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COMPILATION OF THE MONTH
Various: Hatched Vol 1 (Dirtybird)
If it’s bass-heavy, filthy and just plain crazy house music you want for breakfast then San Fran’s Claude VonStroke is your man. And here he’s cracked open a fresh selection of tracks from Dirtybird artists like Christian Martin, Catz N’ Dogz and Worthy, as well as some new signings. CVS joins forces with Bristol’s Eats Everything to offer up ‘Ignorance Is Bliss’, complete with a stonking kick-drum, a bleepy hook and humming vocals, A1 Bassline’s ‘Why Do You’ deals in stripped down, hissy beats and Kill Frenzy go down the booty-house route with the aptly-named ‘Booty Clap’, to name but a few. If eclectic, left-of-centre house is your thing then get cracking.
TUNE OF THE MONTH
The Minneapolis Touch EP (Apollonia)
There’s been a gaping hole in the Paris house scene since the demise of Dan Ghenacia’s critically acclaimed Freak N Chic imprint back in the middle of 2010, so we’re delighted he’s launching Apollonia with compatriots Dyed Soundorom and Shonky. And it’s the latter – house music’s Mr Reliable – who lays down the foundation with three cuts of dynamite beats. ‘Kotero Mi Amor’ features Shonky’s trademark rolling, chunky beats and basslines with a soulful vocal sample, ‘Columbia’ is a more percussion-concentrated piece and the pick of the bunch is dreamy groover ‘The Minneapolis Touch’.
The Wrap Around EP (Saints & Sonnets)
One of the UK’s hottest young producers, Michael ‘Huxley’ Dodman launched his Saints & Sonnets (with friend Jimmy Posters) last year with his own ‘3 Feet High’ collab with buddy Ethyl, but here he hands over the musical reins to Amsterdam newcomers Detroit Swindle, aka Lars Dales & Maarten Smeets. And they’ve come up trumps with two solid cuts of house, ‘The Wrap Around’ and ‘Pain Tomorrow’. The latter features a host of chirpy keys and chords plus timid beats accompanied by undulating pads that drop in and out, all bolstered by dubby beats and jolting keys on the remix by Pattern Select (aka Milton Jackson & Mathias Schober). However, it’s the title track that will have most impact on the dancefloor as tight beats and dreamy harmonies are just the precursor to a real powerhouse of a bassline.
Soundbyte EP (Turquoise Blue)
Having already released quality sounds from MANIK, Ruthit and Basic Soul Unit, Newcastle imprint Turquoise Blue continues its impressive start, dropping its fifth release courtesy of Dogmatik boss Alex Arnout. ‘GiveU’ arouses the ears with a fusion of organic melodies and a echoing vocal atop tight, techy beats, while ‘Movements In Soul’ maintains the momentum with a funky, grooving bassline, a sexy vocal and a numerous keys and chords. But it doesn’t end there, as frequent collaborators Jef K and Gwen Maze individually rework ‘GiveU’, with the former providing an acid-twinged percussive workout and the latter
some robust beats. Lady of the moment, Laura Jones, rounds things off with a hypnotic, haunting tech-house treat.
Pitchslap (remixes) (Compost Records)
Munich’s home of all things jazzy, funky, trippy, techy and housey, Compost Records follows the success of Pitchben’s 80s-inspired album ‘Pitchslap’ from late last year by commissioning a first load of remixes from Runaway, Sportloto and the shit-hot Tiger & Woods. First up, Runaway – better known as Jacques Renault and Marcos Cabral – add fuel to the funk of ‘Stand Up’ with squelchy synths and riffs over shaking percussion while still letting the original’s vocal flow. Russia’s Sporloto then beefs up the beats on Pitchben’s cover of D-train’s ‘Keep Giving Me Love’, and saving the best for last, enigmatic disco-house funksters Tiger & Woods tee up on ‘Stand Up’, delivering more of their infectious, punchy, driving beats and riffs.
Bittersweet (remixes) (Mobilee Records)
One of the strongest and most enjoyable house albums of 2011 was Olivier ‘Rodriguez Jr’ Mateu’s ‘Bittersweet’, and so it’s hardly surprising the label has called in some remix work, with Christian Smith and Sebastian Radlmeier on duty. Swedish techno star Smith tackles ‘Bagpipe Woman’ with a tamer offering than we’re used to, though his tough, techy beats are present alongside sharp melodies. Paso Music’s Radlmeier – better known as Sebrok – has the tricky task of reworking the album’s standout title track, and he does a grand enough job with a pacey version that manages to make use of the original’s developing melody, though unsurprisingly it doesn’t have the full impact of the original.
