January 30, 2019
Electro, house, techno, funk and soul to fire up your winter with.
Following a brief hiatus in December to make room for our end of year lists, the dance record rundown is back. As such, this month’s column includes a late 2018 release that is so exquisite it would be wrong not to include it. (The LP also sold out in blink-and-you-missed-it-time, with a very welcome repress that arrived mid-January.)
There are but two strict requirements of the music contained within. 1: It is released on vinyl. 2: There is something special about it, something that will make you want to hoof a legit groove – from a subtle Monday morning, finger-tapping, chair boogie to a late night, limbs-flailing-like-you’ve-been-electrocuted warehouse soirée and everything in between.
NB: As with previous instalments, albums are fair game on this list, provided every single track is certified ‘wagging your tush like an excited canine’ material.
Let us know what you’ve been loving at firstname.lastname@example.org or in the comments below.
(Forgotten Future )
Though I hate to drop the d unless absolutely necessary – a Drexciya reference, that is – in the case of E.R.P.’s Afterimage its greatness makes the comparison unavoidable. Shimmering through Andreyan sand dunes-esque levels of galactic synthscapes, this is an LP for sepia afternoons, late nights, early mornings and many, many repeated long listens, regardless of whether you count yourself an electro fan or not. Though Afterimage dropped late last year, selling out before the majority of us could even breath a whiff of it, thankfully it received a swift repress in mid-January. If you buy one album this month, make it this one.
‘I Believe It’s Alright’
Cult reissue connoisseur Melodies International is no stranger to this list, appearing in March, September, and October, as well as topping our favourite reissue singles of 2018 with Trio Ternura’s ‘A Gira’. Not content to rest on its laurels, in the first month of 2019 Melodies dropped not one but two singles this month – Jack Jacobs’ ‘I Believe It’s Alright’, along with Shahid Wheeler’s ‘Just One Dance Before You Go’, the latter of which is more than worthy of rotations. However, ‘I Believe It’s Alright’ is the particular highlight by a long shot, thanks to Jacobs’ warm croon, that washes over you like the most soothing of soul salves.
(Return To Disorder)
Electro aliens abound, ready to take over your brain in Hamburg producer L.F.T.’s appropriately named It’s Alive EP. Lest there be any confusion as to what is happening after the laser funktronics of its title track, the tripped out whirls of second tune ‘Visitors’ makes things crystal clear: “Mother Earth is pregnant for the third time. For y’all have knocked her up…” declares the vocal. Okokokokok. Soon after ‘Bankrupt Brain’ takes over, all new wave chase scene perfection before closing in the slow jam, ghost synths of ‘Jorōgumo’. Though any release on Helena Hauff’s Return To Disorder imprint is bound to be good, this one’s an especially excellent electro affair.
D Tiffany’s Planet Euphorique label continues its stellar run by kicking off the year in top-notch, zippy electro form, courtesy of Reptant’s Freq Accident EP. Described by PE as “Lizard Tech”, its four tracks range from peak time numbers like ‘Monolith’ and ‘Ectoplastic’ to the (relatively) more calm, astral-shooting bliss of ‘Liquid Acrobatics’.
Gotta Do EP
Metro Area’s Darshan Jesrani hits that ‘fling your limbs in the air like a basic bitch in Beefa’ pop house sweet spot with his Gotta Do EP. Title track ‘Gotta Do’ is a catchy synth chugger, but it’s the B-side that will immediately set-up base camp in your psyche. Kicking off with instantly memorable synth crescendos, Charli Umami soon comes through with the booming power ballad vocals, all given a deftly glitched-out touch.
African Cosmology and Congolese rhythms ascend to outer space in Nkisi’s 7 Directions. These tracks aren’t for those who tend to play it safe in their dance floor wanderings. Rather if you like to traverse to the furthest reaches of experimental club-scapes through a techno sieve, this one’s for you. That’s not to say there aren’t standalone tracks suited to a big room peak time play, ‘II’ could easily whip a crowd into a frenzy, while the build of ‘VII’ lends rare emotional hues to the album. But as a whole 7 Directions is far greater than the sum of its parts – a singular sound of what the future of techno might hold in 2019, as heard through the world of Nkisi.
803 Crystal Grooves 002
Berlin producer and DJ Cinthie makes a welcome return, following her appearance on our favourite dance records of October, with the second instalment on her Crystal Grooves imprint. While 001 was a disco-sampling romp, for 002 she ticks over to acid o’clock – the most wonderful hour of the day – with three joints certified to put maximum pep in your step.
Mark A. Mitchell
‘How Can I?’ / ‘All Your Love’
(Fantasy Love Records)
In the early ’80s singer Mark Mitchell tapped techno progenitors Cybotron (aka Juan Atkins and Richard “3070” Davis) to collaborate on a series of recordings. The result was this two-some of crooning early electro slow jams – a heartrending tale sung endearingly off key, about the fight for a longtime romance that’s crumbling: “How can I just let our love break in two?” Mitchell croons on the A-side. The answer swiftly comes on the flip: “Then all of a sudden, when I was doing nothing, my baby just gave me a call. She said: ‘All Your love is all I want.’ And this I can’t deny.”
New UK imprint ETERNAL DAMNATION kicks things off with industrial, demon-summoning techno sounds to burn your eyebrows off to. Kwartz’s 5-tune EP features two new tracks – ‘Distorted Reality’ Part One and Two, plus three remixes. These edits aren’t the stars of the show here by any means, but nevertheless they’re welcome all the same.
Kings Aiggbologa Bucknor
Vol. I – Katakata
(Hot Casa )
Shimmering afrobeat that will warm even the iciest of (winter) hearts, Fela Kuti disciple Kings Aiggbologa Bucknor’s Vol. I – Katakata gets its first ever reissue. The two track album features a pair horn-fuelled slow burning grooves: the shooping 16 minute key funk of ‘Woman Nature’ on the A-side, backed with over 14 minutes of brassy, instrumental soul serenades thanks to ‘Mr. Debtor’ on the flip.