Friday, 31 December 2010

3 For 2011

I obviously have very little clue as to what will be released in the entirety of 2011, but of those records I know will see a release, here are the 3 tracks which I rate most highly. Note them. Purchase them. You won't be disappointed.

Julio Bashmore - 'Battle For Middle You'

Over the past 12 months Julio Bashmore has really asserted himself as one of the most exciting artists working on the cusp between house and UK funky with releases such as 'Batak Groove/Around' (Soul Motive) and 'Chazm/Footsteppin' (Ten Thousand Yen). His next release comes on the PMR imprint on the 10th January in the form of the 'Everybody Needs A Theme Tune' EP. The man from Bristol may have produced his finest work on this with 'Battle For Middle You'. The smooth as house rhythm, shuffling percussion, deep vocal samples and ever rising synth stabs culminate to create a track that will no doubt keep feet moving.

Addison Groove - 'Sexual'

It feels like I've been waiting for this track for an eternity. I first heard this one back in Ramadanman's MAH mix back on the 5th August. From the first minute I heard the pounding 808's, lofty synth chords and a vocal sample repeating 'we sexual', I knew this one was special. Addison Groove's juke influenced work has provided one of the highlights of 2010, and I think this success shall only grow in 2011, alongside the expansion of Chicago juke in the UK itself. The release of 'Sexual/Work It' in February on Swamp81 will unquestionably be one of the biggest in 2011.

Untitled - 'Sicko Cell'

I don't think there's much more I really need to say about 'Sicko Cell'. It could probably be the track of 2010 for my past month's obsession with it. However, if it does see a release in 2011 (touch wood), it will most certainly be the release of 2011, unless a very special record is produced to usurp it of such a status in the next 12 month. Everyday the addiction gets greater, so much so that I would say this track is equal in importance to my life as both Football Manager and Ben's Cookies (it's getting serious). Thanks to James Blake's boiler rooms mix, you can now listen to the track from it's beginning, and my word it is excellent (download the mix by clicking here - the track's intro begins at 3:19). Best of 2011? I'd put my house on it if I owned one. 

i'm the information. cocaine powder.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Marcellus Pittman - Unirhythm Green #1

Rough and reaDetroit house at its very best. Marcellus Pittman, a member of the 3 Chairs production team (one which also includes Theo Parrish, Kenny Dixon Jr and Rick Wilhite), has made his name with brilliant production work over the past few years, alongside the development of his Unirhythm label and a growing reputation as one of the finest, most intense Detroit house DJ's around. Pittman's sound is unique and very distinctive, adopting a more stripped back and rugged production style, whilst incorporating the raw lo-fi signature sound of Detroit vibes.

Marcellus Pittman's first release for the Unirhythm Green series is one of his best to date. Released back in October 09, the orignial pressing was limited to 500 copies worldwide. It really is an exceptional Detroit record, with two sides of smooth as ice house from the Motor City man. The a-side to the release, which remains 'untitled', is the one which really got me excited here. The 4x4 beat pulsates, percussive arrangement provide a raw ragged sound, one which is smoothed over by the poignant, soft synth lines. The b-side, titled 'If The Earth Could Talk', is also an excellent effort by Pittman, a slightly more polished attempt in comparison to the very stripped down a-side. The beat provides a rigid structure, upon which polyrhythmic synth lines dazzle, overbearing the lo-fi percussive elements that fluidly enter and exit the track at various points. A brilliant record, one which undoubtedly asserts Pittman as one of Detroit's finest. You can still find a few copies of this release floating around online. My recommendation would be to secure the purchase of these very soon, or run the risk never owning such a wonderful record. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Pariah's Old Blue Last NYE Party Mix

