dr dunks & justin vandervolgen – keep it cheap 4 (keep it cheap, 2011)

Eric Duncan’s twin edit assault continues with the latest instalment of his Keep It Cheap series. On number 3 he welcomed Felix Dickinson to the party for some murky behaviour and sleazy vibes, and for the latest edition he’s created a double header of the year scenario by making a NYC editing tag team with Justin Vandervolgen. Dr Dunks was virtually unstoppable last year, and Justin Vandervolgen’s Try To Find Me project was a major disco sensation so the bar is set at everest levels.

In the red corner Dr Dunks pays another visit to Caroline Crawford (‘Coming on Strong’ was the source for a previous C.O.M.B.I.) this time extending her sweet disco number ‘A Nice Feeling’. Long instrumental sections introduce all the lush feel good grooves of the original, creating a sultry sunshine vibe, before the vocals are let loose in a typical Dr Dunks fashion. Mined of its bottom end and treated to a little echo and reverb, her voice soars above you’re head, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

In the blue corner disco viking JVV delivers a knock out punch in the form of dancefloor haymaker ‘Versions’. It’s a low slung slice of ‘balearock’ in a 70’s Laurel Canyon vein with about 4 neat guitar riffs going on at the same time to create a sunset groove. There are bongos a-go-go and all things chuggy, and even a crazy anachronistic percussion breakdown in a heads down style. Resistance is futile to this groove.

There are only 300 copies worldwide so get it from Pic before it sells out.


wesseltoft schwarz – duo (mulemuziq/jazzland records, 2011)

Henrik Schwarz is a recurring name around these parts. His jazz and classical influenced strain of techno/house manages to be minimal and also sublime, generally augmenting the usual head nodding beats with some beautiful melodies. Lush strings, far removed from the generic ‘anthemic dancefloor violins’, are a frequent feature, along with his love of the blue notes and jazz and ethnic tones. His latest project, Duo, a collaborative Lp with pioneering jazz keyboardist Bugge Wesseltoft was released this week on Mulemuziq and Wesseltoft’s own imprint, Jazzland records.

Since the mid nineties Wesseltoft has been a big player in the modern Jazz world, contributing the magnificent ‘New Conception of Jazz’ in 1997. This record sat perfectly between the late night atmospherics of the idm movement of the time and the more traditional feel of a jazz record. It’s combination of electronics and programming with the organic tones of double bass and brass took it one step further than the borrowed jazz motifs in the trip hop movement. It is clear that this techno loving jazz pianist and the jazz loving techno producer have clear areas of overlap.

Duo comprises of 8 tracks of varying tone and mood, ranging from the ambient and cinematic to the deep and urgent techno numbers. At times the piano is reminiscent of a laid back Keith Jarret, but set on top of skittering percussion and resonating bass. The appropriately named album opener ‘First Track’ evolves from smooth beginnings into an electronic crescendo, industrial sounds and weird electronics changing the mood of the track into something much more intense. Amongst the other tracks there’s a beautiful reinterpretation of Schwarz’s ‘Leave My Head Alone Brain’, the more refined and subtle percussion giving the piano greater room to breathe. The single from the collection ‘Kammermusik’ is a sublime piece of music. The quality of the record as a whole is excellent, but it’s on this track that the strengths of both collaborators are best combined and distilled into a gorgeous piece of electronic music.

This album will appeal to fans of ambient techno, and the more laid back work of the Scando disco crew, but also to anyone who can appreciate true musicianship, something which is missing from too many current records. It is available at Piccadilly now.

art department feat. soul clap & osunlade – we call love (crosstown rebels, 2011)

Things might have been slow on the big release front lately, but the past fortnight has seen a deluge of quality records fall into our laps. This is one such blinder.

