Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Column

Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (JUNE)

Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (JUNE 2011)
Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (JUNE 2011)

I’m frantically packing for a holiday (no, not Ibiza this time!) so will keep this column bright and breezy – but what else would you expect as we head into summer?

OSTGUT TON @CORSICA STUDIOS

It’s great to hear that Ostgut Ton, the label run by Berlin superclub Berghain, is kick-starting a London residency this month. Their party, Unterton, will run regularly at Corsica Studios in SE17, and launches June 10 with a top-draw line-up including Ostgut’s tech stalwarts Ben Klock and Marcel Dettman, as well as the funkier Steffi and Tama Sumo – both are residents at Berghain’s renowned Panorama Bar All in all, punters can expect a wide sweep of stylish house and techno sounds – clinical minimalism, dirty electro-disco, old-school house, you name it.

FABRIC

The following night, at Fabric in Clerkenwell, fast rising Argentine DJ and producer Guti presents a special ‘live’ set – Guti, closely associated with Loco Dice’s mighty Desolat label, is making waves thanks to his impressive fusion of punchy electronic house and Latino-jazz influences. Fabric’s line-up also includes Craig Richards, soulful Yank Brett Johnson, deep dancers Motorcitysoul and Mr Crosstown Rebel Damian Lazarus. The night runs 11pm to 8am, as per usual; find out more at www.fabriclondon.com

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DROP LONDON

Further ahead, Phil Asher will be bringing some of his Restless Soul seduction to Drop London’s third birthday bash at EGG in King’s Cross, N1 on June 17 – the party runs in conjunction with EGG’s popular Play night. Drop, of course, has made quite a name for itself in the capital in recent times, especially for its residency at Brick Lane’s Vibe Bar. Its anniversary shindig will also welcome French-born deep house maestro Giom. It’s a tenner for advance tickets at www.egglondon.net

BLACK ATLANTIC PRESENTS...

It’s also worth mentioning Black Atlantic’s next couple of events. The underground promoter – a conglomeration of various top London electronic promoters pushing one-off parties – will be flying in Body & Soul legend Francois K for an epic six-hour set at Brixton venue Plan B on June 18. It is not, however, a Body & Soul experience clubbers can expect. Mr K will be introducing his more experimental club brand Deep Space; a brand which, based at New York’s famous Cielo club, drops everything from house and techno to dub and electronica, and throws in special guests such as Carl Craig, Henrik Schwarz and Croydon bass sensation Joy Orbison. On August 27, Black Atlantic presents soul-house legend Kerri Chandler. It just gets better and better – www.black-atlantic.com

SONAR FESTIVAL

Internationallyâ€Â¦ if you’re at Sonar in Barcelona this month then you might want to find time to check out East Ender – a new three-day festival timed to coincide with it. East Ender, taking place June 16-18 (venue to be confirmed) will give a number of the electronic dance scene’s biggest labels their own stage, including Desolat (Loco Dice, Martin Buttrich),Crosstown Rebels (Seth Troxler), Damian Lazarus, Art Department, Jamie Jones) and Planet E (Moodymann, Stacey Pullen, Carl Craig). For more, head to www.raumclub.com

HAPPY 10TH SECRETSUNDAZE

That leaves the news that cult club night Secretsundaze will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer with a special double-disc compilation mixed by founders James Priestley and Giles Smith.

10 Years Of Secretsundaze will, as expected, mix deep house and swish nu-disco via artists including Recloose, Steffi, Rolando and former Paper Records stars Salt City Orchestra. The album is out at some point in July.

Secretsundaze has gone from strength to towering strength – the ‘local’ East London club night has spawned major international tours in Japan, Ibiza and the States, as well as a booking agency and label. What’s next?

30 YEARS OF GOODTIMES

Finally, elder DJ statesman Norman Jay has confirmed his own anniversary compilation to mark 30 years of the inimitable Good Times soundsystem. Good Times is most strongly associated with London̢۪s Notting Hill Carnival but has developed a major presence at several of clubland̢۪s biggest global festivals in recent years.

