SMD's new album Whorl was released on September 9th. You can stream it here.
SMD's new album Whorl was released on September 9th. You can stream it here.
After their incredible back to back session at the Resident Advisor off party in Barcelona on Thursday, Electric Minds welcome John Talabot & Axel Boman alongside Kris Wadsworth, to Studio Spaces E1 this Friday. There has been a big demand for this one, last advance tickets here.
COMPETITION: We have been given a pair of tickets to give away - simply email firstname.lastname@example.org with Hush House as the subject.
Hush House favourite Joey Anderson has steadily been making a name for himself over the past few years. His style of house verges into the realm of the avant-garde, and sometimes defies categorisation entirely. He's also done some exceptional mixes as a DJ, including a special one for us, which predates both his RA and XLR8R efforts.
HH MIX #041 - Joey Anderson [download]
After Forever LP - Joey Anderson [Dekmantel]
Pre-order [DKMNTL017] at Rush Hour.
Words by: Ethan Becker
The Discogs profile page for SlapFunk Records doesn't beat around the bush, describing them as a 'Dutch based label foccused [sic] on RAW house music'. This much is evidenced on their latest release, 'Raw Joints #3'.
Livity Sound is racing through 2014 in much the same way as last year, gaining a vast number of fans by releasing its very own distinctive brand of tribal, totemic house. The momentum doesn't cease, with the label's remix series presenting two remixes of Asusu's 'Velez' by none other than A Made Up Sound aka 2562.
Mosca has come a long way since bursting onto the scene with the Night Slugs crew in 2010, gradually modulating his sound away from the grimey, garage-licked flavours of those early records towards a more direct, strictly-defined house and techno style. This change was typified in the excellent ‘A Thousand Years’ Wait’ on Delsin offshoot Ann Aimee late last year, and is further displayed here in the 'No Splice No Playback' two-tracker on his new label, Not So Much.
The first track is ‘Suckle (Twenties)’, six minutes of deep, driving house that could be mistaken for early Levon Vincent work - stomping, marching percussion punches out around a whirling synth. Though the metamorphosis towards 4x4 territory is in full-effect, the vibrant catchiness of earlier releases (‘Bax’ et al.) is still on show - the melodious ring to that main synth embodying what’s quickly becoming the ‘typical’ Mosca sound.
On the flip is ‘Vinny (Flamingo)’. An even more direct offering than the former, this one is a brooding basement lurker that pumps a stifled, padded kick through ringing bells and shuffling hats. Slightly more subtle, there’s scope for this to operate as a transitionary moment from lighter sounds towards the after-hours vibe.
No Splice No Playback EP - Mosca [Not So Much]
Overall, a strong start for Not So Much - check the vinyl on April 28th and the digital on June 2nd.
Words by: Matt Woods
Brian Shimkovitz unearths some of Africa’s finest musical gems. Sharing his discoveries on his blog and label of the same name, Awesome Tapes from Africa facilitates a beautiful journey from cassette to wax. Interestingly, its latest offering, 'Shaka Bundu' by Penny Penny, is something of an exception. A massive hit in South Africa, the album actually sold over 250,000 copies during its first run in the early 90s.
Riding unashamedly poppy keyboard hooks and call-and-response vocals, Penny is undoubtedly the star of the show. Having risen from janitor to politician, the South African also stands as a leading figure of the Tsonga disco scene. Penny’s trademark laugh and almost slurred delivery is at its best on key anthems ‘Zirimini’ and ‘Shichangani’. Alongside bright female chants, Penny’s own wails and yelps are just as infectious as the tracks' feel-good synths. Indeed, it would be a shame to only shower Penny with praise; his producer, Joe Shirimani, clothes the album with its distinctive slow house rhythms and resultant summer warmth.
For a taste of Awesome Tapes check out Brian's marvellous Beats in Space mix and his Boiler Room appearance, featuring two tape decks and a mixer.
Shaka Bundu LP - Penny Penny [Awesome Tapes From Africa]
Penny Penny's 'Shaka Bundu' is available from Juno.
Words by: Isaac Rangaswami
'Pueblo Grande' is the debut release from new UK-based label Constant State. This first 12" comes from label heads Al Gobi (Ian Blevins and Phil Moody). The pair had a pretty stellar 2013 with releases on Disco Bloodbath, Rothmans and Audio Parallax.
Pueblo Grande EP - Al Gobi [Constant State]
[CSV001] is available soon via Juno.
