Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Moody Twin - Twins N Bassbins

This, so the hype sheet tells us, is "a collection of tracks for an all-night groove experience". That's actually a bit of an over-statement cos the seven tracks actually only total about 41 minutes, ha ha, but there's certainly plenty to get your teeth into.

Moody Twin, the crossword buffs among you will notice, is an anagram of Tim N' Woody, AKA Star-Fi label bosses Steven 'I Am The Woodstar' Wood and Tim 'Lo-Fi' Stoakes. Steven has described the Moody Twin sound to me as a halfway house between his 'deep and leftfield' house and Tim's '4am dancefloor minimal'. As for my own HO, well I'd describe Twins N' Bassbins itself, in its Original Mix form, as deep and groovy techno with a subtle dash of acid. S'nice. Tim's 4am Mix is a bit more stripped-down and trippy, the IATW Midnight Mix is a tad housier with a slightly 'electro' (in the modern sense) feel to it, while the Hop N' Drop Mix is the joker in the pack, a weirded-out late night, trip hoppy kinda rub.

You also get three bonus tracks, Little Drummer Boy, I Like It Sometimes and BiPolar In Order. The latter sees them wandering into synthy Italo-disco pastures, I Like It Sometimes is a trip down rave/bleep memory lane while Little Drummer Boy is something of an oddity, with a foot in each of those camps but with an added indietronica kinda feel.

All told it's a package with a little something for everyone! For me it's the Original Mix of Twins N' Bassbins and I Like It Sometimes that I'm feeling the most but y'know, take your pick!

About the label: Star-Fi is the label that Tim 'n' Woody run out of Nottingham and Croydon. Techno-savvy 21st Century dudes that they are, they've only gone and got themselves their very own page on that MySpacebook thing on the Worldwide Information Supernet, haven't they, the rascals? Point and click here to 'surf' at it, as I believe is the correct terminology.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Timo Garcia - Swing Thing

Timo Garcia is one of those DJs/producers who's been plugging away on the UK house scene for years, with releases on Cr2 and Toolroom as well as his own Berwick Street label. Swing Thing sees the lad take a step up, though, cos it's been snapped up by the mighty Nervous (we're not worthy, etc) in the US.

In its Original Mix form, Swing Thing is a percussion-led affair that then, somewhat unexpectedly, mutates into the Charleston. It's sort of like Doop only, y'know, not shit. Demarkus Lewis turns in a remix that's pretty much just a deep house set-filler, with just the slightest of nods to the Charleston in the melody, while Reuben Keeney's rub is a glitchy, vaguely techno affair that I don't really understand. BUT THEN we come to the rather sterling Jenkinsound Remix, which is by none other than iDJ's very own Dave Jenkins and his brother Pete. Their take on Swing Thing sees the track transformed into a groovalicious liquid funk roller with all the 1920s stylings still intact that's actually my favourite mix… and I'm not just saying that cos I've got to sit across a desk from him for the rest of the week.

About the label: Nervous! Our very own Dai The Records on Nervous! How exciting. Anyway unless you're, like, 13 or something you don't need me to explain who Nervous are but here's their website anyway.

Dan McKie - Off The Beat

I'm not saying I'm totally in love with this one, but I get sent a lot of stuff by Dan McKie, or on his 1980 Recordings label, and most of it is way too electro-shouty-main room for me. This however is somewhat more acceptable so it's about time the lad from Acton got some coverage!

Off The Beat is still pretty main room, mind you, so I'd suggest sticking to the Tom Tuc Remix, which has a deeper feel with its tribal percussion and some nice pads… The other reason this has made the cut is cos it's got just a hint of a hip-house vocal, and I'm a sucker for hip-house vocals.

About the label: This is on Pacha Recordings, and I'm sure you don't need Pacha explaining. So here are links to the websites of Dan McKie and 1980 Recordings instead.

Various - Munich Disco Tech 5

I'll admit it, I've somehow managed to miss the first four installments in the Munich Disco Tech series but on this evidence I'll be tracking them down ASAP, cos this EP is quite frankly da bomb. Denis Horvat's Bitch is too techno-y for me but the other four tracks – Juan Sanchez's Elvis, Tignino & Leo's Into The World (in Original and Oliver Klein Remix forms) and Sultan & Ned Shepard's Kitsch – are all great: jackin', discofied house grooves that show how much influence Sneak and the Relief sound have had on the German house scene. Even though the artists actually come from Holland, Italy and Canada, respectively.

This is out OUT THIS WEEK, so go seek. Oh, and here's a fascinating fact for you: Into The World features a vocal from Mark Kerr, son of Jim. Simple things please simple minds (see what I did there?)

About the label: Great Stuff is another one of those German labels (see also Gigolo, Get Physical etc) that I probably ignored for far too long, and as a result you probably know far more about them than I do. My bad. Anyway here's the Great Stuff website and I'll go eat a great big pie made of humble, shall I?

Monday, 28 September 2009

Various - One Dub

Been meaning to blog this one for a while, but somewhat oddly got onto the subject of Luciano* with Terry Farley today**, and it reminded me to pull my finger out and get on with it. See, it emerges that one thing me and Mr Farley have in common is a lifelong love of reggae. You wouldn't know it from listening to Junior Boys Own records and you wouldn't know it from reading this blog, but there you go. We were talking about going in scary record shops and buying reggae records when we were (respectively) 12. His was a West London record stall, mine was some random shop in Stratford (east London, where my brother lived at the time), I can't remember what his record was right now but I know mine was the Clint Eastwood & General Saint album, only they'd sold out (it took me till I was about 22 to find it in the end).

ANYWAY Luciano cropped up as someone we both liked from the current crop of reggae artists. Which brings me to what I like most about this album: the broad sweep of artists involved. You've got old school names like Sugar Minott, Michael Rose and Macca B; then you've got more current names that should be familiar to anyone who (like me and Terry, as it transpires) at least TRIES to keep up, like Dr Israel, Luciano, Manasseh and Bush Chemists; and then you've got a bunch of people that I've frankly never heard of. Which makes this a very solid bet if you like reggae and dub, would like to have an idea what's going on right now but don't know where to start.

It's my go-to reggae album du jour, anyway.

About the label/more info: This is on Canadian label Interchill, who seem to do a lot of ambient and leftfield electronic stuff mainly. Here's their website. Also, here's quite an interesting interview I found with Manasseh, from when he was involved with the equally 'useful for keeping up' Nu Shoots Inna Roots comp a few years back.

* The reggae singer Luciano, not the techno producer Luciano
** Come on, if you'd been talking to Terry Farley today, you'd probably name-drop it, too.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Acid Pauli – Marvin/The Real Sydney

I'm going to quote the press release on this one: "Yo hermeneutics! Acid Pauli knows where the shoe pinches: we all need more soul… fuck hermeneutics!" It then goes on to say that "in the middle of the tune the striation crosses, and then it ooze out soul and the sun rise."

No, I haven't got a clue what they're going on about either. Still, it's a suitably odd press release for an equally odd record. Marvin starts out with a droning French Kiss-style bassline over some beats that are sufficiently "curiously skippy" that I've been trying to work out if it's actually in 3/4 time (I don't think it is)… and that's it until some random chappy starts freestyling What's Goin' On over the top. It's odd, but I think Mr Gaye would approve.

Meanwhile on the flip, The Real Sydney has a beat that's just a tad too jaunty and jolly to be called minimal, atop which sits what SOUNDS like some genuine early southern jazz… but could of course these days have come straight off a sample DVD… anyway the overall effect is like hanging out in a 1920s juke joint in Mississippi, trying to not to get lynched by the KKK… only, like, Luciano's playing.

Told you it was an odd record. I like it, though.

About the label: Do you know, I haven't got a clue who sent me this. Gonna have to look into that one and get back to you… in the meantime, Acid Pauli is actually one of German artnoiseniks The Notwist so here's their website and MySpace for you to be going on with… oh and you can hear some more Acid Pauli stuff here

NYC 1990s mixtapes

Just found this awesome website with mixtapes (.RAM format but still) of Junior @ Sound Factory, Frankie Knuckles/Tony Humphries/Kenny Carpenter on the radio, plus links to loads of Sound Factory-related stuff... cool as, check it!