Good Times 30, released as double-CD, double-vinyl and download on July 19, offers a broad range of funky licks – everything from Zalmac’s boogie rarity Dreamin’ and Fries & Bridges’ house-edged Forever This (featuring an early vocal from Cee-Lo Green) to Jacob Miller & Inner Circle’s reggae gem Tired Fe Lick Weed In A Bush and Attic Tree’s slick jazz jam Voar.

On to the reviewsâ€Â¦.

SINGLES

Zion H – Go With The Flow (UK MN2S)

Zion H has been working the UK club and pirate radio circuits for many years now, also running UK garage label Chocolate Factory and soul-house counterpart Glam. In terms of solo studio production he̢۪s a relative newcomer but Go With The Flow offers several highly effective remixes striking a mature, instantly appealing balance between deep, minimal and uplifting four-to-the-floor vibes.
3/5

Beaten Soul feat. LT Brown – Light Is Gonna Shine (UK MN2S)

Feel-good, sun-kissed soul-house from Colum Hustler, who has partnered his smooth production style with everyone from Stephanie Cooke to Dawn Tallman; on this occasion, LT Brown delivers the versatile vocals, and Booker T (as himself and Kings Of Soul) and AphroDisiax (tech meets soulful broken beat) the stirring remixes. Very good.
4/5

Ray Foxx – The Trumpeter (UK Defected)

London’s Mr Foxx (who has previously produced Jay-Z’s hip-hop duo SAS) has been causing quite a buzz with this one as an official release finally arrives. The Trumpeter plants punchy brass riffs over a pumped electro-house groove and funky b-line and promptly secures its status as summer anthem. Main room madnessâ€Â¦.
4/5

Lee Foss – Starfruit EP (UK Hot Creations)

Foss delivers more R&B-tinged house, his choice of vocal samples fitting around neat keyboard hooks, tech-y pulses and struttin’ bass in rather arresting style. There are touches of old-school Chicago and glacial synth-pop; Foss, one of a number of producers currently blending over-sexed R&B with quirky, melancholic house grooves can be hit and miss; but not here. Deep and interestingâ€Â¦.
4/5

Danny Daze – Your Everything (UK Hot Creations)

Miami boy Daze serves up the gothic disco-tech beats that so delighted WMC and ‘Ultra Week’ earlier in the year. B-side cut Fall Away From Love takes a more conventional retro-house path, but is no less charming for it.
4/5

George Fitzgerald – Silhouette (UK Aus)

Fitzgerald stirs the varied textures of house, garage, techno, dubstep and R&B into his innovative third release. It̢۪s an impressive, gradually building affair, built on peppy beats, sharp synth and acid lines and clever use of vocal snippets.
4/5

Now for albumsâ€Â¦.

ALBUMS

Little Dragon – Ritual Union (UK Peacefrog)

The ultra-quirky Swedish quartet who count Blur frontman Damon Albarn among ardent fans (Albarn actually recruited them for Gorillaz album Plastic Beach) are back with a third studio album; a bold yet insightful follow-up to their eponymous 2007 debut and 2009 sequel Machine Dreams. Like that last album Ritual Union focuses on spritely experimental pop, propelled by kooky vocals, retro-synths, meaty analogue drums and flecks of house attitude. Different but danceable, Little Dragon roar through their latest work with total convictionâ€Â¦.
5/5

Smoove & Turrell – Eccentric Audio (UK Jalapeno Records)

The Georgie duo’s second long-player is a ‘reet’ belter, delivering top-draw production values across a range of soulful, engaged tracks touching upon Northern Soul (Higher), hip-hop (Broke), party-hearty funk (Hard Work, Let Yourself Go) and melancholic soul (Wasted Man). Turrell’s blues-licked vocals are powerful, yet dextrous and engaging; and whilst Eccentric Audio offers greater mainstream appeal than its cult predecessor Antique Soul there’s a strong feeling that things have smartly progressed.
4/5

MANIK – Armies Of The Night (US Ovum)

Young, fast-rising New Yorker MANIK takes his bow on Josh Wink’s Ovum imprint with a debut album both meditative and acidic – Armies Of The Night is very much beat-driven as jack-house standout Ruckus 8OH8 demonstrates but the four-to-the-floor is never static, MANIK switching up to epic future-tech (Don’t Stop Don’t Run), down to funked-out disco (Nightfall) and even pushing a gritty, urban agenda (Haterville). MANIK’s album, of course, has the nocturnal city as its heart – it is a beautiful collision of ideas that reveals greater depth with repeated listens.
4/5

Various Artists – 116 & Rising (UK Hessle Audio)

Hessle, the future-steppin̢۪ label run by Pearson Sound (Ramadanman), Ben UFO and Pangaea, summarises its fantastically challenging roster with this excellent new compilation. Artists including James Blake, Blawan, Untold and, naturally, Pearson and Pangaea, join the wildly and delightfully askew dots between dubstep, drum & bass and discordant, polyrhythmic hip-hop with real aplomb. The assault of sounds on the senses is immense but then that̢۪s intentional and, more often than not, inspirational.
4/5

DJ Phono – Welcome To Wherever You’re Not (Ger Diynamic)

Phono and his producer Jimi Siebels have taken two years to put their Diynamic debut together which would seem to make sense because Welcome To Whereverâ€Â¦ is an elegant, meticulously crafted house record. Loaded with artful piano chords, synth swells and bass notes, not to mention subtle builds and shifts in rhythm and real electronic emotion, it’s well worth the wait.
4/5

DJ W!LD – Palace (Fr W Records)

DJ W!LD throws lashings of saw-edged funk, Latino hustle and tech-house bite at the Circo Loco parties through which, as key resident, he has more than made his clubland name in recent years. It’s an energetic and truly infectious vibe which he has, more or less, captured on Palace, his debut album. Standouts include Con Leche, a tribal-house delicacy already popular with Yank heavyweight Kerri Chandler; ethereal brass ‘n’ vocal number How I Feel and deep, super soulful house caress Bizaz. W!LD works hard to engage his listener – body and soul – with what is a seriously credible, gimmick-free outing.
4/5

Defected In The House Ibiza 11 - Various Artists (UK Defected)

Defected Records fires out another of its impeccably timed and collated Ibiza compilations – a triple-disc beast chock full of current, relevant tunes aimed at the pre-club warm-up, peak-time dancefloor and early hours lounge around. Mellow builders from Kings Of Tomorrow, King Brittand Cevin Fisher make way for soulful party bombs courtesy of Copyright, The Shapeshifters and ATFC, and then slick downtempo numbers via Blaze, Afterlife and nu-soul man Ben Westbeech. Impeccably mixed by label boss Simon Dunmore, Ibiza 11 is a welcome break from the usual mix CD routine at this time of yearâ€Â¦.
5/5

Nikki Beach In The House - Various Artists (UK Defected)

Global beach-club brand Nikki Beach teams up with London crew Defected for another well-appointed multi-disc compilation outing. Mixed with flow and finesse by The Shapeshifters, this series opening devotes each of its three discs to a major Nikki Beach location. Miami’s mix gets hot under the collar with contributions from the increasingly hyped Maya Jane Coles, German housers Knee Deep and Def Mix legend Frankie Knuckles; a Las Vegas set gathers percussive grooves from DJ Chus, David Penn and Sandy Rivera among others; and Saint Tropez’s bonus disc invites the deep, sophisticated talents of Osunlade, Atjazz and Dennis Ferrer. Stylish, luxurious dancefloor action as, perhaps, was to be expectedâ€Â¦.
4/5

BEN

...Still working the late shift!

Please feel free to contact me with any Dance news that you feel would benefit others ben@bluesandsoul.com Thank you.

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