Monday, 31 May 2010

Various - Choice Cuts Vol 1

Endemic Digital is a label that's picked up love from me both on this blog and in the pages of iDJ several times… but if you've yet to pick up on the Endemic vibe, now's your chance, with this rather spiffing first label comp.

It's compiled by label boss Scott Harrington and in their words is "a collection of some of his favourite tracks to date and a showcase of the deeper side of the label". So expect tracks (12 of 'em, full length and unmixed for your DJing pleasure) from a bunch of deep house dudes that should certainly be familiar names to TIWWD readers – Greg Mak, Elliot Wright, Ryan Briggs, Harnessnoise, Justin Steel and, not unimpressively, US legend Onionz – with remixes from an even more familiar list of names like JT Donaldson, Conan Liquid and Terry Farley & Rocky.

Not much more to say, really… suffice to say deep house heads will be more than happy with this. Generally, but particularly those that like it from the slightly techier side of deep.

Out: Now

About: Endemic Digital is based in the thriving metropolis, cosmopolitan cultural hub and well-established house music capital that is Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex. The label was founded in 2008 and must be currently one of the most prolific labels around – they certainly seem to bombard me with a constant stream of promos. Not that I'm complaining, mind! Find 'em online here

Matt Prehn - Roots

Okay, enough about hypothetical radio shows and on with the reviews! This is a new solo effort from Matt Prehn who's one-third of leading SA house act Bang Bang, and a jolly pleasing outing it is too.

The original boasts a mighty fine organ line and a spoken male vocal, but really it's all about the 'acieeeeeeeeeeeeeeed' here… and lots of it! On the B, Justin Harris of Freaks fame drops the acid (hoho) in favour of a more straight-up house groove with some interesting percussion sounds, and both mixes are well worth your attention/dollar, what more can I say?

Out: This week

About: As you might have surmised from the pic, this is another winner brought to you by the Baker Street mob up in Leeds… find 'em online here.

Mixcloud show coming soon!

Right, well I notice with a rather touched bemusement that TIWWD now has five followers on Mixcloud… which is odd cos I haven't actually put any shows up yet.

BUT! that's gonna change soon, I promise. Plan is to do something each week or thereabouts, with the best of the week's releases; not me showing off my laughably bad mixing, just me playing the best new music. And probably talking sh*te as well.

I'm feeling inspired @ the mo' after just listening to 'Dangerous' Dave Jenkins (iDJ editor)'s new show on So watch this space cos it might actually happen soon...

And if you've not actually found Mixcloud yet… keep up people! But basically it's like Soundcloud, only for radio – check it here.

Sunday, 30 May 2010

Various - In The Night Vol 3

Right, I'm not going to bang on about this for ages cos it actually came out a whole eight days ago, shock horror… but I did promise the label (and you) a review, so here it is.

What is there to really to say, though? I've said on this blog before that Acryl Music is one of the best deep house labels around right now… this latest in the label comp series is merely further proof. With a talent roster that includes a list of names to make the deeper heads salivate (Onur Ozman, Fer Ferrari, label boss Da Funk, Helly Larson and Agent Matteo, whose St Germain-esque Feel My Vibe is a particular highlight) as well as a cluster of newer talent, it's a 15-track ticket to that deep and groovy dancefloor place in all our minds… the one that people who listen to Deadmau5, Crookers or Justice will (thankfully) never find. Go seek.

Out: Since 21 May, generally, and since late April on Beatport. I'll be reviewing Elvis records next.

About: Acryl Music, based in Zurich, is probably one of the most-overlooked labels in house music. No-one ever seems to talk about 'em much but they've been coming up with an endless supply of deep belters since 2004. Right that wrong by visiting their website and MySpace, whydontcha.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Jonny L/Logistics - Sick Music 2 sampler

Two heavy-hitters here on a sampler to push Hospital's latest compilation Sick Music 2.

I've not actually heard the album but you can't usually go wrong with Hospital, I find. That said, the Logistics track here, Warehouse (presented in Ill Skillz remix form) I can take or leave to be honest: a two-step D&B cut with bags of energy and a slight nod to jump-up/electro D&B, it's perfectly acceptable and youngsters will like it but that's about as much as you can say.

The same can't be said, though , of 1 N 2 by Jonny L, which is just ace, a proper euphoric rush of a tune (another two-stepper, albeit a less frenetic affair than Warehouse*) that you can see going down big at festivals, such is its instant/crossover appeal. Yet it's also got enough 'about it' to warrant repeat listening. A hip-wigglin' lead line, soaring anthemic synths and an (almost) MC-style vocal add up to a surefire killer.

Out: This week

About: See the Hospital website for more on the Sick Music 2 full-length.

* Hospital are calling it 'emo-funk' but I don't listen to enough D&B to be that micro-genre-ist about it

Ichisan & Nakova - Pionir

Be warned: if Nang's archetypal 80s synth disco sound doesn't light your candle, then you're probably not gonna like Pionir much, cos it is, y'know, fairly archetypical Nang-style 80s synth disco.

That said, though, I do like Nang's stuff and this is their signature sound done very well, so I'm loving it personally. On the original, glacial arpeggios, a synthesized John Williams-ish geetar melody and squelchy synth bass do battle in a nu-Italo dancefloor workout of epic proportions. The snappily-named Discodromo Avventurieri Nel Planeta K mix is a slightly more driving take, while as for the Lusty Zanibar Remix, well… I recently got given, somewhat randomly and for reasons I won't got into, a DVD set of 80s sci-fi series The Tripods. And this sort of sounds like what you might hear at a Tripods disco. In other words, the 80s synth quotient gets pushed up even higher… just when you didn't think such a thing was possible.

