House Hunting #14 – Bluemoon Productions

Aiden ventures outside the M25 in search of vinyl beauties...

House Hunting #14 – Bluemoon Productions

Aiden ventures outside the M25 in search of vinyl beauties...

So after a brief hiatus, House Hunting returns and this time I take a rare trek outta the M25 orbital to the deepest depths of Northampton… No I wasn’t goin’ for a Bridge Street booze-up but in fact taking a jaunt to my old fave wax haunt Vinyl Underground for a proper house hunting session. I got in touch with VU owner and old friend Aidy (years ago we used to run the ‘Innerzone’ club night in the Midlands – bringing Rick Wilhite and Ame to Leicester of all places!) as he had a Gherkin I needed to add to the jar – Mondee Oliver’s mournful melter ‘Make Me Want You’ – so definitely an excuse to jet up and see if I could hunt down any more house holy grails…

Now if you ain’t been to Vinyl Underground well it’s a digger’s paradise with thousands of records to get your fingers dusty with. Housed on the second floor of a furniture shop (old-school!), Vinyl Underground has been in business for over 20 years now with Aidy amassing an arsenal of killer hand-picked records specialising in the deeper and more discernible facets of house that I yearn for. However, it’s not all just vintage vinyl as it’s the go-to-shop for the latest house and techno records. New releases like the latest Mood Hut 12” and that black label L.I.E.S by Terekke have been bestsellers (personally I don’t see the hype but what do I know?!) though the oozing analogue warmth and dripping keys of the ‘Dream 2 Science’ LP released by reissue kings Rush Hour still a consistent bestseller – if you’re reading this and you ain’t got that I’m not sure we’re on the same page…

Anyway, after an initial raid in the shop racks Aidy lead me elsewhere on the second floor to some various nooks and crannies – all went a bit The Crystal Maze as we a had to navigate through Furniture Zone to get to the vinyl cells! One small room had random boxes of records and on delving deep I picked up a Burrell 12” on Nu Groove whilst Aidy found a promo of Global Communications’ ‘The Way’ that he completely forgot about – can’t beat getting’ those fingers dusty… Aidy then said I should check out the racks in the hallway as there were remnants of a Chicago House collection previously owned by Techno titan Dave Clarke! On delving through it was a lotta old beat up Trax and DJ International relics though definitely some choice Chi-Town classics – I won’t reveal all as there’s some wax jewels in there waiting to be unearthed…

As I made the special trip up Aidy also gave me access to the hallowed turf of his vinyl vaults deep down in the basement – as expected boxes were overflowing in the deep, damp depths… Every time a guest come down Aidy takes the opportunity to dig himself as some of his collection housed down there and he always finds something. On this occasion he pulled out a couple of Larry Heard classics on Black Market including his remix of Club Ice’s ‘Manhasset’ and his super rare ambient opus ‘Sceneries Not Songs, Volume One’ – he forgot he had this! Though I found a couple of Chicago obscurities on Housetime Records I didn’t find any bargain basement finds on this occasion though you can’t beat diggin’ deep…

Back in the shop and Aidy was reminiscing about his buying trips in Chicago in the mid-nineties. As well as diggin’ at Barney’s and Guidance Records HQ (who had loads of Cajual stock), he got access to Walter Paas’ warehouse! You’re probably thinking ‘Who?!’ but Walter ran Danica Records (named after his daughter – you learn something new every day!) which as per House Hunting #9 the label released some of my favourite records. However, he played a more influential role in the Chicago House scene with his ‘C.A.P. Exports’ company exporting all the Chicago House records including the heavyweights like Trax to the UK and Europe. So ultimately this uncelebrated character was a key figure in the Chicago/Acid house explosion in the UK – if it wasn’t for his exports a lot of the classic Chicago records could be languishing in dollar bins y’all! This is why I love going into record shops and having a social learning new s**t like this – yeah online buying maybe more convenient but this soulless pursuit will never be a substitute for an in-shop experience… I know Northampton not usual day out territory but for only £7 each-way from London Euston (booked just the day before too) it’s definitely worth jettin’ up there if you’re a discernible digger…

