ASOK | 5 Tracks of Personal Importance

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We asked ASOK to pick five tracks that have made some kind of personal impact on him and write a little bit about each one. He recorded a mix for us back in 2013 which came complete with a fairly in-depth interview. Since then he’s been making moves and developing his reputation as a serious techno producer with a full EP on MOS and a remix of Route 8 on Lobster Theremin Private Press. That’s on top of the sterling mix he has just done for the Creme Organisation podcast series. When not making music he’s been pushing other peoples through his label Scenery, putting out one of the chunkiest pieces of techno this year in The Cyclist’s Remix of Bantam Lions’ tune Recollections. The man also knows how to tie together his broad, sometimes disparate, influences; notably the Liverpool based producer and friend of this website takes inspiration from D’n’B, techno, disco and what he describes as Rave, all of which make appearances below. Continue Reading >>

AJ Hunter | Kung Pow

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I spent some of my Sunday leafing through the back catalogue of Parotic Music, an old techno and IDM label from the American Midwest. We’d originally clocked Parotic through Nicolas Lutz’s ace Six Axle mix, which features one of my picks of the label near its beginning.

AJ Hunter’s ‘Kung Pow’ treads similar ground, a strange and beautiful ‘house’ track that sounds much more like golden era IDM at 120bpm. Any and all fans of Aphex Twin, or Drukqs more specifically, should check the release. The whole A side is loovely.

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Cab Drivers vs Vibey | Track Without Bassline

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There are few producers and label bosses with a legacy equal to that of Daniel Paul and Jens Augustowsky, and fewer still that remain as on-point now as in the late 90s. Cab Drivers’ live set still sounds great, and why the fuck not, when they’ve such a strong back catalogue to choose from.

Their übervibey ‘Track Without Bassline’ has long been a favourite of ours, but I’ve only recently been able to get hold of it on record. It’ll pop up for a reasonable price again soon enough. Be patient.

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Shinichiro Yokota / Soichi Terada | The Far East Transcripts EP

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“There’s been a real lack for most people in the current electronic music scene to look at the stuff that influenced today’s producers or even tracks that were completely overlooked. but there’s also an element of just feeling a tiny bit bored of modern production” – History Has A Tendency To Repeat Itself [HHATRI]

We were pretty excited to find out that the new label, History Has A Tendency To Repeat Itself, were reissuing some Far East Recordings material as their debut record. The guys are focused on putting out rarities from the past that maybe haven’t had the exposure or recognition they deserve and are hard to get hold of these days.

They couldn’t have picked a better place to start; we’ve been hoping someone would make work by the inimitable Japanese producer Soichi Terada available again for aaages. They’ve plucked a track of his and three of label alumni Shinichiro Yokota’s from two separate compilations that came out in 1991 & 1992 respectively.

To balance the unashamedly good vibes house there’s also a deeper, techier remix from Fabio Monesi of Do It Again. Unsurprisingly for such a well selected, previously super-rare reissue, this is making waves so don’t wait around to get a copy.

Shinichiro Yokota – Do It Again

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Soichi Terada – Moments of Samples (Alternative Version)

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Dee Jay Nehpets | Na Na Na

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When Dance Mania’s good, it’s great. I could count on one hand the DM records that I’m arsed about, but each one’s a masterpiece of pitched up funk and ghetto nastiness.

Thanks to a perfect storm of quality, rarity and what our pal calls ‘Der Franzmann Effekt’ (Zip plays it), ‘The Funk Child EP‘ goes for $$$ on Discogs nowadays. Let’s all just bask in the warm glow of this scruffy MP3 rip instead.

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Island and Holiday | Living

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I feel like we haven’t posted any filthy italo in a while. This track is exactly that – a hot, jizzy italo funk injection to the nethers from 1984, replete with a nasty bassline, cheesy vocal breaks, dramatic toms and deleriously silly ‘Popcorn‘-style synth werk. Dumb italo-disco-funk for freaks who like to get stoopid from time to time, like the Dominos employee above.

