Hey you. Wow! It’s been a while, huh? I know. But you’re looking great! In fact, you’ve hardly changed a bit. Maybe a couple more laughter lines around those sparkling eyes of yours, but you know they only accentuate your beauty. And have you been working out?
I guess you deserve an apology. I didn’t mean to take such a long sabbatical, and I certainly haven’t been ignoring you. Far from it. I think about you all the time. But you know how life gets in the way; the hefty demands of work, the thousand tiny distrations of the day-to-day. Still, I know you’re feeling a little hurt, a little neglected. I’m going to make it up to you, I promise. Just be patient with me. I need you. I want you. The only thing that matters is that we’re together again. At last.
1. Naughty – World of a Woman [Moodmusic]
Immaculate, touching house music from Naughty and maybe the best thing he’s done in 4 years. A deceptively simple melody burrows into your head and your heart, and the whole thing has a sunny, effortless elegance which recalls the very best balearic records of the early 1990s but still sounds absolutely contemporary. This should be a summer anthem on all discerning dancefloors, in the same way that Locodice’s “El Gallo Negro” was last year.
2. Hatchback – White Diamond (Prins Thomas Remix Pts 1+2) [thisisnotanexit]
Fuck me, this is something really special. The oh-so-prolific Thomas delivers 18 minutes of pulsing electronic krautdisco, complete with ambient break and tempo changes. Despite the sprawling Villaloban proportions, it doesn’t for one moment flag or grow boring, but deepens and sparkles more with each listen.
3. Roland Appel – Dark Soldier [Sonar Kollectiv]
Genre-mangling chamber-house that was probably the biggest tune for me at Sonar this year. Deep, spooky and highly dramatic to boot.
4. Chemical Brothers ft. Midlake – The Pills Won’t Help You Now [Virgin]
Midlake’s album ‘The Trials of Van Occupanther’ has been maybe my favourite of the last year. Here their sublime harmonies meld perfectly with the Chems at their trippiest. A proper collaboration with a great song at its heart, rather than a top-line stuck onto an exisiting track. Very good indeed.
5. Brazilian Girls – Last Call (Carl Craig remix) [Verve]
A bit of a secret weapon this. A US-only promo as far as i can tell, so nobody much seems to be playing it in Europe. But it’s a belter as Craig keeps up this incredible run of recent form with a trippy italo-flavoured mix which makes great use of the vocal.
6. Gudrun Gut – Move Me (Burger / Voigt remix) [Monika Enterprise]
The lead track from Berlin post-punk legend Gudrun Gut’s solo album “I Put A Record On” gets a nigh-on perfect remix from Kompakt boss Wolfgang Voigt and Jörg Burger. Moody pop-house with atmosphere and panache to burn.
7. Shackleton feat Jackson Del Ray – Next To Nothing (Guillaume & The Cotu Dumonts Remix) [Crosstown Rebels]
Ace timbale and clap-heavy remix of Shackleton’s new single for Crosstown rebels. It’s all about the percussion frenzy at the moment round our way.
8. Tobi Neumann
What can I say about Hrr. Neumann? Great DJ. Lovely man. And most importantly a brilliant producer on a fine run of form at the moment. From his Glove releases for labels like Playhouse, his storming electro rub of the filthy Khia in 2002, through his expert production for the likes of Chicks on Speed and Miss Kittin, to his recent remixes for the likes of Unit 3, KLF, Johannes Heil and MANDY, there hasn’t been a moment in the past 5 years where I haven’t had some record of his with me at a gig. The balearic wonderment of the never-to-be-released (boo!) Glove vs. KLF “Build A Fire” dub was my favourite bit of “Breakfast At The Villa of Joy” DJ mix from last year and whenever I play it punters and DJs alike (Tiga recently) beg me for the CDR.
9. Âme – Balandine [Innercityvisions]
This seems to be splitting people squarely down the middle; I know several DJs that aren’t feeling it at all, and it’s not working on every dancefloor (I nearly cleared Cookies with it on Tuesday night in fact – the wrong record for that party, dumb-ass). But deployed with a little care it’s a really great new single and a welcome shift in emphasis as Âme take the nu-school Wild Pitch route that’s been increasingly popular over the last 12 months (the fact that i haven’t written this in ages means that you’ve been spared my “Wild Pitch is the secret thread linking all the current hits” thesis – from “Mouth to Mouth” to “The Glitch” to Jamie Jones’ “Panic” i’ve been banging on about this for ages to all those unfortunates in ranting distance). Still immaculately produced, but altogether darker, dirtier and more intense with acid peals that are so Pierre they should be wearing a beret and carrying a baguette under their arm.
10. Kelley Polar – Chrysanthemum [Environ]
Mike Kelley’s new single continues down the off-kilter chamber-pop route that made “Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens” one of 2005′s surprise album treats. Spry electro backing combined with multi-tracked 60′s vocal harmonising confirms how Kelley is musically streets ahead of most of the post-disco pack (our Alastair excepted). Even more impressively, if you listen to the lyric (and check the brilliant video) you realise it’s a disturbing hymn to nuclear-age childhood nightmares. Duck and cover…
11. Al Usher – Here Today [Misericord]
It’s difficult to remember when wading through white label after white label of increasingly anonymous laptop-rendered minimal-electro blancmange, but there was a time when the B2 track on a 12″ was always worth checking. For some an after-thought, the dregs of the DAT cupboard, the runt of the litter but for others a place to tuck away a real gem, something a little more elliptical, not ruthessly designed for peak-time ecstatic abandon, but a musical treasure waiting to be discovered by those who care to look a little more fully.
Several years ago, on Al Usher’s “Slipshod” EP [Out of the Loop] that track was “Lullaby For Robert”. Beautifully mixing elements of boogie, dub, techno and modal English folk harmonies (no mean feat, that), I have played it at nearly every gig I’ve ever warmed up at since then. Other fans included DJ Harvey and Prins Thomas who is putting the much-blogged favourite out again this year on his new “Internasjonal” label with a Chateau Flight remix.
And now Al has made a new EP called Gnanfou for me and Sasse’s brand-new occasional label, Misericord. In the B2 slot sits a another small classic in-the-making, “Here Today”. It sounds like “Coast”-era Sub Sub doing the music for a John Ford western. But trite little pitches can’t really do it justice. If you want to hear it this minute then Prins Thomas and Lindstrom kicked off their fantastic recent Radio 1 Essential Mix with it. So go track that down on the ‘net. And then march to the shops to buy the Gnanfou EP at the start of July. We’re not doing downloads, you won’t find it on the blogs, we’re just releasing lovingly-made vinyl the way it used to be when people actually made a living from doing this stuff. With owls on the cover.
(NB Al has also recently completed amazing remixes of Dutch Rhythm Combo’s “Bonaire” and Amy Winehouse’s next single “Tears Dry On Their Own” which have to be heard to be believed. Ooh, we are proud.)
12. More Goodies.
Prosumer and Murat Tepeli – What Makes You Go For It? [OstgutTon], Samim – Heater [Get Physical], Arto Mwambe – Mudhutma! [Brontosaurus], Skåtebard – Marimba [Supersoul Recordings], Will Saul and Lee Jones – Hug The Scary [Aus Music], Parr and Hawks – Gemini [Rekids], The Gossip – Standing In The Way of Control (Playgroup Remix), Danton Eeprom – These Eyes [Fondation].