Audiojack – Inside My Head
The Guardian ran an article in 2011 titled ‘How dance label Crosstown Rebels bounced back‘. Didn’t realise it had fallen off. A label that has ebbed and flowed with the times, there’s no denying it has also been a trendsetter, launching the careers of Jamie Jones, Seth Troxler and Art Department. Head Honcho Damian Lazarus has been on a run of sorts recently, with the punishing releases coming from the Arthur Baker & Rockers Revenge, as well as the atmospheric Aether. The same newspaper recently featured the leading contender for ‘world’s greatest party‘, Get Lost based in Miami. With Audiojack’s ‘Inside My Head’ we could have one of the track of the year’s on our hands. Releasing EPs on 20/20 Vision, Tsuba and Hot Creations, the duo’s style is uncompromising in it’s lean rawness. So it comes as no surprise that their latest Tech-House release reached number one on the Beatport Charts. The Ibiza-based, Leeds-raised duo bring their best in what you can only describe as euphoric.
Listening to the Audiojack’s 2016 release ‘Vibrate‘ proves that the lads are exemplar at providing heavily echoed vocals. The track opens up with a female vocal that’s sampled from Cuba Gooding’s disco-funk classic ‘Happiness Is Just Around The Bend‘. Echoing ‘There’s something going round inside my head‘ the vocals are spacey and add to the kindred nature of the track. ‘We knew the vocal back from an old progressive track in the 90s, but why it suddenly kept looping round Jamie’s head we don’t know” explain Audiojack to Magnetic Mag. ‘Now it’s your turn to endure the loopy repetitive vocal of this low swung proggy groover‘. The Wurlitzer keys bring this spellbinding wall of synth that brings a trancey atmosphere. It’s akin to ‘that‘ track from Solomun’s Cercle set. The boys truly love their production. Speaking with 6AM Group about their infatuation for Native Instruments, they state ‘Max4cats recently brought out a semi modular plugin called Pallas which is so much fun routing one thing into another and modulating stuff in strange ways to get some really out there sounds‘. These quaint sounds can be traced in the track, combining manipulation of guitar strings, western Asian percussion and screeches of a jet engine. Unadorned yet devastating. Continue reading
Igor Vicente – Mystericordia (Ryan Crosson Remix)
Being part of a collective that was once referred to as “House music’s most lucrative supergroup“ is some feat. Such was the title given to Visionquest in the early 2010s. Part of the renowned ensemble alongside Lee Curtiss & Shaun Reeves (as well as formerly Seth Troxler), Ryan Crosser has always shared his crews ambition to push the boundaries of textures, while retaining an enthralling rhythm. His own production can be best described as a liquefaction of Techno, Tech-House and Minimal. None is more evident than in his 2014 remix of Igor Vicente’s ‘Mystericordia’, an unapologetic revelry of the mind-expanding sounds.
Igor Vicente’s original takes a more subtle approach, maintaining alluring mellowness throughout. Crosson’s interpretation on the other hand awakens the spirit of modern Detroit, elevating the intensity into benumbing levels.Conjuring up his contribution to Visionquest Records Bricolage EP, Crosson claims to source sound samples from the mundane, everyday life. “I used field recordings from the street, sometimes people would be doing construction on my building” he explained to Vice back in 2014. Nonetheless, the DJ’s processing in the studio interprets the banal in a aphotic fashion. The first half of the track is an amalgamation of white noise, isolated grand piano notes and comatosed vocal echoes. A misty, aquatic atmosphere often associated with his longtime collaborator and friend Cesar Merveille has clearly rubbed off on Crosson. Meanwhile, the spaced-out thumping of a kick repeatedly increases in tempo. This is almost a reflection of the dancer’s heartbeat, about to enter a delirious state. Once the standard 4/4 looping of the drumming percussion clangours into the mix, its impact is thunderous. The heavy sidechaining of the choleric bassline dynamites the listener into the extrasolar. Continue reading
Hammer – Stripes (Original Mix)
Rory Hamilton, the Belfast-hailed producer, has a unique back story most are unaware of. An original founding member of the Feel My Bicep blog, he was a regular studio partner of sessions with the duo that has since become a headlining name in the industry. Making the decision to pursue a career in rugby over music, Hamilton relocated to study in Glasgow. Retaining his touch in production through collaborations with such as ‘Icebowl‘ and ‘Dahlia‘ he witnessed his collaborators Bicep meteor to fame. A likely catalyst that motivated him to pursue his hobby full time, his output increased gradually. Quality over quantity is Hammer’s motto, and it has since rewarded him with gigs in venues such as Panorama Bar, DC10 and Robert Johnson. Released back in 2016 on Glasgow-based Optimo Records, ‘Stripes’ is a certified pleaser for a crowd drenched in sweat.
