Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
Last night I woke up in a sweat after a horrible nightmare! I was in a club that was blasting Blurred Lines continuously without pause. When I spoke to the DJ about playing something else he just gave me a sleazy grin, licked my ear and stuck on the never-ending 12″ of the same tune. Upon awaking my screams seemed like they would never end. By JOHN BITTLES
After that ill omen it seemed much too dangerous to even ponder listening to music again! But, after extensive counselling I’m finally beginning to recover. All thanks to my therapist who has successfully utilized a form of aversion therapy by introducing me to loads of great tunes. Fantastic new tracks by the likes of Warpaint, Muse, Girls Names, Christian Löffler, Dauwd, Grimes and Roman Flügel are slowly but surely getting me back on track. In fact lots of these songs were so superb that I had to review them for the magazine. You can thank me for this by supplying me with ample hugs, money, more music, or cake!
As I consumed some strange-looking tobacco which I found on the street, and am now beginning to feel a tad funny, I think it best we start with the stoner rock delights of Warpaint. Last year’s self-titled album was something of a disappointment when compared to the seductively hazy vibe of their debut The Fool. So news of a string of singles in 2015 was received with a small degree of trepidation from me. Luckily the first of these, No Way Out and I’ll Start Believing find the foursome at the very top of their game. The former is a long, languid seven minute groove with a heady, laidback air, and which, for some reason, recalls The White Stripes after a marathon session of smoking weed. I’ll Start Believing on the other hand is a short, sharp rock stomp which finds its stride in its furiously funky bass-line. Also available is a shortened (Redux) version of No Way Out which simply oozes cool and sensuality, and is the pick of the bunch for me.
After last year’s stunning Happiness is Happening album, this March saw Roman Flügel return to Hamburg’s Dial label with the Sliced Africa EP. With the title track a disappointingly immature mess, head straight for the gorgeously tranquil Black Towers for an welcome aural treat. At over eleven minutes long it is a sign of how good this is that it doesn’t once sound tired or stale. In fact as the track slowly settles into a steady groove it seduces the listener ever further through a Vangelis style synth riff, a gently skipping beat and a hushed percussion that leaves you breathless and over-excited. So beautiful that you probably won’t want to introduce it to your partner lest they get jealous, Black Towers is one of those songs that you could contentedly listen to repeatedly for hours. Final track, Spiritual Enhancer also deserves a mention due to its Kraftwerk-style synthesizers and 70s Krautrock feel.
Dauwd is one of those fast-rising and over-hyped producers that, if their music wasn’t so damn good, could make you feel a bit sick. The Berlin native’s previous two singles for Kompakt, Kindlinn and Saleh are spectacularly melodic slices of house music that speak to the soul as well as the floor. His third release for the label in a year, Jupiter George is a strangely named, yet rather excellent three track EP that should be in all good record stores and download sites now. Best heard with the crackle of vinyl, the title-track has a slick disco feel which recalls DJ Gregory’s Africanism project or Metro Area at their best. The beats are funky as fuck, while the melody line positively soars into the fringes of the sublime. On the flip, Ritter Sport is not as delicious as its namesake and is something of a let down. Take Four, though, is a lovely blast of Balearica that could brighten up anybody’s day.
After 2012’s awful The 2nd Law album, epic rockers Muse return in style with the angry and raucous blast of noise which is Psycho. Pathetically predictable title aside the song sees the band leave the Queen-style histrionics and dubstep wobbles far behind to indulge in a five minute rock orgy that could bring out the inner teen in anyone. Loud guitars, drill sergeant samples and an expletive laden chorus combine to create what could well be Muse’s most thrilling moment since Black Holes And Revelations. The central guitar riff is fantastic, and forms a buzzing backdrop to some delightfully weird and paranoid lyrics from Mr Bellamy. How Royal Blood would sound if they were any good, this is a hell of a lot of fun.
Spring 2015 seems to be a wonderful time for fans of lush Balearic house, as the record label International Feel set free a string of releases so fab they could convince Nigel Farage to give an immigrant a hug. First up legendary Ibiza DJ Jose Padilla returns to the world of production with the classic deep house of Day One. Like an eight minute blast of sunshine, the track is ridiculously good. Also make sure to check out the 80s funk of Déjà Vu by Private Agenda. Perhaps a little too hipster-friendly for some, nonetheless b-side Freefalling is a wonderfully passionate snog of a song that gently massages the soul. Last but not least, label head Mark Barrott follows up last years delightfully tranquil Sketches From An Island LP with the wonderful Bush Society. Recalling the majesty of Orbital’s Belfast in all its emotional pomp, this is a long, slow heart-warmer which needs to be savoured. Buy it now!
