Killer addendum or prequel of sorts to Playgroup’s Previously Unreleased archive raid, which was recently tied up in 2CD and digital formats after the release of 9 x 12”s.
There are five progressively unbuttoned and humid shots of disco heat inside, arching up with the slashing strings and slamming boogie bass of Dirt Biter and his swaggering Don’t Stop Dub, before opening up the filters and engulfing the ‘floor with the Major Force West styles of C’mon C’mon.
Downtown he comes tuffer than ever with the jackin’ Italo horn of No Lube, keeping the disco priapic with Perc Up, and breaking it down with the stone cold electro-funk freak, Do It!
Fascinating and very rare insight to the traditional funerary practices of a remote area in Borneo: Enchanting gong music and chants hardly heard beyond the privacy of the Dayak Benuaq people’s homes
“Numbering less than 1000 people, the Dayak Benuaq from the Eastern Kalimantan region of Indonesian Borneo still practice many of their traditional ceremonial customs. This album of field recordings presents the music associated with the kwangkay, the secondary mortuary ritual celebrated by the Dayak Benuaq, recorded live on location by Vincenzo Della Ratta. According to the Benuaq belief system, upon death the soul of the human being is transformed into the liau, associated with the physical body, and the kelelungan, associated with the intellect or the head.
Both the liau and the kelelungan temporarily reside in a sort of cosmic location, connected respectively with the bones and the skull of the deceased, who has entered a state of deep unconsciousness, as yet neither pertaining completely to the realm of the living, nor to that of the dead. Music plays a key role within the kwangkay, as it is crucial for guiding the liau and kelelungan spirits to their final destinations. It is also intended to please the spirits of the dead by providing them with entertainment. This ritual includes a night dance performed for the spirits and accompanied by a musical piece known as the ngerangkau. These rites and ceremonies are often dedicated to several deceased persons and are held within a house belonging to one of their family members.
Featured here are two different versions of the ngerangkau, with their long, trance-inducing rhythmic gong patterns. There are two more tracks on the album which are not specifically related to the kwangkay. Titi mati is a gong piece commonly played to proclaim the recent death of a villager. And finally, the nocturnal soundscape of a village by the river Mahakam, a channel of transport and communication which is essential for the local people of the Benuaq territories.”
Another blinder from Basic Channel's Wackies re-issue programme finally gets its long awaited release.
Between stints in Jamaica for legends like Glen Brown and Junjo Lawes, Wayne Jarrett travelled from his Connecticut base to record this album during the same weeks as the sessions for everyone's favourite - Horace Andy's Dance Hall Style. These are two of the great vocal reggae LPs of all time - no questions asked. With Clive Hunt in full effect, Showcase Volume One follows the six-track dub-showcase format and Wayne never sounded more like Horace with his yearning throaty gargle! Blues afficionados might even want to discuss the influence of the late, lamented Bobby 'Blue' Bland on reggae vocals, but that's by the by. Including four unmissable Studio One versions - Azul's deadly Rockfort Rock, Sleepy's Every Tongue Shall Tell (with outrageous Isley fuzz), yet another Heptones cut via Leroy Sibbles, and a killer Drum Song. My personal favourite Wackies album of all - outright winner!
Gregory Isaacs’ infectiously yearning bubbler, Nobody Knows, taken from his New Dance (1988) LP and pressed on 7” for the 1st time by the Hardwax/Honest Jon’s-affiliated Dug Out.
A-side, Isaacs’ dulcet croon floats over the oriental casio licks and clipped digi dub torque of Firehouse Crew’s riddim, produced by Bunny Gemini and Triston Palma and revealed in full fat instrumental Club Mix on the B-side, with the drums and bass properly pushed forward in the mix.
Buy two and get jugglin’!
Touch Sensitive surprise once again with an album for the “post-Brexit Dystopia” from local act Gross Net.
There's a whiff of the record collector to the manner Belfast’s Touch Sensitive operates; dabbling in soundtrack work from the city’s celebrated son David Holmes, scoring a Cherrystones compilation to putting out an LP from Barry Boxcutter’s conceptual side project The Host and reissuing obscure mid-70s psych rock on seven inch.
