Rennie Foster – With Abandon

December 6, 2015 in Singles

Rennie Foster With Abandon RF TraxEarlier this week, Canadian house and techno producer Rennie Foster got in touch and sent me a bundle of his recent productions. They were landing a little bit late but after he’d gone to all the trouble, it seemed churlish not to give the guy a shout!

Pick of the crop for me was this cut on his own RF Trax, which blends techno and jazz/soul influences to great effect. In its Original form, With Abandon strews scat fem vox liberally over driving beats, warping synth/organ chords and various tripped-out FX, the end result being a track that doesn’t sound like much else out there and is sure to prick up ears on the dancefloor.  Antwon Faulkner’s remix is a touch (tech) housier, Stephen Brown does the glitch techno thing while Cloudmaster Weed takes us into wonked-out, beatdown territory.

It’s the Original and Faulkner remixes I’d head for first.

Out: Now (but only for a week or so)

About: This is only the second release from RF Trax, who you can find at Rennie’s own Soundcloud, Facebook and website.

Various – ChiQago

February 15, 2015 in Albums

Various Chiqago Faint Frequency RecordsWith MOTSA having dragged us into experimental, beats-y territory, that’s where we’ll finish tonight with a look at this truly out-there collection from Ayush Sharma’s Faint Frequency label.

Opener Intro is an atmospheric, ambient piece with train/train station sounds, the very gentlest of piano chords, and lilting jazz sax sounding like it’s coming from somewhere down the street. It sets the scene for the laidback, jazzy trip-hop of Chiqago itself (credited to Micah/Alex/Yush) nicely. But Don’t Need Me Much which follows (credited to Yush/MizStefani/Micah/Leon) then throws us a curveball, as super-high-octane jazz drums Buddy Rich himself could be proud of (or DJ Krust, for that matter) meet Orb-like ambient synths and sampled funk diva vox. It’s Offseason by Big In Malta takes us into proper liquid funk territory, while Yush’s 12 Minute Journey starts out sounding like what happens when two-step and ambient collide, then gets proper crazy, with more fierce jazz drums and proggy synths. Pheel’s Is Someone There is another near-ambient piece with fractured, stuttery beats, Big In Malta’s Memories Are Sacred is another jazzual liquid workout, while finally Wahawka’s She Is wouldn’t have sounded out of place on CD1 of any of the Northern Exposure albums.

Like I said, a truly out-there collection… but one that makes for very fine late-night listening all the same, with the Big In Malta tracks the highlights for me.

Out: This week

About: You can find Faint Frequency – who are indeed based in Chicago – here, here and here.

MOTSA – Time

February 15, 2015 in Singles

MOTSA Time EP Southern FriedWe’re definitely on a ‘now’ tip with this five-track EP from Southern Fried Records.

I’ll be honest, Clocks, with its sweet, London Grammar-like vocal from MIMU and shuffling, post-UK funky beats, is a bit too ‘hipster house’ for these ears, in either Radio or Extended Mix forms. Not to worry though, because elsewhere on the EP, Digital World is a fine slice of cinematic post-garage electronica with some lovely jazzy keys, while Time Out and Time Goes On take us into edgier, beatdown-like territory, and show that after all these years, Southern Fried still have it in them to push things forward.

It’s Digital World that stands out for me, though.

Out: This week

About: Find Southern Fried Records here, here and here.

Rick Wade – Sweet Life EP

February 2, 2014 in Singles

Rick Wade Sweet Life EP FINA RecordsFor those who know their house history, Detroit veteran and Harmonie Park boss Rick Wade will need no introduction; for the current generation of club kids, let’s just say that this man has been making deep house music since you were in nappies.And that experience shows on this finely crafted release for UK label FINA Records.

The title track in its original form is a lounge-y, disco-y, beatdown-y kinda thang with rich, sweeping strings and unhurried, shuffling percussion. Mr Beatnik’s remix beefs up the drums a notch or two but the standout rub for me is the digital-only Tom Taylor & Simon Morell Mix, which adds a spoken female vocal and filter disco elements and rides skippy, garage-y beats. Elsewhere, The Chateau is, despite the French title/vocal, a Latin-sounding affair that to these ears is reminiscent of a modern-day Gibson Brothers, while Jazz Militia is actually my pick of the whole EP – a much more straight-up deep house dancefloor jam with that essential techy Detroitian twist.

20+ years in the game and still going strong… respect is due!

Out: This week

About: You can find FINA Records, set up in 2011 by Simon Morell, Matt Long and Ralph ‘2020’ Lawson, on Soundcloud and Facebook.

Kez YM – Late Night Blue Sound EP

September 12, 2013 in Singles

Kez YM Late Night Blue Sound City Fly RecordsA four-track EP that wears its old skool influences on its sleeve here from Kazuki Yamaguchi, AKA Kez YM, coming to you courtesy of City Fly Records.

Late Night Remedy opens proceedings inna soulful nu boogie/beatdown stylee, with its male vocals, funkified b-line and lush chords overlaid with party noise throughout. The track also revisits the female vocal from (or perhaps uses the same sample as? I’m not entirely sure) FPI Project’s Everybody All Over The World …. The deeper Andrs Remix of the same then takes us into more obviously ‘late night’ (as opposed to ‘party hearty’) territory. Sneak Into You is another midpaced affair in a very similar, albeit less vocal vein, but the pick for me here is Ladder Of Smoke, which not to put too fine a point on it is old-skool Chicago-style deep house revisited.

Out: This week

About: You can find City Fly Records, who are based in Leicester and Birmingham, on Facebook and Soundcloud. Hit up the latter and you can also currently download a free hour-long mix from Kez YM (as well as various other goodies).

G-Ron feat Polar – I Like EP

March 8, 2012 in Singles

The latest from fledging NYC imprint Dance Through Life comes in a range of mixes that mean it could find favour with a range of DJs.

Although the EP’s called I Like, the one track featured is actually called Like Like. Go figure. In its original form, Like Like is a moody, beatdown-esque slow-builder with glitchy beats, some ominous rumbling bass and insistent minor piano chords. The Mr Pepper mix maintains the slo-mo feel but livelies up the percussion a tad for dancefloor purposes, while the Gerard Mix is a considerably more driving but still dark n’ moody tech-house take that could have come straight outta East London (actually, I don’t know where Gerard’s from, so it might well have done). The standout for me, though, is the Ivan Fernandez Mix, a more musical and funkified pass in a deep/tech vein.
But like I said, with a range of mixes to choose from there’ll be something to suit lots of tastes here.
Out: This week
About: You can hit up Brooklyn label Dance Through Life via their website, Facebook or Soundcloud.

Rob Clarke – Gravity EP

October 22, 2011 in Singles

Staying on a tech-house tip here, but going a little bit deeper with it, this is the latest from UK producer, coming courtesy of US label Headtunes Recordings.

The original of Gravity is a midtempo affair sitting right on that deep/tech border, with a dubby feel to the bassline and some soaring synths for that eyes-wide-shut dreamaway effect. Deepshizzol supplies a remix that beefs up the beats slightly to give the track a little more dancefloor oomph, and adds a spoken vocal – which sounds like it’s been sampled from some old public information film or something – featuring a guy talking about the influence of African rhythms on music. Mike Jules’ Mid-90s Basement Mix, meanwhile, is fairly accurate in its self-assessment… if you were dancing to deep house in basements in the 90s you’ll know just what I mean. Unsurprisingly, I think this would be my pick of the three rubs on offer.

But that’s not all, because you also get two mixes of bonus cut The Haunting. Clarke’s original is a slightly more uptempo tech-houser to kick off, then settles down into something altogether groovier, jazzier and more house-ified, while the MJ Lo-Fi Beats Version (also from Mr Jones, as above) flips the script entirely and takes the track into dusty, beatdown kinda territory.

All told, more evidence that Mr Clarke is definitely one to keep an eye on.

Out: This week

About: This is what the hype sheet has to say about Headtunes (cos I’m feeling lazy):

Since 2005 Boston-based Headtunes Recordings have released music by respected underground producers including Audio Soul Project, Joshua Iz, Pete Dafeet, Dexter and Sleazy McQueen alongside up and coming talents such as Rob Clarke, Brenden Wesley, Markus Mehta, Matt Prehn and Bass Experiment. The labels diverse sound covers everything from nu disco through house and techno.

Various – Late Night Chronicles

October 18, 2011 in Singles

A four-track EP from Soiree Records concentrating, as you’ve probably guessed, on mellower vibes on a post-club kinda tip. As it’s from Detroit, I guess we should use the word ‘beatdown’ as well.

CloudMasterWeed gives us Sunny (remixed by Mattimo-Perine), a very deep and quite slow number with bruk-style percussion, pulsating pads, nicely understated minor-key jazz pianos and what I could swear is a sample of Presuming Ed’s chanting from Withnail & I! Blackjack’s Triaxial is more firmly in deep house territory but just as dreamy and drifty, while Professor Inc’s Quindrant Dub is for those who like it a little techier and more experimental. And more minimal, cos it’s barely even there at times!
But the star of the show here for me is Peppermint Kisses by Drivetrain, AKA Derrick Thompson, who I hadn’t heard anything from I don’t think since the excellent One Wish Wonder album on Little Angel in 2005. It’s a simply sumptous slice of sultry, soulful and uber-deep house… with some rather filthlicious spoken vox if you listen carefully.
All told, a highly recommended purchase for sofa surfers and lounge lizards everywhere.
Out: This week
About: This comes on Soiree International. Based in the Motor City as I said, the label is run by Derrick Thomson himself and was also home to Drivetrain’s OTHER 2005 album, which I’ve only just found out about, The Deepest Harmony Of Drivetrain. Hey, every day’s a school day…

Groove Junkies – Rhythm Talks

June 28, 2011 in Singles

Been a while I must say since I’ve reviewed anything from the Groove Junkies…. no reason, just timing of releases, n’ that. But anyway, here they are again now (or rather he is again now, seeing as it’s just Evan these days) with Rhythm Talks, which is actually credited (as you’ll see from the sleeve) to Groove Junkies pres Louis Hale feat Peggi Blu.

As seems to be the way with the GJs there’s a pretty substantial remix rolecall, with no fewer than seven rubs on offer. Gonna rattle through ’em pretty quickly but the original is straight-up trad soulful house, the two Deep Afro mixes shouldn’t need much explaining, Angell Vitorre & RJ Spinher’s emphasis the spoken vocal to take us into that whole ‘deep house plus poetry’ arena, Christopher Wilde supplies a more laidback, beatdown-style take and then finally, the brace of GJs Mo Hump passes add a little disco energy for the dancefloor.
It’s between the original and the Mo Hump Instrumental for me, but Wilde’s mix is interesting as well.
Out: This week
About: As ever this is on More House, the Groove Junkies’ own label… find ’em online and HEAR THIS here.