Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (October)

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

Great to hear from Kieran Hebden, AKA Four Tet, the other day…. He’s been a busy boy in recent months, raising a family and, when he’s not doing that, touring all over the world with his incredibly versatile, idiosyncratic dancefloor sound.


Hebden is actually based in the Big Apple for a year and missing London like mad. “There’s so much great music in London right now” he enthuses. “I’ve have found myself more fixated on London than ever before… hankering after club nights in Dalston and Rinse [at Fabric] but, crucially, able to step back and see the bigger picture… appreciate what London is currently about. It has worked well in terms of making the Fabric album.”

What Fabric album I hear you ask? Well, Hebden, as Four Tet, has just mixed and released the latest instalment of legendary compilation series Fabriclive. Incredibly this is the venerable London club’s 59th Fabriclive mix and Hebden’s 14th long-player. It says much about both venue and artist, that the new record is bang on form.

Fabriclive 59 is a giddy, rollercoaster ride through everything from UK funky (Apple’s Mr Bean) to hypnotic tech (Ricardo Villalobos’ Sieso) via long-lost 90s 2-step (Crazy Bald Head’s First Born), grimy grime (Youngstar’s Pulse X), dub (Floating Point’s Sais) and pounding bass (Burial’s Street Halo). There’s even room for seventies Moog courtesy of early Moog pioneer David Borden and for Four Tet’s new jack-house attack, Pyramid

It is the perfect representation of Hebden’s clearly talented soul – a bold mix of so many styles and inspirations. “It’s best just to say that I make and play electronic music” he shrugs. “I use computers to make human music; music that connects to people and provokes real experiences and emotions. That’s it in a nutshell.”

OK, so if we can’t pigeon hole him, we can strongly tie Fabriclive 59 to its source material. Wild and creative as the mix may be it has real narrative and cohesion; a funky-as-hell purpose.  “The main idea for the mix came from when I met the Fabric guys for the first time” Hebden explains. “They talked about the heritage of their venue and about how they wouldn’t launch a Fabric club or night anywhere else. I liked the idea of eschewing the traditional mix format and creating a very specific soundtrack to Fabric’s London location.”

Hence Four Tet’s eclectic, highly engaging track selections all in some way tie back to 77 Charterhouse Street, EC1, interspersed by field recordings direct from the club itself (recorded by audio-engineer friend Sasha Lewis). But it’s not just a Fabric thing. It’s a London thing.

As for the electronic music scene in general, does Hebden really still feel he’s making a difference? He has been playing the game relentlessly for 13 years now. “I don’t worry about it too much” comes the assured replied. “I feel in a very happy place right now, happy with my studio and the range of my output, which has a consistent, appreciative audience. I don’t worry myself about what the wider industry thinks of my stuff; as long as I feel there’s a point to it and it has freshness then I’m content.”

Of course, it’s not just gigs and babies that have kept Hebden beyond Blues & Soul’s clutches. He has, without a doubt, been withdrawing himself deep into the studio. Post digital revolution, new music is zipping around the globe at a lightening pace; it is a frenetic climate that has forced Hebden to become more guarded about forthcoming material and clinical about its release.
“It’s a weird situation. The volume of music being put out today is amazing and yet I find myself reigning back from the world when working on new ideas” he confides. “It’s too easy for music to leak these days before it is ready, and before anyone, including the media, has had a chance to properly digest and understand it. It’s all about 24-7 news and people scrambling for another exclusive story.

“I’ve become really tactical with releases. In the last year I’ve gone as far as putting records out without letting the distributor know; they’ve just turned up at the manufacturing plant for production. I need this level of secrecy sometimes; when my records have leaked before, there have been literally hundreds of Tweets from people in the first few minutes. It’s crazy and undermines all the hard work in so many ways.”
It’s night on impossible to extract any real detail now about Hebden’s next set of far-flung plans; this artist ain’t for talking. But that, to be fair, is as much to do with canny, poker-face marketing as it is with just wanting to chill out. Ever since last January’s well-received Four Tet album There Is Love In You, Hebden has succumbed to a mammoth stretch of promotional activity and touring; not to mention collaborative work with Burial and Radiohead’s Thom York (the split 12” Ego/Mirror).