Oh yeah and as we were talking about Ralphi Rosario, click here to see an interview with the man himself.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Peter Brown - Come Together

Germany's Housesession may not be the most cool, hip and underground of labels, but they've got an ear for a big club tune, and Come Together is one of their best to date. I'd give the Tune Brothers mix a swerve unless you're of a 'funky electro house' mindset but the rest of the mixes are pretty palatable.

The Original and Dub are straight-up back-to-’89 piano house. Okay, so the vocal (from one Linda Newman) isn't the strongest you've ever heard, and yeah, it's all been done before (20 years ago, in fact)… but for hands-in-the-air fun and frolics in bigger rooms you could do a lot worse. Meanwhile, Alex Del Amo, Javi Ortiz & K-low provide another Vocal and Dub that are far more contemporary sounding, in a kind of post-minimal prog way. So four out of five ain't bad, is it?

Peter Brown, BTW, is an up-and-coming Spanish guy who's had stuff out on Pacha Recordings before, and is nothing to do with the Peter Brown of ’70s disco fame who did the original version of Do You Wanna Get Funky With Me, as covered by both Fierce Ruling Diva and My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult.

About the label: Another really quite all right dancefloor offering from Germany's Housesession crew. Visit their website to find out more about them.

Andre Crom & Luca Doobie - Attica EP

Andre Crom's name seems to be popping up attached to more and more very likeable popular music recordings of late. Here's another one. Attica is probably one of Freerange's most accessible releases to date, injecting their usual deep house grooves with a dash of disco and, most notably, a big piano break in the middle. There's a nice parping organ line, too – good times on the dancefloor guaranteed.

Dutch newcomer Makam from The Hague then reworks the track, giving it a looser-limbed, live-funk-jam kinda feel (lots of background whoops and yeahs), before we get to closer Better Now Than Later, which sounds very contemporary Berlin with its retro Chicago feel, if you know what I mean.

All in all, three equally good tracks of proper straight-up house music, neither cheesy nor noodly and built firmly with the dancefloor in mind. That's about as good as it gets, I reckon.

About the label: This is on Freerange, a label who've always done some good stuff but really seem to be on fire at the moment. Here's the obligatory website link. And here's a picture of Hartley Hare from Pipkins. Just because.

Oddvar - For Lovers EP

I've not come across Oddvar before, but then apparently he's a young German producer who's made his name on the minimal scene thus far, so that's hardly surprising. At any rate, this is his latest and it's not a minimal affair at all, but rather a four-track EP of some rather pleasing house music. Slave To The Bar has slight nods to old skool Chicago, while Without You – the standout for me by far – has some nice organ sounds and a kind of leftfield garage feel. Love Me and (Jens Bond collab) The Secret, meanwhile, are just nice looping club grooves.

I dunno, it's quite a hard EP to describe, I'm finding. But it's also quite good, with fat basslines and crisp beats a-plenty, so why don't you head to the label's MySpace and HEAR IT YOURSELF (well, two tracks of it anyway)?

About the label: This is on Sportclub Music, a label I don't know anything about except they're German and part of the Kompakt family. And once again, here's their MySpace.

O.O.R.S - Output 09.03

The latest installment in O.O.R.S's Output series (it says here), this is a simple two-tracker with Hands Up on one side and Rhythm (feat Petti B) on the other.

Although up-to-date in terms of their production, both tracks have a feel that harks back to the mid-’90s. Hands Up is a simple driving house groove that reminds me of the best UK house circa ’93/’94 while Rhythm sounds like a US house cut from the same period. That sounds a bit arbitrary I know but Hands Up calls to mind the housier side of the much-underrated High On Rhythm label, while Rhythm, with its tribal drums and spoken vocal, would sit very well with a track I haven't really stopped playing since it came out in 1994, Ralphi Rosario's Sex With Him.

Oh, and the comparisons aren't meant to be a diss, either. Recalling what for me was a bit of a Golden Era is no bad thing. Anyway, you can HEAR THE TRACKS for yourself at the O.O.R.S MySpace and make your own mind up.

