Most electronic music heads will only know of a few artists hailing from Russia such as Andrey Pushkarev, Nina Kraviz or Anton Zap. Scratch under the surface however, and you’ll find some of the most gripping music within the genre. Step forth Vladimir Dubyshkyn. It took me a good year to discover Overland Trip on Dubfire’s 2017 Timewarp Mix. And boy was I happy. The track paints a picture of a Journey on the Trans Siberian Railways. Not a surprise as he hails from Tambov, 450km South East of Moscow. Powerful and showcasing the splendour of the Russian wilderness. It’s a unique track in the way it is expansive like a Ben Klock track but just as driving as Adam Beyer. Stefan Goldmann released this absolute weapon of mass destruction on his Macro Recordings. The A2 ‘Who’s Your Daddy’ however brings about extraordinary amplification of dancefloor derangement.
If you’ve been a fan of the underground sound in recent times, there’s no way you couldn’t recognise it. If you’ve been a fan for a long time, it’s as distinguished as Beatport or Juno Download as the go-to for your track needs. With one of the most recognisable voices in the game, Mr V can be the difference between a good track, and a weapon. This track Set Me Free by Homero Espinosa is a fine example of his craft. He really is what Nate Dogg was to Hip Hop. 2016 saw hugetrack Take You There with Scottish Techno Dons Slam, dominating the big stages. However, he’s just as accomplished as a producer. With Releases on Defected, Strictly Rhythm, 8bit and Dessous he has a large répertoire within House Music circles. The Drum, however, is a massive shock to the system. A more techy excursion by the deep house don. Released in 2005 on Vega Records by Masters At Work member Louie Vega, The Drum is a purists delight.
As documented by Deep House Amsterdam, Mr V was influenced by ‘house, hip-hop, Latin, garage and disco classics, rhythm & blues and jazz.’ This track is made in homage to the instrument central to it all – the Drum. Being predisposed by the minimal revolution at the time, it is a real twist on his normal excursions. Bass Modulations similar to that on Konrad Black’s Devastator, instantly tantalise the sphere around the cortex. Expansive, slinky, sultry and heavy on the reverb it’s absolutely hellish. A shadowy devilish vocal, tells the listener ‘Let me take you on a trip, a journey.’ Ascending and cascading magical zings fuse in an out forming a molten lava like world in the way it drawls. Tribal drums are played to add verve, and as such the vocal narrates ‘Feel the Drum, as it touches your soul’. It is all said as though the narrator is the ringmaster of the show. The journey then takes another sunny twist by adding in supreme deep house keys, which could’ve easily been played by Charles Webster or Atjazz. It makes for an ultra-hallucinatory expedition.
The benefit of a Trance-tinged techno cut is that it can give a monumental lift to a set. In the same way that a Balearic soulful track melody does to a house set. Pig&Dan are probably the best in the game at making Techno-Trance hybrids that often grace fiery dancefloors. Such envisioning conceived by Benjamin Damage certainly helps thrust the clubs skywards to the highest levels of Paradise. A 2014 release on the now defunct 50 Weapons label, it motorcades enough bass to puncture readying chests. No wonder it featured on Illusive’s ‘Best of 2014’ list.
Lifting off from the start, the track is assembled with complete nuance. Due to Damage’s beginnings in the UK Bass scene, everything is programmed to a T. The drums are tightly knit. It ensures a small club can make the most of its impact as much as the Tomorrowland Festival main stage could. That UK Bass experience comes in handy with the low ends pounding. As though he’s just testing you, dribbles of the synth chords patter in. Getting more panoramic by the count, the track reaches full lift off. Like a NASA rocket ship taking off from Earth, the track then strips down the drums and bass for a exhilarating shower of synths. Clustered and twisted like the Greek mythology’s monster Hydra it displays its arms at full rage. It certainly will get you ‘Up’ should you even be sober. Continue reading →
Bristol is a hub of musical innovation. The place that helped birth, Jungle, Dubstep & UK Bass and is madly in love with Breaks. There have been producers who like to mix with the Spiritual like Fred P. Space, like Jeff Mills. DJ Richard on harsh aesthetics in the surrounding New York State where he grew up. Efdemin on anything that goes in front of his eyes and ears. A Sagittariun’s fixation however is on, (as you can tell by the name) Astrology, and Dreams. An A2 on the 2012 Carina EP, October deliver’s a ‘Full Body’ mix to take Carina (Original Dream) to a more intense focused Dream. If the original is the Wispy Cloud like Milky Way, this is the bottom of the grand canyon.
