Monday, 29 August 2011

Top Ten Tracks August

Listened to an abundance of everything this month (being relatively poor makes me stay in and listen to music), and only really turned on the tele when the footy's been on. Proper summer yeah.

1. Virgo Four-It's a Crime (Hunee Underground Remix) (buy)

After the hefty box set release of 'Resurrection' earlier this year, Virgo Four were always going to be subject to some remix treatment. Whilst the remix of 'It's a Crime' from Caribou got many people salivating, it was the subtley deep remix from Hunee that got me reaching for my wallet.

2. Boo Williams-Mortal Trance (buy)

More Rush Hour related reissued goodness. This time courtesy of Boo Williams. 

3. Jazzy-Lonely (Underground Goodie Mix) (buy)

'Garage' House deepness from 1992 by Cajmere. Ace.

4. Manuel Tur-Most of this Moment (Isolee Remix) (buy)

Stunning rework of a very underrated producer.

5. Rick Poppa Howard-Do What You Have to Do (Vocal) (buy)

Deeply soulful tinged House from the Howard Family. 

6. Dorisbourg-Emotion (buy)

A couple of years back I used to absolutely cain abstract, inward looking very deep house music, mainly from Germany. Like this. Tracks like this from Dorisbourg released earlier this year make me do it all over again.

7. Exquisite Taste-It's You That's Happening (buy)

A great reissue of disco that I quickly snapped up. Discovered this gem over at Beat Electric a while back, a site dedicated to unearthing and restablishing forgotten classics. 

8. Craft Spells-The Fog Rose High (buy)

More whimsy bedroom pop from the States on Captured Tracks. This track is that good it wouldn't be out of place on early New Order records. They play Islington Mill in October.

9. Chad Van Gaalen-Peace on the Rise (buy)

'Peace on the Rise' is one of many highlights from 'Diaper Island', Chad Van Gaalen's 4th album. Missed this guy playing at the Deaf Institute because of a family wedding only last week. Bugger.

10.  Pure X-You're in It Now (buy)

Originally released two years, ago Pure X (formally Pure Ecstasy) have remastered/remixed their first ever EP in anticpation of their album release 'Pleasure' which dropped a couple of weeks back. They play Deaf Institute soon.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Ten Years of SecretSundaze

"We never had any grandiose plans – we’ve just stuck to our guns, while trying to progress and push things forward"

Club nights, parties and the like seem to spring up every five minutes nowadays. It's rare for a night to last a few months let alone a few years as people's attitudes, style, wants, needs, desires etc all change over time. A change in demand often leaves people wanting something new; a new name, a new ethic; a fresh start. When a club night/event does last, it's unlikely that the DJ's and promoters behind the night thought it would. The story is often the same. They start a night for their friends, for the city/place they love, for the love of the music all at the same time wanting to push their night forward with the times to ensure their principles are adhered to. You will find that five, ten years later their principles will remain the same.

Not being a resident of London has prevented me for the most part of experiencing SecretSundaze over the last ten years. The internet has certainly assisted in people all over the world, never mind the UK become aware of the party and want to be part of it. For the tenth anniversary the two founders and brains behind the party Giles Smith and James Priestley have decided to celebrate in style with gigs far and wide in such places as Amsterdam, Tokyo, Croatia and Manchester. They've admittedly saved the best for the clubs home (and on the actual anniversary) with a two day event over the bank holiday weekend featuring Rolando and Moodymann. For the Manchester party this Friday as part of Content at Joshua Brookes, they are joined by Sistrum Recordings head Patrice Scott, who really excelled on his last visit to the city.

They have also decided to release a tenth anniversary double mix cd which aims to be a celebration of the 10 years, as well as reflecting where James and Giles are at the moment looking to the now with an appreciation of what got them where they are today.

James Priestley & Giles Smith-10 Years of SecretSundaze (buy)

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Levon Vincent-Man or Mistress

Levon Vincent returned this summer with some fresh new material for the 1st time in a good while. After enjoying his DJ set at Freerotation last month, and never having really immersed myself into his previous releases, I thought I'd get on right on it. In an interview with JunoPlus last year, he said he had been sitting on a track the would make people 'shit themselves'. The title track has to be what he was talking about. Hauntingly building up with a dirty bassline, the introduction of a huge synthline turns it into an all-compassing headfuck. On the flip, 'Making Headway' grunts along with some spacey sounds and harsh stabs, whilst 'No Regrets' has an Omar-S feel to it with warped dub-house sounds with Vincent's own vocal to support.