About the label: O.O.R.S Recordings (the initials stand for Out Of Reach Studios) is, as far as I can make out (cos I've not come across 'em before and they sent me bugger-all info), the label run by one Matthew Evans, AKA O.O.R.S, who's had tracks out on Freerange, Urban Torque, 2020 and Lost My Dog - a pretty impressive CV I'm sure you'll agree, so visit the O.O.R.S MySpace to find out more (and, like I say, listen to these two tracks)

PS Found the Ralphi Rosario on YouTube by the way - awesome killer record - click here

Sandy Rivera ft Haze - Escape

This has been out for a couple of weeks now but we shouldn't ignore it. Mr KOT teams up once more with Haze to deliver a track that's made for big speakers and altered states, pure and simple. Haze's vocal is important to the track, sure, but unlike previous Haze/Rivera collabs this is really about big beats, an incessant three-note bass riff and getting lost in the music, more than it's about the song.

Mix-wise, there are two tougher, slighly proggy mixes from C. Castel, plus a more straight-up house rub from Sandy himself. And there's not really a lot more to say for now. It's one of those tracks that won't really hit you till you hear it pumping out of a big club stack and then, golly will it hit you…

About the label: Escape comes atcha on Blackwiz, which is of course Sandy's own label. Blackwiz releases have been coming thick 'n' fast of late so for more info, hit up their MySpace.

Kerri Chandler with Harley & Muscle - You Can't Lie

Kerri Chandler with Harley & Muscle? In soulful house circles, collabs don't come much heavier-hitting than that… and You Can't Lie doesn't disappoint. With Mr Chandler himself on vocals, it's a full vocal, soulful affair on Kerri's original mix, which comes accompanied by an instrumental. DJ Spinna then serves up a mix that's got the kind of ruff, raw soul you might associate with, say, Kaidi Tatham, before we get to the H&M Deep Mix, which is sheer late night bliss.

So, yes. Rather good, then, if deep and soulful is your thang. But then from a trio like that, what did you expect?

About the label: This comes on H&M's own Soulstar, part of the Clubstar family of labels based in Germany. See here for the website.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Free Mark Farina mix!

Just a really quick heads-up… Om are giving away a free live Mark Farina mix, recorded at their 15th birthday celebrations in San Francisco. Which is news that should have any househead salivating, so without further ado, here's the link. You'll need to register to get the mix.

Monday, 21 September 2009

The Time & Space Machine - You Are The One EP

And speaking of The Time & Space Machine (see Space review, below), here's a new EP in preparation for Richard Norris's forthcoming long-player.

Title track You Are The One again recalls the spirt of Hawkwind in its use of repetition to drive its point home, as a four-note bass/keyboard riff endlessly cycles over a drifting flute-like synth backwash. Halfway through, a multi-tracked voice then starts to repeat the title. Which, when you break it down, doesn't sound all that. But this is a headtrip even when heard stone cold straight and sober at 3pm on a Monday afternoon – quite where it's going to take psychedelic adventurers, I can only guess at right now…

As for the other two tracks, Mo Cowbell sounds like Loop getting their disco groove on while Mushroom comes on like Primal Scream tackling the kind of dreamy, meandering instrumental that Caravan used to be quite good at some 30-odd years ago. Compared to the last T&SM release, the emphasis here is on the psychedelic rather than the dancefloor elements and the risk of fusing two diverse musical elements is of course that 'purists' on either side of the fence will sneer. But if they do, they're missing out on some great music, so more fool them. Roll on the album.

Peace, love, etc.

About the label: Like the Space single this is also on Tirk. Are you sick of hearing about them yet?

Space - Carry On, Turn Me On 2009

Right then, we'll assume you know the original of this disco classic. Well, to coincide with the release of a Space 'best of', Tirk have now handed it over to a bunch of their artists to remix, with pretty interesting results.

Probably the mix that does the least to the original is from The Time & Space Machine, but as Mr Norris has been busy working on the T&SM debut album, which I for one can't wait to hear, we'll forgive him. Moving on then, you have two very different rubs from Bottin and AN2. These are interesting cos they're polar opposites. Both are very respectful to the original, but AN2 has done a fine job of updating the track by playing down the cheesier 70s analogue synth elements and boosting the low-end funk; conversely, Bottin celebrates and accentuates those very elements that AN2 leaves out. The result being two rubs that will cater perfectly for those at different places on the nu-disco continuum.

