Will Ward – Space Bells
Asquith and Deadbeat aren’t names you’d usually put together. The nostalgic nature of the former is a stark contrast of the latter’s dread Dub Techno. What they both share in common is an innate knack to provide a bruising kick. Will Ward’s ‘Space Bell’ is another release that carries such bombast. Described on Leisure System’s Bandcamp as an artist whose tracks portray ‘windswept techno’. Its brash sound serves perfect curation for events like Jaded at Corsica Studios, as is seen in this recorded set of his. Mixing in Truncate, Jones Kopp and Alex Bau, Ward selects cuts for the dishevelled patrons. Releasing EPs on Joton’s New Rhythmic and Audio Doughnuts, Will’s tracks certainly evince that of a seasoned composer. On ‘Space Bells’, however Will provides a cut to to follow a peak-time bomb at a cacophonous party.
One third of Circle Traps, Will was the central character who brought it all together. Speaking with The Trailer TV, he mentions being influenced by Fachwerk Records boss Mike Dehnert. The Berliner is adept at delicately sculpting a track, knowing masterfully where to position each element of sound. His tracks also diligently contain a perfect weight to them. Such influence oozes into ‘Space Bells’. It incorporates a triple note drum programming that is comparable to Leon Vynehall’s ‘Butterflies‘. Interlacing with the forceful drive of the drum, it is gratifying enough to just play the two as a tool. A fuzzy aura surrounds the track. Filtered hats give scents of white noise, creating a galactic atmosphere. The emotive bell patterns provide a petrichor palette similar to the tracks found on John Robert’s seminal LP Glass Eights. Brassy chords clamber, shrieking with trepidation. These sounds all feel grounded by the bass and drums, retaining a permanent swing to the track. Continue reading
Anthony Shakir – Travellers (Mrsk Remix)
Secretsundaze is a party & label synonymous with the deeper spectrums of House. Run by James Priestly and Giles Smith it has forever been pioneering sounds. Whether that be at one of their parties at Pickle Factory or Oval Space (originally it was at 93 Feet East), or through their label as Two Armadillos, they know their stuff. Speaking with Hardlife they state, ‘Its very important for us to get across that timeless element, that’s very much something we strive for with the label.’ On their 10th Year Anniversary CD (and Gile’s Little White Earbuds podcast), the aforementioned cut appears, certainly compatible with that. Anthony ‘Shake’ Shakir is one of the forefathers of House, and here he gets the remix treatment from Swedish artist MRSK. One half of the duo The Fishermen, MRSK delivers a deep but gnarling weapon.
It must be a big ask not to mess up one of the inventors of Techno. Opening up on the original a vocal tells how travelling across the world showed that music was the language of all. A downtempo number, tt’s whisks of streaky noises, ambient tones and future-Jazz sax give it that classic Motor City vibe. It’s an albatross cruising leisurely. Completely flipping it, MRSK pays homage by certainly making the listener travel, but like a Hawk. Dubby bass blasts the ear cavern engineered so well, you could even just leave loop as a tool. Similar vibe to an Enzo Siragusa or Fuse London Artist. Rubbery bass-synth stabs are then followed by some sublime synth work. What they both do well in synergy is reverberate back off each other causing trepidation. Stringed and airy ambient synths are slowly introduced building real tension, before a serious of flash-in-the-pan synths light the show up. Continue reading
Gary’s Gang – Makin’ Music (Dub Mix)
Imagine driving your Chrysler LeBaron convertible down the palm tree-filled streets of Miami in the late evening of a 1983s summer night. As roller-skating girls giggle in the shadow of the neon lights you tune through the radio stations to come across Gary Gang’s ‘Making Music’. The final piece of the jigsaw completes the picture. The track was released in 1983 by Radar Records, a label responsible for some infectious disco-funk gems such as Toney Lee’s ‘Reach Up‘ (check out the incredible music video) in its short-lived existence. Makin’ Music is a prime example of the fusion between electro and disco that that was experimented on by the of the fringe of dance music back in the early 1980s. The end result is an electrifying voyage filled with reverberating arp bass that Giorgio Moroder would be proud of.
The Dub Version elevates the track’s performance in the club setting. Adding muscle to the original mix, the dub spotlights the laser-focused arpeggio. This gives the cut a timeless edge that stands the test of time. Its no surprise therefore that Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani, the names behind the Brooklyn-based house and nu-disco duo Metro Area featured it in their fabric 43 mix. The jocular drum work is inherited from the forefathers of 1970s disco scene such as Cerrone & Patrick Cowley. The feature of the flute, later immortalised by Frankie Knuckles, is borrowed from a soundtrack of the off-kilter movies that characterised the preceding decade. The contrast between its tranquilizing melody and the track’s robust energy creates a vortex of daze. Continue reading
Enrico Mantini – Hypnotizer (Da Groov Moov Mix)
Looking for a banger that will absolutely shut the place down? There’s a reason why this one is called Da Groove Moov Mix. Hearing this thing play on a piece of Plastic is unreal, and unsurprisingly so. Like Herbert, Ricardo Villalobos and Rhadoo, all his tracks are made on analogue. Enrico even himself professes to ‘Own every type of machine their is.’ Often playing at Number 90 Hackney party Half Baked, shows true soul in his production. First released all the way back in 1995, Hypnotizer (Da Groov Moov Mix) was rereleased this year and sounds just as fresh now. Displaying a real 90s sound, it equally shows a resistant toughness that will captivate the dancefloor.
