Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Ben Lovett's House n' Dance Column 'The Grooveyard' (October)

Ben Lovett: The Grooveyard
Ben Lovett: The Grooveyard Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) 20, 21, 22, 23 October 2010 G.I Disco (BBE) EGG's 7th Birthday Akabu: The Phuture Ain’t What It Used To Be Soul Mekanik: 81 Deluxe Diary No. 1: Various Artists Cielo Paradizo 2: Various Artists Gilles Peterson: Worldwide (Various Artists)

We’re heading out of the summer season now and, as per usual, there’s a renewed rush of news and releases into my email account and, of course, through the letter box.


Starting literally at the ‘deep’ end, I’m over the moon to hear that legendary deep house duo Global Communications – producers Tom Middleton and Mark Pritchard – have reunited after a monster sabbatical of some 14 years.

The boys, of course, were celebrated for killer mid-90s dancefloor cuts like The Way/The Deep and The Groove, before they moved onto various solo projects. Next month, they will return to Global action by appearing twice at the super high-profile Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE). One set, I’m told, will focus on uptempo; the other on chill-out. Both take place at the city’s Air club on October 21; cultured revellers can look forward to everything from vintage techno, house and electronica to the most cutting-edge 21st century sounds.

Still on ADE – popular London label Defected will be hosting a very special In The House night at the Panama club, October 21. The line-up is unsurprisingly solid, what with The Shapeshifters, Chocolate Puma, Simon Dunmore, DJ Gregory, Ben Westbeech, Treasure Fingers, Studio Apartment and vocalist Rae all among the runners ‘n’ riders.

Expect a typically peppy but soulful house vibe. The Shapeshifters will preview their next big single, She Freaks, and local boys Chocolate Puma will be adding a little of their inimitable Dutch ‘know how’ to proceedings. It’s also worth pointing out Rae, a regular vocal collaborator with Sandy Rivera’s Kings Of Tomorrow, and Tokyo’s super-refined Studio Apartment. Both are guest compilers on Defected’s next In The House compilation, dedicated to Tokyo – the release will be getting a well deserved push over the coming weeks.

Listeners can expect a punchy snapshot of the current Japanese club landscape, expressed through mature house cuts by everyone from Louie Vega, Sandy Rivera and ‘Coma Cat’ Tensnake to Gregor Salto, Martijn Ten Velden and Jerome Sydenham. Tokyo is an interesting one – it is still, did you know, technically illegal to dance in the city after 1am, and yet the authorities tend to turn a blind eye.

In part, that’s down to the local club scene’s huge growth over the past decade and significant contribution to the Japanese economy. But the country’s Public Morals Law is still an unwelcome distraction preventing certain clubs, promoters and domestic DJs from truly expressing themselves as they wish to. Take eleven, the club that launched earlier this year out of the ashes of illustrious predecessor Yellow – the launch weekend in February went superbly, with guests including New York legend Francois K, and yet the club’s décor and design is intentionally conservative and minimal, all to ensure touchy city authorities maintain eleven’s operating license.

I say all this but Tokyo is clearly thriving and finally reaching the standards set by club scenes elsewhere in the Western world. Clubs like Air, La Fabrique, Liquid Room and AgeHa are thriving (all backed bizarrely by huge corporate benefactors) as are up-and-coming Japanese house DJs such as Pi-Ge, Sisi and Yone-Ko; not to mention producers STEREOCiTI, Kez YM and Yosa. The future is looking bright.


Back in Europe, and back in time, comes a new compilation from cult London imprint Barely Breaking Even. G.I. Disco, compiled by Berlin jocks Kalle Kuts and Daniel W Best, is devoted to the rather interesting and historic micro-scene that evolved in Cold War West Germany following the posting of US troops there.

German clubs close to US barracks quickly picked up on the soulful, yet analogue 80s club sounds being brought over by soldiers; DJs such as Steve Kastelac, whose radio show was distributed across West Germany by the American Forces Network, also helped spread the groove. G.I. Disco highlights some of the key cuts of the time including Timex Social Club’s classic Rumors, Freeez’ even more classic IOU, and Caprice’s sassy 100%.


And just time to highlight a couple of interesting gigs. Quality soul-house night Muak, based at London’s EGG nightclub, will present a 7th birthday weekender over November 13-14 – its biggest ever event. Bearing in mind previous guests have included Ron Trent, Osunlade and Kerri Chandler this is definitely one not to miss.

The next instalment of Ministry of Sound night Soul Heaven, meanwhile, will present Ricanstruction’s jazz-tastic Frankie Feliciano, Phil Asher and Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez. That’s on October 23, from 11pm, so make a big, bold note.

Over to the reviews…


Kid Massive & Benny Royal – Give Yourself (UK Get Down Recordings)

London-based Massive teams up with rising Dutch star Royal for a stirring tech-house workout on brand new imprint Get Down. Classic house samples and stylish strings add er… massively to the fun.

Tone Control feat. James B Coleman – Without Your Love (UK Tone Control Music)

Soulful London dance-double act – Si Finnegan and Marcus Harris – hook up with highly able vocalist Coleman for this bumpin’ bass-heavy and horn-punched lick. Glorious remixes from DJ Spinna (funky Moogs and all,) and further neat tweaks by electro-boogie boys Love Over Money (also featuring Finnegan.)

Beven Godden & Arnaud D – Muziki Wa Africa EP (UK Tribe)

Great new partnership from Godden and D who will rock the more sophisticated and tasteful dancefloors out there with deep, hypnotic and incredibly well constructed tribal house ‘journeys’ Ntobenthle and Muziki Wa Africa. Welcome bonus remixes from Manoo (awesome Moroder-esque flourishes) and Tribe label-mate Zepherin Saint. Immaculate.

DJ Gregory & Gregor Salto – Canoa (DJ Chus & David Herrero Remix)

A true Ibiza gem this summer, Canoa is given autumnal momentum thanks to pumped Spaniards Chus and Herrero. Vocals and chords are finely diced and sprinkled over some peppy but suitably organic drums – another great shout for this 2010 club classic.

Andre Torquato Project – Niente (Gr Yoruba Records)

Glacial yet, conversely, heart-melting deep dance grooves from the ever so talented Brazilian, who hit the underground headlines back in 2008 with debut EP Manfred. This new cut, on Osunlade’s highly consistent Yoruba imprint, drops tinkling keys and tech stabs over smart drums and atmospheric strings. Similarly appointed remixes by Osunlade (nice piano play) and Boghosian.


Various Artists – Gilles Peterson: Worldwide (UK BBE)

A wonderful snapshot of the radio show Gilles Peterson has been making his own on Radio 1 since 1998, and which is now broadcast in over 15 countries including New Zealand and Nigeria. Peterson gives us two un-mixed discs of his favourite soulful gems, spanning the genres of everything from R&B and smooth soul to leftfield hip-hop, Latino-skank, soulful house and dubstep. Not one track is a dud and the ordering is spot on, building flow and engagement throughout. Highlights include Gotan Project’s thoughtful accordion-led workout Triptico, Cinematic Orchestra and Roots Manuva’s epic hip-hop soliloquy All Things To All Men and Jill Scott’s now classic love note He Loves Me. Big, big comp.

Various Artists – Cielo: Paradizo 2 (US Nervous)

Pacha Ibiza residents turned mainstays at iconic NYC club Cielo, Nicolas Matar and Willi Graff, oversee this hot-to-trot mix CD based on Cielo’s classic soulful and electronic house sound. It’s a truly beautiful glide across the dancefloor, building tempo and mood expertly through tracks by I:Cube, DJ Le Roi and Quarion, not to mention remixes such as John 'Mood II Swing' Ciafone’s charming re-rub of Conan Liquid & Willy Washington’s Runnin’ Back. Personally, one of my favourite albums of the year so far.

Various Artists – Diary No. 1 (Ger Upon.You Records)

Marco Resmann, half of Luna City Express, curates for Upon. You, the widely fancied Berlin house and techno label he runs alongside Marcus Meinhardt and Hawks Grunert. It’s a debut comp for the label which has quickly established itself as a club authority in Europe over the past few years thanks to a string of quality EP releases and slick parties at international super-clubs such as Watergate and Bergain. Diary No.1 boasts 13 new tracks from label regulars such as The Cheapers and Re-UP, alongside a Resmann mix of some 25 back catalogue classics. The result is wide-ranging and ear-opening, horizontal funk and leftfield acid as prominent as tribal-peaktime and dark dub.

Soul Mekanik – 81 Deluxe (UK WONK)

A re-release for the Soul Mekanik boys’ – Kelvin Andrews and Danny Spencer – acclaimed 2005 album Eighty One, which mixed electro stylings, future-grooves and deep tech with pop polish; it was the album that led the boys to mainstream chart production for the likes of Robbie Williams and Kylie Minogue. But don’t let that put you off; Eighty One is smart, likeable club music and now comes complete with a bonus remix disc featuring some powerful re-edits by Maurice Fulton, Greg Wilson and Freeform Five. It is actually Fulton’s remix of Go Upstairs, a strident synth soundscape, that stands out; so too Freeform Five’s gritty funk take on Don’t. Handy re-package.

Various Artists – Secret Weapons (UK

DJ History dons Frank Broughton and Bill Brewster are writing hugely significant chronicles of our beloved club scene, left, right and centre, but they also still have an eye (or ear) on releasing music. Secret Weapons is a clever, original idea in a compilation market drowning in mainstream mediocrity. Broughton and Brewster have collected DJs such as Luke Solomon, Frank ‘Dope’ Tope and Swag’s Chris Duckenfield and cannily asked them to select the rare as hen’s teeth, super exclusive or utterly zany tracks, personal to them, that really rock their dancefloors. The result is a XXX-fresh album with magical moments from Derrick Carter’s Sound Patrol Orchestra (sassy house), Kenny ‘Dope’ Gonzalez (a disco-loopin’ remix of Red Hook Dream’s Your Love) and Skylite (infectious Latin disco.) Another education...

Akabu – The Phuture Ain’t What It Used To Be (UK Z Records)

Multi-faced soul-dance guru Dave Lee finally gets round to releasing a debut album under his deep, electronic house guise Akabu, and good it is too. The Phuture Ain’t… treads a fine line between soul and computer with real poise, echoing Lee’s long-term intention to make an album nodding as much to classic producers like Larry Heard as to 21st century taste-makers such as Carl Craig and Martin Buttrich. It’s rich yet feisty stuff, the jagged, supremely upbeat You Want It All (featuring Norway’s Boomclap Brothers) following horny analogue jam Sax My Bitch Up and acidic strut Crystallized (vocalled by Foremost Poets’ Johnny Dangerous.) Elsewhere, however, the mood is contemplative – shimmering interlude A Little Bit Of Kaoz giving way to the cosmic and rather heavenly Another World (a killer, organ-laced collaboration with deep Berliner Andre Lodemann) and stirring, melancholic vocal Life Is So Strange (enlivened by Incognito singer Tony Momrelle.) There’s so much to gain from each new listen here, this really is some of Lee’s best work to date – The Phuture is totally what it should be….

Ben Lovertt

Still working the late shift...

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