Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (March) DANCE COLUMN

Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (March 2012)
Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (March 2012) Winter Music Festival WMC 2012 Ultra Music Festival 2012 Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez Jere Mcallister & Carla Prather: Give You Give Me (UK Tribe) Wagon Cookin’ feat. Roberto Q Ingram – Come Into The Light Part 2 (US Smoke N Mirror Dale Howard: Merrt EP (UK Lost My Dog) Storm Queen: Look Right Through Part 2 (UK Defected) Watergate 10 - Marco Resmann: Various Artists (Ger Watergate) Collaborations: The Audible Suspects (UK Bedrock) Murk: House Masters (UK In The House/Defected) FutureBoogie 10: 2012 Futureboogie Recordings Future Disco Volume 5: Downtown Express - Various (Needwant) Phil Weeks: Raw Instrumental (2012 Robsoul)

Seems pertinent to talk about Miami this month, being that clubland’s annual spring pilgrimage to Florida’s sunshine city is well and truly upon us.


Things are a little calmer in the run-up too. Last year’s fractious calendar divide between the Winter Music Conference (WMC) and Ultra Music Festival, Miami’s two big yearly showpieces, has not re-opened for 2012. This March both entities are back together. The Conference, based on Miami Beach, is running March 16-25 whilst Ultra hits ‘downtown’ March 23-25.

WMC 12 is live for a record-breaking 10-day stretch, including two whole weekends and a hugely revamped events programme. Attendees can expect a more detailed selection of workshops and lectures (on everything from innovative 360-degree artist management contracts to the latest DJ kit) as well as events exploring dance music’s ties to fashion, mobile tech and other, varied musical genres.
On top of that surges the usual torrent of industry pool parties and networking soirees in slick boutique hotels – more days and a more tightly-packed itinerary has actually led to criticism in some corners that the Conference is now too long. Online forum users have, for several weeks and months, shared concerns on promoting (in other words, which of WMC’s two weekends is the most financially viable to base activity around), accommodation costs and even, remarkably, dancefloor stamina.

“Expanding the WMC dates was an easy decision given the high demand of artists, businesses and industry delegates,” WMC co-founder Bill Kelly told media in a statement last October. “Hotels, restaurants, cafes, shops and every sort of possible entertainment venue are filled to capacity during WMC week to the point where five days just wasn’t enough.”

And to put things in context, the level of objections remains relatively small. Without a shadow of a doubt, Miami in a far better place this year. Its preparations have been smooth and line-ups well considered. If there are accusations that ‘Miami week’ has gotten too big then it can’t be faulted for the quality and variety of its content.

Conference highlights should include Black Coffee’s Soulistic party at the National Hotel on March 18, Tribe Records’ Get Deep shindig at The Vagabond on March 21 (featuring label boss Zepherin Saint, DJ Spinna, Rocco and Marques Wyatt) and the 11th And Let The Singer Be Heard showcase at Ocean’s 10 on the same night. Here, supremely soulful DJs like Spen, Terry Hunter, Todd Terry and Tony Humphries will drop top-tier grooves for top-tier singers including Ce Ce Rogers, Michael Proctor, Robin S, Darryl D’ Bonneau, Dawn Tallman and Marc Evans.

Elsewhere, Murk host a Nervous Records jam at the Shelborne on March 16. Def Mix’s David Morales, Frankie Knuckles and Hector Romero play there the following night, with Quentin Harris, and Timmy Regisford on March 20. Still at the Shelborne, expect further delights from Hot Creations on March 22 ( Jamie Jones, Lee Foss, Cajmere, MK); X-Mix Productions on March 23 (Armand Van Helden, DJ Sneak, Felix Da Housecat, Todd Terry) and Pacha Ibiza March 24 ( Bob Sinclar, DJ Jazzy Jeff).

Over at the Surfcomber Hotel, Circo Loco’s official WMC pool party, March 22, will welcome Visionquest’s Seth Troxler, as well as Dubfire, Art Department, Ellen Allien and DJ Sneak. And then there’s three days of Ultra, this time in Miami’s Bayfront Park, touting Kraftwerk, New Order, Tiesto, David Guetta and new dubstep sensation Skrillex. Ultra is an altogether shinier, brassier affair than WMC, itss concert set-up pivoting on thousands (rather than hundreds) of revellers, sweeping AV rigs and mainstream 4-4. It’s less ‘industry’ and more glittering thrill-seek.

It’s also surrounded by a myriad of smaller, independent parties; events pitching up whilst there is relevant and continual footfall to aim for. Crosstown Rebels’ seventh annual Miami Session, March 24 at Electric Pickle, is an essential example with performances confirmed from leftfield performers Art Department, Clive Henry, Craig Richards, Guti, Maceo Plex, Mr C and Luca Bacchetti. The Session has never disappointed in the past.

The following day, Electric Pickle hosts the Giant Throbbing Electric Pickle Invades Miami bash, with live performances by Tiger & Woods and nu-disco kings Crazy P supporting DJ sets from 'Ms Jackathon' Heidi, Deetron, Shonky, Soul Clap and Wolf + Lamb.

Get ready to feel the Miami heat….

Visit and for more details.

Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez earlier this month, on the eve of his Groove Odyssey-promoted House Legends gig at London’s O2 Arena.

He was in good form, reeling off a long list of upcoming projects. His raw house cut with former Blaze head Josh Milan, Be Your Freak, is already shaking taste-making floors around the world but will now be followed by a full ‘Dope’-Milan album project; not to mention an album with The Fantastic Souls, his eight-piece funk band, new Mass Destruction cuts (with Terry Hunter), new material with king funkster Keb Darge and a stack of hip-hop and R&B commissions.

The possibility of new Masters Of Work action is all properly on the cards. “Louie and I spoke a few weeks back about doing some more shows together” he states. “You have to understand that we had an incredible run during the Nineties, covering all sorts of bases. We blazed trails. But we also used up a lot of energy; there were hundreds of remixes and productions. We needed to do our own things, take some time elsewhere y’know?”

Would those MAW gigs lead to MAW, sorry… more records too? “We’ll see” ‘Dope’ adds. “The magic never went away; when we get together we do some crazy, crazy stuff. But for now, we both have a lot of our own projects we need to do.”

And where, in general, does Gonzalez think dance music will go next? “No one knows” he stresses. “People posture and theorise but they don’t know. The key is for some of these new guys to learn from and work with some of the older ones. Someone like Floating Points [classical-jazz-drum machine fusionist producer Sam Shepherd] is a great example. If you can apply your mind to technology, not simply rely on it, and adapt to trends rather than following them, then you’ll be in good stead. That’s what I’ve always done and will keep doing for the benefit of my audiences.”

Dope, never one to sit still despite his lofty, comfortable status as one of clubland’s true kingpins, is currently learning DJ software Traktor. Its convenient alternative to lugging boxes of heavy records around the world is an attractive one but he remains cautious.

“I’m happy to use technology but not just for the sake of it or for keeping up with anyone” he explains. “I’m not taking it [Traktor] out on the road yet as I’m still learning it. It’s definitely convenient and you can carry more music but to be honest there’s nothing like playing records. The sad thing is that fewer records are being pressed these days. And a lot of the new record shops – not the second-hand ones – have disappeared.”

A record collection is where, according to Dope, it all starts: “An expansive record collection informs everything from DJing to producing in the studio. It connects past to present to future and helps steer the scene. My record collection [thought to weigh in at around 50,000 releases] has been the crutch for everything I’ve done. It’s given me an identity. The shops to buy all those amazing records just aren’t there now; everyone buys via the internet which is so impersonal and formulaic.”

And what finally does he think of today’s younger generation of club music-makers? “They’re from a whole different mentality” he says. “I’m happy to listen to anything they do; if it’s good, then that’s great for everyone but I think they have it easier and that often leads to tracks that don’t stand out in any way. A lot of my generation are all grown up now; they’re married with kids. Some have dropped outta music; some have different priorities. But those of us still in the game are different and that makes us unique. We were raised on clubs and studios with less reliance on technology, and with a different approach to constructing tracks and sets. We have the experience and the ability to see the bigger picture."

“Me, I can see the value in experimenting and pushing for different sounds, not keeping to a trend. Experience is important. I’m 41 and still learning my game, yet some of these kids are like 23… 24 and they think they know it all? That ain’t right but it is what it is….”

Reviews time….

Jere Mcallister & Carla Prather – Give You Give Me (UK Tribe)

Bright, airy soul-house goodness from veteran producer Mcallister, and fellow Chicagoan Prather. The former is best known for his collaborative work with Vick Lavender as Mr A L I and his previous work alongside Steve ‘Silk’ Hurley and Frankie Knuckles; Mcallister was also responsible for penning the NightWriters seminal Let The Music Use You. Prather’s vocal credits meanwhile include collabos with ‘Jellybean’ Benitez and Quentin Harris. Their collaboration here is expectedly luscious, Prather’s warm vocals riding sweet melodies, acoustic guitars and funk-edged percussion with real aplomb. Perfect spring timing….

Wagon Cookin’ feat. Roberto Q Ingram – Come Into The Light Part 2 (US Smoke N’ Mirrors/Om)

Javier and Luis Garayalde’s Eighties electro-tinged banger gets a re-release with chunky new remixes from Chus & Ceballos, Ammie Graves and The Cruising. They all work, but with varying degrees of success. Ibericans Chus & Ceballos provide the standout update, their tribal-pumped workout loaded with powerful dancefloor expression.

Dale Howard – Merrt EP (UK Lost My Dog)

Liverpudlian producer Howard makes a suitably lowdown debut on cult Brit house label Lost My Dog. His Merrt EP skilfully applies contemporary bass notes and smart, skankin’ beats to irresistibly retro Yank-garage grooves. An Ian Pooley remix of the title track adds disco pizzazz and proverbial icing on the cake.

Jesse Perez – Jesse Don’t Sport No Jerri Curl EP (UK Hot Creations)

Miami’s Perez has been firing out a number of bombastic club cuts in recent months via his own label Mr Nice Guy; his signing to Hot Creations was perhaps inevitable. The Perez penchant for lassoing hip-house pep and Miami bass rumble is still there, this new EP’s title track folding them into a hot ‘n’ heavy funk groove with elements of jackin’ Chicago. Saucily-titled flipside cut Dejen De Comer Tanta Pinga, meanwhile, mixes heavy percussion, zany vocals and spots of tech to repetitive but infectious effect. Larger than life but for all the right reasons….

Mario Basanov – We Are Child Of Love (UK Needwant)

Deep disco-tinged house enriched by smart piano and synth lines as well as haunting snatches of choir and a mesmerising xylophone breakdown. A complimentary remix by new Needwant signings The Mekanism offers more fluid keys and left of centre vocals over some pulsing bass but the highly sophisticated original still has it. Basanov, of Mario & Vidis notoriety, scores again.

Storm Queen – Look Right Through Part 2 (UK Defected)

Morgan Geist’s earthy but utterly soulful 2010 house hit was recently remixed for Defected by Jamie Jones, Aeroplane and Dimitri From Paris with huge amounts of style and success. A second set of remixes adds further, welcome options – Art Department’s bass-y rework pitches down but ups the drama whilst garage veteran MK slices ‘n’ dices vocals for a trademark, high calibre dub attack.

Various Artists – Watergate 10: Marco Resmann (Ger Watergate)

Institutional Berlin DJ Resmann mixes Watergate’s latest compilation outing, moving forcefully between minimal and tech-house moments from the likes of Ricardo Villalobos, Soulphiction, Hakan Lidbo and Roman Flugel. Watergate resident Resmann includes some of his own work too, the poise and punch of his set in near perfect equilibrium.

Various Artists – Collaborations: The Audible Suspects (UK Bedrock)

The Audible Suspects, AKA Germany’s Oliver Lieb and American Jimmy Van M, is a project that has been in development for several years now but only just gotten round to its first album project. Collaborations confidently conveys the atmosphere of deep underground tech night; in fact it is more than that, zipping between smart tech-house by Thomas Muller and Van M himself, the heavier techno of Joel Mull and Russians Digital Mess and some impressive experimentalism from SF FM and Lanny May. There’s also space for Lieb’s own work.

Murk – House Masters (UK In The House/Defected)

An emphatic summary of Murk’s discography which stretches well beyond the moody house throbs of their early Nineties work under such aliases as Liberty City, The Fog and Funky Green Dogs. Those classic grinds – Been A Long Time, Some Lovin’, Reach For Me - sound as relevant today as they did back then; an astute selection of lower-profile, but nonetheless popular and wide-ranging remixes (for the likes of Romanthony, Bobby Pruit and Tito Valdez) adds further charming bite, as does credible new material such as Murk’s epic tech-sortie Amame. Surprisingly, for such an in-depth retrospective, Fired Up! (as Funky Green Dogs) and Murk’s infamous Madonna remixes are missing; nevertheless this remains comprehensive stuff – weighty and worthy….

Various Artists – FutureBoogie 10 (UK FutureBoogie)

Night, agency and, as of last year, label, Bristol-based club brand FutureBoogie has come a long way over the past decade. Album 10 celebrates that fact with a suitably broad-minded 10-track compilation touching all of the usual, affecting FutureBoogie bases. That means low-slung, jazzed-out grooves via Typsesun and Crackazat, emotive deep house from Waifs & Strays and Christophe, garage shake courtesy of Simpson and Behling, and Maxxi Soundystem’s aptly-titled forward-thinker Into The Future.

Various Artists – Future Disco Volume 5: Downtown Express (UK Needwant)

Needwant co-founder Sean Brosnan composes this fifth instalment of his label’s popular Future Disco compilation series; an addition every bit as good as its predecessors. It may even trump those releases, Brosnan able to exploit house and disco’s further cross-pollination in 2011 to his firm advantage. We kick off with Moon Boots’ outrageously funky mirrorball belter Off My Mind, before ploughing into all manner of electronic boogie gems – influenced as much by house as techno – by on-trend producers such as Benoit & Sergio, Mario Basanov and Maceo Plex. Loose, hip-swinging and very, very good.

Phil Weeks – Raw Instrumental (Fr Robsoul Recordings)

Monsieur Weeks releases a third album following on seamlessly from last year’s acclaimed Love Affair. Throwing himself, once again, at an Akai MPC3000 sampler – kit more closely associated with rap than house – the wired Frenchman dices, slices and masterfully sprinkles a selection of soul, disco and even movie samples over 14 bristling, uniquely-geared house grooves. It’s a far cry from his early acid and tech releases; one that’s extremely well-produced and insanely infectious.

Still working the late shift!

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

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter