Thursday, 31 December 2009

2009: The labels, and thanks!

Right, we're nearly at the end of our 2009 round-up… and nearly at the end of 2009, come to that!

What's been most interesting about doing this round-up has been looking back and going, fuck, there was a lot of great music this year! And some of those responsible – again with the emphasis mostly on the newer names, in no order and with no overall winner – were:

Deep Class
Drumpoet Community
Acryl Music
Lost My Dog
Compost Black Label
Bounce House
So Sound
Star-Fi Recordings
Seamless Black Label
Front Room
Baker Street

I'm sure I've forgotten loads but those are some of the labels I've been feeling the most in 2009, as well as the bigger/more established names like Salted, MN2S, Purple Music, Get Physical, Crosstown Rebels and Gigolo who've all had good years. Special mention also to Soul Jazz and BBE for some great compilations, and to the mighty King Street Sounds for keeping the true house music flag flying like no other!

And finally, this is the last post of TIWWD's first year, so now seems like a good time to give a shout to those whose support for this fledgling, spasmodic and extremely self-indulgent blog has been muchly appreciated! Thanks go to everyone who sends me tunes, of course, but mostly they're sent for my iDJ attention: the following have been, more particularly, supportive of this blog and/or have helped in some way to make it happen. So,

Ian Straker @ Kahua, Jon Bishop @ MeOnTheDancefloor, John Bourne, Massive G (Mystikos Quintet), JV Chamary, Matthew Bandy, Ruoho @ Defchild (don't worry it's coming!), all the PRs, labels and artists who said thank you for a TIWWD review instead of whining that it didn't go in iDJ, speaking of which Chris K for not vetoing the idea in the first place, YOU for reading of course especially my 10 (count 'em!) loyal followers, and last but not least my man JoeB @ King Street, without whose encouragement I might never have got this blog off the ground.

Right, that's it from me for 2009! Big love and a happy new year to one and all – see ya on the other side.

2009: The producers

Next up, the TIWWD roster of those that rocked it in 2009. Note that I've stuck pretty much to breakthrough artists here, so no disrespect to the more established players.

Some of these haven't appeared in the singles/albums lists cos it wasn't so much one tune that did it as just being consistently great… oh and this time I'm not gonna pick an overall ARTIST OF 2009, either. They're all winners…

If there was gonna be a winner, Edmund might well be it. Start paying more attention to this superlative producer now!

Karol XVII & MB Valence
A Polish duo who came out of nowhere and were consistently on fire throughout the ’09.

The Rurals
RIP, sort of, but here for the series of Rural Deep Vibes and Rural Disco Vibes EPs, which were just ace. Look out for the soon-come Rural Soul LP.

Short Bus Kids
Two of the best producers in deep house right now, no question, and getting more eclectic as they get more confident, it would appear. Blow And Hos is still my fave, though. Bumpin'!

Maya Jane Coles and Hannah Holland
A joint mention for the two new 'first ladies of tech-house' (bleurgh). That said, don't overlook Rachel Barton, either.

I Am The Woodstar
Pushing house and techno in strange new directions all year. Check the Linda Kasabian Talks EP, in particular.

Andrew Phelan, Origami & Brown
Released lots of stuff in various combinations this year: up there with Short Bus Kids as the new dons of the left coast

Ntanos & V. Sexion
Two Greek deep/tech house producers who've recently caused serious blips on the TIWWD radar, and a top tip for 2010. Check the Fault Day EP.

And, I did say we were gonna focus on new names but shouts out to Kerri Chandler, Dave Lee, DJ T, Faze Action, Yousef, Matthias Heilbronn, Steve Mac and Ralf Gum, who all had pretty good 2009's, too…

2009: The Albums

So, albums that rocked TIWWD's world this year, then… artist albums first:

Faze Action - Stratus Energy

(Faze Action)

Tiga - Ciao (Wall Of Sound)

Liquid Stranger - The International Slapstick (Interchill)

Filipsson & Lindblad - A Splendor In The Grass (Nang)

Mystikos Quintet - Wup Bup

(Jersey Blu)

Snuff Crew - Snuff Crew (Gigolo)

Joey Negro & The Sunburst Band - The Remixes (Z Records)

Kikumoto Allstars - House Music (Gigolo)

Namito - 11 (Kling Klong)

ATP - Energy Currency (Vibration Records)

The XX - xx (Young Turks)

But there can be only one, as the saying goes… and while the Faze Action, Liquid Stranger and Kikumoto Allstars albums all got mucho plays, without doubt the ALBUM OF 2009 for me was

The Phenomenal Handclap Band – The Phenomenal Handclap Band (Tummy Touch)

Just ace. Rooted in disco but eclectic in the extreme, this was like the sound of the 1970s rolled into one glorious mirrorball. Saw them live and they were ace, too. If you can't be arsed scrolling down, here is what I said back in June. Still stand by every word.

