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

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