Thursday, 30 June 2011

Teeth - Shawty & CNT/Lowcut Champagne

Matti Pentik√§inen is very much on top form at the minute. The Finnish producer who operates under the moniker Teeth is responsible for a couple of the strongest releases to see the light of day in May and June. His debut came last month on Oneman’s 502 Recordings, a release which has firmly placed Teeth on the map. The eminent ‘Shawty’ was a real statement from the Finn, presenting an inimitable sound that cannot be defined through placement in an umbrella genre grouping. His second 12” was released at the beginning of the month, with CNT/Lowcut Champagne forming his follow up to ‘Shawty’ on Noppa Records. Two tracks of real quality were on display once again, sharing similar characteristics which helped to endear his debut. The sounds are introspective and brooding, yet simultaneously retaining features which endow the tracks with dancefloor compatibility, a quality Addison Groove has mastered on his latest releases. However, there is undoubtedly something special about Teeth’s early sounds.

Oneman copped an absolute killer in ‘Shawty’, and the risk taken on signing the track has justifiably paid off. After first listening, you realise there’s something definitive about the track. Its sensuality absorbs you, whilst shifting percussion underlies a sense of difficulty and anxiousness. The seductive vocal sample (Beyonce’s whisper of “shawty what your name is”) and stunning synthlines bring the heat, supported by deep pads and frenetic hats which lie beneath throughout. The tough garage rhythm that occupies in stages and surging sub bass bestows the track club suitability, albeit an uncomfortable one. The track sits at 147 bpm, a fair distance from the plentiful 128-130 somethings that have risen to prominence over the past 12 months. It’s an unusual tempo, one which lends to the track’s brilliance. A bold move on paper, it undoubtedly facilitates success. Backed by a powerful Falty DL remix, one which gives the original a run for its money, and a genius VHS inspired video, the overall package is excellent.

‘CNT’ makes an immediate impact through its razor sharp percussion, vibing off jukes kicks whilst hard drum hits weave a syncopated rhythm alongside the uncertain snares. A quick fire vocal sample intermittently pierces, gaining more prominence as the track progresses, sitting wonderfully atop the supple kicks. It’s the breakdown that marks the significant element here though, with the mood changing in an instant. Warm, hazy synthlines ascend and take dominance, juxtaposing the harsher sounds of the sharp beats. On the flip, ‘Lowcut Champagne’ is the more appealing of the two, pensive and melancholic in tone. The percussion is buoyant, recalling the intricacies of Joe. A heavy off-beat garage rhythm takes centre stage in phases, reminding us of the strength of Teeth’s percussive arrangements. However, the vocal clips and synths are utilised once again to produce an ominous atmosphere. A yearning diva cries “feel it”, softening the blow of every drum hit. The break allows beautifully morose synthlines to construct a melody of wonderful proportions, providing the track’s finest moment.

Two excellent releases from Teeth, with the promise of more quality forthcoming on Ramp, 502 and Noppa.

502:003 Teeth - Shawty/Shawty [FaltyDL Remix] by 502 Records

Teeth 'CNT' / 'Lowcut Champagne' NOPPA008 by stholdings

Friday, 24 June 2011

Kyle Hall - Down!

Kyle Hall takes it deep down for the latest 12” release on his Wild Oats imprint. The young producer heralding from Detroit has made some of the most affecting house music of the past couple of years, and his sound shows sign of development and maturity over this period. From his remarkable debut on Omar S’s FXHE to soulful control of the “Sun Goddess” EP, his work exudes quality. “Down!” demonstrates no sign of letting up on the quality control, with the infectious A-side constituting one of Hall’s finest productions to date.

“Get Down” builds with a solid 4/4 rhythm kicking away at 126bpm, each hit accompanied by the spacious clash of a snare. A deadly effective chord melody is the main drive behind the track, complemented beautifully by the recurring female cries of “let’s get down”. These elements continually filter in and out, recalling the disco-edits of Moodymann. On the flip, “Xero” is constructed with percussion as its very heart. Hall adopts Latin styled percussion here, composing a rigid hypnotic beat which is drenched in soulful keys characteristic of Detroit house. Hand stamped 12” on a limited pressing. Fine effort from KMFH.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Endian - Two Chords Deep (EMINDS020)

Electric Minds have delivered a fine 12” with a debut from a new producer operating under the alias Endian. Two cuts of deep house/techno occupy each side, downtempo and emotive efforts that bring with them a distinctive sound, one which presents the talent this previously unfamiliar artist possesses. It’s an extremely impressive debut, a release which marks by refined and considered tracks. After initial listening it becomes apparent as to why NonPlus+ have signed Endian to a release in the coming months (one of which one of the tracks can be heard in Paul Woolford’s recent FACT mix).

‘Two Chords Deep’ is patient and progressive on the A-side. A supple 4x4 beat is set out from the off, reserving the static synth for the backdrop. Hats soon collide between every deep kick, and the efficient two note chord arrangement begins its enduring journey. The addition of claps on every second beat completes the sum, giving the track its full lease of life. The two chords persistently work their way into your memory, effectively working up a groove in union with the driving rhythm.

‘Doze’ on the flip is a much more downtempo affair, with closer ties to deep house. Once again it’s a track which retains the patience of house, tentatively building over the near 7 minute duration. A consistent beat pattern is immediately established, low slung and polished with rounded kick drums. However, it’s the warm gazing chords that really strike, sitting beautifully above the more structured rhythms. The introduction of claps adds a further dimension, as do the latter supplements of crisp hats and the timid snare hits. Throughout all of this percussive development, the soft chords remain constant, ensuring the serene atmosphere engrained in this measured track.

This is a really strong debut release from Endian, confident and assured. Next up for the producer is a 12” on the accomplished NonPlus+ imprint, a release which will undoubtedly, and deservedly, introduce Endian to a wider audience.

