Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

Welcome to B&S

BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Column

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

Ben Lovett: The Grooveyard
Ben Lovett: The Grooveyard Inaya Day & David Esse: The Beginning (US Soltrenz) Groove Assassin feat. Tantra Zawadi: Love Seeker (It Gotta Keep Faith) Etienne: Bounce (UK Electricity) Soul Renegades:  Common Occupation EP  (UK Restless Soul) Lem Springsteen:  New Beginning (UK Restless Soul) 100 Zulu Warriors & Roland Clark:  100 Zulu Warriors (UK Tribe) Sandy Rivera & Rae: Hide U (UK Defected) Timmy Regisford: At The Club (UK Tribe) Copyright feat. Imaani: Nobody (UK Defected) Audiowhores feat. Ann Saunderson: Connected  (UK Defected) Nouveau Yorican:  Chiuso (UK Defected) Various Artists: Size Matters Mixed by Steve Angello & AN21 (Sw Size) Various Artists â Sven Vath In The Mix: The Sound Of The Eleventh Season (Ger Cocoon) Oscar G: Live From NYC (US Nervous) Art Bleek:  Art Supplies (UK Lounginâ Recordings) Ernesto Ferreryra:  El Paraiso De Las Tortugas (Ger Cadenza) Thievery Corporation:  It Takes A Thief (US ESL Music) Daft Punk â Tron Legacy: Official Soundtrack (UK Disney/EMI)

Living in a small hillside village ainât good when itâs dumping snow like it has been this month. Oh, and when youâre driving a clapped out Ford Ka too. Nightmare. Or maybe notâ¦.

Iâve been confined to home quarters for the past few days and able to spend a lot more time than I usually get soaking up the music and preparing for this column. Britain might, once again, represent a spectacular snow fail (and how much time has local government had to prepare?) but at least the warm, soulful grooves are making their way through unhindered, and helping take my mind off frostier affairs.

RECORD STORE MUTTERINGS

Iâve been chatting to several record stores this month, and finding out how theyâre doing what with the global economy still well and truly buggered, and the digital revolution continuing to spread its pixellated wings. Thereâs been much talk over the past two years about traditional storefront casualties but very little said about the efforts of the survivors â iconic in several cases â to stay afloat.

Goldie at BM Soho in London, formerly Blackmarket Records, talks about a quieter over-the-counter buzz than in years gone by, less customers and less wheeler-dealing â the kind of informal networking banter that used to spark many exciting developments in clubland, be they event or studio-based.

He also talks about digital retail giants like Juno and their reported plans to sell âtemplateâ retail space (and support) to small physical set-ups anxious about missing the cyber bandwagon. But, he questions, will it really make that much difference to Junoâs market share, and wonât those independent stores still walk away, concerned about losing their identity â and maybe even soul?

At the end of the day Goldie is a pragmatic man. He realises that to move forward, a store like BM needs to work with, rather than against, the digital revolution. Hence he and his reputable colleagues are seriously pondering a move into the download space in 2011 â one that they have avoided in the past for fear of corrupting their old-school principles.


Itâs a difficult, admirable decision and one that will be supported by a wave of further âbolt-onsâ including refreshed merchandise lines, the dark, dubsteppinâ resurrection of the BM (or Blackmarket) record label, a possible move into selling DJ equipment and, perhaps most radically, the launch of a DJ academy â workshops, in-store demos, gigs, the worksâ¦.


âItâs sad that we canât simply sell the musicâ Goldie laments. âWe offer over the counter advice and conversation that helps and even inspires people; you just donât get that online. Record stores still have a place, vinyl will probably always be collectable, but the record stores still out there need to box clever, work even harder and maintain their passion for the music.â

Liverpoolâs mighty 3 Beat emporium already has a fully operational record label and lucrative ticket office function to support it, but co-founder Thomas Tuft is in confident mood what with vinyl sales resurgent in his neck of the wood. âVinyl sales have actually picked upâ he explains. âI think all the chit-chat about the end of Technics turntables and the end of records has only made the format more underground, more desirable, and that will help us.â


Nonetheless, like Goldie, Mr Tuft is cautious. âWe canât afford to rest on our laurelsâ he exclaims. âItâs a tough and very competitive market still. Clubland is probably the one sector where everyone competes hard with one another, but for the good of the scene could really do with getting together and working as one. The record shop scene doesnât have that.â


