Erosie – Disco Noir

October 31, 2009 in Singles

A real hotch-potch of a release that fuses elements of house, techno and, yes, disco… thankfully in a way that could appeal to lovers of any of ’em rather than alienating all three.

The Original Mix of Disco Noir starts out as fairly standard post-minimal techy, slightly proggy groove; then after a big space-y build, it unexpectedly drops a fat, fat bassline in an almost Flat Eric kinda vein. Expect dancefloor whoops! The mix and mash of old skool vocal snips and proggy stabs then carries the track to the end. The Telonius Mix is driven by another, completely different huge bassline, this time inna disco stylee, and some retro piano stabs – it’s got a Sneak/Carter-esque kinda vibe to it, a feeling that’s heightened by the more percussive and jackin’ Vincent Thomas Vocal Dub, which could have come out on Relief/Cajual in the mid-’90s, no problem!
About: This is on Swings Records, a house-oriented offshoot of Great Stuff run by Jean Claude Ades. More info at the Great Stuff website or Swings’ own MySpace.

The Layabouts feat Kathy Brown – Choices

October 31, 2009 in Singles

This one’s been out a few weeks but had to get a mention, just for the talent roster involved. Team up Kathy Brown’s legendary tonsils with The Layabouts – for me, among the best of the UK’s current crop of up-and-comers on the ‘deep and soulful’ side of things – was a stroke almost guaranteed to bring results, n’est-ce pas?

Well, yes, but look at the remixers too! The headline for me is the inclusion of two mixes by the legend that is Jovonn. If you’re an old skool garage head, then Jovonn’s name on anything is cause for salivation, and his deep New Jersey-flavoured Vocal and Instrumental are no disappointment (esp the latter). That said, neither are Restless Souls’ Chicago-y Vocal and Instrumental, nor The Layabouts’ own Main Vocal and Sax Dub. The latter two are very contemporary-sounding and deeper than you might expect: indeed, the Sax Dub could happily fit into a minimal-y kinda deep house set. Be assured that even with Ms Brown onboard this is no Kandi-tastic screamalong!
About the label: This is on MN2s, one of the UK’s finest when it comes to soulful house and latterly, with the no-longer-shouty 1Trax imprint, a good source of deeper tackle, too. Their website is ‘under construction’ as I write, but here’s the link anyway.

Disco Discharge series

October 31, 2009 in Albums

Right then, there was some confusion previously about release dates, otherwise at least one of these four albums would have gotten reviewed in iDJ. However as it goes they got sadly overlooked a few months ago when first released; now they’re getting a re-issue as a whopping eight-CD boxset, so this seems like a good time to have ’em on TIWWD.

The Disco Discharge series, then, consists of four two-disc collections, each of which is fairly self-explanatory from its title (Disco Ladies, Euro Disco, Classic Disco and Gay Disco & Hi-NRG). The best thing about these albums is the spotter-friendly content: there are a few well-known tracks (the likes of More More More, Magic Fly and Got To Be Real), sure, but they’re in the minority. Mostly this is far more obscure bizniss, so you can rest assured any of these albums is a cut above those £3.99 ‘Disco Party’ CDs you see in Tesco’s, and then some.
Other good things: 1. All the tracks are full-length 12″ versions, and unmixed for your disc jockeying pleasure. 2. Each album comes with pretty thorough sleevenotes from Alan Jones: as per his book Saturday Night Forever, his writing style can irritate (way too many exclamation marks! Sometimes several in a row! Even when you don’t need them!) but the man knows his disco onions all right. 3. Easy Going’s Fear (from Euro Disco) sounds like a disco record made by Hawkwind. Which is a good thing.
If there’s a criticism, well, the mysterious ‘Mr Pinks’ who’s compiled these clearly has a penchant for big fem-vocalled stompers, which predominate throughout, with orchestral stabs and soaring strings abounding. The more esoteric or experimental sides of disco don’t get much of a look in (with one or two exceptions). That said, right now the nu-disco boom has led to to a kind of musical revisionism whereby you could be fooled into thinking early ’80s leftfield synth epics from Italy were all disco was about, so this set redresses the balance nicely in that respect. Oh, and the 84 tracks also include Keep On Dancin’ by Gary’s Gang, which can proudly boast that it is officially My Least Favourite Record Ever.
All told, these albums will appeal most to those with extensive disco collections already. For hits you can see the 1001 budget comps sold in supermarkets; for an introduction to more obscure/underground disco, try the Disco Spectrum comps on BBE, Harmless’s own Jumpin series, or pretty much any compilation with Dave Lee’s name on it. But if you’ve already got those bases covered and you STILL haven’t got enough cowbells in your life, then Disco Discharge is a worthy investment.
About the label: The Disco Discharge series come from Harmless, which along with Strut and Soul Jazz is one of the best respected reissue imprints around. They did the Pulp Fusion and Life:Styles series, among others… see their website for more info.