And finally, up steps Architeq, another Tirk artist with a new album out (Gold & Green). I'll be honest and say Architeq's brand of downtempo leftfield electronica isn't usually my bag, but here he provides an interesting alternative take on this classic cut and surely has to be commended for going his own way with it on what's by far the most radical pass.

All in all then, any nu-disco jock would be a fool to miss this one.

About the label: As 2009 has been all about nu-disco for me – there, I said it - Tirk has been one of the labels of the year round these 'ere parts. Find out why here.

Dominic Martin - Insulin EP

Another fine release from Fabian G's excellent So Sound stable. It's out now, which is why it's going on here rather than iDJ's house pages.

The title track starts out on a techy/proggy tip, but then ups the funk factor thanks to chopped up snippets of female vocal before slaying the floor with a goosebump-raising dose of old skool synth/piano action straight out of the Chicago/Detroit 1988 handbook. It's something of a journey of a track, then, which is always a good thing.

That said, I'm liking the accompanying Little Did I Know even more. With its creative use of sampled, rambling speech* over deep beats suitable for those heads-down, eyes-wide-shut lost hours, its a timely reminder that house music still has the power to be an innovative, creative and ARTISTIC medium in the way that, say, the new fucking Muse record will never be.

Oh, and Dominic Martin is from Glasgow, by the way.

About the label: So Sound have had props here before, suffice to say they're still on top of their game and methinks there's even better yet to come cos they're still quite new. Click here to find out more.

*I've got an idea it may be William Burroughs speaking but I could be wrong

X-Press 2 - Muzikizum/Lazy 2009

Apparently the story here is that these two remixes were submitted on spec, and Skint liked 'em so much they decide to release them. Warms the cockles, dunnit?

So, we have a new mix of Muzikizum by none other than Agent Matteo, who's become something of a regular on this page. As you'd expect from the boy it's got deepness in spades and for me, renders playable a track that I would never have played in its original incarnation. Which is what remixes are for, I guess! Nice on Matty.

Meanwhile, there's a new 2009 rub of Lazy by electro house bod Lazy Rich. You can see why he'd think of that one, can't you? And I'm kind of divided on this one. Musically, it's fine – quite driving but a hundred miles from the worst OTT excesses of electro house – and I'm sure the familiar vocal would tempt quite a few people onto the floor. I'm just not sure whether I'm quite ready to be hearing it again, is all…

About the label: It's on Skint. You know Skint, surely? But for consistency's sake here's the website.

Miguel Migs - Dubs & Rerubs

A real treat for the deep house lovers, as here we have a four-track EP featuring previously unreleased Migs rubs of cuts by Kaskade, New Mondo, Joe Pompeo and Migs himself.

Don't be put off by the names, by the way: New Mondo and (particularly) Kaskade may have veered into pop territory at times, but these are all tracks that have been up till now the sole preserve of Migs' DJ sets (far too rare an occurrence on these shores BTW), so this is proper bumpin' left coast dancefloor tackle all the way. The pick for me is the Unreleased Dub Deluxe mix of Migs' own Sometime with its dancefloor-energising 'we can go all night' vocal, but there's not a track here – from Pompeo's sax-flecked Try To Love Me to the Chicago-isms of New Mondo's 808 – that's not scoring at least 9/10. If we did marks here. Not much else to say, this is a proper must-have west coast house bomb and it's OUT THIS WEEK on Traxsource.

About the label: Salted is of course Migs' own label and pretty much anything with the Salted logo on it is guaranteed to be a killer, IMNERHO, so check out their website here.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Steve Mac - After Sundown

I am a chump.

This will come as no surprise to anyone reading this that knows me, but for those that don't, I should explain why I'm a chump. In this particular instance, I'm a chump because I got sent this tune about a month ago and I've only just got around to listening to it properly. Whereas what I should really have done is learned to drive and bought a car… just so I could drive around with After Sundown blaring out of the windows at full blast.

You may have guessed, I quite like this. It does for those whooshy synth sounds so beloved of Italian house producers of the early '90s, what That Big Track did for strings. In fact, it reminds me a great deal of the classic Babaji by Da Pinhas, so I'm gonna post a link to that here.

