Thursday, 28 April 2011
And to be fair, they’ve done a pretty good job, giving the track a beefier, more modern-sounding production make-over, with enough of that post-electrohouse sheen to the big synth stabs to make it appeal to today’s club kiddies, without going so far as to alienate us veterans, and while still allowing the quality of Inner City’s original song to shine through. Good effort.
What’s more exciting is the fact that this single is merely the beginning, as Inner City are now back together and a new album is apparently in the pipeline. Paris Gray is once more on vocals and not as I said before Ann Saunderson - I've been asked to point this out in a rather snotty email sent to me by the record company via a third party. Which was nice, obviously.
Out: This week
About: If you don’t know who Inner City are, should you really be reading this blog, do you think? On the off-chance you don’t, then Google it, I can’t explain everything. Meantime, this is on Kevin’s own KMS Records, who can be found on here.
They all contribute two mixes each but I’m in a something of a rush now so suffice to say Deetron’s mixes are deep and Detroit-y, Lovebirds’ go down a very ’90s-sounding route (in a good way) with some ace Jersey-style organs, and then Dave/Joey takes it to bigger floors on a mix that I suspect has been made with a certain Balearic island in mind, yet is remarkably non-cheesy. Well, it is if you head for the Dub rather than the Club Mix, but then I’d generally favour the dubs from all three parties over the vocal passes… and in any case the vocal’s not really ‘cheesy’, to be fair, it’s just a bit more ‘soulful male croony’ than I tend to find myself into these days.
Out of all that lot, house jocks of a variety of persuasions should find something to play here, proving that Mr Lee and his Z imprint remain as relevant to the underground in this day and age as ever.
Out: This week
About: None of the artists or the label should need much explanation from here, but here’s the Z Records website anyway
Taking it track by track, City Talk itself is straight-up deep house from the dreamy, drifty end of the spectrum. Soul is, as you might expect, a more soulfully-inclined affair, although still almost totally instrumental (there is a voice intoning the title buried quite deep in the mix but that’s it). Just Here is slightly more unusual/interesting in that it manages to fuse proggy and soulful elements, while House Crisis rounds out the EP with a little dancefloor bump n’ bounce (albeit that’s bump n’ bounce on the very deepest of floors, you understand).
All told, there’s no reinvention of the wheel going on, but it’s a very checkable selection. If I had to pick a fave, it’d be a toss-up between House Crisis and Just Here, but TBH I’m liking all four.
Out: This week
About: Well, as I said before I can’t really tell you anything about Soulight, and I’ve propped Endemic noff times, so here’s their website and we can move on...
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Mistaken is a mid-paced house/tech-house affair with a spoken vocal about… well, I’m not sure what about, actually. Some incident that occurred in some guy’s job at some point. It doesn’t matter too much, though, the random (and hard-to-decipher) nature of the vocal really just adds to the overall slightly trippy kinda feel.
It’s one for letting go of your mind and just groovin’ on through those wee small hours, and as such is well worthy of place in your box/wallet/crate... and heart.
Out: This week
About: Freaky Vibes turn out to be based in Valencia, Spain - as I learn from a quick look on Resident Advisor. Their MySpace and website (listed on RA) appear to be still under construction though so your best bet for now seems to be their Facebook page.
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
Deep house with a slightly leftfield, experimental twist is the order of the day generally, across an Original plus remixes from Ave Astral, from Kaan himself (as Shrimpy) and, most noteworthily, Q-Burns Abstract Message. Well, I say ‘most noteworthily’ as Q-BAA is the biggest name, but while his dubbed-out and lightly acid-flecked rerub of Say That certainly works, it’s actually the more bumping pass from Ave Astra, a new name to me, that I’m liking the best.
Still, whichever mix you go for, it’s a release that’s well worth investigating for lovers of (nearly) straight-up deepness.
Out: This week
About: As stated, this is on SOWAT Music out of Istanbul who, in cyberworld, live here. Oh, and here's the label's Soundcloud page as well, where you can HEAR THIS for yourself.
Meantime, this is what the hype sheet has to tell us about Pair Of Dirty Shoes: “Both have been movers in the growing Istanbul scene, with Shrimpy heading the Vesvese label and hosting shows on the influential Dinamo 103.8 FM while Fattish can be found in DJ booths city-wide as well as collaborating on many music projects. As Pair Of Dirty shoes the duo try out a variety of sounds from house to nu-disco to techno, mixing and matching tempos and stylistic elements in search of their own cool sound.”
