Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
Nothing stands still. Except for my good friend Stand Still Jones of course, but that’s another story. This is why I have decided to re-jig my singles reviews. Once a month, (or whenever I can be bothered) I will be highlighting some of the records which have been making me go all gooey-eyed, or demanding repeated plays. Most will be new, some will be old. Hopefully, everything included will raise a cheer. A review by JOHN BITTLES
To get us started I would like to introduce you to one of my favourite tunes of the last few months – Winona by the wonderfully named DJ Boring. This is a house track which is virtually impossible not to love. Composed of soft keys, a spoken word sample from a certain Winona Ryder, and a huge emotional swell, this is a record I have played so much that I’ve literally worn down the grooves. Out now on the up and coming E-Beamz record label, Winona is backed by the 90s rave rush of You by Miagma. While the B-side is likely to have you throwing shapes like it’s 1992, it’s the lead track which you’ll bringing home to meet your mum. 9/10.
Next up, we have those disco magicians Psychemagik with two deliciously sleaze-filled jams. Featuring a cover image you probably won’t want to show your mum, A-side Gotta Hold On Me is a song pretty much guaranteed to make you move. Hypnotic and soulful, the tune revels within a loose bass groove which oozes a luxurious sense of funk over its twelve minute running time. With a classic sounding vocal rising and falling in the mix, this is so good the Discogs prices were already over-inflated even before the original print run sold out. Flip over for Wildman, a deep disco delight. With more of a kick than its predecessor, it has a gloriously retro feel which could make a disciple of your nan. 9.5/10.
Keeping with the disco edits, our next record is made up of a pair of mysterious and very cheeky re-jigs of classic songs, both of which are sure to raise an eyebrow or two on the dance floor. Spy Edits 1 should be available in all discerning record stores and features tunes by Peggy Lee and Paul Simon given a disco-coated lick of paint. On Side 1, You Give Me Fever receives a subtle kick, with a twanging bassline accompanying the vocals to stunning effect. Flip the disc for a funky bass-led rerub of Paul Simon’s Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes. As on Side 1, the song is given a very respectful refit, so that even those who have a love for the original won’t be shocked or offended. Play these to the tops-off brigade in Berghain and you are likely to cause a sweat drenched riot. Yet, in the right setting these slow, soulful gems are certain to win you many friends. 8.5/10.
On a different tip, but no less essential is the new 12inch from Salon des Amateurs resident Tolouse Low Trax, which finishes off his Decades trilogy in fine style. The highly anticipated Vol. 3 contains a total of five dense, hazy chuggers, which could entrance even the most hyperactive child. The pace of the tracks might be slow, but the tension is so thick you can almost pluck it from the air. In short, with its low BPM count and sedate yet hypnotic grooves, this is some of the most forward thinking music you will hear all year. 9/10.
In these days of streaming and digital downloads it is harder than ever for vinyl to justify its existence. The Hardworking Families label don’t just create damn fine house music, they also make great art. Case in point is the recently released Hardworking Families 002. Each copy features a gorgeous and unique hand-painted sleeve, with an embossed card insert, which means you don’t know whether to listen to it, or stick it on the wall. Limited to a mere 250 copies, hound your local record emporium to track this down, as the record’s four Balearic inspired deep house tracks are like loving whispers in the ear. 9.5/10.
Next up we have a some lush ambiance with Gavin Miller’s new two track EP, Illuminate. This is a strange one in that it’s only available as a digital download, or as a light bulb shaped USB stick from the This Is It Forever Bandcamp page. The light bulb actually works too, which is a nice touch. As for the music, it is every bit as good as you would expect from the label which brought us the likes of Thomas Ragsdale and Ghosting Season. Composed of two ten minute plus tracks, both Floodlit and A Brief Flicker hum with a lush emotional core. 8.5/10.
With the once reviled genres known as trance and progressive house making well deserved comebacks into taste-makers hearts there can be no better time for Sasha to team up with Cologne stalwarts Kompatk with an epic new track. What we get is a tune so gorgeous it’s almost impossible to listen to the whole way through without emitting a little swoon. Out Of Time features soft breakbeats, synth swells, and vocals from Polica. It is also pretty great, and is perfect for anyone who remembers raising their hands to the sky with tears in their eyes in Renaissance. Also, make sure to check out the chunkier version by Patrice Bäumel on the flip. 9/10.
This week we’ll end with a bona fide classic from back in the day! Armand Van Helden is probably best known for Witch Doktor, The Funk Phenomena, Duck Sauce and his remix of Tori Amos‘ Professional Widow. The highlight of his career though is without doubt the deep, driving groove which forms the backbone of his Last Hustle In Paris refit of Where Do We Go by Wamdue Project. As funky as an airport hanger full of James Browns, this is a track which anybody could listen to numerous times on repeat and never get tired or bored. Let’s be honest here, if you ain’t dancing by the end you are probably dead! 10/10.