Paraphrasing the Soul Sonic Force and sorting through today`s releases for tunes that could have graced Alfie & Leo`s Amnesia dance floor.
Locked down between Lake Lecco and Milan, Leo Mas certainly hasn’t been lazy. While secretly squirreling away on a line of t-shirts, he’s also been busy bouncing musical ideas around with his long-standing studio partner, Fabrice. A few fruits of the pair`s labours are now poised for release.
A track included on Bottin`s latest E.P., Artifact 14, is already in shops. Do Be My My actually being a rework of one of Leo`s first ever remixes. Dating from 1989, it`s a piece of catchily scatted Euro dance, with more than a touch of the Enzo Avitable`s and the George Kranz`s about it. Losing the OG`s Stone Fox Chase-esque harmonica, snares and timpani collide in climaxes as Tour De France-like electro sequences twitch and twitter in the spaces in between.
Leo and Fabrice also deliver one of the dynamite reworks of Expositions` Energia Mistica, for Andy Pye`s Balearic Social Records. Seahawks` Pete Fowler and Jon Tye stretch Reuben Vaun Smith`s already very special original out into a serene 15 minutes of sampled fresh water streams and ringing Tibetan bowl resonance. Dense clusters of keys coalescing with accordion-like notes in weightless, fluffy, clouds. Woodwinds whistling way in the distance as snatches of a self-help tape dance to a slow samba like lilt. L & F on the other hand construct a cowbell and conga-led chug. Heavily percussive, and heroically dubbed, slowly building, hypnotically, until at half-time, the freak-out fireworks go off. Wah wah snarls disturbing the calm, and with Reuben`s damn fine fretwork ultimately forming its focus.
In addition the veteran Italian duo are part of the crew called in to attend to Cantoma`s brilliant Back Into Daylight. Their refix of the song – a collaboration between Phil Mison and Quinn Luke – rolls along on a rhythm not unlike (Amnesia and Shoom staple) Womack & Womack`s Life Is Just A Ballgame. Its bass-line perhaps a vamp on Sandee`s Notice Me. The air, emotional, reflective, borne out by plaintive blasts of brass, and swooning strings – making it super suitable for sunrise, or sunset. Pete Herbert retains that mood, but adds a forceful kick. Transforming the soft sighs and gentle chimes into a twilight slice of house. Its big, uplifting, old school “scream-up” styled piano, and chunky electronic b-line perfectly fitting the lyric`s positivity, and promises of brighter days. Completing the package, Ruf Dug sets his sonic sights post-midnight, with dark arpeggios navigating the night. Far slower, far dubbier, than the other 2 revisions, he accompanies ritual hand drum rattle with machined human harmonies, and icy, 4AD, guitar reverb. The piano and horns now rendered quiet and introspective. All in all, a very high quality `80s pop update (you can currently check out these mixes on Beatport).
Ruf Dug has an excellent E.P. of his own ready for release on Jake Hollick and Gabriel Szatan`s No Bad Days – dividing the 12 up into 4 quadrants of the Crystal Maze. Leading you through the slo-mo, tip-toeing, trance of the somnambulant, cinematic string-suffused Medieval Zone, to the banging, bouncing, pounding, propulsive, synth pop of the Industrial Zone. Traveling via gated shapes, and entering Aztec Zone`s dark electro groove. Ancient winds whistling, and subliminal suggestions whispering in your ear, while Ruffy hammers out a ringing refrain on the Devil`s anvil, Fini Tribe-like, De Testimony-esque. The real gem perhaps in these bejeweled bashment basements is perhaps the dance-floor filing Future Zone. Its twisting tones and drones, echoed clicks and claps, riding a racing bass-line. Bubbling, buzzing, acidic, barely under control, threatening, any second, to bust loose. The thundering, tribal thumping, velocity tempered by chilled chimes, and a chorus like a cut-up accordion, or broken, beaten, bandoneon.
A new name to me is Saturnino – and it shouldn’t be since, Saturnino Celani is currently one of Italy’s most sought after session bassists. Here working with producer Pierpaolo Pieroni and guitarist/producer Davide Ferrario he demonstrates his chops across 5 varied dancers for Tiberio Carcano and Rocco Fusco`s Rollover Milano Records. Globe-trotting stylistically from oud-accompanied belly-dancing disco, to synth-tastic slapped bass boogie, and Teti`s house meets galloping Morrione & Leone Spaghetti Western theme. On Mimas, looped vocal snippets shape a cryptic, occult chant – intro-ing kinda country picking and a borrowing of Lee Oscar`s distinctive blues harp. The track`s laid back vibe effectively reimagining a much-loved afro / cosmic classic. Milano`s orchestral kettle drum crash sounds the way for a latin samba. Its playful vocal, a half-spoken, half-sung baritone rhyme, possessing something of Dieter Meier`s well-traveled, worldly-wise raconteur sleaze. Its keys mimicking Cuban Jazz horns honking in old Havana.
Michael Paul`s Reggae Music, reissued by the cracking Kalita, is the sort of electro-boogie / skank that Emotional Rescue have side-lined in for the last 5 or 6 years. See the 101 Band, Richard Ace, Glenn Adams, Charisma, Carol & Carl Jacobs, One Blood, Red Cloud, Paul Robinson, Noel Williams…For me, this 12`s all about the longer Taxi Gang-esque instrumental. Limber and lithe like Larry Levan let loose in Compass Point.
London trio, Super Fu, trailer their forthcoming Paper Recordings long-player, teasing with the single, Cocoons. All I Have Known reaches for the heavens, stretching for falsetto frequencies, over grainy piano, and synth sustain, while body-bending, bottomless, subs shake short arpeggiated sequences about. Dan Wainwright and Massey give the fairly mellow original a big, big, disco overhaul. Opening with handclaps and congas, and then looping, stabbing, orchestral strings. Setting the scene for some superb Stratocaster strutting, which adds a very tasty post-punk-funk edge. The epic nature of their efforts perhaps owing a least a little to Andrew Weatherall`s lavish, landmark versioning of Primal Scream`s Uptown. Maybe a tribute of sorts? If so, it`s a damn fine one.
Stay Here, featuring the vocals of Sarah Lazenby, is superlative street soul. Built on bass heavy bleeps and gospel harmonies, the song updates the smart, savvy, sonics of seminal acts, such as Soul II Soul, and Fifth Of Heaven. Coyote then come in and get it fucking well stoned. Dropping the dubwise and rendering everything ssssslllllooowww and lllllooooow.
Coyote have a 12 of their own, intent on getting you moving your feet. Stamping and clapping, alternating between blue sky synths and acidic fractals, the A-side asks the question, Will We Ever Dance Again? The large, arms-in-the-air piano suggests that the answer is in the affirmative. As Above, on the flip, stutters and rattles, rubbing up against a dub b-line, in a fashion that had me thinking of Orchestra JB. Its buoyant keys, again, aimed at recreating the heavens. Coyote also have a new long-player, The Mystery Light, set to ship – but I`ll get to that when I start shaking not stirring the next batch of Chocolate Milk & Brandy, in a little bit.
Mix to follow care of my dear friends at Hamon Radio, which also features previously reviewed “hits” from Amazonia, Good Block, Mind Fair, Rudy’s Midnight Machine, and Soundstealers.
Unknown – A Strange World – When Doves Cry
Super FU – Stay Here – Paper Recordings
Expositions – Energia Mistica (Leo Mas & Fabrice Remix) – Balearic Social
Soundstealers – Stealin An Dealin Dub – Heels & Souls
Michael Paul – Reggae Music (Instrumental) – Kalita
Mind Fair – That Thing (Fabrizo Dub) – Rogue Cat Sounds
Heart Sphere – Emergency Relief (Piano Mix) – Basic Spirit
Good Block – Strato – Good Block
Amazonia – Amazonia (Good Block Remix) – Heels & Souls
Saturnino – Milano – Rollover Milan
DC Fontaines – A Heros Death (Soulwax Remix)
Coyote – As Above – Is It Balearic?
Super FU – All I Need (Dan Wainwright & Massey Mix) – Paper Recordings
Rudys Midnight Machine – La Rochelle – Faze Action Records
Bottin – Do Be My My – Artifact
Ruf Dug – Future Zone – No Bad Days