Review: French imprint Astro Lab has remained an under appreciated gem of a label despite releases from Hardway Bros and Mr Shake Shakir in recent times. Their latest reason for you to pay more attention comes via the musical mind of Timothy J Fairplay - who you may know as part of the excellent band Battant or via his solo excursions on the Wevver's curated Boardroom comp from a while back. Newly inducted into the Astro Lab familia, Fairplay drops three cuts that pay homage to the OST icon John Carpenter. Whilst Carpenter is a much credited source of inspiration, Fairplay embellishes his productions with enough low slung personality to place them far beyond mere pastiches; the final simmering tension of "General Arrives" is particularly impressive. Echoing previous releases on the label, Astro Lab match the original material with some fine remixes as Sir Weatherall opens the B Side with a typically unique treatment of "Sleigh Ride/Blizzard" which is cloaked in a muggy, druggy languid techno vibe. Complementing this, Astro Lab's London dwelling Portuguese correspondent ZNTN switches up the sounds of "General Arrives" - embellishing the rhythm with an ever changing percussive direction that will delight the more esoteric ears out there!
Review: Proper World Unknown tackle here from T J Fairplay and Bodyhammer resident Matilda on the always excellent Astro Lab Recordings label. In the offing for some time, the 12" actually arrives at a pertinent moment with Fairplay having enjoyed a superlative twelve months thanks to his role in The Asphodells alongside Andrew Weatherall. Both original productions here are the sort of slow techno that Dan Avery's been championing for a while, so it's no surprise to see the glum faced DJ and producer here on the B Side with a typically lysergic remix. It is however the accompanying "Ferox 2" from Lux resident Tiago that you need to check, betraying a mastery and understanding of rattling, soul-laden beatdown house music reminiscent of a forgotten Mahogani gem.
Review: Having collared Timothy Fairplay for last year's excellent John Carpenter's Sound, the Astrolab label turn to Scott Fraser, his partner in Crimes Of The Future for their latest 12". Whereas Fairplay's contribution took obvious influence from the soundtrack work of the director inferred in its title, we're not 100 per cent sure how much influence the films of John Hughes have on Fraser's production "A John Hughes Production". It is however a wonderfully kaleidoscopic example of Fraser's slow build approach married to a sound closer in heart to disco and has been a staple of A Love From Outer Space for some time now. There is also the added bonus of an excellent Mark E remix that shifts proceedings into churning slo mo techno. You could argue that Fraser and Evetts have a similar slow building approach, though this remix demonstrates they also have distinctly separate routes to arriving at the same end product!
Review: Fresh from adding label boss to his CV with the foundation of his Crimes Of The Future operation with fellow underground denizen TJ Fairplay, Scott Fraser returns to the art of the dancefloor with a rather hefty 12" for the Astro Lab label. It's the third time the softly spoken Scot has featured on Laurent Pastor's excellent label - you should recall his superb debut The John Hughes Experience - but the ALFOS associate has forgone any cinematic inclinations this time. The often stated desire in house music to 'jack your body' is very much apparent in the heaving wall shaker that is "Body", as Fraser conjures up influences from both Chicago and Detroit. The track is rewired on the flip by Oliver 'Raudive' Ho with bleep laden, delay heavy results - this is techno for the darkest spaces. Great 12" for the deejays out there.
Review: Over a year since a stellar debut on the Comeme imprint, Ana Helder adds another fine and criminally under prolific label to his discography with this Soy Canalla EP for French label Astro Lab Recordings. Less an EP and more one original production from Helder and some excellent accompanying remixes, "Soy Canalla" continues in the vein of her Comeme material, splaying an uber slow industrial beat and gaseous analogue bass line beneath a bewitching array of Latin disco keys and enchanting Argentine flute. Egyptian acid explorer Timothy J Fairplay lives up to his "Weatherall prodigy" tag with an excellent remix that sounds like John Carpenter jamming with The Emperor Machine. It's a mark of his talent that Fairplay's effort is every bit as impressive as the flipside opener from Ivan Smagghe - a remix that invariably sounds like six different tracks within the course of its duration. Cologne based artist Frank West rounds off this EP with a short but excellent remix that casts the track as highly pressurised space booty dub.
