Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Posted by Johnny Jupiter | File under : , , , , , , , , , ,
Spinna was an icon of the indie hip-hop scene who switched rides on an early lap some way round the course of his DJ/production career, and, if he hasn’t yet reached the finishing-line, has accumulated trophies already in the form of some sizeable dance hits. The biggest of those, his mix of Shaun Escoffery’s ‘Days Like These’ is inexplicably not on either of the two lavish double albums (one track per side apart from LP 1, side C, which has two) this comes as, though it IS found on the CD. That early release (and its immediate predecessor, ‘Space Rider’ which was particularly big in New York) immediately put Spinna up there with the big boys in the world of house, and he’s stayed there pretty much ever since. If there’s a better vocal record in the last few years, I’d like to hear it (and please post it to me via this site)!
A high proportion of the material here is also vocal, but there are a couple of deeper, techier instrumental  tracks to spice up the vibes (and one of those, his Acid Power mix of Karizma ‘The power’ seems to be exclusive to the vinyl). Anyone who likes their house music rooted in the black American tradition will find much to enjoy here, but don’t expect four sides of gospel-style wailing. The original material is quite disparate, but there’s a marked tendency for Spinna to work with bands, and tracks that start out more ‘musical’ in the first place. A Spinna sound, grooving and funky, but never ‘hard’,  unites all the material here. A few personal favourites: Louie Vega with Raul Midon ‘A Better Day’, like sounding like a 21st century Jose Feliciano.; Fertile Ground, ‘Live In The Light’ –fierce, spiritual – and Tortured Soul ‘Why’, deep and dark. This is a well-deserved first retrospective for someone that’s helping to keep alive a vital strain of our dance music heritage.

The Sound Beyond Stars is available on vinyl, CD and MP3 directly from BBE
Or via iTunes

Monday, 16 February 2015

I found the name of this EP a bit misleading, as K.M.S. refers to where the producer was living (Karl Marx Strasse in Berlin) not to Detroit techno legend Kevin "Master Reese" Saunderson's label KMS.  However, there is definitely the fingerprint of Detroit on this music--finding funk in the machines.  To be clear, this is not a funk EP--but the spirit of funk is evident. 

Diving into the tracks, "Magnet" is not very complicated, but sometimes simplicity is the disguise of genius.  It feels amazing.  Read that again, "It feels amazing."  Not the sound, not the arrangement, not the notes, but that ever-ephemeral element--feel.  The elusive difference between "repetitive" and "hypnotic" has been nailed by Iron Curtis.  That said, there are a few sonic surprises such as the super-syncopated introduction that seems to be fighting itself, yet works. It works in the same way that your body understands funk even when your mind doesn't; like when James Brown's grooves dance around "the one"--but it is never hard to find. Later there's the section where it sounds as though it's gone from a studio recording to an outside location, like we've gone for a smoke in the back-alley.  This is a great way of lifting the mood a bit before the insistent groove gets dropped on you again (which you are happy to receive!)  The take-no-prisoners kick drum says "Dance sucka!" and would make Sir Nose D'voidoffunk shake his rump.  Combined with the organ, piano, pads and perfectly-placed bass notes, this track has "classic" written all over it.

"What Happened Happened" is quite a bit murkier, but no less pleasant.  It's a bit like an after-club meal with friends where you don't remember the details, but the general feeling was good and you know something interesting went on because your friends always bring it up, but can't go into specifics.  The sounds are slightly distorted, the spoken word sample sounds pitched-down and kind of glitchy.  The bass & drum groove is solid and moves you along and the keyboard sounds have a dirty, but not dark vibe to them.  The "Berg Reduktion" of "…Happened" picks the mood up quite a bit.  It's less hazy memories and more cool party groove.  The  distorted and murky samples are still there, but the drums, bass and keys are a lot more upbeat.  Nowhere near as heavy as "Magnet," but well-balanced given the force of the A-side.