Legendary Dutch producer Legowelt's latest LP adds a new chapter to the recent influx of nostalgia-driven albums, and pays homage to the tech-noir films of the 80s. Its title can be broken down to probe the three techniques that give the album its distinctive sound.
The “Crystal” is the compression Danny Wolfers employs - the director's signature in film terms - to make his music sound so unique. The record's sound palette creates the feeling of walking through a misty forest at midnight.
The “Cult” is fashioned through eerie vocal samples scattered throughout the LP, with phrases such as “you will be reborn” in ‘Excalibur R8MK2’ and a request to “explore Cyberspace” in ‘Cyberspace is Still Happenin’ For Real’. Instrumentally, the cult is exemplified through different elements of acid, techno, house and ambience, especially in the grittier cuts, such as ‘Psychotic Endurance’, and 'The Future of Myself', and the title track, 'Crystal Cult 2080'.
As for the “2080”, Wolfers has utilised a second-hand Roland JV2080. A legendary synthesiser he acquired in Tokyo to pioneer the atmosphere of the LP. A minute into the opening track Wolfers has already lured you to his neon electric dream world.
There are no stand-alone tracks per se, instead a series of ideas and stories, each with their own theme and journey. In order to get full satisfaction, I recommend listening to it in full. However, if you're after a 'trailer', ‘Fundamental Superstition’ hints at what to expect.
Crystal Cult 2080 - Legowelt [Crème Organization]
Pre-order [CRLP11] from Delsin.
Words by: Stephen Daniels
Berlin's Achterbahn D’Amour are Johannes Paluka and Jurgen Albert, aka Iron Curtis and Jool. They released their stunning debut album 'Odd Movements' last month on Acid Test, matching emotionally-tinged funk with acid basslines and tinny drums from Roland's stalwarts - the 303 and 606.
Fortunately, they also found time to deliver the fiftieth mix in our series, Achterbahn D'Amour deliver an acid-fuelled 45 minutes of machine music, old and new. No tracklist, so get digging!
HH MIX #050 - Achterbahn D'Amour [download]
Here's to the next fifty!
Local record labels seem to be a dying breed of late. The financial costs too high, the returns too low. Fortunately, there are still some people wanting to make a go of it. Enter Slipstone Records. I caught up with founder Chris I'Anson and label debutant Kesper (aka Chris Pawlik) about Slipstone, the release and drunken house party agreements.
Good to talk to you guys. To start off, what was your inspiration behind starting the label?
Kesper, have you always produced the same sort of music that's being put out on Slipstone?
[SLIPSTONE001] is out May 4th.
Delsin represses Claro Intelecto’s stunning ‘Peace of Mind’ EP from 2003, after it was first released on now defunct British label Ai Records. The EP starts with Peace of Mind (Electrosoul), a frosty, futuristic piece that’s dripping in the melancholy of a not so distant future. Sparse keys sound out into an empty void for the first couple of minutes, before Intelecto gradually eases in some sharp synth stabs. Think Blade Runner-style cityscapes and you’ll conjure exactly the kind of sound Intelecto intends here. It’s less sci-fi and more sci-funk, with the awkward, staccato grooviness of the track being propelled through a strict, robotic sense of rhythm.
‘Tone’ starts with shuffling hats and off-beat, saturated kick drums. After the linearity of the first track, this one’s a dark and disorientating exploration of the underworld. If we’re still stuck with the Blade Runner analogy, we’re no longer floating high above the cityscape. We’ve descended deep into the murkiest corners of the dystopia, as the overdriven crunch of acid squirms and jolts its way through five minutes. The drums maintain their lack of orthodox patterning throughout and seem happy to roam free, grizzly snares and hi-hats wreak havoc throughout.
The third track, 'Contact', switches it up yet again. This time, bassline weight takes centre stage, wherein a booming, pulsing envelope of sound dominates. Icy drum work finds a sense of convention once more, kicking and clapping in uniformity, much like in the EP’s opener.
Finishing up is a more ambient, atmospheric cut, consistently mainly of swirling, eery pads and deep, throbbing synth lines, which pan and zone freely amongst an Aphex-style electric melody.
The decision from Dutch label Delsin to re-release an eleven-year-old British EP may initially seem strange, but on closer inspection it seems like a shrewd move. The record hasn’t dated one bit, far from it. Every tune sounds as chillingly futuristic as if it were produced only yesterday. Top notch production and a perfectly executed aesthetic makes this one timeless.
Peace of Mind EP - Claro Intelecto [Delsin]
There's still a few copies left at Redeye.