Like fellow Bristolians Asusu and Ramadanman, October uses knock like percussions on each beat. It has that 2 Step feel often heard from UK Dubstep. Shakers keep the worldly music scene of the Original. Celestial synths rail across from left to right like those found in a Conforce track. A dubby, muddied bass heaves like a monster of lore awakened from it’s slumber. It rattles like it’s in a procession, a ritual around the fire. The Originals Synth lines are flipped, played in the minor painting set set hues similar to Robag Wruhme’s remix of Red Sky by Audision. The metallic sounds of Levon Vincent’s Games We Play is what October loves to play with. Played in wonky patterns, they do a dance of decadence. The whole thing is a triumph in heads down ‘we here to dance’ like tune. Continue reading →
Awakenings Festival is renowned for introducing its crowds to pulsating techno anthems. Headlining DJs like Amelie Lens, Len Faki & Rebekah cater to the high-octane atmosphere by tending to bring their most thunderous finds in the crate. Artur and Batish, better recognised by their stage name Artbat, know how to create a banger that enraptures the breathless crowd with its elevating linear progression. If we were to select one track to strike while the iron is hot, then surely this nuclear bomb by the Kiev duo would be in contention for our pick.
The essence of continuous build up makes this an archetype track for the mainstage, that may carbonate across the sets of titans including Richie Hawtin. With the Plastikmann using the duo’s releases to compliment his sets before, such a top-tier endorsement witnesses to the quality of their production. A rippling synth line, drenched in reverb and supported by an anchored kick initiate the proceedings. Think Alex Metric with a shade of Denis Horvat. All this leads up to a drop around the 3 minute mark that shatters with the annihilation of the Cloverfield monster. What proceeds is an unabiating odyssey through the undiscovered edges of the galaxy, all the while supported by sensuous female vocals and Mind Against-style synth eruptions. As the final sweep completes the outro, the Martian voyage closes its chapter. Continue reading →
DJ Sprinkles – Grand Central Part I (Deep In the Bowels Of House) (MCDE Bassline Dub)
We all need our ‘insurance policy’ tracks. DJs playing this at 4am in a club, will boost of a verve jaded dance floor. Akin to Nitrous Oxide being pumped into a speeding Nissan GTR on The Fast & The Furious. Motor City Drum Ensemble provide just the treatment. This 2009’s release on Japanese label Mule Musiq was the first B side to DJ Sprinkles’ ‘Sisters, I Don’t Know What This World Is Coming To’. Deep House in nature, with the precision of a tech jam, its a compelling and incisive journey. Throughout, it is all encompassing, showcasing all hues of bass and mids as well as reminding us why MCDE is so revered in House and Disco circles.
Unlike his ‘Raw Mix’, with it’s breaksy bass and wonky synths, this is a driving brutal 4/4 affair. Carl Cox, Marcel Dettmann or Chris Leibing could’ve even sneaked it in a more darker set. It’s called a ‘Bassline Dub’ for a reason. The hats set a real pace, with MCDE using Einstein intelligence to warp them on the 8th beat. A dampened field recording of being right next to a Boeing 747 take flight, eloquently lifts the track off. Vaulting in like a Hummer landing after hitting a 45% ramp at speed, comes the bassline. Gargantuan and glorious, it’s panoramic dubs commands the listener to move. The way it filters in and out, and is delayed and echoed truly makes it an immersive trip. Over the top are drumstick-against-table like stabs. The breakdowns are cinematic, just leaving the percussive barebones, with ambient strings, and otherworldly charms found in a Visionquest track.
In the 00s Carl Craig really could do no wrong. Which hits such as Sandstorms, At Les and Throw under his Paperclip People guise already under his belt, it was difficult to think anything could top them. And then his 2005 remix of Theo Parish’s Falling Up got dropped. Just as Spin Magazine called it, the track was more in sight on DJ setlists than cretins on a Fabric dancefloor at 7am on a Sunday. Then when you thought he could top it along comes this weapon. Released in 2007 his remix of the Junior Boys track was an absolute monster. Originally a slowed indie electronic track, the Planet E Communications boss uses his genius, expanding certain elements and dubbing it out to craft yet another ubiquitous hit. He once stated ‘the Carl Craig stuff is a new, ambient, avant garde concept that comes directly from being how Carl Craig is.’ Like A Child, Carl is innovative, encompassing all of these concepts and it shines most on this track.
