Thunder Picks #51


Lots of records to talk about this week, so I’m gonna try and keep it pithy. They’re all dead good records though, so get down to Phonica, pop into Kristina, check out BM Soho or fire up your Juno account, it’s time to buy vinyls*.

Lawrence – Blue Mountain EP (Mule Musiq)

This has been out for few weeks and if you know what Lawrence is about, this really does do what it says on the tin. A four tracker of deep, moody, melodic Germanic house, with the stand-outs being the title track and ‘Simmer’. He really is a master of his sound.

Tambien – De Elf/ Are You In Touch w/ Varan?  (ESP Institute)

I hammered and continue to hammer ‘Drogato’, the percussive bomb Tambien previously put out on ESP Institute, so rather ridiculously I dismissed this on first listen. I’m glad I went back it though because if anything, this is a stronger record. ‘Der Elf’ is good, with its sliced and diced vocals, but this release is really about the other  side,  ‘Are You In Touch w/Varan’. Laidback, almost melancholy, it slowly sucks you into the depths of its heart and by the second half of the record, you’re hooked, and want it to go on forever. Kind of like those old Burrell records on Nu-Groove way back when but without sounding retro in any way.

Mark E – E-Versions 3 (Merc)

More E-Versions excellence from Thunder’s favourite UK producer. You might have thought you didn’t need another version of Jean Carne’s ‘Was That All It Was’ but Mark’s re-work, ‘The Shoe’, takes just a few elements and loops them up in similar style to the tracks that made his name, like ‘Scared’, and weaves them into a dance floor slaying behemoth. The flip is pretty dreamy too. Just buy it folks, you will not regret it!

Sparky – Portland [Tuff City Kids TB Mix] (Numbers)

Love Tuff City Kids, everything they touch at the moment turns to gold. Love both mixes on this record too. But the TB Mix is probably favourite track of the year so far. Serious party music.

Tinman – Extra Acid EP (Global A Records)

Tinman is fast becoming one of the essential producers of 2014. His remix of the already excellent Palm’s Trax is next level stuff, and the quality continues unabated with this release. Three tracks all good in their own way, but I would recommend ‘Raver’s Supreme’ as the pick of the package.

Efdemin – Decay Version Pt.1 (Dial)

I almost knocked myself out buying this record. And I don’t mean metaphorically, I mean actually, smashing my head on the low doorway in the Kristina stock room. I wouldn’t mind, but I do it every time I’m bloody in there. Anyway, this was worth it, almost, if only for the wonder that is The Borderland State's rework of ‘Parallaxis’. Extraordinary music that isn’t really for clubs at all (although it will definitely get played in the first hour at Thunder).

Damon Bell – Hue-Man Made (Meda Fury)

Meda Fury, or Furry Media as it’s known to its friends, is the brainchild of Nick Williams, the good looking long haired one behind the counter at Phonica. The third release on the label comes from one of former Thunder guest, Aybee’s Deepblack crew in Oakland, Damon Bell. Taking in afro house, deep space music and sparkly pianos, it’s as essential as Furry Media’s previous two releases. And like those, you’ll need to be quick off the mark to bag one.

Lay – Portrait 01 EP (Arale Records)

I wasn’t massively taken with the latest Floating Points release, despite being a bit of a fan-boy generally, but then along comes this record from upcoming London singer, Layla Rutherford, which is produced by one Sam Sheppard. Well, two tracks are anyway. It’s beautifully packaged in heavy weight card outer and inner sleeves, and pressed on white vinyl, The musical experience actually outstrips the physical aesthetic and I would go far to say it’s stunning. Sam’s productions, ‘Mankind’ and ‘Still’ do stand out and fine examples imaginatively produced modern house music, which looks to the future rather than the past.

The Nuclear Family – After Effects (The Nuclear Family)

New label alert! Tom Churchill, who some of you will remember from his DIY releases, and long standing Glasgow DJ, Laurence Hughes are the guys behind this and what a first release! The guys are putting the finishing touches to the second release, with a remix from the excellent Moon B, which combined with the undoubted quality of this record, bodes well for the future.

Casual Relief EP (Pressed for Time)

Pressed for Time is fairly new label to me but having checked out the back catalogue, I can see myself coming back to it time and time again. Set up by Warwick Arthur,  along with Ant Plate & Matt Rhythm until this release, all the tracks were written by them as Rhythm Plate or by YSE which is Ant’s solo project. This fourth release features newcomer is Ben 'Boe Recordings' Boe under his Maad Maxx Traxxe alias, who provides "Lakeshore Rollin", a linear, dub-tinged slice of thwacking deep house. YSE top and tails this 12" with the rhode-cruising "Tomorrows Yesterday" and the slower and woozy B2, with label regular Rhythm Plate rounding things off. One to keep an eye on for sure.

That Disco Shit: Jackson Two – Oh Yeah (J.C. Records)

I first heard this record on a Sean P mix years ago and have been after it ever since. I’ve only ever seen scratched copies for silly money on Discogs, Nick the Record has never had a copy in that time, and it almost never crops up on eBay… then last week I finally managed to bag a near mint copy from a record dealer in Philadelphia. It wasn’t cheap but I’m now a happy man and can’t stop listening to it.

Repress of the Week: Michelle – Disco Dance (West End)

I generally don’t include disco records in the ‘Repress of the Week’ section because if there is one idea less original than re-pressing an old Kerri Chandler record, it’s re-pressing an old disco record. However, I’m making an exception this week because not only is Michelle’s West End classic ‘Disco Dance’ brilliant, it’s a landmark early Patrick Cowley production which clocks in at 13 minutes plus and is something of a precursor to his legendary Donna Summer remix, but more importantly it’s been remastered. This is critical the original is mastered at really low volume, the bass sounds thin and the whole thing lacks punch. So if they’ve sorted that out, if worth buying one  of these even if you have the original pressing.

* That’s especially for Neville Watson!

Miles 'Thunder' Simpson