Six Axle Podcast 052 | Domenic Cappello [Subculture]

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In four years of living in Glasgow, no establishment absorbed more of my time, money or sweat than a small basement on Jamaica Street. To those in the know, Sub Club needs very little introduction, widely regarded as one of the best in the UK (and indeed the world). For those less familiar, I’ll leave a succinct description to Domenic Cappello in the interview below.

Domenic knows Sub Club better than almost anybody. Alongside partner in crime James ‘Harri’ Harrigan, he has been at the helm of Subculture, Sub Club’s tentpole club night, for over 20 years. Subculture is a Glaswegian Saturday-night institution, a weekly consecration to house music that has stood immovable in a fickle and constantly changing environment. Promoters, DJs and club nights come and go; Subculture maintains.

With such a hefty weight of experience behind the decks in Sub Club, Domenic’s ability to control the room and build energy before the peak-time bangers start thumping in places him alongside the likes of Craig Richards in the warm-up department. The dynamic that he and Harri have forged together as DJs mirrors Subculture’s attitude towards bookings, straddling a fine balance between party-starters and deeper, more adventurous selections, all while steeped in house music history. Despite the fact that they bring in bona fide house legends on a monthly basis, these guys are of such a pedigree that both locals and visitors will often tell you the best nights out they’ve ever had are the Subculture residents’ all-night affairs.

As the man in charge at Seventh Sign recordings, Domenic has been putting out top-tier records from producers like Marcellus Pittman and Terrence Parker since 2001; he’s also exhibited some killer production tekkers under his Hutton Drive moniker. But to us, he is first and foremost a seriously good DJ, as this mix demonstrates – two hours of mean, all-killer-no-filler machine music that takes in upfront analogue house jams, raw warehouse material and deeper heads-down business, variously hypnotic, energetic and melodic.

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So many DJs say that Glasgow is their favourite city to play – what do you think it is about Glasgow, or Subby specifically, that makes clubbing and DJing there so special?

It’s a combination of the up-for-it Scottish crowd, low ceiling, great sound system and the fact the night is only 4 hours long means the intensity is condensed into a short time period. It’s like a shot of concentrated adrenaline.

Are there any other clubs you’ve played that you feel are a kindred spirit to Sub Club in that way?

Not in that way, but Panorama Bar is a place I love playing as much as I love playing the Sub Club. Different energy but just as good.

I recently saw that the Slow To Speak guys tipped you as one of the best DJs about to catch early on in the night. After 20 years of Subculture you’ve got warming the floor down to a T – how do you compare that experience to smashing it at peak time? Do you like to get pretty weird with the selections when you’ve got a smaller number of punters wandering around at 11pm?

I love doing both sets, obviously for different reasons. There’s nothing better than starting with an empty dancefloor and building it up and setting the atmosphere and mood for the rest of the night. Equally playing the last hour when everyone is ready to lose their minds is an amazing feeling and it’s more about controlling energy and mood.

Is there a record that you’ve found yourself returning to more than any other at Sub Club?

Neal Howard – Indulge

Finally, where’s your favourite spot in Glasgow to wine and dine your Subculture guests?

My house.

The Ron Honey Experience | Nitedrive

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We’ve said it before, but it’s true: house and techno records are measured by the finest margins. Within genre forms as relatively constricting as these, the gap between good and great, unique and prosaic, revered classic and Discogs cast-off can be as small as the slightest modulation, as subtle as an extra hi-hat.

No doubt, ‘Nitedrive’ is an extraordinary piece of music: great, unique and revered for all the right reasons. All the same, the difference between Ron Honey’s track and the infinite other slick, elegant house records it so easily transcends is relatively small. Its component parts are beautifully produced, but it’s Nitedrive’s arrangement – deft, understated and super tight – that’s rendered it such a sought after EP.

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V/A | LBL002

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We’re looking forward to this upcoming release from LBL, a nascent project from the minds of Man Power and Peter Wilson. As the label’s super-mnml moniker suggests, the two Geordies are taking a no-frills approach to releasing music, simply pressing tracks from producers they like to unfussily-stamped vinyl. Their second outing is another various artists affair, with appearances from Ste Spandex, ASOK, Causa and Colours in Waves – all decent, but we’ve selected our two favourites here.

Long-time Six Axle pal and podcast alumni, Scenery Records boss and DJ/producer ASOK (aka Stu Robinson) turns in a mean acid thumper with ‘Grid Runner’ on the A side. Those familiar with his productions will recognise his idiosyncratic ear for an unhinged 303 melody, paired here with some warbly Legowelt-style synth work. This one should sit well with fans of Creme Organization, another home to Stu’s music.

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On the B side, Causa delivers a deeper, dubbier take on the slow house sound he’s honed with ‘Seven': a tripping, throbbing echo chamber of a track that comes off somewhere between John Carpenter and Basic Channel.

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Klein & MBO | Dirty Talk (Ruf Dug Remix) [TIRK]

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If someone were to ask me for one essential Italo disco track, the answer would probably be Klein & MBO’s 1982 blockbuster ‘Dirty Talk’. Nile Rogers porn guitars, silly laughing samples, damp-knickers bassline, half-spoken half-sung nonsense lyrics – it has it all. New Order would later hear it played at the Hacienda and pinch the arrangement to use as a template for Blue Monday.

Frustratingly, it’s of an era in which tracks that achieved club popularity would start reproducing with themselves and spawning myriad variants – there’s loads of versions on YouTube that are just labelled ‘Dirty Talk’ and no two sound the same. Tirk Records are about to add to my confusion with a whopping 11 track ‘Dirty Talk’ bonanza, treating the world to a crop of delectable reworks from a diverse stable of heavyweights including the likes of Daniele Baldelli, Greg Wilson and Toby Tobias. 4 tracks are getting pressed to wax, and the rest will be available to download.

The one we’ll be spinning the most is undoubtedly this cut from Machester-based homie Ruf Dug, which strips the original naked and then bathes it in silky, bright washes of synth fresh from a Max D production, keeping things nasty with sparse bursts of a shuddering bassline. Bang on – cop it here.

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D.J. Rogers | All I Gave Him Was My Heart

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Budgie is a long-time employee of Portebello Road’s temple of crate-digging, Honest Jon’s. He’s also a deft and highly underappreciated DJ and producer, coming off like a UK equivalent of the dusty-fingered likes of Madlib and Peanut Butter Wolf. If you’ve not heard ‘em, you should definitely cop ‘The Gospel According To Budgie’ parts I and II (only £4.99!), on which he showcases a selection of his unbelievably dope gospel records. D. J. Rogers’ upbeat ‘All I Gave Him Was My Heart’ (1982), found on part II, is a personal favourite, sporting an unholy amount of funk for what is really a very holy song.

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Gemini | In And Out Of Fog And Lights LP

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Since we finally got our grubby mits on In And Out Of Fog And Lights, perhaps our fave Gemini album, it felt right to post up a few picks from a truly beautiful LP.

It would be hard to describe any Gemini record as being particularly ‘focused’. The Chicagoan’s productions have passed into legend for precisely the opposite: his music’s wild, esoteric, overflowing with inspiration and otherworldly sounds. In a genre which can favour functionality, Kincy fascinates for his uncompromising, singular vision.

All the same, In And Out Of Fog And Lights is, relatively speaking, a very focused Gemini LP. Almost entirely composed of soothing, melodic tracks, it’s as straight down the line as dance music’s fragmented genius is ever likely to get.

‘I’ is Kincy at his most seductive, a soft and beautiful house heartbreaker. In lesser hands its central vocal might sound a bit twee.. but this is Gemini we’re talking about. Pop it on for your mrs / boyf this Valentine’s weekend.

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‘Z. Funk’ is the sort of oddball, broken beat bomb that Gemini pretenders have been trying and failing to replicate for 20 years. Transcendental tackle.

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CD-only album closer ‘Voyeur’ encapsulates everything I love about this album. Shimmering, ethereal house music, with enough low end funk to balance its layers of bleeps and keys.

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Jeff Mills | In The Bush

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While I’ve got a huge amount of respect for Jeff Mills, 80% of the time I’m not really up for the sort of fast wormhole techno that he’s best known for. This stripped-down banger is miles away from the nails-on-a-chalkboard likes of ‘Berlin’. Straightforward and to-the-point, ‘In The Bush’ is a career highlight from an influential EP that pairs minimal, loopy sampling with tuff 909 drums for lethal effect. If I ever get to play records in a huge room, this one will be in the bag.

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DKMA | Something About You

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If someone described ‘Something About You’ it’d likely sound cheesy nonsense. It’s euphoric, vocal-heavy, genuinely late night ‘hands in the air’ material. But then if anyone’s got the touch to pull of a track like this’un, it’s Dana Kelley, the legendary Boston house producer who died a couple years ago next week.

The trick of ‘Something About You’ lies in its drums – chopped, sparse and heavy as all hell. The contrast they create with the track’s wailing diva vocals is a truly beautiful thing.

Apologies for the scruffy rip (we haven’t fronted up 50 quid to buy it either), but at least now when someone asks for the ‘Dana Kelley drum n bass tune’ you know where to come..

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The Supreme Jubilees | It’ll All Be Over LP

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Massive thanks to Light In The Attic, the Seattle-based reissue specialists responsible for many unearthed obscurities in the funk – psych rock – hip hop realm over the past decade or so. Nowadays I spend most of my music-finding time hunting house and techno, and it’s comforting to know that labels like LITA are taking care of bizness elsewhere.

Their latest is a pretty special repress of gospel-soul band The Supreme Jubilees’ sole LP. Formed from a Californian pastor’s extended family, It’ll All Be Over and it’s themes of a funky Christian afterlife are, as the sleeve liner notes, “both apocalyptic and seductive”. If the my local parish’s music was as sweet and soulful as ‘Do You Believe’ and ‘It’ll All Be Over’… I still wouldn’t bother going.

Do You Believe

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It’ll All Be Over

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Pre-order here friends.

 

Jaylib | Outtakes LP

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Researching some J Dilla tracks recently, I came upon Outtakes, a full album of Dilla-Madlib bombs which didn’t even make it onto The Rough Drafts, much less official Jaylib LP Champion Sound. Best of all, it’s 100% Dilla producing – Madlib/Quasimoto MCing. Therefore, it’s all absolutely mint.

‘Astronaut’ is one of the most beaut Dilla beats I’ve yet heard, arranged loosely enough to break down into some beatless weirdness 45 seconds in.

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‘True’ finds Madlib on top form, the L.A MC wrapping his deep baritone flow expertly round some more Jay Dee magic.

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On ‘Don’t Play’ Dilla chops up some faintly Oriental sounding sample, not his usual source material. It’s just another reason why it’s so tragic he passed in 2006 – since in the late phases of his career he was showing every sign of pushing his vast creative talents in new, interesting directions.

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Soul Capsule | Meltdown

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I’d dearly love to own that Soul Capsule EP, but mostly for it’s B side. Both mixes of ‘Meltdown’ are bob on, but our money’s on the original, a perfectly-pitched choppy bit of minimal tekkers that’d sit beautifully between most tracks. Melchior and Baby Ford at their playful best.

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Micronism | Engaging Cause

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Since one of our fave Nurture records, Micronism’s Steps To Recovery, is getting repressed imminently, it felt right to post up one of the highlights of a beautiful EP.

‘Engaging Cause’ is as delicate and intricate as the New Zealand label’s output gets. This is dub techno set against a Kiwi landscape: moody, melancholic and introspective. Heartbreaking stuff at the right moment.

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Six Axle Podcast 51 | Phil South [Golf Channel Recordings]

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It’s no secret that we are big fans of Golf Channel Records. I’ve written extensively about the imprint in the past and rather than try and re-write what I think about it, I have instead copied the following from a review of a GC release by Loose Control Band that I did a while back; it sums up everything that makes the label great.

Continue Reading >>

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 >>