If cosmic disco done by John Carpenter sounds like your idea of fun, you'll love this too.

Out: This week

About: Nang you should know about by now so here's the weblink and we'll leave it at that.

Ichisan & Nakova hail, like a lot of these nu-Italo types, from Slovenia, which of course used to be in Yugoslavia, and Pionir actually takes its name from a youth movement established by popular Yugoslav leader General Tito (hence the chipper young feller on the label). May 25, the day this came out, is Tito Day as it was Tito's official birthday. Ha! You've learned something now, haven't you?

Oh yeah, and this is also the lead single from I&N's album Yugo Tempo, just so's you know…

DJ Jaz - Skyler

San Jose, California-based label Jump makes a welcome return here, having been MIA since 2002, and there are seven mixes of Skyler to talk about so let's dive straight in.

In its original form, Skyler is a tuff-ish, techy-ish dancefloor deep houser, while DJ Jaz himself supplies a stuttered Sky Rework, which is available with or without a slightly Prince/Chromeo-esque vocal. A-Uneaq's Remix and similar-sounding Slum Remix are more bubblin', squelchy takes with some subtle rave-y touches, Arturo Garces takes us down a deeper road, and then finally, everyone's favourite portly Puerto Rican Carlos Souza, AKA DJ Sneak, supplies a fairly self-explanatory Bumpiest Remix.

For me it's just about a draw between the Sneak and Garces mixes, but it's all good, as they say in the United States of America.

Out: This week.

About: Bay Area resident DJ Jaz was the original co-founder of Jump back in the day and now returns to the label having spent some time in further education and then set up two other (digital) labels, Haze and 456 Records. The reborn Jump doesn't seem to have a website yet but don't go confusing them with Birmingham bassline label Jump, will you?

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Chicken Lips - Show Your Shape

Well, what can I say? I'm tired, and you probably already know what Chicken Lips sound like. You also probably have a good idea of whether you need this 'best of' compilation or not: if you're an ardent fan you do cos there's a few different unreleased mixes, if you're a bit of a fan but not obsessive you probably don't cos you've got most of what's here already, if you like them but have never bought much of their stuff then you probably do cos all the best bits are here, and if you think they smell of wee then you probably don't cos, like, you think they smell of wee.

Me, I quite like Chicken Lips, but not obsessively, so I'm personally very happy to have all the best bits in one place. And as with last year's Freaks 'best of', it's striking how current much of what's here sounds – compared to how futuristic and out-there it sounded when it was first released. Good bit of paradigm-shifting there, lads. And He Not In is still a great record. As is Wind Ya Neck In. As are, well, lots of the tracks here.

Out: This week, y'see, so just thought you might like to know.

About: This is on Tirk, as so many things covered on this blog are. Here's their website, though it doesn't look like it's been updated for a while, so here's the Chicken Lips MySpace as well and, just for good measure or anyone who's just come in, here's what Wikipedia has to say about 'em.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Case Sensitive - Cappascap EP

This is fresh from Romania and will suit those who like their house of the deep n' techy variety. Two tracks, Cappascap itself and B-side Experiment.

Of the two, Cappascap is my favourite by far, a chuggy, bassy, stripped-down deep houser pretty much 100% in-line with the kind of thing I most like to play right now. If there's a criticism, it doesn't DO loads, but then such records never do, do they? Like, it's all about the groove, man... Experiment is also all about the groove, in this case a more percussion-led groove, with the drum patterns in question having a distinctively old skool Chicago feel. I like the way the vocal snips add interest, meaning this isn't simply a tedious drum-athon, but the A is still the one for me.

Out: Friday (May 28), if you believe the hype sheet… or last Weds (May 19), according to the website. Harumph.

About: This is on All Inn Black, a new sister label from the people that brought you All Inn Records and Limited. All Inn Black will, we're told, focus on upcoming talents and "warm, tough and heavy rhythms." Find out more at the aforesaid All Inn website.

Tomas Malo - Nobody Loves You

Not very nice sentiments those, are they? You want it to go on to say, "Nobody loves you… like I do, you big gorgeous hunk of man" or something, but no, it's an instrumental. So the message here really IS "nobody loves you".

F***ing charmin', that.

Still, it's a pretty groovy instrumental if glitter-spangled midtempo nu-disco-meets-deep house is your bag.

I'm kind of preferring the B though, No Pressure. Not only because it politely refrains from rubbing salt into the wounds of my tragic, lonely existence, but also cos it's more of a straight-up deep house kinda thang, driven by some ace organ sounds. I'm not 100% on the spoken vocal – s'okay but it's maybe a bit too much there, if you know what I mean, with very few moments of respite – but the underlying groove is strong enough to make it worth a dip regardless. That's assuming of course that you've not just, like, hanged yourself because the A-side's finally driven home what an empty futile life you really lead, or anything.

Out: Today

About: Tomas Malo used to work for The Samaritans but was asked to leave, and now makes house and nu-disco music instead. Actually that's not true. In real life his real name's Tom Gray, and he co-runs Architech Records (the label this is on) with proggy bloke Matt Playford, and this is their fourth release.

PS: You can HEAR THESE TRACKS for yourself by clicking here. And once you've listened to Nobody Loves You, you can also see if it doesn't remind you a little bit of this, only a lot slower, cos it does me. But only a little bit, like I say.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Strictly and Defected part company

This is yesterday's news really – in a literal sense – but Strictly Rhythm and Defected are no longer an item. Here's what yesterday's press release said (in part):

"Strictly Rhythm, the label that defined house music in the 1990s and became an inspiration for many of today’s contemporary dance artists, is once again to become a stand-alone independent label.

