Friday, August 14, 2020

Music Reviews

Artist: Artmann, Karimun
Title: Signals Thru The Silence
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Slightly Sizzled White
Signals Thru The Silence is one of those house releases that, listening without context, you would be hard pushed to pin down to anywhere between the late 90’s and today. A steady, walking house groove with a bouncy feel rolls under a rubbery bassline. Oddly kitsch stab keys dominate, and the slow female vocal line (almost always just the four words of the title repeating) takes more of a back seat, as a bit of dream topping.

On the flip side “The Way You Do It” feels a bit more consciously garage-retro, channeling the older sounds of MK, Todd Edwards et al, adding a male vocal snippet and taking things just a little deeper, but still easily within the same wheelhouse.

It could cynically be called house by numbers, but all the ingredients are in the recipe at just the right amounts and well baked, so it certainly has its merits.

Artist: Shome
Title: 1989
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Redlight Music
This single might be called 1989 but the original version is a form of melodic progressive house that really grew in the late 90’s and never really went out of fashion since. A semi-euphoric chord pattern that steadily repeats on a grand piano sound while other synths arpeggiate happily away around it, stepping in and out in a steady, journeying fashion, it’s got all the right bits of the formula, nicely applied. It’s DJ-friendly too, with an ending that’s more melody than beat.

The most surprising thing about the release is the genre-hop of the Paper Street Soul remix on the flip. Though it’s faithful in a way, especially in the breakdown, the groove is a complete shift, with funky slapbass sounds and disco string stabs that sound like they’ve come straight from the first Justice album. It even adds a new guitar-sound melody that gives a brand new hands-in-the-air moment just before the five minute mark. It’s rare to hear such a thoughtful re-shift of a track in this kind of genre, and it’s no real surprise that the radio edit provided in the package is of the remix rather than the original.

It’s quality stuff from the Redlight label, not liable to raise any eyebrows but top of the class for production quality.

Artist: Darcey Electronics
Title: Hallo
Format: 12" vinyl + Download
Label: Plant Life
A debut in a few ways- a first release from duo Darling and Tracey, as Darcey Electronics, and a first release for the Plant Life label- the Hallo EP sets off in its own direction, very mild and laidback, but still a bit of a statement of intent.

“Morgen”’s light, steppy beats run at about 145bpm, while the perky synth melody and chords amble gently over the top, the classic heart-pounds-while-brain-reflects combination. “Handbird” has a similarly floaty, dreamy top line, but eases off on the percussion- broadly balearic and incredibly mild.

“The Berries” is a little jazzier and quirkier, with a nice build-up, playful keys and some indistinct vocal samples that give an extra bit of texture, before the EP’s strongest instrumental melody line. It’s wrapped up by “Auto Zap”, again a bit perkier, almost Luke Vibert-ish at times, but again with the dreamy arpeggios and floaty chords.

It’s got its own character set as a release, and sits in an unusual hybrid zone inbetween chillout and the lower end of drum-and-bass, whilst keeping everything light and fluffy throughout. Interesting fare for home-listening or the more open-minded and eclectic of DJ’s.

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Oxygen: Critical Level I
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Label: Korpus 9
The Korpus 9 label begins a new compilation series here with a four-track various artists EP of thick, kick-heavy techno.

It starts aggressively with “M2S” from Kusp (UK), which stands presumably for ‘menace to society’ since those words are used in the sampled monologue about the dangers of drugs, an established and seemingly ironic approach given techno’s 90’s drug associations. Tom Hades’ “A Constellation” offers up a slightly more spaced-out arrangement of long sci-fi cinematic pads that are just about audible over the thumping, then Bleur & MB1’s “Cerenity” [sic] sits somewhere between the two, foregoing much melody in favour of a repeated vocal sample whispering ‘serenity’ over a beat that’s the opposite of serene, in a good way. Quisan’s “Epiphany” uses the familiar contrast of growling lower synths against wispy, airy top notes over a housier beat, and feels almost mellow by comparison.

Overall this EP feels like it thrives on the fairly simple energy of the mid-90’s techno heyday, and there’s nothing in here that pushes boundaries, stands out, or drills itself into your memories. But as a polished set of reliable, DJ-friendly, journey-techno, it’s very polished.

Artist: VV.AA.
Title: Get Together
Format: 12"
Label: Form & Terra Records (@)

BUY from  HERE
The third Vinyl release by Form & Terra Records with 4 tracks by 4 artists on this one; loosely 4 to the floor if you like wordplays..
"Celluloid Pony" by Peter F. Spiess is the first track and rightly so, a swinging techno house track with a beautiful swirling sequence which could go on much longer for my liking. Spiess is the most experienced producer here leaving the listener wanting more.
This is followed by Cie with "Wolkenburg", a track with nearly 8 Minutes to go and for my taste at least 2 Minutes to long as I miss a progression here. This obviously needs to be listened to loud in a club late at night where this electro house groove can easy be used as a slow burner in an endless mix.
Turning this Vinyl Only release over virtually - Prakash from Gran Canaria with a deep house orientated track with some funky oldschool sounds does not hurt nor impress me either. Finally Markus Funke takes a chance to dive into dub techno territories with "Levissima", a lengthy relaxed conclusion of this Get Together.
This might well represent the current state of dance-floors and clubbing all around - a bit directionless safe play by most participiants but at least something's going on.


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