This week we briefly took our attentions off records to announce details of our forthcoming party celebrating three years of Juno Plus, which will be taking place up in Stoke Newington in October.
Regular readers will know of our longstanding admiration for Ron Morelli’s L.I.E.S. imprint, so it made perfect sense for us to invite him along to play and treat our ears to whatever selection of throbbing house, industrial techno and leftfield synth oddities he deems fit. Support will be provided by another similarly interesting figure – Will Bankhead, the man behind The Trilogy Tapes, one half of Hinge Finger with Joy Orbison, and a respected sleeve designer in his own right thanks to his iconic work for Honest Jons, Mo Wax , Hessle Audio and R&S. A limited number of £5 tickets are available at Resident Advisor now, and we suggest you buy some post haste.
Of course we also had to get on with the business of listening to music; thankfully the quality level was high despite coming to the end of the summer release drought. The aforementioned L.I.E.S. provided their second release in two weeks with Mutant Beat Dance’s debut for the label; following their under the radar Rong 12″ that arrived way back in January, we’ve followed their output eagerly, and this single doesn’t disappoint, with the mystical Ptolemaic freeform jakbeat of “Urban Dust” complemented the burrowing analogue freakery of “Sketch III,” a 110BPM bumper driven by heavily degradated drums.
Perhaps our most eagerly awaited record of the week was the collaboration between FunkinEven and Kyle Hall under the Funkinevil banner and the way that the percussion is almost spat out of the speakers at you on “Night” is just one reason why the record lives up to their new name, with the intermittent distorted chants of “evil” voiced throughout making for a neat reminder. Almost as anticipated was Theo Parrish’s Hand Made EP for Gerd Janson’s Running Back. It’s rare that a Theo Parrish release arrives on a label based outside the US, but when that happens it always tends to be a bit special. Running Back seems like a perfect European outlet for Theo to grace; indeed the Sound Signature boss has already contributed two stunning revisions for Gerd Janson’s label and this oh so aptly titled Hand Made EP is pretty special. Not least because it includes the prime slab of Theo fonk that is the extended take on “Black Mist”, a track that originally formed part of Parrish’s highly prized and over priced on Discogs Sketches triple vinyl set from 2010, cut loud at gut punching 45rpm by Dubplates and Mastering.
Those of a techno persuasion meanwhile are urged to check the latest release from Frak on the Kontra White Label series, arriving a short time after their stellar induction into the Workshop hall of fame and ahead of a rather mouth watering release via the Sex Tags empire. Questions remain who and how many are exactly behind the Frak project, but there’s little doubt they are currently responsible for some of the rawest, dirty experiments in modern day techno – this four track Prisma twelve being a perfect example. It’s hard to pick out a favourite but the grin inducing brilliance of “Modest Trash” might just win out, slowly drips away, seeping through your cerebral cortex before ending abruptly leaving you wanting much more.
More dusty techno emissions were provided by the latest M>O>S release from Hakim Murphy and Ike Release’s Innerspace Halflife. After debuting on the former’s Machining Dreams imprint, they now grace Aroy Dee’s ever excellent MOS Deep label with a further enthralling journey. Even if the aforementioned Cosmology EP passed you by, you should be familiar enough with the respective solo endeavours of both producers to be suitably excited by “Wind””. You won’t be disappointed either, with the track unfurling from its icy origins into a monstrous arrangement dominated by the fluctuating acid bassline and razor sharp hit hats, whilst the soaring chords that intermittently spread expansively over proceedings add brief moments of Utopian calm amidst the relentless jacking pressure.
