Saturday, August 28th, 2010 | Album Review | No Comments
Things have been a bit quiet on the fabric front these last couple of months with the club and record label briefly going into administration. But funding was secured and everything is now right with the world again. So what better way to bounce back by dropping fabric 53 mixed by UK techno veteran Surgeon. I don’t use the term veteran lightly. Surgeon has been there from the beginnings of UK techno, bringing Birmingham out of the doldrums in the early 90s with the city’s first techno night as well as creating some of the most forward thinking music out there. His sound has always been left of centre, but always intense, with no thoughts about keeping a finger on the pulse. He simply does what he does regardless of the tide of popularism. So with such integrity how does his Fabric mix flow? › Continue reading
Sunday, July 11th, 2010 | Album Review | No Comments
People say Berlin and for many walls and sausages spring to mind. However for a growing number of people Berlin means techno and Berghain. The hedonistic club has become synonymous with European clubbing, which has seen people travelling from far and wide to be turned away at the door by its mysterious and sporadic door policy. This adds to the mystic and allure of the place where cameras are forbidden and various urban myths have perpetuated their way through clubbing knitting circles. One thing that isn’t a mystery is the Berghain sound, devised by its two residents Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock. The dark and subtly punishing sounds of Berghain have become legendary through the magical club but also further afield via the record label Ostgut Ton. It’s on this label where the Berghain mix series has been running for the last five years. The critically acclaimed Berghain 02 was mixed by the club’s first son Dettmann, which really brought the sound to the masses. Two years on and the fourth instalment falls to the club’s second son – Klock. But in a world where the Berghain sound is admired, adored and imitated, how much of an impact can Klock’s mix make? › Continue reading
Wednesday, June 9th, 2010 | Album Review | No Comments
These days Wolf and Lamb is synonymous with good quality, forward thinking music as well as a bloody good night out. The boys from Brooklyn can do no wrong at the moment as the reputation of their label, music, parties and names have spread far around the globe. The label in particular has served as a launching pad for spectacular up and coming talent such as Seth Troxler, Shaun Reeves, Soul Clap and Nicholas Jaar, whilst their countless DJ appearances across Europe and in their hometown New York have firmly cemented their places in clubber’s memories. So for Gadi Mizrahi and Zev Einsenberg, it seems like the perfect time to release their debut artist album which is an accumulation of material produced whilst on the road from the last year of touring. › Continue reading
Monday, June 7th, 2010 | Album Review | 2 Comments
It’s a natural progression for successful clubs to sell mix CDs based around their brand. Ministry started it, fabric made it cutting edge and now them there Berlin folk are having a stab too. Both Berghain and Panorama have their own CD series, whilst this month Watergate releases their sixth mix. Lying at the heart of mix number six are three Parisians in the form of dOP. Far from being DJs they’ve tried to capture the river side LED sparkle of the infamous Berlin club with their own unique live element which has been exciting the plaudits over the last year. Rather than mix other people’s music they’ve compiled a psuedo jam session come live set of their own creations and collaborations with their friends like Noze, Seuil and Catz and Dogz. It’s supposed to give an insight into how they make music, when they’re on their own or hanging out with friends as well as giving the CD some uniqueness and spontaneity that you get from jam sessions. › Continue reading
Wednesday, May 26th, 2010 | Album Review | No Comments
In 2009 Itunes named Future Disco Vol 2 as their dance album of the year. So in 2010 Sean Brosnan and NeedWant come back for another bite of the bullet with the pragmatically named Future Disco Vol 3. The mission is the same as with past FD compilations – to show off the latest and greatest in the burgeoning nu disco scene to the masses. Brosnan is at the helm once again mixing and reediting sixteen tracks of nu disco that he expects will be the soundtrack to a summer of disco taking over the clubs and parties in cities across the world. › Continue reading
Saturday, May 8th, 2010 | Single Review | No Comments
SECT is an acronym for the new Boston based super DJ crew made up of Soul Clap of Wolf and Lamb fame, Tanner Ross of Dirtybird and Mothership fame, and their mate Sergio Santos who’s making his own way up through the ranks. They’ve recently been rattling around their parent’s basements coming up with new material that fuses their collective styles together.