Berliner Spencer Parker drops a couple of remixes of his most recent release, ‘The Moment Not The Memory’, allowing techno heavyweights Answer Code Request and Aaron Siegel to apply their own stylings to the three-tracker on Parker’s own Work Them Records.
Looking first at Answer Code Request's remix of 'Spacial', straight-up, no-nonsense techno that’s fed through a narrow tunnel, as swirling, tryptamine-tinged synths reverberate around a bouncy kick drum. The whole affair isn’t particularly ground-breaking, but he knows what he wants to achieve and does it well. It's a heady, big room sound, designed to deliver on a grand scale.
ACR supplements his full-length effort with an interesting 'Loop Mix'. It’s that same dubbed-up synth loop, just dripping in a little more saturated fuzz. It plays out for the majority, so would be a useful DJ tool for the adventurous amongst us. It’s practically praying for somebody to apply a beat to it, so could produce some interesting results in the right hands - a cool addition to the release.
Aaron Siegel, the man behind the impeccable FIT imprint, delivers a broken, left-field version of ‘Faster Forward’ on the flip. Classy piano hits are coupled with a grooving bassline, which propels things onto the very edge of dancefloor territory. Though far less direct than ACR's, the track isn’t short on quality and closes out an interesting release, which covers all the bases.
Coming soon at Juno.
Kogui presents three slices of acidic, deep house for new French label, A(s)I(t)I(s), with a remix from HH favourite Steven Tang.
Implied Reference To Fundamental EP - Kogui [As It Is]
Steffi's Dolly imprint returns with #017 and a second outing for Metrolux boss XDB. Answer Code Request provides a loopy remix of 'Ganivon' to start things off, adding crisp, high-end synths to XDB's percussive and whimsical original.
Personal favourite 'Tonik' kicks off the B-side with sliding synths and an array of groove elements. There's subtle atmosphere here too, which adds a lot on closer listening. Finally, 'Liberty' plods along without the signature percussive-led grooves of the other two originals, but with a chirpy synth line that builds throughout the track.
Ganivon EP – XDB [Dolly]
[DOLLY017] is sold out at most shops for the time being, but there appears to be a few left at Clone and a repress is already underway.
Studio Barnhus is a Stockholm-based label run by a trio of Swedes, of which Axel Boman is one. On this latest release, fellow countryman Baba Stiltz is at the controls with 'Palats'.
On 'Palats', Stiltz lures you in with an occasional vocal snippet peppered into the textured, velvety chords, which themselves are coated generously in the snap and crackle of tape recording. These chords build until they eventually make way for crisp percussion, knocking its way throughout. And then comes the bassline, a hybrid of the fire alarm at a nuclear power plant and the foghorn of the SS Titanic. Complete mayhem ensues for the next five minutes, mayhem that finds itself enveloped between those aforementioned synths.
The flipside, 'Crypt', takes a slightly gentler approach. Heavenly synths whisper across a bassline that never appears to simmer too far above the surface. After the blitzkrieg-carnage of 'Palats', Stiltz is opting to tell a different tale. This one's more the calm after the storm, as the dust settles and the clouds realign to the sound of Baba's static-drenched melodies.
Palats - Baba Stiltz [Studio Barnhus]
Keep an eye out for this in the record stores - the patchwork-quilt sleeve art by Theodor Johansson should help. If you're shopping online, grab it from Juno.
The Italian duo Hiver, who recently contributed to our exclusive mix series, have delivered their third release, 'The Uncolored Truth'. It's their second on Vidab Records and a fine delivery of two beautiful pieces of electronica.
A-side 'Zefiro' is a restrained affair. Subdued percussion and ambient melodies marry together in a way that Hiver seem to have done so well previously. Nothing is contrived or too in your face and the atmosphere carries the listener along softly. The song breaks down to almost silence half way through, returning slowly with its kick, then its percussion, before delving back into the previous soundscape. Its uncertainty gives the track an air of melancholy, and is all the more a gem for it.
The Uncolored Truth EP – Hiver [Vidab]
On the flip is 'Right Place', which steps things up a little. Still with reams of atmosphere, the percussion is this time much more in the foreground, the drum programming and bassline working to create a solid groove without losing any of the feeling from the beginning. Soon, synth stabs phase slowly over the already laid foundations, bringing the track to a natural peak before ebbing away nicely to conclude.
HH MIX #047 - HIVER [download]
[VIDAB 10"02] is available now from Juno.
Premise is set to take place on Saturday 22 March from 3pm - 3am at Low Profile Studios in the Finsbury Park / Harringay / Manor House area of London.
