fila brazillia: porky love from Hull

Fila Brazillia are two folks from the uber-picturesque city of Hull, UK. They are also two of the most underrated artists that were pigeonholed back in the mid 1990s under horrendous terms such as ‘chill-out’ or even worse… ‘trip hop’. The music media at the time (read Jockey Slut and Muzik mainly) regarded their albums as essential to anybody interested in electronic music.

And it was true. Maim That Tune, Mess, or Black Market Gardening are among the best albums produced in that decade. Their music ranged from dreamy and soothing melodies and soporific rhythms to more uptempo 4/4 house music with serious elements of funk and soul in them. It was sometimes frantic, sometimes… mellow or ambient music? elevator music??  They were catalogued as such but those three albums mentioned above have held the passage of time pretty well, mainly because of their unorthodox and uncompromising approach to music making. Fila Brazillia also gave shape to the best record label that Hull has produced to date: Pork Recordings. It had the Fila Brazillia sound all over the place, did not matter which artists were on the rota. They all ended up sounding the same (or worse), but Fila did it first and better.

If you are not familiar with them, get hold of those three albums mentioned earlier. Try to skip the latter ones. They moved onto doing music as a band, and they were never the same again.

For quite a while I have tried to write something on them, but someone has done it before and including a great interview which I have copied onto here. This interview, in its short form, was published in the Big Issue in the North in October 1999. It gives you a good picture of who they are and what they used to do. Thanks to whoever is behind the ‘Expletive Undeleted’ blog for publishing it.

But before you read this rather long and inspiring interview, take a big breath, sit back and relax while listening to this beauty… ‘Harmonicas Are Shite’, part of their Maim That Tune album. It will give you an aural idea of their quality. There are still copies in the market, so support these fellas and surprise your friends!

INTERVIEW:

They know how to do band names in Hull. The Housemartins were named after the tuneful domestic songbird. Everything But The Girl were named after the ladies boutique on Beverley Road.

And Fila Brazillia are named after a huge South American fighting dog which is now banned in this country, thanks to the 1991 Dangerous Dogs Act.

The name is nothing to do with trainers then?

“I think we confuse the hell out of most people.”

Steve Cobby and David ‘Man’ McSherry have been making quirky electronic music together for almost a decade now. Stubbornly defying categorisation, the affable duo have produced a string of albums for Pork Recordings, the label they started with Dave ‘Porky’ Brennand, as well as a large number of remixes for the likes of Bjork and Radiohead.

Each album is a progression from the last, with their smooth, dreamy grooves tempered only by a fierce determination not to let business get in the way of music.

This refusal to play the game translated as no promotion, no photographs and absolutely no interviews, thanks very much – believe me, I tried. Nothing. No compromise, no surrender.

Having, as they see it, outgrown the label, Cobby and McSherry have amicably split with Pork and set up their own Tritone imprint. The first release, their seventh album, is out next week. The album is called A Touch Of Cloth.

They’re even about to embark on a short tour of the North, supplemented by a drummer, percussionist, keyboard player and flautist. This seems like a very different kind of Fila Brazillia to the one we had before. They’re even doing interviews.

So I get to travel over to Hull on a blustery midweek afternoon to meet them at their rehearsal studio, which is above a builders yard on an industrial estate close to the city centre.

They’re a bit blunt and abrupt. There’s not much in the way of airs and graces. They’re clearly a self-reliant bunch and none-too-trusting of outsiders. I like them immediately.

“When we DJed, we only ever used to play our own stuff, so it was almost like a gig anyway,” remembers Cobby. “We’d play mixes that hadn’t been released, works-in-progress and that. We were trying to get more gig-like, but it was still boring.”

“We did PAs as well, where a DAT would be rumbling along and we’d be pottering around on a couple of synths. It just felt stupid,” says McSherry.

“Bogus,” adds Cobby.

“It fucked us off,” says McSherry, “just twiddling knobs and moving sliders around, cos we know we can play anyway. It was bit frustrating really.”

“So we just wondered how many of our songs would translate to a live group,” continues Cobby. “But it takes so much time and costs so much money that we just kept putting it off.”

Unlike many of their studio-based contemporaries, the duo are competant and experienced live musicians – Cobby, for example, was half of soulful funk act Ashley & Jackson, playing venues as big as the GMex in Manchester. But you get impression that if they’re going to do something, they’re going to do it properly.