Dance music revolves as much around compilations and mix albums as it does artist full-lengths, though, so here's the TIWWD selection for 2009

DJ Spinna presents The Boogie Back (BBE)
Horse Meat Disco (Strut)
Deep House Part 1 (Soulstar)
Cielo: Playtime (Tommy Boy)
Liquid Allsorts (Allsorts)
In The Night Vol 2 (Acryl)
Kevin Saunderson: History Elevate (KMS/Fabric)
This Is What The Universe Sounds Like (Universal Vibe)
Locked In The Vinyl Cellar: Joey Negro (Z Records)
Singles 2008-2009 (Soul Jazz)
West Coast Wanderers (Peng)
House Session Vol 3 (Large)
One Dub (Interchill)

But again, there can be only one winner, and the COMPILATION OF 2009 gong has to go to:

Drumpoems Volume 2 (Drumpoet Community)
The Compost-related Drumpoet Community outta Munich has been one of my favourite labels this year. If you want to know why, check for this completely blimmin' brilliant album showcase. If you claim to love house music, you need this in your life, end of!

2009: The Tunes

Good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the least eagerly anticipated year review thingummy since that family newsletter you get every Xmas from the people you lived next door to in 1974. Truly it's a show with pretty much nothing, not even Yul Brynner.

See, I had all sorts of big high-falutin' plans but you know how it is… still, it IS the end of the year so as TIWWD approaches its first birthday, it would seem a little bit remiss not to do some sort of obligatory looking back thing. I'm not gonna attempt the whole decade, cos that'd be too much like hard work, but here's some of the tunes, people, albums and labels that have made 2009 a better place to be for me:

Let's start with some tunes that haven't been mentioned on here before cos I reviewed them in iDJ:

Chieko Kinbarra - Changed My Life (King Street)
Daley Padley & Fribbs - Open Minds (Phonetic)
Jamie Jones - Summertime (Crosstown Rebels)
Chris Wadsworth - Mainline (Hypercolour)
Marshall Jefferson pres Ragtyme - Raindance (Z Records)
Joe & Will Ask - Fabric Of Win (Gulp)
Dave Storm - Acid Bath (Cabrio)
Martin Eyerer & Benno Blomme - Pianoroll (Great Stuff)
This Is Massive - Still Hope For Jackson (Hysterical)
Akabu - Sax My Bitch Up (Z Records)
Dennis Ferrer - Hey Hey! (Objektivity and then Defected)
Stephanie Cooke - Thinkin' I'm Beautiful (King Street)
Freaks - U Make No Sense (Crosstown Rebels)
Full Intention - Once In A Lifetime (Full Intention)
Siopis - Really Love Ya (Get Physical)
Goshi Goshi - The Lock Shot (Southern Fried)
Cut La Rock - Classic (Rocstar)
Snuff Crew - Berghain (Gigolo)

Next, some tunes that WERE covered on this very blog:

Brown & Andrew Phelan - Gimme A Beat (Prismatic Tracks)
Divas Of Color - One More Time (King Street)
Dekata Project - The Viral EP (Doshiwa)
Time & Space Machine - Children Of The Sun (Tirk)
Skism - Rise Of The Idiots (Wicky Lindows)
The Layabouts feat Kathy Brown - Choices (MN2S)
Forensics - Exile (Eight:FX)
Ralf Gum & Monique Bingham - Little W.12th Street (GOGO Music)
Juan Atkins & Kimyon - Work For Money (All About)
Rene Breitbarth - It's All About Doris EP (Deep Data)
YSE - A Life Sentience EP (Lost My Dog)

Right this is taking up more space than I thought, so I'm gonna break it up I think. But before I go, let's have an overall winner. Tune of the year? Well the YSE and Siopis singles are both pretty damn freakin' brilliant but they're a bit too new to call… and the Goshi Goshi tune has had lots of rinseage round TIWWD Mansions but it is a bit silly, innit? So the TUNE OF 2009 AWARD has to go to…

Polar Pair Vs Atlantis – This Is What Happens
This Underground Resistance track came on like Gil Scott-Heron making deep techno and has had probably more plays by me than anything else this year. Just awesome – and sadly overlooked it would appear. So hunt it down.

Oh and do you get the picture at the top now? I don't need drugs, I'm crazy enough as it is, etc. Next, albums…

**UPDATE! As you'll see from the Comments, below, the label kindly got in touch with a link so you can HEAR THIS for yourself - just click here

Monday, 28 December 2009

Fusion F & Come T - World EP

Previous releases from this Polish duo have apparently found favour with the likes of Digweed, Fanciulli, Cattaneo and Warren. That, coupled with the fact that the World EP is on What Happens, should give you some idea of what to expect: deeper vibes from the prog/tech end of the spectrum.

Panama is indeed a deep, rolling groove in classic proggy style, that reminds me a little of Age Of Love. Siberia is a little more contemporary-sounding/Berlin-ish, being an altogether sparser affair topped off with rather disconcerting spoken male vocal samples (eg, “just to give you one last joyful memory before you die”). Y’know when you hear a mix album by the likes of Howells or Lawler, or indeed the aforementioned Hernan C, and the first half-hour is always nice deep vibes? Well, that’s the kind of tackle we’re talking about here. And it’s out on Jan 11.

About: What Happens is the label run by Tim Andresen – perhaps Denmark’s biggest DJ, and a former iDJ correspondent don’tchaknow? – with a neat line in tech-house and deep prog. More info at their website and they've also got a MySpace where you can HEAR THESE TRACKS.