Midav – Tiptoe EP

October 31, 2009 in Singles

Since we seem inadvertently to be on something of a techy/proggy kinda tip, right now seems to be a good time to tell you about the Tiptoe EP from Midav. Don’t know thing one about Midav but this is, as per the last couple of reviews, groovy, deep electronic music from the house/techno border zone. In this instance though there’s a range of mixes on offer, from Sydney & Klod Rights, Marcello Nassi, Mile and Angel Rize – two tracks and six mixes in total.

Tiptoe itself is a rolling deep house affair with some nice St Germain-ish minor key piano chords. The Marcello Nassi mix takes it a wee bit deeper still, and then a rerub from Sydney & Klod Right takes it into darker, more techno-influenced territory. The latter mix is quite a change of mood, but it works. One Mode, meanwhile, is a more prog-tinged affair: the Original and Angel Rize mixes don’t vary a huge amount, but Mile offer(s) a little more dancefloor oomph on his/her/their mix.
About the label: This is another fine release from my boy DJ Sydney’s excellent tech-house label Tokyo Red. Next stop: MySpace. Which might even tell you when Tiptoe is out, cos I don’t know for certain (but round about now, anyway).

Lee Jones – Yoyo EP

October 31, 2009 in Singles

Lee Jones is better known as lounge/chill-out dude Hefner (not to be confused with Peel darlings Hefner, the UK indie band). He’s a Brit who’s lived in Berlin for seven years, and it shows, cos this EP is a three-tracker packed with the kind of ‘is it house is it minimal is it techno?’ deep electronic grooves with which my inbox is currently so inundated.

It has to said there’s A LOT of this sort of stuff around right now, but the Yoyo EP is pretty good all the same, with three intriguingly-titled tracks – Yoyo itself, Burglarized and Closed Circus – that’ll keep the dancefloors they’re aimed at moving, or alternatively do sterling service as home listening. With Lee’s downtempo background it’s no surprise he knows a thing or too about keeping things interesting even when there’s not huge amounts going on – or in other words, production-wise this is bob-on. And it’s out on Nov 11, pop-pickers!
About the label: Cityfox is a brand spanking new label from the Zurich club night/collective of the same name, who can boast Seth Troxler as a resident. They say “the concept is not to have a concept, just releasing fresh electronic music with psychedelic touch, somewhere between house and techno”. Sounds good me, and on the evidence of this EP I’ll be keeping an ear out. Meantime here’s the MySpace for Cityfox and here’s another one for Lee Jones himself.

Monaque – Clocks

October 31, 2009 in Singles

This comes atcha on Forensic, and you should know by now the kinda deep-meets-prog furrow that Forensic ploughs, so this won’t need too much explaining. It’s a two-tracker with Clocks on the A-side and Biscuit on the B: Biscuits is a nice slab of dreamaway late-night electronica, while Clocks is a bit deeper still, but also more overtly house-y and a little more textured. Both are probably best served on the sofa rather than the dancefloor, but there’s nowt wrong with that.

Monaque themselves, meanwhile, are an international duo based in New York and Moscow… which is something that couldn’t possibly have existed when I were a lad. Funny how things change.
About the label: Forensic, the long-running label offshoot of the Shinding crew up in Newcastle, can usually be relied on for some top-drawer material, not least because they don’t seem to see a need to chuck out 17 releases a month. More power to ’em, and here’s the obligatory web link, though the website doesn’t seem to have been updated for over a year…

Boy’s Own: The Complete Fanzines 1986-92

October 29, 2009 in Singles

A little piece of rave history, and as they were kind enough to send me a copy – it’s quite good being me, sometimes – thought it had at least better get a mention on here!