Art Department came to prominence with last years moody druggy groove ‘Without You’. A dark and sprawling late night odyssey underpinned by a repetitive bassline and rhythm that took global soundsystems by storm and polled at top spot on RA’s tracks of the year. Well, they’ve done it again. ‘We Call Love’ is the standout track from their recent long player ‘The Drawing Board’ and is similarly dark, custom made for sweatbox clubs. It takes you on a trip deep into the middle of the floor, updating a chicago warehouse sound with a hellish kick and some dark vocals. However the track’s real appeal is in the magnificent bass sound with square waves rounding out and filling the frequencies.

On remix duties are man of the moment Caribou, in his Daphni guise and the legendary DJ Harvey. Daphni serves up a oddball psychedelic revision of the track incorporating syncopation, free jazz and a oizo esque bassline. Oh, and some flat saxophone. It’s not for the fainthearted, and whilst it’s not for me to question innovation, I’m not sure we’re ready for this. Maybe our kids will love it.

Harvey on the other hand keeps things fairly close to the original, but supercharges the track. The vocals are dubbed out and the bass line is turned way up for maximum body movement. He extends the psychedelic synth breaks and adds otherworldly vocal effects and guitars, stretching the track out and pulling all the power out of the original parts. This is huge remix, completely stealing the show.

The record is available in all good retailers as we speak, and you can check out a youtube video of the brilliant Harvey mix below.

bicep – mystery meat e.p. 4 (mystery meat 2011)

Eagle eyed followers may have noticed that this label is a pet favourite of mine. There have only been 3 releases so far, but each is of the highest quality, and the uninitiated should head here for a profile of the label. The existing records are to be joined soon by a new 4 track of reworks by Bicep (of Feel My Bicep fame). I owe props to a being called phantom for bringing this great news to my attention in the comments section of our blog.

As for the music, Bicep takes things down a sleazy disco funk back alley. It’s the sound of hot summer nights and neon lights in the mid 80s. As you would imagine the heritage of the tracks is fully befitting of the intrepid crate digging that’s been on display at Feel my Bicep over the past few years.

First up is a fully loaded version of Margie Joseph’s 1982 post disco number ‘Knockout’. Judging from the short soundcloud sample, the percussion has been given a little extra oomph ad the verses have been dubbed out to allow the wicked groove extra room for manoeuvre. Add to all that some tasty drops and you’ve got a sure fire hit. Be sure to check the original out, it’s a classic. Next for the chopping block is the tasty boogie number ‘Sweet Somebody’ by Shannon. Sped up to a more playable tempo and with some 808 additions bringing the jack to go with the acidic bassline, this is an electrified mid tempo number built for dancefloors. Howard Johnson’s smooth electro funk groover ‘Say You Wanna’ makes up track 3, with things sticking fairly close to the original up until a huge echo/delay/filter mind altering breakdown. For fans of electro from 5 years ago, SebastiAn used this track for Arabest, which is a definite highpoint on his later than never debut album Total. Closing things up is a boogie number going under the title ‘Hit and Run’, which I’m sad to admit my ignorance over it’s original, I’m only human. Great synths and bassline, brilliant vocals and some nicely worked filtering make this a strong number to finish the set.

All in all, the brilliance of this E.P. will lie in the excellent selections of tracks to refine. Each is a great slice of dimly remembered 80’s funk, bridging the gap between disco and house whilst packing that glorious bass sound at home in every great boogie track. The edits are done in a respectful way, with each alteration serving to bring things up to date a little and to extract the best grooves out of the originals. Bicep’s addition to the Mystery Meat buffet is both welcome and top notch. Keep your eyes peeled for this release.

paul simon – diamonds on the soles of her shoes (tangoterje edit) (supreme records, 2006)

I recently had a discussion with an old friend about Todd Terje’s recent burst of top class activity, and when our conversation turned to our good old favourite Terje edits, I was amazed to hear that my friend did not know this classic.

Paul Simon’s Graceland LP, regardless of your take on the accusations that he mugged the musical heritage of a continent, pulled off the miraculous trick of perfectly marrying American country/folk songwriting with African rhythms and sounds. Of course, other musicians had experimented with polyrhythms before, but no one had done so in pursuit of a making something that at its heart was a traditional American pop record. The record may as well be the soundtrack to the collective unconscious.

