NYC based MINIM is back with 006 in their vinyl-only series. This time around they welcome a young Ukrainian by the name of Grec to showcase his debut ‘Climacool EP.’ We kick things off with the title track ‘Climacool’ which is a high energy, astral journey through space and time. A low rumbling bass, a chest-thumping kick drum and starry notes all interlace to deliver a dancefloor mover.
Legendary Derek Carr turns out a toned-down remix but still packs enough to find it’s way into most DJ’s record bags. A sundrenched interpretation that really hits the spot!
TC90 is another fast-paced trip which twists and turns with finely programmed drums, jacked out percussion, high pitch squeals and a lovely yet haunting vocal that makes for an enjoyable listen.
TIJN delivers the remix on this one and has done a great job of stripping this back with skippy hats, atmospheric pads and a groove to get any floor moving!
The enigmatic KOI Series opens its door for the very first time with a stunning 2-tracker EP by Cluj-Napoca groover Cristi Murar.
Coming from years of experience in the underground music scene, the Italian guys at RE.FACE Records have decided to step on the way to the sky opening a brand new one vinyl-only label. KOI Series overlooks at aesthetic lands of zen gardens, fairy feelings and cherry trees in bloom, and just looking at the artwork, you can immediately see the organic vision behind the whole concept.
Andromeda EP sees the Romanian producer working under his real name for the very first time; previously he had releases with his “ICS” alias on renowned labels such as Sintope, Jargon!, Get Physical and Dirtybird to name a few.
The EP is an astonishing and immersive trip with fluffy and ethereal sounds, smooth and happy grooves and manages to condense diverse dancefloor moments in 2 tracks only. We can say that it’s the perfect example of the “less is more” motto, because both the tracks are just perfect in every aspect and detail, not making us regret about the absence of two more works.
A1 “Andromeda” is about dreamy synths and light grooves, while on the flipside, “Mos” is a stomping tune with some serious low-end power which is clearly designed for the dancefloor.
For their 6th instalment, Katie Drover’s label Dokutoku Records brings us a sublime EP from the talented and Tini & The Gang member St. Joseph with his ‘Player Nr. 1 EP.’ Three delicious original tracks along with an infectious, groovy number turned out by Arno (aka Einzelkind) complete the package.
We kick the A-side off with ‘Feel’ which is a slow, hypnotic rolling track you’d expect to hear in a basement club in the early hours. A bouncy b-line mixed with drawn on Rhodes notes really take us on a voyage of self-discovery, which leads into ‘Random,’ a jazzy track that sounds like it was produced back in the hay day of the ’90s. Seriously good! The B side really takes things up a gear with Arno‘s (better known as Einzelkind) remix which is a peak time number that you’ll find hard not to move to. What’s surprising about this is that Arno actually created his version without the benefit of the original parts, giving life to a monstrous track over its 10 minutes ride …very impressive! Rounding off the package is ‘Player Nr 1’, a chuggy, slowed-down groover, providing a lovely 3-minute interlude to close the EP in style.
Early last year in the heart of Madrid, vinyl only label Colt Music was born. With an unbelievable series of local parties, and a couple of releases under their belt it seems they are picking up the pace impressively well. The key to their success boils down to the careful selection of artists they choose to work with. The fact they have previous releases from Hamid and Brian Harden which includes a magical remix from Romanian duo SIT, literally speaks for itself.
For the third release on the label they have hit the jackpot again, this time around they are treating us to the sounds of long term resident of Rakete Club (Nürnberg) Michael Melchner. The native German is known for his extended sets taking clubbers on a euphoric trip, touching on all corners of electronic music. Diversity is definitely something this man doesn’t lack, and this shines through in his productions, creating something special for all dance floor situations.
‘Pi Came First’ is a solid three track EP, with a unique touch that many desire but fail to achieve. The title track taking up the whole of the A-side is an in your face groover, driven by a combination of spiralling magical sounds and hard hitting kicks. Providing you with that peak time bounce and energy we all desire. The hypnotic breaks, supported by some strange voices, suck you in before you’re thrown straight back in by the glitchy rolling beats. The more atmospheric brother of the opening track ‘Pi Came Second’ in comparison definitely has a stripped back approach. Similarly to the opener, there is that push and drive from the drums, but it has a much more minimal and floaty feel to it, one for the journey. A real touch of class. The most mysterious out of the three goes by the name of ‘Prague’ and it screams that 7am dark and eerie after party feel. Having you in a daze from start to finish, it is a very steady track fuelled by outer space sounds, ready to take over your mind.
The EP really proves the understanding that Melchner has for moving dancefloors; be prepared to be impressed by his timeless work. It’s soon to be released, so you best keep your eyes peeled for this one, and the serious movements Colt Music are making, going from strength to strength.
ESHU is a small label from Nijmegen, Netherlands, run by a group of likely lads that share a passion for deep beats. The crew is composed of Jocelyn Abell, Daniël Lekatompessy, Roger Gerressen and Ivano Tetelepta. These two last names might ring a bell as they both been extremely active music wise, notably releasing some languid Techno on a thriving British label: Fear Of Flying.
For their 5th release, the ESHU team is bringing together a blend of artists, from Holland, but not only: as the EP unveils, it starts with an adventurous ambient introduction, freshly delivered from a Birmingham based producer, Anthony Felton, aka Aepiel who spoilt us last year with several releases including the intriguing LP Invisible Walls.
Passing this delicate section, you’ll be able to taste ESHU’s classic recipe: a slow Techno, halfway across Dub Techno, and some cold analogue Deep House sounds that seem to have become a Scandinavian prerogative (hello Kontra-Music!). The Israel based producer Akimonu goes first with Cadence One / Native A, a perfectly executed performance, incorporating smooth ambient textures to complex rhythms.
As the second half of the EP unrolls, time for delicacy is over: the beat gets harder and faster, the gentle pads have been replaced by a melodic void, and if you do hear a note, you’ll soon understand its only purpose is to jar you. It’s literally a come back to the very roots of Techno by Albert van Abbe and Counterpart, two Dutch artists, delivering one after another of unapologetic tracks with a nod to the violent and a taste for old underground beats.
With Elements EP, ESHU goes deeper in the ‘Nijmegen’ sound claimed, but they also leave the door open for a refined eclecticism, and will surely delight clubbers as well as the more discerning listener.
The next artist to see a release on DBA Dubs comes from London based Kel McKeown – AKA Kelpe. An artist with a real passion for experimentation and back catalogue to support that, he’s a fitting subject for Semtek’s Don’t Be Afraid offshoot, which specialises in leftfield house music with a UK vibe. The format of the sublabel is a neat one: take a dub from a UK based producer, and compliment it with a techno-tinged remix on the flip of a 10” record, provided this time by Detroit’s Kevin Reynolds.
Sparse, thickset percussion couples a tension building, arp-style synth crescendo to kick things off. Kelpe continues in this way for the entirety of the sixty-four bar intro, before letting loose with a killer analogue bassline. It’s this weighty groove that leads the way for the remaining four minutes, drenching the track in a fuzzy warmth that takes you to another place with headphones, but will absolutely destroy a dance floor when played on a big system. Kevin Reynolds puts his own take on things, adding a slightly darker undertone combined with an acid line that is somehow more fluid than the original cut, washing over sizzling hats to great effect.
It’s some of Kelpe’s best work to date, suggesting no signs of stopping after the critical acclaim of his fourth album ‘Fourth: The Golden Eagle’. It’s a great addition to a label which not only has had a consistent output since its inception, but also a solid ethos – something that seems to be helping them to stand apart from the masses, and which will be interesting to keep an eye on as time goes on.
It’s been a great year for Tone Of Arc. With a whole host of great reviews and recognition in 2013, the zealous San Francisco producer Derrick Boyd aka Dead Seal seems to be taking it all in his stride, and why shouldn’t he – when his glamorous partner who works vocals is none other than his wife Zoe Presnick!
Signed to No.19 Records, they frequently rub music shoulders producing and playing gigs around the world with the likes of Art Department’s Jonny White and Nitin (their No.19 label boss). In May 2013 they released their album “The Time Was Right“, which was an interesting mix of music ranging from Tech House to “Acoustic Folk Trip”. Self-proclaimed recording junkies since their teens, Boyd and Presnick possess a wide range of musical talent. A visit to D Edge club during a mini tour of Brazil was to be expected. D Edge is widely considered to be one of the best clubs in Brazil, and is situated in Brazil’s business capital São Paulo. Renato Ratier owns the club: he’s a successful DJ in Brazil, who is also a partner at Warung Beach Club in Santa Catarina.
D Edge is made up of 3 rooms and a very cool roof top terrace, with a skyline view of the capital perfect for watching the sunrise. The middle room is something really special… Engulfed in multi-coloured, video quality LCD lights, it feels like stepping into a scene from “Tron”. Freak Chic is the clubs weekly gay night. On the night the crowd was a good mix and the atmosphere was friendly (D Edge generally brings in a cosmopolitan crowd). The club has a chic design and air conditioning throughout – a far stretch from the more underground, “warehouse style”, sweaty dance floors you find across Europe.
The attitude to clubbing in Brazil is noticeably different to Europe. A bit stuck in the past, most of the time clubbing is more about pulling than the quality of the music. Regardless of this fact D Edge still carries a music-loving crowd. This year, they’ve already hosted artists such as Soul Clap, Nitin, Wolf + Lamb, Daniel Bortz and Jozif, and are constantly bringing talent from overseas to the Brazilian audience. Two rooms were open on the night: the second room and the lounge. For the first half of the night the music was handed over to the Brazilian DJs Mark Rocha and Dani Souto, who both played well, mainly dropping tech house and vocal deep house. In the Lounge, Leo Mafra played a more commercial house and disco mix. The music was enjoyable, but the main event was yet to come.
After a long wait, Tone of Arc finally arrived to play the middle room at around 4.30am. The set time was way too late, was due to D Edge organizing a simultaneous event where Tone of Arc also performed, whereas focussing on one event would have been far more logical. Thankfully, they were well worth the wait. They performed a live performance entirely of their own music – which they certainly aren’t short of. Live bass guitar and vocals were performed with ease and they carried a great connection and presence on the stage as a duo. Song highlights from their album were “Sound Sail“, “Surrender” and “Left Field“.
A small gang of groupies at the front singing along to their songs… the crowd obviously loved these guys! Boyd wood the crowd his new age hipster vibe whilst Presnick seduced them with her performance. In the song “Easy Rider” Boyd chanted incomprehensible lyrics, and there was something very psychedelic about this song. On closing your eyes (and with a little imagination), you could easily be transported to a jungle rave in the middle of the Amazon.
Tone Of Arc´s music is a concoction of old and new styles brought together with a twist of originality – a refreshing change in comparison to a lot of the boring rubbish churned out these days. With so much going for them we are sure to see much more of Boyd and Presnick over the coming months.