It’s quite ‘big room’, yet manages to be neither too shiny-spangly, nor too laddy tops-off, if you see what I mean. You know if you see someone like Sasha or Digweed or Howells play, and it can start out a bit wishy-washy sometimes, and then there’s a bit where it starts get good and a bit more pumped-up but nice and housey, only then they spoilt it by getting either all overblown and trancey-trousers, or just a bit tribal and dull?
Well, of the four tracks on this EP, Alien and Oops (the housiest and my fave) are the kind of records you’d hear in that good bit! Transized is a bit more down that epic/soundscape-y type road and hence less appealing to me personally, though I can see its appeal, while Moondream has tinges of electro about it and so is probably one for a slightly younger audience.
But the EP’s worth checking for Alien and (particularly) Oops alone.
Out: This week
About: This is on a label I’m not sure have featured on here before, CDR (The Creative Digital Record Label). Their website is in Russian (and a bit slow to load) but here's their Facebook page).
PS: No disrespect to my boy Danny H intended!
Smiley Fingers’ own hype sheet has Photogram down as minimal, but I’d describe it as deep house... it’s minimalist in approach, for sure, but there’s not of that skittery rhythms n’ jarring noises rubbish, just a pulsating, understated groove that rumbles along doing its own thing quietly for seven minutes and 34 seconds, while various technoid synths tinkle away on top.
And that’s it. It’s one for warmups and comedown sessions rather than peaktime dancefloors for sure, but like I said, it’s really rather good. But then isn’t everything on Smiley Fingers? So far, anyway...
Out: This week
About: Given that I pretty much sleep on Smiley Fingers pillowcases, I’d be very surprised if you weren’t aware of this excellent London-based label by now. But here’s the obligatory hypertext link just in case.
Monday, 25 April 2011
Many of the tracks (The Champ by The Mohawks, Got My Mind Made Up by Instant Funk or Hercules by Aaron Neville, f'rinstance) will be perhaps a tad over-familiar for the more discerning funk lovers, but then this is meant as an introductory, educational-type collection, it's not supposed to be one for the diehards and purists! And even despite the inclusion of such old faves, there are plenty of lesser-known nuggets waiting to be discovered among the 31 tracks, too.
So: for older/better-versed funk/soul buyers this is worth a look… but if you're just discovering dance music's roots for the first time, it's pretty much essential.
Friday, 22 April 2011
The hype sheet describes Look At Yourself as "sitting in the middle ground of ambient electronica, R&B and garage". I'm not sure I'd agree with the R&B bit so much but it's not a bad description all the same. I'm going to go for 'Donna Dee meets Massive Attack' - informed by UKG in the beats and the use of chopped-up vocal snippets, Look At Yourself is a strong contender for 'downtempo cut of the year' if you ask me! A simply beautiful piece of music. Nuff said.
On the B, It's is essentially in a very similar vein, while Girl is similar but with the R&B influence clearer in the use of crooned male vox as a sound source. While neither quite comes up to the level of Look At You, the EP as a whole nevertheless marks out Synkro as very definitely an artist to keep a close eye on. More soon, please!
Thursday, 21 April 2011
In any case, this latest cut, EVL, is a typically brooding, menacing and moody affair, all ominous violin scrapes and a beat that recalls Massive Attack’s Karmacoma. It makes me think of wandering though deserted city streets in the darkness, looking for something (for some reason).
Anyway, it’s apparently being released as a single b/w Tied To The Big Hand, but I’ve not been sent that one. Still, check it out if you can - s’good.
Out: Now-ish, or if not then soon…
About: This will be coming on Forensics’ own label Methodology Recordings, which is also the epicentre of the 111bpm movement. Here’s the label MySpace and here’s the Forensics blog where you can download a ton of mixes n' stuff
Seems works delicate piano loops and the occasional disembodied vocal snip over midtempo rolling beats and lashings of heavy bass in a decently satisfying manner, while Fuck Yeah is more yer standard gnarl-a-thon and doesn’t really do a huge amount for me, TBH.
But the real reason this is here is the title cut, which is by far the most obvious and commercial track of the three, since it precedes the inevitable big bass drop with that Jocelyn sample from Snap!’s The Power… yet it actually works surprisingly well.
Like I said, apart from Seems it’s all a bit cheesy chavstep really… but it’ll work on a dancefloor. And as it’s sort of dubstep/D&B ‘week’ here at TIWWD, I thought it was only fair to paint as broad a picture as poss.
Out: Last week (11 Apr)
About: This is on Section 8 Dub records, but the only reference I can seem to find online is their section at the Digital Tunes download store.
