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Mon, 30 May 2005

Natalie C June 2005

Natalie C - Underground house/tech-house record reviews - June 2005

Urban Torque (URTR019)

There's been a lot of hype surrounding this release not to mention
comparisons with Underworld and Joy Division. Relation are a pairing
of Andy Leary who is the knob-twiddler and Oliver Keech the vocalist.
Together they form this mid-nineties styled, low-fi cross-over which
was a popular DJ choice at this year's WMC and is sure be huge in the
clubs this summer. Circulation beef things up and add a touch of prog
in their traditional manor whilst keeping the chords and vocals.
'Moral Code' completes the pack and reinforces all the Underworld

Eli Bingham/NDL/Ty Tek
This is Fresh Meat Vol II
Gourmet Recordings (GOUR026)

The second release in Gourmet's Fresh Meat series is introduced by Eli
Bingham. His 'Bonus Beats in F minor' is a percussive and energised
instalment of tech with a cunning breakdown that builds just the right
amount of tension. Over to side B for the dark, head-nodder 'Distal
Embrace' courtesy of NDL. Slightly darker and exactly what you'd
expect from Ty Tek is his 'Dirty Fusion'. Gritty electronic bass and
synths are coupled with his hallmark hip-shaking drums. The pressure
continually mounts throughout and just over halfway a rumbling
bottom-end kicks in. This will shake your brain when heard on a big

Funk D'Void & Phil Kieran
Lost in Belfast
Soma (SOMA169)

The title track is an intriguing slice of big room techno with drums
that are highly comparable to and more than possibly sampled from Dave
Clarke's classic 'Southside'. Put together with this are chaotic synth
patterns with a smattering of sparkly keyboard riffs. 'Black Worm' is
decidedly more tech-house and a somewhat remarkable creation at that.
Fatter than your obese aunt's backside, it's a fantastic layout of
funkin' syncopated beats. An incredible array of audio, superbly laid
out and possibly the best arrangement I've heard for some time. Check
it without delay!

Gene Farris
Take Me Back
Industry Recordings (INRE001)

Chicago based Farris returns with a slamming chunk of moody house.
Thumping drums , old school claps and occasional rolling snares ride
together with intent to punish anyone not paying attention. Added to
this is a dark vocal used well throughout. The dub mix is a creative
re-work looping in some extras to make a tracky piece that's a good
alternative to the original.

Chardronnet Vs Afrilounge
Poker Flat (PFR57)

Two of Stuttgart's finest come together to create two typically avant
garde tracks plus a dub mix thrown in for good measure. 'Phonix' is
sharp and minimal piece with funked rhythms riding merrily beneath
staccato acid snips and simplistic three note melodies. Check the dub
mix for a stripped-down take on things. 'Shake it' on side B is made
up of household appliance samples, perhaps inspired by Doctor Rockit's
similar antics. The outcome is enchantingly unique and let's face it,
the likelihood of anyone using exactly the same instruments is highly
unlikely. Sure to appeal to those seeking an anomalous sound.

Mass G & Matt Thomas
Who's Bad
Essential Beat Recordings (EBR002)

London based Mass G and Matt Thomas serve up some no-nonsense, driving
sounds in the shape of 'Who's Bad'.  Some may think that although
topical, the use of a Michael Jackson sample is not a good choice
however these guys are out to prove us wrong. It's used well and not
too often retaining the symbolic Croydon sound along with a prog
bassline and a hint of tribal percussion. Grant Dell's mix lifts the
theme noticeably through the use of springy beats. Although this side
is a lighter reflection the bottom end is still fat enough to offend
any sound dieters. Without a doubt this both sides are designed to
work the floor.

Codebreakers Vs Bobkat
Agave Records (AGAVE0508)

This US label is on a top-quality release roll. Joining the impressive
catalogue of artists, Codebreakers and Bobkat form a solid party
stomper. A funk-heavy bass and cheeky vocal FX are expertly laid out
occasionally interspersed with rock guitar licks. Man of the moment
Joey Youngman lends his hand in expertly remixing 'Suntan' on the
flip. An aptly titled tune for Mr Youngman's style as he seems to
inject natural UV rays into everything he touches. This is no
exception, brimming with beams of summer sunshine it's a healthy dose
of feel-good medicine guaranteed to chase off the blues.
Promos: Open House, PO Box 50028, London SE6 2WW

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Ukrainian Music

Various Ukrainian Artists
"The Spirit Does Not Die; The Spirit Does Not Extinguish"
(Dukh Ne Vmyraye; Dukh Ne Zhasa)

