Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

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Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (April)

Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (April 2011)
Ben Lovett - The Grooveyard (April 2011) Pete Tong Defected Miami Battle Weapons ’11: Various (Defected) Zepherin Saint & Nathan Adams: Love Of My Life Noze: Dring Wolf + Lamb VS Soul Clap - DJ Kicks: Various DJ T: The Pleasure Principle Body Language Vol 10 mixed by M.A.N.D.Y - Various Richard Earnshaw: Cry Me A River - Remixes (UK Groovefinder) Fabric 57: Agoria Avicii presents... Strictly Miami Art Department: The Drawing Board Bob Sinclar & Dimitri From Paris: Knights Of The Playboy Mansion (Defected) The Revenge: Reekin’ Structions

Let’s kick things off with a competition. Southampton’s lovely Junk collective are offering one lucky reader two VIP tickets for the first of several warehouse parties due to take place in London during 2011.


Junk Department 01 will take place on April 24 at an as yet unconfirmed East London venue; with guests set to include DJ Sneak, French ‘Freak n’ Chic producer Shonky, Veryverywrongindeed’s Tim Sheridan, Murmur’s Craig Torrance and Zombies Ate My Brain producer Shane Watcha you can expect all manner of dirty dancefloor shenanigans.

This EXCLUSIVE Grooveyard prize also includes a Junk ‘acid cuts’ T-shirt, DJ Sneak’s Back In The Box mix CD and Housekeeping artist album, and one of Shonky’s Freak n’ Chic albums. So get your answer in super-quick; one lucky email drawn on April 17 wins the lot! Email NAME, ADDESS & PHONE NUMBER with 'JUNK DEPARTMENT' in the subject box please.

The Junk family, a major collective of DJs, producers, artists and graphic designers, all linked to Southampton’s Junk Club, have made a big name for themselves in recent years. Collaborators often include Cocoon, Circo Loco, Superfreq, Crosstown Rebels and Get Physical; the Junk posse are also well-known for their popular boat parties. For more info on their wider activities, visit


Global dance ambassador Pete Tong is soon to celebrate 20 years of running the rule over Radio 1. On April 8 the pivotal BBC station will present a special 12-hour Tong ‘takeover’, Tong overseeing a live Maida Vale concert featuring Groove Armada, Chase & Status, Martin Solveig, Guy Gerber, Chilly Gonzalez and Ian Brown, as well as counting down the top 20 dance tunes of the past two decades (as voted for by listeners from a long-list of 50) and dropping his first Essential Mix in 16 years.

Tong, a former Blues & Soul employee during the early 1980s, joined Radio 1 from Capital FM back in 1991 – replacing the retiring Jeff Young on Friday nights. It wasn’t long before the Essential Selection show was born – a pioneering mix of live and pre-prepared radio content – and, in turn, the early Saturday morning Essential Mix. Also hosted by Tong, the Mix took its cue from the legendary, uninterrupted mix shows of New York (helmed by Tony Humphries and Frankie Knuckles) and gave new and established names alike a proper opportunity to create and engage.

“We wanted to give a real sense of the buzz of the dance scene, particularly in the build up to the weekend” Huw Owen, producer of the Essential Selection between 1999 and 2002, and current producer of the Essential Mix, tells me. “We were pioneers in terms of mixing live and pre-planned content on the Essential Selection; we grabbed phone messages from DJs each week, exclusive guest mixes and interviews, the best new music… it wasn’t just a bunch of dance tracks, it was the club scene speaking to its people, and so it really stood out and still does.”

Today, the Essential Selection is referred to simply as ‘Pete Tong’; the Essential Mix, meanwhile, has kept its branding and continues to command the utmost respect among DJs. “Big name DJs drop everything when we invite them to do a mix” Owen comments. “They know it’s a really big deal and that’s testament to its reputation for breadth, depth and quality. The Essential Mix isn’t just about keeping the original fans happy, but bringing on new ones too. We like to mix things up a lot; which is the same for Radio 1’s wider dance schedule.”

