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John Talabot & Marc Piñol – Hiverned #1 review

In the current climate where the disco/nu-disco realm is flush with poorly executed edits of disco tracks that have already been spliced and diced several times over, it’s all too easy to bemoan the launch of yet another label specialising in them. However, when a label as renowned as the Hivern Disc crew elects to dip their toes in the overpopulated waters you get a sense there will be an element of classiness inherent in all aspects that makes it worth investigating.

Such a statement bears fruition on this rather fetching 10 inch, the inaugural release in the Hiverned series (geddit?) which arrives housed in the kind of marble flecked silk screen cover that will send a shiver of excitement down the spines of vinyl obsessives everywhere. Just as the presentation impresses, the music itself excels in its obscurity.

Reclusive label figurehead John Talabot opens proceedings with an deliciously rough sounding edit of a seemingly forgotten NYC boogie track called “Party Girl”. With little clue as to the origins – even after some concerted Googling endeavours – it’s difficult exactly to focus on what Talabot has done to the track. Supposedly melding the vocal and instrumental versions together, the tracks odder elements probably shouldn’t work (and perhaps its why the original remained an obscurity), but somehow do. It’s hard to decipher whether the high pitched main vocal is being sung by a pre pubescent boy a la a young Michael Jackson or a helium enhanced lady, but there’s a certain quality to it that is quite amusing. Beneath, the heavy boogie bassline, simple yet effective drum sounds and slightly askew synth lines combine brilliantly.

As thrilling an edit this is, particularly the drum-heavy breakdown with the proto rap freestyle, it’s the B Side that really works it for these ears. The lesser celebrated Marc Piñol can rank the God like Ivan Smagghe amongst his fans, and it’s not hard to see why on an edit that provides a darker edge to the rough cosmic sunshine of Talabot’s opener. Again there is scant clue as to the source material for “Wheels” – we’ll leave that to the more obsessive corners of the internet – but regardless it’s quite brilliant. Emerging from a spoken word Gothic ether into a raw EBM throb worthy of Gatekeeper at their finest, the track aligns into a groove of rumbling bass, pitched down spectral vocals and heaving organ refrains, all underpinned by siren like melodics. It’s perfectly befitting of spinnage at any upcoming Halloween parties and serves notice of Piñol’s talent, which will hopefully be given further room to develop on the Hivern imprint. Overall, you get the impression this release is the work of a well respected label having some fun and getting away with it.

Tony Poland