What I Do (remixes) (Culprit)
Probably the best and most consistent underground house operating out of the States at the moment (and definitely our favourite), Andrei Osyka, Justin Sloe and Brett Griffin, aka Droog’s LA-situated Culprit continues its rich vein of form as Burnski, Konrad Black and Tom Stage breathe new life into Subb-an’s ‘What I Do’. All make good use of the original’s catchy vocal as Amsterdam’s Tom Trago (of Rush Hour fame) delivers two mixes, with deep harmonies and jangly beats on the ‘Revanche’ version and the ‘In Good Hands’ version edging towards Detroit beats and swirling melodies. Canada’s Konrad Black then steps up with his booming electro basslines, but it’s Burnski’s bouncy, filtery vintage house weapon that steals the show.
We Long to Move The Stars to Pity (Alphahouse)
Over the past few years Andrew ‘Butane’ Rasse’s Alphahouse label has been one of the main exponents of minimal house sounds coming out of the US, releasing music from the likes of Quenum, Ryan Crosson and Ilario Alicante (Butane’s Little Helpers label is also well worth checking out), and here he steps up to the plate himself to release fresh cut ‘We Long To Move The Stars To Pity’ and a rerub of 2008’s ‘A Rave Mistake’. The former sets off with faint percussion and a strange spoken-word sample before being joined by piercing strings and stripped-down beats across its lengthy 13 minutes. The 2012 update of ‘A Rave Mistake’ features a wonky riff over clean percussion, and though it may not be to everyone’s tastes, if intricate minimal house is your thing then
Golden Age Thinking Part 2 (Two Armadillos)
Despite being plenty busy with their respective projects, Berlin-based Brit Martin Dawson and secretsundaze’s Giles Smith have still found the time to put together the debut Two Armadillos album. But they’ve chosen to release it in three parts, creating their own self-titled label to do so on, with this second instalment featuring ‘Theme’, ‘These Feelings’ and ‘Flat Lining’. ‘Theme’ involves a prominent lush melody and female vocal, ‘These Feelings’ is a soft, soothing piece of house and ‘Flat Lining’ does anything but, as floaty pads and a smooth vocal build throughout. Together they make for a tidy selection of deep, soulful house sounds.
Let Me In (2020 Vision)
Simon Baker had every right to pat himself on the back for a job well done when he handed over his debut album ‘Traces’ to 2020 Vision for release last year, and he must be licking his lips with each single release as they’ve all come with remixes of the highest order – including the latest, ‘Let Me In’. With Art Department, Steve Bug, Burnski and Robert James all reworking the previous two to a very high standard, now it’s the turn of Visionquest’s Lee Curtiss, and he meets the challenge head on. Rhythmic beats and percussion soon join forces with Debukas’ catchy vocal, before the American takes it in a whole new direction with lashings of sizzling synths and throbbing basslines that leave a serious mark – not that the original didn’t.
Come Into The Light feat Robert Q Ingram (Smoke N Mirrors)
Madrid brothers Javier and Luis Garayalde’s Wagon Cookin’ project is best known for their rich, jazzy house output on labels like Compost, and here they drop ‘Come Into The Light’ on Om Records sub-label Smoke N Mirrors. Featuring Robert Q Ingram’s spoken vocal, a huge crescendo, warm, buzzing basslines and a plethora of synths, it’s typical Wagon Cookin’ stuff though not their most outstanding work. Fellow Spaniards Chus & Cellabos chip in with a remix and a dub, though the beats are all blustery and don’t really sit so well together, and other remixes, provided by Ammie Graves and The Cruising, also fail to hit the spot.
Rise Before Zod (Rebellion)
What better way to pass the time if you’re chilling out in LA, getting ready to head to the Burning Man festival than knock out a concept track inspired by the villainous character from Superman II, General Zod. And so that’s exactly what Crosstown Rebels boss Damain Lazarus and label artist James What did, and it’s now released through Rebels sub-label Rebellion. A take on his “Kneel before Zod” catchphrase, obviously, ‘Rise Before Zod’ is a dark, eerie piece of house with a brooding bassline, a robotic vocal and a gnarly hook that slots into a Lazarus DJ set perfectly. Shadow Dancer adds some ascending, spacey synths and Acid Pauli slows things down with melancholy strings and hollow beats, taking it in another direction.
Inner City Man EP (Nofitstate)
After a self-imposed break from releasing his own music, Mulletover resident and Murmur boss Stuart Geddes returns to the fore with his first full release,
a three-tracker coming through Murmur sub-label Nofitstate (named after his popular London parties). And it’s been well worth the wait, as it’s his finest work yet. ‘Soul Of Real’ bowls along with a simmering bassline and crisp percussion before a slight hook joins in, ‘Uncanny’ features choppy bass, beats and bleeps and rounding things off in typical Geddes style is ‘Controversy’, which is all about a deep, chugging bassline, a siren wail and Chicago-style beats. All in all, a very slick return.