“It’s just correct, innit?” he says. “Most of our stuff is looped and chopped-up and we needed really good players. We needed to be at a certain level before we could even think about doing it. And there needed to be enough people out there to enable us to pay all the musicians who are involved. It was a question of ratcheting up to that.

“I think we’ve done it earlier than we should have done. We’re busy getting the label sorted and what have you, and we probably ought to have done this in the middle of next year, but you know, we’ve got it sorted and it’s right and it’ll push the next album.”

“If we’d only had two albums out, we’d have had a job on,” he adds. “But we’ve had six albums out on Pork over the years. We had about 80 songs to choose from and we only needed about an hour of live material, so it was a case of picking the tunes that would translate to this six-piece. We had to shoe-horn a few of them in ..”

“I think it’s got its own momentum now, anyway,” says McSherry. “Plus, they’re really good players, this lot.”

“They’re like fucking machines,” nods Cobby. “We had to think to ourselves, do we get like a bunch of keen amateurs together and rehearse for fucking ever, or do we do it pro? We’ve done a bit of both.”

It was never going to be easy to play this stuff live.

“We tend to do a lot of random sourcing,” says Cobby. “We’ll jam and record, mess about with it, record a bit more, mess about with that and not really worry about writing.”

This way of working may have produced results in the past but it wasn’t through choice.

“We couldn’t afford the equipment,” admits Cobby. “It’s like that bedroom musician thing. We didn’t have a multi-track or anything. So just by the nature of the technology we were using, a lot of it was cut up and re-triggered. If we could’ve afforded to record in a decent studio, the stuff we came up with would’ve been completely different.

“We love the idea of living in two worlds. There’s the playing and performing side and in the studio, the joy of sequencing and sampling, and bringing all that together is what we’re about, I suppose. It’s not like we set out to do a particular sound. In fact, I think that’d be the death of us.”

Together with the three young guns – drummer Matt Swindells, keyboard player Joe Ward, percussionist Aaron Gammon – they’ve hired for live work, and not-so-young gun flautist and longterm collaborator Bernard Moss (who released his own excellent debut album on Pork last week), the duo create a soulful, loose-limbed funk of a kind you might not necessarily expect to come from a bunch of white blokes in Hull.

“The tunes work, you know,” says Cobby. “I don’t know whether people will be waiting for the singer. How many instrumental bands are out playing now?”

We all draw a blank.

“You’ve got to get into a state of mind,” decides Cobby. “It’s a different kind of listening. Hopefully there’s enough to listen to and you’ll get taken along with it instead of thinking that there’s anyone in particular you have to watch. There’s no particular focus – it’s the whole thing.”

Is that why you don’t use singers then?

“The only reason we don’t use singers is because we’ve never come across any that we like,” says Cobby with a shrug. “Everything up to now has been waiting for people to come to us and nobody has. I suppose we work with singers on the remixes. It’s not that we’re anti-vocals. It’s just that Fila is what me and Man do.”

“We are fussy with vocals though, aren’t we?” says McSherry. “There’s not many we like.”

“And lyrics are such a bug-bear,” adds Cobby. “What do you write about? Everyone goes, you should have a singer. Well, why? It’s a commercial decision in a lot of respects. You get someone to wail over one of your tracks – to me, that’s not a sonic decision.

“When we’re in the studio, we’ve never said, right, we’d better get a singer in. They’re all finished. What we’ve got to offer is just a bit different to what anybody else can do. It’s what’s missing that gives it the edge.

“We don’t do backing tracks. There’s lots of top-line melodies and shit in there in the place where the singer would be. You know what people’s attention spans are like. It’s not like we say, here’s a four-bar loop, let’s just run that for 10 minutes. There’s none of that. Everything’s pretty slick.”

Just how slick becomes clear as they work through the live set, making subtle adjustments here and there, patiently nailing down each of the songs until they’re absolutely happy with the results.

Forget all that trip hop, downtempo stuff. There’s something of the space of dub reggae in Man’s basslines, and a definite jazz tinge to Cobby’s sparkling guitar. The whole band have got the funk. And despite the instrumental nature of their music, Fila Brazillia have a wonderfully expressive and soulful sound.

Getting to hear this amazing music in what’s essentially a private performance by Fila Brazillia, well, I’m a lucky lad.