EMINDS020 - Endian "Two Chords Deep" by electricminds

Marcellus Pittman - Nyrobi Knight

Rough and ready Detroit house from none other than Marcellus. His first EP on Omar S' FXHE imprint is one I've been lucky enough to track down on 12" after its original release back in June 2005. Member of The Three Chairs, Marcellus is unquestionably one of the finest house producer’s around, and his impeccable record of astounding releases is testament to such an assertion. I was first introduced to his work with the Unirhythm Green #1 release, a 12” which instantly initiated my adoration for his production. Raw, stripped programmed beats against soulful melodic progressions. His most recent efforts have delivered just as devastating results, with The Eastside Story EP and ‘On A Beautiful/By Your Side’ providing two of 2011’s strongest records. All this is established before giving the slightest mentioning the magnificent Midwest Advocates EP, a 12” which has the small matter of ‘Chicago Nights’ on its A-side.

His first self titled EP for FXHE is no less impressive, and in particular one track really displays the quality Marcellus has to offer. ‘Nyrobi Knight’ may just be my favourite Pittman track, and that is an achievement that really takes some doing. A meticulously programmed beat hammers with padded kicks, complete with persistent hats matching each hit. The track takes off once the rich one note chord works a progressive captivating melody (work that recalls the sounds of Theo Parrish), one which defines the track and leads the way for the introduction of afro-rhythmic percussion in sporadic intervals. It’s a beautifully raw and soulful track, one which displays his innate quality to produce house music that works the soul, body and mind. First class material.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Ben UFO Interview - Intruders

The guys at Intruders recently held an eclusive interview with Hessle Audio co-founder Ben Thompson, discussing everything from the '116 & Rising' compilation to Ben's personal feelings towards giving tracklists and the importance of vinyl. Ben's a really interesting and well spoken young man, and the interview is more than worthy of 15 minutes of your time.

Vakula - 'Unthank 2' (UNTHANK002)

The somewhat promising Unthank imprint (a sub-label of Firecracker Recordings) delivers its second release, and confirms that its opening wasn’t a one off. Faced with the challenge of following up Bakey USTL’s wonderfully deranged 'A Tender Places', you’d be forgiven for thinking that the second 10” would be underwhelming in comparison to its predecessor. However, Ukrainian producer Vakula delivers a 3 track EP of equal measure. Vakula’s effort may not be as unpredictable and challenging as Bakey USTL’s introduction, yet it exhibits a distinguished sound that borders on the lines of house and techno, weaving stunning contemplative melodies around uncompromisingly robust rhythms.

'Track 1' steals the show here, providing arguably the most striking track of the release. A steady underlying 4x4 beat pushes things along, whilst heavy bass kicks adds weight to the structured beat. Meticulous chord stabs soon accompany the aforementioned beat, soon displaced by in prominence by introspective synth arrangements, signalled by the introduction of a flurry of cowbells. The two melodies wonderfully interplay for a period, before the stunning arching synth lines take full control, flourishing in the absence of the beat. 'Track 2' is no less delightful, an altogether slower and shorter affair. A slow motion shuffling beat provides the direction for uplifting chords to dictate, backed by analogue fuzz in the distance. The B-side lifts the tempo as well as the mood. The beat is simple yet effective, playing second fiddle to the delicate melody that constitutes the opening half of the track. Drifting synths patiently rise beneath melody, receding as gradually as they appeared.

Each clear 10” is once again delivered in a silk-screened Japanese poly jacket, ensuring the release is an essential purchase. With more releases along these lines, Unthank will unquestionably become one of the most reputable independents around, especially with more tracks along the lines of the superb opener.

UNTHANK002 by Firecracker Recordings

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Addison Groove - Unknown

2011 has quite simply been a faultless year for Anthony Williams under his Addison Groove pseudonym. Three releases of real quality have surfaced in the space of a couple of months, providing material for a wide range of DJs whilst amassing superlatives from numerous music journalists and peers alike. From Swamp81 to Tectonic to 3024, Addison has always delivered excellence, perhaps the pinnacle of which is the sublime ‘Sexual’, a track that combines frenetic 808 rhythms with a sensual chord melody and hypnotic vocal sample. Addison’s sounds has continued to develop, becoming more refined whilst managing to explore further mutations, a progression ‘Make Um Bounce’ indicated on the Tectonic release.

The likelihood of Addison releases in the near future is unlikely after his prolific opening to the year. However, dubs seem to be surfacing, and will undoubtedly generate the same interest and excitement that predecessors ‘Sexual’ and ‘It’s Got Me’ sparked. The latest Addison track appeared at the end of the recent audio/visual collaboration between visual artist Pomp&Clout and Numbers head Jackmaster. The audio/visual mixtape itself is quite something, blending eclectic videos with outstanding mixing track selections from Jack Revill. Nonetheless, the highlight comes in the form of a new Addison Groove track that kicks in from 8:30 onwards.

This new track signals further experimentation, with Williams seemingly exploring sounds more indebted to house and techno, whilst retaining raw 808 patterns and quick fire vocal samples. A rolling 4x4 rhythm slowly transpires, with hi hats subtly filling the gaps in between. The 808 pattern gradually develops, patiently initiating bass heavy kicks and razor sharp toms. Delightful synth arrangements create a melody that harks back to Drexciya, forever keeping the cutting acid synths at bay. And the vocal sample completes the track, with the indelible female vocal reiterating “we like to fuck, yo ass up”. It may just be Addison's best work alongside 'Sexual'.

If that wasn't enough, Addison's remix of Martha and the Vandellas 1967 soul track 'Jimmy Mack' is quite simply something else. Williams' production under the Addison moniker is growing in strength if these tracks are a sign of things to come.