A new mix from young up-coming producer Pariah to promote Vice Magazine's new years eve party at The Old Last Blue pub on Great Eastern Street in London. The mix is an example of Pariah's talent as a DJ, and if you ever needed any reason to be persuaded to attend the party, this should should satisfy any negative preconceptions. The mix begins with a series of wonderful deep, Detroit house records which warm things up. The divine 'Dance Sing' brings a touch of class, a Theo Parrish record which immediately shows Pariah is an artist who knows his records. The inclusion of John Swing's 'Check It Out' is nothing short of brilliant, but the real magic is displayed when mixing the track into 'Day', a record released by Omar-S on his own FXHE label back in 2004. A wonderful selection, so warm and soulful in its manner, and one which slowly works up a tempo, leading the way perfectly for recent releases and dubplates from the UK bass/dance music. Blawan's 'Bohla', Boddika's 'When I Dip' and Pearson Sound's 'Blanked' provide the best of the recent and unreleased, providing a nice contrast to the earlier patient and soul infused Detroit records. A well formed mix that displays Pariah's brilliant taste and technique as a DJ as well as producer.  

The party is being headlined by Girl Unit and Pariah, and if this mix is anything to go by, Pariah will be going deep. Tickets are £8-12 in advance, and will be £15 on the door. 8pm-8am. You can download the mix by clicking here. Enjoy.

Pariah's Old Blue Last NYE Party Mix -

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Flying Lotus - 'Fall In Love' (J Dilla Tribute)

After what can only be described as a Fly Lo obsession back in January, I'm finding it extremely difficult to understand how I let this track slip through my hands, all the more inexplicable as I'm huge J Dilla/Slum Village fan. In tribute to the late James Dewitt Yancey, Fly Lo remixed Dilla's production work with Slum Village, taking the track 'Fall In Love' off the album 'Fantastic, Vol. 2'. The original itself is a wonderful work, with Dilla's legendary status proven worthy here with an excellent beat, an incredible sampled melody that I will never tire of hearing, as well as the vocals of Baatin and T3. Fly Lo's refix is equally as satisfying as the Slum Village original. The LA beat master takes the original beat and sampled melody, bringing the tempo down and manipulating these elements with his own glitch sound. The result is a stunning, laid back track which takes you to another world, a feature Fly Lo seems to excel in. A fitting tribute to Jay Dee. You can listen to both of these track in the videos below. Merry Chrismukkah.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Smokin Beats - 'Times Are Changin' (Smokin Dub) (SMB011)

95' garage/house special for you here, delivered by Smokin Beats. The track entitled 'Times Are Changin' (Smoking Dub) is one of the smoothest I have come across, comparable to the likes of R.I.P. Productions, D.E.A. Project, and Groove Chronicles in style. The Smokin Dub version of the record is undoubtedly the highlight here, a polished track that flows effortlessly for the entirety of it's 6 minute duration. The skittery garage beat set things rolling, soon supplemented by a smooth bassline and intermittent synth stabs which balances things out. It isn't until the track reaches the 1:30 mark that it enters its full swing however. Here the aforementioned elements are joined by a delightful house styled synth chord melody, one which brings soul to the track alongside Conroy's powerful vocals. Soulful underground garage at its best, no question about it.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Theo Parrish - 'Dance Sing' (Harmonie Park)

Soul control from the man Theo Parrish. The master of Detroit house/techno has a catalogue of high quality production work so wide that just when you think you've heard it all from the man, another wonderful piece soon surfaces, a track which you were before deprived any knowledge of. This week I have for some reason only just come across the 'Twin Cities' EP (Harmonie Park) which was released in March 2004. It is the track 'Dance Sing' which really caught my attention here, epitomizing all that is great in Parrish's work. 

It's a raw but utterly soulful track. It makes an instant connection. The opening is dominated by an interesting percussive beat, one which sounds very rugged and rough round the edges, gaining further layers throughout the duration of this patient introduction. The track's real beauty shines through after 1:3o, where the heart and soul is created. A stunningly warm synth chord arrangement slowly rises as the harsher intricate percussion recedes, with a determined 4x4 beat patiently building as the track progresses. Add to the lo-fi synths the looped sample which repeats the words "dance sing", and this track bleeds soul. It's a track which you can't help but nod along to, it's hypnotic in its 13 minute duration. Absolute killer from Parrish, from start to finish. You can listen to 'Dance Sing' in the video below, as well as his recent refix of Amerie's 'One Thing' entitled 'Just 1 love Bug', printed on a limited edition clear red vinyl. Enjoy.

"Love of the music should be the driving force of any producer, performer or DJ. Everything else stems from that core, that love. With that love, sampling can become a tribute; An expansion on ideas long forgotten, reconstruction, collage. Using the same understanding openly and respectfully can turn DJing into a spiritual participation. It can turn a few hours of selection into essential history; Necessary listening through movement." (Theo Parrish)

Oneman XLR8R Podcast

Oneman (aka Steve Bishop) steps up with a very strong 52 minute long mix for XLR8R. The Rinse man is highly regarded, and rightly so. Very few others have the talent that this man has for mixing, a talent which have gained him a reputation as an exceptional DJ and the respect of all in the community, without being a producer or being armored with exclusive dubplates. Instead he built his reputation on flawless skills, something which has also come to provide him with dubplates over the past few years. This mix for XLR8R is testament to such technique and track selection, with impeccable mixing backed by a tracklist so full of unreleased exclusives it brings tears to my eyes, especially in the case of the wonderful 'Gr Etiquette', 'Sicko Cell', and 'Mellotroid'. Boddika, Falty DL, and the French Fries remix of Amerie's 'One Thing', also prove to be highlights on this superb tracklist. You can download the mix by clicking here. Enjoy.

Oneman XLR8R Mix:
01 Bad Autopsy "Callback" (Ramp)
02 Instra:mental "Talkin' Mono" (NonPlus+)
03 Joy Orbison "GR Etiquette"
04 SBTRKT "2020" (Brainmath)
05 Unknown "Sicko Cell"
06 Boddika "When I Dip" (NonPlus+)
07 El-B & Juiceman "Buck & Bury" (Ghost)
08 Unknown "Mellotroid"
09 FaltyDL "Doo Wop"
10 Pearson Sound "Blanked" (Hessle Audio)
11 Girl Unit "IRL" (Night Slugs)
12 Amerie "One Thing" (French Fries Remix)"
13 Ill Blu "Pull It (Instrumental)" (It's Funky)
14 The Touch "Bodies Waiting (French Fries Remix)"
15 Redlight "MDMA" (Polydor)
16 SX vs. Ramadanman "Woooo Glut"
17 Desto & Jimi Tenor "Doorlock Riddim"
18 Shortstuff & Mickey Pearce "Tripped Up (Ramadanman Re-edit)" (Ramp)
19 Jay Weed "The Naos" (502)
20 Benga "Skank" (Big Apple)
21 Toasty "Skinny" (Destructive)
22 Mala "City Cycle" (Tectonic)

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

James Blake - Album Tracklisting and Artwork

Excitement most certainly embroils around this young man. The promise of his self-titled debut album on Atlas/A&M on 7th February is one of the most anticipated works of 2011, one that will be accompanied by an intriguing live show. The young 22 year old has come a long way since his debut 12" on the Hemlock print in the form of the indelible 'Air & Lack Thereof/Sparing The Horses' (June 2009) which immediately marked the producer/vocalist/DJ out as an artist who had great things ahead of him. Although the album is thought to contain very different sounds to those we originally heard in Blake's work, the album will undoubtedly contain the same grace, soulfulness and unique structuring that can be heard in records such as 'The Bells Sketch' and 'Klavierwerke' EPs.

Blake is doing something truly unique here, and after the release of the first single from the album, 'Limit To Your Love', it's no surprise he is being touted as one of the UK's most promising artists. You can find the tracklist for the album after the videos below. Most of the tracks named are previously unheard and unreleased, guaranteed to entice you further.

1. Unluck
2. Wilhelms Scream
3. I Never Learnt To Share
4. Lindesfarne I
5. Lindesfarne II
6. Limit To Your Love
7. Give Me My Month
8. To Care (Like You)
9. Why Don’t You Call Me
10. I Mind
11. Measurements

Out 7th February 2011 through Atlas/A&M. 

