Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Armand Van Helden - You Don’t Know Me: The Best of Armand Van Helden (Universal/Southern Fried)


Web: http://www.armandvanhelden.com

We do know Armand Van Helden quite well actually, considering the fact that he‘s been making easily recognisable dance hits since the mid 90s. He is known for making the sort of unrestrained club tracks that are just impossible to ignore and are primarily made from melding elements of house and hip hop in his unique style. Van Helden doesn’t do subtle and whilst some of his sample sources may grate on the ears (Koochy being a good example), the NY producer has been responsible for many moments of musical genius. You Don’t Know Me is an inspiring Duane Harden voiced disco cut up, whilst Full Moon ropes in Common for a groovy party track and Flowerz featuring Roland Clark is a beautiful love song. A consistent performer over time and different grooves, AVH has the knack of making the sort of life-affirming cuts that remind you how exciting dance music can be.

JF

V/A - Influences: DJ Marky (BBE)


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

An ‘Influences’ type compilation is likely to provide the sort of tracks loved by compiler that they hope will be appreciated by their audience. Influential tracks do not always translate to favourite tracks, but you can assume that the cuts featured here are ones enjoyed by Brazilian D&B legend Marky. Influences: DJ Marky is actually an incredible body of music, featuring everything from sweet guitar driven cuts sourced from his home country, to soulful grooves, fantastic house efforts and buoyant disco, before finishing at breakneck D&B. There isn’t a poor track on this compilation, with personal favourites including the percussive magic of the live version of Gabor Sazbo’s Little Boat (O Barqinho), Raphael Saadiq’s glorious Skyy, Can You Feel Me? and Sky’s glorious Here’s To You. Marky may be known for making a single style of music, but this compilation shows that he is a true music lover with exquisite taste.

JF

Soulphiction - Do You Overstand?! (Sonar Kollektiv)


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

When the first Soulphiction records surfaced, there were lots of comparisons with Detroit non conformists like Theo Parrish and Moodymann, but these lazy evaluations don’t really do any party justice. In a similar manner to those Detroit guys, Stuttgart resident Michel Baumann aka Soulphiction prefers to let his music do the talking, but his warped take on house and techno eschew the grooves using his own unique axis. Do you Overstand?! features fourteen typically Soulphiction sounding grooves, where odd time signature driven beats, weirdly effected vocals and minor keys find a home. Hot cuts include the tender Ghana Wadada featuring Phlegmatic, the treated Latin tones of Sun Children and the groovy keyed Reminisce Over You. This is a deliciously weird yet delightful long player from Baumann.

JF

Soil & “Pimp” Sessions - Planet Pimp (Brownswood)


Web: http://www.soilpimp.com

From the word go, you know that Soil & “Pimp” mean business, thrilling listeners with their demented brand of ‘Death Jazz’. Not for the faint hearted, the brass instruments are blown within an inch of their life, whilst piano keys and drums shout from the top of their voices. Planet Pimp is a fourteen track album, but is more of a musical rollercoaster than anything else, with the Tokyo sextet occasionally pausing for breath, before launching into another uncontrollable jazz battle. Make sure you check out the carnage of STORM, deadly Sea of Tranquillity and the dreamy SATSURIKU Rejects. Planet Pimp is a rip roaring celebration of the power of music!

JF

Mr. Scruff - Ninja Tuna (Ninja Tune)


Web: http://www.mrscruff.com

The Scruffy one’s Tuna is finally on the menu, a few years after waving his jazzy trousers around, keeping it incredibly surreal and getting dubby on his debut. There are only a few silly track titles on this album and Ninja Tuna features a host of major musical players. Anyone familiar with Scruff’s trademark mammoth DJ sets knows that he doesn’t like sitting in one musical place for an extended period of time and the variety of styles on this album is testament to that fact. Highs include the addictive Alice Russell vocalised Music Takes Me Up, a discoid slow burner entitled Get On Down and the awesome Hold On, which features a fat bassline and vocals from Andreya Triana. Those expecting cartoon grooves should look elsewhere, as this is a musically mature album from the veteran doodler that delivers in style and quietly reminds people that Scruff is still relevant and has his finger on the pulse.

JF

Monday, 27 October 2008

Thievery Corporation - Radio Retaliation (ESL Music)


Web: http://www.eslmusic.com


Rob Garza and Eric Hilton return with another album that crosses musical and cultural boundaries seamlessly by coating them in the Thievery’s understanding electronic glue. A little less emotionally transforming than 2004’s The Cosmic Game, Radio Retaliation still packs a considerable musical punch and mixes dubby, Latin and various eastern flavours in their usual easy to digest manner. As expected, esteemed guests such as Femi Kuti, Anoushka Shankar and Seu Jorge are given choice backings by the Corp. Musical highs include the key driven El Pueblo Unido, an intoxicating effort entitled Beautiful Drug and the triumphant Blasting Through The City. There is no denying the fact that this album retreads ground previously walked by the duo, but Radio Retaliation features some choice songs and feels like a logical step for Garza and Hilton as it is perhaps their most cohesive body of work to date.

JF

Damián Schwartz - Party Lovers (NET28)


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

Schwartz hails from Madrid and makes the sort of club music that is infectious enough to excite in the home listening environment as well as on the dancefloor. It is evident from listening to this album that the texture of the grooves and the feelings that they produce matter as much for Schwartz as the actual sliced sounds themselves. Therefore, the techno of Party Lovers penetrates further than most, especially as he creates grooves that continue to evolve from start to finish and reference the music of the past and also of the future. Winning efforts include the warped bass action of Lo Que Sube Baja, the paradoxical serene piano keys and robotic percussion of Carolina’s Favorite and the spacey synthed Raw. Party Lovers is one of those rare club albums that will hold the attention of listeners from start to finish, due to Damián Schwartz’s masterful command of grooves.

JF

V/A - Our Favorite Things: Nuspirit Helsinki (Backdrop)


Web: http://www.nuspirit.com

Scandinavian jazzer and head of Nuspirit, Tuomas Kallio has selected his Favorite Things for this compilation on Backdrop, a spin off imprint from ObliqSound. Kallio brings us a very ‘musical’ selection of cuts, whose finest moments come in the form of some trembling emotion drenched instrumentals. As expected there are some very jazzy moments and Nordic acts feature heavily, but this compilation takes in more varied soundscapes than those on show in Nuspirit’s own work. Cuts of notes include Joakim’s arresting Peter Pan Over The Bronx, Trentemøller’s teary eyed Miss You and the sonorous Natoppet from Detektivbyrån. Cool jazzy fun from the north!

JF

V/A - Faith Presents House Aint Dead! (BBE)


Web: http://www.faithfanzine.com

Lahndan institution Faith bring us a CD of what they quite rightly describe as proper house music. Focussing on techy groovers and dark vocal stormers, this compilation shows that Farley, Patterson and all still know a storming record when they hear one. Faith move seamlessly between European and American clubfloor grooves, giving listeners good reason to check out their heralded parties when in London and reminding them that House Aint Dead. Winners include Radio Slave’s gutsy reshaping of Jerome Sydenham and Tiger Stripes’ Elevation, the jumpy Part 2 of Karizma’s Tech This Out and Pepe Bradock’s weirdly keyed Incredible Feathered Creatures. This compilation will remind you of the joys of house music.

JF

Christian Prommer’s Drumlesson - Drum Lesson Vol 1 (Sonar Kollektiv)


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

Not the first or the last person to cover modern and time honoured dance music classics with a band, Prommer succeeds on certain occasions, because he tries to cover full tracks in a jazzy style, instead of focussing too heavily on the melody. Pianos, big drums and live basslines rule the roost on these cover versions and whilst some tracks like Higher State Of Consciousness sound frankly ridiculous as it’s not really practical to recreate the sound of a 303 with live instruments, the classics that have a nice melody and exciting percussion parts work rather well. The best covers are those that actually remind you of the original versions to an extent, but also sound like different jazzy tracks in their own right. Highs include an earnest bass driven version of Can You Feel It, a cool keyed take of Rej and Strings Of Life done in a jazz bar style. Maybe this should be Christian Prommer’s Jazzlesson, not his Drumlesson?

