Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
In this week’s article I will be highlighting some of the recent 12inches which have been wooing my weary old ears. We have the hardware acid of Justin Cudmore, some trippy electronica from Belbury Poly and Moon Wiring Club, the melody-driven house of Superpitcher, blissful ambiance from The Orb and Mark Barrott, and lots more. More colourful than Donald Trump’s forehead, sharper than the scowl on Theresa May’s face, these are tunes so good they could trigger the early onset of spring.By JOHN BITTLES
So, pop on your reading glasses, turn your stereo up high, and let’s begin…
After producing one of the underground hits of last year in Crystal, Brooklyn-based Justin Cudmore keeps the good times coming with the acid-tinged sleaze of his Forget It EP. Out now on the always reliable The Bunker New York, the record contains four jackin‘ 303-laced dance floor jams. “I like old sounds but I don’t think I sit down and necessarily try to make retro sounding tracks” Justin claims in the accompanying press notes. While his music does look to the past, this is definitely the sound of now. Opener, Forget It is a deliciously woozy slice of acid house, perfect for closing your eyes and losing yourself in the groove. Of the other tracks, Sweet Phantasy utilizes wonderfully mid-paced acid lines to glorious effect, New Jack The House sounds like it could be a lost Harthouse classic from back in the day, while the repeated vocal sample and Hardfloor-style 303s of Moment make for pure dance floor gold. Occasionally touching upon the divine, this is a record sure to make any acid freak’s day. 10/10.
If you are a fan of atmospheric electronica with a nostalgic sheen then the label Ghost Box will undoubtedly already be a firm favourite of yours. In recent years they have been responsible for some of the most evocative and beguiling music around. This month their Other Voices 7” series reaches volume 09 with a pair of playful, yet hazy tracks from label founder Belbury Poly and Moon Wiring Club. Each song contains warm basslines, spooky samples and gentle synth washes which seem to caress your very soul. The Music Room starts off with some strange twinkles before a fabulously elastic sounding bass enters the fray. From here, choral voices, an accordion, and a series of queer boings make for an all consuming four minute journey into fantastical worlds. Next up, Moonling uses a similar low-end pulse to pleasing effect, while adding ghostly laughter and a disquieting air to create a song which sounds a little like Selected Ambient Works II era Aphex Twin. As with most Ghost Box releases, Other Voices 09 showcases electronic music at its very best. 9.5/10.
If you missed the first part of Superpitcher’s The Golden Ravedays then give yourself a wedgie for losing out on such a marvellous EP. Don’t collapse into complete despair though, as the 24th of February heralds the release of the eagerly awaited second part in the series of 12″ that will make up Aksel Schaufler’s brand new LP. Containing two tracks, both of which are over fifteen minutes long, this is the type of record which is hard to listen to without breaking into a huge grin. A-Side, What Do You Miss is nicely chilled, merging looped guitars, cooed vocals and horizontal beats to calming effect. On the flip, Let’s Play Doctor adds soft beats, gentle trance flourishes and a Balearic feel to create a tune capable of seducing even the most fearsome of feral cats. Coming out on Hippie Dance, The Golden Ravedays 2 is the sound of a producer inspired by the past, yet enthused by the new. 8/10.
The Orb’s COW/Chill Out World! saw the ambient masterminds finish the year 2016 in style. The album receives a welcome revisit next month in the form of The Cow Remixes/Sin In Space Part 3. Out early March on Cologne powerhouse Kompakt, the record features four tracks from said LP getting reinterpreted in unique and interesting ways. First up one man swoon factory The Field ups the loveliness factor on album highlight 9 Elms Over River Eno, adding wave like whooshes and tropical chimes to up the melodic level by ten. Next up, Dave DK injects some Lawrence-style deep house beats into 4am Exhale while Jörg Burger turns 5th Dimensions into something which resembles the best of Warp era IDM. Pop Ambient stalwart Leandro Fresco produces what could well be the pick of the bunch though with his enchanting fourteen minute beatless take on Wireless MK2. 8/10. Kompakt fans should also be sure to check out the melodic house of Weval Remixes which sees tracks from the Dutch duo’s debut LP receive rerubs from the likes of Margot, Red Axes and Kasper Bjørke. 7/10.