Various - Relations EP

This is a digital-only label sampler from murmur, the still-relatively-newish London-based imprint run by Geddes, the young producer who as I recall still had a first name when he used to work in PR. It’s a five-track affair, with five different artists involved, and it’s well worth investigating.

Talking Props, AKA Brazilian newcomer Diogo Accioly, delivers a real deep house gem in the form of Catraio, while Tom Demac and Mic Newman serve up a couple more decent deep groovers, to wit Find Another and The LOVELY Whore (their caps) respectively… the former continuing the recent trend towards the return of soulful vox, the latter having just the tiniest hint of the E2:E4’s about it. Geddes’s own Rom is quality, too, blurring the boundaries between jazzy house and minimal, and then Inxec & Matt Tolfrey drop a seriously, seriously deep dub techno bomb called Decisions (with the emphasis on the dub).

In fact, so high is the quality on offer here that picking a favourite is nigh-on impossible. Right now Inxec & Tolfrey are edging it but that’s probably just cos it’s Sunday morning as I write this… overall though there’s plenty of delights on offer and it’s only been out since Dec 16 so it’s still pretty fresh. Go seek.

About: murmur opened for business in 2008, and have since put out stuff by the likes of Bearweasel, Inxec & Matt Tolfrey and Nima Gorji. You can find out more by visiting their website.

The Runners/Enzo Siragusa - Various Artist EP

One of my most favouritest records in the entire history of the whole world ever ever EVER is Kingdom Come’s Groovy Baby, which came out on the legendary (and now revitalised) Strobe Records back in 1992 – a slab of deep house/deep garage that’s so unutterably soothing and beautiful it does funny things to my spine.

I mention this cos for the first couple of minutes, Siragusa’s Himba Raindance sounds just like it… and I don’t mean that in a bad “it’s-a-rip-off” way, I mean in a good “okay so it’s the same piano chords but basically can more people make more records like this, please?” way. It then goes a bit more Balearic-y but that’s okay, for once the hand percussion does actually add something to the track and the chants are used deep in the mix, not right up in your face… think somewhere around classic Orb, A Man Called Adam or A Certain Ratio’s ACR:MCR album, and you’re in the right ballpark.

Yeah, generally speaking Himba Raindance is purr-retty damn spiffing in my book. Which this review is rapidly turning into. So just quickly, the other half of this split EP comes from The Runners (AKA Luke Turner and Kevin Cook), and it’s called Ushuaia, and it’s kinda similar and very nearly as good, except here the Afro chants don’t work quite as well…

About: This is on Welt Sounds, run by Nima Gorji, and it came out on Dec 20 when most of us were thinking more about buying Christmas presents and cranberry sauce and stuff. Find them on Facebook here or on MySpace here. Enzo Siragusa, meanwhile, is the man behind the Fused parties, which are held in that London on a Sunday and which I’m told are rather popular.

Various - Platform B #11

Right, first of all, I categorically refuse to believe that Disco & Martini, whose contribution to this four-track EP is the excellent Flatliner, are actually called Gilbert Martini and Joseph Disco. I bet they’re really called Kevin Nogglethwaite and Damian Dull, or something.

We’ll let ’em off though cos Flatliner is ace, the kind of chunky groover that straddles, nay completely ignores the house/techno divide like a young East German in a bad anorak dancing atop the Berlin Wall in 1989. It’s tailor-made for Ibiza terraces but it’ll rock pretty much any spot, to be fair.

Label boss Luetzenkirchen also chips in with two tracks, I House You and Say Say Say, both of which operate in similar territory to Flatliner, albeit they’re perhaps a bit housier (and there’s thankfully no Fab-Macca-Wacky-Thumbs-Aloft samples in the latter, in case you were worried). And finally a little number called Canciones De La Selva rounds out the EP, another Iberican-terrace-friendly, housey-techno-y affair with sparingly used spoken Spanish vox, a fat-ass, hip-shakin’ bassline and some weird out-there noises for people on drugs.

Incidentally I only just recently found out about the whole ‘death of the umlaut’ thing (as in, for instance, why Luetzenkirchen isn’t called Lützenkirchen any more), and I was a bit upset about the whole thing. Come on Germany what are you playing at?! What are shit American heavy metal bands gonna do for that added hint of Teutonic menace in their names, now? Go round calling themselves Gilbert Virgindefiler and Joseph Thorhammer, I guess.

About: This has been out since Dec 14 (I’m so behind the times) on Platform B, which is Luetzenkirchen’s own Great Stuff-affiliated imprint: more info here.

Jellybass - No Love

No idea when this is coming out, but if you like reggae/dub-tinged vibes it’s well worth checking. Despite the somewhat bizarre lyrical references to buying your Mum flowers for mother’s day.

The original is a slo-mo steppa with a toasted vocal from Brother Culture. Think Dub Pistols in skankin’ mode and you’ll know the kind of, er, ting. If the original’s not floating the proverbial boat, however, then you’ve a fair choice of remixes. Jazzsteppa drags No Love into the murkier, sub-heavy realms of dubstep, as does Caper who provides both vocal and instrumental rubs. Finally, the US of A’s DJ Love infuses the original with some party/big beat-style breakbeats and a light dose of very silly scratch noises, the result being a track that’s more summer barbecue japery than red-lit underground dancefloor, but useful nonetheless.