And while we're at it, we might as well have links to the two tunes Babaji is basically made out of, by DSK and Ralphi Rosario respectively.

Back to the present, and yeah, After Sundown is as soaraway uplifting a piece of house music as you're gonna hear all month, believe. There's also a non-retrofied mix by Anton Piete which is deeper and ever so slightly tribal, and doesn't have those Ital synths. It'd be great on its own but compared to the sheer nostalgic majesty of the original, it's a bit like going into your local Viking cafe and ordering Spam, eggs, chips and beans without the Spam…

And so finally… click here to hear After Sundown for yourself!

About the label: Weirdly, this is on Tronic, which is a techno label run by Christian Smith. Go figure. So it's pretty atypical of the Tronic sound I'd say, but here's their website anyway.

PS Just in case you haven't had enough classic Italian house… this track is total Goosebump City for me. Weren't the early 90s fun?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Tiger Stripes - Me & I

I'll say one thing for Tiger Stripes, AKA Swedish producer Mikael Nodrgren: he's a tricky bugger to pin down. He does soulful, he does tech, he does Afro… and here on Me & I he does a nice fusion of a synth riff straight out the box marked 'Italo house circa 1992' with shuffling-but-not-noodly beats. Throw in some treated vocal snippets and you've got a recipe for, y'know, people dancing, an' that.

Meanwhile on the 'B' (oh I'm so old-fashioned), you also get Velocity, which is aptly named cos it fair lickety-spits along at a techno pace, yet also manages to throw in some nice garage-y organ sounds. And garage-y organ sounds will go a long way towards getting you in my good books, always.

About the label: This comes atcha on Get Digital, which it doesn't take a genius to work out is the digital arm of M.A.N.D.Y, Booka Shade and DJ T's all-conquering Get Physical. They don't really need me to wax lyrical so I won't. Except to tell you that Me & I is out now, and you should maybe buy it.

MidiDropMusic - Side Of Right EP

More tech-tinged deep vibes here, courtesy of MidiDropMusic (AKA the London duo of Freerange bloke Matt Masters and one Mr Cenzo), whose excellent The Truth was featured on the Truth About Kwango EP reviewed on here last month (click or just scroll down). There are two tracks, The Release and The Other Side Of Right, plus a slightly more brash remix of the former (the Dos Compradres Taco Truck Remix, if you will).

Generally speaking, it's a slightly more straight-up deep house vibe this time out… which is all to the good. And it's the lush pads on the original mix of The Release that are doing it most for me.

About the label: Acryl is a deep house imprint based in Switzerland run by DJ/producer Da Funk, known to his Mum as Daniel Kneubühler. The label's website claims the idea is to release "house music [that is] deep, techy, forward-thinking and innovative" and I'd say they've pretty much nailed it. Acryl first came to my attention via the rather spiffing 5th birthday (!) label comp In The Night Vol 2, so that'd be a good place to start if you want to hear more. It's got a Harold Heath track on it, if that helps.

In the meantime, you can also check out MidiDropMusic on MySpace.

Various - The Array Vol 1

Time for some nu-disco action, pop pickers. This five-track EP is a vinyl sampler for the forthcoming The Array compilation on Nang, which on this evidence should be worth a punt.

Things kick off with a 2009 remastered version of Space's classic Magic Fly, then we head to Slovenia for spanking new cuts from Ichisan & Nakova and Sare Havlicek. Pionir from the former is fairly typical of the kind of narcotic synth-pop that makes up most of the current wave of 'nu-disco', albeit with a slightly funkier edge; White Russian (Lazy Summer) from the latter is a more downtempo affair with a Barry White-esque vocal that could see it doing duty on Dulux adverts if it's not careful. The EP then closes with Foto's No Protection, another midtempo cut with a quite 80s-sounding vocal. Foto being none other than Kevin 'DOP' Swain and chums, don't you now. Now there's a man who knows a groovy beat when he hears one (ho ho ho).

To be honest, none of the tracks here have me hitting 'repeat' constantly, but all would be more than playable in the context of a (particularly chilled) nu-disco set. It's also good to see the music spreading beyond the unholy triangle of Norway, Hoxton and the East Village… though given Slovenia's proximity to northern Italy, where all this cosmic disco shit kicked off in the first place 25 years ago, it's perhaps not surprising.

