Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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BEN LOVETT*** THE GROOVEYARD

BEN LOVETT'S GROOVEYARD
BEN LOVETT'S GROOVEYARD

Working the late-night shift⦠Ben Lovett

Itâs a month of poignant memories, this one. First up, Junior Boys Own has finally released its glorious book and CD Acid Houseâ Retrospectives. They really should be classed as important cultural documents.

As we said here back in September, the "fantastic four" of Terry Farley, Andy Weatherall, Steve Maize and Cymon Eckles were pivotal to house musicâs British birth following seismic revolutions in the States and Ibiza. Without them, who knows where weâd be at today?

The four, under their Junior Boysâ Own tag, published fanzines, threw parties, connected friends and pressed vinyl â each activity gave the UKâs fledgling, late 80s dance music scene major impetus and the rest, as they say, is history.

JBOâs new double-CD Acid House Scrapes & Capers: 20 Years Of JBO, released via Defected Records, is an undeniable tour de force â as relevant to the rave veterans as to the young bloods.

Uplifting piano riffs, peppy drum machines and infectious vocal snippets are order of the day on anthemic tracks ranging from the very first JBO release, Bocca Juniorsâ Raise â a veritable, stompinâ classic lying somewhere between Balearic and Big Beat â to recent Wiley inspiration DSKâs What Would We Do.

Elsewhere, thereâs Terry Farleyâs epic remix of Primal Screamâs Loaded, the club mix of Happy Mondaysâ psychedelic Madchester jaunt Hallelujah and early, evolutionary material from Underworld, The Chemical Brothers and drum & bassâ dons Goldie and Rob Playford (via that intensely dark ân percussive Process remix of The Shadow.)

More subtle, soulful club vibes are captured on tracks like Black Science Orchestraâs outrageously funky, swaggering New Jersey Deep and Ballistic Brothersâ similarly poised Iâll Fly Away â both with Ashley Beedle at the helm. And thereâs still room for euphoric dancefloor re-interpretations of major 90s bands The Farm and James. Itâs all on here and the better for it.

Scrapes & Capers is both education and annihilation â the perfect formula for life-changing dance music.

That recipe is faithfully and entertainingly archived in JBOâs accompanying book, Boyâs Own â The Complete Fanzines, 1986-1992. Overseen by reputed dance music scribes Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton (DJHistory.com) the publication re-presents all 12 Junior Boys Own magazines and intersperses them with cracking anecdotes, stories, photos and interviews from those in the thick of things; Weatherall, Farley, Oakenfold, the list goes onâ¦.

Itâs amazing to think that in six years of operation the boys only managed to fire off half a dozen issues but at over 440 pages, Brewster and Broughtonâs book recognises their intrinsic value and the incredible story behind them. The Complete Fanzines manages, quite deftly, to add coherence and substance without dampening the sense of creative electricity that was undoubtedly powering through the entire JBO team at the time.

The banter, the killer tunes, the parties⦠itâs all laid bare here in a smart annual-style hardback. Check www.djhistory.com for more â great autumn, fireside reading; er⦠if youâre not out clubbing that isâ¦.

Elsewhere, New Order bassist Peter Hook has released his own retrospective book and CD, both on the heady days of Manchesterâs legendary Hacienda nightclub. Hookâs book, amusingly titled How Not To Run A Club, offers an effective, chatty mix of personal stories (from those that attempted to run the Hacienda) and laugh-out-loud anecdotes, but also edges into darker territory â razor-sharp accounts of violence and criminal activity within the club, and insightful passages on Greater Manchester Policeâs attempts to revoke the Hacienda license, and its eventual closing down.

In terms of the clubâs classic music policy â thereâs much written on that too. A number of memorable playlists is also listed throughout. How Not To Run A Club is a rollercoaster of a read; shocking, entertaining, chaotic and inspirational all at the same time. Check www.simonandschuster.co.uk for more.

Accompanying the book is Hookâs Hacienda Classics triple-CD compilation. This is another extremely weighty, extremely poignant package of dancefloor tunes. Refreshingly, Hook has decided to compile and mix the tunes that he himself enjoyed on the Hacienda floor, rather than a pretentious âarchiveâ track-list likely to disappear up its own hole. Belting late 80s and early 90s house is therefore order of the day â Richie Rich, Inner City, Mr Fingers, Todd Terry and 808 State for starters. Genius.

And so out with the old and in with the new! So to speakâ¦.

I managed to catch hold of the Filthy Dukes last fortnight, as they set about promoting their excellent new compilation for Londonâs Fabric nightclub. The Dukes, of course, have made quite a name for themselves in recent times â their Kill Em All club night, which first launched in 2001 in Camden, has comprehensively established itself as one of Londonâs essential club nights.

These days youâll find it at Fabric, hence the album tie-in. Fabric Live 48: Filthy Dukes is another solid addition to the superclubâs comp canon, smartly bottling Kill Em Allâs potent electro-clash sound; a sound blending funkinâ disco-pop, hooky indie guitars, jagged synths and sweeping electronica, all in the name of infectious dance.

FabricLive 48âs tracklisting bounds eclectically from Gallic housers Daft Punk to electronica dynamo Aphex Twin to alternative singer/singwriter Jack Penate. âYes, itâs quite hard to get our sound acrossâ opens Olly Dixon, one half of the fast rising trio alongside Tim Lawton and recent recruit Mark Ralph. The trio promote Kill Em All, DJ, record and, increasingly so, tour as a live act.

âI think thereâs a similar approach in whatever it is weâre doingâ Dixon continues. âBut DJing is a major love and itâs great to come back to that after a live show; I actually think the live shows have reignited our love for DJing. The new CD was a lot of fun to pull together and is pretty representative of our influences - krautrock, pop, electronica, disco, hip-hop, house.â

Nevertheless, the live show has been an absolute priority for 2009. So far this year, the Filthy Dukes have made 33 live festival appearances compared to just 10 DJ ones. âLive on stage we all play synths, samples, guitars, bass and Tim sings. We also have a drummer,â Ralph outlines. âThereâs something particularly fresh and creative about playing live; itâs also easier to build up rapport with a crowd. Our live fans are some of the most loyalâ¦.â

Next month, the boys will be easing up on gigs and sets, to concentrate on writing for their next studio album due early next year. Debut offering Nonsense In The Dark, of course, earned strong reviews if also a few surprised reactions. âIt was a real song-based effortâ Ralph explains. âWe aimed to mix live and electronic sounds and ended up with dancey, disco-pop, I guess youâd call it. Up to that point, people probably knew us as DJs playing harder beats.â

Filthy Dukesâ first single, Tupac Robot Club Rock, arrived in 2005, four years after that opening Kill Em All night in North London. Countless remixes and collaborations followed; and then Nonsense, in March. âIn terms of how long weâve been involved in music, we are relative newcomers to the studioâ Lawton admits.

Ralph, a long-term producer, joined at the time when Tim and Olly wanted to concentrate more fully on production, and things have picked up pace ever since. âWeâll be on to album two very shortly and weâre already considering material for album threeâ Lawton teases. âThat said our studio process has never been pre-meditated. Weâre keen to push ourselves and climb to the next level but it has to be fairly spontaneous; thatâs where the good material lies.â

Lawton continues: âWe donât want to give too much away but you can expect plenty of the flavour that has got us to this point. The economy is in a mess, so you could rightly argue that itâs not the best time to be making music. But thereâs a lot of exciting new things happening in dance music right now, and weâre confident about our chances and the support we have. Next year should be a goodieâ¦.â

Time for some reviews...
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ALBUM REVIEW
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Mathias Kaden â Studio 10 (Ger Germany)

Sophisticated house sounds from Kaden, who layers a full range of musical instruments around the trusty 808. Fender Rhodes, Lowrey organs, violins and even flugelhorns take a bow, and the Chicago-inspired beats sound nice and precise. This album has been some two years in the making and the results are more than worth it.
4/5

Dave Lee â The Many Faces Of Joey Negro Vol 2 (UK Z)

Lee pulls lots of great faces on this double-CD delight. One CD concentrates on relatively recent disco gems like Doug Willisâ Philly-fired Nu Dimension and Z Factorâs Weâll Keep Climbing; the other collects weighty remixes. That includes quality Joey Negro re-rubs of old skool numbers by Marshall Jefferson and Grandmaster Flash; not to mention fresh twists on the impressive Lee catalogue by Spen, Dennis Ferrer and Jimpster. The standard is high (and funky) throughout. Another top job.
5/5

DJ 3000 â Galactic Caravan (US Motech/JP Underground Gallery)

Refined Detroit techno from local boy Franki Juncaj, who learnt his trade under the watchful eye of Underground Resistance and Submerge, and who has already helmed two favourably received albums, Migration and Blood And Honey. The third, Galactic Caravan, is another breath-taking progression, fusing deep electronic rhythms with ethnic influences inspired by his Albanian roots and the eclectic Hamtramck neighbourhood he lives in. The blend of punch and finesse is spot on.
4/5

Various Artists - Defected Clubland Adventures Vol 2 (UK Defected)

This release effectively continues Defectedâs 10th birthday celebrations, gathering 46 original and remixed classics from, yes, youâve guessed it, the past 10 years. The three CDs are all very good, each doing well to balance comp âregularsâ with debutantes. The range of beats and styles is extensive too. Head honcho Simon Dumore is on mix duties; expect major tunes from MAW, Copyright, Sandy Rivera, Ame and DJ Spen.
4/5

Bugz In The Attic â Got The Bug 2: The Bugz In The Attic Remixes Collection (UK BBE)

The West London beatsmithsâ original Got The Bug comp buzzed into range back in 2004, on V2 Records; artists under the remix lens included 4 Hero, Macy Gray and Amira. The sequel, here, is undoubtedly a step up; evidence of the Bugz collectiveâs progression as artists much in evidence. At the same time, Orin Walters and co. continue to ensure they donât take things too seriously. Their music here is bold and, at times, chaotic, but nothing less than quality. Remixes of Amy Winehouse (In My Bed), Mark de Clive-Lowe (Move On Up) and latin kings Ruben Blades and Willie Colon (Plastico) are particular highlights; as is the Atticâs own exclusive offering Expressions â a stunning tribute to Soul II Soulâs Fairplay. Music with a big, big smile on its face.
5/5

Various Artists â Starstyling Vs Moodmusic (Ger Moodmusic)

Engaging compilation collaboration between Moodmusic big cheese Klas Lindblad and Berlin fashion-design company Starstyling, originally put together for the latterâs show at Berlin Fashion Week earlier this year. Lindblad pulls together 13 suitably stylish techno and house-inspired cuts, including those from Tigerskin, Penner+Muder and Lindblad himself. Continental chic.
3/5

F**kpony â Let The Love Flow (Ger BPitch Control)

Pennsylvanian Jay Haze does it again on this, a second long-player under the Fuckpony alias. Following 2008âs Love & Beyond[, his latest album release is a true masterpiece and one that shows Hazeâs subtle, mellow side; a side at complete opposites to the jagged tech he regularly records elsewhere. Thatâs not to say Let The Love Flow is a safe record; far from it. Haze, with a well-documented reverence for the history of US house music, takes Chicagoâs traditions and then runs and runs with them. Punchy kick drums support both deliciously understated hooks and powerful melodic sweeps, and yet the overall vibe remains âafterhoursâ rather than âaftermathâ; guest vocals from Chela Simone and Laila Tov are immaculate on tracks I Know It Happened and the gorgeous Fall Into Me.

Haze treads lightly and yet stamps his mark most effectively. Itâs fair to say heâs hit a highly soulful, highly emotive nerve for which listeners will surely thank him.
5/5

SINGLE REVIEW
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Rob Marmot & My Digital Enemy â Double Dance (UK Floorplay)

Floorplay faves My Digital Enemy buddy up with Marmot, resident at Ibizaâs Wonderland this summer, for a growling house groove with plenty of dancefloor allure. The beats ânâ builds are solid, as is Prok & Fitchâs sharp remix. Good solid crowd control.
3/5

And that about wraps things up for this month - keep yourselves warm, and catch you real soon!

Ben ;-)

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Please feel free to contact me at B&S with any dance orientated news that you feel would benefit others - Cheers!

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