About: This on Ali B’s Air Recordings, about whom you can learn more by clicking here.

**UPDATE 31/12: Just had an email from the Jellybass chaps AKA Joe & Chix, who've kindly sent a link so you can HEAR THIS for yourselves... thanks, Jellybass chaps!!

Monday, 21 December 2009

Santorini - Double Face

Proper underground house bizniss! And I'm tempted just to stop there, but it'd look funny so…

This EP, which is OUT THIS WEEK, features two mixes of the title track, and two of Before The Flight. The original of Double Face boasts shuffly percussion, some nice Jersey organ stabs and some stabby/snippeted male vox… it's a heads-down groove that will appeal most to the classic garage heads, while the Oner & Conyu Remix gives it a slightly more contemporary, one-eye-on-Berlin kinda feel as well as adding a crazy JBs-ish funk break halfway through.

Before The Flight is more percussive, and most noteworthy for the chopped-up bits of a chorused female vocal that reminds me a bit of (but isn't) Black Masses' My Heavenly Stars. There's some sax doodles and some very sparing organ, too. And finally Bologna newcomer UES remixes Before The Flight and takes it a little deeper, in that he loses some of the clattery percussion (but also the organs, unfortch).

About: This is the third release on Fabio Giannelli's fledgling District Raw Recordings out of Italy, following previous singles from Yakine and Giannelli himself. Evidence so far suggests it's a label to watch for… so hit up their MySpace why dontcha, where you can also HEAR the tracks on this EP (well most of 'em, anyway)

More free tuneage!

Must be cos it's Xmas but the free downloads keep coming… this one's from Norway's up-and-coming electro-poppers The New Wine, as remixed by rising nu-disco stars mIGHTY mOUSE.

As you'll hear if you visit The New Wine's MySpace, the remix doesn't do huge amounts different but it does give the track a certain discotheque sheen the original didn't really have. I can't say it's my favourite track du jour or anything, but mIGHTY mOUSE are certainly worth keeping an eye on, given the sheer quality of their recent Disco Circus comp on Music Response (which you should definitely check, if you haven't already – yours truly gave it 9/10 in the last issue of iDJ, for what that's worth).

Anyway, I THINK it's all right to post this – the email did say 'please distribute this track freely' - so here's the YouSendIt link.

Thanks to Joe @ Leyline for sending this through. Oh yeah, and here's a link to The New Wine's very own blog so you can find out more, too.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Miss Mee & Lloyd Kenny - Rhythm Is Our Business EP

A four-tracker here, with two apiece from label boss Miss Mee (that's her on the right, and she's from Belgium) and newcomer Lloyd Kenny (who's from Ireland).

It caught my eyes immediately cos we used to have a maths teacher called Mr Mee when I was in first year at school. He was quite young and we made his life a misery as I recall. A particular favourite was to go before the lesson, "Right lads, 10.23 on the dot, everyone stand up and sing I Don't Wanna Dance." And this being the early 80s, we'd synchronise digital watches and at 10.23 we'd all stand up and sing I Don't Wanna Dance. Or one time we did I Love Rock N' Roll instead. Oh yeah and the England World Cup song as well. Looking back, poor Mr Mee must have gotten pretty sick of it. But it was funny at the time and to be fair, we were only 11 years old. Sorry, Mr Mee… you were a good bloke really.

Just thought I'd share that. The record? Okay, well, various shades of house basically: from Kenny, Drops is a bit too techy and bleepy for me, but The Yodel is funkier, in a Sneak-ish kinda style with a rolling b-line, a looping vocal snip and some Negro-esque space disco stabs. Mee's Venezuelaos Canta is an ethno-house thing and not for me either, but then the title cut brings things to a fine close with its jaunty jazz swing and uber-catchy "Rhythm is our business/rhythm is what we sell" vocal hook. Think Classic, basically, but there's nowt wrong with that.

About: This came out on Dec 14 on Patsada, which is Miss Mee's own label. Find out more at her MySpace. You can HEAR Drops and Venezuelaos Canta while you're there, and you can also find a Miss Mee profile at the Stanton website.

Dave Allison - That Sensation

Funny, cos while this four-tracker is titled That Sensation, you only get one mix thereof, and three of the other track, Y'All See. Just when you think you've seen it all. What next? Street signs – indoors? A moose... wearing SUNGLASSES?!

Anyway, That Sensation, then, is a nice bubbly, funkfied slab of deep house. Y'All See, meanwhile, is based around a "music… y'all see?" vocal sample and comes in Original, Tom Lown Remix and Sean Thomas Drumsong Dub forms. The original is tuff n' dubby, Lown's rub is a little techier and more percussive, Thomas's is more outright housey and probably my pick of the three.

And it's good and it came out on Monday. So there.

About: Dave Allison is from Montreal, and the owner of Kinjo Records. Tom Lown is a new UK talent who's had stuff out on Lost My Dog. Sean Thomas is from Philadephia: he runs a night called Drumsong and a label called Sound Between Movement, and had had stuff out on DiY Discs.

