Sound of Thunder #055 – Like A Phoenix From THE Flames…


Hello again my long lost friends and welcome to the first Thunder Picks of 2015! So, it’s been a while since we spoke and looking back at 2014 it was a funny old year.  We saw DJs such as Chez Damier, DJ Sprinkles, Mark E, Keith Worthy, Marcellus Pittman and Linkwood all tear things up down at Thunder’s sweaty East London basement, with queues down the road, tickets selling out in minutes, and lovely things said about the parties in the press. There was also stuff like NTS shows, FARR festival, playing with Derrick May under the Croatian night sky, mid-week parties in Leeds, and all of this was supported by the best crowd in London (yeah, you lot). Loads of great records came out, vinyl continued its resurgence, so did blooming re-presses and the debate that surrounds them (collector snobbery aside, access to music is good, right?), and every now and again, I wrote about some of those records in this column!

Other highlights included seeing Thunder regular, Aiden, take his House Hunting idea and really making something of it here on Ransom Note, then with fellow Thunder regular, Tomi, turn it into a proper little party too. There was also Thunder's cousin four times removed, Big Wave ( getting off the ground with Lil Louis playing a party in a Hackney Wick industrial unit and all sorts of fun was had a Dance Tunnel on non-Thunder nights, with Prosumer and Optimo being particularly bonkers. So in summary, it was fun but there were low points too, none more so than losing Frankie Knuckles, a man who enthralled everyone who met him but who touched thousands, if not millions of others with his music. Taken from us way too young too. RIP Frankie.

Looking ahead to 2015, we welcome Joe Apted back into the DJ fold after a long break and we’ve got some great parties lined down at Thunder, kicking off next Friday with Jordan GCZ (of Juju and Jordash fame) making his solo London debut. We’re back at Electric Elephant and FARR festivals again, and we’re debuting at Field Maneuverers too. And my New Year’s Resolution? To write Thunder Picks more often. Yep, same as last year’s…

Omar S – I Wanna Know (FXHE)

The ever prolific golden child of Detroit techno is back, yet again, with another new release. The artwork for this release has caused a bit of a stuff and whilst it’s jolly nice, I think that’s says more about the lack effort that goes into sleeve design these, rather than anything else. Music wise, a A-Side features Italoesque production and  a slightly ill-fitting vocal from Jamie Garcia (might be a grower?) but the Extramental mix on the flip ditches that, draws out the mix and makes this a record well worth buying. You can stick the sleeve on your bedroom if you like too.

X(101) – X (Rush Hour)

Following on from last year’s ####, this is another release in Rush Hour’s ‘difficult to Google’ series on its ‘No Label’ offshoot, this time from L.I.E.S. stalwart Terekke, using the nom de plume X(101). I guess this is a tribute to the Banks, Hood and  Mills techno act from the early 1990s but it was too difficult to Google, so who knows. Anyway, this ain’t techno baby, but it certainly is more straight-up club material from a man who has mastered deep and quirky leftfield house. All the tracks are untitled but the Sade sampling B1 is the standout with B2 following close on its heels. Originally out in December, after which prices began soar but now thankfully re-pressed. Be quick!

Soulfiction – Riot Party EP (Musikkrause Recordings)

As he did last year, Michael Baumann has sneaked a cracker out in the run-up to Christmas and it seems to have got missed in all the tinsel and last minute purchasing for Boots gift baskets for your Nan… or maybe that was just me? Five tracks on this one, the opening being the sci-fi sampling Ann Arbor, which seems to suggest that the Detroit satellite town is being invaded by aliens. I love the way Baumann effortlessly eases from the intro into looped up sci-fi house. Massively works for me but I imagine it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. That said, there’s always Detox on the flips, with its toughness and White Lines appropriating vocal, it’s a safer bet but very cool all the same.

Omar Santis – AT.D.L.D Joint (Karakul)

Mr Santis is another product of the fertile house breeding grounds of Sweden and you may be familiar with his previous productions on Woodsmen and Ladylog (current holder of best label name evs!). Those records are very deep and this release, the first on new label Karakul are maybe a little more peak time, with At The Shanzai Hotel being the pick of the pumper bunch.  On the flip though you will find the exception to the rule, in mesmerizingly beautiful, Inward.

Ron Trent – 7th Heaven (Electric Blue)

As mentioned earlier, 2014 saw us bid a fond and sad farewell to the Godfather of House Music. One of the other early innovators, Ron Trent, remembered the big man with his “A Tribute to the Energy of Frankie Knuckles” which I hope will eventually be remembered as one of the best releases of the year. It’s a slow burner, not in your face at all but more akin to one of those gorgeous B-Side dubs Frankie would turn in for artists such as Saffron and Loose Ends. Listening to it now reminds me of discovering that music late at night, playing records in my as a young man and being completely enchanted by what I was hearing. I hope people don’t forget what Frankie did because he was a man that didn’t just shape the music we love but he changed lives. I hope this records helps people remember and, well actually, let’s move on because I think I’ve got something in my eye…

A Sagittariun – Lost Cities EP (Secretsundaze)

This is another one that seemed to slip under the radar before Christmas but what a great EP it is. Different Planet is brilliantly, erm, different and will, undoubtedly become a staple during the opening hour of Thunder parties. But the highlight of the package is the throbbing Landing Pad with its staccato drum patterns, sweeping synths and urgent stabs. This kind of sounds like Giorgio Moroder meets 4th Sign era CJ Bolland and that is a very, very good thing. The identity of A Sagittariun remains a mystery but kind of look slike someone who is one half of the brains behind a very successful party that made its name on a Sunday…

Delroy Edwards – EP (Gene’s Liquor)

The second release on Gene Liquor sees a massive return to form from Delroy after some quite frankly, difficult releases on LA Club Resource. All three tracks seem to be getting attention from all sorts of people, with Can’t Get With U sounding like an excerpt from a circa 1996 Daft Punk mix and Always sampled piano and clucky edits, but I’m only truly feeling the untitled track on the B Side. I say ‘only’ but this is a straight Dance Mania banger and is an absolutely essential purchase for lovers of that sound. One of the records of 2014.