The advent of fast broadband during the last four of five years has provided Pete Tong’s Radio 1 shows with additional competition but also helped grow and cement its truly worldwide audience. Today, Pete’s Friday night show attracts well over one million listeners - it’s difficult to see him ever slowing down.

Following the cancellation of its Japanese tour, the Hacienda has announced a Good Friday (April 22) party at Sankeys in Manchester. Dubbed From Manchester To Japan With Love, the party will aim to raise maximum funds for the earthquake and tsunami-stricken nation.

The Hacienda’s original tour headliners Basement Jaxx are down, excitingly, to play the new night; as well as local electronica-indie specialists Delphic, Hacienda regulars Justin Robertson and Jon DaSilva, rave veterans 808 State and New Order’s former (infamous) Hacienda owner Pete Hook – playing dancefloor classics.

Further event details at but if you can’t attend feel free to contribute donations to

Just before we move onto reviews – a quick line to say that I haven’t forgotten this year’s mad March Miami celebrations…. Those celebrations gained additional attention before and after Christmas owing to the surprising and seismic split between the main Winter Music Conference (Mar 8-12) and extended Ultra Music Festival (Mar 25-27). Many DJs, promoters, industry heads and clubbers faced a dilemma in terms of what Miami week to attend, prompting fears that ticket sales would be hit and Miami’s famous springtime traditions irreversibly damaged. I’ll look back next month on how both weeks have fared – many in dance are certainly keen to digest events with a view to better preparing for 2012….

What of single reviews this month?


4th Measure Men – 4 You (UK Defected)

This classic deep houser from Marc ‘MK’ Kinchen, recorded nearly 20 years ago, has resurfaced on Defected with solid if rather unspectacular remixes via 2000 and One, and Maya Jane Coles. The former adds respectful tech-driven bite, while Cole dubs interestingly out. Reasonable job.

Various – Defected Miami Battle Weapons ’11 (UK Defected)

Defected might not have thrown any parties at the Miami Winter Conference this year but their latest Battle Weapons sampler has, reports suggest, represented well. New remixes of Copyright (Nobody), Kings Of Tomorrow (Take Me Back), ATFC (It’s Over), Olav Basoski (New Day), MD X-Spress (God Made Me Phunky) and Julian Jabre (Swimming Places) cover all towering and tasteful shades of the house spectrum, Simon Mattson’s deep-tech spin on Kings Of Tomorrow particularly hot-to-trot.

Sunlightsquare – Land Of 1000 Dances (UK Sunlightsquare)

Claudio Passavanti’s talented multi-genre orchestra is back with a new album geared around ‘feel good’ Sixties and Seventies Britannia – everything from Northern Soul to The Boogaloo, all with that signature Sunlightsquare Latin twist. Land Of 1000 Dances, originally recorded by Wilson Pickett in 1966, is the first single to arrive, knitting percussion, keys and brass with Brendan Reilly’s sharp yet souful vocals in infectious, life-affirming fashion. Hustlin’ and bustling class.

Juliet Russell – Lazy (UK Joyfully Human)

Emerging Brit singer-songwriter Russell – who has previously worked with the likes of Damon Albarn, Brian Eno and Ibiza legend DJ Alfredo – lands with her first single, taken from an as yet untitled debut album due later this year. It’s seriously serene stuff, soulful and jazzy but neither soul or jazz or anything else for that matter. Russell’s charming vocals glide over strings, oboes and double bass with hazy finesse.

Zepherin Saint & Nathan Adams – Love Of My Life (UK Tribe)

Inspiring deep house vocals from 22-year-old Adams, served on a bed of sweeping synths and mesmerising percussion. Atjazz adds the more than complimentary remixes. Nathan is, of course, preparing his debut album with Saint’s help – things bode extremely well.