Focal to the track’s power is the bassline extracted from the pages of a UK Bass textbook. Similarly to Pangaea’s ‘Memories‘ or Scub’s ‘Flesh Is Weak‘, post-dubstep verve finds itself in a new context. The hi hats that add ammunition to the energy spin with the rotation of a released shuriken. The beat-switches are executed with precision. Vocals taken from Felix’s 1984 disco-funk release ‘Tiger Stripes‘ here are incorporated to serve the instrumentation, playing a secondary role. This is a smart move, giving the track an original mix feel. The bass guitar is retained, slotting seamlessly into the framework. Jungle pandemonium bewails in the background, evoking a feel of restless ruckus. The Special Disco version found on the At Once EP, serves its purpose as inducing two-step dancing with its irresistible rhythm, bringing a reduction of reverb on the vocals.
Seth Troxler – Love Never Sleeps
Seth’s output isn’t as strong these days but there was a time when he released banger after banger. ‘Trust‘, the Tech-House bomb with Tiefscwarz unfurled tribalism Luciano is now more associated with. ‘Hurt‘, in collaboration with Matthew Dear aka Audion although Emo Minimal, brings an essence of soul. This track however is straight into the realms of Brian Eno alternate reality. One listen is all it will take to go into another realm. Dropped in 2008 on Crosstown Rebels, ‘Love Never Sleeps’ keeps a Minimal blue print but heavily nods towards the Deep House leanings that was welcomed with aplomb towards the end of the 00s. Seth is a Tier 1 headline act these days you can guarantee will play at Burning Man & TomorrowLand. However a regular at Circo Loco DC10, Time Warp, Sonar, Fabric (often doing a b2b with Craig Richards) & Romanian Minimal Festival Sunwaves, the big stage performances have never taken the polish off his underground roots. This is most displayed in this track.
Coming from Detroit, you know that hypnotism is going to be present. Even just the drawl itself is hypnotic. First Heard on a Nic Fancuilli Global Underground CD, I was fascinated by its charm from the start. Heavy-knit bass plays buoyantly in a simple 2-note pattern. It’s thwacked with the loud thump of an Osunlade or Green Velvet cut. Scraps of warped synths hack at the track. Groaning with the growl of a pissed off blue wale, the synths are cinematic. Picture watching a Mission Impossible and the shot panning across a city with a countdown to the end of the world. They instil a sense of dread throughout the track. Various chopped vocals are on display. All short and all ghostly. The first two sound like a man high on Nos, saying ‘Let’s go’ and ‘Never Mind’. The second is an Aretha Franklin female lifting swirling ‘ahh’s’ in the air. It’s said as though the listener is stuck in a dream-like state of David Lynch creation. The whole concoction makes it feel as powerful as voodoo with the way it bewitches.
Matthias Agyuo spoke on the state of mid-00s mnml in his monumental hit, DJ Koze’s remix of. ‘Minimal’. ‘Got no grooves, got no balls’ he sang. This track however see’s a real shift away from that accusation. It must’ve been as fresh as fresh cut grass. His ventures with Lee Curtis, Shaun Reeves and Ryan Crosson as Visionquest saw further musical exploration. These days, he’s not making much music, having to balance his packed out tour schedule with the running of his Shoreditch BBQ restaurant Smokey Tails. If he is, it’s usually as Tuskagee with the Martinez Brothers. More would be good.
Mood II Swing feat. Fonda Rae – Living In Ecstacy (Groove Mix Edit)
Maxed out in musicality, Francois K’s 1996 mix of Mood II Swing’s Living In Ecstacy is a classic track with the bright light vibes lightening up any dancefloor it hits. As stated in Fact magazine, Mood II Swing have a “uniquely percussive syncopation to the groove.” Always with a swing, there something a little off kilt about each track which make them shine louder than most, just like this one. Francois K empties the track of a bit of percussion, and ups the bass for a true masterpiece. It is a true reflection of an uptown New York City feel finely tuned for plays in legendary club Paradise, Pacha, Rex Club or even his own Deep Space party.