Brian Harden – Where You Are (Sit Remix)
Brian Harden’s ‘Where You Are‘ oozes the Jack and pizzaz of your vintage Chicago House cut. ‘Delight Where You Are’ the vocal sample rings with the staple disco sample. At first glance, this style synonymous with Mike Banks, Robert Owens, Roy Davis Jr, Marshall Jefferson can seem a juxtaposition to the Rominimal sound. Listen a bit more thoroughly though and the two styles appear congruent. SIT aka Sideways Invisibility Theory is comprised of one of the most revered in the game, Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia. Appearing on the rerelease, this SIT remix is a one stellar cut. Cristi himself notably made heatwaves after his remix of Azimute’s ‘The Secret‘ released on Cocoon racked up more than 30,000 Youtube views before release. Individually they’ve released records on their own label Amphia, as well as similarly minded labels Meander and Serialism. Their first LP, Sideways was rich in experimentation, described by PlayedBy as ‘a groundbreaking definition of what we call the Romanian sound’. The duo hit a creative high point with their LP Invisibility Chapter on Sushitech. On this album, their Housier interpolations weaved into the nooks and crannies. In this remix, SIT elevate the original showcasing this shade of their production in full flight.
Chicago native Brian Harden’s original was released back in 2001on his The World Peace EP. It came out on Nite Life Collective, an outlet for jazzier cuts coming from the likes of Glenn Underground, Roy Davis Jr & Moon Man. In the same spirit, the release contained some sublime freeform jams. This is not surprising, considering Harden’s bio cites Herbie Hancock’s ‘Rocket’ as well as the music of Axel F, Paul Hardcastle and Miles Davis as inspiration. Listening to his atmospheric Deep House track ‘Chicago to Detroit‘ proves that he is a master of the dusky Detroit synth sound that partners modular keyboard work. With a chunky 808 bass and lush synths, it sounds as timeless now as it did back then. SIT up the ante on the remix making the elevating the staccato elements of the original. The bassline pounds with the rhythm and the force of a pitched down jack hammer. MIDI bleeps ascend with a sound of a Super Mario mushroom pick up. Chimed synths are looped, twinkling effortlessly. In a similar fashion to another track we reviewed by Sublee the synth’s intertwine compressed from the original, echoing out of time at will. The breakdowns nod to Harden’s composition, being interpreted with the same atmospheric descent. Continue reading
Ricardo Villalobos – 808 The Bassqueen
Robert Hood is credited with inventing Minimal Techno, but Ricardo Villalobos surely can be accredited with defining it. Listening to his first ever release, ‘The Contempt‘, you knew you were in for something special. The Chilean’s ‘Alcachofa‘ album has been referred TO as the nirvana of Minimal Techno, the fulcrum pinnacle which all will refer to as the high point of the genre. Ricardo’s legendary status as a proponent of the abstract, sees him only affiliating with a few to keep the creativity flowing. He told Crack Magazine that he only likes to chill with ‘10 to 15 people’ including Raresh, Rhadoo, Zip and Dorian Paic. If you know the Rominimal scene, you know it has followed his lead. It’s an analogue, vinyls only affair, for those who are serious about the genre by paying for it. The warbly bass and extraterrestrial noises you find on your average Trømmel and Meander releases aren’t here though. ‘808 the Bassqueen’ is a love song to the famed Roland machine. Released in ’99 on Playhouse Records, it’s a tough yet elegant track. It’s not a regular showing for Ricard to release something as such, but if he was going to release only one record, this game-changer would be enough.
The TR-808 is famed for its expressions of the bass note. As much as it is loved by Electronic music enthusiasts, Hip-Hop producers have loved it just as much. Kanye West made a whole album from it, ‘808s and Heartbreaks‘. Lil Jon’s Crunk-induced tracks were defined by the booming bass produced using this machine. Such mastery is also found within Villalobos’ track. A rigid, throbbing bass verging on the borderlands of Dub begins the track. It is a strident sound which can also be found in the productions of Subb-an and Tuccilo. Chords with the sheen of Caribbean steel drum are stabbed with precision of a harpist. Warped drones plague like a dark mist over the track. Half way through the track beautiful strings are drawn out to give the track a warmth akin to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake soundtrack. His LP with Max Loderbauer on RE: ECM has shown his dabble in avant-garde classical and this experimentalism, surely inspiring others such as Petre Inspirescu. The warbles, delays and reverbs at different parts add to the fascination. All in all it leaves the listener musing, whilst remaining in the groove. The cut is Ricardo’s exegesis in less is more. Continue reading
Matt Whitehead – We’re Bombing
Matt Whitehead fooled us all. If you play ‘We’re Bombing’ with an absence of context, you’ll most like guess the release year to be situated in the early 1980s. Roland TR 808 drum patterns. Check. Miami Vice soundtrack inspired synths. Check. Toms akin to Nairobi’s 1982 release ‘Funky Soul Makossa‘ are also to be found. Above all, closest similarities can be drawn to the New York-raised DJ Hashim’s production. The computerised use of processed robotic vocals played a major part in the Electro scene, justifying the name of the subgenre. Collectively, this Super Rhythm Trax release just like the label aims to bring back the old school sound while ironing out the unpolished lapses of its predecessors.
Coming from his Bombing EP, the track brings the raw thud kindred to the distant cousin genre of Miami Bass. Drum loops intervene in rotation like breakbeats. The slaphappy snare drums are given room to exercise their drive. Yet, just as important to the track’s identity are the neon atmosphere created by the soundscapes. Deep analogue strings & an arpeggio that sounds like it comes from PPG Wave synthesiser, unite together to give the track its soul. In such, ‘We’re Bombing’ avoids falling into the trap of sounding like a bootleg of a rejected Robocop soundtrack compilation. Music Radar has published a breakdown of tips for creating a electro banger. It demonstrates the amount of detail is required behind the scenes. Blawan has placed his stamp of approval on Matt Whitehead’s production before, and that’s an endorsement to treasure. Continue reading