As we fall into The Fall our resident house expert, The Insider, drums up some dynamite Detroit, and Detroit-influenced, dance – with Jon Dixon remixing Jimpster for Freerange, Delano Smith bonding with Brian Cage’s Michigander Music, and Ruf Dug & Lovescene`s massive Motor City homage, Make It Right, on Wolf Music. Peak-time bangers can be located on Lumina`s outstanding Odyssey compilation, while considerably more mid-tempo moves come from Gene Tellem`s Secret Witness project, on her Bienvenue Recordings. Session Victim surprise by going all downtempo – Cafe del Mar even – with some jazz / folk fusion. Elsewhere Shur-I-Kan and Milton Jackson meet up for a deep, deep, dive, and there’s a diverse and nuanced new album from Mark Hawkins on Fabric`s Houndstooth…
All selections and words by The Insider.
JIMPSTER / REMIXED / FREERANGE RECORDS
This E.P. should really come with a warning as since it`s so heavy that it`s possible it may damage your device. Freerange deliver this muscular effort, with Jimpster inviting some of his personal faves to put their spin on his wares. Kicking off, Oakland hot stuff, Space Ghost, takes on One – adding layers of synths and bass to beef up the groove. Mad Mike protégé and Timeline / Galaxy To Galaxy’s talent, Jon Dixon, has more than a stab at Smile For A While, reshaping this lockdown anthem into a fusion of piano and solid Motor City sonics. Teflon Dons bring a more jacking feel to the package, while Kai Alce makes his Freerange debut – taking Inside Loop deeper, conjuring up even more soul with his trademark vintage vibe. Man of the moment, Kareem Ali, brings on the sunset with his version of Brought To Bare, while the E.P.`s closer comes courtesy of one of Jamie’s most loved and respected artists, Solid Gold Playaz – the Wisconsin-based duo bringing their rolling tech flavour, quite spectacularly to Echoes In My Head.
SHUR-I-KAN & MILTON JACKSON / PAPER CUT / FREERANGE
More from the fantastic Freerange. Shur-I-Kan is in that circle of outstanding UK deep house producers who have helped guide the genre over the last decade. A regular on some of the finest labels out there – including Lazy Days, Z Records and Future Disco – he`s built a loyal and dedicated following. His latest release sees him revisit a long running partnership with a Glasgow legend. Milton Jackson has got his own set of fine credits, from Glasgow Underground and Bionic Boy fame, to releasing on Planet E, Z Records, Delusions of Grandeur and remixing for Huxley’s Saints and Sonnets. The result of this highly intelligent meeting of musical minds is the Paper Cut E.P. – three effervescent deep house cuts that will wow you and thrill you. The superslick title track feels almost cinematic, with its layers of strings, but its bass-line ensures that you aren’t too far from the floor. Hot Thinking is jazzy house at finest, while Sixth Section hands the controls over to MJ, who drives this release home with a deadly synth line and shuffling groove. As jazzy, as it it deep, as it is chunky.
DELANO SMITH & BRIAN KAGE / KEEP ‘EM MOVIN’ / MICHIGANDER RECORDS
Brian Kage recently dropped his Detroit E.P. on his own Michigander Music and made one hell of mark. He’s been producing music, remixing, mixing-down and mastering for some of the biggest names and labels in Detroit, so you can rest assured that this guy is in the know. Kage joins forces with one of the city’s most influential and true innovators of the Techno City sound – Delano Smith. Together they deliver a three-pronged musical attack. The title track, Keep Em Movin’, goes full on beastmode – setting the record straight about what it really means to represent Detroit. D-Spirit has a vintage feel, where deep afro house meets spacey techno – full of celestial pads and exquisite percussion to make the dancer move. Closing cut, For The Music, is at once familiar, with shades of Smith’s infamous A Message For The DJ reshaped into some real-time, bumping Motor City shit. All power to the Michigander Records. What will they do next? (Released September 27th).
Manchester legend and peoples champion, Ruf Dug, treats us to Make This Right on London’s Wolf Music. Far from the days of Dirty – on Popular Peoples Front – the Ruf one has since released on the highly respected Rhythm Section and Futureboogie, plus has a bi-weekly show on NTS. His own label, Ruf Kutz, caught the attention of Moodymann no less. A certified lover of the ‘street soul’ sound, here he brings onboard the neo-soul stylings of fellow Mancunian, Lovescene, who hits you straight in the sweet spot with her tasty vocal refrain. Make This Right is a moody, deep house journey, made up of sweeping pads, a stirring bassline and smart drums programmes – all paving the way for Lovescene’s mesmerising vocal. A dub is included for the dark sweaty basement dancers, and there’s even an original gangster Beatapella. 10/10 Ruffy!!!
VARIOUS ARTISTS / ODYSSEY / LUMINA
Lumina was launched in 1997 by legendary techno producer David Jacopin, otherwise known as Taho. Jacopin’s first two releases were on Laurent Garnier’s F-Comm at the tender age of 19. Over the years of his colourful and interesting career subsequent sides have been signed to Ovum, Delsin and KMS. Seven years on since its inception, Lumina, now ready this highly polished collection of deep, warm, futuristic techno with soul. This double vinyl compilation brings together eight artists, including scene veterans such as Ian O’Donovan, G-Prod and Theobald Ringer, and Detroit Classic Gallery owner Sol Ortega, plus some relative newcomers in the shape of Yuki Endo, Planet O, and Eric Seti. Highlights have to be Rigel, which puts me in mind of Bruise. Actually, so does Children Of Paradise! Both tracks are massive peak time monsters – joyous and euphoric. Constellations is impressive too, plus the driving beats of Theobald Ringer`s missive, Fractal Conjugaison, although the title is tricky to pronounce. Garnier loves it! Course he does.
SECRET WITNESS / VOLUME 1 / BIENVENUE RECORDINGS
Montreal-based DJ / producer Gene Tellem has had two flawless releases on Wolf Music, with other outings appearing on Quebec’s La Rama Records. It was Gene herself who started Bienvenue Recordings, in 2019. Secret Witness is the musical union of Tellem and fellow Montreal local, Gabriel Rei, with singer / songwriter Laroie. Drums are provided by Pascal Deaudelin. Recorded between Montreal and Saint-Sauveur, this 6-track mini-album is both sophisticated and playful. Combining their massed masterful melodic talents, the mid-tempo results are elegant, and textured. Capturing a mood with its hypnotic vocal that has you diving headfirst into a mystical, metaphysical, journey. This is Sade-esque music, made for the night time. Turn the lights down low, kick back, and enjoy the deepness. (Released September 24th)
SESSION VICTIM & EROBIQUE FT. JAMIE LLYOD / THE CITY
I could harp on about this release forever as its so damn good. Berlin legends and purveyors of nothing but the finer things, Session Victim, have stepped off their normal track and waded in on a cover of a 1978 record entitled The City, by the lesser-known Mark-Almond Band. No not ‘that’ Marc Almond’! The original UK duo made a string of albums back in the days when we were all wearing high-waisted flared trousers and platform shoes. This particular track was on the album Other People’s Rooms, which interestingly enough was the last studio album they made. Session Victim were cruising record shops in between gigs in Montreal when they happened upon a store called ‘Death By Vinyl’, where they picked up this gem of an album. In love with the song, it ended many a Session Victim party, which led to them toying around with idea of covering it. Teamed with their trusty pal and long-time collaborator Erobique, and the exquisite vocal talents of Jamie Lloyd, this simply stunning 7” piece of black wax, with the cover art as a print inside, now is here. Pre-orders are up on Bandcamp, but you may have to settle for digital if you’re not quick. (Released September 24th)
MARK HAWKINS / THE NEW NORMAL / HOUNDSTOOTH RECORDS
Mark Hawkins has been ripping up dance-floors, and standing out from the crowd since the early 2000s. He produced under various monikers – Black Ops, Spider and in more recent years Marquis Hawkes. Now trading under his birth name, this fascinating and unassuming individual brings to the table a fresh collection of works in the shape of The New Normal, released on Fabric’s label Houndstooth. Mark has done his time and earnt his stripes, going through the ranks of first-class raver to demon DJ, to producer of monster cuts on labels like Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, Clone, and AUS Music. This ace album is consists of 11 tracks that bring together both his considerable experience, and ability to cross genres, with the set touching on electronica, pop, and UKG. Highlights are Let It Slide, where Hawkins collaborates with the maverick that is Jamie Lidell, plus 100% Percent with its classic house vibe and dreamy delayed vocal. But the showstopper for me is You Bring The Sunshine. Whack this on in a club, or in your kitchen for that matter, put your hands in the air and twirl. This album is simply outstanding. (Released September 24th)
Selections from all these releases can be heard on Saturday – 8 til 9PM Japan time, from midday GMT – when The Insider will be my very special guest on The Remedy, care of FM Karuizawa 77.5 MHZ. Following broadcast, the show will be archived on Mixcloud.