Sunday, 19 December 2010

2010's Top 15 EPs/Singles

2010 has proved a fruitful year in terms of releases from the world of UK bass/dance music. New styles have come to the fore, as well as a handful of extremely talented producers beginning to build themselves solid reputations. As dubstep slowly branches out in an ever diversifying scene, house, garage, funky and juke have really made an impression on my tastes in this past year. Labels such as Hotflush, Hessle Audio, Planet Mu, Swamp81, Ramp, PTN, Doldrums, Well Rounded and R&S amongst others have been pushing interesting sounds, some of which occupy this list.

To mark the end of 2010, I thought I'd gather a list of my 15 (originally I planned 10 but couldn't cut the list down) favourite EPs and Singles from the year. There are many brilliant releases which haven't quite made the cut, but I believe these are the releases that have made the biggest impact on myself in the past 12 months. The list is arranged in no particular order. I had a tough enough time cutting the list down to the final 15, and I believe such an ordering would be aimless and limiting. However, I do have a top artist for the year. Although by no means a prolific year in terms of release, Peter O'Grady (aka Joy Orbison) has without doubt been the focal artist in my world this year. The man doesn't make bad records. Both his releases feature in my top 15, and if more of his unreleased workings were available, I get the feeling this list would be dominated by J.O. Doldrums are on it.

Top 15 EPs/Singles of 2010 -

Joy Orbison - 'The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow' (Aus Music)

This EP still sounds just as good as it first did when released back in March. It guaranteed that J.O. wasn't here just for the one single, but that he has a collection of wonderful records that make for beautiful listening. 'The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow' is more minimal than what has gone before, with a driven stripped beat, grumbling bass, accompanied by rising synths and a distant vox'd vocal sample. 'So Derobe' is outstanding. Incredible intricate percussion that leaves you completely bemused, aquatic sound synths that satisfy with every listen, and an excellent choice of the soulful Boys II Men vocal sample that compliments such elements. Essential.

Martyn - 'Miniluv' (Ostgut Ton)

A work of pure brilliance by Martyn. 'Miniluv' is almost a meeting of techno and deep house. The track begins a strong 4x4 beat and skipping techno patterns, something which animates the first 3 minutes of this track. The turning point and real beauty of this track comes just after the 3 minute mark, as a 4-note chord arrangement that wouldn't sound out of place in the realm of Detroit house begins to take dominance from the surging beat. It is without doubt one of the warmest and most alluring melody's you'll hear this year.

Addison Groove - 'Footcrab/Dumbshit' (Swamp81)

A release which announced the arrival of both Swamp81 and Addison Groove. Headhunter's juke alter-ego made one of the biggest impacts of 2010, and 'Footcrab' will be up there as one of the most played records by underground DJ's. Comprised of juke styled 808 percussion, adapted to the more UK bass friendly tempo of 140bpm, the track pounds away, continuing to keep feet moving. The rapid-fire sample that repeats 'footcrab' an innumerable amount of times will seep its way into you unconscious, and you'll soon find yourself repeating the word in very ordinary situations. 'Dumbshit' provides a strong b-side. This takes the edge ever so slightly over 'Work Them' for me.

Deadboy - 'Fireworks' (Well Rounded)

One of the most beautiful records I've ever heard, let alone in 2010. Deadboy's remix of Drake's 'Fireworks' is simply astounding. A low-swung house rhythm slowly develops beneath a soft piano arrangement, one which continues to patiently build over the six minutes. The distorted vocals provide an extra emotional layer in this soulful track, one which really does pull at the heart-strings. A thing of real beauty.

Breach - 'Fatherless' (PTN)

Who would have thought Ben Westbeech would have been responsible for one of the underground UK bass anthems of 2010? 'Fatherless' sounds like a tribal anthem, and it has certainly acted as the linchpin of many a DJ's set over the past 3/4 months or so. The rhythm is contagious, with devilish beat working up a storm, one that is dictated by swarming looped flutes and the cold vocal sample that so effectively states 'fatherless'. The b-side 'Man Up' is a very strong track that has been overlooked due to the status of its a-side. Doc Daneeka also provides a very strong remix, one which proves far more bass heavy than the original mix.