Tuft continues: âNext year weâre going to throw two or three big parties with some key names like Soul Mekanik and [manufacturer] Vestax; yâknow, actively engage our local audience and promote the music and ourselves.â


Itâs a simple, common-sense tactic working well in other stores around the UK. Take Cardiffâs long-running Catapult store for example. Over the past 12 months, the store has hosted a range of special DJ gigs featuring the likes of house maestro Sandy Rivera and drum & bass-er High Contrast; each event has given engaged shoppers the opportunity to exchange ideas with guests, on everything from favourite records to using the latest digital kit. Catapult has also bolstered its Facebook and social media activities and launched monthly podcasts.

âI see the challenges for Catapult as a business to continue to offer regular customers a 'new' shopping experience. This is something we see happen very well now in larger cities like Londonâ explains Catapult manager Simon Thomas.

Certainly, stores like Rough Trade (with outlets in east and west London) and Phonica (Soho) have customised their selling space by adding in coffee bars and hosting regular, free evening gigs. The record store is working hard to evolve; looking at new ways to highlight that which it has always been about â community. It is good local marketing and total, logical progression.

Progression using all things technological to its advantageâ¦. âThe fact of the matter is that DJing isnât simply about two turntables and a mixer anymore and technology has given DJs and producers an opportunity to showcase some of their own work in their setsâ Thomas offers. âOver the last few years we have seen an increased curiosity among Cardiff's DJ community in new technologies that can be incorporated into DJ sets and production. The biggest barrier we feel people have to adopting these new skills is a lack of technical 'know how' and expert demonstration. This is where we can help, and bolster our own presence in the process.â

Itâs been a ripe time for deep debate on the future of dance music, thanks to Panasonicâs announcement last month that production of its legendary Technics SL1200 analogue turntable has finally ceased.

But the mood, as 3 Beatâs Tuft suggests above, is optimistic. Stores are experiencing good vinyl sales in the run-up to Christmas and DJs still want to use the format; even if it is as part of a wider, digital nightclub set-up.

âI got my first set [of Technics] on my 18th birthday, and they were amazing,â grins Leigh Darlow of Papa Records talents The Layabouts. âMost clubs will keep them installed for years to come - dance music is full of purists and there will always be DJs wanting to spin a vinyl-only set. Sure, the CD and computer thing has taken over for now, but I'm sure there will become a kind of retro comeback in a few years.â

The SL1200, of course, was first introduced to the consumer mass market back in 1972 and was soon enjoying regular used by radio and club DJs because, when used in pairs, it enabled jocks to synchronise a wide range of rhythmic music. Over 3.5 million units were sold in that first year and so one of the major motivating factors for disco and, in turn, hip-hop and house was born.

And the SL1200, with its iconic build and configuration, hasnât ever really changed, because it doesnât need to. Look at the Apple iPod on the other hand â a comparative youngster â and the format has already undergone several iterations so as to maintain pole position in a rapidly evolving market built around break-neck speed digital innovation

Venerable clubland scholar Bill Brewster, co-founder of DJhistory.com, wraps us up on the Panasonic panic: âIt means nothing for clubland. Nothing will change. If DJs play vinyl, they will continue to play it on existing turntables and if they donât, they wonât. Itâs a landmark of sorts, but not a pivotal moment⦠not really. If you want the pivotal moment it would have to be the introduction of Pioneer CDJ1000s. That was the product that started the decline in turntable usage. Since then itâs been a gradual erosion.â


That leads us nicely on to deep house royalty Ben Watt who will be selling five-12â bundles from his imperious 10,000 strong record collection in order to save rapidly dwindling storage space at his London gaff. Watt promises to pick the records randomly (but personally) and donate half of his profits to UK homeless charity Shelter. For more info head to www.buzzinfly.com â Buzzin Fly, of course, is the cult label Ben has been running these past few years.

