Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Miles Atmospheric – Ascendance – Common Dreams

LO-FI schmo-fi. Perhaps it’s my age but I have absolutely no idea what the hype is with the much-discussed latest house genre nor DJs Boring and Seinfeld, Ross From Friends or The No. 137 Bus. Ok, so I made up the last one. But honestly, I don’t have a Scooby Doo what’s going on and have decided ignorant is in this case bliss.

Instead I will remain holed up safe and sound in my deep house and techno man cave. So praise the lord for fresh supplies from Common Dreams, sister label to the also very excellent Inner Shift.

It’s release number four for the Edinburgh-based imprint and the same deal as before: one artist, a track-a-side and beautifully done.

This time it’s the turn of Miles Atmospheric, the artist formerly known as Sagnia, who has won plenty of admirers in recent years with sterling efforts on the likes of Aesthetic Audio, Flyance, Ornate and his own tasty label Atmospheric Existence Recordings.

Side one cut Heal is all that is great about both the artist and label. It’s smart, thoughtful and emotional techno crafted with real love and care. Beautiful synth lines and the transcendental quality that envelops the entire piece offset the track’s loopy foundation handsomely.

Checking in on the flipside is Plight, an eight-minute flight of interweaving rhythm and melody. Less insistent than Heal perhaps though every inch as emotive, considered and, ultimately, rewarding. Uplifting and seriously-deep techno at its finest.

Pick up here.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Gauss – Gauss 04 – Gauss

IN an increasingly uncertain world of Brexit, Trump and Honey G (for those of you mercifully outside the UK, check it here), what some of us need is a great big comfort blanket. A metaphorical one, naturally.

So it’s heartening to know that there are still some things you can rely upon. Namely, that if it’s intelligent techno with heart and soul that you’re after then Gauss won’t let you down.

After a cloak-and-dagger introduction on their eponymously-titled label a couple of years back, Gauss have more recently been outted as the production partnership of two respected old hands, Owen Jay and Natan H.

Jay has considerable form not only on his own label Batti Batti but also for the likes of Underground Quality, Moods & Grooves and Minuendo. Natan H is no makeweight either having made his vinyl debut on Anton Zap’s excellent imprint Ethereal Sound before going on to equally impressive outings on Finale Sessions, ManMakeMusic, Mysterious Russian Soul and more.

It is, indeed, those credentials that set Gauss apart. Because strip away the veneer of techno and you will always find a touch of soul or deep house swing in their joint productions.

They’re back again with the label’s fourth release, hand-stamped on gorgeous red vinyl and imaginatively titled, yep you guessed it, Gauss 04. The outstanding title track Numerical Coefficients is nowhere near as cold and prosaic as the name might suggest. For sure there is an element of the mechanical and even automaton about it, but stirring synth swathes nudge the piece in a more emotional and dare I say ‘human’ direction. Six minutes of techno heaven.

Curvature is a cleverly understated number, one of those brooding and deceptively melodic productions that has more pace about it than you might think on first hearing and a very neat line in shimmery cosmic synth work too.

Packing a punch right ‘til the last, Differential closes the EP with more bounce and swagger than Gauss have displayed previously. And it ain’t half good.

Check out:
Gauss @ Juno

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Ewan Jansen – Aqua Libre – Red Ember

EWAN Jansen first caught my attention with the deep-as Blueline Summer long-player on the influential Moods & Grooves some tens ago or so. But he’d already been quietly making his mark for a number of years before that with appearances on the likes of Track Mode, Deep4Life and his own Red Ember Records.

Then nothing. Not a peep out of the Australian producer. That was until last year when he popped up with new material on the German collective Hardworksoftdrink. That was quickly followed by a slew of fresh EPs on Adelaide Soundworks, Going Good and Inner Balance.

And now it has also signalled a revival of Red Ember after a 15-year hiatus with the Perth-based Jansen re-launching the imprint with the formidable solo EP Aqua Libre.

