Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
It’s a shame how difficult it is to buy a 12-inch single these days. Just go into your local HMV or Saturn and try to purchase one, it’s harder than Batman in a bad mood. Not every town or city has a specialist dance music store willing to take a chance and stock singles, and while the chains have largely expanded their vinyl sections they concentrate on albums rather than short, sharp bursts of joy. By JOHN BITTLES
This is a pity since some of the best music released over the last few years is only available in this format. And, unless you are living in London or Berlin, chances are, you’re probably missing out!
For the second of my re-jigged singles reviews I’ll be praising some records which are so good they deserve a much wider audience than collectors and DJs. We have some timeless techno from Derrick May, a lost classic from house icon Ron Hardy, pop princess Kate Bush, the bass heavy grooves of Jor-El, the dubbed out house of Grimes Adhesif and SVN, and lots more.
So, put on your dancing pants, tell the cat that you’re gonna be late, and let us begin…
Over three loose, funk-filled EPs, the Love Creation crew have given us some of the freshest, downright sexy disco edits ever to be pressed to wax. Helpfully titled Love Creation 003, their latest opus is out now, and features four deliciously downbeat grooves. As with the previous volumes, the record is made up of the best warm-up material money can buy, with the Love Creation Long Edit of Sons & Daughters especially divine! As always, there is a very limited run on this, so snap it up before the Discogs price starts to rise. 10/10.
UK label Greta Cottage Workshop have, since their inception back in 2009, crafted numerous fabulous dance records brimming with both heart and soul. With minimum exposure, limited print runs, and hand-stamped sleeve, the imprint really is a labour of love. Just listen to the beautiful deep house textures of the fantastic Clovelly EP by Grimes Adhesif to hear exactly what I mean. Subtle dub undertones mix with soft melodies, hazy vocals, and gentle, yet devastating bass to create a record as mesmerising as Kaa. Seriously, this is shockingly good! 9/10.
Those who like their house music deep, cerebral and with a gentle dollop of funk are sure to have their pleasure centres stimulated by SUED label head SVN’s new EP. The Machine’s four dense, electro-tinged tracks are perfect for those heads-down moments when all that matters is letting the body move. Sounding as if they would slot perfectly into Ostgut Ton regular Steffi’s recent mix for Fabric, all of these tracks delight in doing strange things to the brain. Do yourself a favour and track this down! 8.5/10.
When a dance floor is flagging it’s always good to have a cheeky edit of a well known song on hand to give the dancers a little jolt. Perfect for this is the Heavy Disco Edit of Kate Bush’s spine-tingler Running Up That Hill. Out now as a one-sided 12” on the always excellent Modern Artifacts label, the producers utilize the singer’s vocals to stunning effect, adding a gentle chorus of beats, slow, but steady percussion and a smattering of effects to create a superb slice of Balearic gold. Quantities of this are extremely limited, so don’t sleep on this unless you enjoy bitching about the disappointments in your life. 9/10.
Originally released back in 1991, Marcus Mixx’s Liquid Love is an extremely rare early house record which regularly sells for over-inflated prices on the second hand market. As hard to find as a Tory with a conscience, the record’s orgasmic vocals and silky smooth beats have helped make it a release every serious house DJ should own. The good people at Let’s Pet Puppies have given it a much needed re-press meaning you no longer have to mortgage your granny to get a copy of your own. House legend Ron Hardy’s gorgeously hypnotic Chicago Mix sits nicely on the B-Side and is sure to cause scenes of delight on any floor. Every bit as good though is the sleazy groove of the New York Mix which could cause even the most committed of wallflowers to temporarily lose their cool. 8.5/10.
Next up we have some dub techno jams with the deep bass pulse of Tilted Reality by Jor-El. Kenneth Christiansen’s Echocord imprint have been on stellar form recently, and this three track EP sees the Danish label keep standards sky high. On Side A, the title track has a classic Detroit techno feel, its fractured rhythms and jittery synths lending it a soft, spacey texture. Flip over for the clubbier tones of Elevation and the soft focus depth of Solitude. With its fabulous bass stabs and atmospheric strings it’s the final track which is the pick of the bunch for me. 8/10.
At its best, Berlin artist David Kock’s DeWalta project fashions a unique merging of house and techno where you can’t help but get lost in the groove. The sublime Wander LP was one of 2012’s very best, its use of minimalism and depth astounding to behold. This month DeWalta unleashes the mesmeric wonder of his Dark Matter EP, a four track double vinyl pack. Each of the songs are long, lingering journeys to the outer realms of deep techno, bewitching the listener with their stunning mix of repetition, bass and melody. With hazy splashes of jazz and funk, Dark Matter is a record which will make the perfect companion over long, sleepless nights. 8/10.
This month’s classic is the evergreen Icon by techno legend Derrick May. Originally released over 20 years ago under his Rhythim Is Rhythim alias, the track has been subtly and lovingly remixed and remastered by Vince Watson, and receives a welcome re-release through Derrick’s own Transmat imprint. Heart-wrenchingly beautiful, the song’s jittery rhythms and soaring strings mean it’s a tune just as likely to be met with misty eyes as roars of delight on a dance floor. As with the original release, Kao-Tic Harmony, sits nicely on the B-Side, and is no slouch either, making this a must buy for anyone who enjoys a little emotion with their beats. 10/10.