Richard Earnshaw – Cry Me A River: Remixes (UK Groovefinder)

More fruits from Earnshaw’s amazing debut album In Time, vocalist Imogen Ryall providing the necessary finesse for this cover of Julie London. The tasty jazz-house original is accompanied by deft remixes from Black Coffee, Leftside Wobble and Scrimshire. No wonder DJ Meme and Grant Nelson are pushing this one hard….

Phil Weeks & Dan Ghenacia – First Step EP (Fr Robsoul)

Robsoul owner Weeks and Gallic talent Ghenacia join forces for a three-track EP bursting with chunky, funky house goodness. No Way Can You Sleep, featuring a half-cut Ivan Smagghe on vocals, is standout, chopping and sprinkling Smagghe’s feverish revelations over thumping b-lines and acidic beats. Unique.

Julio Bashmore feat. Javeon McCarthy – Father Father (UK Futureboogie Recordings)

Bristolian Bashmore launches Futureboogie in fine style, Father Father offering classy Yank-style garage vibes (further buoyed by McCarthy’s stirring vocals) whilst its B-side counterpart Craboon treads an impressive line between old-school house and contemporary dubbed-out dance. Bashmore has recorded for Night Slugs, Fabric and Dirtybird, and is most definitely one to watch. Classy moves.

We Got Soul – We Got Soul EP (UK 1Trax)

A new production unit comprising Elef and Markus Schatz, We Got Soul arrives on MN2S’ deeper, trackier sub-label with impressive intent. The classic, old school house vibes of this, their debut EP has everyone from Osunlade to Luciano chomping at the bit… and rightly so.

Now for albums and compilations….


Various Artists – Body Language Vol 10 mixed by M.A.N.D.Y (Ger Get Physical)

Get Physical bosses Philip Jung and Patrick Bodmer make a second appearance on their label’s popular Body Language compilation series – they mixed its first ever volume, of course, back in 2005. Body Language Vol 10 is another engaging journey through the realms of funky tech-house, minimal and electro, featuring peppy cuts by DJ Koze, Franck Roger, Nicolas Jaar and future bassists Appleblim & Ramadanman (remixed, arrestingly, by Detroit stalwart Carl Craig). Good show.

DJ T – The Pleasure Principle (Ger Get Physical)

With his third studio album The Pleasure Principle, T skilfully juxtaposes electro, soul, disco and old-school house to create a seriously weighty, seriously contemporary piece of work. T’s master craftsmanship is never more apparent than on tracks like Burning – jacking house beats pitched down and distorted (deliciously) to f*ck – and Yesterday Tomorrow, which drives Dave Aju’s preacher man vocals powerfully along on stompin’ electro-funk and early house riffs. Elsewhere Citylife’s early 80s club sensibility appeals, so too Leavin’ Me, all dubby, techy Blues, and the ambient, uplifting Remember The Future. T has never been one to stick to stylistic blueprints; but his latest opus is well-produced, cleverly co-ordinated and staggeringly good.

Noze – Dring (Ger Get Physical)

French double act Pailhes Ezechiel and Nicolas Sfintescu provide a nimble follow-up to Songs On The Rocks one that still twirls close by to the ‘gypsy house’ pigeon hole but gathers enough experimental, instrumental and improvisational momentum to fashion its own exuberant, jazzy likeness. Liberating.

Various Artists – Wolf + Lamb VS Soul Clap: DJ Kicks (Ger !K7)

Soul Clap’s Eli Goldstein calls this seriously on-song compilation “gentle and deep” and he’s not wrong. At a time when so many mass-market comps are bludgeoning clubbers’ ears into submission with loud tech-clanging beats, here thrillingly is a release reliant on sexy, soulful swing across various captivating downtempo dub, techno and disco dance-scapes. Soul Clap’s wonderfully askew 3 Wheel E-Motion is a highlight, so too SECT feat. Ben Westbeech’s ambient soul-burner In The Park. Open your mind and you’ll almost certainly be rewarded – this is a gloriously subtle affair from two of clubland’s currently most talked about pairings.