Warmth, meanwhile, is a Brooklyn-based label that's not put anything out since 2003. But now they're back! back! BACK! with That Sensation being their first new material after making their back cat available digitally in 2008. I'm told there's plenty more to come. Find out more at MySpace

(PS The street sign/moose thing… it's from The Simpsons, the one where Moe turns Moe's Tavern into a family restaurant. Just in case you were wondering.)

Scott Langley - Moody Man/Change Your Mind

This is the latest from London DJ, producer, family man and all-round good egg Mr Langley, and it's just come out (Dec 14) so is still pretty fresh…

It's on Plastica, which while having quite a varied output, does tend towards the proggier/techier end of the house spectrum, and suffice to say that this release from Scott is right at home on the label. Change Your Mind is a blippy tech-house affair with a disembodied spoken vocal and nice crunchy percussion, while Moody Man is another fairly driving tech-houser with pretty busy drums.

All told it's decent floor fodder, but news reaches that Scott has also been busy in the studio with some of the biggest divas in dance music, including Stephanie Cooke and Dawn Tallman: now those tracks should be something special…

About: Plastica is based in Milton Keynes and this is their 43rd release… more info here though it looks like they've not updated the website in a while! Meanwhile you can find out more about the ever-prolific Mr Langley on his website or MySpace.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

FREE! Grant Dell reggae mix

More uncostly musical delights for ya… this time in the form of a rather splendid reggae mix. It's been put together by tech-house chappy Grant Dell (AKA Chicago Transit Authority) and is brought to you by the generous peeps at Swag, one of London's most iconic record stores, by way of celebrating their 16th anniversary.

To grab your righteous goodness, just visit the Swag forum by clicking here (you don't have to sign up or anything)… irie!

FREE! 'Inner City Life' remix by SBTRKT

A month or two ago I posted a link on here to a SBTRKT remix of TJR's Just Gets Better… well, not content with refixing classic UKG, the blighter's now gone and fiddled about with Goldie's timeless (ha!) D&B anthem Inner City Life as well.

To download it for nish pence, go to the Fat! Club download page at

That is all.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

YSE - A Life Sentience EP

It's records like this that make it all worthwhile. You've had a tiring, stressful day, it's freezing… you come home, stick on this unassuming-looking promo and – hey! – suddenly everything's right with the world.

This EP consists of four tracks, which I'd describe as being… well… they're a little too tough to be classed as straight-up soulful house, but a little too lush and musical to fit into that gloriously stripped-down box I like to call tech-soul either. So let's settle for calling this just classy electronic house music dripping in soul, shall we?

Worry, with a quality male vocal from Beckford, is the standout cut, and is presented in two mixes, the original and a slightly dubbier DJ Bene Remix, though the latter's only on the digital release. This is closest to tech-soul/NJ garage territory, with a little bit of west coast bump and a touch of Chi-town whoomp… and it's frankly just awesome. It's like musical Night Nurse for your weary inner being: not in the sense that it sends you to sleep, I hasten to add, just in the sense that it makes everything better!

Moving on, Things Never Said brings more of that bumpin' left coast vibe, this time with just some vocal snips atop the slightly squelchy synths and midtempo but still danceable beats. And finally there's Disappear, which is more your straight-up late night deep house vibe but still excellent, with some fluttering geetars sat nicely back in the mix and spoken vocals encouraging your brain to drift off…

Anyway, I've banged on for long enough, suffice to say this record is completely ace and your life will be better if you own it! Lucky that it's OUT THIS WEEK, then.

About: This is yet another belter from Lost My Dog, further cementing their position at the very top of the UK deep house tree… although that's a bit of a horribly mixed metaphor, isn't it? Cos if I was at the top of a tree, cement is the last thing I'd want to be carrying around. Anyway you know what I mean, and if you don't then I suggest you visit and get yourself an education pronto, Tonto.

Martijn - Circus Dubs EP

This is billed as "a blend of deep and tech house with a splash of carnival flavour," which sums it up quite nicely.

Not being a huge fan of ethno-flavours of house, lead cut Carnival was never gonna be my fave rave of the month, but it's insistent, er, carnival-esque rhythm and peculiar chant/scat vocal will certainly get those booties shaking. It comes in three mixes (Original, Dub, Paul Hardy Remix) but they don't vary huge amounts TBH. Meanwhile you also get Perazzo K, this time credited to Martijn & Chris Luke, and again coming in three mixes, from Tom Davis, Martijn and Chris Luke. This time, though, the remixes do vary considerably.

The Martijn Remix does a similar percussion-led carnival-type thing to the first track, Chris Luke's Dark Dub is a deep/tech affair… but by far and away the best track on the EP for me is the Tom Davis Mix, which is just six minutes and 13 seconds of sheer deeeeep delight. With a bottom end that'll fill any room and pads to die for, plus some eerie Western-style twangs, this is pure quality.

And it's OUT THIS WEEK, too. Hooray!

