The second batch of the month, here we have a load of ten EPs and singles to take into account. This time around, we have focused on pieces that are more openly oriented towards techno and house with old school intentions and deep finishes. They’re all gems, of course.
The end of the month is nigh, and even though our credit cards are begging for mercy, there's always that little bit left (imaginary or not) in our bank accounts to get an extra vinyl fix. After the first part with beat makers and bass music, this selection is focusing on house and techno. From the most elegant to the most brutal, from respectful with tradition to boundary breaking sounds, from subterranean white labels to EPs with flashy remixes. An oblique perspective, but always looking for quality. Because, seeing as vinyl consumption is becoming more and more of a luxury, it may be worth your while to reflect on your options before heading for your wallet.
Willie Burns: “The Overlord” [The Trilogy Tapes, 12”, TTT005]
Trilogy Tapes, the label directed by designer Will Bankhead (who's also 50% boss of Hinge Finger, alongside Joy Orbison), has become one of the most trustworthy brands on the British underground. For this release the imprint recruited Willie Burns, New Yorker William Burnett's latest project, who some of you may know as Speculator and/or Grackle. While his previous releases on Crème and L.I.E.S. were eminently focused on house with a distinct old school vibe, here he shows a wider perspective. The title track oozes old school hardcore from every pore, with the particularity of sounding like it's being played from the inside of an unhealthy metallic cube. “Duh Duh Dunk”, the most openly house track, is cooked slowly with sandy chords and remote pianos, until it reaches its boiling point in a frenzy of arpeggio melodies and 707 rims. On the flipside, “African Love Story” honours its title by incorporating African influences through nervous sequences and crooked rhythms, while “Summer In The Grass” embraces crepuscular, robotic funk, with a melody that sounds like it's played on a pocket calculator.
Barnt: “Is This What They Were Born For?” [Magazine, 12”, Magazine 6]
We first heard from Barnt through Magazine, the Cologne boutique-label co-founded by Daniel Ansorge (who is the man behind the project). Now, after an excellent single on Mule, the producer returns home with “ What Is A Number, That A Man May Know It?”, a 12” of which the title cut has been on the decks of the most illustrious selectors in town (Pachanga Boys, Michael Mayer) for weeks. And that's no surprise, as the track in question in a way recovers the most exuberant aspects of the Kompakt sound, only adding a cosmic twist, which gives it a very particular idiosyncrasy. Starting with synthesised flirtations, the song is built by superimposing bombastic melodies accentuated by hi-hats, sketching a small cosmic odyssey that reaches its climax with borderline delirious arpeggios. “All Worlds All Times” also features some psychotic evolutions, but this time from a more sombre perspective, and leaning on a much more house rhythm. On “U R D J”, Ansorge once again takes the ambient road he travelled on for his contribution to “Pop Ambient 2011”, delivering a track on which melodies sound between mist and enchanted moods.
Auji: “Conclusion Came To You” [Aniara, 12”, ANIARA 05]
The latest incorporation to the immaculate Aniara roster is Auji. His sound is perfect for the Swedish label, without a doubt one of the most modern deep-house loving platforms out there right now. On “Conclusion Came To You”, the Tokyo producer takes on the elegant sounds and penetrating moods that come with the style from a cosmic perspective, weaving percussive melodies that sound like the sonic representation of the Perseids. In the second part of the track, the weightless sensuality is strengthened with the incorporation of sleepy female whispers. The single finishes with an “Aniara Remix”, signed by Dorisburg and (label boss) Fabian Bruhn, taking it to the dance floor with a somewhat heavier rhythm.
Joey Anderson: “Earth Calls” [Deconstruct Music, 12”, DEC-04]
Though he's been operating on the New York underground house scene for a few years already, all eyes weren't on Joey Anderson until Levon Vincent chose his “Earth Calls” to open his “Fabric 63”. Six months later, the track is finally released on vinyl, which at the same time serves to reactivate Deconstruct Music, the label directed by Anthony Parasole and Vincent himself. The title cut is deep-techno with naked rhythms, obsessive sequences and sinister pianos, very much in the vein of Levon Vincent. Dusty music to dance to in the dark. On the B-side, “Hydrine” presents an even more morphine-like and submerged sound, with some moist textures over which abyssal echoes and dysfunctional synths sound, as if we were listening to the construction of an underwater tunnel from a large distance. As usual with Deconstruct, the 12” comes as a limited edition, hand-stamped white label. So don't sleep on this one.
Two Dogs In A House: “Eliminator” [L.I.E.S, 12”, LIES016]
The L.I.E.S. label continues to show its excellent shape, releasing records at diabolical speed. Just like the great Ron Morelli said in the interview we had with him, the label's new delivery is by Two Dogs In A House, the project by Jason Letkiewicz (Steve Summers, Malvoeaux, Innergaze) and Morelli himself. In this case, the couple double their bet and deliver one of the roughest and dirtiest singles in months. The two parts of “Eliminator” were recorded last summer in an underground studio in Stockholm with “uninhibited access to machines with no time constraints and no distractions from the outside world.” The result is two cuts of point-blank house, as asphyxiating and evil as they are pleasant for those who in favour of brute, mechanical force. Sharp drum machines, angry synth stabs and extreme pressure. Pain and passion. The video for “Eliminator” features bondage images; pretty spot on.
Italojohnson: “Vol.6” [Italojohnson, 12”, ITJ 06]
Within the countless series put together by anonymous producers and served up on hand-printed white labels, Italojohnson is one of the best in recent months. Founded in 2010 in Berlin, with only five deliveries to its name, the platform has become a point of reference for those in search of analogue-inclined house and techno with an old-school spirit. The recent sixth volume remains faithful to the label’s standards, in terms of both form and quality. There are no tricks here, nothing fake; these are simple productions, intended for the dance floor, in which capturing the energy that predisposes people to work up a sweat is more important than any sort of fancy flourishes. On the A-side (obviously, titles mean nothing here) tribal rhythms appear as a driving force behind grimy synthesizers with unhealthy intentions. The first cut on the flip side takes the work closer to electro rhythms, combining them with Detroit-sounding pads and little vocal sketches, while the track that closes the release appeals directly to the spirit of jacking, combining darkness and latent sensuality with the usual skill.
Xosar: “Nite Jam” [Rush Hour, 12”, RH X-2]
Xosar’s arrival on the scene was shrouded in mystery, especially thanks to some promotional photos that were any machine-music nerd’s wet dream. Based on a series of clues (sound parallels, collaborations, recurrent time-space coincidences), many thought it was probably a new venture of Legowelt’s. In the end, it turns out that behind Xosar is Sheela Rahman, originally from San Francisco and currently established in Holland (there is a link with Legowelt and it goes beyond the purely musical); she is a fan of Electribe and Roland synthesizers, and a part-time graphic designer. After starting out the year with two 12”s on L.I.E.S. and Rush Hour, respectively, she is back on the Dutch label again with “Nite Jam”. What stands out in the main cut is how she distances herself from her usual exuberant house to embrace techno rooted in dub, twisting delays on top of martial rhythms and invoking bewitched spirits. The jewel in the crown, without a doubt, is “Elixir Of Dreams”, an ambrosia of metropolitan deep house that creates atmospheres of urban saudade that call to mind the masterly The Other People Place album.
John Talabot: “ƒin Remixes Part 1” [Permanent Vacation, 12” + 10”, PERMVAC 101-1]
With John Talabot’s “ƒin” consolidated as one of the great albums of the year, Permanent Vacation has now released the first round of remixes of the album. Featuring Pachanga Boys, Kenton Slash Demon and Bullion, the release comes divided into a 12” and a 10”. The work is taken up by remixes from the seemingly ubiquitous duo consisting of Superpitcher and Rebolledo, starting from different elements of the elegiac “When The Past Was Present” to create three remixes that share the idea of simplification and an openly functional nature. “Purple Remix” is the one most faithful to the original, maintaining its entire melodic body and feeding it with an insistent rhythm led by bells orientated towards facilitating its use by DJs. “Red Remix” prefers to focus on the remodelling of the spectrum of low notes, introducing a rough bass line that darkens the general atmosphere of the song, while “Blue Remix” puts the focus on vocal hypnotism and adds an electro-tinted rhythm that makes the reconstruction the most personal one of the three. Beyond the club factor, two gems are reserved for the 10”, by Kenton Slash Demon and Bullion. The Danes gravitate around the epic melody of “Last Land” and wrap it in broken rhythms, cottony pads and vocal manipulations, in a remix that balances vigour and vapour to create excitement. Bullion flees from the traditional idea of the remix and pulls a cover out of his hat that reformulates “Destiny” starting from the pop sophistication that already reigned in his excellent “Love Me Oh Please Love Me”.
Sano: “Chupa” [Cómeme, 12”, CÓMEME#17]
Few labels in the danceable biz can boast of having as well-defined a personality as Cómeme. Faithful to a core group of artists with obvious connections, the platform founded by Matias Aguayo and Gary Pimiento has focused, with its latest releases, on showing us new talents arising from South American latitudes. The latest to join their catalogue is Colombian Sebastian Hoyos, alias Sano, whom the label’s followers will already know from his contribution to the compilation EP that the label put out last summer. In the first release of his own, Hoyos, currently residing in Berlin, uses the same recipe as many of his mates: raw rhythms, elements borrowed from house and the disco spectrum, and an iconoclastic spirit that is not without its own peculiar sense of humour. “Disco Noche” opens the 12”, doing honour to its title by creating an atmosphere of dim lights and hidden dangers, in which house rhythms blend with elastic, boogie-inspired chords. “Bad Boys” wraps up the A-side, embracing electro-funk with chiaroscuro highlights, along with “En Negro”, in homage to the primitive force of Chicago house. On the flip side, “Chupa!” shows the somewhat delirious sense of humour that we referred to above, with a contribution from Naty (the producer’s girlfriend), who does a freestyle for the greater glory of the digraph “ch”. Closing the release, “La Siete” once again goes in for obsessive vocals, this time combined with a penetrating acid line.
Morning Factory: “Anna Logue's Sleepover” [Clone Jack For Daze, 12”, C#JFD14]
Morning Factory is one of those projects that is generally not favoured by the spotlights, but which has yet to make a false move. Their career is paralleled by their sound: stylish house that respects tradition; it doesn’t invent anything, but their execution has enough savoir faire to keep the music from being trivial. And with all of this, “Anna Logue's Sleepover”, for Clone’s Jack For Daze series, is one of their best deliveries to date. Here the focus is clear: the second wave of Chicago house, in which producers like G-Strings and Ron Trent sought to combine raw rhythms with much deeper, more emotional atmospheres. In the title cut, the 707 patterns hold up a succession of melodic outbursts executed with comforting pads and bell keyboards. In “Sleepwalk”, on the other hand, the rhythm is more solid and the bass more persistent, constructing a dance-floor framework over which evocative melodies emerge, inviting us to let ourselves get carried away by the currents of the Windy City and glide over the metropolis as the night falls.