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
More uncompromisingly deep dubstep here from Ramp, this time with the emphasis more firmly on the dub elements.
Glass Clouds rolls along at a half-time 70bpm, while Stay Strong technically registers at 140 but is still a relatively sedate affair; both are a hundred miles from the cheesy wobble-bass-plus-trance-vocal shite that Top 40 buyers think is dubstep, which is the main thing. I’m less convinced by the fractured, experimental beats on the Late Remix of Stay Strong but this is a heavy, heavy package all the same.
Out: 2 May
About: Ramp Recordings are another stalwart dubstep label who you really shouldn’t need me to tell you about... so here’s their website and let’s leave it at that.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
There are five tracks in total: two originals, plus bassed-out refixes of tracks by Debra Cox, R Kelly and Ciara. Of the two originals, I think it’s safe to say you’d file Madloopz more under dubstep, while Fem Pressure is more on the future garage side of the equation (with hints of funky in the syncopated drums, to boot).
Speaking of boots (see what I did there?), the R.Kelly one has R.Kelly’s nauseating nasal whine on it, and is thus best avoided if you ask me. The Ciara one’s okay if you can handle the OTT R&B histrionics; but Debra Cox’s It’s Over Now vocal getting one more run-out will definitely bring a smile to the faces of all those who’ve lived through the SG and 'bassline house' (as we used to call it) eras…
Finally, digital buyers also get a bonus cut - the Dubbel Dutch Remix of Never Forget by Hardware. Which is my favourite out of the lot, mainly because it doesn’t sound that much different from something on (eg) Nice N' Ripe we might have been playing back in ’97.
All told, a very strong package that will appeal to today’s youngsters and older garage lovers alike.
Out: Last week (12 Apr) so still pretty fresh…
About: This is on the Dutty Artz label outta New York. Don't know a lot about 'em but here's their website and Soundcloud page... from which I'm gathering it's a pretty eclectic stable, and based in Brooklyn.
Funny how everyone’s different, innit? I was talking to someone else the other day who, like me, isn’t a big dubstep head or anything but does quite like a lot of it. And they described this kind of subsonic, subterranean, ultra-deep take on it as ‘boring’ (they weren’t actually referring to this record, just that deeper sound generally).
And I was like, chat ’bout?! Admittedly I might not want to go to a club where you only heard stuff like this for seven hours*. But when put in a broader context, this kind of minimal, menacing stoner rumble works a treat for me. And here you get two doses of it. I’m kinda preferring A-side The Roteks, because the movie dialogue samples help heighten the tension (though there are some of those on Protected, as well, they’re just not as prominent).
But both cuts are wicked all the same. When western civilisation collapses and you’re left staring out over the post-apocalyptic cityscape from your hideout on the 27th floor of a derelict office complex… this is what you’re going to want on the stereo.
Out: 2 May (check me out for being all upfront, n’ that)
About: This is the latest from the mighty Tempa, who if you know anything about dubstep at all need no introduction from me… and if you don’t, you’d best check their website, hadn’t you? Or read up on their massive contribution to the evolution of dubstep on Wikipedia, even... or bring yourself up to speed on their Soundcloud page
*Not sure I want to go to a club where you only hear any one microgenre for seven hours, come to that
Monday, 18 April 2011
Watcha Gonna Do is kind of bassline-meets-big proggy Ibiza electrohouse, if that makes any sense. It’s kinda fun in its way I guess, particularly if you were 18 years old and full of energy and Class A’s… but far more satisfying to these old-man ears is Jay Robinson’s Deeper Mix, which comes from the most bassline-y/garage-y end of dubstep, with a big (but not stupid) wobble bassline sitting under cut-up, treated vocal snippets that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on an old Victor Simonelli record, plus what sounds suspiciously like a snippet of Papua New Guinea (but, er, probably isn’t, Mr Copyright Lawyer).
And then, to round out the package, Go Go Gadget is another garage/bassline-inspired cut, again with tons of energy and just a hint this time of the shiny electro influences.
Like I said, I’m not sure how you classify this overall; I’m not even sure if I like it that much, apart from the Jay Robinson rub. But it’s fresh in way that ‘hey I’ve made a tech-house record… and I’ve put a trumpet/some violins/circus music on it!’ is increasingly failing to be…
Out: Now-ish, but beyond that I can’t tell you.
About: This is – as you may have guessed! – from Four40 Records, and you can find them (and links to all their various social media pages) here
Sunday, 17 April 2011
So for the next few days we're gonna concentrate on the dubstep/D&B/future garage/etc side of things. Partly because of what I just said… also because there's a LOT of deep techy house about, and a lot of it IS starting to sound a bit on the samey side... whereas in that whole post-dubstep arena I've been hearing some really interesting, forward-thinking stuff.
That said, you wouldn't really call this latest from probably my fave D&B label to be particularly forward-thinking, to be honest... it's just two slices of rather good liquid funk. I'm liking both cuts: if pushed I might go for Inka's Song For You cos it's slightly more rolling, but then Jupiter by Melos does that thing that seems to be the in thing in liquid circles right now of using old skool jungle beats, and I do like a bit of vintage jungle, so that's cool, too.
Out: Not until next week, actually, but gonna do all the recent/upcoming D&B/dubstep/etc bits in one batch...
About: This is No 14 from Vibration Records, and if I hadn't liked pretty much everything to date, they wouldn't be probably my fave D&B label, would they? Find out more here. Oh yeah, and they're on Soundcloud as well, naturally.
Saturday, 9 April 2011
Very current, because this kind of tuff tech-house is all the rage right now; here, it’s supplemented by some Turkish/Arabic-style female wailings and accompanied by a darker, proggier Dub. So far, so 2011.
But very retro, cos in it’s original form, this really isn’t that far from the kind of hard, percussive UK house circa 1993 (think early Limbo, Guerrilla, Give It Up) that eventually became nu-NRG and ‘hardbag’. Oh what silly, happy times those were. Sigh.
Anyway yeah, so this is all right. And I have no doubt would sound even better on poppers in a darkened room at 2am.
Out: This week
About: You can HEAR THIS at Red Eleven's Soundcloud page
Oh, and I’ve just looked back at the very limited info that came with this, and found that Ralph used to be part of a duo called The Good Guys. Which given that I just compared this (indirectly) to Give It Up by Good Men, struck me as kind of funny. Things really DO go round in circles, don’t they?
Picking favourites or going into lengthy track-by-track analysis seems almost superflous… this is just the kind of deep, sumptuous tackle that would appeal equally to a Paul Trouble/Grant Nelson or a Smokescreen/DiY kinda crowd. It’s got the sounds of vintage Jersey put through a mid-90s UK filter, it’s got beautiful wails, warbles and coos from Welsh sonsgtrel Donna Lea (but only on So Long itself, in case you’re vocaphobic), it’s got old skool piano stabs, it’s got phat PHAT bass, and basically if you don’t investigate further immediately, you are a fool.
Do I make myself clear? Good.
Out: This week, digitally (the vinyl’s been out for a couple of weeks)
About: As you don’t want me to think you are fool, you will of course want to find out more about Fina Records right now!
Milking The Sadness Away (a collaboration with Rei Okev) is stripped, lazy and beautiful, and will do just what it says; on t’other side, Bauhouse itself is a more dancefloor-inclined number, not doing huge amounts but keeping enough of a bass-and-drums groove going throughout (with vocal snips thrown in here and there) to make it perfect mix fodder for those wee small hours.
Out: This week (worldwide, though it’s been out on Beatport ONLY for a couple of weeks)
About: You’re probably sick of me banging on about Switzerland’s Acryl Music by now, but no-one seems to be doing, so until they are and this excellent label gets the credit it deserves, I’m not gonna quit!
One Nathalie Claude is the vocalist in question, her vocal having those jazz/torch stylings so beloved of trip-hop and downtempo artists. Musically, however, this is in not too dissimilar a vein from most of K&N’S standard deep house fare, albeit I’d suggest it’s one for the more soulfully-inclined (rather than the more jackin’, druggier) floors.
Fred Everything himself then supplies Vox and Dub mixes on top of the Original and Instrumental rubs from K&N themselves; he adds a little extra dancefloor ooomph and, indeed, I’d say it’s his Dub that’s my pick here.
Out: This week
About: You might also like to know that Lazy Days have a ‘best of the first five years’ compilation due to land soon. More details at the Lazy Days website.
He’s cheated a bit, mind. Dropping that classic Cuba Gooding sample is bound to bring a smile to any old raver’s face, which is the trick he pulls over midtempo deep house beats and plenty of warm, phat bottom-end on Joy. But then Shades, which does the ‘old black dude talking’ thing over handclaps, party sounds, lush pads and simple but insistent percussion, is also very good, without resort to familiar samples.
So Mr Murphy is clearly quite a talented young man. Damn him. He might like to look up ‘EP’ in a dictionary though… with just two tracks, this plays in an ‘extended’ fashion in relation to what, exactly?
Out: This week
About: This is on SP Recordings, who I've been asked to point out are nothing to do with the Smartie Party brand (who are also based in Essex and used to have a label of a similar name). Anyway you can find ’em online here
Also, in-between cavilling at the fact they’ve called it an EP, and grumbling about how young Saluda is – there’s a reasonable chance I could actually be OLDER than his dad, which is quite terrifying – did I mention that this really is an excellent record? Just thought I’d better make sure we’re all clear on that!
There are no major surprises: it’s just classic-style west coast house. The title track, a midtempo affair with funk guitars and harmonised R&B/soul vox à la Caldwell or Kaskade, is if anything, a little too classic-style, if you know what I mean! But that’s okay cos Free Your Body and Takin’ It Back more than make up for it, particularly on the RSR Bounce Mix of the latter which has plenty of, er, bounce. Sadly though, the obligatory ‘jazz pianos and some ancient black dude talking about Harlem, over boompty beats… or may a little bit of hip-house instead’ number that you normally get on a Salted release is absent this time out – those are my favourite ones!
But like I said, this is a solid five-tracker all the same.
Out: This week
About: Find Migs’ Salted Music label online here
*I’m guessing Yogi and Husky might not be their real names either, come to that. Though you never know.
The EP starts with Iceland, a slightly off-kilter slice of downtempo electronica that could just about be called slo-mo house, I guess. The pace then picks up on Ladybug, which is a deep n’ moody house/techno affair tailormade for post-club comedown sessions, before the EP comes to a close with my fave of the three, Once Upon A Flat (very droll), which is a more straight-up late-night deep house affair.
Be warned though, the hype sheet does mention ‘soundscapes’, which is seldom a good thing in my books! This isn’t as epic and self-indulgent as that word usually implies, but if it’s bouce-around-the-room tackle you’re after, this isn’t the place to look.
Out: This week
About: As stated, this is on Ireland’s Elevation, who’ve been on quite the roll of late. Find ‘em online here.
Oh yeah, and Carlo’s fans to date apparently include the likes of Steve Bug, Luciano, Loco Dice, Damian Lazarus and Josh Wink, which kind of gives you an idea what to expect as well.
Thursday, 7 April 2011
1. It's got Marco Del Horno's debut album on the cover, so it'd be rude not to really
2. It's our 'debut issue', concentrating on people we haven't talked to before. In fact there are 50 people featured in the mag who've never been in it before, mostly new artists (naturally) but also one or two that somehow we've just never gotten round to speaking to... including...
3. BOOTSY COLLINS! Yep, yours truly was lucky enough to get the legend that is Bootsy Collins on the phone to talk about his new album. Which was really quite exciting.
So yeah: the new issue of iDJ. It's quite good. You should buy it.
Out: This week
About: For a full rundown of the issue's contents, click here (and if you're overseas you can order it online as well)
Wednesday, 6 April 2011
"Deep sonorities full of soul and jazzy influences" is how the hype sheet describes this release, and yeah that just about covers it. The four cuts somehow manage to be deep, techy and soulful all at once, but Thou Shall Not stands out for its frankly bizarre vocal, which features some cock-er-ney geezer laying down his personal ten commandments ("thou shall not take the name of Johnny Cash, Desmond Dekker or Syd Barrett in vain… thou shall not read NME… thou shall not fall in love so easily").
Yeah, good stuff.
Out: This week
About: This comes on Freaky Vibes, a new label based in Valencia and run by Groovik, who's featured on here on several occasions.Here's their MySpace and here's Groovik's own Soundcloud page.
Friday, 1 April 2011
Vibration Lab is a new project from two stalwarts of the southwest’s deep house scene, with connections to the Peng label and Bristol’s long-running Fruity Antics night, but this EP sees them heading off in a completely different direction, inspired by a mutual love of classic reggae and dub. It’s not even as simple as that though, because they’re billing the Vibration Lab sound as ‘future reggae dubstep’. And indeed, that probably IS the best way to describe this EP. Think the most dub-wise, reggae-infused dubstep you’ve heard to date, then reggae it up a bit more, and you’re somewhere in the right ballpark. It’s just dubsteppy enough to not be straight-up dub, yet reggae-fied enough to appeal to even the most ardent dubstep-a-phobe.
Being a big fan of classic reggae myself for some 30 years now, I’m loving it loving it loving it, especially Dub Pon The Street, which reworks Black Uhuru’s Heathen to devastating 21st century effect.
Crucial, in every sense of the word.
Out: This week
About: I think I just explained most of what I know. I guess I should also tell you that this is on their own Vibration Lab label, though. Here's their Soundcloud page.