Adrian Scarlett – Inovation EP

March 13, 2016 in Singles

Adrian Scarlett Inovation EP Smiley FingersWhile we’re in a tech-house kinda mood (and by ‘we’re’ I mean I am, obviously), here’s a neat two-tracker from Happy Records…

Two tracks make up the Inovation EP. Inovation itself is sparse and twitchy, indeed leaning almost towards the minimal side of things with its barely-there, distorted vocal fragments but with rock-solid kicks driving things forward. I’m slightly preferring Verdy on the flip, though, a more funk-fuelled and chuggy affair whose beats n’ bass lollop along in unhurried fashion – and in NO WAY prepare you for the xylophone-and-opera-vocal assault that’s to come (though I guess maybe the title should have – see what they did there?).

If you’re looking for solid, keep-’em-moving business then head for Inovation, but if you’re after engendering a proper ‘WTF?’ moment on the floor then Verdy‘s the one. It might be a bit Marmite but it’s a track they won’t forget in a hurry!

Out: This week

About: You can find Happy Records on Soundcloud and Facebook.

**CORRECTED 29 MAR as label was previously given as Smiley Fingers in error

Lolu Menayed – Yes Sr, I Know

December 5, 2015 in Singles

Lolu Menayed Yes Sr I Know Smiley FingersYes, that’s Sr not “Sir”… Lolu Menayed hails from Buenos Aires so I’m guessing it’s short for Senor.

Anyway, two mixes of Yes Sr… to choose from. The original sits right on the deep/tech house cusp, with urgent 4/4s, a nice throbby bassline, bluesman-style spoken vocal ships and the shimmeriest hi-hats you ever did hear. Flip it over and you’ll find a remix from label regular Rick Sanders, who takes us down a darker, techier road on a rub that’s aimed fair and square at those 4am, eyes-down moments but keeps da funk intact.

Both are cool so it’s really a time/place thing as to which you’d play.

Out: This week

About: This is brought to you by London’s ever checkable Smiley Fingers, who can be found herehere and here.

Lau Frank – What Is Underground

September 12, 2015 in Singles

Lau Frank What Is Underground Smiley FingersTough tech grooves are the order of the day on this three-tracker from Smiley Fingers.

What Is Underground itself is up first, an understated and unhurried tech-houser with rolling beats and Middle Eastern flourishes, all topped with distorted/downpitched male vocal snips though the latter are used quite sparingly. Signals is slightly livelier with just a hint of that Balkan/gypsy-jazz style, while finally Let Me See U Shake It is an out-and-out techno throbber built for dark, small-hours floors, with plenty of stop-start drama and a man’s voice urging you to “bounce” every now and then.

Solid floor-moving tackle all round, with Let Me See U… taking the gold for its sheer uncompromising jackery.

Out: This week

About: Find Smiley Fingers on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Andrea Arcangeli – Funkelectric

July 18, 2015 in Singles

Andrea Arcangeli Funkelectric Smiley FingersSome funk-fuelled tech-house bizniss now courtesy of Smiley Fingers.

Three rubs of Funkelectric to choose from, all rocking the same male “I sing the funkelectric” vocoder/talkbox-style vocal. The Funk Mix is a lo-slung and groovy affair, all throbbing bass and atmospheric synth washes, with a John Carpenter-esque breakdown in the middle. Label mainstay Larry Cadge’s remix is more stripped-back, with more technoid drums that are brought further to the fore, while the Electric Mix isn’t vastly different from the Funk Mix, TBH… it’s just a little more restrained, though it does add some chorus’d “ooh-ooh-ooh” fem vox towards the end.

The Funk Mix takes the gold for me but to be fair all three are very playable.

Out: This week

About: Find Smiley Fingers on Soundcloud, on Facebook or at their own website.

Some albums, quickly…

June 22, 2015 in Albums

A few albums dropped last week that I still haven’t told you about… so here they are now.

