Monday 26 January 2015

Posted by Unknown | 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.

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