nicholas – dig deep (no more hits, 2010)

To get some room in the tight and scarce spaces left in the slow motion house biz is an arduous task. To not sound repetitive, formulaic or be a victim of your own success you need to be positively inventive. Mark E or The Revenge had their glorious times and we have championed them repeatedly in all the venues we have spun our wax. We have written about them and spread the word dutifully. We do celebrate good music in all its variants until the genre implodes.

We relatively gave up on the slow house cum edit infested thingy. Luckily, we got a man to save the re-edit boat, to prove that Italians (sometimes) do it better. Nicholas Iammateo, a young and very prolific 25 years old, has been releasing consistent vinyl after vinyl on the No More Hits label among others. His niche is an early vocal house aural aesthetic. Tastefully sampling vocals and pitching down the beat to make it sensual and soulful giving it an overall analogue feel reminiscent of the best classic early house genre. With an apparently distorted arrangement of notes which remind us of  the Motor City Drum Ensemble trademark that works wonders on Nicholas’ productions.

Nicholas is dropped frequently and you always get some avid listener approaching you enquiring about the track. It is Nicholas doing his thing. Totally brand new retro.

Fancy knowing a bit more about the man? Read this article on his production skills. We give you a slice of his creativity and keynote lecture on how to respectfully sample and build a dancefloor monster. Taken from his ‘Free at Last’ 12″, where every track is as good as this ‘Dig Deep’.

mark seven – higher (editnot) (creative use, 2007)

This all time classic edit from selector in chief Mark Seven caused an almighty stir in the old bally earache world upon its original release, selling out all over the place in a matter of minutes, and during a postal strike no less. The 12″ in question ‘Divine Edits’ contained three tracks all in keeping with the subject matter at hand. ‘Sermon’ was a low tempo house chugger after the fashion of One Dove’s ‘White Love’, but with a gospel sermon played over the top of it. Essentially it sounds mighty similar to ‘Come Together’ by Primal Scream.

‘Heaven’ begins with the sound of the rolling surf, develops into bongos and spanish guitar and has the kind of world percussion that sounds like loads of frogs, the best kind of course. It’s a full on beach bar number.

The ace in the hole was of course ‘Heaven’, an extension and rearrangement of Gospel stalwarts The Clark Sisters singing a little number called ‘Hi Ya’. The bassline and piano parts sounds like a slow version of ‘I Wish’ by Stevie Wonder, and the girls’ vocals bring out full on hands in the air, take me to church eupohoria. It’s a smash hit.

Earlier this year it was included on the Creative Use ‘The Collection’ compilation CD, alongside some brilliant edits from Soul Mekaniks (Bounty Girls and Even Stevens are magnificent, Instantaneous Acid is a secret weapon) and  Mark E’s scorching ten minute wonder ‘Sun Shadow’. I strongly recommend this CD to anyone with ears, you will not come across as diverse a selection as this that still maintains such a high quality. You can still get copies here.

As a limited treat, here is one of 2007’s standout moments, enjoy and then buy the compilation!

edward – maxa (merc, 2011)

Another one of my summer favourites here courtesy of newcomer Edward on old hand Marc E’s Merc imprint. The story goes that Edward dropped Mark E a cd of leftfield house and booked himself a debut release in the form of this little 12″. Upon the most cursory of listens it’d be clear why this struck a chord with the Merc main man. It’s a repetitive builder, based on a  gloriously deep and warm bass sound and crisp percussion with colour added by a drone and the occasional synth twinkle. Oh, and it’s got sirens, massive starlit rave sirens. As for the b side, ‘Naxa’, it uses the brass from Paul Simon’s ‘Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes’, but in a new and strange way, that sadly my brain cannot compute. Maybe it’s a case of being too fond of the original, but ‘Naxa’ just doesn’t do it for me. However, ‘Maxa’ is worth the price of admission alone, and is still available at Piccadilly for vinyl fans, especially those who are brave enough for the b-side.

For the rest, here’s Maxa in digital, for a limited time only.

gabor szabo – keep smilin’ – mark e edit (jiscomusic, 2006)

mark e… what happened to this man? mediocrity took over him, but it can be forgiven when you listen to the EARLY mark e… it was the beginning of slo-mo house, chuggy, dense, full of reverb and dropping the sample at the very end. building it slowly but surely.

this one came out in 2006 on heavy vinyl in jiscomusic, what became the house of the revenge and 6th borough project in their most lucid times. it samples gabor szabo’s ‘keep smilin’ with much success and if you wait for the massive break, you will get goosebumps all over your body as long as you have a bit of musical sensibility.

it was bootlegged in 2010 so you can still get some copies. This is, however, digitized in its full glory from the original release. hope you value this one as much as i do!

get it here!

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.

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.