Levon Vincent-Man Or Mistress (buy)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Nova Dream Sequence

King Britt. I guess they don't call him the 'King' for nothing. From his days as the DJ for Digible Planets in the early 1990s; to running revered House and Techno label Ovum with Josh Wink; adventures into Breakbeat, Broken Beat, Deep House and Soul together with his never ending list of quality remixes, the man has pretty much done the lot.

A few years back, I stumbled across a poor soul in the University of Calgary Food Hall selling a load of underground promo CDs for just a couple of dollars each. I picked up quite a bit, some of it was pretty good, none more so than King Britt's Deep Techno project 'The Nova Dream Sequence'. After several house moves since (together with a now dusty barely used CD collection) I didn't even realise I still had it. But I found it the other day and thought it right to share it to the world. Like much of King Britt's output, it was a short-lived project but still very high quality with support from the likes of Derrick May and Alex Barck (Jazzanova).


The Nova Dream Sequence-The Nova Dream Sequence (buy)

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Traveller Records Presents Rhythm Kings

This killer triple vinyl pack recently dropped at Piccadilly Records (had been out several months elsewhere apparently) and is full of some excellent deep house tracks from the likes of Nicholas, OOFT!, Discoshit and Koi. After several listens you realise theres some serious heat going on here. If it's not the slow burning deepness of Leonidas' 'Theo's Bass Line', the peak time 90s inspired house (think Mood II Swing etc.) of Nicholas' 'When I Think About It' or the hypnotic Tech-House cut of 'Next' by Koi that gets you hooked, you can simply check out the flip for a different fill.

  Leonidas - "Theo´s Bassline" (7am Mix) by Traveller Records

  OOFT! - "Rawhide" by Traveller Records

  Nicholas - "When I Think About It" by Traveller Records

  Discoshit - "You Make Me Feel" by Traveller Records

  Black Alley - "Trying To Find A Way" by Traveller Records

  Koi - "Next" by Traveller Records

Various Artists-Traveller Records Presents Rhythm Kings (buy)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Freerotation 2011

It's safe to say the lions share of music 'fans' of most genres have been to a music festival before. Or have they? What actually defines a music festival in 2011? Frankly nowadays they're everywhere; and it seems every available weekend new ones muster up out of thin air all over the country. Unfortunately for the average music fan they are more often than not served the same slice, albeit with a slightly different soundtrack. Each festival usually has the following in abundance; heavy-handed security; bar queues that never seem to end; tasteless and overpriced food, a plethora of annoying pissed-drug addled twats (there exactly for that reason) and BIG headliners for bored journalists and presenters to talk bullshit about.

Fortunately it's not all bad. Whilst many of the problems of festivals will perennially exist simply due to size and money; there's is just about enough to satisfy and entice; such as Field Day in London and the new Beacons Festival in Skipton, North Yorkshire. But there is one festival I experienced recently that is different to them all.

Just over a week ago, I was fortunate to attend a festival I had been looking forward to for months. Freerotation Electronic Audio VisualFestival takes place at Baskerville Hall just outside Hay-on-Wye on the Welsh and English Border nestled just inside the beautiful Brecon Beacons National Park. With less than 1000 attendees, where many of are members and attend yearly, it really is an intimate festival experience. With a lineup away from the focus of many 'celebrity' DJs, it's vibe really is that of a proper 3 day commuity party. When I arrived I quickly caught on this vibe, and really could wait to get involved.


Without everyone settling in for a long night ahead, the festival started off with subtly for the most part, people relaxing in the dome outside catching up with the friends they'd met from years before and many of the resident and guest DJ/Artists skirting around making everyone feel welcome as they gear up for their favourite party of the summer. With the night starting to fall and 'Alice Firefly' performing her fire show, people slowly began to pick up the pace and with the Dome tent only open till 11pm (mithering farmer apparently), many began to nestle inside in greater numbers.

