Sound of Thunder #058 – Busy Weekend, It’s A Busy Weekend!
Well it’s been a busy couple of weeks and this really does look like a busy weekend too, doesn’t it? Since the last Thunder Picks we have announced that we’ll be welcoming Hunee, Derrick Carter and two fabulous DJs whose names we can’t mention just yet, to our sweaty East London basement later this year, which is jolly exciting indeed. But before all that, we have Andres playing for us later today, Friday 17th April, and that party is shaping up to be pretty nuts.
There’s loads of other stuff going on this weekend too, with all sorts of Record Store Day parties happening. Kristina and Love Vinyl both have great line-ups planned out East and in Soho, Phonica and Sounds of the Universe will be bringing carnival vibes to the West End.
After that, two former Thunder guests, Neville Watson and Lerosa are playing at Dalston Superstore and Square Root on Cremer Street, respectively, and former Thunder resident Rick Hopkins teams up three mates and great DJs, Stephen, Andy and Leigh, to deliver the first instalment of their new night, Transition, at the Star of Kings in Kings Cross. Expect hi-tech funk, deep techno and interstellar funk and some great DJing. It's free too (No Tickets, No Tax and No Agendas), so get yourself down there, it's sure to be a good way to round off a busy day.
I’ll hopefully see some of you out and about at one of those parties at somepoint. But now let’s get down to business.
Route 8 – This Raw Feeling (Lobster Theremin White Label)
Apparently Lobster Theremin is the new L.I.E.S! I’m not sure what the comparison is myself, other than being successful independent labels, but whatever, Lobster is certainly doing well. This is the third Route 8 outing and the fifth release on the Lobster’s white label series. If you’ve read Route 8’s stuff before, you know what to expect, emotive, analogue house music. All 4 tracks are good but It Really Doesn’t Matter is exceptional, with electro drums patterns, melancholy synths, indecipherable vocal, smooth strings and rough bassline. It’s soft, it’s hard, and it’s one of the best releases on the label so far for sure.
Nautiluss – Nite Owl Diner 3 (Nite Owl Diner)
Apparently Nite Owl Diner, Chrissy Murderbot and Alex Burkat (100% Silk / Mister Saturday Night) Chicago based label, is named in honour of their mutual love of the greasy 24-hour diners that they frequent after long nights The previous release was by another rising Chicago star, Black Madonna, who as we know, is blowing up in a big way. This one is from Toronto producer Nautiluss. The tracks are all fairly pleasant but feel a little perfunctory, until that is, you reach Pyramid on the B-Side which is just joyous, summer music that makes you wanna crack the speedos out immediately.
Various Artists – Workshop 21 (Workshop)
Workshop have been shovelling out super tsrong releases and German techno-house classics for almost 10 years now. The lable’s quakllity control is very high and this various artists release is no different, although strangely, the best track is The Horn – Villager, an almost 20 year Britsh techno track by Steve Horne that you could pick up for pennies few weeks ago. And if that wasn’t strange enough, it also includes The Tapes the 13 bpm off kilter electronic pop cover of Pat Kelly’s ‘Somebodies Baby’. It’s a great EP.
Tuff City Kids/Hotel Lauer – Lifesaver Compilation 2 Extension (Live At Robert Johnson)
Two Philip Lauer production partnership tracks on this 10”, one from the team he is best known for, Tuff City Kids, in which he teams up with Gerd Janson, and the other Hotel Lauer, which is him and hiss brother Jacob. The Hotel Lauer contribution, Skank, with its 90s rave stabs and gunshot sfx is probably the most immediate and a real cracker of a track. However, Tuff City Kids’ Wooden Dream, is more of a grower. A deeper late night affair, hooky keys, a bassline that has a bit of a ‘Dark and Long’ feel to it, and horn breakdown that even has a touch of ‘Not Forgotten’ about it, it’s a fantastic club record and yet more evidence that TCK are one of the most exciting house production teams in Europe right now.