About the label: The Nang/Tirk family are, of course, some of the leading purveyors of forward-thinking, discotheque-inclined music around, and as such should need no introduction from me. It may however interest you to know that they've also got a Space 'best of' compilation in the pipeline… find out more by clicking here.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Elias Tzikas - Work To To

My notes for this say "too minimal?" so for that reason it's going on here rather than onto iDJ's house pages, but it's pretty damn good all the same. Another ultra-deep affair, with strong tech/minimal leanings, it marks this Greek producer's debut for Ireland's excellent Elevation. Work To Do itself comes in three mixes – original, Steve Ferrand and Jesus Gonsev – plus there's a bonus track, Meggie. Of the four tracks, Ferrand's rub of Work To Do is definitely the housiest and would be my pick.

About the label: Yep, it's yet another corker from Elevation Recordings (see also Soul Minority review below). In fact, it's their 40th release, so nice one chaps, keep 'em coming…

Aout 6 - Stolen Stylophone

Not much info on this one I'm afraid, but what I can tell you is that it's a nice deep chugger that neatly straddles any deep house/deep techno divide. It doesn't do huge amounts, but with its sub-aqua synth washes and rumbling bassy undercurrents, it doesn't really need to. Sofa-surfing deepness of the highest order.

As for the name, well obviously it means August 6 but whether that's a reference to the bombing of Hiroshima (August 6, 1945), the independence of Jamaica (Aug 6, 1962) or Bolivia (Aug 6, 1825) or just someone's birthday, who knows? See here for other things that happened on August 6 if you're, like, really bored.

About the label: Stolen Stylophone is on Stripped Digital, part of the Stripped family – have a look at the label profile at They're based in darkest Essex; the label's run by Southend DJ Norman H whose MySpace is here, and who used to be Jesus Jones' tour DJ, apparently. Now there's something to tell your grandkids*.

* Or rather, for Norman H to tell his. I doubt yours will be that interested. They probably won't even know who Jesus Jones were.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Chris Carrier & Jef K - Morning EP

Remember Silver Network, the French label that, between 1999 and 2006, put out tracks by Migs, Dixon, Charles Webster, Freaks, Pepe Braddock, etc? Well, they're back, and back in style with this EP that sees label boss Jef K (who's also one of the guys behind the rather good Crack & Speed imprint) teaming up with with fellow Gallic type Chris Carrier for two slices of retro disco-inspired action.

Both tracks, Morning and I'm In Love Today are sample-based, but I'll cough to being ignorant as to where the samples come from*. It doesn't really matter, cos both cut a rather fine shimmy on the dancefloor. And both come from that kind of hinterland where if this had come out on Anorak Trax or Underground Vibe ten years ago, the hipsters would have called it 'disco house' and sneered… whereas if it came out on DFA or Tirk now, suddenly it'd be 'nu disco' and they'd be jizzing in their pants. I digress. Suffice to say that, if that deep house/disco meltdown zone is where you were planning on party-starting in the foreseeable future, then these would be two extremely useful bullets for your love gun**.

Oh yeah, it's OUT THIS WEEK, as well.

About the label: So yes, Silver Network. Back. Good. Have a look their website if you like… I guess that'd make us all 'Silver surfers', eh readers? Ahem.

* Oh, apparently one's from 1979's I'm In Love by Cela, who was Italian. If that helps.

** Good God, what am I saying?

Pegasus - Pegasus

Not a lot to say about this one, it's just a nice uplifting, driving slab of chunky, slightly proggy, 99% instrumental (bar a couple of sampled wails in the middle) Brit-house with an insistent piano riff that's a safe bet for instigating some hands-in-the-air action on the dancefloor. What more do you need to know? There are three mixes but they're all quite similar, truth be told.

That sounds a bit like I'm dismissing Pegasus… but no, it's actually okay as dramatic, 'Beefa-friendly big room house goes.

About the label: Ah now you see, this is the interesting bit cos this comes atcha on Freemaison, the label run by the Freemasons AKA Phatts & Small. Whic goes to show you should never judge a record by the cheesy chart hits of its label bosses' past cos this is, as previously stated, quite good. Anyway, more info on Freemaison here.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Ken Fan - Chinese Whispers

"A tech-house bomb," it says on the hype sheet, and this is one of those all-too-rare occasions where they're not kidding.

Chinese Whispers doesn't actually DO huge amounts in any of its four mixes, admittedly. It's just a simple, lolloping house groove with some tech-y noises on top – with a neat little wiggly-wobbly rising break that I'm GUESSING may be based on some kind of crazy Oriental achromatic scale, but alternatively I could be talking completely out of my arse, which has been known. It definitely does the do, though.

Mix-wise you've got fairly self-explanatory Original, Deeper and Stripped mixes, of which I'm liking the Deeper Mix best for the somewhat Plastic Dreams-y bass stab – plus an ever-so-slightly busier rub from Hauswerks. But the more I talk about it, the more I undersell this cut's essential simplicity, so I'll shush now. Suffice to say if you dig deep house, minimal or deep, groovy techno then you need to check for this.

About the label: It's another corker from Seamless Black Label, pop kids… a label that's been doing plenty right of late. More info at their internet page.

PS Coincidentally, I got sent another track called Chinese Whispers this month, too. That one's by Sei A, is out now on Gigolo, and is all right in a minimal kinda way. But the Ken Fan record's better.

Edmund feat Karina - All These Things

Spanish producer Edmund is a rising talent who should have popped up on any self-respecting househead's radar by now. Here's his latest offering, and there's no less than eight mixes to choose from, from Gilbert Le Funk, Soul Cola, Park Street* and more, across which you'll find a dash of disco here, a dollop of funk there, a touch of jazz, er, there again… and plenty of soul throughout. Just the way we like it!

What else? Well, there's some wicked sax courtesy of one Rubén Morán, for one thing. Oh, and it's out now on Traxsource. Go seek.

About the label: This comes atcha on the aforementioned Gilbert Le Funk's excellent La Musique Fantastique label, which somewhat confusingly is based in 'Los Angeles - Madrid - Ibiza'. Jammy funkers. Find out more here.

* who incidentally are based, like TIWWD, in sunny Bristol - hello Rich!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

FREE DUBSTEP TUNES! Shorterz 99/Shorterz Pimps

Right then, some free tuneage for you! Bigger Than Barry is a new dubstep label outta Birmingham, this is their first release and they're very kindly offering their first two tracks for free, so get 'em while you can peeps!



The story here is that Shorterz will be a familiar name to those of you who are down with your Brummie bassline house, but here the boy's gone and gotten all dark and moody on yo ass inna dubstep stylee. Only with a very definite nod to the glory days of speed garage, obviously! It's interesting I think because as dubstep gets bigger we can probably expect to see a whole rash of cheeky boots like these… so for all you non-diehard headnodders, now's your chance to get in early!

About the label: Thought I'd just explained all that. Anyway yeah, look out for more from Bigger Than Barry soon, in the meantime click here for more info (it's a Facebook group BTW)

Also, cutting & pasting the links has made the fonts/colours go all funny, so sorry bout dat. Normal service will be resumed shortly.

Soul Minority - Retroplex

Had quite a few bits through on Ireland's excellent Elevation imprint in the last week or two… this one I think is out already though so it's going straight on here! Can't tell you anything whatsoever about Soul Minority but suffice to say those who've already cottoned on to Elevation's tidy line in deep house won't be disappointed, while if you haven't then now's your chance to 'wise up' as I believe they say in Ireland.

The title track here comes in three mixes, the original plus rerubs from Alex Attias and Daniel Kyo. A sparse, experimental kinda number, it's okay, though those with an aversion to falsetto vox may wish to look elsewhere. I'd plump for Kyo's rub but I'm actually preferring the two bonus tracks. Gotta Move is a deep chugger that's a solid bet for warm-up or afterhours play, but the real gem is Housemusic, which is driven by solid 4/4 kicks and oddly clap-like snares. It's one of those tracks that will only appeal to proper househeads, but drop it on the right floor and it'll slay 'em.

About the label: Elevation is probably the best deep house label out of Ireland right now, nuff said. Find 'em on MySpace here, where you can also hear Retroplex for yourself.