Lulled into a false sense of security by the beatific vibes coming out of the speakers, I make what turns out to be an ill-advised comment about how mellow everything seems. Bad move.

“Mellow?” asks McSherry, glaring at me. “I think a lot of our stuff is quite challenging. I’d hate to think that we made background music. Some of our stuff is pretty frantic”.

“Since we started, we’ve been put in these boxes,” growls Cobby. “That trip hop thing was the first one, then it’s like chill-out, mellow, laid-back, downtempo, leftfield .. Can we have the death of fucking labels, please? Because it’s killed us, people constantly trying to box things up.”

“In a way, it spurs you on not to repeat yourself, because as soon as someone can categorise something then it’s time to change,” continues Cobby. “It’s like trying to categorise David Bowie – Low, Heroes, Lodger, whatever, when he was he was doing decent stuff, they were all very different albums. You couldn’t say, they’re all X. It’s only now that journalists are obsessed with getting things into a marketing bracket.

“But fuck it. As long as people like it, I don’t care what they call it. It’s getting people to hear it that’s the toughie.”

McSherry talks about seeing their last album in the ‘downbeat’ section of one of the local record shops. He was so annoyed he went to the counter to put them right.

“I said to them, just put it in the music section – if there is one.”

I mentioned I was doing this interview to friends in Manchester who care about such things and they were seriously impressed. I mentioned it to someone who used to know you from Hull and she just said, oh, could you ask them to say hello to Beige for me. The name Fila Brazillia is known all over the world, but to people in Hull you’re just someone else trying to get to the bar at the Adelphi. I get the impression you quite like that.

“It’s not like we’re exotic to Lancastrians,” says Cobby with a grin. “It’s like American music is interesting to us because it’s so different and otherworldly. You can never be perceived in your hometown in the way that you’re going to be percieved by strangers. That cult of personality can’t take root because people would be like, what the fucking hell? The further away you get, you know, the more of an enigma you are.”

“Hull isn’t too big that you get lost, but it’s not too small that you’re bored out of your mind,” says McSherry.

“It could do to be a bit bigger,” says Cobby. “Well, not bigger, it could just do to have a few more .. things.”

Poncey bars?

“Not poncey bars. Poncey bars aren’t the answer. I don’t know what is ..”

So you’ve remixed Bjork and Radiohead – what popstar would you like to work with?

“Popstar?” says Cobby, like someone else would say ‘syphillis’.

Alright, what serious artistes would you like to work with?

“Timbaland. I love anything he does. He’s like a breath of fresh air. A popstar that we’d like to work with?” he muses. “It’s a new fucking question, that one. I don’t think I’ve heard that one before.”

McSherry suggests Greg Dulli from the Afghan Whigs.

“There’s that melancholy twist there, and we do like a bit of melancholy.”

“We do,” agrees Cobby.

For some reason – I may have been a bit flustered by them blatantly taking the piss out of my more uninspired questions – the talk turns to the titles of their songs.

“Obrigado is Portuguese for thank you,” says Cobby, helpfully. “I went to Portugal on holiday.”

“There’s a different story for every title,” he continues. “Most of them are trite and uninteresting. The titles themselves are more interesting than the stories, nine times out of 10.”

“A Z And Two Ls came about because people kept spelling the name of the band wrong. And it was like A Z And Two Noughts, the film. See?”

“It’s very clever that,” says McSherry, sagely.

“Look out! Funny kid’s coming!” exclaims Cobby. “People still spell it wrong though ..”

(EXTRACTED FROM http://undeleted.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/interview-fila-brazillia/)

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digitape 02 – february 2011

it starts with guitars, esoteric melodies and cinematic landscapes which give way to a hypnotic 4/4 straight house hands in the air affair. rhythm takes the centre stage but always showered by melody. there are arps too!! that huge instrument that produces titillating and sensual sounds courtesy of my (re)discovery of a master track: motorbass ‘ezio’. best 1996 track for me emerging from gallic lands.  so playful and groovy.

from there we head towards teutonic subterranean basslines that will lead us towards a dark and humid beach where we will be greeted by extraordinary synth chords on full stereophonic bloom. and when you think that this is becoming as gloomy as manchester is, the dj drops a real badass that hints towards master and commander Joakim, but no. it is not him. it is matias aguayo and his spooky spanish lyrics giving us a lecture on sonic poetry. pollyester takes the relay and head us towards a sweaty and provocative dancefloor of a social club. things get uptempo here but not for long… we reach a plateau and from there we get tired, we go slow, notalgic, and very very soulful while dancing extremely close to each other. the people from gluefactory will get a bit annoyed at my usage of one of their most venerated and treasured weapons… that you will savor at the end of this aural journey.

but holy crank! let’s stop this nonsensical and rather cheap exercise in poetic musical description, and let’s get to terms with the tracklist for you to enjoy…

1. ghost note ii – albularyo

2. junior boys – work – prins thomas mix

3. stupid human – gun ga ding

4. the dead rose music company – am i still the one (rob mello mix)

5. motorbass – ezio

6. kassem mosse – workshop 12

7. beach house – 10 mile stereo – night plane edit

8. discodeine – singular (extended)

9. pollyester – german love letter – permanent vacation mix

10. morten sorenson – start something – 40 thieves edit

11. claudja barry – dub dynamite – social disco club edit

12. the dead rose music company – bad desire

13. warren g – regulate – the revenge edit

it sounds better when you play it loud!

dr dunks+bastardos ‘keep it cheap’ / locussolus ‘i want it’

Today saw the arrival of two storming releases sure to put an end to any winter blues from two of the biggest names in the game.

First up is the new release from Eric Duncan’s Keep It Cheap imprint. For vinyl number 3, Eric lets a buddy in on the action as Felix Dickinson (the man behind the recent Originals comp, which we reviewed a couple of weeks ago) presents the b side “Beef” edited under his Bastardos moniker (for the more curious, the original is apparently Zeus – Cowboy on the Beach). Wait a minute isn’t this the wrong speed? Exactly, Foolish Felix has lived up to his name here and given us a slow motion psychedelic chugger. As this speed the groove is awash with reverb, the guitars sound other worldly, the vocals sound like something out of Twin Peak’s red room (The owls are not what they seem) and the synths swirl around like a 70’s horror flick nightmare. It’s smoggy and it’s dirty, a good tip to take a room leftfield, or if you want to space out at home.

On the flipside, play that funky music whiteboy, Dr Dunks gives us an edited up slinky punk funkin rendition of Modern Romance’s ‘Best years of our life’. It grooves, it moves, the percussion sounds like saucepans, the bass sounds like magnificent seven by the Clash. It’s a disco not disco belter. Essential party music.

My personal favourite of these two releases however comes from DJ Harvey’s Locussolus project. The third release from the Loco crew on the respected International Feel label comprises two powerful weapons for dancefloor detonation. On the A side (I Want It) we get straight into the groove with a bouncy bassline riding a steady beat before all many of synth melodies start to float over the top. We get treated to some vocals from Harvey himself, with a pervy call and response “You want it? I want it? etc” and then the track enters a full on head down throb, maintaining a focussed tension. This builds to a lull in the middle, an eye in the storm, before things build back up into a fizzing driving finale.

On side B (Next To You) the pace drops but the quality keeps up. The track lulls the listener into a false sense of security with some gentle keys, before dropping into some reverb heavy drums and an impeccable bassline, which soon provides the basis for a fantastic loose boogie number. This track has everything, roving world percussion, piano breaks, a liquid bassline, a steam whistle synth reminiscent of summer madness by Kool and the Gang, whispered vocals, and some Levanesque synth noodling. Sublime. Modern day JazzFunk Odyssey.

You can purchase both of these releases here, and as a treat, here is a link to a ludicrous interview with Harvey, in full on El Duderino mode…

© Patrick Ryder @ gluefactorymanchester

paxton fettel – skyflares ep (greta cottage workshop 2011)

slowly but surely and with no rush, greta cottage workshop approaches its 20th release. placing emphasis on quality/originality rather than making some bucks, they introduce us a new name, danish paxton fettel. this young fella offers us an excursion into what it could be a melange of the aphex twin, some delicate  melodies and a driving 4/4 that helps us remind that spring is around the corner and flowers will burst into vivid colors. all this thoughts come to mind when listening to delicate ‘skyflares’ and ‘mute euphoria’. both seems to have some matthew herbert influence on them, which is not bad at all.

’emlay’ is the weak one. a dubstep number that after listening to the other two tracks, does not shine. it does the opposite. it brings your mood back to the darkness of winter. but that is just me.

read on to see how greta cottage workshop describes this pretty good ep to be released middle march.

since this has not yet been released i can’t post any sample or download, but here you have a direct link to their digital ‘portfolio‘, where you can listen to all their releases and put your money where your mouth is.

