Top Five Releases || August
Les Yeux Orange - Togosava [Good Plus]
Paris-based music collective Les Yeux Orange have always emphasised the sharing of good music. From the humble beginnings of a carefully curated YouTube channel, sharing and premiering aesthetically consistent house, techno and disco, to their parties at La Rotonde and La Java, they have never lacked for quality. Indeed, their most recent endeavour, the Good Plus imprint, is no different. Edits of obscure world, disco and funk tracks sold in small batches, the label re-sheds light on lost tracks. (My only criticism would be that they go out of their way not to credit originals, but this is not an uncommon trend within electronic music). Good Plus went viral with its first release; physical copies are notoriously hard to get hold off demonstrating just how popular the label is.
Togosava’s scheduled release was the first of the month and despite many records coming and going in the past 30 days it remains the standout. Good Plus 003 adds another set of flags to the globetrotting EP series. The opening EP Coco/Jungle stayed relatively close to home, well considered edits of melodic down and midtempo disco tracks. Indeed, Coco croons while the Jungle hums. The latter introducing a penchant for spoken word sampling, a somewhat underused asset in the world of disco edits and re-edits. Coco/Jungle was followed up by an overseas endeavour, Latin inspiration dominated the 1979 EP in a move from a two track to a three-track format. Good Plus 002 is 80s alluding both titular-ly and musically- all chugging, melodic guitars, slamming outrageous percussion, eccentric synths and offbeat vocals (when there are)- the second EP marked a more dancefloor oriented endeavour. Good Plus set themselves apart by the depth of their digging, the obscurity of the originals they use to contribute to a generically expansive edit series. In this respect they can be compared to Ruf Kutz, in their discontent with reproducing tired edits of overused material. Ultimately, Good Plus 003 is no different and perhaps predictably the next destination of choice is Africa.
Controversial contemporary musical buzzword Africa is appropriate here because the EP covers more than one country in the continent, as well as dipping into elements of the Bayou Funk of the southern United States. The first and last tracks of the EP are slightly more boogie orientated and synth-laden than a lot of afro beat and disco. Unusual or different national pairings are another feature of the label’s production that sets them apart. Moreover, difficult to discover origins of tracks, their titles and the black white label aesthetic of Good Plus are examples of how the producers revel in obscurity and illusion.
Despite this the music remains fun, unpretentious and designed for the dancefloor. The opening track Avidio pairs Kwaito beats with an enchanting vocal before giving way to the B1 Yanga Mbiwaa a tempo increasing, crescendo building, chant-centric peak time pacemaker. A useful DJ tool, it could be used to reset a mood through its escalating tempo. Finally the B2, Autoradio, is a potential standout- electro funk explorations on string, wind and brass combined with an unwavering French spoken word vocal backed up by a refrain like constant chorus. It’s the most experimental track on Togosava and a useful change of pace to close the EP.
As a result of the susceptibility to sharks of the label and discogs inflation the EP is probably best streamed online. Ultimately, as September approached, the days get shorter and the light gets lower, Togosava is something to carry you through the winter and with rumours of Good Plus 004 in production, keep your ear to the ground.
Laser - Body [Apollonia]
Originally released in 1993 on Pin Up Records, Laser’s ‘Body’ EP was reissued this month. The highly-anticipated reissue has been on many music lovers radars the past year due to a clip circulating the web of Dan Ghenacia playing opening track ‘Body Beat’ at an after-hours in Ibiza with a huge number of people looking to identify the mysterious party bomb. It is in fact Ghenacia from Apollonia that we have to thank for the reissue. Having spun the dub version, ’Body Under’ since the 1990s, on rediscovering the record in his collection, he decided to flip it over and play the vocal version- it’s been said it’s barley left his record bag since! Another classic to add to Apollonia’s highly collectable catalogue of reissues.
Dominik Eulberg & Essáy - Dream Machine [Traum Schallplatten]
Traum Schallplatten, the Cologne label run by couple Jaqueline and Riley Reinhold, is coming up to its tenth birthday next year, and its production line is showing no signs of slowing up. Supported by BBC Radio and John Peel, the label was voted several years in the row into the top 10 of the best German labels by Groove Magazine, and very early on made some hefty signings such as Extrawelt and Nathan Fake. It has continued to build on its reputation for uncovering outstanding music in unlikely places, helping it draw an eclectic and strong roster of artists into its fold, including Max Cooper and Olaf Stuut. One of its latest releases, 'Dream Machine' by Dominik Eulberg & Essáy, is a surreal eight minute journey into melodic tech-house. The bubbly melody, combined with the energetic drums that kick the track off, create a sense of a playful underwater exploration. It is undoubtedly a friendly, laughing tune, held together by a softly reverberating, cyclical synth chord progression oozing with nostalgia. The track meanders along unhurried, yet constantly changing, with the oral focus roaming over and in between the different musical layers.The core melodies are echoed and repeated back in increasingly spellbinding tones and the layers ebb and flow, with a rippling flute taking centre stage and dancing around the warm, elastic chords. The overall effect is an uplifting collage of vibrant and ethereal sound that seems to contentedly tumble over itself. Accompanied by an immersive and magical video, a line-drawn animation of the artists' conception of their ‘Dream Machine’, the entire release is seriously magical and unique. Grab a listen and be hypnotised.
Four Tet - SW9 9SL / Planet [Text Records]
It’s been a long time since Four Tet graced our drums with some of his signature sounds. Reminiscent of his Morning/Evening record that stormed the shelves. His time away in the dark has crafted the scape of noise that bellows out in these ten minute wonders.
SW9 9SL - Auroral openings are shot through with a laser blasting 4/4 groove, a real body mover. A progressive array of synth keys season the beat into a space Four Tet loves to create. Rolling notes fight for there place, while chimes fill the air like Persian arrows. All before they come smashing back down into the leg trudge that will take you back to those early festival mornings.
Planet - a true masterpiece in production, opens with a more rolling beat with pepperings of muffled acid bass. Added with a strike of chime before all strings break lose in a wondrous riff from the east. These sounds balance out through the track reaching such a harmony only your ears can tell you about.
Trinidadian Deep - Native Rebel Presents Culture [Soul Print Recordings]
Deep house meets roots reggae in this vibrant warm up/chill out release. Trinidadian Deep is an unsung talent hailing from Toronto’s underground scene. Known simply as Trini, he has spent years honing his production skills and DJ craft under the fine mentorship of Chicago house legend Ron Trent. Discreetly he has been building up his reputation with a string of deep, soulful and down tempo house release on labels including Ron Trent’s Future Vision and Italian house imprint Neroli.
This latest record is out now on Serbia’s Soul Print Recordings. Run by a collective of DJs from Belgrade, the label represents a wide variety of deep and dramatic sounds pressed on coloured vinyl to combine an audio & visual experiences on the turntable.
B1. Up the Stairs is a well worked presentation of vocal reggae breakdowns that float between mesmerising electronica beats while B2. Rebel Sound maintains the tone with a spaced out, atmospheric builder underpinned by regimented latin rudiments.
The stand out tune however is A1. Rub Ya Dub, a melodic downtempo number that nails the late night/early morning vibe. The reggae vocal samples once again echo through with surprising effect on top of the deep house grooves, satisfying synth melodies and tribal drum patterns.
We’ll be keeping our eyes and ears on both Soul Print and Trini, as his organic sounds safely keep the deep in deep house.
Words by Hugo B, Ben C, Dora T, Freddie T & Henry C