JF

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Single Reviews: October 2008 #2

Q Burns Abstract Message - Shame (Eighth Dimension)
Sylk 130 - Fallen Angel (Five Six Media)
Motorcitysoul feat. Ovasoul 7 - Change You (Simple)
Ralf GUM - Uniting Summer EP (Gogo Music)
Ralf GUM feat. Wunmi - Brother Like No Other (Gogo Music)
Elvis Presley - Crawfish (Pilooski Edit) (DIRTY Music)
Belleruche - Anything You Want (Not That) (Tru Thoughts)
Tony Senghore Vs Baron Bane - Love.Cure.All (Anonym)
Gavin Hardkiss - The Knight Of The Hawke Fields (Eight-Tracks)
Rob Mello - Critical (Fabrice Lig Remixes) (Classic)
Jonny White - Rainsong (Number 19)
Shakedown - At Night (Remixes) (Panorama)
Ursula Rucker - Read Between The Lines (Five Six Media)
Metronomy - Heartbreaker (Discodeine Remix) (DIRTY Music)
Belleruche - Reflection (Trus’me Remix) (Tru Thoughts)
Housemeister - Who Is That Noize (Remixes) (All You Can Beat)
Class 71 - Alba Adriatica (Four:Twenty)
Fausto Messina - Siboney (Remixes) (WIR)
Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno - Juanita Bonita (Tru Thoughts)
Flyt - Higher (Futuristica Music)
Martin Patino and Enzo Elia - Metamorfosi di Narciso (Young Odds)
Gavin Boyce - Face Down EP (Nordic Trax)
Solee - Timba (Remixes) (Parquet)
Doide - Type One (Justified Cause)
Bakura feat Darien - Mistaken (Treble O)
Nu Frequency feat. Shara Nelson - Go That Deep (RMXS) (NRK)
Eric Prydz - Pjanoo (Data)
Zoë Xenia - I Know I Know (Kaufe Musik)
Hannah Holland - Banshee (Playtime)
Hardkandy - Hey Lover (Wah Wah 45s)
Danny Massure - What It Ain’t (Remixes) (Spring Strut)
--
Q Burns Abstract Message - Shame (Eighth Dimension)
Web: http://www.q-burnsabstractmessage.com
Shame was featured Q Bam’s 2001 Invisible Airline album and features the luscious tones of Lisa Shaw. Here it has been remixed by various electronic players and the winning version has been delivered by Hakan Lidbo. His Stockholm Dub features pattering tabla style percussion and atmospheric synths under Shaw’s heartstopping vocals. Stunning!

Sylk 130 - Fallen Angel (Five Six Media)
Web: http://www.fivesixmedia.com
A decade has gone by since the last Sylk 130 single, but King Britt is still committed to making gorgeous music under this guise, ten years later. Fallen Angel is a lovely neo soul jam, where Nikki Jean’s heartbroken vocals ride popping electronified percussion and saddened keys.

Motorcitysoul feat. Ovasoul 7 - Change You (Simple)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/motorcitysoul
Motorcitysoul push all the right buttons here with a storming deeply penetrating vocal house effort. Change You sees speeding synths and dependable beats writhe under Ovasoul 7’s manipulative vocals.

Ralf GUM - Uniting Summer EP (Gogo Music)
Ralf GUM feat. Wunmi - Brother Like No Other (Gogo Music)
Web: http://www.gogo-music.net
GUM brings us an EP that is certain invoke memories of beaches, sun and hot sweaty clubs. It features a couple of instrumental winners, underpinned by Afro percussion. Parabatu is a mesmerising groover, where stargazing synths do all the work. Parachute drafts Olivier Lecht for some spirited flute playing, with sweet keys also featuring. There are various mixes of Brother Like No Other to choose from and the one that’s got me is GUM’s own Minimized dub, which is an insistent key mission.

Elvis Presley - Crawfish (Pilooski Edit) (DIRTY Music)
Web: http://www.d-i-r-t-y.com
In general, the re-edited craze has never particularly moved me, but Pilooski brings the goods here with a version of Presley’s Crawfish. Dancefloor friendly beats and calming keys provide the impetus, behind the King and his friend’s impassioned vocals.

Belleruche - Anything You Want (Not That) (Tru Thoughts)
Web: http://www.tru-thoughts.co.uk
Moving away from their ‘Turntable Soul’ to a live bluesier and funkier sound may see Belleruche lose their uniqueness, but these couple of cuts show that their grooves still maintain charm, even if you may mistake their music for offerings by other acts. Anything You Want (Not That) features a lazy keys, relaxed percussion and deBoer’s lovely vocals. Don’t Let Them Push You Around is all heaving bass guitar flexings, crushing percussion and instructing vocals.

Tony Senghore Vs Baron Bane - Love.Cure.All (Anonym)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/tonysenghore
Recently, Tony Senghore has hit hard with a number of instrumental synthoid bangers and here he tries his hand at the vocal game, with excellent results. Love.Cure.All is a cool effort that should appear to a variety of floors, due to its impenetrable synths, jarring beats and idealistic vocals. The vocal dub is energetic synth workout, whilst the Dirty Dub emplys a filthy bassline.

Gavin Hardkiss - The Knight Of The Hawke Fields (Eight-Tracks)
Web: http://www.gavinhardkiss.com
Hardkiss’s Love Won Another LP explored various music palates, whereas this great EP is a focused housey assault on the dancefloor. Field Of No Name is an epic effort, with sonorous synths, cool percussion, bleeps and all. Let Me Borrow Your Cane is the insistent cousin of the lead track, whilst Necrotone is a woozy synther.

Rob Mello - Critical (Fabrice Lig Remixes) (Classic)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/noears
Yes, this is the Classic of old resurfacing, albeit for the digital age. Fabrice Lig gets to grips with Rob Mello’s Critical, courtesy of a jumpy bassline and washing synths. His instrumental brings out the beauty of the dreamy synths and fuzzy strings.

Jonny White - Rainsong (Number 19)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/jonnywhitetoronto
White brings us a startling techy plea for the heavens to open, which appears via Number 19 music. Striding beats, lost synths and watery elements work their magic on the original version of Rainsong, whilst Rainbeats soaks the percussion in a shower of precipitation and should be picked up by the likes of Claussell.

Shakedown - At Night (Remixes) (Panorama)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/shakedownofficial
The original version of Shakedown’s At Night was a glorious slice of life-affirming house music and these remixes are also rather special. Chab’s Deep Mix is exactly that, courtesy of its penetrating synths and wowing bass touches. Martin Buttrich twists the vocals round spiky electronic grooves, whilst Serge Santiago goes all theatrical on his ’Electrifying Mojo Mix’.

Ursula Rucker - Read Between The Lines (Five Six Media)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/ursularucker
Spoken word doyen Ursula Rucker returns with a masterful piece on challenging preconceptions about herself, produced by the awesome King Britt. Rucker speaks frankly, as ever, over knuckle cracking percussion and a moody bass.

Metronomy - Heartbreaker (Discodeine Remix) (DIRTY Music)
Web: http://www.d-i-r-t-y.com
Metronomy’s playful ode to the sort of lady or guy you should leave well alone gets a delicious touch up from Discodeine. Expanding the ’liveness’ of the musical arrangement and at the same time applying demented filters, Discodeine have come up with an excellent off-kilter rework.

Belleruche - Reflection (Trus’me Remix) (Tru Thoughts)
Web: http://www,myspace.com/trusme
Trus’me’s star continues to shine brightly as he develops as an artist, here giving Belleruche the moody house treatment. On his revision of Reflection, Kathrin’s vocals are covered by stepping beats, frowning synths and fx. You can find this on the Shapes 08:02 collection.

Housemeister - Who Is That Noize (Remixes) (All You Can Beat)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/housemeister
Housemeister receive the remix treatment from a number of electronic dynamos. Siriusmo wins with his remix of What You Want, as the messed up vocals battle magical synths and wobbling percussion. Alexander Kowalski sends In Order To Dance to the fuzzy synthed cleaners, whilst Boys Noise jar the bass on their mix of the track. Neo Filigrante supplies a wonderful mix of Das Leben Ist Herrlich, with sweet synths and a crunching bassline.

