Monday, 29 March 2010

V/A - Kon & Amir Present Off Track Vol III: Brooklyn (BBE)

A hotbed of talent, Brooklyn has long been home to various creative types and here Kon and Amir shed the light on the borough’s discoid and soulful past. Brooklyn has changed a great deal since these hard to find ditties were originally conceived, but there is still room in the world and even in the diverse neighbourhoods of Brooklyn itself for them today. Kon brings us winners such as his own remix of Donny McCullogh’s doting From The Heart and Randolph Baker’s powerful Getting Next To You. Amir drops hits such as Bomp’s heart-warming Disco Power and Christy Essien Igbokwe’s candid You Can’t Change A Man. Brooklyn is a very inspiring place and this compilation pays tribute to some of its lesser well known musical sons and daughters.

V/A - Plus 8 100 (Plus 8)

Way back in 1990, Canadian techno goliaths John Acquaviva and Richie Hawtin founded the Plus 8 imprint, which has become synonymous with a certain take on the genre. Here, they have asked technoid heavy hitters to reinterpret moments from Plus 8’s history and the guests and Plus 8 artists have done this in style. Paco Osuna’s screaming take on Pastikman’s Goo, Alexi Delano and Tony Rohr’s pulsating revision of Speedy J’s Pullover and Layo and Bushwacka’s cool take on Fuse’s Dimension Intrusion provide magical moments on this compilation. Plus 8 100 is a winning technoid collection.

Georg Levin - Everything Must Change (BBE)

Half of Wahoo with the talented Dixon, Georg Levin goes it alone on this shiny album that combines funked out guitar driven instrumentation with memorable songwriting. Formerly on the books of the Jazzanova affiliated Sonar Kollektiv imprint, Levin has found a home in the shape of the open minded BBE label. Highlights include the foreboding Runaway, truly uplifting The Better Life and lilting Falling Masonry. It is true that Everything Must Change and Levin shows that change is not always a bad thing.

Lou Rhodes - One Good Thing (Motion Audio)

Lou Rhodes is most familiar to listeners for her work as half of downbeat royalty Lamb. This work is a world away from the ‘trip hop‘ beats of that previous project, instead relying on touching acoustic guitars to back her haunting vocal delivery. Magical moments include the forward thinking There For The Taking, heartbreaking The More That I Run and fragile Melancholy Me. Slight yet satisfying.

Anané - Ananésworld (Nervous)

On this album, Anané shows that despite being at home draped over Latin house gems, she is no one trick pony. Wife of MAW’s Louie Vega, who has contributed a great deal here, Anané may not have the raw guts of Vega’s previous partner, but she makes up for this with her ability to provide continuity on a diverse project. Highlights include the soft reggaefied Rock The Cradle, the sweet Terra Longe and a wonderful cover of Love To Love You Baby with Roberto Cavalli. Welcome to Ananésworld.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Jon Freer’s Singles Reviews: March 2010 Part 2

Class Actress - Journal Of Ardency (Something In Construction)
There’s a million acts out there trying to reap rewards from the synth pop cash cow, but few do it with the zeal and vigour of Class Actress. Fuzzy synthetics, laidback beats and memorable vocals combine on the awesome Journal Of Ardency.

Mavis - Revolution (DarkStarr Remixes) (Bitches Brew)
This groovy number from the Mavis project has been remixed by Cosmo and Ashley Beedle’s DarkStarr project and features vocals from Candi Staton, one of the most emotive singers of our time. Staton’s empowering vocals that make you want to stand up and be counted feature here alongside a charming strings, guitars and keys combo.

Bonobo - Eyes Down (Ninja Tune)
Bonobo has created a broken soul masterpiece here alongside vocalist of the moment, Andreya Triana. Stepping percussion and a full bodied bassline provide an excellent springboard for Triana’s slightly masked vocals.

Mustang - Chameleon Circus (Gomma)
Guitars? Check. Synths? Check. Spacey electronics? Check. Mustang make dreamy future disco that is personified by the shimmering title track on this EP. A notable mention must also go to the calm yet deadly On Mercury.

Teenagersintokyo - Peter Pan (Back Yard)
Strong indie synth vibes exude from this brilliant outing from the misleadingly monikered Teenagersintokyo. Peter Pan is an angsty effort, full of screwed up guitars, smart beats and embittered vocals.

Acrylics - Molly’s Vertigo (Something In Construction)
NY’s Acrylics show what happens when you get completely lost in your emotions. Molly’sVertigo charts turmoil over smooth guitars and poised drums.

Way Out West - The Gift (Deconstruction)
Almost a decade and a half after its original release, Way Out West’s unashamedly poppy yet awesome summer anthem resurfaces. It’s WOW’s own touch up that does it justice, courtesy of a fatter low end section and extra percussion that allow the timeless keys and vocals to shine through.

Midnight Star - Midas Touch (Remix) (Bstrd Boots)
DJ Platurn and Kat010 give Midnight Star’s early 80s classic a softer rejig for organic floors. Live percussion and dreamy keys do the work alongside the magical vocals on this cool revision.

Sleazy McQueen - Deep Blue Voodoo EP (Deepfunk)
For this LA based imprint, the funk is locked up inside grooving house and discoid material. McQueen’s Fantasy explores dreams and desires over shining keys, and touching guitars. Love Bandit (You Stole My Heart) is a tale of romantic woe where emphatic beats and fizzy synths feature.

Black Soul Strangers - The Haunting (Squeek)
This Dublin based four piece craft touching guitar driven songs that are perhaps not a world away from their predecessors, but BSS have a special something. The Haunting features deliberate guitars, sharp drums and emotion dripping vocals.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

March Singles Part 1

SCB - 20 4 (SCB)
Scuba launches his SCB project with a brilliant two tracker of techy dubbed out music. 20 4 is all sharp percussion, stormy fx and menacing bass work. 3 5 features slammed beats, moving keys and a fizzing bassline.

Mademoiselle Caro & Franck Garcia - Soldiers (Buzzin Fly)
Mademoiselle Caro & Franck Garcia’s Soldiers is a melancholic slice of pop house that would storm the charts in a perfect world. A bittersweet vocal tale sits atop saddened keys and smart percussion on the original. Ben Watt’s remixes apply cool keys and choice vocal moments, whilst The Revenge opts for grooving bass work and sweet synths.

Mike Monday - Your Body (Veryverywrongindeed)
Monday’s Your Body is so repulsive it is actually beautiful. Chattering vox, snarling bass stabs and battered beats do the work on this gruelling effort.

The Shift - On This Side (Remixes) (Blunted Funk)
Brooklyn’s The Shift get housed up by a number of players and its Courtney Nielson, one time engineer for DJ Spun, who comes up with the goods. His remix places sensuous flashes of Bora Yoon’s vocals over gorgeous pianos, smoky guitars and careful percussion.

Itokim - Follow The Light (Seventh Sign)
Japan’s Itokim puts listeners through their paces with a classy techno EP on Seventh Sign. Moonlight is a joy to the ears, courtesy of its flashlight keys and measured percussion. Sunlight scorches with the help of fizzing synths and live bass action.

Paul Brtschitsch - Doriana (Rootknox)
Doriana is an epic composition from Paul Brtschitsch that has been a staple in his live sets for a while. In original form, Doriana takes its strength from shiny keys and layered percussion, whilst John Selway provides a compressed revision. Bonus cut One Morning opts for cute pianos and knocking percussion.

Doomwork & Neuroxyde - Andromeda (100% Pure)
Doomwork & Neuroxyde may sound like they‘ve come straight out of a sci-fi novel and musically they bring us an apocalyptic effort. Day brightening keys, thumping beats and a tough bassline meet on Andromeda. DJ Madskillz & 2000 And One’s remix adds further percussive layers and gives the bass more power.

Joel Alter - Soul Clap (Sweatshop)
Swedish techno ace Joe Alter creates unapologetic dancefloor monsters. Soul Clap features a dirty bassline and clanking beats, whilst Savas Pascalidis’ remix adds more urgency. Mellan Raderna is a deep affair with smart percussion and shimmering synths.

Asusu - Togetherness (Immerse)
Despite what the name might suggest, Asusu hails from Gloucestershire and creates forward thinking electronics grooves. Togetherness is a brilliant dub inspired effort, featuring jumping percussion and mysterious bass washes.

Elle P & Iftah - Sick Liar (Souvenir)
New signings Elle P & Iftah are inevitably Berlin based, dropping twisted synthy pop on Tiefschwarz’s Souvenir imprint. Skip the title track and head straight for The Pink Panther, where odd shaped keys and calming vocals rule. Ruede Hagelstein takes it to the floor courtesy of urgent beats and lost synthetics, whilst the self remix is an off colour treat.