Funky Alternatives / October 2020

This ceremony starts with Señora. The Spanish producer`s Segundo Sexo, selected from his long-player, Fósil – available to order from Lurid Music. Slo-mo electronics, whose dark is illuminated by zither strings and gated Gregorian chant. 

Senora - Fosil

Señora segues into Ruf Dug`s sleek, sultry, tribute to Dusseldorf`s Salon Des Amateurs, At Night At The Salon. Ruffy continuing to lift the lock-down blues from his Ruf Cutz HQ. Electro submariner sequences flicker, flash and bleep, in the deep, beneath big piano chords, and turning TB-303 tides. Acid still seems very much in vogue, and there a few folks here demonstrating their dexterity on the silver box` dials. 

First up there’s Errortica, the St Petersburg DJ / producer whose debut release is a trio of tracks tied together as Safely Stowed for Les Yeux Orange. All 3 of the tunes are novo new beat in tone. Where slow to mid-tempo electro-funk drums and arpeggiated undertows wind a hypnotic weave. The music`s moody Middle-Eastern melodies suffused with suggestions of steamy Arabian nights. Congas encouraging old-school Chicago b-lines and snares in a Boccaccio-bound march, and at its most acidic on Master Slave. A kind of pitched-up, proto-house take on Chayell`s classic, Tropic. For his remix of said track, Anatolian Weapons takes the TB up several notches and lets lysergic-ally loose. 

Errortica cover

Melbourne’s Polito also have a silver box, and they’re sure gonna use it. The machine snarling all over their Ultraparallel – one of 4 pieces signed to Butter Sessions. Music that ranges from obsidian techno – driven by insistent snares and full of waveform wormholes – to sparse sinister slo-mo selections, where sound-effects whizz in and out of seemingly bottom-less bottom-end – a sense of something predatory lurking in their synthetic shadows. Sublunary opens with an intro of slightly wonky piano and then sets off on groove like Derrick Carter’s classic Chicago Boompty Boompt knocked a tad sideways. A bit like Workshop`s old school updates and homages. Ambient washes mixing with build-the-box bleep. Spectral clarinet and sax leading the way through its bumping counter-rhythm maze. 

Another of those “acidic” people is Can Oral aka Khan. Second Circle have collected a quartet of cuts from his mid-90s archive, under the title, Blue Box Sessions – a nod to the decor of Oral`s New York studio. Groovily positioned between electro and house, and built from TR-808, TB-303, and Korg Polysix, there are somnambulant skanks and psychotropic shuffles bearing stripped-back cold echoes of Compass Point`s tropical new wave sound. Minimal sonic spaces of bumping bass pulses and patterns bedeviled by delayed detail. Mardi-gras cowbell surrounded snaking, siren-like sequences. Slow Stepper summons showers of cascading Riders On The Storm-like keys, while twisted arcs of metallic feedback stop the atmosphere from ever getting too pretty, or “ambient” – keeping dancers on their techno toes. The music reflecting the sound of Khan`s “Killer” parties, held at infamous East Village venue, Save The Robots, and also the output of his own Temple Records. 

Oral`s 1994 E.P., Temple Traxxx, released under the alias 4E, was a huge hit and staple at Andrew Weatherall`s Sabresonic II – events held at London club, EC1. 001 was one those tunes that you’d hear all through the night, and morning, `cos everyone played it. 

Weatherall himself is here – he will always be with us – in the guise of Fort Beulah N.U., plus a couple of reissued remixes. From the coveted Fort Beulah box set, care of Hoxton`s Love Vinyl, #2 casts her potent, purred, sexually-charged magick. 

For those quick of click, Bristol`s Futureboogie Recordings did a limited repress of Craig Bratley`s 99.9% E.P. – which features Andrew`s rework of the title track. The inclusion of a tune called, Italo-Love, gives away the E.P.`s overall audio aim and intent. While Take Me To Bedford Or Lose Me Forever possesses more of a Cafe del Mar vibe (Art Of Noise’s Camilla seduced by Saharan nomads in to the strains of Richard Horowitz` contributions to The Sheltering Sky score), the bulk of the record is a show of supernatured starship-trooping at the cosmic disco – boogie-ing on the Battlestar Galactica. On the run with Giorgio Morroder`s Chase. Weatherall takes the banging 99.9% and slows everything down – including the tune`s ecstatic dance-floor shouts, cries and highs. Its arpeggio now more of a patient percolation, punctuated by rocket ships and laser guns, and a melody like Joe Meek creating a make-believe Middle East in his Islington flat. 

Those fleet of Bandcamp buzzer were also able to purchase a white label repress of Andrew`s remixes of The Orielles` Sugar Tastes Like Salt, made available again by the marvelous – now amazingly 30 years old – Heavenly Recordings. One take a wild rawkus, roll `n` roll, dub-disco party captured on wax. The other a growling post-dubstep dancer. 

Can someone do the same and please put Cut Copy’s Sun God and Mugwump`s Until You’re Worth It back into vinyl circulation? 

Sharing Craig`s love of italo is Munir, whose Circuit Line E.P. on Darker Than Wax  collects 4 further arpeggiated dancers. In and around the time-honoured tropes the respected Indonesian digger adds keys that fall in crystalline cascades, fragmented proto-house patterns, and soar in Neopolitan fusion solos. His homage augmented and updated by Linn drums, mirror-balls and Peech Boys samples. Angelic harmonies and cut—up chants. Racing bass-lines countered by contrasting ambient sheen. Pit Stop combines cowbell, bongos and big snares in a percussive, latino workout. 

Andrew Weatherall`s long-time associate, and studio partner, Nina Walsh, continues – without any fanfare – to bless believers with monthly broadcasts from The Woodleigh Research Facility. Two of the more recent broadsides have been accompanied by the 21st Century beat poetry of Derry`s Joe Duggan. The bulk of public attention and acclaim`s been given to Downhill – an inebriated crawl through Joe’s local pubs – a definite must-listen for fans of Michael Smith`s Giro Playboy – but for moi it`s Play Bingo With Me that shouts “Full-house!” Its metallic, tinny, percussion tapping out a brisk tattoo against a live rock-edged, bass rumble. Mixing desk effects bombarding Duggan`s descriptions of decidedly unglamorous, but real, love. The search for someone to grow old with. 

If you’re after a mellower, more melancholic moment, then also please check the wonderful Woodleigh Lament. 

Andrew`s fellow high-priest of ALFOS, Sean Johnston has been busy remixing Rheinzand`s Obey for Music For Dreams. As Hardway Bros his Stereo Odyssey mix is perhaps a respectful nod towards William Orbit – I know Sean`s a big fan. Creating a womb-like wall of sound, a huge heartbeat bass boom – within which the OG is reduced to whispering, ethereal echoes. His Live at The SSL Dub is a deep post-punk-funk-leaning dose of digi-dread, full of distorted vocals, circuit crackle and fizz. 

Rheinzand remixes

 

I’ve already given ¡La Ruta! – Sean`s collaboration with former Inspiral Carpets bass-player, Martyn Walsh on Days Of Being Wild – a push. But by the time the vinyl lands courtesy of Diggers Factory – in December – one of its tracks, Omertà, I reckon, will have reached anthem status. Imagine New Order covering The Stooges` TV Eye. 

la ruta artwork copy

The last recommendation in this missive continues in that overhauled post-post-punk-funk vein. Daniele Contrini`s Rebirth have reissued Psycho Radio Vs Lc Anderson 2016 sing-along hit, Bad Reputation, and added a trio of new remixes. The OG featured 2 reworks by original `80s Cosmic king, Daniele Baldelli, in cahoots with Marco Dionigi – the first of which is choka with African idiophone and highlife overtones. Their tropic tempered by slightly icy keys. The second is based around a bad, bad, b-line (that`s the punk-funk bit) and wah-wah guitar. With a cowbell keeping time and some terrific Taja Seville / Love Is Contagious timbale action. Red Axes and Roberto Rodriguez both cut that bashed balafon a fresh backbone, and in Red Axes` case a whole new melody and solo, but of the 2020 versions it`s The New Morning`s that does it for me. The crown princes of the `90s Bavarian Cosmic scene transforming the track with complex collisions of bongos and congas, chopped about in fidgety, cross-fader fashion. 

Track-list
Señora – Segundo Sexo – Lurid Music
Ruf Dug – At Night At The Salon – Ruf Cutz
Khan – Slow Stepper – Second Circle
Fort Beulah NU – #2 – Love Vinyl
Polito – Sublunary – Butter Sessions
Erroritca – Safely Stowed – Les Yeux 
Rheinzand – Obey (Hardway Bros Live at The SSL Dub) – Music For Dreams
Craig Bratley – 99.9% (Andrew Weatherall Remix) – Futureboogie
Woodleigh Research Facility with Joe Duggan – Play Bingo With Me – Rotters Golf Club
Psycho Radio Vs Lc Anderson – Bad Reputation (Remixes) – Rebirth
Munir – Pit Stop – Darker Than Wax
¡La Ruta! – Omerta – Days Of Being Wild

Reference Links to follow in a bit…..

 

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