Review: Ian Blevins has been busy making a name for himself on ESP Institute and Futureboogie, but now he comes to Not An Animal with a slightly different approach that still speaks to the skills the upstart producer has in his sonic arsenal. "The Birds" is a focused, steady-tracking cut for the deeper end of the night, but there's some serious weight in those drums and the heavily processed vocal snippets pack plenty of malaise. Man Power then step up with a "Tropical Bastard" remix of the original, cracking the curtains to allow a little light into the mix but stopping short of over-cooking the mood. "Locate Yourself" on the flip finds Blevins in tracky techno mode, and it turns out it's a style he can nail just as easily as the more organic tones he's known for.
Review: Having made a strong impression with the first two releases on BROMUR, Bogdan steps over to Not An Animal to flex his discoid pecs once again. He leads in with the understated Italo thrum of "Parovoznikov," riding a stuttering arpeggio and leaving plenty of room for the punchy drums and fluttering synth touches. Justin Van Der Volgen does a sensitive job of the remix, embellishing the core of the track with delicate chime refrains that add a tenderness to this muscular club jam. "Listopad" is a more mellow affair, but there's no shortage of fuzzy, vintage lead lines to bathe your ears in. Kito Jempere does a more drastic reinterpretation with his version of "Listopad," injecting a little acid and proto house bite into the track.
Review: Not An Animal are known for their heated takes on the art of disco-sampling house music, and Ess O Ess is one of the key factors in defining that sound. This comes through in spades on Take You To A Secret Place, where the title track comes marching out atop a deadly bassline that will cut through any mix to get the people freaking out. The dub mix is equally deadly, flying a generous dose of cosmic sparkle into the mix without losing the punch in the original production. Kuniyuki Hard takes a daring approach that slows the track down to a creep and emphasises space and tension. The Angophora version is even more drastic, seemingly stripping all the recognisable elements of the track out and leaving behind a plaintive thread of ambient instrumentation.
Flamingos & Wombles & The Blue Oyster Cult (Cyber dub) (8:28)
Review: After strong turns on Ene Records and Love On The Rocks back in 2014, Ess O Ess make a welcome return with this surefooted single for Not An Animal. "Flamingoes & Wombles & The Blue Oyster Cult" is an urgent, driving slice of motorik disco powered by arpeggios, live bass and shamanistic chanting that calls to mind Yello's chart-baiting classic "The Race". The A side version keeps the synth levels high throughout, while on the flip the "Cyber Dub" teases the ingredients out for a more subtle effect. Whichever side you plump for though, the transcendental qualities are strong on this 12".
Review: Not An Animal Records was formed in 2015 out of the ashes of the London-based party Bad Passion, and has thus far welcomed the likes of Man Power, Ess O Ess and Eric Duncan to release on the label. Now they turn to James Hadfield, a relatively new producer previously spotted on To Rack & Ruin and Me Me Me. On this four-tracker he deals in brooding synthwave tones mixed with classic jack track rhythms. "Literate" is just the kind of taut, sinister club creeper we can't get enough of, while "Buried Answers" takes a skippier but no less moody approach. On the remix front, Jamie Blanco takes the prize, turning "Buried Answers" into a bombastic slice of driving synth pop.
Review: The Not An Animal crew follows up excellent releases from Man Power, James Hadfield and Ian Blevins last year with this 12" of soaring 80s-inflected dancefloor boogie In:State & Giuli. It's actually a dreamy remix of "Vizitoz" from Lauer that opens up the 12" before the pulsing, wavey throb of the original kicks in. "Plus One" on the B side chops up the beat a little, but the same fulsome synth lines shape out the track. That leaves it to Lizards to wrap the record up with their own version of "Vizitoz", bringing a motorik thrum to the track that should nudge it into the bags of all manner of DJs from the cosmic warm-up crew to the EBM-favouring techno peak timers.
Review: After a three-year absence, former Redux and Cynic duo Machete Savane (AKA Saul Richards and Andy Bainbridge of Bad Passion Project) return to action. Fittingly, it comes on Bad Passion Project's Not An Animal Records. "Manticore" is something of a treat for those who like their disco electronic, atmospheric and doused in perm-sporting rock and '80s AOR influences (think winding guitar solos, Italo-disco arpeggio lines, punk-funk bass, and spacey electronics). It comes backed with two contrasting remixes: a throbbing, disco-tech revision from ESP Institute regular, and an ambient re-invention from Jonny Nash. The latter's alternately glistening and dreamy version is as sublime as you'd expect.
Review: Not An Animal continues to grow into one of the most intriguing labels operating in London on the exotic beatdown axis. Recent releases by In:State & Guili, Ess O Ess and Bogdan have all pushed an agenda of psychedelic, energetic groove business, and now this debut appearance from multi-instrumental trio MODXI builds on this mantra with a sprawling voyage powered by snaking rhythms and seasoned with sax. Then the mighty Roman Flugel gets drafted in for a remix that injects some cosmic synth sweeps into proceedings along with a strong undercurrent of minimalist beat constructions. Frank Butters seals the deal with a distinctive take on the track that draws a darker energy from the source to create a seedy, synthwave interpretation perfect for moodier dancefloors.