Audio Love #08
More love than an mdma enema, (not that we'd know). Errm, anyway – pucker up for this week's audio lovers:
Ron Trent Manifesto (Future Visions Records)
Big, powerful, deep, intense. This new record from the legend that is Ron Trent revolves around a spoken diatribe (his manifesto) from Ron telling it like it is. The original mix is all about warm keys and meandering percussion while the Aybee mix picks up where this left off and turns it into a deep, spacy chugger. The main event for me though is the Bewe Effect mix. This is a slowly developing, stripped back dancefloor destroyer. Each layer of percussion is added with impeccable timing, slowly building the heat. Cant wait to play this one out! (Joe Europe)
Kassem Mosse Workshop 12 Repress (Workshop)
So Kassem Mosse has a new album out which my brother in arms Joe Bonez wrote about in last weeks Audio Love but its also worth mentioning that his beautiful Workshop 12 has just had a re-press and its most definitely worth a look. It has all of his idiosyncratic talent on display, moving deftly from slow, thoughtful deepness to weird, distorted paranoia. Grab it while you can. (Joe Europe)
Frank Spangler Painted Lady EP (Delusions of Grandeur)
Delusions of Grandeur should need no introduction. The offshoot from Freerange Records have been one of the most solid and reliable imprints to turn to for quality, interesting house music thats deeper than most. The new 3 tracker from Frank Spangler doesnt push any envelopes but is really nicely put together and will definitely bring a bit of warmth to many dancefloors. (Joe Europe)
HFN presents Dock 1Hamburg based electronic label HFN are hitting a real purple patch right now and seem to be cementing their burgeoning reputation as a go to label for warm electronica with an almost gothic synth undertone.
HFN presents Dock 1 oozes quality, concentrating on European acts from Sweden, Germany and Denmark, not only are they showcasing an intriguing kind of European pop (most of these acts are chart botherers in their homeland), but we also see how their electronic acts have better cheekbones than you and I.Copenhagen is represented by the mellow electronic warmth of Kasper Bjorke and a lush twanging guitar led torch song from Darkness Falls, their Moonlight track here starts as a modern day take on Nancy Sinatras Bang Bang, the beats, reverbed vocals and woozy hauntgaze wash on the outro is not to be missed.Elsewhere the sweet dream pop of Swedens Ebb fuses complex glitch with emotive pop with enticing results and the smoked up claustrophobia of Gry rethinks Billie Holiday if she had synthesisers, broken beats and serious lashings of BASS. If you want big drops and stupid beats, youre in the wrong place, if however, abstract electronica with enough of a hook to be catchy is what you seek, soak this EP up.
Future Islands Seasons (4AD)
Baltimore based three piece Future Islands have been knocking out left-field, synth led indie pop since 2008. About to drop their fourth album, 'Singles', their first for UK label 4AD and led the release with this slab of synth pop that oozes gorgeousness.
'Seasons' aims for the same territory The Killers spent a decade failing at perfecting, big but understated choruses, the masculinity of country rock fused with the melancholic synths of the Pet Shop Boys. Where The Killers fell, Future Islands succeed with beyond lovely results, this wide screen pop anthem is like Bruce Springsteen without the cash.
Alex Israel A Man Of Qualities EP Crme Organisation
This heavyweight return to Crme Organisation sees the former Chic and Prince session musician turn in 4 sublime slices of left-of-centre Great Lakes music. Despite a obvious pop sensilibilty, or maybe because of this, Alex Israel really knows his stuff when it comes to making evocative techno & house. The unrushed A-side opens with the dyspeptic menace that slurps and burbles throughout the title track, rumbling under moody baritone invocations and sparklingly light synth leads. On 'Mustard Greens' the creepy and atmospheric lead gives way to splashes of soothing, jazz inflected key work that brighten and lift the EP towards the more floor-ready B-side. Kicking this side off, 'Angulas' wraps big roomy kicks and a stretched and squelchy 303-line around an almost Adriatic-festival orientated lead-rise before Israel smashes the trancey expectation apart with crisp, ricocheting percussion. Finishing off the EP, 'Colugo' is how so much of that derivative 90's NJ piano-house that's out there at the moment could sound, if only so much of it wasn't just so lazy and unimaginative. Jazz drums, flute leads, piano stabs…this has the lot but done with true panache.
Chicago Damn – The Only Life I Know – Merc
MERC Coming back to the label that first launched him onto the scene, Chicago Damn's welcome return to MERC almost feels like a home-coming; a return from the abrasive techno experimentation evident on his recent LP. But that does the talented North-Easterner a disservice, as his wide-ranging influences and production ethos have never really been constrained by the petty consideration of being hedged into a genre-ghetto. And what a homecoming this sunny, joyful EP is.
The laid-back and silkily enticing 'The Life I Know' loops vox and a bright lead over fuzzy bass and motorized trills to create a hazy, edge-of-the-pool vibe that nods a wink to some of the finer monents of the chilled out tracks that would crop on B-sides of early Roul and Crydamoure releases. The swirling leads on 'Spaced Flower Girl' delve into tripped-out territory and the licks of guitar make it live up to the label's Balearic beatdown description. Like a P-Funk mothership coming into land, 'Leanin' uses head-nodding bass and shifted leads to take us into shades-down, cruising-at-sunset vibes. But MERC leave a tasty surprise for the finale of this EP. Chicago Damn's dalliance with Braziliana on 'Beautiful Day'. Warm, dubby horns and carnival rhythms are looped up making this a tune one could hear booming out of systems from Notting Hill to Rio.
Samuel Numberuma BRSTL
So rounding off my pick of week is the latest slice from the Idle Hands BRSTL offshoot, this time from newcomer Samuel. This debut is a no-nonsense twin-tracker of a 12" with the organic artwork and limited pressing that we have come to know from the showcasing label. While B-side 'Groove Therapy' is a functional deep house chugger, with a solid underpinning groove, tidy congos and delicate soulful flourishes on the keys, it doesn't leap out at you. It's a perfectly decent debut but nothing special…however A-side 'Numberuma' is really superbly crafted blend of influences. Imagine Shengaan electro/kwaito, house, UK bass and even a dash of scratching cut in and you're getting close to summing up the track. It's a glorious reminder that the UK's dance scene, and in particular Bristol, is consistently a place where you can mix, match and blend stylistic appraoches and influences to your hearts content.
Wil's One Liners.
In Fields – On Time EP – La Belle Records
Ace discovery from end of last year via KA on La Belle Records. It's the On Time that's the cracker and the Fkclub mix. But the rest of it is pure quality from start to finish. Excitement on my side