Apr212016| April 21, 2016
Originally published in 2015, we wanted to share this post again to pay tribute to Prince, who has died today (21st April 2016) aged 57.
How many lives did Prince change? It’s probably impossible to say, but here are a few to start with. From Jill Scott to Seven Davis Jr., we asked ten artists to pick their favourite Prince records and tell us a little bit about why they mean so much to them.
It was about this time in 2014 that Prince had London in a twist. For the inside of a month, he led a campaign to disrupt the sleeping and working patterns of the population, with one secret gig after another drawing serpentine queues outside venues across the city, from Camden’s Electric Ballroom on a dreary February night, to the up market funk-tion at Ronnie Scott’s two weeks later.
This was obviously not the first time that The Purple One has had people in a spin. From humble beginnings recording with 94 East in Minneapolis, Prince Rogers Nelson coated his own brand of future funk with a glam rock sheen that has been irresistible ever since. A multi-instrumentalist, sex symbol and musical icon, Prince ruled the ‘80s, sowing the seeds for the obsessive following that would queue for twenty four hours in the rain in London three decades on.
Needless to say, having sold over 100 million records, his influence extends way beyond the world of music, into fashion, art and the cult of celebrity. But for this feature, as with previous ones on Sun Ra, Kraftwerk, Arthur Russell and Bob Marley, we’ve chosen to eschew the bigger picture in favour of the influence Prince has had on specific musicians at specific times of their lives.
With that in mind we asked ten artists to pick their favourite Prince records and tell us a little bit about them, from Dam Funk skipping school to grab a copy of Sign O The Times to Jill Scott’s unadulterated love for Under The Cherry Moon.
And it’s with Jill that we start. Click next to scroll through all ten contributions.
Illustration by Francois Leherissier. For more of his work, click here.
Who is Jill Scott? Three-time Grammy Award winner, Jilly from Willy is one of the most dynamic voices in neo-soul and R&B. Below she picks out her favourite Prince soundtrack which happens to be the soundtrack to a film directed by and starring Prince (as a gigolo).
My favorite Prince record is the Under the Cherry Moon soundtrack! I listened to the record for four years straight… just about everyday. I think musically it’s still superior to anything I’ve ever heard—from the vocals to the music. Sonically, I haven’t heard anything quite like it. I play the album from top to bottom. I consider it a masterpiece.
Fat Freddy’s Drop (Chopper Reeds)
Like Prince, Fat Freddy’s Drop are known for live improvisation. A seven-piece band from New Zealand, FFD’s sax man and DJ on the side Chopper Reeds aka Scott Towers, weighs up two of his favourite Prince records below.
This is tricky. Sign Of The Times is undoubtedly Prince’s masterwork – and it’s full of great writing, performances and production. His psychedelic sex-funk is in full swing, but he also shows us he possesses incredible pop writing chops. That said, the record I come back to most often is Dirty Mind. It’s such a party record, and is a little rougher around the edges production-wise than the later stuff. If I’m DJ’ing I ALWAYS take Prince records, and ‘Head’ and ‘Uptown’ from the Dirty Mind album usually at the top of the list.
Few artists have adopted the funk lifestyle quite as much as Damon Riddick aka Dam Funk. Keytar in tow, he’s been making synth-heavy boogie funk with a modern twang for years, splitting his time between releasing on Stones Throw and running his Funkmosphere nights in downtown LA. While his first Prince record was Soft and Wet, it was skipping school to hear Sign O The Times that will live longest in his memory.
I like most of his unreleased material, and one of my favourite unreleased songs by him is called ‘Wonderful Ass’, that was from 1985, he recorded it on the same day as ‘Kiss’ in Los Angeles.
But as far as his official releases, I’d have to say one of my favourite songs was ‘The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker’. I bought the album the first day it came out. I ditched school, on the days when records were always released on a Tuesday. I got the record Sign O The Times and drove my moped over to the pad and nobody was home and I opened up my windows in my room and sat in a chair and looked outside at the view of the mountains and got into the whole album and it just blew me away.