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Moodcut | Space Dub

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We’ve spoken before about the boner we have for Nous Disques, a ‘much-sought-after-buy-on-sight-£200-on-discogs’ sort of label from Greece, known for grubbily downbeat and spaced out deep house cuts. ‘Space Dub’ is a track from their latest offering, an EP of contemplative yet rough-hewn house jams from mystery producer Moodcut (maybe an alias?), complete with a typically dope remix from Moon B (check his Six Axle mix here). This is our pick of the bunch, a track that sounds very much like its title suggests – spacey pads, dubby effects and rolling, hypnotic percussion with a satisfyingly tuff kick.

This post is a bit of a tease – the record was released last month and, unsurprisingly, is sold out at all the stockists I checked. There are, however, some international sellers on discogs hawking it for not entirely offensive prices.

EDIT – repress!

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Six Axle Podcast 050 | Jane Fitz [Night Moves] – ‘UK Sounds from the Tech House Era’

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Whether it’s Swag or Wiggle, Presence or Pure Science, Justin David or Evil Eddie Richards, the sounds of 90s UK tech house have always held special resonance with all of us that write, edit and format Six Axle. For the 50th edition of our podcast series, it feels perfectly fitting to pay tribute to an era of British dance music that we so dearly love.

Who better to offer a retrospective of 90s UK tech house than Jane Fitz, not only perhaps the finest British Dj currently in business, but a Dj who witnessed the scene first hand, as a collector, writer, promoter and dancer.     Before we get all misty-eyed, we’ll leave the write up to Jane, who describes below, with typical passion and poise, what rendered the tech house era a unique moment in British dance music history:

In the same way that house music was originally just a term to describe the mix of records Frankie Knuckles played at the Warehouse, tech house was the term used to describe the sound of the dancefloor at Heart & Soul or Wiggle or Whoop Whoop or Subterrain or Positive or any number of underground parties in and around London and the south-east in the mid-late 90s. Tech house was the mood of sound, a dancefloor vibe, a spirit of the times. 

So, this mix isn’t meant to represent tech house as a genre – because, importantly, a lot of these tracks were made before tech house even was a genre. Every track on here is British and came out somewhere during that period. Essentially, a really fertile time for British house music. All these records are made by people who met, attended and probably DJed at those parties – inspired by those nights out – with plenty of collaborations and crossover of engineers, studios, labels, remixers and producers. It goes to show how tight that scene was.

Except for a few pockets round the UK (and later, the world) this music didn’t really break out of the London/southeast tech house scene. And I think that’s a massive shame, because if you listen back to these records now, what strikes me is how sophisticated the productions are. And how well they balance proper grooviness with a load of personality, even humour. You would never have heard all these records in one set (not just because they span quite a few years, and are all UK). At the time, DJs focused on playing upfront records across the board, whether that was breaks or acid, US deep house dubs, European techno, or records like these. Everything was in the mix, coming together on the dancefloor, that’s what tech house really was.

I think these records all stand up to the test of time so well, and I’m astonished that they didn’t receive more attention – they are definitely as good as anything that was coming out of the US at the time. I still play these records out now, mainly because I’ve never stopped playing them – they’re that good.

Six Axle Podcast 050 | Jane Fitz [Night Moves] – ‘UK Sounds from the Tech House Era’ by Six Axle on Mixcloud

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JTH | Something

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We’ve banged on about this before, but it’s a shame that ‘tech house’ has lately come to represent boring, monotonous, purely functional club music. A very special 50th edition of our guest podcast series is due this afternoon, one that exclusively contains proper tech house records from 90s era.

To write any more would be spoiling the surprise, but as any proper head should know, the dance music coming from our fair shores in the mid-late 1990s easily measures up to any supposedly Golden Age in Chicago, New York or Detroit. Artfully combining tropes and textures of house and techno, the best of UK tech house had real character and verve.

JTH’s ‘Something’, a track that people go buckwild over on Discogs nowadays, is not just functional – though people go equally wild in a club for it – but eccentric, intricate, and lovingly crafted.

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VA | Halal Prepared Vol. 3 [Boe Recordings 025]

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We’ve been quietly admiring Boe Recordings for some time now. It’s a label that’s always struck a fine balance between pushing forwards and back, reissuing top tackle from UK greats like Leigh Dickson and Jaime Read, but also serving as a platform for new-school Six Axle faves like Leif, Anaxander and Iron Curtis.

The label’s latest is a lovingly curated various artists EP, Halal Prepared Vol. 3. Where many VAs tend to be less than the sum of their parts, Boe’s hangs together with effortless cohesion, its Guidance-inflected sound carried and complimented across 4 dance tracks in various shades of light and dark.

Styrax and Baum favourite Havantepe turns in opener ‘Plane Waves’, a taut, shimmering bit of house music that slowly gathers tension, then expertly releases it after the 4 minute mark.

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Taelue, one of two talented young Chicagoans featured here, offers up ‘Desolate Dreams’, a deep, blissful house excursion, one just as suited to late drives and foggy mornings as early doors in a nightclub. Primo warm up gear.

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Chicago Deep provides vital contrast with cosmic acid bomb ‘Star Struck’. Confidently arranged, beautifully produced, it’s our individual pick of an impressive collective. It’s no surprise to us that Victor’s as skilful on an MPC as behind a pair of Technics – the vastly underrated Chi-town Dj turned in 80 minutes of similarly deep percussive jams for our podcast series last year.

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Label boss Ben Boe rounds out a strong 12″ with his appropriately named ‘Aqueous Reflection’. Among talented company, Ben’s track is perhaps the most accomplished take on Dana Kelley-era house on the EP – no mean feat considering his relative newcomer status as a producer. We can’t wait to hear his first solo release, due sometime in the new year.

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The Attendants | For The Love Of Low Top

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We love most things that Homero G turns his hand to. The legendary Inner Sunset producer has a vision of house music that few have come close to in the years since. Effortlessly incorporating various styles of house and garage with subtlety, funk and precision, his records still stand as timeless paragons of the 4/4 form.

‘For The Love Of Low Top’, one my faves from Inner Sunset’s finest 12″, masterfully plays with your expectations. Constantly twisting between deep organ-led house and something much rougher and nastier, the track shows off all the skill and intelligence that’s rendered the Inner Sunset series so highly sought after.

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S-Max | Ms Pacman

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Under his S-Max alias Manfred Koridass produced some absolute belters in the late 90s / early ‘noughties’. Many of them are pricey as fuck nowadays, but not all: I managed to get hold of his and fellow Boogizm boss Fym’s Funkatizing Galaxies EP for less than a tenner last night. Giiiidup there !

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Arthur Russell | Arm Around You

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My favourite number from the seminal Calling Out Of Context compilation of Russell’s work changes all the time, mostly because I’ve come to know it a track at a time. In the past we’ve bigged up That’s Us / Wild Combination (among other tunes) which is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the record but currently I’m in the midst of a love affair with Arm Around You.

The one of a kind artist’s unique vocal talent is in full effect but it is the visceral percussion and high frequency, hooky bass synth that I am really obsessed with right now. The LP fetches a pretty penny on the cogs but needless to say I’ll be picking up the upcoming repress.

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Cliff Lothar | Running Out Of Time

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“Might only bad feelings for the ordinary person, but feast for Sukisha… There is no blur in the hardcore attitude of Viewlexx.” 

While a google search won’t reveal much about Cliff Lothar and his discography boasts only two releases it’s still a little hard to believe that he’s a new producer. His White Savage EP, out on Viewlexx a couple of years ago, shows a very clear understanding of how to make electro-fused techno that seems too well executed to be the work of some young turk. On top of compelling arrangement and synths tuned just right his music projects a very distinctive aurora that is on the one hand dark and foreboding but on the other stirring and charged with energy.

The hyper anthemic Running Out Of Time is the stand out from the record but by no means all that it’s good for. Rather than trying to find the right words to describe it I’ll let you hear it in all it’s glory for yourself below. On a side note, be sure to check out Cliff’s own list of amusing mis-translations of reviews of this record on Japanese vinyl websites like the one quoted above.

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