Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Column

BEN LOVETT'S HOUSE n' DANCE COLUMN 'THE GROOVEYARD'

need2soul @Ministry of Sound April 17th 2010
need2soul @Ministry of Sound April 17th 2010

A few nuggets of news, a catch-up with Bronx club legend John âJellybeanâ Benitez, and some fresh spring releases this month. Oh, and the boilerâs fixed by the way â just as the weather warms upâ¦.. Nice.

HAPPY 6TH BIRTHDAY NEED2SOUL

Alex Ruelloâs smart London party Need2Soul celebrates six swinging years with a storming gig at Ministry Of Sound on April 17. New York legend Francois K headlines alongside Motor City techno innovator Juan Atkins, as well as Ibadan Recordsâ deep, tech and tribal-edged founder Jerome Sydenham and âurbanâ Need2Soul favourite Benji B. Ministryâs 103 bar area features Sean Brosnanâs Future Disco band and Crazy P; the Loft welcomes London label Electric Minds, and nu-disco purveyors Yam Who? and Toby Tobias.

MORILLO@MATTER + SHINDIG PRESNTS...

On the very same night, Erick âMoreâ Morillo hits Matter at Londonâs 02 Dome. Itâs Morilloâs Matter debut and the first time his world famous Subliminal Sessions night hits London this year. Swedish House Mafioso Sebastian Ingrosso supports, as does Circus âringmasterâ Yousef. More line-up details are set to be announced nearer the time.

Still in London, oh so soulful shindig Muak presents an April 3 Easter special featuring Dennis Ferrer, Jimpster, Milton Jackson and, naturally, hosts Zaki and Manish. The party runs 10pm to 11am; check www.muakmusic.com for more.

SOUTHPORT 46 (It's almost here!)

And then thereâs Southport Soul Weekender number 46. To be fair, Southport, running May 7-9, is already sold out but if you already have tickets secured then this monthâs line-up announcement should have you bouncinâ off the walls. Live acts Mint Condition, Jazztronik, Angela Johnson and Sisqo are joined by an irrepressible DJ line-up including Louie Vega, Kerri Chandler, âJoeâ Claussell, Gilles Peterson, DJ Spen, David Rodigan, King Britt, Jimpster, Ron Carroll, Osunlade, Joey Negro and Ashley Beedle. Saturday afternoon, meanwhile, gets a revamp courtesy of Phil Asher, who offers deep dance in the Beat Bar via special guests Modaji and Bah Samba.

MIAMI WINTER MUSIC CONFERENCE NEWS +
JELLYBEAN BENITEZ INTERVIEW

Preparations for this yearâs 25th anniversary Miami Winter Music Conference (March 23-27) continue apace, with several major new parties announced. Carl Craig is one of several Detroit techno legends playing at Miamiâs Shore Club to mark 25 years of techno. D25, which takes place March 25, also features Juan Atkins, Inner City pioneer Kevin Saunderson, Stacey Pullen and Kenny Larkin. Motor Cityâs rising tech stars Kyle Hall and Monty Luke get solo sets, too; not to mention Motor Cityâs inimitable house stars Kenny Dixon Jr (Moodyman if you preferâ¦) and Theo Parrish.

Elsewhere, Kenny âDopeâ Gonzalez makes his only Miami Conference appearance at âJellybeanâ Benitezâs stellar March 24 Aerobar bash. Gonzalez is joined by sublime powerhouse diva India and a range of hot local talent.

âIâm looking forward to Miami so much this year,â Benitez told me earlier this month. âMiami is such a great occasion and the party Iâm throwing should totally pass inspection. Iâm honoured that both Kenny and India are making my party their only stop; weâve got a lot of surprises in store.â

Jellybeanâs is, of course, an immense musical career spanning everything from pop production duties for Madonna (Holiday for example) to deep club-soul grooves on self-governed imprints Jellybean Records and Jellybean Soul. Benitez pursued music to escape his tough Bronx upbringing; he gained early record-spinning gigs through neighbourhood friends employed as bouncers at local nightspots. It wasnât long before he was hanging with garage greats such as Larry Levan, David Mancuso and Nicky Siano.

âThe industry has changed so much todayâ he exclaims. âThereâs a lot of inflated egos. Back in the early days of disco, there were more clubs than DJs. I mean, coat attendants were being asked if theyâd like to play some records, primarily because clubs didnât have enough DJs! Today, itâs completely the other way round, and the competition is fierce. The internet has undoubtedly made it easier for music-makers to have their say and some are getting cocky before theyâve even really released anything substantial. I frequently wonder what those original heavyweights like Larry and Nicky would make of them; they had a lot more styleâ¦.â

Style is one word to describe Jellybeanâs latest house release on Jellybean Soul, Secrets & Lies. Itâs a deep, truly soulful number driven by some fantastic percussion and key work; not to mention Carla Pratherâs sublime vocals and a heap of flawless remixes from the likes of Scott Wozniak and Guy Robin. âIâm having a lot of fun recording at the momentâ he explains. âBut I approach every production on my labels with total focus. I never release anything I wouldnât play myself, or that my friends wouldnât, and theyâre some of the biggest DJs. The quality has to be high, and the sounds original but then having the freedom of running my own labels and brand really helps with that process. I rarely tire of my job!â

Weâll have more from Benitez in a separate Blues & Soul feature coming soon.

Before we hit this monthâs reviews, just time to mention that deep German housers Tiefschwarz will be releasing a third studio album, Chocolate, this June â some five long years after the release of their last long-player. The new record is expected to include 16 brand new tracks and guest appearances from tech-geared American Seth Troxler and San Franciscoâs minimal Dave Aju.

Chocolate is set for a release via Tiefschwarzâs own Souvenir Music label; the boys first made their name in the late 90s thanks to soulful single Music â a track that quickly brought them to the attention of Derrick Carter, Masters At Work and Bryon Stingily.

New singles then:

SINGLE REVIEWS

Underground Solution feat. Jasmine â Luv Dancin 2010 (UK Strictly Rhythm/Defected)

New Yorker Mike Dominico has updated this Strictly house classic in truly sensitive style â the deep, moody groove essentially remains, bolstered by slightly harder drums and some smart vocal re-loops. On the other hand, Harry âChoo Chooâ Romero works Jasmineâs vocals around a brand new, peaktime electro-thump backing â with plenty of bounce to the ounce. Good update.
4/5

Rasmus Faber & Alf Tumble feat. Candi Staton â Wilder Side (UK Defected)

Super-slick stuff from Faber and Tumble - marrying soulful, gorgeous keys with masterfully programmed house beats and those pitch perfect vocals from legend Staton. A record that really does live up the billingâ¦.
5/5

Montilla â From The Stars (remixes) â (Sp Urbana Recordings)

Driving four-to-the-floor with equal focus on power and poiseâ¦. Brighton boys Prok & Fitch offer a seriously twisted take on Montillaâs popular cut, whilst David Penn & Rober Gaez drop their usual tough, chunky house beats. Solid, hard-working stuffâ¦.
3/5

Audiowhores â The Sundazed EP (UK Audiowhores Music)

Manchester duo Audiowhores slam dunks with this bouncy EP of house music goodies. Rhythm Is Love pivots on stabby synths and rambling Latino-lined drums, whilst Electronica does exactly what it says on the tin â neat tech FX riding deep piano rolls and rave-style breakdowns; more than a touch of classic Tenaglia cut (as Equinox) Code 718 about this one. A very, very good thingâ¦.
4/5

DZeta ânâ Basile â Stuck (UK 1trax)

Italians Davide Zeta and Claudio Basile are in fabulous deep house mood with this latest offering, a trademark blend of hypnotic groove, clever key work and intensively percussive beats.
4/5

Little Fritter â Hit The Streets EP (UK One Records)

Limited but striking, experimental release straight from Australiaâs Gold Coastâ¦. Little Fritterâs title track is a beautifully layered house production, complete with cowbells, old-skool 303s and additional drum loops. B-side number, Ridgee Didgee mixes more killer percussion with eccentric vocals and a pounding Aboriginal b-line. The package works throughout â testament to the Fritterâs verve and buccaneering spirit.
4/5

Steve Aoki feat. Zuper Blahq â Iâm In The House (Ger Kontor Records)

Major US DJ cum fashion mogul Steve Aoki has teamed up with an international pop star - supposedly incognito as Zuper Blahq â for this fun but rather formulaic electro-house club banger. Blahq, AKA Black Eyed Pea frontman Will.i.am, drops call-to-arms vocals over pulsing drums and tech riffs in a fashion likely to smash mainstream floors but leave the underground fairly unruffled. Work-a-dayâ¦.
2/5

Jay Tripwire â A Long Time Ago In The Future (UK 1Trax)

Tripwire has released successfully on labels like Cocoon, Fabric and Bedrock, which should tell you much about what to expect here. As such, A Long Time⦠is gloriously rich house music rooted in minimal Detroit but with so much else going on â keys, bass shifts, sharp FX. In essence, itâs an immersive experience perfect for those early hours forays on the dancefloor. Subtle yet sophisticated.
4/5

Sunlightsquare Latin Combo â I Believe In Miracles (UK Sunlightsquare Records)

Youâll be hearing a lot more from the Combo during and after the Miami Conference, as they prepare to release a debut album. Meantime, this single and Jackson Sisters cover is lush and accomplished stuff â the sassy Cuban-vibed, and heavily instrumental original is backed by some killer uptempo remixes including Sunlightsquare head honcho Claudio Passavantiâs own tasty Balearic house and afro-electric takes. I Believe In Miracles mixes up the musical styles but maintains quality at all costs. Top, top gear.
5/5

Daltonic â Kiss Of Rain (US Launch Entertainment)

Big Apple producer and remixer Mark Alston hooks up with Russian chanteuse Polina for a feisty Latin-house workout here on Gladys Pizarroâs (legendary Strictly Rhythm co-founder) new label Launch. The infectious original is backed by a fantastic suite of deep and driving remixes from ConanLiquid. Dancefloor dynamite, without a doubtâ¦.
4/5

Jellybean Benitez feat. Carla Prather â Secrets & Lies (US Jellybean Soul)

Long-standing pop and dance producer Benitez has lost none of his class judging by recent underground house forays â the man certainly knows what works on the dancefloor. Secrets & Lies fires thanks to those dramatic Prather vocals but truly seduces via a sumptuous backing complete with warm keys and well programmed percussive beats. The remix package is substantial â a tried and tested Benitez trait; four Jellybean remixes rub shoulders with Scott Wozniakâs deep, electro-fying interpretations and some neat offerings from twentysomething Londoner Guy Robin.
3/5

On so on to albumsâ¦..

ALBUM REVIEWS

Various Artists â Fabric 51: DJ T (UK Fabric Records)

German jock, producer and magazine publisher Thomas Koch masterminds (and master-mixes) a set of fresh ânâ original house music, based on the blueprints of soul, funk, Latin and Chicago old-skool. Itâs shrewd and impressive stuff, with highlights throughout including Matias Aguayoâs Latino bouncer Pata Pata and Crazy Pâs sparking 80s disco take on DJ Mujavaâs Township Funk. Definitely different to a lot of whatâs going on right nowâ¦.
5/5

Various Artists â House Master: Kenny Dope (UK In The House/Defected)

Two unmixed CDs of classic beats and soulful house grooves from one half of the mighty Masters At Work, Kenny âDopeâ Gonzalez. Itâs peerless stuff, spanning Dopeâs early days right through to recent bump ânâ hustles, via those vintage Nu Yorican years. In actual fact, Nu Yorican Soulâs The Nervous Track is an out-and-out standout, itâs peppy mix of live drums and spidery keys sounding as fresh as ever. Elsewhere, the listener encounters swish disco licks such as MAWâs epic remix of The Braxtonâs The Boss, jagged four-track bangers such as Ruffneckâs Everybody Be Somebody and Kennyâs funky-as-hell, organ-backed take on Brand New Heaviesâ I Donât Know Why I Love You. Elsewhere, there are accomplished goodies â track-y and multi-instrumental â via Black Magic, Sunkids and Kim English. I could go on. A perfect package.
5/5

Various Artists - Asseteria!: Live From Uranus (US Nervous)

Big, brash and beautiful if hard, funky tech-house is your bagâ¦. Asseteria! is based on New Yorkâs cult Sunday club night of the same name, an off-kilter night curated by up-and-coming Colombian DJ Chriss Vargas. Itâs Vargas whoâs on mix duties here as well, doing an able job of blending energetic tribal and hard-dance beats from the likes of Danny Freakazoid, Baggi Begovic & Tom De Neef and Deka, as well as himself, and building tension throughout. Infectious and occasionally exhilarating if a little unspectacularâ¦.
3/5

Various Artists â Strictly Miami: Mixed By Karizma & Eddie Thoneick (UK Strictly Rhythm/Defected)

A quality Strictly compilation and no mistake. Former Basement Boy Karizma offers a fluid, funky mix comprised of soul-house nuggets from Jimmy Abney and SuSu Bobien, not to mention tasty afro grooves (Afefe Iku) and tech-edged glides (under his deeper Kaytronik moniker.) Eddie Thoneickâs tougher second CD mix soaks up everything from Harry âChoo Chooâ Romero and John Dahlback to Southamptonâs French house disciple Ridney and Gel Abril â a vibrant set making clever use of acapellas and dubs along the way. Suitably hot warm-up for the Miami Conference.
5/5

Various Artists â Defected In The House: Miami 10 Riva Starr (UK Defected)

London label Defected continues to churn these cosmopolitan In The House records out and rarely does the quality diminish. Brit Riva Starr, one of clublandâs most talked about DJs over the past 12 months, helms the show, offering two CDs of twisting, turning, cleverly mixed and looped main room house that delivers on every single BPM. Starr maintains tempo, similarly the balance between hard and soul, over 31 tracks including belters from Dennis Ferrer, Reboot, DJ Gregory, Michel Cleis and Joris Voorn. Firm but seductive four-to-the-floor.
4/5

Various Artists â Ewan Pearson: We Are Proud Of Our Choices (Ger Kompakt)

Pearsonâs steer on this, his third compilation, is gentle and rather wonderful. The revered UK electronic producer and remixer grabs a bunch of rather deep and obscure cuts and fashions a lush deep house soundscape brimming with originality, soul and spine-tingling finesse. The power of the mix comes entirely from its super subtle build; the mixing is impeccable, with shifts in mood timed to absolute perfection. Tracks, for the record, include those by Tokyo big cheese Yukihiro Fukutomi, as well as Yosa and DXR. Heavenly in every senseâ¦.
5/5

Various Artists â The Real Sound Of Chicago (UK BBE)

This shining compilation is brought to you by Chicago vinyl hounds Mark Grusane and Mike Cole â both of Mr Peabody Records fame. They focus on one of the Windy Cityâs shorter periods of club music, a time during the late 70s and early 80s when disco was evolving into (Ware)house music with often captivating results. Laidback disco (Premonition) and novelty groove (the excellent ET-inspired Yohon) mix with synth and electro-infused party-hearty bombs (Carmen Amez, Expo,) all to glorious and authentic effect. Another seriously clued-up (and buzzinâ) history lesson from the BBE camp - get some education!
5/5

Til next time
Ben (Still working the late shift!)

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