Monday, July 09, 2018

Odessa Calling EP - Swayzak (Rekids)

Title: Odessa Calling EP
Artist: Swayzak 
Label: Rekids
Cat Number: REKIDS123
Genre: Techno

A1: Odessa Calling
B1: Numbers Station

Swayzak releases have always had an epic scope and this double header is no exception. Using all available production tricks, both of these tracks seem to be playing well within themselves while emanating a confidence borne from a lack of urgency. Both ‘Odessa Calling’ and ‘Numbers Station’ saunter along, but take giant steps as they go. There is a lot going on between the lines as well; ‘Numbers Station’ is particularly characterized by emotive strips of sound which rise and fall before crashing into each other. It’s electronic ork battle music, mate. ‘Odessa Calling’ is a little bit more dubbed out and scales similar heights, but is less dramatic. It makes up for this however, by its progressive shape shifting as it evolves.

Flight 770 - Thee J Johanz (Ballyhoo Records)

Title: Flight 770 
Artist: - Thee J Johanz 
Label: Ballyhoo Records
Cat Number: BALL108
Genre: House

1: Flight 770
2: Night Of The Invisible
3: Thunder Over Tbilisi
4: Look At All Those Stars

I first came into contact with Thee J Johanz after buying ‘Move Your Butty’,  having first heard Nick Hoppner mixing it out of and into something else. It’s understated insistence struck a chord so I got curious. I know nothing about the man himself, but it comes as no surprise to learn that he has a rich heritage, having recorded on the legendery Irdial Discs back in the mid nineties. This release echoes of ‘Move Your Butty’; there is a similar adherence to spatial detail with the various sonic components having plenty of room to breath. Johanz Westerman knows how to get the juices flowing, and on the basis of this EP is a master of the sparse acid overlay, the 303 being omnipresent, (except in ‘Night of the Invisable’), but never overplayed throughout this release. Lovely stuff.

Monday, July 02, 2018

I See You In The Shrubs - Eyes Of Others (Paradise Palms)

Title: I See You In The Shrubs  
Artist: Eyes Of Others
Label: Paradise Palms
Cat Number: PP009

1: I See You In The Shrubs (12” Mix)
2: I See You In The Shrubs (Andrew Weatherall’s A Shrub From Outer Space)
3: I See You In The Shrubs (Donald Dust’s Other Thumper)

It’s easy to understand why this gets a remix from Andrew Weatherall; low slung groover meets stoner waffle which is on he one hand slightly whimsical, the other sonic attack. I suppose a lot of attention will be focused on AW’s remix, which is nice, but losing the original’s incantatory vocal riddim means losing a lot of charm. The voice does stay, however, but in isolated statements of intent. I’m feeling ‘Donald Dust’s Other Thumper’ more myself, which hollows things out and adds emphasis to the subtle layers of sharpened, dubbed kaleidoscopic effects. It’s a subtle pimping of the original in which the base elements coalesce perfectly.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

They're Coming - Delano Smith (Mixmode)

Title: They’re Coming
Artist: Delano Smith
Label: Mixmode
Cat Number: MM013
Genre: Deep House

1: They’re Coming
2: Safe Place

Impeccable grooves from Delano Smith, simple, reliable, effective. He’s peerless when it comes to the low sling dubby stuff, and that’s exactly what you get here. These two could form the backbone of a set for most of the night, such is their versatility. Another thing in their favour is their inherent drugginess; the subtleties which run riot over the top of this pair are on a par with the messiest house has to offer, and they are underpinned by an unerring drive. Fandabidozi!

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Metropolis EP - Kornel Kovacs (UTTU)

Title: Metropolis EP 
Artist:  Kornel Kovacs 
Label: Unknown To The Unknown
Cat Number: UTTU086
Genre: House

1: Metropolis
2: Babasonic
3: Panda

‘Metropolis’ is an instantly forgettable looped piece of house with a wanton female vocal. I imagine the radio version is there either because it’s got hit potential, or to save the listener from the longer rendering, which is twice the length. ‘Babasonic’ is far more interesting, as is ‘Panda’. Both tracks play with wobbly sonics and live in a nether region populated by lo-fi riddims, playful experimentation and a propensity to shuffle. I stopped at Corley Services on my way back from Liverpool a few weeks ago and the chap working at Burger King remarked on my Hot Haus tee shirt. I wonder if he would like this?

Dance Trax Vol 14 - Vin Sol (UTTU)

Title: Dance Trax Vol. 14
Artist: Vin Sol
Label: Unknown To The Unknown
Cat Number: DANCETRAX014
Genre: House

1: On Top
2: My Friend Is In The Main Room
3: Manage
4: Battery Leak

You know what’s coming: raw, rough-edged composotions which recall the golden days of US house trackiness. Heavily derivative they are, but no less substantial. Both ‘Manage’ and ‘Battery Leak’ explore the higher end, with jittery rhythms which mix acid, rubberoid bottom ends and hand claps into enhanced invocations of perspiration. ‘My Friend . . . .’ is no exception to the rule, but goes on a slightly different direction with its compression-led accordion stabs. It’s ‘On Top’ that grabs me the most though; a track which combines the best elements of the other three, and plops a spoken word sample on top for good measure. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Box It Ken EP - MadderModes (Dred)

Title: Box It Ken EP
Artist: MadderModes
Label: Dred Records
Cat Number: DRED006
Genre: Deep House

1: Box it Ken (John Osborne Remix)
2: Box It Ken
3: Appalachian Groove
4: Teil
5: Northwest Passage

Taking the original versions first: tracks two and three are quite rich and unctuous. ‘Appalachian Groove’ is a synth heavy builder which strikes out for the stars, peaking and fluctuating both randomly and controlled. Both ‘Teil’ and ‘Northwest Passage’ show different tribal inflections. Each are urgent; but while the former is busy and compact, the latter is more sparse and loping. Both versions of the title track dominate the package, and each has a slany on greatness; John Osborne’s is probably the more distinctive of the two, with a fuller sound, but there’s a drive about the original version which feels irresistible. Having said all of the above, what all of this boils down to is  that this is great drug music, and will sound great when you’re off your cake. No higher praise needed.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Ne0 Ge0 - Cygnus (Barba)

Title: Ne0 Ge0
Artist: Cygnus
Label: Barba
Cat Number: BAR016
Genre: Electro

A1: Zone Shifting
B1: Vertexing
C1: Ne0 Ge0
B2: Astronoot

Well this is nice. Cygnus, aka Philip Washington returns with his first release since 2016 and what a lush affair it is. Straddling a nether world of funk, electro, rolling, tumbling late night vibes and embellished with what feels like a sideways take on eighties jazz fusion in parts, this is an impressive, individual interpretation of everything that made that era great, while feeling completely contemporary. Does that make any sense? What’s even more bizarre is that this release has come out on a label from the country that gave us Dejan Lovren! Cygnus and Croatia take a bow. Possibly the best thing I’ve heard all year, and I’ve heard a lot. Vocoders rule!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Pioneers EP - Derek Carr (Craigie Knowes)

Title: Pioneers EP
Artist: Derek Carr
Label: Craigie Knowes
Cat Number: CNOWEP10
Genre: Techno

A1: Acid Bath
A2: Anthenia
B1: The Pioneers
B2: Hanging On A String

Another week, another Derek Carr release, or at least that’s how it feels. Not that this is an inconvenience though as the quality control is continually high and the variety wide. Craigie Knowes, who are on a simultaneous, roll all of their own have chosen well as this four tracker emphasizes what a properly polyvalent producer the Irishman is. Touching on acid, (‘Acid Bath’), electro (‘The Pioneers’), and two distinct shades of gliding, emotive techno (‘Anthenia’ and ‘Hanging On A String’), this four tracker exudes energy and positivity. Mr. Carr sounds like he had a lot of fun making this record. And why shouldn’t he have had? These four weapons should raise the temperature and lighten the mood whenever they are deployed.

A Says Hello EP - Alton Miller (Release Sustain)

Title: A Says Hello EP
Artist: Alton Miller
Label: Release/Sustain
Cat Number: RS028
Genre: House

1: A Says Hello
2: Cool But So . . . 
3: Cool But So . . . (Chaos In The CBD Remix)
4: Below The Underdog

The last time I saw Alton Miller play was at a party in the bois du Vincennes in 1997 I think. He was on a bill that included Andy Weatherall, who, the promoter wasted no time in telling us, had to cancel because of a dental appointment. No one believed him and we were all a little disappointed. Fortunately Mr Miller was able to offer some deep house solace on the night and kept things ticking over, playing deep, soulful house of which this latest release is very much reminiscent. There’s not a lot of variety here, but quality control is high, with each track, including the remix, being of the sun kissed on the French Riviera variety, resplendent with percussive disco licks which send your brain back to a time when, in spite of the cold war, life seemed a little bit simpler and more innocent. I suppose it’s because I was a kid then. Ah, well , , , , ,