Class 71 - Alba Adriatica (Four:Twenty)
Web: http://wwwmyspace.com/fourtwentyrecordings
Part of a new wave of deeply focused house labels, Four:Twenty deliver the goods again with this beautiful groover from Class 71. Alba Adriatica glides effortlessly, courtesy of smooth synths, delightful keys and sax kisses. The Dub focuses on the groove itself, whilst Move D provides two key stab driven remixes.

Fausto Messina - Siboney (Remixes) (WIR)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/faustomessina
Milan born DJ, party promoter and producer Fausto Messina makes tasty technoid concoctions and here Siboney has been remixed to excellent effect by Daniel Mehlhardt. It is the dreamy acoustic guitar flourishes and dismembered vocals that give this record its undeniable strength.

Quantic Presenta Flowering Inferno - Juanita Bonita (Tru Thoughts)
Web: http://www.tru-thoughts.co.uk
Quantic’s ‘Flowering Inferno’ project was allegedly inspired by ‘tropical dub’ and whilst I can‘t say I‘m familiar with that genre as an entity, I’m impressed by the beautiful music on this EP. Juanita Bonita is all cultured piano work, twee title vocals and running bass work. Dub Del Pacifico employs reggae keys, earnest vocals and cool bass drops.

Flyt - Higher (Futuristica Music)
Web: http://www.futuristicamusic.com
Flyt return with a lazy, hazy neo soul effort for ever so chilled moments. Higher is barely in motion, but the gorgeous keys, flute and vocal combo works nicely and will worm its way into your mind.

Martin Patino and Enzo Elia - Metamorfosi di Narciso (Young Odds)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/djenzoelia
Bologna’s Enzo Elia and Martin Patino come correct with a cool EP of cosmic house. Erasmus draws you in courtesy of a heaven sent key display, whilst Humo Negro is a space age pan pipe mission. Metamorfosi di Narciso is a winding technoid effort, with a tight groove and trippy synth hits.

Gavin Boyce - Face Down EP (Nordic Trax)
Web: http://www.nordictrax.com
One of Nordic Trax’s brightest talents, Gavin Boyce brings us a fine deeply leaning three tracker in the shape of the Face Down EP. Antitrust is a key jacker, with First Movements letting smooth keys and analogue bass touches throw shapes. Bring up the rear is the golden key and touching bass beauty of Face Down.


Solee - Timba (Remixes) (Parquet)
Web: http://deepdivecorp.de
Peter Musebrink aka Deep Dive Corp. is the person to bring us the finest revision of Timba by Solee. Melancholic piano keys, soft percussion and gorgeous guitar work flavour his beautiful remix.

Doide - Type One (Justified Cause)
Web: http://www.justifiedcause.com
Russ Gabriel and Blunt hook up for an ace techified outing on Justified Cause, which represents both of them musically. Uncontrollable keys, dark bass flourishes and atmospheric synth washes meet on the brilliant Type One.

Bakura feat Darien - Mistaken (Treble O)
Web: http://www.trebleo.co.uk
Bakura aka Domu and Marin bring us a broken house winner in the shape of Mistaken, which originally saw a vinyl release on Especial and now gets a digital outing via Domu’s own Treble O imprint. Mistaken in original form is an impassioned number with flying synths and cool brass, whilst Domu’s Remix adds key and string layers.

Nu Frequency feat. Shara Nelson - Go That Deep (RMXS) (NRK)
Web: http://www.nrkmusic.com
Go That Deep is certainly one of the greatest deeply focused vocal house records of 2008 and here Version aka Atjazz and Charles Webster supply an excellent gutsy remix. Sonorous keys, fizzing synths and shuffling beats meet under Shara’s vocals on this version from ‘Version‘!

Eric Prydz - Pjanoo (Data)
Web: http://www.ericprydz.com
Pjanoo from big room master Eric Prydz is a glorious slice of unashamed trancetastic house magic. A huge piano line, flamboyant strings and a scary bassline do the work on this surefire floor filler.

Zoë Xenia - I Know I Know (Kaufe Musik)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/zoexenia
This is a seriously weird yet rather satisfying little electronic ditty from Zoë Xenia. It features loose jointed percussion, fragmented vocals and barely visible bass touches.

Hannah Holland - Banshee (Playtime)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/hannahholland
The Banshee is a deathly slice of techiness from Ms. Holland. Armed with an angry bassline and a jumpy synth, the original hits home in macabre style. Pushy synths come to the fore on Mike Monday’s remix.

Hardkandy - Hey Lover (Wah Wah 45s)
Web: http://www.wahwah45s.com
The Wah’s bring us a lovely little 7” from the wonderful Hardkandy. Hey Lover features the ace Laura Vane, whose confused tones ride grooving guitars and a dark bass. Moochin lets a bass guitar and sweet strings have their say.

Danny Massure - What It Ain’t (Remixes) (Spring Strut)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/dannymassure
Stockport’s finest (well discounting Mr. Scruff), Ben Dean, is the one who supplies the pick of the mixes here, re-tooling Danny Massure’s Soledad to great effect. A fat bassline and chunky beats let the sax and keys really fly.

All reviews by Jon Freer.

Jon Freer’s playlist for Roots Before Branches Social. 18th October at The Salutation, Manchester, UK.

Andrés - El Ritmo De mi Gente! - Mahogani Music
Kissey Asplund - Entrapped - R2
Alaine - Spin Me - Don Corleon
Phyllis Dillon - Perfidia - Treasure Isle
Little Harada - I Want To Rap With You - Tachyon
Calm - Life is Stardust - Music Conception
Erlend Øye meets Morgan Geist - Ghost Train - Source
Herbert - Leave Me Now - Soundslike/!K7
Roisin Murphy - You Know Me Better (Toddla T Remix) - Mercury
Quantic - Mishaps Happening (Prins Thomas Edit) - Tru Thoughts
Alice Smith - Love Endeavour (Maurice Fulton Remix) - BBE
Kaori - In My Head (DJ Kawasaki Remix) - Crue-L Future
Larry Heard - The Sun Can’t Compare - Alleviated

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Single Reviews: October 2008 #1




Florian Meindl - 8 Bit Romance (Hell Yeah)
The Smoke - Bone Sucking Sauce (Artizan)
Gorge - Kassiande (Freerange)
Lovebirds - The Rat (Freerange)
Rocco - New Awakening EP (Freerange)
Pezzner - Almost Here (Freerange)
Phuture Motion - Carne Negra (Freestyle)
Poussez vs. Demarkus Lewis - Passin Thru (Tone Control)
Steve Mac - Paddy’s Revenge (3 Beat Blue)
Love Over Money - Keep On (Tone Control)
Axwell & Bob Sinclar feat. Ron Carroll - What A Wonderful World (Positiva/Defected)
The Japanese Popstars - Rise Of Ulysses (Gung Ho)
Audio Bullys - Flickery Vision (Vizo)
dunnEASY feat. Monique Bingham - Won’t Stop (Jellybean Soul)
Mr. Scruff feat. Alice Russell - Music Takes Me Up (Ninja Tuna)
Vector Lovers - Ping Pong (Soma)
--

Florian Meindl - 8 Bit Romance (Hell Yeah)
Web: http://www.florianmeindl.com
Berlin’s Florian Meindl is left reeling by Matt ‘Radio Slave’ Edwards, who delivers a masterful remix of 8 Bit Romance. There’s no rational reason for Radio Slave’s Deepest Space Remix to last for nineteen minutes, but the fact that it does lets you appreciate the wavering keys, moody beats and washing bassline in all its glory.

The Smoke - Bone Sucking Sauce (Artizan)
Web: http://www.artizanmusic.co.uk
Ever keeping the faith, proper UK House stalwarts Terry Farley, Dave Jarvis and Uschi Classen team up for some next level techy deepness that is wonderfully timeless. Uschi’s keys glisten, whilst Dave and Terry’s beats hit in the way you’d expect from a pair that have been spinning, buying and dancing to this sort of music for the last two decades.