Anyway, Aidy went and got me the Mondee Oliver 12” and was diggin’ for a Walt J record I was after. Amongst the ordered chaos he couldn’t find it but on pulling out some classics to show me (including an original mint copy of Lil Louis & The World’s ‘I Called U’ – you know THAT one with ‘The Conversation and Why’d U Fall’ mixes) he suddenly pulled out a distinctive blue label 12” which I instantly recognised exclaiming ‘oooh yah f**ker!’. The record in question is ‘Track Show (Volume One)’ by Bluemoon Productions on Code Blue records which is a proper house holy grail – the labels were clean (you know my OCD regards this) and it played great so a proper result! Aidy could easily whack this and the Mondee Oliver 12” on database behemoth Discogs for £50+ each but he ain’t no speculator as he always supports the diggers and would rather sell at a great price to a vinyl lover who will appreciate the records.  So though no basement bargain finds on this excursion he let me have both of them for £25 each so I’m sure you’ll agree great prices for two timeless slices of house wax. You know I’m a Gherkin geek so on this occasion we’ll leave the Mondee Oliver 12” and stay East Coast this week turning our attention to the Bluemoon Productions record...

So, Bluemoon Productions is one of many pseudonyms of New Jersey’s Gene Hughes (he had an array of aliases including 250 Lbs. Of Blue, Bluejean’s Regime and Rawthenticity – likes his denim doesn’t he?!), though it’s his ‘Bluejean’ alias that many house heads will identify him with. Though he released and contributed to loads of house records in the late 80s/early 90s on influential house labels of the era including Easy Street, Strictly Rhythm and Quark, it’s his initial releases on his own ‘Code Blue Records’ imprint that I’m always on the lookout for. This particular EP I’ve copped is the label’s debut release and like all Bluejean records has that inimitable raw aesthetic though I love how the rawer elements juxtapose with the ethereal synths and piano. The track titles are unique too comprising of just a single letter like ‘H’ – on this EP when you join ‘em up together they spell H-O-U-S-E love it! On to the tracks and there’s some killers on this EP whether it’s the Red Zone classic ‘H’, the Nu Groove stylings of ‘S’ and ‘E’ or the ominous synths and eerie keys of ‘Night’ – which you may have heard in techno temple Berghain as a favourite of Marcel Dettman who included it on his ‘Conducted’ sampler. Anyway check ‘em out here…


The next two EP’s on Code Blue are just equally as essential. Release number two on the label was under his ‘Bluejean’s Regime’ code name with ‘Untrue Affection’ – the killer ‘Maharajah Mix’ the one though I’ve heard a fave of Levon Vincent so no doubt the speculators jumpin’ on that so cop it before it goes for ridiculous £££’s... Next up he released the sequel to his first Bluemoon Productions record with ‘Track Show (Volume 2)’ which like the first EP is super hard to get hold of. The going rate seems to be the £40-£50 mark so if you can get a copy for under that I’d say that’s a steal – worth it alone for the track ‘E’ (this time the letters spell out D-R-E-A-M-S) which is my favourite of his proper dream house… At arguably London’s best house night Thunder (well in my opinion it is) I remember former resident Joe dropping this and it sounded amazing – first time I ever heard it in a club proper lost myself and had a moment when that piano drops ah total bliss! Lose yourself to ‘E’ here and check out ‘Untrue Affection’ while you’re at it…


Another Bluejean record worth checking out is his EP on Big Beat with kindred spirit Nelson “Paradise” Roman (more on him in next week’s edition…) under their ‘Tropical Moon’ guise. An EP in the truest sense, all tracks are worthy of your attention but my personal fave is the brooding ‘Data Bank’ with the menacing vocal warning “Put me in your data bank cos I don’t want you to lose my number” – definitely one for the deeper dancefloors… As Tropical Moon they also released ‘4-U’ via the ‘Warparty’ compilation on Warlock Records – the comp goes for a few quid so worth tracking down as another killer production that is synonymous with both their solo and collaborative efforts.

If you’re new to Bluejean then you’re probably unaware he died in tragic circumstances a few years ago when he was the victim of a hit-and-run collision in Jersey City. Though he’s gone too soon he’s left a lasting legacy – I’ll leave you with this one as I think this perfectly captures the essence of his productions. Rest In Paradise Bluejean… X

AIDEN d’ARAUJO

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