Review: Following the massive 'Wizzard' ep Pski is back with this amazing 7inch,
'WCTBL' out on the Astro Lab label, with soul and mid tempo atmosphere.
Already played and supported by worldwide famous selectors, djs and magazines.
Anthony Shake Shakir - "At The Bonnie Brook" (Osborne remix)
Hardway Bros - "The Prince In Outer Space"
Review: There's been plenty of hype about this much-delayed first compilation from France's well-regarded Astro Labs label. Given the imprint's fine record and the fact that the vast majority of these tracks are new or unreleased, it's easy to see why. Thankfully, it doesn't disappoint, offering a thrillingly varied trawl through the more cosmic fringes of leftfield dance music. From the spiralling electronics and analogue rhythms of Timothy J Fairplay's "Curb Your Dog" and the no-nonsense beauty of Cage & Aviary's "What Love", to the chugging synth-wave of Mugwump and the Hardway Brothers' LB Bad tribute "The Prince of Outer Space", there's much buried treasure to be found
Canyon Cosmos - "Fear Of Plastic" (Pilooski remix)
Hiem - "Tokyo Night"
Rodion & La Royale - "Chamorro Tomorrow"
David Shaw & The Beat - "Sex Gang"
Carreno Is LB - "Pitch Housing"
She Lies - "Needed You"
Remain - "Noses, Claudine & Horses"
The Deadstock 33s - "Reverse The Role"
Jimi After - "Looking Glass" (feat Gina Olafson)
Red Axes vs Moscoman - "Wire Conflict"
Vosper - "Interstate"
Javi Redondo - "Lonely"
Vox Low - "I Wanna See The Light" (Ivan Smagghe version)
Capablanca vs La Mverte - "Distortion"
Mar Pinol - "The Fix"
Offset - "Milky Polar Bitch"
Eskimo Twins - "Skraeling"
Morgan Hammer - "Moonshining"
Club Bizarre - "What Is That About"
People Get Real - "Blurred Vision"
Crackboy - "Ride"
Jockers Of The Scene - "Jots Silencio"
Monoblok & PSLKTR - "Spooky"
Review: Astrolab's first Treasure Hunting compilation, released earlier this year, was something of a must-have, delivering a range of weird and wonderful collection of analogue machine music in a range of styles and tempos. Thankfully, this follow-up is every bit as engaging as its predecessor. Ranging from sparse alien funk (see Red Axes v Moscoman's "Wire Conflict") and clandestine synth-chug (Vosper's "Interstate"), to woozy new wave (Ivan Smagghe's memorable version of VoX LoW's "I Wanna See The Light"), via bubbling acid (Marc Pinol), tactile Italo (Eskimo Twins) and wonky kosmiche (Club Bizarre), Treasure Hunting 2 delivers from start to finish.
I Wanna See The Light (Ivan Smagghe version) (6:30)
Review: France's Vox Low is a psych-minimal-kraut-eave outfit made up of Benoit Raymond and Jean Christophe Couderc, and if the genre description sounds like a mouthful, it's simply because their music is a diverse as diverse as the label that they release on. They return with an EP for Astro Lab Recordings, this time, and "Baby Brown" sets the scene with a jarring selection of organs set against a backdrop of house-driven beats, followed by the shadier, more industrial flex of the 80's-reminiscent "Love Ourself". On the flip, Lost Tapes remixes "I Wanna See The Light" into a cold-blooded lo-fi jam for the dreamers, while long-time Dj Ivan Smagghe adds his own touch on the tune thanks to a shimmering disco flavour, and a gorgeous, warm bassline.