THunder Picks #004
After missing out altogether last week in circumstances that had absolutely nothing to do with a certain online magazine editors birthday celebrations, oh no Thunder Picks is slightly truncated this week because a certain online magazine editor is about to throw himself into the abyss of excess that is Glastonbury and hes leaving tomorrow morning. So, lets crack on and talk about some stuff I like.
Daft Punk Live at The Arches 1997
I've developed a fairly unhealthy obsession with this mix in recent weeks. It's kind of linked to the release of the new Daft Punk album, but only indirectly, because the omnipresence the accompanying marketing campaign on social media over the last few months actually had the opposite effect to that which was desired, and has turned me off wanting to listen to it at all. Maybe it's good? Maybe it's crap? Who knows? Who cares? The big studio production and high gloss slickness of the first single got me thinking about what happened to the camera shy French duo though. As young men they fully immersed in underground house music, and the disco cut ups and abrasive jacking house coming New York and Chicago in the mid-90s were a huge influence on 'Homework', their lauded first album, which was really just an accessible version of the music they liked on labels like Dance Mania, Cajual, and Relief. God knows what the answer is? Money and major record labels maybe? Or maybe its simply evolution? Regardless of where they are now, their influence in the late 90s cannot be understated but in my view, the finest example of what they were about during that period is not 'Homework' but the recording of their live set at The Arches in Glasgow. Rather than being a straight up DJ set it was driven by hardware, so lots of tough ghetto house drum loops, vocal snippets and disco samples. The energy is really something else and that is what sets it apart from, for example, their excellent Essential Mix, from the same era. A prime example is the transition between Ruffneck Everybody and Green Velvet Fake and Phoney where they cut from one hook to the other every beat Every-You Dont-Every-You Dont- Every-You Dont-Every-You Dont then BANG! One can only imagine what must have happened in the club at that point, I have genuinely had to check myself at the point of starting to pump my fist on the Tube whilst listening to it. Its immense. The whole mix is. Check it out.
And if you like that, you should probably check their Essential Mix too.
MGUN – If You're Reading This EP
Dont Be Afraid is one of the hottest London record labels around right now. The artist roster and output is both varied and excellent, as is evidenced by stuff like Mr Beatnick recently being snaffled up by Giles Smith and James Priestleys Secret Agency and label boss Semteks Pizza release from 2011, which is simply one of the best British house records of recent times. A recent addition to the label is Detroits Manuel Gonzales, or MGUN as he is better known. Having made his debut release previously on Kyle Halls Wild Oats label, his initial release for Dont Be Afraid, the Upstairs Apt EP, was pretty special, but he went on to put out a pretty disappointing EP on The Trilogy Tapes, so I was very interested to hear what he came up with next, to see if it was the cream or the crud that was a blip. The good news is Tritan is probably the best track hes ever made, proper intergalactic funk, and the whole EP is easily as strong as Upstairs Apt. Or in classified results terms, DBA 2, TTT 0.
Re-Press Corner: Metro Area Straight As
As regular readers (haha) know, I am slowly coming to terms with the concept of re-presses and people not having to own the first press of every record they like. Slowly. Anyway, to this end, Ive created a corner in my mind for them. If my thought process was a house, this corner might well be in the basement behind a leaky washing machine, but thats by the bye In Re-press Corner this week, we have Straight As, which is the A sides of the first 4 Metro Area singles on one, remastered double pack. This means you get the hideously overplayed, never need to be heard again, Miura, and 3 other much better tracks too, for less than of the cost of buying any of the singles second hand. Cool, eh? And lets face it, in the context of modern dance music, this is seminal stuff. So, in the spirit of being a contrary bugger, heres the B-Side of Metro Area 5, which is also better than Muira.
Rahaan BEAT THAT SHIT!
Way back in 2004 a clip surfaced on youtube of a small, sparsely attended basement party in Chicago, with a little known DJ called Rahaan, part of the 'Bring The Heat' crew, on the wheels of steel, well, CDJs anyway. All this in itself is hardly noteworthy but part way though the video he drops Chicago classic disco obscurity Mach 'On and On', the record that Jesse Saunders legendarily lost and then recreated to 'invent' house music. This clip was actually the first time I'd actually heard the record, as mash up of various disco tracks including Munich Machine Get On The Funk Train, Playback Space Invaders, Lipps Inc Funky Town and Donna Summer Bad Girls. But that still isn't the story. Whilst Rahaan is playing the record there's a power cut of some sort. This would stop most parties in their tracks but not this one. The crowd start chanting and hollering, "We don't need no music", and the nearest thing to a lyrical hook from the record, "toot-toot, beep-beep". It's pretty good but then the power comes back on and rather than slapping the record back in, he starts nodding his head in time to the chants and then he mixes the bassline back into those chants. The effect is pure, unadulterated magic and the crowd go absolutely bananas. In fact, it's probably my favourite youtube clip of all time. I've watched literally hundreds of time. I was lucky enough to warm up Rahaan a year or two later at Faith's New Year's Eve party, and he was an even better DJ in the flesh, his freshness amplified somewhat by the minimal house backdrop London provided at the time. I and most everyone I know have been fans since, so pretty made up that we've finally got him over to do his basement jam thing at Thunder.
Find out about the next Thunder party with Rahaan here
Miles Simpson (Thunder)
Thunder is a party that happens once every 2 months. The guests and atmosphere at their parties is absurdly good. If you want to know about one of the truly great parties happening in London at the moment you really should get yourself down to one of their parties. (Ed) Oh and for the record last week I left the office at 2pm Friday. Plenty of time for a particular writer of a particular column to submit his very excellent article I'll have you know. x