The album launched at the National University of the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, Ukraine ( ) is dedicated to the victory of the Ukrainian people during the recent Orange Revolution. While the rest of the world watched by television news, thousands of Ukrainians assembled in Independence Square in Kiev. Brave new generation of Ukrainians barricaded government buildings and the presidential palace and changed the history of their country. These courageous Ukrainian patriots sent a powerful message to their government and to the world. They rejected political corruption, election fraud, shadow economy, the black market, and organized crime. The multitudes of people who took to the streets and camped along the Kreschtschatik Mile did not work for personal glory or gratitude. They worked for justice, democracy, and closer ties to the EU. They worked for their future and the future of their children. The collection of songs recalls these thrilling days and includes songs from the Orange Revolution and other patriotic songs. Although some songs on CD give a feeling of friendship and enthusiasm, the powerful resolution and courage of those forming the barricades is missing.

The performers featured: Oleh Skrypna, Serhiy Fomenko ("Mandry"), Serhiy Solonyi, kobzars Taras Sylenko and his young son Sviatoslav, Hryndzholy (Greenjolly), Taras Komanichenko, and Eduard Drach. Listening to the artists and their songs one may expect folk, pop, guitar pop and metal!


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Stonebridge, Freak On

with Ultra Nate
7 track single, Hed Kandi

Stonebridge is a Swedish man we met recently in the studios of Jazz FM to do a podcast interview that unfortunately disappeared into some electronic dreamspace. Anyway, we were curious about the Swedish propensity for smoothly produced pop and what Marko of Husky Rescue termed Love Metal. We didn't really get an answer to that question but we did get a background to the Swedish thing in that music education is free to all, so there is a great depth of musical skill and knowledgabilty in that country.

This is pure party time disco just like it ever was -- four to the floor with breaks and smooth production values all the way along the line.

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Smog, A River Ain't Too Much in Love

LP, Domino

Smog appears to be Bill Callahan and this LP is a collection of his lyrics over a finger-picked guitar. I say "appears to be" not to insult the man. His name appears on the album and there isn't much information that came with the release.

Anyway, these are quiet songs where the lyrics are the foundation of the thing and they're delivered in the quiet sort of way you'd expect to match up with finger-picking and ... wait a minute, some muted drums make a solo and end a song.

And just when you were thinking "Bor-ring!". (thunderfinger)

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7 track mini-album, Sink and Stove, out 20 June 05

This band is made up of Londoners of Italian origin which I think is mentioned in the PR material because they look good. I don't know this. I haven't seen them.

Certainly the indy guitar music they make knows no boundaries. It combines noise-fuzz-fest with melodic ramblings and manages to give us a little light and shade as well, with changes of pace and density. (thunderfinger)

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Plantlife, The Last Song

13 track single, Cut

This is a pretty good nerd-hop sort of thing, and given there's just one track you'd better like the song a fair bit. We actually did, and playing a whole CD of one song variants does have that hyper-focus thing about it doesn't it?

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Lawrence, The Night Will Last Forever

LP, Novamute

I usually associate Novamute with things like Speedy J -- hardcore electro-leaning things or something like that, but Lawrence starts out in a more lyrical way with rounded, bell-like sounds that seem to come from a non-industrial sort of softer place. It continues in that way with variations in texture and beat and pace. It's very pleasant stuff. (Nozilla)

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various, Back to Love, Hed Kandi

2 CD's, Hed Kandi

Some people like to sneer a little at Hed Kandi for their lack of seriousness but in a way, here beats the true heart of disposable pop -- here today for a moment or two and then gone, but with an honesty about what it is. As a result the label is very popular with the sort of people who might shop in Soho, and who knows where all else.

Here we have the likes of Robert Owens, Inner City, The Fog, Degrees of Motion, Sounds of Backness, The Brand New Heavies, Nenah Cherry, and Sister Sledge... and Chicago.

The mood is late night but not so late that you're comatose. (Dr Boots)

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Futureheads, Decent Days and Nights

Single, 679

Spirited Brit guitar pop that moves right along and in its speed and accent somewhat recalls the fast-paced ska stuff from a little time back.

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FBC Fabric and Reindeer, It's not ...

LP, Buttercuts

This is pretty much a mystery but it sure looks interesting. It comes in a black cloth bag with red stitching and a label on the outside that says "fbcfabric" and ... wait! After a really long lead in of complete silence we have a rapping voice over a Hammond sort of sound -- sort of Procul Harem with tags on it.

Actually, it's pretty darn good -- interesting textures and changes with ... silences that come and go. It is all nicely atmospheric. It's hip-hop with the ego-voice mixed down and a nice art quotient. (thunderfinger)

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Erasure, Here I go ...