With their first release on LA based label Culprit you can get a feel of everyone in the mix. The release is made up of three slow deep house tracks that have that trademark Soul Clap soulfulness combined with the Ross and Santos’ Dirtybird hypnotism. › Continue reading
Friday, May 7th, 2010 | Album Review | No Comments
It’s pretty dark times for our northern breadrin in Glasgow. Their football club can barely scrape together the costs for an open top bus trophy tour; then there’s that ridiculous stat you always hear that a good proportion of the city lives in poverty at a level which rivals Zimbabwe and to add insult to injury their easterly sister Edinburgh gets voted the best place to live in the country. But these things are the least of the city’s worries. It’s more so the dark cloud that hangs over the legendary Sub Club since Optimo announced they were ending their Sunday night tenure. Their weekly blend of eclectic samplings will be sorely missed, I for one am gutted that I never made it that far up north to witness these legendary nights first hand. › Continue reading
Monday, March 22nd, 2010 | Album Review | No Comments
Dusseldorf’s DJ T is quite the accomplished man. You may remember him from such endeavors as co-founding Get Physical and being part of that group of Germans that actually took over the world around during 2005. However for ol’ T dawg (that’s what I imagine MANDY and Bookashade might call him) that is just a notch on his extensive music bedpost which spans about 20 odd years. In those 20 years, › Continue reading
Friday, February 19th, 2010 | Album Review | No Comments
Detroit is under going a bit of a renaissance at the moment. As the once global dominant motor industry continues to crumble electronic dance music is once again becoming a prime export. Current number one export for Detroit on its third generation of techno models is Seth Troxler. He’s been making some great music over the last few years, injecting his weird and playful character into the house music genre which had become cold and processed in the years prior. Probably the most talked about thing with Troxler are his DJ sets. His hunger for the party and fun transfers directly to his sets taking crowds through musically unexpected but ultimately fun ”journeys”. His ability to read a crowd, react and then send them on an off guard curveball has seen him tear dancefloors up and win the hearts of many across the globe. So the announcement of him doing the next Boogybytes CD, a series that is known to give DJs free reign, has set big expectations from the chattering masses. Could Troxler capture and condense his peculiarities and unpredictability on to a small plastic disc? › Continue reading
Tuesday, January 12th, 2010 | Album Review | No Comments
This month’s latest fabric release is another milestone in their now long and successful career. The other month they were turning ten and this month they’re releasing their fiftieth compilation of the fabric series. And who have they bestowed this great honour of house and techno to? Martyn – a bloody drum n bass turned dub step DJ/producer that’s who. He has come to prominence over the last few years alighting dubstep circles with his well constructed deep productions, most notably his debut album Great Lengths being a lynchpin for 2009. So why have fabric handed over this landmark release to someone who sounds like they should clearly be on FabricLive? Well if you’ve heard Martyn DJ before then you will understand that no genre bounds him. His sets may have an urban feel with a focus on percussion and bass, yet they have this house and techno veneer of deepness and subtlety. It’s this cross pollination of sounds that has caught the eye of the fabric series. › Continue reading
Sunday, December 6th, 2009 | Single Review | No Comments
Sebo K has been keeping quiet for most of the year with Spirits being his first release for Mobilee since his 2008 smash Diva. Two tracks come on the package, but they’re essentially the same track with two added options. Kind of like picking out the upholstery for a car except with Spirits you chose the hook. You can choose between the bongo-tastic drum version or the basic no extra cost strings and piano riff version. The main body of the track is warm classic house. Deep synth stabs and bulbous beats provide a typical 2009 house backing. On the strings and piano version the beats are a tad hollower to make room for the Strings of Life-esque riff. Its pretty catchy but a bit…well… Strings of Life. Strings of Life strings + standard deep house = meh.
But for the leather interior option, ie the Drums Version of Spirits you get some intricate bongo work from Max Moya. Sebo has beefed up the kick drum to make it punchier whilst Max Moya skits on top with some really infectious bongo rolls. It breathes some life into the track with the bongo skit making it highly addictive. Bongos plus deep house isn’t a 2009 invention, but it does bring out the tribal dancing instincts in you which win over the strings and piano combo any day.
Monday, November 30th, 2009 | Single Review | No Comments
Subb-An and Shelton are the residents of Below – Birmingham’s only decent answer to house and techno. They’ve taken the typical UK dance music route – learn to DJ, start a night, make a few records, start a label. Subb-An has already put a few tracks out on Leftroom and Immigrant so its time for the duo to start a label. One Records is the new venture and its first release is by the duo themselves.
The inspiringly named title track ‘The Musik’ is roaring tech house with acid spat in its face. Industrial clinks and a round kick driven bassline open the track before short bursts of acid squelches wriggle in between the beats. Standard issue string sighs and a “Musik” vocal sample punctuate the track to add some contrast between heavy and light. It’s punchy with an infectious groove and will definitely play on the basic emotions of any techno dancefloor in the UK.
For the name of the B-side, it’s clear to see Subb-Ann and Shelton have clearly spent some time talking about the “concept” of the label to give their tracks these edgey clean cut names – ‘The Musik’ and now ‘The Vision’. Anyway, names don’t win prizes, it’s the music. ‘The Vision’ doesn’t really win any though. Deep basslines, clinkering percussion and spooky synth snippets create a warm and hypnotic house track which is well rehearsed for 2009. It’s produced well but it can so easily blend into the background with all the other deep house tracks of 2009. Not what you need if you want your label to make a splash on its opening.
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 | Single Review | No Comments
I do enjoy a Simon Baker release. Plastik released on Playhouse was everywhere in 2008 whilst X Y and Z was a fantastic follow up on Leftroom. Other than a release for 20:20 Vision in July we haven’t heard much from Simon Baker, until now. His latest release on MurMur is probably just to keep the “look at all the great labels I’ve released on” list ticking over. Fair enough. MurMur is a good label and Simon’s Moonblock is a great release.
Title track Moonblock is a pumped up houser with an incredibly contagious wiggling bassline. It doesn’t really let up for breath, it just grooves away blissfully unaware only occasionally breaking down with a splash of bossa nova. It’s catchy and very danceable, very much like Mamaia Highway the track on the other side. It’s got another great wiggling bassline that sounds like a computer crunching numbers on an old sci fi show; there are the staple bossa nova/carnival samples which bring a party vibe; and like Moonblock it just doesn’t let up. It’s these tracks which are becoming a staple on the London scene – continual rolling house come techno tracks which swish and release in such a way that they’re perfect for the club and a crowd up for some straight up dancing.
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009 | Single Review | No Comments
I’d say it’s a ballsy move to call a house or techno track Bells as there’s been some guy called Jeff from Detroit who’s been hammering his own version for the past 10+ years. But that doesn’t deter Semtek who’s put out the first release for Don’t Be Afraid – he’s obviously trying to carve out his own Bells niche. But names are names and that shouldn’t sway the music. So what does ‘Bells’ have to offer, well the main track named after the EP title is dark, moody and hypnotic. Its throbbing bassline gives the track some stripped back attitude whilst the 8-bit percussion adds an understated groove. Layered on top are hypnotic wobbling keys punctuated by some strange spoken words about Liverpool bells and a sporadic electronic motif. Quirky and a bit different to what’s currently doing the rounds – Semtek is definitely carving out a new Bells niche.
Mr G fills in the minimal gaps with a punchy remix of ‘Bells’. Bigger beats are incorporated with clattering percussion and a beefier bassline to turn it into a peak time stomper. However the less is more approach on the original seems to produce a more unique track compared to the very typical but very practical Mr G techno work out.
On the flip is more original Semtek. ‘Keys’ falls in a similar vein. Twinkling synths, 8-bit percussion and warm enveloping pads create a computerised wobbler. Whilst on the second part to the flipside is ‘Village’, an electro breakbeat robot coming straight out of 1984. More low tech sounds, sparse production and mechanical rhythms operate in an assembly line style. Both are put together well but aren’t as distinguished as ‘Bells’.
Tuesday, November 24th, 2009 | Single Review | No Comments
Ricardo Jefferson – bastardised love child of Villalobos and Marshal Jefferson? – Probably not. But his latest EP does have an old school sound circa Marshall Jefferson’s time. ‘God of the Machine’ plods along in the wilderness with insect sounding shivers and spaced out synths. It has a disparate feel but it doesn’t really hit home with its point. The retro sound doesn’t really help its cause and the same can go for the rest of the EP. ‘The Egg Part One’ has classic 909 cymbals and squelchy acid riffs whilst ‘Persons Unknown’ uses drifting layers of melody and juddering sweeps. Both are a bit more interesting yet they still don’t give you any lasting memories.
The only track that stands up to be taken notice of is the title track ‘Brutal Truth’. A heartbeat break backs some epic echoing Orbital style keys. It’s simple yet so effective with the way it cycles through different patterns using the two main elements – drop the synths out, breakdown to the beats; thunder that wall of synth back in – instant winner.
Sunday, November 22nd, 2009 | Album Review | 1 Comment
Oh Magda, my how far you’ve come. Since your days as Richie Hawtin’s personal tea lady to now a heavy weight DJ with your own Fabric CD. A proper rags to riches story. On her path to stardom, Magda had put out She’s a Dancing Machine her first CD compilation way back in 2006 when clicky minimal techno was still fashionable. She earned some deserved applaud with her multi layered and intricately architected mix. It was mechanical, it was robotic, it was computerised, yet it clicked and jacked along dripping in synthetic funk. Magda had set her own bar high, the question is could she surpass it on Fabric 49?
The answer – no, at best on par. The mix follows the same recipe of synthetic funk, robotic rhythms and mechanical beats. The only difference is for Fabric 49 she stays caught on the same jittery electronic theme rather than providing contrast and texture exploring the techno genre. On Dancing Machine she moved from abstract sounds, to funky rhythms, to dark pummelling techno with ease. But on Fabric 49 she stays firmly locked on the same groove throughout. › Continue reading
Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 | Album Review | No Comments
I’m a big fan of Dixon, his ability as a DJ and producer is often unsurpassed and his taste in house music and beyond is often faultless. Dixon’s last outing on a compilation mix was with his Innervisions buddies Henrik Schwarz and Ame. The resulting CD was a masterpiece which knitted together an intricate composition of varied sounds that had a common minimal style to them. The complexity of sounds and the fluidity of the mix made it such an interesting and pleasurable listening experience, which dare I say made it a timeless CD. It’s that winning combination which Dixon has tried to emulate on his solo effort for Temporary Secretary.
The track selection on Temporary Secretary definitely reflects a similar approach that features on The Grandfather Paradox. He’s used tracks which revolve around a house come 4/4 base yet they all have their own diversely individual sounds. Dixon craftily blends each track with such flow and smoothness that the whole mix simply glides.
There’s no rushing this CD with things starting in carefully measured amounts. Fever Ray’s If I Had A Heart sets a deep warm tone with its multi layers of vocals and melodies. From there he melds into the spooky whistles of Roland Bocquet’s Exotique before slowly layering in the vibrating motif from Ame’s Tube Beats. It creates a fine build of tension before brilliantly releasing into a medley of Jazzanova’s Let Me Show Ya and Daniel Paul’s Something About You. Quite a mouthful to describe and that was just for three of the four opening tracks. › Continue reading
Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 | Album Review | No Comments
When someone says ‘Cassy’ you can’t help but think of productions which combine deep, restrained grooves with slow burning minimal movement. And whilst her outing on the first Panoramabar mix showcased a minimal palette with some panache, I have, infact, seen her bang out a pretty full on techno set in the UK, so wondered which way she would take this, her next mix…
Well, this effort for Cocoon completely reflects her production tendencies utilising deep grooves, controlled progression and all done with the urgency of a tortoise, with only one slight difference – a healthy presence of the more soulful side of house which is currently in vogue.
That is no bad thing, however. Quite often, the stripped back sound can get so reduced that the overall progression and atmosphere of a mix can quite easily drain out the bottom like a leaky bucket. › Continue reading
Sunday, September 20th, 2009 | Album Review | 1 Comment
House and techno lovers on a fabric subscription can breathe a sigh of relief after the Toddla T FabricLive release because the urban sounds of bashment and dancehalll make way for the hypnotic rolling beats of Radioslave. No stranger to the scene Radioslave has been consistently producing quality house and techno for a very good proportion of this decade. Initially starting life as a partnership between Brightonians Matt Edwards and Serge Santiago pumping out cheeky re-edits and bootlegs of pop songs. The Radioslave name has evolved some what over the years. A major milestone was when Serge Santiago went his separate way to leave Matt Edwards flying the moniker solo. And it’s precisely there where the Radioslave name veered off path into the dark and murky undergrowth. Out went the happiness; in came the dark and deep sounds. One thing that Matt Edwards was not afraid to do on his tracks is take his time getting to the point. His productions could wind and meander for minutes upon minutes leisurely strolling through the audio scenery making sure you had time to pick up on the slightest of details.
This nonchalance has transferred on to his offering for Fabric 48. The intro to the mix is literally spread over the first three to four tracks. Now that might sound tedious to listen to, and it would be was it not for the fact that this is a Radioslave production. The eerie whirring of Michel Cleis’ mix of Baeka’s Right At It murmurs the start of the mix. It gently bubbles to its crescendo of shakers and wood block rattles. For your standard mix this would be a logical place to drop in to some big ass beats and bass to get the mix fully going. Not Radioslave. He launches into his own track DDB, a heavy marching kick/clap combo which arrogantly makes itself known. › Continue reading
Sunday, July 12th, 2009 | Album Review | No Comments
For Fabric’s 47th installation of the CD series, they’ve brought in the colourful character that is Jay Haze. Known for telling it like it is and literally coming from the streets of Philly (according to the press release he was homeless a couple of times), Jay Haze has mixed up an honest borderless mix that is full to the brim of soul and deepness. The mix predominately skirts around the house and tech house domains but there are wide and far reaching influences on the sound from Jazz, Funk and Disco to Hip Hop, Reggae and Dub. All of this is effortlessly blended together by Jay Haze.
For example the opening six or so tracks, Jay Haze has touched on Hip Hop with his track Awakening, which quickly runs over to deep house with an exclusive track on TuningSpork from Lil Dirty Ghetto Bastard, › Continue reading
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