Ben Sun shines, and brings some winter heat. Nate08 shows us what’s currently hot in Mumbai. Footshooter and Nightset throw modern, plugged-in, jazz-fusion shapes. More Amour polish their mirrorball and drag disco up to date. Steve Mill puts his MPC through its paces. Jazz N Palms reimagine a Balearic classic. Tigerbalm goes globe-trotting with her International Love Affair. Marina Trench turns heads with a downtempo delight. Dam Swindle celebrate 10 terrific years in the game by reissuing the smash that made their name.
Words & selections by our favourite four-to-the-floor expert, The Insider.
BEN SUN / ALLUVIAL SKETCHES / PHONICA RECORDS
Oh, how we love Ben Sun! From his releases on his own Voyeurhythm imprint, to the string of E.P.s on the esteemed Delusions of Grandeur, to his remixes for Reggie Dokes, Quantic, San Soda, all the way to his most recent outing on Razor-N-Tape – the massive Distant Messenger. This Aussie, now based in London, is a DJ with a crateful of personal and emotional selections, plus a healthy disregard for cliches. Ben is now up on Phonica Records` main imprint with Alluvial Sketches, a set of four high quality tracks that range from slick disco, to minimal, to deep and hypnotic tribal rhythms. Kicking off with the filtered disco tip of Trip, and the beautiful Balearic groove that is Glow, before the MASSIVE floor-filler, Siren, rounds off the record in the most dramatic style. 9/10
Mumbai man of the moment, Nathan Thomas, is Nate08, stepping out on London’s Needwant with his full-length excursion, Furaha. Nate08 has been bubbling on the underground, and making his mark on the Mumbai scene as a live performer and session musician. His productions blend jazz, funk, UK broken, dub, and house, into a colourful carnival of sound. The album features vocal performances by the brilliant Jitwam, who sounds like Prince to me on Sunrise Sunfall. Azamaan Hoyvoy’s honeyed voice livens up proceedings on Trigger Fool, creating a stunning slice of low-slung future house deepness. Megan Murray sings the hook on Want You, as acid bass notes bounce over glistening synths and driving beats. Closing cut, Primrose, sees the album home with a fitting flourish, where Naisha‘s heartfelt harmonies sail across an ocean of polished and ever so classy chords. This album is vibrant, joyful, and essential. 9/10
FOOTSHOOTER / AFTERGLOW FM / WOLF MUSIC
Barney Whittaker, otherwise known as Footshooter, is a whole vibe! His new release comes fresh off the back of his highly acclaimed debut album, Astral Black. An exquisite six track opus entitled Afterglow FM, his return to Wolf Music mixes up a wide range of genres, showcasing his full spectrum of skills. Opening in cinematic style with Welcome In, then, as the story unfolds, Turning enters with a South London bang of broken beats, snares and hi hats. Archetype 7 follows suit, tipping its hat to the days of Co-op, with some killer chords reminiscent of R&S classic, Lone’s Airglow Fires. The B-side features Dojo, where breaks meet an afro house groove, while Angel(s) is for those late-night hours, and the contemplation of life’s magnificent moments. Finally, just close your eyes to climatic cut, Hold On. Let the music wash over, and heal you. 7/10
TIGERBALM / INTERNATIONAL LOVE AFFAIR / UBIQUITY
Rose Robinson is Tigerbalm, and her much anticipated album, International Love Affair, is hosted on one of the most important labels of our time, Ubiquity Records. Full props for getting it signed there! Previously part of duo, Earth Boogie – who released a long-player on Leng – this time Robinson goes solo. The remix talent Rose has muscled onboard, however, is weighty: veteran producer Massimo Lamagna, Razor-N-Tape artists Pedro Guinu & Tee Cardaci, Demi Riquisimo, the brilliant Quartz, Balearic beauties Brewster & Mang aka Mang Dynasty, and last but not ever least, Tokyo terror, Max Essa. Joy “Snake Milk” Tyson, of Berlin’s Farafi Band, adds her queen-of-the-night vocals. Tigerbalm’s trademark sound is kaleidoscopic, unflinchingly percussive, and undeniably infectious. The product of someone who really knows their way around the studio, International Love Affair will surprise as much as it delights. Most attempts to describe it are doomed to fail! This Tiger is coming to get you! 9/10
STEVE MILL / POOR’S EGO / SIMPLES
Hot on the heels of his Love Attack E.P. on Dirt Crew, Steve Mill hits back with Poor’s Ego, on his own imprint, Simples. Thessaloniki native, Mill, digs back into his archive to revive this lively deep house gem, and hands it over to a cracking cast of remixers. Crackazat, steps up to re-interpret the title cut, adding his signature jazzy keys and pads – delivering in the pick of the pack for me. Brabe & Piem elevate proceedings in a more electronic vein, while Mill’s own MPC Jam chops it up good and proper. This is sure to leave an impressive mark on deep house dance-floors. 7/10
MARINA TRENCH / IMPERMEABLE EN ETE / SWEET STATE
Marina Trench shines bright as one of the deep house underground’s most intriguing talents. Having managed to carve out a reputation as a selector with impeccable taste, Marina is blessed with an innate ability to expertly move oceans of crowds at clubs and festivals the world over. Her productions for Wolf Music and Heist Recordings have helped put her cultured, elegant and mature sound firmly on the map. Initially signed to DJ Deep’s seminal Deeply Rooted, with Kerri Chandler providing a remix, no less, Marina now releases her second outing on her own label, Sweet State. The E.P., entitled Imperméable En Eté, features three cuts that flow from outstanding opener Ose – a collaboration with with fellow Parisian, Hugo LX – to the classic piano house of L’Orage, and finally the slick, and classy downtempo hit, Hirondelle. 9/10
MORE AMOUR / NIGHTSHIFT – DON’T LOOK DOWN / HI QUALITY RECORDS INC.
New label Hi Quality Records Inc. is the lovechild of Jon Solo & Artwork. Friends for over twenty years, these veterans of the scene have shared many a stage, studio sessions, and beers over the years! Their fledgling imprint comes out of the trap with a belting double-sider that feels like a pair of timeless classics in the making. The label heads, in their More Amour guise, provide us with this first outing. These two deeply delicious disco gems are awash with musicality and are polished to perfection. On the A-side you’ll find peak-time cosmic colossus, Nightshift, where playful synths, big fat drums, and lashings of lasers will have any self-respecting dance-floor diva stomping their sequined stacked platforms. On the flip, the boogie beast that is Don’t Look Down will take the dancers to a whole other dimension. More More Amour please!!! 10 / 10
JAZZ N PALMS / MILANO / HELL YEAH
Marco Gallerani very carefully curates his Hell Yeah print, and he continues his quality run with the latest effort by the extremely talented Jazz N Palms. This Italian, relocated to Ibiza, has been playing at the coolest hangouts, like Pikes Hotel and The Standard. Digging deep into Balearic collectors’ curious crates, he now resurrects this beauty, a song that he first heard on Phil Mison mix-tape. The original track, Exotica by Piera Martell, has been cleverly reworked, adapting the vocal and setting its story in Milan. With vocal duties performed by Giovanna Lubjan of 219Out fame, this beauty is out on a 7”, with a disco version added as a digital bonus. 8/10
NIGHTSET / DIAMOND EYES / SLIP SLOP CLAP
I`m constantly amazed by the music that comes out of Australia and this release is no exception! Sonny Grin and Kats are Nightset. The Sydney-based, nu-jazz-come-house duo’s sound blends elements of classic house, electronica, and neo-soul. They`ve been making their mark on the Sydney live music scene, and on this buttery smooth soulful masterpiece, Nightset bring onboard Chilean-born, fellow Sydney-ite vocalist / guitarist, Josué Vilches. The effortless RNB tones of Josué’s vocal – cleverly referencing Lucy in The Sky… – result in an undeniably feel-good listening experience. The track is a super smooth joint that strikes the right balance between live instrumentation and perfectly programmed machines. There’s a live one-take wonder that showcases their performance chops, and a house-y Dub rerub. Here Josué has plenty of space to shine amid vibrant disco riffs and plenty of playful percussion. All that’s missing here is an Atjazz remix! 9/10
DAM SWINDLE / KEEP ON SWINDLING PT3 / HEIST RECORDINGS
Saving the best until last? Maybe… In-demand producers, and globetrotting DJs Dam Swindle complete their Keep on Swindling trilogy, dropping the third and final part at the beginning of December. Currently celebrating 10 years together in the game, the Swindlers continue with the quality on this new release which consists of two original tracks, You, and More Love, plus a re-release of possibly their most important track, and a pair of remixes which will make you jump for joy.
Michael Dodman aka Huxley’s Saints & Sonnets put out Dam Swindle`s seminal party-starter, The Wrap Around, in 2013. Loved by many, but owned by few, this song skyrocketed the Dutch duo to fame, and it`s back to blast them into the next decade. Amsterdam artist DJ Bone’s take adds his trademark techno-soul touch, while the legendary Nightmares On Wax has a go at 64 Ways, turning the original on its head, producing a certified club ready monster! 10 years and 10/10