Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
This week, and the next, I shall be ignoring the fact that it is Record Store Day to bring you a selection of the finest 12-inch records known to man. In part one alone we have the lush house grooves of Peggy Gou, Ross From Friends and LK, the rich electronica of Francis Harris and Darren Nye, the noisy funk of Rex The Dog, the sample heavy grooves of Bassically, and lots more. By JOHN BITTLES
So, make some space on your record shelves, and let us begin…
Rising star Peggy Gou has had the type of meteoric ascent most of us could only dream about. The Berlin resident’s output manages to sound undeniably unique in a crowded marketplace and contains a sense of freshness which wafts over the listener like a cooling breeze. Case in point is the excellent Once EP, out now via Ninja Tune. Featuring three groove heavy tracks all but guaranteed to make a dance floor swoon, Once is nothing less than divine. Opener It Makes You Forget (Itgehane) features the Korean born producer singing on wax for the very first time. Slick, soulful, and with just a hint of 303, this will do damage on all but the most jaded of floors. Hundred Times meanwhile is a bouncy electro jam with a playful house touch, while Han Jan utilizes deadpan vocals, fizzing beats and a killer bassline to devastating effect. While the vinyl is pretty much sold out, don’t despair, as a repress is due very soon. 9/10.
Brooklyn based artist Francis Harris has, over the years, been responsible for some of the dreamiest house music known to man. A founding member of the always excellent Scissor & Thread imprint, he is also a highly respected solo artist and one half of deep house royalty Frank & Tony. His new EP, Minor Forms is out now and contains four lush, unhurried tracks which lean towards the ambient side of house. The A-side is formed of two original tracks, with More We Cannot Do warming us up nicely with its hushed beats and hazy melodies. Next up, lead track Minor Forms is a gorgeously bittersweet sounding melody driven jam which uses Greg Paulus‘ trumpet playing to stunning effect. Valentino Mora presents a pair of remixes of the EP’s title track on the flip, first turning it into a technoid dance floor throbber, before easing the pace somewhat with the wistful drift of his Cosmic Trans Rephase. 9/10.
The almighty FireScope Records come up trumps yet again with rising producer Darren Nye’s first ever vinyl release. Containing five tracks of languid techno and melodic electronica, Emotional Intelligence is out now on white/blue marbled vinyl (which is a work of art in itself) and is an aural treat for anyone with a love for 90s era IDM. Things She Said opens proceedings with a chorus of gentle melodies, subdued beats and a tranquil air, before Emulated Emotion take things up a notch with a soft acid line and a gorgeously spacious feel. Flip over for the stuttering percussion and Aphex Twin like synths of Plasmid Soul, Fragments‘ retro sounding cool, and the melancholy ambiance of Disconnected Reality. Deep and dreamy, Emotional Intelligence is a record you will want to immerse yourself in body and soul. 8.5/10.
Felix Clary Weatherall has been steadily making a name for himself these last couple of years. Utilizing the inspired Ross From Friends alias he been responsible for a string of lo-fi house excellence which has caused many a clubber to lose their cool on a packed dance floor. Newly signed to Flying Lotus‘ Brainfeeder label, he broadens his outlook somewhat with the gleefully eclectic Aphelion EP. Don’t Wake Dad gets things off to a great start, its stop/start beats, 80s style synths and sparse samples working together to create a track which seems to blow kisses in your ears. Other picks include the muted jazz and drumpad beats of John Cage and the melancholy groove of There’s A Hole In My Heart. Think house music is tired and jaded? Think again! 9/10.
Cologne label Kompakt have long been known for their hook heavy techno and house. Whether it’s the deep ambiance of Gas, the playful trance of Superpitcher, or the classic Detroit grooves of John Tejada, everything they release tends to be top drawer. Rex The Dog makes a very welcome return to the stable this month with the epic grandeur of Crasher, a track whose epic swells should have you rushing to your local record emporium right now. Resembling a Harthouse classic from the mid-nineties, Crasher rises and peaks to reach a noisy crescendo which positively demands you raise your hands in the air. Also be sure to check the minimal electro pulse of Hold It/Control It on the flip, a tune which will make itself at home in any big room. 8.5/10.
Released at the very end of February, Introducing 01 by Bassicaly is such a funk filled groover that it would have been criminal not to give it a belated plug. Composed by Raz Olsher and his live house troupe, Bassically bring us the first of six EPs to be released on the Fossil Sounds imprint in 2018. All Fuckin‘ Night gets things going; a jazz infused deep house cut featuring a Moodymann sample which you might not want to play to your mum. Deep Down ups the pace somewhat for an old school Chicago jack track which entices your body to move, while the percussion led vocal number Same Again ends things on a spine-tingling high. With volume 2 due imminently it’s fair to say that Introducing 01 is a must for anyone with even a passing interest in house. 8/10.
A special mention must also go to: Dreams EP by LK – Head straight for the soulful flourish of (I Wanna) Make Luv 2 U, a track so good it will put a smile on anybody’s face, 9/10, Sour Jazz EP by Art Department – While most people will concentrate on the Todd Terry, Roland Clarke hook up Roots Deep, the deep house groove and jazz licks of the title track are every bit as good, 8/10, Vienna001 by DJ Boring and Stanley Schmidt – Our intrepid duo launch their new label Vienna with a fantastically erratic three track EP which touches on house, jungle, techno, breakbeat and more, 8/10, I Keep On Wanting You/Progress by John Daly – The Irish producer arrives on the esteemed Drumpoet Community imprint with a fierce two-tracker of tough house beats, 7.5/10, Yamaha Acid by Kalbata – My nan always said that ‚you can’t bit a bit of acid!‘. A sentiment ably proved by Kalbata’s 303 laced EP, 8/10, Egée by Modern House Quintet – Three tracks of warm, mid-paced house music which waste no time in getting you to wiggle your ass, 8/10 and Love For The Art by Melchior Sultana – Four tracks of house music so deep that when the record comes to an end you find yourself gasping for air, 8.5/10.