Carlo Gambino & Al Bradley – Automatick

September 5, 2012 in Singles

Carlo Gambino & Al Bradley Automatick 3am

I’ve deliberately saved this till last tonight, cos it’s the best of what has been a very fine bunch all round.

At least, it is if you’re old, because the minute you hear the vocal you’ll be grinning from ear to ear! On Automatick, you see, this pair of cheeky Yorkshire scamps have brazenly lifted the vocal from Dee D Jackson’s minor 1977 disco hit Automatic Lover… better known to those of us who spent the early 90s dancing on podiums, hugging strangers and blowing whistles as Friends Of Matthew’s Is There Anybody Out There? Which means that if you ARE a househead of “a certain age” then this record is pretty much impossible not to instantly fall in love with.

Musically, it’s actually a very contemporary-sounding slice of deep/tech house coming complete with a slightly more disco-fied pass from Nick Devon and a marginally tuffer/techier Ceri rub. Which left me wondering, what would an 18yo clubber today – who wasn’t born when Friends Of Matthew soundtracked a million and one stranger-hugs – would make of it? And then I remembered how blown away I was on hearing Is There Anybody Out There? for the first time, and decided that to young, fresh ears this will probably sound just as good now as that did to me, then. So everyone’s happy.

For many reasons, TIWWD doesn’t do a ‘tune of the week’ or anything like that. But if I did, this’d be it without a doubt. Utterly, utterly crucial.

Out: This week on Beatport, everywhere else from 1 Oct.

About: Despite Carlo getting top billing this comes not on his own Midnight Social but on Al’s own 3am Recordings, who live on Soundcloud and Facebook mostly.

Incidentally, hearing this made me wonder who Friends Of Matthew actually were, given that we never really heard from them again… and it turns out two of them were Mike Grey and Jon Pearn (pre-Hustlers Convention even, never mind Full Intention). Every day’s a school day, eh?

Alex Over – 24 Steps

August 1, 2012 in Singles

Alex Over 24 Steps Over Recordings

The title here refers to the fact that Alex Over is just 24 years old. Despite such tender years, he’s managed to craft some truly forward-thinking grooves here, aided and abetted by a strong remix line-up.

In its Original form, 24 Steps is an experimental-sounding piece of electronic music that’s more about sound design than songwriting, if you see what I mean. As such it’ll reward those who enjoy a more challenging listen, but for this reviewer it’s all about the more floor-friendly remixes. Josh Butler’s rub is a heads-down, techno-tinged workout with bags of bass and fractured percussion, Michael Scott takes us into moody, cinematic deep house territory, while my boy Owen Howells (Shades Of Grey) ups the weird n’ wonky factor, as is his wont. But the standout for me is Al Bradley’s 3AM Deep Remix, which really doesn’t need much explaining!

Out: This week

About: This comes on Alex’s own Over Recordings, and is number four from the label. Here’s the usual website, Facebook and Soundcloud links.

Rob Clarke & Al Bradley – Apache Communications EP

July 26, 2012 in Singles

Al Bradley Rob Clarke Apache Communications 3am

A split release here from two names that will be very familiar to regular TIWWD readers, with one track apiece from 3am Recordings label boss Al Bradley and Beats Me Music main man Rob Clarke.

Apache on the A comes from Mr Clarke and is a comparatively uptempo slab of slammin’ deep house with plenty of bounce in its veins (and its big-ass b-line), and a Zebedee-like bouncy springy noise thrown in to boot! Over on the B, Al’s Skirmish is slightly more sedate, and features spoken male “you must be crazy… can you dig it?” vocal snips and mellow piano chords atop a tribally-inflected backing that sounds a bit like the music from Crash Bandicoot. Sounds weird, I know, but it works.

Very soon we’re promised an Apache Communications Remixed EP, with Al reworking Rob’s cut and vice versa. But these two originals will do nicely for now.

Out: This week

About: You can find 3am Recordings on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Various – The Leeds EP

July 14, 2012 in Singles

Various The Leeds EP Midnight Social Recordings

Having grown up in the Leeds/Bradford area, it’s pleasing to see how the Leeds house scene has grown so strong in recent years. This seven-artist, eight-track EP from Midnight Social Recordings serves as a reminder of just how strong it really is.

