Les Yeux Orange proves in stellar fashion that all good things come to those that wait. Following on from records by Wav Fuzz and n.stal last year, this instalment from the collective come label reunites Polish pairing Earth Trax and Newborn Jr.. The two combined for one of last year's standout EPs - 'Sax & Flute' via the ever incorrigible Rhythm Section and put simply, they’re at it again with the 'Mirage' EP.
Having garnered a fine reputation for their meticulously curated content and premiering platform, the Parisian label, Lex Yeux Orange deliver their third release. Pairing Earth Trax and Newborn Jr. was always going to be a winner, the two have long since spread their wings from Warsaw and clearly like to keep busy. Earth Trax previously as both The Phantom and one half of sought-after sampling duo Ptaki, Newborn Jr. through tripped out project Private Press AKA Raw Feelings. 'Mirage' EP is diverse- the A-side pits hazy Balearic tones in 'Nemesis' alongside the minimal amiable roaring thud of standout track 'Hypnosis'. Flip it over and you get the slow burning ambient chug of 'Mirage' contrasted with the uplifting rumba-esq 'Just In Time' from Newborn Jr.. It’s a record that has something to fit just about every occasion, from squat rave thumper to grandma’s 89th (that is a compliment)!
'Mirage' is only their second record together and it comes as some relief that we won’t have to wait long for their next dual offering. Bailando/Aquamarine on Echovolt Records is looming large on the horizon and it’s already a firm favourite.
Words by Marcus P
This track, which I heard for the first time in Corsica Studios earlier this year, is celebrating it’s tenth birthday, and its sound is both timelessly fresh and unavoidably reflective of its 90s roots. Released on the Munich label, Kosmo Records in 1997, 'Meet Her At The Love Parade' perfectly exemplifies the German electronic music scene at the time in its mischievous, trancey strangeness. German producer and DJ Da Hool holds a special place in dance music’s heart as a pioneer of rave culture throughout the late 80s and 90s. In a time when underground electronic music was bubbling up as a subversive, anti-establishment sub-culture, Da Hool was instrumental in paving the way for this rebellious sound in his home country, a focal point of the movement, and spreading it throughout Europe.
The title of the track is a reference to the deep and reactionary relationship between dance music at the time and political resistance. German Love Parades were music festivals where people danced on floats that rolled through the city blasting techno and electronica. The first Love Parade developed out of a peace protests against the Berlin Wall in West Berlin in 1989, and the tradition continued annually until 2003, becoming a symbol of inclusivity and a celebration of freedom and art. Love Parades were a safe space for LGBQT people, and nudity, flamboyance and drag were encouraged. The centring of electronic music within this context helped to set an incredible standard of altruism and community for the genre and rave culture that still now prevails.
The mood of the track reflects the hedonism and revolutionary spirit of its namesake. It commences with a deep, tinny bass drum, which builds slowly and is joined by an electronic kick and a hi-hat. The base comes pulsating from underneath like a beating heart. The main tune of the track is staccato, dotted, and fades slowly in. There is a feeling of intense anticipation and then release in the slightly off-key, buzzing main melody. Apart from some distortion of the melody, there isn’t much variation, so you become hypnotised by the rolling sounds. It is undeniably euphoric, and sounds like a battle cry.
The whole record has a feeling of a march, and is bare boned, and raw. This track should be celebrated both for just its firm grounding in the belief of music as a powerful force for change, and because of its undeniable quality as a dance track.
Words by Dora T
The Pickle Factory, sister of the renowned East London club Oval Space, has fast become a popular venue for a cosy night of raving in the heart of Bethnal Green since it’s inauguration as a club and revamp from, well…a pickle factory. The 200 capacity space focuses on great acoustics with its Audiotechnik sound system and has played host to some outstanding nights and afterparties since 2013.
Thursday sees Bristol house and disco connoisseurs Dave Harvey and Christophe, co-founders of the imprint Futureboogie grace the decks for a back to back session that’s not to be missed. Also the brains behind Love International Festival in Tisno Croatia, and Love Saves The Day Festival in the South West - promoter’s Maple Cuts have curated a truly tasty squeeze to get you in the mood for the weekend as these two never fail to disappoint. Expect sassy vocal cuts and bouncy basslines throughout. Joined by up and coming DJs, Harry Illisley and Jackson Massey to start the party, there will be no doubt good vibes all night long.
