erot – two songs for annie (discfunction, 1999)

Tore Andreas Kroknes, otherwise known as Erot, was a rising star in the house music world at the turn of the millennium. Boyfriend and producer of Norwegian pop starlet Annie, friend and colleague of Bjorn Torske and in house designer at the influential Telle label (home to Kings of Convenience, Bjorn Torske, Royksopp, Annie) things were certainly on the up for Erot. However, the musical world was denied a true star when he died tragically early in 2001 at the age of 23. He paved the way for the Scandinavian disco scene that has gone from strength to strength over the past decade, hailed as an inspiration by Lindstrom, Prins Thomas, Todd Terje and Bjorn Torske. Obviously given the dubby style of his music, he proved a hit with Idjut Boys, who released this track on their own Discfunction label. It is a testament to his love for music that rather than accepting a fee for this release, he instead asked Idjut Boys to pay him in 40 disco 12″s.

The legacy left by Erot is limited to a handful of singles and remixes, all of which sound fresh and current now, and were revolutionary at the time. The pick of these releases was this 12″ on Discfunction. On side a, Erot builds a heart stopping house track out of samples from the Crusaders’ ‘Sweet n Sour’, building drums and rhythms up, letting a rough dubby bassline drive the track forward, then dropping the beautiful keyboards from the original. Stunning. On side b, he delivers another rhythm driven house track made out of a sample of Curtis Mayfield’s  “Give Me Your Love (Love Song)” (from the Superfly OST), played at the wrong speed. A sublime slice of dub house that sounds streets ahead of the releases we see weekly in the times of edit mania. Here are both sides of this unclassic, along with the tracks Erot used to create them.

Erot – Song For Annie

Erot – Another Song For Annie

Crusaders – Sweet N Sour

Curtis Mayfield – Give Me Your Love (Love Song)

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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.

digitape 02 – february 2011

it starts with guitars, esoteric melodies and cinematic landscapes which give way to a hypnotic 4/4 straight house hands in the air affair. rhythm takes the centre stage but always showered by melody. there are arps too!! that huge instrument that produces titillating and sensual sounds courtesy of my (re)discovery of a master track: motorbass ‘ezio’. best 1996 track for me emerging from gallic lands.  so playful and groovy.

from there we head towards teutonic subterranean basslines that will lead us towards a dark and humid beach where we will be greeted by extraordinary synth chords on full stereophonic bloom. and when you think that this is becoming as gloomy as manchester is, the dj drops a real badass that hints towards master and commander Joakim, but no. it is not him. it is matias aguayo and his spooky spanish lyrics giving us a lecture on sonic poetry. pollyester takes the relay and head us towards a sweaty and provocative dancefloor of a social club. things get uptempo here but not for long… we reach a plateau and from there we get tired, we go slow, notalgic, and very very soulful while dancing extremely close to each other. the people from gluefactory will get a bit annoyed at my usage of one of their most venerated and treasured weapons… that you will savor at the end of this aural journey.

but holy crank! let’s stop this nonsensical and rather cheap exercise in poetic musical description, and let’s get to terms with the tracklist for you to enjoy…

1. ghost note ii – albularyo

2. junior boys – work – prins thomas mix

3. stupid human – gun ga ding

4. the dead rose music company – am i still the one (rob mello mix)

5. motorbass – ezio

6. kassem mosse – workshop 12

7. beach house – 10 mile stereo – night plane edit

8. discodeine – singular (extended)

9. pollyester – german love letter – permanent vacation mix

10. morten sorenson – start something – 40 thieves edit

11. claudja barry – dub dynamite – social disco club edit

12. the dead rose music company – bad desire

13. warren g – regulate – the revenge edit

it sounds better when you play it loud!

amadou & mariam – je pense a toi – henrik schwarz mix (philomena 2010)

 

amadou & mariam, a pretty decent act of so called ‘world music’, and embraced / championed by another, more well-known ensemble such as manu chao, produced an excellent song back in 2005: ‘je pense a toi’ (i think (or thought) of you). Warm and touching violins, and catchy guitar chords plus heart wrecking lyrics form a solid track that rides on top of irresistible afrobeats.

solid enough for remixer supremo, and lover of strings, henrik schwarz to give it the necessary strokes to bring it closer to the dancefloor. this is, up to date, what it can be considered his masterpiece. solid drum beat and techno synths edging on acid touches were added to the original warmth from amadou & mariam, helping rise this tune to heights only reachable by some. scharwz kept intact the vocals completely, making this track difficult to pigeonhole. it works ace in any kind of dj set, even at home. it is up there in the pantheon with his other essential mix he did for wei chi on compost. this latter one a real monster of epic proportions (and length).

the schwarz treatment of ‘je pense a toi’ does not exist anywhere but on the elusive and highly limited vinyls released by german label philomena (and I think that affiliated somehow to innervisions). this philomena label is superb. every release is carefully crafted including its beautiful artwork.

what usually happens in this cases of ultra limited vinyl releases is that if they are good the sell out fast and, end up in discogs fetching serious money .

here you have the digital version of it for a very very limited period of time. enjoy it and drop some bucks on the record label. the next installment dedicated to Junior Boys. Prins Thomas (back in shape this time!) and  Marcel Dettman (pretty good minimal techno number) gives you both sides of another sublime philomena vinyl.