Opener and aforementioned title track, Aqua Libre, is dusted liberally with the feel-good factor, a hearty, honest and warming track with little in the way of pretention but a whole lot of uplift and joy. It’s one to put a smile on even the most sour and curmudgeonly of faces. Following swiftly in its wake is Plankton, in many ways a just as pleasurable and rewarding hunk of deepness but with a more muscular groove.

Freckles is no makeweight either, a stirring and emotionally-charged little number with a light touch of disco laced around its edges.

Yet despite the considerable craft and quality of these three, for my taste at least it is the closing cut – how often does that happen? – Castel that nigh on steals the show. It’s a real beauty, spacey, blissful and with that emotional content that both Moodymann and Keith Worthy spoke of.

With more goodies in the pipeline, notably the forthcoming Return To Hyperbola EP on the ever-excellent Inner Shift, it’s a welcome return. I have no idea where Mr Jansen has been, but I’m sure glad he’s back.

Check out:

Aqua LIbre EP @ SoundCloud
Buy Aqua Libre @ Juno
Red Ember @ Discogs

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Leo Gunn – Journey Inwards – Deep Explorer

LEO Gunn releases are like the proverbial London bus. No, not dangerous at night with a whiff of stale urine up top, but nothing for ages then two come along together.

In fairness, there is some method in the madness of the folk responsible for this, the brothers Alvarez [aka Dubbyman and Above Smoke] at Deep Explorer who have developed, encouraged and nurtured the precious talent of the enigmatic Gunn. In return, the Adelaide-based producer is fiercely loyal to the label and a deep explorer through and through.

So what’s the deal? Simple really, Gunn returns to the fold with an anticipated mini album for the Madrid-based imprint, plus there’s a tasty two-track bonus 7” available too for those who crave even more Gunn fire.

First up, the longer player then. It’s a handsome beast, visually and musically. Those of us who snapped up any of Gunn’s earlier exceptional EPs on Deep Explorer and appreciate his natural, almost organic, style will not be disappointed. Journey Inwards is very much the sequel.

Dreamy and melodic soundscapes with a hint of Larry Heard-style jazz – in the loosest sense – are very much Gunn’s stock-in-trade, which makes Leo & Leo Jr. the perfect scene-setting opener. From Old sports the jazz motif too, another beautifully harmonious and ear-pleasing piece with a touch of Mr Fingers coursing through its grooves.

Deep Breath has that satisfyingly wistful and mood-setting air that Gunn excels in, but this time with extra beef; not quite dance floor hedonism but no comfy sofa number either. And although perhaps still in warm-up territory, the lush and lengthy title track also has a more urgent kick and intent, whilst skilfully still mining a pensive, faraway seam. It’s proper deep house, as it should be.

Digital vs Midi is another super cut expertly straddling that fine line between feet-moving and head-nodding fodder. So why not try both? Home Base presents no such ambiguity. It’s about as full-on dance floor material as Gunn gets, punchy and purposeful from start to finish.

As for the aptly-named Bonus Tracks on seven inches of vinyl, well, it’s a joyous little something extra for aficionados of Gunn and Deep Explorer. Voodoo and Moondub are easily a match for anything on the album and may even, for my money at least, be the pick of this classy collection. The former is a gentle, soothing and spaced-out production that is so easy on the ears and soul. It’s right up there with Gunn’s best work. The gorgeous and trippy Moondub, as the name suggests, takes inspiration from cavernous, echoing piano soundscapes. Four and a half minutes of bliss.

Best part of two years since Gunn’s last release. Worth the wait then? It was never in doubt.

Check out:

Journey Inwards @ Juno
Bonus Tracks @ Juno
Leo Gunn @ SoundCloud
Deep Explorer online

Friday, 28 October 2016

Tomi Chair – Warm Seasons – TC White

NEVER cared much for U2. Their stadium-rock posturing and Bono’s holier-than-thou pontificating has never been my cup of char. As for their declaration that it – whatever it might be – is Even Better Than The Real Thing never washed with me.