Well, what can I say? In case anyone’s just come in, this is the complete collection of the legendary Boy’s Own fanzine, which chronicled the first wave of British rave culture and gave birth to the Boys Own/Junior Boys Own record lablels. It’s just come out in hardback and it’s a whopping £24.95, but if you want an actual as-it-happened account of acid house and all that malarkey, there isn’t a better place to look. For anyone with an interest in dance music history, then, it’s absolutely essential. Even if it is just a pile of badly typed/scrawled/photocopied 80s fanzines in coffee table form.
Even for the less trainspottery it’s full of fun stuff like a 1987 article by Paul Oakenfold extolling the joys of mescalin. It’s also good if, like me, you were involved in fanzines in the 80s and can remember using Ms as sideways Es when you were running out of Letraset
Oh yeah, and you can buy it here.

The Nearly Man – Deep Down In Madrid EP

October 29, 2009 in Singles

Regular readers (ha ha ha!) will know I’m a bit of a fan of Conya’s techy take on deep house. Here we have a five-track EP from one Diego Sanchez Izquierdo, and the title of the EP says it all, really. Just five slabs of floor-oriented, instrumental deep house goodness with a slightly tuffer, techier twist that helps it sound very ‘now’. That’s all there is to say, really.

About the label: Conya comes from Germany’s excellent Clubstar stable and is their outlet for all things deeper and techier. Label boss Henri Kohn is also a jolly nice chap. For more info, hit up where you’ll find details of the entire catalogue, including news of the first Conya compilation.

Lee Foss – The Edge EP

October 29, 2009 in Singles

Well, this is exciting: a four-track EP I genuinely don’t know how to describe! Falling somewhere between deep house, deep techno and more abstract electronica, this is just great electronic music, I guess… do we really need to pigeonhole it?

I’m aware that’s not that helpful, though. So if I’m gonna have a bash then Charmer and Things Fall Apart are dark, rumbling tech-house, Solo is a glitchy, more techno-inspired number while The Edge itself is a more sedate, late night listening kinda thing.

That said, though, none of said words quite do this justice. Here’s how the label themselves describe this: “a deep ominous funk that combines bouncy percussion, rising bass lines, moody synths, and disembodied soul vocals…a sound influenced by the energy of 80s funk and disco, the harmony and passion of 90s R&B and New Jack Swing, and the dark corners of Detroit techno and Chicago house…and, as such, is unlike anything else”
That kinda works as well. Anyway, visit them online and decide for yourself.
About the label: This is on LA-based Culprit, who I don’t know much about. Their last release, Kenneth James Gibson’s Animals Tonight, was similarly quirky and appealing though (I reviewed it, though whether here or in iDJ I can’t remember right now) . So let’s all get better acquainted with ’em by visiting their MySpace and website.

Mic Newman – Sizzled Sally EP

October 29, 2009 in Singles

Another sterling three-tracker, coming from that Sneak-ish school of deep house where neither disco nor techno is ever more than heartbeat away. The title track has pianos and ‘burning’ vocal snippets that give it a pleasingly old-skool ’90s flava, Elephantine is a deeper and more contemporary-sounding affair, and then 5 O’Clock is a real floor-teaser which starts as a simple locked-on, percussive groove, drops down into a relentlessly building wukka-wukking geetars and then throws the whole funk-fuelled cocktail right in your face in an energetic climax. It’s the sort of tune you’d play to build energy and excitement right before your biggest tune of the night, if you know what I mean, Mr DJ.

Oh yeah, and if you must have facts and stuff, then Mic Newman is Australian, and this is OUT THIS WEEK.
About the label: This is on the excellent murmur, a label that’s been so dependable for good solid grooves in the past couple of years, it’s hard to believe they’re only 13 releases old! If you’re not up to speed with murmur I suggest you head to their website forthwith.