Monday, 31 August 2009

Quantic & His Combo Bárbaro - Tradition in Transition (Tru Thoughts)

Now firmly ensconced in Cali, Colombia, William Holland has brought together a group of barbarians from various corners of the globe to help him make beautiful music as Quantic & His Combo Bárbaro. This album is the most accomplished of his thirteen to date, referencing abundant musical sources and featuring flourishing instrumental displays. It is difficult not to fall in love with the sweeping opener, entitled The Dreaming Mind (Part 1), whilst Linda Morena is a heartbreaking vocal wonder and Canção De Deserto is a silky number. Tradition in Transition is a magical album that shows how far Quantic has travelled over the years.

Download an album track HERE.

Pépé Bradock - Confiote de Bits / A Remix Collection (BBE)

Ever the idiosyncratic producer, Pépé Bradock makes and remixes music on his own terms. He is undoubtedly a musical genius, but some of his more off the wall efforts are a little too out there. However, when he gets it right, there are few that can rival Bradock. This remix compilation is a double disc affair and highs on the first include his human sound generated take on Iz & Diz’s Mouth and his satisfying ’Brad Deep’ mix of Block 16’s Morning Sun. Disc 2 winners include his twisted ’Tendre Piperade’ take on Kemetic Just’s For Your Love and his jacking ‘Paris-Bordeaux’ remix of Charles Webster’s I’m Falling. Celebrate the work of one of house music’s most talented sons with Confiote de Bits.

DJ 3000 - Galactic Caravan (Underground Gallery/Motech)

Galactic Caravan is the third album from Detroit based DJ 3000, born to Albanian parents and raised in the area of Hamtramck. The album is inspired by travelling in a literal and metaphoric sense and features rhythms that reflect his heritage and musical journeys. In essence, this LP is a techno album, but it also features other grooves. Winners include the twisting Flamuri I Popullit, soaring Darjeeling Sun and the dependable Meloudic Landscapes. Galactic Caravan is a brilliant exploration of modern electronic grooves that excites from start to finish.

Check the bonus mix from the album HERE.

Bernard Fevre - The Strange New World Of Bernard Fevre (Lo)

Bernard Fevre is the man behind the Black Devil Disco Club and this album of experimental grooves was originally released prior to the first BDDC LP in 1975. For this re-release, Fevre has re-tuned the original album and what he presents is a mindbending concoction of psychedelic colours and strangely affecting melodies. The first track is named Dali and it is a surreal exploration of shrieking keys, whilst Fantasm disturbs and Molecule Dance hits hard. It’s hard to believe this album is nearly 35 years old, as it holds up better than most experimental electronic albums made in the last two decades.

V/A - Got The Bug 2: The Bugz In The Attic Remix Collection (BBE)

It has been a few years since the broken beat bubble burst, but when it was at its peak, this supergroup from London and their associates ruled the land However, the Bugz as an outfit don’t really exist anymore and this isn’t a celebration of new music. Instead, it is the second trawl through the Bugz remixes archives; some may remember the first appearing via V2 during the group’s peak. Some of the mixes are unreleased, whilst others appeared on 12” at the time, and all featuring trademark fractured beats and cool vocal manipulation. A few haven’t dated particularly well, but this comp is worth the money for the outfit’s amazing revision of Roisin Murphy’s Sow Into You, their dirty bassed touch up of Basement Jaxx’s Oh My Gosh and Naut’s smart 20:20 edit of their own Flappy Days. The influence of the Bugz can be heard in many ’new’ records today and this comp shows the power of their music.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Filipsson & Lindblad - Daniel Wang Is My Neighbour (Nang)

Nang is a sub-label of Tirk, the discoid cousin of the long missed Nuphonic. This woozy post-discoid album is the work of Iceland born NYC resident Holmar Filipsson of Thugf**ker fame, and Klas-Henrik Lindblad aka Sasse, the Turku born and Berlin based boss of Mood Music. Whether horizontal disco master Daniel Wang has been Filipsson or Lindblad’s neighbour in either NYC or Berlin remains unconfirmed, but they do share the same love for cosmic melodies and discotronic goo. Filipsson and Lindblad do perhaps have slightly clubbier dancefloors in mind than Wang, with their grooves containing a little more urgency than the average Wang effort. Magical moments include the dreamy New Life, life affirming Happy Birthday Jef and DW inspired title track. Spend of a night amongst the stars with Filipsson & Lindblad.

SA RA Creative Partners - Nuclear Evolution, The Age Of Love (Ubiquity)

Still in awe of the universe and as interested in their libido as ever, SA RA Creative Partners bring us an amazing album of cosmic fuzz. It features free flowing grooves, soul kissed singing, neat beats and the occasional spoken vocal. Highs include the jazzy Spacefruit, confused He Say She Say and the sugar coated My Star. Nuclear Evolution, The Age Of Love is a brilliant LP, which shows the strength and depth of the trio that form SA RA.

V/A - Cosmic Balearic Beats Vol.2 (Eskimo)

Instead of just featuring the usual suspects and fashionable slo-mo schmoozers, this compilation from the renowned Eskimo picks up obscure artists and newbies. It focuses on the sort of grooves that take their time to mature, but do so with an effortless style and grace. It’s easy to get caught up in efforts such as Slight Delay’s keytastic Can You Feel It?!, Marbeya Sound’s delicious Salomon’s Take and Visti & Meyland’s hot stepping Yes Maam (All Nite Long). CBB Vol 2 is a pleasing ride through sweet musical soundscapes.

FUKKK OFFF - Love Me Hate Me Kiss Me Kill Me (Coco Machete/Module)

Bastian Heerhorst aka FUKKK OFFF wants it all on this album that combines technoid power with electroid grit and gimmicky vocals. This isn’t a deep and thoughtful deconstruction of life, but a superficial and at times dark celebration of partying and excess. Winners include the jagged bass driven Rave Is King, the suggestive I’m A Freak and the apocalyptic old school rave referencing Famous. Love Me Hate Me Kiss Me Kill Me is an album for fun times in nightclubs.

V/A - Southern Fried & Tested 2: Mixed by Nathan Detroit (Southern Fried)

Southern Fried was originally set up in 1994 by a certain former Housemartin and international beater, who would go on to become king of big beat and a dance music superstar. The label was originally home to his own material under a colourful array of monikers, but he became rich paradoxically after joining Skint and Southern Fried became home to all manner of musical fiends. This compilation attempts to sum up 15 years of the label in the form of a breakneck speed mix, where the bass and synth is key. As expected, current big names crop up alongside old hands, with minute long winners including Mighty Dub Katz gorgeous Just Another Groove (Tocadisco Mix), A Man Called Adam’s magical Techno Powers and Crookers’ demented mix of Dusty Kid’s The Cat. This is a blink and you’ll miss it trawl through Southern Fried’s past, with only a fleeting glimpse of the Fatboy himself.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Musical musings: Week 35 2009

Musical musings is a weekly column, where I’m going to champion my current musical inspirations. I will feature videos and downloadable content as well as my enthused text. I will use it to champion things I’ve stumbled across on the web, records I’ve bought and things that others have sent my way. This column will complement the regular radio shows, LP and singles reviews, which will still surface on a monthly basis. In case you’re wondering why I’m starting at 35, this is because it is the 35th week of the year!

Jay 'Sinister' Sealee & Louie Vega starring Julie McKnight - Bittersweet (Jay's Main Event Mix):

First up is a magical vocal house effort from the production and vocal trio, who brought us the magical Diamond Life many moons ago. Bittersweet follows in the same mould and is a melancholic tale of romantic quandaries and forbidden yearnings, where McKnight’s vocals ride patient beats and poised strings. Louie is a Master and Sealee was responsible for writing the anthemic McKnight assisted Finally.

Phoenix - Lisztomania (Classixx Version):

LA’s Classixx actually sound more ‘French’ than many Gallic producers and give Braxe, Lifelike and even the Punks a run for their money with an ace rejig of Parisian indie daddies Phoenix’s Listzomania. This dreamy remix produces an all over warm feeling, courtesy of synthilating keys and confusing vocals. Listzomania occupies a beautiful indie-dance middle ground and Classixx have succeeded in edging it further onto the dancefloor.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Santé - Dambalaa (Souvenir)

The Santé brothers show the validity of spirituality in dance music with an awe-inspiring technoid epic named Dambalaa. Fragile vocals from a jazz chanteuse sit atop looped pipes and tidy percussion on this wonderful cut. The Dub version sees the pan pipes and keys emerge seemingly from within the strong percussion and murky bassline.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Villeneuve - Death Race (Discodeine Remix) (PIAS)

Paris based Discodeine sprint past the competition here with an awesome rejig of Villeneuve’s macabre Death Race, which was inspired by a tragic accident. A nasty bassline underpins woozy synths and half crazed keys on this magical race winning revision.