Let’s take the latest release from Japanese rising star Tomi Chair [who also produces under his real name Tominori Hosoya]. It’s been quite a couple of years for the artist whose work has appeared on the likes of deepArtSounds, Minuendo, Soul Print Recordings and TH Pressing, the label he launched in 2014.

Now he’s gone and started up the TC White imprint as a vehicle for his own music debuting with the first-rate Warm Seasons EP.

It’s an originals versus the remixes affair with the latter taking over the A side of this five-track package. Even better than the real thing though? They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or ear in this case, so I guess you pays your money and you takes your choice. But here’s my two penneth.

Pascal Viscardi [Saft/Traxx Underground] with his Mystic Juno mixx [sic] does a fine job in giving Spring a touch of old-school bounce, burble and brawn, a real departure from the original and a tasty cut in its own right. Tackling Summer head on is Nick Anthony [aka Simoncino of Finale Sessions, Mathematics, Quintessentials and many more] with his African Morning mix. It’s a powerful and evocative drum-driven production that again takes the original into new territory giving it a life all of its own.

As accomplished as both interpretations are though – and they really are – it is on the flipside where the two original tracks plus another from Hosoya and the real beauty reside. All three are right up my alley.

Hosoya’s version of Spring has a light and deft touch. There is little in the way of urgency or indeed kick but it is much the better for that. It’s a classy little number for sure.

Summer, by contrast, is bolder, brighter and brimming with optimism. Soulful and sassy, it is deep house with purpose and attitude as well as the pick of this fine collection.

Rounding off proceedings is the exquisite and deeply-satisfying Morning Bird, a delicate breed with more in common with Spring than Summer.

Check out:

Buy Warm Seasons @ Juno

Zarenzeit – Black Inside – DeepArtSounds

WE lost more than one Prince this year.

Not so high profile yet striking a more personal note for me was the passing of Prince Be, one half of hippie-rap combo P.M. Dawn. He was one of the more colourful and charismatic characters to emerge during the early nineties and the band’s take on pop, hip hop and the industry of music was more blissful, inspiring and curious than most. 

I was reminded of him again recently on hearing this album. Not in a musical way as such, although they do share an era and certain sense of soulfulness, but because as I sat back and wallowed in its glory I was Set Adrift On Memory Bliss.

Black Inside is in many ways an unashamed nostalgia trip. Even the cover photography harks back to the time that made these tracks. It’s a past that is clearly held dear to its creator George Boutopoulos [aka George Btp], co-founder of Zurich-based label deepArtSounds. Indeed, Black Inside is imbued with such intense warmth, comfort and sincerity that on each listen I find myself transported back to another time and place too when soul was the music of love and house still in its early years.

Although technically a collaborative project involving Boutopoulos’s label partner Roberto Pistolese [aka Robert P], indeed the pair formed the band as a live act in 1993, Zarenzeit’s debut album has got Btp’s fingerprints all over it. Even the name, which means era of the Tsars, was inspired by an article he read during one of many musical and cultural trips to Berlin during his formative years in the early-to-late nineties.

And despite many other quality releases as Dan Piu and Allstarr Motomusic, given the style, substance and context of Black Inside – the clue is in the title, innit? – coupled with the fact that Boutopoulos penned or co-wrote every track, you get the feeling that this time it’s personal.

Because not only is Black Inside the culmination of a project that started more than 20 years ago, which in itself must be deeply personal and satisfying, musically it is the autobiography of a soul boy who, amongst many other things no doubt, discovered house and Larry Heard. Much like me.

With the entire album sharing a musical DNA, it’s near impossible to pick stand out tracks. They all stand out.

Melodious and moreish instrumentals such as opening cut Time Travel, the perky Grown In The Bird Hood and slightly melancholic Junkietown clearly share a certain je ne sais quoi, whilst the title track and There, But Here As Well are tributes to Zarenzeit’s house and jazz roots respectively. The gorgeous-yet-brief Let Them Think They Won, meanwhile, evokes shades of the incomparable Mr Fingers himself more than any other number on here; deep, soulful and wondrous.

