Parkway Rhythm – Working Girl (Parkway Records, 2011)

Mark Seven is one of my top names on the bearded disco scene and this new project is up to his usual brilliance. He first came to my attention with his standout batch of edits on Creative Use and then made major waves on the discofutura stereo with his exceptional contribution to Claremont 56’s Originals series. Last year’s ‘Pillow Talk’ on Endless Flight has been a frequent flyer in my dj sets and this single under the new moniker Parkway Rhythm follows up those 80’s club vibes in fine fashion. Metro Area styled percussion gets together with a deep kick and some shimmering boogie synths before one of those timeless synth basslines gets your shoulders moving. Sitting smack bang inbetween the smoothness of the boogie sound and the dancefloor power of proto house Mark has repeated his Pillow Talk trick and provided an absolute blinder. The 12″ is rounded out with a warehouse shaking ‘Deepa Dub’ and a dub version of the club mix for a little variety. This record is must buy and you can pick it up from here.

 

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dog eat dog ‘dog eat dog’ (claremont 56, 2011)

Paul Murphy’s record label Claremont 56 keeps up the expectations with its latest release. It brought Holger Czukay to the hands of both  cultivated listeners, and newcomers, who are able to adapt and understand different approaches to dance/electronic music by releasing material that has never seen the light before or re-issuing albums that would be totally unknown to new generations.

Always in limited numbers (either vinyl or CDs), and with carefully crafted artwork, Claremont 56’s selection of releases is always a lecture in music history. On this occasion, they bring to the forefront Dog Eat Dog. The sound they produced will easily remind you of other early 1980s New York post-punk bands such as Liquid Liquid or ESG.

Their music is ‘low-fi’, raw and low-budget. It is as if you were in a live and fast paced set, with the musicians improvising and trying out new combinations, with amateurs more focused in enjoying music making rather than being preoccupied with achieving a polished result. The pace of the album is frenetic at times with drums and bass driving the different compositions.

If you are getting tired of all the digital refinement we live in, step back in time, grab a copy of this limited LP (500 copies only), and enjoy some time travel to an ebullient and highly creative period in American music-making.

Here you have the press release for this gem:

Out of the cultural milieu that thrived and survived in downtown Manhattan circa 1980 came a musical group whose aesthetic was fun, funky, bold and smart. Female fronted, of its time but out of time, technically adept, purposely naive, conscious but not self-conscious. Dog Eat Dog embodied the best of what came out of that particular time and place along with fellow travelers; DNA, ESG, Liquid Liquid and Sonic Youth – they embraced a sound that was uniquely their own without apologies or regrets but most importantly without pretension or calculation. Writing songs and performing for only three years the band never released a record but still they produced some of the most vital & representational studio and live recordings from this period. That’s why after almost 30 years Dog Eat Dog’s music not only stands the test of time but also instructs the next generation of performers in a brighter, deeper approach to making music.

Information on Dog Eat Dog is scarce on the internet, however there is a superb and recent interview with three members of the band in the great blog that is testpressing.org.

white elephant – sir john (redux, 2011)

Sir John is the debut release from a collaboration between Benjamin Smith (of Claremont’s Smith & Mudd fame) and Chris Todd and Jim Baron (Crazy P). This lush acoustic number is perfect for the current summer weather and in fitting with the current balearic trend. Chiming guitars and shakers give way to a moody groove in the vein of Crosby Stills and Nash’s ‘Dark Star’, all backed with some atmospheric synth work. This will sit perfectly on shelves, in bags and in sets along side Prins Thomas’ Discomiks of Doves’ ‘Kingdom of Rust’ and any of the Fascinating Rhythms releases. On the flip side Mark E ups the tempo and adds a chugging beat and bass as well as some squelching electronics but deftly keeps the whole thing balanced. For me these two tracks are the essence of Balearic music, conjuring up thoughts of summer but with an underlying melancholy.

Grab this gem whilst you can from the usual suspects.

fascinating rhythms

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week saw Radiohead sneak out the release of their new long(ish) player King of Limbs with predictable blogging meltdown from all over the internet. I figure enough has and will be said about that, so instead I’m gonna make the most of a tenuous link to spread the word about a small label which deserves more attention.

Fascinating Rhythms is the brainchild of Balearic Mike, former stalwart of Manchester’s legendary Vinyl Exchange and ambassador of all things Balearic. If his name is new to you then take no delay in checking out the first volume of Claremont 56’s Originals compilation, compiled by Mike and Moonboots, and then the outstanding Down to the Sea and Back compilation selected by Mike and Kelvin Andrews. The modus operandi of Fascinating Rhythms is to release balearic music of the highest quality on limited run vinyl and in beautiful packaging. This mission began with the Johnny Miller remix of Radiohead’s Reckoner (there’s the tenuous link) which came out late in 2009 (november/december if my memory serves me correctly) and sold out in about twenty five minutes, give or take. It was a sumptuous and warm recreation of the original with enough balance to keep the fragility and feeling of the original. A good start from the label. This was followed by two reworks of new folk one to watch Sam Sallon (his debut album One for the Road is slated for release this year) by Leo Zero and Begin. Begin offers an electronic groove with subtle use of guitar and vocal for a blissful slice of summer, whilst Leo Zero’s edit retains more of the song’s original elements but with added oomph. The third release saw no let up in quality, with Rune Lindbaek’s spaced out embrace of Sophie Zelmani’s ‘If I Could’, and his and Frisvold’s dancefloor take on Kurt Maloo’s (of Double fame) Afterglow.

All these tracks manage to achieve the feat of simultaneously being warm and joyful and melancholy at the same time. It leaves the listener with a strong feeling of nostalgia, and music that makes anyone feel anything is a rarity these days. Next up for the label is a Smith and Mudd track with a remix from Begin on the flipside. Considering the track record of everyone involved in that release I have very high expectations which I’m sure will be met.

You can still find a copy of the Johnny Miller edit on discogs and the other two releases are still in stock at Piccadilly Records. Today also saw the announcement that the second volume of Down to the Sea and Back will be released in July, so mark the date in your calendars. I’ll leave you with the link to the sumptuous rework of Radiohead, pure class.

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