I first got settled inside for local lad and resident Leif. His lovely set of deep sounds really set the scene for what lay ahead of us in Room 1 especially where he was quickly backed up by fellow resident Tom Demac who showcased a similarly deep sound with a slightly snappier edge.

After only ever catching him in his Pigon guise, I was more than a tad excited to catch Efdemin also in Room 1. He didn't disappoint with his trademark deep techy European beats flavoured with some big Chicago house sounds.
Next was a quick jaunt to Room 2, which after well documented previous problems with heat was fitted with a least of couple fans to help control the sweat being brought on by and the sound of some seriously heavy techno.

In the unofficial 'Room 3' it quickly became apparent something was getting was setup. Shortly before 2am Move D stepped up to play his first set of the weekend. Even after several times of seeing Move D DJ, you only left with one guarantee, a first class set. Even though after too many reasonably priced beers from the bar, I still recall hearing some great cuts from the likes of Terje, M.K. and many more I couldn't put my finger on (and still can't, get on soundcloud and get them named if you can).


After a reasonably early night on the Friday, I was refreshed and ready for a prolonged day of music and sunshine for the Saturday. With the recently purchased Vestax having a first outing at the tent, and bacon and cider on the go, we were ready to head out to the dome to soak up the atmosphere and the rays.

First I caught a great live set from Tom Ellis (apparently he did it last year to great acclaim). Many of the attendees may have had little sleep (unlike me) but everybody was in great form and the sun was out in full force.

I've been wanting to see Jackmate for a while and his Saturday afternoon set in the dome did not disappoint. From dropping the mammoth 'Be Like the Sun', the crowd really came alive, getting much needed shelter from the blistering heat for some welcome respite of jacking house and techno.

Later on in a rare trip into Room 2 enabled me to catch Cosmin TRG, who with each release really does showcase his talents over several different 'genres' of electronic music from deep techno to future beats. His set was a bass heavy thump of deep dark dirty bass music, together with excellent touches of deep techno and house to accomodate it.

One of the more anticpated sets of the weekend was from Levon Vincent. He stayed glued to his decks throughout his set where he showcased a multitude of genres, only briefly looking up to survey the burgeoning and respondent crowd in Room 1. Chicago Skyway also didn't fail to disappoint, and following his excellent set and a full length promised, his visits to the UK may become much more frequent.


This day came around far too quickly. After a bit of faffing (by me, no-one else), it was off to Hay for Sunday lunch (and to check out the record fair) to energise for one last very warm day of looking silly and of continued excellent music. For dress up day, I went as one of the tigers (£12 in primark, I knew I wouldnt be alone) and whilst fun it was, I was probably wearing  the hottest thing ever to wear whilst dancing.

Unfortunately due a trip to Hay and getting ready, I missed about half of Move D's Sunday afternoon set (since listened to it via Soundcloud) but caught the last half hour or so and surely one the anthems of the weekend, Session Victim's 'Good Intentions' which he also played in his Friday set. XDB's set on Sunday afternoon at the Dome was also highly enjoyable which followed a relatively meandering set from Steve Tang.

After a few too many drinks (and a hefty Sunday lunch), I missed much of the evening's preceedings due to a quick knap (including Soulphiction-bit gutted but least caught a bit of Michael Baumann in seeing Jackmate's set).

After slipping out the tiger suit and to something more suitable, I rushed to catch Fred P who was playing the penulitmate set in Room 1. His set was bliss from start to finish, an exercise in deepness and restraint  before exploding every now and then, finishing with a jaw-dropping track (I really cannot recall what exactly it was-but it was one of the highlights of the whole weekend-please if you were there-share!) 

The weekend wouldn't have been complete without a live set from Steevio and Suzybee. Their epic closing set came complete with jaw dropping visuals and deep techno modulations via Steevio's huge Eurorack Modular.

This was by far the most wonderful festival I have ever attended. It was shame when it finally had to end. One look at the facebook page of the festival will quickly highlight the fondness everyone who attended has for the event and the fun that they had.

July 2012 really is far too far away.