30.4.08

hi-life



Today, a treat from a member of New York's Shinkoyo crew. Severiano Martinez, better known as Seve, has recorded numerous albums, collaborated on countless projects, made horror films, and published a book. A renaissance man if there ever was one, Seve also used to DJ quite a bit under the name of 7eve, and his mixes are totally impeccable and prescient of the mash-up, remix-heavy atmosphere of today's party world.

Back in the day, he remixed a favorite track of mine from the Ghanaian popular genre of highlife. Fitting right in with new tracks like "I Exist Because of You," Seve's remix of "Funky Hi-Life" by C.K. Mann is a treasure of Afro-centric vocal house, with a driving beat, excellent sampling of the original's percussion, and an irresistable lo-fi flair reminiscent of Major Swellings or even Theo Parrish. If this doesn't grab you, I don't think anything can.

C.K. Mann- Funky Hi-Life (7eve Remix)

Tomorrow, some new deep tech-house for your ears' pleasure.

29.4.08

another thought

(Photo by Jan Kempenaers)


Today, a departure from electronic dance music to shine a spotlight on Arthur Russell once again. Russell is perhaps the most-played artist in my iTunes, and I don't think going into the reasons behind this are worth exploring; in other words, Arthur Russell is beyond reproach in my book, and no amount of hang-wringing is going to change that.

Anyway, today I give you one of his Downtown-associated new music pieces done with composer and collaboratorPeter Zummo. Zummo played trombone and other instruments on nearly all of Russell's records-- even helped a hand in producing some of them-- and "Song IV" shows a bit of the influence that Russell and Zummo had on each other. It is an epic piece featuring tabla, synthesizer, trombone, cello and vocals, and bears quite a resemblance to some tracks on Another Thought and World of Echo, with the featured instruments being the virtually the same as those on "This is How We Walk on the Moon." Besides the obvious beauty of Russell's cello and voice, Zummo's trombone-- occasionally delayed-- is incredibly bright and gives the atmosphere of journeying. The tabla playing is also quite tight and nuanced, with some subtle changes in register throughout the piece's twenty minutes. A great track-- meditative, calming, swaying as tall grasses or the ocean. From the album Zummo with an X on Loris Records.

Peter Zummo- Song IV (for trio) (with Arthur Russell)

Tomorrow, a sick remix of C.K. Mann's "Funky Hi-Life" courtesy of an old friend!

28.4.08

golden blackness



Today, a treat from Itamar Sagi, a producer and DJ from Tel Aviv whose most recent effort, the Black Gold 12", is making waves on dance floors everywhere. While the remixes of "Black Gold" by Samuel L. Sessions and Chymera are being justifiably praised, I believe the original is quite something for the ears to behold. Clocking in at 124 bpm, Sagi's work is impeccable, replete with lovely high washes, synths reminiscent of Len Faki or Vince Watson, a monstrous bouncing bass-line. Secondary stabbing harmonies make it even more effective as a deep techno floor-filler. On the BeAsOne imprint.

Itamar Sagi- Black Gold

Next up, I'm thinking something a bit out of the ordinary featuring a favorite artist of mine. And after that? Some Ghanaian highlife remix madness.

27.4.08

sunday mixer volume three



Again, posts dropped off at the end of last week, and I apologize-- it was kind of a crazy time. The good news is that I got my computer back from Apple, and all seems to be well with my machine. It was getting a bit cumbersome lugging my external hard drive everywhere I went.

Before we get into the post, though, I think it's worth mentioning that the blog has now been around for more than a year! Thanks to all long-time readers and new folks who've made this such a rewarding and fun experience. Let's hope for another year and more!

Today's mix comes to us from Len Faki, who truly ascended the heights last year with his 'Rainbow' pieces, one of which was posted here way back in May of last years. The mix I'm giving you was originally posted on a now-obsolete blog, and is full of surprises; for one thing, the overall sound is more dry than one would expect, and in addition, the range of techno sub-genres he employs is rather staggering, with early 2000s-sounding minimal acid right alongside more lushly dirty Detroit-oriented sounds. Excellent for driving, this mix is sure to please anyone who enjoys a high-octane DJ set.

Len Faki- Kinetic

Tomorrow, something new from Tel Aviv, for real this time.