Words by Oli C
Avalon Emerson is pretty cool. Whether it’s her consistently progressive production, slamming festival sets, her recent wonderful, non-dancefloor oriented RA Live mix or the fact that she looks straight off the set of Stranger Things, she has been the perennially ‘up and coming’ DJ/producer consistently getting things very right. Unsurprisingly, her most recent release for Whities, ‘One More Fluorescent Rush/Finally Some Common Ground’ is no different. It’s always reassuring when a producer seems to be moving in a specifically forward direction. Indeed, over seven physical releases Emerson seems to have traversed the influences of house, tech-house, techno and electro to arrive at this unique most recent endeavour.
Gender has become smartly-avoided shaky ground when it comes to talking about electronic music. Ignoring this, Emerson undoubtedly exemplifies the kind of refreshing uniquity that’s almost always present in women in techno- seen in the unusual and harmonious marriage of light and dark in her production. As we’ve recently and all too often discovered, anyone can buy ten tight black t-shirts, get a short back and sides and make a living spending their summers in Ibiza... well not quite anyone.
Emerson’s two A sides for Whities are a good example of what sets her apart. 2016’s 'Frontier' is all rumbling kick drums, charging basslines and arid clicks and beeps, accompanied by a striking, euphoric melody. It works perfectly, and is not unlike ‘One More Fluorescent Rush’, which features slightly lighter percussion and a more complex incessant, driving bleep based melody. The B-side ‘Finally Some Common Ground’, is low key and offbeat, less immediately ear-catching, but a rolling peaktime powerhouse nonetheless and indistinguishable in quality from its counterpart.
Emerson is creating her own space in the well worn world of techno and her latest release completely encapsulates this. Out in it’s entirety on Friday with some excellent artwork, for now, the A-side can be streamed on YouTube and Bandcamp accompanied by an unreal, fittingly Blade-Runneresque video. Carefully considered and not one to miss.
Words by Hugo B
By now Hessle Audio is likely on everyone’s radar, however, with a ten year anniversary tour ongoing and two exceptional releases in quick succession, it seems like the right time to have a look at what makes the ever-popular and consistently brilliant label so unique.
In some circles, dubstep is a genre that gets a hard time these days, largely because more commercial minded produces took some of it’s aspects and began rumbling towards big money, radio play music- the kind that has now morphed into EDM. With this in mind it’s important to disregard any prejudices to the potential musical buzzword ‘dubstep’ has become. Indeed, the genre serves very much as the roots of the label which are characterised by the precedent setting early releases of founders Pangaea and Pearson Sound as well as production from the likes of Joe, TRG and even James Blake. These EPs are full of rolling, heavy, broken percussion, some are late-night and club oriented while others are more atmospheric and experimental.
Crucially, Hessle Audio has always been experimental in a progressive and origins-acknowledging manner. As dubstep in the UK gave way to techno, to some extent, the label followed suit while always curating music and choosing producers who brought something different, new and often leftfield. Ultimately, EPs like Joe ‘Claptrap', Blawan ‘Fram’, Objekt ‘Cactus’ and Bruce ‘Not Stochastic’ occupy their own ground, demonstrating an awareness of many aspects of the genres they pluck from, while disregarding all the so-called rules of generic production. This is testament to the kind of producers that inhabit the label, and who send Hessle Audio their music. However, it also demonstrates just how considered the approach of founders, Ben Thomson (Ben UFO), Kevin McAuley (Pangaea) and David Kennedy (Pearson Sound), is. In part, McAuley and Kennedy lead by example with their production, however, there is also a level of curation that goes into the label’s releases that seems to elude others. Indeed, stories like Bristol-based producer Bruce (Larry McCarthy) being persuaded to remove the synth line from the track ‘Trip’, show the respect and influence the trio have. Crucially, McCarthy was happy with the results. In this sense, while many of the label’s releases are very different from one another they all sound recognisably of Hessle Audio, without being pigeonholed. Resultantly, the imprint has often been described as genre-defying. I would agree with this to the extent that they are defying genres by creating their own. Indeed, I have often heard releases that sound like Hessle Audio, something that doesn’t often get said about labels, and with their depth of catalogue and renown it seems clear where the influence has come from.
In terms of recent releases, late September and mid-October have seen Beatrice Dillon and Call Super’s 'Inkjet/Fluo' and Joe’s 'Tail Lift/MPH'. These rapidly released EPs, combined with a ten year anniversary, provided a welcome opportunity to write about the label. HES031 'Inkjet/Fluo' is a class act, home to atmospheric alien techno, weird drum patterns and synth stabs.