Gorge - Kassiande (Freerange)
Web: http://www.freerangerecords.co.uk
Pit Waldman aka Gorge drops an EP of dark grooving technoid music that hits home in an effortlessly satisfying manner. The pert keys, cool trumpeting and mysterious bassline do the job on Kassiande, whilst Supique is all polite chords and tight beats. Marc Romboy offers a slightly more pedestrain take on Kassiande, bringing out the twisted trumpet over messy beats and a barbed bassline.

Lovebirds - The Rat (Freerange)
Web: http://www.freerangerecords.co.uk
Somewhat unexpectedly, Lovebirds turns out to be the handy work of Sebastian ‘Basti’ Doering of Hamburg’s Knee Deep duo. When not churning out silky soulful house grooves as KD, Basti keeps himself busy making bowel shaking technified groovers like The Rat. Flip for This Sound, a flurrying keyed number, and Kreon’s fuzzy synthed take on The Rat.

Rocco - New Awakening EP (Freerange)
Web: http://www.freerangerecords.co.uk
Mr reliable, Rocco returns to Freerange with a dance floor damaging slice of techy house. New Awakening is all about the stabs that pepper the track like bullet holes, whilst Supernova is an epic synthathon.

Pezzner - Almost Here (Freerange)
Web: http://www.freerangerecords.co.uk
Dave Pezzner of Jacob London fame makes dreamy material as simply Pezzner, which hits home in way that his previous material seldom managed. Part 1 features ethereal vocal layers and steady beats, as Part 2 gets pointed synths to do the majority of the work. The final Part twists the original elements in a style that will mangle brains and confuse feet at 4am.

Phuture Motion - Carne Negra (Freestyle)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/phuturemotion
Sheffield trio Chris Welch, Levi Busse and Danny Mager used to throw great parties under the Phonetics name and they’ve now moved on to putting their musical ideas on wax for Freestyle. Carne Negra is a speeding Latin number, with D&B style percussion, go faster brass and a fun bassline. Phuture Motion’s version of Lluvia Y Nieve up is also worth a mention, due to their excellent manipulation of the stylish brass parts and extended percussive work.

Poussez vs. Demarkus Lewis - Passin Thru (Tone Control)
http://www.tonecontrol.org
Poussez & Demarkus may front this release, but it’s Martin ’At Jazz’ Iverson who steals the headlines with an excellent remix. Rough keys, a tight string section and ample percussive power make Iverson’s instrumental the mix to peruse.

Steve Mac - Paddy’s Revenge (3 Beat Blue)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/mrstevemac
Half a club track, half an Irish jig, Mac has made one hell of a gimmick record. Thankfully he’s included a Dub, which cuts the hell out of the jig elements and lets a cool synth and smart beats do the talking, thus reclaiming the track for more underground floors.

Love Over Money - Keep On (Tone Control)
Web: http://www.tonecontrol.org
Mr. Phil Asher is the one on the money here, reshaping Love Over Money in style. With the help of a deep reaching bassline, lively beats and gorgeous keys, Phlash creates a wonderful mix that should satisfy various audiences.

Axwell & Bob Sinclar feat. Ron Carroll - What A Wonderful World (Positiva/Defected)
Web: http://www.defected.com
This is a monstrous poppy record from a threesome that have helped to shape the commercial side of house music. What A Wonderful World has incredible power, due to its deployment of Carroll’s love preaching vocals over poised synths and a magical bassline. The Dub Mix shows the strength of the musical arrangement, whilst Elio Riso delivers a tougher keyed revision and Paleface does the job for bassline lovers.

The Japanese Popstars - Rise Of Ulysses (Gung Ho)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/thejapanesepopstars
NZ based producer Greg Churchill gives The Japanese Popstars a kick in the right direction with his take on Rise Of Ulysses, which is slightly more musical than the original. Firing synths and to the point beats are the key elements on Churchill’s revision.

Audio Bullys - Flickery Vision (Vizo)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/audiobullys
Stefano Miele aka Riva Starr is on hand here to give the Audio Bullys the ride of their lives with his excellent interpretation of the Bullys' new single. Starr uses siren synths, springy percussion and all manner of twisted fx to create his own Flickery Vision.

dunnEASY feat. Monique Bingham - Won’t Stop (Jellybean Soul)
Web: http://www.jellybeanmusic.com
One of house music’s finest vocal talents, Ms. Monique Bingham, gets down on this occasion with dunnEASY aka Ethan White from Tortured Soul and DJ Ed Dunn. Won’t Stop is a sweet soul kissed house effort, with extending synths, sparkling keys and heartbroken vocals.

Mr. Scruff feat. Alice Russell - Music Takes Me Up (Ninja Tuna)
Web: http://www.mrscruff.com
This jazzied collab with the wonderful Alice Russell is exactly what you’d expect from Scruff, but no bad thing for it. Shimmering jazz keys, music praising vocals and fat drums meet on this lovely effort, entitled Music Takes Me Up.

Vector Lovers - Ping Pong (Soma)
Web: http://www.somarecords.com
Martin Wheeler loves space age musical games and here he brings us Ping Pong from beyond. The cut of note on the EP is Reminisce, with its wide eyed keys, cool percussion and furtive synths.

All reviews by Jon Freer




Hearing Is Believing Radio: October 2008

Coultrain - Girl Of My Dreams
Sylk 130 - Fallen Angel
Q Burns Abstract Message - Shame (Hakan Lidbo’s Stockholm Dub)
Calm - City Snow
Kaori - In My Head (DJ Kawasaki Remix)
Florian Meindl - 8 Bit Romance (Radio Slave’s Deepest Space Remix)

All music selected and segued by Jon Freer, 14th October 2008.

Download here

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Autum LPs #2




Castanets - City of Refuge (Asthmatic Kitty)
Death Vessel - Nothing Precious Enough For Us (Sub Pop)
V/A - Coast2Coast: Charles Webster (NRK)
Style Of Eye - Duck, Cover And Hold (PickADoll)
V/A - Circo Loco @DC10: 10 Year Anniversary (Moon Harbour)
TM Juke & The Jack Baker Trio - Boto And The Second Liners (Tru Thoughts)
Petar Dundov - Escapements (Music Man)
Red Snapper - Pale Blue Dot (Lo)
Morgan Geist - Double Night Time (Environ)
V/A - Great Summer Games Stuff (Great Stuff)
V/A - Sud Up & Dance 2: The Dance Off (Soapsud City)
V/A - Sessions: Meat Katie (Ministry of Sound)
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Castanets - City of Refuge (Asthmatic Kitty)
Web: http://www.asthmatickitty.com
City of Refuge is a remarkable album from Ray Raposa, whose strength rests on its glorious guitar movements, glowing vocals and ’out there’ lofi experimentalism. More a series of fleeting episodes than a ‘normal‘ album, with the occasional fully fledged song thrown in from time to time, this longplayer is a strange, but beautiful beast. Magical moments include the lovely Prettiest Chain, emotional The Hum and the almost growling Refuge 2. It is easy to get drawn in by this beguiling treat that is at times sonically harsh and at others sweet on the ears, but always captivating.

Death Vessel - Nothing Precious Enough For Us (Sub Pop)
Web: http://www.deathvessel.com
By rights, an outfit with a name like Death Vessel should make heavy macabre music, but the concoctions brewed by Joel Thibodeau and friends are somewhat different. There is a certain melancholia to Nothing Precious Enough For Us, but there is an undeniable brightness to the songs on the album, which play lip service to folk, Americana, poppy songwriting sensibilities and various other influences. Album highlights include the beautiful opener entitled Block My Eye, the proud Bruno’s Torso and the rhythmic Fences Around Field. Beauty in musical format.

