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
David Alvarado – My Plea
‘There’s deep and then there’s David Alvarado‘ pronounced Resident Advisor on their review of his 2005 album ‘Transfiguration’, released on NRK Music. Checking out any of his releases that trace all the way back to 1993, you’d be hard pressed not to agree. Hailing from Los Angeles, David’s productions vary in form, yet maintain the same underlining semblance of Deep. ‘Worship’, the release under his Las Americas alias was picked up by Plus 8 Records founders Richie Hawtin and John Acquaviva. There’s a hint of tribalism in many of his productions that echoes the sound of Peace Division. His productions have seen him remix U2, as well as release on Strictly Rhythm, Ovum Recordings and Peacefrog Records. The 2002 LP ‘Mayasongs‘, however, surely is the apex of his musical mastery. The quintessential tracklist is of such high standard, we were at pains on selecting which song should be highlighted. ‘My Plea’, however, takes the crown due to its timeless eminence.
‘Beautification‘, another of the tracks from the ‘Mayasongs’ LP ended up being featured on The Lab 03 by Seth Troxler. A series which also featured mixes by Steve Bug, Loco Dice and Paul Woolford is acclaimed for the supreme cuts it features. Alvarador’s track is a cutting-edge, spaced out affair, bolstering rotating drums and spacey pads. Therefore, it is unsurprising that in conversation with Droid Behaviour David described his sound as ‘very delicate fragile… waiting to fill every corner of that space‘. ‘My Plea’ is the embodiment of such ethos, hitting you with lashings of a Mediterranean sunset party. From the offset you can notice the producer’s piquancy to obliterate the listener with delays and reverb, as the track’s introduction features a female vocal breathing. Layered on top is a Latin drum pattern, similar to one found on his 1998 release ‘La Selva‘. A single note jazz hat oscillates with filter astutely, while a female vocal echoes in as a guitar sample is strummed in. The pads that eventually enter are stringently applied, rising elegantly as a sonar zip completes the soundscape of an aquatic journey. Continue reading
Delano Smith – Dream Come True
Being in Ibiza over the summer, it was only natural to play some DC10 podcasts while lounging around the Ushuaia beachside. With John Dimas at the helm, I was sucker-punched once this track came up. Expecting to cop the L anyways, I Shazam’d fifty times to no avail. Recently, however after some serious digging on Soundcloud, I struck gold. It was none other than Delano Smith. The The Belleville Three are most well known in the Underground, but are not the only heavyweight trio to hail from The Motor City. Delano is part of Detroit Beatdown and The Beatdown Brothers. Consisting of himself, Norm Talley, and Mike ‘Agent X’ Clark the three fly the flag for the more deeper shade of Detroit. In an interview with Resident Advisor Delano defines Detroit Beatdown as being ‘Raw, minimal Groove’. Dream Come True exemplifies such perspective. The B2 on 3 tracker EP ‘Precipice‘, it was released on his own MixMode Recordings in 2012.
His label releases records that carry a dusty sound. ‘The Thesis‘, his EP with Derwin Hall being one such highlight that carries this aesthetic. Boomkat describes the Precipice EP record being ‘Solid, chuggy trax with that ounce of late night flavour – all warm chords and thick drums’. That’s certainly the case for the first two tracks. Delano flips the switch with this track though, as it is the chords that take the lead role. Speaking with Meoko, Delano’s claimed he is “looking to entertain the listener more with talent and artistry versus just beats and groove’. You can tell he’s got his ear in all the right spaces, as the chords truly hit the spot. Don’t get this mixed up – this is more of a tool than anything. Sitting on the same chord progression for a minute, it allows the DJ to mix it in with ease. This sets the tone for a late time City bar vibe with the jazzy saxophone samples. A unembellished bass note is plonked, seemingly satisfied to stay in the background. Metallically sheened chords of differing magnitudes reverberate. Yet it is the chords more than anything that win, rolling with decadence. Their potent rhythm would get the dancefloor swinging standing on its own.
Reflecting on the origins of techno, Delano claims the genre was born out of the electronic sounds of disco: Giorgio Moroder, Kraftwerk, Gino Soccio. Introduces to the cross Atlantic sounds by Electrifying Mojo, Smith was mentored by pioneer, DJ Ken Collier, who was the first to take whole parts out of tracks and layer others on top. This unquestionably birthed Delano’s desire to experiment. His first two releases came through using Yamaha RM1x and Motif, and to this day he’s maintained his fondness for analogue machines due to their retained rawness. This shines through in ‘Dream Come True’, revitalizing the very same authentic sound.
Eagles & Butterflies – SKETCH 7
“I just love emotion in music, I don’t really care what genre or style it comes under, to be honest” Eagles & Butterflies stated in his interview with Pulse Radio. The lush, abstract production that evokes emotion has received endorsement from labels which share his philosophy such as Noir Music, Bedrock & Southern Fried. Incorporating elements of Electronica and IBM, his sound connects the “sense of hearing… to other senses“. His latest EP release ‘Imitations of Life‘ is a return to Innervisions this year after his track ‘X‘ previously featured on Secret Weapons Part 8. With the cover featuring a plastic bag set against the background of molten lava, the statement of this being something unprecedented is clear. The leading track ‘SKETCH 7’ exemplifies his refined layering of a “complex sound world” that is ravished with grandeur .