In terms of their most recent release, Joe and Hessle Audio are a consistently weird and wonderful combination, tracks like ‘Claptrap’ and ‘Slope’, are some of the most interesting dance floor assaulting productions in recent years (in my opinion). After all, this is the producer who turned Bobby McFerrin’s 'Thinkin’ About Your Body' into a loopy, thumpingly percussive, dance floor ready, surprisingly explosive slow burner. ‘Tail Lift’ fits the same brief, ultimately and quite simply it sounds like Joe having fun- there are aspects of bass, percussion heavy music combined with carnivalesque, off-key synth lines, stabs, deranged sounding bird calls, whistles and cow bells. On paper the track sounds like it shouldn’t work, it’s just off madness inducing, but thankfully it does. And riding these kind of risky lines successfully is what sets the label and their returning, almost-resident producers apart.
Over the course of ten years, thirty-two EPs, three LPs, a series of extended mixes and three compilations Hessle Audio’s quality has never waned. The label has consistently been home to some of the most progressive and forward thinking releases around. Certainly, it speaks volumes that Pearson Sound’s ‘Blanked’ has enjoyed a renaissance/re-discovery this summer and a ‘mere’ seven years after it was first released it is still stunning audiences. This article could go on and on, but hopefully it is a small insight into what is so impressive about Hessle Audio and why they are perhaps the premier and longest serving example of what is so exciting about the UK music scene.
Words by Hugo B
Blawan’s new EP, 'Nutrition', is out on vinly in the next week, and it is set to become a staple of any good selector’s techno collection. The first solo release this year on his own label, Ternesc. Nutrition’s sound is satisfyingly characteristic of the UK producer and DJ, who has been hailed as a pioneer of the industrial techno revival, and came to prominence with the track ‘Why They Hide Their Bodies Under My Garage’.
Never one to shy away from meaty mechanical soundscapes, the young Dorset-born artist is a rare master, making miraculously thoughtful, nuanced and complex music that spans dubstep, techno and garage. Unsurprisingly, 'Nutrition' is packed full of more ceiling banging weirdness. There is a distinct sense of cheeky humour throughout the EP, in its extremes of aural-experimentation. The record is shot through with a visceral sense of the unknown, of exploring dark, strange places. Blawan’s fondness for weaving vocals distorted beyond recognition into the fabric of his tracks is also evident, particularly in 'Calcium Red', which feels like being commanded by an alien being.
My personal favourite tracks are 'Mayhem' and '993'. 'Mayhem' is slow, raw, dark and metallic. It is deeply self-assured and evokes a primal urge to stomp your feet around and scream. The cranking main melody is laid over an ominously steady two-note tune, which pulses up from underneath, bringing a deeply unsettling nature to the track. The beat marches unhurriedly along, continuously building in intensity, but never quite piquing. Strange, vocal-sounding "woops" mingle with intermittent injections of drilling drums, until the whole track is reclaimed by the unaligned, juddering, dominant melody.
'993' is an apocalyptic, rumbling tune. The top line buzzes around assuredly, unpredictably, and is brought together by a slow moving, melodic undertone, that swells and subsides, inflating and deflating the track in tide-like waves. It is characterised by a euphoric sense of abandon, created by the pairing of rich, rounded base drums with the cacophony of growling and distortion running about on top.
'Nutrition' is a unique treat, constantly surprising and deeply fulfilling to listen to. Overflowing with the genre-defying, fundamentally gratifying style that we’ve come to expect from Blawan, it is sure to be sprinkled over dark and sweaty dancefloors for years to come.
Words by Dora T
Having been friends for over twenty years, last year Roman Flügel and Andrew Weatherall got the opportunity to play back-to-back for the first time at Gottwood Festival. Those that were there knew they had witnessed something special. Here’s Roman telling us a bit more about it at the festival this year
One of the summer's most highly anticipated anthems. Speculation surrounding the unidentified producer was abundant on social media, as the track stood out in festival sets from Daphni, Joy Orbison, Floating Points and Jamie XX’s recent Reykjavik Boiler Room. Frantic Facebook groups and comment threads have now been relieved from their transient anguish as an Instagram post from Four Tet (real name Kieran Hebden) fittingly revealed it was in fact a release under his own KH alias.
This funk-fuelled house edit pivots around a catchy vocal loop taken from a rare 1971 Bobby Powell release and an infectious guitar riff which together sit on top of punchy kicks and claps. Towards the end of the track, the vocals filter abruptly into a punchy drop.
Achieving this high an impact with such simplicity is a testament to Hebden’s phenomenal talents as a producer and the track has already proved crossover success between both warm up and well timed peak hour sets.
