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 (Aug)

Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (August 2013) @bluesandsoul.com
Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (August 2013) @bluesandsoul.com Manchester's Warehouse Project Maya Jane Coles in action @Warehouse Project Ryan Crosson: Into Later Habitats EP (Ger Visionquest) Terry Farley presents Acid Rain: Definitive Original Acid And Deep House 1985-1991 (UK Harmless) Atjazz â More Than A Remix (UK R2 Records) The Sound Of Bang: Chicagoâs #1 House Music Ritual (Compiled & Mixed by Terry Hunter Tortured Soul: Canât Keep Rhythm From A Dancer/Undercover Remixes (UK Dome) Dennis Ferrer: Mind Ur Step (UK Defected)

Letâs talk vinyl. The rest of clubland seems to be. Despite the rise of digital, those humble discs of grooved black (and sometimes coloured) plastic have never really gone away and yet industry banter around the format has built and built in recent months. Why?

THE VINYL COUNTDOWN!

Londonâs thriving underground club scene is a great place to start. Vinyl-only (or heavily vinyl-focussed at least) parties have been multiplying across the capital for a while now, including Crates in Brixton, Stop, Drop And Roll in Bethnal Green, Vinyl Warriorsâ trance and hard-house gathering at Vauxhallâs Lightbox, Southern Hospitalityâs hip-hop driven Twelve 12s series at Fitzroviaâs The Social and Peckhamâs already legendary Rhythm Section. Look beyond the M25, too, and the trend is alive and well. In 2010, Hessle Audioâs Ramadanman launched vinyl-only night Acetate in Leeds and its feisty splice of vintage house and disco with sleek tech and wild dubstep continues to dazzle and delight.

Rob Pursey, promoter of Twelve 12s, identifies nostalgia as a key catalyst for our reinvigorated vinyl obsession. âFor DJs and dancers alike vinyl generates a warm, fuzzy feeling of days gone by,â he says. âI think exclusivity is another important consideration. Today, weâre bombarded by music; new, formulaic music is available hour by hour at the touch of a smartphone button. Weâre starting to see people resisting that reality, and wanting to connect with something exclusive which vinyl can deliver.â

That exclusivity derives from the significant cost of pressing up new vinyl releases, as opposed to digitally producing and distributing beats for next to nothing via a global hub like Beatport. If an artist or label commits to vinyl then itâs often for the purest of reasons, and has to be worth it.

âVinyl is all about quality control,â affirms Dan Hill, Managing Director of vinyl-led distributor Above Board, whose clients include Visionquest, Crosstown Rebels, Hot Creations and Defected. âIt costs around £600 to press up a vinyl release; that investment means that labels give the release their fullest attention and effort. Digital releases, on the other hand, represent music by numbers, circulated by labels to the friends of friends of friends. Their massive accessibility can make them a little anonymous.â

Ben Sims, well respected Brit techno DJ-producer, backs Purseyâs point that followers of electronic music are beginning to fight clublandâs accelerating march towards digital. âItâs about the younger generation coming through whoâve only ever known digital and are totally unfamiliar with the tradition of vinyl collecting and the community that that creates in stores and clubs. Over the past couple of years I think this generation has felt something lacking and realised what vinyl stands for.â

It is everything to Sims: âItâs a statement of credibility and of intent...vinyl has underpinned my career.â Since launching his label Theory in 1997, Sims has listened to audience feedback on how he releases new music and, over time, that feedback has confirmed a desire for more vinyl-only content. âVinyl can be a little elitist but Iâm happy to push a limited 150-copy run of something, watch copies sell for £50 on Discogs.com and soak up the buzz. Of course, bigger releases need a combination of formats to ensure I can keep running Theory viably.â

That balancing act is also true of Machine, the label Sims launched with Kirk Degiorgio last year. A number of limited 10â vinyl cuts are scheduled for the autumn but these will mix with EPs and albums marketed via digital platforms. Vinyl is back, argues Sims, but it canât spin on its own; the risks of a vinyl-only release strategy are huge.

Nurturing vinyl as part of a wider multi-channel operation, then, appears to be the way forward. Hillâs Above Board regularly orchestrates a limited edition vinyl run of new material before the full-blown digital release to build effective promo-style buzz. For Pursey, clubland has finally grasped the bigger picture. âA few years ago the battle lines were firmly drawn on the dancefloor between your vinyl and Serato [digital DJ software] loving crowds. They hated each other. Now, though, things are actually really interchangeable,â he flags. âThe popularity of vinyl is growing again, which is fantastic, but...people are finally coming to terms with the fact that itâs OK to use a variety of different formats and approaches to make your musical point. Different things work at different times.â

Last year, some $171m was spent on vinyl globally. But digital revolution and poorly maintained turntables in many clubs around the world have certainly weakened its standing; a position from which it is only now, slowly, recovering. âThat [club turntables], for me, is the biggest reason why vinyl diminishedâ Hill says. âThe traditional turntable equipment in clubs was allowed to deteriorate so no-one wanted to use it. The sound was really hum-y, cartridges were falling apart and the platters would get damaged where DJs continually leant laptops on them. It all encouraged the upgrade to digital.â

Still, the future of vinyl is a bright one. âIt might peak then drop, but there will be other peaks; it will always be there, even though weâre surrounded by technologyâ Pursey predicts. âI remember people saying that Serato would be the final death knell for vinyl but it proved the opposite. People realised they could connect their decks and that opened up a new wave of teenagers to 12-inch records.â

For Anthony Chalmers, promoter of east London vinyl-only club night Keepers (at The Alibi, Dalston), vinyl is simply magical: âIt has a feel, an emotion...people can own and hold it; I donât want to be looking at screens all the time, thereâs too much to do. Vinyl keeps it classic, simple.â At the same time, it promises dancefloor freedom and fun. âA lot of bars and clubs are losing touch with the more extreme, strange and cutting-edge sides of music. The wonder has been taken away. I launched Keepers to make sure I didnât lose touch either. It I played those eclectic records more then Iâd buy other stuff like it. People are interested in vinyl and what it offers. The music is unique and fun, and that creates a great atmosphere when played out. The DJs too, you know are committed, because anyone who plays vinyl out will be carrying heavy crates around with them, and will have needed to sit down and painstakingly select tracks beforehand. Thatâs dedication, which a crowd respects.â

Itâll be interesting to see if the vinylâs latest resurgence in the marketplace indicates true long-term revival or simple another cyclical fascination. Regardless, vinyl has a welcome place in the contemporary club landscape. âHeritage is important,â Hill concludes, âand vinyl has that. It also has a unique analogue sound, and represents quality and exclusivity. These things are desirable in todayâs disposable, delete-able music climate. People will always want to own things; particularly, the records that no-one else does. Vinyl is about personality and being an individual. You can see that in the DJs championing it today, big names like Seth Troxler and Sven Vath. Itâs holding its own.â

Amen.

For more info on Twelve 12s visit southernhospitality.co.uk and on Keepers hit anthonychalmers.com/keepers

Other news...

MANCHESTER'S WAREHOUSE PROJECT

Manchester's annual clubbing institution, Warehouse Project, will feature Seth Troxler, Carl Craig, Maya Jane Coles, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Chic and Kerri Chandler this year.

Running September 27 to January 1 (the Project's traditional New Year's Day closing party) at the huge disused Victoria Warehouse on Manchester's Trafford Wharf Road, the epic and stylistically kaleidoscopic Warehouse Project kicks off in 2013 with a massive party featuring Armand Van Helden, Alan Braxe, Axwell, MK and Flashmob. Details are still being confirmed for the January finale and preceding New Year's Eve bash.

In between, club fans can expect to shake to Troxler, Craig, Loco Dice, Joy Orbison and Tale Of Us (September 28), Jamie Jones' Paradise night, featuring Coles, Art Department, Damian Lazarus and Cassy (October 5), 50 Weapons' Modeselektion gathering, with Moderat, LFO, Marcel Dettman, Ben Klock and DJ Koze (October 11), 'Scratch' Perry and David Rodigan at a characteristically dubby Rudimental showcase (October 12), Size Matters, headlined by âEDMâ kingpin Steve Angello (October 18) and a Resident Advisor party graced by Troxler, Nicolas Jaar and Richie Hawtin (October 19).

Other Warehouse events...

Beyond that, Bristol bass-house sensation Julio Bashmore curates October 26th's Warehouse Project event featuring Laurent Garnier, Cassius, Metro Area, Space Dimension Controller, Motor City Drum Ensemble and Breach (AKA Ben Westbeech), Bestivalâs festival team hosts Hot Chip, Chic (featuring Nile Rodgers) and 2ManyDJs (November 1), Londonâs Field Day festival presents Four Tet and Caribou (as curators; guests include Radiohead's Thom Yorke, November 2), Radio 1âs Annie Mac welcomes the similarly buoyant Major Lazer and Chromeo (November 8), garage crossover darlings Disclosure perform, joined by Bicep and Dusky (November 22), Detroitâs famous Movement festival corals Sven Vath, Loco Dice, Nina Kraviz, Chez Damier, Levon Vincent and Andrew Weatherall (November 30) and cult, long-running UK night Bugged Out! invites The Chemical Brothers, Eats Everything, Erol Alkn and Hot Since 82 (December 6).

That leaves Ibiza staple Circo Loco!, featuring Apollonia, The Martinez Brothers, Dixon and DJ Qu (December 7), Flying Lotus (December 13), Heidi's Jackathon, with US house legends Kerri Chandler and Cajmere, as well as Magda and Jimmy Edgar (December 14), and Solomun's Diynamic showcase, also including Stimming and David August (December 28).

Full line-up and ticket details can be perused at thewarehouseproject.com as always, I canât wait for this one

Onto reviews...

SINGLES

Ryan Crosson â Into Later Habitats EP (Ger Visionquest)

One particularly industrious quarter of ubiquitous club collective Visionquest, Ryan Crosson has revisited interesting studio sketches recorded with similarly quirky talents Tale Of Us and former dancehall talent Aquarius Heaven over three years ago. The upgrades are riveting, feeding Crossonâs penchant for epic fusions of 4-4 groove, ambient miscellany and bold unpredictability. Angel, Crossonâs collabo with Tale Of Us, thrusts edgy, urgent drums beneath immersive synths and elusive key solos, whilst Head Above Water (with Heaven) blends ethereal tech and emotive patois with irresistible results. Unique.
5/5

Dennis Ferrer â Mind Ur Step (UK Defected)

Swaggering change of tack from pedigree house producer Dennis Ferrer, who delivers radio-friendly song powered by quality underground rhythm. This is Ferrer at his most radio friendly, but without compromise to quality or creativity. Scything beats and tight, modulated bass build deliciously into Chi-Town chanteuse Janelle Krollâs soaring vocals, before passages of infectious jack and a well-judged break. Thereâs not one step out of place here, leading us to likely summer anthem status. Slamminâ....
5/5

Tortured Soul â Canât Keep Rhythm From A Dancer/Undercover Remixes (UK Dome)

Immaculate live-house trio Tortured Soul drop a brand new single, Canât Keep Rhythm From A Dancer, which swings gloriously on topical Chic-sleek guitar riffs, cool jazz keys and lead singer Christian Urichâs obligatory super-smooth soul vocals. The classy workout comes complete with Miguel Migs remixes adding trademark nu-boogie swish ânâ shimmer. Separately, the boys preview their new Undercover Remixes compilation â gathering their biggest, remixed hits, as well as a handful of exclusive new cuts â with a spot-on sampler featuring Eric Kupperâs legendarily rare 2004 take on Fall In Love (hustling beats, cosmic keys) and Fred Everythingâs grimy funk-a-bout with You Found A Way. The sampler also includes a sassy disco remake of I Might Do Something Wrong by Urich and fellow band member JKriv (now with vocals by NâDea Davenport) and deep new Black Coffee collaboration I Know Whatâs On Your Mind, serving skanking beats and touching soul-house melancholia. The full album boasts additional nuggets Donât Hold Me Down (remixed by Quentin Harris) and Another Lover (tweaked by Dimitri From Paris). Sweet.
5/5

ALBUMS

Various Artists â Terry Farley presents Acid Rain: Definitive Original Acid And Deep House 1985-1991 (UK Harmless)

A bewildering â in the best sense of the word â summary of acid houseâs finest, formative moments, forged as they were in dark, gritty, often corrosive fits of electronic pique. âJunior Boyâ Terry Farley, one of the UKâs true house sages, curates the five epic CDs on offer here, capturing brilliantly that chaotic, late Eighties sense of a dancefloor in revolution. The highlights are countless, classics from Marshall Jefferson (Virgo 4âs R U Hot Enough), Mr Fingers (Washing Machine) and Frankie Knuckles (the deliciously sleazy Baby Wants To Ride) sitting next to rare (or at least comparatively rare) gems such as Ace And The Sandmanâs ethereal Let Your Body Talk, Laurent Xâs thoroughly twisted Machines and Bam Bamâs rough ânâ raunchy Make U Scream, as well as influential productions by other Chicago grandees including Gene Hunt, DJ Pierre and the inimitable, wild-eyed Ron Hardy. In a saturated club compilation market, this is fresh Acid Rain; a comprehensive account of one of electronic musicâs most important passages of history, delivered with thought and intensity in equal measure. The fact that many of todayâs premium DJs and producers are currently looking back to edgy Eighties Chicago for their inspiration makes these five discs even more relevant and impactful. Epochal, timeless dance music.
5/5

Atjazz â More Than A Remix (UK R2 Records)

Martin âAtjazzâ Ivesonâs remix retrospective stretches to three, highly consistent, highly immersive discs and yet More Than A Remix is just the tip of the iceberg â the Iveson discography boasts literally hundreds of remix entries. Soul-dance is the thing here, expressed via house, tech, dub, soul and world music. Majestic afro rubs of Boddhi Satva (Who Am I) and At One (the arrestingly percussive African Healing Dance) sit smoothly alongside cool Latin tweaks to Gilles Petersonâs Havana Cultura Band (Orisa), the re-wired nu-jazz hustle of Jazzanova (Dance The Dance) and a supremely blissed-out take on Japanâs Little Big Bee (Searchinâ). Elsewhere there are top-drawer funk-outs (chiefly Clydeâs Roll Of The Beast), dub-downs (Karimzaâs Groove A K Ordingly),soul sweeps (Leon Wareâs On The Beach) and trademark mesmeric deep house (Atjazzâs own subterranean For Real and lightly jacked Love Someone). Thatâs not forgetting Atjazzâs classic jazz hi-hattinâ remix of Kerri Chandlerâs Rain (better than the original) and sweet remixes of The Rah Band, Mario & Vidis and Charles Webster muse Emilie Chick. All in all, Iveson has cherry picked from over 15 years of highly significant career with careful and creative aplomb; heâs right, this is more, much more than simply remixes....
5/5

Various Artists â The Sound Of Bang: Chicagoâs #1 House Music Ritual (Compiled & Mixed by Terry Hunter) (UK BBE)

Yank-house legend Terry Hunter launched Bang Sunday at Chicagoâs Shrine nightclub in 2011 with the aim of reconnecting the Windy City to some of its long neglected soul-house roots. The focus, however, was just as much on vintage beats as it was new sounds; a theme carried through onto BBEâs excellent compilation summary, also mixed by Hunter. Avery Sunshineâs thickly soulful Ugly Part Of Me â first released in 2010 â kicks things off in fine style before a series of similarly loose, fluidly blended house joints cut with everything from Latin to afro-beat. Masters At Workâs Ekabo, featuring Wumni, fizzes with the same lowdown funky fire brought forth upon its mid-Noughties debut, whilst Mike Dunnâs Rise struts with tribal purpose, DJ Spenâs Craze At Midnite loops on snappy disco riffs and Ralf Gum feat. Kenny Bobienâs gospel burner The Only Way gains added percussive pep as remixed by Hunter. There are further sweet Hunter contributions, including Carla Pratherâs Just Do It and Timmy Regisfordâs re-rubbed Sometimes, all of which adds to The Sound Of Bangâs consistency without prompting repetition. Emotive, optimistic, on point....
5/5

Ben Lovett

Stilll 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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