Raw Ten | Funny Thing EP

paradise clown

The first release for Pittsburgh Track Authority’s new Raw Ten project landed in our inbox today. I can see it being a pretty divisive record; it features some tasty collaborators on two tracks that work a loopy techno vibe and vocal house theme respectively but in one instance stays true to the accepted parameters for underground electronic music and in the other breaks those same parameters in favour of a style with wider reaching appeal. The vocal mix of Funny Thing has got an Inner City vibe about it and by being centered around Lou Tanning’s vocals it breaks convention in a scene that more often than not trades in instrumentals and dubs where the human voice is rarely allowed to dominate. While it’s a little too clean cut for my taste, PTA’s production, with a helping hand from !!!’s Nic Offer, is impressive despite it bending away slightly from purer strains of house. I can definitely see that it will appeal to a lot of people but equally cause purists to feel a little uncomfortable.

No matter what you think of the A side I’m pretty sure you are going to buy the record for Church Boy Lou’s Detroit Tech Remix on the B-side. Working under a fresh alias original Slum Village member Waajeed succeeds in spinning out a piece of rolling x rated techno that couldn’t press more buttons if it tried. It’s got a nasty bassline that will hook you straight away and which reminds me of this but with a less Berghainy, more ghetto house vibe. This makes the release a pretty interesting one to talk about; on the B side you’ve got some killer dance music and on the flip something that seems intentionally crafted for greater appeal which I half like but probably wouldn’t listen to unless it was made by these dudes. While I would normally just write about the tune that I’m feeling on an Ep like this I think it’s important to acknowledge what PTA are trying to do.

I see the poppier sound they are pushing as an attempt to open this music up to a wider audience while trying not to compromise on authenticity… In my eyes any effort to draw more people to the music we all vibe off should be applauded and in that respect I think PTA are onto something. Too many heads shun outsiders and adopt an us-and-them siege mentality that ultimately achieves very little. Underground house and techno is never going to fully meet the needs of the mainstream but it can definitely reach a level where it is accepted, respected and revered for what it is by an audience of significant size, in the same way jazz is for example. Anything that goes anyway towards making that happen can only be a good thing in my eyes but for producers it’s always a fine balancing act between staying true to the art and appealing to outsiders. While I’m not 100% sure PTA nail that balance with the vocal mix of Funny Thing I’ll definitely be buying this for the killer Waajeed remix. It would be easy to slate the vocal mix for being too cheesy or for not adhering to the accepted protocol but I think that might be missing the point a bit. I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about it anyway and in the meantime you can find the wax here.

Funny Thing (Vocal Mix)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Funny Thing (Church Boy Lou’s Detroit Tech Mix)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Slow Life | Late Dawn

tumblr_ndysf8lA2c1tlrio8o2_1280

Is it a compliment to say that ‘Late Dawn’ sounds like the best Herbert tune in more than a decade? Them Slow Life lads have caused a bit of a stir in the dance music community recently, and rightly so: their record series is as essential as any dance 12″s in the past few years.

Where many producers ultimately fail in trying to create something truly ‘new’ within the fairly limited parameters of 4/4 music, Slow Life – or S.Moreira more specifically – put their influences front and centre. Lee Norris, Spencer Kincy, and particularly Matthew Herbert hang heavy over each of their releases. ‘Late Dawn’, probably our pick of the bunch thus far, nails that incredibly fine line between stripped back smoothness and late night funk that few have managed since the end of the 90s.

That’s not to denigrate the track, or producer. Many have tried and failed to draw influence from the Phono sound in the years since, and that ‘Late Dawn’ resonates with the ‘cheeky minimal’ era, while also maintaining a freshness of its own in its clean, modern sound design, suggests a properly exciting young producing talent.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Joe Lewis | Separate Ways

street thugs

I’ve been pining for this archetypal bit of house from Relief Records’ golden era of the mid 90’s for quite some time now but still haven’t been ballsy enough to spunk 50 quid on it yet. With it’s slightly acid bass, snare rolls, handclaps and lo-fi pads it is, on paper, much the same as other house from around that time and the preceding seven years. A quick listen though is all you need to know that although it’s a common recipe it’s execution is second to none. Drool over the vinyl nobody can afford right here.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Orlando B | Motor City

box face

Here’s another piece of sublime Detroit house made outside of the US, this time by Scotland native Orlando B. I think I’ve had this in my bag pretty much every gig I’ve ever played, pretty much without exception. It juggles deep soul and raw energy, perfectly capturing the motor city vibe but without ever sounding like it’s ripping it off. This is my number one jam for switching up the atmosphere in a club. Snap up one of the 10, modestly priced copies left on discogs. This is essential.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

