We Love are the Florence based musical couple of Giorgia Angiuli and Piero Fragola. The group only became an entity in winter 2009, but they have matured quickly and here debut with a soothing collection of amorous compositions. We Love have an intense passion for the music that they make, which takes in soothing electronica, moody pop, dreamy synthetics, post technoid grooves and icy cold melodies. Highlights on this self titled LP include the tortured Cruise Control, desireful Ice Lips and the robotic hop of Even If. It is clear that We Love are a very special musical couple that deserve your affection. I love We Love.
Saturday, 31 July 2010
Hyped by all and sundry, but certainly worth a fair amount of praise, London’s Mount Kimbie drop their debut LP in the shape of Crooks & Lovers. Lumped in with dubstep and ‘post-dubstep’ creators, Mount Kimbie are less blinkered than many of their contemporaries. This album features a range of gorgeous downbeat and more upbeat organic efforts that charm on various levels. Winners include the sparkly keyed Before I Move Off, fizzing Carbonated and the hyper Mayor, which sounds like Todd Edwards‘ take on garage re-tuned for the next generation. Kimbie are worthy of your attention!
After proclaiming their inception with a few parties, choice remakes and a blog, Cosmo and Ashley Beedle show that their Darkstarr project is here to stay with this double mix CD. Magical modern and retro disco inspired tackle is the music on show here, put together by two keen selectors. London based Cosmo hails from NY, was a pupil of legendary Loft poineer David Mancuso and certainly knows her way around the disco. Cosmo’s selection includes gems such as Darkstarr’s own stupendous take on Mavis featuring Candi Staton’s Revolution and Montana’s simply beautiful Warp Factor II. Ashley Beedle needs little introduction as he is both a house and modern disco daddy, rising to prominence with projects such as The Ballistic Brothers, Black Science Orchestra and X Press 2. Ashley’s gems include Franck Roger‘s remix of Little Big Bee‘s sax drenched City, Country, City and the Disco Jams mix of Blackjoy‘s groovesome Djomani. It looks like Darkstarr are here to stay, which is undoubtedly a good thing.
Spoek Mathambo’s brand of South African club music provides disturbing yet reassuring grooves for mind and body. Fusing incisive lyricism with skewed electronic rhythms and a preponderance of bass, Mathambo has created a distinctive broth that he terms Township Tech. Highlights on the album include the bassy title track, carefree Let Them Talk and nasty Thunder. South Africa has a recent rich electronic music history and Spoek Mathambo provides the next chapter in the story.
Multiverse celebrate their position as Bristol’s premier studio for dub infected electronics, with a compilation that could easily be characterised as ‘Dark Matter’. I initially found many dubstep tunes too much like sedated D&B from the mid to late 90s. However, the genre has sprouted exciting tracks that have the same excitement and energy as classic D&B. It is clear to see that as a genre, dubstep was just another step in the evolution of British born electronic music. This compilation from Mulitverse feature a number of peaches from major players of the scene. Highlights of the first disc include Skream’s melodic Bahl Fwd and Vex’d's epic Lion, which almost sounds like an old D&B/Jungle tune due to its time stretched rasta vocals, angular beats and jarring bassline. Disc two winners include Loefah & Skream’s moody 28 Grams and Joker’s eerie Psychedelic Runway. Dark Matter is a handy way to pick up a great selection of heavyweight tunes.
Monday, 26 July 2010
Raph Dumas & The Primaveras is a project put together by one Raphaël Dumas. It fuses traditional Catalan music with funk grooves and modern electronic trickery. The collective are a powerful force, offering the type of fusion that actually pushes boundaries and crosses cultures. In a live format, Raph and his electronic devices are accompanied by a funk outfit and a Cobla. A Cobla is an eleven piece Catalonian group that play traditional instruments.
On the 22nd of June 2010, Raph Dumas & The Primaveras performed an outdoor concert at Les Palais des Rois de Majorque in Perpignan. This formidable venue was constructed as a home for the Kings of Majorca in the thirteenth century. It is a place of historic significance and plays an important role in Catalonian culture to this day. The gig was part of a summer long programme of free music concerts for the people of Perpignan and surrounding areas. It was attended by four generations of Catalonians, who were sat in the temporarily erected stands. The backdrop to the stage was the magnificent main building of the fortified castle.
The concert was held together by musical lynchpin and powerful sax man Alex Auge. Standing midway between the Cobla and the funk outfit, Auge held both sets of musicians together. Dumas then combined the grooves from both outfits into one homogenous sound. The first half of the gig relied on the more traditional, Cobla heavy arrangements, such as a touching version of Muntanyes del Canigò. As the concert progressed, there was a greater emphasis on funk and electronic sounds. Highlights of the funkier material included the bold Week End and fun Le Chanson Douce. The music was lapped up by the crowd, impressed with Dumas’ take on the music of their heritage. It must be remembered that Perpignan is in the heartland of Northern Catalonia. The music was followed by a bonfire and an impressive display of light projections onto the wall of the castle.
It was a joy to see one man’s vision of fusing the traditional with the modern work with such impressive results. Seeing The Primaveras play a hometown gig in such a historic setting made the evening’s entertainment even more special.
Monday, 19 July 2010
With the wealth of talent on offer in and around Barcelona during Sónar, it was difficult to decide which ‘Off’ parties to attend. Villalobos on a beach could have been special and I was upset to miss the Bpitch showcase and Tiefschwartz live. Before getting to Barcelona, I had already decided to give boat parties from the likes of Mobilee a miss, due to their astronomical cost and my lack of sea legs. Sunday called for a dose of Sónar Off, even though my body was starting to complain after three days and nights of music and partying. Sónar Off took place in the beautiful environment of Mondo, a chic waterside retreat. The event was put together by Your Only Friend, Lost My Dog and Vizual, which meant that the only musical dish served was supreme deep and technoid house. After the diversity of Sónar, it was odd to just hear one type of music all night. However, once I’d got into the groove, I managed just fine.