About: This is the latest from Leeds-based Baker Street Recordings. Martijn and Tom Davis both hail from Newcastle, while Paul Hardy is one-half of Holmes & Watz, who also happen to own and run the label. Get the full Baker Street story (and hear clips of all their shizzle, too) here.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Various - Do You Want A Rose? EP

Another new-ish label gets its first dose of TIWWD love! This time, the label in question comes from Italy, and is called Blackrose Records. You can see what they've done with the EP title, then.

Do You Want A Rose? features five tracks from five different producers. Of those five, I'd only heard of V.Sexion before, but as I seem to recall reviewing a previous release of his with the words "let's hope we hear more soon", that name was enough to pique my interest immediately. Truth be told his To The Beat Of The Base (sic) is by far the standout track here, not to mention the housiest, but the rest of the tracks - from AeN, Luca, Mirco Violi and Andy Kohlmann, and again mostly in that hard-to-quantify deep house/deep techno kinda vein - aren't too shoddy, either, with Luca's Curtidas in particular being a pretty decent dancefloor groover with an ever-so-slight Latin-y kinda edge.

About: Blackrose is a Turin-based "house/techno/minimal" (in their words) label set up earlier this year, and this is a sampler for their forthcoming introductory label compilation of the same name. You can find out more about the label by clicking here

Werner Niedermeier - Toolin' EP

Only the second release on this fledgling German label, and it’s a four-tracker operating in that blurry house-cum-techno zone that Germany seems to specialise in at the moment.

Actually, saying that, lead track Moved is pretty much a straight-up techno cut, albeit techno of the deeper, more abstract variety rather than a nasty jackboot stompathon. The remix from Igor Tchkotoua (AKA Pig, of Pig & Dan fame) is slightly groovier, though, while Toolin’ Around is just a deep, tracky workout that will suit any floor where they like things heavily electronic, the funky feel to the bassline just kind of edging it towards house territory. Rounding out the EP is Niedremeier’s remix of Oliver Deutschmann’s For Those About To Dub, which for me is the best track here (though I was drawn first to the Pig mix of Moved): it’s got the deep, dubby feel you’d expect from the title, and some serious bottom-end that’s pretty much a cert to get YOUR bottom-end shakin’. There’s a nice little piano interlude, too.

About: This comes on Blitz, which as stated is a new label out of Germany. Visit their MySpace here and you can hear Toolin’ Around for yourself. Niedermeier, meanwhile, was formerly one half of Notenshun, who you’ll no doubt recall put out some great releases on Chillifunk earlier in the decade.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Donewrong - Lights Out EP

Another one that's OUT THIS WEEK, the Lights Out EP is one of those records where you'd say "it's interesting" before you'd say, "I like it," if you know what I mean. I think I do quite like it… but a couple of times I've had to turn it off, as well. You certainly wouldn't want to listen to this in certain, ahem, 'altered states'.

Musically, it's actually quite unique-sounding, but I'd say draws primarily on techno and progressive house. In fact, opener Jellybean is pretty much a straight-up prog number in its original form, but then things take a darker turn with the brooding menace of the Take Care At The Beach Mix. And then things, er, stay dark, with Lights Out itself and The Following Day all disorientating vocal samples and darkly rumbling basslines. The Gatchamen supply more overtly techno remixes of the latter two tracks.

If you told me Donewrong were big fans of dubstep and early 'darkside' jungle I wouldn't be a bit surprised. This doesn't sound like either… but it does have a similar paranoid, skunked-out kinda feel. Scary stuff… but interesting, as I said.

About: This is on Electric Sheep, which is a new-ish UK label (this is ES012) who I think are based in London, given that they host events at the Star of Bethnal Green. Their event flyers offer 'balearic… cosmic… space funk… deep house' but the Lights Out EP really doesn't fit into that bracket at all so I wouldn't read too much into that. Anyway, their website is quite action-packed so find out more for yourself (and HEAR THESE TRACKS) by clicking here.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Patch Park & Joeri Jamison - I Look Different Now

Not going to say a lot about this one, cos I don't claim to know much about this kind of tackle really. But if you dig chuggy, house-y techno (the hype sheet brands it tech-house but I'd say house-y techno, if you know what I mean) then you should definitely check this out.

There are three mixes of I Look Different Now, though to my untrained ear the Original and the Oliver Moldan Remix don't sound hugely different. The Nicole Moudaber Remix DOES sound different, but only in that it's even more overtly techno with its layers of percussion, so I'd stick to the other two TBH.

About: Patch Park & Joeri Jamison are both Dutch and have had stuff out on Little Mountain and Renaissance, and that's about as much as I know. Label-wise, this is on Wally Lopez's TheFactoria imprint, who can be found online here. And again, this is OUT ON MONDAY.

360 - Neon

Sorry it's been a few days… anyway, it's Saturday evening and, in the absence of anything most people would class as a social life, TIWWD is back, back, BACK! with a record that boasts possibly the worst sleeve in the history of music.

Well all right, maybe not THE worst cos their was that set of terrible album covers that went round by email a few years back, but still, it's not good, is it?

