Trying to describe the Idjut Boys production style is something of an impossibility. Much like trying to convert the Pope into a cultish apocalyptic Alien sect, it ain’t going to happen. However, from listening to tracks such as the tech-housey ‘Phantom Slasher‘, mush-mashed ‘One For Kenny‘ and the Smalltown Supertown released indie trip ‘Ambient Rab‘, ‘psychedelic‘ is something that aptly suits. Hailing from North London the duo, made up of Dan Tyler & Conrad McConnell, make music for the purists. All the while, keeping it raw and passionate without losing any soul. This is most exemplified in the 1999 cut on Atmosfear’s Altered State LP ‘Deep Bass Nine’.
A play on Star Trek’s Deep Space Nine, the track is a delight for a fan of funk and disco. Drop this in your set and you know the club will be set ablaze. The edit of El-Coco’s ‘Cocomotion‘ is another such track of theirs which is primed for the dancefloor to be lit on fire. After much searching, the original couldn’t be found. We’re sure that the Idjut Boys put it in safe hands however. Starting off with a whirlwind of percussion, bongos, delayed drums and whirring noises, it’s certainly intergalactic at heart. Once the guitar strings come in, the brew of elements give the feeling that you’re on a beach floating through space. Flute-like sounds contrast with the funk basslines as echoing guitar strums provide real rhythm. Over the course of the remaining two-thirds of the track, each key element is given time for a solo. It’s a right trip that only the Idjut Boys could pull off as a masterclass. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
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 →
Circa 2007 back in Oz, I came across this dope Progressive track track by a Melbournian named Lewie Day. The track was called ‘Alright’, and it got lost in the abyss of my old Hard Drive. Out of sight and out of mind, I never really looked out for other music from him. Fast-forward to 2016 I was seeing Bjarki play at The Pickle Factory. Conversing with a fellow Aussie about the scene back home, I asked him about Lewie Day. More shocked than a Euromillions lotto winner, I proceeded to find out that Day operated as Tornado Wallace. How did I not know that he was the founder of Melbourne Deepcast, a podcast behind one of my favourite releases of 2010. Anyhow, for a man battling against the tide of Happy Hardcore, Hardstyle, Electro House and Dubstep I was proud to say the least. His follow up release on Delusions of Grandeur (the sister label of Freerange Records run by Jimpster) featuring a dope Linkwood remix, ‘Always Twirling’ was Tornado Wallace’s reminder that he was here to stay.
Talking about both monikers in his interview with Juno, Lewie claims ‘Tornado kind of opened up as I was making music less about a druggy sound and more of a drinking mocktails by the pool sound.’ I would add that it’s a pool fluoresced by the moonlight, as the scattered hats spray around like a lawn sprinkler. Single note keyboard stabs are placed meticulously on beat, with a sampled disco guitar rift quietly strumming in the background. All of a sudden, the reason why the track gets it’s name hits for cortex. Melting and folding into each others company, panned chords twirl revolvingly at a slowed paced to take full effect. Once the pads kick in, you feel at full flight over the clouds as it soars the higher registers. A vocal sings ‘Back to shake em down’ as ‘You broke my heart, because I couldn’t dance’. A breakdown of epic proportions then takes place with Wallace displaying some supremo synth work glittered with minor key swirls. It’s like a painter dipping it’s bush into gloops of paint, ensuring there’s as much drag as possible as it paints over the canvas. The bass is a groovy affair with slackened disco flair to keep things chill.
At 116bpm, it is a cushd track great for mixing in with Disco or Deep House. Bringing variety to what Lewie has recently releases, such as the IDM displayed on ‘Lonely Planet‘ and more indigenous sounds of ‘Kakadu‘. Whatever direction he does take, however, it is always maintained at the highest of heights when it comes to music craftsmanship.
Leon Vynehall’s ‘Drinking It In Again’ is one of our tracks of 2018. The Downtempo chilled jazz affair is so dope, Jazz aficionados will be surprised it was made by a House Producer. Leon has a knack for great experimentalism as seen in his first LP Just for House. For his second LP however he created ambient intro and outro encasing a smorgasbord of functional dancefloor house bangers. A 2016 Running Back release, Rojus (Designed to Dance) it was called and it’s the Lithuanian word for Paradise. Being the only track to play at 45 on the vinyl, Blush sums up why it got this title.