Strictly Rhythm will open a new London office in September. Strictly Rhythm and Defected Records will continue to work together on future projects. A new substantially upgraded website is to launch in July 2010. will provide all the latest news, upfront information on new releases, exclusive interviews, extended features and more."

The reason I'm telling you this on TIWWD – cos dance music industry news isn't normally what this blog does – is that a few years ago, when Strictly relaunched, they asked me to write a label history for the relaunch press pack and the website… which as you can imagine for any time-served househead was quite an honour. And I guess it might not be online much longer if they're having a big change-around, so if anyone's interested, click HERE to read the history of one of America's most important house music labels, as written by yours truly.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Nik Frattaroli - Chinese Laundry

This is the first of a couple of Endemic Digital releases to tell you about this week… look out v. soon for a review of their new label comp Choice Cuts Vol 1. But first up, we have this single release from Nik Frattaroli.

This is Nik's debut release and it's spread across two releases, ED037 and ED038. ED037 features mixes from Raymundo Rodriguez, Victor Kill and Justin Steel as well as the Original, with all the mixes going down a tuffer, techier route. ED038, meanwhile, sees a clutch of deeper house reworkings by Echofusion, Mitch Davis and Tom Lennox.

My picks would be Justin Steel's remix from the first release, Echofusion's Deepnotic Mix from the second… but there's plenty to love across all the mixes so you'd best go explore yourself!

Out: Today (but only on Beatport)

About: Endemic certainly seem to be on a roll right now… like I said, review of the label comp soon come, meanwhile here's their website.

Loops - Esther Moose

I saw the episode of Black Books last night where they try and write a children's book… the title of this kind of reminds me of that. But that's neither here nor there, really.

A more relevant thing to tell you might be that Loops are a pair of Dutch newcomers called Sebastiaan Smink and Acket Boris, and this is their very first ever release in the whole world ever. Esther Moose itself is a quirky 'is it house? is it downtempo/chill?' kinda thang with what appears to be a xylophone taking the lead role. It's complemented by three mixes of Hink Strap Sprong, which I THINK might be 'Hop, Step, Jump' in Dutch, but don't quote me on that. Here, that xylophone jousts with a Moog-ish sounding organ on a track that sits in that same house/leftfield hinterland as Esther Moose; remixes from Baldo and from William Kouam Djoko then take it more emphatically into house and leftfield territory, respectively.

All told, it's a bit of an oddity, this… but a very enjoyable one. More please, Dutch bods.

Out: 19 May

About: Think I've told you most of what I know about Loops. This is on Neovinyl Recordings, who appear to be based in Barcelona, Malaga and London (go figure) and who can be found on MySpace here.

Lemos - Ypomoni

Only the second release from Orpheas, the label run by hotly-tipped Greek producer Lemos and his partner-in-crime Kreon. Lemos, you may remember, has had stuff out before on such favourite labels of TIWWD as Safari Electronique and Bass Culture.

Ypomoni comes in Original and Dub flavas, which differ mostly in that the Original has a nagging, jazzy sax riff throughout, and the Dub doesn't. Beyond that there's not a huge amount to say… this is just quality deep house, in that techy, post-minimal vein but with all the funk and swing that you require.

Erm, that's it really. Have a good Monday.

Out: 20 May

About: As I've just explained, this is on Orpheas Recordings. Here's their MySpace (where you can HEAR THESE TRACKS) and here's an interview with Lemos & Kreon at Ibiza Voice.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Fassbinder - Ask My Heart

This is the latest from Liverpool-based Etoka Logüe, and it's another good bet for those that like their house ultra-deep and dreamy.

Ask My Heart comes in four mixes, which all offer slightly different takes on the deep n' dreamy thing… that said, there's a clear winner out of the four for me, because the Original and Cadatta mixes, while pleasant enough, both feature a little techy-sounding synth motif that's just a little bit distracting, and Andy Hart's NMF Dub, while again pleasant enough, and while it does make good use of some added, disembodied toasting, brings the percussion a little too much to the fore.

WHEREAS the Deeprider Mix… now we're talking. Unnecessary clutter in the percussion is stripped to leave just a solid 4/4 pulse… the mildly irritating synth motif is gone… and in come the warmest of pads. The end result is a little bit like being in the womb. Just lovely.

Out: This week

About: Etoka Records and their various sub-labels (Etoka Logüe, Etoka Shapes and Etoka Minature) have never told me a lot about themselves… instead, they just keep sending me really, really good deep house music. HEAR THESE TRACKS by hitting up the Etoka Logue MySpace, and then I strongly suggest you also visit the main Etoka Records website to investigate further.

Ismael Rivas - Time Is Over

Wally Lopez is one of the friendliest people you could meet, a big grin-y teddy bear of a fella, but a lot of the output of his Factoria Records label is a bit too tuff and tribal for me to get that excited about. Not so Time Is Over, though – this comes on like a classic Strictly Rhythm offering circa 1993-95, complete with looped-up diva vox and tribal-before-it-went-stupid riddims. It's a Sound Factory anthem for 2010!

Wally himself provides a remix that goes down a less-is-more route, David Herrero a rub that emphasises the percussion, a remix that adds a slightly more Latin edge (but only in the most warped, trippy kinda way). For me it's between the original or Wally's mix, but all four are certainly playable.

Out: This week

About: This is, as stated, on Factoria Records, about whom you can find out more by clicking here. You can HEAR THESE TRACKS there, too. Or, you could visit Ismael Rivas on MySpace, or at his own website. Visiting the latter, I notice he's got similar taste in striking eyewear to Mr Lopez himself…

Simon Baker - The Trick

Simon Baker should be a familiar name to many, having had releases on such big-hitting labels as Playhouse, Get Physical, ViVa and Cocoon. Here though he returns to 2020Vision with a single to trail his forthcoming debut artist album.

The Trick in its original form is quite a techy-sounding affair, busy with percussion, though the Berlin-itude is balanced nicely by the use of some almost 60s-ish organ sounds and keys. The end result isn't the most hummable ditty but it'll keep 'em moving. Must say I'm preferring the Glimpse remix, though, which takes us a little deeper, de-cluttering the percussion to really let those organ sounds shine.

There's also a Tricky Beats Remix on the digital release but that just accentuates those technoid shuffling beats even further, so it's Glimpse's rub all the way for me.

Out: This week

About: For more info, visit Simon Baker's MySpace or the 2020 website.

Friday, 14 May 2010

I Am The Woodstar - Enter Thru The Sweetshop

A fresh four-tracker from Mr Stephen Wood here, displaying all of Star-Fi's usual healthy disregard for genre boundaries.

Lead track Banksy's Midnight Anthem is quite hard to describe: mid-paced, it's a little bit techy, a little bit proggy, a little bit trippy, with a female vocal urging us all to "get your backs off the wall". It's pleasant enough, but it really comes into its own on label partner Tim 'Lo-Fi' Stoakes Slo-Mo Remix, where it's reborn as a slo-mo (obviously) acid-Balearic throbber.

Not The End, Friend then messes around with more slightly acid-y synth pulses and a syncopated, flam-med kick pattern to create something that comes on like the perfect soundtrack to those long, weary, half-blissed/half-paranoid 7am walks home, before The Posh Dome plays us out with some mellow Leftfield/Underworld-ish electronica with an indie-type vocal.

As with much of the Star-Fi catalogue, then, this is hard to classify or pigeonhole, but worthy of your attention. And the remix of …Midnight Anthem would be my pick, if anyone's interested.

Out: This week

About: As ever, this is on the chaps' own Star-Fi Recordings - website here.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Maya Jane Coles - Get Away

This has been out on Beatport for a month now, but only goes on general release this week. And those who like to keep track of such things, will notice that it's the east Londoner's third single for MN2S offshoot 1 Trax.

As usual with Ms Coles tough, tech-y house is the order of the day, though if anything this is a little gentler than previous offerings; with its disembodied male/female vocal snippets and understated (minor key, I think) keyboard riff, it's got a slight touch of prog about it, but in a good way. Andomat 3000 then turns in a remix that takes us into slightly more stripped-down territories, accentuating the rhythmic elements and dropping the keys and the male vocal elements.

Like the Micha Klang release below, it's good rather than mind-blowing, but it's definitely worth a peep!

Out: This week

About: As stated this is on 1 Trax which is part of the MN2S empire, while in other news, Ms Coles has apparently been working with Massive Attack. Now there's a thing.

Micha Klang - Mother Mother

A three-track affair from Klang, a man whose roots are in punk rock and who was converted to the dance music cause by the techno of Sven Vath… but who here has produced an EP that will suit househeads to the proverbial T.

The title cut bravely uses a heavily-treated but instantly recognisable vocal sample over a crisp, driving backing that should DJs of many house and techno persuasions, such is its general electronic zeitgeist-iness. Its appeal to those of a house bent is enhanced by the inclusion of some organ stabs, which are brought to the fore in the more overtly house Arnaud Le Texier Remix. The EP's then brought to a close by Catch My Beat, a not-dissimilar chugger featuring a VERY familiar old school stab as its key point of interest.

All told, it's solid rather than exceptional, I'd say, but it's worth investigating for sure.

Out: This week

About: This is on Room 9, a label I'm not sure I've come across before, and who are so new they don't appear to have a website, a MySpace, a Discogs entry or anything! So what can I tell you? Erm, well… Micha Klang is from Nuremberg… Arnaud Le Texier is from Paris, runs Safari Electronique but according to his MySpace will NOT be listening to your demo, thank you… and the vocal sample is of course from What's Goin' On by Marvin Gaye, who according to Wikipedia added an 'e' to his real name only because Sam Cook(e) had. So there you go.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Is that a FREE DEEPGROOVE TRACK I see before me?

Yes, it is. Those jolly good ex-Bristol eggs Grayson and Lee sent me this week and said "share it with all and sundry please, if possible". So I'm sharing it with you. It's their reversioning of Bangalter's Turbo from 1998, and it's almost certainly never coming out, so grab it while you can!

Oh yeah: you'll need the download LINK, won't you?

Out: Never/now. Or, "free to those that can afford it, very expensive to those that can't", if you like. Five ultra-rare TIWWD spotter points to anyone who can tell me what film that's from.

About: Deepgroove, eh? Haven't they done well? Course we never see 'em out in Bristol any more, they're too busy hanging out in LA with supermodels and such, but still. Here's their website.

D'Julz - Second Hand Feet EP

I've sung the praises of D'Julz's excellent Bass Culture imprint several times on this blog, but here he takes time out to serve up a three-tracker not on Bass Culture, but rather on Josh Wink's Ovum Recordings.

