Steve Monite’s 1984 album resonates the greatness of the Nigerian funk scene. The disco jam version of the albums title track ‘Only You’ emphasises the thick and rich textures create by the wizard which is Steve Monite. The Afro-Boogie track builds and experiments with delay signals to create a continuous groove which would ignite any 80’s to present day dance floor. Originally released in 1984, the LP has been distinctly hard to collect and the recent re issue on Vinyl and CD has meant that there is now access to this excellent Nigerian classic. Sure to be heard a lot over the summer festival season.
Without a doubt, Minor Science is one of the most exciting producers on the UK circuit right now. After some killer releases on Trilogy Tapes and Whities, we are now getting more and more familiar with Angus Finlayson’s signature sub-heavy wobble, which perfectly compliments Special Request’s breakbeat frenzy in Stairfoot Lane Bunker. Minor Science effortlessly blends his own work with the disjointed SR breakbeats, flashing small snippets of the serrated stems, chopping them up and creating a phenomenal track in its own right. Finlayson’s sound design is unparalleled – creating a sub-heavy saturated atmosphere from the off, he the paints a prominent picture of a cataclysmic growing storm, swelling towards its thunderous climax of franticly flurrying breaks. The EP on a whole is killer – five wonderful excursions into very different breeds of dance music, ranging from chilling ambient cuts to club-ready no-nonsense jungle, via the fierce high-rolling electro opener Redrum. This record was released as a addendum to Special Request’s FABRICLIVE91, and like his mix does not disappoint.
Hats off to Angus and Paul.
It was only a matter of time before Basic Channel and Rhythm & Sound frontman Mark Ernestus made another appearance on our site. Ernestus will forever have his name etched in the techno hall of fame as a massive innovator, but holds a special place in his heart for African and Caribbean sounds. When he first opened Hard Wax in 1989, the idea was to be Berlin’s first outlet of dub and reggae imports, and his love for such styles is certainly telling of Ndagga Rhythm Force – his own unique take of onmbalax, a polyrhythmic style emanating mainly from Senegal and Gambia, released last year courtesy of Honest Jons.
In 2011, he travelled to Dakar to record with the Senegalese drum collective Jeri-Jeri, and since then has released seven records with the group through Ndagga, a label dedicated to the project. Yermande has to be my favourite track on the record, perfectly encapsulating the fluidity and chaotic nature of the crazy percussive onmbalax style, whilst the heavy dub rhythms bubble under the surface – creating something utterly unique. Of course, the beautiful dubbed out vocals of Mbene Diatta Seck compliment the track perfectly adding even more to the overall brilliance of the record.
This is some of Mark Ernestus’ best… get to know.
An important figure both within the gay community and fast growing electronic music scene in the 70s and early 80s, Patrick Cowley was known for the otherworldly melodies he produced using electronic synthesisers. His dubbed out rendition of Sylvester’s disco classic is utterly masterful. It is easy to forget that the birth of dub techno was still a long, long way away at the time of the song’s production. Yet Cowley manages to effortlessly sew together the cosmic disco style that he was and still is famous for with Jamaican reggae style production. The chugging kick provides an undeniable groove and characteristically melodramatic synths convey the truly melancholic yet hopeful mood of the gay community at the time. It is truly a tragedy that such a talented musician passed away at such an early age.
Mike Grant’s jazzy take on the seminal Detroit classic Sharevari includes great vocals from Sky who has previously released on Kenny Dixon Junior’s (aka Moodymann) label Mahogani Music. Her subtle voice complements the beautiful arrayed chords and fluid jazz piano for a relaxing late night jam.
“PostOst was a DIY artist and musician’s co-op established in 2003 in a former East Berlin post office in the district of Friedrichshain. It was a home to some 100 artists making techno, house, acid, avant-garde, R&B, trancerock, wave and rock & roll, as well as painting, sculpture, graphic design, illustration and video. The co-op’s basement also hosted the Ruf Mich Nie Wieder An (“Don’t Ever Call Me Again”) techno and drum & bass parties.