Paxton Fettel

Growing up in Denmark means that nature has always played a big part in his life, and he gains inspiration from the outdoor environment and the soundscapes found there. He blends this with a deep seated love of computers and technology; getting a real buzz from routing a recording from the ‘real world’ into a Micro Korg, around his amps and back out into the world crafted into melody.

For him, music should make your legs shake, your stomach turn & your heartbeat rise, but also put a wry smile on your face.

Skyflares : Paxton begins his distinctive mark on the GCW imprint with Skyflares, a whimsical workout in true Greta style. A submerged 4/4 rides to a playful charm, whispering melodies and bluesy sincerity quietly calculates bona fide sensibility – just in time for the first blooms of spring.

Mute Euphoria : As the snow breaks and the ice melts across the land, uttered longings of warmth can be heard in Fettel’s sentiment, Mute Euphoria. Knee deep in prospering positivity, this ode to high jinks takes the form of a slick and well-approved house joint. (Makes you feel like you’ve just had a good piss about with a friendly pensioner)

Emlay : It’s never all fun and games though, what comes up must come down . . and down we go to the ruthless depths of 2 step disjointed laverlyness …. Still, a bright-eyed bushy-tailed reminder creeps up and keeps Emlay out of the total darkness with unpredictable wayward leanings. And why not?

harald grosskopf – re-synthesist (rvng intl 2011)

Just fresh off the press emerges this re-issue (originally from 1980) of an album that i have never heard of. Same applies to the artist himself . although i dig synths a lot, i am pretty ignorant about who are the masters and commanders in the field. only jean michel-jarre pops up. pure mainstream although not that bad. i think it is an excellent record as it is very different to anything i have been listening lately, and I always find interesting to discover new musicians who if there would have not been re-edited/re-issued, I would never come across with.

i have no affiliation with rvng intl. they just happen to release excellent records most of the time. so do not be surprised if you find out that Public Release (former post) are championed over this shores and are closely related to them.

I will let you digest their own review of this magnificent album that encompasses touches of cosmic, synths, and,… well… new age.

Get it here while it last, and in doing so you support one of the almost extinct form of capitalist trading: the local record shop.

————————————————————————————————————————————

Synthesist is the debut album by Harald Grosskopf, the enigmatic percussionist behind Ash Ra TempelKlaus Schulze, and Cosmic Jokers. Originally released by Sky Records in 1980, RVNG Intl. celebrates the 30th year anniversary with this newly mastered and packaged reissue.

Berlin, Germany, summer of 1979, Harald Grosskopf, then 30 years old, was at a personal and creative crossroads. His girlfriend just left him, and Ashra (Manuel Göttsching’s “solo” project) was on temporary hiatus. Harald always considered himself a rhythmic accomplice to his numerous collaborators’ lead, until prompted by some fellow musician friends to pursue a singular creative vision.

Armed with a MiniMoog and Revox reel-to-reel, Grosskopf set off for the West German countryside that fall and isolated himself in a home studio for almost two months to record Synthesist. The temperamental analog synthesizer and sequencing technology created a long learning curve eventually resulting in a harmonious union of man and machine.

The human response undeniably colors the eight songs of Synthesist and aligns the album with some of the more melodic output of the Berlin School of Electronic Music. The title track and “Transcendental Overdrive” almost take on pop qualities. Harald’s live percussion opens up tracks like “So Weit, So Gut” and “Emphasis” for jammed out exploration. Where the album veers into the ambient space clusters of “B. Aldrian” or “Trauma”, it’s hard not to consider Synthesist the nexus of Krautrock, Kosmische, and New Age.

Re-Synthesist, the companion compilation to Synthesist, is an assemblage of reinterpretations of Grosskopf’s work by a new vanguard of electronic and experimental artists including Oneohtrix Point NeverBlondesArpStellar Om SourceCFCF,James Ferraro, and many others.

Although Synthesist has been unavailable on vinyl for almost three decades, it doesn’t fetch unfathomable collector fees. Selecting Synthesist as our first reissue is more about the connectivity to a new audience than the scarcity fetish for a select few. It’s about sharing Harald’s story and celebrating an album musically accomplished and compelling from start to end.