Various Artists – Fabric 57: Agoria (UK Fabric)

French techno talent Agoria has a mighty compilation pedigree with past contributions to Resist’s At The Controls series and the far-reaching Balance canon ecstatically received. His latest venture on Fabric is another tour de force, demonstrating vast technical ability (the sleeve notes have a job keeping up, Agoria often balancing three or four tracks simultaneously) and real verve across the deep house and techno spectrums. Fabric 57’s mood shifts throughout but never at the expense of the listener; Agoria very carefully leads from the obscure (Eisbar – Subspace Two) to the intense (Sydenham & Claussell’s Rhythm) to the deeply soulful (Jose James’ Blackmagic) and classic (Ella Fitzgerald’s Night And Day). It’s a towering effort, given further height by the continual layering in of snippets from other tracks such as those by Sun Ra and Zodiac Free Arts Club.

Various Artists – Strictly Rhythm Miami (UK Strictly Rhythm)

Legendary house label Strictly Rhythm is back out on its own these days, having previously enjoyed Defected Records’ nurturing support, and shows no sign of losing momentum. Its second Miami compilation, mixed by rising Swede Avicii, motors impressively along thanks to the well-judged arrangement of punchy house tracks from Bob Sinclar, Quentin Harris and Jose Nunez.

Various Artists – Knights Of The Playboy Mansion: Mixed By Bob Sinclar & Dimtri From Paris (UK Defected)

Super-smooth Frenchies Sinclar and Dimtri have teamed up, rather aptly, for Defected’s latest dalliance with the Playboy brand – their partnership makes for two discs of rather sexy retro house grooves (Dimtri) and vintage disco (Sinclar). Track choices are, on the whole, original and engaging, Sinclar weaving his own modern-day material into a set dominated by 70s twirls from Rare Pleasure, Azoto and Metropolis, while Dimtri mixes Tensnake and DJ Spen with the vintage four-to-the-floor of Photon Inc, Bas Noir and DSK. Beguiling.

Art Department – The Drawing Board (UK Crosstown Rebels)

The Drawing Board, Art Department’s follow-up to 2009 album Without You, has something of the buzz of Daft Punk’s seminal Homework about it. Fair enough really, because this new, eagerly awaited album from Canadians Kenny Glasgow (a prolific producer since the late 1980s) and Jonny White (rising star) is a dancefloor revelation; a smart new translation of house and techno-speak filtered through classic Chicago and Detroit influences, gritty hip-hop and downbeat, and future-funking electronica. Previous single Vampire Nightclub, with its dynamic fusion of moody bass, jagged synths and Seth Troxler’s edgy vocals, sets the tone perfectly; many of The Drawing Board’s other, similarly captivating tracks take at least some of their cue from here – In The Mood (raw urban), Roberts Cry (deep synths) and Without You (eerie vocals). But, collectively, this album is so much more, twisting, turning and testing its audience with equal measures of experimental flair and reassuring dancefloor punch. Visionary.

The Revenge – Reekin’ Structions (UK Z Records)

Lone Scot Graeme Clark has finally delivered his debut album, as The Revenge, to Dave Lee’s Z imprint, which should give you a pretty firm idea of where it is at. Clark’s other studio projects – including Deportivo Street Team and vThe Hong Kong Micros – might well steer him towards harder dancefloor climes, but Reekin’ Structions is all about loose funk, swish disco and soulful, summery grooves as viewed through the lens of modern electronic dance. Clark takes classic jazz-funky mirrorball jams by Mid-Air, Velvet Hammer, The Joneses and Letta Mbulu (among others), and smartly re-works them, folding in elements of everything from nu-jazz to nu-house; occasionally, something more obscure. It’s a winning recipe; one likely to boost The Revenge’s rapidly emerging profile for months to come….

Ben Lovett

Still working the late shift...

Please feel free to contact Ben with any House & Dance news that you feel would benefit others Thank you.

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