Tuesday, 30 July 2013

SLL EXCLUSIVE : DJ Clairvo - Suppa Shoota (MustBeat Crew) *FREE DL*

The MustBeat Crew

After many months plugging away on here, I'm delighted to announce our first EXCLUSIVE download from the MustBeat Crew over in Hungary.

MustBeat are a bunch of wicked DJs, musicians, party promoters and artists hailing from Budapest. Collectively they are skilled in all manner of artistic trades, not just producing music but also specialising in graphic design, video production and a whole host of other projects besides.

The team began life in the Listen! record shop in 1998 where they worked as booking agents for DJs alongside their graphic design work. Then when the shop closed in 2001 (such is the sad fate of so many decent wax retailers these days), the guys decided to pool resources to promote their own music and art under one brand. MustBeat was born, with this leading to the launch of their own record label in 2011.

In two short years they've been massively busy, putting out over 20 releases from artists the world over, with their output being met with high acclaim by a broad cross-section of DJs and music lovers alike - indeed, several records have already begun to make it into Juno's top-5.

I've been talking to one part of the outfit - DJ Clairvo (of Nynfus Corporation fame) - who put together a new take Wrongtom's 'Superteng' (which we reviewed a few months back) and has offered it up to SLL's readers exclusively for the princely sum of nowt! A great peak-time party vibe that offers a sympathetic update, maintaining the reggae bounce of the original and the full vocal whilst beefing-up the beats with a broken rhythm that is the trademark of much of MustBeat's stellar output.

A serious record. Big thanks to the guys for letting us have first dibs. :-)

SLL EDM News : 30th July 2013

1. Paris Hilton readies her weekly 'show' at Amnesia amidst furious responses from the dance music community; booking widely dubbed as "Everything that's wrong with dance music in one night". I couldn't agree more. Ms. Hilton consistently uses her undeserving wealth and celebrity to make a mockery of any bandwagon she chooses to jump on. It's just sad that Amnesia have allowed her to bring shame on such an iconic establishment. I think someone needs to remind the booking agent that there's such a thing as bad PR... (via Skrufff)

2. King Street Sounds preps 'New York Big Room Classics', a 20-track compilation showcasing the last 20 years of the label's most seminal releases. Expect tracks old and new from big-hitters such as MOOD II SWING, Ultra Naté, Cevin Fisher and Benji Candelario. Currently due for release on 24th September.

3. Eastern Electrics show us how to sell a festival. With a naked Seth Troxler. Of course. (via Beatport)

A message from Alan Braxe...

I was like an over-excited school kid this morning as I woke up to a message from one of my all-time music heroes - Alan Braxe (be it through his kind label manager, but still awesome nonetheless!).

Best known for his production work as Stardust on the mahoosive 'Music Sounds Better With You', I've been a big fan of the French filtered sound since I started DJing 15 years ago, as championed by labels such as Roulé and Braxe's own Vulture imprint.

I'll never forget the first time I heard 'Intro' as a fresh-faced DJ playing my first ever over-18s set, an all-time house classic Braxe produced with Fred Falke back in 2000. A game-changer for me at a time when I was still too young to legally be in the club at all.

Today the label got in touch as they're looking to work with the blog on some editorial material, and as a golden handshake sent me a simply incredible live set from Vulture's own Shook. I've been listening to it for no more than 10 minutes (and have already heard samples from 'Superstition' and 'Hold Tight' by Change) and it's making me want to head out right now! I've got to admit, I often give short-shrift to DJs that splash their sets with endless cuts, samples and FX, but Shook prove how incredible it can sound when done right.

The set is awash with disco-funk loveliness and that unmistakable filtered sound, reworking countless classics into pure dancefloor perfection. I haven't heard a set quite like it since the Daft Punk 'Alive' shows, so safe to say it's something truly special.

Enjoy, and watch this space for more Vulture output coming to your musichole very soon. :-)

P.S. I have asked the guys at Vulture just when we can expect to see the Roulé material released for official digital download. Not sure if they'll know, but I'll update you when I hear back.

Monday, 29 July 2013

SLL Soul News - 29th July 2013

1. Terri Walker announced her split from 'Lady' this week - the collab with Nicole Wray - after just one album released earlier this year. Following our rave review of the long-player, this news is met with some genuine sadness, as their output as a duo was pure soul gold. The only silver lining is that Terri is leaving to work on her solo album and has apparently been in the studio with Damon Albarn. :-) (via FACT)

2. Following Daley's previous excursion with Jessie J on their cover of 'Remember Me', the big-haired Mancunian soulboy dropped his new EP as a free download via his website this week, a prelude as the world waits for his full-length album 'Days & Nights'. Not satisfied with lavishing his fans with new music, a few days later Daley also dropped another unmistakable cracker in the shape of 'Broken'. It's more of what you've come to expect, so it'll be interesting to see if the album dishes up a few more surprises.