James Blake - 'CMYK' (R&S)

James Blake was always going to feature on my list, it was just a matter of which release I would select. As much as 'The Bells Sketch' and 'Klavierwerke' are worthy of places, it was always going to be the 'CMYK' EP that would get the nod for me in what is probably his most upbeat and dancefloor friendly work. The title track steals the show. Featuring a typically complex Blake beat, the track combines a rough and ready rhythm with with a repetitive piano chord arrangement. His vocal sampling of Aaliyah's 'Are You That Somebody?' and Kelis' 'Caught Out There' is almost as impressive as J.O's sampling, a selection that makes this track even more soulful. 'I'll Stay' (track 3 of the EP) is also a very impressive effort by the 22 year old, a track which his own wonderful vocals, manipulated in such a way to evoke maximum emotion, in keeping with the tracks construction.

Elgato - 'Tonight/Blue' (Hessle Audio)

What a debut release on Hessle Audio from the revered DJ, and now producer Elgato. This came out of nowhere in October to become one of the highlights of 2010. It really is an example of emotional dance music at its best for me. Both 'Tonight/Blue' are brilliant efforts, and can be placed under the house/funky bracket, although they are very considered and reserved tracks. 'Blue' is a patient 8 minute builder. Deep synth organs sit alongside a soulful vocal sample that constantly wails 'my dreams', backed by a rigid 808 drum beat and reverberating subbass. Great debut. I expect we'll be hearing a lot more from this man.

Jam City - 'Refixes' (Night Slugs)

I don't even know where to start with this one. I had an extremely hard time choosing which track to feature in the video, with each of these Jam City remixes being absolute killers. There's no two ways about it, this is one of the best EPs I've heard. Combine the brilliance of the remixes with the audacity the artist had in choosing the tracks to remix, and you can come someway to understanding why this EP is held in such high regard. Ecstasy's 'Engames', DJ Deeon's 'Let Me Bang', and Devil's 'Shut The Lights Off' all go under the Jam City refix here. And wonderfully so. You need this.

Joy Orbison - 'BB/Ladywell' (Doldrums)

Deep Detroit house vibes from J.O. I doubt there was a release in 2010 I had waited longer for (just over 8 months), but my word was it worth the wait. With this release, the second on O'Grady's Doldrums label, J.O. moves away from his previous garage/dub-house attempts, progressing towards a more Detroit house influenced sound (Parrish and Omar-S notable influences here). 'BB' is excellent with it's rolling percussion, structured 4x4 beat, dirty synth stabs and a vox'd vocal sample. However, my love is for 'Ladywell', a track so smooth and filled with emotion that you can't help but feel a connection to it. The beat swells, supported by deep kicks. But it's the retro 80s sounding chord arrangement that is introduced later, alongside the Usher 'Burn' vocal sample that really gets this track moving, something which enters full fruition once the handclaps are incorporated after 3 and a half minutes of patient build up. An absolute dream of an EP. Will Bankhead's artwork for it is almost as lovely as the music itself. Essence for you.

George FitzGerald - 'Tell Me' Remix (White)

George FitzGerald is a talented lad, something he has already proven with his debut release on Hotflush earlier in the year ('The Let Down/Weakness'). However, it was the recent white label 10" release of his remix of Groove Theory's 'Tell me' that impressed me most. FitzGerald's remix is a superb reworking of the classic 95' R&B track. The only recognizable feature left from the original is Amel Larrieux's soft vocals, which are manipulated in terms of tempo to fit the needs of FitzGerald's production. Add to the angelic vocals a swirling subbass, smooth garage rhythms, and tidy chord arrangements. George FitzGerald has a formula, one which has worked on all works as of yet.

Braiden - 'The Alps' (Doldrums)

Braiden's debut release on the Doldrums imprint has proved to be one of the biggest releases of 2010, one which obsessed many for the 4/5 months that we had to wait for it's arrival. The track first gained attention in J.O.'s Sonar set, and led to MAH pushing the track as one of the best of the year. After years of working as a reputable DJ, Rinse FM's Braiden has now taken to the production game, and he does so in a big way with 'The Alps'. The track is almost a cross between UK funky and techno, showing the wide raging styles which occupy Steve Braiden's eclectic sets. A pounding 4x4 beat, keyboard tones that range in both sound and length, playful cowbells, an ice cold sample and bass so enormous that the dancefloor will erupt each and every time this 12" is dropped. A huge debut, haunting yet forcing your feet to move. and one which is supported by a big remix from the excellent German house/techno producer Kassem Mosse.

DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad - '4 The Ghetto' (Ghettophiles)

2010 had been a vital year in the world of Chicago juke/ghetto house, finally expanding past its previous Chicago boundaries, and slowly working itself over to the UK. A lot of credit must go the Addison Groove (aka Headhunter) who has been pushing this sound for over 18 months now in DJ sets, as well as in his production work over the past year ('Footcrab/Dumbshit' as well as future release 'Sexual/Work It'). Juke is a simple but effective genre. Composed mainly of 808/909 four to the floor kick drums, minimal use of short sharp synth arrangements, dirty vocal samples and intermittent claps, I really shouldn't enjoy the sound as much as I do. DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad in particular manage to make my head nod every single time, there is something so enchanting and contagious in their 160bpm tracks. With labels like Planet Mu promoting the sound, as well as the Ghettophiles label itself growing ever stronger, expect to hear much more of these sounds in 2011.

Bakey USTL - 'A Tender Places/Nose Candy' (Unthank)

An astonishing limited 10" release that seemingly came from nowhere. Bakey USTL is a relatively unknown deep house producer from Estonia (now based in Amsterdam), so a debut release of such quality was going to rank high in my books. So original and unique, so impressive. 'A Tender Places' begins in the format of a smooth as deep house track, with a flowing house rhythm, elevated keyboard synths and a soulful sample crying "all night long". This takes a turn after 2 minutes, with a brief pause of silence, a series of differing drum beats that clash followed by a pause and the hiss and crackle of a needle being placed upon a new record. A couple of seconds later the track is reintroduced, with a similar format to above with the soulful sample repeating "clap your hands if you wanna fuck. stomp your feet if you wanna suck". It's a devilish yet soul infused turn, that you can't help but move along to. The b-side is not of a lesser quality. 'Nose Candy' is simply brilliant, an effortless track that screams high quality control. As the sample repeats after the break, "its special". Get to know it.  

Pearson Sound - 'Blanked/Blue Eyes' (Hessle Audio)

David Kennedy has had quite the prolific year. He could feature numerous times on this list due to his production work under the alias' of Ramadanman and Pearson Sound. It was between 'Work Them/Fall Short' and 'Blanked/Blue Eyes', and the latter just gained the edge for me, representing the great year that Kennedy has endured in production terms. 'Blanked' sounds like a meeting of Chicago juke and hardcore drum and bass in it's percussive arrangement, with an 808 drum arrangement that intrigues. The occasional outlaying synth chord rings, a booming bass kick keeps things moving, and the sample ("the love. the love") brings an emotional edge to the seemingly rigid format. It's moment of class comes in its middle arrangement, where we are left only with dark and ranging synthlines that agitate alongside the mourning vocal sample. 'Blue Eyes' presents a match on the b-side of a release which epitomizes everything good about David Kennedy's work in 2010.

Joy Orbison - 'Gr Etiquette' (Unreleased)

Although technically unreleased, I must put this track in my top 15. It is possibly my favourite of the whole lot, even though I've never had the opportunity to listen to the full version of the track (I've been exposed to listening to 2 minute clips over the past 12 months in mixes from Oneman, xxxy, Ramadanman, Martyn and J.O. himself). There are very few things that I want more at the moment than a copy of this track, only a couple of things come to mind in fact. It really is that good, and sadly will never see a release. I can't exactly put my finger on what it is that makes this track so special. The smoothness of the track is something you can't help but notice, with an incredibly well formed garage rhythm, intricate layers of percussion and house synths that delight. These elements combine magnificently, however, for me it's the sampling of Jamie Foxx that completes the track. Every time I listen to 'Gr Etiquette' the repetition of the lines 'do you like I want to, kiss you like I want to' never fail to impress and provide the heart of the track. J.O.'s garage/house/dubstep coalescence at it's very best, and that is really saying something.