Tulioxi While The City Sleeps Cosmic SumoTulioxi – While The City Sleeps
Italian producer Mattia Tulioxi drops his second album on his own Cosmic Sumo Records, following 2013’s The Last Man In Florence and apparently comprised of “tracks made over the past three years that for one reason or another were never published”. At just eight tracks long it’s a little brief by modern standards, admittedly, but for those of us that grew up with vinyl that shouldn’t be a problem… particularly not when you’re talking about an album that blends deep house, nu-disco, cosmic/Italo, a hint of 80s electro and the occasional dash of acid to such glorious effect! Trouble In Cuba and Mechanic Cherry are where I’d head first.
More info

Smiley Fingers Goes To Barcelona Smiley FingersVarious – Smiley Fingers Goes To Barcelona
Smiley Fingers have come a long way in the past half-decade or so. Once specialising in party-hearty tech-house à la Great Stuff or Deeperfect, in recent times they’ve been ploughing a deeper house furrow, as I’ve pointed out (and applauded) several times on this blog. And this new compilation, released to coincide with Sonar, shows yet another side to the Italian-run but London-based imprint, with tough, sinuous tech-house grooves the general order of the day and one or two excursions into full-blown techno… but always with the funk flowing. With label stalwarts Larry Cadge, Rick Sanders and Florian Gasperini joined by a host of newer names, this is well worth checking.
More info

Simma Black Vol 4 Simma BlackVarious – Simma Black Vol 4
Low Steppa serves up a fourth ‘best of’ comp from his Simma Black imprint here, featuring a bunch of names that should be familiar to TIWWD readers (AS I AM, Mike Millrain, Lex Luca, Vanilla Ace, Bluford Duck) and a whole load more that won’t be. With a whopping 26 tracks, there’s no faulting this package on the VFM front; what’s more impressive is that the quality seldom slips either. Ranging from G-house to out-and-out speed garage revivalism, it’s as fine a snapshot of the currently state-of-play vis à vis bass-centric house music as you’ll hear all month, with Millrain’s diva-vocalled Let The Spirit, Bumpy Fool’s driving Talkin’ Bout and Curtis Gabriel’s throbbing Voodoo good places to start.
More info

Low Steppa Troubles Simma Black

Low Steppa – Troubles [Deluxe Edition]
It’s that man again… as if the Simma Black comp above wasn’t enough, last week also saw the release of this new version of the label boss’s own debut long-player, which he gave away free on Soundcloud earlier this year. It is more a ‘new version’ than a deluxe edition – there’s only one new track as far as I can make out (The Panel), but the running order’s been rejigged and Burning has been renamed Pianos. Except for a couple of mellower tracks towards the end, the overall mood’s a little darker than the label comp, with less of a housey-housey vibe and with one or two tracks veering towards breaks territory, but for some that’ll be a bonus…
More info

Oliver Knight & Hugo Jones – Make It Drop

March 1, 2015 in Singles

Oliver Knight & Hugo Jones Make It Drop EP Smiley FingersMore very solid tech-house bizniss on this two-tracker from the ever-dependable Smiley Fingers.

On the A, Make It Drop itself rocks a monster of a bassline that suggests that at least one of Messrs Knight and Jones’s record collections houses a certain much-loved Strike remix of Paula Abdul*, topping it with all manner of odd squelches n’ FX, barely there vocal fragments and some fluttery, melodic synths buried deeper in the mix. Flip it for One In Ten, a slightly more driving cut with dramatic fanfares, indecipherable distorted vox (female or falsetto male, it’s hard to say) and rolling, terrace-friendly drums.

Out: Last week, but it went into the wrong folder by mistake… sorry ’bout dat

About: You can find Smiley Fingers here, here and here.

*It’s not a sample but the resemblance is definitely, er, striking…

Larry Cadge – Attitude

February 24, 2015 in Singles

Larry Cadge Attitude Smiley FingersSome fine deep/tech house vibes here from Smiley Fingers, coming from label stalwart Larry Cadge.

Just the two mixes of Attitude to choose from. The Original is a fairly mellow groove consisting of rolling drums, warm bass and layers of atmospheric synths, topped with a quite old school-sounding wailing female vocal that’s used fairly sparingly. As such, I can’t promise you’ll be humming it all day long but I can promise it’ll keep bodies moving on dancefloors that like it, y’know, actually deep.

The accompanying Dub, meanwhile, isn’t so much a remix as a complete reversioning, riding a slightly more tribal-leaning rhythm, swapping out the female vocal for a wordless male chant and adding a stuttering synth topline all of its own, resulting in a track that needs to be heard on big speakers through a haze of strobes and smoke for maximum effect.

Out: This week

About: Find Smiley Fingers here, here and here.

Various – We Are Smiley Vol 11

December 27, 2014 in Singles

Right, that’s Xmas out of the way! Hope everyone reading this had a super smashing lovely time… time now for TIWWD to We Are Smiley Vol 11 Smiley Fingersget back in the reviews saddle, kicking off with the first of two EPs this week from those ever-prolific Various Artists.

Regular readers will be more than familiar with both the Smiley Fingers label and their We Are… EP series, and so will have a pretty good idea what to expect here. Label stalwart Larry Cadge is up first with the chunky, rolling tech-houser Playa d’en Bossa [Dub], which is followed by the deeper, jazz-tinged vibes of Emanual Satie’s Streets Original. Saccao, Agei & Re.Birth then give us Pathway To A Dream (as remixed by Adam Helder), a lower-tempo, female-vocalled cut that blends deep house and nu-disco influences, before Rick Sanders comes with the meandering afterhours-friendly Throw Back, and then finally Simon Shaw’s Special Delivery plays us out on a darkly groovy house tip.

The latter cut and Emanual Satie’s offering stand out for yours truly but truth be told all five tracks are plenty playable.

Out: This week

About: You can find Smiley Fingers here, here and here.

Various – We Are Smiley Vol 10

August 23, 2014 in Singles

We Are Smiley Vol 10 Smiley FingersLastly for tonight, we have this seven-track sampler from London’s ever-prolific Smiley Fingers.

Some of the names involved (Larry Cadge, Adam Helder, Dave Storm, DJ Linus, Da Fresh, Rick Sanders) will be familiar to TIWWD readers, and especially to fans of the label; others (Daniele Stella, Kisch, TrockenSaft) perhaps less so. Similarly, there’s a mix of label faves and new material… and with seven tracks in total I’m not going into each one individually.

Storm’s pulsing, midtempo, acid-flecked Surrounded with its “this is a house break” vocal is one highlight, DJ Linus’s big bass throbber Behind Myself another, Da Fresh’s stripped-down afterhours jacker Someone with its haunting Xenia Beliayeva vocal and dubwise FX yet another. But overall, suffice to say if Smiley Fingers’ trademark brand of groovy, rollin’ tech-house and big-assed deep house vibes floats your boat generally – as it certainly does mine – then this collection is a bit of a no-brainer.

Out: Tomorrow (24 Aug)

About: You can find Smiley Fingers here, here and here.

Larry Cadge – Playa d’en Bossa

July 22, 2014 in Singles

Larry Cadge Playa d'En Bossa Smiley FingersThe Ibiza season is upon us and Smiley Fingers have, helpfully, released a record by label stalwart Larry Cadge called Playa d’en Bossa to remind us of the fact.

There are three mixes to choose from. The original’s a lazy, beach house-y affair with mournful parping trumpets and a soulful male “I always said I would be the one for you” vocal loop. The Club Mix beefs up the beats considerably and tones down the trumpets, bringing a funky-assed b-line further to the fore, while for more druggy, chuggy thrills, head for the Dub.

It’s the latter rub that’s working best for me but all three will find their place in many a White Isle set this summer without a doubt.

Out: This week

About: Find Smiley Fingers here, here and here.