3. To mark the 600th show on Australia's 3RRR-FM radio station, Ennio Styles has just unleashed 'Stylin' 600', a beautiful selection of insane beats and pieces spanning everything from gospel to techno, available for entirely free download from 2nd August. And if you don't take my word for it, you can surely trust in the good words of the preacher himself, Mr. Gilles Peterson: "Some great shit here! Amazing work as usual." Preview it below.

Saturday, 20 July 2013

House Review : DJ W!LD - Shape U (Rebellion)

The vibe

As included on the SLL Soulful Eivissa 2013 Mix I put out earlier this month, DJ W!LD presents 'Shape U' on Crosstown Rebels offshoot Rebellion, a pounding summer anthem featuring an insane break sampled from The S.O.S. Band's 1984 disco-funk smash 'Just The Way You Like It'. A record as infectious as the original it samples and already garnering the support of big-hitters such as Pete Tong, I've had it on repeat for a number of weeks since receiving the promo and it's a gem!

Originally hailing from Dijon in France, W!LD is a long-standing underground house hero as both a DJ and producer with a passion for graffiti, street culture, disco, funk and hip-hop. As part of the Cocoon family and with a residency at Circo Loco, you may well have already heard him under a number of guises with releases on labels such as Robsoul.

Sounds like

Much of the French Robsoul output. And The S.O.S. Band, of course. :-)

Serving suggestion

With the original firmly aimed at the discerning house floors, the package also includes a deeper workout from Fur Coat - more typical of the CR sound for the wee small hours - alongside the aptly named techy 'WILDER' remix and a dub version.

Did you know?

DJ W!LD takes his name from cult 1983 film Wild Style...

'Shape U' is out now on Rebellion | crosstownrebels.com

Deep House Review : Lay-Far - The Green EP (forthcoming on Fifty Fathoms Deep)

I've recently been turned on to the sounds of new independent label Fifty Fathoms Deep, a project conceived by the revered Craig Smith (6th Borough Project) and upcoming DJ and producer Peter Oakden, who is already being hailed by the likes of Phil Asher as a "rising star".

Based in Edinburgh, the aim of the label is simple: to explore their musical tastes and release quality music from unknown and recognised artists alike. You'll likely be familiar with Craig's work already, with numerous releases on Freerange sister label Delusions of Grandeur, but most notably his output with Grahame Clark as The Revenge.

With both his production and label affiliations, Craig became a household name in 2008/9 with his famed disco re-edits helping give rise to the midtempo deep house style that continues to tear up dancefloors around the globe. For Peter, this tie-up with such a solid name is sure to cement his already glowing reputation following successful releases alongside legends such as Moodymanc, Zed Bias and Atjazz, amongst many others.

Launching on 22nd July, Fifty Fathoms Deep come at ya with The Green EP by Lay-Far, a throbbing, rolling house affair featuring all the sample-rich soulful grooves you've come to expect from the pair.

With a sound reminiscent of production-perfect US output, it's hard to 'Fathom' (oh dear) that this is music born in deepest Scotland. Regardless, be it at the bar in Glasgow, or the club in Ibiza, you're sure to be rocking your socks off to Fifty Fathom's output in the months to come.

Lay-Far's 'The Green EP' is out via Fifty Fathoms Deep on 22nd July and is available to pre-order on 12 via [Juno] | facebook.com/fiftyfathomsdeep

Saturday Sample : Freddie Hubbard - Little Sunflower (Columbia, 1979)

We recently featured the Harlum Muziq Remix of Ovidio's 'Reflexiones' on Moulton Music. It was driving me mad - I absolutely adore the sample featured and couldn't for the life of me remember where I'd heard it before and where it was originally ripped from.

Cue SLL reader Saul, who kindly stepped-up and informed me that the sample is in fact from Freddie Hubbard's 'Little Sunflower', a low-fi jazzy soul number released on Columbia in 1979. Anyhow, through the power of WhoSampled I managed to find the track I originally remember the sample from - Trackheadz's 'Our Music', released on NRK in 2002.

Also check the sample on Karizma's '4 The Love', a funky house classic released on Code Red in 2005.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend peeps!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

SLL Thursday Throwback : Susanne Vega - Tom's Diner (DNA Remix) (A&M, 1990)

Having just been reading about the history of the MP3, it turns out it was 'Tom's Diner' by Susanne Vega that Karlheinz Brandenburg used to develop and perfect the audio compression format. He was quoted as saying:

"Somewhere down the corridor, a radio was playing "Tom's Diner." I was electrified. I knew it would be nearly impossible to compress this warm acappella voice."