“I’ve had everything mapped out for about 18 months now and I need a break from that . Time to create and DJ a little more freely and see where things take me” he concludes. “There were some new Four Tet tunes on the Fabric album, but there’s nothing specific beyond that. I’ll just see how things go.”

One suspects there is plenty on the way….

Fabriclive 59 – mixed by Four Tet – is out now on Fabric Records


There’s a few tasty morsels of news this month. We’ll kick off with an update on Bristol’s cult underground music festival In:Motion, running this year between October 7 and December 10. Organisers have just confirmed the likes of Jamie ‘Hot Natured’ Jones, Jackathon’s Heidi, dubbed-down Pearson Sound, garage veteran MJ Cole, Bristolian bass fiend Julio Bashmore and a Cocoon-backed Tiefschwarz (those guys play December 10). That’s not forgetting a Hallowe’en special with Soul Clap and Visionquest’s Shaun Reeves (October 29), the visit of Innervisions confidante Henrik Schwarz (November 26) and In:Motion’s super special New Year’s Eve bash – all details still TBA. Keep checking for more.

We shouldn’t forget that Fabric celebrates 12 glorious years in operation with a bumper weekend of festivities, October 21-22, starring Goldie, Moodymann, Maya Jane Coles, Lee Foss, Soul Clap, Ricardo Villalobos and Berghain favourites Steffi and Ben Klock.
London-based DJ agency, management and events company Warm also celebrates being 12, with a huge East London bash (venue TBA) on October 22 featuring Innervisions co-founder Dixon as special guest.
On to reviews now; singles first, as always.


Basshook & Friends feat. David Ferguson – Hear My Call (UK MN2S)

MN2S feeds clubland’s current thirst for retro, Yank-styled house with the digital-only re-release of this absolute corker from 1995. Originally touted via Orin Walters’ esteemed Mousetrap imprint, Hear My Call still fizzes thanks to its gritty, skippy house beats, lowdown throbs of bass, killer organ work and those tour de force Ferguson vocals. Raw, top-draw urban-house.

Miguel Campbell – Baby I Got It EP (UK Hot Creations

Campbell has been championed over the past 12 months by the likes of Wolf + Lamb and Art Department and this, his debut on Jamie Jones’ Hot Creations imprint, delivers generously on the hype. Funked-up disco dallies with slick R&B vocals, flecks of French filter house and a dark, engagingly warped remix via Richy Ahmed. Good.

Cozzy D & Dexter Kane – Brusier/Crusier EP (UK Lower East)

London DJ Cozzy D and engineer Ed Kane’s alter-ego hook up for soothingly deep and electronic soul-house shenanigans.

Solomun/Stimming – Challenge Everyday EP (Ger Diynamic)

Hamburg pair Solomun and Stimming continues to subvert house music conventions, this joint EP effort providing five different, largely successful connections between the worlds of pop and underground dance. Solomun’s See You Everyday Alone is highlight, meshing robo-vocals and bursts of synth and string to a thunderous b-line groove; that said, Stimming’s gentler, more personal Challenge The Air is sorely impressive, layering indie acoustics over typically mesmeric four-to-the-floor and deep, introspective vocals.

Now for the long-players….


Various Artists – Live & Remastered Mixed By Larry Levan, David Morales, Todd Terry, Kenny Carpenter & Justin Berkmann: Ministry Of Sound 20th Anniversary Boxset (UK Ministry Of Sound

Ministry turned 20 last month with a string of special parties at its original Gaunt Street premises, and now comes this captivating commemorative boxset. The international super-club has plundered its archives and dusted off (in other words fully re-mastered and licensed) five sets by those DJs who, back in the day, helped define house music culture: Larry Levan, David Morales, Todd Terry, Kenny Carpenter and Ministry founder Justin Berkmann.
All genuine sets at the club, performed back in 1991 and originally recorded to DAT by attending staff, they combine to form an impressive history lesson on the origins of today’s clubbing landscape. Classic outings by Robert Owens, Sounds Of Blackness, Lil Louis, Chez Damier, Masters At Work, MK, Cajmere and Underground Solution offer jack, soul and stirring education in equal measure. An essential purchase for aficionados and thrill-seekers alike….

Various Artists – Fabric 60: Dave Clarke (UK Fabric)

Dave Clarke, so-called Baron Of Techno, lays down the ruthless law on Fabric’s 60th compilation mix. It’s a rocket-fuelled mix of edgy, uncompromising techno and electro, notably spurred on by contributions from Cute Heels (electro-punky Silence Complot), Stephane Signore (blitzkrieg techno assault Sacrifice) and Cristiano Balducci (acid wig-out Pride). Clarke is light on innovation but this, in all fairness, is a mix hell-bent on dark, bitter-twisted, speed-freak excess, not deep dancefloor discourse. Red raw exhilaration for those brave enough to dabble.

Modeselektor – Monkeytown (Ger Monkeytown Records)

This third album from Berlin’s dynamic electro-tech duo Modeselektor, is interesting, arousing stuff; a bold leap off of several exciting, impressively sharp creative edges but all whilst tethered to the kind of concrete club beats and b-lines upon which they’ve made more than considerable name. Glorious trash-dance (Evil Twin) and infectious industrial (Kill Bill Vol 4) vie with slick R&B (Berlin), straightforward club-tech (Grillwalker), moody, deliciously atmospheric vocals (Thom Yorke-fronted Shipwreck and This) and the plain eclectic (Green Light Go). Monkeytown is a poignant yet punchy production; an album able to squeeze energy and emotion from each of its many masterfully orchestrated twists and turns.

tiNI – Tessa (Ger Desolat)

Munich-born, Berlin-based tINI is best known for her output as a DJ; since 2008, in fact, she has only released one track (albeit to considerable acclaim) That’s Right. Tessa, then, is something of a major career step and confidently taken it is too, capturing much of the energy of her house-led performances and something of the magical, laidback vibe of Ibiza where it was largely recorded. tINI has already spoken about Tessa – named after a friend who encouraged her to take up club music full-time – as a deeply personally work reflecting both her recent ups and downs; contemplative gems like Someone Loves You ably demonstrate that point and reinforce the fact that this is a more tangible house album than most.

Captain Planet – Cookin’ Gumbo (US Bastard Jazz)

Bumpin’ hip-hop, electro, neo-soul and drum & bass injected with world music spice is a pretty good summary of the Captain’s mission on Cookin’ Gumbo, his first full album. Ram Ad Infinitum, chopping serene Hindu reflection with jagged breaks and synths, and Burn Baby Burn, with those seductive Brit Lauren vocals, offer undoubted high notes, but there are other delights too, not least the rolling Rio vibes of Fumando, and explosive Nigerian electro jam Lagos Speedway. The Captain – real name Charlie Bethel – tours with distinction.

Lack Of Afro – This Time (UK Freestyle)

Adam Gibbon’s funk, soul and hip-hop-fusing alias grabs talented vocals from Jake Morleys, Wayne Giddens (one serious hot ‘n’ smoky falsetto), Angeline Morrison and Def Jam’s Wax - to name but a few – and throws them down over a series of scorching, funked-out grooves blessed with fine instrumentation and engaging eclecticism.

Randa &The Soul Kingdom – What You Need (UK Freestyle)

Aussie funk front-runners The Soul Kingdom, led by assured local singer Randa Khamis, deliver smart contemporary ‘groove’, underpinned by brassy funk but open to the influences of Northern Soul, disco and downtempo soul-jam. Khamis powers through with real conviction on authentic workouts such as 60s Motown-styled Be Yourself, mirrorball hustle The Things and aptly-titled funk ‘n’ brass opener Power In Me. Plugged in.


...Still working the late shift!


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