Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 | Sounds | No Comments
I haven’t posted that many reviews recently, so here’s a run down of some stand outs from the past few months.
First up, Theo Parrish teams up with Andrew Ashong on the most recent Sound Signature release, ‘Flowers’. Although Parrish’s touch can be heard on the title track, it’s certainly a welcome departure from his recent output. Ashong provides the two tracks on the flip, which are equally as catchy.
Andres follows-up from the popular ‘New For U’ release from earlier this year, with the second outing on his La Vida label, ‘Second Time Around’. A couple of tracks are updated and re-mastered versions of previous Mahogani releases - as to be expected all quality here and for me a better record than ‘New For U’.
Kyle Hall collaborates with Funkineven under the alias of Funkinevil on the latest release from Wild Oats. The a-side ‘Night’ is a raw acidic workout that’s reminiscent of Jamal Moss’ works - no holds barred on this one. ‘Dusk’ on the b-side keeps things mellower with it’s loose bass-line and keys - top quality jam.
Last year Spanish label Downbeat launched its Black off-shoot, with the wonderfully odd ‘Avian Oasis’ from Juju & Jordash. For the labels second release, prolific Ukrainian producer Vakula, gives us two slow jazz inspired cuts, (’For Kira Nevis’ and ‘Curves’), both of which are in the vein of Moodymann’s productions. The b-side features the excellent ‘Lbeat’ which ups the bpm and can be heard on this recent mix.
Damon Bell’s ‘Nommo’ EP released via Deepblak, also fuses jazz with deep house to fine effect. The a-side gives us the 12 minute long ‘Pathways & Mindframes’, which sounds a lot like Pepe Bradock - obviously a good thing. ‘The Call Of NgKah’ sees Bell in beatdown mode, reminiscent of Reggie Dokes’ productions and ‘Heru’ is a wonderful jazz cut-up - heady stuff, that is well worth your time.
Another one to be heard on this recent mix is the unexpected release from Track Mode. Since it’s launch in the mid-90’s, Track Mode has been responsible for releasing some fine deep house records from the likes of Larry Heard, Theo Parrish, GU and Jovonn. After a few years absence Track Mode returns with a release from label head Brett Dancer. I’m not sure if this is new material or from the archives, but either way, it’s a great record. Hopefully we’ll hear more output from Track Mode soon.
Over the summer Fred P re-issued a few records on his Soul People imprint, including the excellent remix of ‘Come This Far’, which was originally released last year. I didn’t pick this one up at the time (opting for the full album release instead), so I snapped it up this time around. Finale Sessions also re-issued a couple of older Fred P tracks, albeit slightly different versions, on Finale Revisited Vol. 1. ‘Dawn’ and ‘Emotive Vibrations’ get extended this time around, both clocking-in at over 12 minutes, giving the tracks ample time to build - some of Fred’s best work to date.
Finale Sessions also gives us a split release from Chicago’s Hakim Murphy and Amir Alexander on the ‘New Roots’ EP. For myself this record is all about the two Amir Alexander tracks, with their tough drum programming, Atkins-esque bass-lines and emotive pads. Amir treads a similar path on the ‘Gutter Flex’ EP, the excellent debut release from Argot - both records are highly recommended. More machine driven funk, this time from Hakim Murphy who gives us ‘Wet Analog’, the second outing on Ike Release’s Episodes label. Raw, heady stuff here - if you picked-up the first Episodes then you’ll know what to expect. Also, be on the lookout for Episodes upcoming third release, “Astrodynamics”, from Ike and Hakim under their Innerspace Halflife moniker - top notch.
Friday, September 28th, 2012 | Sounds | No Comments
Robert Hood gives us the third installment of Nighttime World, ‘Motor’, released via Belgian label Music Man. The first two volumes of Nighttime World released in 1995 & 2000, with their more gentle, jazz inspired moments, have long been some of my favourite works from Hood - just as seminal as ‘Minimal Nation’ or ‘Internal Empire’. Overall ‘Motor: Nighttime World Vol. 3′ is more beat driven, with a lot less of the jazz-inspired flair of the previous volumes - not that this is a bad thing. Hood’s knack for quirky percussion and beautiful strings is still evident throughout, but we also get to hear a 303 and vocal samples in a few of the tracks - nods to Basic Channel and Kraftwerk can also be heard. ‘Motor’ sees Hood building on his sound while retaining his distinct style - highly recommended.