So I thought it would be a fitting tribute to offer-up the DNA Remix for this week's Thursday Throwback track, a bootleg version Vega liked so much it was officially released without ever knowing the true identities of the remixers (does anyone know who DNA were in the end??). It also rose to become much more successful than the original, a club hit that spurred a huge number of cross-genre remixes.

SLL Feature : The MP3 - What Next?

I've been spending the last few weeks working through Steve Jobs' autobiography by Walter Isaacson. Sitting here writing this feature on my iPad, it really does inspire to understand more about the birth of home computing as we know it today, and the many trials and tribulations that Jobs endured in developing the famed Apple ecosystem.

This got me to thinking about the conception of modern music consumption formats, most notably the MP3. It occurred to me that much has happened during my lifetime in the world of consumer electronics. 1984 saw the launch of the Macintosh and the birth of the first truly consumer-friendly personal computer. Then came the iPhone and iPad, which for many are as much music consumption devices as they are innovations facilitating communication and personal productivity.

2001: The iPod

These milestones mark a dramatic acceleration in the development of the modern semiconductor which gave rise to Silicon Valley and one of the most profitable industries in the world. However, what seems strange is that despite the countless other technical innovations I've seen in my short 29 years, the development of the digital music format seems to somewhat buck this trend.

Let me put this in context: in the last 30 years the tech industry has given us home computing, the Internet and truly mobile methods of communication, which in turn has resulted in an endless stream of new and more powerful devices. As such, we're now able to communicate, consume and create in a multitude of different ways, as facilitated by the rapid growth of the hardware to support this functionality.

It's fair to say that software development has always been the poor slave to hardware innovation, but in 2013 it seems that for the first time in history the two are now able to co-exist and develop in tandem. This is due to a combination of cheaper, more powerful and readily available technology giving rise to a generation of home-grown developers, each with the tools and broadcast mechanics to make waves using a basic PC and Internet connection.

As such, it seems peculiar is that we're still consuming music in the same way we were back in 1999. Sure, the means we use to listen to music have become more advanced (the iPod, iPhone, iPad and iTunes), as have the distribution networks (think cloud-based technology such as Spotify and Pandora), yet, regardless of how, in the main we are still downloading and listening to MP3s in the same way we were at the height of the Napster era in the late-1990s.

2000: Napster

In 2013, we live in a world of endless crowd-sourced music, regardless of whether you're into the latest chart-toppers or the newest and weirdest genre imaginable - there's a market for it. And with each segment, no matter how big or small, there is an army of creative free-thinkers with the technological knowhow to support it; be it bedroom DJs entertaining bigger online crowds than some of the top-name superstars, young music producers writing genre-defining tracks with the most basic of studio setups, self-taught designers creating exhibition-standard album artwork or upcoming video producers creating animation and motion graphics worthy of red carpet treatment.

Despite this, in the same amount of time it took Steve Jobs to 'make a dent in the universe' and re-imagine consumer technology forever, we continue to consume music media in the same way. At best, we are still watching music videos in two-dimensions in the same way we did as kids of the MTV generation. But even video technology has seen leaps in the form of DVD and 1080P Blu Ray, yet lossy, compressed MP3s still reside as our preferred method of listening.

So therein lays the question: do we simply have as much affinity with the MP3 as we did for tangible formats such as the acetate, cassette tape and compact disc, does it still offer sufficient utility in its sound reproduction and smaller file size, or are we simply waiting for the tech geeks to offer us a new alternative? I doubt file size is an issue with so many affordable data storage options now available and rapidly increasing Internet bandwidth speeds. Perhaps the answer lies in the way music is produced, which has, on the whole, remained unchanged for thousands of years.

In terms of consumption, we live in an age of convergence, with the virtual and physical realms becoming ever closer. 3D TVs can now be found in the homes of families with the most modest of incomes, Apple is readying the much anticipated launch of the iWatch, and Google continues to flood the tech rags with updates from its Glass project. Combine that with an era of big data, where the likes of Apple, Google, Facebook and countless mobile apps monitor the where, when and how of every song you listen to or video you watch, it's truly mind-boggling that we're not able to immerse ourselves in a truly personal music experience.

Should we not be watching our own personalised 3D music videos on the go, as curated by a million algorithms about our digital self? Or is there something truly magical about listening to music in the most basic way possible, offering our mind the opportunity to interpret and internalise it in a way no amount of data will ever be able to replicate? To answer that would be to understand music's very effect on the human condition. Probably a conversation for another time(!), but a fascinating question all the same.

- Ben Cox

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

EDM News : 16th July 2013

1. Relentless offer aspiring DJs a chance to open the 'Here To Be Heard' stage alongside Zane Lowe at this year's Leeds Festival. (via FACT) http://goo.gl/vZWJB

2. Algoriddim releases 16-second teaser video for djay 2 iOS apps in the face of increasing competition from NI. (via DJ Tech Tools) http://goo.gl/DhTgZ

3. Ministry of Sound founder James Palumbo nominated for peerage by Nick Clegg. (via Mixmag) http://goo.gl/22fff

Nu Funk Review : Alice Russell - For A While (forthcoming on Tru Thoughts)

The vibe

Following her incredible performance at Glastonbury this year, Alice Russell returns with the latest cut from her acclaimed album 'To Dust'.

With a MPC driven off-beat swing, the track sits somewhere between the nu funk and the future hip-hop sound. Alice's unmistakable lyrics float softly yet dominantly atop a typically unique and infectious toe-tapping rhythm, with piano stabs, a subtly infused brass section and layered ad libs giving the track wonderful depth, texture and atmosphere.

Sounds like

Well, Alice Russell. It's so difficult to align her sound with any other, even over a contemplative cigarette taking in the instrumental! Therein lies the beauty of all Alice Russell output - it's hard to define, unique, in such a bloody good way.

Serving suggestion

Perfect for a sophisticated night-in on a Saturday night with friends, on the iPod at work, or warming-up the crowd on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Definitely best enjoyed with a good bottle of vino. :-)

Did you know?

Alice loves trampolining...

'For A While' drops on 27th August via Tru Thoughts | tru-thoughts.co.uk

Alternatively, you can grab the album 'To Dust' over at Juno [here]

Monday, 15 July 2013

EDM Review : Alan de Laniere - Ponle Voz (Ft. Miss Wonder) (Mycrazything Records)

The vibe

'Ponle Voz' offers up a slice of Latin-tinged soulful house, with crisp percussion, a down and dirty bassline and silky Spanish vocal. Whilst I'm never that drawn to vocals sung in other languages, after a couple of listens I found myself spinning round the lounge singing 'Ponle Voz', with no idea what it actually means. Better get on Google Translate...

Sounds like

It could have been produced by the Audiowhores.

Serving suggestion

This one's definitely best served-up on a bed of mid-afternoon sunshine, ideally overlooking an ocean with a dancefloor close to hand. For best results, I'd recommend a Spanish island somewhere. :-)

Did you know?

Miss Wonder actually hails for France, despite her Spanish tongue on 'Ponle Voz'. She also has MASSIVE hair apparently...

'Ponle Voz' is out now via Mycrazything Records | Grab a copy over at Juno

** UPDATE **

Soul News - 15th July 2013

1. The super-soulful, acoustic sounds of San Fran's Chaquis Maliq hit SLL's Inbox this week. Check her video EPK here: http://goo.gl/ciSyl

2. Our friends at Soulab continue their incredible soul and broken beat compilation series in the shape of 'Chill Out With Soul 3'. Available from Juno now: http://goo.gl/HEpoE

3. Tru Thoughts released the Youngblood Brass Band's cover of Chaka Khan's 'Ain't Nobody' to its advance mailing list. Out on 12th August, you can pre-order it on iTunes now: http://goo.gl/oGsKw

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Eagles For Hands - Holla *FREE DL*

The vibe

Upfront, uptempo, intelligent future bass. 'Holla' draws on the house and garage beats that have become so influential of late, coupled with dancefloor-devastating synth hooks. Expect to hear Eagles For Hands getting caned by all the main Radio 1 DJs this festival season.

Sounds like

Think Disclosure and you're on the right lines.

Serving suggestion

Perfect for making shapes in the lounge pre-club or on the floor at peak-time. In-car consumption discouraged owing to epic hands-in-air-bugger-not-on-steering-wheel moments.

Did you know?

Eagles For Hands can often be found playing free shows in Brighton…


Saturday, 13 July 2013

Stop.Look.Listen. asks the DJs...

Stop.Look.Listen. Podcast #16

I was a little slack with the funkier joints this week because of all the house music I was devouring. So with episode 16 of the Stop.Look.Listen. Podcast, I'm looking to put that right.

Expect the usual soulful journey, with a hearty dose of classics this week in the form of re-edits and covers of Blackstreet, Michael Jackson, Leo Sayer, Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan

Enjoy kids, and have a great weekend!

