Thursday, April 30, 2020

Sonder, Opia - Big Miz (Soft Computing)

Title: Sonder/Opia
Artist: Big Miz
Label: Soft Computing
Cat Number: SOFT010
Genre: Emotive Stuff

1: Sonder
2: Opia

If you’re looking for two “electro-emo-house tracks”, then you’ve come to the right place. Because yet again we are compartmentalizing because of chord or pitch changes. “Emo” because the wisftfulness is strong in this one I suppose. Juno has it down as “deep house” . . . and I suppose it is, if house is still a feeling. And this release does feeling reasonably well; ‘Sonder’ hits the high notes with a teutonic, mitteleuropäische gloss, while ‘Opia’ is bittersweet electro to a t. A solid, emotive double-header, which is nice.

Silicon Frontier - Bit Folder (CPU)

Title: Silicon Frontier
Artist: Bit Folder
Label: CPU
Cat Number: 01010110
Genre: IDM, Experimental 

1: Youka
2: Silicon Frontier
3: The Tritan Cord
4: Legs Akimbo

This is synthetic mood music with funk and feeling. A dense smorgasbord of delicate, fragile delights all bound together by a dark matter of the senses. Sounds have meaning when they are given a proper framework within which to express themselves. Sure, they can be random, but it’s cohesion that elevates and articulates. The four works in question each fervently function in support, and independently of each other. ‘Youka’ is the most straight forward bit of dance floor tackle, built on a skeletal electronic framework, it is the distilled essence of IDM let off the leash. ‘Legs Akimbo’ is a more crowded cousin. Both Silicon Frontier’ and ‘The Tritan Cord’ are otherworldly mirror images of themselves, with the former’s reticent first light luminescence built upon by the latter’s fluctuating extravagance.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Confinement Log: 1

A cursory glance at any site involved in (electronic) music, and that includes social media, might be illusory to say the least. During these times of lockdown it’s tempting to say that without socializing the electronic music scene may as well not exist. It’s music for clubs, which, if they can’t open, falls on deaf ears. The past few weeks have started to prove otherwise and raise some pertinent questions regarding the need for clubs as a conduit for music. I’m not seeking to suggest that clubs and similar spaces are unnecessary in themselves; rather that the music which fills them is, as far as what I listen to is concerned, able to exist quite independently without much help from “the scene”. One caveat is that those who make the music rely to some, or all extent, for their livelihood. How many artists does this affect, and would they be missed? It’s a minority for sure and eventually no, they wouldn’t be. Is this cold and unsentimental? Not really, just realistic. Of course certain artists would be missed inasmuch their passing would be greeted with various outpourings and gnashing of teeth, but this is an entropic situation which is impossible to predict apart from the feeling that nothing and no one is sacred. Talking as someone who doesn’t make a living from music is my opinion valid? I would like to think so as I’ve spent a huge proportion of my disposable income on it ever since I was old enough to develop my own predilections. When I think of the vast amount of vinyl I’ve accumulated over the years I wonder how my life might have been different had I developed other interests or passions? Impossible to say, but I can rely on is the knowledge that without having begun that journey, my life wouldn’t have turned out in the way it has, and I am quite a happy, if lazy and unambitious, person. There are certain things I would change, that I would like to have evolved differently, and I have plenty of regrets. However, when all is said and done I think I’m in a reasonably good place. Music, as well as other interests, has been key in getting me here, and had anything turned out differently I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in.

So I recently got asked to do one of those ’Ten Albums Which Influenced My Musical Taste’ on Facebook. Although I don't like these things as I feel they are a little self-indulgent, I thought why not. The problem is that I did one on Twitter around a week before, only this time it was a snap survey and it was just four. The first four that came into my head. It’s best not to think too hard about these things I suppose as they are forever changing. You think about all things that are irrelevant to everyone but yourself and anyone else who is in nerd mode. ‘Can I include”, or “Should I include more than one album by the same artist”? It’s a bit like planning a mix. For whatever reason I’ve always strived to include as many tunes by as many different artists on as many different labels as possible. This means that for all mixes I record at home, I rarely, if ever, duplicate artists or labels. Playing out is a different matter of course. It’s often the first thing that comes to hand or what is going to be the most effective tune at the time. Planning a mix at home shouldn’t be a more stressful activity but it often is. There’s more of a tendency to produce something perfect and also show off music you’ve paid for. Anyway, I digress. Like most people I find these lists impossible to make. It’s good fun thinking about them though, even if they can be an object of ridicule where others are concerned. So the those ’Ten Albums Which Influenced My Musical Taste’ thing . . . As the foundations of my musical taste were established pre 1990, it’s difficult to think of anything post then that I should include. So, do I distill things further to make the list more representative of my life up to now? 