Shimmering wooden flute sounds like those heard on a Disney Classic cartoon music flutter in. The Brighton producer then uses a kick drum brimming at a 1-2 pace. Single note piano keys are plonked, before cut and played down on the minor. Like on Premiesku’s Bucur (See our review), Blush takes you sky high into the jungle. A sample of a wild cat roaring precedes the hastening of the track by use of the sweeping stringed synths. It’s like the synths in Vakula’s Different Tone but played on a major. It sounds gorgeous, like seeing world off the edge of a waterfall edge. Sending the dancefloor tumbling then rolls in the bass which motivates an anthem groove. The ‘Ohhhh’ vocal is elongated sung at a higher octave to take the track to a farther place. It feels primal, and soulful. Continue reading →
Soundhack and Errorsmith’s Smith N Hack project made waves after their remix of Herbert’s ‘Moving Like A Train’. The granular detail showed and punt to bring in old school sounds of brass band stabs was well celebrated. Dixon was more than happy to use it as his Vol. 4 closer on the Get Physical Label’s revered Body Language series. After their acclaimed remix of Ricardo Villalobos’ Easy Lee project it was evident that more was to come from the duo. Even though bleepy mnml from that period appeared to grow bland, ‘Falling Stars’ proved that bleeps used in a different way found still sound fresh. How so? The 2007 release used a wide variety of arcade machine, Atari video game noises. It brought a bit of life to the dancefloor while still maintaining its futuristic outlook.
Featured on Michael Mayer’s monumental Immer 3 mix, it is a killer cut. The way the track launches with just the 8-bit sounds descending from on high helps you understand why it’s called Falling Stars. These apps used by a JX8P machine are played at different BPMs and at different octave heights to create a magical world. In rumbles the double note MIDI bass, which is not too dissimilar at all to their ‘Easy Lee’ remix. I:Cube, Todd Terje and others on the Nu-Disco strain have used similar. This feels extra resonant with soul. This soul being heightened by the love sick ‘oo’s’ from the vocoder vocal is incredible. With tints of Italo-disco it talks about ‘At the end of the world, at the point of no return / I’m thinking of you, and my heart starts to burn.’ With all the noise that’s going around, the dancefloor will be burning too. A break down takes place of some tight key work, before the bass comes back and streams of ‘stars’ fall. Unreal. Continue reading →
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 →
Just like for their National Football Team, the future of the French underground scene looks radiant. Veterans such as DJ Deep, Appollonia & Oxia are supported by up-and-comers like Miley Serious or Zaltan & DK. Referred as a revival by some, it can also be seen as an emergence of a groundbreaking scene. Though the scene is rich in diversity, however, there will always be a soft spot for the French Touch on a track. None is more evident in a sturdy disco-funk track, as demonstrated by this 2018 release.
Sampling Muriel Dacq’s ‘Tropique’, Mézigue twists this 1980s gem (that should have featured in a GTA Vice City DLC) into a peak time AVA Festival grenade. If one takes a closer listen they’ll notice that the infectious bassline here used at the heart of the song shares the same chord progression as Kid Cudi’s Project X hit ‘Memories’. Though, here it caters for a rather different audience. Quirky, offbeat tempo changes characterise the song, guttural French-male vocals parroting a line from the original. For those lacking French literacy, the word ‘diskoteka‘ will illuminate the purpose of the chant. The fraternization of subgenres can be best understood by the description of the song as Italian Disco G-Funk House. Continue reading →
Soul Clap, consisting of Lonely C & Bamboozle, is a DJ & producer partnership hailing from the States. They boast what must be one of the most eccentric artist bios out there, making references to Sun Ra and Motherships (check it out for real). The discography of the boys from Massachusetts is also smoother than the bottom of James Brown’s shoes. With production that draws inspiration from disco, funk & hip hop, their production is the backlight to sceneries filled with neon lights and palm trees. Their Crew Love Records label is an outlet of releases that all share the attitude of good vibrations. The duo have been recognised for their bootlegs of RnB classics since mid 2000s, so this track coming from their 2016 EP is an observance of a tradition that has characterised their career.
Part of the ‘R&B Edits Vol. 3’, the collaboration with New-York-native and label-mate Ahmed, the remix adds a groove to Sade’s original. Keeping the toms together with the softer undertones of the saxophone from the 1988 release retains its core. Key component to the track is the vocal sample, which needs to handled with care. Here the edit adds some healthy reverb and tints off echo to bounce off the rhythm. Guitar bass carries a hint of ruggedness that is reminiscent of Fat Larry’s Band output back in the 1980s. Unruffled pads preserve the track’s slick ride while the sustained synths that enter the picture in the latter half complete this journey abundant in funk. Continue reading →