Elsewhere, the recently announced dates for next yearâs Winter Music Conference are causing much consternation. Recent history dictates that WMC occupy the end of March alongside the dance juggernaut that is the Ultra Music Festival. But this time round organisers are plumping for March 8-12 and annoying several high-profile DJs, promoters and performers who have already booked later flights. In reality, Ultra will gain new emphasis as many of clublandâs elite honour their air tickets and throw the annual big parties in Ultraâs cool shadow. The actual conference meanwhile should, according to organisers, get back to the business of business, and attract a new wave of industry personnel. Those same organisers also point out that WMC has always jumped around in March â they havenât âchangedâ the dates for 2011 but âannouncedâ them they sayâ¦.

GIG NEWS

Quick word on gigs â infamous Ibiza party people Circo Loco are planning two massive New Yearâs Eve events; one will take place in London, at an as yet unknown venue, and one in the Circo backyard, Ibizaâs DC-10. The London shebang will welcome special guests DJ Sneak and Kerri âKaozâ Chandler; the pair will play alongside Circo residents Matthias Tanzmann, Dyed Soundroom, Sossa, System Of Survival and Davide Squillace. Back in Ibiza, party animals can expect sets from local Circo resident Andrew Grant, not to mention Ryan Crosson, Luca Bacchetti and Anthony Collins.

Finally, north London club EGG will bring some feisty, full-on carnival flavour to its own NYE shindig, hosted by promoters Bodymove. The White & Gold Rio Carnival will feature the uplifting soulful flow of Baltimoreâs DJ Spen and Defectedâs A&R Aaron Ross. Support, part house, part tech, hurtles in from Saytek, Femi B, Stathis Lazarides and Leroy Roberts. And thatâs not to mention the Brazilian âbig topâ complete with dancers, live Latino band, local DJs and percussionists. Hot, hot, hot!

And now reviews, with singles first:

SINGLES

Inaya Day & David Esse â The Beginning (US Soltrenz)

Legendary club vocalist Day hooks up with fast rising Parisian producer Esse for this beefy soul-house workout, underpinned by driving beats, rollercoaster synths and well-judged breakdowns. The âWizard Brian Coxxâ throws in a similarly-vibed and well executed vocal remix, not to mention that feisty dub.
4/5

Groove Assassin feat. Tantra Zawadi â Love Seeker (It Gotta Keep Faith)

Groove Assassin, AKA Sheffieldâs Nick Moss, has been pushing the quality house boat out for several years now, what with releases on Defected, King Street and MN2S. His latest work, featuring Big Apple poet Tantra Zawadi, is wonderfully deep, stirring spoken-word dance; remixes from Spiritual Blessings, Steve Paradise, Georg âElectroacousticâ Neufeld, QuestionmarQ, G Spice & DJ Dimkal, and Greeceâs Ku-Ninjas add to the fun, spanning everything from mellow glide to dark ân dirty dub.
4/5

Etienne â Bounce (UK Electricity)

Tight, uplifting release from Frenchie producer Etienne, who merges funky electro-tinged house with those super-soulful vocals from gospel singer Brian Lucas. Electricity boss Ron Carroll contributes a grittier but equally appealing remix. The MN2s-affiliated imprint has done it again.
4/5

Soul Renegades â Common Occupation EP (UK Restless Soul)

The Renegades â Ricky Reid and Craig Smith â totally slam their latest release on Phil Asherâs Restless Soul imprint, offering four killer tracks powered by chunky, afro-led house drums and laced, lovingly, with deep, soulful keys and (on three of the cuts) Reidâs smart vocals. Highlight, quite possibly, is I Remember, thanks to those sweet jazz flourishes. Superior stuff.
5/5

Black Gadsby â Housegrooves101 (UK Tonality)

Impressive debut for Black Gadsby on Jay Tripwireâs no-nonsense Tonality label; the three tracks on offer represent a dark, relentless house sound located somewhere between Chicago and Detroit. Solid.
3/5

Lem Springsteen â New Beginning (UK Restless Soul)

Mr Springsteen, one half of fabled house duo Mood II Swing, provides us with another quality club excursion on this, his debut release for Restless Soul. Itâs a masterful descent into deep, emotive dance, shimmering keys and soulful pads complimenting Lemâs own soft vocals and ensuring New Beginning stands as one to remember for 2010. Excellent.
5/5