Spread The Virus - Cabaret Voltaire (Rough Trade)

WWM Podcast 02: Carl H @ M.O.B. VG#1

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Carebots A Charity Compilation From Bass Agenda

Various ‘Carebots’ compilation (Bass Agenda Recordings)

Bass Agenda Recordings will release a charity compilation ‘Carebots’ on 15 May.  Sold as a digital release via their Bandcamp page, the proceeds will be split between NHS Charities Together and Médecins Sans Frontières.

People ordering it will get the full final release on 15th May.  But anyone ordering it now will get 4 tracks straight away as a thank you.

Andy Bass Agenda explains: “After over 100 releases I was planning on taking a break from the label from March but as this Corona Virus pandemic became more and more serious, I really felt like doing something tangible to help.  Like many people I am out of work thanks to this crisis and I wanted to do something meaningful and creative with my time.  I was getting the same kind of messages from artists both on the label and in the wider Electro/Techno community.  Having done large charity release projects before I knew this could be done.”

He continues, “I posted on Facebook and approached a few contacts saying I was thinking of doing it and to get in touch if they wanted to get involved.  A week later I had over 70 artists up for the challenge.  It is a beautiful thing to see so many talented people getting involved, from newcomers to established leaders in the scene like Carl Finlow, John Selway, Detroit’s Filthiest, Dez Williams, and Radioactive Man.”

“As for where the money from the release will go, I chose NHS Charities Together because they represent over 100 NHS charities and will distribute donations amongst them and also have a specific Covid-19 campaign running.  Médecins Sans Frontières are the other organisation that will receive profits from the release.  I wanted to include one that worked beyond the UK to reflect the international nature of the crisis and the fact that the Electro and Techno communities are global too.”

Artists contributing tracks to the compilation are:

Adam Carling & Nick De Voost
Alex Jann
Andy Clark
Anthony Rother
Arsonist Recorder
Carl Finlow
Cybereign & Skyborg
Cybernet 1202
Das Muster
Dave Mono
Delta Funktionen
Detroit's Filthiest
Dez Williams
Diamondback Kid
DJ Xed
DJ Xed
Einstein on the Beach
Fleck ESC
Ford Foster
Go Nuclear
Heinrich Dressel
Jani Ho
Jauzas The Shining
Jay Strata
Johan Inkenen
John Selway
Jon E Alpha
Kim Cosmik
Kronos Device
Lee Coombs
Magik Bitum
Marco Bernardi
Maschine Brennt
Moab Dep
Nexus 23
Pip Williams
Plant 43
Radioactive Man
Scape One
Serge Geyzel
Serge Geyzel & Errorbeauty
Soundex Phonetic
Techmarine Bottom Feeders
The Adapt
The Technarchist
Will Web

Some quotes from artists:

Plant 43 – “In these difficult times I’m very happy to be able to contribute something to support these amazing organisations.  Huge thanks to Bass Agenda and everyone involved for making it possible.”

Carl Finlow – “When asked by Andy Barton to get involved in this project, I jumped at the chance.  As an artist I am kind of trapped inside a creative bubble, often oblivious to many of the harsh realities of the world outside of my studio.  During this present moment in time, myself and billions of people are unified under a tremendous threat to our way of life and we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to services like the NHS and Médecins Sans Frontières.”

BlakTony – “I remember my ears receiving beautiful music during the 60s-70s, discovering escapism in turbulent times.  This is how I return the favour while the planet is on lockdown and contribute to the music's survival.”

W1b0 – “This is the biggest pandemic since 1918, I have read somewhere.  And all you must do to slow it down (because that is all that we can do currently) is to stay at home.  Stay at home!  So, I am working at home, helping the kids with schoolwork at home, and I get a lot of extra time in the studio.  So, when the call to arms came for ‘Carebots’, I knew I wanted to participate.  This is not the first time the electro community has stood up as one.  Let this be an example of what we can achieve as a collective.”

John Selway – “Bass Agenda is a pillar of the global underground electro and techno music community and I am proud to contribute music for Andy Barton’s effort to raise money for Medecins Sans Frontieres and NHS Charities Together.”

Errorbeauty & Serge Geyzel – “We are happy to participate in the project as it is a great opportunity for us to share our music for a very important cause alongside such a great team of artists.  We believe that in these difficult times the music can empower people through the moments of confusion and isolation.  Additionally, we are happy to contribute to this project as the profits will support important medical charity organizations.”

Monday, April 27, 2020

Remote Access - V A (Control Freak Recordings)

Title: Remote Access
Artist: Various
Label: Control Freak Recordings
Cat Number: CTRLTT001
Genre: Breaks/IDM

1: Moddle - CPN
2: Pluralist - Elate
3: Lack - Light Heart
4: Guava - Water Off A Frog's Back
5: Djames Djoyce - Morbid Blade Slick With Vaseline
6: Yushh - Eggo Death
7: Joe Craven - Felicity Skidmark
8: Finnaman - IFOK~
9: Customer Service - The Private Stage
10: Einerlei – Brightlingsea

This is a great compilation which is being released to raise funds for the UK food bank charity The Trussel Trust. I suppose it’s easy to imagine that tracks for a hastily arranged release such as this may not be of the highest quality, studio flotsam and jetsam. That certainly isn’t the case here. There is very much to recommend this collection all of which is imaginative, evocative and atmospheric. Breaks and a subtle abstraction dominate the package and there is also a very pervasive, British whimsy from top to bottom. I’m not gong to pick favourites because that’s not the point. Here’s a link. Go buy it.

Mosaic Mix Series 043: Luna Ludmila

Boanerges And The Watery Deep - Techmarine Bottom Feeders (EPM Music)

Title: Boanerges And The Watery Deep
Artist: Techmarine Bottom Feeders
Label: EPM Music
Cat Number: EPM82
Genre: Electro

01: Sub Lineage Genesis
02: We Cannot Help You (Side Steppin)
03: Out Of Water Out Of Time
04: Sons Of Thunder
05: Constructing A Powerful Enemy
06: The Scientists Were Only Being Scientific
07: The Vision (Left Further instructions)
08: A Quagmire Of Confusion
09: Sons Of Experimentation And War
10: The Proud Traitor’s Demise
11: The Lens Gateway
12: A Groundless New World

Techmarine Bottom Feeders is Luxus Varta and Paris The Black Fu, and this collaboration is according to the press release: “ . . . a project that’s been burning away in the back of Paris’s mind since childhood.  His imagination was piqued after seeing the covers of novels his father was reading at the time and he soon began imagining his own stories, like that of his ocean dwelling misfits.” Obvious conceptual comparisons with Drexciya will be made, but the hypothesis does diverge. The music is mercifully free of such coincidental motifs. Of course, electro is present: ‘We Cannot Help You (Side Steppin)’, ‘Sons Of Thunder’, and ‘A Quagmire Of Confusion’. However, the album as a whole is a very inventive piece of work that, on the whole, dramatically evokes the parallel world it seeks to. From the dank hip-hop of ‘Sons Of Experimentation And War’ to the haunting cold wave sonar of ‘Constructing A Powerful Enemy’ and the funky depth charged minimalism of ‘The Proud Traitor’s Demise’ this album wears many hats very well. Sonically sound and very imaginative, the documentation of this hermetically sealed aquatic ecosystem feels like a proper album.

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Opala Impala EP - Circles & Ellipses (Applied Rhythmic Technology (ART)

Title: Opala/Impala EP 
Artist: Circles & Ellipses
Label: ART
Cat Number: ART21
Genre: Techno

1: Opala (Original Mix)
2: Opala (Morphology Remix)
3: Impala (Original Mix)
4: Impala (As One Remix)

Lovely, analogue Shangri La from Circles & Ellipses remixed by label boss Kirk Degiorgio and Morphology. The type of multifaceted electronica to get lost in on the dance floor, as well as when getting cerebral in the study. Both original versions share a similarly bounding percussive foundation, the intensity of which builds throughout. ‘Opala’ is slightly more reticent than ‘Impala’ but both are exercises in concision and intensity. The remixes are both excellent as well. Morphology goes down the hi tech funk electro route with an obvious funky nod to UR, while the As One version softens the original by flattening it out and adding some ominous cosmic dust. Everyone’s played a blinder here.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

DRED City Family - V A (DRED Records)

Title: DRED City Family
Artist: V/A
Label: DRED Records
Cat Number: DREDLP002
Genre: Deep House

1: Viadukt – Ena Cosovic & Josefine Hellstrom
2: Night Lawn Stars – Tasoko
3: Transitory Experience – John Osborn
4: Da capo – Matthias Vogt
5: Ultima Thule – Circular Rhythms
6: Magic Stone – Frazer Campbell
7: Treasure Discovered – Tim Xavier
8: Crave – Reformed Society
9: Desire – Tom Dicicco
10: Magnetic Fields – Jor-El
11: System 10 – SVT
12: Same Dream – Madder Modes

Listen to John Osborn’s DJ sets and if they have one defining characteristic it’s flow. There’s both a depth and tranquility about them which takes the listener on the proverbial without sacrificing an implicit grooviness and subtlety. There are occasional forays into what feels like the more familiar, but nothing dominates. And the realization kicks in that it’s all part of a grand plan to entrance and hypnotise, brought to fruition by drawing the listener in with recognizable motifs and then dissipating them into mutant forms which function above and beyond the obvious. There is a good range on this collection, from the depth and drive of the label boss’s ‘Transitory Experience’, to the bleeps and bass of ‘Ultima Thule’, the dub techno of ‘Magnetic Fields’, the transcendent bounce of ‘System 10’ and the Relief-tinged trackiness of ‘Same Dream’.  It’s a consistently brilliant collection of mesmerising, machine-funk tinged deep house which cements the labels sonic identity.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Game Theory ft. Flowdan - Low End Activist (Seagrave)

Title: Game Theory ft. Flowdan 
Artist: Low End Activist 
Label: Seagrave
Cat Number: SR080A
Genre: Hardcore Continuum Cross-Pollination

A1: Game Theory ft. Flowdan
A2: Game Theory (Instrumental)
B1: Torsion Field Tech
C1: 19STR8BK
C2: Flip
D1: Cannibal
D2: Broken Biscuits

For a release that comes on like a hardcore Harrods; somewhere where there are new and intriguing things around every corner, a sort of rave emporium if you will. It’s not all sweetness and light however. This double pack has made a deal with the darkside and is resplendent with wobbly sub bass, abrasive break beats and dubbed out disorientation. Each track reveals a funky four -four facet which transitions across the course of the package. From ‘Game Theory’ through to ‘Broken Biscuits’ there are singular snippets of bastardized, doom-laden, bassbin stretching portentousness which, above all else, map out a surreal, oppressive landscape on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Friday, April 17, 2020

Look At Things - Orion (RDV)

Title: Look At Things
Artist: Orion
Label: Recit de Voyage
Cat Number: RDV06
Genre: Deep House

A1: Windom Earl
A2: Samui
B1: Global Channel

Recit de Voyage, or RDV Music, is a label curated by French DJ Molly and reaches its sixth release with this polished EP from Orion out of Italy. The tone is understated, moody deep house which swings. ‘Windom Earl’ is a fine example of this: synth swathes rise and fall in sequence as an insistent beat metronomically slices through the sonic fog. Both ‘Samui’ and ‘Global Channel’ operate under similar conditions, with the former feeling slightly more rhythmically confined than the latter, whose bass thumps more expansively. What all three of these tracks have in common, however, is that they all bloom and stretch themselves out when needed. ‘JRB’, in contrast, is a fragile, more or less beatless soundscape cum ambient interlude which evokes clear, starry nights at the height of summer. 

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Lovefingers - Live in Ibiza at Sunset (Hostal La Torre - August 30, 2016)

Knuckle Head Series Vol. 1 - Eddie Fowlkes (City Boy Music)

Title: Knuckle Head Series Vol. 1
Artist: Eddie Fowlkes
Label: City Boy Music
Cat Number: CBMD-001
Genre: House

1: Knuckle Head 10
2: Sequence 1

This is a double header that gets straight to the point. ‘Knuckle Head 10’ uses a loop very efficiently to highlight a vocal, but it’s the sinister flange, which sounds like a synthetic swarm of bees on crack, which brings the track to life. Largely bass-deficient, it relies on its skittish, but insistent beat to drive it. Similar, but with more bottom end, ‘Sequence 1’ harmonises its disparate elements to a more full-bodied intensity. The end result is two very good, functional pieces of work which carry that recognisable Detroit stamp. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