This intimate and friendly party began within the confines of the jet black walled terrace. Here, Rhythm Plate, Luke McKeehan and other DJs treated listeners to a solid selection, whilst they sipped pricey drinks in comfy surroundings. Later, the music moved into the resplendent white main room and the patrons followed. By the early hours of Monday, the space was in full on club mode and the was atmosphere exciting with the whole room acting as a dancefloor. The large number of record spinners on the bill stifled selections to an extent, but it did bring a slightly greater musical diversity to the table.
Two DJs stood out with their selection and command of the crowd. The first was International Bitch aka Vanessa Rodriguez, who provided an excitable presence behind the decks and delivered a near perfect mix of deep and techy musical morsels. The Bitch had an excellent rapport with her dancers, knowing exactly how to increase their pleasure with every track. A highlight of her set was a version of Dennis Ferrer’s Hey Hey. Vanessa's set eclipsed that of her partner and DJ teacher Tres Manos, and in fact there was only one other spinner who came close. The DJ in question was Joshua, a current Chicago resident and member of deep house royalty. Joshua offered the sort of fizzing deep and techy grooves that have come to be associated with his own Vizual imprint. He had the crowd grooving along to cuts such as an awesome revision of Naked Music’s It’s Love and a beautiful Marvin Gaye looping track.
This small but perfectly formed party rounded off my Sónar weekend nicely. After being amongst 80000 or so punters at the official Sónar events, it was nice to be at a more intimate soiree, where losing friends was not possible. Musically, I couldn’t have coped with only these grooves for the whole weekend and prefer parties with a wide variety of grooves. However, it was good to be reminded of how thrilling deep house and techy tunes can sound in the right environment. The brilliant atmosphere at this party once again showed me why clubbing in Barcelona can be such a brilliant experience. I was distraught when the party finished at 5am, because it marked the end of my Sónar 2010.
German techno goliath Hell is near mythical figure in electronic music, who certainly knows how to talk up his own game. Thankfully he backs that up with his musical choices and whilst compilation 12 is just ‘another’ tip top selection of modern club music, Body Language 9 is a mindblowing mix CD. His instalment for the Get Physical series melds on point modern electronic hits with heart-stopping cuts from various genres. Highs include King Britt’s storming remix of Josh One’s Contemplation, Hell’s own touching take on Christian Prommer’s cover of Sueño Latino and David Sylvian’s masterful Forbidden Colours. Compilation 12 still does the business as a representation of the current sound favoured by Hell and his Gigolo imprint. The likes of Soulwax’s gutsy revision of Walter Murphy’s A Fifth of Beethoven, Carl Craig’s macabre take on Hell’s U Can Dance and The brilliant Naum Garbo version of Psychonauts’ Take Control feature. Both compilations are worthy of your attention, but Body language 9 is destined to be a modern classic.
Current Paris resident Seuil hails from the Reunion Island and makes incredibly passionate electronic compositions that sweat jazz and the heartbreaking power of the blues from their pores. Despite what the title may suggest, this an album of dancefloor grooves, albeit dancefloor grooves also fit for any occasion. Zesty live instrumentation and hard to control vocals play a pivotal role, helping Seuil step away from the rest. The explosive Saxy Back, melancholic Origine and tortured Cameleon are the cuts that should be sampled first. It might be talking this album up slightly too much to say it is to 2010s techno what St Germain’s Boulevard was to deep house in the mid 90s, but it is still a brilliant LP.
Ellen Allien is a boss of a brilliant label, DJ and in recent times, a fashion designer. Her musical career began shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and to this day, her music embodies a feeling that problems can be overcome through music. Despite the fact that many major players in the electronic world have migrated to Berlin, Allien remains a leading musical light in the city. Dust features the deep reaching organic grooves and the sort of technoid clubfloor material that the Berlin chanteuse’s name has become synonymous with. It is a proper album as opposed to a collection of club tracks and the level of musicality lends Dust to home listening. The spirit lifting Our Utopie, woozy Huibuh and magical Ever are high points. This album is another impressive addition to Bpitch Control’s catalogue and a reminder that the Germans are still in musical control of Berlin, despite the foreign invasion.
Unsure how to gain a foothold and become a major player in the electronic music world? Well, NYC’s Wolf + Lamb did it by finding their own space, using the now infamous Marcy to throw parties and to throw down their latest musical concoctions. Love Someone is a little bit of a cheat as an LP, as it only includes a small number of W+L original productions. However, the sonorous and atmospheric grooves make up for the small number of tracks. Highs include the melancholic I Know You’re Leaving, Dyed Soundorom’s lustful version of Want Your Money and the beautiful title track. W+L show that The Marcy must be a rather special place with this album.
The Cocoon train drives on, this time dropping two compilations in quick succession. J offers the usual fair of engaging dancefloor assaults from major technoid players. It is ideal for DJs and listeners wishing to enjoy club tracks in full length. It features choice cuts such as Pantha Du Prince’s smooth Bolder, Nick Curly’s powerful Keep On and Ricardo Villalobos’ eerie Humusweg. Party Animals #2 is a double pronged mixed collection, where Nick Curly wins the battle with Marco Corola. Winners on Curly’s mix include Ryan Crosson and Guti’s groovy You’ve Got Me, Butch’s vocal manipulating No Worries and Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay’s key led Wongel. Once more, Cocoon lead the way with slim technoid grooves with these two compilations.