The label’s latest outing presents local Belfast act Gross Net, which began life as a joint project for Phillip Quinn (Girls Names) and Christian Donaghey from DNS act Autumns to explore other themes and ideas. After a debut, self-titled tape, Donaghey departed to concentrate fully on Autumns, granting Quinn full creative freedom of Gross Net.
Quantitative Easing expands on the Outstanding Debt tape Quinn released earlier this year, trading the odds and sods nature of that collection for a more fully-realised document of the Gross Net sound. This is a stark listen, suggesting Quinn’s outlook to be bleakly satirical as he runs the gamut of post punk angst and industrial darkness. Quinn might just get a call from Nic Winding-Refn’s music licensing minions if the highly-stylised director hears the slowly smouldering synth noir of opening track Citadel, whereas Citalopram and Still Life possess echoes of Karl O’Connor’s snarling White Savage Dance. The Body recalls the strobe-lit, saucy Cold Wave pump of Eleven Pond, dovetailing neatly with the heavily-sedated, slack-jawed psychedelia of Side Effects and the smattering of abstract electronic vignettes.
Dug Out flashing top drawer digidub from Dennis Creary, first fired in 1989, now remastered replete with a wicked dub. Irresistible, five-star stuff
“Tearaway sufferers anthem, roaring out of the blocks in 1989. Piercing, unforgettable song-writing by the Tetrack spar — jam-packed with anecdote, observation and warning — over a sick, breakneck, apocalyptic rhythm, with an ace dub. A digi classic.”
Not sure how he does it, but John Tejada packs roughly 10% more punch than the average producer in everything on show in the Therapy EP; rubbing out some super rugged electro-dub-house swerve and wonky tech-house up top, and then with a defter breakbeat hustle and a melodic nerve tweaker on the other side.
Ratking’s beat broker, Eric Adiele a.k.a. Sporting Life, collects all three volumes of his diverse Slam Dunk series in one chunky beat tape on wax.
Sporting Life’s sound positively comes alive on vinyl, which, it becomes patently clear, is the most sympathetic format (along with tape) for the hazy depth of field and dusty drum crack of Adiele’s celebrated production style.
The first plate tees up Hydrate The Hustle’s hypnotic percolations and shoegazing R&B coos beside other highlights in Space Jam Money, which almost tips into a trap inversion of Origin Unknown’s Valley Of The Shadows, the Clams Casino style crack of Kill That Shout and a haunting soul burn in Court Vision starring Evy Jane.
Second plate is just as strong. His Ratking bandmate Wiki jumps on the cloud-soul flex of Nothing To Hide accompanied by Devonte Hynes a.k.a Blood Orange, whereas Jumpball twists down like some stray from Actress’ Ghettoville, and grimy kingpin Novelist cools out, UK R&G style, on No More Stress.
Back on his I Am Grime label, Jammz follows his Local Action dealings with three vocal bangers
Shemzy sends for Theresa May in the highly strung Right Now; Scott Garcia jumps on It’s a London Thing featuring possibly the only reference to Homebase in a grime tune, ever; P Money goes at 100mph over the swampy murk of What’s Man Saying?
Clod-hopping industrial ructions from December, inscribing his name on Mannequin after touring the houses of Blackest Ever Black’s A14, Jealous God, In Paradisum and Where To Now? since 2014.
These are some of the French producer’s chewiest joints, giving something gristly to gnaw on with the sloshing EBM prods, 2 and Park 1, whereas Bright Red dips to a grotty, recoiling steppers’ schematic glancing at Powell or Beau Wanzer, and The Pit canters like a prime Arabian steed flashing its teef under the darkroom UVs.
This stuff works.
Niche N Bump, the promising yung London label inherently affiliated with the Wifey club nights, turns out two eerily rugged Beneath riddims backed with a badbwoy Swing Ting remix.
Man-of-the-moment, Beneath brings a Sheffield-meets-London warehouse sound with spooky organ chords and pensive atmosphere punctuated by woodblock ricochets and swaggering subs on 'Strike A Pose', and proper death knell dread vibes with the brute UK house torque of 'Bellz' on the flip. Wifey's Manchester-bassed cousins, street rave commanders Swing Ting, give the latter a lick of dapper Northern pressure with tight, in-the-pocket synth fibrillations and retuned subs for a smoother, gangsta-style ride. TIPPED!
Crystallised bleep techno, hard house and acid jackers from ya boy Vin Sol; hitting up the glass-rubbing tweaks and rolling subs of Creepin’ In alongside the electro-acid tang of Ineffect and a Paranoid London-esque jacker named Red Alert, before going all Robert Armani on your ass with the wall-bucking likes of Sky Pager and the Roland shunt of 808 Trash Pile.
Featuring one of the greatest switch-ups of any techno record, ever, Maurizio’s 12 minute Domina spends precisely half the track lulling you into the deepest trance before an immense 2nd wind sets the whole thing on a kicking new course. Doesn’t sound that special on paper but f**k me it works. Flipside is Carl Craig’s immense Mind Mix, filleting the original sample of Manuel Göttsching’s Die Dominas into the deepest Detroit dream sequence. An almighty record.
Finally the missing piece of the puzzle arrives, the early and absolute classic slice of genre-defining techno from Basic Channel under their Quadrant guise.
Infinition was originally licensed to Carl Craig's Planet E imprint in 1993, and also Renaat's now sadly defunct R & S label, and became an instant sell out on both slightly differing versions and has been sought after ever since. Here Moritz re-masters the two cut's Infinition and Hyperprism onto a loud and crisp 45rpm press. The demand for Basic Channel records has been hyped of late due to the 10th anniversary re-press of the original 9 releases, this further 12" completes the early evolution of their sound, and the bare 909 drums and classic washy synth's show the early leaning's toward the Phylyps Trak style cuts, and their first foray in to the annals of techno history.
Hyperprism has a more acidic feel, and a definite Planet E/Detroit sound with the lush strings backing the modulating acid line, while the subtle drum programming makes the groove sit superbly under the music, a lush and deep as you like vintage cut from Basic Channel finally available. An unmissable re-issue of a bona-fide classic, and remember kids - we've been waiting for far too long for a record to land with a new Basic Channel catalogue number - here it is. Legendary.
Deary me, the best has very definitely been saved til last with this quite remarkable final installment for Basic Channel's 'See Mi Yah' series of remixes.
Volume four goes way back to Basic channel's roots for a double-headed session that features one of Carl Craig's most astonishing remixes on the A-side and a simply terrifying, almost unfathomably deep spacious techno reworking from Basic Channel themselves on the flip. Short of Mark and Moritz resurrecting Techno's most infamous label and delivering the fabled 10th installment in its peerless catalogue, it really is hard to imagine anything else delivering quite the same sense of satisfaction to anyone who's ever followed their flawless work to date.
(Suburban Knight + DJ Pierre’s Wild Pitch Mixes) ÷ King Tubby x X³ = Basic Channel’s Q1.1. Or something. Stone cold essential techno classic. As ever; mastered and cut at Dubplates & Mastering, pressed at Pallas.
Semtek provides a pair of ruggedest, weirdest house rollers on Niche N Bump's annual outing.
The Don't Be Afraid label boss swaggers up with sullen subs and glass-rubbing synth tones in the crooked 'Bad Teeth' landing somewhere between Beneath's dread rollers and the bashment budge of Swing Ting's Samrai, both previous contributors to the tightly defined label. However, 'John Of Worcester' is a much stranger number, bringing forward those piercing synths over melting subs and slo-mo junglist tics to sound something like the mutant 'ardcore offspring of Arpanet. TIPPED!
Basic Channel present a full 14 minute version of 'Q-Loop' backed with first ever vinyl cuts of 'Q 1.2' and 'Mutism' - previously found on the 'BCD' (1995) and Scion's 'Arrange And Process Basic Channel Tracks' releases.
Need we say any more?
Absolute masterpiece: a seminal lesson in the art of purified dancefloor minimalism and hypnosis. Goes with quite literally any other house or techno record at the same tempo and makes it infinitely better. We could listen to that bassline All. Day. Long.