Review: Fresh from inspired outings on Freerange, Monologues and Axe on Wax, Greg Stewart brings his DJ Aakmael project to Scissor & Thread. He sets his stall out via opener "Take It Back", a wonderfully loose, relaxed and sepia-tinted deep house cut that simply oozes melodious warmth from start to finish. Stewart showcases his knowledge of vintage New Jersey deep house on "What Iz Deep House", where pitched-down spoken word samples and jazzy riffs work in unison with a snappy drum machine groove, before opting for a classic Frankie Knuckles sound on the tactile and piano-heavy "Sand". Frank and Tony are on hand to remix the latter, delivering a stripped-back and bass-heavy dub that's every bit as alluring as Stewart's original version.
Aakmael - "Deep Muzik" (Frank All That Light mix) (8:13)
Frank & Aakmael - "Mercy Of Means" (6:03)
Frank - "Part Song" (5:52)
Frank - "Part Song" (DJ Aakmael remix) (5:45)
Review: Next up on New York imprint Scissor & Thread is label chief Francis Harris collaborating on "Mercy Of Means" with DJ Aakmael. He has built a reputation for some of the deepest, rawest house music sounds coming out of the States, releasing well-received tracks on the likes of Freerange Records, Release Sustain, Kolour Dogmatik and NDATL. The title track sees the pair conjure up some deep and spiritual vibes before they fly solo on a couple of tracks each. "Deep Muzik" sees the Virginia based Aakmael deliver his signature 'raw' sound, while Harris gets properly deep and dusty on the bittersweet and melancholic hypnotism of "Part Song" .
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** Back in 2012, New York deep house hero Francis Harris released his critically acclaimed debut album on Scissor & Thread - the now defunct label he ran with French DJ Anthony Collins and Shawn Schwartz of Halcyon Records. A much sought after LP since its limited release, the reissue of this evocative sonic journey will no doubt be to the joy of many collectors with this repress. A requiem to his late father, it is a deeply personal journey with an organic and soulful feel throughout featuring a variety of traditional and classical sonic elements over its deep house framework. From blissed out armchair drifters like "Plays I Play" or "Pensum", to more upbeat expressions in deepness as heard on the gorgeous "Lostfound" featuring Danish singer Gry's sensual vocals or the bittersweet groove of "Close Air". This truly is Harris' masterpiece.
Minor Forms (Valentino Mora Underwater rephase) (8:48)
Minor Forms (Valentino Mora Cosmic Trans rephase) (6:43)
Review: Astonishingly, Minor Forms is Francis Harris' first solo appearance on Scissor & Thread for four years - an astonishing fact when you consider that he was one of the label's founders. Opener "Move We Cannot Do" is almost astonishingly deep, with Harris's delicate melodies and undulating, cymbal-heavy rhythm track struggling to rise above enveloping chords and dub techno style aural textures. "Minor Forms" is a little chunkier and more bass-heavy, but still jaw dropping in its bluesy, late night deepness. Valentino Mora serves up two flipside interpretations of that track, first giving it a clanking, metallic techno makeover (the "Underwater Rephase") before diving headfirst into dreamy dub techno waters (the "Cosmic Trans Rephase").
Dangerdream (How Che Guevara's Death & Bob Dyla's Life) (vinyl edit) (8:41)
Review: ** REPRESS ALERT ** On Francis Harris' second album, the Scissor and Thread label founder continued to grapple with the subjects of memory, loss and profound grief similarly explored on his debut Leland (dedicated to his recently passed father) in 2012. This follow up was in tribute to his mother, who sadly passed the following year - with Harris revisiting deeply personal territory. Danish vocalist Gry Bagoien, trumpeter Greg Paulus (of No Regular Play) and cellist Emil Abramyan returned to provide truly inspiring passages throughout this album. Harris even contributed to the sessions himself, with some guitar and piano work. Across the 10 song opus, Harris works organic and synthetic elements into his compositional framework, relying less on percussive elements to define his moods, whilst solidifying his signature blend of house, modern classical, shoegaze and noise.
Review: On previous albums, Francis Harris has tackled some weighty subjects, including memory, loss and grief, intertwining these artistic inspirations with a woozy, organic and multi-layered deep house framework. "Trivial Occupations", his third full-length excursion, is not only less conceptual in tone, but also marks a conscious attempt to move away from the constraints of the dancefloor. Of course, there are still hypnotic, ultra-deep house beats scattered around the album, it's just that they largely operate at a more leisurely pace and usually come smothered in crackling field recordings, ambient chord sequences and slowly shifting melodies designed to worm their way into your consciousness. Combine these cuts with some superb, beat-free ambient explorations, and you have a hugely atmospheric and entertaining set.