Saturday, 31 October 2009

Erosie - Disco Noir

A real hotch-potch of a release that fuses elements of house, techno and, yes, disco… thankfully in a way that could appeal to lovers of any of ’em rather than alienating all three.

The Original Mix of Disco Noir starts out as fairly standard post-minimal techy, slightly proggy groove; then after a big space-y build, it unexpectedly drops a fat, fat bassline in an almost Flat Eric kinda vein. Expect dancefloor whoops! The mix and mash of old skool vocal snips and proggy stabs then carries the track to the end. The Telonius Mix is driven by another, completely different huge bassline, this time inna disco stylee, and some retro piano stabs – it's got a Sneak/Carter-esque kinda vibe to it, a feeling that's heightened by the more percussive and jackin' Vincent Thomas Vocal Dub, which could have come out on Relief/Cajual in the mid-’90s, no problem!

About: This is on Swings Records, a house-oriented offshoot of Great Stuff run by Jean Claude Ades. More info at the Great Stuff website or Swings' own MySpace.

The Layabouts feat Kathy Brown – Choices

This one's been out a few weeks but had to get a mention, just for the talent roster involved. Team up Kathy Brown's legendary tonsils with The Layabouts – for me, among the best of the UK's current crop of up-and-comers on the 'deep and soulful' side of things – was a stroke almost guaranteed to bring results, n'est-ce pas?

Well, yes, but look at the remixers too! The headline for me is the inclusion of two mixes by the legend that is Jovonn. If you're an old skool garage head, then Jovonn's name on anything is cause for salivation, and his deep New Jersey-flavoured Vocal and Instrumental are no disappointment (esp the latter). That said, neither are Restless Souls' Chicago-y Vocal and Instrumental, nor The Layabouts' own Main Vocal and Sax Dub. The latter two are very contemporary-sounding and deeper than you might expect: indeed, the Sax Dub could happily fit into a minimal-y kinda deep house set. Be assured that even with Ms Brown onboard this is no Kandi-tastic screamalong!

About the label: This is on MN2s, one of the UK's finest when it comes to soulful house and latterly, with the no-longer-shouty 1Trax imprint, a good source of deeper tackle, too. Their website is 'under construction' as I write, but here's the link anyway.

Disco Discharge series

Right then, there was some confusion previously about release dates, otherwise at least one of these four albums would have gotten reviewed in iDJ. However as it goes they got sadly overlooked a few months ago when first released; now they're getting a re-issue as a whopping eight-CD boxset, so this seems like a good time to have ’em on TIWWD.

The Disco Discharge series, then, consists of four two-disc collections, each of which is fairly self-explanatory from its title (Disco Ladies, Euro Disco, Classic Disco and Gay Disco & Hi-NRG). The best thing about these albums is the spotter-friendly content: there are a few well-known tracks (the likes of More More More, Magic Fly and Got To Be Real), sure, but they're in the minority. Mostly this is far more obscure bizniss, so you can rest assured any of these albums is a cut above those £3.99 'Disco Party' CDs you see in Tesco's, and then some.

Other good things: 1. All the tracks are full-length 12" versions, and unmixed for your disc jockeying pleasure. 2. Each album comes with pretty thorough sleevenotes from Alan Jones: as per his book Saturday Night Forever, his writing style can irritate (way too many exclamation marks! Sometimes several in a row! Even when you don't need them!) but the man knows his disco onions all right. 3. Easy Going's Fear (from Euro Disco) sounds like a disco record made by Hawkwind. Which is a good thing.

If there's a criticism, well, the mysterious 'Mr Pinks' who's compiled these clearly has a penchant for big fem-vocalled stompers, which predominate throughout, with orchestral stabs and soaring strings abounding. The more esoteric or experimental sides of disco don't get much of a look in (with one or two exceptions). That said, right now the nu-disco boom has led to to a kind of musical revisionism whereby you could be fooled into thinking early ’80s leftfield synth epics from Italy were all disco was about, so this set redresses the balance nicely in that respect. Oh, and the 84 tracks also include Keep On Dancin' by Gary's Gang, which can proudly boast that it is officially My Least Favourite Record Ever.

All told, these albums will appeal most to those with extensive disco collections already. For hits you can see the 1001 budget comps sold in supermarkets; for an introduction to more obscure/underground disco, try the Disco Spectrum comps on BBE, Harmless's own Jumpin' series, or pretty much any compilation with Dave Lee's name on it. But if you've already got those bases covered and you STILL haven't got enough cowbells in your life, then Disco Discharge is a worthy investment.

About the label: The Disco Discharge series come from Harmless, which along with Strut and Soul Jazz is one of the best respected reissue imprints around. They did the Pulp Fusion and Life:Styles series, among others… see their website for more info.

Midav - Tiptoe EP

Since we seem inadvertently to be on something of a techy/proggy kinda tip, right now seems to be a good time to tell you about the Tiptoe EP from Midav. Don't know thing one about Midav but this is, as per the last couple of reviews, groovy, deep electronic music from the house/techno border zone. In this instance though there's a range of mixes on offer, from Sydney & Klod Rights, Marcello Nassi, Mile and Angel Rize – two tracks and six mixes in total.

