Thursday, December 01, 2022

Pleasure Pool - Love Without Illusion/Dub Without Illusion (Optimo Music)


Title: Love Without Illusion/Dub Without Illusion 

Artist: Pleasure Pool

Label: Optimo Music

Cat Number: OM LP 24 S1

Genre: Psychedelic Chug DIsco

1: Love Without Illusion

2: Dub Without Illusion

So this is just what the doctor ordered and more than that, fills me with hope for humanity. Music does have an imagination, and if you want to get lost in it look no further. The spirit of sophisticated dance is alive and well within these grooves, my only gripe being they’re not long enough. As might be expected, the beats on ‘Love Without Illusion’ are tougher than the dub, there’s a little bit more definition, and they barrel along in a controlled, compressed way, eked on by vague rhythmic chanting. There’s very little to it, but that’s the rub. Horns spiral skyward in the background to create a feeling of nascent euphoria. The dub is even better, more rhythmic with a shuffling maghrebian vibe. Filtered through a fug of warm weather feels, the chants are left to linger and expand while the track inhales and exhales behind it. Absolutely bloody marvellous!

Track Of The Day: The Pharcyde - Passin' Me By (Delicious Vinyl)

DJ Stingray // Waiting for NACHTIVILLE // pres. by Telekom Electronic Beats

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Sail We Must: A Sea Story of Andrew Weatherall & An Irish Fisherman | Th...

Playing Out?

 Any one can play records can’t they? Having said that, who practices playing them? (A trite question, but one that I often reflect on.) Again and again, often using a variety of different media to reach their objective. And although I haven’t played out for a while, I continue to play in. The experience is, of course, very different. No less challenging in its own way. On the one hand, where there is spontaneity, there is discipline; where there is structure, there is anticipation. It is becoming more and more difficult to find the time to plan a mix to put up on my still free Soundcloud. I only ever have one up at a time, the others all migrate over to my Mixcloud account once they have been superseded. And there is always a feeling of personal pressure to have the one on Soundcloud just right. Perfection is not a prerequisite, as there will always be the odd creak or groan along the way. It’s only recently that I’ve considered buying a pair of studio monitors to replace what are hifi speakers in my set up. This I think will make a difference. At the beginning of the month I went to Good Times at The Junction in Cambridge. Good Times was a regular night out in Cambridge and ran once a month over a ten year period from the mid nineties at The Junction. The main residents being Patrizio Cavaliere and Paul Darking. I moved to Cambridge in September 2001, and managed to go to a couple of nights, but I was a little bit out of the loop at that time, still having a strong London connection and travelling back there regularly to go out. Anyway, myself and my better half went to what was a one off in aid of raising money for the East Anglian Air Ambulance. It was a great night out, however something I very quickly noticed was that the sound was terrible at times, and really hampered the efforts of the DJ playing at times. There was one particular example of the vibe being temporarily put on ice while what was obviously a relatively old disco record was mixed in between two more linear, tracky tunes. The sound completely dropped out for a while and left most people on the dance floor suddenly looking around for something else to do. This happened a few times while we were there, and we didn’t stay too late, having an important engagement in the capital the following day. Now when the sound isn’t as it should be, this can be due to a variety of circumstances: the venue and the equipment therein, the DJs lack of familiarity with the equipment and/or lack of practice, also the records themselves/ I have no idea what was to blame, but it happened a few times while we were there. It didn’t distract from any enjoyment and I have no idea if the situation was rectified later, but it was there. Good sound and the understanding of it is paramount to playing a cohesive, well-structured set. Anyone who thinks that any record can be played in sequence with another, and a mood maintained, clearly hasn’t ever tried doing it. The unintended (negative) consequences are massive hazards to be avoided. It’s obvious that in order to maintain momentum, tracks of a similar disposition have to be played together. If a change of course is required, it’s usually because there is a conscious decision to change the mood. A s a DJ of zero repute, something I took a long time to understand was the dynamic behind momentum and pitch. A drum sound in a precedent track needs something similar to supplement it, or there is an audible and visible loss of momentum. The best DJs are those who, in my opinion, manage to stitch a set together of apparently disparate elements and make it a cohesive flat mass. Off the top of my head I’m thinking Optimo, Sean Johnston, Jaye Ward, Ivan Smagghe, Manfredas, etc. Now my sweet spot is tickled by deep house/techno that has a groove and is layered for days. Admittedly the sound might not seem as challenging to engage with and to mix. To the untrained ear it can be pretty monotone. However, in the skilled hands of experts: Arpiar, Lutz, Richards, Masda, etc . . . the detail is absorbed into the larger whole and effortlessly assimilated. A lot of this group rely on extracting goodness from obscurity, and guard their sources and wares in order to remain exclusive. It shouldn’t really matter because they’re full timers and the likelihood of the amateur enthusiast coming up with similar results in their bedroom is very low indeed. You need skill to be a DJ and, further to points already mentioned, the mark of a really amazing one is somebody who can play a tune in such a way as to completely change the listener’s opinion about it. In other words, tunes previously derided, become credible. There’s also the ability to mix, sequence and programme in such a way as to completely change the identity of a track. Both of these aspects point both to great technical ability, as well as a heightened awareness of when to play something. The DJ who most often satisfies on all fronts here has to be Derrick Carter, someone who redrew the rule book and who I was a massive fan of (still am, but haven’t heard him play for years). Helena Hauff is another one, who if her recent RA interview is to be believed, has an almost preternatural ability to sniff out critical beats and eloquently stitch them together. My own approach is one of raw ability, technical know how and general familiarity with genres. In other words, I can mix to an extent, and base my knowledge of a particular genre in order to help me mix records together, some of which I might not have listened to all the way through. This approach can be haphazard, but it’s unpredictable and exciting. There’s the spontaneity. It’s not that difficult to plan a mix more thoroughly though, which is something I’ve recently come around to, overlaying specific parts of tracks, noting them down, and having others in mind that can be overlayed. My current set up is two 1210s and two XDJ-700s, which I currently use a USB with. I have yet to adapt to the vagaries of Rekordbox, but that is something I am about to try my hand at, and imagine that it will make life much easier and immediate. If only someone would do it for me though. I need to be bothered in order to have everything digitally categorised on my laptop. Having said that, I imagine my laptop won’t be able to store most of what I want to play, and I’m not paying for it.