It was great because it was almost like a little comeback for Prince, because after Purple Rain, people expected him to doPurple Rain Part II, but he followed it up with Around The World In A Day and people weren’t quite satisfied with it, and all the die-hards didn’t get Under The Cherry Moon, and he was criticised for that too. But then Sign O The Times was almost like a big middle finger, it was like “you guys wanna talk shit? OK!” And he just came with a funk classic in line with 1999.
Sign O The Times is great, but just with ‘Dorothy Parker’ it felt like it was just him in the studio again by himself and I like Prince when he was doing things solely on his own without the band. I never heard him to do anything else like that for some reason but that song was special.
Photo: Jimmy Mould
Jesse Boykins III
“I went to a private dinner with Prince”. They might not have seen eye to eye on chicken dinner (read all about that anecdote in RBMA) but as he explains in the soundbite below, first encountering Prince’s aesthetic, from the music he was making to the clothes he was wearing, was a revolutionary experience for Jesse Boykins III.
Listen to Jesse’s contribution below.
Tuxedo (Mayer Hawthorne & Jake One)
It’s no surprise Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One are Prince fans, the former being a blue-eyed soul boy and record collector nonpareil, the latter a hip hop producer who has worked with everyone from De La Soul to G Unit. Together they are Tuxedo, a new funk outfit releasing their debut on Stones Throw this month.
Mayer Hawthorne: A front to back record for me is Prince’s Dirty Mind. Dirty Mind to me is one of those records where you don’t skip songs on there. That was his most perfect record for me. Everybody has got their own favourite Prince record but for me it’s definitely Dirty Mind. It was the sexiest record that he did for sure too. When I’m making music I trying to make that shit sexy, he was the king.
Jake One: That record cover used to scare me when I was a kid. It looked kind of crazy.
Mayer Hawthorne: I didn’t even realize until I got older too that those were bed springs. That crazy pattern that’s behind him… He flipped a mattress up, and was like ‘we need some bed-springs behind me for this one, and I’m going to take my shirt off and put a Speedo on’. Got to love The Purple One.
Andrés is a veteran on Detroit’s music scene, DJing for hip-hop collective Slum Village through the ’90s and releasing singles on Moodymann’s Mohagani music label, while also, more recently, causing waves on his own La Vida label.
I like ‘Don’t Play Me’ from the Crystal Ball LP because it is classic Prince, although slow in tempo it makes up for it in richness. With a touch of ego, social commentary, sort of Sign O’ The Times vibe, but still very much Prince! My only complaint is that it’s too short of a composition. The greatest thing is since it’s short you always want to hear it again and again. I really love the fact that it’s not a popular tune so people always are like “What’s that?’. And yes, I do play it in my sets at times, it screams eclectic!
Seven Davis Jr.
Funkineven on Seven Davis Jr: “To me he’s the new Prince”. It’s an ambitious statement, but for someone who’s successfully re-worked both ‘Purple Rain’ and ‘Controversy’ with his own murky lick, it’s safe to say the purple is pretty strong in Seven Davis Jr.
The first intro to Prince (I remember) was as a child experiencing Purple Rain. The work instantly connected with me on many levels. For years I then educated myself on his previous / current works, even to this day. The world of Purple Rain continues to amaze me. Perhaps he’s the most honest, unafraid artist of my favourites. To witness him grow through his many forms, it’s inspiring. As a male, he’s done so much to evolve what it means to be “a man”. He’s not afraid to think, dance, scream, cry or be silent. Much love & respect for Prince.
Photo: Eric Coleman
Is Tropical (Dominic Apa)
With a brace of LPs under their belts, London outfit Is Tropical are releasing their third album Black Anything as a five part series of 10” records, the second of which landed this week. Just as unconventionally, the band’s Dominic Apa has opted for Prince’s Batman OST to represent his love for The Purple One.
Prince. The fact is, he’s a songwriter without peer, but in the album stakes it’s a mixed bag. Despite his inevitable induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (everyone knows the true accolade of musicianship) and now-unassailable status as an icon, looking back at Prince’s discography is like sifting through the hoardings of a deranged outsider. There is, however, a solid little run in the middle. He finds his bearings in 1980’s Dirty Mind and slowly refines it into the amazing Controversy a year later. Then he starts dropping asexual bombs. 1999 and Purple Rain, with a year’s gap between, presumably for reaping erotic rewards.
