Review: Nice 1 Records launches with a sublime slice of deep house geared towards tender moments in the dance. We Are Syd's "Gently" in its original form is a smoky downtempo cut riding on a laid back broken beat, honey-coated keys and a powerful vocal turn from accomplished singer Shea Seger. The emphasis on this record is on the two stellar mixes from Baby Ford & Dazmos, leading on the A side with the hazy, old-school groove of the "Backroom Mix". Seger's husky delivery lingers in a mellifluous bed of pads and a classic, understated drum machine funk. On the flip, the "Frontroom Mix" bring the rhythm section to the forefront, letting the undulating bassline carry the track and splashing dubbed out flourishes in the mix for a spellbinding, club-ready end result.
Review: Emotional Rescue completes its trilogy exploring the music of Vox Populi with Alternatif Realisme. Highlighting the music that followed 1989's Aither (ERC030) as they transitioned from ethno-industrial roots towards a more expressive "world" sound, until the band's dislocation in 1994.
The band's development saw original members Axel Kyrou (electronics), Mitra (vocals) and Arash Khalatbari (percussion) augmented by a number of guest musicians, bringing an energy to their spontaneous recordings sessions at their studio.
The additional vocals of Dierdre Dubous is indicative of this change. Her onomatopoeia singing features heavily, invoking songs Letsam La, Chaque Jour Est Un Bon Jour and the ethereal She Walks So Easily Across The Sky.
With this, Mitra's vocals lift Chaque Jour Est Un Bon Jour, Razaye Axel Jube Hast and closing paean Chirine, showing their best. Surrounding instrumentals - often built out of long improvisational jamming - underpin. Soleymani Dub, with its Laswell dub groove is a clear stand out, while the melodics of Vapanda's Electric Garden come like a wonderful Woo outtake.
Largely unreleased, the recordings were a step outside of the changing shift towards a more digital sound. The album captures Vox Populi!, mixing their atmospheric mastery with heartfelt arias, that have familiarity but are completely unique.
Review: Versalife's second release for 20/20 Vision sees Dutch producer Boris Bunnik aka Conforce return with another slab of signature electro.
'Clandestine Development' serves up dark tones and melodies layered within insistent electro beats and growling bass, that sounds huge on big room systems. 'Aegis' delivers a double dose of mechanical funk, played over atmospheric strings and auditory acid delights.
On the B side 'Lamba' continues to impress with a moody laidback bass line holding the groove down over a solid rhythm & dystopian keys. Wrapping things up the title track 'Asimov's Code' plays out like war drums from space pounding away after a blissful intro of building synths.
Review: Emotional Rescue is delighted to present a collection of works by the founding father of the modern drum movement, Glen Velez. Collated from his first 3 solo albums from 1985 to 1989, Sweet Season is a snapshot in to the pioneering composing and performance of this four-time Grammy winner. Born in 1949, of Mexican American ancestry, Velez grew up in Texas before moving to New York in 1967. Playing jazz on the drums he soon gravitated to hand drums from around the world (frame drums in particular), seeking out teachers from many different musical traditions.
Among the many instruments Velez favours are the Irish bodhran, the Brazilian pandeiro, the Arabic riq, the North African bendir and the Azerbaijani ghaval. Although these instruments are similar in construction they have their own playing techniques that open new possibilities.
Sweet Season highlights this vocabulary, mixing and adapting techniques from various cultures to develop new ones. The music, often composed as cross-cultural ensembles, has a particular fondness for polyrhythms - superimposing different meters simultaneously - while incorporating Stepping Split-tone and Central Asian Overtone singing to complete the global horizons.
This new genre of contemporary drumming has been hugely influential and seen Velez work with the likes of John Cage and Steve Reich, as well as teaching his virtuosic combinations of hand movements and finger techniques to many emerging players.
Review: Albion Records drops its first record of the year and it's to make it's 7 years... and a bit anniversary. Celebrating with a various artists release, it's a 8-track double EP and it does not disappoint.