Healing Force Project – Strange Apparitions In My Recording Room (Berceuse Heroique)

Berceuse Heroique is one of those labels that seem to be everywhere at the moment: limited run, funky artwork, we like skateboards, someone off L.I.E.S. making the music… like, whatevs. However, Hashman Deejay, part of the crew behind another label de jour, Mood Hut, is on remix duty and his Ambient Mix is truly lovely. Although we might need to have a chat to him about the term ‘ambient’ as there a dirty great big break beat running pretty much through the whole thing…

Crackazat – Somewhere (Local Talk)

Wow! This record properly blew me away when I first heard it on Tony Humphries Beats In Space mix (more of that later). It’s the first release from the Swedish based producer, Ben Jacobs, in his electronic music guise. If you check the short interview he’s done too he talks about his jazz influences and if I was to pluck a name from the past to compare him with it might be Pal Joey, who probably had a similar ethos. That might explain why it fits with Humphries’ style so well then! Full album drops in march, so something to look forward to too.

Forthcoming: Sunklo (THIVE?)

Ripped from Joy O’s essential mix last summer, Boddika gave the game away on Facebook more recently, and confirmed this Is indeed the next release on their Sunklo label. Excitement about what whacky spelling of ‘five’ they’ll use aside, after the disappointment of FREE and FAW, this is a very welcome return to form. No idea when it’s out though, this rip is from last summer and still no sign of it!

Repress of the Week: Cloudface – Devonian Garden (Mood Hut)

You might have missed this first time round as it was the first vinyl release from one of the labels of last year, the aforementioned Moodhut. It actually marked out their stall fairy effectively too, gorgeous deep house music that stands out from the deep houzzzzzzz crowd. The original pressing of this started sell for quite a lot of money and if the recent repress of Jack J is anything to go by, you would do well to pick one of these up while you can. And two if you get the chance.

Better Late Than Never (part 1): S.O.B. – Rolled Stone/Given (S.O.B.)

I’m properly late on this one, released especially for Record Store Day 2013 and I only picked up a copy when Richard Rogers, who is one of the producers and the man behind the Black Booby label, gave me a copy. It has been on constant rotation since. The A-Side is nice, with its long ethereal intro and breathy vocals but the flip is where it’s at, coming on kind of like an Innervisions record when they were at their best, with vocal intertwined with the brooding, dubby deepness and nagging keys. The vocal is actually taken from demo by a very famous Hackney born resident and dinosaur themed band, while off his nut in his home studio. I think that’s called time honoured tradition?! You can still get copies this too and you probably should. I intend to play it everywhere for the rest of the year and beyond, it’s absolutely one of the best records I’ve heard in ages.

Better Late Than Never (part 2): Johannes Volkes – Glare/Humanoid Pilots (Tief)

Tief seem to not be content with hovering up all the best DJ talent tin Europe to play at their parties, they’re now establishing themselves as a pretty solid record label too. This EP pairs Marco Bernadi with unsung Detroit hero Johannes Volkes. Whilst Marco’s tracks are solid it’s Johannes who really catches the ear. Both tracks are excellent, with the shimmering hammonds of Glare starkly contrast the incessant drive of Humanoid Pilots on the flip, which has become one of favourite records of 2014 very late on. PURE PUMPING!

Album of the Week (part 1): Linkwood – Expressions (Firecracker Recordings)

Linkwood guested brilliantly at the last Thunder of 2014, alongside the excellent Mavrik boys from Leeds, and we had hoped that this album would be out before then. It wasn’t and it still isn’t quite in the shops but it should be any day soon. Followers of Linkwood’s productions will that he wasn’t happy with his debut album on Numbers, and felt he never really captured ‘his sound’. Hopefully those concerns are a thing of the past because this album is truly excellent, refined in fact, showcasing his both his ability in the studio and his understanding of the dancefloor. It’s essential. If you get in touch with Firecracker too, you might be able to get your hands on one of the deluxe special editions too – they come in a wooden sleeve!

Album of the Week (part 2): Paranoid London – Paranoid London (Paranoid London)

The blurb says, “repetitive, machine bass music for DJs to play loud & dancers to freak to” and that is exactly what this is. It contains the now classic Paris Dub 1 and Paris Dub 2, the impossible to buy and utterly brilliant Eating Glue, and loads of killer acid too. 180g version is limited to 500 units and available by emailing only. Standard version in the shops right now.

Mix of the Week: Tony Humphries on Beats In Space

Long time followers of Thunder Picks and its predecessor, Beyond the Stars, will know I'm massive fan of Tony Humphries. And the good news is the greatest DJ to ever walk the earth has still got it y’all! Nothing else to say.