Top 15:
Joy Orbison - 'The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow (Aus Music)
Joy Orbison - 'BB/Ladywell' (Doldrums)
Joy Orbison - 'Gr Etiquette' (Unreleased)
George FitzGerald - 'Tell Me' Remix (White)
Jam City - 'Refixes' (Night Slugs)
Elgato - 'Tonight/Blue' (Hessle Audio)
Pearson Sound - 'Blanked/Blue Eyes' (Hessle Audio)
Addison Groove - 'Footcrab/Dumbshit' (Swamp81)
Breach - 'Fatherless' (PTN)
DJ Spinn and DJ Rashad' - '4 The Ghetto' (Ghettophiles)
Bakey USTL - 'A Tender Places/Nose Candy' (Unthank)
Braiden - 'The Alps' (Doldrums)
Deadboy - 'Fireworks' (Well Rounded)
James Blake - 'CMYK' (R&S)
Martyn - 'Miniluv' (Ostgut Ton)

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Ben UFO - 'Gimme5' & 'Acetate' Mixes

Ben Thompson in the mix. The Hessle Audio co-founder has built a strong reputation for high quality control over the past few years with his strong love for vinyl shown in his genre spanning sets, an exploration through the garage/2-step, UK funky, house, techno as well as dubstep on occasion. Such work has led to his emergence as one of the scene's most loved DJ's, the best I've experienced alongside Oneman (whose brilliance is displayed in the fact that they have become highly reputable DJ's without having produced music). His mixes for XLR8R, Why Not? and LuckyMe had me enthralled for weeks, so naturally when I saw two brand new mixes available from the Hessle head honcho I couldn't contain my excitement, especially upon seeing the tracklist for his 'Gimme5' mix. His recent 'Acetate' mix for Red Bull Music Academy is also excellent, although the two are quite a contrast in styles.
Ben UFO's 'Gimme5' mix is very very good. A mix of unreleased dubs, as well as old school rarities, this mix never fails to interest. Once again an example of technical brilliance in terms of his mixing, Ben UFO effortlessly switches between garage, techno, funky and house. It's real strength comes in the form of his track selection, especially with the inclusion of a couple of unreleased/unknown gems. Listen out in particular for J.O.'s 'Kissmequik', Blawan's 'Bohla' as well as 'Sicko Cell' which I have recently written about. Each are highlights in this wonderful mix. You can stream the mix above or download by clicking here.

'Gimme5' Mix - Tracklist:
1.Kym Mazelle – Big Baby [Rafmat mix] (White)
2.Ms. Dynamite – What’s Mickey Talking About (Unreleased)
3.LB Dub Corp – It’s What You Feel (Ostgut Ton)
4.Joy Orbison – Kissmequik (Unreleased)
5.Logos – Kowloon (Unreleased)
6.Blawan – Bohla (Unreleased)
7.EQD – Equalised#003 (Hard Wax)
8.Steve Poindexter – Work That Muthafucker (Muzique)
9.Funkystepz – Bubbly (Unreleased)
10.Randomer – Brunk (Unreleased)
11.? – Sicko Cell (Unreleased)
12.Pearson Sound – Blue Eyes (Hessle Audio)
13.Slyerpaul – Crazier (Dubs 4 Klubs)
14.Emptyset – Red Sun [Peverelist mix] (Unreleased)
15.M Dubs – Body Killin’ (White)
16.Boddika – 2727 (Unreleased)
17.T++ – Anyi (Honest Jons)
18.Becoming Real – Like Me feat. Trim (NotEven)

For the 'Acetate' mix Ben UFO spins a strong collection of rarities and classics, a collection of deep cuts. This is real evidence of his skill as a DJ, and undoubtedly proves his reputation as one of the best around. Smooth transitions between some wonderful deep house, playful old school garage, and recent techno releases provides listening pleasure. Any mix that begins with Theo Parrish should be taken very seriously. Pure brilliance. You can stream the mix now by clicking here.