Tiptoe itself is a rolling deep house affair with some nice St Germain-ish minor key piano chords. The Marcello Nassi mix takes it a wee bit deeper still, and then a rerub from Sydney & Klod Right takes it into darker, more techno-influenced territory. The latter mix is quite a change of mood, but it works. One Mode, meanwhile, is a more prog-tinged affair: the Original and Angel Rize mixes don't vary a huge amount, but Mile offer(s) a little more dancefloor oomph on his/her/their mix.

About the label: This is another fine release from my boy DJ Sydney's excellent tech-house label Tokyo Red. Next stop: MySpace. Which might even tell you when Tiptoe is out, cos I don't know for certain (but round about now, anyway).

Lee Jones - Yoyo EP

Lee Jones is better known as lounge/chill-out dude Hefner (not to be confused with Peel darlings Hefner, the UK indie band). He's a Brit who's lived in Berlin for seven years, and it shows, cos this EP is a three-tracker packed with the kind of 'is it house is it minimal is it techno?' deep electronic grooves with which my inbox is currently so inundated.

It has to said there's A LOT of this sort of stuff around right now, but the Yoyo EP is pretty good all the same, with three intriguingly-titled tracks – Yoyo itself, Burglarized and Closed Circus – that'll keep the dancefloors they're aimed at moving, or alternatively do sterling service as home listening. With Lee's downtempo background it's no surprise he knows a thing or too about keeping things interesting even when there's not huge amounts going on - or in other words, production-wise this is bob-on. And it's out on Nov 11, pop-pickers!

About the label: Cityfox is a brand spanking new label from the Zurich club night/collective of the same name, who can boast Seth Troxler as a resident. They say "the concept is not to have a concept, just releasing fresh electronic music with psychedelic touch, somewhere between house and techno". Sounds good me, and on the evidence of this EP I'll be keeping an ear out. Meantime here's the MySpace for Cityfox and here's another one for Lee Jones himself.

Monaque - Clocks

This comes atcha on Forensic, and you should know by now the kinda deep-meets-prog furrow that Forensic ploughs, so this won't need too much explaining. It's a two-tracker with Clocks on the A-side and Biscuit on the B: Biscuits is a nice slab of dreamaway late-night electronica, while Clocks is a bit deeper still, but also more overtly house-y and a little more textured. Both are probably best served on the sofa rather than the dancefloor, but there's nowt wrong with that.

Monaque themselves, meanwhile, are an international duo based in New York and Moscow… which is something that couldn't possibly have existed when I were a lad. Funny how things change.

About the label: Forensic, the long-running label offshoot of the Shinding crew up in Newcastle, can usually be relied on for some top-drawer material, not least because they don't seem to see a need to chuck out 17 releases a month. More power to 'em, and here's the obligatory web link, though the website doesn't seem to have been updated for over a year…

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Boy's Own: The Complete Fanzines 1986-92

A little piece of rave history, and as they were kind enough to send me a copy - it's quite good being me, sometimes - thought it had at least better get a mention on here!

Well, what can I say? In case anyone's just come in, this is the complete collection of the legendary Boy's Own fanzine, which chronicled the first wave of British rave culture and gave birth to the Boys Own/Junior Boys Own record lablels. It's just come out in hardback and it's a whopping £24.95, but if you want an actual as-it-happened account of acid house and all that malarkey, there isn't a better place to look. For anyone with an interest in dance music history, then, it's absolutely essential. Even if it is just a pile of badly typed/scrawled/photocopied 80s fanzines in coffee table form.

Even for the less trainspottery it's full of fun stuff like a 1987 article by Paul Oakenfold extolling the joys of mescalin. It's also good if, like me, you were involved in fanzines in the 80s and can remember using Ms as sideways Es when you were running out of Letraset...

Oh yeah, and you can buy it here.

The Nearly Man - Deep Down In Madrid EP

Regular readers (ha ha ha!) will know I'm a bit of a fan of Conya's techy take on deep house. Here we have a five-track EP from one Diego Sanchez Izquierdo, and the title of the EP says it all, really. Just five slabs of floor-oriented, instrumental deep house goodness with a slightly tuffer, techier twist that helps it sound very 'now'. That's all there is to say, really.

About the label: Conya comes from Germany's excellent Clubstar stable and is their outlet for all things deeper and techier. Label boss Henri Kohn is also a jolly nice chap. For more info, hit up where you'll find details of the entire catalogue, including news of the first Conya compilation.

Lee Foss - The Edge EP

Well, this is exciting: a four-track EP I genuinely don't know how to describe! Falling somewhere between deep house, deep techno and more abstract electronica, this is just great electronic music, I guess… do we really need to pigeonhole it?

I'm aware that's not that helpful, though. So if I'm gonna have a bash then Charmer and Things Fall Apart are dark, rumbling tech-house, Solo is a glitchy, more techno-inspired number while The Edge itself is a more sedate, late night listening kinda thing.

That said, though, none of said words quite do this justice. Here's how the label themselves describe this: "a deep ominous funk that combines bouncy percussion, rising bass lines, moody synths, and disembodied soul vocals...a sound influenced by the energy of 80s funk and disco, the harmony and passion of 90s R&B and New Jack Swing, and the dark corners of Detroit techno and Chicago house...and, as such, is unlike anything else"

That kinda works as well. Anyway, visit them online and decide for yourself.