Headlining the occasion will be Musk who are flying in for their first UK live show. The Berlin duo have turned out a number of solid releases in the past couple of years and gained particular attention via the Innervisions / Muting The Noise shop. Their style could be described something like Disco meets House at its best plus a load of fun and energy mixed in.
Dance Dance Dance - Musk [LGDZ]
In support are DeadEcho who we hosted in Leeds alongside Redshape & Fullbarr back in January 2012 - we can guarantee they’ll have the loft in full swing. Good friend Pelski also makes the line up and of course your trusty Hush House residents R & J.
Tickets are highly recommended as capacity is, of course, limited. Get them here. Facebook event here.
Houndstooth was something of a runaway success last year, storming out of the blocks with quick succession of releases. The aim of the game for Houndstooth is seemingly to push genuinely original music from a variety of (mostly new and up-and-coming) acts.
Saying that, one of the core reasons for the success of the label to date is not attributable to a fresh-faced newcomer - instead, it's down to an absolute veteran, Paul Woolford, who since late 2012 has found a new lease of life operating under the Special Request guise. But you already knew that, right? Woolford's foray into jungle-revivalism has been heavily documented, and rightly so.
Joining Special Request on this release is an act that we'd attribute much of Houndstooth's early success to - Akkord. With the hype Special Request's album, 'Soul Music', received, the debut self-titled LP from these Mancunians slipped under the radar slightly. The group recently produced a FACT mix and it's really worth your time if you're looking for boundary-bending electronic sounds that defy genre conventions. First time we heard the mix we were taken aback by its individuality. This latest Houndstooth release carries through with this notion, executed with a slick nonchalance I've not seen for some time.
The two tracks found here are taken from a larger seven-tracker, with the limited vinyl pressing looking to concentrate on the talents of Akkord and Special Request alone. The 'HTH vs HTH' concept pits the production processes of Houndstooth's artists against one another. Firstly, Woolford takes on Akkord's 'Destruction'; it's a grizzly, booming, fire-and-brimstone assault on the original, ice-cold amens and deadly bassline rhythms pulse and squirm their way through a drum track that's equally as heavy. What makes this effort so visceral and so potent is the way Woolford warps and bends the breakbeat framework Special Request tracks generally work within. The track isn't full-on jungle nostalgia, it's a subtle and simple nod to the era, with the result sounding both fresh and hard-hitting in equal measure.
The flipside is a role-reversal, as Akkord battle with the stems of Special Request's 'Lockjaw'. The group's razor-sharp approach to sound design is in full effect here. Clattering drums and stuttered pads are the primary elements for the first half of the track, before the entire thing opens up, making way for a more comprehensive percussionary attack that's all stainless steel and titanium. Sonic minimalism done right and done effectively, the simplistic power of Akkord's work is pretty tricky to define in words alone.
HTH vs HTH - Special Request & Akkord [Houndstooth]
Go take a listen for yourself and grab the 12" at Juno.
Cliff Lothar pushes through a second release following last year's 'White Savage', this time popping up on Skudge White. This offshoot of the Stockholm-based label has thus far, in its limited two year history, appeared intent on presenting mutated, contorted house and techno from a variety of mysterious production aliases.
Up to now, content on Skudge White has been a mixed bag. Generally operating at the lower end of comfortable in terms of BPM, the label's focus on weirdness does at times feel a tad overpowering. Though in this latest release from Lothar, they've struck all the right notes. Admittedly, this newest offering is far from traditional techno fare, but there's enough of a conventional beat contained within the four tracks to make the overall effect very powerful.
First is 'Murked Out', where dingy synths poke around a gloomy drum track. Cavernous, nocturnal and raw, the feeling is generally rather bleak. Despite that, there's a definite direction and purpose that would render it useful on the dancefloor - something that can't always be said for Skudge White twelves.
Next, 'Tangaxuan II' drops the tempo slightly and ventures further into the darkness. This one's funky enough, with sparse bleeps and bells peppered here and there, twinkling away in the shadows. 'Audiomess' carries this theme onwards (or possibly even downwards) before the final track, 'Darkhole Gloryroom', raises the tempo again; shuffling percussion looks to drive you through a tunnel and into the metaphorical light - except that somebody's forgotten the torch. It's confusing, schizophrenic and stifling, and it's the pick of the bunch. Both Lothar and Skudge White have hit the spot with this one - it's a sufficiently weird and dark journey that manages to straddle the line of 'dancefloor-friendly' perfectly.
Murked Out EP - Cliff Lothar [Skudge White]
Go cop it now at Juno.
Combining elements of hip-hop with atmospheric house is a very difficult task. Traditionally, for the most part at least, the two forms of music have been like oil and water. This is what makes Galcher Lustwerk's work so impressive. His sound follows in the vein of tracks like Matthias Meyer's 'Infinity' which subtly nods to 'From '93 'til Infinity' by use of a sample from early nineties hip-hop outfit Souls of Mischief. It's what could be regarded as "street sensible" house music.
As well as owing some of the aspects of his sound to hip-hop, Galcher also draws on the ethereal realms of deep house, as well as electronic outfits like Underworld. This is most evident in the track 'Outside the Club' from Galcher's lauded 100% Galcher mix from last year; a mix most consider to be an album in its own right.
Having only one EP to his name, released last year on Brooklyn's White Material label, this month sees the producer release the four track Nu Day EP on Tsuba.
'Fate' opens the EP with the trademark deepness we've come to expect from Galcher. An ethereal synth runs throughout the track, with some lo-fi synth bleepiness featured along the way. The slightly more upbeat, but equally deep 'Nu Day' follows with more emphasis on a solid kick drum to drive the track forward. '216' is the first track on the EP to feature Galcher's smooth raps as he proceeds to the mic with precision. On the last track, 'Chillin in the Booth', Galcher offers up his mic skills over a lo-fi crunchy house track that rounds out the EP to nice effect.
Nu Day EP - Galcher Lustwerk [Tsuba]
Look out for the pre-order at Juno.
Words by: Ethan Becker
Night Voyage, an offshoot of the Night Slugs label, resurfaced late last year to follow up 2011's excellent 'Night Voyage Toolkit EP'. Once again, Tom Trago and Bok Bok are on the buttons to showcase their unique blend of styles.
Using the label as a vehicle to release nothing but their own material, the pair have recently treated us to two releases in as many months. 'Get Me What You Want', the energetic title track from December's offering is backed with the excellent 'Hole Driller 3'; two tracks to really open the eyes of those who had perhaps forgotten what a deadly combination these producers can be.
Get Me What You Want / Hole Driller 3 [Night Voyage Tool Kit]
And dropping just last month was the label's third 12", 'Pussy Trak'. Both these cuts are as different from each other as they are from the preceding release. With the title track rooted deeply in classic Chicago house and built around a catchy vocal hook, the flip, 'Silent G Safari' is a stripped back techno joint, soaked in essence of Bok Bok's Night Slugs work but retaining enough of Tom Trago's style for it stand apart.
Irish-based label All City offer up their first release of 2014 with a 12" from new alias, Buz Ludzha. The two tracks contained on 'Love Repetitive Rhythmics' are sleepy deep house cuts that feature subtly acidic, jackin' undertones.
First comes 'Rave With Love', where Ludzha chucks together punchy 303-stabs with celestial vocal wailings - indecipherable, but weaving throughout. A melancholic piano roll competes against drum work of the most solid kind. It's a strangely satisfying mixture; the blend of dreamy, shimmering melodies with kicking percussion.
Flipside is 'Basslines For Death'. Again, there's a real undisputed display of musicality, with the theme remaining much the same as the opener. Comparisons could be drawn to Boards of Canada - the vibe's definitely in that territory, with rolling basslines eking a weird kind of dispirited poignancy. This melancholia is again wrapped up and packaged with that jacking percussion track, which is livelier here than on 'Rave With Love'. Ludzha's debut is by all accounts an incredibly solid effort. The kind of fuzzed-up, light-headed house music he presents on 'Love Repetitive Rhythmics' is certainly different to the norm. Keep an eye out for future movements.
Love Repetitive Rhythmics - Buz Ludzha [All City]
[ACOS2X12] is available now from Juno.
The Untidy project appeared for the first time last year, offering 4 cuts of beefy house tracks with a heavily Germanic flavour. The release was vinyl-only and came with a fair amount of mystique, whilst being very well-received by many of the scene's big hitters. So it was strange to see the project disappear almost as quickly as it surfaced.
Promo Mix - Untidy
The music contained within the first Untidy release is heavy, dubby and expertly produced - suggestions are that the project could be an alias for Jonas Kopp. Thankfully, after almost a year, Untidy returns for 002. This second attempt replicates the techno-house hybridity of the first: gritty, cavernous stompers, all likely to do some damage this year.
There's a fair amount of variety on display here - A2 is a mellow roller that uses percussion alone to generate a dark, brooding mood. However, our favourite is the B1, a prolonged piano piece that builds continuously before falling back in on itself, looping seemingly ad infinitum and drenched heavily in reverb-soaked hi-hats. The final track is the most direct of the bunch, tribal drum patterns operate beneath wavering, oscillating synth lines.
Preview and pre-order [UNTIDY002] the release here. Excitingly, it appears a release on Skudge is also on the horizon.
David Moufang is one of those DJs who finds himself lauded with the most peculiar of titles - that infamous cliché of a 'DJ's DJ'. In truth though, you'd be hard pressed to knock his CV. Having been in the game since the early 80s, his position as a house heavyweight is undeniable, gaining a reputation for delivering no frills, hard-hitting sets, heavily-laden with wax.
So to Fabric 74, as Moufang is tasked with compiling a mix for the London superclub. The mix is exactly what you'd expect - fifteen tracks spread over eighty minutes, classy deep house selections with intelligent, patient transitions from scene to scene. There's no frenetic DJ wizardry, no effect-crazed tomfoolery, just an incredibly honest and, for want of a better word, simplistic mix that lets the tunes do the work.
Two tracks in, the dub mix of Liz Torres' 'Your Love is All I Need' warms things nicely before Moufang teases the Liberty City classic 'Some Lovin' for a good three or four minutes, allowing the soaring vocals to really hit home which kicks the mix off to a flying start.
What follows, is a series of peaks and troughs that characterise a peak time Move D set. There's the kaleidoscopic, disorientating acidity of Darkman's 'Annihilating Rhythmn' jostling with the shuffling retro-euphoria of K-Alexi's Dub mix of MD III's 'Shake That Body'. When the mix slows down slightly to create space for Dom 877's 'Do It Right' and collaborators JuJu & Jordash's 'Loosey Goosey', the quality remains. In fact, the 877 tune comes close to being the pick of the bunch - it feels like the perfectly choice cut, slotted in exactly the right place in the way only a DJ of Moufang's prestige knows how.
Things get seriously jackin' again as we move into the last quarter as Moufang draws for a tune that will sound familiar to anybody who's caught a Move D set in the past few years, the garage-tinged, sub bass roar of Last Magpie's 'Roots' mingles with David's own 'Luvbyrds' - the only of the artist's own productions to make an appearance. Just like the beginning of the mix, the final 10 minutes or so dwindles down the gears gradually, finishing up with the blissfully smokey, cosmos-wandering 'Unke' by Hush House favourites Smallpeople & Rau.
On this latest mix, Moufang shows just how comfortable he feels behind the decks - the formula is the same as always, so don't expect anything different - just genuine deep house with soul, treated with the respect it deserves.
Fabric 74 - Move D [fabric]
Available now from Juno.
Berlin-based newcomer Palms Trax offered up his 'Equation' EP on the equally fresh-faced Lobster Theremin late last year. Coming out of nowhere, this three track release did enough to put both names on the map and warrant a repress (coming very soon).
The first track, 'Late Jam', is a tidy, no-nonsense groover that punches its way through five-minutes of heavy-hitting kicks and warbled, nonsense vocals with aplomb. A stinging, electrified synth stab sits laboriously on top for good measure.
Second track is the title number, 'Equation'. Old school piano lines are brought into the mix, whilst the same razor-sharp synth hits found in the opener are deployed expertly once again. Shuffling along throughout is a heady mix of percussion; melancholic without being dreary, simplistically hard-hitting without being linear. Palms Trax has clearly been honing his craft steadily prior to this release, as the production value is very, so much so that it belies the artist's seem inexperience.
On the flip is a Tin Man remix of 'Houses in Motion'. This track replaces the Willie Burns remix that featured on the original pressing and it offers something slightly different to the two previous cuts. Somewhat celestial, those same synths take on a gentler sound, floating high above percussion that glitters its way through eight minutes of acid-spiked bliss. If this release is anything to go by, there's definitely more to come from both Palms Trax and Lobster Theremin in the future - we'll be keeping an eye out for sure.
Late Jam / Equation - Palms Trax [Lobster Theremin]
In the meantime, go grab the repress of 'Equation' at Redeye.
The Kelly Twins really are great DJs and selectors, reaching for a wide range of choice acid and jaunty electro cuts. It's no surprise then that their label Happy Skull has been very well received with initial releases from Systems of Desire (Kowton and Hyetal) and Adjowa (with a gritty Funkineven remix).
Rhythmic Theory haven't strayed far Bristolian labels Brstl and Idle Hands, and fit nicely with Happy Skull's machine-funk aesthetic. A-side 'Decadence of Delay' features distorted drum machines and whispering synths, whilst B-side 'Endocrine Creatures' hits harder with a resolute acid line.
Decadence of Delay – Rhythmic Theory [Happy Skull]
All three releases are available now from Juno.
The Sunklo series, a project designed to showcase exclusively the production talents of Boddika and Joy Orbison, had a quiet 2013. The imprint sprung to life in 2012 with a series of powerful dancefloor weapons, released strictly on vinyl and selling out everywhere double-quick time. Tracks such as 'Mercy' and 'Dun Dun' were played ad infinitum in clubs around the globw, with the former being given a slick remix treatment by Boddika himself, and re-released on Bleek's own Nonplus.
The absence of a single release last year seems strange, but not completely surprising when considering that the pair played an incredibly packed DJ schedule, with Boddika also reinvigorating the Nonplus concept with the impressive compilation album, 'Think and Change'.
The return to Sunklo offers us two tracks, the first entitled 'More Maim'. The opener seems to lack the arresting originality that was found in tracks on the previous releases. However, it seems that the two tracks on Sunklofaw are slightly subtler affairs than their predecessors. Nevertheless, they're as booming as you'd expect, with the kick drum of 'More Maim' reverberating ceaselessly throughout proceedings. The production is still powerful and suited to those dark warehouse spaces, it's more that the means through which this sound is crafted is more restrained. Save for a strange, out of sync melody that rears its head around halfway through the track, gone are the catchy riffs to be found in previous Sunklo tracks - all that operates here is loud, stomping music that makes up in oomph for what it lacks elsewhere.
The flipside, 'In Here' delivers more of the same. Brooding, eyes-down vibes come to the fore with a staccato, eerie vocal snippet mingling with a metallic drum palette that focuses on a padded, quivering kick. I feel like the release is operating as a blueprint for the direction Boddika and Joy O are looking to push things in, a gentle relinquishment of ties to the current Swamp81 sound. The omission of 'Tricky's Team' from Sunklofaw is notable, but perhaps fitting with this excursion away from a four-to-the-floor template.
Either way, I reckon there's plenty more like 'More Maim' to come in the upcoming year, both from Sunklo and from Nonplus. Boddika announced recently the roster he was hoping to assemble for the latest Nonplus project, including the likes of Daniel Avery and drum and bass veterans Source Direct.
Sunklofaw might lack the recognisability of previous iterations, but a move towards more DJ tool material would be a welcome and interesting development for the label.
More Maim / In Here - Boddika & Joy Orbison [Sunklofaw]
[SUNKLOFAW] is available soon via Juno.
Men of the moment from Sweden Mr. Tophat and Art Alfie take a break from their own Karlovak label, instead coming through on the elusive nofitstate, keeping things short but sweet with two hits of luscious deepness, backed with a Locked Groove remix.
First is the woozy, driven, hypnotism of 'Vretis'. Airy vocals sparsely fling themselves all over, with the kick elevating the track to bona-fide stomper status. The onus is on a rhythmic, looping groove. It's pulsating, simple in execution, but really rather good.
The Locked Groove remix takes the original and exaggerates the hazy stylings of those vocals, making them the centrepiece around flittering, ethereal synths, which tinkle their way above squelching drums - one for the early morning sessions. Last is another Tophat and Alfie original, 'Takelant'. Here the vibe's a little more erratic. Nondescript whirrs and squeals work their way around stomping percussion, the white noise of random tape recordings butting in of their own accord. This gradually makes way for a clearer view, as the track gains a steadier sense of rhythm, with the end result a kind of funky hybrid you're not likely to have heard too much of before.
Vretis - Mr. Tophat & Art Alfie [nofitstate]
[NFS003] is out on 4 March via Juno.
Leon Vynehall nods to his past and looks to the future with his debut LP on 3024, 'Music For The Uninvited'. Vynehall has ridden a wave of vinyl resurgence and musical nostalgia, so it's only fitting that, having recorded these tracks to cassette, he notes his journey to school in his mum’s car as the main inspiration for the record.
"I grew up with tapes. I was introduced to recorded music through that medium, listening to mixed hip hop, funk and electro tapes, Janet Jackson albums, Style Council and Stiff Little Fingers. It was quite varied."
