Tiger & Woods – A Lovely Change
Marco Passarani & Valerio Del Prete have been actively operating under the Tiger & Woods alias since the early 2010s. Opting for a lower BPM chugger sound, solidified in their Golden Bear EP, they show no shortage in the funk department. Initially keeping their identities a mystery, they have since headlined events such as Disco Express and Discopanettone. In such, the duos’ fancy for the sound that roamed Studio 54 is self-evident. ‘A Lovely Change’ is a track that reminds us why their 2011 track ‘Gin Nation’ gave them the breakthrough needed. Sharing a dazed, roseate sound both tracks paint the dancefloor with a ray of sunshine. Released on the good-vibrations aficionado Gerd Janson’s label Running Back, it falls neatly in the middle of their latest LP release AOD.
The new album, short for “Album Oriented Dance” pays homage to Tiger & Woods’ predecessors. Tracks such as ‘01:00AM‘ & are ‘The Bad Boys’ are love-letters to the genre of Italo Disco. Their most intact imprint of the project, however, is ‘A Lovely Change’. Mingling aestival percussions, balsamic ambience and standout vocals it is sure to colour the sound of many upcoming summer parties. According to Running Back’s album description, the project is glinted with cleared samples from “the Roman institution that is Claudio Donato and his Full Time and Goodymusic emporium“. In a way this is a revival to the approach that gave the Italians a foothold in the scene. Speaking with Tiny Mixtapes, the collaborators claim there to be a “huge difference between using samples and making edits“. In ‘A Lovely Change’ the vocals bring Sade’s ‘Diamond Life’ to mind, soothing the soul in a similar fashion to Soul Clap & Ahmed’s ‘Give It Up‘. For those familiar with the Balearic sounds of Alfredo Fiorito the breezy, pacific effervescence of ‘A Lovely Chance’ fosters a throwback. However, despite all the nostalgia, the production does not sound dated, with an updated concision that was absent in a lot of the 1980s Italo output. Continue reading
Desert Sound Colony – Lose My Rhythm
Paste Magazine discussed in 2018 how the Modern Rock genre has been left soul-searching whilst Post-Punk is thriving. The fractured nature of Post-Punk lead to the formation of many sub-genres. Synth-Pop, EBM, New Wave being just some that preserved its parent genre tropes, whilst interloping with electronic unorthodox sounds. These in turn gave birth to a wide variety of sounds including Italo, Bass, Techno, Cold, Dark and Minimal Wave, all of which edify each other. Listening to Peggy Gou, and even Jamie Jone’s recent remix of Teddy Pendergrass’ ‘Life Is A Song Worth Singing’, demonstrates that the style has hit the upper echelons of the underground dance scene. Desert Sound Colony, aka Liam Wachs, seems to be as fluid as any in carrying such sound. The Londoner seemed to be an ideal fit with his first releases being manufactured for Scissor & Thread. With hints of Indie & more angular Rock, they shared similarities with Bob Moses and Clockwork releases on the label. Black Light Smoke’s ‘Firefly‘ showed more ambition, however, and certainly Desert Sound Colony seems to have hit a power-boost upon hearing. ‘Lose My Rhythm’ is a track by a man at the peak of his powers. It unmistakably stands heads and shoulders, if not above, the rest.
Liam has also released under the moniker of DSC. ‘The Sorcerer‘, his 2017 release on Holding Hands Records was one that showcased his more experimental side. It had an abstractness, but minimal leaning of a Roman Flügel project. ‘Coming Round‘, released just a year later, was a return to his regular Post-Punk productions. A dance-floor belter, ‘Lose My Rhythm’ sounds like a product coming from the same studio sessions. A voluminous kick drum starts the track off before a warbling bassline kicks in. Vocals hum chorally. Sounding like a lovechild of Roland 909 and KORG MS-20, the gyrating melody is mesmeric. As one YouTube comment points out, the track sounds like an updated version of Belgian New Beat producer Richard H Kirk’s ‘Never Lose Your Shadow’. Guitar is plucked, before the main vocal enters. ‘When I Lose My Rhythm I Feel Alive’ it echoes with revelry. Naturally this paints a picture of a dancefloor bedlam. The punk influence kicks back in from the simple guitar picks heard in the breakdown. It all hits the nail on the head as it picks back up with crystallising splintered synth stabs kicking in. Hectic stuff. Continue reading
Skatebård – The Bells of Mist
Norwegian DJ and producer Bård Aasen Lødemel has had a long-lasting career that traces back to 2002. Deep House Amsterdam have defined his sounds as a combination of “Emotional techno, neo-italo, electro from an alternative future and a Scando-cosmic reinterpretation of pure Detroitian house“.The online community has noted that his strong facial hair draws comparison to Hip Hop artist Action Bronson. He’s also been described as being Santa Claus who brings tunes instead of presents, or Gimli on his day off. While often DJs carry a persona that feels detached of emotion while mixing, Bård’s body language emits bliss. Something that also this emanates in his production. Associated with a sound that’s ethereal yet groove-inducing, His 2016 Boiler Room set brought spaced-out electro grooves. The track that kicked-off the vibes was The Bells of Mist, his own production that epitomises his gossamer sound. Skatebård certainly brings a gift in this track
Bård’s sound transformed over the years, losing its tints of techno along the way. His first EP ‘Skateboarding Was A Crime (In 1989)’ featured zealous tracks like ‘Sgnelkab‘. However, since the late 2000s, he has pushed a sound that is an amalgamation of Norsk Disco & Italo Disco. The Bells of Mist incorporates a distinct ambience that communions with the late 1970’s producer Cerrone’s arp bassline. For a man who hails from the land of the viciously conquering Vikings, the concave pads used bring a sense of harmony. As the track title suggests, the heavy use of reverb creates an atmosphere of brume. A 111BPM contributes to the overall feelingness of haze akin to a mellow dream, in which the dancer loses themselves in. Speaking to Ransom Note the DJ claimed to ‘see a lot of the colour red, meaning I try to make music that is “warm” in a way‘. Here, the warmness comes from the echoing bells that oscillate, substituting for a topline synth. Synths are given an opportunity to introduce themselves to the presiding ambience at the breakdown of the track, before the bassline and the drums join the jamboree. The tracks unique selling point is the ability to throw a party at a leisurely pace. Continue reading
Younger Rebinds – Tim’s Symphony
Nearing the end of this summer season, videos of scene-shaping DJs playing a certain track began to surface. Dixon played it at Sonus Festival while ÂME made sure it was part of his Lowlands set. Being underground connoisseurs, hearing it triggered a scramble to find it. Eventually, we were informed that craftsman behind this beauty was Benny Rodrigues, working under his indie-dance guise Younger Rebinds. Sven Väth approved, it made the cut onto Cocoon boss’ annual mix, The Sound Of The 19th Season. Freshly released on Gerd Janson’s Running Back label, the Frankfurt DJ is the lucky suitor for this jewel.
The track shares strong resemblances with synthpop bands that a have lenience towards Kraftwerkian elements. Most obvious comparison is New Order’s 1983 hit ‘Blue Monday’. In both instances, the underlining lower-end arpeggio serves as a bassline, injecting the crowd with a tingling sense of ecstasy. Those with affinity for MGMT’s ‘Kids’, Sascha Funke’s ‘Surumu‘ or Oliver Koletzki’s ‘Planetarium‘ will be enchanted. Key to the track’s potency is the evolving filtering and modulation that dictates the ardour, and the build up of the track.The midpoint breakdown is a bonzer opportunity for an acappella edit to fit the atmosphere of the environment the track is played at. Phased synths that surface give the track a sense of nirvana, further elevated by gliding leads.
After releasing Krystal Klear’s ‘Neutron Dance‘ earlier this year, Running Back records has struck gold once again when it comes to nonchalant nu-disco cuts.’Tim’s Symphony’ features on the The Sound of Benny EP, a project that is an exhibition of Rodrigues’ four aliases. Younger Rebinds embraces the 1980s spirit of electronic music, metamorphosing it into a 2018 supernova. Resident Advisor crowned the Rotterdam DJ as “Holland’s hardest-working DJ”, and with the extent of diversity displayed in his catalogue, that label might extend to his production.
Roosevelt – Sea (Young Marco Remix)
The contribution by the Netherlands to music created with a computer cannot be underestimated. The three royalties of trance who ruled the airwaves of the scene were all Dutch. The current posterboy of EDM proudly wears his country’s orange colours when performing mainstage. However, the nation’s influence on the underground scene is equally as impressive. Dekmantel and ADE festivals bring thousands of pilgrims who gather to pay their dues at its annual gatherings. Renowned Amsterdam-based Red Light Radio radio hosts global trailblazing DJs ranging from John Talabot to Danny Daze. The range of the local DJs hailing from the Low Lands comprise of veterans such as Boris Werner & Legowelt, respected crate-diggers like Antal and emerging talent including Job Jobse, Benny Rodrigues and of course, Young Marco. Marco Sterk, the face behind the last alias on the list, has been slowly turning up the heat on the production cooker over the years. Released on Greco-Roman in 2017, his remix of Roosevelt’s breakthrough track ‘Sea’ is the culmination of his halcyonic interpretation of Deep House.
Marco’s signature sound combines soft percussion work akin to Nu-disco and Italo Disco cuts, with euphonious melodies. His Welcome To Paradise (Italian Dream House 89-93) Vol. 1 compilation is a retrospective, shoegaze house melodies that are a perfect fit for a hazy afternoon. It’s also a fair reflection of his production. With an infectious chord-progression dancing along to the rhythm conducted by a gentle kick, his ‘Sea’ remix incorporates the leading synth from the original with ease. While the elements separately lack modular sophistication, their effortless coherence is sonically rewarding. Tints of melancholia colour the 1980s palette that paints a landscape of Arpeggios. Young Marco portrays a tranquil scenery with the mastery of Wes Anderson’s direction.
