Sunday, April 25, 2010

More Fuel

Title: Birds & Souls EP
Artist: Birds & Souls
Label: Spectral
Cat Number: SPC-91
Genre: House

1: Birds & Souls
2: Birds & Souls (Runaway)
3: Birds & Souls (Birds & Beats Extended Version)

A staple in Seth Troxler's sets late last year and early this, and so much a stand-out that much frenetic forum wanking greeted its inclusion in a mix, 'Birds And Souls' while being a great track faces the possibility of being played - out before it even gets a release. I'm not sure myself, but I think that unless it's completely fresh to the ears of those about to hear it it may be given short shrift by a large minority already in search of the next big tune. In any case, it's brilliant, as much a hands in the air rock anthem as a house one. The 'Runaway' version takes things down a dubbier and more conventionally deep house path, and is very good in its own right, while the 'Birds And Beats Extended Version' isn't extended and is more like a radio edit. What's that all about, eh? Deserves to be on whatever poor excuse for a chart show is being shown at the moment and to sweep all before it.

Title: Strongholds (Cast 'Em Down)
Artist: Gerald Mitchell
Label: Still Music Chicago
Cat Number: STILLM028
Genre: House

A1: Strongholds (Cast 'Em Down)
A2: Fly High Like Eagles
B1: Strongholds (Marcus Worgull Mainframe mix)

Soulful release from UR member and Los Hermanos founder Mitchell. 'Soul Saver' was were he made his first real mark, back in 1997 and since then his releases have been characterised by an emotive, housey sensibility. Like Octave One, deceptively simple in structure but with clever chord changes the order of the day a winning formula has been found that's difficult to beat. 'Strongholds (Cast 'Em Down)' and 'Fly Like An Eagle' both very typical of the genre. Percussive, driving, jazzy monsters that are difficult to resist on the dancefloor. The real star of the show though is 'Strongholds (Marcus Worgull Mainframe mix)' which tweaks everything and embellishes with emotion. A good, if slightly predictalble, release, with the remix standing out.

Title: STL & His Quest For Sound
Artist: STL
Label: Something
Cat Number: Something 12
Genre: Deep House

A1: Night Sky Watching
A2: Jump And Run
A3: Loop A
B1: What The Heck
B2: Cranky
B3: Can U Hear Me?
B4: Loop B
C1: Come Together
C2: Bedroom Scientist
C3: Loop C
D1: Down The Street
D2: Third Ear
D3: Loop D

I love STL and his take on house, which seems to sit midway between hauntology and studied lo-fi. Stephan Laubner comes across as being an enigma even to himself. Why does he make music and for whom? Is it possible that the tempo is upped on this release and that it may be his most dance floor - friendly yet? The other worldly funk and "Outer Limits" noises that permeate most of his output are al present and correct but there's definitely something else lingering in the background. There are elements of dubstep in the off-kilter meanderings of 'Night Sky Watching' 'Cranky' is an excellent little metronomic piece of electro reduction and along with, 'Jump And Run' is as op-en an invitation to dance as STL is capable of giving. This is the first record. The second descends into more familiar aqueous worlds, and creates an ambience more in keeping with the general impression of this most individual of artists. And then there are the ubiquitous loops. A great touch. I left one on all night by mistake and thought I had burglars.

Title: Real House Music
Artist: DJ Jus' Ed vs DJ Qu
Label: Underground Quality
Cat Number: UQ-027
Genre: Deep House

1A: Runwitit by DJ Qu
2A: All Across The Floor
1B: Retrace Your Life by Jus' Ed
2B: Jusnotic by Jus' Ed

A minimal, mysterious and very rhythmic sound built for customising and mixing is what we have here. This is how STL could sound if he injected his music with cocaine instead of heroin. 'Runwitwit' and 'All Across The Floor' are genius. I don't know why I' saying this as I've heard plenty of similar tracks in my time. Maybe It's just because if I'd made them I'd feel very proud. 'Retrace Your Life' and 'Jusnotic' although not as much to my liking as the tunes on the A side, are still excellent, especially 'Jusnotic.' Jus' Ed and his cohorts have made this deep, techno-influenced house sound so much their own that soon there will be sequencers and software made with Jus' Ed plug-ins or buttons.

Title: Fabric 52: Optimo (Espacio)
Artist: VA
Label: Fabric
Cat Number: Fabric52
Genre: Mix CD/Genre Mash-up

01. Fad Gadget - Lady Shave
02. Discodromo - Cosmorama (Prins Thomas Discomiks)
03. Basic Channel - Q1.1
04. Spencer Parker - YOGOTO
05. Locussolus - Gunship
06. Rebolledo - Amigos Cómeme
07. The Minister - Jack Your Bodey House Your Mind
08. Altz - Get It Down!
09. Thomas Brinkmann - Walk With Me
10. Rheingold - Dreiklangsdimensionen
11. Capablanca & T Keeler - La Konk Fiesta
12. Roska - Feeline
13. Cumbia Moderna De Soledad - Shacalao
14. The Tyrell Corporation - Together Alone
15. Roni Griffith - Spys
16. Levon Vincent - Love Technique
17. Oni Ayhun - OAR003-B
18. Desire - Don't Call
19. Crazy Cousinz - Inflation
20. Matias Aguayo - Walter Neff
21. Nakion - Heartbit
22. Xex - Heartbeat

Without having to listen through each Optimo CD in my possession in order to make qualified comparisons, Fabric 52 does seem to be a very cohesive collection, which is something I'm always subconsciously looking for when listening to such a mix. There's very little sonic jarring here and 'tings flow very nicely. Some lovely transitions and some pregnant pauses while one waits for the bass to kick in. Of course. like a real hat trick is a goal with each foot and the head, a real mix should, maybe, also exhibit polyvalent tendencies designed to show off and entertain. Turntablism this isn't, but deft editing it is. Suffice to say it wouldn't be easy to create such a montage without the use of cutting-edge digital technology, and such software is very necessary to elevate the music even higher than normal and to really emphasise the programming, which is strongly evident in every chord and note throughout its fluid journey. Less anarchic than previous earlier commercially-available mixes, it's probably the reason why this particular release falls well within Fabric's Saturday night rubric. A very solid release, full of interesting moments that continues Fabric's strong, recent run.

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