With an opening drum arrangement that features a live instrumentation snare, an organic sound akin to Will Saul’s ‘Drama‘, leans towards the hallmark of House. The rolling bassline melts into the preceding streams of delight created by aggrandising sforzando. Having previously remixed the renowned Italian composer Ludovico Einaudi’s ‘Elements’, Barratt’s enthusiasm for complex chord-progression goes unchallenged. In such, he joins his contemporaries such as Tale of Us, Henrik Schwarz and Max Loderbauer who have offered their interpretations of Classical music releases. Such free-spirited note alignment is heard in ‘SKETCH 7’, as well as his Get Physical 2015 release ‘Sounds of Colours‘. The imperceptible phasing of topline synth drifts from one ear to the other. This adds to the already established kaleidoscopic dazement. Similarly to Patrice Bäumel’s remix of Khen’s ‘Land Of Goshen’, the track allures the listener to lose themselves in the moment with its Balearic euphony .
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
Burnski & Robert James – Malibu
‘A whispering, crawling monster for the house floor.’ as described by De Bug. Going by what I saw in 2013 at a Back to Basics Party, with Acid Mondays & Frenchy at Leeds venue The Garage, Burnski certainly likes his monsters. Banger after banger he played wild cuts without cease out of a half-sawn car shell. It was a sight to behold. Robert James is another name closely affiliated with the term ‘wild’. Charged with running the podcast series of Jamie Jones’ Paradise brand, he is also closely associated with the Leeds underground scene. One of the biggest hits of summer ’10, ‘Malibu’ is a Hot Creations staple cut. Made during swift rise of the the label co-owned by Lee Foss & Jones, it was the fourth release on the label’s rich discography.
At 125bpm, it feels like it is travelling at a more mellow 120 bpm pace due to the Disco flavours at play. It was this that was Hot Creations USP, before it morphed into the ‘monotonous-ket-house’ category. From the offset, groovy and chic bass flirt with each other in a laidback manner. A drum pattern which sounds straight out of garage band gives it real boom bap. Vocal snippets give it an alien feel before cool ‘oohs and ahhhs’ gently cruise in gradual expansion. The bass then takes a beat twist before extra ghostly vocals echo in and out. These vocals are real sexy and certainly pay homage to feel good Ministry of Sound classics served by such as Kings of Tomorrow, Soul II Soul or Moloko. The magic really takes place when a bright and all-encompassing trancey pad sweeps in. It is every so slightly filtered, adding the tech vibe to the track. It Is truly unique and doughty. Continue reading
Benjamin Damage – Up
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
Maceo Plex – Your Style
Spanish producer Maceo Plex’s come uppance in 2011 was well deserved. It came as a serious surprise after crate diggers saw years of producing techno bangers under his Maetrik monkier. It was a full 180 degree turn. Dropping sleazy deep and tech house on his Life Index EP, Crosstown Rebels seemed the perfect label. We first heard this cut on a Catz N Dogz podcast in Jan 2011, and were instantly blown away by it’s slinkiness and the precision in mixing. A sexy cut, it was one certainly curated for the lovers.
This though it certainly emboldened by the vocals. After stating, ‘Desperate for your love, I can’t sleep/I got all the love that you need’, the hook infectiously repeats ‘Girl I love Your Style.’ Spoken in a sordid manner, it is brilliantly supported by the heavy panting placed in synchronisation with the mid-range sounds. Wisps of air plume alongside airy synth stabs reserved for marbled fashion house hallway music. These plumes are like the steam blowing from a pressured factory valve, adding to the steaminess of the track. Maceo Plex’s tracks tend to use heavy mids, and use them for the melody like on ‘Mirror Me’. On ‘Conjure Dream‘, the jittery low mids in conjunction with the sweeping synths show just how in a different way. For Your Style’, it was very fitting for the time with it’s plonkiness yet tough and uncompromising style. No wonder it was released on Crosstown Rebels with that similar funk heard on Jamie Jones’ ‘Hungry For The Power’ remix. In keeping with his ethos of keeping this a bit sci fi, laser beams flutter in and out. It is because of this that the track could also be a warehouse party weapon. Continue reading
Steve Bug – Summer Nights
Prolific Detroit deep house producer Rick Wade released a track called ‘Summer Nights‘ back in the day. It came 6 months after the Steve Bug version, and is equally review worthy. Typically groovy, jazzy and laced with his signature synths, it painted a picture of summer out on the town. Yet Steve Bug’s version, being so alien to his norm, gave it the nod however. The revered Pokerflat, Dessous and Audiomatique Recordings maverick is a final level boss. Being around from the start of the German techno scene, some of his most memorable releases were akin to Robert Hood’s early work. A Minimal trailblazer in the 2000’s as both DJ and Producer, his take on ‘Summer Night’s is built for parties celebrated under the Mediterranean sky.
Steve’s cuts such as ‘Loverboy‘ or ‘Painkiller‘ show he likes to keep things simple. Dashes of vocal keep the mind tripped, just like in ‘Summer Nights’. Echoed and slurred, the ‘duhs’ fit nicely with the percussion. The bongos are played at a pace to lock the party into an unhurried pace. Knowing his tracks, you’d expect some sort of mechanical bleep to come in. It completely detours from this assumption, to display a splay of synths, like seeing the sunrise at Purobeach Mallorca. It’s sandwiched between a melodic 4 note bassline, and a filtered harmonica which that harmonizes alongside. The way the track is formed, it certainly sounds inspired by those tracks found on Young Marco’s Dream House compilations. If the famed Air Texture compilations decided to do a deep house edition, then could just have this one track on it. Musically it’s a triumph. Continue reading