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.┬áTastefully 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 ┬áthe 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’.

solomun – love recycled (2diy4, 2011)

Mladen Solomun is the head honcho of Diynamic and has tech house credentials to rival the biggest names in the genre. A couple of weeks ago he entered the fray of the edit arena. The first 12″ to be released on the new edit wing of Diynamic, 2DIY4, ‘Love Recycled’ is very much a tale of two sides. In the red corner is the peak time summer stormer, whilst the blue corner brings the deep and dark drama. It’s hands in the air vs heads in the k hole.

On the peak time house tip is an edit of Michael McDonald’s blue eyed smoothie ‘I Keep Forgettin’, widely known as the basis for Warren G and Nate Dogg (RIP)’s Regulate. Solomun pushes the tempo from easy groove to dancefloor stomp, plays with filters and adds percussion to keep things bouncy. Whilst I’m keen on the way he’s dealt with the sample, the effect on the vocal does not please these ears, so this could be a marmite track.

Turn the record over and things get much darker.┬áKicking things off is a very MCDE metallic house number, utilising the soulful Curtis Mayfield vocals first found on Bran Van 3000’s Astounded, and the result is as brilliant as the concept unlikely. Rounding things off is a very dark and moody slice of house music with the most evil bass sound this side of Benga. I’m gonna plump for Robert James’ ‘Sleep Moods’ for the original, since the vocals used (originally a Janet Jackson sample (No Sleep)) are exactly the same.

Whilst on first inspections Side A seems to be the real crowd pleaser it is a little throwaway in comparison to the realness and soul of the two darker cuts. All round though, this is a solid release.

Buy it at Juno or Piccadilly

MCDE 07 – Motor City Drum Ensemble

New year, more MCDEs upon us. This time a double vinyl pack. Wtih three different acts inside. MCDE themselves, Hundred 20 and Creative Swing Alliance. All very nice music indeed. But as with every double 12″s pack, they tend to be loads of fillers and not many killers.

Unfortunately, there are not many of the latter here. Hundred 20 go all Chicago a la acid with evocative atmospheres but turning very repetitive. No surprises in either ‘Summer 89’ or ‘Upper Alley’.

Creative Swing Alliance, speeds up the tempo and adds some soulful snippets of female vocals on it in ‘Now’. But ultimately it sounds like a weak MCDE number.

The whole package can be reduced to two tracks, and should have been just one vinyl. The contender not to miss is ‘There’s a Truth’ with captivating vocals from Stee Downes. This is a typical MCDE affair with those dark yet sensual and melancholic chords and the always driving beat. All showered by loads of soul. Proper house music here. On ‘Monorail’, MCDE leave aside the vocals and concentrate on synth. Again, with the old good working formula and their characteristic sound. Although good, not essential. John Roberts remixes this one but does not improve it.

At the end these double whammy gets reduced to the one and only ‘There’s a Truth’. This one will me on many discerning charts and will please many dancers.

Get it while it last. They tend to sell out quickly. However, all things said, if you do not care about the fillers on this double 12″ and just want the gems, get this release instead. It is on digital and was released last year.