About the label: This is on LA-based Culprit, who I don't know much about. Their last release, Kenneth James Gibson's Animals Tonight, was similarly quirky and appealing though (I reviewed it, though whether here or in iDJ I can't remember right now) . So let's all get better acquainted with 'em by visiting their MySpace and website.

Mic Newman – Sizzled Sally EP

Another sterling three-tracker, coming from that Sneak-ish school of deep house where neither disco nor techno is ever more than heartbeat away. The title track has pianos and 'burning' vocal snippets that give it a pleasingly old-skool ’90s flava, Elephantine is a deeper and more contemporary-sounding affair, and then 5 O'Clock is a real floor-teaser which starts as a simple locked-on, percussive groove, drops down into a relentlessly building wukka-wukking geetars and then throws the whole funk-fuelled cocktail right in your face in an energetic climax. It's the sort of tune you'd play to build energy and excitement right before your biggest tune of the night, if you know what I mean, Mr DJ.

Oh yeah, and if you must have facts and stuff, then Mic Newman is Australian, and this is OUT THIS WEEK.

About the label: This is on the excellent murmur, a label that's been so dependable for good solid grooves in the past couple of years, it's hard to believe they're only 13 releases old! If you're not up to speed with murmur I suggest you head to their website forthwith.

Palermo Disco Machine - Vesuvia

Wanna go dancing in outer space, anyone? This small but perfectly formed EP from PDM has been out for a week or so and could easily serve to future generations as a pretty much spot-on example of noughties nu-disco. Admittedly, there's no shortage of Italo/space disco vibes at the moment but I'm not grumbling when it sounds as good as this. Wibbly synths ahoy!

There's only two tracks, and they're both less than two minutes long, so I'm guessing this will be on 7-inch although they haven't actually said.

About the label:
This is on Vulture Music, which is run by no less a personage than Alain Braxe. Their MySpace says they're based in Paris but I got sent this from Berlin, so go figure. I guess that's life in the United States of Europe, innit?

Lewis Ryder - Space EP

By some lucky chance, this was next on my iTunes list after the Marcello Nassi EP (below)… I'd overlooked it before but it went so well when I heard it by accident just now that it had to get a plug on here.

Basically we're talking the deepest, grooviest techno here. I'm not much of a techno person, but if it was all like this, I would be, with trippy, ominous sub-aquatic basslines, crisp, metallic percussion and glacial synth sweeps the order of the day, all rumbling along at a brisk tech-house tempo. Lor', it's proper heads-down darkened basement bizniss guv'nor, and no mistake.

About the label: This is on Itch Records, which is a new-ish (this is their seventh release) UK label based in Surrey (with the lunatic fringe on top). Here's the inevitable MySpace link, then.

Marcelo Nassi - The Beginning EP

A three-track EP from Italy's Tokyo Red. Opening track Beating The Lungs is a deep techno affair, Rhythm Of House is, unsurprisingly, a housier little number with a spoken male vocal and closer The Beginning is, well, just a lovely lush, deep groove that doesn't really need categorising any more than that, I don't think.

Suffice to say this an EP that'll please DJs right across the deep house/tech house/deep techno spectrum. Can't tell you much about it: I do know Marcelo Nassi is from Brazil, if that helps? Other than that haven't got a huge amount to say about it but, y'know, it's good!

About the label: This is on Tokyo Red Recordings, the fledgling label run by DJ Sydney. They're only a few releases deep but every one has been a cracker so far, so if deep, techy house is your thang you'd do very well to look out for them. Here's their MySpace.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Rurals - Rural Deep Vibes Vol 2

The latest in a series of 'from the vaults' EPs from Peng featuring previously unreleased Rurals material. The other three all got reviewed in iDJ but this one came in a bit late so it's on here instead.

This time out, you get three mixes of a track called Song Of A Thousand Names, plus three other tracks, Deepflow, Darksynf and Fakecake. In its Original form, SOATN starts out deep ’n' broody then goes all jazzy/swing-y; the Just Deep and Skankly Jazz mixes then basically just take the two different elements to their natural conclusions. Fakecake and Darksynf are likeable deep house grooves, though you can see why they weren't first-stringers, to be honest; Deepflow though is a fine uptempo (for deep house) number that seems to bite the first few notes of quite a famous piano riff (caveat: it may not ACTUALLY be a sample, plus I can't recall what track said riff is from right now), and also features some rather lovely vibes (as in the instrument) in the mid-section.

All in all, it's perhaps not as strong as other EPs in the series but it's worthy of investigation nonetheless, with Deepflow and the Skankly Jazz mix of Song Of A Thousand Names particularly appealing to these ears.

About the label: Devon-based Peng shouldn't need any explaining by now, but here's the website just in case. Oh and I've just learnt that the word 'peng' can also be slang for fit, attractive, sexy etc… or for good quality dr*gs. Whether the label derives its name from either of these meanings, I know not… care to enlighten us Mr Compton?

