Bittles‘ Magazine | Record Review
This November sees the release of not one, but five flawless tracks which are so exquisitely special sounding that they will cure cancer, erase hunger, and make David Cameron stop behaving like such a prat. By JOHN BITTLES
Okay, so they may not do all that, yet the Joris Voorn remix of ›Dem Howl‹ by Audion, ›Scuba’‹›s Warehouse Mix‹ of ›Enigma‹ by Locked Groove, the Charles Webster ›Dub Mix‹ of ›Golden Ratio‹ by Ben Watt, ›Unrest‹ by Clarian and the Petar Dundov ›Remix‹ of ›Angel‹ by Masaya are so good you won‘t believe you ears. When you consider that there are also a bundle of other great new releases this month, I’m sure you’ll agree that it is a great time to be alive.
This month we’ll begin with one of the most eagerly anticipated releases of November, namely the return of Audion, or Matthew Dear under his club-slaying guise. ›Dem Howl‹ should be in record shops and on download sites now and is, perhaps, a bit more sedate and, well, lovely than we might have expected from his earlier releases under this persona. Featuring the vocals of Troels Abrahamsen the track is a lush affair that recalls everything good about that much maligned of genres progressive house. ›Kompakt‹ boss Michael Mayer and Joris Voorn are on remix duties to inject some dance floor flair to proceedings, with the latter re-rub revelling in an epic and striking sounding trance-like ecstatic eruption of joy. Play-listed by any DJ worth their salt, the Joris Voorn version deserves to be bloody huge!
As if that wasn’t enough goodness from the ›Kompakt‹ stable, this month sees them release the long-awaited comeback by none other than Sascha Funke. ›Mango‹ is, quite simply, one of the greatest electronic albums ever made, and if you don’t have it in your collection then you need to rectify that right now. ›Zug Um Zug,‹ meanwhile, is his brand new 12inch, which seems like his first release under his own name in years. Both the a-side and ›Alles In Allem‹ luxuriate›‹ in the type of rich, emotional house music with which Mr Funke previously made his name while recalling the epic splendour of the likes of Ame, DJ Koze, or Ten Walls. Both tracks are long, extravagant journeys that make you just want to close your eyes and get lost in the groove. Buy on sight!
The name Maya Jane Coles should be familiar to anyone who has even a passing interest in house music, and this November sees the re-release of ›Watcher‹. One of her earliest releases, the re-issue is out on Alex Arnout’s ever-reliable ›Dogmatik‹ imprint on the 17th November. The bonus is that the record now comes with added remixes by Burnski and Vakula. While the Vakula versions are functional at best, the release is still worth picking-up for the rather epic sounding Burnski re-rub, which resembles something that has come out on the mighty ›Innervisions‹. Also included is the slo-mo house of the original version which is more than worthy of your attention, should you have missed it when it first came out.
In a pretty special month for electronic music one track stands out above all else! That tune is the Scuba version of ›Enigma‹ by Locked Groove. It takes a lot to upstage the brutal splendour of the ever-excellent Locked Groove, yet anyone checking out this release should head straight for ›Scuba’s‹ ›Warehouse Mix‹ which is so damn good it has to be heard to be believed. Rave synths hum with a real sense of menace, beats crash dramatically and an ecstasy-rush inducing groove merges majestically to create a special piece of dance music that makes you eternally thankful to have ears. Even people who don’t like dance music love this! Because it’s that good!
Also, not to be missed is the return of Ben Watt’s seminal and much missed ›Buzzin Fly‹ label with a glut of remixes of ›Golden Ratio‹ which is taken from Ben’s own solo LP. Pick of the bunch is the ›Charles Webster‹ ›Dub Mix‹, which removes the, rather lame, vocals entirely and simply wallows within the most exquisite of deep house grooves. Mr Webster has very rarely put a foot wrong in a long, distinguished career, and when I say that this is up there with the best of his re-rubs then you should realise just how great this truly is. The two versions of ›Nathaniel‹ by remix extraordinaire, Ewan Pearson are also well worth tracking down with the instrumental mix, again, doing the business for me.
Another record that you will be listening to for a very long time comes in the form of the ›Lie To Me Remixes EP‹ by ›MFR‹ mainstay Fairmont. The record is made up of remixes of Fairmont tracks from his previous ›Lie To Me EP‹ by the likes of ›Kill The DJs’‹ Chloe, Abstraxion, MFR themselves and John Digweed and Nick Muir. The Chloe version of ›Boa‹ is a stellar piece of IDM-style electronica that deserves a place in anyone’s heart. Cinematic, yet with a soul-enriching dance floor chug, this is exactly the type of music I would love to hear more of in the nation’s clubs. A special mention must also go to Mattheis’ remix of ›The Most Beautiful Eyes In The World‹, a gloriously slow, emotional hug of a song.
