Sunday, December 23, 2018

Embodiment - Anna Lann (Ransom Note Records)

Title: Embodiment 
Artist: Anna Lann
Label: Ransom Note Records
Cat Number: R$N17
Genre: Smorgasbord

1: Embodiment
2: Carabela
3: Mozart’s Reqiuem in D Minor
4: Feeling Emotional
5: Feeling Emotional (Nick Hoppner Remix)
6: Feeling Emotional (Richard Sen Remix)
7: Feeling Emotional (Flug 8’s Ambient Incantation)
8: Carabela (Placid One’s Ambi Mix)

Lots of stuff to get through here on this mammoth Ransom Note outing, and it’s always a fair bet that when one release lends itself to so many different interpretations, it’s either too niche, so amazing that it has to be reinterpreted, or a combination of the two. I’ll go for the latter, and be none the wiser as a consequence. The original versions are sonically distinct, and have a strange cohesion which envelops them in an abstract pop umbrella. This gains more credence with Nick Hoppner’s remix, a surprisingly effective, Nouvelle Vagueesque mid tempo romp. Richard Sen’s remix is more strident and confrontational, mirroring that of Hoppner’s in being more immediatly accessible than the original. The two ambient mixes which close the package vary in  relative intensity, with Flug 8’s given more time to roam, and Placid One’s perhaps not straying as far from the original as one might think.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Beast from the Middle East - DJ Emile (Lone Romantic)

Title: Beast from the Middle East
Artist: DJ Emile
Label: Lone Romantic
Cat Number: LR010
Genre: Electro

A1: Beast from the Middle East
B1: The Bombshelter Speech
B2: Beast from the Middle East (Straight from Kuwait Mix)

Once it gets going, ‘Beast from the Middle East goes back to the old school (it is the reissue of a 1997 release after all, but feels like it has come from an earlier dimension). However, it takes rather long to get there, the first three of seven minutes being given over to, in the words of the press release a “cinematic opening section” which is two minutes too long. The last four minutes are excellent though, with the breaks and beats being embellished by ye classic (James Brown?) vocal groans. If you want cinematic, head for The ‘Straight from Kuwait Mix”, which feels like a languid, layered drive through some idealized souk. ‘The Bombshelter Speech’ does what it says on the tin, and is a call to arms recorded live at a gig with Emile as MC. This is the first in a timely series of releases on Lone Romantic devoted to unearthing some previously slept on electro. It’s made an interesting, and slightly abstract, start.

Brace Yourself - Keith Tucker (Brace Yourself)

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Peace EP - Raze Of Pleasure (Still Burning)

Title: Peace EP
Artist: Raze of Pleasure
Label: Still Burning
Cat Number: SB001
Genre: House

A1: Wilder
A2: Alright
B1: In Control
B2: At One

Still Burning, a sub label of Late Night Burners, which is a young label from The Netherlands, has the noblest of intentions. This is to rerelease obscure gems from the past, revitalizing them in the process and, ergo, keeping the music accessible and Discogs sharks at bay. This has certainly been the case with their debut, Raze of Pleasure’s ‘Peace EP’. Raze of Pleasure burned very brightly between 1990 and 1993, putting out five releases on Vice Versa Records before submerging into oblivion. This, their second outing is, while very much of its time, totally relevant today and has a timeless deep house/rave crossover vibe which exudes, on the one hand a hazy, fuggy, dance floor ambience, and on the other an energetic, boundless, nostalgia. I suppose I’m showing my age now but I really love this as I was there during its birth and probably danced to it first time around. So, onto the beats: ‘Wilder’ starts things aquatically, and is the deepest thing here. It’s no slouch but the pace is picked up by ‘Alright’ while ‘In Control’ blends the tempo and the feel of both. ‘At One’ is the real sunrise moment of the EP, being an uplifting mix of break beats, piano, swirling atmospherics and a cherry on the top spoken word snippet. This feels like it has everyone’s best interests at heart, because it does.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Breakthrough EP - Ripperton presents Headless Ghost (Drumpoet Community)

Title: Breakthrough EP 
Artist: Ripperton presents Headless Ghost 
Label: Drumpoet Community
Cat Number: DPC072-1/-3
Genre: Deep House

A1: Real Smile Fades
A2: Abandon
B1: See You Yever
B2: One Day OK, One Day Not
B3: So Many Podcasts And So Little Time
B4: Deep In The Park

It’s been a long time since I listened to a Drumpoet Community release, and working from memory the pairing of Ripperton and the label seems a no-brainer. This is the second Headless Ghost release on the label, the previous one being from 2016, and it’s exactly what I thought it would be. Polished deep, driving grooves balanced with something more offbeat. ‘See You Yever’ is the most interesting track; it’s mid-paced, minimalist and slightly discordant. This air of uncertainty continues through ‘: So Many Podcasts And So Little Time’, and ‘Deep In The Park’ the latter acting as a coda to the former. The other three compositions pick up the pace with ‘Real Smile Fades’ treading a nice line in shuffling melancholia, ‘Abandon’ doing the momentous groove thing and being a useful tool. Finally, ‘One Day OK, One Day Not’ strikes a nice balance in haunting, dance floor based disorientation.

Thursday, December 06, 2018

Dreams of the Tropics - Jacuzzi General (Paradise Palms)

Title: Dreams of the Tropics 
Artist: Jacuzzi General 
Label: Paradise Palms
Cat Number: PP011
Genre: Cosmic Gibberish

1: Prelude
2: Eurostar
3: Dreams of the Tropics
4: Pool Shark

Following on from the previous review, we again find ourselves in a Balearic netherworld where, in this case, a sun-loving voluptuary holds sway. There’s a wooziness to this release which evokes the heady humidity of summer holidays seen through the looking glass. It feels strange listening to this with the rain beating down outside in a chilly December evening, but all the tunes here have that frictional momentum and cosmic chug, which can create a parallel world anywhere.

Zehn - Pin Up Club, Conga Fever (Mireia Records)

Title: Zehn
Artist: Pin Up Club/Conga Fever
Label: Mireia Records
Cat Number: MIR10
Genre: House

A1: Dilapidated – Pin Up Club
A2: Dilapidated (Lauer Remix) – Pin Up Club
A3: Dilapidated (RSS Disco Remix) – Pin Up Club
B1: Chihuahua – Conga Fever
B2: Chihuahua (Jacob Korn Remix) – Conga Fever

Oooh, I do like a mid-range plodder me, so the original mix of ‘Dilapidated’ has it all: it’s euphoric, cosmic stuff which lopes along under the weight of it’s own bass, hitting the highs and feeling the lows. Moving onto Lauer’s remix, we have a more energetic italo-inspired effort which is every bit as good as its predecessor, just a different facet. The RSS Disco remix is relatively flat by comparison, but this shouldn’t be seen as a negative. On the contrary it’s sharp edged dubbiness (a contradiction of terms I’m well aware of), makes it a moody take on the original. I have a student who comes from Chihuahua so I’ll be asking him if the eponymous offering here could in any way soundtrack a typical day. It’s a lively tune and one which grooves hither and thither; it does have a slight commercial edge to it though. This may be the reason why I prefer Jakob Korn’s remix, which hollows things out and mutes the originals’ excesses.