100 Zulu Warriors & Roland Clark â 100 Zulu Warriors (UK Tribe)

Deep hypnotic house, in the manner of Osunladeâs edgier moments, from South Africans Black Coffee and Culoe De Song alongside Roland Clark, who contributes appropriate spoken word vocals. Layers of afro-percussion build beguilingly, with haunting keys and bass adding further to the rich atmosphere. Powerful, similarly tempered solo remixes from Culoe De Song and Black Coffee, are joined by gliding takes from Rocco.
5/5

Sandy Rivera & Rae â Hide U (UK Defected)

Worthy prog-house reworking of Kosheenâs hard-steppinâ classic, King Of Tomorrow Rivera using tough, shuffling percussion to good effect under Raeâs assertive, but engaging vocals. Great remix package, too, with tech-house flair from Rivera alongside C Castel, string-led flavour from Quentin Harris and fierce four-to-the-floor courtesy of Norman Doray.
4/5

Timmy Regisford â At The Club (UK Tribe)

At The Club, taken from Regisfordâs forthcoming album of the same name, has been causing a stir everywhere from AreaCode, the Big Apple residency Regisford commands, to You Tube, and itâs easy to see why. The Shelter legend builds a low-down house jam centred on snappy drums and deep key stabs, before sprinkling with twisting, turning organ solos and Lynn Lockamyâs seriously struttinâ, super sassy vocals. Irresistible business, and my tune of the month. Ace.
5/5

Copyright feat. Imaani â Nobody (UK Defected)

Copyright fire out a harder, thoroughly 21st century groove alongside long-term singing collaborator Imaani, but the soulful sentiment remains. The peppy, trademark percussion is there and another catchy vocal. Nice.
4/5

Audiowhores feat. Ann Saunderson â Connected (UK Defected)

Gorgeously druggy, ever so slightly acidic house fronted by Inner Cityâs Saunderson, who delivers a perfect counterpoint in those light upbeat vocals. The drums are suitably tough and uncompromising; this is total hard ânâ soul.
5/5

Nouveau Yorican â Chiuso (UK Defected)

Native New Yorker Gina Turner and flying Dutchman Laidback Luke team up for winter blitz Chiuso, their dynamic tech-derived take on 90s' Big Apple Latino-house. Neat guitar melodies dance around butch New York drums and a relentless tech groove with more spice than the hottest vindaloo. Infectious.
5/5

ALBUMS

Various Artists â Size Matters Mixed by Steve Angello & AN21 (Sw Size)

Swedish House Mafiaâs Steve Angello and protégé-stroke-younger brother AN21 (Antoine Josefsson) unveil this rocking new compilation based heavily, as the title suggests, on output from Angelloâs prominent label Size Records. Each sibling gets a disc, and both focus on hard-hitting, vocal-heavy, outrageously funky house. Fellow Mafia men Axwell and Sebastian Ingrosso feature, so too tracks from tech-y Size regulars Kim Fai and Matteo DiMarr. Elsewhere, Angello includes his crazy-bass hit KNAS and previously unreleased Rave ânâ Roll; and there are sought after remixes of Florence (& The Machine,) Gorillaz and even Ellie Goulding. Impeccably mixed and constructed, Size Matters is high-energy goodness set to dazzle night after cold winter nightâ¦.
4/5

Various Artists â Sven Vath In The Mix: The Sound Of The Eleventh Season (Ger Cocoon)

Cocoon head honcho Vath presents a snapshot of the labelâs latest summer season at Amnesia, Ibiza. And rather good it is too. The two-and-a-half hours of music over two CDs sails impressively by, Vath able to wield relentless tech, alongside melodic vocals, party-minded house and deep dance jams. Meditative dancefloor moments such as Plaidâs Dett and DJ Quâs Law make way for out-and-out club cuts including Skudgeâs dub-tech monster Convolution, whilst established artists like Plaid, not to mention Speedy J and Jacek Sienkiewicz appear alongside promising newcomers such as BDI and Kabale und Liebe. In every sense, Eleventh Season is a wide-ranging release; a smart reflection of contemporary electronic dance music.
5/5

Oscar G: Live From NYC (US Nervous)