#16 - 8th July 2013

01. Kan Sano - Everybody Loves The Sunshine (Razor n Tape)
02. Badbadnotgood - Hedron (Self-Released) [download]
03. Lewis Badwan - A Perfect Yellow (Studio Rockers Promo)
04. Lockah x Taste Tester - U Don't Know Me (Activia Benz Promo)
05. Hanami - Hanami (Finest Ego Promo)
06. Atmosphere - Bob Seger (Rhymesayers Promo)
07. Chet Faker - No Diggity (Self-Released)
08. Michael Jackson - Rock With You (The Reflex Re√ision) (Self-Released) [download]
09. Leo Sayer - Easy To Love (BB Edit) (Self-Released) [download]
10. Stevie Wonder - Higher Ground (scratchandsniff's Extended Re-Rub) (Self-Released) [download]
11. Youngblood Brass Band - Ain't Nobody (Tru Thoughts Promo)
12. Myron & E - Do It Do It Disco (Stones Throw Promo)
13. Basement Freaks - Soul Intoxication (Original Mix) (Jalapeno Promo)
14. Chaquis Maliq - Calling My Shots (Bandcamp)
15. Robin McKelle - Miss You Madly (Doxie / RCA Promo)
16. Tim Dillinger - Say Thank You (Final Mix) (Suxxess Records Promo)
17. Pomrad - Pomslap (Earnest Endeavours Promo) [download]
18. ESTA. - She Needs Me (In More Ways Than 1) (Self-Released)
19. Eagles For Hands - Holla (Self-Released) [download]
20. Danglo - Don't You (WhatNot Promo)

Automixed with Algoriddim Djay for iPad
Style: Standard | Duration: 2.0 seconds | Auto-Sync BPM: OFF | Trigger Before End: 5 seconds

Stop.Look.Listen. Soulful Eivissa 2013 Mix

Over the past ten days I've been working with a host of incredible house labels who've been sending me a truck-load of upfront promos to dig through. After many hours previewing, commenting, downloading and selecting, this has culminated in a 2-hour mix of soulful and deep house tracks I'd tip for big things in Ibiza this summer.

So here it is, a promotional blend for DJs and house-lovers alike searching for the tunes that will be big on the White Isle this year. Featuring brand new fodder from the likes of Atal, Robsoul, King Street, Defected and Toolroom, many of the inclusions are not released for a few weeks yet but are sure to get an airing on many a sun-drenched terrace over the coming months.

Whether you're chilling on the beach, warming up for a night out or a holiday hitting the clubs, there's something for you. Enjoy my pretties!

Soulful Eivissa 2013 Mix

01.   Alton Miller & Rachel Claudio – Rise (Vox Version) (Atal Promo) [Juno]
02.   DJ Wild – Shape U (Rebellion Promo)
03.   Inland Knights – Slummin' It (Robsoul Promo) [Juno]
04.   Soulplate ft Rainy Payne – 1000 Words (Original Mix) (Soulplate Promo) [Juno]
05.   Sean Murray – Hood St (Da Sunlounge Remix) (HuHu Promo) [Juno]
06.   In2Deep – Walk It Off (Original Mix) (Piston Promo) [Juno]
07.   Antonello Ferrari feat. Dawn Tallman – Beautiful View (Antonello Ferrari Main Mix) 
(King Street Promo)
08.   DJ Duke - Someday (Argy Dub Edit) (These Days Promo)
09.   PBR Streetgang feat. Danielle Moore – C With No Name (Futureboogie Promo)
10.   Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs & Eats Everything – Lion, The Lion
(Gerd's Sub-Tech Mix) (Crosstown Rebels Promo)
11.   The Golden Boy – Higher (Original Mix) (HK Promo) [Juno]
12.   Dennis Ferrer feat. Janelle Kroll – Mind Ur Step (Original Mix) (Defected Promo)
13.   Steve Mill feat. Anna Cavazos – Upside Down (Main Mix) (Reel People Promo) [Juno]
14.   Ananda Project – Truth Comes Shining Through (Aki Bergen & Daniel Jaze Back To The 80s Mix) (Nite Grooves Promo)
15.   Carl Parker feat. Ione Mai – I Feel Passion (Alex Whisper Remix) (Tall House Promo)
16.   DJ Sneak – Latin Seoul (Robsoul Promo) [Juno]
17.   Munk – Munkysound (Moullinex Remix) (Gomma Promo) [Juno]
18.   Stefano Esposito – Frog Pond (Lost My Dog Promo)
19.   thatmanmonkz  - The Feeling (Tone Control Promo) [Juno]
20.   Weiss – Baby Talk To Me (Original Mix) (Toolroom Promo)
21.   Just Kiddin – Time, Space & Honey (HK Promo)

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Traktor DJ FREE on the App Store (for a limited time)

Bit late to the party this week - apologies peeps.

Anyhow, I just wanted to check in and let y'all know that to mark 5 years of the Apple App Store, those nice people over at Native Instruments are giving away their incredible Traktor DJ apps away for free! Of course if you're already familiar with Traktor, it's an outstanding piece of DJ performance software which needs little introduction.

