Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
A wise man once said that life is too short for introductions. So,this week JOHN BITTLES is going to skip the formalities and dives right in.
Originally released back in 1990, World Clique by New York disco queens Deee-Lite symbolised the wave of optimism sweeping through western culture at the time. Along with acts such as De La Soul, The Beloved, A Tribe Called Quest and The Stone Roses, the band formed of Dimitry Brill, Towa Tei and Lady Miss Kier brought a much needed sense of fun to the musical world. Containing the massive Groove Is In The Heart, World Clique heralded a band full of mischief and character. This month the album receives a welcome reissue, allowing a whole new generation to get lost within the band’s funk-filled jams. Highlights include the fabulous deep bass bounce of Good Beat, the low-slung acid squiggles of Try Me On…I’m Very You, the trance-tastic squelch of What Is Love?, and the disco bassline throb of E.S.P. Groove Is In The Heart meanwhile, sounds as wonderful as ever, and if you haven’t lost it in a club to this at least once in your life then feel free to hang your head in shame. Decadent, fruity and funky as hell, even if you weren’t born when this first came out World Clique will make your day. 9/10.
Next up we have Call Super with the fabulous Fabric 92, one of the best DJ mixes to have delighted these ears for a while. The modern mix CD can be a somewhat dull beast! Some feature DJs trying too hard, pummelling the listener with a selection of bland obscurities, or boring all but the most committed of dance fans with an unimaginative barrage of beats. This is why finding a quality mix CD in 2017 is a rare and precious thing! Inspired by the late hours when only the die hard clubbers remain, Call Super selects a collection of bass-heavy and beautifully hazy beats. With tracks by the likes of Objekt, Photek, Carl Craig, Shanti Celeste, Convextion and Call Super himself involved, the resulting mix is sexy, and unbelievably deep. While it will sound amazing on a quality club soundsystem, it’s on headphones where the album really comes alive. For anyone tired of the monotony peddled by most commercially available mix CDs, Fabric 92 will give you faith in the medium again. 9/10.
“For me, the idea of techno has always been new music” explains Moiré in the press notes for his latest LP, “not reinventing the wheel necessarily, because everything’s been done before. I just want to make and hear something new”. If this was the unambitious aim behind the electronic swoon of No Future the results are more far reaching and profound than those words would have you believe. With vocal contributions from James Massiah and long-time LTJ Bukem collaborator MC DRS the album is a futuristic soundclash where electronica meets techno and funk in a room and decide to start a band. Opener Sequence 1 is a fantastically deep example of just how sensual and evocative Detroit techno can be, paving the way majestically for the vintage electro of Lost You. Other highlights include the sample-heavy funk of Opium, the warm synths of Casual, the footwork grind of Jupiter, the Carl Craig-esque Facade, and the ambient swell of Auteur (Outro). The whole LP is fantastic though, and amply rewards those with the attention span and the patience to listen from beginning to end. 9/10.
Best known for their cavernous techno, Tresor Records celebrate their 25th anniversary this winter with a killer compilation of spacey ambiance and subdued beats. With tunes by the cream of techno, Dreamy Harbor is an album perfect for closing your eyes and letting its deep synth washes take you away. Opener Solanus Reprise by Vainqueur doesn’t do much over its twelve minute running time, yet it makes a wonderfully atmospheric introduction to the joys to come. Other picks include Terrence Dixon’s The Switch, which is gorgeously jazzy, and the bass-infused groove of Electric Dub by Juan Atkins and Moritz von Oswald. Also make sure to check the loose funk groove of Silverness by Thomas Felhmann, the dreamy IDM of Claudia Anderson’s Phase, and the smoke-filled dirge of Odawah Jam by Marcellus. With just enough techno crunch for any Tresor fan, Dreamy Harbor is a record full of contemplative highs. 8/10.
Matthew Dear is an enigmatic DJ/Producer who uses a string of aliases to create a myriad of musical styles. From the tough as nails techno of Audion and the staunch minimalism of False, to the electronic pop of his output under his own name, Matthew is an artist usually brimming with ideas. His selection for !K7’s DJ Kicks series is a coherent and functional collection of house and techno held together by crisp 4/4 beats. Over the course of 25 tracks the mix builds from New York-style house towards a a pounding techno peak. As the set follows the club-focused template of recent outings by Daniel Avery and Marcel Dettmann the home listening experience is a somewhat limited affair. Yet, there are many aural gems to be found within these tightly focused tools, with songs by Mahal, Monsieur Georget, ItaloJohnson, Vin Sol, Duff Disco, Markus Enochson and Simian Mobile Disco all standing out. While the album isn’t something you will find yourself returning to time and time again, Matthew Dear’s DJ Kicks is a solid selection of crunchy grooves. 7/10.
A special mention must also go to: An Act Of Love by Earthen Sea – Inspired by “being out in the city at night, wandering around a large urban area after dark”, Jacob Long’s new album merges lush ambiance and dub techno with aplomb, 9/10, Future Bliss by Glow In The Dark – Harry Miller debuts on Sonar Kollektiv with a playful, sample-heavy record which sounds a little like The Avalanches if they spent more time lounging in the sun, 8/10, Aleae by Arandel – Composed of five related pieces, the organic hypnotism of Aleae I, the techno dirge of Aleae III, and the epic trance of Aleae V are sure to enrich your day, 8/10, Memories Are Now by Jesca Hoop – Those with an allergy to all things folk won’t be won over by this, yet give it a go and Jesca’s evocative vocals and disquieting lyrics will embrace you like a tiger pouncing on its prey, 7.5/10, Dirty Projectors by Dirty Projectors – A trip down the beard-lined streets of Hoxton this February will likely reveal the strangely enticing indie funk brewed by these one-time Björk collaborators to be the hipsters‘ musical choice of note, 7/10, Dreamstate Of A Bellringer by S.A.M. - Eight tracks of melodic and tranquil house music which will sit as nicely in a warm up set as on the stereo at home, 8/10, and Volumi Dinamici by Claudio PRC – Out now on the ever reliable Semantica imprint, Claudio delivers a masterclass in deep techno grooves, 8/10.
And let’s not forget: Instrumentals For Sirens by Beate Bartel/Gudrun Gut – An instrumental version of Myra Davies’ Sirens album with Berlin sonic explorers Beate Bartel and Gudrun Gut given a side apiece to deliver some aurally thrilling electronic jams, 9/10, Slow Porn Présente Prise De Vue 1 by V/A – The duo of Remain and Phred Noir re-emerge on My Favorite Robot with a stunning compilation of mid-paced house and slow, sensual grooves, 8/10, Going Going Going by Tosca – Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber return to the chilled out dub with which they made their name on their most enjoyable album in years, 8/10, Metabolism by Sigha - The dubstep originator continues to journey down dark techno roads with the dense electronic grooves on album number two, 8/10, Epoch by Tycho – Now a fully formed four piece band, Tycho deliver a rich, expansive musical experience full of organic electronica, 7.5/10, The Best Of Get Physical 2016 by V/A – With four mixes and 46 tracks by the likes of Kölsch, M.A.N.D.Y., DJ Pierre, Tim Green and Phuture to choose from, any dance music fan will find much to enjoy here, 7/10, Swimming In The Shadows by Blue Fields – Mike Shannon teams up with guitarist Takeshi Nishimoto for a second album of classical inspired songs, 7/10, and A Decade Ilian Tape by V/A – Out late February, experimental house imprint Ilian Tape celebrate ten years in the game with a triple 12” set of deep bass bangers from Skee Mask, Stenny, Dario Zenker and more, 8.5/10.