Music | Bittles’ Magazine: The music column from the end of the world
In this month’s article I will be talking about some of the new 12”s which have been distracting me from the shit-storm that is modern life and brightening up my days. We have the lush house grooves of Demuja, Qnete and Cinthie, the experimental techno urges of Nina Kraviz, the ambient soundscapes of Umber & Gavin Miller, the undefinable sounds of Iron Curtis and Lone, and lots more. By JOHN BITTLES
So, without further ado, let us begin…
Austria based DJ/producer Demuja has been winning himself an army of fans these last couple of years with a series of stellar releases which are fun, fruity and dancefloor gold. Last year’s Hidden Paradise album saw the artist broadening his horizons on a double vinyl set of sample heavy deep house. This summer the Salzburg artist returns to his own Muja imprint with Disco Cuts 2, featuring three sunshine-infused disco edits. Feel good summer jam Nomalizo by Letta Mbulu gets us off to a great start; a loose, funky bassline, mid-tempo beats and an abundance of melody underpin an evocative sample to help form a song which is to dancing as butter is to toast. The deep, dubby house groove and African style vocals of Mam Yinne Wa by Alogte Oho follow, Demuja’s edit giving it a subtle nod towards club play. Rupa’s Aaj Shanibar closes things with a touch of acid and some classic disco house licks. Deliciously propulsive this is the pick of an excellent bunch. 9/10.
Up and coming Leipzig based producer Marvin Uhde aka Qnete joins the X-Kalay roster this month with the excellent Devils In The Dust EP. With highly rated releases on labels such as Shtum, Uncanny Valley and Lobster Theremin, Marvin’s tough, yet melancholic style of house music has long been a feature of many a DJ set. For his latest 12” he travels back in time to revisit the driving melodies and riffs of 90s trance. When I say ‘trance’ I mean the classic sound of labels such as MFS or Harthouse rather than the horrible pop trance which arrived later and came to dominate the charts. The results are a glorious collision of the old and the new. We have the deep and funky bassline led Sand Progression, the jazz tinged trip hop of Atacama Behemoth, the Sasha style melodic house of Air Progression, and lots more. So, get yourself down to your local vinyl dealer and demand a copy of this sweet slice of nostalgia today. 9/10.
Under his Iron Curtis alias Johannes Paluka has released a string of well received albums and EPs on labels such as Mirau Musik, 4lux Black, Uncanny Valley and more. This August finds Johannes returning to Office Recordings with the varied and eclectic house strains of the And The Temper EP. Formed of six tracks, opener 010103 is a rich, atmospheric acid laced jam which recalls the likes of Tin Man or early Recondite in its hypnotic splendour. Next, the title track is a short, but very sweet piece of trip hop which sounds like it could have come out on Mo’Wax back in the day. Mars (Epoch Mix) meanwhile is perhaps one of the best tracks Iron Curtis has ever produced. A deep rumbling bassline merges with classic sounding drum patterns and soft synth stabs on a track you never want to end. Further in we have the intoxicating electro of Arash, the deconstructed bass thump of Fine Fine I and the atmospheric ambiance of closer Strategie 98. With more ideas than most people’s careers, And The Temper is a record you really need to hear. 8.5/10.
House superstar Lone drops the first physical EP on his new Ancient Astronauts imprint this July with the rave-tastic rhythms of Abraxas. Formed of three beat heavy and psychedelic tracks, the record showcases a producer in top form. The dancefloor dynamism and old school samples of the title track grace the A-Side, with hurried breakbeats merging with African rhythms and melodic synths to create a track which will inject a welcome dose of pace and eclecticism to any set. Young Star Cluster is every bit as good, its classic sounding drum n’ bass style riffs recalling 90s hardcore acts such as Acen. Fabulously deep and heady, when the 303 laced groove enters the fray halfway through it is all but impossible to keep one’s cool. The package is completed by the Detroit techno swoon of How Can You Tell. Whether you are a misty-eyed raver, or new to the dance music scene, the technicolor glory of Abraxas will have something for you. 8.5/10.