I've been using the iPad version pretty much constantly since I moved to Australia and have found it really stable (always the biggest worry for a DJ when you move onto a different system or platform). It's not crashed on me once and has some amazing features, the core one being functionality which indexes all the tunes you sync to your device. Then, based on advanced BPM, key, melody and tonality analysis, the software will offer you recommendations of the next best track to queue-up.

There is then the user experience, which has been completely redesigned around the iPad/iPhone user, swapping the traditional 2-deck format for large, touch-controlled waveforms and a wholly simplistic mixer, offering an advanced crossfader which will essentially EQ the whole mix for you (although there is still the option to manually control the lo, mid and top freqs), and a pretty seamless job it does of it too.

Of course, for those purists such as me who would still rather shy away from autosyncing, auto-EQing and dousing the set with cuts and FX, it does leave something to be desired in terms of a physical experience. For all those old-timers, I'm sure many will still agree nothing beats working with physical 1210s or CDJs.

All that said, you can't sniff at this for a freebie given that the apps would normally set you back something in the order of $20, even if it does tempt you to stand there looking lost and gormless as you let the software do all the work.

Thankfully, there are still many things which an algorithm has to learn in terms of building and maintaining a floor. But as an accompanying performance/practise tool to those all-important programming skills and DJ stage presence, Traktor DJ can't be beat.

Go grab it before the price hike! https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/traktor-dj/id592052832?mt=8


Saturday, 6 July 2013

Ovidio - Reflexiones (Harlum Muziq Remix) (Moulton) *FREE DL*

Another label that's been whetting my tastebuds of late has been San Francisco's Moulton stable.

On this free download from XLR8R, remixer Harlum Muziq knocks-out a hypnotic deep house version of Ovido's 'Reflexiones', a string-heavy, hypnotic and dubby rework.

I'm probably going to get flamed for saying this, but the track features an orchestral sample I've heard a million times before and always adored, but can't for the life of me remember where from. Any ideas from the avid trainspotters out there?

Anyhow, despite XLR8R's editorial team not really feeling the track, I'm loving what by my reckoning would be the perfect soundtrack to any loungy day by the beach this summer. Set padding it certainly is, but the very best kind in terms of the track's atmospheric quality.

'Reflexiones' is out now on Moulton Music via Beatport

Zaki Ibrahim, Kid Fonique & DJ Whiskey - Be (Atjazz Record Company)

Atjazz has been on the dials of some of my favourite deep house tracks of the last decade. A true house veteran and head honcho of his own Atjazz Record Company, the label's latest release comes from Kid Fonique and rising star DJ Whiskey on 'Be', featuring the sublime song writing and vocal talents of Zaki Ibrahim.

The original is an afro-inspired deep house rhythm, with Zaki's love-sick spoken word and perfect vocal delivery drawing you into a ballad that's heavy on the heart and sure to be heavier on the dancefloor.

Then comes the turn of Mr Atjazz himself who steps up to the remix plate along with Julian Gomes to provide a stripped-back, somewhat deeper interpretation which epitomises the classic house sound that the label boss has become so famed for. A perfect accompaniment to any afternoon chilling on a sunny terrace.

London's Jonny Miller then delivers a bumpy, broken beat affair which retains the mood of the original but offers a more dancefloor-orientated workout. Huge minor key Rhodes progressions, soaring pads, synth stabs, pads and FX are the order of the day on this one. Almost reminiscent of the Naked Music content I've been banging on about recently.

The EP concludes with '2sides', a sample-laden percussive house joint, evoking the sound of a smokey jazz club. What makes this last track so special is the voice of legend Theo Parrish, who uses the track to wax lyrical on his DJ philosophy.

A super soulful, sophisticated package. Everything you'd expect from Atjazz.

'Be' is out via Atjazz Record Company in July (release date TBC) | atjazz.co.uk/label

Michael Jackson - Rock With You (The Reflex Re√ision) *FREE DL*

I'm starting the weekend massively overexcited by the news that The Reflex has finally made his absolutely killer Re√ision of MJ's 'Rock With You' available for free download via Soundcloud.

The track first emerged following a chance meeting between The Reflex and Gilles Peterson through DJ Day, who mentioned to Gilles that he had an edit of 'Rock With You' and that he'd 'done a little thing to it'. Understatement of the year probably.

The Reflex is famed for taking the master stems and re-imagining the studio recordings for a new generation. And this has to be his finest effort to-date, stripping the 1979 original back to bring greater emphasis on the timeless vocal, Rhodes melody, rhythm guitar and orchestral section, as well as beefing up the classic disco drum pattern.