Friday, September 28th, 2012 | Sounds | No Comments
Very excited to provide a guest mix for David Siska and Matt MacQueen’s long-running Sonic Sunset show/site. A house and techno mix featuring many old favourites as well as quite a few recent releases I’ve been feeling. Download/stream the mix here - enjoy!
I was recently invited to play some records on Timmmii’s Down The Well show, which airs every Tuesday 6pm-8pm on Radio Valencia. Pretty much what was in my record bag at the time - you can stream the recording below and download the entire show here.
Artist - Track (Release, Year, Label)
1. Claro Intelecto - Signifier (Styrax Special, 2011, Styrax)
2. Rick Wade - Harsh Thoughts (Harmonie Park Revisited 2, 2008, Harmonie Park)
3. Convextion - Spice Tea (Untitled, 2002, Down Low)
4. John Tejada & Josh Humphrey - Assimilation (Assimilation, 2010, Palette)
5. Tevo Howard - The Drapes In The Living Room (The Drapes In The Living Room, 2011, Thug)
6. Helium Robots - Jarza (Theo Parrish Translation 1) (Jarza EP, 2012, Running Back)
7. Precession - Sandcastle (Mike Huckaby Remix) (Deep Transportation, 2004, Deep Transportation)
8. Klein & MBO - MBO Theme (Members Only Remix) (Historical Archives Vol. 1, 2006, Members Only)
9. Kyle Hall - Down! (WO6K, 2011, Wild Oats)
10. Omar-S - Still Serious Nic (Still Serious Nic, 2009, FXHE)
11. Mark Ernestus Meets BBC - Version (Shangaan Shake, 2012, Honest Jon’s Records)
12. Lawrence - Flowers (Never As Always Pt. 2, 2011, Laid)
13. Steve Summers - Different Paths (Mode For Love EP, 2011, L.I.E.S.)
14. Terrace - Too Close (Round Up, 1993, Djax)
15. Levon Vincent - Early Reflections (Novel Sound)
16. Lowtec - Dat America (Styrax Special, 2011, Styrax)
17. Disco Nihilist - A New Career In A New Town (Running (Far Away), 2011, Running Back)
18. Round One - I’m Your Brother (Chicago’s Twisted Mix) (I’m Your Brother, 1994, Main Street)
19. The Housefactors - Play It Loud (Play It Loud, 1988, Black Market)
20. Vakula - You Cannot Resist (You Cannot Resist, 2011, Shevchenko)
21. LHAS - Learning To Live (Learning To Live, 2011, Vibrations)
Sunday, April 8th, 2012 | Sounds | 3 Comments
Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker has been producing under many guises since the early 2000’s. More widely known as GB or Gifted & Blessed, the Los Angeles based producer has amassed an impressive catalog of releases and remixes; worked with legendary artists Airto & Flora Purim and his works have been widely heard through high profile ad placements. Gabriel was kind enough to answer a few questions, where he goes into some of his influences, how he began producing and how he enjoys discovering older gems over today’s more disposable music.
PYF: What is your earliest musical memory?
GB: I remember watching Tears for Fears on MTV as a baby and drumming along with sticks.
PYF: Who are some of your influences, both musical and non-musical? and how does their influence transpire in your work?
GB: I’m not even sure where to begin…I’m influenced by the music of the world…jazz, early electronic, field recordings, folkloric music, hip hop…and lots more. My non-musical influences range from personal experiences to relationships to mythology to nature. There are many great people who have come before and who are here now whom I admire. A question like this is particularly hard for me because as an artist my primary intention is to express what is true for me. I can’t say I seek out influences to inspire my work, it just happens, and ultimately as creators I think what we all create comes from one divine Source of inspiration.
PYF: How did you get into producing music? Was there anyone in particular that inspired/ helped you on your musical path? Read full interview…
Friday, March 30th, 2012 | Sounds | 2 Comments
Yet more great releases to check out.
Since it’s inception in 2009, Eglo have released a lot of great material. Of course Floating Points has been responsible for many of the labels most well known releases, however their growing roster are adding to those highlights. Eglo’s latest signing, LA’s Gifted & Blessed gives us three tracks under The Abstract Eye moniker, which was slated for a late March release (but still no sign of it yet). Like last years excellent ‘Cool Warm Divine’ EP, it’s another slice of Detroit infused electro and techno, which fits in perfectly with label mates FunkinEven and ARP.101 - highly recommended. Another London based label, Don’t Be Afraid, gives us their latest offering from Mr. Beatnick. The ‘Sun Goddess’ EP, is four deep house cuts, with my personal favourite, ‘Shifting Sands’, having a distinct Theo vibe to it. King Britt also sees a release via yet another UK label, this time being the always interesting Hyperdub. The release under Britt’s Fhloston Paradigm alias, is by far the best material I’ve heard from him in a while. Forward thinking unclassifiable music, with a similar vibe to some of the Actress material - not to be missed.
On the other side of the pond, Aybee gives us his first release of 2012, ‘Astral Metronome’, via his Deepblak imprint - three transmissions of deep techno that picks things up from where ‘11:11′ left off - as usual, highly recommended. Also on the deep techno tip is the forthcoming ‘Subsequent’ EP, the first in a series of vinyl only Episodes from Chicago based Ike Release. All four cuts (including the Hakim Murphy remix) are stellar, with ‘Puntigam’ being the stand out for myself. From new Chicago to old, Black Market re-issues The Housefactors’ ‘Play It Loud’ EP. Original produced by Larry Heard back in 1988, the EP is a lesson in raw jacking house - essential stuff. Another vital release seeing a re-issue is the excellent ‘In The Dark’ album from 2005. One of the strongest releases in Still Music’s excellent catalogue, it compiles some of Detroit’s finest producers, including Marcellus Pittman, Mike Huckaby and Delano Smith.
Mo Kolours gives us the second in a trilogy of EP’s, ‘Banana Wine’, released on One Handed Music. Following up from last years excellent ‘Drum Talking’ EP, ‘Banana Wine’ treads a similar unclassifiable path with percussion heavy dub infused beats, that somehow capture both Mo Kolour’s Mauritian roots as well as his current home of South London. Also included on the EP, a remix from DC based duo Beautiful Swimmers, of one of the EP’s highlights ‘Mini Culcha’. All of the Mo Kolours material thus far seems ripe for some remixes, so hopefully we’ll be hearing more soon. The EP is available on vinyl as well as a free download from One Handed Music’s Bandcamp page.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2012 | Sounds | No Comments
2012 is only a couple of months in, yet there has been no slow in pace of new releases worth picking up. Here are a few things that I’ve been enjoying recently.
Dutch label Dekmantel offers the first in a series of releases celebrating it’s 5 year anniversary. Juju & Jordash’s contribution, ‘African Flower’, is the stand-out of the two tracks on the 12″. Another version of ‘African Flower’ was first included on the excellent Aesthetic Audio release from 2008 and has long been one of my favourite productions from the duo. The ‘Cosmic Dub’ included on the Dekmantel release, strips things down (compared to the Aesthetic version), giving the bass and guitar more room in the mix which furthers adds to the deep atmosphere of this track. Juju & Jordash also provide a remix, along with John Heckle for TR-One’s ‘Drum Dance’, on Apartment Records. All three cuts on this record are great; Juju & Jordash provide a more dubbed-out affair, Heckle gives us a swinging Chicago style remix and TR-One’s original gives us drum work-out for the first third of the record before breaking into some heavy chords & synth - highly recommended.
On the Detroit tip, Theo Parrish’s remix of Helium Robot’s ‘Jarza’ is one of the best things I’ve heard from him in a while. Sonically cleaner and with drum programming that is a lot more straight-up than most of Parrish’s productions - but there is no mistaking Theo’s sound in this excellent remix. Helium Robot’s original version of ‘Jarza’ as well ‘Crepitation’ are also recommended (although quite different from Theo’s translation). R&S teams up again with Juan Atkins to give us the new Model 500. Atkins is back to working solo (after working with UR members on the last release) and gives us two tracks that are reminiscent of his ‘Deep Space’ era material - a real return to form.
There’s been a lot of re-issues and compilations released over the past few months worth picking-up if you don’t have the originals (or enough money to buy them). First-up, Rush Hour, who always do a fine job with unearthing older gems, releases James Mason’s ‘I Want Your Love/Nightgruv’. The original released in 1996 has become quite sought after, fetching high prices on Discogs. ‘Nightgruv’ recorded in 1984 is a proto-house track that sounds a lot like Larry Heard. On the flip, ‘I Want Your Love’, is a slower boogie number - both tracks are so good that you can understand the previous high price tag. Rush Hour have also released a Burrell Brothers retrospective, collecting the finer moments from their Nu Groove releases. Included are some of my personal favourites like, Metro, Utopia Project and NY House’n Authority - some of the best house music around. Another New York house gem that has been long sought after, the Joubert Singers ‘Stand On The Word’, gets a re-issue from French label Favorite. Included is the wonderful Tony Humphries mix as well the more widely available (but equally as good) Larry Levan mix. New French label, Vibes and Pepper, gives us Claude Young and Terrence Parker’s ‘The 4 Play EP’, which was originally released on Claude Young’s Dow label in 1993. Four raw Detroit house tracks, two of which (the untitled a-side tracks) have not aged too well in my opinion, however the record is still worth picking up for the two great (untitled) b-side tracks.
Also seeing a re-issue, is Porter Ricks’ ‘Biokinetics’. Released in 1996 on Basic Channel sub-label, Chain Reaction, and now getting a much needed release on Type. Deep, immersive techno, that was (and still is) way ahead of it’s time and hugely influential for many producers and genres over the years - highly recommended. Italian producers, Donato Dozzy & Neel, gives us ‘Voices From The Lake’, another essential deep techno album. If you enjoyed Donato Dozzy’s album, ‘K’, then you’ll definitely enjoy what is on offer here. The album’s eleven tracks seamlessly build, giving it a live performance vibe and makes this a deeply compelling album that you’ll want to hear from start to finish.
Thursday, December 22nd, 2011 | Podcast, Sounds | 2 Comments
1. Afrikan Sciences - Spirals (Deepblak) Buy
Kicking-off Deepblak’s 10 year anniversary was Afrikan Sciences’ debut album, ‘Means and Ways’. The album explored multiple genres, all with a heavy influence of (hi-tech) jazz running through-out. The dance-floor tracks (’Spirals’, ‘Ejercicios’ and ‘NanoRock Skank’) were subsequently released on vinyl. Afrikan Sciences also provided a killer remix of Aybee’s ‘Build Her’.
2. Ital - One Hit (100% Silk) Buy
There was a lot of hype around 100% Silk in 2011. I personally wasn’t feeling most of the releases but the Ital record really stood out for me - simple yet highly effective. All three tracks on this EP are great and have a similar raw energy found on early Chicago records.
3. Levon Vincent - Revs/Cost (Novel Sound) Info
After a year hiatus, Levon Vincent released two records via his Novel Sound imprint. ‘Man Or Mistress’ was inevitably going to be a huge track for the dance floor, but I preferred the more subtle tracks found on the ‘Impressions Of A Rainstorm’ EP. Either way, both records are essential.
4. Kevin Reynolds - Liaisons (Nsyde) Info
Kevin Reynold’s debut (released via his Todhchai imprint in 2006) was really impressive. This years follow-up (’Favis’) was a little underwhelming in my opinion. However, the ‘Liaisons’ track released via Nsyde more than made up for it. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another 5 years for his next release.
5. Tin Man - Nonneo (Acid Test) Buy
A real treat of a record, Tin Man’s ‘Nonneo’ caught the ear of many. ‘Nonneo’ saw Tin Man focusing on crisp, driving drum programming while keeping the sparse and emotive 303 bassline fairly restrained, producing both a trippy yet upbeat feel. The flip gave us the excellent Donato Dozzy remix, who kept things sparse and let the bassline breathe, which only added to the trippiness.
6. Vakula - You Cannot Resist (Shevchenko) Info
I was quite surprised to not see Vakula featured on more year end lists. The Ukrainian producer gave us great remixes of Herman’s ‘Rock Your Body’ and Steve Reich’s ‘2×5: Movement 3 Fast’, as well offering up 10 releases of his own material. The ‘You Cannot Resist’, ‘Unthank’ and ‘Picture Of You’ ep’s are all top quality and highly recommended.
7. Ethyl & Huxley - Reflexions (Tsuba) Buy
2011 was a busy year for Aybee and his Deepblak imprint. As well as providing stellar remixes for Ethyl & Huxley, Damon Bell and Afrikan Sciences, Aybee also gave us his own ‘11:11′ EP, a split release with Miles Sagnia as well as the ‘Build Her’ remix ep. Deepblak also celebrated it’s tenth anniversary with the ‘Ten’ compilation, which rounded up highlights from the label.
8. Recloose - Electric Sunshine (Rush Hour) Buy
Following-up from last years excellent ‘Early Works’ retrospective, Recloose gave us the ‘Saturday Night Manifesto’ EP via Rush Hour. Recloose’s first new material in three years, the EP is real return to form in my opinion. Both ‘Tecumseh’ and ‘Electric Sunshine’ are killer tracks.
9. Floating Points - Arp3 (Eglo) Buy
In two short years, Sam Shepherd (aka Floating Points) has released some of the finest music around. The early part of 2011 saw Floating Points release the excellent mid-tempo track, ‘Marilyn’ as well as the wonderful remix of Daedelus’ ‘Tailor Made’. The latter half of the year he gave us the acid tinged ‘Danger’, with the very nice (yet too short) ambient piece, ‘Miniature 27′ on the flip. The ‘Shadows’ EP released in early December finished off Floating Points’ year in very fine style. Hoping to hear a full album from Floating Points in the near future.
10. Kassem Mosse - Untitled (Workshop) Info
Wonderfully weird deep house from Kassem Mosse on the always excellent Workshop label.
11. Cosmin TRG - Amor Y Ortos (Fifty Weapons) Buy
A lot of techno coming out of Europe leaves me cold, but 2011 saw a number of producers who piqued my interest, including Romanian producer Cosmin TRG who gave us his debut album, ‘Simulat’ via Fifty Weapons - ‘Fizic’, ‘Ritmat’ and ‘Amor Y Ortos’ being the stand-out cuts for myself.
12. John Heckle - What Once Was (Mathematics) Info
Another producer that I was surprised at not seeing on more year end lists. John Heckle gave us a fine debut album, ‘The Second Son’ (the CD version was completely different from the vinyl, so essential two albums). The ‘Hard Sleeper’ release was also great but it was ‘The 4th Dimension’ EP that did it for me. Also, on Mathematics was the excellent ‘Traces’ EP by San Laurentino.
13. Mr. Fingers - Finger Fuck (Rush Hour) Buy
Obviously not from 2011, but (for most) these tracks only saw the light of day this year. Compiled by Gene Hunt, ‘Chicago Dance Tracks Vol. 1′ featured unreleased material taken from reel-to-reel’s given to Hunt during the 1980’s, with highlights from Virgo 4, Mike Dunn, Craig Loftis, Ron Hardy and Mr. Fingers.
14. Omar S - Here’s Your Trance Now Dance! (FXHE) Buy
Released at the beginning of the year, ‘Here’s Your Trance Now Dance!’ was no doubt going to ubiquitous. Omar S doing what he does so well.
15. Kyle Hall - Down! (Wild Oats) Info
On his only release this year, Kyle Hall gave us two raw looped based tracks. Simple, yet highly effective. Hall’s imprint Wild Oats also gave us the debut release from Jay Simon, ‘Faith’, a great rework of Faith Evan’s ‘You Used To Love Me’.
16. John Daly - Sea Level (Further) Buy
Seattle’s Further Records have released some great music all across the board over the past couple of years. Last year’s amazing Donato Dozzy album, ‘K’, got a much welcomed CD release this year. Other highlights from this year included o1o’s ‘Futurespective’ EP - a collection of Aybee’s headier material from the past few years, as well as the excellent John Daly record.
17. Space Dimension Controller - Max Tiraquon (R&S) Buy
Yet another one that should have turned up on more year end lists. This was billed as a prequel release to next years full length album, but this is really a great album in itself. You can clearly hear Detroit’s influence on SDC but he makes the sound his own. ‘The Pathway To Tiraqoun6′ provides great listen from start to finish.
Direct download: JGM_79_-_Best_Of_2011_1.mp3
Monday, July 11th, 2011 | Sounds | No Comments
Parabolas, the latest album by John Tejada – his ninth studio album and first for German techno imprint Kompakt – finds the Los Angeles producer exploring a more melancholy, subdued direction with an emphasis on melody. Tejada has spent his musical career cultivating many musical styles, from his early techno & tech-house releases on his prolific Palette Recordings label, to the Detroit-esque output on Dan Bell’s 7th City and Moods & Grooves, to the string of minimal-leaning techno released by Poker Flat and other labels in the last decade, as well as more left-field output under guises such as I’m Not A Gun.
Unlike most techno albums, Parabolas is noteworthy because it unfolds like an actual album, rather than a collection of singles repackaged in album form, emphasizing subtlety and nuance. Opening with the smooth, mid-tempo house-leaning “Farther and Fainter,” the moodiness of Parabolas first reveals itself via the next track, “The Dream” – an eerie beatless ambient track that actually may have been better off as the first track. “Mechanized” is, for me, when the album really begins to pick up steam, a sparse, perky melody punctuated by a series of chords and haunting, ethereal textures that feels influenced by Detroit techno – a style Tejada has long acknowledged as a driving force of his inspiration as an artist. “Subdivided” continues on the moody path, its crisp, electro-style beat offset by smooth synth stabs, while “Timeless Space” slows down the tempo and beefs up the twinkly emotional elements with a vintage feel via the use of the Roland TR-808. Tejada drifts back into warm ambient land on “The Honest Man” before propelling forward again with the upbeat track “The Living Night,” its percolating beat offset by dreamy textures and nuanced melodies. Both “Unstable Condition” and “Hollow Hemispheres” feel like salutes to Detroit techno with a similarity to early Orbital, the former incorporating vintage percussive elements amidst a thumping kick drum and chirpy synth textures while the latter delves a bit deeper via subtle polyrhythms. The album closer, “Uncertain End,” feels aptly titled, emphasizing percussive intricacies without much of the emotion that pervades throughout most of the album. It’s a surprising choice for the final track, only because so much of Parabolas seems to bleed emotion. More than 15 years into his recording career, Tejada continues to evolve and reinvent himself, and the fans are the beneficiaries.
Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 | Sounds | 12 Comments
Having found an appropriate home on Jamal Moss’ Mathematics imprint, John Heckle’s raw Chicago inspired sounds has resonated with many. Hailing from Liverpool, the 22 year old Heckle, tells us about his influences, his new album and upcoming projects.
PYF: What’s your earliest musical memory?
JH: Recording some shouty covers of The Beatles with my brother when I was about five or six. We had a tape recorder and some headphones in the mic socket to record, and some pans for drums.
PYF: Your sound has quite an affinity with Chicago - what was your first encounter with house and techno?
JH: Again I think my brother (Bill) had a lot to do with that. He took me to my first rave when I was thirteen, to a night called Bugged Out in Liverpool. He got me into a lot of the music I still listen to today.
PYF: Who are some of your influences (both musical and non-musical)?
JH: I find a lot of bands influential, such as The Smiths, The Beatles and The Doors, and artists such as Bob Dylan. In terms of electronic music, artists such as Larry Heard, Jamal Moss, Jeff Mills, Surgeon and Regis have been massive influences. Also some local DJs (such as Mark Forshaw, Sam Baron, Scott McGill, Binny and my brother most of all) have had a big influence on what music I play now.
JH: I started making music on a computer for fun in about 2003, which eventually led to the release of a track on RSB records a few years later. I would make tracks and play them in sets during my residency at Liverpool’s Alcatraz night, which was run by my brother and the guys we lived with at the time. We would spend most weekends hammering music in the house anyway, so making music and starting a night was a sort of natural progression. Anyway, it was at this night that Bill booked Regis to play. Regis forwarded a track I had just made to RSB and it was released a few months later in 2006. That is what inspired me to get serious about music. I think 2006 may have been a little early for me though as I was still only at the stage of teaching myself how to produce the sounds that I wanted to make. So I guess after a while production took a back seat. It wasn’t until a friend showed me the record The Sun God ‘Ancient Echoes’ that I got inspired to make music again; I’d never heard anything like that record. Soon after I started buying the Mathematics records. I was taken by the rawness and unpredictability of most of them; they were something exciting at a time when I was disillusioned with a lot of current trends. Read full interview…