Russian DJ/producer Nina Kraviz is a rarity in today’s music scene. While she has success the likes of which most of us could only dream of, she also releases some of the most underground sounding music you will ever hear. Having no truck with the concepts sell-out or mainstream, both her music and her label TRIP Records have enabled Nina to carve herself a reputation as a purveyor of quality angular grooves. Case in point is the fabulous techno eclecticism of her new EP. Stranno Neobjatno is out now and features three quality weapons all of which keep things decidedly weird. Sounding like something you would hear in a basement after discovering you have consumed the wrong drugs, the deliciously woozy Dream Machine is the type of tune which will keep you dancing long after your body has pleaded for you to stop. The coldwave stomp of I Want You and the dark vocal and synth-play of the title track up the pace to complete a high-quality package which the more adventurous out there will be playing for years. 8/10.
UK label This Is It Forever have been responsible for bringing us some of the most unique and interesting electronic music to hit these ears in recent years. Run by Gavin Miller the imprint has released rich ambiance, hazy techno, eerie electronica and more by artists such as Thomas Ragsdale, Ghosting Season, Capac and worriedaboutsatan. Late July finds TIIF unleashing the third of their split cassette series with the ethereal strains of The Haze. On Side A Umber delivers a long and luxurious sequence of emotion rich atmospherics with the majestic Every Corner Of A New Day. Reminiscent of the work of Pete Namlook, or something you would have heard on a Feed Your Head comp back in the day, the track envelops the listener in its melancholic air. Side two finds label head Gavin Miller present two nostalgia tinged tracks, with both Don’t Look At The Sun and Do You Have 5 Minutes To Talk About Our Lord And Saviour Carly Rae Jepsen? sure to inspire strange yet beautiful dreams. 8/10.
Following killer records already this year on Aus Music and 803 Crystalgrooves, Berlin based producer Cinthie shows no sign of slowing down with the tough techno funk of her excellent new EP. Kiss & Fly is out now on Berghain regular Freddy K’s KEY Vinyl label and features four tracks sure to work wonders on dancefloors the world over, no matter how intimate or huge. Opener Get High is a rough and rugged Chicago style stomper, recalling Green Velvet or something from a Danny Tenaglia set. One for the freaks, the moment when the trippy synth patterns arrive halfway through will have even dear old Grandma throwing her hands in the air. Next up, Steady Freddy keeps the pounding drums which underpin a cut-up sample of a Freddy K interview to create a deliciously disorientating tribal stomp. Flip over for the 303 laced acid throb of I’ll Be Your Eyes and the dub techno headiness of Kick Back. With each track begging to be played loud to a packed dancefloor, Kiss & Fly more than deserves a place in your bag. 8/10.
A special mention must also go to: The Moral Rails by Jeremy P Caulfield – With two slabs of no-nonsense techno, the fabulous title track grabs you by the gut and refuses to let go, 9/10, Chemare Cosmică by Ada Kaleh – Romanian artist Ada Kaleh delivers two long, heady techno tracks perfect for when you want to take things deep, 8.5/10, Take 8 by Longlost – Out now on Honey Soundsystem Records, DFA artist Juan Maclean joins forces with Kevin McHugh for an emotive and melodic slice of house, 8.5/10, Big Wig EP by PBR Streetgang – The Leeds based duo launch their new Kurtz imprint with a thoroughly gorgeous collection of club tunes, 8.5/10, Pressure EP by Brame & Hamo – The celebrated Sligo duo re-emerge from a brief hibernation period with a fresh and funky dancefloor ready three tracker, 8/10, Ten Toes Down EP by Waajeed – Needless to say if you aren’t dancing within minutes of hearing lead track Heavy then I can never be your friend, 8/10, Feelin’ Good by Laurent Garnier & Chambrey – Out now on Rekids (and featuring two remixes by label head Radio Slave) Feelin’ Good is a bona fide anthem tailor made for creating pandemonium in a room, 8/10, Music & Rhythm EP by Simon Shaw – Head straight for the tribal house groove of Yeaaahhhh!, a track I’ll be playing for months, 8/10, and EP2 by Masks – New York duo Max Ravitz aka Patricia and Alexis Georgopoulos aka ARP return for a hardware heavy set of raw, emotional house music which will work as well in a club as at home, 9/10.