Unfortunately, the only omission from this version is the intro as played by Gilles on Radio 6, which featured an original guide vocal for Michael as sang by its writer and former member of Heatwave, Rod Temperton. Still, this has to be one of the greatest edits of one of the greatest soul/disco records of all time. Simply brilliant.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Montana and Stewart feat. Diviniti - Let Me Show You (Universe Media)

There's nothing quite like sitting in 22-degree heat listening to incredible soulful house. And it doesn't come much better than the 9-minute original of Montana and Stewart's 'Let Me Show You'.

Featuring the incredible song-writing and vocal talent of Detroit's Diviniti, this new release on Universe Music is a true modern classic and essential listening for the warmer months ahead.

With timeless Rhodes and organ jams driving the percussive rhythm, silky guitar licks swirling through the mix and a devastating one-minute piano solo, Diviniti's vocal talents lift the whole composition into the heavens and provide a track that's sure to be a massive hit for the funkier, sun-drenched floors this summer.

Remixes come courtesy of the ever-present M&S, Italy's Jonathan Meyer and label-mate Echofusion, bringing their own unique touch to the party. But for me, it's all about the original. Essential.

'Let Me Show You' is out via Universe Media on 22nd July | universemedia.com

The Golden Boy - Higher EP (HK Records)

More old skool, big room action on the first outing from Ministry's new 'HK' imprint, with the label looking to release underground, on trend house music. And with The Golden Boy's 'Higher EP' they do just that.

Taking us straight back to that dance sound of the 90s that seems to be ever-prevalent in 2013, the up-and-coming producer provides a slab of big room action with throbbing speed garage bass, massive piano hooks and stratospheric vocal builds.

2013 seems to be at the intersection of rave, bass and deep house culture, retro in its feel, clinically contemporary in its finish. This release epitomises the sound and with the likes of Disclosure pushing this it into mainstream consciousness, I'm sure this release will be remembered as a classic within this new and exciting genre.

Another summer anthem - expect to hear this EVERYWHERE in Ibiza this year.

The 'Higher EP' is out now via HK Records | Grab a copy at Beatport | ministryofsound.com

Jacob Bech - Continue EP (Large Music)

The latest offering on Large Music is another belter, this time in the form of Jacob Bech's 'Continue EP'.

This two-tracker is a real nod to the old skool Chicago vibe - rolling basslines and soaring pads combine with energetic Rhodes and vox stabs, bringing us another sublime slice of deep house heat. Perfect for firing the floor into peak time.

Another cracker from the ever present, ever-consistent Large stable.

The 'Continue EP' is due for release on 22nd July| Pre-order on iTunes via the link above | largemusic.com

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The Art and Design of Naked Music (US)

If you were to think of iconic album covers in the house world, you'll probably think immediately of Jason Brooks' original Hed Kandi designs. But at around a similar time, Naked Music over in the States was also producing 12s adorned with similarly slick and sexy imagery. The most amazing thing was having an impression of the music before even breaking the seal on one of their crisp import vinyls.

The original concept was put together by designer Stuart Patterson of L.A. design shop Colorola Studios. Interestingly, the design was originally conceived for OM Records, who rejected the ‘sexy, racially-vague, young nubile, in a seductive pose’ as being too literal an interpretation of the brief. But when OM's then label manager Bruno Ybarra and producer Jay Dene joined forces to create Naked Music in 1999, Stuart Patterson was on-boarded to resurrect the original designs.

Still reeling from the rejection by OM, Stuart was somewhat cautious about how far to take the concept, as much as the idea of diving into the abstract appealed. As a result, an auxiliary logo was created to accompany the 'nude' image, just in case it was subsequently deemed inappropriate. Alas, it never was, and Stuart gave life to what remains, in my view, one of the most striking and influential design concepts the house industry has seen in the last 13 years.

I've pulled a few high(ish) res Naked artwork images included in the slideshow below. Take a look, and have a listen to one of the label's most iconic mixes, in full, via the YouTube embed.

Naked Music Cover Artwork

Miguel Migs - Nude Dimensions Vol. 2 (Naked Music)

Classic US House - Free Downloads

DJing @ Savannah in Ibiza for Mark Hill's
Soundproof Records, 2003

With the sun beaming down for a second day, it got me to thinking about the time I was first getting into soulful house - days spent manning the counter at what was then one of Southsea's premier record stores - Groovefinder Records.

From my recollection, those days in the early/mid-noughties were sun-drenched times filled with DJing, vinyl pushing, vinyl digging, partying, and numerous trips to blag sets in Ibiza. Most of all, for those first few years of the 2000s, I filled my life with incredible US house - guys like Miguel Migs, Richard Earnshaw, JT Donaldson and Lance DeSardi were making incredible music back then, super-soulful percussive and deep house that has aged beautifully and now has an unmistakable sound.

DJing @ Kanya in Ibiza for
Groovefinder Records and MN2S, 2006

Anyhow, sitting here in the sun, I thought I'd reminisce somewhat and see if I could find some cuts from and of the era. So after hours of scavenging on the Interwang, here's six picks available for free download via Soundcloud.

If the sun is shining where you are, grab a beer and turn it up!

Dennis Ferrer feat. Janelle Kroll - Mind Ur Step (Defected)

Right kids, expect a run of super soulful house coming this way. The sun is blazing in Sydney so I'm out on the terrace writing and dreaming of those long summers playing in Ibiza. Ah, nostalgia's a wonderful thing!

First up is a brand new track from Dennis Ferrer, in a not so usual vein. Ordinarily famed for deep, funky house grooves, 'Mind Ur Step' is a slight departure, with Ferrer going for the proverbial peak-time jugular on this massive summer anthem.

This latest release is everything you'd expect from Ferrer in terms of it's impeccable production quality and infectious four-to-the-floor groove. But there's a difference: teaming-up with Chicago's Janelle Kroll, the pair deliver a huge vocal stormer, the mix laced with pulsating, modulated bass and elevating synths. Janelle then lifts the whole composition into orbit with a vocal that's sure to echo around every dancefloor on the White Isle this year.

Another classic production from a truely consistent house hero. Defected, like a trusty old friend, you're still smashing it after so many years at the top of your game. Salutations.

'Mind Ur Step' is out 22nd July via Defected | defected.com

House Masters Dennis Ferrer is available from iTunes : smarturl.it/HouseMasterDF

Frameworks - Old Friend feat. JP Cooper (First Word Recordings)

I was chatting with Matt 'Frameworks' Brewer over the last few days. We got talking after I found out he recently recorded a track with fellow Mancunian JP Cooper, who featured at Wired in London last month.

The track is entitled 'Old Friend', a beautifully moody, cinematic soundscape with the most wonderfully moving video, available now via SLL faves First Word Recordings.

Produced by Picture Lock Productions, it was filmed in Fleetwood, just south of Blackpool, through the eyes of a despairing fisherman. It tells the story of an former fishing town and the community left behind, the industry having collapsed in '82. To quote Matt:

"Wanted the old guy to kinda represent someone from that community.. if that makes sense"

Spending much of my time watching umpteen music videos, this is a real treasure - in fact one of the best I've watched in ages.

The soundtrack perfectly compliments the subject matter and there's just something very real about the whole composition. I've never visited Fleetwood, but the emotion conveyed by the superb actor's facial expressions tells a million stories and really moves you. Indeed, there's not many videos that made me pant like an impatient dog so I could show my girlfriend when she got home from work. Safe to say she was equally impressed!

Matt and JP: a triumph. Congratulations!

'Old Friend EP' is out now via First Word | firstwordrecords.com

Monday, 1 July 2013

Stop.Look.Listen. Podcast #15

Okay kids - here it is, the latest edition of the Stop.Look.Listen. Podcast.

Another mixed bag this week, journeying through deep, melodic downtempo via soul and hip-hop, bad ass brass, future beats and some incredible nu disco-funk in the shape of Personal Life, an album so good I simply had to include two of their tracks.

As ever, enjoy my beauties!

#15 - 24th June '13

01. Ellie Mae - Without You (A Stop.Look.Listen. Edition) (Self-Released) [download]
02. Neko Neko - Pollen (Self-Released) [download]
03. Samaris - Góða Tungl (Sei A Remix) (One Little Indian Promo) [download]
04. Deekie - Walk With Me (Melodica Promo)
05. Robert Glasper Experiment feat. King - Move Love (JT Rework) (Self-Released) [download]
06. L.A.M.P - Counting My Blessings (Peng Promo)
07. Dilla/Miguel Atwood-Ferguson - Find A Way (Go Yama Guitar Remake) (Self-Released) [download]
08. Comfort Fit - The Holy Moment (First Word Promo)
09. The Fontanelles - Criminality (First Word Promo)
10. Youngblood Brass Band - Overtime (Tru Thoughts Promo)
11. Jaw Jam - Long Night (Symbols Promo) [download]
12. The Echo - Signals (Ambassadeurs Remix) (Self-Released) [download]
13. Homeboy Sandman - Sureshots feat. MED (Stones Throw Promo)
14. Frameworks & BluRum 13 - Alone (First Moth Promo) [download]
15. Daniel Crawford - Electric Felaxation (Self-Released) [download]
16. Personal Life - One Step Closer (Expanison Promo) 
17. Personal Life - Distance Can Be Sweet (Expanison Promo)
18. James Brown - Give it Up Turn It Loose (The Reflex Edit) (Self-Released) [download]
Automixed with Algoriddim Djay for iPad
Style: Standard | Duration: 2.0 seconds | Auto-Sync BPM: OFF | Trigger Before End: 5 seconds

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