Kim Fai - Good Life (Size)

Birmingham based new gun Kim Fai shows he can cut it with the big boys, retooling Inner City’s timeless Good Life in style for floors that demand tougher beats and a homogenised sound. Fai’s version employs unwavering synths and powerful drums alongside Paris Grey’s looped vocals.

Who Made Who - Keep Me In My Plane (Remixes) (Gomma)

Keep Me In My Plane was one of the standouts from WMW’s recent LP and therefore a natural choice to be put out as a remixed single. Reverso 68’s mix applies discoid uplift, as the KDMS focus on the bassline. DJ Koze employs gorgeous keys and tough percussion, whilst Modernaire opt for synth trickery.

Alister Johnson - Invitation (Wah Wah 45s)

Canadian broken soul maestro Alister Johnson debuts on Wah Wah with a masterful effort in the shape of Invitation. Ideally suited to smoky jazz bars and more open minded dancefloors, the song in question takes strength from sassy vocals, cool synths and measured bass work.

Joshua Iz - Vizual Rydims 1 (Vizual)

After years spent making amazing music for other people, Joshua has finally decided to launch his own Vizual imprint. The super producer and student of architecture starts with a brilliant dubbed up house EP where all four tracks are winners. Brainhouse kicks things off with hearty synths and a revolving bassline, whilst Jackhouse employs biting keys and cool grooves. Blaztholes is a crazy keyed winner and Dubberdub lets the bass call the shots.

D Ramirez - Satur8 (Slave)

Dean Ramirez has been a little quiet of late, but this outing on his own Slave imprint proves that he hasn’t forgotten how to make monstrous dancefloor records. As usual with Ramirez, the bassline is king; twisting and morphing its way through Satur8. Jamie Stevens supplies a trio of remixes and it’s his Super 8 mix that hits hardest, courtesy of dub house keys and a punishing bassline.

Martin Brodin & Dumb Dan - Le Voie Le Soleil (Bu!)

A ’big room’ house update of Subliminal Cuts’ trancetastic Le Voie Le Soleil sounds like a recipe for disaster, but Brodin and Dan have done a sterling job. Fat percussion and synthy wobbles do the work alongside the timeless keys of the original.

Masirah - Find A Way (Atjazz Remix) (Futuristica Music)

Martin ‘Atjazz’ Iverson is on hand here to carve out a stunning housed up version of Masirah’s Find A Way. Nagging keys, ethereal vocals and storming beats take home the money on Iverson’s inspired remix.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Zed Bias feat. Mc Rumpus & Nicky Prince - Neighbourhood 2009 (Biasphere)

Originally a huge dancefloor and commercial success during the first wave of UK garage, Neighbourhood has been updated in style. Bias’s own 2009 version features a restrained yet powerful bassline, sweet keys and vibrant beats. Roska’s mix is a housier refix, where the percussion has been tamed, keys streamlined and bass deepened.

Georg Levin - Falling Masonry (BBE)

A protégé of Jazzanova and one half of Wahoo with Dixon, Levin resurfaces as a solo artist on the esteemed BBE imprint. The title track charts the loss of love over cascading strings and angered guitars. Runaway is a cool effort with flowing brass and smart keys, whilst The Better Life sees Clara Hill join Georg Levin for a life-affirming number.

Speech Debelle - Better Days (Big Dada)

Now getting a fair bit of extra attention after the Mercury Prize nomination, Speech Debelle proves her worth once more with this fine single. Better Days is assisted by Micachu and features ghostly keys, desolate vocals and cutting percussion. The Wiley and Incredubwoy Revox is a more positive take on the song lyrically, whilst bonus track Where Do We Go? is a circling key assisted number.

Alexander East - Pack Yo Bags (Chillin Music)

Alexander East brings us a hypnotic deeper house cut that lives up to the old adage that less certainly can mean more. A simple twisted synth groove and smart beats do the work on the beautiful Pack Yo Bags.

Blitzen Trapper - Black River Killer EP (Sub Pop)

Blizten Trapper return with a neat seven track EP, but it is the title track that makes the EP worth the admission charge. The aforementioned Black River Killer is a gripping tale of murder and attempts at repentance, backed by almost g-funk type synths and smooth guitars.

Pete Dafeet - Losing The Dog EP (Artizan Music)

Continuing to push the sort of deeper house sounds that seem to have fallen out of favour with many, Dafeet shows there’s life in the proverbial canine with a cut that takes you back to the late 90s. Her Eyes in original form is all floating synths, vocal mirages and striding beats. Poussez’s Forever Dreaming mix is the pick of the re-rubs, with its cool synths and rough bassline.