It’s embodies other Minimal tracks of the 00s. Emptied out like a supermarket in a flood, it’s stripped to the bare bones. Starting off with single note percussion that pings back and forth, you realise this was intentional. The track is one that crescendos with the ascendence of a 120m hill on a 30% gradient. Taken from the original, the bleeps hit at pace played like a looped 8-bit arcade machine. Minor chord stabs, play in 3 note decent, before a 4 note hit on the end of the beat. At the same time panning apps sounding like they’re from the X-Files sweep in adding to the bizarreness. Carl uses the wispy vocals of the first half of the originals to set things up by adding in the kick. Then half way through the 10 minute journey, a dubbed out muddied modulation underpins the whole thing. It’s more hypnotic than Uri Greller. The bass is then given the lead role ensuring the dance-floor is still swaying, with quick ghostly snippets, before bringing the bleeps and arps back in.
Leon Vynehall’s ‘Drinking It In Again’ is one of our tracks of 2018. The Downtempo chilled jazz affair is so dope, Jazz aficionados will be surprised it was made by a House Producer. Leon has a knack for great experimentalism as seen in his first LP Just for House. For his second LP however he created ambient intro and outro encasing a smorgasbord of functional dancefloor house bangers. A 2016 Running Back release, Rojus (Designed to Dance) it was called and it’s the Lithuanian word for Paradise. Being the only track to play at 45 on the vinyl, Blush sums up why it got this title.
Shimmering wooden flute sounds like those heard on a Disney Classic cartoon music flutter in. The Brighton producer then uses a kick drum brimming at a 1-2 pace. Single note piano keys are plonked, before cut and played down on the minor. Like on Premiesku’s Bucur (See our review), Blush takes you sky high into the jungle. A sample of a wild cat roaring precedes the hastening of the track by use of the sweeping stringed synths. It’s like the synths in Vakula’s Different Tone but played on a major. It sounds gorgeous, like seeing world off the edge of a waterfall edge. Sending the dancefloor tumbling then rolls in the bass which motivates an anthem groove. The ‘Ohhhh’ vocal is elongated sung at a higher octave to take the track to a farther place. It feels primal, and soulful. Continue reading →
The A2 on his brilliant debut EP, Make It Good. With Remixes from Larry Heard, Ostgut Tonregular Ryan Elliot and Tale of Us, it was an exercise in Electronic Art, at Picasso Levels. Monocraft (Your Love Is Alright) is a mix of Tech, Deep, Indie and Prog Rock. One thing people can agree about Electronic Music is it can hit every emotion. And having such different genres mixed in hit different parts in one track. Released in 2012 by the Life and Death label co-founder Manfredi Romano, this DJ Tennis cut is a wonderful track completely synonymous with other sombre label cuts.
In this interview with Magnetic Mag, Manfredi mentions ‘I grew up with indie, punk rock, post-punk and hardcore.’ Instantly this is felt within the vocals. Sounding a touch like Caribou or The/Das, it’s bleak and melancholic. It’s hits the crest of the wave at the 4.30min mark with the spine tingling ‘Your Love Is Alright’ motif. Up until this point, there’s been a real buildup. Prog-band bass not too dissimilar to Dubfire’s Deep Dish bubbles underneath. Manfredi’s also said later in the aforementioned Magnetic Magazine, The first artists that got really interested in electronic music were people like Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada. This was my approach to electronic music – brain-dance I would say.’ And boy does his synth work just do that. Horn like chords are played airily. Midway, downtempo strums are played with orchestral strings. It teases the brain before a scattergun single note comes in not too dissimilar to Patrice Baumel’s ‘The Hatchet’. Clearly Tale of Us shows Tennis a thing or two, because the staple laser soundscape of theirs, such as the one in their remix of Who Made ‘Who’s Never Alone’ makes a welcome appearance. A track that sends your brain into a frenzy, it’s great for home listening as much as a Fideles set at Hi Ibiza on a Thursday night.
Listening to The Lily Mercer show on Rinse FM, my ears were enchanted by the alieness when this track dropped. Kelela’s ‘The High’ was the name, produced by none other than LA native Gifted & Blessed. Also releasing under GB, The Reflektor, Frankie Reyes and Julian Abelar, the man is Nikola Tesla levels of genius. Just check this Resident Advisor Live Analog Session and you’ll see a man at the forefront of invention and creativity within the realms of melodic electro. Dropped on the The Cool Warm Devine EP released on Valentine Connection Records in 2011, ‘Nobody Else’ is a cosmic concoction of Acid, Techno, Electro and Deep House. It went a bit under the radar though, until its rerelease on Rush Hour Recordings.