Monday, 21 December 2009

2009: A Year In Music


Sleazy McQueen & Anne Montone - Anna’s Due (Cole Vocal)

- Post discoid bliss.

Modernaire - Faites Vos Jeux

- A witty electro pop ditty from the sadly departed Modernaire.

Jack Peñate - Tonight’s Today

- An unexpected Afro house rhythm section backs Peñate’s homage to staying out until the next day.

Florence & The Machine - You Got The Love (The XX Remix)

- Candi Station & The Source’s perennial favourite goes all claustrophobic garagey thanks to The XX and Florence.

Mavado - Again & Again

- A beautifully restrained effort from the dancehall star.

Villeneuve - Death Race (Discodeine Remix)

- A hair raising journey.

Santé - Dambalaa

- A haunting record for the dancefloor.

Alaine - Never Done

- The everlasting nature of love is the message here.

Bon Iver - Woods

- Being lost and alone has never sounded so appealing.

Spoonface & Janet Kay - So Good

- An uplifting house gem.

Albums and Compilations

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

- Synths and guitars collide on this album that upsets but also uplifts.

Desire - II

- A melancholic post-discoid beauty that thrills from start to finish.

Woolfy vs. Projections - The Astral Projections Of Starlight

- This may have come out in 2008, but The Astral Projections Of Starlight is gorgeous and I only discovered it in 2009.

V/A - Kitsuné Maison Compilation 7

- A perfect compilation of modern electronic pop.

The XX -XX

- Believe the hype, The XX are stunning.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Bei Bei & Shawn Lee - Into The Wind (Ubiquity)

East meets West with enthralling results on this cross continental collaboration between California based Guzheng maestro Bei Bei and London’s Shawn Lee. Bei’s soaring melodies have found a perfect home alongside Lee’s blunted beats and muted funked out grooves. This album could have only been made in the digital age, as the pair met only one time during the making of the LP. Album highlights include the magical Hot Thursday, gutsy East and touching Little Sunrise. Into The Wind is a stunning album from Bei Bei and Shawn Lee.

Georgia Anne Muldrow - Kings Ballad (Ubiquity)

A little less way out than some of her previous efforts, yet still nowhere near conventional, Kings Ballad is an excellent album from Ms. Muldrow. Using a plethora of instruments and studio trickery, Georgia Anne has created her own brand of soul hop that fits in with her contemporaries, but is at the same time worlds apart. Highs include the hopeful Doobie Down, groovy Simple Advice and the unapologetic Can’t Stand Yo Love. Kings Ballad is a soulful gem, Muldrow style.

Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement (Stones Throw)

The local dignitary brings us an album of heart pulling falsetto’d songs that are backed by tight percussion. One part classic soul and one part modern hop, A Strange Arrangement is a lovely little long player. The title track is an ode to standing up to a no good lover, Just Ain’t Gonna Work Out tells it like it is and Green Eyed Love is an electric guitar blessed gem. A retro winner.

V/A - The Real Sound Of Chicago (BBE)

Not a 303 or a drum machine in sight, this is a celebration of underground Chicago music before the house revolution. Put together by Mark Grusane and Mike Cole of the Chicago based Mr. Peabody Records store, this wonderful compilation explores the discoid, soulful and jazzied dimensions of Chi-town in the 70s and early 80s. Disc 1 winners include Lajohn & Sheela’s teary eyed Too Far Gone and Ghalib Ghallab’s nostalgia laced School Days (Mr. Peabody‘s Edit). Disc 2 winners include The Moore Brothers’ triumphant Bass Come Back and Cold T‘s key driven Funky Preacher (Mr. Peabody‘s Edit). The Real Sound Of Chicago is a collection of dusty musical treats.

Hawke - +++ (Eighth Dimension)

It has been a number of years since Gavin ‘Hawke’ Hardkiss told us that Love Won Another. The Hawke is back with a beguiling album of sweet songs, trippy instrumentation and fine grooves. Highs include the cool opener that is Monday Comes And Goes, the pointed These Combinations Have Not Been Before and the soft Secret Lullaby. +++ is a dream of an album from Gavin Harkiss.

Mayra Andrade - Stória Stória (Sterns)

Mayra Andrade creates the sort of touching songs that at times put a smile on your face and at others make you stop and think. Andrade is truly a worldwise artist and the influences of living in places such as Cuba, Cape Verde, Senegal and France shows on this album. Recorded with a host of talented musicians in various locations, Stória Stória will uplift and delight. Highlights include the beautiful Tchápu No Bandera (Hold On!), encouraging Juána and loving Mon Carrousel (My Carousel). This is a sparkling second album from Mayra Andrade.

Sport Hit Paradise - A Word That Describes Something Extremely Romantic (Sport Hit Paradise)

This intriguing album is a collaboration between brilliant artist Elisabeth Arkhipoff and a number of musical masters, recorded as the mythical Sport Hit Paradise band. Arkhipoff is a NY based artist, who has worked with a range of fashion and musical clients and is known for work that often features cut out female features set against startling backdrops. For this project, each musical producer was given a brief and their creations impress. Discodeine’s Bikini Ballet is simply gorgeous, Villeneuve’s Christel Graffiti is a pained effort with uncontrollable brass and Munk’s Sunshine ou Noir is a macabre dream. Sport Hit Paradise is an excellent compilation and there is a related exhibition that features Arkhipoff’s work, which takes place at Espace 12 Mail in Paris.

V/A - Future Sound Of Brasil (BBE)

Future Sound Of Brasil? Well, this is an exploration of current electronic gems from the largest country in South America, as opposed to a compilation that charts the country’s rich musical heritage. Loosely based around a Brazil-centric club, it looks to various genres and features some excellent music from international stars and lesser known talents. Kids From Japan’s Hossomaki is a technoid dream, Marcelinho CIC’s Oceano hits with gorgeous keys and DJ Marky & SPY feat. Miri’s Days Go Slow is a sweet D&B number. The history of music in Brazil is well documented, but this compilation shows that today’s Brazilian producers have much to offer the world.

Editors - In This Light & On This Evening (Kitchenware/Sony)

Deciding to bring synths to the fore and letting the guitars fade into the background hasn’t done the macabre Editors any harm. Instead, their employment of synthetics has made their music more emotionally charged. In This Light & On This Evening is a magical album of dramatic stories and heartfelt melodies. The title track charts the deathly beauty of the English capital over swirling synths and heavy guitars, whilst Papillon is an uplifting effort and You Don’t Know Love is a heart wrenching tale. This is a dark yet delicious long player from Editors.

V/A - Soma Compilation 2010 (Soma)

It’s difficult to stay relevant as an OAP in the world of electronic music, but Glasgow’s Soma imprint has come up with the goods on their 2010 compilation. In recent years, the label’s output hasn’t always been outstanding, but they’ve sourced some amazing music for this release. Techy winners include Itamar Sagi’s soaring One Million Oaks, D’Julz’s bassy overhaul of Slam’s Positive Education and Ripperton’s groovy remix of Silicone Soul's Dust Ballad II. This compilation suggests that Slam’s Soma imprint is back on form.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Lucio Aquilina - Black Elf (Hideout)

The second outing from Davide Squillace’s Hideout imprint is a brilliant effort from Lucio Aquilina that shows just how exciting modern European techno can be. Black Elf features Paki Palmieri’s haunting drum work, which coats Aquilina’s smart beats wonderfully. I Got You is key led deep house dream and the warm bass is king on Out Run.

Alexander Kowalski - Puestra De Sol (Factor City)

Barcelona’s Factor City unleash a record from Alexander Kowalski that should come with its own health warning. Exploding keys and tidy beats chatter under a bass groove to end all bass grooves on this incredibly addictive record. Stimming supplies a more conservative mix that tames the bassline under angular beats and synthetic pressure, but the original holds its own.

Tony Senghore - Dism (Anonym)

Stockholm’s Tony Senghore is on fire at the moment, creating charismatic tracks that blur the lines between various musical lifestyles. Dism features firework synths, a demented bassline and crunching beats. The Reprise lets the possessed beats and a scary bassline run riot.

Hell feat. Bryan Ferry - U Can Dance (Gigolo)

Hell, Kruder and Bryan Ferry have created a stylish tribute to finding love and sorting one’s life out at the discotheque. Carl Craig supplies a pair of uplifting remixes, where sturdy synths and icy beats combine. Tim Goldsworthy opts for a light headed post-disco take and Simian Mobile Disco let the bass do the talking.

Tim Xavier & Camea - Velvet On Canvas (Clink)

Clink’s eighteenth offering is the sort of club record that has you dying to be transported to a dark basement at 4am, just so you can lose yourself to the title track in the proper fashion. Sturdy beats (think mid 90s Deep Dish) hit hard alongside lustful vocals and lost synths on the brilliant Velvet On Canvas. Beaded Sweat is another track for the dark hours, courtesy of its mind expanding synth play and cracking beats.

&Me / Fischer & Kleber - Various Artists Vol 2 (Souvenir)

Tiefschwarz may own this imprint, but they think nothing of taking a step back and giving the other members of the Souvenir family a chance to shine. &Me’s Bleed is a bass driven number that is futuristic yet retro in the best possible way. Fischer & Kleber’s Marcello is a mind melting effort, where harmonica and distorted keys have their wicked way.

V/A - EP E11 (Prime Numbers)

This outing from Trus’me’s Prime Numbers stable is an all singing and dancing various artists EP. The excellent Jack City drops popping percussion and an irresistible bassline in typical Andrés fashion. Got It by Motor City Drum Ensemble is all grooving keys and heads down beats, whilst Fresh Noodles from Kaidi Tatham and Mr. Scruff is a wiggly key and flute effort.

Lou Rhodes - There For The Taking (Motion Audio)

According to ex-Lamb frontwoman Lou Rhodes, the world is There For The Taking. Listening to her fragile vocals and the aching guitar work that underpins her words, it’s hard to not become a believer.

Atjazz - Fantasy (Maddslinky Remixes) (Atjazz Record Company)

Zed ‘Maddslinky’ Bias is on the money here with a couple of outstanding genre crossing remixes of the adorable Fantasy. Armed with a fattened bassline, cool strings and fractured beats, Bias has created two highly addictive mixes.

Stanley Brinks - End Of The World (Ciao Ketchup)

Onetime Herman Dune man Stanley Brinks aka Andre brings the spirit of the group to his one man performances, as his solo work embodies the group’s raw emotional sound. Backed by The Wave Pictures, Brinks charts his love for lady and his feelings about death over jangling percussion and emotive guitars.

Ada Fijal feat. Louie Austen - Take Your Time (Patpong)

Polish warbler and film star Ada Fijal and Austrian lounge lizard Louie Austen collaborated on this single, which sees the light of day on the Bucharest based Patpong imprint. They pair met following a performance in Krakow. Fate brought them together and with the help of producer Pawel Gawlik, they created a gorgeous disco keyed ode to waiting for that special someone. There’s a bunch of remixes, but this dish is best served in original form.

The Sexicanz - Bay Area Super Dank (Robsoul)

Dimitri SFC and his friends from California hit up Paris’s Robsoul for some mind bending house SF style. I’m From The Bay is an irresistible key winner, as Danky Fonk goes for offbeats and tripped out funked stylings.

C++ - Bounce To The Light (Vizual)

More floor filling Joshua output, this time under his C++ guise. You know exactly what to expect from this man and he never disappoints. Bounce To The Light is an excitable synth trip, whilst Iterator in both forms is a punishing bass mission.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Marc Poppcke - Far Away From You (Freerange)

Berlin may be home to all things musically anorexic, but despite hailing from this city, Poppcke sounds like he prefers the music of 90s Paris. Far Away From You is a groovy disco cut up of a house tune, with cool synths, tight percussion and an army of filters. Alex Niggeman’s remix cuts things up further, with a humongous bassline sealing the deal. Bonus cut Destination Disco sounds like its groove has been lifted from the work of a famous disco band, with cool keys and smart beats lending a hand.

Jammer - Party Animal (Big Dada)

Taking its cue from an acid house winner that charted going too far, Party Animal is a brash neo house record that has been produced by media darling Toddla T. As far as the remixes are concerned, HardHouse Banton proves his worth with a blissful synth driven Smoking Mix and a dark bassed Dub.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

V/A - Kitsuné Maison Compilation 8 (Kitsuné)

Fashion and music have always been joined at the hip, but few show the relationship so blatantly as clothes house and record label Kitsuné. Here, they present another compilation of very now music, picking up the most chic guitar and electronic based treats. Musical delicacies include the tasty Moulineaux remix of Two Door Cinema Club‘s I Can Talk, Slagmålsklubben‘s firing Brutal Weapons and Jolie Cherie‘s cheeky Star. Compilation 8 is another wonderful party at the maison.

Solomun - Dance Baby (Diynamic)

Bosnian born Croatian Mladen Solomun is the sort of producer who makes you stand up and take notice of his technoid creations. He does things on his own terns and creates the sort of club music that will actually stand the test of time. Winners on his debut artist album include the key shaking Midnight Snack, confusing Blackout and uplifting Story Of My Life. Already a name to watch, Dance Baby cements Solomun’s name as an electronic production ace.

V/A - Balearic Biscuits 3 (Music For Dreams)

Label boss Kenneth Bager is on form here, bringing together an amazing collection of multi-genred songs and club tracks under the guise of Balearica. Whether others would class these tunes as Balearic in the original or current use of the term is debatable, but when music is as striking as this, who cares? Head for Jazzbox Gypsy’s succulent take on N*Grandjean’s Love Rocks, Michel Cleis’s unstoppable La Mescla and Jack Peñate’s beautiful Tonight’s Today. Balearic Biscuits 3 is a brilliant celebration of music to make you stop, listen and think.

V/A - Drumpoems Verse 2 (Compost)

Zurich’s Drumpoet Community create maximal house and technoid grooves for the mind, body and feet. They draft in likeminded souls from elsewhere to help them out where necessary. The collective go darker and deeper than most, creating the sort of musical shapes that resonate with your very soul. Highs on this compilation include Hunee‘s dejected Took My Love, The Lost Men’s heavy More Of That and Cavalier‘s moving The Deeper You Get. Drumpoems Verse 2 is an excellent second instalment of a deeply moving compilation series.

Apse - Climb Up (ATP)

US based outfit Apse make dark creations that connect with the listener in a way that many can only dream of doing. The energy of their creations help them to create a world where disembodied vocals, wounding guitars, messy electronics and punishing drums co-exit. Highs on this album appear in the form of the thrilling 3.1, scary Rook and frazzled number entitled The Return. Climb Up is a macabre treat.

V/A - DJ Spinna Presents The Boogie Back (BBE)

Spinna has been boogieing to all types of musical flavours for a number of years. What boogie essentially means here is soulful and discoid numbers that groove effortlessly. Spinna has put together a selection of beautiful dusty efforts, with winners including Chemise’s arrogant She Can’t Love You, Mtume‘s brilliant So You Wanna Be A Star and Stargaze‘s tenderly keyed You Can‘t Have It. He may be primarily known for his work in hip hop and house circles, but Spinna shows there’s more to his musical life with this excellent compilation.

V/A - Credit To The Edit 2 (Tirk)

Cult 80s electro DJ Greg Wilson had a renaissance during the early part of this decade, showing a new audience the beauty of the music he pioneered through his record spinning and re-editing in an era before many current clubbers were born. However, instead of being purely a retro DJ, Wilson has sought to incorporate new music into his set. This features his take on new and old gems. Tracks to write home about include his sleazy re-rub of Sugardaddy‘s Love Honey, an on point revision of Roxy Music‘s Love Is The Drug and a fizzy mix of 40 Thieves feat Qzen‘s Don‘t Turn It Off. This compilation shows why Wilson is still an important figure in the late 00s.

V/A - Cassy: Simply Devotional (Cocoon)

The Berlin based Panorama Bar resident shows why she is such an ace behind the decks with this excellent mix compilation for Cocoon. Cassy has created a cool set of house and technoid material that flows wonderfully, making you feel that these tracks were meant for each other. Highs include Kassem Mosse‘s macabre Untitled A1, Linkwood‘s desolate R.I.P. and the banging house mix of Ralph Falcon feat Alan T and Alex K’s Whateva. Cocoon come up with another winner in the shape of this Cassy directed compilation.

V/A - Strange Breaks & Mr. Thing II (BBE)

Mr. Thing digs deep once more, unearthing a range of raw musical exploits that really shouldn’t go together, but somehow fit nicely. Thing is a real record digger, so you may not be familiar with the wonderfully named artists and tracks that he’s unearthed, but that’s not a bad thing. Winners include Dick Walter‘s eerie Spooky Doo, Kaylanji Anandji’s hypnotic Black Ground Music and Johnny Griffith Inc‘s sublime Love Is Just A Word. Mr. Thing has done the hard work and here you can enjoy the fruits of his labour.

V/A - Gilles Peterson Pres. Havana Cultura: New Cuba Sound (Brownswood)

Expert record selector and tastemaker Gilles Peterson decamped to Cuba to dispel his own musical myths about the red island. Here, he oversaw a project with celebrated local musician Roberto Fonseca that brought together new Cuban talent. Together, they disproved the notion that there’s nothing more to the country’s music scene than a certain pensioners social club. The results are impressive and musically varied, with CD 1 featuring gems such as the bright Arroz Con Pollo and the calming Think Twice. CD 2 faves include Oggure’s magical version of La Revolución Del Cuerpo and Danay‘s hopped grooves of Individual. This is a cool collection showing that the island has more to offer than politics, rum, cigars and the aforementioned Buena Vista.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Jon Freer’s Single Reviews: November 2009

Georg Levin - Better Life (Remixes) (BBE)
Munk - Back Down (Cut Copy Remixes) (Gomma)
Sawtooth Sucka - Crazy (Remixes) (dot bleep)
Lance DeSardi - Running Amok (Bang The Box)
Tony Senghore - If You Came Here (Anonym)
Joshua Iz - It Is What It Was (Vizual)
LoSoul - Time Passes (Freak N Chic)
Savas Pascalidis - The Final Phase (Sweatshop)
V/A - Perspective 03 (Room With A View)
Idioma - Landscapes EP (Marketing)
Crimea X - Chorne More EP (Hell Yeah)
Sebrok - The Most Dangerous Game (Paso)
Andy Compton feat. Diviniti - In Time (SHE)
Tony Lionni - Treat Me Right (Freerange)
Itokim - Lost Colours EP (Nice & Nasty)
Georg Levin - Better Life (Remixes) (BBE)
Levin’s Better Life was a wonderfully uplifting record and these remixes push the track towards housier floors. The Restless Soul mixes utilise nifty keys, affected vocals and tidy beats. Jerome Sydenham opts for gutsy keys and beats on his mixes, whilst Boddhi Satva pushes the track in afro house direction.

Munk - Back Down (Cut Copy Remixes) (Gomma)
Austrialian electropopsters Cut Copy take a great Munk record and give us their own keystruck spin on it. Synthetic layers and harmonious keys work wonders alongside marching percussion and polite vocals on their revisions.

Sawtooth Sucka - Crazy (Remixes) (dot bleep)
Dot bleep have really been on form of late and these remixes of Crazy are on point as expected. Wasted Chicago Youth go for an almighty cut up, with Justin Harris goes for a synthy dance. Shady Tvo’s G-Tech remix is all stuttered beats, lost vocals and slurping bass work.

Lance DeSardi - Running Amok (Bang The Box)
Lance ‘Landshark’ DeSardi brings us a brilliant two tracker on his own Bang The Box imprint. The title track features woozy keys, stumbling beats and synth pressure. Sheepskin City is all hefty bass pushes, bleeps and bumps.

Tony Senghore - If You Came Here (Anonym)
Tony Senghore is back with a mighty dancefloor stormer in the shape of If You Came Here. Congealed vocals are wrapped around a nasty bassline and messy beats on this excellent cut.

Joshua Iz - It Is What It Was (Vizual)
Joshua Iz has unearthed some forgotten gems for this release on his own Vizual imprint. My personal faves are a couple of versions of Worry No More, where smart beats, scrunched vocals and reliable synths feature. Abnormal is also worth a punt, due to its thumping percussion and delightful key work.

LoSoul - Time Passes (Freak N Chic)
LoSoul brings us Time Passes, but the real star of the show here is Dyed Soundorom. His remix does the business courtesy of wobbly beats, lost vocals and watery keys.

Savas Pascalidis - The Final Phase (Sweatshop)
Savas Pascalidis brings us some nasty old school house grooves that have been twisted for today’s floors. The Final Phase Part 1 is all distressed acid, gritty beats and commanding vocals. Abe Duque is of a similar disposition to Pascalidis, so it’s no surprise that he pops up with a throbbing remix of Deep Inside Your Eyes.

V/A - Perspectives 03 (Room With A View)
Hamburg’s Room With A View really pull out all the stops with this glorious various artists EP. Sasse’s Lake Michigan is a string driven dream with a funky bassline, whilst Philterism from Art Of Tones is a heads down keys and percussion ride. Werner Niedermeier’s Round The Block is an echoed vox groover, as Motor City Drum Ensemble get down for some twisted key action on the magnificent Satellites. As if that wasn’t enough, Honesty goes for the jugular with a brilliant shaken not stirred take on Sygaire’s The Time Is Now.

Idioma - Landscapes EP (Marketing)
Idioma kick off their account on Tim Paris’s Marketing imprint with a thoughtful slice of dreamy electronica. The original is all gooey keys and heartfelt chords, whilst Tim Paris sticks some drums and a weird bassline behind it on his mix. The Shit Robot version is rosier in comparison, as the magical keys dance with a groovy bassline.

Crimea X - Chorne More EP (Hell Yeah)
Jukka Reverberi and DJ Rocca return with another EP of weird eyed discotronica, inspired by Russian politics and art. Jurij references Soviet politics and features cascading keys, insatiable synths and polite percussion. Varava is a smart keyed wonder, whilst Liubov dreams of an abstract future.

Sebrok - The Most Dangerous Game (Paso)
As you might expect, skinny techno don Sebrok is based in Berlin and here he brings us a smart release on his own Paso imprint. The Most Dangerous Game is an insistent groover, with jabbing stabs and the occasional live percussion overplay. Panpot gives it a kick up the behind on his remix, courtesy of a demented bassline and robotic beats.

Andy Compton feat. Diviniti - In Time (SHE)
The Rurals main man is back with Detroit house diva Diviniti for a fine vocal ride. The original is a slouchy downbeat ditty, whilst The Rurals remix is a smooth guitar and twinkling key driven version. Richard Earnshaw pops up with a couple of synth and kick drum enhanced mixes for slightly tougher floors.

Tony Lionni - Treat Me Right (Freerange)
Tony Lionni comes to Freerange with a cool four tracker. The title track is all flying synths and huge beats, whilst Jimspter’s edit is a more intense vision. Celebration is a cool tech key cut up, and Running Away brings bright keys and tough beats to the table.

Itokim - Lost Colours EP (Nice & Nasty)
Japan’s Itokim brings us a cool three tracker of fat technoid grooves on Dublin’s Nice & Nasty imprint. Reflection is all bass strength and synth splurges, whilst Till The End is a mind expanding ride. Dancing On A Cloud is a colourful journey with crazed keys, odd synths and falling beats.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Fuckpony - Love The Love Flow (Bpitch Control)

Who is the Fuckpony? The Fuckpony is Pennsylvanian native and current Berlin resident Jay Haze, who makes absolutely gorgeous electronic concoctions. The texture of the grooves and the emotions conjured up by the sounds are extremely important to Haze. This is a sensuous long player that presents modern electronic club music made on Jay’s individual terms. Highs include the beautiful R U Feeling Abroad, the angsty I’m Burning Inside and romantic Real Love Is Forever. Love The Love Flow is an album of electronic bliss from a true master.

V/A - Body Jack: Mixed By Trevor Loveys (Music: Response)

Bumpy and jumpy house man Trevor Loveys lays down all types of quick moving and intricate 4:4 bassed grooves on this double CD collection. As expected, the production maestro lets his own tunes and remixes take centre stage, with only a handful of the cuts not featuring the Lovey’s touch. Disc 1 treats include TL’s own heavy Byrdy Beats and Twang, a groovy collaboration between Mr. Loveys and Miss L. Disc 2 features cool groovers such as Trevor’s serene remix of Bent’s Always and Speaker Junk‘s powerful Beat Bang (Trevor’s Beatbang Dub). Body Jack is an explosive double mix from Trevor Loveys.

V/A - moodmusic / starstyling (moodmusic)

moodmusic / starstyling was originally a mix compiled by mood music head honcho Sasse for the Starstyling ‘Hokus Fokus’ show at Berlin Fashion Week 2009. Instead of leaving it as a one off soundtrack to posing, moodmusic have chosen to make this smooth mix of magical house and technoid treats available to mere mortals. There’s no denying the strength of many of the grooves on show, even though they do merge into one another in the mix. The best moments are Ada’s acidic mix of Dave DK’s Cinema Paraiso, Filippo Moscatello’s floating Pagliaccio and Tigerskin’s mind melting Holy Grail. The moodmusic / starstyling compilation shows the distinctive groove associated with moodmusic releases.

Nancy Elizabeth - Wrought Iron (Leaf)

Lancashire based modern folkstress Nancy Elizabeth brings us a spellbinding second album. The problem with her first album was that it was way too musically dense, which meant that the melancholy of her music and the beauty of her voice was lost. Thankfully on Wrought Iron she has chosen to follow a more bare musical route and the fruits of this decision are plain to see. It is a haunting album, which recaptures the specialness of her compositions that can be found on her debut EP, the miraculous Wheel Turning King. High points include the slow moving Tow The Line, almost whispered Feet Of Courage and peaceful Cat Bells. Wrought Iron is a subtle yet rewarding album.

Samuel L Session - The Man With The Case (Be As One)

Swedish techno don Samuel L Session has been in the game since the late 80s and here he serves up a simply beautiful album on Shlomi Aber’s Israel based Be As One imprint. SLS has been around long enough to know what makes an exciting record. Here he gives many new wave techno producers a much needed history lesson, showing how to put emotion into your grooves in a way that doesn’t remove any dancefloor power. Winners include the blissful Time, bass driven My People and cosmic Tight Stack. The Man With The Case shows how deeply moving techno can be.

V/A - VOLTT: Mixed by Bart Skills (100% Pure)

Who are VOLTT? VOLTT is an Amsterdam based events company, who’ve been putting on fine electronic events and festivals since 1998. They celebrate over a decade in the business with this fine compilation of house and techno selected by VOLTT main man Bart Skills. The mix pays respect to upcoming Dutch talent, as well as supporting the work of electronic aces from abroad. Highlights include David Labeij’s addictive Shakedown, DJ Madskillz powerful remix of Salvatore Freda and Volta’s Tiramisu and Alex Cellar’s firing La Palma. This fine compilation shows why Amsterdam is rapidly becoming an exciting musical destination.

Shawn Lee & Clutchy Hopkins - Fascinating Fingers (Ubiquity)

Shawn Lee keeps on churning albums out like there’s no tomorrow, but who can blame him when he comes up with such cool albums? Clutchy Hopkins is still shrouded in mystery, but it is fair to say that he added his own pzazz to this intriguing collection of funked up and psyched out downbeat ditties. 70mph Isn’t Fast Enough To Get Out Of Nebraska opens with a squeal of keys and hitting of beats, whilst Mimi Tatonka is a funkin’ head nodder and Willie Groovemaker features spiky guitars. Fascinating Fingers is a captivating listening experience!

V/A - Rocksteady: The Roots Of Reggae (Moll-Selekta)

Jazz and reggae musical great Ernest Ranglin has assembled some of the finest singers and musicians from the rocksteady era to re-voice and re-play classics from the short golden era of the music, which lasted between 1966 and 1968. The legends have done a sterling job, recreating the classics with musical vigour and sparkling singing. Highlights include U-Roy’s rich Stop That Train, Dawn Penn’s distraught You Don’t Love Me (No No No) and Marcia Griffith’s inspiring Tide Is High. Rocksteady: The Roots Of Reggae is a wonderful exploration of one of reggae’s finest sub-genres and is accompanied by a documentary film of the same name.

The Clonious - Between The Dots (Ubiquity)

Vienna based Paul Movahedi aka The Clonious makes powerful low slung and strung out hoppity grooves. He uses all manners of sounds and fragments of sounds to create off the wall yet bright musical efforts. If Joe Had The Power is a messy jazzed up effort, Agenda is a buttery keyed number and Lovelights is a dirty bassed winner. Between The Dots is a fine hop based effort from The Clonious.

Friday, 30 October 2009

V/A - Logos 2 (Logos)

Macdonia based Logos Recordings bring us a magical compilation of technoid grooves. It features music from familiar names and upcoming production aces. Disc 1 is a relatively laidback affair, with gems such as Agore’s dreamy Like Sleeping On Clouds and Niko Marks’ beautiful Higher Conscience. Disc 2 is a slightly more intense ride, where winners include Sidearm’s jumpy Broken Link and DJ3000’s masterful remix of Tatsuya Takenaka’s Ukiyo. Logos 2 is an enjoyable listening experience.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Apse - 3.1 / The Whip (ATP)

The phenomenal US act Apse return with a dark ‘post post rock’ double A side, which suggests the sort of treats that will be found on their new album. 3.1 is a brilliant call to arms, with masked vocals, soaring guitars and heavy drums. The Whip is quicker on its feet, courtesy of rapid fire percussion, bleak yet warming instrumentation and snarling vocals.