Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S




Blak and Spanish: No Compromise
Blak and Spanish: No Compromise Dionne Mitchell: U Got Me Babe/Turn Up The Heat (UK Krackle Music) Disco Love - Rare Disco And Soul Uncovered: Various Artists  (UK BBE) Osunlade: Rebirth Bargrooves Over Ice II - Mixed By Andy Daniell: Various Artists (UK Bargrooves/Defected) ATFC In The House 'London 10': Various Artists Fabriclive 50: D-Bridge & Instra-Mental Present Autonomic: Various Artists (UK Fabric) Strictly Rhythm Est. 1989 20 Years Remixed: Various Artists [Double CD] Global Underground Presents Carl Cox - Black Rock Desert: Various Artists (UK Global Underground)

Of all the mornings to be writing my latest column - bloody hell! I call it sod’s law. You join me in my damp, snow-covered backyard, sitting on a soggy garden chair under a course canvas blanket and with laptop balanced precariously on my knee. There’s an almighty smell of gas in the house, because the exhaust on my boiler has finally decided to fall off, and I’m therefore outside waiting for the gas ‘SAS’ to swoop and make the property safe. All the windows and doors are open – the neighbours must think I’m nuts.

I probably am. But I couldn’t very well hold back on all the latest news and reviews could I? So I’m soldiering on via keyboard and quickly taking my mind off sinister central heating woes….


What better place to start than Fancy? I’m talking about a new, 21st century riff on the cheesy tradition of fancy-dress parties. Fancy is a modern clubland take on fancy dress that promises to let its hair down (and shake it wildly around) but all within the boundaries of a decent music policy, a decent central London venue and some decent, long-term membership and marketing incentives.

This is escapist fancy dress with a stylish difference. Punters shouldn’t automatically assume Fancy will be a cheesy, one-hit gimmick - it’s clear promoter Jordan Hallpike has done his homework ahead of the March 6 launch party. “Fancy dress means escapism” he explains, “but escapism on a wider scale than just going out on the weekend to forget the 9 to 5. A lot of businesses suffered last year during the worst of the global recession but the fancy dress industry was one that actually did really well; sales rocketed. What we’re proposing to do is on a different scale but there’s massive potential for a club night built on proper fancy dress.”

Fancy will be helmed by award-winning VJ-DJ Beat A Maxx, who will provide a mix of contemporary and nostalgic dancefloor beats surrounded by large visual screens and dramatic décor, all of which should help build party atmosphere rather nicely. Silent Disco is also involved – providing exotically bedecked clubbers with around 500 hi-spec headsets, which will allow them to pick ‘n’ choose the sounds they, personally dance too. Pop, rock, techno, you name it. It’s yet another way of building atmosphere.

Fancy, of course, takes place in landmark London music venue, the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire. It’s a big space to live up to but Hallpike remains confident: “It’s a fantastic venue, with all those amazing period features, that famous stage and those lush red curtains. It’s the perfect, dramatic setting.”

Following in the outrageously funky foosteps of capital nights such as Carwash and Guilty Pleasures, Fancy aims to blend the kitsch ‘n’ cool for maximum impact. Hallpike tells me that he did at one time consider taking Fancy down a “totally cool and stylish” avenue but quickly ruled it out: “A lot of nights are still too pretentious and that can be counter-productive in terms of people letting go and enjoying themselves. Fancy will make its own rules; the fact we’ll be having a compulsory dress-up code should ensure the party really does swing every month.”
For more check


Elsewhere, word reaches me that Japan’s fabulous super-club Yellow is re-opening after its sudden closure in 2008. Landlord ‘entanglements’ have finally been unraveled and now, under new ownership, Yellow will re-launch February 18.

The club, still at the same location, does have a new name – eleven. But the music policy remains very much in tact; quality house from the likes of guest spinners including (in the coming weeks) David Morales, Danny Krivit and Timmy Regisford. Special guest for the launch bash is legendary Big Apple producer Francois Kevorkian – Mr K famously played Yellow’s closing event two years ago….


Closer to home, Cream will be hosting a huge Easter bash at regular Liverpudlian base Nation on April 3. Eric Prydz and Toolroom Records head honcho Mark Knight are confirmed, so too Swedish House Mafioso Steve Angello, and one or two acts from his popular Size stable.


Matter ( in London has also just confirmed its Easter line-up, with body-rocking house very much the order of the day (well, weekend actually….) John Digweed kicks off proceedings April 1 with an exclusive Bedrock party sure to delight the ‘progressive’ heads; Danny Howells provides stellar support. On April 3, Sven Vath’s Cocoon comes to town and a playlist that should include plenty of deep ‘n’ tech delights; the upwardly mobile Loco Dice joins the fun. Festivities conclude April 4, with Ibiza’s infamous Circo Loco party offering a preview of what is to come on the White Isle this summer. Quality!


Good to hear that cult deep house label Buzzin’ Fly will be zooming into East London to play Plastic People on February 26. It’s a special occasion for Ben Watt’s ever impressive label, which will be celebrating its 50th release – Stimming, Julia Biel and Watt co-production Bright Star. The cut will be getting a limited gatefold vinyl release on February 22; Watt and long-time comrade Chris Woodward promise a non-stop, six-hour set of deep disco, tech-house and melodic electronica at the follow-up soiree. Amazingly, advanced tickets have already sold out but there will be more on the door, come the night – better head down early to avoid disappointment. And back on Matter – don’t forget about the Nocturnal party at the end of this month (February 27.) Frankie Knuckles, ATFC and Shapeshifters are all on the line-up….


Moving on, apace, news just in that deep German house producer Martin Buttrich is releasing his much anticipated debut album, Crash Test, on March 27 via Desolat, the Dusseldorf label he and Loco Dice set-up in 2007.

Big Apple-based Buttrich, whose biggest fans include everyone from Carl Craig to Dave Lee, has made a name for himself in recent years thanks to solo releases on a variety of international labels – all this off the back of his main role as producer for Dice and Timo Maas. More album details to follow.


And finally – Miami…. So much scheduled in for the Winter Music Conference this year – arguably clubland’s biggest annual network and ‘get-together.’ Miami is 25 this year and the list of conference parties is staggering!

Between March 23 and 28, artists, industry reps and clubbers alike can look forward to major ‘events’ such as the 20th anniversary bash for legendary NYC house label Shelter, featuring Timmy Regisford and David Morales (Mar 23, Shelborne Beach Resort;) a 15th anniversary for Josh Wink’s[ mighty Ovum imprint (Mar 24, Shelborne;) and DJ Magazine’s Recession Session 2 pool party with guests Nic Fanciulli, Joris Voorn and Dennis Ferrer (Mar 24, Shelborne.)

Later in the week, Luciano, Loco Dice and Martin Buttrich host a Cadenza vs Desolat soiree (Mar 25, Shelborne;) Lee Burridge and Danny Howells play back-to-back (Mar 26, Aero Bar;) Circo Loco comes to town (Mar 26, Eden Roc Hotel;) Sasha headlines (Mar 27, Shelborne) and Danny Tenaglia helms the infamous Conference closing party (Mar 28, Shelborne.)

All of that isn’t forgetting Defected Records party on March 23 at Cameo, featuring ATFC, Quentin Harris, Spen & Karizma, Ben Westbeech, Riva Starr and David Penn. Defected’s party is always, without fail, a calendar highlight. Then there’s the Ultra Music Festival, March 26-27, at Bicentennial Park, with Deadmau5, Groove Armada and Tiesto among others; and the prestigious International Dance Music Awards.


Nominations are finally out for the IDMAs. Dennis Ferrer is up for Best Underground Dance Track, Best House/Garage Track and Best American DJ; Erick Morillo, Danny Tenaglia, Roger Sanchez and Deadmau5 are also up for Best US DJ.

The ubiquitous, tech-peddling Deadmau5 actually gains the largest number of nominations – his other nods are in the categories of Best Global DJ, Producer, Music Video, Solo Artist, Electro Track and Progressive/Tech House Track. David Guetta makes multiple shortlists, including Global and European DJ; Joris Voorn contests Best Break-through DJ and Croydon’s fast-rising Joy Orbison Best Dubstep/DnB/Jungle track. BBC Radio 1 is up for Best Global Radio Station.

Details for the awards ceremony are still being finalised, but the public voting process is now under way. Visit to fill in your ballot (one ballot per person) – voting ends February 26.

And so on to reviews….


Blak & Spanish – No Compromise (UK MN2S)

Fantastic to have venerable house man Phil Asher back working with Bugz In The Attic maestro Orin Walters. No Compromise is a raw but delicious Latin-house ramble, driven on by moody keys, deep bass, neat samples (from the 70s movie Network I think) and those sharp, politically inclined vocals. It’s the first of several new releases from the boys – here’s hoping they maintain their standards; no reason they shouldn’t….

Full Intention – Forever (UK Full Intention/MN2S)

Another rock solid double-act sets about releasing new material. Disco-house dynamos Full Intention – Jon Pearn and Michael Gray – were everywhere during the early Noughties, before deciding to focus on other musical projects. Last year, they launched Full Intention Records and with it two solid dancefloor workouts, Once In A Lifetime and I Will Follow; now, they’re revisiting their killer Michael Jackson -sampling white label from 2004 in rather fine style. Forever is all about that Rock With You vocal sample, heavy 4-4 beats, tight filters and a slick intro winging Jackson (and groove) along in super-fly style. Obvious but in the very best sense….

Dionne Mitchell – U Got Me Babe/Turn Up The Heat (UK Krackle Music)

The South London diva does good…. A showcase of what we can expect from Mitchell’s forthcoming album, this double-A single offers stirring afro-house flavours enriched further by those smoky, incredibly soulful vocals; not to mention some sweet freestyle scatting, punchy synths and feisty b-line action. Top drawer.


Various Artists - In-Fluential: The Mix Volume 1 (UK Fluential)

A new compilation series from Defected’s deep, dark and twisted sister label, Fluential. London underground jock James Jackson stitches the beats together here, a blend of upfront dub ‘n’ tech from the likes of Ferrer (a sought after dub mix of Hey Hey,) Shlomi Aber (his remix of Gel Abril’s Spells Of Yoruba,) and Farley & Heller (recent Cevin Fisher collaboration We Built This House) with classic, jagged moments from Constipated Monkeys (Cro Magnon, Subliminal Records very first release,) and Thick Dick (Welcome To The Jungle.) Sounds from Dixon, Spencer Parker and Tiefschwarz round things nicely, if roughly off. Good debut.

Various Artists – Disco Love: Rare Disco And Soul Uncovered (UK BBE)

Million Dollar Disco kingpin Al Kent delivers a wonderful compilation jam-packed with the kind of authentic mirroball sounds you’re unlikely to have heard before. And that’s a good thing. Disco Love is exactly that, a passionate yet conscientious and thoroughly original plundering of the disco sound – Kent’s Northern Soul roots much in evidence as he scoops up rare backstreet recordings and forgotten dancefloor bombs, and gives them the special edit treatment. Highlights include tracks by Crosstown Traffic, Patricia White and Quinn Harris; the package includes one mixed and un-mixed DJ-friendly CD. Superior stuff.

Osunlade – Rebirth (Gr Yoruba Soul)

Rebirth represents a fourth full-length album, and further progression, for the talented producer, who has made a huge name for himself over the past decade marrying soul and electronica. An America ex-pat currently based on the Greek island of Santorini, Osunlade has actually been working on two new albums – one house and one, in his own words, soulful, song-based and acoustic. Rebirth is the latter, and first to arrive, tapping firmly into the Osunlade’s pre-house influences of jazz, funk, soul and world. Ironically, Rebirth’s highlights are those tracks with tighter ties to the dancefloor – broken beat hustle Break It Down and delectable, downtempo 4-4 glide The Dating Game. But there is quality and appeal throughout, Osunlade writing, arranging and singing the vast majority of material on offer (with back-up from the Yoruba Soul Orchestra) and very rarely disappointing. Early horn-led number Butterfly is delicate and uplifting, Willin’ successfully suggests Stevie Wonder and Glide impresses as it dances between jazz and hip-hop. Osunlade’s lyrics do very occasionally plod but it’s a minor criticism. Rebirth is, on the whole, gloriously complete; an album that should still be standing out at the close of 2010.

Various Artists – Bargrooves Over Ice II: Mixed By Andy Daniell (UK Bargrooves/Defected)

Cool stuff, indeed, from the Bargrooves stable, launching a new ‘Over Ice’ compilation with some rock solid track choices. Daniell compiles well, serving up instant appeal hits such as Dennis Ferrer’s mighty Hey Hey and Reboot’s savvy-sampling Enjoy Music alongside deeper progressive gems like Ewan Pearson’s take on Junior Boys’ Hazel and Jesse Rose’s jackin’ remix of Hardrive’s Deep Inside, and soulful underground house nuggets in the manner of Jerk House Connection’s Rocco Underground -remixed Each And Every Day. A compilation cocktail to recommend….

Various Artists – ATFC In The House London 10 (UK Defected)

Defected keeps up its prolific pace of release with yet another well-round, highly consistent In The House release; this time fronted –aptly - by 28-year-old Londoner Aydin The Funki Chile. Given ATFC’s long association with the label it’s perhaps surprising that London 10 is actually the first time that he has ever fronted for Defected, but it’s a blinding, cosmopolitan yet highly exuberant debut. No doubt. Recent, high-profile ATFC releases such as ‘saxy’ Lil Louis cover I Called You (The Conversation) and the new ‘n’ exclusive Computer Love (loosely programmed on Kraftwerk’s classic of the same name) are loudly present, so too 4-4 bombs from Dennis Ferrer, Erick Morillo and Copyright. The house tempo and jack-factor remains satisfyingly high throughout; the sound rocking some of London’s bigger house clubs is vividly portrayed.

Various Artists – Fabriclive 50: D-Bridge & Instra-Mental Present Autonomic (UK Fabric)

Refreshing drum & bass from D-Bridge and Instra-mental at a time when the music is still struggling to evolve, and push away from the welter of unimaginative jump-up and break-heavy tunes currently saturating the marketplace. For Fabriclive 50, the boys strip things back, and slow them down, mixing their own deep and atmospheric material with entirely spacious cuts from the likes of Scuba, Dan Habarnam (the excellent Nu Este Roz) and Skream – dubsteppers essentially experimenting with drum & bass rhythms. The results are soulful, intelligent and mesmeric; suggesting, in fact, that drum & bass does have a future on electronica’s creative frontline.

Various Artists – Strictly Rhythm Est 1989. 20 Years: Remixed (US Strictly Rhythm/ UK Defected)

An enjoyable if rather safe ‘n’ straightforward look back at seminal New York house label, Strictly Rhythm, through the eyes of several contemporary remixers…. Strictly has churned out hundreds of cuts over the past two decades, so picking 20 ‘anthems’ for use on this ambitious compilation was always going to be a challenge. That said, the label’s ambition largely pays off – Michel Cleis remixes River Ocean’s Love & Happiness with percussive, flamenco finesse; Jesse Rose loops infectious b-line loops around Hardrive’s Deep Inside; Jimpster offers a suitably deep ‘n’ track-y take on Photon Inc’s Generate Power; and Henrik Schwarz wraps Code 718 (or Danny Tenaglia’s) classic Equinox in layers of rich and atmospheric groove – a momentous update. Brash re-rubs of Reel 2 Real and Wamdue Project leave much, unfortunately, to be desired and there is the feeling that this anniversary comp could have been even more but it’s still decent, respectful and effective work.

Various Artists – Global Underground Presents Carl Cox: Black Rock Desert (UK Global Underground)

This is techno legend Carl Cox’s first outing on Global Underground, two CDs of quality material recorded live from his memorable set at The Opulent Temple, Black Rock, at last year’s Burning Man Festival. The first disc is lighter and more melodic in tone, soulful cuts from Tiefschwarz and Onionz mixing with the sharp electro-funk of Guy J’s Lamur (in Henry Saiz remix form) and heart-racing pulse of Alan Fitzpatrick’s Joey Beltram revamp Slice 2010. Disc two is far darker and, arguably, the standout – cuts from Robbie Rivera, Joachim Gaurraud, Wilson, Smallwood & Ingram and James Zabiela fuelling Cox’s impressive techno march with piercing strings, plunging bass drops and moody sonic twists. The journey is never dull, Cox regularly switching rhythms and moods without compromising on fluidity or appeal. It’s no wonder he’s a legend – this is towering stuff from the big man.

The gas engineers are finally here now, so I better scoot! Oh, one more thing before I do though – check out the Defected Records and Strictly Rhythm players at the foot of each B&S page. They’re a handy way to check out the new ATFC and Strictly albums highlighted above. Enjoy!

Ben (I don’t) Lovett (when the boiler breaks….)

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