Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Ben Lovett's Grooveyard

Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard
Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard Catz ‘N Dogz (AKA Grzegorz Demianczuk) Trapez Records Crosstown Rebels Catz ‘N Dogz: Body Language Vol 12 Sidexside Acid Jazz 25th Anniversary Box Set (Harmless Records) Acid Jazz 25th Anniversary The Hacienda 30th Anniversary Octave One: New Life (US 430 West Records) Tony Barbato: Marula EP (UK Favouritizm) Pete Tong feat. SYF: Dawn (UK Defected) Nathan Barato: Hard Werq (UK Defected) Messages Vol 8 Sample: Various (UK Papa/Reel People Music) Bob Sinclar: Groupie (Fr Yellow) Frankie Knuckles Pres. Director’s Cut: The Whistle Song (Re-Directed) (UK Nocturnal Groove) Kruse & Nuernberg: Let’s Call It A Day (US Lazy Days Recordings) Deep Love 2: Various Artist (Ger Dirt Crew) Under The Influence - Volume Two: Various Artists (UK ZR)

The house music movement, fuelled by digital revolution, continues to spread around the world and it’s vital that we keep pace with it, looking beyond the long familiar, long successful territories of Britain, America, France, Germany and Ibiza. Polish duo Catz ‘N Dogz is a case in point, leading the line for a steady flow, now, of exciting 4-4 from their eastern European home.


Catz ‘N Dogz, AKA Grzegorz Demianczuk (‘Greg’) and Wojciech Taranczuk (‘Voitek’), have risen quickly through the ranks over the past three or four years, after many years of struggle pushing their deep underground house and techno agenda. They started out as promoters in home city Szczecin and never really expected to go far beyond that. “We started out in a country with few opportunities” Greg says. “In Poland, you couldn’t contemplate a career in music; a lot of our friends had to get proper jobs. As such, we were living in a bubble, looking only to play to our friends in the local area.”

And yet the boys wanted more, their dedication and atypical Polish ambition eventually leading to radio presenting and breakthrough studio production. Greg and Voitek, who originally dubbed themselves 3 Channels, were picked up by minimal Berlin label Trenton and immediately brought to a wider audience. 2005’s debut EP Superficial was followed by further Trenton releases, as well as successful excursions on Trapez and Crosstown Rebels, all of which grabbed the attention of influential Dirtybird Records head Claude VonStroke.

VonStroke had the boys remix his own 2006 hit Who’s Afraid Of Detroit? after which they switched to their current moniker and embarked upon a triumphant run of releases – including long-players – for Dirtybird subsidiary Mothership. 2008 debut album Stars Of Zoo earned major plaudits for its epic combination of house and tech, only to be surpassed by reaction to 2010 follow-up Escape From Zoo, which meshed a far wider array of styles to its 4-4 backbone including R&B, street bass and lush disco.

Fast forwarding to this month and Catz ‘N Dogz have finally solidified what they might refer to as “the third chapter” of their career; after, of course, Trenton and VonStroke. In recent times, the boys have been gradually establishing links to world renowned underground label Get Physical. That burgeoning relationship culminates today with the release of Body Language Vol 12, the latest instalment of Get Physical’s revered mix album series. The M.A.N.D.Y-owned imprint is, for Greg and Voitek, another major milestone.

“The quality of their output can’t be disputed nor their audience” Voitek urges. “We’re hugely honoured to be working with Get Physical. Our earlier singles [with them] have done well, not least this summer’s release with Monty Luke [They Frontin’], and led us to Body Language, which we’ve tried to make as unique as possible. Mixes are everywhere these days, particularly on the web through sites like Soundcloud, so you need to give more. I think we’ve done that.”

Body Language Vol 12 isn’t your average mix package; not when you consider that Greg and Voitek have lavished so much time on track segueing and selection. Here, all-time favourite cuts by J Antoni and Schatrax ride engagingly alongside current DJing staples, including exclusives from Eats Everything and Squarehead, and a number of special Body Language edits and re-masters. For example, Greg and Voitek introduce their own purpose-built remixes of Soul Clap and Zak Toms’ Parade, as well as new edit of Till von Sein feat. Jon Hester’s Out Of Love (in its Chez Damier and Bosco dub guise) by talented compatriot SLG.

