwerk)

Web: http://www.morgan-page.com

Originally making his name as a deeper house producer of note, releasing his debut album on Nordic Trax in 2002, Page has seen his stock rise since spreading his musical wings and remixing pop artists. Elevate, his debut album for Nettwerk, features a number of radio friendly poppy electronic tracks and remixes of big names, which span various genres. Every track has been produced excellently and is ‘nice‘ enough for daytime radio play. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of everything on the album, but there’s no denying the power of tracks such as a smooth guitared effort entitled The Longest Road feat Lissie, his laidback keyed retooling of Jenny Owen Youngs angst F**k Was I and his calm mix of Under’s Under. Page is already on the route to stardom and this album is set to make him a producer de jour in pop and electronic circles.

JF

Ra-Re Valverde - A Beautiful Mess (Rare Footage Music)


Ra-Re Valverde - A Beautiful Mess (Rare Footage Music)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/rarefootagemusic

Ra-Re Valverde is a neo soul talent with an eloquent voice, who is on the cusp of great things. In the past she has lent her vocals to songs by the likes of Jill Scott and Trina Broussard, but Ra-Re is certainly ready to take centre stage. The production on this album features snapping beats, greasy guitars and fuzzy synthetics, but the main attraction is Ms. Valverde’s vocals. Album winners include the bold Superhero, the languid May B I’m The 1 and a cool guitared groover entitled Girlfriend. Ra-Re Valverde is a conventional neo-soul singer, who has the voice and songwriting skills to warm hearts all over the world.

JF

V/A - Coast2Coast: Peace Division (NRK)


V/A - Coast2Coast: Peace Division (NRK)

Web: http://www.nrkmusic.com

After X Press 2’s double CD assault, which featured a number of tracks from the techier end of the house spectrum, NRK stick with tougher sounds by drafting in Peace Division to compile the next volume of the Coast2Coast series. Respecting the Coast2Coast remit of old’n’new dance floor grooves, Clive Henry and Justin Drake serve up a technoid mix that does the business, albeit in a subtler manner than previous offerings in the series. Big hitters include Alex Attias’s bass heavy Brazilika, Mr. V’s grooving Born Again and Kalabrese’s wobbly MakeLoveDisco. Coast2Coast expands musically once more, with a cool compilation from Peace Division.

JF

V/A – Compost Black Label 03: Mixed by Jay Shepheard (Compost)


V/A Compost Black Label 03: Mixed by Jay Shepheard (Compost)

Web: http://www.compost-records.com

Compost’s shadowy offshoot returns with a third compilation, which focuses on the sort of earnest technoid material deemed too dark for the regular label. The disc has been put together by London based Jay Shepheard, who put out his first 12” on Compost in 2007. Straight forward house bangers sit alongside wide-eyed teched out disco, off key acid numbers and bumping post hip house offerings on this disc. Highs include Phreek Plus One’s groovy Bikini, a cut and paste winner from Motor City Drum Ensemble’s entitled Stripped Down To The Bone and the punishing Solar Winds from Matt Flores. As per usual, The Black Label delivers another compilation of technoid material that actually delivers from start to finish.

JF

V/A – Sci-Fi Hi-Fi 5: Slam (Soma)


V/A Sci-Fi Hi-Fi 5: Slam (Soma)

Web: http://www.somarecords.com

After four impressive volumes from various technoid lovers and a guitar driven offshoot from Sir Weatherall, Glasgow’s Slam finally bring us their own outing in the Sci-Fi Hi-Fi series. It is a compilation of cool techno treats, which demands careful listening in order to appreciate its intricacies and the shapes of the grooves. Jerky and bleepy efforts take centre stage, with winners including Plasmic’s strangely keyed Pearls On A String, Decimal’s creepy Eleanor and Slam’s own moody What’s On Your Mind? Slam give a good account of themselves here, which comes as no surprise considering the fact that Soma is their imprint and Sci-Fi Hi-Fi was their idea!

JF

V/A – Tales Of The Unexpected 3: Mixed by Hardfloor (Platipus)


V/A Tales Of The Unexpected 3: Mixed by Hardfloor (Platipus)

Web: http://www.hardfloor.de

German acidic techno behemoths Hardfloor were incredibly influential in the 1990s and their sound has inspired many a technoid producer. In recent years they’ve put out a handful of tracks and remixes, in order to compete with all the acid loving upstarts. Tales Of The Unexpected 3 shows that they still know what they’re doing when it comes to selecting powerful technoid material as DJs. This compilation is a double CD set of mostly bass heavy and powerfully percussed technoid and electroid cuts, which features liberal splashes of acid. The compilation sees new cuts line up alongside older gems and features a few lighter moments alongside all the acid doused darkness. Disc 1 highs include Grumptronix’s slurpy bassed Black Orchid, Reject’s warbling Lost and an unexpected treat in the shape of The Nightwriters’s earnest Let The Music (Use You). Disc 2 features tracks like Professor X’s amusing Professor X (Saga), Steve Stoll’s stargazing Up From Above and Lab Insect’s mystical Ho! Happy Days. This performance shows that Hardfloor certainly still know how to deliver technoid treats.

JF

V/A – Roadtrip: Holgi Star & Harry Axt (Kiddaz.fm)



V/A Roadtrip: Holgi Star & Harry Axt (Kiddaz.fm)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/kiddazfm

Holgi Star and Harry Axt take us on a car journey where the fuel is slimline techno and warped house music. The Berlin based pair treat us to a breakneck paced autobahn ride that features thirty four sparkling tracks, spread over two discs. Holgi Star is at the wheel for CD 1, where favourites such as the tough Popof Remix of Silent Breed’s Sync in 2008 and Luca & Paul’s forceful I Hope Me whiz by. Harry Axt puts on the driving gloves for CD 2, showing listeners sights such as Shlomi Aber’s prickly Freakside and Wink‘s banging Thick As Thieves, before delivering them to their destination. This is a journey that will leave you gasping for breath!

JF

Allez Allez – Best Of Allez Allez (Eskimo)


Allez Allez Best Of Allez Allez (Eskimo)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/bestofallezallez

During the early 80s, this Belgian trio made wonderful nu-wave musical concoctions, with nods to African rhythms, post-punk ideas and loose discoid vibes. There has been a resurgence in the music of Allez Allez, partly due to the fact that their output has been excavated and championed by the nu-disco glitterati, which has led to their return via this compilation. This Best Of disc even includes contemporary remixes from Optimo, Quiet Village, Lindstrøm & Prins Thomas and Aeroplane. Ultimately, it the originals, such as the sublime African Queen, excitable She’s Stirring Up and beseeching Flesh & Blood that hit home. Allez Allez may have left the building a long time ago, but their music can still captivate listeners, more than two decades later.

JF

Delgui – Outta Space (Sunshine Enterprises)



Delgui Outta Space (Sunshine Enterprises)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/delgui

Gert-Jan Bijl aka Gerd and Paul Delgado are based in Rotterdam, they record as Delgui and run the 4Lux label. The duo are broken soul devotees and here bring us a sweet’n’soulful album with a little help from their vocal friends. The Outta Space longplayer features a number of tracks that have previously come out on 12’s, as well as some new material. Favourites include the post-Bugz vibes of the Colonel Red vocalised It’s Gonna Be Alright and two Xantone Blacq assisted groovers called Keep On Clapping and Highlights, respectively. Admittedly, some of the tracks sounds a little dated, as they’ve been around for a few years, but it’s nice to have all the Delgui material together and the album does offer a few cool new grooves.

JF

BRS – Taste It (Pêng)


BRS Taste It (Pêng)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/brsmusicuk

According to the cover art, the West Country’s British Rhythm Services bring us chocolate cake and other sweet treats. Musically, Taste It offers something a little different, as some of the album cuts are super sweet, whereas others are rather sour to the ears. To be honest, the album is a little hit and miss to say the least, but BRS do cook up some musical delights. Fill yourself up on beauties such as the pensive Missed Train, unapologetic Just Go and guitar driven Dreaming. BRS are best at making thoughtful vocal driven songs and these efforts make this album worth investigating.

JF

Danny Massure – What It Is (Spring Strut)


Danny Massure What It Is (Spring Strut)

Web: http://www.dannymassure.com

Danny Massure is a jazzy cat with a spring in his step and a cool swagger, who hails from the Coffee capital and sounds like he enjoys it from his LP intro! This album is a cool neo funkified and jazzed out offering, which features a range of talented musicians and no samples. What It Is may not be particularly innovative, but features lovely tracks such as a sweet vocal ditty entitled Heaven, the mellow saxed out Sunbreak and the graceful Soledad. It is a summery treat.

JF

Saturday, 28 June 2008

V/A – Southport Weekender Vol 7: Mixed by Mr Scruff & Jazzanova (suSU)


V/A Southport Weekender Vol 7: Mixed by Mr Scruff & Jazzanova (suSU)

Web: http://www.southportweekender.co.uk

No disrespect meant to the bearded fellow, but Mr. Scruff’s contribution to the seventh installment of the Southport Weekender mix series is the best thing that he has ever done. His hour of breathtaking emotionally charged jazzified soul‘n’discoid grooves surpasses all his own fun productions, countless remixes and DJ mixes. He is more familiar now in popular culture for his quirky cartoon persona that has spawned a ‘cult of scruff’, which attracts students in droves to his sell out gigs. It is therefore easy to forget that music is still the driving force for Mr. Scruff, but this compilation serves as a welcome reminder. As a dedicated DJ, it comes as no surprise that Scruff has chosen a perfect selection to sum up the soul-steeped spirit of a fairytale biannual weekender that revels in past musical greats and gives a nod to cutting edge talent. His mix is pretty much perfect and flows wonderfully, featuring outstanding musical treats such as Momie-O’s earnest version of Stop On By, Donna McGhee’s string laced Mr. Blind Man, Arthur Adams’s magical You Got The Floor and Theo Parrish feat. Alena Waters’s hypnotic Soul Control. German DJ and production troupe Jazzanova supply the other mix, going for a housier selection that features some cool tracks, but doesn’t quite have the character of Scruff’s disc. Jazzanova related highs include the Dixon Edit of Soultourist’s satisfying Turn Loose and South Bronx Community Youth Project’s energetic Dance Freak. Scruff’s CD makes this compilation an essential purchase and Jazzanova‘s disc is an added bonus!

JF

V/A – Jimpster Selected Remixes 2004-2008 (Freerange)


V/A Jimpster Selected Remixes 2004-2008 (Freerange)

Web: http://www.freerangerecords.co.uk

Jimpster digs into the archives once more, this time to pick out some of his best remixes from the last four years. Pulsating deep house is his starting point, weaving his trademark grooves around cuts by artists from his field and elsewhere. This compilation is in contrast with his earlier remixes collection, which focused on the years 2002 and 2003 and featured a slew of horizontal grooves and chilled house moments. Jimpster Selected Remixes 2004-2008 fits in perfectly with the current vibe of his own Freerange imprint, which has scuba dived for a seabed reaching house sound and has pretty much left the shallower and more laidback musical waters. Clubfloor bound winners here include his pushy overhaul of Motorcitysoul’s Aura, a hypnotic re-tread of Solomun’s Small Talk and a sensitive yet powerful mix of Iz & Diz’s Love Vibe. Jimpster has always been one to watch and this disc of remixes reminds listeners why!

JF

Studio Apartment – The Rising Sun (King Street Sounds/Nite Grooves)


Studio Apartment The Rising Sun (King Street Sounds/Nite Grooves)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/studioapartment

Masanori Morita and Noboru Abe are a Japanese musical duo who record as Studio Apartment and the outfit’s sound is heavily influenced by NY/New Jersey soul-kissed house and US garage. This album shows that they can certainly hold their own when it comes to making striding clubfloor records like their NY peers and other soulful heads. Studio Apartment are not content just competing with other soulful acts, but they also enjoy collaborating with them, which arguably brings out the best in them musically. This album features a slew of US guest vocalists and remixes from various Western studio heads. Highlights include Rasmus Faber’s graceful revision of the Ron Carroll blessed I’m In Love, the sparkling NuLife Vocal Mix of Flight, which features the wonderful Monique Bingham, and Quentin Harris’s fizzing touch up of We Are Lonely, where Terrance Downs guests. The Rising Sun LP has a truly international feel and will impress Western and Eastern house fans.

JF

Martin Eyerer – Word Of Mouth (Kling Klong)


Martin Eyerer Word Of Mouth (Kling Klong)

Web: http://www.martineyerer.com

Germany’s Martin Eyerer makes the sort of cool technoid grooves that have enough zing about them to hold the interest. Textures are really important to Eyerer and the Word Of Mouth LP features all types of synthetic grooves that will put your teeth on edge and penetrate deep into your mind. Winning solo efforts include the wobbly keyed Furthermore, devastating Monza and tranced out Barber’s Pole. The album also includes a DJ mix from Eyerer, entitled ’Best Of Kling Klong’, which is musically in the same ballpark as Word Of Mouth and rounds up hot cuts on the imprint. Pay special attention to mix CD cuts such as Florian Meindl’s melancholic Tears, Dusty Kid’s warm Cowboys and the key driven Babylon, a cut from Eyerer himself, produced with Oliver Klein. Technoid fun!

JF

V/A – Many Shades Of House Vol 2: Mixed by Luke McKeehan (Nordic Trax)


V/A Many Shades Of House Vol 2: Mixed by Luke McKeehan (Nordic Trax)

Web: http://www.nordictrax.com

Bastions of all things deep and housey over the past decade, the Vancouver based Nordic Trax imprint revisits its recent past with this back (and future) catalogue delving compilation. As expected, label boss Luke McKeehan supplies the DJ mix, which seamlessly bridges the gap between the tunes on disc 1, whilst he leaves disc 2 unmixed. Fine house moments on the first disc include Pete Moss’s lazily keyed Infatuation and two important Gavin Boyce efforts in the shape of the uncompromising To The Roxy and self deprecating Sometimes It’s Me. CD 2 features similarly tasty morsels such as LCG’s trademark ’Believe En East’ bump of Alexander East’s Believe En Me, the circling fun of Kelvin K’s 2 Doors Down (Sax Mix) and Pete Moss’s energising The Big Move. Nordic Trax have outlasted many other imprints selling similar wares and are still serving deeper house fans well, ten years after the imprint’s inception.


JF

V/A – Cocoon Compilation H (Cocoon)



V/A Cocoon Compilation H (Cocoon)

Web: http://www.cocoon.net

The twisted technoid sounds of Sven Väth and his Cocoon devotees appear this time via the latest instalment of the letters series, which is now in its eighth volume. The focus is on the cream of current slimline and more rotund techno grooves, with efforts from major players and future talents. Winners include Cassy Briton’s magnificent vocal stomer entitled A Plea For Me, a trippy keyed effort called Trashbindance from Väth Vs Flügel and Gui Boratto’s stunning Golden Axe. Cocoon Compilation H delivers for those with a taste for the cool technoid sounds emanating from the German club.

JF

Jamie McHugh – Mind Games (Underwater)


Jamie McHugh Mind Games (Underwater)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/jamiemchugh73

Darren Emerson’s Underwater imprint is a dancefloor orientated label, so it comes as no surprise that this debut album from Jamie McHugh has been produced with club play in mind and doesn‘t shy away from the floor. The key cuts on the album sound pretty electrifying when heard at home, but they would sound even better on a proper club system. The ‘calmer’ tracks on the album such as the mind-bending Straight Up would provide perfect warm up material, whilst efforts such as the synth driven I Get Deep and acid dripping Lunar are peaktime stormers. There is a short interlude towards the end, but this is an unashamed clubbing soundtrack that will go down a storm.