Firstly released as a single-sided test pressing run of 100, it was only available in London record stores Phonica and Sounds Of The Universe. Inevitably within hours there were copies appearing on Discogs for around £500. Much to our relief, the record has now received a full European release and resale prices are also starting to come down.
The British producer once again showcases why he really is considered one of the best in the business.
Words by Henry C
Keith Tucker is a hero amongst the first generation Detroit techno and electro producers; a contemporary and collaborator with many of the city’s greats like Juan Atkins, Moodymann, Terrence Dixon, Suburban Knight, Drexciya and the whole Underground Resistance crew. Under aliases DJ-K1, Optic Nerve and as one half of AUX 88 with Tommy Hamilton, Tucker has been a pioneer of electro and continues to put out some of the genres purest and grittiest tracks. Co-owner of Puzzlebox Records with Anthony Shakir from 1996, this has been home to the majority of Tucker’s productions and affiliated projects. Like many of his Detroit peers, Tucker also was influential introducing electro over to Europe, especially with the raw and snappy EP, ‘Brace Yourself’ which came out in 1998 on Cologne’s Electrocord.
Another of Tucker’s standout EPs, ‘Detroit Saved my Soul’ sees a well-thought after repress on newly established imprint, Mint Condition. Originally released on Glasgow-based label, Seventh Sign Recordings in 2005, it’s now been remastered by London's Curve Pusher. 2017 has been a solid year for the label, which focuses on unearthing and reviving classic house and techno gems; and whilst not ready to flog out £50+ on Discogs for the original, most now can truly appreciate their efforts!
The title track is a pulsating minimal cut with sentimental trippy vocodered lyrics. The hooks and paddy percussion have the classic weight and grit of early US techno, speaking true to Detroit’s musical legacy. ‘My Mental State’ has similar punch with bouncy rhythm, syncopated percussions and more psychedelic vocals. Acidy electro. Then ‘Electronik’ again epitomizes the early US electro sound. It’s stabby and invigorating with riveting dichotomies of cold percussion, mystical synths and growling bass. Unlike the other two tracks, ‘Electronik’ has those futuristic keys designed to take the listener to the furthest corners of space.
Words by Fred D
The third ‘Edits From’ release dropped this week, having selected Adesse Version’s to continue the imprint's impressive string of releases. This follows on from tracks by Sputnik and Junior, who’s 'Edits from the Junior Stable' now commands increasingly high prices on the second hand market.
Adesse Versions burst onto the scene over two years ago with his incredible track ‘Pride’. Releases since then have included highlights such as his ‘Push It Along’ EP which incorporated further thumping vocal house tracks such as ‘Tout It’, whilst his most recent ‘Don’t Stop The Acid’ stuck to his winning formula of up-tempo, thumping vocal house, producing another club ready classic.
This release shows a different side to the producer with the heavy vocal cut house abandoned for a more melodic vibe, more apt for building the night up rather than tearing the roof down. A-side, ‘Jagger’ is particularly different to past releases, lacking Adesse’s common use of vocals and speaker testing bass, the focus is more on creating a synth-heavy track which the listener finds themselves lost in after only a couple of minutes. B-side ‘Run Hot’ is much faster paced with an intoxicating drum loop and repeated vocal coming together to form a track you simply can’t help but move along to. I suspect this one will be seen across dancefloors soon enough.
Listen to 'Edits From The Tribe'
Words by Ruaridh G
In great record shops you hear great music, so it’s unsurprising that I heard a test pressing of Bauhaus Records ‘Somar Ep’ playing from behind the counter of Amsterdam’s Rush Hour Records in early August. The EP is an impressive debut and the label’s alumni were kind enough to give us the B1- Gal PRZ's ‘Shrimp’- to give to you.
Bauhaus Records was started by Block residents Amichay Matyas and Yogo in collaboration with artist and label manager Udi NV, and is another example of the thriving Tel-Aviv underground music scene. The first thing to say about them is that they seem like genuine, humble, honest people, always available, ready and willing to help, concerned with making good music. Indeed the early exposure Bauhaus are getting, and the stellar work Gal PRZ has done on the first release speak to this.
PRZ’s EP opens with the titular Somar which consists of euphoric and extended bumping, dreamy, melodic house endeavour. While the B2, ‘XXX Files’, is darker and techno leaning, as arpeggio synth stabs give way to a building, relentless acid melody, the satisfaction of which characterises the track.
The EP covers impressive ground without ever compromising on quality. Shrimp falls somewhere between the A1 and B2, a wholly satisfying peak-time acidic adventure. Loose and playful, the track is driven by an opening of slamming percussion and claps, supported by hazy melodies which set the stage for an alluded inevitable acid induced roof-thumping culmination. It’s uncompromisingly fun music, the louder it’s played the better it gets, sure to get the taps aff and shoes up swinging through the air. We look forward to hearing it over the winter, as the days get shorter and the nights longer. With this in mind, Bauhaus are certainly ones to watch, another string to Tel-Aviv’s bow and with Gal PRZ already onboard and the founding managers in control things can only get better.
Words by Hugo B
Adding to their already awesome catalogue of releases, 2000Black have returned this month with yet another very tasty EP. For this release Matt Lord aka Lordamercy has teamed up with the legend and label henchman that is Dego, putting together a crafty little number of soulful, broken beat, house groovers.
The duo have maintained that unmistakeable 2000Black sound whilst captivating you with complex layers of harmonies and relaxed rhythms allowing the music to morph naturally into something you can’t really define. The A-side ‘Green Woods’ has a full flavoured organic feel to it with gentle guitar riffs, warm piano and synth phrases and simple blips of afro percussion that allow you to sit back and recline into the track. The B-side being made up from a pair of slightly more up-beat disco fuelled jams that get more than just your feet tapping.
The musicality of this dynamite duo have blended a magical fusion of influences, crafting a sound that you can’t quite put your finger on. Each track is colourful, vibrant and filled to the brim with groove- without a doubt another killer release from 2000Black.
Words by Brook P
This Saturday sees Harri & Domenic’s long-standing club night Subculture ship over two high profile artists, Henrik Schwarz and one half of Âme, Frank Wiedemann to Glasgow’s Sub Club to perform under their combined alias, Schwarzman. Having first come together in 2012, this will be the duos first performance in the UK this year after memorable sets at Sacred Grounds Festival and reportedly one of the best OFF Sonar events of the year. The duo have promised a release under this alias since June 2016 and many wait eagerly to see what the two can produce as a pair, the best indication being their mind-bending Boiler Room from April. Sub Club will undoubtedly provide an ideal space for the duo to test out their abilities. Continuing the club’s landmark thirty-year celebrations, this year has seen memorable sets from the likes of Moodymann, The Black Madonna and Carl Craig with Derrick Carter and Larry Heard, among others, to look forward to.
Words by Ruaridh G
Last month flying the flag for the Irish was Conor McGregor, this month it’s the neighbouring northerners making noise, the much-loved duo, Bicep. On the first day of September Andy Ferguson and Matt McBriar, aka Bicep released their highly anticipated, self-titled debut album. Since their breakthrough release, ‘Vision Of Love’, the duo have released a catalogue of quality productions, from edit’s to forward-thinking originals, and now their discography ticks another box. Living up to the hype surrounding the release Bicep have delivered a stunning debut LP.
A year and a half in the making, from sixty demo tracks whittled down to twelve gems, this fuller-length release is, as described in six words by the duo themselves, “an insight into our varied tastes”. As expected in typical Bicep fashion this LP is a cross-pollination of genres but here going the extra mile with elements of progressive house, trance, garage, breakbeat and downtempo. Comparing Bicep to previous material the duo said, “It's certainly more restrained or gentle, but also a lot more dynamic we feel. We've spent a lot more time on the little details. It's very much home listening or for listening on the train, not a club album. Some tracks, of course, will work in clubs”. Whether at home or in a club you can get lost in the euphoria of Bicep - a polished, triumphant, well-rounded release.
Watch the music video for 'Aura'.
Words by Ben C
‘The Black’ EP marks the debut release for both label, Room II Records, and producer, TR. The London-based imprint is focusing on artists who haven’t previously had a physical release out on a label. TR demonstrates his talent and versatility as a producer in this three-track EP. Our pick out of the very worthy bunch is the rougher side, the B-side party bomb, ‘10am Acid Jam’.
The word on the street is that TR is currently working on a live show to add to his excellent DJ sets; so keep your eyes peeled for that (he'll be taking bookings through the label for the time being). For all you bedroom producers, bathroom producers and garden shed producers - Room II want to hear your beats so send them over to: firstname.lastname@example.org
'Chilbo Swaggins', a lush mid-tempo low swing collection of beautifully echoed bleeps and synthesized pads with his trademark cheek added to match. Mouldy Soul utilises uplifting melodies with ear catching spaced out elements and mobile baselines. An audible treat is served up, showcasing a calmer musical aesthetic than his previous productions, all the while maintaining his mischievous trademark approach to his soundcard. Self released off his bandcamp and part of his new album One Wondered, check it out!
Words by Giles O