The most unexpected release of the week came from Erol Alkan’s Phantasy Sound, featuring the talents of the man himself alongside fidget house don Switch. “A Sydney Jook” has been kept as Alkan’s secret weapon of dancefloor degradation, with the two having completed the track all the way back in 2009. Despite it’s vintage, there’s little doubt as to it’s potency. Of much more interest, however, is who the label looked to for remixes; few people could hear Bok Bok’s remix and try and pin the “Bass” tag on him, being pure, sweat inducing ghetto techno that kind of sounds like MMM let loose on the Dance Mania back catalogue. The Freedom Mix from Willie Burns meanwhile takes the track in a whole other direction too, with reversed Miami electro rhythms streaming out over a rib tickling bassline and spectrally charged synth work. Once again, Phantasy excel themselves in the presentation stakes once again with the oddest of Greek illustrated cover art as demonstrated above
Those of a weirder persuasion meanwhile are recommended in the direction of Amazonian Estonian Maria Minerva’s latest album for Not Not Fun. Entitled Will Happiness Find Me, it’s easily the best collection of tracks she’s produced in her short but productive career; sharpening up her sound but still remaining resolutely lo-fi. The chopped up eastern strings of opener “The Sound” showcases a new sample based direction, albeit one which melds with her foggy synths, while “I Don’t Wanna Be Discovered” sees her advance the house sounds of her 100% Silk output with a genuine alternate reality 90s club hit, and “Sweet Synergy” indulges her hip-hop tendencies with an R&B jam to way only Minerva could do it. Like the equally prolific masters of decayed synths and weirdo lounge-pop Hype Williams, Minerva is only getting better with each release.
In the digital domain this week techno fans were treated to an embarassment of riches, headed up by some heavy hitting remixes of Factory Floor’s “Two Different Ways”. Enlisting Perc and Richard H Kirk to do the honours, the results are as mind blowing as you’d expect. Perc offers three remixes, where the producer pushes his foot to the floor and stretches his hands out to the stars, with a dub take rooted in heavy claps and a pulsing bass as slamming warehouse beats lead the arrangement to the inevitable climax. Former Cabaret Voltaire man Richard H Kirk take on “Two Different Ways” is more understated than Perc’s versions, but it does have a irresistibly chugging groove and possibly in a nod to the period that marked his original rise to prominence, a choo-chooing train that sounds like the android equivalent of Telex’s “Moskow Disko”. Meanwhile Basic Soul Unit’s Nonplus debut saw it’s digital release, Untold’s Change In A Dynamic Environment trilogy saw a digital only compilation, and Semantica producer NX1 brought some doubled-up, tribal beats to the Dynamic Reflection imprint.
In the hinterland between bass and techno, Paul Woolford followed xxxy and Chrissy Murderbot with a superb EP for Halocyan Records. Placing a breakbeat rhythm over the top of some ominously swelling bass, “Pursuit” is reminiscent of the “Lolita” track he released as Special Request, with a leaner, brighter feel, while “Crank Call” displays the same rhythmic mastery, but with some distinctly electro tendencies, as layers rippling synths are placed under restless hi-hats and hammering offbeat snares. Svetlana Industries came through with a similarly intriguing release from Microburst; while his rhythmic structures hold weight in a world that has experienced dubstep, the deployment of samples, synthesisers and found sounds has more in common with the engrossing detail of Bola or early Four Tet, and sits comfortably on its own in a mass of music concerned with the dancefloor. LV’s Sebenza also arrived on Hyperdub, an album that takes in Kwaito, Soca, kuduro and UK funky to create its own unique sound with the assistance of three South African MCs, a rich tapestry of influences that is more than simply a collection of disparate dance tracks.
Those partial to a compact disc should make a beeline for Erol Alkan’s Another Bugged Out Mix / Another Bugged In Selection, a follow up to his now seminal Bugged Out! compilation released way back in 2005. Recorded live, it’s something of an energetic romp through darkroom disco, Italo, classic techno, balls-out bangers and twisted acid house revivalism, while the disc for home listening is typically eclectic, touching on lo-fi rock, psychedelic oddities, Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci and soft focus electronica from the likes of Walls and Space Dimension Controller. Big releases also came in the shape of Strut’s Factory Records rarities compilation, and 50 Weapons of Choice #20-29, a collection of singles highlights from the past 12 months of the Modeselektor helmed imprint, featuring the likes of Shed, Marcel Dettmann and Cosmin TRG.