V/A - Coast2Coast: Charles Webster (NRK)
Web: http://www.nrkmusic.com
Nottingham’s Charles Webster has had a long association with deep and technified house, due to his production work under aliases such as Presence and Love From San Francisco as well as his own name, and his work behind the decks. He is no stranger to NRK and a fitting candidate to select the music for this instalment of the Coast2Coast series. As expected, it is a wonderfully deep, touching and incredibly musical affair, as per usual with this series turning up long lost classics alongside cutting edge tackle. CD 1 features winners such as Pepe Braddock’s macabre 4 and Webster’s own heartstopping re-kiss of Justin Martin’s Sad Piano. CD 2 is another excellent disc, with cuts such as Larry Heard’s beautiful Closer and the thumping JAN remix of Amp Fiddler’s Superficial. A magnificent house exploration from one of the genres most talented son’s.

Style Of Eye - Duck, Cover And Hold (PickADoll)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/styleofeye
Edgy electroid house with trancey overtones is the sound that Linus Eklow aka Style Of Eye is gunning for with this album. It is a long player aimed squarely at the dancefloor and does feature some captivating moments, but is a little too abrasive at times. Hot cuts include the shrieking Ona, warming Amelie and the fun poking Clown. This album may alienate fans of his earlier work on Classic, due to sonic differences, but it targets the hips in a similar manner and will be lapped up by fans of tougher house fair.

V/A - Circo Loco @DC10: 10 Year Anniversary (Moon Harbour)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/dc10circoloco
After a decade of Monday parties at a white isle venue close to the airport, Circo Loco celebrate by releasing three separate compilations. Dogged by the now all to regular governmental barricades to partying, the night has survived and continues to excite a wild crowd from all over Europe and beyond. Musically, Circo Loco is about the skinnier musical end of the deeper house and technoid market, as these discs will testify. Tania Vulcano brings us the first mix, which suggests that minimalism doesn’t have to mean boredom and features winners such as DJ Sneak’s fuzzy Latin Seoul and Rasoul’s throbbing Untitled Deepness. Similarly, the second disc on the first compilation, mixed by Sossa features groovy efforts from the likes of 2-Travellers, who bring us the gorgeous Organ Track and Michel Ho’s disorientating Gisele. Compilation 2 is given over to Arpiar and he brings us a disc of his own material that features a few notable efforts such as the bumping Flying Dutchman and jacking Connected. Arpair’s DJ mix is the weakest of the collection, but still includes a few gems like Brothers’ Vibe cool Feelin’ House and Pedric’s wide eyed Pedric 1. Matthias Tanzman’s contribution to the third instalment is arguably the finest mix and features gems like G-Man’s crunching Quo Vardis and Dot’s key driven Kinda Strange. Thomas Melchior rounds off proceedings with a dark display, where cuts such as Alexander East’s eerie Hope You See and Andomat 3000’s blistering BND2 feature. The artwork and hedonistic atmosphere suggest Circo Loco is nearer a circus than a conventional club night, but these compilations show that the music is just as important.

TM Juke & The Jack Baker Trio - Boto And The Second Liners (Tru Thoughts)
Web: http://www.tmjuke.co.uk
TM Juke teams up with percussive don Jack Baker for an album of South American influenced funk scorched, soul soaked and jazzed ditties. The album features brasstastic work from a bevy of hot musicians and vocals from a quartet of esteemed singers. Highs include a frenzied cover of Mr Vegas’s Heads High that takes the tuba to the dancehall, Rolling Stone To Landslide featuring the luscious tones of Kathrin deBoer and the gutsy Fortune Favours The Bold. A fun filled long player, eschewing samples and processed beats in favour of live instrumental work.

Petar Dundov - Escapements (Music Man)
Web: http://www.petardundov.com
Taking cues from ambient soundscapes and trippy experimentalism as well as clubfloor bound electronics, Croatian studio ace Petar Dundov has created a mind expanding album in the shape of Escapements. His productions have a widescreen feel and incredible depth, inviting listeners to get lost in his world, instead of merely listening to his musical fair. She In Purple is a cosmic technoid opus, with Rain sampling gentle ambient waters and Waterfall bringing beautiful Detroit grooves to the fore. Escapements is a fitting title for this album from Dundov that really allows the listener to enter another dimension.

Red Snapper - Pale Blue Dot (Lo)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/redsnapperofficial
Yes, this is the Red Snapper of old, back to join the dots between jazz, rock and various forms of dance music. They succeed where many others have failed, pushing grooves of different forms together in a way that is natural and makes perfect musical sense. Album peaks include rolling opener Brickred, strutting Lagos Creepers and dubbed out Moving Mountain. How they succeed with their odd musical homebrew is anyone’s guess, but it’s very good to have them back, regardless.

Morgan Geist - Double Night Time (Environ)
Web: http://www.environrecords.com
In some ways, NY based Environ boss Geist will now always live under the shadow of Metro Area, the project he undertook with Darshan Jesrani that magically fused smooth electronics and live instrumentation that was unleashed on the unsuspecting public by the way of four EPs that were compiled into a longplayer. True, there have been Metro Area releases since the first quartet of EPs, but it was these cuts that captured the imagination and emotions of the world circa 2001. There were solo Morgan Geist releases and production work before and after the zenith of the MA period and he has been responsible for breathtaking productions for the likes of Erlend Øye and Kelley Polar. This album is nearer his more recent production work for Polar than previous sharper electronic material, showcasing smooth electronic grooves and poppity songs featuring vocals from Jeremy Greenspan of Junior Boys. Some of the vocal collaborations work wonders, such as the supple Detroit and calming The Shore, but some don’t quite gel as well and have you yearning for more MA esque instrumentals like the sparklingly keyed closer named Lullaby. Double Night Time is a positive musical experience, but does leave you wondering perhaps what it could have been and what else Geist still has up his sleeve.

V/A - Great Summer Games Stuff (Great Stuff)
Web: http://www.greatstuff.eu
The artwork and title suggests this compilation was inspired by the Olympics, whilst the idea of getting twenty four electronic artists to each submit a track that represents a country seems more in keeping with the Eurovision song contest than anything else. Spread over two discs, the music focuses on clubfloor electronic grooves and as with the Eurovision contest and athletics on show at the Olympics, features tracks of variable quality. The gold medals on disc one go to Danilo Vigorito for the bass driven Italy and Ramon Tapia’s wobbly Belgium. The highest points on disco two are picked up by GusGus for the barbed Iceland and Steve Angello for the powerful Sweden. This geographical tour shows that many artists from different countries favour similar musical soundscapes when it comes to clubfloor music.

V/A - Sud Up & Dance 2: The Dance Off (Soapsud City)
Web: http://www.soapsudcity.com
This London based crew may still be peddling soap related jokes, but what is much more important is the fact that they are bringing fine technoid grooves with them. Again this is a compilation with a number of contributions by key players, with Soapsud members coming present and correct with calming yet floor satiating material. Opening cut from Dlay entitled Long Short Story just rolls out for ever, whilst Shaolin’s Fallout bounces around nicely and The Switch from Untying The Knots also hits home. Cleanse yourself in this crew’s purifying technoid fair.

V/A - Sessions: Meat Katie (Ministry of Sound)
Web: http://www.meatkatie.com
This compilation from Meat Katie on MoS puts beyond all reasonable doubt the question over whether Katie and his comrades were just flirting with 4:4 grooves, or if they’d exchanged more traditional breaks based aesthetics for a hybrid groove that fully incorporates housier and technoier vibes as well as fat basslines. Disc 1, the strongest of the two, would give the answer as an almight yes, with most of the material hitting both the bassline and streamlined beats button, with only a few tracks daring to stray into more complicated percussive territory. Winners include the odd Audio Remix of Dubfire’s I Feel Speed, Dustbowl’s acidious Still Burning and Martin Eyerer’s scowling Azul. Disc 2 brings breaks and basslines to the fore, but the vibe is as much bassline driven techy fair as breaks, with winners including Zoo Brazil’s nasty Technik and the ravey Right Now from UBerzone and Lee Coombs. The music from Katie and co is most exciting when it occupies that middle ground between breaks, house and techno, as cuts on this compilation show.

All Reviews by Jon Freer

Autumn LPs #1




Rodriguez - Cold Fact (Light in the Attic)
V/A - Computer Incarnations for World Peace II (Sonar Kollektiv)
Roots Manuva - Slime & Reason (Big Dada)
V/A - David Guetta Presents F*** Me I’m Famous! International Vol 2 (Ministry Of Sound)
Modey Lemon - Season of Sweets (Birdman)
Monika Kruse - Changes of Perception (Terminal M)
V/A - 4hero…Mixing: Dego (Sonar Kollektiv)
Smile Down Upon Us - Smile Down Upon Us (Static Caravan)
Golden Animals - Free Your Mind and Win a Pony (Happy Parts)
Quasimode - The Land of Freedom (Sonar Kollektiv)
V/A - Housexy Ibiza (Housexy)
Huge Hephner - Nymphotech (Siteholder)
V/A - Amplified: Dirty Soul Electric (BBE)
--

Rodriguez - Cold Fact (Light in the Attic)
Web: http://www.lightintheattic.net
After languishing in non man’s land for close to four decades, Rodriguez’s mighty psychedelic masterpiece that charts the trials and tribulations that life brings gets a full re-release courtesy of Light in the Attic. The universal subject matter, from relationship dysfunction to the lure of mind expanding chemicals and life on the lowest rung of the ladder, will resonate with listeners today everywhere from Sixto Rodriguez’s city of Detroit, to those living all over the world that deal with the same struggles. Highs appear in the form of songs such as the enticing Sugar Man, bitter Hate Street Dialogue and convention slaying Rich Folks Hoax. No nonsense musicianship and honest heartfelt lyricism triumph on this forgotten gem from Rodriguez.

V/A - Computer Incarnations for World Peace II (Sonar Kollektiv)
Web: http://www.sonarkollektiv.de
Computer Incarnations for World Peace II is good at inducing glazed eyes and a mesmerised state of being, due to its glorious soundtrack of stoned discoid pleasures. The spun out grooves may in some cases be more likely to cause a loss of movement than a dancefloor based flurry of activity, but this is music for the mind first and body second. Moments of awe inspiring beauty include Todd Terje & Prins Thomas’s smile inducing Reinbågen, Daniel Wang & Brennan Green’s barely conscious retouch of Crazy P’s Keep On and Mark E’s gorgeous Fighter. Woozy soundscapes for lost moments.

Roots Manuva - Slime & Reason (Big Dada)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/rootsmanuva
This album is a product of the UK soundsystem culture, where the bass is raw, lyrics frank and what floats between is a myriad of musical vibes melded together in a brutal but functional manner. It may in essence be a hip hop album, but on Slime & Reason Mr. Rodney ’Roots Manuva’ Smith gives his observations on life over grooves of varying shapes and colours. The production from various beat conductors is hot and standouts include the wheeling reggae vibes of Again & Again, the eastern ragga bump of Buff Nuff and the frightened 2 Much 2 Soon. Rodney has delivered a very British LP in terms of musical style and lyrical content, which certainly does the business.

V/A - David Guetta Presents F*** Me I’m Famous! International Vol 2 (Ministry Of Sound)
Web:
It is easy to poke fun at Guetta’s extremely commercially accessible vision of modern club music, which in some circles is known as electro, but is basically just a re-branding of house, or the way in which he pushes it through pretentious bashes and dance-pop hits. However, at the end of the day he plays hedonistic tracks with incredible vitality and takes clubfloor music to huge audiences. Some of the vocal efforts on this compilation are perhaps a bridge too far, but the overall energy is impressive and there are some magnificent cuts. Disc 1 winners include Who’s Who?’s barbed Klack and Guetta’s own demented Jack Is Back. Disc 2 follows with notables such as Eric Prydz’s anthemic Pjanoo and Mark Knight & Funkagenda’s chemically enhanced cover of Man With The Red Face. In a world where many DJs and producers take themselves way too seriously Guetta shows how fun and excitement can be had with popular modern club music.

Modey Lemon - Season of Sweets (Birdman)
Web: http://www.birdmanrecords.com
The blood splattered confectionary on the album cover suggests they are not a band to be taken lightly and Pittsburgh’s Modey Lemon hit hard with fizzing guitars, squawking half spoken half sung vocals and tough drums. Seasons of Sweets is an onslaught from start to finish, with full out rocking numbers featuring alongside psyche touched mind expanding efforts. Winners include the disorientating Sacred Place, hilarious Become A Monk and jagged Milk Moustache. The band hit the UK shores in September with the full on Modey Lemon live experience.

Monika Kruse - Changes of Perception (Terminal M)
Web: http://www.monikakruse.com
Techno pin up Monika Kruse invites you to witness her Changes of Perception on this LP, which is both contemplative and dancefloor satiating. With help from Gregor Trescher, the Berlin based producer has created an album of warm productions that tick current musical boxes, but are water tight and sparkle enough to have some longevity. Highs include the trippy keyed Hope, moody Fragile and old school influenced Wackypaky. Changes of Perception is a technoid treat that holds the attention from start to finish.

V/A - 4hero…Mixing: Dego (Sonar Kollektiv)
Web: http://www.4hero.co.uk
Involved at the inception of various forms of UK dance music and a record spinner since those early days, Dego McFarlane brings us an excellent DJ set as suitable for head nodding as club grooving. The bias is towards slower bpms, featuring hippety hoppity and soul infused numbers alongside boogie gems and heavy reggae efforts. Highs include The Skatalites’s mournful Roots Dub, Patrice Rushen’s buoyant Message In The Music and the SA-RA re-cut of Roy Hargrove’s tender On The One. A true pioneer of modern electronic music, Dego has come full circle in recent years and here shows how much enjoyment can be had with old-fashioned songs, beats, bass and rhymes.

Smile Down Upon Us - Smile Down Upon Us (Static Caravan)
Web: http://www.smiledownuponus.org.uk
In another life, two thirds of Smile Down Upon Us made music as Phelan Sheppard, and that outfit’s love affair with beautiful melodies and intricate instrumentation has made an impression on this project. Here, the duo of Keiron Phlelan and David Sheppard are joined by Japanese artist moomLoo, who adds her heart melting lyrics and sweet electronics. The self titled LP brought cross continental collaboration and features beautiful moments such as the calm Girl Of A Skin Coloured Blanket No.2, the angsty My Body’s Continents and a gentle effort entitled Rayla No Lullaby. This trio really does make music that smiles at its listeners.

Golden Animals - Free Your Mind and Win a Pony (Happy Parts)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/goldenanimals
Golden Animals wield fuzzy guitars, solid drums and hearty, if downcast vocals. The animals are a twosome consisting of Tommy Eisner and Linda Beecroft, and the scorched rock sound of their album is at least in part due to fact that it was recorded in the peaceful Californian desert. Highs include the bluesy Queen Mary (The Flop), the grooviness of Try On Me, and the enticing Follow Me Down. Fuzzy fun for all.

Quasimode - The Land of Freedom (Sonar Kollektiv)
Web: http://quasimode.ddo.jp
Japanese neo jazz artists have a tradition of not shying away from expressing themselves through grandiose musical displays and this album from Quasiomde is filled with the sort of dramatic phraseology and animated musicianship one has become to associate with this genre. For this release, Quasimode have enlisted the talents of Carmen Lundy and Masato Nakamura of Sleep Walker fame to help get their musical messages across. Full on musical assaults such as the majestic For Self Defense and triumphant title track are backed by gorgeous calming episodes such as Last Nine Days and Raw Cotton Field. Quasimode are musically grounded and so their powerful instrumental displays don’t feel unnecessarily over the top.

V/A - Housexy Ibiza (Housexy)
Web: http://www.housexy.com
Housexy bring us a rather homogenised sound, focusing on obvious diva vocals, electroid synth workouts and jumped up beats. This means that compilation features a number of covers and remixes of classic dance records, tweaked in that glam house manner. Disc 1 builds subtly and features classy efforts such as Cloudburst’s euphoric Paradise and the gutsy 2008 remix of HajI & Emanuel feat. Erie’s Take Me Away. Disc 2 starts off where Disc 1 left off and features notable cuts such as The Shapeshifter’s powering cover of Orbital’s Chime and Laidback Luke’s twisting refix of Blake & Monroe’s Sick Of Hearing Love Songs. The Housexy sound is never going to win any awards for musical innovation, but it is incredibly uplifting and shows that the ‘funky‘ or ’electro’ strand of house is far from retirement.