John Talabot – Machine [John Talabot's Synthedit] (Philomena)
Whilst I’m not really a fan of the path Dixon, Ame and Innervisions have taken in recent years, I do have a bit of a soft spot for Philomena, the Innervisions offshoot that started life as a mail-order only label. It kicked off back in 2009 with Dixon’s now classic interpretation of Romanthony’s ‘The Wanderer’, another high point being Ame’s remix of Paul Simon’s ‘Diamonds’, a record I still haven’t had the balls to play at Thunder, and Henrik Schwarz’s re-rub of Raul Midon ’State of Mind’ was one of the records of the summer for me last year. Now the label is back with its eleventh release, new material Dixon’s heir in waiting, John Talabot. I’ve heard Innervision’s sound these days described as ‘posh trance’ but this track tread the right side of the posh trance line well, just enough electro funk, just a enough late night haze, to make it work. The other side, however, is complete bobbins. Usual Philomena attention to detail on the artwork and packaging make it a record truly worth seeking out.
Jordan GCZ – Lus Lyfe (Rush Hour No Label)
Jordan was the guest at the first Thunder guest of 2015 and he played a pretty special set that night. He’s also a pretty special producer as well, not just in terms of quality but variety too. Tough acid to dreamy deep house to soundscapes, he can do it all and in in fine style, and this record really proves that point. LushLyfe itself come on a little like Tangerine Dream meets The Orb, a long intro, all flutes, constant tones, and sweeping synths, before the throbbing, almost organic rhythm kicks in, albeit briefly. Lushlyfe Slap’s computer processing loops and scarcely used staccato percussion makes it a slightly less easy listen, with record being rounded off the entirely ambient Lushlyfe Birds (yes, there added birdsong). The whole package is completed with a double sided silk screen sleeve designed by Cosmo Knex.
Sound Stream – Bass Affairs
Sound Stream really does only have one idea, doesn’t he? Thankfully it’s a pretty good idea! Three tracks on his first release for a couple of years, with that hooky loops, disco sampling formula you’ll all be familiar with. The title track and Sweep Magic are decent enough, with the distorted bass overlays on the latter making it stand out more. But how basic dance floor appeal, Star Strike is probably the best of the bunch. In summary, if you like what Sound Stream does, then you’ll like this for sure, but he really isn’t breaking any new ground.
Italojohnson – Italojohnson 9
On the subject of producers not pulling up any trees in terms of originality but doing what they are best at and delivering a really solid record, the new Italojohnson is out. All the ingredients are there, nice mixing bridges, Chicago-esque percussion, an earworm vocal refrain (too deep underground, underground, ground, underground…), and those Italojohnson strings. I should really be bored of these records by now but I’m still an absolute sucker for them. On the flip there are too decent acidic tracks, again not genre defining but both good and very playable. The first batch of these records disappeared in a day or two but it’s back in the shops now.
Small People – Lowrider Academy (Smallville)
I mentioned this in the last Thunder Picks but didn’t get a chance to write about, which is shame because it’s great. Better late than never I guess. Head straight to Blissful Limbo, which is pretty much perfect, laidback, deep house music. The Larry Heard like bassline Lazy Lama Legend makes it pretty easy on the ear too.
Forthcoming: Pender Street Steppers – The Glass City/Golden Garden (Mood Hut)
Jack J, one half of PSS, delivered one of the tracks of the summer last year for Mood Hut and whilst we might not be cracking out the shorts and sun cream just yet, they might already laying claim to the same title this year, with the wonderfully laid back and breezy ‘The Glass City’ in particular. This is apparently the first of four Mood Hut releases we should be seeing in the shops over the next few month, so keep on your toes or you’ll have to wait for the inevitable repress – and on that note, Cloudface is still in the shops!
Mix of Week: Miles Simpson – Into the Woods
The chaps over at FARR Festival asked me to provide a mix ahead of Thunder’s set on the Ransom Note and Society stage in July. They asked me to explain the mix, which is always a little bit tricky and painful, but in summary, I started it deep and smooth and then changed direction a few records in. It’s mainly off the cuff, records on the floor in my bedroom chucked together and a little tribute to Frankie Knuckles at the end, because I recorded it on the first anniversary of his death.