TBQFH EP - 96 Back (Hypercolour)

Artist: 96 Back
Label: Hypercolour
Cat Number: HYPE084
Genre: Jostled Electronica

1: Party Animal
2: Cosied By
4: Fe Symbolic

Continuing in the same vein as ‘Issues in Surreal’, 96 Back keeps it chaotic, albeit controlled (if that ever makes any sense). The four tracks he presents us with here each highlight a singular sonic comprehension, while doing their best to make it as accessible to us mere mortals. If you’re in the mood for dancing, then ‘Party Animal’ is the tune for you. However, legs will be put out of joint during shape throwing. The rest of the EP is equally dexterous, but goes off in as many different directions as it can. From the hauntology of ‘Fe Symbolic’ to the skittish concision of ‘TBQFH’ and the fragile solemnity of ‘Cosied By’, these compositions offer a glimpse into a skewed mechanical universe where the matrix is controlled by toys.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Metro Zee EP - Metro Zee (Ritual Poison)

Title: Metro Zee EP
Artist: Metro Zee
Label: Ritual Poison
Cat Number: RP006
Genre: Space Jazz

1: Barbd
2: Carer
3: Battered Mazda
4: Turtle GoPro
5: Cetacea
6: Manningtree Freeze

If, as has been written, this EP was “Written in a windowless studio in Bermondsey during a year of self-imposed isolation after stopping drinking and taking drugs” then maybe that’s a good thing, especially because the release is “entirely constructed out of a single field recording of a slowly pickling radish that I stole from my neighbour's allotment.” Under such circumstances, Mr Metro must be climbing the walls at the moment. Nowhere to go, no one to see . . . let’s hope that this produces results even more fractal than these. There’s a lot going on here, and various themes emerge, both as a consequence of listening and overthinking. What I can say though, is that this is a piece of work, in both the literal and idiomatic sense. Some bits I like more than others: the subaquatic stylings of the blissful ‘Turtle GoPro’ and the soaring ‘Manningtree Freeze’ stand out, and versatile too. ‘Barbd’ and ‘Cetacea’ are laid back and occasionally noodly, while ‘Carer’ and ‘Battered Mazda’ eloquently articulate drum and bass to varying degrees of intensity.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

April 2020 Confinement Chart

I’ve recently been delving into Bandcamp’s many delights, so this chart is largely composed of music that I’ve come across while on my wanderings. It’s a bit random though, with not having to pay being an important factor. 

Acording to the artist this is “ . . . an album of raw, aqua themed recordings I’ve been sitting on for the last few years . . . using a Korg MS20, Roland JX3P, Moog Mother 32, Acidlab Drumatix and an Elektron Octatrack.” The aquatic theme is so pervasive in electro it’s sort of taken for granted, but it should never be an excuse not to take notice, because then we'd be missing out on gems like this. 

Dub techno with added heft, which is when it works for me. Jeigo’s ‘Boole Dub’ is the business, it has bass and chiasmic body. ‘Stellular’ by Nathan Paul isn’t as heavy, but has added extra-terrestrial bite. A great V/A EP from Rogre Gerresen’s bespoke label.

I came across this via Facebook the other week and it’s great. Fah, aka Robin de Bekker, has created a collection of out there space jazz which defies categorization and feels familiar, yet futuristic and experimental.

Yet to be released, but should see the light of day before the end of the month. This EP combines synthetic sounds with a bittersweet omnipresence to elevate the closeted feelings.

I thought I was completely ignorant of Monotix, then I realised that I have a release on Flyance. These releases comprise the Sound On Sound back catalogue, and sound strangely like RV800, also from Japan. Listen to ‘Wicked Plastic’ and tell me that’s not the same producer. Lovely stuff.

Free to download on Steve O’Sullivan’s Bandcamp. What do you get? “A slow house chugger from Steve O'Sullivan's Bluespirit project - recorded as part of the 'Something Blue' sessions in 2015 but never released.” Every Bluespirit release should be pounced on and devoured, and this is no exception.

Semblance – K. Leimer (Palace Of Lights)

I saw a link to this posted by Philip Sherburne on his Twitter, described by the artist as “An EP for all who are socially distanced or otherwise isolated, now or ever. Composed and recorded during the 2020 Pandemic.” This is a free download on Soundcloud and is a collection of soundscapes which envelope and caress. 

Adam Pits is a name which I am noticing more and more. I came across the ‘Motion Sensor’ track somewhere or other, liked it and wanted to hear more. The EP is a futuristic blend of styles in which tempos fluctuate but the funk is never lost. ‘Magenta’ sounds like the type of airy, spacey deep house that Janeret would either play or produce, which is all good by me.

Berghain Funfzehn –Mixed By Luke Slater (Ostgut Ton)

The most recent addition to the celebrated German label’s Berghain mix series is a free Soudcloud download, as are they all. Top techno trousers business from Slater, who proves that his ability to create a propellant, post-industrial panorama is as notable as any of his peers. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Debt EP - Bogdan Raczynski (UTTU)

Title: Debt EP
Artist: Bogdan Raczynski
Label: Unknown to the Unknown
Cat Number: UTTU102
Genre: Breaks

1: Arrears
2: Collection Agency
3: Compound Interest
4: Lien
5: Net Assets

That Bogdan Raczynski has chosen to conceptualise this release, his first on vinyl for a good while, around the topic of debt may be seen as prescient by some in the light of current world events. Never a popular topic, the four financially themed tracks are united in a chaotic verisimilitude composed of a combination of abrasive breaks and beats, off-key toy instrument emissions, thumping Relief-style trackiness and a propensity for synthetic whimsy. This is particularly true of ‘Arrears’ and ‘Net Assets’ which bookmark three bad-tempered tunes which recall vintage Neil Landstrumm, who released on UTTU last year. Schizoid sounds.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Jura Soundsystem Presents Transmission Two - V A (Isle Of Jura)

Title: Jura Soundsystem Presents Transmission Two 
Artist: V/A
Label: Isle Of Jura
Cat Number: ISLELP006
Genre: Sonic Melting Pot

1. Carl Craig – C Beams Glitter (Versus Version)
2. Bochum Welt – Greenwich (Mix 2)
3. John Rocca – The River Must Flow (Zulu Dub)
4. Daniele Patucchi – People Come In
5. Hit Man – Future Times
6. Sapho – Le Train De Paris (Jura Soundsystem Edit)
7. David Arch – Afro Culture
8. Zann – After Work
9. Hirini Melbourne – Waiata Ki Te Ra
10. Jeff Bridges – Feeling Good

 Since ‘Transmission One’ was launched in summer 2018 there has obviously been a demand for this Adelaide-based Australian label’s brand of cross-pollination. According to its Bandcamp page the label focuses  “on reissues of lost musical gems”, a service we should all be thankful for as there’s shitloads of stuff out there in need of being heard. We kick off with  Carl craig’s‘C-Beams Glitter (Versus Version)’, a lovely, understated composition fragile power plucked from his ‘Versus’ release of 2017. From then on in we’re listening to a wonderfully eclectic late-night radio show which, listened to from start to finish, is perfectly paced. Everything hits the nail on the head here, but special shout outs go to the italo disco of Daniele Patucchi’s ‘People Come In’, lifted from his ‘Turbo Time’ film soundtrack of 1983, David Arch’s ‘Afro Culture’ from Full Frontal’ three years later and the excellent string composition ‘After Work’ by Zann. Last but not least we have the novel Jeff Bridges monologue, ‘Feeling Good’, which is a vertically-challenged motivational talk to everyone in general and no one in particular. Lovely stuff.

Wednesday, April 08, 2020

Dance First, Think Later - Customer Service (Control Freak Recordings)

Title: Dance First, Think Later
Artist: Customer Service
Label: Control Freak Recordings
Cat Number: CTRLFRK003
Genre: Techno

1: Dance First, Think Later
2: Recalcitrance
3: Betty’s Audition
4: B1SM
5: Exquisite Corpse

Everything has an added poignancy at the moment. I’m looking out of my bedroom window to the strains of this release, trying to imagine how it might sound different in less troubled times. One of the few advantages to this situation, however, is the added amount of time I have to listen to diverse five trackers such as this. It’s a pleasure because of its unpredictability and assurance. Operating under the auspices of restraint for the most part; both ‘Recalcitrance’ and ‘Betty’s Audition’ come across as nice pieces of introspective electronica, albeit at varying tempoes. ‘Dance First, Think Later’, is similar to what follows in sharing a tranced out, dawn-of-time vibe. ‘B1SM’ and ‘Exquisite Corpse’ emphasise breaks and acid respectively. A cornucopia of sounds, all eloquently executed, which is nice.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

Formula 14 - Derailleur (Decade Box)

Title: Formula 14
Artist: Derailleur
Label: Decade Box
Cat Number: DB002
Genre: Electro/Breaks

A: Formula 14
B1: Formula 14 (Carl Finlow Remix)
B2: Formula 14 (Adam Reid Remix)

If you like your electro understated and funky, ‘Formula 14’ is a good ‘un. Even at its most basic it feels more than the sum of its parts. Twinkling keys scatter in and out of the darkness while a vibrant metallic bass metronomically keeps track; there’s room for a vocoder as well, something which is always welcome in electro. The ubiquitous Carl Finlow’s remix feels like a negative of the original, the rhythm mirroring it and utilizing its essence while sounding like its aural reflection. Adam Reid goes all out breaks, the aggressive tone of which is downplayed by the keys and bass, giving it the timbre of a scatty improve session. A quality release from France-based Lee Graves.

Monday, April 06, 2020

Night Train - Martin Eve feat. Jon Fugler (Tici Taci)

Title: Night Train
Artist: Martin Eve feat. Jon Fugler
Label: Tici Taci
Cat Number: tt060
Genre: Prog Chug

1: Night Train
2: Night Train (Peza Remix)
3: Night Train (Jack Butters Remix)
4: Night Train (Retroforward Remix)
5: Night Train (Peza Dub)
6: Night Train (Radio Edit)

Two things stand out on this release: the proggy groove and the breathy vocal. That this is the voice of Jon Fugler, once of Fluke, should come as no surprise. His voice was a very pervasive one on dance floors in the early nineties and I dare say it’s instantly recognizable to many who were throwing shapes around that time. In typical Tici Taci style the beat is everything, an omnipresent, but inconspicuous schaffel that draws in even the most uncoordinated and has them bouncing around like loons, which is probably best embodied by Peza’s Dub. All the mixes hit that oscillating g-spot, with my personal pick being Retroforward’s darker take, which dispenses with the vocal to emphasize a trance-inducing acid squiggle. Central heating for space cadets.

Living On The Ceiling

That’s alright with me . . . The most difficult thing to do is to get started. There’s only so many mixes you can do while in lockdown. What I don't get, (or rather I do, because some people are dickheads), is the piss being taken out of those doing online sets. Don’t tune in if you don't want to. If you don’t like the idea of those who suddenly find their livelihood a lot more precarious than it was a week ago, and resent their appeals for money, don’t give them any. No one has a right to expect support, just as no one has any obligation to give it. However, if those who seek it have done anything, no matter how small, to deserve it, then why not? Something, however small, can be relatively cathartic. So under this period of lockdown, which hasn’t got as strict as it’s going to in the UK yet, I’m struggling to use my time wisely. I have to though. The Furlough arrangement, which is an initiative used by UK companies to pay workers 80% of their normal salary while waiting out this crisis, has been applied to me. So, like many others, I now have a couple of months where I am getting paid most of my salary, and able to enjoy more free time than I’ve had since being on the dole back in the early eighties, albeit with restricted movement. The pressure is on not to sit around all day, or get into a routine which involves starting your day with ‘Frasier’ and ‘Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares USA’, which, before you know it, has taken you up to 11am. Whole subgenres could be curated in that time: 

I do love the debates, reflections that come up on Twitter, especially when they chime with what I think, or even with what I am thinking at the time of discovery. This is from Extinct Daemon aka He Valencia aka Aloiso Wilmoth.

“I've been thinking alot about the early tech house scene with DJs like Terry Francis and Craig Richards and how they essentially and or unintentionally spear headed tech house.
The way this style came about is amazing. So basically you got London in the late 90s early 2000s. everyone has been exposed to techno but these guys dig for specific and or play those techno records that are groovy and funky
It's super specific and then once they start producing you can hear the hybridization of UK garage / techno an attraction to smoother groovy house swing with techno sensibilities
This is one of the more beautiful things about DJ culture is people Literally accidentally create entire new styles and subgenres just from the act of curating and digging and playing a specific sonic palette
The natural evolution of that London tech house sound is like Germans with their whole perlon adjacent minimal stuff and then you have guys like binh, Evan Baggs, Nic Lutz, the Romanians etc
The curitorial nature of DJing is so important on a historical level and I often feel like people miss this within discourse from new gen
Was listening to Terry Francis mixes commuting around NYC and In his essential mix he literally opens with "Crustation - Flame (Borderline Insanity Dub Mix)" on paper this is "deep house" but in a stylistic nature it's tech house
A lot of the deep house and techno records they play I have heard in a completely different context. I find it quite beautiful that a person halfway around the world interprets these records differently. I think this is why I'm also a big fan of Call Super. He plays a lot of Detroit techno records that I’ve heard in a completely different way. Dude was mixes octave one classics into UK garage. It's interesting”.

