Felix Dickinson & Jamie Read - "Restless People" (Max Essa remix)
Review: Two of the UK's finest underground labels join forces and share their talent on this killer 12. From IIB we have Coyote's Sin Distracciounes, an upbeat sunkissed dancefloor meditation featuring the blissed out Flamenco guitar of long time collaborator Saro Tribastone. Futurboogie's Christophe remixes and chops up the guitar and adds some gypsymenesque organ stabs and layers of keys. Futureboogie's Felix Dickinson and Jamie Read drop the funky guitar heavy Restless People. Sublime chugging beats and a beautiful vocal refrain imploring 'Slow It Down' creating a laidback house monster. IIB's Max Essa puts his remix right in the middle of the dancefloor with straight up house vibes and extra percussion.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: an unlikely collaboration between celebrated Italian producer DJ Tennis and Fink, one of the longest-serving members of the extended Ninja Tune family. The latter's melancholic, heartfelt vocals are a perfect foil for Tennis's gentle and melodious backing track, which layers bubbling electronics, simmering orchestration and twinkling synthesizer motifs atop a sparse, undulating drum machine groove. If we had to tightly define it, we'd call it lilting outsider pop. On the flip you'll find the "Club Mix", which wraps Fink's vocal and cascading pianos around a tactile, soft touch house groove.
Review: In the first of three EPs for Warm collective's own label, Face & Heel are a Cardiff based duo settled in an interesting midway point between indie pop and electronica that behaves like techno while seemingly fitting in with the more emotional end of the dubstep aftermath. On "No Stars" the pitched-up vocals duel with rounded bass pressure and a gossamer beat while the main melodic content comes on thick and dramatic. "One Hundred Years Deep" takes a more polite stance as (presumably) Sinead McMillan's vocals come through clean and untreated while the track operates in a similar headspace to Clams Casino.
Review: "She Sleeps" made for a welcome surprise on Hardcourage, Falty DL's recent Ninja Tune released album, calling on Friendly Fires vocalist Ed McFarlane to add his immediately recognisable warbles to a glistening production. It's obvious single material - with the radio edit here adding further credence - and the wonderful original is further complemented by remixes from two of Lustman's fellow New York dwellers in Gang Gang Dance and Ital. The former is delightful, adding unforeseen layers of ecstasy to McFarlane's vocals amidst a clopping beat and tropically infused melodic lead, whilst Ital goes in entirely the opposite direction, turning in a sludgy, strung out malfunctioning slab of techno.
Review: Mic Newman, or otherwise known as the one and only Fantastic Man, returns to Fine Choice Records with yet more of his very own organic house music. With previous outings on Wolf Music and Let's Play House, among others, Fantastic Man has now weaved his way into dance music's epicentre and his tunes have been coveted by the likes of London's Tief and Feel My Bicep crews. "Snake Charmer" is a tropical house lick complete with monkey sounds and all, whereas "Donkey Punch" is somewhat of a hybrid thanks to its broken beat pattern and oddball bassline - what a peach! Over on the B-side, "El Tropo" is an uber deep cut with a rather lovely set of Balearic melodies, but the real treat is "Birds Of Paradise" thanks to its utter neglect of a 4/4 beat pattern. Instead, Newman creates a tight, functional groove out of sparse and airy flurries of sound. Recommended.
Review: Having made his name making decent deep house, Fantastic Man appears to be following in the footsteps of fellow Melbourne export Tornado Wallace and pursuing a far more Balearic, kaleidoscopic sound. Certainly, Dream Machine is arguably his strongest EP to date, delivering a trio of cuts that expertly fuse Italo, Scandolearic and new age influences. There's naturally much to admire, from the lilting melodies, tactile proto-house rhythms, Italo attitude and bubbling synth bass of "Fountain Gate", to the marimba-clad breeziness and chiming tunefulness of "St Elmo's (Theme)". The title track, a study in early deep house melodiousness, is also pretty impressive.
Review: Given that Fantastic Man's last outing on Kitjen, 2016's "Galactic Ecstasy", was one of his more interesting and on-point releases to date, hopes are high for this belated return to the German label. First up in "Solar Surfing", a spacey affair built around stuttering machine drums, intergalactic electronics and a thickset bassline. Acid-fired workout "Native Power" follows, with psychedelic TB-303 lines and minimalist bleeps riding a flowing electro groove, before closing cut "Avocado Conception" sees the Australian combine Balearic-minded synthesizer flourishes and bubbly acid lines with a slower groove. Like the rest of the EP, it's ear pleasing but surprisingly off-kilter.
Review: Juan Taramera's Back To The Balearics imprint runs out of Ibiza (naturally!) and has previously released the likes of Max Essa, Maricopa and Spleen: so you can trust he knows what he's doing. This time it's Stockholm's Fabror Resande Mac, who appeared previously on the label in 2014 with the Magma EP. On the A side "Achilles" gallops away slowly and eloquently in minimal fashion, the perfect intro for the wonderfully summery and Balearic (yep!) "Tiddens Tand" that you could imagine hearing on a beach in Tisno, Croatia circa '86.. or 2016 for that matter. On the flip "Effeckt" is bitter and melancholic, like something from a forgotten old film soundtrack, while final track "Vattern" is a creepy and sinister minimal synth jam that closes out this imaginary short film, just perfectly.
Review: Aficionado welcome Swedish space cadets Farbror Resande Mac to their cause with the simply titled five track EP, a superb excursion into gently billowing Balearica. You may well know these Scandinavians from fine outings on Mystic & Quantum and Is It Balearic last year, and this new record suggests Farbror Resande Mac is a project we could happily hear alot more from. "Hagringen" would be perfect music to soundtrack the mooted Bladerunner sequel, a delay laden epic that manages to instil a sense of intensity whilst retaining an air of effortless grace. The mood veers off into different areas from here, with cosmic moments ("Chemtrails" and "Pacific Northeast") matched by downbeat funk ("Quaaludes") and guitar laden journey's into '80s soft rock ("Stockholmsnatt"). A Balearic DJs wet dream, this one.
Review: Stuffed Monkey dip into Interstellaires, the 10th studio album from sultry flame-haired provocateur Mylene Farmer, to pick out "City Of Love" for 12" issue. "City Of Love" oozes synth soul charm with a mild pop edge and just the right amount of floatiness for it to achieve Balearic status. The instrumental, however, is straight up sunset whichever way you look at it. Spacey percussion, evocative chord changes and all-round feel good vibes, save this one for the sunset.
Review: Kartel is releasing a 2 part remix package taking Fat Freddy's Drop into the worlds of drum & bass, dub-step, techno, electro and beyond... Part #2 features dub mixes from South London's premier dub-step crew Digital Mystikz (DMZ) who recently supported FFD at their Brixton Academy show. A version from Manchester roots reggae connection Blood & Fire vs Deep Sound and a slamming electro dub mix from Kalbata (aka Ariel Tagar from Tel Aviv). Anticipation for the Digital Mystikz remix has been very strong since they supported FFD at Brixton Academy. Still very early days in the promo campaign but we already have great feedback and support at club, radio and press level.
Review: Hope was the very first song recorded by Fat Freddy's Drop and also the very first record to be released by Kartel. The original release came out in August 2003 on special edition 10" vinyl and sold out within a matter of weeks receiving heavy support from tastemaker DJs such as Gilles Peterson, Norman Jay, Mr Scruff, Laurent Garnier and Jazzanova. At the end of 2003 'Hope' was voted No.1 record of the year by Gilles Peterson's BBC Radio 1 show which quickly saw the record gain cult status and become highly sought after. This first re-pressing has been timed to coincide with the current Fat Freddy's Drop UK/European tour, and features brand new artwork from Steve Boggs, an up-and-coming New Zealand artist currently based in London. The artwork is a typographical montage of the songs lyrics.