2 track single, out June 20, 05 Mute

Some nice anthemic synth-pop here from Erasure. These tracks are from their current album Nightbird. The release will be on two CD's with the first containing Here I Go Impossible Again and All This Time Still Falling Out of Love along with tracks from Meloboy and Shanhai Surprise. CD 2 will have mixing software to remix All This Time and there will be a contest for a best remix. The DVD includes live footage from Cologne of that same song. (Dr Boots)

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Embrace, A Glorious Day

Single, Independiente

This looks like a test market pressing as there appears to be one song on it and little information. It's a pretty pop song of the sort that people might sing the chorus in their cups. This song is a love song ... you came along on A Glorious Day so it comes from a grand, slightly maudlin tradition. Bad things aren't actually happening in this song but you feel as though they might. (thunderfinger)

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Dr. Who: Volume 1 and 2

2 CD's, Mute

Go completely nuts on Dr. Who! These two CD's (and I'm not sure whether they'll be sold individually) deal with themes, sound washes and effects from the famous BBC sci-fi program. The first CD brings sounds from 1963-69 and the second from 1970-80 and the most well known Dr -- Tom Baker. The sounds and music were created by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, which from the cover notes, sounds as if it's been yet another casualty of the out-sourcing calamity that has claimed more than a few scalps in internationally respected segments of the BBC. I suppose the people who arrange that sort of thing will finally be happy when the BBC is about the same as Sky or something similar. Relax boys, you're almost there. Anyway, this is actually good fun to listen to and it's vaguely possible that someone who isn't a Dr. Who geek won't have to leave the room while it's on. (thunderfinger)

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DJ corner June

Two DJ's this month ... Tom Baker and Natalie C

Tom Baker ...

New House mix for download:

1. Demarkus Lewis - Lime St - cdr
2. Demarkus Lewis - Reflexations - cdr
3. Joey Youngman - Troubled Child - Jamayka
4. Natural Rhythm - Vibes Alive (Re Rubba the Dubba mix) - Tango
5. JV & Granite - Hallucinate (Granite Mix) - cdr
6. Lo/Rez - Stickwich - Flat and Round
7. Tom Baker and Lawrence Mohammed - La Diablada (Soulsmith Rmx) - Wrong
8. Lavish Habbits - Clap Yo Feetz - Select
9. Harrold Heath - Long Relationships (Asad Rizvi Remix) - Urban Torque
10. Lawnchair Generals - You Got To - Aroma
11. Mario Fabriani - Release - Nightshift
12. Demarkus Lewis - Rollerboy - cdr
13. Market House vs Natural Rhythm - Treat you Sweet (Thomas White
Remix) - Detour
14. The Littlemen - Stoned (Inland Knights mix) - Mobile Trax
15. Bazar - Hard To Find - Basic
16. Bran Van 3000 ft Curtis Mayfeild - Astounded (Fred's Flute Dub) - Bombay

Record reviews.

You may use these reviews for your website, however, please inform me
should you intend to do so.

Also, PDF's of this months TTR Magazine are available, hit me back if
you would like to see them.

Trentemoller  Polar Shift
Artist: Trentemoller
Title: Polar Shift
Label: Poker Flat
Cat no: PFR56
Andres Trentemoller from Copenhagen signs up to Berlin's illustrious
Poker Flat to deliver 2 spatial, yet sharp, minimal techno workouts.
"Polar Shift" is a vast sounding, hypnotic soundscape, picked up by
large, reversed claps and complex synth ideas. Unexpected edits and
off key sounds inject a slashing funk, as the track rises into peak
time action and back down to bare bones minimalism again. "Chameleon"
starts off with little more then a low, reverbed bass kick and tripped
out effects before a swinging hi hat comes in, feeling very
reminiscent of some of Richie Hawtin's mid nineties minimal stuff.
More complex and unexpected edits make this extremely interesting to
simply listen to, as well as appealing to the more advanced dance
floors.  Clever stuff. 4/5

Will Saul  Mbira
Artist: Will Saul
Title: Mbira
Label: Simple
Cat no: Simple0513
Words like "classic" and "timeless" are often over used by journalists
and commentators but it's hard not to think of these terms when
listening to "Mbira". Deeply contemplative, this is as perfect for
sunsets at Caf Del Mar as it is for end of night, grimy, warehouse
moments.  Understated drums, relaxed percussion and heart-warming
strings are immaculately arranged. Australia's "Infusion" stands
forward to offer a contrasting remix. Big-room in feel, the remix
contains rubber-band acid, lively drums and distorted guitars. 5/5

Infinity Plus One  The Edge of Dread
Artist: Infinity Plus One
Title: The Edge of Dread
Label: Drenched
Cat no: Drenched017
It seems to have been a while since we've heard from Drenched
recordings so its good to see them back, sticking to what they do
best. Releasing quality, underground tech house. "The edge of dread"
is a complex, twitchy, synth led affair, where multi-layered vocals
compliment the urgent, overlapping synths. "Do you read me" retains
the feel of urgency and funk, but is deeper and more spacious. It pops
and fizzies along very nicely but is probably more suited to a chill
out room or lounge than the dance floor. 4/5

Mastik Soul  What time is it (remixes)
Artist: Mastik Soul
Title: What time is it (remixes)
Label: Yoda
Cat no: Yoda001
Household recording's new offshoot label kicks of proceedings with an
all-star line up offering 3 additional mixes to Mastik Soul's "What
time is it". The original, as you might expect is a solid,
chest-compressing, tribal work out. Label boss A.D.D. and Shubert's
"Booty mix" is a finger snapping, traditional example of the "tech
house" sound, with its back-and-forth drums and warm bass line.
Gideon's Dredtek remix oozes warmth and funk from every pore, with
exciting percussion and bass line-stabs, whilst finally "Tyler's
tribal bounty" mix is for those later, druggier moments. A great start
for this new label. 4/5

The Littlemen  My Game
Artist: The Littlemen
Title: My Game
Label: Drop Music
Cat no: Drom041
There's no stopping the Drop Music collective currently with The
Inland Knights currently having two double albums out and an
ever-flowing stream of music from their label. The quality is high,
the music accessible and The Littlemen's releases are no different.
"My game" is a seriously funky, uplifting slice of crossover house,
where whispery vocals and looped pads compliment the loud, snappy
drums. "Decked out" is a disco-tinged chugger, with looped vocals,
horns and swinging beats. Pick of the bunch for me though is "High in
da club" which sees The Littlemen experiment with tough, driving,
underground house and pulling it off wonderfully! 4/5

Funk Harmony Park  My Truth
Artist: Funk Harmony Park
Title: My Truth
Label: Fade
Cat no: FD045-1
Funk Harmony Path are a well established collective of musicians and
DJ's in their native country, Iceland, and they've hired support from
Paranoid Jack and Marky Star for their debut UK release. "My truth is
a low slung, grinding, acid house story. Haunting vocals and
melancholy keys give the emotion whilst tight drums and a funk laden
acid line maintain the drive. Paranoid Jack's offering is a big room,
more accessible version of events, Marky Stars' is the pick for me
though. Effortlessly simply and effective, the emotions lie in the
bass line and the funk's directed into the drums. 3/5

Timeless Banditz/Matt J  Disco Train
Artist: Timeless Banditz/Matt J
Title: Disco Train
Label: Lost my dog
Cat no: LMD003
Deborah Jarvis and Christina Wigmoe aka Timeless Banditz combine
forces with Matt J to present this 4 tracker of finger snappin' house
grooves. "Disco Train (Matt J rework)" has cascading drums, warm
synths and jacking bass line. "Head First" is techier in feel, with
bleeping effects and soft vocal stabs. Matt J's "Sonic Signal" has a
big room, tribal feel whilst maintaining a house ethos, with whirring
effects and complex sample ideas. Finally "Ol' Dub" jacks it up, with
squirting sythns and old school bass line. 3/5

Ty Tek  Filthy, naughty, little beats
Artist: Ty Tek
Title: Filthy, naughty, little beats
Label: Phrunky
Cat no: Phrunk008
Ty Tek returns with another sonically charged weapon of mass
destruction, and calls on Nathan Coles and Audio Jerk for remix duty.
"Filthy naughty, little beats" utilises thunderous bass, dark effects
and sinister vocals that go straight to the jugular. The beats are
definitely dirty and the effect should be emphasised by hearing this
in a large club with only a small, dim, red light bulb at one end of
the room for light. Audio Jerk's mix is even heavier, with an
intoxicating array of effects and pads. Nathan Coles's mix injects a
lighter feel and a dash of fun, playing about with the vocals and bass
line and funking up the drums. 4/5

Reviews published in TTR Magazine,,,,,,,,, +
more ...

Natalie C

Tech-house reviews for May 2005

Metta & Mr Blurry
The Little Robot EP
Flip-Flop (FLIP-FLOP 005)

OK so it's been out for a couple of months but I'm a DJ who's guilty of being
scatty enough to let this gem tune slip behind too many other records in my
collection.  The A side is a sharp layout of bouncy jacking tech grooves and an
accordingly wobbly b-line. On the flip Nasty injects some wobbly jelly into his
remix giving even the most metallic of robots something squishy to aspire to. 
Lastly the 'Beat Tricks for Beatrix mix' takes our aluminium acquaintance back 
to where he, she or it feels most comfortable; liquid crystal bliss along with
all other computerised beings.  4/5

You Don't Win Friends with Salad
Flat and Round (FAR11)

Proving that salad is not the basis of friendship, Willis and Hodge aka
Lo/Rez bung their sandwich onto a stick in a 'suck it and see' fashion.
'Stickwich' is the first result with retro clap-licked synths and a lovely,
sequence. 'LS11' strips things back to the bone through the use of a drowsy
melody line and loitering drums. In a nostalgic fashion 'Modena' trips gently
back to circa 1990 with an uncomplicated but sophisticated organ hook. Finally
'Slimline' is of a similar nature with its deep and sultry groove.  3/5

Rhodes to Nowhere/Wino Man
Conceive (CONCEIVE006)

Gideon Jackson's label hits release number six and there's no denying that it's
a fine delivery of head's down music. In 'Rhodes to Nowhere' Dexter serves us
up with some no-nonsense, quick paced tech grooves.  Aimed directly at the
dancefloor it would sit nicely in an Eddie Richards set. Shaking claps and hats
go hand in hand with a phat bass line giving the tune an inescapable groove.
'Wino Man' is a lurid and just as irresistible conception as the A side. Both
tracks are suitably loopy with an addictive flow that only the challenged
groover could recoil.  4/5

Edan Everywhere & Carlo Del
I So Well
Listen To Reason  (LTR 006)

Listen To Reason, also reaching release number six, proves it is a label of
varying thought as opposed to one particular sound. Chris Udoh's 'Tigerhook
Corp' take on 'I Duddits' is truly a peak timer. Percussive action and
floor-shaking rhythms together with a constant variant of arrangement means it
never stops to dance on the spot. Over to side B for the intricately formed
original which comes with a warning not to 'sleep in the bassbin'. The reason
for this becomes apparent when after the drop the unsuspecting drowser is
bombarded with a tribal bassline that chants a mantra to take you prisoner and
burn you at the stake should you be found slumbering again!  4/5

Alex Smoke
Brian's Lung
Soma (SOMA170)

Sometimes it seems that electronic house music moves faster than the punters
can keep pace. Alex Smoke's is leading the race with his nose up at the front
on par with the other micro-techno producers. The 'Inflated mix' of 'Brian's
Lung' is a disjointed creation that sprints all the way to the finish line
throwing in some rather elaborate noise manipulation along the way. 'Don't See
the Point' is taken by Henrik Schwarz and turned into a slow-tempo house song.
Overall a twelve for those who like music that thinks outside the box. 

Eddie Richards & Terry Francis, Brett Johnson, Mastik Soul
Call / I Ate Cat food / Trailer
Household Recordings (HR010)

Four artists and three very contrasting tunes. Eddie and Terry get their heads
together in creating the hastily paced 'Call'. It's full of funk guitar riffs
that are light and fluffy like a whipped cream cake. Added to this are some
sweet vocals laid over the top like sugar icing. The theme is underpinned by
driving percussion making it tech-house with a dash of sugary soul. As if
warning you off eating cat food, Brett Johnson's rather spasmodic piece digests
badly with an unusual set of audio over his trademark beats. Completing the EP
on side B 4 Kenzo head honcho, Mastik Soul offers an expertly laid out
dancefloor track. Full of nodding beats and compelling sounds this is the
winner of the bunch.  3/5

Stop 11
The Eleven EP
Stompa Phunk

Four of Brighton's Stompa Phunk crew members team up for this EP making it
their eleventh release. First on the list is David Parr with his sluggish yet
alluring 'Release Yourself'. Tula's 'I Jus' is next which boasts a smart and
funky bassline. It rolls fluently alongside some irresistible hip-wiggling
grooves and for me this track shines above the rest. Also make sure you check
Sege Santiago's 'Take the Journey' with it's atypical combination of elements
and Ben Burns' melancholic journey in his atmospheric 'Blue Boat'. Does
Brighton rock? This EP proves to us that it does. 3/5
Promos: Open House, PO Box 50028, London, SE6 2WW, England

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Jamie Liddell, Multiply

LP, Warp

So you were expecting bleeps and stuff? No way. This is pure funked-up R and B with a bit of time travel and a bit of now in the way of beats and occasional synth textures. Above all there's a high performance factor which should make his stage shows something to see. (thunderfinger)

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