Regular collaborator Sarignia Bonfà, surely one of the best house vocalists to emerge of late, shares credits and lends her talents to the sensuous Love Mood and gospel-inspired Talk About A Child. On a different tack, the soft, spoken-word delivery of guest vocalist and writer Debra Jones-Davis, director at the superb Altered Moods, is simply sublime on 2souls, 1heart, her own heartfelt tribute to the other Prince. Oh Ms Jones, where have you been all my life?

Black Inside resonates deeply with this old soul boy turned househead. It’s sweet, as we used to say, a debut of impressive proportions for the Zarenzeit vehicle that may even prove to be Boutopoulos’s magnum opus.

Check out:
deepArtSounds @ Juno
Black Inside @ SoundCloud

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Fuminori Kagajo – Chase Down – Roots Underground Records

PERHAPS it is because I am hopelessly out of touch, tragically unhip or even subconsciously jealous that I am so uncool to carry it off with any conviction, but I have an inherent distrust of anyone who describes other folk as ‘cats’.

It seems to belong to another time and place, when roll-necks, wide lapels and wild Afros ruled the world. And I would undoubtedly be chased from my local Wetherspoon by burly men in cheap sportswear for talking such jive.

Yet cats is the term I keep returning to when pondering the dudes behind vinyl release number two from Italy’s beautifully burgeoning label Roots Underground. Because for the excellent four-track trip – and it is a trip – that is the Chase Down EP, Sapporo-based Fuminori Kagajo [King Street Sounds/Slip‘N’Slide/Fatsouls Records] has surrounded himself with a gaggle of accomplished musicians who sound like they may have served their apprenticeships with Herbie Hancock and The Headhunters.

The title track is a funky-ass journey back to the seventies; soulful, sassy and seriously groovy, it couldn’t be cooler if it were sporting a leather trench coat and mirrored shades. And that is in large part due to the outrageously sharp keyboard skills of the super-talented Takuto Kudo. His fingers are working overtime too on the stunning Aggregation, a wonderfully deep and driving number that irresistibly works both the head and feet to maximum effect.

Over on the flipside there is no sign of slowing down. Indeed, if anything the joyous The Tropics takes the pace up a notch or two, albeit this time with an Afro-Latin lilt. And despite more sterling keyboard gymnastics from Mr Kudo, it is in fact the brass section that takes centre stage with a twisted and frenetic contribution.

Closing track Depths Of The Forest is much more contemporary house territory. There’s still a delightful and uplifting keyboard solo on parade but this time married to a deep house sensibility and kick. It’s a heady brew.

Buy here.

Check out:
Roots Underground @ SoundCloud
Roots Underground @ Bandcamp

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Andy Vaz – House Warming Remixes – Yore

NEVER one to rest on his laurels, Andy Vaz is back with a trio of tip-top remixes to celebrate this year’s earlier release of the essential House Warming, his first album in four years.

And as you might expect from the Yore Records head honcho, with quality control foremost as always, the resulting House Warming EP is every bit as must-have as the long-player of the same name.

A self-confessed lover of the golden era of funk, house and soul from the seventies to nineties, it’s little wonder that eclectic German producer Damiano von Erckert, head of AVA. Records, opted to tackle the soulful jack of Want U Back. His Chicago mix is a sterling effort, a groovier and chunkier take on an already fine track with, of course, a significant nod to the Windy City house pioneers.

Nobody featuring the vocal talents of Eva Soul is without doubt one of the highlights of Vaz’s full-length. Broad musical shoulders were needed to tackle it head on. Step up Detroit’s Patrice Scott who turns in a glorious, slow burning, heads-down classic, the After Dark mix, which builds and builds to a delightfully soulful finale.

The boss man Vaz’s instrumental re-working of the same track is just as satisfying, a seriously uplifting head and feet mover to warm the soul.