Don't judge this by its godawful sleeve, though, cos Neon, which comes in two parts imaginatively titled Neon One and… yeah… is actually pretty good. Not quite sure how you'd classify it, mind. It's a chuggy little number that I guess has elements of both deep and prog house, and a bit of techno, as well as bearing some relation to that whole Scandolearic thing à la Dahlback, Lindstrom etc. Er, a bit. Shall we settle for saying it's a nice piece of electronic music, and that Neon Two is the one to head for for dancefloor action while Neon One is slightly more home listening-oriented? Yes, I think we will. And it's OUT ON MONDAY.

About: 360 are the Dutch twosome of Nuno Dos Santos and Patrice Baumel. Between them, they've racked up releases on the likes of Compost/Compost Black, !K7, Get Physical, Dirt Crew and Trapez, so they're certainly no newcomers. Green, meanwhile, is a Dutch label run by Joris Voorn and Edwin Oosterwal, and has hithertofore mainly put out Voorn's own releases, although there was a hard-to-spell Stimming EP that did rather well. More info at Voorn's website.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Nic Fanciulli - Dusty House Room 3

A two-tracker from the boy from Maidstone who's long been a friend of the iDJ family, and it sees him going back to his house roots a bit, which is good to hear!

The two tracks are called Work The Week and Feed The Freezer, which I'm guessing is meant to be a reference to stocking up on fish fingers and such once you've worked the aforesaid week? Anyway, the latter is a simple chugging, looping deep-ish house groove, with a few disco whoops thrown in here and there and a whooshy, filtered feel to give it energy. S'nice. Work The Week, meanwhile, is similarly paced, and again with a borderline filter disco kind of sound.

These more conventional house elements (disco loops, cut-up vox etc) are creeping back into a lot of tuneage right now; the fact that Nic's doing it after his last few years' flirtation with harder/more techno-oriented sounds, merely serves to underline the point.

So yeah, a nice little EP that'll particularly suit fans of Derrick Carter, DJ Sneak etc.

About: Mr Fanciulli you certainly should be aware of; label-wise this is on Rejected. A new label to me, but presumably part of Nic's very own Saved/Deleted empire? Hang on… nope, the internet doesn't seem to know, either. So we'll assume it is, cos I do have Nic's number but I'm not gonna ring the lad at 10pm on a Weds night to find out. There are limits.

Matthew Bandy feat Johnathan Houston - Going Nowhere

This is of course the latest from the man whose totally, utterly ace and inspiring This Is Why We Dance as Deep House Souldiers gave this blog its name (with Matt's blessing, I hasten to add), and it ploughs Mr B's familiar deep n' soulful furrough. And I'm happy to report that, while I've been drifting a bit away from the very soulful stuff of late - particularly male-vocalled soulful stuff – this is hitting the spot just fine. Mainly cos Mr Houston can actually sing and doesn't just make whiny, nasally noises!

There are six mixes promo'd, though the full release will apparently have a ruddy whopping great 12. As far as I can tell what they've done is just not promo the instrumentals, though. The mixes don't vary huge amounts, with just a touch more organ here, a little more percussion there and so on, but if pushed I'd plump for the Hernan Cronner mix which has a little of that 'stripped n' bouncy' west coast vibe going on. Or maybe the slightly mellower, more sophis' Douglas Marques Remix. Or maybe the slightly jazzier vibes of the Luife Remix, or… well, you get the idea. It's one for the soulful crew only, really (at least it is as long as that vocal's in place), and the subtle distinctions between the mixes will likely be lost on anyone else, but you've got your options there for sure.

About: This is on Grooveland, who are based down in Brazil, and it's OUT DEC 20. To find out more, hit up Matthew Bandy's MySpace. There's also a Grooveland website but it doesn't seem to do much at the time of writing… that might only be temporary though.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Acos Coolkas - Free Flight

Some lush tuneage here from Slovenian duo Acos Coolkas, which I'm gonna call 'nu-disco' for want of a more appropriate term. This is no camp, kitschy glitterball extravaganza, though… more an exercise in groovy electronica. So if you prefer we could go with 'groovy electronica' instead?

In any case, there's a bit of a back story to this, in that Free Flight was first picked up on by Tirk Records as an opener for their Tirk02 compilation last year. 40,000 downloads later, apparently, it now gets a full release on sister label Nang, complete with a host of the obligatory remixes. The headline rubs I guess are those from Bearfunk chap Max Essa, but fellow Slovenians Ichisan and Sare Halicek both do pretty good jobs, too. To be brutally honest, there's not a lot to choose from between the mixes to these ears, but they're all very playable examples of this kind of synth-led, disco-infused midtempo tackle and any/all of them will suit your 'nu-disco' (for want of a more appropriate term) floor nicely.

This came out yesterday, so I'm obviously horrendously behind the times now. But, y'know, it's quite good.

About: Acos Coolkas are, as stated, from Slovenia. Nang is a London-based label you REALLY should know about by now, but if you don't, here's their website. That is all.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Plaupez - Hood

Deep Class Records out of Barcelona has, this year, come seemingly out of nowhere to become one of my favourite labels. This new release from Plaupez doesn't do anything to disappoint in that respect, striking as it does a nice balance between the deep and the driving.

