Thursday, 19 February 2009
Dusseldorf’s Lorenz Rhode makes cute little electronic ditties, where live instrumentation takes centre stage. For modern references, think a tougher, vocal less and more clubfloor friendly Glass Candy, and you’re about half way there. For older references, think groovy 80s music in many shapes and forms. Antidote is an awesome key funker, with added synth fuzz and a percussion line to bump along to. Tronic Matic is another winner, where a magic bassline and pert synths dominate.
Monday, 16 February 2009
New Jersey rapper Rasheed Chappell comes correct with a 7”on the mighty Kenny ’Dope’ Gonzalez's IllFriction label, where production duties are shared by Kenny Dope and Maleet. Dope Muziq is an appropriate name for the A Side, where Chappell spits confident lyrics over Gonzalez’s combination of taut strings and smashing beats. Flip for Resurrection, where Maleet’s lilting key groove and tight beats sit under Chappell’s reassuring vocals.
Resident DJ at Cielo in NY and Pacha Ibiza, Willie Graff teams up here with Ibizan house producer Tuccillo, but despite their considerable musical muscle, the pair are outshone by remixers Brothers Vibe. There’s nothing wrong with the disco cut up vibes of the original version of 1 2 3 Yeah Yeah, but the Brothers, aka Luis and Tony Rodriguez, show them how it’s done with a couple of monstrous remixes. An insisted little key and vocal groove does the damage on the Brothers’ Main Mix, whilst the instrumental hits courtesy of the keys and the steady beats.
Swedish house master Hakan Lidbo teams up with Swedish-French vocalist Alvina Red for a gorgeous mid tempo effort. Moon & Stars in original form is perfect home listening or club warm up material, due to its heartwarming vocals, flashing synth display and pointed keys. The Uninvited Partners offer a hard nosed technoid version, whilst the Dub Version brings out the grooves that sit behind the vocals and invokes memories of Annie’s wonderful Greatest Hit.
Jaffa is Montreal based classically trained pianist and mathematician David Kakon, who released an album named Elevator on Stereo Deluxe in 2002. He has barely been heard of since that date, but luckily for us, he turns up on a Social Beats compilation called Socialized Jazz Beats 2 with the standout track. An Echo Remains is an absolute beauty, with thoughtful piano keys, moving vocals and beautiful brass.
Quinn Luke of DFA duo Expanding Head Band and Coppa drops a fun future disco number under his odd Bing Ji Ling guise that has been reformulated in a rather appealing manner by Tokyo Black Star. Satisfying synths, forward moving percussion and a groovy bassline do the work on TBS’ choice mix of Home.
Dutch Techno don Jochem Paap aka Speedy J teams up with George Issakidis of Micronauts fame for a twisted slice of technoid nastiness. Sculpture takes its strength from metallic keys, which write uncontrollably over smart beats and a druggy bassline. The Original 1989 version is a sleazier affair with sedated percussive work.
An album load of remixes were commissioned for this release on Underwater, but it is Stockholm based Tomas Andersson (pictured) who reigns supreme. He gives Cologne based big room house artist Sharam Khosoi aka Sharam Jey a run for his money with his remix of Push Your Body. Screaming synths, biting percussion and a filthy bassline reign supreme on Andersson’s choice remix.
Pawel Kobak is a Polish house producer residing in Stockholm, who brings us a gorgeous vocal ditty, inspired by the mystical greatness of the Sphinx. Maria Angeli’s luscious vocals are splayed over earnest strings, gruff laughs and messy percussion on the Club Mix. Lace boss Manuel Perez gives the cut a hypnotic overhaul, courtesy of circling keys, poised percussion and sweet synths.
Both doodling record selector Scruff and insightful lyricist Roots Manuva have released great albums on Ninja recently. Here, one of the cuts from Scruff’s Ninja Tuna album, which pays tribute to the sound system, gets pushed further onto the dance floor, courtesy of wobbly percussion and a half crazed bassline.
Famous for the miraculous Peven Everett assisted Gabriel, Roy Davis Jr. is a Chicago house head with an impressive pedigree. This outing from the man features vocals from Erin Martin and it has been retooled by three modern dance floor masters. French big cheese Fred Falke heads straight for the floor, courtesy of a throbbing bassline and fuzzied synths. DFA artist Juan MaClean sends Davis Jr in a different direction, courtesy of bright eyed key work, looped vocal hits and a bumping bassline. Legendary New Jersey garage head Todd Edwards supplies a couple of trademark mixes, which really couldn’t be the work of any other producer. His usual combination of vocoders, skippy keys and jumped up percussion works rather well with elements of Roy’s original instrumentation and Erin‘s vocals.
Who is Intrusion? Intrusion is Stephen Hitchell, a fan of dubby electronic soundscapes. On this release he teams up with famed Rhythm & Sound toaster Paul St. Hilaire, for a serene journey into the ether. The high point is the B side, named A Night To Remember, where levitating synths and pointed percussion interact. Little Angel is still worth the time of day, due to Hilaire’s loving vocal display.
Tuesday, 10 February 2009
Dripping Point is the work of Shahrokh Dini and Andreas Köhler, who produce organic house music with the help of various guest vocalists. The duo’s sound is a world away from the clinical and processed feel of the work of many of their contemporaries, due to Shahrokh and Andreas’s decision to embrace instrumental flourishes and pay a great deal of attention to song structures. Winners include the string assisted Break It Down, the teary Letting You Go and energetic Leave Your Hat On. This assured album comes from a duo who sound like they’ve been in the game for years, even though this is in fact their debut LP.