With one disc a live mix from NYC, and the other a gathering of 10 original studio tracks, youâre getting a lot of bang for your buck. No, really. Oscar G, one half of legendary Miami production outfit Murk (or Funky Green Dogs if you prefer) is all about houseâs darker, punchier side, as Live From NYC ably demonstrates. Gâs live mix, engineered by regular collaborator Stryke, is the culmination of several months on the road, experimenting with new tunes, off-kilter mash-ups and special edits. The result is more than worth it, G wholly conveying the energy and sizzle of one of his chunky, underground Afro-Cuban infused sets. That iconoclastic vibe is nicely continued on the second disc of original new work, as typified by recent single (alongside DMS12) F**k The VIP.
4/5

Art Bleek â Art Supplies (UK Lounginâ Recordings)

West London label Lounginâ is synonymous with a number of classic releases in the nu-jazz, boogie house and broken beat arena, so itâs no surprise then that Art Bleekâs new album is all that and more. Art Supplies is actually Bleekâs second album for Lounginâ, following 2004âs well received debut Between Yesterday & Tomorrow, but highlights significant artistic and technical progression. Bleek, an alter-ego directed by Paris-based musician Arthur Pochon, excels with a range of talented collaborators including vocalist Charlie Sputnik, DJ Pudge MC, trumpeter Airelle Besson and Philly rapper Ursula Rucker; the quality is consistent but the sound refreshingly flexible, taking in funk (Into Knowledge,) boogie (Right On,) house (Friends,) and all manner of soul, jazz, tech and hip-hop references. Itâs a wonderfully Bleek outlookâ¦.
5/5

Ernesto Ferreryra â El Paraiso De Las Tortugas (Ger Cadenza)

Argentine DJ and producer Ferrerya, perhaps best known for his work alongside Guillaume Coutu-Dumont as Chic Miniature, drops a stunning debut album on the revered Cadenza label. El Paraiso De Las Tortugas â âthe paradise of the turtlesâ â masters several moods and moves, but always with an eye, cannily, on the dancefloor. Sweeping disco flights (Mil y una Noches, El Comienzo de todo lo Demas,) bleed into quirky jazz (the title track,) deep mesmeric house (Letting Go, I Wonât Forget,) heavy bass workouts (Cenote Trip,) and the plain experimental (tribal-licked The Mystery Is Gone.) Everything is anchored by Ferreryaâs trademark minimalist beats, but thereâs great depth to El Paraiso and, for the listener, ample creative stretch.
4/5

Thievery Corporation â It Takes A Thief (US ESL Music)

The two-man Corporation that is Rob Garza and Eric Hilton are celebrating 15 years of pioneering down-tempo beats with this magical retrospective album. Many of the classic cuts compiled have transcended club, car and lounge speakers to head up major film, TV and ad campaigns for everything from EA Sports and Jaguar to CSI and Entourage. But letâs not get away from the fact that here is an inspiring, well-rounded collection of tracks aimed squarely at the music lover. Tracks like Warning Shots, featuring reggae toaster Sleepy Wonder; Lebanese Blonde, with late jazz singer Pam Bricker; and Vampires, fronted by Femi Kuti, sound as fresh today as they ever have; and thereâs even the bonus of previously unreleased Bricker song The Passing Stars â by no means a leftover. It Takes A Thief is engaging journey every step of the way.
5/5

Daft Punk â Tron Legacy: Official Soundtrack (UK Disney/EMI)


Daft Punk â Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo â were born to score the long-awaited Hollywood follow-up to 1982âs pivotal cyber movie Tron; they have, after all, successfully fashioned themselves as robo-musicians making out-of-this-world future dance. The new Tron film, Tron Legacy, takes us back to bright, neon-lit gameworlds where anything is seemingly possible. And the listener should bear that in mind when approaching this soundtrack, as it represents yet another boundary-breaking shift for the Punk. There are ascendant, club compatible moments, striking synths, cutting percussion and all, like twisted tech-shaker Derezzed and zippy End Of Line, but many more which, driven by an 85-piece orchestra, take Daft Punkâs inimitable sound into classical, theatrical territory â paying homage to timeless sci-fi soundtracks like Blade Runner and Star Wars but with a spine-tingling digital twist. Treat Tron Legacy not as dancefloor weapon, rather inspired mix of man, machine, club beat and heavenly sound-scape. Triumphant.
5/5

Till next time,
Ben

...Still working the late shift!

Please feel free to contact Ben with any House & Dance news that you feel would benefit others editorial@bluesandsoul.com with "Ben Lovett" in the subject box - Thank you.

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter