Notes: Houghton Festival has become a symbolic reminder of the integrity and resilience of the dance and electronic music community in the face of sometimes challenging and unprecedented circumstances. This much is clear following the cancellation of the festival several weeks back...
Upon arrival each guest was due to be provided with a book showcasing the creative values and personality behind what has become much more than a festival. Whilst originally intended as a gift for festival attendees we are now happy to present this as a cultural offering: a book spanning 147 pages featuring hand drawn illustrations, photography, long form interviews, think pieces, musical reflection and beyond...
The annual is a collaboration between Ransom Note and Houghton.
Review: To accompany the reissue of Man Jumping's Jumpcut album, Emotional Rescue offers 2 remix EPs that showcase the band's music with versions by contemporary producers.
Starting with stalwarts and friends in duo Khidja, it's not often you can put together a reissue that modern day wunder producers have requested, however, that is precisely what occurred. Badgering over several years about their love of Man Jumping and how they should be revered, when the call came that the reissue was happening, Khidja were the first names down.
After breaking through on sister label [Emotional] Especial way back in 2013, the pair have gone on to much acclaim with releases for Malka Tuti, Hivern Discs and DFA to name (drop) a few.
Handed the tapes, their love of Man Jumping's virtuoso playing is evident in these amazing remixes. Walk On, Bye takes its Reich meets Pop aspirations and drifting across 9 minutes of laidback but bass heavy rhythms, intricacies of clarinet, sax and trumpet are stretched and fused to repetition perfection.
Following, Down The Locale's jazz roots is developed, recast and updated, extenuating the bass, while piano and vocals interplay over scattered, skipping drums to become a latter day 'contemporary dance' odyssey.
Review: Emotional Rescue reissue 'Into Dark Water', the second album from UK post-industrial ambient pioneers O Yuki Conjugate (OYC).
The willfully obscure OYC formed in Nottingham in 1982 and have had a
sporadic career on the outskirts of musical culture ever since. Initially associated with the early 80s post-industrial scene - along with Soviet France and Muslimgauze - OYC quietly forged their own brand of ambient music at a time when it was distinctly unfashionable to do so.
Always reluctant to categorise their sounds, OYC have been variously described as post-industrial, ambient, darkwave, tribal ambient, chill out, electronica and Fourth World. Take your pick.
'Into Dark Water' was recorded in 1986 over four days in an eight-track garage studio in Nottingham. Produced and engineered by John Kaukis, the result was a blend of flutes, percussion, electronics and loops that focused their sound and became for many the definitive OYC album.
Originally released in 1987 on the Leeds-based Final Image label, 'Into Dark Water' quickly sold out and has been highly sought after ever since. The re-issue, featuring a lovingly recreated sleeve, makes a vinyl version of this classic available again for the first time in over 30 years.
Review: The second EP of remixes from Man Jumping's reissue on Emotional Rescue features luminaries Bullion, Reckonwrong, Gengahr and William Doyle with their reversions of songs from the Jumpcut album.
Nathan Jenkins aka Bullion follows his recent rerub of Thomas Leer (ERC072) to provide two remixes. His remake of In The Jungle keeps the originals (leftfield) dance floor roots, but sprinkles the ubiquitous warm glow and off kilter fun(k) that he evokes; while his retake of Walk On, Bye drifts back, highlighting intricate percussion; congas, bass and vocal atmospherics along some breezy swing.
Reckonwrong is next; turning the bossa vibes of Sqeezi into his own new wave meets italo reversion; topped with his unique 'under the cupboard stairs' vocals. Funky, driving, this overlooked star adds to his cannon for Whities, Pinkman and DEEK.
After a string of impressive releases for Trangressive / Beggars, Gengahr make a surprise addition, lifting Down The Locale from deceptive beginnings to anthemic heights, adding echo-laden guitar and vocals to the original's underbelly, before a bass break and return lifts to the heavens.
Finally, William Doyle provides perfect closure. Moving away from his East India Youth moniker (XL Recordings), his output has drifted towards ambient introspection, however, here points to addtional layers; rebuilding Belle Dux On The Beach with added bass, guitar, drums and finally vocals that culminate in a prefect 'to the skies' outrospection.
Review: Emotional Rescue presents the music ensemble Man Jumping, with a reissue of their experimental, post-minimalist meets pop debut album Jumpcut, to be followed by 2 special remix EPs featuring Khidja, Bullion, Reckonrong and more.
Formed in 1983 out of the disbanded The Lost Jockey (Les Disques Du Crepuscule), Man Jumping's aim was to move on from the unwieldy nature of that collective to combine the 'systems music' of Steve Reich, Terry Riley, LaMonte Young etc with rock, funk, dance and world music and create a new cross over.
Consisting of studied musicians and created from theory as well as technique, the liberation from formal restrictions took shape over four years that spawned 2 albums and one 12".
Released on Bill Nelson's 'Cocteau' label in 1985, Jumpcut's was critically praised but destined for more discerning ears. The 7 songs - including here a 12" mix of Aerotropics - developed from 16 stave manuscript into live recordings straight to tape, with no sequencing to keep their live feel intact.
Carefully planned but made in the moment, members Charlie Seaward, Glyn Perrin, John Lunn, Orlando Gough and Shaung Tozer's legacy is demonstrably durable, a testament to their originality of thought to an idea of what might be rather than an imitation of what has been.
Review: Carl Finlow returns with a double vinyl 8 track album, following a prolific run of singles for Lone Romantic, Electrix, Craigie Knowes and Orson. Apparatus is a forward thinking album that reflects Finlow's return to live touring with many tracks hitting harder and darker, pushing his electro sound into new directions and soundscapes. Flawless production is something we have come to expect from Mr.Finlow yet he has managed to raise his game yet again with Apparatus. The album means business from the start, kicking off with the title track, 'Apparatus', a no-nonsense assault on the system with fast tight drum programming, heavily vocoded vocals and powerful synths. The pace continues on the record with 'Bind' and 'Carbon Deposits', Structure' but there are also pure electro cuts like 'Differential' and moody grooves in 'Ampere' and 'Viroids'.
Finlow has been on a staggering run of form and Apparatus continues this remarkable purple patch with a new lease of electro energy. It's not surprising that every credible electronic master on the planet from Weatherall and Craig Richards to Dixon and Maceo Plex are all fans of his work.
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: Mysticisms' is delighted to reissue Nail's timeless debut release, Cassiopeia. Appearing on the DiY Collective's 'Strictly 4 Groovers' compilation album for Warp Records in 1993, the original appears as a stand alone at last and is backed with a specially created 2019 Remix. Starting in 1989 and centered around Nottingham, the collective, also known as DiY Sound System, were a focal point for the burgeoning house scene in the midlands. Promoting an alternative take on post-acid house's creeping commercialisation, DiY kept to simple ethos of good music and a good party and were at the forefront of the new Free Party movement. Alongside parties, the collective set up a studio and label and young Neil Tolliday was introduced by in-house engineer Damian Stanley. 'Nail' was born and during studio downtime, the 18 year old wrote Cassiopeia around the S1000 sampler, Juno 106, Oberheim Matrix 1000 and Roland SH101. Cassiopeia became the stand out inclusion on the compilation and rightly, is still highly prized. Fitting in and outside the Deep House vibe DiY were known, it fuses elements of ambient and even trance, with a beautiful arpeggio and vocal sample atop simple, but killer bass line and claps. Tolliday's 2019 Remix is a fitting accompaniment, stretching towards dub techno before house kicks back perfectly for today's heads. Bounce the Mystery.
Review: Amadeo Savio is next up on Vigenere, the label that has thus far presented a whole host of unknown names in the field of minimal techno all bound together by a shared classiness in their production style. Savio's approach is deep and dubby on opening cut "Isolat", one primed for the after hours. "Trance Later" has a slightly more forthright approach, but there's still plenty of mellow delights to be found in the synth department to keep you chilling. "Encor" heads into more typically minimal pastures, while "Kassion" explores broken beat patterns and fragmented samples with scintillating results.
Review: After a sold-out release on Courtesy of Balance which gained huge support and plays from some key DJs, Nat Wendell returns to his own imprint with another dancefloor heavy, 3track EP. "Reality" kicks of the 3 track EP with some pulsating stabs, mixed with trippy underlays over a swingy stripped back Deep House rhythm. Flip the record and you're presented with a bouncy, yet dubby adventure "Can't Stop". The title track "Renditions" doesn't let up with any of the deep energetic tones set. Here Nat teases out a deeper yet up tempo way to end the release.
Review: After the 4 young producers completed their second Hamburg residency, they enjoyed increasing popularity in Liverpool with the growing re-edit movement. However, they were also growing tired of the monotony of numerous appearances at the same clubs night after night. In November 2018, during one of the group's frequent performances at Sugar Night Club, they encountered Driller, a local record-label owner and club owner. He later recalled: "I immediately liked what I heard. They were fresh, and they were honest, and they had what I thought was a sort of presenceA... star quality.