If you’re a fan of electronic music in any of its varied guises and you haven’t heard of Christian Löffler yet, then please feel free to hang your head in shame. His deep house cuts are packed full of melody, ambiance, emotional depth and dance floor nous. The end of March (April 20th for digital freaks) sees Christian make his debut on Ralph Lawson’s celebrated 2020 Vision imprint with the sophisticated delights of York. Made up of three tracks of slo-mo goodness, this is the type of house music that you wish you could hear played in all the world’s clubs. The title-track is a simply beautiful piece of music, gorgeous pianos rise and fall over a sedate groove to swoon-inducing effect. When the strings enter the fray on the six minutes mark it’s all you can do to keep a hold of your heart. The package is completed by the gentle beats of Lhotse and Nordkap, and will be adored by daydreamers and lost souls everywhere.
Next up we have some more house-based goodness in the form of The End EP which sees Monolink & Acid Pauli team-up for two tracks which are gorgeously deep and moodily melancholic. Perfect for dancing to on darkened dance floors when you are all alone in the world, New Morning brims with a vivid sense of sadness even as it commands your body to move. Of the remixes it is the refit of the title-track by 3000Grad label heads Mollono.Bass which injects the tune with a healthy dose of melody and includes a killer groove on the halfway mark to completely steal the show. The parping bass and crackling percussion of The Micronaut refit of New Morning are also worth a listen, yet if you stick to the original you won’t go far wrong.
Rather surprisingly, the Moshislongo EP by Arp Aubert is not a footwork take on the Moshi Monsters theme tune, but a four track EP of deeply melodic house. The original version of the title track is a winning combination of Aphex Twin-style busy beats, together with a sparkling melody line which recalls the likes of Gidge or Caribou. It shouldn’t really work as a pairing, yet somehow the tune manages to become one of the most life-affirming pieces of music you could ever hope to hear. Equally worthy of your time is b-side, Lowport Part 1 & 2, a deep house tune with a nice low-slung bass and a couple of cheeky samples from rave’s glory days. Remixes of Moshislongo by Me Succeeds and Alexander Polzin complete the package, with the former being the pick of the two.
This week we’ll finish with some dark dance floor fare in the form of the excellent Ignorance EP by newcomer Asa 808. If you are from Berlin, and effortlessly cool, then you will be thinking I’m talking shit right now as you reminisce about Asa 808’s epic DJ sets and club nights. For the rest of us ignoramuses (see what I did there?) these three jams make the perfect jump on point. The lead track sees a deep, techno throb join a lazy house beat to create a tune which is so good it could give you the horn. A master-class in restraint, it continually threatens to explode, yet, thrillingly and agonisingly, the money shot never comes. On the flip, Attachment would grace any warm-up set with its soft, spooky air, while Bad Karma finished things off with a Laurent Garnier-style technoid blast of funk. More than worthy of your hard earned money, even if it only serves to make you feel all smug and self-satisfied in the knowledge that you discovered him before your mates.
A special mention must also go to: Realiti by Grimes – A sultry, and surprisingly clean-sounding synth-pop gem released as a thank you to her fans, The Valley Of Songs by Woo York – Lush deep house that will find favour with fans of Innervisions, Sasha, Ten Walls, or low bpm house music with melody and soul, Ivory by Marius Franke – Out now on Cologne imprint MBF, the EP contains three original tracks and three remixes. The originals explore a world of luscious deep electronica, ably recalling the likes of Black Dog or B12, Glass To The End by My Favorite Robot – Sounding like a lost remix of an 80s new wave classic this is retro sounding in all the best possible ways, Standstill by Danza Macabre – Deep, dense dance music tailor made for losing yourself on the dance floor, Your Love by Burnski – Head straight for the Trus‘ Me remix, a drug-fuelled classic that will cause devastation at any club it is played, Step By Step by Truccy – Delightfully jazzy two-tracker on the Compost Black Label series which evokes the likes of Moodymann and Carl Craig, and Zero Triptych by Girls Names – The Belfast based rockers release an eleven minute long epic that that has more thrills than a Die Hard marathon night.