23.4.08

we're all beautiful



Some don't know that Divine was a disco diva along with being the star of many a John Waters flick. There's little doubt that Divine existed on the more campy side of disco, but unlike other artists who worked in a similar vein, Divine can pull it off with the best of them (like Sylvester). "I'm So Beautiful" is a wonderfully positive track, with driving drum patterns, soft synths, and Divine's inimitable voice encouraging dancers to flaunt their looks, no matter what they might be. Most certainly demonstrative of the disco ethos of inclusiveness, this is a classic track that everyone should know. (Photo courtesy of future gringo).

Divine- I'm So Beautiful

Tomorrow, some new deep techno from Tel Aviv!

22.4.08

the park



A bit of older minimal for you today, featuring the inescapable DJ and the always-lovely DJ Minx. Here, Mr. Villalobos is in fascinating territory, especially if the listener knows the original-- an old-school Detroit techno stomper. Villalobos stretches the track by almost 300%, emphasizes a strange vocal track that harmonizes nicely with the excellent bass-line, and puts in his trademark percussive flourishes and bits of background squelch in for good measure. Villalobos at his most soulful, I think, and certainly one of his better remixes from the first five years of this decade.

DJ Minx- A Walk in the Park (Villalobos 'Til Thursday' Rmx)

Tomorrow, a bit of campy fun with the pre-eminent shit-eating transvestite, Divine.

21.4.08

horizon staring



Today, as promised, a bit of new tech-house courtesy of Kolo, a longtime progressive and trance DJ who has worked extensively with Chris Fortier. Among his more recent releases is the digital EP Outerspace Vault, with tracks that range from Bryan Zentz-style trancey techno to more deep progressive sounds.

"Nova" is one of these later tracks, with excellent percussion sequencing, a dubby melodic line, dry vocal samples, and an atmosphere that somehow reminds me of Leiam Sullivan and James Mowbray's "Tropical Heights" from last summer. Nice hi-frequency wiggling harmonic lines work perfectly with the writhing bass, and it is fair to say that the track's relatively low BPM helps it build in a most pleasing, summery way. On Fortier's Fade Records label.

Kolo- Nova

Tomorrow, a bit of old minimal for a change.

20.4.08

sunday mixer volume two



Sorry for the lack of posts this week-- the weather has been so unbeatable that it has been truly hard to have my eyes glued to a computer screen. But I'm making it up to you in a big way.

Today, I present a live DJ set from Rhythm & Sound, the inimitable Mark Ernestus and Moritz von Oswald's dub project that has captured the ears of...well, anyone who has heard them? Recorded in the late summer climes of Detroit in 2006, the set is a bit longer than two and a half hours long and takes up 219 MB of space. Pretty heady stuff, this is true dub and should be blasted out of large, loud systems. Found on the Basic Channel facebook group, oddly enough.

Anyway, here goes. Enjoy with a fattie and a cold one.

Rhythm & Sound- Live in Detroit [9-3-06]

Tomorrow, some new techno to hit your pleasure points.

16.4.08

let's party a little bit



Only recently did I really start digging into Theo Parrish-- his signature EQs had always turned me off, and I didn't really understand why he was creating what he was creating. Well, that's over-- perhaps it's the spring or something, but Parrish is all I want to listen to right now.

"Got A Match" is taken from Ugly Edits Volume 3, one of the best of the series. It is a bouncy, stomping track of truly dirty disco-funk, with insane bass and vocal loops, and a sound that ranges from Idjut Boys-style stoned funk to filthy soul disco a la Major Swellings . Please blast out your ears listening to this track, as it is well worth it.

Theo Parrish- Got A Match

Who knows what tomorrow brings? Maybe some Bohannon?

14.4.08

in the cloud forest



Unfortunately, my Croatian friends haven't gotten back to me with a track, but that will happen soon! Spent the afternoon fussing around with some records, and have the start of a great mix, so look forward to that soon, too.

Spring always pushes me toward the brighter Detroit sounds, and this year is no different-- I've been totally digging Vince Watson, Los Hermanos and the UR boys even more than usual. So today, I'm posting a track by Los Hermanos, a group consisting of several key newer members of the UR crew, including Nomadico, whose 2007 EP on UR really turned a lot of heads.

"Quetzal" is based on a lushly squelchy melodic line, a monstrous bass-line, well-sequenced secondary percussion, and glorious soft strings high in the mix. This very well might be one of my favorite techno tracks of all time-- it is truly one of the best productions from Detroit since 2000. Highly recommended!

Los Hermanos- Quetzal

Tomorrow, that Croat techno sound, hopefully?

13.4.08

sunday mixer volume one



One great thing about writing this blog has been getting in contact with fans of great dance music and DJs all over the world. A lot of great music comes my way, particularly mixes, so I've decided to post a new mix every Sunday from now on. If you're a DJ, send me a mix or two!

Today's mix comes from Levente (pictured above), a young DJ and producer from northern Germany. Though there is but one track on his Myspace, it is a nice nu-deep house track, with a sound that brings to mind New York masters like Kerri Chandler or Jerome Sydenham.

Levente's musical predilections are also evident in today's mix, a positively grooving, all-vinyl deep house set that is pristinely mixed-- I certainly wish I could get over to Germany to hear Levente spin some time!

Tracklisting:
1. Move D - Quit Quittin' (Uzuri)
2. Eddie Richards - Absurd 003
3. Dennis Ferrer - P2 Da J (King Street Sounds)
4. Scott Fergusons - Any Day Now (Electrovox rmx) (Deep Vibes)
5. Ark & Mikael Weil - Le Manege Hante (Karat)
6. Sascha Dive - Annihilating Rhythm (Drumpoet)
7. Hausmann C. Feat Paulo Olarte - Love on the street (Gruber & N├╝rnberg rmx)(Fresh Fish)
8. Gavin Boyce - Sometimes It's Me (Nordic Trax)
9. Lemos - Tsitsi's Danse (Resopal Red)
10. Ripperton - Zugunruhe (Connaisseur Superieur)
11. Patrice Scott - Visions of Mantada (Aesthetic Audio)
12. Guillaume & The Coutu Dumonts - Le Gans (Risquee)

Levente- Mix 04.08

Thanks Levente!

Tomorrow, think I might give you something from Zagreb!

12.4.08

don't you cry



If we're going to talk about scarily claustrophobic noise-dance insanity, I think that it is fair to say that Excepter are kings. No band has ever made me flip my shit more than John Fell Ryan & Co., so today I'm presenting you with a pretty fly live recording I did when I brought Excepter to the fair town of Oberlin, Ohio. Almost an hour of truly stimulating, beat-oriented noise, recorded right before the official release of Alternation.

Excepter- Live 10-05-2006 @ the 'Sco

The after-party was pretty bananas, as you can well imagine.

Tomorrow, thinking about a mix...

11.4.08

out of the fountain flows gold



Last night, friends Teengirl Fantasy did a killer opening set (with lots of fantastic newer material) for the always-zany and charismatic Dan Deacon. Though I've seen Deacon a few times, I always forget how incredible his performances are, and last night was no exception. "Wham City" had more energy in it than in any other performance I've heard, and with Salt N Pepa's "Shoop" bookending both sides of his set, you can be sure that everything else in between was also excellent-- whooshing Casio, snappy drum patterns, and an overall sound befitting an acid rave trip while watching Saturday morning cartoons. Today, I give you the first track from Deacon's 2007 album, Spiderman of the Rings, "Wooody Wooodpecker." Enjoy!

Dan Deacon- Wooody Wooodpecker

Tomorrow, I might just take the plunge and give you something fantastically noisy!

10.4.08

you're my friend and my lover



If you don't know who Sylvester is, then perhaps it is best that you read about him over here. The original male diva, Sylvester worked quite a bit with producer Patrick Cowley, one of the pioneers of the Hi-NRG disco sound that came out of San Francisco in the mid-to-late 1970s and had spread throughout the dance world by 1980. "I Need You" was his biggest hit at the beginning of the '80s, and so it makes sense that house legend Ron Hardy would remix the track, extending it to an eight-minute long epic of Sylvester and his Cockettes wailing "I Need You" like a mantra. The song is not desperate, but a sincere and soulful expression of love that comes across too rarely in contemporary house music. A classic track that bridges the gap between disco and early house quite nicely-- recommended!

Sylvester- I Need You (Ron Hardy Remix)

Tomorrow, a surprise!

9.4.08

808 i love you



Today, an early electro track from one of its original tireless practitioners, Andre Manuel (aka The Unknown DJ, not to be confused with Derrick Carter or countless others). This is some serious stuff, on the same par as "Al-Naafiysh (The Soul)" or early Egyptian Lover tracks.

The version of "808 Beats" I'm giving you today is actually a shortened version that appeared on a few compilations in the late 1980s, when The Unknown DJ had moved onto being a member of Compton's Most Wanted, a gangsta rap group whose tracks sound a bit like a more electro influenced N.W.A. The programming on the track is excellent and sounds incredibly pure-- combine the drum patterns with the synched bass-line, lush backing synths and Egyptian Lover-style vocal boasts, and you have gold. Roll down your windows and blast this shit.

The Unknown DJ- 808 Beats

Tomorrow, the gays come out to play, with a Ron Hardy remix of Sylvester.

8.4.08

it's about love



Today, a little treat from my good friend Leo, who gave us that Kraftwerk edit a while back. A few years back, he spent some time on this site, which allows one to do some fun things with the wit, wisdom and beats of Sven Vath. I've been reading Last Night a DJ Saved My Life, and thinking a lot about the inclusiveness and weird love vibe of the club setting. Leo's bit manipulating the Svenpanel pretty much sums up what this is all about, to me.

Sven Vath- Leo's I Kiss You With Bass Mix

Tomorrow, ill beats.

4.4.08

throb through



If I'd had my pick, I would have given you a classic from Hallucinator today, but because my computer is still being fixed, I can't digitize any of my records for you. Instead, you get the ambient techno glitch of bvdub, a denizen of San Francisco whose productions fall right in with the ambient dub sounds found on the Modern Love label.

"A Quiet Vengeance" utilizes fantastically delayed harmonic synth swells to start, then a low-level glitch-breaks beat comes in, replete with wet handclaps and a spurting cymbals. As the track moves on, its grandiosity builds, with heavier kicks eventually punching in, and more active chord work swelling and swirling above the beat. In its last few minutes, brassy punctuating chords come into the mix much in the way trumpet would come into a typical dub track. Heady stuff-- gives me a bit of wanderlust. Originally on Styrax Records.

bvdub- A Quiet Vengeance

Tomorrow, a bit from Maurizio, I think.

3.4.08

whirls of fog



Today, two helpings of newer stuff, the first being a killer new track from the boys of dOP. They came onto the scene last year with their excellent Between the Blues EP, and have released three other records since, the most recent being The Lighthouse 12" on Orac. "Lighthouse" itself is a bit of a departure, with beats more akin to Afro-centric breaks than sexy French minimal. But flute harmonies, a lovely and echoey tenor main vocal, and wet production make for a jazzy track that whispers lustily in your ear rather than banging it to pieces. Quite honestly, I think these guys are among the most exciting new producers working right now. Highly recommended!

dOP- Lighthouse



Departing from the atmospheric greatness of dOP, we have an excellent tech-house remix of Fukkk Offf's electro hit of late 2007, "I'm a Freak." Bastian Heerhorst turns the track into something that could set fire to any dance-floor, with lush synths reminiscent of stuff on Systematic, driving kicks, and sampling that just kills. Not the most subtle track in the world, but definitely one made for slamming. On Coco Machete.

Fukkk Offf- I'm a Freak (Bastian Heerhorst Remix)

Tomorrow, a surprise...but I'm thinking something dubby.

2.4.08

don't tell me why



A skip across the pond today, with one of my favorite Italo tracks ever. "Anxiety" by Amin Peck-- who is not one man, as many seem to think-- is some funky, quirky shit. The bass is wet and heavy, the synths are harmonically triumphant, and the vocals are so off-kilter (not off-key) that they're irrepressibly charming. Later in the track, wailing saxophone and analog washes join the mix, leading to a dramatic ending. What is perhaps best about "Anxiety," though, is that it is a perfect spring-summer disco track, with enough lo-fi charm and melodic sweetness to really get it on in the sun.

Amin Peck- Anxiety

Remember last week, when I was going to share a new dOP track and some killer electro courtesy of Fukkk Offf? Well, that's happening tomorrow, so come back and get down.

1.4.08

honey tell me



Sorry about being a day late-- drove for seven hours yesterday, and after that, I needed a bit of 'lazy' time.

As promised, today I bring you the disco-funk of the Universal Robot Band, a project of Leroy Burgess, Gregory Carmichael, and members of Kleer. Their album Freak in the Light of the Moon is a classic of boogie-down disco. "Doing Anything Tonight" is probably the most well-known track from that record, and for good reason-- it has an infectiously funky bass-line, sharp strings, old-school piano rolls, and a brass section that competes with the best of the disco orchestras. Of course, it would be impossible to talk about "Doing Anything Tonight" without mentioning the group vocals, which are possibly some of the best of the disco era-- they not only demand sex, but dancing, alcohol and drugs. I only wish I could have seen this track played at the Paradise Garage or the Loft back in the day, as I'm sure the dancefloor was insane. Here it is:

Universal Robot Band- Doing Anything Tonight

Tomorrow, another rare disco classic.