Revered London vinyl outpost Phonica hosts the return of Matt Edwards and Joel Martin's Quiet Village project. There's a formula at work here, take a hypnotic house groove and then drop insane sample after insane sample on top, pan the thing left and right and let it run for just a little less than ten minutes. This is a simple recipe for a spun audience and it's working here.
The acid ur-track, one of the best examples of a form that people are still obsessing over 30 years in. Loose, jacking drums, a randomized TB-303 line that still feels right. No pads, no sexy vocal samples, no bells and whistles, just a couple ways to make you jack.
Dixon Avenue Basement Jams
Might as well stick with the theme, and jump to a 2015 example of a producer tweaking the acid box, in this case, texas freak TX Connect. This is dark stuff with a bit of a New Beat influence, fits in well with other DABJ releases like Jared Wilson's awesome "Unknown Desires". Some dystopic, delayed synths amp up the post-apocalyptic feel.
Omar S is back with a big, audacious vocal track. Musically, this maintains some of the chord-heavy optimism of the Romancing The Stone double-pack as well as the Thank You For Letting Me… LP. What's different here is Garcia's vocals, an elongated, lurid come not unlike most mainstream rap verses. It's a fun, sensual track from the most consistent producer in the game. Instrumental on the B.
Chicago, birthplace of house, still boasts one of the most tightknit scenes in the US. Promising locals DJ at the intimate Smart Bar, buy their records at Gramaphone, and generally carry on the city's amazing dance music tradition. It was only a matter of time, then, that the Gramaphone record store began to share its homegrown talent with the world. Here with have employee Garrett David' with the second release on the label, though you may remember him from his release on The Queen as well as his participation in the excellent Bell Boys project. Just good, inventive house music here, I'm partial to the piano stabs and hypnotic pads on Tunnels as well as the dreamy, chill-out B2 "Morning Mantra". Chi-town stand up!
Plenty of people hunt for forgotten disco not disco jams from the early '80s, but very few people attempt to actually make them. Jamie Paton makes it look easy. The opening track, "Mad Obsession" is a bouncy bit of tropical house, with a tom loop and some synth washes before some insouciant vocals come in. "Time After Time" is a dancefloor version of some daytime detective show funk, "Drole Model" is cool rainforest dub house. Scott Fraser and Timothy J. Fairplay on the production assist, so you know it sounds right.
Fans of the bizarre Sex Tags triangle have had a lot to be excited about this year, with Sex Tags Mania, Wania and Sex Tags UFO firing on all cylinders. Now, Sotofett drops it on us, the collab motherload with an album's full of material running the gamut from ambient to afrohouse. It's killer, as expected. Talented producer Phillip Lauer provides some of the highlights. "JEKS: Space Dub" is a knackered ambient jam, while "JEKS: Nimbus Mix" (no relation to The Orb) is maybe the album's best dance track, with the various mixes of "Nondo" coming in close behind. The whole thing bubbles and scrapes, the most definitive statement to date from one of dance music's true characters.