Autoven – Danz Nite (Rigopolar Remix)
Mexican-born producer Ringopolar gives his fellow countryman’s track a makeover that supersedes the original 2016 release. In the spirit of his associated Swedish label Tom Tom Disco, the heteroclite vibes featured combine with top-tier percussion work. Though the DJ’s notable releases such as Sun Of Lemuria (Ransom Note) & Sistema Lunar II failed to capture an audience so far, this remix is yet another gem to be unearthed by lucky crate-diggers.
Assortment of vocal samples litter the track, from pitched-down male vocals to a chanting female choir & even tints of reverb-heavy vocals fitting for a Hot Since 82 tech-house cut. The core of the track comes in the shape of the ever-present pulsating arpeggio that experiments in shades of various filters. Restrained bassline provides the groove of the track that’s worthy of a place reserved in Daft Punk’s ‘Homework‘ catalogue. Continue reading
Sascha Funke – Surumu
Back in 2001 Sascha Funke remixed the 1980s pop track Bros’ ‘When Will I Be Famous’. The electro take of the original can be interpreted as a modus vivendi for the Berliner’s own career. With a first release ‘Campus’ on the now revered, Cologned-based Kompakt Records, Funke has managed to stay rooted in the German scene ever since. His most highlighted track ‘Mango’, a 7 minutes journey fitting for a late-night drive, was featured in Paul Kalkbrenner’s 2009 movie ‘Berlin Calling’ & received a phenomenal remix from DJ Koze. ‘Surumu’, an indie-disco trinket premiered by Deep House Amsterdam, is a strong contender to eclipse the successes of its predecessors.
Benedikt Frey – Out Of Here (feat. Javolenus)
Darmstadt local Benedikt Frey will not be requiring Elon Musk’s assistance for reaching Mars. His range of releases coming from such labels including Ethereal Sound, Mule Electronics and Live at Robert Johnson demonstrate one trait in common – they equally sound extragalactic. The DJs discography consists of alternative soundtracks for ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, Plutonic acid party weapons and themes accompanying launches of Space X. His bachelor thesis alone feels like an exhibit of a dystopian experiment created by the Fourth Kind. ‘Out of Here’ feels downtempo in comparison, yet retains the viscid quiddity of xenomorph.
Filtered, timid kick drums drop you a clue within the intro that the track is likely to fall under the nu-disco category. Martian frequencies approach you like a UFO-investigator at an vacated Area 51site. Vintage Italo-disco snares begin to shiver. It reminds you of calibre attested by one of the finest exports from Naples. Brass synth stamps its authority with magnitude that rivals the Behemoth creature from ‘The Mist‘. It dances with a water pot clanging hi-hats substitute in an offbeat unison. As the track draws to its conclusion, hauntingly mellow siren lingers on the fringes of the soundwaves. It serves as a reminder of the producer’s intention to create an extraterresteral atmosphere.
Raphaël Top-Secret & Nelson Bishop – Chekema
The melancholy reality of Paris meets arcadian tropics on this deep afro-disco cut. In an era where a DJs Instagram profile is an facet to their success, its refreshing to come across Raphaël Top-Secret. The French producer lets his releases sketch his identity, removed from any fashion statement. His production varies, covering lo-fi deep house, San Francisco funk and, of course, exotic disco edits. Collectively, the warmness evoked by his cuts feels so detached from the rainy climate of Rue Du Faubourg St Honoré. ‘Chemaka’, a 2016 release on Antinote is a paragon of this.
This time, his collaborator is a fellow compatriot Nelson Bishop, whose prior release ‘Grosse Tête’ dates back to 2007. The EP proffered a range of analogue synths combining minimal, funk & disco. Bishop’s influence is felt here on the teetering synth pad that oscillates like the waves of the Banzai Pipeline. Crimson colours dance around like the flames of a ritual dance. The constant here is the drum arrangement, which sounds like a djembe used to create a rhythm that prompts your feet to move. Continue reading
Tassilo Vanhöfen – Acrobatic (Original Mix)
A track that has definitely come up on a Todd Terje or Lindtrom set before, Tassilo Vanhöfen’s ‘Acrobatic’ is a 7 minute evidence why nu-disco can often strike gold.
The focal point of the track is the assertive, topline bass that reminds you off Terje’s ‘Ragysh‘. Supported by crispy-clean hi hats that are filtered to perfection, the track maintains its energy as the ecstasy-filled synths simmer in. The formula of the track is elementary, however, as its executed with perfection the end result is lush. Continue reading