The Weekly Smagghe


Ivan Smagghe enjoys trouble, this much was clear from his week long Ransom Note takeover a few weeks ago. However, the fun quite simply didn't stop when Ivan left the building. After much back and forth we have come to a rather dangerous decision as we invite Ivan Smagghe to curate a weekly review series on our beloved site. Heaven help us…

The name of the game is simple, I the editor, Ally Jazzhands will pick the releases. Ivan will then do his best not to upset me with his words whilst challenging me with what I can and cannot publish. Please do take the following with a pinch of salt….


Matt just told me that there was a rough area in the Ransom Note office, it's called The Kitchen.  I've just been "brewed up". It's pretty ghetto from where I stand, my middle class white boy stance.

I'll make a stand right now about these reviews: I'm always interested in a good story, or a good gossip. I'll swap them for a good record most of the time. So Madame La Marquise & The Cabrini Green incident looked promising (I'll refer you to HERE). To be fair, I would not call an EP "jacking in the Penbury Estate" but the inspiration vs appropriation trope does not always apply.. I've been told there is traveller's blood here and an album called Social Housing, which would tend to show me La Marquise can take a dig and use his own social positioning as one too. I like that.

Listening to the record, it's all white boys making "black" house music. I bear no issue with that as black house music was inspired and is mainly bought by white kids (the former often trying to make "black music"). Two cents: the track is called "Discopuss". It sounds like it too which makes me think that I quite like Marquis Hawkes attitude even if the music is not my "brew". The reference to Dornroosje is kind of cool too, as the place was opened in 1968 and not that cool. Track is ok but, most importantly, I've kind of fallen for the guy. He may break my heart at some point, we'll see.


Talking of heartbreak… The king of posh romantic cool pop house (Superpitcher being on holiday) is back with, upgraded Eau de Cologne, "When Love Hurts". Weirdly, I see him as a divisive artist, i've never got my mind properly made up. There's always something to cling on to though. Probably because he's talented and he knows how to make it work (girls usually love his records). I'd just wish he'd strip it and himself down a bit more (that would save me from feeling lame for playing "a record for the girls"). The reference to Metronomy in the promo sheet is not innocent, and it did not reassure me. Wishy-Washa I like but I don't want to get sick on it. Still undecided after this one so heart not mended yet. But there's hope and I live on that stuff.


Same team, different colours. This is gonna be the best record today and I know it (to be fair, even if it was not, it would). This is the dark side of the heartbreak and the right side of trance. You remember that phrase "club anthem": well this is as close as it gets for me. It has all the key elements of the bad taste inherent to the genre ("epic", "rushing break"… I send you back to your mid nineties Mixmag collection). I also like the use of the Quentin Smith quote: " I take a few dazed steps in the dark meadow, and fall among the flowers. I lie stupefied, whirling without comprehension in this world through numberless worlds other than this one” which makes you think you are gonna hear an intelligent record when this is Progressive House for the modern gentleman of slightly dubious trance taste. 9/10.


A little bit of context: Honey Sound System is the best gay party in SF, a true haven. Josh also runs Dark Entries, I mean they are like family to me. From a shared taste in music to a mutual general view on things (apart from destroying the value of my discotheque bit by bit), we belong to the same genre. Which does not mean I like all the records on the label, nor all the tracks on this release . They sound familiar and can get a bit bored with my own world. I also have a lot less love for early house than they do. Can't blame them for it but this is not camp enough for me, or too straight. The Jason Kendig remix ups the ante a bit, straying from the mould, it's my favourite.


Hmmmm… Talking about my own world… So "roots in both early electronic and '70s industrial music from Britain, as well as US techno and Kraut-inspired German electronics". Good. But then again, I'm not the Dark Prince anymore. I really don't mind all the hiss stuff for once (I have a certain intolerance to pseudo tape ethos and records that sound purposely like they're being played through a car radio) as it sounds sincere ("a sincere hiss"… What have I come to I wonder). The best track Aldrig Igen is not on the vinyl. Shame as it sounds a bit like Oliver Ho through a blender verb.


Does everybody think I hate Innervisions? I don't hate any label and I have a lot of friends in every section of the industry actually, thank you. And this is not an Innervisions record anyway so what are we talking about. Oh it is? Right…
Well maybe because Steffen (Dixon) is not who the pseudo good taste intelligentsia thinks he is. Apart from a capitalist genius, he's also a bit of a provocateur and does not give a fuck about what people think of his label. I've always known Marc Houle to wear black t-shirts so he ticks one box. This is what this record is: a simple black t-shirt. Albeit a slightly posh one but not a mid-thigh long one. Nope. Best is Silver Siding and I am glad to see Red Axes (who do not give a fuck either) going up in the world.



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