'Acetate' Mix - Tracklist:
1.Harmonia and Eno '76 - When Shade Was Born - Grönland
2.Theo Parrish - Only The Beginning - Peacefrog
3.Appointment - 001 - Appointment
4.Brand New Heavies - Close To You (MAW Old School Hardcore Dub) - FFRR
5.Hashim - Al-Naafiysh - The Soul - Cutting Records
6.Da Posse - Searchin' Hard (Mike Dunn's AC mix) - Dance Mania
7.STL - Space Warriors - Something
8.Third Side - Andy - Restoration
9.Marcellus Pittman - There's Somebody Out There - Unirhythm
10.Norma Jean Bell - I Like The Things.. (KDJ Mix) - Prescription
11.Chez and Trent - 054 - KMS
12.Jamie 326 - Welcome To The Dub - Basement Edits
13.Happy Trax #4 - Rock Ya Body - Happy Records
14.Baby Ford - Built In - Force Inc.
15.House Of Jazz - Hold Your Head Up - Club Swing
16.Todd Edwards - Winter Behaviour - i! Records
17.DJ Disciple - Keep On Movin' (Laid Back And Funky Mix) - Interstate
18.Tuff Jam feat. Xavier - Tumblin' Down (Marimba mix) - Mucho Soul
19.Ramsey & Fen - Style (Bug Dub) - Bug Records
20.Groove Chronicles - Hold On - GC
21.Grain - Untitled - FatCat
22.Wax - 10001 - Hardwax
23.Marcel Fengler - Enigma - Ostgut Ton
24.Anthill Mob - Bring It On Down - Jam Jam
25.Chris Mac - Plenty More - Confetti
26.NCA feat. Robbie Craig - Lessons (Steve Gurley Vocal Mix) - Public Demand
27.Unlimited Touch - Carry On - Epic

Untitled - 'Sicko Cell'

I'm the information. Cocaine powder.

If these words don't resonate in your mind after listening to this track 4/5 times, then I'm afraid you're in the wrong place. I haven't felt as much excitement after hearing a previously unheard track in a mix since Martyn's 'Miniluv', or I could even stretch as far back as October 2009 when I first heard J.O.'s 'Gr Etiquette' in his mix for MAH. Ben UFO's 'Gimme5' mix notified me to the song's existence, and since my first listen I have spent a vast amount of time repeating the 3 minutes of the mix which the track occupies (22:31-26:48, yes I do have a slight strain of OCD). Oneman has also been spinning the track which is believed to be named 'Sicko Cell', most notably in no.30 of The Boiler Room sessions as well as on his Rinse FM slot over the last 3 weeks (Sunday's 11pm-1am for those who fancy listening in). The identity of the artist is currently unknown, although I have a feeling I know who the artist is, and if my suspicions are correct, my love for this artist has grown ever greater, just when I thought he couldn't improve much further on previous releases.

As soon as you hear the words "I'm the information. Cocaine powder" pay very close attention. The words are repeated by a vox'd male vocal sample until the 4x4 beat is introduced, accompanied by looped vocals stating "too much" and a kick drum which threatens to erupt at any minute. The kick drums are momentarily excluded, synth chord stabs form in a wonderful arrangement, one that recalls the work of Detroit house heads Theo Parrish, Marcellus Pittman, as well as newer generation producers such as Iron Curtis and Kassem Mosse. The interlude lasts around 20 seconds, right up until the kick drum is reintroduced, far more bass heavy than its previous inclusion, dominating the track with synth stabs taking a more reserved position in the background. The element of the track which really made an impression on me however is the break. It is quite simply beautiful. The beat and synth stabs are completely excluded in a moment of bliss, one which is occupied by wonderful swarming hazy synths, understated percussive ringing as well as an interplay between vocal samples (the presence of the orginal vox'd sample "I'm the information. Cocaine powder", with another vocal wailing emotionally "I'm so addicted"). This provides the track with a weight of emotion, contrasting the surging 4x4 beat and formulated chord stabs that are swiftly established once again. Absolute killer. If it sees a release, and my lord I pray to God it does, this will undoubtedly be one of the tracks of 2011. Leave it one repeat for a good hour or so. The words "I'm the information. Cocaine powder" will soon leave their mark.