Variation is what Leon specialises in, whether he's working solo or on darker collaborations with A1 Baseline as Laszlo Dancehall. These previous efforts have for the most part been club-orientated, but this extended piece of work sees Leon striving to move in another direction. The opening track, 'Inside the Deku Tree' acts as a prologue to the collection and features a bassless, string ensemble. The strings and background static from the cassette intertwine throughout the record and act as intervals for the different acts.
'Goodthing', a more typical Vynehall track, follows a similar structure to the likes of 'Brother' and 'Mauve', with harsh cymbals and a sharp vocal sample. Although elements from previous tracks return throughout the record, no two tracks are the same. It's almost as if each song is a different thought, idea or memory.
The reflective and more relaxed track 'Be Brave, Clench Fists', and in the second half, 'Christ Air' and 'St. Sinclair', all build on Leon's ability to create abundant warmth in his soundscape,s taking a step out of the club to experiment with more atmospheric production. Even so, our highlight of the record comes on the C-side, where 'It's Just (House Of Dupree)' really cements Leon as a solid house producer. All in all, a fantastic and innovative collection of music and a great addition to Vynehall's unblemished discography.
[3024-024] will land as a double 12" on 17th March 2014 via Juno.
Words by: Stephen Daniels
Always our first port of call whenever we're splashing the cash in Soho, Phonica Records can proudly celebrate its tenth birthday this weekend. Ten years in which it has served up the finest house and techno (and plenty of other stuff) to Londoners and beyond.
To mark the occasion, there's a sterling 3 x LP compilation of original tracks from the likes of Juju & Jordash, Legowelt and ICube, with even more being offered up in the digital format. And, as would be fitting, there's a serious party going down tonight at Fire.
To do our own little bit of reminiscing, we've thrown together a YouTube playlist of some of the favourite tunes we've bought from these guys over the years. Enjoy!
Saturday 15th February - Krankbrother presents 10 Years of Phonica
Henrik Schwarz [live]
Kassem Mosse [live]
Tickets still available here.
Formed by the Zenker Brothers and Mueller in 2007, Ilian Tape is a German-based label that brings a variety of club-focused techno from artists based around the globe. The latest 12" is no exception, providing four cuts of heaviness from Turin local Stenny and constituting his second release for the imprint.
The first track doesn't look to warm up proceedings gently, jumping right into the deep end with an after-hours bomb - crushed breakbeats and a heavily saturated, pounding kick resonate among the sort of breathless and airy chords Ilian have become know for over the years. It's a great way of working dark and light shades together into one track, with the results being an oddly pleasing mixture of spacey, gliding musicality with earthy and claustrophobic grittiness.
Moving on to 'Boulders' and the formula stays very much the same. Those breakbeats remain prevalent, again they've been thoroughly smashed to pieces and glued back together with some semblance of a melody that just about holds things together. This second track is a far more frenetic and urgent affair than the opener, desperate to get deep and driving straight off the bat.
Flipside - first you'll find the peculiarly named 'Local Fields'. An apt title perhaps, as Stenny grants his drums slightly more room, letting them breathe alongside the accompanying elements. Heavily-filtered, luscious chords pan out around the entire track with the whole affair feeling a little more roomy and patient than the first two pieces.
Finishing off is a Zenker Brothers remix of the title track. The two siblings hereby make no attempt to wash out the dirt and grime of Stenny's original. That isn't to say that the finished result lacks punch, rather that it feels less cluttered and frantic than the opener. Instead, the pair apply their own methodology, streamlining the entire track and removing all but the most essential components in order to craft a subtle, grooving jam that could stomp its way effortlessly through any club you dared chuck it at.
Eternal Restriction - Stenny [Ilian Tape]
[IT022] is available now from Juno.
Since 2012, Mood Hut has been operating as a small independent label out of Vancouver, Canada, specialising in off-kilter, deep dance music. This release sees the Pender Street Steppers drop some seriously decent atmospheric and ambient house in the form of a three track EP.
While the bubble samples in the first track 'Bubble World' could be considered trite, the song provides an overall unpretentious vibe as it meanders along its own path. 'Love Theme' follows with its drum rolls and sharp synthy stabs, giving way to some sultry saxophone work at the end. The last track 'Temple Walk' provides an ethereal ending track that would provide great stuff for the afterhours heads.
Mood Hut should be a good label to keep an eye on in 2014. While not peak-time dance material, the label explores the more left-leaning and cerebral sides of house music.
Bubble World EP - Pender Street Steppers [Mood Hut]
Pick up the Pender Street Steppers EP from Juno when its released on February 14th.
Words by: Ethan Becker