JF

Grupo X – Remixed (Loft)


Grupo X Remixed (Loft)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/grupox

Jazzy Latin lovers Grupo X bring us a remix album that features new and previously lost versions of their glittering material. It’s difficult not to have your spirits raised by the positive music of this outfit, with the remixes following a similar optimistic path. As an album, Remixed works quite well, as there is only one version of each track (with one exception), instead of a brace of remixes of certain cuts that blights many remix compilations. Not all the versions on this digital only release hit home, but there are some wonderful remixes and lost versions, such as the original version of the heart-warming Whatever You Dream (You Can Begin), the brass driven re-mastered Sunshine and a skippy Moreno Lounge visualisation of New Love. Grupo X are a British Latin treasure, hopefully this remix compilation will draw more listeners into their musical world.

JF

Copyright – Voices & Visions (Defected)


Copyright Voices & Visions (Defected)

Web: http://www.copyrightproductions.co.uk

London based Copyright make a very particular type of smooth soul-kissed house music, which has been airbrushed in order to remove any ruffles. They enjoy giving us big vocal stormers with gospel ideals, sanitised Afro grooves and retro influenced cuts, all delivered in their trademark style. Voices & Visions is actually a tale of two halves, with the first half featuring the aforementioned types of original productions and the second half given over to Copyright remixes and revisions of their own tunes. As far as the original material is concerned, highs appear in the form of the god fearing Wizeman and jarring Deeper, both vocalized by Imaani. Special remixes include the intense Ferrer & Sydenham version of He Is, which features Song Williamson on vocals, and Copyright’s golden Re-Edit of MAW and India’s I Can’t Get No Sleep. At times their grooves may be a little too smooth for their own good, but Copyright are experts at what they do and have created some wonderful soul-kissed house moments.

JF

Argy – Focus On: Argy (Poker Flat)


Argy Focus On: Argy (Poker Flat)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/argymusic

Argy aka Argyris Theofilis hails from the Greek island of Rhodes and he makes the sort of delectable and emotionally charged techy grooves that set him apart from many of his peers. Not a ‘proper’ album as such, Focus On: Argy is more of a compilation of cuts from his back catalogue, remixes and exclusive newbies. The longplayer shows exactly why Argy has been getting a lot of attention of late and features winners such as the fuzzy bass driven The Storm, eerie synth driven grooves of Malena and Sydenham’s retooling of the pointed 1985. This is an impressive ’story so far’ compilation of Argy’s material.

JF

More information:
http://pokerflat-recordings.com/flash/pfr21/

Free download:
http://www.pokerflat-recordings.com/html/promplay6.html

Seckou Keita SKQ – The Silimbo Passage (World Adventures)



Seckou Keita SKQ The Silimbo Passage (World Adventures)

Web: http://www.seckoukeita.com

At the centre of The Seckou Keita SKQ is the main man, a skilled player of the Kora, an often mournful sounding African ‘harp’ type instrument with the ability to melt hearts and minds. Hailing from Senegal, Seckou Keita also lends a hand with vocals and drumming tasks, and is backed by a quartet of players from various places in the world, who provide vocals and play a variety of European and African instruments. Together, SK and the SKQ create organic music that is very much alive and straddles both European and African musical cultures. Album tracks of note include a melancholic tale of betrayal entitled Bimo, the sonorous Souaressi and percussion driven Dingba Don. The Silimbo Passage is a beautiful Kora driven LP from Seckou Keita and his friends.

JF

Sunday, 22 June 2008

V/A – Sub Club: 20 Years Underground (Soma)


V/A Sub Club: 20 Years Underground (Soma)

Web: http://www.subclub.co.uk

The fact that the Sub Club celebrates ’20 Years Underground’ is a testament to Glasgow’s clubbing minded populace, key musical selectors and the understanding figures behind the special building. A key institution in the city’s electronic musical past and present, The Sub Club has been home to two nights that bring us the wares on this compilation. The first is Harri and Domenic Capello’s Subculture weekly, a house and techno night responsible for bringing many a talented international spinner to Glasgow, but more importantly a soiree based on the musical selection of the residents. Disc A is given over to Subculture and features time honoured gems, such as Neal Howard’s key blessed The Gathering and the Instrumental version of Jimmy Bo Horne’s shimmering Spank. The second disc has been given over to JD Twitch and JG Wilkes aka Optimo, responsible for a bespoke Sunday night session that set them out as risk takers and has led them to take the Optimo sound all over the world. Winners on their musical hotpotch of a mix includes The Orb’s deadly Ripples and Linkwood Family’s ecstatic Piece Of Mind. This compilation is a worthy addition to a record collection, whether you’re a Sub Club regular, someone who’s had the pleasure to witness these spinners away from their home turf or just a lover of intriguing electronic music.

JF

Ocote Soul Sounds & Adrian Quesada – The Alchemist Manifesto (ESL)


Ocote Soul Sounds & Adrian Quesada The Alchemist Manifesto (ESL)

Web: http://www.eslmusic.com

Adrian ’Grupo Fantasma’ Quesada and Martin ‘Ocote Soul Sounds’ Perna of Antibalas fame meet for another instalment of groovy summery magic, driven by a relaxed yet mean percussion section and all types of instruments. Playful and accessible, yet still delivering rhythmically and melodically, The Alchemist Manifesto puts these guys in a similar ballpark as Will ’Quantic’ Holland, albeit playing the game in a different way. The album is dominated by beautiful introspective cuts and the heavy Latin influences can be felt in the grooves as well as seen in the lyrics. Magical moments include the flute blessed El Pescador, the mournful title track and a calming effort entitled One Hundred Years. It’s difficult not to get wrapped up in the beauty of the music and drift off into the world of this pair of musical alchemists.

JF

Shameboy – Heartcore (541)


Shameboy Heartcore (541)

Web: http://www.shameboy.com

Shameboy is the work of two Belgian studio heads, Jimmy Dewit and Luuk Cox, who make jet propelled cuts with simple melodies and arrangements. Unapologetically rough and ready, Heartcore is an album of raw electronic grit from a duo that let their computers and synthesizers do the talking. Shameboy tread similar ground on many of their tracks, but they do it with enough style to hold the attention for most of the time. Cuts to write home about include the dark After All The Damage, fuzzy Our Peggy Ate Her and dirty bass dominated Monofour. Weirdly appealing electroid fuzz from a duo that haven’t got much to be ashamed of.

JF

Seelenluft – Birds And Plants And Rocks And Things (Gigolo)


Seelenluft Birds And Plants And Rocks And Things (Gigolo)

Web: http://www.seelenluft.net

Beat Solèr aka Seelenluft has been making quirky electronix with a heart for a good number of years and here he brings us an enchanting LP that sees the light of day via Hell’s International Deejay Gigolo Records. Birds And Plants And Rocks And Things features everything from poppy electroid dalliances and guitar driven groovers to seriously off-kilter efforts, delivered with that characteristic Seelenluft je ne sais quoi. Highs include the lovesick Finally, guitar led The World Through The Little Window Of My Spacecraft and cosmic dust laced Blossom Headed Parakeet. Certainly up there with 2002’s Out Of The Woods, Solèr has rediscovered nature and is having an excellent time.

JF

V/A – Housexy 10 (Ministry Of Sound)



V/A Housexy 10 (Ministry Of Sound)

Web: http://www.housexy.com

Housexy 10 champions the sort of musically airbrushed house that never seems to go out of fashion and in recent times has been injected with a dose of electro house influences. Never likely to win any awards for innovation, but at the same time serving a function and pleasing audiences the world over, this type of music will continue to win hearts and floor space in the future. Most of the tracks are dominated by diva type vocals, cool synth lines and pert beats, with only a few cuts on the compilation demanding the skip button to be pressed. Winners on the first disc includes Mark Knight & Funkagendas gorgeous A.H.B. Mix of Groove Armadas Love Sweet Sound and Harry Choo Choo Romeros pushy dub of Quentin Harris feat. Margaret Graces My Joy. CD 2 is the weaker of the pair, but still features cool efforts such as Armand Van Helden feat Nicole Rouxs lusty Je TAime and Mark Knight & Funkagendas powerful Shogun. Shiny house fun!

JF

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Zombie Zombie – A Land For Renegades (Versatile)


Zombie Zombie A Land For Renegades (Versatile)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/therealzombiezombie

Originally a leading light of cutting edge French dance music at the peak of the ’French Touch’ invasion, the Paris based Versatile imprint developed into a revered label with a diverse catalogue. Zombie Zombie are synthophile Etienne Jaumet and Cosmic Neman of Herman Düne fame and they add to the eclectic tradition with their intriguing musical broth. Together, the duo create unhinged compositions that propell themselves along effortlessly and are essentially made up of electronic debauchery and mind expanding rocky soundscapes. Jarring drum rolls, weird synthilating textures and confused vocals vie for command on many tracks and LP winners include the groovy title track, peaceful yet confusing What‘s Happening In The City? and a cutsey number called Before Night Falls. A mind-expanding treat!

JF

Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band – Moving With The Shakers (Z Records)



Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band Moving With The Shakers (Z Records)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/thesunburstband

Joey Negro aka Dave Lee returns with his live band project, which has been responsible for some of the most wonderful modern day spirit raising disco and house vocal stomers. The cast of guest vocalists is formidable and the production on this LP is spot on, but whilst every song and interlude won’t stick in the memory, the finest moments will. It is a tall order to compete with previous offerings like the Electric Chair anthem Far Beyond and powerful Just Do It, but Moving With The Shakers features some material of the same calibre. For example, Rough Times is an excellent party piece that advises the listener how to fight during turbulent periods, whilst the sax blessed Journey To The Sun is classic Sunburst material and We Can Live Forever is a string and brass driven midtempo gem. The sun always shines for this band, who make retro-tinged music that sparkles and is still relevant in an electronic age.

JF

The Black Angels – Directions To See A Ghost (Light In The Attic)


The Black Angels Directions To See A Ghost (Light In The Attic)

Web: http://www.theblackangels.com

A psychedelic cover gives listeners an inkling of what musically lies within the new album from Texan rockers’ The Black Angels. Musically dark yet mind opening, Directions To See A Ghost is all morphing vocals, frazzled guitars, pounding drums and various droning antics. It is possible to get drawn into their world from listening to the album, which is a scary yet cool place of supernatural happenings and macabre goings on. Album highlights include the secretive Science Killer, sitar laced Deer-Ree-Shee, and protestful Vikings. I’m no clearer as to where the ghost actually resides after listening to the album, but there’s definitely a mystical quality to this long player.

JF

V/A – Fuse Presents Adam Beyer (Music Man)


V/A Fuse Presents Adam Beyer (Music Man)

Web: http://www.drumcode.se

This CD is a collaboration between two techno legends, one of them being a person, Adam Beyer and the other being Fuse, a Belgian club that has been packing them in since 1994. Sweden’s Adam Beyer blesses us with a mix CD of technoid grooves that is perhaps slightly more restrained in places than one may expect from Beyer, but is still musically devastating. It features a pulse racing 22 tracks that appear in quick succession, with most being left in the mix long enough for listeners to discover their unique qualities. It’s worth keeping an ear out for offerings such as Joel Mull’s warbling Coconest, Schneider / Galluzzi’s marching Albertino and the demented Agaric remix of Acid Circus’s Reduxtion. A thrilling dancefloor escapade.

JF

Magik Johnson – You Are Sound (Underwater)


Magik Johnson You Are Sound (Underwater)

Web: http://www.magikjohnson.com

This new album from ‘Magik’ Dick Johnson, which appears via Darren Emerson’s celebrated Underwater imprint packs a considerable musical punch. Mainly sticking to the house fields that he’s ploughed for a good long while, Johnson has included enough of a range of tracks to make You Are Sound hold the interest for longer than many other clubfloor albums. Killer cuts include the gutsy synth driven East West Connection, calming bass stormer Russendisko and a punishing effort entitled The Bushman. Admittedly, Johnson does best when he sticks to instrumental material, as most of the vocal tracks don’t really cut it, but there’s enough power on the clubby tracks to see him through.