Now comes the dubious sounding part — take as the fulcrum of Prince’s Golden Era the amazing, underappreciated Batman soundtrack. The jewel in the crown. It’s got the varied influence, instrumentation and unique sound that Prince is known for. It sounds like Art of Noise’s wet dream. Only Prince could make an album which was ostensibly a rush-job for MTV indents and corporate sidelining into a musical masterpiece. Warner Bros wanted to transplant the hit ‘1999’ onto it – Prince declined. He has having too much of a great time. Warner Bros had slated Michael Jackson to sing the ballads – Prince was like, nah. The clip from the film set to ‘Partyman’, arguably the funkiest super-villain theme ever penned, shows Jack Nicholson’s Joker jamming out with his henchmen bros and joyously desecrating a gallery while holding boom boxes. It’s at this point in the film you see the-whole-Batman-premise is actually irrelevant and the movie’s become nothing but a huge canvas for Prince to grind and moan all over, finger-painting keyboard solos and splattering his otherworldly sexuality around. Powerful stuff. After all, this is the guy who can take to a stage alongside James Brown and Michael Jackson, and totally eclipse two ‘Kings’ with a one-note guitar solo.
And maybe that’s why it’s the best – given the nature of the project, Batman is most likely the album on which Prince felt the least vulnerable, the least self-aware. He’s not concerned about upsetting label big-wigs – the thousands of 3.5” floppy disks containing his symbolic pseudo-name that were sent out on his behalf are proof of that. So is the title of 1996’s Emancipation – the album on which Prince broke with Warner Brothers after 18 years, and started spelling things weird. Be free, Prince.
Michael Collins and Sasha Winn are Silk Rhodes. Their debut album landed late last year, showcasing their tripped-out take on classic ’70s soul, combining the righteousness of the Reverend Al Green and the understated charm of Sly & The Family Stone, with some Prince-esque ’80s swagger thrown in for good measure. For their selection the Baltimore duo have dug out the demos to uncover a ‘treasure chest of dopeness’ from a man they so rightly call ‘a cosmic joker i the court of love’.
Prince is an artist’s artist, he is obviously so full of ideas that he can’t help but have a lot of unreleased material. When we discovered Prince’s demos in “Outtakes” or “The Works” we found a treasure chest of dopeness. Songs like ‘wouldn’t you love to love me’ whose tragic stories of being shopped around to MJ, Madonna and others and eventually given to Taja Sevelle are infinitely better in their pure Prince demo form. ‘Purple Music’ is a masterpiece that flows like a Keith Jarett improvisation listening to the first demo is similar to listening to Michael Jackson’s demo for ‘Beat It’- you can hear the ideas as they are forming into greatness, but more importantly, you can hear how fully formed the ideas are while still gleams in their eyes. The difference between those two demos of course is that Prince’s demo is a live improv, complete with piano mouth drums and whacky mumbles that turn into words halfway through.
Another aspect of Prince that is so attractive to us is his sense of humor. He takes himself so seriously and can joke around at the same time. Tracks like ‘Vibrator’ which has one of the best speaking breakdowns of any song ever, is a view into his world. one can only imagine whats in the vault that no one has heard. Apparently it’s not just audio either- we’ve heard about Prince’s movie vault, where he keeps all the movies he has made with famous directors.. secretly… for himself… He’s a cosmic joker in the court of love and we love him for that.
Kon has been hailed by many as king of re-edits and the best boogie DJ in the world. However, despite being a notoriously dedicated digger, he’s plumped for a straight-up Prince classic.
Prince, Prince, Prince…. with a catalogue as deep as Prince Rogers Nelson where does one even start ?
Instead of trying to out nerd myself and Prince fans alike, I chose the anthemic ” I Wanna Be Your Lover ” as my pick.
The year was 1979 and my Mother was the reigning Queen of Disco, a true diva. At the time I was 7 years old and on Saturday nights she would take me along with her to the club on the infamous Landsdowne St. here in Boston, to a venue known as “Spinoff”.
