Paraphrasing the Soul Sonic Force and sorting through today`s releases for tunes that could have graced Alfie & Leo`s Amnesia dance floor.
In 2017, Invisible City Editions rescued and repressed an E.P. of Durban artist, Sandy B`s mid-90s minimal electronic kwaito funk. It was the parting shot from Gary Abugan and Brandon Hocura as a duo, prior to Brandon moving on to set up Seance Centre. Two of the tracks from that release have now been re-edited by Biologic Records` Harold Boué, aka Lion`s Drums. Student Night, probably the better known piece, is sped up and given a much bigger kick, so that it now packs a strong early Strictly Rhythm-esque punch. Jacking and raving, as if it were still the second summer of love, accompanied by congas and bongos, and serenaded by synthesized flute. Amajovi is also pumped with additional percussion. Moody and mediative, chanted, tribal house, imagine Culture Vibe`s Ma Foom Bey meets Zazou-Bikaye – with added 303 action.
What sounds like Aleister Crowley requests a rewind, and intros a beast of banging bass and arpeggios a-go-go. Spinning toward frenzy with snippets, snatches, of exotic chants, this is an authentic homage the heavier end of early `90s Euro house, and / or the lighter end of `90s Euro trance. Stuff tailor-made for folks who’d been up all night, carousing The White Isle, only to end up further off their faces, seeking sanctuary, in Plat d`en Bossa, at Space – while the sane would be sitting down to breakfast.
A robotic rhumba, a mid-tempo, sorta machine samba. Buoyant and bumping, bouncing, on an acidic bass-line, like an oddity from a Baldelli mixtape. Synth and brass fanfares like Deodato doing Also Sprach Zarathustra. Playful, with loud, latino group vocals, this is definite party music.
DG`s OG is an arty (of noise) abstract electronic atmosphere – shot through with stuttered vocals, Zang Tumb Tuum twang, and a woofer-worrying `80s 808 / industrial boom. Ruf Dug`s re-rub begins with the sampled sound of a buzzing fly, before dropping into a deft dub rendition – adding a melody of ringing, psyche distortion, that`s like a heavy hit of hookah smoke, blown (back) across the Bosphorus.
Darker and chunkier than the Tokyo tearway`s usual gear, this is driven by a super aggressively slapped bass. Countered by cowbell and syndrum pops, Max also manages to weave in mysterious Eastern guitar licks – think Blancmange on Top Of The Pops – while a TB-303 provides a fizzing fractal undertow.
Mid-90s Tech-house giant, Pacific, have been working on making their back catalogue available, both digitally, and in time, waiting lists permitting, on vinyl. Big Air is the latest archival missive to get the overhaul. The original is a racing peak-time main room rattler, with a righteous reggae-influenced b-line, sliced-up by sharp serrated strings, which, as it evolves, it becomes less tech more house, almost disco even, and softens around a whistling melody, and jazzy, syncopated snares. The 2022 re-boot features fresh, pounding, remixes from LFSF, Stacey Pullen, and Sunrise Society, while Charles Webster takes things down a more dubbed-out Basic Channel route. As far as we’re concerned here, though, Balearic-ally bent, you should focus your attention on the psychedelically spiked bottom-end throb of Two Tribes` Justin Deighton & Leo Zero`s re-imagined teutonic trancer.
The Toronto-based twosome of Dylan-Thomas Childs and John McLeod get their hands – officially – on couple of sought after tracks by disco diva, Mary Mundy. Love Me Love Me is a terrifically teased-out hypnotic galloping groove, but the winner for me is Love Is Gone. Originally released in 1982, on Laurie Records, this storming song might be familiar to a few, since it got a cheeky edit from Moton, back in 2009. The Patchoulis themselves have links to the London label, having collaborated on an E.P. last year. If I`m honest the Moton pressing was more or less a straight boot, but the Brothers take the big, big, piano-ed, gospel-tinged anthem and extend it to twice its OG length. Looping up the intro and then at the 4 minute mark, rewinding right to the start (and why not?), before rejoining the huge sing-along coda. Honestly, this is guaranteed to lift any get together, regardless of your preferred four-to-the-floored sub-genre.
Classic cosmic pop. I bought my “vintage” copy from Basso, at The Growing Bin. He told me that he’d had copies of the 7, but at that time, I had to settle for the album. I didn’t even believe that a 12 existed, until my Rogue Cat / Rotation Sound System mates put it on a mix. The song was subsequently booted, on one of those Balearic Sound volumes. I’ve still never seen an original in the flesh. Now, however, comes a legit reissue, care of Strangelove Music.
Taking its opening “music is an opium” lyric to heart, this is a super slo-mo, super stoned shuffle. Superior warm-up, mood-setting, shizzle, that’d slot in alongside sides such as Anna’s Systems Breaking Down. Its hook is instantly recognizable, and, ironically, actually impossible to forget.
Dubmaster Dennis “Blackbeard” Bovell has never, never, been away, but he seems to be in the midst of a hyperactive purple patch, perhaps following his high-profile radical reworking of Jarvis Cocker`s brilliant Swanky Modes. Dennis` dub takes on The Pop Group`s ground-breaking Y is finally in shops, and his own back catalogue is being comprehensively remastered and reissued. He’s now remixed The Smile, by Radiohead off-shoot, The Smoke. In a similar vein to his recent wild versions of A Mountain Of One`s Custard`s Last Stand, Dennis cuts the tune a brand new dynamic. The post – prog-y – rock totally refreshed with a inner / outer space exploring reconstruction of delayed drums, musical dropouts, and ethereal falsetto fragments. This is a high, hi-fi, headphone experience of the first order. The bass, of course, being king, while the other elements gyrate in and out, orbit, free of gravity.
Besides the tracks listed above, joints from the cracking charity collections on Test Pressing and Wrekin Havoc form the core of the attached promo mix. There`s also music you shouldn’t miss from Richard Sen, Matt Gunn, Chris Coco & Luca Averna – plus Sean Johnston`s superlative remix of David Holmes` Its Over, If We Run Out Of love. There`s also something rather special from Sean`s Summerisle Six project. While I’m not exactly sworn to secrecy, I’ve been asked to hold off for a while on a full review. You’ll have to wait a couple of weeks.
Xavi Y Andres – What Do You See In Me? (Dub 1) – Secret Bar
The Smile – The Smoke (Dennis Bovell Remix) – XL Recordings
Double Geography – Dance Survey (Ruf Dug Remix) – Is It Balearic?
Matt Gunn – Lost In The Drohne – Paisley Dark
Summerisle Six – This Is Something (Rico Conning Remix) – Is It Balearic?
Wrekin Havoc – One Million Fingers – Wrekin Havoc
Beat Broker – Hey Amigo (Extended Dub) – Dream Chimney
Max Essa – Fingers & Thumbs – Jansen Jardin
Wrekin Havoc – Slap My Ass – Wrekin Havoc
Asa Moto – Wanowan Efem – Test Pressing
Cantoma – Verbana (Noche Espanola Remix) – Test Pressing
Ponty Mython – Jealous Lover (Johnny Rock Remix) – Test Pressing
David Holmes – Its Over If We Run Out Of Love (Hardway Bros Dub) – Heavenly
Richard Sen – My Definition Of Funk – Public Release
Sandy B – Amajovi (Lions Drums Edit) – Biologic
Bawrut – Mas Profundo – Ransom Note
Chris Coco & Luca Averna – Underwater – DSPPR
Mary Mundy – Love Is Gone (Patchouli Brothers Edit) – DoDo Records