October Top 10 + Reviews

1. Freedom Soundz Feat. Vanessa Freeman – Feelings EP – Nepenta Promo

2. RSL – Wesley Music – Player

3. Pepe Bradock & Michelle Weeks – Distorted Echoes – KIF

4. Truby Trio – Universal Love (Âme Remix) – Compost

5. Stateless- Leave Me Now (Brooks Remix) – Freerange

6. Only Child featuring Amp Fiddler – U Bring Me Vibes – Grand Central

7. John Tejada – The Toiling of Idle Hands – Immigrant

8. John Arnold with Amp Fiddler – Get Yourself Together / I Can Be (inc Joshua / Spacek Remixes) – Ubiquity

9. LFO – Sheath – Warp

10. 32 Project – The Root Of World – Ibadan

11. I haven’t cracked open the Jaylib album yet, but I bet it deserves an honourable mention.

As you’ve probably noticed I’ve bought a ridiculous number of records recently, so I figured I should share with you the cream of the crop. For starters, there are two new John Tejada albums out as of last week (or at least that’s when I found them). I just mixed through the entirety of each, so my impressions may not be 100% accurate, having only heard them once, and being in a hurry to get to other stuff, I found myself in the mix most of the time.

Anyway… the first, with Arian Leviste is on Playhouse, ‘Fairfax Sake’. Slightly clicky in places with those Tejada chords you’d expect. Much more techno than most Playhouse material. Some of it doesn’t quite elevate to the levels I’d hope for, but the whole thing is solid throughout. Not a weak track on it really, but no single track stood out high above the rest.

The second, ‘The Toiling of Idle Hands’ on Immigrant, is quite varied and showcases a good number of his talents. The whole thing is dance floor playable, but it covers a healthy range from broken techno to straight up Detroit sh*t (or at least his L.A. variant thereof). Having not heard his album on A13, but always having ranked ‘The Matrix of Us’ at the top of his discog, I’d have to rate this right beside it at a glance, if not covering as much downtempo stuff. The 4th, 7th and 8th tracks on this are really really nice but it all holds together as a proper techno album – a rarity at that.

While I’m on the topic, the latest Domu + Volcov ‘Last of the Great Apes’ on Residual is really freaked out broken techno, and includes a crazy Titonton mix, with his beats at their funkiest. Three really solid tracks on this, and one that didn’t particular affect me. And while on this topic, the latest Titonton ‘Raunchy’ is quite nice, if not his most groundbreaking work. It reminds me of his track on the Soul in Motion comp (maybe it was called ‘Anticipation’???), but with beats that kick throughout.

Some of the other new purchases that have really been doing it for me:

Headspace 3 sampler – I don’t think this is terribly new, but it’s a great representation of Europe’s take on Detroit. Fabrice Lig and Arne Weinberg’s tracks stand out to me, but all four are really nice. Remind me to get these EPs!

Techno is back! 🙂

Only Child – U Bring Me Vibes – Grand Central: Features Amp Fiddler on vocals and keys, with two remixes from DSL (of Chili Funk fame), and another from Mantis Recordings. Each of the remixes adds a new twist, but the original holds it all together best for me. If you like Amp Fiddler, this is pretty much a must in my mind.

John Arnold with Amp Fiddler – Get Yourself Together / I Can Be ( inc Joshua / Spacek Remixes ) – Ubiquity: Recently reviewed here to death, so I won’t go into a lot of detail other than echoing the other sentiments. Each remix is great, and the originals are as good as you’d expect from this duo. I still haven’t had a chance to take in the full John Arnold album yet b/c I want to devote the attention to it that it deserves.

Stateless- Leave Me Now ( inc Swell Session / Brooks Remixes ) – Freerange: I really like the Stateless album ‘Art of No State’, and it sort of surprises me that I haven’t seen more discussion of it anywhere (not necessarily here). The Brooks remix on this adds a bouncy galloping beat that kind of reminds me of some of Thomas Fehlmann’s more recent beat work, with sparse sounds and melodies that don’t interfere with the amazing, huge airy vocal. It also sounds to me as though he’s altered the delivery of the vocals pretty substantially in order to fit it into his rearrangement. It works really well. This is another excellent remix from Brooks. I think I like his heavily vocal stuff best of his work, even if all if it is excellent.

Pepe Bradock & Michelle Weeks – Distorted Echoes – KIF: I know I’m beating a dead horse, but this is fantastic. I’m sure it will be warming dance floors through the new year. Definitely makes the top 20 of 2003, without a doubt.

Freedom Soundz Feat. Vanessa Freeman – Feelings EP – Nepenta Promo: Alex Attias certainly has a way with vocals. This may be the best record of my recent purchases. Very hard to classify – perhaps ‘Broken House’? Although that description may not do justice to the prototypical West London synth line that ties this all together. It’s one of those really crafty arrangements that gives you the counter before the melody, and shifts the puzzle pieces throughout. The primary synth line is constantly developing, and the vocal is so sweet and powerful. Everything fits together like a dream on this record. It even has thematic beats, where the vocals match what the music does. I completely geek for that stuff. 8) The B side is also very nice. Another one for the top 20.

Truby Trio – Universal Love (Âme Remix ) – Compost: I don’t often find myself in the JCR camp. Really enjoy the stuff but it doesn’t often wind up on my platters, so I tend to avoid. This Âme remix is fantastic though, and quite unlike what you’d expect. A tightly rhythmic male vocal over detuned Detroit chords and a sparse beat. It sounds more like Pepe Bradock than Compost stuff. This is gonna destroy some dance floor.

32 Project – The Root Of World – Ibadan: Hiroshi Watanabe on Ibadan! Sounds odd for sure, but when you put it on it makes sense. Strongly reminiscent of Wayne Gardiner or Larry Heard, but still distinctly Tread(ed). This is lush.

LFO – Sheath – Warp: Some of the first side of this record is a bit noisey for my taste these days. Certainly not bad, but doesn’t really excite me much. This isn’t as revolutionary as I’d expected from my drunken ½ memories of ATP, but still a very solid return to writing for Mr. Bell. I think this will be a grower too. There are at least three or four tracks that really hit home, especially towards the end of the album.

RSL – Wesley Music – Player: As featured on and blown up by Gilles Petersen this Spring, this is as anthemic as they come. I finally found my copy a few months after release when Piccadilly became the benefactor of a distributor find. And it sounds like something rescued from a vault, locked up for 25 years. Uplifting in the best way, and dripping with funk, this is completely essential, and is already hard to find due to the Petersen hype. If you see it buy it. Pure funk. The B side is also great, adding a hip hop edge, subtracting the vocals. Manchester seems to have a ton of great creative activity at the moment. This is another certainty for the top 20.

Back to those new tunes now…