Lata Bridges aka Latay hails from Inglewood California, an area in the shadow of LAX airport and close to the heady metropolis that is Los Angeles, the city of Angels. Latay is in fact a musical angel, whose charismatic tones prick ears and demand attention. This album has been produced by Dorian Johnson, who gives Latay grooves of varying tempo and texture on which to lay her vocals. Highlights include the synthy Love Stream, the rather grand Don’t Hate Me and a serene number entitled Egg Shell. Electric Tanks shows the musical dexterity of Latay.
Regular listeners will know the score, as the Freerange Colours series bus rolls into town once more, this time opting for the most angelic of colours. It is as usual, a round up of tasty treats that have appeared on the label, interspersed with a few ‘never heard elsewhere’ moments. Winning efforts include Shur-I-Kan’s pained Letting You Down, the bass and smiley key driven The Rat from Lovebirds and the eerie Manomito from 3JAS. All in all, this is yet another excellent display of techy and deep house music, which shows why Jimpster’s label is still at the front of the pack.
Diplo is an aficionado of huge basslines and nasty beats. Here, his label, Ninja Tune, have decided to compile a number of his most high profile remixes together, throwing in a few of his own productions for good measure. It is a musically mixed affair and a number of efforts don’t really sparkle, instead just offering workmanlike Diplo clubfloor versions of the original. That said, there are a number of cuts to write home about, such as the glorious Sandra Melody vocalised Newsflash, Diplo’s twisting revision of Samin’s Heater and a cool touch up of Peter, Bjorn & John’s Young Folks. A musical mixed bag of hits and misses.
French neo jazz man Alif Tree has the distinction of being remixed by fellow jazz lover, who happens to be a reclusive underground hero named Kenneth Dixon Jr. aka Moodymann. On paper, Tree’s sound isn’t particularly close to that of Dixon Jr’s, but with the Moody one, he shares the ability to create thought provoking electronic compositions. Alif Tree tries his hand at various electronic styles on this album, but he is at his best when he goes for jazzy flavours as opposed to ‘trip hop‘ styled vocal efforts. Winners include the piano touched Au Revoir, the bubbly Mai and the feet dragging Time Stretcher. Jazzy fun with Mr. Tree.
Boss of the mighty Underwater imprint and founding a member of dance music behemoth Underworld, Darren Emerson is a DJ with an impressive pedigree. His Underworld days may be behind him, but his label is going from strength to strength. The imprint is known for releasing exciting house and techno, with this mix serving up powerful musical treats from a range of players. CD 1 features winners such as Stimming & Einmusik’s biting Magdalena and Maja’s rolling Love Me Tonight. CD 2 is a slighter techier affair, where cool efforts include Adam Beyer’s take on Mathew Jonson’s awesome Marionette and Joris Voorn’s soaring Blank. Emerson delivers in style for the technoid crowd.
Belgian house and future disco duo Jean Vanesse and Thomas Sohet show what sort of tunes are currently pricking their ears on this contribution to NRK’s excellent Coast 2 Coast Series. Spirit Catcher bring us a sparkling journey, which features melodic efforts alongside earth shattering technoid material. Winners include Soul Designer’s smiley DDNA, Johnny D’s powerful Orbitalife and Carl Craig’s uplifting revision of Tribe’s Livin In A New Day. A fun musical journey from a duo who certainly capture the spirit of modern house and techno music.
Carlos Sosa aka DJ Sneak is one of those names who has seemingly been around forever, mixing together up groovy house tackle since the early 90s. His own intricate sample heavy productions were originally heavily influenced by his surroundings of Chicago, before his tunes took on their own distinctive Sneak sound. Therefore, as a stalwart of House music, Sneak has lots to bring to the retro inspired Back In The Box series, dropping two CDs of infectious club tackle, with disco cut ups, jazzied efforts and cool vocal numbers leading the way. CD1 features brilliant classic tracks such as Global Communications’ gliding The Way and the wonderful Sunshine People version of Cheek’s Venus. CD2 winners include the likes of Sneak’s own infectious You Can’t Hide From Your Bud and the Daft Punk mix of I:Cube’s magical Disco Cubism. This is a wonderful journey into the house past of Carlos Sosa.
Syntheme aka Rephlex’s The Global Goon from way back when, hits us with a fun loving album that is true to the title. It is a riotous mix of overflowing acid, long in the tooth bass pressure and varied percussive hits. Genres wise, the LP assaults rave, acid house, techno and twisted electronica. Lasers ’N’ Sh*t doesn’t feature epic efforts, but instead bombards the listener with twenty short sharp shocks, which are best appreciated in a single sitting. Highlights on this charming LP include the floating Mimtro, a nasty effort entitled Xwc and the bass pleasure of Mexiconne. Madcap electronic fun that has the ability to captures the listener’s attention.
Jazz is the key to this album from Benedict ’Nostalgia 77’ Lamdin and Riann Vosloo alongside longtime musical souls Keith & Julie Tippett. It features beautiful instrumentation and lovely vocals from Julie Tippett, whose tones are still dexterous, decades after originally blessing soul and jazz releases in the 60s. Flitting between smoky vocal numbers and ’out there’ instrumentals, highs include the elegant You Don’t Just Dream When You Sleep, pained Rainclouds and an odd number called Soothing The Rattlesnake. This is a powerful jazzy outing from Lamdin and friends.