Huge Hephner - Nymphotech (Siteholder)
Web: http://www.siteholder.net
Huge Hephner is Billy Dalessandro, one of the people behind the Siteholder Records imprint and here he brings us his debut LP under the moniker on the Chicago based imprint. His sound is essentially infectious body moving techno, but the grooves are fattened in a way that makes his music a welcome breather from anorexic fair. Winners include the suggestive My Money Your Body, synthilating Lotus Bomb and crunching Quickie Bounce. This cool album of sleazy technoid grooves is available as a digital long player and on two vinyl EPs.

V/A - Amplified: Dirty Soul Electric (BBE)
Web: http://www.bbemusic.com
London party promoters Amplified hook up with BBE for a compilation that proves neo soul isn’t a thing of the past. The album features both established players and new faces, whose dulcet tones sit atop various hippety hoppity inspired backings. Real winners include Tiombe Lockhardt’s egotistical You Need Me, Coultrain’s lazy grooved The Girl Of My Dreams and Jimi James‘ nasty Holl‘ Up. With the return of Badu and the emergence of talents like Kissey Asplund and the newbies on this compilation, the sweetened soulful sound is back with vengeance.

All reviews by Jon Freer

Single Reviews update: October 08

Jon Freer’s Reviews: Singles

Hot Lizard - The Theme (Christian Prommer Remix) (NRK)
RQM - Miss Pacman (Exploited)
Malente & Dex - Hyperactive (Exploited)
Elizabeth Shepherd - Parkdale (Do Right)
Jamie McHugh - Lunar (Underwater)
Roots Manuva - Buff Nuff (Big Dada)
Roots Manuva - Again & Again (Big Dada)
Mr. Scruff - Kalimba & Give Up To Get (Ninja Tune)
Decimal - Technicolor Lover EP (Soma)
Mirror Music - The Strange Things I’ll Remember (Remixes #1) (Darkroom Dubs)
Bertrand Dupart - Kétokolé (Underground Garage Hits)
Darryl D’Bonneau - Say You’re Gonna Stay (Remixes) (Jellybean Soul)
Stimming - Short Stay (Freerange)
The Black Dog - Detroit Vs Sheffield (Soma)
The Glimpse - We Existed (Four Twenty)
Tony Senghore - Neowulf (Hoha)
Whare - Pretty Lady (Matt Flores Remix) (Tjumy)
Roberto Rodriguez - Be Somebody (Freerange)
Jaymz Nylon - Crave (Nylon Trax)
Diskokaine - Rimini (Gomma)
Ghislain Poirier - Go Ballistic (Duckbeats & Toddla T Remix)
Mephisto Odyssey - Bump (Groove Quest)
Lizzy Parks - Raise The Roof (Tru Thoughts)
Me&You - Music For Birthdays (White)
Meat Katie - Cracks (Lot49)
Jay Tripwire - Body To Body (Remixes) (Nordic Trax)
Joshua Iz Presents - Baked Goodies EP (Nordic Trax)
Osborne - Ruling (NRK)
Sona - You Were There (Delano Smith Dub) (Undertones/Kolour)
Tomoki & Nono - Voices / 3 Years (Four:Twenty)
TR ONE - Inner Thoughts (Lerosa Remix) (Fine Art)
Natalie Walker - Over & Under (Morgan Page Remix) (Dorado)
Hot 8 Brass Band - Remixes (Tru Thoughts)
Misc. - Chemosphere (Lost Souls)
280 West feat. Diamond Temple - I Never Knew (Remixes) (Phuture Sole)

Hot Lizard - The Theme (Christian Prommer Remix) (NRK)
Web: http://www.nrkmusic.com
NRK love to bring out remixes of time honoured classics and here Christian Prommer does his epic techy thang to Hot Lizard’s The Theme. Thankfully he turns it into a jerky keyed monster that is worthy of your ears and feet.

RQM - Miss Pacman (Exploited)
Web: http://www.myspace.com/rqm1
This filthy slice of electro-sleaze is a world away from the usual holier than thou neo-jazz and reggae-lite offerings that are usually offered by Boris ’Micatone’ Meinhold and Eva Be. Remixes include Oliver $’s acid/click house flashback/forward, Act Yo Age’s bassline groover and DJ Chernobyl’s off-kilter bounce.

Malente & Dex - Hyperactive (Exploited)
Web: http://www.exploitedghetto.de
Ravey bassline madness is the best way to describe this frightening aural assault from Malente & Dex. Bird Peterson’s remix is a bassline banger, Bobmo’s mix is key heavy to say the least and Riva Starr lets Jammer & Frisco chat about dancing in a ravetastic manner over hopped beats and a rude bassline.

Elizabeth Shepherd - Parkdale (Do Right)
Web: http://www.dorightmusic.com
Elizabeth Shepherd brings us a frustrated tale, which receives added fire power courtesy of production on one take by Nostalgia 77. The ‘London Session’, which features the Nostalgia 77 Quartet is the pick, courtesy of its tough percussion and dancing brass that has Shepherd shimmering through the pulse racing grooves.

Jamie McHugh - Lunar (Underwater)
Web: http://www.underwaterrecords.com
Lunar is another supersonic techy outing from McHugh that will batter your eardrums into submission. Sireny synths and tough beats do it on the original, whilst John Selway produces a polite version for slightly more restrained times. Bonus cut Higher is woozy bass stormer, with curt keys and moody percussion.

Roots Manuva - Buff Nuff (Big Dada)
Roots Manuva - Again & Again (Big Dada)
Web:
Big Dada have hauled in old hands and nu guns to create new musical spaces for Rodney Smith to conquer. Buff Nuff means Roots Manuva Vs Toddla T, a prime musical match, pitching Rodney’s gruff vocals against the Tod’s digi-bashment bassline and rolling tabla’d beats. Second single from the LP lines Smith up against Shy FX, but instead of hitting him with rubbery D&B, Shy creates a loose Reggae groove for Manuva’s positive lyrical work. Again & Again gets a fuzzy bassed remix from Matt Helders of Arctic Monekys fame that still keeps the reggae rhythmics, and the Moody Boyz supply a dark dubby step recut.

Mr. Scruff - Kalimba & Give Up To Get (Ninja Tune)
Web: http://www.mrscruff.com
Scruff has always been partial to a jazzied groove or two, so it follows that Kalimba simply reeks of the stuff. The keys dance around a moving bass, whilst smiley faced strings add a certain earnest vibe. Give Up To Get heads for an underwater encounter with a deadly bass shark and shimmering synth eels.

Decimal - Technicolor Lover EP (Soma)
Web: http://www.somarecords.com
Most lean techy tunes take themselves way too seriously, but Decimal packs fun inside his grooves, which is not at the expense of dancefloor durability. Standouts here are a warped key hitter called Automath and Eleanor, where backwards looped vocals and stoned synths feature.

Mirror Music - The Strange Things I’ll Remember (Remixes #1) (Darkroom Dubs)
Web:
Mirror Music make the sort of gorgeous techy tackle that reminds you of bygone days and warms the heart. The Mirror Darkly Dub of Gateway is a sweetly keyed floater, whilst Medicine is a cosmic techy dream.

Bertrand Dupart - Kétokolé (Underground Garage Hits)
Web: http://www.shackmusic.com
African rhythm and vocal inspired house seems to be off the menu for most musical cooks at the moment, but Frenchman Bertrand Dupart brings us a tasty stew in the shape of Kétokolé. The original still has enough synth and percussive oomph to tame today’s tougher pallate, whilst the sonorous vox and overplayed drums gives that ‘Afro’ feel. The Dark Dub pretty much strips the track of its African influences, whilst Boddhi Satva’s Ancestral Mix shakes up the groove and adds crazy organ slides to cool effect.

