Starting with the new music…
Original Amnesiac and “Queen Of Balearic” on Craig Christon`s Beyond Paradise label. Assisted by Leo Mas & Fabrice, Andrew Weatherall, and Craig & Tim Hutton`s Paradise Project.
Mid-tempo, arms in the air business. 2017 also saw the vinyl release of the essential Francois K remix of Mark`s Cascades, and International Feel scored additional hits with mini-LPs by Paris` Shelter and L.A.`s Pharaohs.
Bruxas – Mas Profundo – Dekmantel
Taking cues from Brazilian Boogie and Fusion. A more “dance-floor-direct” take on the music of Italy`s Early Sound Recordings (who`s Bop & 291Out E.P. was another essential). I said, “Like Vakula taking Ray Mang on his Voyage To Arcturus”. And I`m sticking with that.
Copenema – Te Faz Bem – Music For Dreams
Something else that took influence from Brazil was Kenneth Bager`s Copenema. Quite simply Copenhagen`s Coma Club meets Ipanema. I can`t wait to hear more.
Blue-eyed Soul record of the year. Sounds smashing loud. Proved to be a real head-turner.
I don`t think Tokyo-ite Matt Lynne could believe his luck when his licensed the first vinyl missive in nearly thirty years from the original Funky Nassau Synclavier sorcerer. Highly anticipated and it didn’t disappoint.
Roy Comanchero – Mick (Eddie C`s Wedding Re-Dub) – Wrong Era
Leo Mas hipped me to this. It doesn`t appear to do much over its considerable length – except work – every time. Its subtlety is most certainly not lost.
Mama – Unmask Me (Ashley Beedle mixes) – Batty Bass
On a House-ier tip. Although its actually almost Ambient, with dancers propelled by the near-inaudible sub-bass, and entranced by the sighing, sweet vocal. Blame Weatherall.
Other House-ier things that grabbed me this year, were Esa`s Second-Summer-Of-Love referencing remix of Dayme Arocena (watch out for the Joe Claussell reworks in 2018) and sax-y outings from Bogus & Hunter (Bad Runner on 12Records) and Miskotom (Hyena on Pleasure Unit).
Vinyl guru Basso on the edit and Lady Brenda Beachball Ray on melodica, whispers and her own very unique mix-down. Also check Brenda`s Skip Hop To Bop on Aficionado for another example of another big, House-sounding record without any drums.
Soca cover of Joe Jackson`s eloquent, evocative `80s Top Tenner that manages to morph towards The Detroit Experiment`s interpretation of Donald Byrd`s Think Twice in its extended Part 2.
Steppin` Out got covered a second time, in French, by Thool, as part of DEEK`s Covered In Gloria collection. Other standouts from that set were ALASKALASKA sleazing Edwyn Collins, Geller & Kaya dubbing out Wham!, and Sultan Shakes oud-ing up Voodoo Ray. Nathan, Stu, please give me a shout when the vinyl is due.
Denis Mpunga & Paul K. – Remixes (all of them) – Music From Memory
From covers to re-issues. The Music From Memory commissioned re-works of Denis Mpunga & Paul K.`s early `80s Criola sessions had something for everyone. From Epic Ambient Trance (Interstellar Funk), to Afro / Cosmic (Dazion), Digidub (Androo) and energetic Proto-House (Prins Emanuel).
Also on the remix / re-issue front Mark Pistel`s respectful re-fix of the Soft Cell / Psychic TV-associated Tab-Jacking Blue Pyramid (Emotional Rescue) also took my money.
Other re-issues that graced a Tokyo dance floor were Peter Hunnigale`s Untamed Love (Jamwax), Pino Presti`s Soul Makossa (Best Records), and Shahara Ja`s I`m An Arabian Knight (Left Ear).
Not exactly a reissue, but the re-discovered 1978 Afro Discoteca E.P. from Alessandro Alessandroni (Four Files) – who sadly passed away in March – proved to be extremely useful in segueing between old and new, new and old 100 BPM chuggers. The vinyl sampler for Harvey`s The Sound Of Mercury Rising (Pikes) was worth picking up for Tore` She`s A Lady alone. And while I`m on comps, I found I kept coming back to Phil Mison`s Out Of The Blue (Leng). Language`s Tranquility Bass and Congarilla`s Sacred Tree. I`ve become a little obsessed with Coste Apetrea`s Hej Dar. I think that Rupa Biswas repress was a boot, but it`s lovely all the same.
From re-issues to re-edits, and Daniel T. and Tony Adams both rocked the Brazilian Boogie for Chit Chat. Tokyo Matt returned to the city and brought Pi Po Pa with him. Hokkaido`s Ikeda X provided a secret weapon in the form of Gypsy Queen. The still somewhat unsung Andi Hanley released a double-pack on Ruf Dug`s Ruf Kutz. Kinshasa was the standout.
Hearing Andi`s extension of Wham!`s Blue (Armed With Love) on a Balearic Blah Blah E.P. made me go watch the Club Tropicana video. Had me, one year on, so fucking sad about the boy, George.