With tracks from Al ‘3am’ Bradley, Thomas Malo, Joe Morris, Steve Jones, Soanso, TDRMC (whose Me And My 808 is presented in two different mixes) and of course label boss Carlo Gambino, there’s plenty to please lovers of the deep here. Most tracks err towards the techy side of things, but Gambino’s Work Dat adds a little west coast/east midlands-style bump n’ funk while Morris’s Sunburst takes us into dreamier, Mogadon-disco pastures.

Honourable mention must also be made of Steve Jones’s Plasterman, which comes on like a ride on a tech-house ghost train. Well, it does to these ears, anyway…

Out: This week

About: You can find Midnight Social Recordings on Facebook. Oh yeah, and this one’s a Beatport exclusive, I should probably mention…

Nick Devon – So Addicted EP

July 6, 2012 in Singles

Nick Devon So Addicted 3am Recordings

This record just made me turn out all the lights, pump up the volume and have a disco in the living room to it all by my own self. Which is about as good as it gets at the age of 42, really.

Two tracks, four mixes in total, and every one a winner. “Deep and dark bass-led house,” is what the hype sheet calls So Addicted itself, and I won’t argue. I will just point out though that a) label boss Al Bradley’s 3am Deep Remix is the dog’s nuts and b) no, it’s not the Mainline sample you might be expecting – it’s actually got a spoken male vocal, with vocodered ‘answer’ vox to die for.

But speaking of samples, over on the B Nothing does very strange things with the vocal from People Hold On… or is it just the lyric, cos I’m not sure if it’s a resung male version of the same, or just a very pitched-down sample? Either way, this second big, echo-y monster can also be found lurking in a canine scrotal sack near you… and it comes with a deeper refix from Pete Dafeet too so we really are getting a bit spoilt here.

Out: This week

About: This comes of course on 3am Recordings, who can be found on Facebook and Soundcloud. Nick Devon is from Greece, and I’d also just like to point out that I don’t think I’ve ever typed the words “canine scrotal sack” before.

I’m gonna try not to make a habit of it. You never know where these things will end.

Audio Units – Sample The Example

June 20, 2012 in Singles

Audio Units Sample The Example

The digital DJ debate continues, as on this latest from Al Bradley’s long-running 3am, an unnamed speaker vents his spleen at all the haters who diss fellow DJs for using Traktor, Serato etc… but gives those DJs who ARE using Traktor, Serato but AREN’T doing it properly something of a wake-up call as well. “As long as you can rock a party, that’s what it’s about,” is pretty much the case put forward.

Now, I’m not getting bogged down in that whole argument here, for many reasons… perhaps we’ll discuss it another time but right now all you need to know is, this track rocks.

For me, it’s the Full Vox Mix that works best, for sheer tongue-in-cheek value if nowt else (“If you’re a new DJ, learn your fucking history. That’s why the older DJs are gettin’ mad at y’all… y’all don’t know shit!”). But there’s no shortage of less vocal-centric remixes. James Silk’s rub is his trademark high-quality, old skool-leaning deepness and the Ruben F Ghetto Mix takes us into techier territory with firing 909s to jack-jack-jack your body, while label boss Al Bradley’s 3am Deep Dub is a spaced-out, head-mangled affair that shouldn’t really take much explaining.

Like I said, all you need to know is this rocks – in whichever mix you go for. And if a track rocks a party, that’s what it’s about!

Out: This week

About: This week, you can mostly find 3am Recordings on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Ben Dean feat Bryony Matthews – Find Me

April 25, 2012 in Singles

From one Ben to another… this one’s called Ben Dean, and is a Manchester-based Kiwi who now returns to the label where he made his production debut some nine years ago, Al Bradley’s 3am Recordings. And the prodigal son doesn’t disappoint, with a sterling slab of straight-up deep house in five mixes.

The original’s a mid-paced affair with Chicago-esque bass and a yearning, soulful vocal from Ms Matthews. Remixes then come from the pick of the UK deep house crop. Label boss Al serves up a dark and moody dancefloor dub with a big fat bassline that comes remarkably close to ‘bassline’ territory (or at least ‘bassline house’ territory, before it went all cheesy and urban-electro). Long-term cohort Carlo Gambino takes us on another deep, dark n’ dubby ride, but this time one that’s more suited to home listening/post-club play, Rob Clarke keeps the vocal intact but beefs up the beats and ups the tempo a little while finally, Ben himself dons his Backfoot guise for a steppy, laidback, garage-y pass.

Classy stuff all round, with Backfoot and Al sharing the honours for me.

Out: This week

About: Find 3am Recordings on Facebook and Soundcloud if you want to know more – you can HEAR THIS at the latter too.

Jeremy Breen – Holic Down

April 12, 2012 in Singles

There’s no stopping Scott Harrington’s Savoir Faire Musique at the moment… the man himself recently told me “had FAR too much good music pinged my way so had to sign it!”. Which is encouraging, isn’t it?

This particular piece of good music comes from an Argentinian professional pianist by the not particularly Argentinian-sounding name of Jeremy Breen. In its original form, Holic Down is an uplifting, floaty, dreamy kind of sunrise deep houser with chorused, high-pitched female “Closer… closer… closer” vox. Niceness does, indeed, abound. A deeper refix from Howard Sessions & Al Bradley then drops most of the vox and beefs up the bottom end for the 4am floors, while finally we get a fairly self-explanatory (ie, it sounds all sub-aquatic and is dripping in 303 throb n’ squelch) Whales On Acid Remix from Essex boy Lee ‘Pretty Criminals’ Daines.
All three are of the high quality you’d expect both from SFM and from the heavy-hitting remixers involved, making it hard to pick a favourite, though if pushed really hard and threatened with being beaten around the head with a rolled-up copy of Take A Break magazine, I’d probably have to plump for Lee’s uber-deep late-night groover.
Out: This week
About: Some Savoir Faire Musique links you (hopefully!) might have clicked on before… Facebook Soundcloud Blog

Matteo Floris – Someone Is Rockin’ EP

February 5, 2012 in Singles

The experimental meets the traditional here, on an EP from 3am packing some VERY different mixes.

In the experimental/leftfield corner we have two originals from Floris himself. If you like your beats fractured, your rhythms chopped and stuttered and your headspace fucked with, then you should dig both Someone Is Rocking and Stolen Party, both of which also come complete with chopped-up snatches of Cockney vocal. Think of the kind of deep house that might appeal to fans of Domu, 4hero or Luke Vibert…

But in the traditional corner, we have two remixes that, I must admit, are more up TIWWD’s disco dolly street. In Michael Scott’s hands, Stolen Party becomes a bass-led deep houser with slight overtones of 80s groove/boogie. But the real star of the show is label boss Al Bradley, who shows the young ‘uns how it’s done on his Rock Your Body Dub of Someone Is Rockin’. Layered, echoing 4/4s, rising synth stabs, a rumbling b-line and sparingly-used sax squiggles join the tiniest of vocal snips here to create a proper deep house delight that’d be just as at home on the dancefloor or the sofa.

With cuts to suit a range of tastes, then, this is worth checking all round. But Al’s Dub is the killer for me.
Out: This week
About: You can find 3am Recordings on Facebook and Soundcloud.

Al Bradley – Power To The Peaceful

December 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

There are times when you hear a familiar vocal sample and you think, oh God, not again. If, for instance, I never hear another dubstep/garage/D&B track with that ‘six million ways to die’ sample, I won’t be complaining. On the other hand, there are those times when you hear a familiar vocal sample and you think, ‘I can’t believe he’s used this… but it works’.

And in the case of Jetstream here, it certainly does work. The sample in question exhorts you not only to continue pushing, but to do so more forcefully, and sits atop muted Sound Factory-esque drums and a simple looping piano riff on the Original mix, or (my pick) an epic slab of Mr Fingers-ish deep/Balearic house on the Joe Morris Coloured Smoke Remix. It’s great.

And that’s only the B-side! On the A, the Original Mix of Power To The Peaceful pitches sampled Civil Rights-era speech over a sparse, echo-y deep house backing starring some gorgeous Rhodes work, while Gambino’s Unruffled Mix is a midtempo near-breakbeat shuffler featuring some fat, squelchy analogue synth sounds.
Excellent stuff all round, but Jetstream just pips it for me. So I’ll keep on pushing it harder.
Out: This week
About: This comes not on Al’s own 3am Recordings but is in fact the second release (I believe) on Carlo Gambino’s Midnight Social Recordings.