THUNDER PICKS #53 – Goldtone Vs Aperol Spritz


Winter may have hit the UK but this week’s Thunder Picks come direct from poolside in sunny Mallorca. Okay, I might be the only person here who is (i) under 65 years old, and (ii) not playing frigging golf, but at least it’s sunny. The Aperol Spritz have gone to my head though, because I can barely remember what records I’ve bought in the last week or so, but here’s the best I’ve got for you anyway.

Jordan GCZ – Digitalis (Future Times)

This is the first solo release from the Jordash half of Juju and Jordash, since his jaw-dropping debut, ‘Crybay’, which was quite simply one of the best records of 2013. The A-Side, ‘Swingonoguitaro’, is produced with the same dreamy style of ‘Crybaby’ but with the addition of acoustic guitar, which will, no doubt, have the unimaginative reaching for their ‘Balearic house’ pigeon hole. This has greater depth though and for me, is better suited to being the soundtrack to hazy moments in sweaty basements at 4am rather than cheesy beach bar sunsets.

Bicep – Lyk Lyk (Feel My Bicep Records)

It’s easy to hate on Bicep. Their early musical offerings were certainly facsimiles of old Chicago and New York records, and they got badly found out for using a pretty obvious Inner City sample in their last big release, ‘Vision of Love’. But the boys are undoubtedly great DJs, who love both their music and their craft, and they are steadily climbing the learning curve as producers. I read somewhere that they have invested heavily in hardware over the last few years and maybe that is reflected in the more mature sound of their latest release, on which they team up with fellow blogger, Hammer. The title track ‘Lyk Lyk’ will grab most people’s attention, with the same rave sensibilities that are manifest in many of Sotofett/Fettburger records at present, it’s also incredibly catchy. But maybe even better is ‘Day 3’, a collaboration with Hammer, with its tough kick drums, raising synth line, gentle melody, and contrasting musical textures, it’s more akin to a Greg Beato record than something one might expect from Bicep.

Marcellus Pittman – 1044 Coplin (Unirhythm)

Marcellus was our most recent guest at Thunder and boy did he tear things up that night. This is latest vinyl offering on his own Unirhythm label and it’s a little different in that it’s not just the label’s first 7” release, it’s also a modern boogie record rather than a house track. And very accomplished it is too, with Marcellus demonstrating he’s not just a hugely talented DJ and one of the nicest guys you could ever hope to meet but also a gifted, multi-dimensional producer. With John Cannon’s laid-back ‘J.C’s Groove’ on the flip, it’s well worth the investment for a 7” and the second pressing is in the shops right now.

Simoncino – Abele Dance (L.I.E.S.)

I picked this up about a month ago now but I got caught up with the fuss around that Terekke black label thing on L.I.E.S. and forgot to write about it – although this may actually stand the test of time better as a straight up dance floor record. The label asserts that the record was produced with ‘Respect To Our Mentors’ and there’s a hell of a lot of name-checking going. First there’s the Manu Dibango referencing ‘Abele Dance’, then we have Rhythym is Rhythym with ‘Beyond the Dance’, before we flip the record over for the slightly less subtle ‘Spirit of Transmat’ (I’ll let you figure that one out yourselves) and end with ‘Bio Rhythm’, which shares its name with an early ‘90s techno-bleep compilation series on Network records. Anyway, it’s a strong EP with the smoky late night house of the title track being the one to head for.

Forthcoming: Mark Seven – The Call (Parkwest)

An absolutely beautiful test pressing dropped through the letterbox at the weekend – and I really do mean beautiful in every way, music, packaging and even the mailer.

Let’s talk about the most important aspect first, the music. The record is produced by Mark Seven, who you may know from his modern take on the dubbed out New York disco sound, as Parkway Rhythm. But this is very much a house record, in the classic mould, deep and raw but with hooks and melody. Think of the trackier stuff on Prescription, Roy Davis Jnr or Lil Louis going a bit wild pitch in the early 90s (remember his Radically Lonely Mix of ‘Club Lonely’?), and you’ll be in the right ball park. It’s hypnotic dark room music and is from the very top drawer and is something I cannot wait to play in a nightclub.

What made this delivery particularly lovely though was the attention to detail with the packaging. Not only did it arrive neatly wrapped in hand-stamped brown paper inside the mailer, the sleeve isn’t new, it’s an old stock heavy card US sleeve with open shrink wrap, on which is a dollar price label ($3.99 if you’re wondering) and under which Mark has managed to get a promo info sticker! Inside the sleeve, accompanying the test pressing, are promo and artwork insert, presented in a ‘90s style (if you’ve ever seen these in Prescription white labels you’ll know what I mean) and these are even printed on old, shiny fax style paper.

Like I said, beautiful in every way.

Forthcoming: OL – Scape Border (Meda Fury)

Meda Fury is fast becoming a Thunder Pick staple, for two reasons – they are putting out records at a rate of knots and every one them is fresh as fuck. The latest offering is from Russian producer, Oleg Buyanov, who has certainly flown under my radar to date, despite his discography being fairly substantial. There are six tracks on the EP, with the standouts seemingly the heavy ‘Lum’, with its heavy bassline and quick fire vocal snippets, and ‘Myxa’, which is kind of like ghetto house meets Miami house in a dark alley and have a bit of drunken fumble, which may not be that surprising given it contains a pretty infectious Liberty City vocal sample.

Forthcoming: Jovonn – Goldtones (Clone Classic Cuts)

Jovonn records hold fond memories for me, as he is one of the artists through which I discovered the deeper, more musical side of New York house music. His productions often remind me of sitting in my bedroom back home, sifting through Record and Tape Exchange purchases bought on the strength of knowing the label and slowly figuring out who was good and who was bad. Jovonn turned out to be better than good and this November sees Clone Classic Cuts, who have already re-released his ‘House Ala Carte’ EP, issue a comprehensive retrospective of his work.

Consisting of an 8-track album and a 12” ‘sampler’ which contains 4 tracks not featured on the full album. The title, ‘Goldtones’, is a bit of a misnomer, because contrary to what has been reported elsewhere, many of the tracks on the compilation do not come from Jovonn’s own Goldtone label but from other labels he recorded for around the time Goldtones was active. Thankfully this means it includes some brilliant music that would have otherwise still been the reserve of dusty crate-diggers, including the highlights from the two seminal ‘Out All Nite’ EPs on Emotive, such as ‘Flutes’, ‘NY/NJ’, ‘Nites Roads’ and ‘Back to NY/NJ’.

Re-mastering is provided by Alden Tyrell and you’ll find the full track-lists and a few highlights from the package below.

Album Track-List

1. Flutes 165th Street Mix
2. It’s Gonna Be Alright (Be Smoove Dub)
3. Nite Roads
4. Be Free (Vocal Mix)
5. Back to NY/NJ
6. Don’t Wanna Let U Go
7. Crying Strings
8. Back to House (Jovonns Classic Goldhouse Mix)

Sampler Track-List

1. Erson’s Keys
2. Where Did House Go (Did Goldhouse Mix)
3. N.Y.N.J.
4. Pianos of Gold (Goldhouse EP)

And one of my favourite Goldtone releases that didn’t make the cut for the album, properly righteous house music *shivers*

Re-press of the Week: MK – Strider (Mojuba)

Kind of a repress because it never technically got released in first place and only ever saw the light of day in the form of a test pressing, a very few copies of which made it into circulation. Produced long before Marc ‘fessed up to not really being into house music at all and chucking it in to become an R’n’B producer, before deciding he did like house music after all, funnily enough just around the time it became fashionable again, and making gash, out-of-tune pop music with people such as Lee Foss and the Hot Creations crew and destroying Storm Queen records. His Detroit roots really do shine through on ‘Strider’ though and remind us all he wasn’t always an utter wand.  There’s a decent Oracy edit too, which lengthens the original considerably.

Mix of the Week: Sean Clare – Things Fall Apart

Thunder regular, Sean Clare, sent me through this mix the other day and it was so good, I had to feature it here. Sean was one of the residents at one of my favourite small Dalston house nights, the now sadly defunct Hardlife, alongside, amongst others, former Thunder guest Rob Mathie, so as with any mix from that crew, my interest was piqued immediately.

A northerner in exile in South Tottenham, Sean learnt the house music ropes at clubs such as Back to Basics back home and Turnmills in London, before becoming a Faith, Innervisions and Secretsundaze regular, so it’s no wonder he feels at home on the dance floor of Thunder. It’s also no wonder that he has a passion for excellent, underground house music.

This mix consists of the sort the records that'd get him on the dance floor – some new, some not so new and some in between. He’s been away for a bit, in musical terms, but it’s good to have him back.

Miles Simpson