That is to say, Hood – which is OUT NOW, by the way – is deep enough for headz' satisfaction, but upbeat and energetic enough to work on non-specialist floors… which is about as much as you can ask from a track, I figure. With some nice Detroit-y synth sounds, solid 4/4s and snippeted-up vox galore, it's pretty much a textbook example of what's good in house music right now. It comes complete with a dubbier Cesar Coronado remix plus bonus cut Bur, which treads a similar path (and which reminds me a bit of the Derrick Carter mix of Blaze's My Beat), and I'd be perfectly happy to put my name to a DJ set that included any or all of 'em.

About: So yes, Deep Class. Based in Barcelona, run by Jimmy 'Fer' Ferrari, and pretty much a 100% safe bet when it comes to quality house music. Visit them on MySpace and HEAR Hood for yourself here.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Funky Soldiers & Robert Owens - Silence

In which west London duo Funky Soldiers team up with the legendary Owens tonsils to deliver a cover of Delerium's vocal trance classic Silence. Ha ha ha! Nah, not really. This is a different Silence altogether, one which probably wanted to be Was I Here Before? when it grew up.

The original is all mean n' broody and only a few drum rolls away from being one of those dark, proggy vocal numbers that work quite well in Ibeefa and sound rubbish most other places (see: Black AM, Dancing In The Dark, et al). The MN2S remix takes us into deeper and slightly funkier house territory, and then you also get two mixes from the equally legendary Jovonn. His Mind Remix turns the track into a squelchy Chi-town deep affair, and comes accompanied by an Owens-free Silencestrumental.

All told, a solid offering, if perhaps not the stone-cold killer you'd want an Owens/Jovonn team-up to produce.

About: This is on MN2S, and again it's OUT THIS WEEK. To check out MN2S's spanking new website click here.

Daniel Solar - Relocation EP

Coming from that techno/deep house border where Germans currently like to hang out, here we have a three-tracker from Mr Solar that will please those who think Berlin is the centre of the universe. Which seems to be a lot of people, these days.

The most individual-sounding track here is Soundtrack, which features a vocal from one Ingrid Hakanson, who could no doubt do a very good Roisin Murphy on Stars In Their Eyes. The other two cuts, Trois and Transit, are both passable enough examples of their ilk: Trois is marginally funkier but 'funk' isn't a quality that any of these tracks have in huge amounts, if we're to be honest… which is the problem with a lot of this 'new German house' stuff, don't you find? Still, the EP as a whole is pleasant enough listening, and very playable right now… oh yeah, and it's OUT THIS WEEK as well.

About: This comes atcha on Khazuma Future, who are based it transpires not in Deutschland but in sunny Barcelona, don't you know? More info at their MySpace.

Funkabit Vs Frank Agrario - Mininova

Oh God, I wish I didn't like this, cos it really is cheesy as fuck – it's even on Mozzarella Recordings for Chrissakes. Trouble is, it's ace as well.

The case against: It's a cover of the Pamela Fernandez classic Kickin' In The Beat, only with the words "kicking in the beat" strangely replaced with the words "it's a mininova," for no apparent reason. It's done in an 'accessible' fashion that's equal parts crunchy electrohouse, French touch and, well, handbag. And vocalist Michelina Needs can't, if we're being painfully honest, sing all that well.

The case for: Kickin' In The Beat is one of my favourite tunes, so that vocal was forced to raise a smile, and if we're being honest I'll admit I'm a sucker for slightly nasally female vocals. And handbag, come to that (where did you think the whole UDD™ thing came from?). And the Frank Agrario Goes To Rimini Remix reminds me of bassline house before it went all 'urban' and rubbish. And there's a marginally less cheesy piano house remix from Munk, too.

Anyway, you can HEAR IT HERE and decide for yourself. Just remember, I did warn you it's prrr-etty cheesy…

About: This is on Italian label Mozzarella Recordings (est. 2007), and it's out either on Nov 20, if you believe the Soundcloud link above, or on Dec 14, if you believe the press release that came with the CD promo. Either way, visit the Mozzarella website and you can also download the parts and enter their remix competition, if you've a mind to.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

The Love Supreme - Sugar

The hype sheet for this one brands The Love Supreme as "Milan-based, Krautrock-inspired disco heads," which is as good a place to start as any I guess. And what we have here is a foretaste for their soon-come album New Millennium Freaks.

Sugar comes in three mixes. The original recalls the likes of Was (Not Was) or maybe Talking Heads getting their groove on, what with its walking b-line, agit-funk guitar scribbles and noo wave-style vocal (which comes courtesy of Fug chappie Ben Smith). The accompanying Dub is more just an instrumental, really, but would still be my pick given that noo wave-style vocals aren't really my thing. Social Disco Club's remix, meanwhile, is more of a languid pass, kind of like the 'erection section' for the end of a nu-disco night I guess :-) or, more realistically given that this isn't actually the 1970s, one for those post-club wind-down sessions. And then you also get Eternal, which is a more dubbed/weirded-out kind of affair.

All told, it's not an essential-essential-essential release for me TBH but still worthy of your attention, particularly if the more eclectic/experimental/
Balearic end of nu-disco is where you like to play. Look forward to hearing the album.

About: This is on Tirk, that bastion of all things nu-disco and beyond, and it's OUT ON DEC 7 (that's Monday, as I write). For more on Tirk, hit up their website.