International Feel label head Mark Barrott follows last year’s Sketches From An Island 2 this March with the hazy Balearica of his new four track EP. As Mark himself explains in the press notes “As the madness of the summer and the cumulative effects of a busy year started to slip away, I noticed the mood change at La Torre, as the post sunset nocturne started to get longer and longer. It made me realise that this was a different kind of music, more intimate and reflective.” The resulting record is the aural equivalent of a loved one giving you a nice relaxing back rub. Opener, Schopenhauer’s Garden sounds like a modern take on Albatross by Fleetwood Mac, Emilé is pastoral and lush, while Mokushō adds Vangelis-style synths to create a track which resembles someone lightly breathing on your ear. Gorgeously relaxing, Music For Presence is a record to soundtrack winter’s end. 8.5/10.
If there was a poll to choose the best remixers around, the names of Roman Flügel and Andrew Weatherall would sit proudly at the top. Between them they have forged some of the finest refits known to man! Belfast artist Phil Kieran somehow managed to secure the services of this dream team, as both artists add their own inimitable style to a pair of tracks from Phil’s recent Blinded By The Sun LP. On the A-Side German legend Roman Flügel creates a deep yet melodic club groove on his version of No Life, turning it into a woozy slice of trance-tinged house music guaranteed to get any dance fan in the mood. Flip over for Andrew Weatherall’s deliciously melodic slo mo house throb. Druggy and heady, his take on Find Love is a balm for the senses and demands to be played again and again. Out now on the Hot Creations label, Blinded By The Sun (Remixes #1) will make a welcome addition to anybody’s home. 9/10.
A special mention must also go to: Oh Babe by Plankton vs. Defcon – Opener Rausch is a magnificent slice of psychedelica to make even Spacemen 3 proud. Also make sure to check the low slung funk of the title track, and the Paris, Texas sampling Jealousy which are effortlessly great, 9/10, Energy EP by Kim Ann Foxman – From the bassline house of 2 The Source to the 303 drenched E4 Energy, the Firehouse Recordings boss’s new four track EP will bring joy to any dance floor, 8/10, Soak by James Hadfield feat Danny Linton – Out now on Man Power’s Me Me Me imprint, Axel Boman’s lush house refit embraces the listener like a warm hug, 8/10, Fade To Me by Hannah Holland Feat. Josh Cafe – Another month another Tuff City Kids remix! Yet, when the results are as a good as the dark, sleazy technoid throb of their Dub Version they can do as they please, 9/10, Pure Rubedo by Soramimi – A fine five track EP of house and techno which does the unthinkable and takes you by surprise, 7/10, Saved & Slaved by Luciano – The Chilean minimal king steps up on his new Basaec imprint with a pair of long dance floor throbbers, 7/10, and Man O To by NU – A highlight from Acid Pauli’s Get Lost compilation from 2012, this Persian houser finally gets the release it deserves. Containing remixes by Pépé Bradock and Be Svendsen, it’s the original which raises the loudest cheer, 7.5/10.
And let’s not forget: Before You Sleep by Bruce ・ UK label Hemlock kick 2017 off in fine style with a gloriously deep and atmospheric three track EP, 9/10, River EP by Dario & Dersu ・ Deep house imprint Drumpoet Community deliver the goods yet again with the uplifting house of this fabulous EP, 8.5/10, For You (DJ Koze Remixes) by Michael Mayer & Joe Goddard ・ The Pampa Records boss delivers a quartet of dreamy house takes of For You, with the Club Mix the pick for me, 8/10, Gloss by Grebenstein ・ Raw, brutal and dirty, this is techno music which knows how to utilize the power of bass, 8/10, Rooftop Hostel by Timboletti ・ Head straight for the melodic wonder of the Mollono.Bass remix for a track capable of making even the toughest of hearts swoon, 8/10, In the Beginning (Remixes) by Marbert Rocel ・ The emotional synths of Deetron’s Dub version of Hold On is a song so good it’ll make the producer in you jealous as hell, 8/10, The Wall by roadman ・ Richard Fletcher of Adventures In Daydreams adopts a new alias to give us a duo of beautifully crafted deep house tunes, 8/10, and Streetlife Remixes, Pt. 2 by VON SPAR ・ The second set of remixes from the Cologne/Berlin band’s previous LP is well worth tracking down for the fabulous post punk of The Maghreban’s take on Try Though We Might , 8/10,