Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
In the second part of our two week 12” extravaganza we have all sorts of electronic goodness sure to stir the loins. There are the shiver-inducing grooves of Ghost Vision, Soela and Demuja, the progressive house wallop of Bicep, the leftfield techno of I:Cube, the classic funk of Space, a four track comp of house freshness from the Shall Not Fade crew and tons more. By JOHN BITTLES
So, get the turntables ready, pop on your dancing socks, and let us begin…
This week we’ll start on a high with the disco-tinged electronica of newcomers Ghost Vision’s debut EP. Thomas Gandey of Cagedbaby fame and Daniel McLewin from Balearic mavericks Psychemagik, Saturnus is out early May and contains two long, lingering downtempo grooves. Lead track Saturnus (Ghost Vision Theme) is a 13 minute long slow-burner which works its way into your very soul. With hints of John Carpenter’s soundtrack work this is a song you can easily lose yourself within for hours if not days. B-Side, Zuul Passage is every bit as good, taking its time building to a beautiful crescendo which will have your heart leaping for joy. Deeply immersive, emotive and surreal, Cologne imprint Kompakt have done it yet again with a record of rare beauty and sonic wonder. 9.5/10.
Since its inception back in 2016 British label E-Beamz has been at the forefront of the leftfield house scene. Releases by DJ Seinfeld, DJ Boring, Hugo Massien, and more have seen their colourful 12inches grace the sets of any DJ that counts. This month the imprint continue its hot run of form with Soela’s excellent Early Bird EP. A bit quieter than the rave inspired lo-fi house music which E-Beamz is perhaps best known for, the record contains a quartet of classic sounding deep house jams. Reminiscent of Larry Heard’s Mr. Fingers project, all four tracks are mid-paced, deeply melodic and full of funk. With the standards so high, picking faves is a fool’s game here, yet the gloriously uplifting Early Bird (Feat. Module One) is a song so good I would ask for its hand in marriage if I could. 9.5/10.
Over the last few years British label Shall Not Fade has been bringing out some of the finest house music to grace a dance floor. This trend is continued with the release of Shall Not Fade White 004. Containing four groove heavy tunes all but guaranteed to bring a rush of joy to anyone who appreciates a good 4/4 beat, this vinyl-only collection is superb from beginning to end. LK gets us off to a fabulous start, giving us a splendid jacking track with a gloriously retro touch. Next, star of the moment DJ Boring packs the melodic heat into a sure-fire club stormer with the best use of strings in a house tune since In The Trees. Flip over for some chipmunk vocals cuteness from Aries and a cheeky sample and funk filled jam from FOLD. Limited to a mere 300 copies, be sure to act quick on this. 9/10.
With a string of fantastic records over the last few years, if there is a a better producer than Demuja in action right now then I shall join the Conservative party! Bernhard Weiss‘ latest opus lands on Madhouse Records this spring with the soul-filled lo-fi house of Come To Me. The lead track opens proceedings with a New Jersey style jam which utilizes raw beats and a catchy vocal sample to stunning effect. One for the warm up floors, or for more clued-up crowds, this is just about as good as house music gets. Rising star Folamour adds disco licks and sunshine beats to his Lost In Eden Remix, to give us a version every bit as good as the original. The B-Side meanwhile features the stuttering beats and classic garage flourishes of new tracks Take, and the smooth house groove of Feel Me (Feat. Ladybird). 8.5/10.
French label Versatile celebrate their 120th release with a stellar double pack from I:Cube. As far as celebrations go this certainly beats pulling a few party poppers and drinking watered down lager with your friends. Out early May, the snappily titled Double Pack finds the inimitable Nicolas Chaix in peak form with six tracks taking in ambiance, techno and everything in-between. Highlights include the smooth trance pulse of Flutes Souterraines, the atmospheric groove of Bifurque, and the Detroit techno swoon of Ramurc. Also be sure to check the double A-side 7” by I:Cube/Oeil Cube, which is released on the same day, to avoid the risk of missing out on the steamy disco groove of Etire En Avant. 8/10.
Northern Irish duo Bicep had a terrific 2017 with their self-titled debut album cementing their status as one of the most exciting house music acts around. After last month’s fab Four Tet remix of Opal (which finally arrives on vinyl late April), the band quickly follow it with the release of new single Rain. Quietly euphoric, this is a song which will add a bit of sophistication and depth to any DJ set. Please ignore the unnecessary edit of the EP’s title track, but be sure to check the melodic melancholy of brand new tune Helix. Equal parts B12, Sasha, and Larry Heard, the track is a bleep filled delight. 8/10.
This week we will bring things to a close with a 1970s disco classic which has been slightly re-jigged to make it more relevant for modern floors. Magic Fly (Remixes) by Space is available now and finds The Orb, Greg Wilson & Peza, Richard Norris and Sare Havlicket adding their own distinctive touch to the original’s bouncy synth jam. First up ambient legends The Orb create a mind-enhancing mid-paced jam which suddenly bursts into life midway through. Next, both Greg Wilson & Peza and Richard Norris up the cosmic disco factor on their takes, leaving it to Sare Havlicket to end things on a Johnny Jewel inspired high. 8/10.
A special mention must also go to: There’s Always More At The Store by Project Pablo – An EP of slow, hazy house music from the hotly tipped Canadian which wastes no time in setting up home in your mind, 8.5/10, Mother by Waajeed – Deep, soulful techno from the Slum Village co-founder out now on Carl Craig’s Planet E imprint, 8/10, Enfin by Sean Miller – The sunshine-infused euphoria of Arc en Ciel is the one to go for here, shy 303s sit nicely in the background of a tune so huge it could blot out the sky, 8/10, Second Stimilus by Toby Tobias – Out now on ESP Institute, this two-tracker is a deep, heady delight, 8/10, I Ran by Moscoman – Middle Eastern percussion and a raw, psychedelic edge help make I Ran a delicious head scrambler for the more open-minded clubs, 8/10, Sakura EP by DJ Seinfeld – The cheekily named producer beefs up his trademark lo-fi house sound with a four track EP of rave inspired beats, 8/10, Decay EP by Thor – Four tracks of deep, dubby techno on Iceland’s Thule Records, 8/10, You Disco I Freak/Metal Box Remixes by Death In Vegas – Techno heavyweights Silent Servant present two industrial-edged versions of You Disco I Freak, 7/10, and Pink Horror by My Favorite Robot – Pick of the bunch is the goth-tinged Jori Hulkkonen remix, whose pitched vocals and lazy air help it feel like a lost remix from the 80s, 7.5/10.