As soon at the track starts a skipping drum pattern ticks along to automatically boost the energy. In this interview with Play Wax, Enrico talks about the range of machines he uses. Kawai Q80, Atari ST512 and Cuebase 2.0 are all mentioned as only being abled to sequence MIDI events. And you can hear that in the bass. Hit in a 3 note sequence, it’s not too dissimilar to Asquith or other Lobster Theremin tracks. Hi-pitched guitar licks give it a luminous city lights identity. A sublime lyric then beseeches the dancefloor commanding you to ‘Hypnotize Yourself’. With what’s going on around sonically, this won’t require much effort. A classic mid-naughties synth fitting for an illegal warehouse rave gives it a full flavour. With an afrobeat breakdown halfway through, Enrico’s enterprising versatility in style shines through.
Just check out this clip of Zip playing at Factory Club, Barcelona. You can see the power of Enrico Mantini’s tracks with the volumnious B1 Hypnotizer (Virtual Hypnosis) being played out. Half Baked crowned him ‘one of the European founders of the deep house music’. ‘Da Groov Moov Mix’, with its dubbyness, surely influenced the formula of production for more dubbed out producers like Subb-an or Dyed Soundroom.
A Sagittariun – Carina (October’s Full Body Mix)
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
Tony Allen – Ole (Moritz Von Oswald Remix)
Released on Damon Albarn’s Honest Jon’s Records, this Moritz Von Oswald remix is proof that the Gorillaz frontman has a delicate taste in electronic music. With the original version coming from an album titled ‘Lagos Shake’, the Nigerian influence is strong with this one. Oswald is a German multi-instrumentalist whose extensive original releases like ‘Watamu Beach Rework‘ demonstrate production influenced by 1970s bands responsible for the Kosmische movement like Tangerine Dream and Can. His collaboration with Mark Ernestus as Basic Channel introduced the world to some of the most pioneering minimal and dub tech releases. Their subsequent label Rhythm & Sound output drew influence from the dub reggae scene. Here Oswald takes his production mastery to transform Tony Allen’s original into a dub techno ambrosia.
The track begins with a set of djembe drums played with great adroitest of Yinka Ogunye. A lingering analogue synth reminiscent of a Ibiza Chillout compilation simmers with intent to collaborate. The symbiotic relationship between natural and technological instrumentation is captivating. Rather than contrasting, they manoeuvre in communion that is refreshing. Then, ninety seconds in, the the prime mover of the track announces its entrance with the charisma of Alexander the Great. A husky kick supplements a sangfroid bassline that is cadenced yet serene. An African vocalist chants ecclesiastic chants with sombre conviction. Though the words may sound alien, the spirit with which they are sung is universal. Continue reading
Glenn Underground – House Music Will Never Die (Glenn’s Afro Dub)
As the producer’s name suggests, Glenn Underground breathes for the underground scene. A descendant from the local pioneers such as Larry Heard and Lil’ Louis, he has taken the mantle of preserving the soul of House. ‘House Music Will Never Die’ is a heartwarming tribute to the dancefloors of The Warehouse, an anthem for the streets once ruled by Frankie Knuckles.
From the intro, clanging hats and cowbells pave the red carpet for the hefty synthesis of a robust kick & an eminent subbass progression. The power of dubbed bass gives the sound an elevated tier of thump. The super low ends that you’d find in a dub mix contrasts with the higher range in the melody. Paying his dues to the genre’s history, Chicago-born Cei Bei sings:
‘Originating from Chi-Town, House Music will never die.’
The singer often produces songs with lyrics that carry the essence of the early House music community. In ‘Dance Tonight’ he shouts out major world cities from the hotspot of Chicago. All is done with a sense of a virtuous spirit of fellowship immune from material greed. It is all about the music. Bei has previously collaborated with key players in the Illinois scene including Ron Trent, DJ Pap & Abicah Soul. His ability to combine serene with the vibrant vocally is transparent in Glenn’s Afro Dub here which gold-plates the production. Continue reading
DIRTY LIES – FOSKY
Like an Aston Martin, sometimes in life you’ll come across something crafted that’s so full of substance you can appreciate why only a few were made. Not seen as a sign of opulence, but wanting to provide something so full bodied you really feel like you’ve got more than than your bucks worth. That’s the feeling I was left with after hearing Dirty Lies way back in 2015 on TiNI & Dana Ruh’s edition of the annual Cocoon Ibiza mix series CD. Needless to say, any connoisseur of Deep House will believe that a higher being does truly exist now that this romper has finally been released.