July 31, 2018
Smoking electro, tropical techno, soulful disco reissues and more.
This month’s selects reflect the range of moods that peak summertime days entail: traversing from refreshing and calypso-hued ditties to frenetic and funked-the-hell-out pumpers in equal measure.
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.
Let us know what you’ve been loving in the comments below.
‘Check 4 U’
(Be With Records)
To be played: Zinging out garage fingers while surrounded by your favourite crew
OG pressings of ‘Check 4 U’ were previously being hawked for £2,000+ on Discogs, which goes to show how delusional some vinyl sharks can be. Ludicrous re-sale prices aside, ‘Check 4 U’ is a legit, supreme street soul classic from Manchester, long coveted, and reissued for the first time by Be With. Of particular note is the garage edit of the track, an excellent heatwave banger, whether you’re winding around town, prapping your digits into the air with pizzazz… or an immobile sweatball slug, like the majority of us currently are.
‘We Should Be Free’ featuring Jamie Lidell
To be played: Sashaying into twilight like a neon queen from Studio 54
“Halleloo!” is what you’ll say as you listen to ‘We Should Be Free’ whilst slinging your limbs into the air. ‘We Should Be Free’ is the second track off Marquis Hawkes forthcoming album, The Marquis of Hawkes – a euphoric and shimmering slice of sunshine house, delivered in four ways on this 12″. On the A-side, you’ll find the original version plus a dub, b/w the poolside ready ‘Hawkes Club Vocal’ edit, and booty-percolating DJ tool ‘Bonus Beats’ version on the flip.
D.I.E. (Detroit In Effect)
The Men You’ll Never See Pt. 2 EP
(Clone West Coast Series)
To be played: Bossing through the gym with shoulders going to ninety
Inhabiting a world alongside fellow Motor City maestros like Drexciya and DJ Assault, D.I.E. make a welcome return, courtesy of Clone’s The Men You’ll Never See reissue. The 6-track EP is perfectly frenetic, filled with the kind of motivational vocals that will transform you into an electro funk machine of the highest order. As the (chipmunk) man proclaims on ‘U Can’t See Us’: “You can’t see us, but we can see you. You can’t hear us, but we can hear you, ’cause this techno thing is all we do.”
‘I’m Alive’ / ‘Dreamland’
To be played: Stepping into a sweet convertible whip as fog swirls around you
E.Myers’ latest serves a one-two punch of tech synth, suitable for any time of day. A-Side ‘I’m Alive’ weaves through conga-hued, percussive drum pad joy, the kind that makes you want to slick your hair back, throw on a leather jacket and time-travel straight to 1982. Meanwhile, ‘Dreamland’ soars to different heights, an unexpected bass ascender that’s equal parts opener and closing number. Just wait until those hand-clap ready hi-hats come in, too.
‘This Ain’t Really Love’
To be played: When you need to unite a dance floor in self-affirming harmony
Originally known as The Bobettes when they launched their career in the mid-’50s, the quintet released 34 singles before calling it quits. Thankfully they didn’t throw in the towel altogether, instead rebranding as a trio called The Sophisticated Ladies for two singles under the new moniker. The last track on their final release is the deeply soulful stomper ‘This Ain’t Really Love’. It’s a remarkably apt rallying cry to save all that you’ve worked for in a relationship that’s on the outs, whether that be with a trifling man who never fully reciprocated your love, or with a music industry that never fully recognised your talents. On a simpler level: it’s a helluva tune, filled with disco strings that will set dance floors alight, reissued for the first time by Kalita, who pair it with a Zaf edit of ‘Check It Out’ on the flip.
Jura Soundsystem Presents Transmission One EP
(Isle of Jura)
To be played: Jiggling along paradise sands like a fruity pineapple
Technically Transmission One is a double album, but really it’s multiple dance 12″ reissues – spanning everything from Norwegian tropico-funk to Legowelt space synth and ’80s hip-hop breaks – all for the price of one. Some may call this a compilation, but alongside 9 reissued tracks you’ll also find four ‘ambient tools’ from the label as well. However you slice it, this 2×12″ – the first in a series of compilations from Jura Soundsystem, aka label head Kevin Griffiths – is a killer collection. Highlights include: Ken-Dang’s 1983 percussive super jam ‘Born in Borneo’, the first ever vinyl release of Legowelt’s Smackos alias ambient tune ‘We Can Watch Alf In The Hotel Room’, Minus Group’s elusive 1979 Italian psych 7″ ‘Black Shadow’, and the eighties Baltimore shimmy shake of Mix-O-Rap’s ‘All Party People’.
To be played: Blowing a bass klaxon into blazing festival skies
For the uninitiated, techno can often be regarded as a largely nocturnal, sonic world, filled with an abundance of rave gremlins. Those in the know are aware of how wrong this sentiment is. Entré Randomer to the cause, kicking his latest EP off with a number called ‘Van Pelt’, or what is best described as: tropical techno. (Close your eyes tightly enough, and a toucan might even flap out, chirpsing in 4/4.) As with all of the best Dekmantel releases, things get delightfully weirder from here. ‘Shadow Harp’ revs itself into a machine-gun whip of instrumentals, before the darker shades take over on the reverse, as incantatory, late night fare leads the way in ‘Dissolve’, closing out through a horn-filled, twerk sieve on title-track ‘Slicing’.
‘Xme’/’One Night Stand’
To be played: Swinging in slothy slo-mo from your favourite lounge tree
Spanish producer Pional helms the latest 12″ for Phonica, with a double-dose of breezy, summertime house. A-side ‘XME’ brings celestial, big room, kaleidoscopics, a lá Pional’s past John Talabot collaborations. The original version also comes paired with ‘A Quiet Ceremony Mix’ – sublimely dusky, balearic fare to lead you from scorchio day into the night. Once you’ve relaxed into the groove, ‘One Night Stand’ shifts the mood into get down o’clock, with requisite bass and vocal samples to have you coming back for more. Like ‘XME’, the B-side also features a stripped down, yet still glittery, rework – in this case the ‘Slow Drumapella Mix’, bringing you eighties, Atari gamer-style delight.
(Let’s Go Swimming)
To be played: Descending into a basement netherworld as you usher the weekend in
According to producer Object Blue, Rex was due to be her debut EP way back in 2017, but, as it’s wont to do, life got in the way. In the meantime, Do You Plan To End A Siege was released instead. Object Blue then abandoned Rex‘s first incarnation, starting afresh to create four, entirely different tracks under the same moniker. A-side opener ‘The princess is no longer at this address’ is a slow burner, something you’d listen to while a warm breeze grazes your cheeks, but soon enough ‘(time to) WORK’ picks things up a bit, complete with a familiar RnB sample. Consider it a fitting primer for what lies in wait on the flip, where looping hypnotics of ‘Cordelia’s call to arms’ join forces with subterranean shudder in ‘Chipping at the kingdom’.