2011 was a formidable year for the Tech-House scene, as producers rode the crest of the 2010 wave well into the following year. Tale of Us released a mammoth remix of WhoMadeWho’s ‘Every Minute Alone‘. Solomun’s Vox Mix of Noir & Haze ‘Around’ catapulted him into the spotlight. Slightly under the radar, Get Physical released DJ T’s ‘Pleasure Principle’ remix compilation featuring interpretations from David August, Jimmy Edgar & Subb-an. One of the labels that was on everyones’ lips, however, was Hot Creations. Founded by a Welsh-Chicagoan partnership of Jamie Jones and Lee Foss, the label introduced us to heaters such as Danny Daze‘s ‘Your Everything‘, Miguel Campbell’s ‘Something Special‘ and the chart-topping Hot Natured’s ‘Benediction‘, all released within the same year. While Jones’ can be seen as more of a patron of the label, Foss’ late 2000s and early 2010s releases laid noteworthy support to the crew’s rise to success. Tracks like ‘Keep My Cool‘ & ‘U Got Me‘ are fine examples of the finesse traced in his early releases. Coming from his Starfruit EP, ‘Someone New’ is a time capsule of era when Foss was at the peak of his production game.
Deep, elegant & sensual are just some of the words that can be used to describe Foss’ signature style. His earlier discography tended to have an unadulterated approach to using lightly-processed analogue synth lines. Such is heard in ‘Someone Knew’, as 1980s Miami inspired soundscapes mollify into the intro that cuts the lower EQs. In conversation with the Night Bazaar, Foss tributes Funk groups such as Paul Simpson Connection to having a major influence on him. Noticeably, his new label Repopulate Mars‘ pushes track like ‘Freak You Right‘, which are more fubsy in percussion sidechaining. This is somewhat a departure from his earlier sound that’s epitomised in this track. The bassline serves as an ancillary, melting into the groove created by a fairly emollient layering of the drums. The overall sound tenderly seduces the listener, rather than overbearing with an in-your-face approach. Fundamental to most renowned releases, is the polished use of the vocals. Here he reworks an extract from Usher’s 1994 track ‘Think of You‘. ‘All the time I think of you, Holding on to someone new‘ brings a set of rather guarded lyrics. Yet the groove created by the remaining elements of the track pacifies the listener into a dance that’s filled with reflection. Continue reading →
Brooklyn old-timers Francis Harris and Anthony Collins were a prolific production partnership under the guise of Frank & Tony in the mid 2010s. Part-owners of the taste-making New York label Scissor & Thread, their output was a melange of mature, tender interpretation of Deep House. Harris brought the exhaling texturing that complimented Collins’ percussion finesse. Pitchfork adequately claims duo were more “concerned with the sound of House music than its function“. In such, their tracks serve well for listening sessions and in-store DJ sets. Their 2012 track ‘Marigold’ found the perfect vocalist suitors in Bob Moses, a Vancouver duo that was christened by them. The NY veterans gave the Canadians their name, and their support on ‘Marigold’ kindly returned the favour.
Frank & Tony’s production notably interpreted the lower ends of EQ in a number of creative ways . While releases such as ‘What You Believe‘ & ‘Amedeo‘ brought a much more restrained approach, ‘Modest Season‘ & ‘Harmonium‘ came freshly baked from the academy of Basic Channel. In ‘Marigold’ they opted for a chugging bassline that is rich in flavour to open the track. True to form, however, soft keys reverberate in rotation to create a serene ambience. ‘All the way, all the way, all the way, watching this burn” the vocals repeat. Bob Moses’ mellifluous sging has made them a headlining act in the Underground scene, and a desired collaborator. Frank & Tony were blessed with an album’s worth of features back in early 2010s. The pads that eventually enter feel like a substitute for the Pacific wind, gently caressing the listeners ears. The vibe almost be described as a slower tempo, Western approach to Nu & Jo Ke’s – ‘Who Loves The Sun‘. It would comes as no surprise, therefore, to hear it feature at a sunset mix of Jose Padilla. Continue reading →
Last year, I got to see what all the fuss regarding Music On Ibiza was all about. That night Marco Carola and Martinez Brothers played to a dynamic and booming Amnesia Terrace filled with jollity. ‘Take Money‘ by Guille Placendia & George Privatti & ‘Mind Bend’ by John Tejada, Justin Maxell & Daniel Bell were two tracks that were so diverse, yet plucked apart the dancefloor like a hurricane that’s hit a beach shack. Big Room Techno is normally be associated with renowned DJs Dubfire & Len Faki. A sound full of reverb, delays, cavernous bass and colossal kick intertwined with a biomechanic theme. Cocoon helped push a more experimental and tribal side of it too. One of the highlights was Ahmet Sisman’s ‘Hey Now‘. A sinister yet funky bassline and killer vocal it was an absolute belter. These attributes are brought onto his exquisite remix of Cesare vs Disorder‘s Queen Atom alias cut ‘Coka Zero’. It is a classy expedition of his signature sound, released in 2013 on the Blue Atom EP on Cesare’s own Serialism Recordings.
A mastermind in experimentalism yet leaving an unadulterated jack, Cesare himself is as adept at Big Room bangers. ‘Refuse Greed‘, and his Azimute cut ‘Extravaganza‘ are engineered to incite pure anarchy. The original is full of twangs, random UFO bleeps and what must be the record for the most amount of differing worldly drum samples. Ahmet strips most of it back, leaving a pounding 808 to drive the track. Martin Buttrich wouldn’t complain. Over the top a bongo drum pattern murmurs. It’s a more muddied take on the originals, bringing a sexier slick. What makes it defining, however, is the Turkish DJ’s astute use of vocal samples. The first minute introduces an unidentified vocal ghost in. Further down the track the closing hook of Pharrell and Jay-Z’s ‘Frontin’ glides in. As discordant drums are mixed in, a polished transition takes place. The acappella of Kelis’ ‘Bossy‘ then strikes with verve. This adds thrust to the track with the rhythm of the melody alone. Not the first time either, with the EEE cut doing the rounds. It’s an unbelievable culmination in all the elements, concocted by a true maven. Continue reading →
‘Techno is a poor attempt to substitute robot sounds for what was once actual instrumental and artistic human expression’ stated Ryan Walsh in 2012, writing for the Daily Collegian, ‘It’s not as pure nor as genuine a music experience’. It’s a damn shame that he’s never listened to this track in question, ‘The Vox Attitude’. As described by Juno, the cut is ‘swung heavy with booming warehouse rhythms and nerve jangling cut up vocals’. Collectively, it is these two elements that keep it pure, released at a time when techno lost its way slightly. Magda realised the power of this, and seeing it rollick in after a Drexciya cut during her Boiler Room mix was a memory I will never forget. Released on the Swedish label Färden Records in 2010, it received its own re-release on Eerie Records. Sounding like no other, it is just as brutal now, as Sonja Moonear showcases in her Replay Madrid mix.
Another weapon of mass destruction released in the same year was the era-defining ‘Convolution‘ by Stockholm duo Skudge. Dubby with hints of deep house, it paraded an incredible fierce diva vocal demanding ‘Give it all up’. A similar vocal takes the forefront of Shuttle’s track, chopped up to say ‘YOU’ with a spectred gaze which then echos. A low-end sub bass stomps the track, with shuffling hats flickering over the top. Hypnotic bongos enter the background, played in double time. It extrapolates a steamy Brixton Electric night with Luciano at the helm. Supremely acidy, fettered modulations of a protist nature infiltrate the fray, rising up and down with the tide. With the reverb on overload, infectious lower mids sound like underwater pulses emanating from a submarine. The spherical nature of the track adds substance to Marco’s claim in his interview with Inverted Audio that ‘Producing tracks is a cinematic experience’. The apodosis of this entire concoction is a dancefloor losing itself. Continue reading →
Galcher Lustwerk’s I Neva Seen is a hip-house track with a twist. The track’s deep, with the vocal stirring into the beat like warm milk pours into espresso to form a perfect flat white. Short but strong, punchy and velvety smooth. Whizzing to the upper stratosphere of the underground in 2013 via his ‘100% Lusterwerk’ mixtape of his own originals, I Neva Seen is a true head boppin cut. Like some of Burial’s jams, some tracks are ideal for a walk in an urban environment. This is one.
Silky smooth chords sway in lazily, making the listener feel relaxed. It has an old school feel but feels brightened by the hats and knocks in the background. Field recordings of a wave kicks ensuring the track sounds extra wavy. Galcher’s use of vocals are too dope. Clearly influenced on the leaned out rap style of fellow New Yorker A$AP Rocky, Glacher raps about being blown away by a girls drug habit, across town, midtown and down town. Something ‘I Neva Seen’ before he alludes. A fitting companion for the beat.
Master C & J feat Liz Torres – Don’t Let Love Pass You By (D’Julz Edit)
There was a time in the early 1989 when it felt like the world was at Liz Torres’ feet. Underground success elevated from collaboration with the pioneers of Chicago house scene Master C & J. Her debut album ‘The Queen In the House’ was scheduled to be released by Jive Records. This would see her propelled into the mainstream eye.
Yet, history would prove to be unkind for Ms Torres. Though the singles “If U Keep It Up” and ‘Loca’ both reached top 10 of Billboard Charts, albums’ delay and poor promotion saw the house vocalist fall of the map. Her return with “Your Love Is All I Need” decades later in 2013 was a nostalgic tribute to what could-have-been had the album reached its audience at the time of its release. Continue reading →