MGUN | Funkshun

2751734393_9456d3ee8e_b

On ‘Funkshun’, MGUN finds just the right balance between gritty, growling sonics and down-and-dirty funk. Compared to some of his more abrasive techno workouts it’s positively low key, but it packs some considerable mid-tempo doof with a warped, azz-shaking melody and choppy drums to boot. Top dollar loopy techno right here. Check the great mix he did for us a while back for more ruff-n-tuff Detroit business.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

 

Rondenion | Devotion

I never really hear house heads talking about Rondenion despite the fact that he lays down some of the best detroit-inspired beats outside of the US. Maybe it’s because he’s from and lives in Japan, with all it’s remoteness and mystery, that he hasn’t quite been a name on people’s lips in Europe as much as he perhaps should have been. This is one of my favourite tunes from the guy, a jazz touched groover with a ton of atmosphere and energy that could almost be mistaken for Black Mahogani era KDJ shit.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

The Loose Control Band | It’s (Not) Just An 808

paradise garage staff in Brazil

“Bass… the final frontier… these are the continuing voyages of the Loose Control Band… who are on a never ending mission to program beats like you’ve never heard before…”

It’s easy to get bored with a label that only specialises in one sound once you get bored with that sound, which inevitably I do, moving on to seek out novel sonic adventures elsewhere and only occasionally revisiting it but with that initial excitement of discovery ever dwindling. With that in mind, the reason why I don’t think I’ll ever stop loving Golf Channel is that it’s wildly eclectic, often dizzyingly frequent output never fails to surprise and delight with new and intriguing music that bridges the gap between electronic styles and a sense of organic, live performance. The identity of the imprint is constantly redefined and challenged by each new release with the constant that unites them all, coming in the form of authenticity and a commitment to variety.

The latest of many new records is from The Loose Control Band, another duo who you probably haven’t heard of before (although you might recognise the component parts who go by the names of DJ Spun and Jonah Sharp). Delivering an EP that takes in clicky house, disco and techno all on one record they couldn’t be more typical of the absence of uniformity that is felt so strongly around this imprint. The track that is going to blow your mind is It’s (Not) Just An 808 and that’s the one I’m putting the focus on here. It’s a 9 minute breaksy techno journey that’s crazy deep, with a sci-fi edge in the form of a star trek style monologue that comes half way through and also samples Aleem’s Paradise Garage classic Release Yourself as well as featuring sections of dubbed out scratching. The Warehouse Mix of it is a little bit shorter at five minutes but gets even nastier, flipping the synths into some freaky 5am head-melting business and generally taking shit deeper down the rabbit hole. Needless to say, if we did a lame RA style star system this would get five out of five. Get it heeeere.

It’s (Not) Just An 808

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

It’s (Not) Just An 808 (Warehouse Mix)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Telephones | Lotusland (Discodromo Remix)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is probs one of the most slept on records that came out over the summer and clear cut evidence that Telephones ain’t no flash in the pan. Working the kind of exotic Italo melodies that I associate him with into tight machine drums is basically what this record is all about. Discodromo, the moniker of a pair of Italian producers, do the business with their super tight remix but really it’s just one of the four equally playable, listenable, danceable versions of the track that feature on the wax. Online stores still have stock. Don’t wait around, this is essential material.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Daisy Glow | Sunday In The Park

half pipe

Quick tip on this bitta dreamy house from way way back. More timeless than a lot of stuff from the early 90’s, it’s got blissed out pads laid over breaksy percussion and a simple but deeply set bass. The faded vocal samples wash in and out adding the final touch to what must be one of the most anthemic soundtracks for the laziest, haziest kind of open air dancing. For those rushing to discogs to check out what else is in their back catalog, sadly Daisy Glow only seem to have put out a record or two beyond this one.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Tommy Vicari Jnr

tumblr_ltqiipAmgX1qc5bhzo1_1280

If you don’t look in the right places, it’s easy to become quite jaded buying records at the moment. While Youtube commentors, forum tossers and respectable labels alike all look to crown The Next Big Thing – which in 2014 is normally an old house track ripe for Zip trainspotting, Discogs inflation or plain sleeve represses – producers like Tommy Vicari Jnr have been quietly knocking out some of the best club records of the year.

We don’t know an awful lot about the Sheffield-based producer, but his music speaks for itself, and all his tracks have an unmistakeable maturity, a textural richness, and a lightness of touch that suggests Tom’s been in the game for a while. At least ten years in fact: ‘Look In Your Eyes’, one of my favourites of his, and a surefire booter-offer when played right, was released in 2004.

Look In Your Eyes

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The first I heard of Vicari Jnr was his lovely TVJR3, part of a recent three record series on Italian label 320KB Music. ‘Largesse’ combines elements of house and garage so effortlessly: swinging drums, deep keys, and a mean motherfucker of a baseline just after the 3 minute mark.

Largesse

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Recently I heard his as-yet unreleased 10 Nights E.P, a three tracker that carries throughout that same elegance and maturity that marks out all Tom’s productions. The best and most pointless compliment I can pay ‘Track 3’ is that it sounds dead expensive – not ‘cos quality necessarily equates to price – but since in its playful complexity it could genuinely be one of the many late 90s über minimalische tunes killing it on Discogs at the moment.

Track 3

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Transllusion | Dimensional Glide

1980svintagebmxjeffreykang

Since The Opening Of The Cerebral Gate is getting the Tresor repress treatment imminently, it felt right to post up our pick of the LP.

There are James Stinson records I lust over more than this album, but ‘Dimensional Glide’ is exactly what I want from the legendary producer. Smooth, deep, properly playable electro, heavy enough for a club, and plenty weird enough for the afters.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

Six Axle Podcast 049 // Charlie Bennett [tothebone, Body Hammer]

kolorit_18

After a summer hiatus the Six Axle podcast series returns with a most excellent mix from Charlie Bennett, a superlative South London based Dj, and one of the voices behind ours and yours favourite radio show.

Along with co-hosts Dave and Rik, Charlie runs tothebone, a monthly foundry of top tunes and – rarer still in the dance music radio game – top craic, one that expertly showcases the chaps’ deep and genuinely ‘eclectic’ record collections. As I mentioned in a rambling write up for Nick Craddock’s pod months back, Charlie is another of those properly great local Djs doing it in London at the moment: gigging about for the likes of Body Hammer, Beyond The Clouds and Find Me In The Dark, organising frequently infrequent tothebone parties, and propping up the counters of various second hand shops across the city.

Charlie’s podcast for us is maybe our favourite mix of his online, and we’ve listened to a fair few. An exceptional, at times transformative hour and a half of preetty much straight house & techno – with a few customary detours here and there – it demonstrates the technical precision, taste, and no less important, sense of humour that’s rendered tothebone a perennial favourite in the Six Axle household.

Download

tothebone fb

Body Hammer fb

Download / Subscribe on iTunes

 

The PJ Project | This Is A Beat Trax

AMhOQpv

Primo pipes out ripper right here from our man Paul Johnson. PJ does percussion-led belters like no one else, and ‘This Is A Beat Trax’ has that ruthless intensity and funk we’ve come to expect from the Chicagoan.

It was a whole lotta fun playing this in Leeds the other weekend. Get up there!

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Shinichi Atobe | The Red Line

4763570162_ae8a0df997_b

Shinichi Atobe is an elusive mutha. In 2001 he released his sole EP, on Chain Reaction, sub-label of the mighty Basic Channel. ‘The Red Line’, that record’s B side, cuts a similarly mysterious figure.

Decent dub techno is if nothing else an exercise in restraint, but even amongst esteemed company on Chain Reaction, ‘The Red Line’ is assembled with rare subtlety and elegance. Across 8 and a half minutes all manner of wistful synths and sampled oddities drift lazily in and out of view, played out over those rolling BC kick drums we all know and love. I nearly teared up listening to it driving late last night, for real.

Wrap yourself up in this one.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

V/A – Banoffee Pies 001

banoffee pie bananas

The lads behind the Bristol party crew Banoffee Pies have nailed the curation of the first record for their new label of the same name. The refreshingly eclectic selection of music hits multiple bases that go from straight up analog house crafted by Ruf Dug, to Nightmares On Wax inspired beats from Martin Hayes via choke-hold-tight disco/funk edits from Mr. Mendel and Philou Louzolo. In a universe where people often seem to purify the sound of their imprint’s output into one hyper-specific style (at the expense of quality) and shit music journalists offer lofty criticisms along the lines of “this label still hasn’t quite found it’s sound yet”, just because it offers variety rather than homogeneity, a record like this one immediately stands out.

To keep some level of mystery up I’ll only talk about my two favourites here (you can listen to some previews of the other two here). The first is Ruffy’s Cosmic Feelings, a piece of machine lathed house with the hard edge that’s found in the kind of drum machine techno that John Heckle makes. People who dig labels like Scenery Records [1] [2] or those who already like Ruf’s music will vibe off this for sure. The other jam that I’ve had playing non-stop is Martin Hayes’ Broken Memory. With it’s downtempo pace, samba rhythms and dubby earworm synth lines it could easily have come straight off Smokers Delight and I cannot offer much higher praise than that.

Ruf Dug – Cosmic Feelings

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Martin Hayes – Broken Memory

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.