Dekmantel Podcast 413 - livwutang


Overtone Series - Shuffle Shack EP (Auto Shop)


Title: Shuffle Shack EP

Artist: Overtone Series

Label: Auto Shop

Cat Number: AS007

Genre: Deep House

1: Shuffle Shack

2: Standing Waves

3: Speak For Yourself

4: Honeycrisp

Well this is a nice surprise. Deep, Detroit vibes fornicate and produce an analogue offspring, the likes of which hasn’t been heard around these parts for a while. Apparently the tracks here are the result of some early lockdown sessions. Is that relevant? Not really. I can’t see how much isolation made a difference here, but what do I know? The quality is high though. There’s a pleasing fug that envelops the music and keeps it in check. Much was made of “outsider house” a few years back, without ever really knowing what it was. This could be its nadir. Even the horns, as in ‘Standing Waves’ sound good, which is saying something. Said track has a whiff of ‘In A Silent Way’ vibe wise. ‘Shuffle Shack’ also, minus the horns, with a little bit more oomph, and subtle keys. ‘Speak For Yourself’ hits the high notes in the shape of an elegant saunter through a disco cavern and reminds me of something from the ‘Super Discount’ series; while ‘Honeycrisp’ is a slower, downtempo workout with a pervasive wide screen glossy eighties feel. Every one a winner here. Smashing stuff!

Track Of The Day: Calisto - Get House (Definitive)

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Track Of The Day: Rising Sun - Nostalgia (Convextion Remix) (Kristofferson Kristofferson)

DeFeKT/Rico Casazza - For The Floor Vol. 1 (Cultivated Electronics Ltd)


Title: DeFeKT/Rico Casazza 

Artist: For The Floor Vol. 1 

Label:  Cultivated Electronics Ltd

Cat Number: CELTD012

Genre: Electro

A1: DeFeKT - Control Your Mind

A2: DeFeKT – Fear & Body

B1: Rico Casazza – Here Home Us

B2: Rico Casazza - Caldo

If you like your electro raw and a little bit gnarly, then this is a good double header. Everything by degree though. So it’s probably fair to say that Rico Casazza’s two tracks are a little smoother than DeFeKT’s, in view of their fluidity and flow. ‘Here Home Us’ rolls along and has a pleasing, low end siren wail in the background which tempers it somewhat. ‘Caldo’ is, by comparison. An exercise in suppressed power; a coiled spring that doesn’t quite let go, but threatens to, which is the best part. Big room stuff that’s  not “big room” at all. ‘Control Your Mind’ by DeFeKT is dirty robotic funk of the best kind, and making me think of Dynamix ll in rainy suburban Suffolk can never be a bad thing. ‘Fear & Body’ is a little more restrained, but only inasmuch as its pace allows it to be. You can feel it straining at the leash all the way. Vocals are again used flatly and effectively (is there a better way to do this in electro?) and when the flanged white noise comes in, it’s game over. Four of the finest electro groovers right here folks. Get on ‘em!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Track Of The Day: McCoy Tyner - Atlantis (Milestone)

QNTM CTRL - Smokehouse Shift (Oblivious Transfer)


Title: Smokehouse Shift 


Label: Oblivious Transfer 

Cat Number: OBTRAN003

Genre: Abstract Dub Electro/D&B

A1: Smokehouse Shift

B1: Pulsar Forest

B2: Preacher

QNTM CTRL are, according to the press for this release, “the new Cultivated Electronics /Sync 24 born experimental collective!”  Other words describe the music herein as “a King-Tubby-meets-Autechre trip through outer space and beyond.” Which I think is very apt. I’m listening to ‘Preacher’ first and I’m very much feeling the vibe in question. A pervasive dubbiness enveloping gossamer light drum and bass drenched in mind juice. ‘Pulsar Forest’ is similar, and runs with crystal sharp old school computer game squawks and the feeling that the universe is slowly grinding to a halt. ‘Smokehouse Shift’ perhaps soundtracks chemical breakdown best, and does feel like a cyborg has got controls of the mixing desk somewhere in a parallel trenchtown powered by quantum mechanics.