Last year, PostOst and the neighbouring Deutsche Telekom building were purchased by real estate mogul Udo Schlömer, CEO of Berlin’s largest tech incubator and co-working space, Factory Berlin. Factory is financially backed by Google and houses SoundCloud, Twitter and Uber, as well as a host of emerging startups. Soon after the purchase of the former post office, all of the artists were evicted. After being confronted in public, Factory realised that the move had the potential of making them the Berlin tech-world boo-man, especially considering the current discourse on how art, music, club- and subculture are what made the city attractive to investors and techies in the first place. Since then, Factory and PostOst have taken part in a series of discussions for building a three-floor addition on top of the post office for the artists that are currently studio-less. Ultimately, Factory do not want to come across as destroyers of Berlin subculture. While a core group of PostOst co-op members have worked intensely to push forward the plans for the addition, Factory and Udo Schlömer have yet to agree to the proposal.”
A new name to us, but his works sounds like he is a veteran in the game. Mark’s Our Home And Heart Is In Berlin brilliant chopped d’n’b steppa, a telling ode to PostOst that is almost reminiscent of Goldie and Source Direct’s finest work, whilst maintaining a similar sense of nostalgia the works of Mark Leckey. Immensely forward thinking, peerless production that sounds miles ahead of the current jungle/breakbeat climate, carrying real sentimental value.
Since making his debut on Rush Hour back in 2013, Olf Van Elden a.k.a Interstellar Funk, has consistently shown his impressive capabilities as a producer, and his release last year on Berceuse Heroique might possibly be his best record to date. Rumour has it, the inspiration behind Caves of Steel came from going to a DJ Stingray show, which is completely telling by the real Drexciyan energy the track holds. On the flip is the killer remix by man-of-the-year Convextion, a heavy blend of sputtering synth leads and muscular shifty baseline elaborations, creating a no-nonsense blend of sci-fi electro that simply doesn’t disappoint.
Paleman has been arguably Swamp 81’s biggest hitter in recent years, their radio shows are littered with impressive unreleased tracks of his we would all love to see released. Unfortunately for us, label boss Loefah’s loyalty to the ethos of dubplate culture means many of these unknown beauties may remain as such – until now that is. The first release on Paleman’s own imprint, PLMN, which he established late last year to release his own music, is a strong one. Both tunes on the release are strong, however B-side is a seriously impressive arrangement. Ice Parade is the sign of an artist beginning to operate at a new level. Paleman creates a surreal landscape through tripped out tribal rhythms and a mastery of atmosphere, showing us a mesmerising depth to his musical vision that goes beyond the percussive rollers we know him for. The PLMN imprint is a sign that a man alleged to have hundreds of unreleased tracks is preparing himself to take off to new levels – news that will hugely excite any fans.
Yesterday saw the 25th anniversary of Richard D. James’ unparalleled Selected Ambient Works 85-92, the first official Aphex Twin album on Apollo. All tracks off the album were plucked from several of James’ cassettes by R&S boss Renaat Vandepapeliere, confident it was the right album for the right time. Certainly telling of the Aphex Twin aesthetic, Renaat thought the record was a manifesto for electronic music situated somewhere between the dance floor and the bedroom, free from the shackles of tradition and expectation. Heliosphan is certainly one of my favourites, demonstrating James’ exceptional ability to create a truly subversive atmosphere, whilst hiding the inherent framework of a dance record clearly illustrated by James’ drum and bass and jungle influences bubbling under the surface. Funnily enough, the rolling drum pattern is actually a sample Incredible Bongo Band – Apache, proving Aphex Twin’s ability to challenge musical boundaries and manipulate sounds to create something solely unique, that is, nothing short of a masterpiece.
Known for mysterious cuts and plodding melancholy sets, Recondite is truly one of the heavyweights in dance music today. Therefore it is surprising that it is not one of his own productions but a remix of his track Capable that has caught my attention, off his late-2016 EP Corvus released on Ghostly. Ricardo Donoso’s version is a mind-bending take on the original – a drumless odyssey into the future. In an internet age with many artists vying for our attention, what is breathtaking and refreshing about his interpretation is the level of emotion and flow of energy conveyed through a track without drums. This cinematic piece is Star Wars meets Stranger Things – strap on your space boots and dive into the wormhole.