Evans & Nyra - Bruno Series

This might have gone in iDJ were it not for the fact that no-one saw fit to provide me with a release date. Accordingly I have no idea when it's out but anyway, Bruno Series in its original form is a pleasant-enough, swing-y houser that kind of comes on like a more accessible take on the Classic vibe. It's complimented by a Steve Mac remix that toughens things up a bit and brings the stabs to the fore… I can see the point of this mix but it's the original for me, sorry Steve!

Apparently Daniel Evans is a Sheffield-based DJ while Nyra has connections with Steve Lawler's VIVA, but that's about all I know.

About the label: This is on sMACk (sic), which is Steve Mac's label and based in Brighton. Can't seem to find a website for them but here's a write-up about 'em on Swedish house site Megamind and here's Mr Mac's MySpace.

Jacob - Gems EP

Baker Street's fourth release comes from label co-owner Jacob, and is a four-track affair ploughing the usual Baker Street deep house (or should that be deep Holmes?) furrow.

The most obviously floor-friendly cut here is Diamonds, in a mix by Moodymanc, AKA Danny Ward AKA Dubble D (2020 Soundsytem bloke, drummer extraordinaire and all-round jolly nice bloke). It's all driving percussion, dreamy synth washes and phat Chi-town b-line. The Lil' Mark remix of Late Nights Early Mornings is in a similar kind of vein, while the original of Late Nights… and, finally, French Twist are more in a driftaway, sofa-surfin' kinda vein. All told it's a pretty solid EP, though a vocal track to break things up wouldn't have gone amiss.

It's all good, though… and (big drum roll) it's OUT THIS WEEK. Hurrah.

About the label: Leeds-based Baker Street have had props here before. What I didn't mention, though (cos no-one told me) is that the BS crew have quite a pedigree. Jacob himself has had releases on esteemed labels like 3am and MFF, while partner-in-sleuthing Paul Hardy runs the .dotbleep imprint for the might 2020Vision. So they should have a "clue" when it comes to house music, shouldn't they?

They've also got a very obsessive fan who phones them 20 times a day and rummages through their bins, but they don't mind. In fact, they're very fond of her. They call her their 'dear stalker'.

I'll get my cape… anyway here's their website and MySpace.

Ali King - Losing My Mind

It's all about the Marlon D & Mena Keys Club Mix here. It's a likeable enough slice of soul-infused poppy house, the sort of thing you'd really want to hear at a barbecue on a sunny afternoon, or while sat round a pool. I'm not in love with it but there are some nice synth washes which is always pleasing.

As for the rest of the mixes, which range from R&B/pop, to hip-hop (courtesy of the legendary D-Moet), to the kind of OTT 'house' (I guess), all tribal drums and OTT synth riffs, that goes down well in big American clubs where dancefloors full of muscular men dance with their shirts off… well, let's just say they're 'not for this blog' and leave it at that.

Oh yeah, and it's got Fabolous on it if that kind of thing interests you, and it's out on Nov 16.

About the label: This is on Fuego Recordings, which I was surprised to learn is a sub-label of the normally v. soulful Jellybean Recordings. Hmm.

Noise Destruction - Into Space EP

Right, sorry it's been quiet on here… been up to the eyeballs in iDJ stuff. Still am, actually. But there's just time to quickly tell you about this EP which is OUT THIS WEEK on US label Headtune Recordings.

They're billing it as "diving into techno territory" but I'd beg to differ and class it as tech-house, personally. Three tracks – Z Track 05, Into Space and Tunsa, plus remixes of the first two by Christian Malloni and Audio Soul Project, respectively. And there's not a duff cut among 'em, though the standout by far for me is the original version of Into Space, which has one of these effected vocals à la Flawless, as a narrator tells us that ever since he can remember, he's dreamed of going into space. Always a bit of a sucker for those kinda treated vox. The same vocal crops up again on Malloni's remix, naturally, but I'm less convinced by the Arabic/Afro flourishes on there so will stick with the original.

The other tracks are all instrumental, but any of ’em will keep any deeper-inclined house floor moving nicely.

About the label/artists: Don't know much about Headtunes Recordings except that they're US-based, they've been around since 2005 and they've put out tracks by the likes of Pete Dafeet and Sleazy McQueen. Here's their website. Noise Destruction, meanwhile, are DJ Z and Fakir from Serbia & Montegro and have been recording under that banner since 1992. Given the rather heavy metal-ish name and the fact they've supported the Chemical Brothers, I don't know if they're usually (or used to be) a bit harder/noiser than this, but don't let you put that off cos this EP is definitely groovy, baby.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Various - Drumpoems Verse 2

Let's be clear from the start: this is just totally brilliant. There probably isn't a better label around in deep house right now than Drumpoet Community. Strong words, I know, but just listen to this album (their second label comp) and I think you might find you agree. Lord alone knows how they do it cos they don't rely on any 'names' – the only peeps on here I've even heard of are Soultourist and Manuel Tur – but this is just 13 tracks of sheer top-quality deepness.

Let's hope we hear a lot more from Azuni, The Lost Men, Quarion, Crowdpleaser, John Daly and the rest soon, then, cos Drumpoems Verse 2 is packed with the kind of cuts that will work equally well on your home stereo, or on any deeper house floor. Think the dancefloor bounce of the East Midlands, meets the space-y feel of the very deepest vintage New Jersey garage, meets the lush pads and jazzy flourishes of the west coast… chuck in a little leftfield quirkiness, and you're in the right ballpark. St Germain's Boulevard wouldn't be a bad comparison, either.

Drumpoet's own blurb says, "Essentially it's music with soul - but don't think vocals – it's about the depth of the electronic music, and how it moves your body and soul". Which sums it up nicely, really.

About the label: As stated, Drumpoet Community is one of my fave labels right now. There are plenty of great deep house labels doing the do in the ’09 – too many to mention – but props are definitely in order for this Compost-affiliated crew outta Zurich. Here's the MySpace.

Better yet, click here to go to the Compost site and do the following: 1. Pause to admire the Siri Svegler sleeve on the front page. She may be the most beautiful woman in the whole world. 2. Click on Mail Order, then Drumpoet Community. 3. Buy everything they've ever released. I'm serious about this, BTW. Especially the Siri Svegler bit.

Various - Steppa's Delight 2

Thank God for Soul Jazz, eh? See, I do LIKE dubstep but can't really hope to keep up, what with writing about house music for a living, and being old, and stuff. So Soul Jazz's regular compilations are a godsend.

This second Steppa's Delight collection features primarily more underground names, rather than just the usual line-up of Skream/Plastician/Digital Mystikz/Burial… okay, there's a Benga track on there, and a Ramadanman/Appleblim collab, but most of the other names – Dot Dot Dash, Shed, Untold, Kutz, Octapush, Cluekid, to name but a few – are new to me. But then what do I know?

Well, what I do know is that if you want proof that dubstep is one of the most fast-evolving sounds on the planet, it's here. Just a few years ago a compilation like this would have sounded quite same-y; nowadays, however, dubstep takes in such a broad range of influences (from ambient to rave via house, techno, reggae, soul and jazz) and encompasses such a range of tempos (from chill-out to tear-out) that you're unlikely to ever get bored listening to this. Hell, you don't even have to hear it in a club for it to make sense any more! Highlights for me include the retro bleep of Dusk's Focus and the closing track Relocate by Dot Dot Dash, which kind of takes us full circle with its massive speed garage bassline; that said, there's not one of the 26 tracks that had me reaching for the button marked >>FWD (see what I did there?).

If TIWWD gave out marks this'd be a '9' at least. Maybe even a 10. And it's OUT THIS WEEK, so you know what to do! Click here to order it direct.

About the label: They've had props on here before, and so vast and varied is their output that I'd be very surprised if anyone reading this doesn't have at least one Soul Jazz album/CD in your collection. So here's the website and let's be done with it.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Danny Howells - In Black

Two Dannys on the bounce (see below)… this time it's the boy from Hastings, with a cut that's kind of techy/proggy but quite groovy, too… with just a touch of the Jean-Michel Jarres about that nagging little synth riff. It's nine and a half minutes long, over the course of which time it builds from something really quite gentle, into a stuttering, tech-fuelled monster. I'd mix out before it gets too full-on, personally, but horses for courses n' that.

Johannes Heil then turns in a remix that's a little bit deeper but, er, the promo CD keeps chewin' up so I can't tell you much about that, other than the first three minutes are quite good.

About the label: This is out on November 2 on Dig Deeper, which is Danny's own label. I once spent an afternoon round Danny's house and can confirm that he's one of those people who Knows All The Middles, who can't help jumping up and going "oh yeah and listen to THIS…" He's a genuine music obsessive with very catholic tastes and as such, Dig Deeper (which takes its name from the marathon, cross-genre sets Danny does sometimes), while still quite new, promises to be quite electic in its output, so definitely worth watching. Meanwhile for more on Danny see here.

Danny 'Buddah' Morales & Stephane K - Pleasure 31

Two well-known names outta NYC team up here for a killer slab of driving house action that's well suited for big room play without sounding horribly 'big room', if you know what I mean.

With its vaguely tribal drum beats, Pleasure 31 has a kinda mid-90s feel to it, but then mid-90s NYC is no bad place to be in my book! You could easily imagine Junior spinning this in his heyday: if you've been out clubbing lately, it's the one with the "all systems go" vocal refrain. Hand Grenade Pimps turn in a beefed-up remix that, with its techier slant, sounds a little more contemporary, while there's just a touch of Murk-iness about the way the bassline drives the Danny Buddah & Edgar Luna Re-Touch along.

Basically, then, it's a bit of a trip down house memory lane. But a very enjoyable one. And it's been out since Monday, so off you pop.

About the label: Mile End Records is a new-ish imprint based in, you guessed it… Montreal. Ha! They're just 12 releases old and have already put out tracks by the likes of Angel Moraes, Roy Davis Jr and Portugal's legendary DJ Vibe, so ones to keep an eye on, methinks. Here's their website.

Friday, 16 October 2009

4 da garage massive innit?

Okay, just really quickly cos Peep Show will be on in a minute... just been sent a link to this FREE DOWNLOAD, courtesy of those plump funsters over at Fat! mansions. It's a remix of the UKG classic Just Gets Better by TJR, it's by a Londinium-based young 'un called SUBTRKT, and it's all right y'knaa... so go grab it by clicking HERE, why don't you?

That is all.

PS (The next day) Oh and you might as well grab this freebie from Sub-Focus while you're at it.

AFMB - Here And There/AFROPTB

Right, well I've no idea when this is coming out; I've also no idea how you'd really categorise it, genre-wise, nor who's behind it. But it's really rather good so it'd be a crime for it to get overlooked.

If I give you the full track titles, Here And There (Sunshine & Rain Live Version) and AFROTB (A Friendly Ride On The Pressure Boat), you'll have more idea what's going on. The former starts as a nice slow, dreamy deep houser, with Latin-influenced percussion (lots of shakers and shuffly riddim), then slowly builds into a live, crowd-singalong version of Maze's classic Joy & Pain. It's got 'Southport closer' written all over it. The latter, meanwhile, is a jazz-inspired cover of Jhelisa's Friendly Pressure, not unlike something that might come from one of those albums of lounge-y covers of club classics (think Bare Foot, Nouvelle Vague, etc), only done in a way that's a little less throwaway - in fact, play it next to the original and it stands up very well indeed, thank you.

With Compost keeping tight-lipped about who's responsible for this release, it's something of an oddity. But a charming and highly playable little oddity nonetheless. In the imaginary laidback Sunday afternoon session in my head, these two intriguing covers are on heavy rotation already.

About the label: Compost is one of the defining nu-jazz labels and as such needs no intro here. Lately I've been feeling a lot of stuff on their Compost Black Label imprint and the affiliated Drumpoet Community - in fact look out soon for a review of the forthcoming DPC compilation - so it's good to cover something on the mothership label. Want to visit their website? Then just click here.

Kid Massive ft Elliotte Williams - Touch Me (In The Morning)

Remember Rui Da Silva's Touch Me from 2000? So does Kid Massive. In fact, he remembers it so well he's reproduced it pretty much note-for-note here, complete with a vocal from Elliotte Williams that does a similar Xerox job on Cassandra's original warblings.

I guess there are some younger punters who may not remember the original. For the rest of us, well, this kind of 'dramatic prog with slightly over-blown female vocals' has its place… that place being in Ibiza. Hear this on a crowded Iberican terrace as the sun comes up and it might well sound like the best record in the world; right now, you're left somewhat wondering what the point is. Mix-wise you get a Vocal and Dub, plus a Carl Trick Remix which is kind of halfway between the two.

About the label: This is on Roger Sanchez's Stealth label, which shouldn't really need any introduction from me. I will observe, however, that Roger is a thoroughly nice bloke, which is why I didn't want to ignore this release. The S-Man's props credit is always good round these parts.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Hollis P Monroe & Ruoho Ruotsi - Black Rhapsody EP

A four-track EP that's been out for about a week, this is unusual because it actually credits the source for its extensive spoken word samples. So when I tell you that both the title track and I Wept For You feature spoken, black consciousness vocals from African-American historian Ed Robinson, that's not me being a massive cleverclogs or anything. That's just me repeating stuff, parrot fashion. Hell, it could not even be true, for all I know. Though it's hard to see why they'd lie about it.

Sorry, rambling. Anyway, Black Rhapsody itself, from Ruoho Ruotsi, is a kind of crazy dubbed-out excursion that's more about letting the inspirational vocal be heard, while Monroe's I Wept For You is a more floor-oriented tech houser. You also get two takes on the non-Robinson-sporting The Beautiful iZi: Monroe's original, which is the closest thing here to straight-up deep house (with that funkified feel that says 'west coast', even though ex-hiphopper and sometime Prince Rogers Nelson protege Monroe actually hails from Philadelphia, I think), and a techier refix from Ruotsi.

About the label: This is on Def'child Productions, a label that formed in Montreal in 2004, has since relocated to San Francisco, and has managed to – admirably, in these over-saturated musical days – put out just 15 singles in the intervening five years. They seem quite seriously-minded peeps – just read the 'Label Philosophy' blurb on their website. I'd cut & paste it here but it'd make the fonts go all funny and I'm not starting all that again.

Huggy & Dean Newton - Spectrum

It's been eight months since I described this pair's The Dukes (in iDJ) as sounding like "the Roobarb & Custard theme reworked for a mid-90s gay club, with a hefty dose of swing added". Since then of course they've scored a reasonably-sized club hit in the shape of 747 on Subliminal and now here they are again with Spectrum, which sees the pair in slightly less obvious mode. The track has techy/proggy influences to the fore and, while still pretty 'accessible' sounding, is just a wee bit less commercial, which is a good thing methinks.

Two mixes from H&D themselves (Original and Jumbo Remix), plus a rerub from Orli & Da Ragnio, but they don't vary hugely TBH. Still, as big room, synth riff-driven floor fodder this'll do its job… and it's out this week on Supra Recordings. So there.

About the label: Supra is a proggy/borderline trance imprint out of Germany, not be confused with the French funk/soul label of the same name… and that's all I know. But here's the label's website, plus Huggy & Dean's own MySpace, should you wish to find out more.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Matthias Vogt - Hofats

After a couple of quite commercially bits (see below), let's go to the other extreme with this slab of the very deepest house/techno courtesy of Matthias Vogt, AKA one half of Motorcitysoul.

'House/techno' because, while this instrumental number would probably be filed under techno by most, it's certainly groovy enough to appeal equally to the deep house lovers. Two mixes, but the Francois Dubois re-rub doesn't really do much that different - it's just a little busier, with a slightly more shuffling, housier feel.

Not much else to say, really, except that it's out on Oct 19.

About the label: This comes on Komplex De Deep, a new-ish (this is KDD005) label run by France's Master-H. Here's their website.

Lance Ellington - Lonely 2009

Reviewed this already in the October issue of iDJ, but now it's back with a second - and vastly superior – set of mixes, so here it is again.

Any UDD™ worth his or her salt will remember this handbag classic from back in 1993. The recent Love Assassins and Big In Ibiza mixes were okay in a cheesy/commercial kinda way, but here you get far better rubs from Stonebridge and Joey Musaphia, plus a mix that's called, somewhat confusingly, the Original NY Mix - I say 'confusingly' cos as far as I can make out, this came out first time around on RCA, Big Beat and Media, but there wasn't an NY Mix on any of 'em. Hmm.

Anyway, the Original NY Mix is more or less fromage-free (unless you're of the "eurgh, there's someone singing, that's cheesy, I only like Aphex Twin" school of thought) and, unsurprisingly, in an early ’90s NY garage kinda style (maybe it was made at the time but not released, or something?). Joey gives it a more up-to-date, slightly funkier but also deeper refix with some LUSH pads, while Stonebridge goes completely organ-tastic with a mix that wouldn't sound out of place on Ecko (who I notice are actually calling their particular brand of Show Me Luvved-up bassline, 'organ house' these days).

All told, then, this won't win any hip, cool or cred points. But for those whose handbag cravings never went away, then this is exactly what you need (got what you need, etc).

About the label: Big In Ibiza is of course the currently most active incarnation of the Media/Nukleuz/UMM stable. Usually Big In… rattles back and forth between dodgy electrohouse from the likes of Chris Mimo and Fonzerelli, and naff-but-forgivable* covers of club/rave anthems from days gone by. However I can't help noticing that, what with this and Rachel Barton's Giggle, they're doing some all right stuff lately. Leave your prejudices at the door, please. Oh yeah, and here's the obligatory MySpace link.

*except the Hurt You So one, for which someone should be taken outside and shot.

dub KULT - I Know You Want Me EP

The label themselves describe this as "an unlikely combination of classic Chicago booty house and London dubstep, with an underpinning of Berliner minimal techno". Which is as good a way of saying 'it all sounds a bit like a slightly slower DJ Rush record' as any, I guess.

Don't get me wrong, though, I quite like DJ Rush – if I was a different sort of writer I'd use words like 'primal intensity' and 'visceral thrills' – so I quite like the three tracks here, too. Booty Snatch is the track with the most obvious dubstep influence in its use of in-your-face, parping bass; In Tune 2009 comes more directly from the juke/ghetto tech/Miami bass continuum (and was apparently first out in 1998) while I Know You Want Me, with its counterpointed droning male/pitched up female voices and techno kicks, is a more overtly 2009-sounding number infused with a pop sensibility that reminds me of Tiga (and not just cos of the title).

Erm… I should probably compare it to other dub KULT records, cos I am aware he's been around for quite a few years, but I haven't really heard/paid that much attention to most of his other stuff, TBH. Sorry. I do know he's had stuff out on Traum Schallplatten and Veryverywrongindeed, though, and here's a like to his MySpace as well.

About the label: This is on Living Records, who are a UK-based label and beyond that, again, I must confess my ignorance. If you came to this blog looking for a goldmine of cutting-edge dance music information, then with this entry what you've found instead is a barren stream with one crazed old-timer still desperately panning for nuggets that aren't there and saying things like 'varmint', 'critter' and 'dangnabbit'. Doh. What I can do though is provide links to Living's MySpace and website. Will that do?

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

DJ Lazz & Monsieur AL feat Robina - Grand Designs

Calling this borderline cheese might even be an understatement; it's about as commercial an offering as I hope will ever grace the pages of ThisIsWhyWeDance. BUT I'm a sucker for soft, breathy female vocals of the ilk that Robina delivers here, so it's going in. So there.

There are seven mixes in total. The Original and Audio Affinity mixes do that kind of Ibiza-esque commercial/
proggy/whooshy/uplifting thing, and come with an accompanying Dub and Radio Mix. The Soulful Mix is a slightly deeper pass (but only in comparative terms, it's still pretty cheesy TBH), DJ McG & DJ Clermont Ferrand's mix has some old skool pianos and string stabs and would be my pick for peaktime play, while Kristof Tigran's Dark Room Mix could work in, well, big dark rooms.

Like I said, it's cheesy, but not without appeal on the basis of that voice and an overall dreamy, soaring, dancing-in-the-sunshine kinda feel. If you secretly quite liked Milky's Just The Way You Are you'll know what I mean. Don't fear the fromage!

Oh, and you can HEAR IT at DJ Lazz & Monsieur AL's MySpace.

About the label: Grand Designs comes atcha on Grooveland Records, a new-ish house label specialising in the more commercial end of things, run by two guys called Emil & Markus, and based just down the road from TIWWD in Cardiff. Here's their MySpace.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Karol XVII & MB Valence - Mushroom Soup/Shameless

Not one but two releases this month from this currently very prolific Polish duo, who are definitely ones to watch at the deeper end of the house spectrum.

Both Mushroom Soup and Shameless are OUT NOW, the former on Peppermint Jam, the latter on Seamless Black Label. Mushroom Soup comes in four mixes, including the slightly proggy Mushroom Mix and the more late-night, wonkified Spiced Up With Pepper Mix, plus a slightly more mainroom-friendly rub from Rulers Of The Deep. Shameless is in a similar vein overall - to wit, post-minimal deep house with slight prog leanings – and again comes in four mixes, of which my pick would be Mark Lowry's rub, which has a slightly groovier, almost old-skool deep New Jersey feel to it.

About the labels: Seamless Black Label I've propped on here loads, suffice to say they're one of my fave labels right now, while Peppermint Jam should need no introduction, having been pushing house music in Germany since the days when the rest of their countrymen were still obsessed with jackhammer techno. Website for SBL here and MySpace for Peppermint Jam here.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Various - 9 (Classic)

Carter & Solomon's Classic remains one of the best-loved labels in UK house history, so this new remix series is bound to get a few musical tastebuds watering. The series kicked off with the 10 EP a bit since, and now here's volume two in the series, numbered 9 in classic Classic 'countdown' fashion.

The tracks getting the remix treatment this time are Roy Davis Jr's About Love, Lil' Mark's At That Place, Isolee's and Robbie Hardkiss's Everything Is Changin', which get reinterpreted inna 2009 stylee by Bearweasel, Lil' Mark himself (with the remix entitled At That Cafe), Ajello and Brian Heath, respectively. The remakes all fit within Classic's typical remit of a slightly off-kilter brand of deep house, though – as intended – with a more contemporary feel., for instance, now has a little added nu-disco sheen (and, like many of the first-gen rerubs, loses that long, 'difficult' intro). Heath's Double-Punch Mix of Everything… beefs up the kicks for a more immediate, techno feel, though to my mind loses some of the shizoid charm of the disco-boompty original. Bearweasel's Linear Dub of All About Love is a very now-sounding piece of deep house that to me beats any of the mixes first time around except possibly Isolee's. And as for About That Cafe, well I don't seem to have (and don't, TBH, recall) the original but this version is a very European-sounding piece of deep house/cosmic action that, for some reason, makes me want to shoot comedy spy thrillers in Paris.

All told, this is a release that Classic lovers won't want to miss. It had me running off to the Expedits to dig out the originals, and I'm happy to report these rerubs more than hold their own, particularly in the case of the Bearweasel mix.

About the label: Oh come on. Another label that needs no introduction from me, but here's the MySpace anyway (they don't seem to have an actual website at the mo') and, just in case you DO need to bring yourself up to speed, the Classic catalogue at Discogs.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Julian Sanza - Hanging Out With Dimitri EP

Julian Sanza is, of course, one half of 2020Vision stalwarts Silver City, AKA The Spirals when they're doing stuff for Soma, which gives you a pretty good idea of the kind of quality deep house to expect here. A Cumbachero ain't nothin' but a rumbling, sub-aquatic groove, Nada Personal is a more lively affair with tripped-out, spacey disco overtones, Maldito Dimitri is an altogether more bumpin' ride and Villa Crespo brings the EP to a close on a slightly mellower, more downtempo tip. And, like those American chappies say, it's all good. Oh yeah, and it's out now and you can hear it/buy it here.

About the label: Lost My Dog has done a pretty good job of building itself a rep as one of the UK's most dependable deep house imprints. The label's based in County Durham, run by Pete DaFeet, Ian 'Kahua' Straker and chums, and can be found online here.

Also look out for the new series of Lost My Dog 'Connect' events, where top DJs/producers/milk float mechanics will be hosting Q&A/advice sessions across the country. The first one's at Swag in London in November - more details nearer the time.

House Session 3 - Large Music

Germany's Soulstar release the third in their House Session series of label showcase compilations. After excellent sets from Transport and Seasons, this time it's the turn of Chicago-based Large Music.

There are 24 tracks in total: 12 on CD1 which is mixed by Large boss Jeff Craven, and then, somewhat unusually, 12 completely different tracks presented in their full-length, unmixed glory on CD2. And as Large has now been in existence for some 12 years, you should know what to expect: sultry deep house from the more soulful end of the spectrum. Or soulful house from the deeper end of the spectrum, I guess.

With names like Chuck Love, Dennis Ferrer, Gene Farris, RaSoul, Julius Papp, Halo & Jay-J, Scott Wozniak and Black Beat Niks, House Session 3 won't disappoint, either. It's not the most varied of albums, admittedly, nor the hippest right now, but if deep soulful grooves are your thing there's plenty to love here, with a nice upfront collection including Ethan White & Marie Tweek's Don't Tell Me You're Sorry, for all those who were wondering what the former Rurals songstrel would be up to next.

About the label: As stated, Large has been going since 1997 and putting out a damn fine line in house music since the get-go. More info here. Or for more on Soulstar click here.