I was the only little boy in the club on Saturday nights and having a Mom as cool as mine was, we never waited in the line that wrapped down the stairs and around the block…Mom had the juice to get me in. I was in awe of it all, the magic of the music and the atmosphere that forever shaped my taste, that venue was my Paradise Garage.
The DJ would drop jam after jam, so many timeless songs from this era: The Crusaders, Foxy, and of course Michael Jackson was ruling with “Off The Wall”.
However, one song in particular that always stood out and would get the skaters on the floor was Prince’s ” I Wanna Be Your Lover “. What I loved most about this song was the change up that happens about midway after the hook. A total breakdown on the groove, it just rides out with the bass and the synth jamming together… and for that reason it always stuck with me.
The power of this song and the memories I have that are forever connected to it are the reason why my top pick is ” I Wanna Be Your Lover ”
Jul172015| July 17, 2015
What’s next 2015?
2015 is shaping up to be a vintage year. Having rounded up the best new releases and reissues from its first half, we turn our attention to the coming months and take a look at what the second half has to offer.
From New Order’s first album in a decade to new Aphex Twin material, there’s plenty bobbing around the horizon. What follows are 15 releases we can’t wait to own on vinyl.
Here’s what’s on our radar:
Seven Davis Jr.
Due: 24th July / Pre-Order
Seven Davis Jr. drops his highly anticipated debut album, or “intergalactic soul record”, on Ninja Tune. The former gospel singer connects flipping styles and bobbling rhythms that burst with echoes of Prince and George Clinton, and volleys the lot into outerspace. The range on record is quite remarkable, with cheeky romping giving way to honest, heartfelt moments.
Openly admitting to suffering through a period of substance abuse and general bad fortune in his wellbeing, Seven Davis Jr. has stated this album is intended to spread positivity: “Finding your place. Knowing yourself. Being where you be.”
Feb162015| February 16, 2015
We select the 10 most essential vinyl releases of the last 7 days.
In the singles collection this week, we’ve got Seven Davis Jr’s debut outing on Ninja Tune, the first Phonica release of 2015, and the new Meat Wave EP on red wax. The week’s best LPs include Levon Vincent’s instant classic set across four vinyl, Sir Richard Bishop’s guitar experiments released on Drag City, plus a sublime long play from Carter Tutti (a band born from the ashes of Throbbing Gristle), not to mention the first major Tectonic release of the year courtesy of Mumdance & Logos.
Scroll down for our definitive across-the-board rundown of the week’s new vinyl releases as selected by The Vinyl Factory’s Chris Summers, Patrick Ryder, James Hammond and Theo Leanse. 5 singles and 5 LP’s every 7 days that are unmissable additions to any collection.
Surely the best band name around at the moment right? Storming straight out of Chicago, the Meat Wave trio do that attitude soaked punk thing really, really well. There’s elements of Jesus Lizard and Naked Raygun but this lot are a bit more to the point, a bit more on fire and their cover of The Wipers ‘Mystery’ is simply amazing. Limited to 1000 copies. Red vinyl.
Seven Davis Jr
Seven Davis Jr has been touted as a kind of mother lode for the next-big-thing spotters — emerging from out of nowhere with a slew of releases for really connoisseurial labels, featuring material apparently siphoned from a bottomless stash home-recorded in the decades stretching back to the 90s. How did no-one know this guy existed? After his decades in the wilderness Ninja Tune stepped up to sign him, and Wild Hearts is the first peek at his the forthcoming album. It is rough and poppy, with a style a little like Romanthony’s laidback, libidinous vocal house as well as a mainstream, daytime radio feel.
S. Moreira & Xinner
Through The Rings Of Saturn
Phonica kick off 2015 with a big bang. Percussionist Sergio Moreira of Berlin’s Slow Life collective joins forces with Xinner, voyaging Through The Rings Of Saturn. A spellbinding journey through deep techno, hypnotic broken beat and submerged ambience, the pair nail the sci-fi aesthetic. Highly recommended.
Royal Crown Of Sweden
Holy repress Batman! When this Huerco S shaped meteorite originally crashed down to earth in 2013, it caused a heroin house tidal wave which is still sending waves of tape distortion crashing over the weekly release sheets. Now Proibito boss Antony Naples has persuaded the Kansas City producer to revisit his finest hour, dropping the Steve Summers and Bookworms remixes in favour of two brand new original tracks. ‘Fauno Rosso’ sees Huerco offering a mogadon paced take on dub techno, filtering a winding bassline up through the frequencies, while ‘Soft Things’ is the kind of hypnotic piano house workout I imagine Frankie Knuckles turns out wherever he is now. Even if you got it first time round, this is still essential business.
Charles Cohen deconstructing and reassembling Javanese experimentalists Senyawa, and then receiving the same treatment on the B side from fellow modular synth maestro Robert Turman makes for a suitably bonkers 12” that shows the spirit of reinterpretation at it’s most innovative. Channeling Senyawa’s ‘Di Kala Sudah’ through his Buchla music Easel, Cohen synthesizes their unhinged brand of improv. into something wholly other, whilst Turman’s effort is hypnotically insistent enough to fit the label and series moniker. Check out Senyawa (here- hyperlink) for a taste of what inspired this particular release.
Despite spending the last couple of years tearing up clubs across the globe, offering lucky producers apprenticeships and repressing the Novel Sounds back catalogue just to piss off the Discogs sharks, Levon Vincent still found the time to head into the studio and put together a breathtakingly good debut LP. Lavishly pressed onto quadruple vinyl (and still cheaper than Theo) this instant classic runs the full gamut of LV sounds, from brooding synthwave and hissing filth to wired EBM and glacial techno, while embracing lo-fi digi dub with surprising success. It’s already caused palpitations amongst the global techno community and it’s not been in shops a week yet; I suggest you find out what all the fuss is about.
Sir Richard Bishop
The Tangier Sessions
Occultist, traveler, bookseller, master of myriad guitar stylings from Raag to Surf, Sir Richard Bishop’s pool of inspiration and discography is vast, but here the inspiration has been narrowed down to a relatively simple concept- a recently acquired one of a kind 1890s parlor guitar and a week holed up in Tangiers recording it. The results are another marvel of his dual talents for melody and improvisation on an instrument that sounds both aged in tradition and full of possibility under Sir Rick’s nimble fingers. Unlike his discography with his now defunct and legendarily subversive group- Sun City Girls- it’s hard to pick a dud out of his solo guitar works, and this is a fine addition, all the more pleasing for it’s simple concept and exceptional artistry.
Carter Tutti plays Chris & Cosey
Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti met in the pioneering, provocative industrial band Throbbing Gristle, and after TG’s dissolution in 1981 they stuck together to produce leftfield, artworld synth classics. They’ve remained active and relevant over the 30-odd years since, regularly releasing and touring material from their studio base in Norfolk, and now they revisit their classic material. Perhaps an inevitable step for a duo whose early work still sets the bar not just for their own output, but for a whole genre. Includes a remix of ‘October (Love Song)’, sublime in both versions.
Nhk Yx Koyxen
Hallucinogenic Doom Steppy Verbs
The snappily named, Japanese Nhk Yx Koyxen pulls no punches at all here with five tracks of blazing acid techno electronic mayhem. The production is top notch and the rhythms are completely amazing. Dare you to stand still while ‘218’ goes off around you? I doubt it very much. Powell’s Diagonal label do it again! Is there another label around who’s quality control is this high ?
Mumdance & Logos
Serial collaborator Mumdance teams up with Logos to present 10 dimension-warping, immersive cuts for club. Visualise a Venn Diagram of techno, bleep, hardcore, jungle, tech-step and grime – Proto swirls its way around the circumferences, pushing boundaries outwards and exploring the grey overlapping areas in between. Tectonic’s first major release of 2015, this is one heavyweight record.
Apr072014| April 7, 2014
The Vinyl Factory select the 10 most essential vinyl releases of the last 7 days.
A knockout selection this week which features Seven Davis Jr’s limited hot potato Party EP and a strobe-lit post punk reissue for the fabulous Dark Entires, alongside the fusion house of Max Graef’s Rivers of the Red Planet, a limited dispatch from Genesis P-Orridge’s COUM Transmissions and the long-overdue reissue of luckless folk hero Jackson C. Frank’s only LP.
Scroll down for our definitive across-the-board rundown of the week’s new vinyl releases as selected by The Vinyl Factory’s Chris Summers, Patrick Ryder and Theo Leanse. 5 singles and 5 LP’s every 7 days that are unmissable additions to any collection.
Seven Davis Jr
Where my players at? SDJR cements his place at the very top of the ‘ones to watch’ list with five shelf rattlers on Apron which see the Houston born/Cali bred soulsmith taking matters from the bar straight to the dancefloor. Opener ‘Celebrations’ has a touch of Kyle Hall in the shuffling percussion and off-kilter bassline, while ‘P.A.R.T.Y.’ is the track Prince would be making if he knocked the Jehovah’s Witness bit on the head and got sleazy again. The appropriately named ‘Fun’ sees Seven breezing through the frequencies on top of an off the wall MPC rhythm while ‘Summers’ lays waste to the peak time crowd with distorting bass, crazy strings and a percolating rhythm. The driving disco house of ‘Highways’ brings the EP to a close in rousing style, giving nuff props to Detroit and coming on strong like an FXHE cut. Another essential release from your new favourite producer.
Voices From The Lake
‘Velo Di Maya’
(The Bunker New York)
Voices From The Lake are an Italian duo made up of Donato Dozzy and Neel, two DJs and producers (Dozzy in particular is a figurehead of stripped-back minimalism in techno) who clubbed together for a self-titled full length at the end of 2012 – a stunning piece of experimental techno dedicated to rhythmic intensity and rarely paralleled sonic texture. This 12” picks up where the album left off, meditative, immersive and pure, but with a greater dancefloor appeal. It’s the second release from The Bunker – the long running New York party that has recently started a record label.
Crash Course In Science
‘Signals From Pier Thirteen’
The wonderful Dark Entries label strike again with this strobe-lit set of post punk killers from Crash Course In Science. Originally released in 1981, these four tracks prove how good the band from Philadelphia really were. They seem to use anything they can (kids toys, kitchen gadgets etc) amongst the assault of drums, guitars and synths to create their magic and send any dancefloor into meltdown.
There’s something going on in Scandinavia. The newest in the region’s auspicious space disco dynasty, boxfresh Swedish imprint Chalice drop three smooth grooving analogue boogie numbers for a vinyl-only debut that’s a must for fans of messres Terje & Lindstrøm. Nothing explosive here, just a trio of hugely satisfying, adeptly executed rollers with Sasac’s ‘The Chase’ very much leading the convoy of top down Saabs across the Øresund Bridge.
Unadulterated joy. ABBA celebrate 40 years since their Eurovision victory changed the face of pop music forever with, you guessed it, a 7″ picture disc. The Royal Wedding cup & saucer of vinyl releases, this one comes with both English and Swedish versions to swoon to. Altogether now… “Waterloo – jag дr besegrad, nu ger jag mig, Waterloo – lova mej nцjet att дlska dig, Waterloo – allting kдnns rдtt, och det дr min tro, Waterloo – du дr mitt цde, mitt Waterloo, Wa Wa Wa Wa Waterloo – du дr mitt цde, mitt Waterloo”.
I think it’s called 4AD on a roll! No sooner have they unleashed the stunning Future Islands album on the world they then deliver the knockout blow with this. Tremors is the work of the man they call SOHN, a very definite up and coming music maker who’s going to be around for a long time. Electronics have never sounded so atmospheric, melodic and soulful. A stunning debut.
Jackson C. Frank
Jackson C. Frank
Bitterly tragic American folk musician’s 1965 debut album of softly devastating songs, produced by Paul Simon in London. Aged 21 he used the maturing insurance payout from an explosion at his elementary school – which had left fifteen students dead and an 11-year-old Jackson with terrible burns – to travel from his Buffalo, NY hometown to England, where the singer enjoyed temporary success. In a life that was affected by severe mental health problems, blindness, homelessness, the breakdown of his marriage and the loss of his son, Frank recorded just this one beautiful, influential (to Nick Drake, Marianne Faithful, and even Daft Punk) and terribly sad album – but it ranks with the greatest of the genre.
Rivers Of The Red Planet
After racking up a string of sold out releases on Tartlet, Heist, Melbourne Deepcast and Sleazy Beats, Berlin native, Box Aus Holz boss, and dusty house don Max Graef steps up to the plate and smashes his debut LP out of the park. Possessing that most cherished combination of dancefloor empathy, production know-how and virtuoso musical talent, it’s been obvious from the start that Max was gonna leap out from the pack, and this flawless collection of deep and soulful electronic music is his bold statement of artistic intent. Amid the worn grooves of scratchy soul samples and the constantly evolving percussion tracks, countless synth motifs swim in and out as the sound buries itself in your cerebral cortex. House, disco, jazz and hip hop are reworked, reimagined and recontextualised in Max’s inimitable style, resulting in a coherent statement of sonic bliss.
Rock It… Don’t Stop It!
A raucous compilation from BBE charting the fertile four-year period between 1979 and 1983 where embryonic hip hop crews drew as much from the disco hits of the day as from the funk and proto-rap tracks that would retrospectively dominate the narrative of the movement. Digger supreme Sean P takes his trowel to the nascent scenes in Brookyn, Boston and beyond to turn over ten of the best forgotten hip hop 12″s with a disco beat. Highlights include the 13-minute ‘People’s Message, Take Two’, complete with Martin Luther King Jr. samples and the playful ‘To The Max’.
John Lacey / COUM Transmissions
Music For Stocking Top, Swing and Staircase
A holy grail discovery that bridges experimental and industrial music from the hotbed of Genesis P-Orridge’s (of Throbbing Gristle) collective COUM Transmissions, Music For Stocking Top, Swing and Staircase documents extracts from a mammoth 12 hour session at the RCA in London and draws on all of John Lacey’s experience as the technical brains behind the collective’s quadrophonic speaker live set up and self-built synthesizers. Rescued off portable tape with attendant fuzz and incidental asides from P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti’s dog Tremble, Music For Stocking Top, Swing and Staircase is limited to 300 copies and comes seductively packaged on orange wax in a clear bag and extended liner notes of previously unseen photographs.
Dec022013| December 2, 2013
The Vinyl Factory select the 10 most essential vinyl releases of the last 7 days.
A definitive across-the-board rundown of the week’s new vinyl releases as selected by The Vinyl Factory’s expert contributors Chris Summers, Patrick Ryder, Theo Leanse and James Hammond. 5 singles and 5 LP’s every 7 days that are unmissable additions to any collection.
“Fever Boy / Heartbeat”
The stunning Femme strolls up and delivers one of thee singles of 2013. Hands down. It’s got swag, it’s got funk and it’s got a song. And coming at cha on a heart shaped, pink 7” housed in a 12” sleeve it’s got the looks too. Femme is Laura Bettinson’s solo project (when taking the day off from her full time project alongside Nigel Godrich in Ultraista) and ‘Fever Boy’ fills the gaps between ESG, Blondie and Liquid Liquid. It’s one of the coolest pop songs ever and should be top of everyone’s ‘one to watch ‘ list for 2014.
“Bt Gulf / Strafe”
The second 12” from London-based Klaus on his own Tanum imprint and another outing in forward-thinking, minimalist dubstep. Avoiding the heavy-handed and bombastic it’s got a subtle touch throughout, and conjures a world of brooding ambience. ‘Bt Gulf’ works in slow motion and breathing low-end and ‘Strafe’ takes what is ostensibly the buzzing of a fly into a hazed disquiet, punctuated by a refracting string sample. His next release on R&S Records is looking like an exciting prospect.
Seven Davis Jr.
The Seven Davis Jr. debut solo EP comes with the sizable recommendation of being only the second 12” ever to come out of Jay Simon’s fittingly-named “Must Have” label. The louchely drawling soul vocals of this Houston-born, LA-based singer-producer were previously featured on Kutmah’s Worldwide Family Vol. 2 Mix, but by all accounts the guy’s been unfairly slept on since the 90s, and now holds a remarkable stash of self-produced material. On this introductory EP Seven delivers a sort of Pevin Everett / Aaron Carl / Romanthony brand of vocal, over a bed of rough-around-the-edges, beat-heavy Midwestern house styles.
The Whole Truth
“Gimme Your Love”
New imprint Whole Truth sets its stall out early with this soulful proto house jam featuring reggae don Errol Bellot’s earnest vocals. Taking inspiration from boogie as well as the early days of house music, the liquid groove of “Gimme Your Love” twists and turns through the speakers driven on by that rolling Roland bass sound. Essential for fans of Metro Area, or Walter Jones’ stand out single on DFA a few years back and a great start for an interesting project.
“Chansons De Jazz” EP
Supremely sexy stuff from French composer and arranger Jef Gilson, who, thanks to a concerted campaign by Jazzman in recent years is beginning to get the recognition his prolific, off-kilter contribution to European jazz deserves. As French as “crêpes, croissants and cognac”, Gilson’s twist on the classic French song form imbues the regulation cooing with a bite and energy that is hard to resist, consummating all that romantic fluff with some heady 60’s follow-through. A beautifully crafted 10” and an essential period piece to contextualise Serge Gainsbourg’s wandering hands.
Following on from a handful of peng releases (as my younger customers like to call them), Mancunian bass veterans, Synkro and Indigo take their love affair with techno down the aisle with this long player on Houndstooth. The ten tracks on offer smoothly shift gears from tense ambience to pounding repetition, via snatches of the amen break and clanking bass pressure. While dub techno is an obvious influence, this record couldn’t sound further from the sophisticated restraint of Berlin, bristling and swaggering with a Manc defiance. The variation and flow of the material make this a rewarding home listen, but the precision engineering of the thunderous low end tells me to find some Funktion Ones and let it blow me away.
Blink and you’ll miss this. If you are lucky enough to find a copy you will recognize the track list and you will certainly recognize the cover (all be it in a twisted form) but this is not ‘Twins’. This is ‘Gemini’. Here are the demos that made the full album and it’s easy to see why they deserved their own release. The songwriting and execution are stunning and it’s quite hard to see why some stayed and some had to go yet as a side by side release, this is essential.
Harmonie du Soir
It was an epiphany at a Ramones show in the 1970’s that directed Rhys Chatham’s compositional talents towards rock music and the guitar, and into a branch of minimalism/maximalism that he’s made his own in years since. Fittingly there’s two guitars pieces here with the title track being a polished study in alternate tunings, string gauge and interplay for 6 guitars, and ‘Drastic Classicism’ having the more acerbic qualities you’d expect from such an epiphany. It’s the ‘Dream of Rhonabwy’ which sets this one apart though- a composition for a 70 strong brass ensemble that skulks out of the gates and evolves into a sparse cloud of celestial sound. Three decidedly different beasts.
Geoff Barrow from Portishead fires up his Invada imprint again, pressing up Cliff Martinez’s landmark 2002 soundtrack for Soderbergh’s ‘Solaris’ remake. Martinez has been a Red Hot Chili Pepper and a drummer for Lydia Lunch, but found his forte in soundtracks, producing hits for Nicolas Refn’s ‘Drive’, Harmony Korine’s ‘Spring Breakers’ and a handful of Soderbergh titles. Solaris is still his finest hour, creating a pyschologically tense off-world environment with real, gloriously suggestive beauty. There’s a lot of creeping and ebbing as banks of glassy percussion drift through a bubbling mass of light-touch, string-heavy orchestration that evokes a close, claustrophobic space at one moment, and an uneasily vast one the next.
Can Vinyl Box
Try ignoring this one. The highly anticipated, much-vaunted, really-got-to-see-it-to-believe-it 17xLP Can box set is finally here. Not much to add really other than to do a little bit of ritual unpacking – this behemoth includes Can’s complete studio discography from 1969’s Monster Movie to Rite Time twenty years later, a 22-minute unreleased live album, five posters and a twenty page booklet (although twenty pages does seem a little frugal, if we’re really honest). Definitive stuff for newcomers and established navigators of the Cologne outfit’s astonishing work, rivaling last year’s Lost Tapes. One to give Santa a hernia just thinking about.
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16-18 Marshall Street
London W1F 7BE
Registered in England and Wales under no. 04184222.