The Synthesist LP comes as a deluxe package on post-consumer recycled goods, including a unique reverse bound record jacket and full color liner notes by Harald Grosskopf in English and German. The Re-Synthesist compilation is only available with vinyl purchase, both available digitally through our usual storefront suspects.

Harald Grosskopf – Synthesist LP
01. So Weit, So Gut
02. B. Aldrian
03. Emphasis
04. Synthesist
05. 1847- Earth
06. Trauma
07. Transcendental Overdrive
08. Tai Ki

V/A – Re-Synthesist CD
01. Bronze – So Weit, So Gut
02. CFCF – B. Aldrian
03. Jar Moff – B. Aldrian
04. Arp – Emphasis
05. JD Twitch – Emphasize
06. Blondes – Synthesist
07. Snoretex – Synthesist
08. Stellar Om Source – 1847 – Earth
09. Oneohtrix Point Never – Trauma 2010
10. Keyhole Voyeur (aka James Ferraro) – WISHMASTER (Transcendental Overdrive Zone)
11. Pink Skull – Tai Ki

blackjoy – the jekyll ep (public release, 2011)

Public Release, that low key record label quite close to RVNG INTL. reaches its third installment, and as usual without warning. The first one was some Tim Sweeney’s edits; the second by Jacques Renault, was spotted on and a secret weapon of many djs. Both with great disco reworks, especially the latter one. But it is all about Blackjoy now. You would expect some serious disco here. The answer is no. Blackjoy delivers a real scorcher on A side. ‘Secret’ is a fast paced melodic techno with soft touches of acid that easily reminds me of the best moments of Chateau Flight or I:Cube’s epic ‘Cosmic Race’. Only difference being that Blackjoy injects more punch to the beat. It is a perfect secret weapon for a late hours dancefloor.

On B side, we go slow with ‘Games’, as it has been the norm over the last three years thanks to The Revenge or Mark E flooding the market with some excellent re-edits, and many mediocre ones which are better to avoid. However, this not being an edit, it becomes a bit more original. Not as technoid as ‘Secret’, still has some beautiful synths and emotive dubbed guitar riffs that makes it a good ‘balearic’ tune. Somehow, the guitar riffs and the speed of the track bring some memories of Police’s ‘Bed’s Too Big Without You’. Maybe it is just me.

This will surely be, an unsung classic. As with any other Public Release, it is a gorgeous thick 180g picture disc vinyl with impressive artwork. They do fly these ones as they are very limited and they do not get repressed.

I will take you to the link, both for listening, and buying while they last,  just here.

va. originals vol. 5 – felix dickinson (claremont 56, 2011)

Originals Vol.5 sees the turn of Foolish Felix Dickinson to take centre stage as selecta and share some hidden gems with the world. Acid aficianado, disco destroyer and general party General, Felix has plucked some gems from all corners of his collection, touching on beardo cosmic jazz meanderings, post disco, boogie, oddball pop, and some jackin’ acid. Introductions over, let’s get down to some track by track action:

1. Kolbe-Illenberger-Dauner – Fun Tango:  The album opens in ambient fashion with a cosmic number from these three German new age heavyweights. Reminiscent of Vangelis the track takes a deep and trippy shape before resolving into some sun-kissed mellow guitar action for an uplifting balearic second half.

2. Q – Rain:  This Q (apparently not the Q of “Voice of Q” fame) hail from Germany and deliver an electronic prog disco strut in the form of Rain. Funky in the extreme the track slips in synths, pianos, guitars, bongos, the kitchen sink, and some soulful vocals that remind me a bit of Hair. (should i say Herr) Wait for the full on freak out after 4 mins.

3. King Sporty and The Extras – Do You Wanna Dance: A nice boogie number, chugging bass synth, period electronic handclaps and all retro cons. This track grooves along nicely but is a little linear without and real highs or lows.

4. Exquisite Taste – It’s You That’s Happening : In the sleevenotes Felix tells us this is “An 80s boogie classic with a great vocal, but I always preferred this dub”, which is a spot on description really. A nice boogie number with vocals occasionally ghosting in, full of the requisite percussive touches that Metro Area love so dearly.

5. Fingers Inc – Feeling Sleazy:  A big name artist, but a lesser known track, Fealing Sleazy is a minimal little Chicago number, with a suitably sleazy vocal. Stripped back and scarce on the melody it still packs enough jack to remain vital.

6. Joshua – On The Other Side : If the previous track was an exercise in restraint, then this track packs the aggression for both. A typical deep and moody bassline sits underneath some heartfelt vocals and a whole lot of jacking acid, this one is built to last at peak time.

7. Roshelle Fleming – I Know Just What You’re After:  Shep Pettibone delivers a mammoth 12 minute mix of this post disco/proto house number with the vocal talents of First Choice’s Roshelle Fleming. Building and dropping, constantly presenting new melodies or textures, adding and taking away different rhythms and featuring the cut up vocal action du jour (1987) this is force to be reckoned with.

8. Ce Moi – Just Give It Up : This is an example of one of those perfect tracks that do very little, but are made up of such choice component parts that you never get bored. Great warm round bassline, great electronic percussion and some subtle but beautiful synth work. This is the true gem in this collection for my money.

9. Wide Boy Awake – Slang Teacher:  This number is given to us by a founding Ant, freed from the dandy one, and at liberty to throw down a stomping bass and some bonkers half rapped lyrics with some crazy percussion. This track is more about a mood then setting a dancefloor on fire, and   I would imagine is a marmite moment.

10. Gabi Delgado – History of a Kiss: This is a solo effort from one half of the legendary DAF (if they arn’t legends in your house, then listen to Der Mussolini, it is essential) and it’s a bit mad truth be told. It sounds like one half of a EBM group performing an odd tribute to Kid Creole and the Cocunuts. Not at all unpleasant, certainly a niche affair, and perhaps a grower.

11. Cryptic – Moving On (Bastedos Edit): Felix gives us one of his own extensions of one of his party bombs. Driving Percussion and synths, electric guitar licks, power chords and a bouncy bass, instrumentally this is a bit like Underwater by Harry Thumann, but has the addition of a 70’s MOR vocal, which in my eyes results in an absolute dancefloor stormer.

12. 2-Lips – Got to Get Away : The album ends on a balearic tip blue eyed soul number from this very obscure German band (so obscure research suggests they might actually be from Bulgaria). It packs a lot of power and for Djs out there would work as a pace changer of set closer, but unfortunately I can’t look past the guitar riff nicked from Strawberry Letter 23 for long enough to say anything objective.

Overall, the album is consistent and presents a coherent musical vision with every track heavily reliant on a powerful bassline, often without the addition of much in the way of melody or progression elsewhere. Whilst few of these tracks are full on dynamite, they still pack some punch, and would be worthy early doors additions to any dj sets and make good home listening. More importantly, as ever with this series, music fans everywhere would probably never have come across most of these tracks, and viewed in that light, this compilation can only be a success for music.

Feeling the urge to go and get it? Here you have a link to it. Give it a good listen and support the great label that  is Claremont 56.

© Patrick Ryder @ gluefactorymanchester

amadou & mariam – je pense a toi – henrik schwarz mix (philomena 2010)

 

amadou & mariam, a pretty decent act of so called ‘world music’, and embraced / championed by another, more well-known ensemble such as manu chao, produced an excellent song back in 2005: ‘je pense a toi’ (i think (or thought) of you). Warm and touching violins, and catchy guitar chords plus heart wrecking lyrics form a solid track that rides on top of irresistible afrobeats.

solid enough for remixer supremo, and lover of strings, henrik schwarz to give it the necessary strokes to bring it closer to the dancefloor. this is, up to date, what it can be considered his masterpiece. solid drum beat and techno synths edging on acid touches were added to the original warmth from amadou & mariam, helping rise this tune to heights only reachable by some. scharwz kept intact the vocals completely, making this track difficult to pigeonhole. it works ace in any kind of dj set, even at home. it is up there in the pantheon with his other essential mix he did for wei chi on compost. this latter one a real monster of epic proportions (and length).

the schwarz treatment of ‘je pense a toi’ does not exist anywhere but on the elusive and highly limited vinyls released by german label philomena (and I think that affiliated somehow to innervisions). this philomena label is superb. every release is carefully crafted including its beautiful artwork.

what usually happens in this cases of ultra limited vinyl releases is that if they are good the sell out fast and, end up in discogs fetching serious money .

here you have the digital version of it for a very very limited period of time. enjoy it and drop some bucks on the record label. the next installment dedicated to Junior Boys. Prins Thomas (back in shape this time!) and  Marcel Dettman (pretty good minimal techno number) gives you both sides of another sublime philomena vinyl.