Posts Tagged ‘house’

Catching up with the 2016’s – Part I

March 23, 2017

Grant – Cranks (Mörk/Lobster Theremin)

Hello faithul readers. I know, I know, I’m an absolute turd. You’ve been waiting over a year for this and that is entirely unacceptable. Excuse #1? I’m a lazy bag of shit. Excuse #2? Honestly, I got a bit tired of writing about music, but that doesn’t mean I slowed down on my audible consumption. Excuse #3? I’m working on a longer piece of writing, and so when I had snippets of time to write in between work and life, I chose that instead. Please forgive me.

So then, in a half-assed attempt to resuscitate this dying slice of digitalia, I shall write about one album each week that I really loved from last year, in my exciting new feature entitled “Catching up with the 2016’s”.

Which swiftly brings me to anonymous producer Grant’s second long-player Cranks. Highlighting a blend of 90’s UK dance music and lo-fi house, with a healthy dose of mood and atmospherics, Grant has released one of the strongest electronic albums of 2016. He’s very adept at quickly building up a song’s inherent pulse and rhythm, and then stripping it all away into a sort of pensive ambiance, before bringing the beat back into the mix again.

Grant immediately draws you into his world from the opening track “Mainstream Belief” and keeps you immersed until he finishes with the excellent “Frame Of Mind”. I feel like I’ve heard all the underlying synth lines, 808 licks, and female vocal hooks before in various drunken hazes of the past, and the effect it creates is one of introspection and nostalgia. This is closed-eyed dance music, where the hazy memories the music evokes is a big part of why it’s so damn effective.

Many of the songs more subdued moments create the same wistful feeling I had when listening to Endtroducing when I was in my early twenties. None of the music on Cranks really sounds like DJ Shadow, but during the quieter moments, my mind keeps returning to him. The closest reference point would be the mid-point of “Mutual Slump” on Endtroducing, when Shadow takes the beat away, allows the song to breathe and his listener to reflect, as the woman says: “I saw Xanadu and all I wanted to was rollerskate”, and then he kicks that beat back in and you’re like “Awwww yeah…”

Grant’s works in a similiar fashion (see “The Limit”), and it’s the restraint and patience that he consistently reveals in his music that makes it so good. That’s not to say that I think the 4/4 moments aren’t equally as strong, I’m just happy he’s skilled at playing to both parts of my psyche — the one stoned and lying on the couch, as well as, the one eternally on the dance floor.

The vocal sample Grant uses at the very start of the album sums it all up perfectly: “Dance music’s not just dance music anymore, it’s got a head now, you can sit down and listen to a lot of good creative albums … but you can still go out and dance and have some fun …” Check and check!

And man, ya gotta love that album cover! Expect more great music from Grant in 2017! See ya next week.

YP#2 – Route 8

September 17, 2015

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On the decks for the second installment of Young Producers is my man ROUTE 8…

Singlehandedly putting Budapest on the techno map, Gergely Szilveszter Horváth, who signs his productions as Route 8, creates spacey house and techno music that taps into a strong sense of nostalgia. Most of his jams are of the eyes closed, head bobbin’, foot tappin’ variety and play out just as well on the dancefloor as they do on the couch, even if his vibe is decidedly chill.

Horváth’s first releases came out courtesy of local Hungary, Budapest label, Farbwechsel, which gained him the attention of one of my current fave presses, Lobster Theremin, where he’s dropped his Dry Thoughts EP in 2014, and the even peppier This Raw Feeling EP that came out this spring. He’s also put out the more introspective and dubby Eleda EP on Berlin based Nous Records, another emerging label that has only released class act music from young and upcoming producers.

Route 8 records all of his tracks live and says that his live gigs are the main influence on his songwriting at the moment, and in an interview with Leisure Collective from 2014 he stated that when he first started playing shows he was always shocked when he saw people dancing to his music, but now it’s become his mission to get asses movin’ on the dancefloor as he tours around Europe and perfects his craft as a DJ and producer.

Horváth’s trajectory is only on the up and up and his music as Route 8 is definitely worth checking out. Peace. See ya next week.

Matthew Herbert – One One

April 21, 2010

For Juno Records

Avant-garde musician Matthew Herbert welcomes spring with the release of the first installment in his “One” trilogy, entitled One One. The album’s title is fitting, because the man of many samples has chosen to use just one here — himself. Herbert wrote, performed, produced and recorded everything on the album, and also decided to add vocals in the mix, sung all by his lonesome. Sounding somewhere between Alexis Taylor and Erlend Øye, Herbert lulls with soft vocals and self assured lyrics detailing a day in the life of one man.

For those hoping for the return of Herbert’s signature deep house, you’ll have to wait for the last installment in his trilogy, One Club, because with One One, Herbert displays his soft side, and in many ways this record could be considered a sort of eclectic folk album. Each track has an intimate feel to it, as Herbert confides in his listener, asking: “Who knows where this journey will be taking us? Who cares?” on “Leipzig”, and croons about his second home in the stripped-down and emotional “Berlin”.

Each track’s title is the name of a city, and this quiet collection of songs is like a travel guide through Herbert’s thoughts and memories. Highlights are “Dublin”, “Porto” and “Milan”, which best reveal his knack for melody and newfound vocal chops. For those of you looking for a subtle and introspective album by an ever-changing musician, One One is for you. Overall it is slightly forgettable, but it’s a nice album worth checking out, even if only to hear Herbert sing. Peace.

DJ Sprinkles – Midtown 120 Blues

July 17, 2009

midtown 120 blues cover

I had never heard of veteran artist and producer DJ Sprinkles (real name Terre Thaemlitz) until earlier this year, when I was turned on to his/her album courtesy of Resident Advisor. And ever since, “Midtown 120 Blues” has been in fairly constant rotation on my stereo. This is house music that conjures up the classic sounds of Chicago and Detroit and is very rewarding after repeated listens. Like “Endtroducing” is so much more than just a hip-hop album, so is “Midtown 120 Blues” more than just deep house. There’s soul here, techno, nostalgia, and rich ambience. The monologues and voice snippets are interesting and introspective and deal with the politics of music and identity. Tracks “Ball’r (Madonna Free Zone)” and “House Music is Controllable Desire You Can Own” are highlights that play just as well in a party setting as they do in a horizontal one. Sexy, sad, deep, smart, and emotional music. Smoooove.

Edit: Read a fantastic interview with Terre Thaemlitz here courtesy of Little White Earbuds.