The quality's as high as ever, though. The instrumental Baka Gaijin is a simple, walking groove, mostly percussive, that does just enough over its 6.15 (or thereabouts) to maintain interest and that will certainly keep 'em moving. Brace Brace is a nicely understated acid workout, this time with snippets of (various different) vocals dropping into the mix and then winging out so quick, those in altered states will be going "did I just hear that?". And finally, the title track is an ever-so-slightly more technofied jaunt, with some great classic-sounding stabs and some ace space disco noises at the end.

All told, just proper floor-fodder for the heads.

Out: This week

About: Neither D'Julz nor Ovum Recordings should need, etc, so here's the Ovum website and the D'Julz site and we're square, I reckon.

Incidentally as I type this, iTunes has rolled onto Birds & Souls (see below) again; it really is very good, y'know. Did I mention that?

Monday, 10 May 2010

Birds & Souls - Birds & Souls EP

Finally for Monday's soul selection we have the Birds & Souls EP, which isn't particularly soulful at all, to be fair.

Instead, it's more of an arthouse disco thang, that will appeal to those whose idea of excitement is a four-minute salsa drums-and-cowbells break in the middle. Tee hee. What I'm actually saying is, like so many Levan, Pettibone or Moulton mixes of yore, in its Original and Birds & Beats Extended versions, this does go on a bit… but then again it's a very pleasant groove so why would you want it to stop?

The semi-sung, semi-spoken and very poetic vocal that comes in halfway through – "my soul weighs a thousand pounds/and four ounces/my soul weighs a thousand pounds/I touch the mountain, I touch the ground" – sits a little oddly but works, somehow, and what with that, and the quite random introduction of some squelchy analogue synths and a very late-arriving "souls and mountains/birds and souls" chorus, the overall effect is of a rather loveable oddity. Made by people who I suspect own a lot of Arthur Russell records, and possibly not a few by Talking Heads.

Out: This week

About: This is on Spectral Sound, which is an offshoot of Michigan-based Ghostly International. And here's some info about Birds & Souls themselves.

Tortured Soul - Did You Miss Me?

More soulful shenanigans from another bunch of scene stalwarts. This time you get Instrumental and Album versions, and a remix and dub apiece from Pistol Puma and Mark De Clive-Lowe.

The originals are uptempo soul that will appeal as much to R&B/pop buyers as to dance music types - the track's okay but you could almost imagine JLS singing it. Or Terrence Trent D'Arby, if you're quite old. Mark De Etc's two rubs are less pop-tastic but also a bit too muso-y and polite for these ears, so then we're left with the Pistol Puma mixes. These certainly house matters up a notch, but in a style that's a bit too close to 'funky house' for comfort on the vocal mix, so really for me it's their Dub or nothing, which has some nice little 'drop'-type sounds in it.

It's a shame cos the song itself is quite strong, as is the vocal. But when you're left thinking "Well, I might play the Dub…" you can't help thinking a trick's been missed, somewhere. If I gave out marks out of ten on here, this'd be a six.

Out: This week

About: This is on Dome Records, who to be fair sell themselves as a soul/R&B label not a dance music label, so perhaps my gripes above are a tad unfair/missing the point. Anyway that's doubtless me off their mailing list, but here's their website anyway.

Bah Samba - Don't Let Them Get You Down

Right, I'm making an effort to actually do some blogging this week as opposed to leaving it all till the weekend! So let's get the week off to a nice easy start with a couple of releases from the soulful side… it's like a warm-up set for the blog week, innit?

So first up, Bah Samba, with a reworking of a track from their Bah Samba 4 long-player. Featuring the mighty tonsils of Alice Russell, this comes in four mixes, courtesy of Phil Asher (x2), The Super-Phonics and Bah Samba Vs Favouritizm.

It's really a game of two halves, though, because Phil Asher's Inspiration Information Mix and The Super-Phonics' Classic Mix are quite similar in feel and are both characterised first and foremost by a very prominent walking bassline that's more or less a wholesale lift from… now what is it?… some old Salsoul thing, I THINK, it's gonna drive me mad now. Beyond the b-line, it's the usual Bah Samba summery, live-sounding soul-come-house fodder and will soundtrack your barbecue nicely, what more can I say?

Phil Asher's Restless Soul Dub and the Bah Samba vs Favouritzm Push! Mix, on the other hand, both dispense with the recycled disco four-string, with the BS crew and Sarah Fav opting for a deeper take on the full song while Mr Asher delivers a proper stripped-down, drums n' strings number that'll make an ideal bedding/linking tool for your more creative jocks that like to use lots of acapellas n' that.

Out: This week

About: Well, you should be familiar with Brighton-based Bah Samba by now but here's their MySpace anyway. Phil Asher is of course worshipped as a god among jazzbos and soulful housers, he runs the Restless Soul empire whose online home is here.

But interestingly, this is on neither Restless Soul nor Bah Samba's own imprint, but rather on Favouritizm, a new record label-shaped offshoot of the Favouritizm PR company run by one Sarah Foote, whose website I applaud for seemingly consisting of nothing but an email and a phone number*. Last time I saw Sazzer, she accused me of having 'gay sheets', which I thought was a bit rich given that she's never actually seen them. So she's ruddy lucky this is getting reviewed at all, frankly.

*I know that sounds rubbish but half the time when I go to a company's website that's all I'm after and can I find them? Can I bogroll.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Releases w/c May 3 - round-up

Right, sorry, I had been hoping to get more blogging done this week but, well, you know how it is. Anyway, here's a bunch more stuff that's well worthy of your time/pennies/attention…

Johan Afterglow
You-Boat EP (Cable Recordings)
Dark, techy, glitchy, groovy

Sorry I Missed The Sky EP
(Freak n' Chic)
Elastik Hour is like a Sueno Latino for 2010. Sort of.