Also out on ›My Favorite Robots‹ this month is ›Wasting Away Again In Moderation‹, the quietly beautiful new EP by Clarian who is perhaps better known as one half of Wolf & Lamb affiliates Footprintz. The three-track EP sees Clarian explore a world of melancholy house music so good that it makes your record player almost appear to be weeping tears of genuine sadness every time you put it on. The stand-out track is ›Unrest‹ which swirls with a heart-stopping sense of romanticism that makes it a sure-fire inclusion as one of my tracks of the year.
Another record guaranteed to have you tearful in no time is the heaven-sent loveliness of ›Crying Love‹ by Italian producer Silvie Loto which is coming out on Ellen Allien’s always reliable ›Bpitch Control‹ this November. The lead track is a haunting cut of contemplative melancholy that instantly found itself with pride of place in my heart. Mournful strings, hushed vocals and a lost-sounding beat combine to create a sublime moment of electronic brilliance. The other three tracks on here are also pretty excellent with ›Breeze‹ exploring a post-dubstep sound, while both ›Flow‹ and ›Woo‹ explore a sensual world of stilted electronics. Well worth checking out if you are getting a little tired of all that bang, bang, bang techno stuff.
Again, if all that ear-damaging house music sounds like too much for you then may I recommend the ›Grey Skies EP‹ by S.R. Krebs? Gorgeously evocative and emotional the record’s four tracks explore a world where genres are meaningless and boundaries have been left far behind. The title-track is a heartbreaking slice of blues that shimmers with a redemptive air, ›Talking To Yourself‹ and ›Bigshot‹ meanwhile sound like lost 80s new wave classics, while ›For Losers‹ messes with your mind and soul. A great EP for those who want a bit of sonic adventurism with their singer-songwriter fare.
Fans of house music with a bit of melody and soul are in for a rare treat this month with ›Floyd‹, the new four-track EP by talented London duo Dief & Baker. Highlight, ›YGT‹ kicks things off with a beautifully nostalgic sounding synth-line that ever so gently worms its way into your heart and your head. ›Silent Running‹ is a strange and heady delight, ›Nassua‹ revels in lushly twinkling ambiance and a gentle slo-mo chug, leaving it to the title-track to finish things off with a lovely Caribou-style flourish. A top quality release from two producers at the very top of their game.
Traumer is, to my mind at least, one of the most underrated producers to have come out over these last few years. This month he returns with the awesome four tracks that make up the ›Trudge EP‹. The EP opens with ominous synth eruption, together with a gradually building sense of groove that make up the title track. Seriously, play this in a club and it will receive a huge reaction each and every time! ›Underlying‹ meanwhile has a lush Detroit vibe, ›Rodeo‹ is a strange, alien-sounding beast and ›Perciasif‹ finishes things off with an almost tribal flourish. If you haven’t discovered the sound of Traumer yet then this EP is the perfect place to begin.
To finish we have some deep, groovy techno with a real sense of drama in the form of ›Oil On Canvas‹ by Maurizio Cascella. Out now on ›Wonder Wet Records,‹ lead track ›Old Rose‹ is a perfect bridging tool for DJs looking to make the transition from warm-up to a more driving part of their set. B-side ›Black of Mars‹, in contrast, is a pummelling yet slinky slice of techno perfect for those heads-down and eyes-closed moments on the dance floor. More than mere club fodder, fans of sleek technoid grooves will not be disappointed should they give this a go.
A special mention must also go to: ›The Hours EP‹ by Burnski – not his best release, yet far more enjoyable than a punch to the head, ›If You Break It‹ by Jonjo Jury – A sublime piece of analogue disco that contains a deep, driving bassline, so good, it’s enough to make you give praise to God, V – ›Five Years of Artefacts Chapter 2‹ by Various – Zeitgeber and Luke Slater’s L.B. Dub Corp present a track apiece of deep, dubby techno that whets the appetite for the full compilation yet to come, ›In The Clearing‹ by Varysoo – Bubbling bass combines with a lush melody and a nice techno throb to create a club track that you will be dancing to for months, ›Hexagono‹ by Pettro – Takes a little while to get going, but when it finds its feet, this is a sure-fire delight, ›Miami/Mumbai‹ by Praezisa Rapid 3000 – A genuinely crazy six-tracker for when you just can’t bear to listen to another 4/4 beat, and ›Angel‹ by Masaya – Head straight for the Petar Dundov remix for the finest piece of emotion-laden trance music you will hear all year!
| JOHN BITTLES