This one should work for terrace/lounges, bars and clubs and I think you're doing yourself a disservice if you do NOT buy this.  I expect to hear this one being played for years to come…

Office Recordings (OR04)
Format :  12inch vinyl / Digital
Release: 30.03.2015

Monday, 26 January 2015

Posted by Nick Titchener | File under : , , , , , , , ,

I have to be honest – I first listened to this EP from Finest Wear and James Hockley’s new project  on a dodgy PC system, with nowhere near enough sleep after playing a loud and banging 6 ½ hour set. To my surprise it sounded bloody fantastic – and it sounds even better today.

The whole EP is effectively a master class in production, mixing and mastering. It’s obvious that these are tunes that have been written and produced with a lot of care, and I dare say, love, and the mixes are perfectly structured for DJ play. Production throughout is as crystal clear as a mountain lake (and at least twice as deep) and every element is expertly placed and has plenty of room to breathe  which makes for a very refreshing and enjoyable listening experience.  Add the fact that all three cuts are as danceable as hell and there’s no question that this is a very special release.

My favourites of the three tunes are the wonderful “Don’t Use Me” – once the main riff kicks in (after an extremely DJ friendly intro) it really doesn’t let you go – and “Steady Rising” which has an edgier lead synth that, to me, gives it a little more urgency. Having said that, the warm and lovely “Lifted High” is in no way a filler, and I’ll definitely be playing all three of them – I think you should be too.

TwelveBitMusic‘s First Flight EP is the pure, melodic deep house that lots of producers currently claim they’re making – but unfortunately they’re mostly wrong. Not much else out there at the moment comes close to this. Essential.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Posted by Johnny Jupiter | File under : , , , , , , , , ,
A quick look at Discogs tells us that DJ Oil previously had a solo album out a few years back on Discograph, which totally passed this writer by. When I wondered why I realised I had pretty much given up on the trip-hop genre, which was so ubiquitous through the ‘90s and noughties, but fell off the radar as it became ever more ‘ambient’ and unchallenging.  Well, this release should have said radar beeping furiously, because it’s anything but soporific mood music. DJ Oil has definitely put the ‘hop’ –hip-hop’s urban grittiness—back into trip-hop, while the trip is all about our lives now, more often a nightmare than a hazy escapist fantasy. This impression is conjured by his inventive use of rousing spoken-word passages, field recordings and an array of cool analogue and digital effects.

It turns out DJ Oil, Frenchman Lionel Corsini, was part of The Troublemakers, an acclaimed group who (uniquely) had albums out on both deep house label Guidance and legendary jazz label Blue Note. That tells you something of his affiliations to African-American music, and it’s this rootedness in that musical tradition that really sets this apart from other contemporary downtempo efforts.  It has more to do with James Brown, Fela Kuti and John Coltrane than  it does the chocolate-box confections that had seemed to sound the death-knell of the trip-hop genre (we won’t name names because we’re sure you’ve nodded off to them all yourselves), and it’s hard not to see the Black nationalist rhetoric  as also a coded commentary on contemporary France in the light of recent events. This will keep its place in my boxes alongside contemporary downtempo beat-makers as diverse and brilliant as Madlib, Nightmares On Wax, Fredric Galliano and Boards of Canada.

Buy now via at iTunes: geni.us/DJOilPhantom
CD / Vinyl at: www.bbemusic.com

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Posted by Nick Titchener | File under : , , ,
Colour & Pitch has quickly established itself as a go-to label for deep, melodic and, let’s be honest here, intelligent music,  of which  their latest release – Aiby & The Noise “Dangerous Liaisons / Dream Suite” - is a perfect example. 

Barcelona based producers Garcy Noise and Vanessa Aiby’s first appearance on the label came with their storming remix of Teysel’s “”Continuous”,  to be quickly followed by this excellent two tracker  under their  own name.  