Brian Winter
Let The Bass Kick
(Asnazzy Records)
Upbeat, big silly party breaks all the way from West Edmonton, Canada. Fire it up!

Le Jak
Out Of Order EP
(Council House Recordings)
More tweaky, tech-y bizniss, but with a slightly funkier vibe on Space Port. Only the second release on the fledgling Council House imprint.

Mayaan Nidam
Greatest Tits EP (Wolf + Lamb)
The ever on-point Wolf + Lamb deliver a very varied (as in stylistically, not quality-wise) EP with jazzy, soulful and techy grooves all snuggling up together. Proper quality deep house and a great EP title too!

Hyper Hyper EP (Hospital)
The electro-D&B of the title track doesn't do it for me so much, but b-side Set Me Free is worth checking if you woke up this particular Sunday thinking "I'd like some epic but laidback atmospheric drum & bass to fuel my next smokin' session, please"

Orienta-Rhythm feat Joi Cardwell
Happy 2010 (King Street)
An uplifting vocal house classic from Ms Cardwell gets three new mixes from Timmy Vegas

Freaks Show EP (Expressillon)
Three-tracker taking in electrohouse (meh), breaks (okay) and, on Bassline Circus, a neat line in stomach-churning, gypsy-infused dubstep (the reason it's here)

Ron Costa
Perching Bird EP (Automat-X Records)
A solid-enough tech-houser in three mixes, one for those who like it glitchy and off-kilter (ie, not me so much but I can see the appeal)

Various Artists
Bad Pony Spring Sampler (Bad Pony)
Six artists, six tracks. Post-minimal, tech-y, very now. Will be big with Europeans under 30.

Out: All of the above were fresh in your record shops and digital download stores this past seven days…

Martin Dawson – Dub Freedom EP

Not a lot to say on this one, just three very solid deep house cuts… except what's particularly worth noting is that Martin Dawson is actually King Roc. Who I spent some time with in St Petersburg a few years back (get me!) and who I can confirm is a very nice bloke indeed.

This three-track EP, however, is much more mellow, organic and soul-infused, much less spikey and electro/techno-y than his King Roc output. Its DNA could be traced back, depending which way you want to look at it, via San Francisco and/or Croydon, all the way to Chicago and New Jersey… or you could just call it straight-up classic house music. Which I think we will.

If forced to pick a fave I'd go for Dub Freedom itself, just cos it's got a bit more of a dancefloor swing than Elephant or Jamaica, but really, all three tracks are very good indeed. And Elephant has an understated organ riff to die for.

Out: This week

About: Well, Matthew Dawson AKA King Roc we've already talked about. Can't seem to find a website or anything for Cambridge-based Also Ran, the label this is on, but here's a little blurb about on them on Resident Advisor.

Brackles - 6am El Gordos

For this one, I'm going to indulge in a bit of churnalism and just reprint the press release. Which says:

Brackles on Brainmath. That's right. Limited info. Limited copies. No digital. Out May 3.

…and that's it, so now you know as much as I do. Except, of course, that I've heard the record.

So I can tell you that, while we're probably supposed to call this dubstep, given the artist and label involved (Brackles has done dubstep for Planet Mu while Brainmath has had bits out by Sbtrkt in the past), it's really more just a pretty nifty slice of stripped-down house/garage with an old school feel that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Serious Grooves back in the day, but underpinned by a heavy bassline that's bang up to date. So go seek.

Out: Now, obviously.

About: See the Brainmath MySpace here

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Various - Baker Street Sampler Vol 2

Leeds-based Baker Street Recordings is well on the way to following in Lost My Dog's footsteps as one of the UK's top deep house imprints. This new four-track EP, showcasing some more new talents the Yorkshire sleuths have managed to unearth, won't hurt at all.

First up is Scrambled Back from Jesus Gonsev, a midtempo number with fem vocal cut-ups/stabs and some nice echo-y synths, and a little classic Jersey garage feel. Next, Michelle Owen's Strange Days takes us on more of a rollin', jazzy kinda ride, and then label owner Paul Hardy makes an appearance with Last Man Standing, which starts out stripped as you like and slowly builds into something that's about as Ibiza-friendly as deep house gets, with a decidedly retro, happy daze, blissed-out kinda feel to it. And finally Funk Mediterraneo gives us Say No, which doesn't have a rap by Zammo from Grange Hill but does have a funny little duck-call noise in amongst its infectious carnival/Latin percussion.

Out: This week

About: Right, now you see that's annoying, cos I go to the Baker Street website and it has this down as being out on April 16, whereas the hype sheet distinctly says May 3. Thus making me look like a doddering behind-the-times old granddad. Oh, no, that's my dress sense, innit?

Monday, 3 May 2010

Soil & Pimp Sessions - 6

Crazy Jap-jazz, anyone? Well, nor me most of the time, but then there's those moments when nothing else will do. Next time YOU'RE having one such moment, you could do a lot worse than reach for 6, the cunningly-titled sixth studio album from these Gilles P faves and "punk-jazz renegades" (it says here).

Given that it IS their sixth album, I'd be surprised if you weren't even passingly aware of S&PS's particularly frenetic, far-out take on freeform jazz with a dancefloor bent. And as I'm no expert I won't pretend to go into a deep analysis as to how it differs from the others (though if you do want my considered opinion, then "not much, to be honest").

But that does means it's just as loveable in a wigged-out, jazztastic, get-yer-spats-on kinda way as all the other S&PS stuff that's gone before it… and it's got a cover of Papa's Got A Brand New Bag, as well. Oh yeah and Jamie Cullum sings on one track but let's not hold that against it.

Out: Since April 26 (don't worry, as of tomorrow we'll do some updates that aren't - shockingly – a whole week old!).

About: Unsurprisingly, this is on Mr Peterson's own Brownswood Recordings.

Bottin - Discoursive Diversions

Take a hefty dose of Italo-disco, a penchant for dodgy 70s/80s horror soundtracks, a dash of hi-camp and an analogue synth fetish, throw 'em in together and you end up with Bottin… nu-Italo don and Bear Funk stalwart, whose genius is now celebrated with this 18-track 'best of' mix on Nang.

Although he's apparently been putting out stuff since 1999 (according to his own discography), it wasn't till last year's Horror Disco (and in particular the unbelievably kitsch Disco For The Devil) that this remarkable Italian producer caught my ear – or that of most UK buyers, I should imagine. Since then, he's been pretty much unavoidable… and in that time I've gone from thinking his stuff is tacky, throwaway trash, to coming round to thinking he's one of the most truly unique-sounding producers around.

If I've a criticism of this collection, it's that it IS quite samey-sounding, even though there are 17 different artists involved. There are two Bottin originals, y'see, and then his remixes of Space, The Emergency, Oscar G & Stryke, Wax Stag and, oh, 14 others. If you're already familiar with the Bottin sound and not a fan, then, this probably won't change your mind. If on the other hand you DO dig his camp, synth-driven, retro-electro-disco future schlock, you'll love this; and if you've yet to have the pleasure, then this is the ideal place to start.

Out: Since Apr 26, so what are you waiting for?

About: There's something strange going on with Bottin's actual website, which has apparently been "offed by MySpace, Facebook, Twitter" – so at first it looks like it's gone. But don't worry, all the page links at the bottom are working. He's just a wild and crazy guy, I guess.

Oh yeah, and the FULL title of this album is Nang presents The New Masters Series Vol 1: Bottin – Discoursive Discussions. FFS! But yeah, just to ram the point home, it is on Nang. Though clicking on that link might not tell you much cos they haven't updated their website for ages

Various - A Crew Reason EP

Fabio Gianelli's District Raw imprint has put out just four singles so far… and so far I've loved all four of them. Which isn't a bad start at all…

Four tracks from three artists on this latest release, all of whom are Italian. First up is Dario LC's Time For Change, which is a heads-down, dark driving house kinda thang at first but gets a little looser and funkier as it goes on. Then there's Motorship City by B. Green and Redmond; this is another heads-down driving affair, but to be honest doesn't really do enough. Ne'ermind, cos then we're on to the two tracks from Alessandro Sensini. First, Funky Mind is set on a backbeat that's loose enough to almost sound like a funk break, even though it's still essentially 4/4, and features a variety of muted brass stabs and crowd noises to keep 'em moving.

And then finally, also from Sensini, comes Vivi, which is the real treat here. A spoken male vocal, presumably sampled from a public information film or some such, informs us that "both alchohol and marijuana are equally capable of producing erratic behaviour and dependency" over a dark, brooding house backdrop which has slight prog/tribal tinges, especially in the minor key piano chords, but which is really Very Good Indeed.

Out: Now (but only since April 29)

About: Like I said, this is on District Raw, who've not put a foot wrong so far, for me. Here's their MySpace. I'd like to tell you more about the artists, but like Manuel, I know nothing…

UNER - Love In The Rope

I'll make it up to UNER for not being enamoured of his remix of Pleasurekraft, by saying that I am quite taken with his own new single, Love In The Rope. Coming atcha on another Spanish label, Khazuma Future, Love In The Rope is available in three different mixes for your listening and dancing pleasure.

The original is a chuggy house number, with chanted/chorused vox quite low in the mix and a filtered, driving kinda feel that makes me think of DJ Sneak – even though this doesn't sound like a DJ Sneak record in the slightest. The Mendo Remix is a slightly deeper and considerably sparser affair, veering towards that house/techno sound of Berlin but with the emphasis far more on the house side of the equation; and then finally there's the AFFKT Remix, which starts of lolloping along like the Original, then gets considerably more discofied in a cut-up, non-cheesy kinda style (sort of like Anorak Trax updated for the ’0-10).

I think the latter's my pick but I'd happily play any of the mixes to be fair. Good work.

Out: A whole four days (ie since April 29, maths-shirkers)

About: Khazuma Future MySpace (where you can HEAR THIS TRACK). Uner MySpace. Random picture of a capybara (giant guinea pig things from South America). Take your pick.

Pleasurekraft - Tarantula

This is quite a hard record to describe, you'd need to hear it really… so I'm just gonna work through the mixes.

First up, the Original. This spends the first three minutes of its life convincing you it's just A.N.Other deep-ish German-style house/techno track… until in comes the main hook, which I THINK is a treated human voice, but which really sounds like nothing on earth. Except maybe aliens jamming in a Turkish souk, or something. Like I said, it's hard to describe but once you hear it you'll know what I mean, ‘earworm’ doesn't cover it! Just ace.

UNER's mix is a bit more plain techno-y; it's quite deep and it's still got that killer hook, but detracted from by those cluttered drums technoheads are so fond of. So we're left with the two housier mixes by iO and Hugo. The Ukrainian duo (that's iO) give it a little more bottom-end funk, but I think the winner for me is Hugo, who takes us into rompy, uptempo tekno-disko pastures with his till1021 Remix. Scattershot disco vox up the fun factor and when THAT hook comes in, it's game over.

I'm actually liking all the mixes except possibly UNER's quite so much, but it doesn't matter. The hype sheet calls this "a track set to take the year by storm"; it'd be nice to think they were right, cos this rocks.

Out: Since April 29

About: I know very little about this one.… but a quick trip to Disco G's tells me that Pleasurecraft are a duo by the names of Kaveh Soroush & Charles Gudagafva, and also handily provides a link to their MySpace… where I learn that a) they're from Miami and b) Fanciulli has been playing this since last summer. D'oh. Oh yeah, and you can HEAR THIS TRACK there as well!

The same Disco G's page also helpfully leads me to the MySpace for Eklektcish Records, who released this, and who it transpires are Spanish. This is only their second release, as well.

Relation - Optimistic

Something of a left-turn for deep house imprint Urban Torque here, as they venture into indie-electropop territory.

Which isn't the kind of thing I'd touch with a bargepole, normally. However, Optimistic isn't without its charms. The vocal reminds me of the bloke out of Hard-Fi, and also a bit of early Tears For Fears, while the beats and synths have a little of that spangly Italo feel. Of the six mixes on offer, though, I'd stick to Cassette Club or Soundexile's, if I were you...

Out: Last week (so I'm catching up, okay?)

About: Like I said, this is something of a departure for Urban Torque. Here's their website to find out more about what they normally do (and sometime soon I'll tell you about their new Matthias Vogt single, which is fab and skill and groovy). Relation, meanwhile, are two lads from Essex called Andrew Leery and Oliver Keech, in case you were wondering.

PS Don't ask me why it says 'Another Hit & Run' on the sleeve, that's just what they sent me!

FREE deep house track from K-Bana!

Right then, here's a rather nice deep houser from Chichester boy K-Bana, which the good folks at Vinyl Junkie PR have said I can post on here...
K-Bana is a new name to me, though he's apparently had stuff out on Deepology, Guess and others so he must be doing okay… this track, Night Drive Music, is just a nice deep chugger.

So here it is… (click to DL)

Filterwolf - Nocturne

I shouldn't really say much about Nocturne's Music From Tomorrow album cos that's getting reviewed in iDJ. I think it's ace, though… and I CAN tell you about the single, Nocturne instead.

This is how the hype sheet describes Filterwolf's music:

"mesmerising electronic music in which techno, house and electro meet Burial- esque vocal fragments, whilst the synths play exploding melodies."

I'm not sure I agree with that 100% (the electro influences are very subtle, if there at all, and I'm not sure just having snippets of cut-up ethnic vox renders you 'Burial-esque') but it gives you a rough idea. I'd just call this Berlin-ish house/techno with plenty of dancefloor oomph, a touch of the nu-Italo in the synths (think Bottin) and all topped off with the human voice in a pleasingly trippy, no-proper-words kinda way (the vocal on Nocturne specifically is a bit Ofra Haza-y, but it works, trust).

Remix-wise, Bodycode chops up the beat and slows it down, inna 'Detroit beatdown' kinda way; Corrugated Tunnel's rub is one for the German leather & techno clubs, or anyone who misses EBM; while Olibusta manages to fuse deep Detroit techno with a smidgeon of dubstep flava. But none of the remixes beat Filterwolf's original for me.

Out: Last week, darling, but hey.

About: Filterwolf is Munich-based Adnan Duric, and has had stuff out before on dubKULT's Living Records imprint. This though comes on Process Recordings - website here, while you can find out more about Filterwolf himself here.

City Soul Project - Reach Out To Me

After the Just For Fun confusion below, here's another slightly mysterious release from a new London outfit called City Soul Project.

Apparently, they've got releases lined up for the Cubism and Sure Player imprints, but this their debut is comin' atcha on Drag Music. And a very enjoyable chunk of deep-ish, soulful-ish house Reach Out For Me is too. I can't quite work out if that's ACTUALLY a sample from Funky Green Dogs or if it just sounds like it, but you get the idea… on their MySpace they cite the likes of Dubtribe Sound System, Larry Heard, Frankie Knuckles, KoT, Joeski, Onionz, Kevin Yost and DJ Sneak as influence so you know the kind of thing to expect!

Out: This week

About: I've just told you just about everything I know! But here's that MySpace I was on about. Can't seem to find a website for Drag Music…

Block & Crown - Disco Ivory

Blimey, lots of new people signed up to the blog, so thought I'd better do the decent thing and write on it… hello, everyone.

This, then, is a two-tracker of the kind of sampled, filtered disco house that we all got a bit sick of back in the late 90s/early 00s, but which sounds quite good again and is definitely having something of a revival at the mo'. Disco Ivory itself, unsurprisingly, samples Black Ivory's Mainline and is the more commercial of the two; Tribute To The Paradise Garage on the flip is a longer, more sumptuous affair that will appeal to lovers of real disco as well as all that filtered house shiznit, laden with samples that this spotter will confess to recognising but not being able to place (one of which is driving me mad… it sounds like Linda Clifford but I could very well be wrong).

On the whole this isn't the coolest or most credible release but it's worth checking all the same… if only for how it manages to be very retro and yet curiously very 'now' at the same time. Funny thing that fashion, innit?

Out: This week (about three days ago to be precise)

About: This is on a new (I think) label by the rather jolly name of Just For Fun. Can't seem to find 'em online - there are a Swedish hardcore punk label and a French rock label of the same name but I don't think this comes from them - but I can tell you Block & Crown are Dutch, if that helps (well, it says there are on the hype sheet, anyway, and I can't see you'd go around saying you were Dutch if you weren't)