Check out:
House Warming Remixes @ Juno

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Various Artists – The Electronica Sound Of Planet Earth Volume 1 – Xenology Records

HE’S reinvented himself more times than Madonna has that there John Morrison. Black Jack, or even BlackJack, Mr. Man, Submorphosis, it’s hard to keep up at times with the experienced DJ and producer, a stalwart of the Scottish underground electronic scene. Now you can add to the list ‘label boss’ as, in cahoots with DJ partner Jace Syntax, he’s gone and launched his own imprint, Xenology Records.

It’s quite a debut for the label too, a staggering 20-track compilation of fresh techno gems culled from an eye-catching roster of well-known and well-respected artists including Derrick Thompson (aka Drivetrain and owner of Soiree Records International), Derek Carr (For Those That Knoe) and Rennie Foster (F Communications/Rebirth), not to mention Morrison and Syntax too. And why not, it is their label after all.

Between them they know their way round a techno track this lot and, boy, does it show with one super production following relentlessly after another, a mouth-watering and value-for-money two hours plus of intelligent, high-quality techno.

Standouts abound. Cliché it may be, but there really is something for everyone depending on your musical bent. There’s the rapturous and futuristic uplifting techno of the aforementioned Carr’s simply-titled X, Hughes Giboulay’s Variable, J Garcia’s Moon Roof and Jules Wells’ magnificent arms-in-the-air number You Are. And how could I not mention Stevie B Brown’s catchy piano-driven stormer Dirty Soul [piano mix, of course]?

For something more ethereal and intergalactic take EBE’s sumptuous and aptly-named Spacely, Mark Ryal’s deeply Rough and the charming Light Side from Andron Electron. The head honcho’s are no makeweights either. Syntax’s Alien Biology is a melodic and trippy little affair, whilst the sprightly and hypnotic Separate Entity showcases perfectly the ability of Mr. Morrison, who has long-standing and deeply-rooted connections within the Detroit underground electronic scene. He’s a busy boy too these days with fingers in numerous pies including a forthcoming release on a project close to my heart. Stay tuned.

For now though Morrison and the Xenology crew should bask in the credit of a job done well and a debut that promises even more good things to come. Full marks.

Check out:
The Electronica Sound Of Planet Earth Volume 1 @ Juno

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Gregor Yan – Jazz City Mini LP – Deep Explorer

WITH the big four-oh – releases not years that is – just a record away, Spanish label Deep Explorer appears to be in no mood to play safe or rest on its rather excellent laurels.

Having journeyed during its 12-year existence from minimal and tech grooves through to the grown-up deep house canon it has become synonymous with, the Madrid-based imprint has gone and flipped the script by conjuring up what almost amounts to a jazz concept album.

Of course there are significant elements of house music and the usual high-quality Deepex deepness thrown in there, we would expect nothing less, but the carefully curated six-track selection from Gregor Yan – a new name round here – is imbued and styled overwhelmingly by this thing called jazz.

Opening up the album is the languid title-track, a percussion and piano driven number with a cool-as-fuck male vocal and more than just a faint air of low-budget film about it.

The long player kicks on with Take #2, which has been reshaped by the New Jazz Fakers, aka Yan and the incomparable label boss Dubbyman. Still dominated by the jazz vibe naturally but with a house beat and purpose, it’s one of those tracks that reminds you just why God made us phunky.

Both About Love and Take #7 mine that same hi hat and sparkly keys late-night jazz club seam to great effect, whilst Loud Silence is a beautiful and wistful unhurried journey that brings the album to a perfectly fitting close.

Sandwiched between these and worth the cover price alone, however, is the majestic Strange Emotion. It’s straight-up, honest-to-goodness deep house dripping in soul, power and, of course, emotion. Bundles of it.

Individual moments of brilliance notwithstanding, a holistic approach is perhaps the best way to experience Jazz City; a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Close your eyes tightly though and I swear you can make out Dubbyman, a striking figure with fedora strategically tilted to one side, gliding contentedly and with purpose through some smoky dive bar or other. And that’s got to be a very good thing.

Check out:
Jazz City Mini LP @ Juno

Saturday, 16 April 2016

Marc Cotterell feat. Doreen Younglove – Deepinside – Minuendo

FOR one very frightening, sweat-inducing split second my eyes failed me and I was convinced that the new release on Minuendo was a deep house version of the camp classic I Am What I Am. I should have gone to Specsavers.

Panic over and normal service resumed, it turns out I couldn’t have been further from the truth. Because instead of an updated homage to dressing up in drag, the latest offering from the wonderful Madrid-based imprint is in fact a rather-tasty label debut for the much-experienced DJ and producer Marc Cotterell, owner of Plastik People Recordings.

Featuring three juicy value-for-money takes on the same cut, I’am featuring the powerful and potent vocal talents of Doreen Younglove, the Deepinside EP is Minuendo at its very soulful best. The classic vocal mix is precisely that, a soaring and uplifting cut with its heart and soul rooted in the finest traditions of proper deep house.

We love the sartorially-splendid Chris Gray round here [I picked up his equally-splendid release on yet another formidable Spanish label, Pulp, only last week]. His own Deep4Life imprint has achieved an almost mythical status and his work is constantly challenging and brilliant in equal measure. His Deep4Life dub here is everything you would want from a remix of his, turning the original upside down, putting his stamp all over it and taking the track firmly underground into dark room, bass-thumping, late-night territory. Hats off to Senor Gray.

Version three is the divine 5am Get Laid mix. It’s a little more chilled than the original, a touch deeper and more laidback. One for the heads no doubt and certainly excited these ears.

Nestled between this appetising selection is another naughty little number, Into The Light. Deep, vocal-driven house once again but with much more of a heads-down vibe to it. Music for grown-ups.

Check out:
Deepinside EP @ Juno

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Owen Jay & Melchior Sultana – Contrasts featuring Mykle Anthony (Deep Explorer remixes) – Batti Batti

SIBLING rivalry, eh. Don’t you just love it? My sister kicked me in the face once when we were kids. If that wasn’t bad enough, she was wearing roller skates at the time. It was an accident of course. Well I think it was.

I bet the Brothers Alvarez [aka Above Smoke and Dubbyman] wouldn’t kick each other in the face even if they were arguing over who could knock out the best remix. And I’m not about to call it either. Because what you do get for your money, on a slice of tremendous 10” vinyl no less, on the latest from the ever-wondrous Batti Batti label is a pair of achingly-beautiful versions of Owen Jay and Melchior Sultana’s already-stunning Contrasts, featuring the vocal talents of Mykle Anthony. It’s win win really.

Having said all that, it still behoves me as a reviewer to throw in my two-penneth [I have no idea what that is in new money or Euros]. The original first appeared on the Maltese imprint’s Kiss The Sun EP a couple of years back. Now label head Jay has commissioned the Deep Explorer pair to work their magic on the track for this the first in a series of 10” releases. And work their magic they do.

Above Smoke is something of an unsung hero. Noted for his excellent mastering skills and The Hole Of The Dub studio, it is sometimes forgotten what a great producer he is too. Not by those that know of course and certainly not by me. If you are not already familiar with gems such as Burning, Jazzt Me and Inner Vibe then make them your best friends right now.

Here he takes the uber-laidback, chilled out, Mediterranean charm of the original and adds a pacier undercurrent, enhancing the velvet-smooth vocals and losing none of its satisfyingly-warm glow.

Dubbyman, meanwhile, opts for the slow, sexy and sultry route. And boy does it work. Wrapped up in those summery vibes we’ve come to know and love from Deep Explorer, it’s a mesmerising and gorgeous piece of work. Which is best though? You choose.

Check out:
The Hole Of The Dub studio
Contrasts @ Juno

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

V/A – Stuntman Mike Car's Soundtrack: Part 2 – Troubled Kids

IT’S no secret that I harbour dreams of packing my bags and moving to Spain someday. Sun, sea, sand and sangria or so they say. Add to that superb deep house so what more could I need señor?

Ok, so the scene in Spain is centred largely on the urbanised capital of Madrid far from the beaches, whilst the internet breaks down those pesky physical barriers anyway but you get my drift. Now whilst most attention is focused on Ernie at Minuendo plus Dubbyman and his brother Above Smoke over at Deep Explorer, Jesus Gonsev of Troubled Kids doesn’t always get the attention he rightly deserves.

Apart from cracking releases for the likes of Batti Batti, deepArtSounds and Foliage [check out Drift, Kiss My Eye and Flash respectively], the Madrid-based DJ and producer runs his own imprint with a finely tuned ear and is a sizeable addition to my own record collection. Troubled Kids’ latest, the Stuntman Mike Car's Soundtrack: Part 2 EP, is no let down either. Featuring Gonsev himself once again, the aforementioned Ernie, Japanese starlet Miruga and American gun-for-hire Alton Miller, it’s a bit of a belter.

Miller is not surprisingly the star attraction here and When The Morning Comes 2nd is undoubtedly a gloriously memorable, polished and darn-enjoyable hunk of deepness. Job done.

Actually no, because not for the first time the boss man Gonsev steals the show as far as I’m concerned. Traits Of Humankind is yet another beautifully evocative, emotive and exceptional cut that wet my whistle handsomely. Lord knows what he’s been putting in his San Miguel of late but the boy just gets deeper and deeper. Long may it continue.

Miruga has got some serious form for Altered Moods, Balance and Ethereal Sound to name but three and he certainly doesn’t disappoint here either with the lush and enigmatic Endless Waltz. That man Ernie – a firm favourite at bringdownthewalls – is on point with Sharepoint, a darker and moodier take on the deep house oeuvre than he usually turns out but a more than fitting addition to a tip top EP.

Check out:
Troubled Kids online
Jesus Gonsev on Facebook
Stuntman Mike Car's Soundtrack: Part 2 @ Juno

Monday, 11 April 2016

SofaTalk – Fairy Dust – Roots Underground

SECOND generation Mods were the dominant youth cult in my school in South London towards the end of my time there. So as one of only a handful of committed soul boys with a chunky wedge and decked out in the latest Italian sportswear, it would be fair to say I was on the wrong end of no small amount of grief. Taxing they used to call. Mugging I called it as I was chased for my beloved Sergio Tacchini tracksuit top through a park in Croydon.

Even so, I still look back fondly on that time – not because of the taxing, obviously, I’m not that twisted – but because it was a great period for soulful music, when Anita, Teddy and Luther loomed large over my record collection, pirate radio was spreading the jazz funk gospel and style was everything whatever your choice of scene.

And so I was transported musically back to those formative years courtesy of the first official vinyl release from Italy’s Roots Underground label. Not that the splendid and appropriately-titled Fairy Dust EP from Italian DJ/producer SofaTalk is in any way retro or a pastiche of a bygone time, it is just that it is so magically and liberally sprinkled with soul, funk and jazz that those faraway teenage days came flooding back to me in an instant.

Contains Sulfites (Intro) is a delightfully warming and textured curtain raiser and perhaps the pick of a super selection for my money despite its brevity, an accomplished and languid slice of groovy deepness that is in no hurry and is all the better for its lack of urgency.

Picking up the pace is Dance Of The Cranes, a satisfyingly funky and jazz-inspired [perhaps jazz funk then after all] broken beat workout with a hint of house, whilst the fabulous title-track Fairy Dust (Instrumental) sits splendidly somewhere between the first two cuts.

Perhaps pinching the plaudits at the death is the vocal version of Fairy Dust featuring the talents of Kris Tidjan. Though little different in essence to the instrumental, the addition of Tidjan’s sublime vocals adds a greater depth and emotional resonance to an already-excellent piece of work.

Check out: 
Fairy Dust video teaser
Roots Underground online
Fairy Dust EP @ Juno