Lead track “Dangerous Liasons” is a warm and welcoming deep dancer that captivates from the first note – and of not from then, from the first “Yeah” which follows 20 odd seconds later. With a vocal top line of “Who needs enemies with a friend like you?” dancing across it’s wonderfully analogue depths and a perfectly old school skipping hi-hat pattern providing an irresistible drive, it’s destined to become a major favourite in next to no time.
Companion piece “Dream Suite” is an equally deep affair, but one that’s more of a grower  - musically and emotionally.  Starting from a drum pattern, other elements – including a distinctly enigmatic spoken vocal and a nicely growling bass - are added gradually until roughly the 3 minute mark,  when it breaks into sparser reverb drenched territory;  by then you’re on so much of a journey  you might get lost, where it not for the percussion coming back to show you the way home. Lovely stuff.

Aiby & The Noise “Dangerous Liasons” / “Dream Suite” , Colour & Pitch (CAP006) is available as a Beatport exclusive until December 9th, when it hits iTunes and all other online stores. Buy it.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sena "Senadee" Verdi returns with what could be one of his biggest tracks to date - and this is clearly the thoughts of one of the most prolific independent labels out there. Black Hole Recordings have this week released a superbly remixed version of his latest production"Robot Love". Founded in 1997 by Tiesto and Arny Bink, the label has been home to some of the biggest names in dance music over the years. Artists past and present include music royalty such as Ferry Corsten, Armin Van Buuren, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Andain, BT and Deadmaus to name just a few.

Identifying pure talent seems to be an ongoing trait for a label who's mission statement is "Captivate, Communicate and Celebrate" and this is no exception to the rule. Senadee has been prolific as a singer, song writer and multi-instrumentalist over the last ten years, which has seen him collaborate with the likes of John Askew, BT and Chicane. And it's not hard to see why. His lyrics are absorbing and endlessly threaten to open the doors to his inner most feelings. His voice is filled with raw emotion, and is more reminiscent of his indie/rock routes than the normal clear tones that are more often associated with dance music.

The Original Mix is an upbeat dance floor filler, permeated with catchy beats and a heavy 80's influenced, top line synth melody, which is offset by the huskiness of the vocals. This is further expertly padded out for the extended mix.

Swedish Grammy and Brit nominated producer Zoo Brazil's take on Robot Love, is a deeper, more haunting vision, fusing together woodblock, pipes and bass guitar undertones. The addition of echo and loops adds further mystique, while the distortion creates a feeling of foreboding.

Picking up the pace is Discover Records A&R Man, Lostly - who's production skills and remix expertise are gaining him Worldwide recognition from the likes of Armin Van Buuren, Aly and Fila and Indecent Noise. South Africa's premier dance music producer gives the track a 140 bpm facelift, using his signature synth accents - injecting an energy which will undoubtedly get this track airplay on the likes of ASOT and FSOE.

A further remix from Discover Records Peter Hulsmans, aptly entitled "Android Excursion" adds simple piano riffs and drifting synths, which enhance Sena's mode of expression, resulting in a beautifully uplifting trance classic.

With a World Premier of the video scheduled to air on VEVO on Thursday 30th October, and full release on Monday 10th November, this track will leave you in no doubt as to the calibre of the artists debut album, which is due out in 2015.

Tracklist:01: Senadee – Robot Love (Original Mix)02: Senadee – Robot Love (Extended Mix)03: Senadee – Robot Love (Zoo Brazil Remix)04: Senadee – Robot Love (Lostly Remix)05: Senadee – Robot Love (Peter Hulsmans Android Excursion)

Robot Love - Zoo Brazil Remix out now on Beatport
Robot Love  - Zoo Brazil Remix Video

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Posted by Hannah Louise Garber | File under : , , , , , , , , ,
Austin, USA. Capital of Texas. Home to SXSW, Willie Nelson, Google, Ebay and Harmonious Discord - a label that has "been the purveyors of offbeat melodies" for the last eleven years.  Created to provide a musical outlet for artists that defy convention, their latest release comes to us via Onium - also known as Stephen Moon. Onium first featured on the Discordian Dreaming Series. This however is his debut full length EP.

