Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A New Beginning . . .

I really should try to feedback on stuff a lot more regularly and, while I'm at it, could I make a request? If my blog is credited with feedback when it's been given then it's good for both me and the track being reviewed. I'm on a publicity drive as of tonight. Mentioning your sources is polite isn't it?

Some good stuff has come my way recently and it's been ages since I wrote a chart, so that'll return at the end of this month. Meanwhile I've been the recipient of some great stuff from, amongst others, Morris Audio, Murmur, Freak n' Chic, Nice and Nasty and Siteholder. I shall now attempt to put some critical words together about this "stuff."

Title: Orpington EP
Artist: Bearweasel
Label: Murmur
Genre: Sparse Moodiness

Pillow Head
Wander Down
Wander Down (Dubshape mix)

Good solid mood-shaping release from Murmur who are gathering a reasonable amount of momentum as they hit their third release. Mid-paced glacial trance is the order of the day, that's trance as in adjective folks. "Pillow Head" sounds like slowed down wild pitch with an "ethnic" moan thrown in for good measure. "Wander Down" meanwhile, is a skeleton on which to hang your moods. 8-Bit's Dubshape turn in what for me is the most interesting offering with a mix that offsets a claustrophobic organic setting against industrial synth stabs. The best of both worlds.

Title: Hank Moody EP
Artist: Till von Sein
Label: Morris Audio Citysport Edition
Genre: Deep House

Doll Eyes

Groovy stuff from Herr von Sein that work on so many levels, rather like the Simpsons. "Privat" has a cavernous low end offset by high end synth stabs; it's a march for gay battalion and drives along at a pace that threatens to break free but never quite does so, reigned in, as it is, by its own sense of discipline. The percussion is crisp and all-enveloping and gives me the feeling of walking through a dense but friendly forest. "Hive" has the slightest hint of dub and then goes all wonky and strange. There's a healthy sense of imbalance here that only those who've strayed to the dark side can identify properly with. We've got a handclap on "Doll Eyes" which raises the tempo ever so delicately, but again there's a break which plunges the track into a vortex of uncertainty. All three offerings are relatively out there and unique.

Title: Logos Volume 1
Artist: Various
Label: Logos Recordings
Genre: Deep Techno/House

01. Niko Marks - Moods Of Man And Woman
02. Takasi Nakajima - Unpublished Sound
03. Itokim - Seven Days
04. Tatsuya Takenaka - Ukiyo
05. Ryo Shimizu - Finding Place
06. Alex W. aka Protector Hood - Morning Voyage
07. Goran Kan - Waves
08. DRS606 - Loving Jah
09. Samoil Radinski - Izvor 2
10. TR - Tecnewa
11. Igor Zotik - Sonika Flight (Samoil remix)
12. James Light - Planant Myspace

Forthcoming on the 15/8/08 from Macedonia's Logos Recordings complete with artwork from UR partner in ideology Abdul Qadim Haqq, I came across this as a consequence of it featuring a track by Itokim from Japan, someone I had already come into contact with when he released for Fine Art Recordings. OK, so Niko Marks' "Moods of Man and Woman" is electronic cocktail bar music but once over the first hurdle this collection really takes off. "Techewa" bowls along in an understated but powerful way, "Unpublished Sound" features a grinding percussive underbelly sprinkled with stardust, "Sonika Flight (Samoil remix)" is evocative and dramatic with a hint of snow . . . I could go on. This is a great release that oozes sophistication, class and a healthyattention to detail. A hommage to all things lush and atmospheric with a conspicuously strong nod in the direction of Detroit.

Title: Nymphotech
Artist: Hugh Hephner
Label: Siteholder
Genre: Updated Windy City House

1: Foreplay
2: My Money Your Body
3: Coffeeshop Chronicles
4: Black Potion
5: JacknCoke
6: Lotus Bomb
7: $ean Da Don
8: Quickie Bounce
9: Nymphotech

"I wanted to create a distinct style that combined the legendary sound of jackin' Chicago house with modern techno," explains Siteholder Records co-owner and world-renowned producer, Billy Dalessandro, when asked about his decision to create the Huge Hephner alias.

Huge Hephner, a name not easily forgotten, first gained notice in the electronic music world roughly a year ago, with "The Booty Drop" EP on Siteholder UnCut (Siteholder Records' digital sub-label). The release marked a clear departure from Dalessandro's traditional production style, implementing a distinguishable house vibe while still maintaining a forward-thinking techno feel.

Following the success of "The Booty Drop EP," Hephner took little time in preparing his first vinyl release for Siteholder, entitled the "Pimp Slappin'" EP. Building upon his prior success, the EP found its way into some of the world's top DJ's record bags. Up until this point, the individual behind the Hephner alias had remained a secret. However, following the critical acclaim of "Pimp Slappin'," it was only a matter of time until Hephner's true identity was revealed.

Merely one year later, Hephner ups the ante with the release of his debut album, entitled "Nymphotech." This full-length album marks the culmination of Hephner's young career with Siteholder Records - a label that techno legend Sven Vath claims is "putting Chicago back on the map."

Keeping today's volatile vinyl market in mind, Siteholder takes a unique release approach for their first full-length album. Instead of going the traditional double-pack route, "Nymphotech" will be released on vinyl via two separate three-track album samplers. The two remaining tracks will be available exclusively in digital format via Beatport. Those who purchase a digital copy of "Nymphotech" in its entirety will also get a free 30-minute live set by Hephner.

"After a successful digital EP and vinyl release, I really felt like it was time to put myself to the test by producing an entire album - the first I had ever done under an alias," Billy notes, "from the beginning I had always wanted to create a separate identity with an equally fruitful career to the one I've built under my given name... Huge Hephner has allowed me to do that and at a pace beyond anything I could have ever imagined!"

As Dalessandro prepares to hit the road in August for yet another European tour, Nymphotech is poised not only to ensure further recognition of the Huge Hephner name, but also push Siteholder Records into the few pockets of the planet it has yet to penetrate.

Of course the above is a press release and not my work at all, so what's Siteholder's first foray into full-length territory like? Well . . .

"I wanted to create a distinct style that combined the legendary sound of jackin' Chicago house with modern techno," . . .

I think he's done quite well where this is concerned. This is an understated masterclass in sophisticated shuffle and funky entrails. At first listen it might appear that there's not a whole lot going on, but each tune has its own subtleties and nuances that sets it apart from what's gone before. Personal faves are "JacknCoke," with its pronounced bassline that rises and falls together with a slightly off-key piano, "Lotus Bomb," which makes deft use of a clever little guitar lick throughout, "Sean Da Don," which grooves along nicely on a foundation of vocal samples and snippets and possibly the best track of all, "Nymphotech" which is a space-age journey through acid soundscapes and disorientating thoughts. This collection has funk in spades and I can only hope Derrick Carter and Mark Farina are banging this lot out.

More to come . . .

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