“We’re happy on one level that this is a good, energetic mix” Greg says. “But we’re happy, on another, that it stands behind an idea... that it represents our friends, our surroundings, our own mindsets and style. We were born as DJs; we used to fight to own the exclusive new vinyl releases to play out in Sczcecin each week. We’d also prepare thoroughly for our gigs, and still do. That commitment is reflected on the new album. That we’re also following Body Language albums by some of our heroes [previous contributors include Dixon and M.A.N.D.Y]... is amazing.”

The Catz ‘N Dogz name comes not from Greg and Voitek’s chalk ‘n’ cheese approach to the studio and dancefloor – “some artists have friction but we’re really together; we only tend to argue about window seats when we’re flying between gigs” – but, rather, from an animalistic desire to establish themselves, and protect their ideas at all costs. “We fight like cats and dogs for the music” Greg explains, which begs the question are they ready for what the future might hold, bearing in mind their growing global profile?

“The globalisation of our scene, and of reviews and opinions, does make things more difficult” Greg suggests. “But, that said, we remain confident about taking our own decisions. We won’t bow to outside influence, unless it feels right. It’s take a lot of our own determination and work to get this far, and we’re set to carry on that way.”

He continues: “We’re not simply about recording beats, basslines and instruments. There has to be an idea behind everything we do or it doesn’t get a release. We made mistakes in the early days where we wasted time on different versions of the same tracks... got stuck in specific details and didn’t stand back to identify the wider idea. We are much more focused now.”

Which is handy because Catz ‘N Dogz workload continues to expand. Greg and Voitek are currently mid-tour in the States to help promote Body Language Vol 12 but are still ensuring they find time to record. “We’ve had a great time so far, the vibe has been incredible” Voitek enthuses. “But we have a fundamental need to make music all the time,” Greg continues, “which means we there’s no real time to sit back and soak up the love. Right now we’re working on a couple of things in Justin Martin’s apartment [in San Francisco; Justin Martin is another Dirtybird regular] and were recording on laptops on our last flight from Montreal. We want to make the best use of our time; besides, there are always different influences when you’re out of the studio.”

Nevertheless, beyond touring he Poles are looking forward to camping out in their swish new Berlin studio – “our old one in Szczecin probably cost about £10” – and finalising a third artist album, for Dirtybird. Parallel to that is a leftfield long-player with Cocoon regular (and one half of Two Armadillos) Martin Dawson, and a raft of new releases on Pet Recordings, the label Greg and Voitek founded in 2010. Young Euro talents such as Solo, KiNK, Squarehead and Axel Bowman will all be releasing EPs over the coming months.

Fast-rising Krakow hip-hopper Kixnare is another hot prospect with beats-to-go. Pet has made a notable success of uncovering new Polish artists since its launch; how does the ‘local’ land currently lie? “There are a number of good clubs and festivals in Poland today but not so many artists, which is a shame,” Greg outlines. “The economy remains fragile and music isn’t viewed as a perfect career. We continue to look; we remain committed to supporting our home country and its future.”And not, it seems, sick of the sight (or sound) of each other. “We often call ourselves the odd couple,” Voitek laughs. “The name could never replace Catz ‘N Dogz but we are together a lot, in a world of our own. We enjoy a comfortable relationship but still surprise one another regularly, particularly when we’re DJing back-to-back. We’re like Lego, constantly building new ideas and never quite sure where they’ll end. That’s exciting.”

“We’ve had a fantastic 12 months,” Greg chips in, “lots of new experiences. This summer Jamie Jones, Hot Creations’ man of the moment asked us to play his Paradise closing party at DC-10 in Ibiza, and we also played the Space Terrace." Then there’s Get Physical and the growth of our label. "We’ve enjoyed so many highlights and will keep working hard to create more.”

Body Language Vol 12: Catz ‘N Dogz is out now on Get Physical (Ger)


New party concept... Sidexside

New York legend Danny Krivit heads a new and intriguing party concept in London this month, promoted by London Warehouse Events. Well... that’s not entirely true. Sidexside promises to push the bar on contemporary dancefloor creativity by inviting two artists, or collectives, to play together for the entire night.
Krivit, a Body & Soul staple taught to DJ as a teen by the likes of David Mancuso and Larry Levan, will play the first Sidexside party on October 13 (Saturday) alongside esteemed funk-house-Italo disco crew Horse Meat Disco. There’s stellar backroom support, too, from Italian edit king Nicolas and Future Disco’s swish Sean Brosnan. The venue is yet to be revealed but tickets are £15-17.50; for more details visit

Acid Jazz 25th Anniversary/Release news

Compilation aficionados Harmless will release a monster four-disc compilation celebrating 25 years of iconic Brit label Acid Jazz this autumn.

Acid Jazz was founded byEddie Piller and Gilles Peterson in 1987 and over subsequent years helped join the dots between mod rock, northern soul, acid house and Blue Note jazz. Acid Jazz the label launched highly influential soul, funk and dance-edged artists such as Jamiroquai, Brand New Heavies and the James Taylor Quartet as well high-profile compilation series such as Totally Wired.

Harmless’ forthcoming anniversary box set – dubbed simply Acid Jazz - corals both the Acid Jazz label’s milestone releases (by the aforementioned, as well as Snowboy, Mother Earth and alt-house experimentalists The Night Trains) as well as those tracks that influenced it so and, alongside the label’s output, helped fuel the unstoppable rise of acid jazz as a genre during the Nineties. Contributions fly from Francois K (remixing Dinosaur L), Stonebridge, Incognito, Cypress Hill, Jazzy Jeff, Nu Yorican Soul, The Pharcyde and Italo-housers Jestofunk, to name but a few.

Acid Jazz, the box set, is released by Harmless on November 5

For more Acid Jazz news visit

The Hacienda 30th Anniversary

Elsewhere, historic Manchester nightclub Hacienda has announced a special three-disc mix album to celebrate its 30th anniversary. The Hacienda opened in 1982, run by Factory Records’ Rob Gretton and Tony Wilson; it supported the rise of New Order, acid house and Manchester’s unique ‘Madchester’ scene before closing in 1997 due to grave financial difficulties. However the Hacienda name still lives on, finding resurgent success as a vast, globally-touring party brand

Hacienda stalwarts Graeme Park, Mike Pickering (both resident DJs) and Peter Hook (bassist for New Order and club co-owner) each take a disc on the commemorative album; a superlative reflection on the vintage late Eighties and early Nineties house that made the club what it was. Park picks cuts by Inner City, Lil’ Mo’ Yin Yang (Louie Vega and Erick Morillo) and Murk, whilst Pickering involves X-Press 2, Jamie Principle and Robert Owens, and Hook drops Raze, De’Lacy and the Happy Mondays.

The album, released by New State Music on October 15, is called Hacienda 30 and also includes a booklet of exclusive photography from the club, as well as from this year’s 30th anniversary parties at Sankeys, arguably Manchester’s biggest dance venue today.

Over to reviews....


Octave One – New Life (US 430 West Records)

Octave One, AKA Lawrence and Lenny Burden, are synonymous with soulful, high quality techno and their latest single, New Life, does nothing to change that impression. The brothers’ original mix motors along on crisp 4-4 beats, a throbbing b-line, those signature Octave stabbed strings and vocalist Afrika’s committed delivery. Unsubscribe – Brit techno stalwart Dave Clarke and the Netherlands’ Mr Jones – and Different World – Claude Young and Takasi Nakajima – offer housier and more progressive alternatives, respectively; both sets of remixes more than maintaining the class.

Tony Barbato - Marula EP (UK Favouritizm)

Italian groove stallion Tony Barbato charges the dancefloor with a sublime house three-tracker. Shaka's deep immersive synth flow compliments Feel It's suitably fruity, breakdown-heavy punch, whilst Falling beguiles thanks to an arresting mix of serious tribal drums and serene ethnic strings. Supporters include Quentin Harris.

Pete Tong feat. SYF - Dawn (UK Defected)

Radio 1 titan Pete Tong makes a relatively rare foray into the studio, collaborating with Azari & III's Cedric Gasaida (AKA Starving Yet Full) on a credibly-deep new single, sliding crisp 4-4 and metallic percussion beneath gradually building vocals; all before a break into haunting melodies and deliciously old-skool pianos. Hot Since 82’s remix stirs a murkier, but no less striking mood.

Nathan Barato – Hard Werq (UK Defected)

Barato, a underground houser of some repute in home city Toronto, hangs hard as nail beats alongside blaze-up dancehall samples with good, if unspectacular and unvaried effect. Hard Werq is dark carnival workout without the bells and whistles.

Various Artists – Messages Vol 8 Sample (UK Papa/Reel People Music)

A sweet teaser of what is to come from the Papa/Reel People Music stable on their eighth Messages compilation, compiled by Mark de Clive-Lowe. Both back catalogue cuts, AAries’ Don’t Give It Up and Reel People’s Darien-fronted Sure, appear in revitalising Clive-Lowe remix form, the jazzy Kiwi skilfully folding in peppy afro-shuffle, heavenly keys and pads and taking nothing away from those still sparkling vocals. Messages gratefully received.

Bob Sinclar – Groupie (Fr Yellow)

Rolls of perky Twenties-style piano – think silent movie soundtrack – cavort with rambunctious pop-dance beats and highly sportive female vocals (not a million miles away from Mousse T’s Horny) on self-appointed jet-setting Parisian playboy Sinclar’s latest release. A bonus dub is slightly (only slightly) more restrained but Groupie remains loud evidence of Sinclar’s move into the crossover slipstream of David Guetta; insanely infectious, yes, but with little substance beneath the peacockish sheen.

Frankie Knuckles Pres. Director’s Cut – The Whistle Song (Re-Directed) (UK Nocturnal Groove)

Chicago godfather Knuckles is a busy boy these days, mainly due to his production and remix work alongside fellow vet Eric Kupper as The Director’s Cut. Here the pair updates Knuckles’ out-and-out scene classic The Whistle Song and thankfully the results are good; no, stunning. A fresh but perfectly poised house rhythm is swapped in beneath the blissfully deep and jazzy melancholia and, once again, the dancefloor shimmers.

Kruse & Nuernberg – Let’s Call It A Day (US Lazy Days Recordings)

Hamburg DJ-production duo Kruse & Nuernberg deliver a likeable debut album, balancing electronic deep house groove with a wider set of tempos and influences reflecting the output of groups including Metronomy, Little Dragon and Phoenix. The wider point to Let’s Call It A Day is that it is meant to reflect the cycle of a typical day - wake-up, commute and evening wind-down. For the most part it works, Kruse & Nuernberg’s lush, accomplished production emphasising their concept with purpose and some style....

Various Artists – Deep Love 2 (Ger Dirt Crew)

A rich and soulful follow-up to their first Deep Love label compilation, Germany’s Dirt Crew – James Flavour and Break 3000 – ensures that Deep Love 2 once again blends old-school jack, minimal, funky Detroit, house futurism and atmospheric dub techno with real aplomb. There are lots of newcomers this time round, including Buzzin’ Fly’s talented Chris Woodward and Purple Velvet (AKA Coat Of Arms); not to mention Rotterdam’s Last Mood, who contribute two deep but wonderfully lithe house tracks Metropolitan Area and Mirror Room (the latter, an exclusive on the download release). Elsewhere, Dirt Crew familiars Florian Kruse, Tigerskin (presenting The Lazarus Man, and the smart-quirk of Bubble Dress) and Moodmusic’s Sasse all excel. The love is most definitely there.

Various Artists – Under The Influence: Volume Two (UK ZR)

Pirate mainstay Paul Philips, these days to be found on Solar Radio but having previously sailed with London’s Starpoint FM, as well as the Southport Weekender’s official festival station, is up out the blocks to helm this second Under The Influence comp on Dave Lee’s mighty Z label. Philips has some serious soul mileage, still fervently touring Europe and the States for rare soul vinyl; that obsession spills out nicely here, many of his selections (across two discs) mustering little more than local airplay when first released but demonstrating whopping groove heard back today. There are surprises galore – Ron Richardson’s funky soul-electro jam Ooh Wee Babe, State Department’s gliding string-swept epic Slow Love (with that immaculate bass-guitar interlude) and Wardell Piper’s effortlessly uplifting hustle The Power Of Love to name but a few. Sweet intoxication.


Still working the late shift...

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

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