Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Sunday, 13 June 2010

World Cup Fever

The World Cup always inspires a range of football related songs. I think it'll be hard for anyone to ever beat this, but here's my favourite from 2010...Mundo Via Afrika is a track by San Francisco based artist Gavin Hardkiss, who was born and grew up in South Africa.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Kay Suzuki - Opening EP (Round In Motion)

Japan’s Kay Suzuki launches his own Round In Motion imprint with the Opening EP, but Martin ‘Atjazz’ Iverson steals the show with two breathtaking remixes of Music. The vocal version features housey percussion, sonorous keys and uplifting dueting from Barbacarr Dieng and Jally Keba Susso, whilst the Dub is a synth driven attack.

Von Spar - Tr00ps (Prince Language Remixes) (Italic)

NYC’s Prince Language is fast becoming a name to watch and here he presents a couple of inspired remixes of Tr00ps by German collective Von Spar. The Prince’s Pleasure Mix lays the vocals of a bed of fuzzy synthetics and bright keys, whilst his dub is a groovy affair.

Quantic Presents Flowering Inferno - Dog With A Rope (Tru Thoughts)

Colombia meets Jamaica on this spirit warming number from the now Colombia based Will ‘Quantic’ Holland and his Flowering Inferno. Dog With A Rope features pursed lipped brass, fat percussion and a head nodding bassline. The Dub understandably lets the bass do the talking, whilst Dub Y Guaguanco is all smiling pianos and warm hearted brass.

Cloak & Dagger - Crimewaves (Immerse)

Tokyo based Evan Gach drops a wonderful debut outing that is guaranteed to put a smile on the morose of faces. The title track starts with dreamy synths and clipped percussion, before mutating into mid 90s D&B inspired roller that recalls the like of Bukem et al. In The Cut is a snarling bass driven effort.

V/A - CD Twelve Samplers (Gigolo)

Hell has come up with the goods on CD Twelve and these samplers expose some of the tastiest morsels. Part 1 includes a pacy techy groover from Makossa & Megablast featuring Cleydys Villalon’s entitled Soy Como Soy and Diskokaine’s highly strung key driven Hall of Shame (Skatebard Mix). On the second sampler, Nick Coleman’s This City I Love takes its strength from theatrical strings and looped vocals, as Linus asks Are You Ready and Herman Schwartz describes how it feels to be All Alone with only dark synths for company.

Atjazz feat Clyde - I Forgot You (Remixes) (Atjazz)

Ryo Kawahara of Japan’s Flower Records camp provides three excellent remixes of I Forgot You. They all use powerful synths, storming beats and a gliding bassline.

V/A - Souvenir Plus 05 (Souvenir)

Still pushing new talent with their Plus series, this time it is the turn of Welsh producer Nick Cater aka Retrac to step up to the Souvenir table. Mama joins him on Backwardsville, a sleazy technoid winner that features a jet black bassline, tight drums and inviting vocals.

Mount Kimbie - Remix EPs (Hot Flush)

A much talked about name in the field of boundary pushing electronics, here Mount Kimbie have been remixed by a number of other hot acts. On the HFRMX006 EP, James Blake slices Maybes within an inch of its life, whilst FaltyDL takes Serged deeper and Intra:mental provide a banging mix of At Least. On HFRMX007, Tama Sumo & Prosumer give William a cool technoid groove, with SCB reshaping Vertical into an entirely different beast.

Atjazz & Mark Clive de Lowe - Sweat No Sleep (Atjazz)

Two production heavyweights and highly skilled musicians team up here for an engaging club groover. There’s a ton of mixes to choose from, but my faves are Atjazz’s steady Astro Dub and the darker Deeper Drop.

Shake Aletti - EP (Shake Aletti)

Sheffield based Shake Aletti offer a taste of their brightly coloured synth driven wares on this great self-released EP. The Way He Does is all scrunched synths and unapologetic vocals, whilst local hero Toddla T obliterates the cut courtesy of vocoders and a slurping bassline. Digital Connection offers cool keys and 80s flavours, with Recloose providing a wonderfully messy revision.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Why vote for America’s Best DJ?

There are many elements that can affect your night out in a club. The atmosphere and décor of the venue, your companions and your relationship with them, your fellow clubbers in general and the intoxicants you have or haven’t imbibed can all play a role. However, the music and how it is supplied by a DJ can be crucial to your enjoyment of the night. It may even be the prime reasons for you to frequent a certain club, lounge or even bar that prefers a living record selector to a computer. At their best, the DJ can lift your night from bad to good, with his or her choice of tunes, ability to read their audience and mixing or segueing skills. This sort of DJ skill has been immortalised in records like Indeep’s Last Night A DJ Saved My Life. At worst, a DJ can wreck your night with their weak selection of tunes, atmosphere ruining ability and poor technical ability. This is the DJ experience more akin to the spinner on the receiving end of the MC's venom on Dimples D’s Sucker DJ's.

The DJ can play a critical role in an evening’s proceedings and therefore the cream of the DJing crop should be celebrated for their ability to tantalise listeners. You can vote for your favourite American spinner in this competition, which also gives you the opportunity to win a trip to Vegas for the finale. Here you will witness ’America’s Best DJ 2010’ in action. In an age, where, DJs are often booked for their production ability, it’s best to remember which ones have rocked your world on the dancefloor and via a mix compilation. This isn’t the time to celebrate the guy or girl who made that amazing record that you just can’t stop playing, save that for America’s Best Producer.

Instead of giving voters free reign, America’s Best DJ have whittled a potentially endless list down to a cool 100. The list contains a number of old timers and newer spinners, representing an array of genres, styles and types of DJ. Whilst there may be certain names you personally believe deserve praise that have been missed out, it’s impossible for a Top 100 to include every DJ of merit and it was never going to include the selector from your local smalltown spot. Many of the 100 are major players, but there’s a refreshing number of underground names alongside more commercially orientated spinners.

This is about your favourite DJ, the one who made that night or even those nights out so special. It is about the spinner you were eulogising about to those who weren’t there for days after the event. You were also looking for their mixes on the web for weeks and trying to find out what the last tune they played was for months.

You can cast your vote here from now until October 2nd…

I will leave you with a few of my favourites from the list and why…

Carl Craig - Detroit
A master of technoid grooves as both a producer and behind the decks, Craig is a modern Detroit legend. My favourite performance from CC was at the springsix festival in Graz, where he bewitched audiences with an emotive assault on the senses.

Felix Da Housecat – Atlanta via Chicago
Felix has been a master of his electroid housey techno hybrid for years. His sets are always fun, even if the vibe is often similar throughout. His Essential Mix for BBC Radio One is a joy and he also performed memorably when I witnessed him spin at springsix in 2006.

François K - NYC
A drummer turned production ace and record spinner, Francois has been a DJing heavyweight for years. Alongside Danny Krivit and Joe Claussell, he brought the world Body & Soul and flying solo is famed for his long sets. I caught him at his Deep Space residency at Cielo in NY earlier this year, where he wooed the crowd with everything from James Mason’s Sweet Power Your Embrace to Adam F’s Circles.

Jeff Mills
- Detroit
A technical hotshot, Mills still lives up to his old moinker of ‘the wizard’. His energetic sets have you gasping from breath and the commercially available Exhibitionist mix gives you some sort of an idea of what Mills can do. I caught him at the Tribal Gathering Warehouse Party in 2003, where his set enthralled me from start to finish.

Louie Vega - NYC
Louie is a true house master, spinning a range of Latin, soul-kissed and other gems. As a producer, his MAW and Nu Yorican Soul projects alongside Kenny Dope have often come up with the goods, and he is most active today with his Vega label. However, it is best to catch Vega behind the decks and I remember a great set at Bed in Sheffield in 2002, where he played MAW’s Work three times and Julie McKnight’s Home sounded beautiful.

Theo Parrish - Detroit
Theo is a highly skilled DJ, a fact that can be witnessed by sampling one of his many DJ mixes that are available on the web. His edit series and output on record labels like his own Sound Signature imprint have cemented Parrish’s reputation as a music guy who is unafraid to follow his own path. I have seen him spin a number of times over the years, most memorably at the Electric Chair in Manchester and a spin off Electric Souls event where he finished with Danny Krivit’s edit of Bob Marley’s Could You Be Loved?

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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

V/A - Back Street Brit Funk (Z Records)

The late 70s until the mid 80s is the musical period in focus on this compilation put together by disco Daddy Joey Negro. It is a collection of funkified, soulful and jazzied grooves, which shows the uplifting nature of the music emanating from the UK in a period when people‘s lives were not always as positive. Choice efforts include Freeez’s energetic Keep In Touch, MBT’s beautiful You Know Too Much and 52nd Street’s powerful Express. This is an excellent reminder of Brit Funk talent.

V/A - Ghetto Bass 2 (Cheap Thrills)

Bass fiend Josh Harvey aka Hervé likes to mix and match all manner of music styles. Hervé runs through thirty four cuts on this break neck paced album, which features a few of his own efforts. Highs on disc one include Fake Blood‘s filter discoey I Think I Like It and Hot City‘s ravey Hot City Bass. Disc two faves include Joy Orbison’s penetrating Hyph Mngo and Sub Focus’ peaceful Last Jungle. Ghetto Bass 2 is a bassline based treat.

Tiefschwarz - Chocolate (Souvenir)

Brothers Ali and Basti share the surname Schwarz, hence why this German outfit decided on a name close to home. Chocolate is their third album, an electronic affair more akin to dark and rich cocoa based products than the sweet milky type. This album has been created with the help of rising star Philipp Maier aka Santé, who adds a mysterious vibe to the proceedings. Winners include the explosive Kraft, the unapologetic Trust (Alternative Version) and contorted Babel. Like all good Chocolate, this album leaves you with a craving for more.

V/A - I Remember The First Time I Heard Your Voice (Dirty)

Clovis Goux and Guillaume Sorge aka The Dirty Soundsystem present a wonderful exploration into mind expanding soundscapes. This is not merely a DJ mix, but a collage of exotic sounds, ideas and sentiments that fit together exquisitely. Touching pianos, buoyant strings and theatrical dialogue feature prominently on this melancholic yet beautiful journey. You will remember The First Time I Heard Your Voice.

V/A - DJ Nibc Presents Ten Years of Trunkfunk (Trunkfunk)

The Scandinavian Trunkfunk imprint serves up feel good club sounds for various palates and audiences. Famous international players and talents from the region feature on this tidy compilation. High points include Stuffa’s keytastic Dub of Trevor Loveys & Affie Yusuf featuring Spoek’s Bitch Fight, Style Of Eye’s out there re-cut of David Ekenbäck featuring Cherry’s Nairu and Pig & Dan’s tough dub of The Touch’s Heart Of The City. Ten Years of Trunkfunk is a smart dancefloor inspired compilation.