And by some strange coincidence I was asked to compile a top ten of Wiggle tunes. Now I am no expert here, in spite of having been a regular at Wiggle for around four years. Memories are obviously very hazy: I was due to attend for the first time around Christmas 1995 or 1996. I was living in Paris at the time and was going to visit my mum at Christmas on Merseyside. The idea was that I would stop over in London en route. The Saturday night I would go to Wiggle with some friends: Jim, his then girlfriend and Hursty. Hursty used to live on the 19th floor of a tower block in Camberwell. I think I arrived on the Friday and was all set for rampant hedonism all day and night Saturday. This was soon curtailed though when I woke up on the day in question only to have been clobbered by a vicious bout of the flu. It had come out of nowhere and completely floored me. I also has to buy Christmas presents, and the only things I could buy for my family were books on account of the fact that although I managed to drag myself up to the West End on Saturday afternoon, I couldn’t really operate out of an area wider than Charing Cross Road. So books it was (I remember my mum being uncharacteristically ungrateful on finding out what her present was). By Saturday night, and with everybody getting in the mood to go out, I was getting worse and resigning myself to staying in. I remember being absolutely gutted as everyone went off into the night at around 11pm. I was just as fed up when they all came back around 6-7am battered and happy. At which point I had to get up and, full of illness drag myself, and a large suitcase to oval tube to get to Euston and then on to Liverpool. I was fucked. I didn’t actually go to my forst Wiggle until the 13th December 1997, the same day as I went to watch Liverpool beat Crystal Palace 3-0. It was myself, John and Jim I think. We’d all been to the match, got home and decided to start proceedings early. Wiggle was at Happy Jaxx, under a railway arch by London Bridge. I suppose what I’m trying to say is that this was another formative clubbing experience for me (I do like to build context). From the moment we walked in to leaving maybe seven hours later: a great crowd, always someone approachable to buy beans off and often some weed as well. I’ve mentioned her before in another post but the girl with the scorpion tattoo from Ipswich sticks in my mind. The boys in charge were also very approachable and friendly. I’d bumped into Terry Francis a few months before, just after he had won the ‘Muzik Best New DJ’ award in a bar near Clapham North tube, just around the corner from were I was living at the time in Brixton. He didn’t know me at all, but was very friendly and got me a squeeze for the 414 later that night where he and some other Swag Records affiliates were playing . . . Prior to December 1997, there were also the Ericsson Parties. Four in all, I missed the first one, I was given tickets for the second by Deano at IQ Records on Lexington Street. I think I’ve  gone over them before on these very pages so don't want to repeat myself (I’ve done that a lot already), but they were free because they were used as a promotional tool for Ericsson mobile. A clued up young marketing person saw the opportunities that Warehouse parties and MDMA consuming youngsters presented and decided to go full tilt with whatever budget he could lay his hands on. Notable for being one of Gemini’s few (I imagine) DJing gigs this side of the Atlantic.
More of this when my thoghts are ready. Meanwhile, here’s a very non-definitve Wiggle top ten. Loads more records were played regularly and to great effect, but some stick out more than others. Some of these may only have been played once, but I was there when they were and that moment is forever crystallised in the amber of my mind:

Hear dis Sound – H-Foundation (Siesta)

When the Funk Hits The Fan (Mood II Swing When The Dub Hits The Fan) – King Britt Presents Sylk 130 (Ovum)

Tick Tock (Apocalypse Now Mix) – Chiapet (Yoshi Toshi)

We Must Feel – Pure Science (Rehab)

Gettin’ Lifted – Presence (Remote)

Sense of Danger – Presence feat. Shara Nelson (Pagan)

Another Saturday Night (Nail Mix 2) – Maas (Soma)

Poet – Housey Doingz (Grass Green/Pagan)

Freaked Out – Charlie Brown (Guidance)

Shooting Stars – Skymaster (Offshoot)

Until I waffle on again . . . .I'm up the bloody tree . . .