Darryl D’Bonneau - Say You’re Gonna Stay (Remixes) (Jellybean Soul)
Web: http://www.jellybeansoul.com
A soul house treat from 1994, Darryl D’Bonneau’s Say You’re Gonna Stay gets a timely kick up the behind from Brazilian producer DJ Meme and the USA’s Jovonn. Meme fleshes out the percussion and makes the keys a little more expressive, and Jovonn takes a darker trip, courtesy of hefty beats and luxurious key layers.

Stimming - Short Stay (Freerange)
Web: http://www.freerangerecords.co.uk
Hamburg’s Stimming makes the sort of slowly transforming technoid material that demands concentration, but is worth the effort. Short Story relies on curt yet plodding beats and shredded gamelan (Indonesian percussion orchestra) touches for its strength, and Die Schatulle works wonders, courtesy of wide eyed keys and slow burning beats.

The Black Dog - Detroit Vs Sheffield (Soma)
Web: http://www.somarecords.com
Soma call in techno royalty, giving Robert Hood the task of revisiting Train By The Autobahn. Hood’s main version is a disorientating technoid tale, where dogged synths, cymbal led percussion and pulsing bass hits line up. His Eight Mile Remix is a startling ambient vision, with emotional strings, smile inducing keys and warm-hearted synths.

The Glimpse - We Existed (Four Twenty)
Web:
We Existed features Taka Boom, primarily known for her vocal contributions on uplifting vocal house stormers, but her she gives a good account of herself as a mysterious siren over The Glimpse’s paranoid technoid backdrop. Eerie keys and Boom’s thoughtful vocals dominate the said track, with Always On My Own heading towards calming synth guided territory.

Tony Senghore - Neowulf (Hoha)
Web:
Senghore has a talent at making mind dissolving techy material and this new effort is up there with previous bangers. Neowulf is all shaken keys, discordant yet melodious synths and pointed beats.

Whare - Pretty Lady (Matt Flores Remix) (Tjumy)
Web: http://www.tjumy.com
Vienna based Tjumy open their account with a run of the mill house outing from Christian Konvicka and Simon Birner aka Whare, but the remix from Matt Flores makes this release worth investigating. Smart beats, cool stabs and vocal mirages line up behind a rolling bassline on Flores’s ace revision of Pretty Lady.

Roberto Rodriguez - Be Somebody (Freerange)
Web: http://www.freerangerecords.com
A Future Beat Investigator, Rodriguez opens his solo account on Freerange with a couple of straight laced deeper house efforts. The winner is the second cut; a punishing synth workout entitled Singularity.

Jaymz Nylon - Crave (Nylon Trax?)
Web:
Jaymz Nylon is at his wide-eyed and blissed out best on this track, which you can find on the Dirty Wonderland EP. Flutes sent from heaven and an addictive bassline means that the track lives up to its name and will have you yearning for more.

Diskokaine - Rimini (Gomma)
Web:
Fun fun fun all the way, Rimini is a demented tribute to the Italian resort. Hyper vocal snips, a rolling bassline and cheesy synths meet on this smile inducing ditty. Christopher Just rewires the bassline and stutters the groove to within an inch of its life, before adding ridiculous 90s Italian house keys that make his mix worth checking.

Ghislain Poirier - Go Ballistic (Duckbeats & Toddla T Remix)
Web:
Sheffield’s old and new school get together and bring us a cool bassline ragga refix of Ghislain Poirier’s Go Ballistic. A tolling bassline and chopping beats run the groove under Poirier’s heavily accented vocals.

Mephisto Odyssey - Bump (Groove Quest)
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Bubblegum synth hop is the vibe on this amusing offering from Mephisto Odyssey, which pushes obvious buttons, but does it with considerable style. Bump is all slick synths, smart beats and easy going vocals.

Lizzy Parks - Raise The Roof (Tru Thoughts)
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Lizzy Parks brings us a couple of dreamy vocal neo jazz offerings, which have been produced by Ben ’Nostalgia 77’ Lamdin. Prayer starts out as a delicate number with beautiful strings and soft percussion, before piano, muted brass and stronger percussion take hold. Raise The Roof lets Lizzy‘s vocals dance, courtesy of smart percussion, moving keys and poised strings.

Me&You - Music For Birthdays (White)
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Me&You present more remix naughtiness in the shape of a fun loving compilation entitled Music For Birthdays. It features treats such as the discoid goodness of Rick James’s How Can I Hold You When Your Body Keeps Moving and Phylis Dillon’s lovely Even Vulcans Cry, reworked nicely by the thoughtful Me&You.

Meat Katie - Cracks (Lot49)
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Meat Katie hasn’t been a straight up breaks producer for a number of years and this track brilliantly highlights his ability to make dancefloor hogging stormers that sit somewhere between breaks and techno. Cracks is a frazzled key trip with a pummelling bassline and marching beats.

Jay Tripwire - Body To Body (Remixes) (Nordic Trax)
Web: http://www.nordictrax.com
Still plugging the deep’n’techy house gap, Nordic Trax drop remixes of Tripwire’s tidy Body To Body. The Groovenauts remix is a smooth effort with sugary keys, sweet vocals and soft bass additions. Mazi brings in a lazy analogue bassline and gorgeous keys for his vocal and dub mixes.

Joshua Iz Presents - Baked Goodies EP (Nordic Trax)
Web: http://www.nordictrax.com
Nowhere near as productive as he used to be, Joshua resurfaces with a beauty of a house jam entitled Cookies. Fun loving keys, moving synths and swishing beats will make listeners welcome him back with open arms.

Osborne - Ruling (NRK)
Web: http://www.nrkmusic.com
Todd Osborn has been a producer to check for a while, with this cut originally appearing on Spectral in early 2008 and now reappearing with a bunch of remixes. The original mix is a simple deep house groover with effortless keys and an insightful vocal refrain, whilst Shur-I-Kan fattens up the elements on his mix. King Britt is also on hand to deliver a darker mix, where a mind losing bassline and sharpened synthetics take hold.

Sona - You Were There (Delano Smith Dub) (Undertones/Kolour)
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Beatdown favourite Delano Smith gives Sona the deep Detroit house treatment with his dub of You Were There. Searing strings, a bottomless bass and tight percussive elements pull the moves on Smith’s tasty revision.

Tomoki & Nono - Voices / 3 Years (Four:Twenty)
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Now London based, this Japanese twosome make sparkling technoid grooves that hold the attention. A moody bass groove is the winning element on Voices. 3 Years employs macabre keys over its nasty bass’n’beats combo, whilst Manuel Tur’s remix is a more measured affair.

TR ONE - Inner Thoughts (Lerosa Remix) (Fine Art)
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Whether techno should count as Fine Art is up for debate, but this imprint brings us a fine example of the genre in the shape of Lerosa’s revision of TR ONE’s Inner Thoughts. Lovely keys walk over a groove created by shuffling beats and a mass of bass.

Natalie Walker - Over & Under (Morgan Page Remix) (Dorado)
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The synths are out for Page’s commercially accessible yet floor satiating mix of Natalie Walker’s Over & Under. Walker’s frustrated vocals are laid over a groove created by flashing keys, marauding synths and kicking beats.

Hot 8 Brass Band - Remixes (Tru Thoughts)
Web: http://www.etchshop.co.uk
The Hot 8 Brass Band get the remix treatment from Tru Thoughts players and their friends on this download only outing. The pick of the remixes is from Hint, whose brass-step bassline revision really hits home

Misc. - Chemosphere (Lost Souls)
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Lost Souls drop the technified goodness in the shape of this typically perception altering outing from Misc. Chemosphere uses strange synths and a rubbery bassline to create a confusing dancefloor gem. .TXT is a weird half speed offering, with sluggish beats and cracked keys.

280 West feat. Diamond Temple - I Never Knew (Remixes) (Phuture Sole)
Web: http://www.phuturesolerecordings.com
Abicah Soul and Tony Loreto are the latest producers to get to grips with 280 West and Diamond Temple’s magical soul house offering. Smooth keys, sweet string layers and calm percussion come together on this ultimately uplifting revision that ticks all the Phuture Sole boxes.

All reviews by Jon Freer