JF

Sunday, 15 June 2008

V/A – Global Underground GU34: Milan (Global Underground)


V/A Global Underground GU34: Milan (Global Underground)

Web: http://www.globalunderground.co.uk

Chicago’s Felix Da Housecat steps up to the GU decks for a selection inspired by a northern Italian city known for its clothes, footballing greats and its underworld. The Housecat is in dancefloor mood from the word go, opening his account with a hail of synth driven bangers. He highlights the unnecessary divide between house, techno, ‘electro‘ and disco, with a mix that melds the four together in a perfectly logical manner and also reminds listeners of his jackin’ past. Winners on the driving Disc 1 include Sasha’s pulsing Who Killed Sparky? and the stadium house of the instrumental version of Benny Benassi’s Love And Emotion. Disc 2 starts off calmer, but finishes in a similarly hi-octane manner and features excellent cuts such as Jo Jo De Freq’s powerful Saturn Returns and the joyful Harvey remix of Ramsey & Co’s Love Call. This is a true DJ lesson from a talented individual who’s kept himself relevant throughout his twenty-year career.

JF

Kraak & Smaak – Plastic People (Jalapeno)


Kraak & Smaak Plastic People (Jalapeno)

Web: http://www.kraaksmaak.com

Tired of making funky breaks type records, Kraak & Smaak have embraced broader musical soundscapes and this new album is sounding infinitely more musical, due to their newfound open-mindedness. Still predominantly making party music, the Dutch duo have worked out how to make catchy grooves that can withstand repeat plays in a way that puts their older, gimmicky material to shame. There are still a few duff notes on Plastic People, but they are few and far between and the album is characterised by a wealth of euphoric tracks that span a range of genres. Highlights appear in the form of tracks such as the infectious Squeeze Me, levitating California Roll and stoned hop of relaxed effort Thinking Back. Plastic People is a triumphant second album from K&S that shows they have matured by light years since their debut.

JF

Apse – Spirit (ATP)



Apse Spirit (ATP)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/apse

Spirit is an appropriate title for this atmospheric album from Apse that subtly draws you into the world of the Cape Cod, Massachusetts based outfit. Smoldering guitars, lost voices and hushed percussion characterise a long player that you don’t as much listen to, but you find yourself absorbing, like water to a sponge. Somehow this is Apse’s proper debut album, despite the fact that they’ve been going since 1999. The only constant in the group’s line-up since the early days has been Robert Toher, who’s taken on songwriting, singing and production roles. At times, darkly moody and at others heartstoppingly fragile, the album is offers a range of peaks and troughs, with efforts such as the calming From The North and percussion driven The Crowned leaving particular marks on the memory. Embrace the Spirit.

JF

Tickley Feather – Tickley Feather (Paw Tracks)


Tickley Feather Tickley Feather (Paw Tracks)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/tickleyfeather

Tickley Feather’s debut self-titled album is haunting in what can only be described as a positive way. It is a lo-fi musical affair of tiny songs and ideas, where melancholic keyboards, bright yet pained vocals and bubblegum drum patterns all vie for attention. Tickley Feather is the work of one Annie Sachs, who currently resides in Philadelphia and her music pricks the senses in the same manner as a physical encounter with a Tickley Feather would. Of the twenty entities on this album, highs include the spinning Buttshot, lumbering Night Train and out of key yet warming Convention. Beautiful stuff.

JF

Black Devil Disco Club – Eight Oh Eight (Lo)


Black Devil Disco Club Eight Oh Eight (Lo)

Web: http://www.myspace.com/bddcreal

Black Devil Disco Club keep up their recent productivity with their second album in two years, following the lengthy hiatus between first and second (twenty eight years to be precise). Eight Oh Eight is a mindbending slice of discotropic weirdness that kicks modern day Italo protagonists to the curb and makes the re-edit trend pale into insignificance. Standing at only 32 minutes and 6 tracks long, this album isn’t a long drawn out dancefloor opus by any means, but the results are impressive to say the least and 30 minutes of this musical broth is probably enough for most people’s sanity. French library composers Bernard Fevre and Jackie Giordano have beaten the nu-disco crowd at their own game with winners such as the demented Open The Night and fizzing Free For The Girls. Eight Oh Eight is a peculiar discoid treat that will show more longevity than most of the straight-laced material out there at the moment.

JF