When I first heard this edit slipping dreamlike in the middle of a mix, i had a nigh on religious experience. Caked in reverb, the Ladysmith Black Mambazo chanting immediately takes you to church, surrounded by hypnotic rhythms, shimmering guitars, all leading up to an exhilarating drop putting you in the centre of swirling echo. Then that deep wriggly bassline makes you move, softens you up before that warm familiar voice from your childhood guides you into the light. This is my all time favourite Todd Terje edit; he takes a song I’ve loved for as long as I’ve listened to music, and makes it even better. Here it is, ripped from a vinyl pirated from an mp3, in as high a quality as that allows.

va. mixology – the definitive salsoul mixes (harmless, 2011)

Harmless who created the brilliant and much reverred Disco Discharge series are launching Mixology this summer, a new series that delves into the catalogues of the cream of the crop of iconic dance music labels, presenting their best key mixes in one package. The first label to feature in Mixology is none other than Salsoul. Mixology – ‘The Defitive Salsoul Mixes’ comes in a triple CD package featuring the label’s key mixes (see full tracklisting below)

Ian Dewhirst (Harmless label manager) says, ‘Since all previous Salsoul compilations which I’d done have now all been deleted, I decided it would be nice to try and do a definitive set of all the key original mixes and have them all in one package and sequenced in chronological order from the dates the originals came out. Also there was a part of me that thought that this could be the last time that these brilliant tracks could get a physical release, so when I heard that the company could potentially be sold last year I swooped in and did a deal for this release’

Salsoul was launched in 1975 and it tapped into the emerging club scene in New York at that time, which was thriving with clubs like The Paradise Garage, The Loft, The Gallery, Sanctuary and Galaxy 21, and recognised the relevance of the DJ. It was the first time that a label would allow a club DJ to access the original master tapes for ‘remix/re-edit’ purposes. The DJ in question was Walter Gibbons who was brought into the studio to ‘restructure’ Double Exposure’s ‘Ten Percent’ (as featured her). The result was one of the most radical restructures completely changing the original version into a ten minute tour-de-force of dance percussive fury. ‘Ten Percent’ became the first ever commercially released 12’ single and without realising it at the time Salsoul created the birth of the DJ as a remixer. From that point onwards DJs would start clamouring to remix any record they could get their hands on

Salsoul Records had started the cult of the DJ. Throughout the next 30 years the array of DJ talent who mixed or re-edited Salsoul releases would read like a ‘who’s who’ of international DJs. Walter Gibbons, Tom Moulton, Larry Levan, Tee Scott, Shep Pettibone, Francois Kervokian, Masters At Work, Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson, Grandmaster Flash, Danny Krivit, Dimitri From Paris…the DJ revolution had well and truly commenced

The label went on to discover some of the greatest dance artists and release the biggest dance classics from the last 30 years: Loleatta Holloway’s ‘Hit And Run’, Inner Life’s ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, Joe Bataan’s ‘The Bottle’, Candido’s ‘Jingo’, First Choice’s ‘Let No Man Put Us Under’, Instant Funk’s ‘I Got My Mind Made Up’, Ripple’s ‘The Beat Goes On’

After 400 + releases things were beginning to slow down for Salsoul in 1984. The boom years of disco had long gone and the music scene was going through one of its periodic shifts. The end of an incredible era petered out with Salsoul SG 430. From that point forward Salsoul stripped down the operation, remained 100% independent and essentially became a licensing/re-issue operation for the next 20 years. Salsoul eventually changed hands in January 2011 and passed from the ownership of the Cayre brothers over to its new owners, the Verse Music Group.

Like many innovators of their day, Salsoul never fully gained the recognition it deserved at the time. During the golden days of disco nobody came close in matching the quality and consistency of the label’s prolific output. The legacy left by Salsoul Records if anything has actually got stronger over the years with numerous records sampling the original Salsoul classics and of course with the continuous prominence of disco. The most commercial of these records include Black Box’s ‘Ride On Time’ and Marky Mark & The Funky Bunch’s ‘Good Vibrations’ which sampled Loleatta Holloway’s ‘Love Sensation’, Spiller’s ‘Groovejet’ which sampled its entire rhythm from Carol Williams’ ‘Love Is You’, Montell Jordan’s ‘Get It On Tonight’ which sampled Caludja Barry’s ‘Love For The Sake of Love’, Eric B & Rakim’s ‘Paid In Full’ sampled Salsoul Orchestra’s ‘Love Break’ and even De La Soul’s ‘Me Myself and I’ which sampled Edwin Birdsong’s ‘Rapper Dapper Snapper’ amongst many others.


Track Listing

CD 1
1. “The Bottle (La Botella)” – Bataan 3.29
Original Album Mix January 1975

2. “You’re Just The Right Size” – The Salsoul Orchestra 4.40
Original Album Mix October 1975

3. “Helplessly” – Moment Of Truth 6.24
Original Tom Moulton 12” Mix June 1976

4. “Everyman” – Double Exposure 7.19
Original Album Mix June 1976

5. “Nice N’ Nasty” – The Salsoul Orchestra 5.21
Original Walter Gibbons 12” Mix July 1976

6. “Ten Percent” – Double Exposure 9.41
Original Walter Gibbons 12” Mix November 1976

7. “Spring Rain” – Silvetti 5.52
Original Tom Moulton 12” Mix November 1976

8. “My Love Is Free” – Double Exposure 9.40
Original Tom Moulton 12” Mix November 1976

9. “Dreamin’” – Loleatta Holloway 6.18
Original Album Mix November 1976

10.“This Will Be A Night To Remember” – Eddie Holman 5.47
Original Tom Moulton 12” Mix March 1977

11.“Love Is You” – Carol Williams 5.06
Original 12” Mix March 1977

CD 2

1. “Doctor Love” – First Choice 7.35
Original Tom Moulton 12” Mix April 1977

2. “Getaway” – The Salsoul Orchestra 4.17
Original 12” Mix April 1977

3. “Hit And Run” – Loleatta Holloway 10.59
Original 12” Walter Gibbons Mix April 1977

4. “Runaway” – Salsoul Orchestra ft Loleatta Holloway 4.44
Original Album Mix June 1977

5. “The Beat Goes On & On” – Ripple 6.55
Original Jim Burgess 12” Mix December 1977

6. “Just As Long As I Got You” – Love Committee 8.35
Original Walter Gibbons 12” Mix July 1978

7. “Sing Sing” – Gaz 7.16
Original Richie Rivera 12” Mix November 1978

8. “I Got My Mind Made Up” – Instant Funk 9.46
Original Larry Levan 12” Mix December 1978

9. “First Time Around” – Skyy 6.40
Original Randy Muller/Solomon Roberts Jr 12” Mix April 1979

10. “Crying” – Instant Funk 8.58
Original Larry Levan 12” Mix May 1979

CD 3

1. “Jingo” – Candido 9.51
Original David Rodriguez 12” Mix July 1979

2. “Dancin’ & Prancin’” – Candido 6.53
Original David Rodriguez 12” Mix July 1979

3. “All About The Paper” – Loleatta Holloway 6.13
Original Bobby DJ Guttadero Album Mix August 1979

4. “Janice (Don’t Be So Blind To Love)”- Skip Mahoney 6.59
Original Bobby DJ Guttadero 12” Mix April 1980

5. “Love Sensation” – Loleatta Holloway 6.34
Original Tom Moulton 12” Mix July 1980

6. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – Inner Life 10.26
Original Larry Levan 12” Mix May 1981

7. “I Know You Will” – Logg 6.44
Original Larry Levan 12” Mix June 1981

8. “Take Some Time Out For Love” – The Salsoul Orchestra 6.22
Original 12” Mix June 1982

9. “Let No Man Put Asunder – First Choice 7.35
Original Frankie Knuckles 12” Mix May 1983

10. “Heartbreaker” – Leroy Burgess 6.12
Original Shep Pettibone12” Mix August 1983

Preview Tracks: