Jackson George: Audio junkie, intrepid traveller, photography fein, bacon advocate, guitar tapper, knob twister & self proclaimed cynical bastard. alcohol evangelist & leader of the Illuminaughty. Sometimes makes music.
Headlights - Hot Toddy
(Super Magic, 1999)
On a recent trip to London I found myself in a dark little record store somewhere in SW1; poring over various crates of house offerings from the late nineties.
Upon recommendation from the rave-addled guy who ran the shop, I got comfortable with a set of headphones and got lost in Super Magic.
I was immediately taken by the ethereal analog pads, Chicago-esque hip-hop vocal samples and huge reverb saturation in Headlights.
The track builds superbly, giving the listener a sense of ambient space that widens to the point at which THAT bassline comes strutting in with the swagger of The Dapper Gentleman* starring in a Tarintino film.
As the song struts into the chorus, you get a glimpse of dirty little discotheques in the UK were this would have been rinsed in the late nineties; with little Prince-esque licks here and there, the track borrows a darker, sexier disco flavour that you can get lost in unbelievably easily. Headlights, a magical cut from Super Magic.
Mongol - Ten Walls
(Requiem EP, 2013, Life & Death Recordings)
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to head backstage at Ten Walls’ gig at The HiFi in Sydney. Many of you will recognise Ten Walls as the producer behind the number one rinsed track in Ibiza last season, ‘Walking with Elephants’. I’ve been following Ten Walls for a while now and jumped at the chance to catch him live.
Mongol is the kind of track that could easily be mistaken for a eastern soundscape; with luscious pads, delicate white-noise saturation and heavily reverbed samples give the track a huge cinematic presence. As the track builds, it is evidently clear that this is more than a ambient soundscape; a dark choir pad is slowly layered with the Mongolian woodwind motif, building lusciously to the drop, where the deep filtered kick gets everything moving and turns this track into something that completely danceable. I thought this track was really designed for a dark room and some high fidelity headphones, but seeing it dropped live was something I will never forget!
Back Home - Fritz Kalkbrenner
(Ways Over Water, 2014, Suol Records)
I stumbled on Fritz Kalkbrenner at an outdoor music event in Berlin in October. He’s a legend of the Berlin scene and someone I had never heard of before seeing him live.
His latest album, Ways Over Water is one of my favourites for the year and Back Home, is the catchy lead single from this release. While considered deep house, there are definite pop influences underpinning many tracks on this release; Back Home is certainly one such track. The track itself is quite progressive, beginning with some upbeat, melodic filtered bell pads with that signature deep Fritz Kalkbrenner kick fattening things up. The layers keep coming with processed saxophone and some fantastic synth elements that give a brilliantly catchy base for the vocal. More than anything, this has Booka Shade written all over it, but there is something a little edgier about Back Home. I especially like how melodic/ pop the track is, yet it still retains the rigour and respect of the Berlin scene. Ways Over Water, perfect for summer, get amongst it!
Wicked Games (VIP Edition) - Para For Cuva ft. Anna Naklab
(Wicked Games VIP Single, 2014, Spinnin’ Records)
I’ve been really loving the resurgence of seventies and eighties tracks as samples for new house/ garage reinventions. Wicked Games is the dark melodic offering from Para For Cuva; an interpretation of Chris Isaac’s ‘Wicked Game’ first released in 1989.
The track starts with the original guitar sample and a saturated deep house percussion element. This gives way to the absolutely smouldering vocal from Anna Naklab, perfectly complementing the reinterpreted feel of the track. The whole track feels like it has been crafted to fit with the original thematic style of the original, which is a really nice touch, as the smouldering, sultry, melancholy vocal needs that darker progression to carry the song without jarring.
This will no doubt be rinsed all summer!
Tribe (Bixel Boys Remix) - Theophilus London ft. Jesse Boykins III
(Tribe Single, 2014)
Pretty much anything this LA duo touch turns to fire, Bixel Boys’ remix of Theophilus London’s track Tribe is no exception!
The track has unbelievable good bones to start with, fantastic production and a vocal that captures everything that this right about the UK scene at the moment.
From this, Bixel Boys have turned the track into a slamming house jam, capitalising on the cutting vocals for London and Boykins; they introduce some jackin’ house percussion and some thick FM bass in typical Bixel Boy fashion.
The vibe in this track is so infectious, it worms into your brain and sits there en-loop.
Personally, I cannot wait until they are back in the country and I can have a boogie to this one!