Well known for "pushing the edge", Onium flirts heavily with dub techno in this EP. Track One entitled - "He Breathes" feels dreamy and serene in the build up, with drifty synths that make way for a deep progressive baseline. Track two takes the baton and builds on to an edgy electronic euphony. Entitled "Opslo" and with three additional remixes, you certainly dont feel short changed! Up first, Echo Conscious brings us something a little more uplifting, with the introduction of cowbells, lighter melody and minimal distortion. This is offset by mucher darker, but equally stunning remixes from Bleupulp - which at times fools you into thinking that two tracks have been badly blended and Hemiptera - whose mix has a strong progressive feel to it.  "Sharing Light" demonstrates a much stronger techno influence as does the final track "Piped". The synths have a more sinister edge, with heavy echo and persistent bass lines, as in Breathe.

With a motto like "Cacophony at it's finest", this EP embraces it with both arms, although any harshness is quickly offset with a beauty that washes over you. It has cutting edge, creative production and I cant wait to hear more in the future from this forward thinking artist.

Immix is out now via Beatport and all good download stores.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Posted by Rosko | File under : , , , , , , , , ,
There are producers that feel the need to throw the kitchen sink at their tracks, smothering them in every effect and process imaginable. Karizma is not one of them. The latest in his Beats & Bobs series on R2 Records is remarkable for its infectious simplicity and stripped back grooves.

The opener “Klearkut” features a steady, bumpy afro-tech build overlaid with multi-textured percussive and melodic stabs and flows. A tough kick steers the track away from noodling territory and drive the simple melodies to a place where a subtle bass line and some unobtrusive squelches somehow add up to much more than the sum of this track’s parts.

The 10 minute “Earth These Beats” opens with a naggingly familiar old skool breakbeat and hypnotic, catchy stabs, rolling bumpily along through a series of nicely constructed breakdowns that will keep any dance floor on its toes.

All too often chefs ruin perfectly good ingredients by simply trying too hard. It takes skill and bravery to present a dish with a few simple ingredients, perfectly handled. But that’s exactly what Karizma has done with this release, and it’s refreshing to hear.

Beats & Bobs Vol.2 is out on October 27th.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Posted by Will Sumsuch | File under : , , , , , , , , ,
Barcelona based DJ and producer Teysel takes centre stage for C&P’s 5th release. Inspired by underground Chicago and West Coast US house music, Teysel’s traditional, precise approach to DJing is reflected in his compositions. With an EP and several remixes released on German label EUN, he is now also finding his feet as a producer. Title track ‘Continuous’ represents a slice of simple, Berlin influenced, stripped down tech house, full of dark and brooding atmospheres.

Ahead of their forthcoming debut single on Colour and Pitch, Spanish production duo Aiby & The Noise make their entrance (and live up to the second half of their name) with a truly raucous remix of ‘Continuous’. Replaying the bass-line and adding some classic breaks, they transform the track into a growling behemoth; to be handled with caution!

Hailing from Czech Republic, residing in Brighton UK, A-Bee & Tom Vagabondo have released on countless labels both separately and together as The Lazyboys. Their remix of Continuous completes our package with a deep and mournful deep house journey, adding haunting spoken word and bleak, atmospheric synths.

Continuous is out now, exclusively via Beatport

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Posted by Hannah Louise Garber | File under : , , , ,
Self confessed boutique label, Lucid Dreaming Records are this month celebrating their two year anniversary. And what better way to do it, than with the talented SIS. The German born artist - better known as Burak Sar, is well known on the house scene, with releases on Cross Town Rebels and Get Physical to name just a few.

 LDR's primary goal is to "evoke certain emotions and feelings inside of you. We want you to dream big and lose yourself in the music" and this is exactly where I found myself. Lost amongst an eclectic mix of percussions, deep tones and atmospheric melody.

The first track on the EP is entitled "Clash" and has a haunting yet uplifting melody, with pan pipes slicing through the smoothness to create an individuality to this stunning tune. Track two "Hang" keeps you totally uplifted, and adds an oriental feel to the whole vibe.

The EP as a whole is a beautiful work of art, and although it conjures up visions of beaches on far away shores and beautiful sunsets, it keeps a consistency to the beat throughout, giving versatility, and ensuring that this will be equally at home in the darker reaches of the clubland.

'Clash' is out on June 8th; until then you can enjoy some previews here: