Review: Having made a strong impression with the first two releases on BROMUR, Bogdan steps over to Not An Animal to flex his discoid pecs once again. He leads in with the understated Italo thrum of "Parovoznikov," riding a stuttering arpeggio and leaving plenty of room for the punchy drums and fluttering synth touches. Justin Van Der Volgen does a sensitive job of the remix, embellishing the core of the track with delicate chime refrains that add a tenderness to this muscular club jam. "Listopad" is a more mellow affair, but there's no shortage of fuzzy, vintage lead lines to bathe your ears in. Kito Jempere does a more drastic reinterpretation with his version of "Listopad," injecting a little acid and proto house bite into the track.
Review: Not An Animal are known for their heated takes on the art of disco-sampling house music, and Ess O Ess is one of the key factors in defining that sound. This comes through in spades on Take You To A Secret Place, where the title track comes marching out atop a deadly bassline that will cut through any mix to get the people freaking out. The dub mix is equally deadly, flying a generous dose of cosmic sparkle into the mix without losing the punch in the original production. Kuniyuki Hard takes a daring approach that slows the track down to a creep and emphasises space and tension. The Angophora version is even more drastic, seemingly stripping all the recognisable elements of the track out and leaving behind a plaintive thread of ambient instrumentation.
Things I see. Things I hear. Things I say. Things I wish I'd said. Things I do. Things I'm meant to do. Things I wish I'd done. Things I love. Things that make me love. Things that make me smile. Returning to Not An Animal for the 4th time, Ess O Ess create the 'Voice Inside' on NAAR 16.
Instantly tom rolling into a neo-electro commodity, 'Voice Inside' undulates with lustrous vocals that stand as the tracks core. Pads cling to bleeps and guitar chunks that evaporate with alternating delays. 'Voice Inside (French)' adds a sensual linguistic twist, although the elements remain the same, they feel so different. 'Voice Inside (Dub)' completes the A, stripping tones back and chopping the duration to find yet another gorgeous avenue.
On the flip, Backwoods Remix adds to the original atmosphere with a face scrunching bass-line and pulsating 4/4 kicks that embraces the not so distant future. Last but by no means least, the mighty Craig Richards' signature 808s pound on the remix to close the B. Pulling darker tones to pitch shifted vocals, this minimalist beat composition is perfectly suited for vigorous floors.
Flamingos & Wombles & The Blue Oyster Cult (Cyber dub) (8:28)
Review: After strong turns on Ene Records and Love On The Rocks back in 2014, Ess O Ess make a welcome return with this surefooted single for Not An Animal. "Flamingoes & Wombles & The Blue Oyster Cult" is an urgent, driving slice of motorik disco powered by arpeggios, live bass and shamanistic chanting that calls to mind Yello's chart-baiting classic "The Race". The A side version keeps the synth levels high throughout, while on the flip the "Cyber Dub" teases the ingredients out for a more subtle effect. Whichever side you plump for though, the transcendental qualities are strong on this 12".
Review: Not An Animal Records was formed in 2015 out of the ashes of the London-based party Bad Passion, and has thus far welcomed the likes of Man Power, Ess O Ess and Eric Duncan to release on the label. Now they turn to James Hadfield, a relatively new producer previously spotted on To Rack & Ruin and Me Me Me. On this four-tracker he deals in brooding synthwave tones mixed with classic jack track rhythms. "Literate" is just the kind of taut, sinister club creeper we can't get enough of, while "Buried Answers" takes a skippier but no less moody approach. On the remix front, Jamie Blanco takes the prize, turning "Buried Answers" into a bombastic slice of driving synth pop.
Review: The Not An Animal crew follows up excellent releases from Man Power, James Hadfield and Ian Blevins last year with this 12" of soaring 80s-inflected dancefloor boogie In:State & Giuli. It's actually a dreamy remix of "Vizitoz" from Lauer that opens up the 12" before the pulsing, wavey throb of the original kicks in. "Plus One" on the B side chops up the beat a little, but the same fulsome synth lines shape out the track. That leaves it to Lizards to wrap the record up with their own version of "Vizitoz", bringing a motorik thrum to the track that should nudge it into the bags of all manner of DJs from the cosmic warm-up crew to the EBM-favouring techno peak timers.
Review: "Lizards are Lee Forster (1/3 Last Waltz) and James Hadfield (the mainstay of the Elizabeth Collective). Taking over a full side, and clocking in at over 9 minutes, Anthemic understatement is a very difficult trick to pull of, but the deepness of feel here, coupled with the restraint shown in rhythm and melody, allows the track space to ebb, flow and truly get under the skin of the listener. It's one of those rare tracks that are as equally beautiful as they are danceable. International Track lives up to it's name, seeing the North Eastern English producers channel the Japanese take on the Balearic sound as heard in productions by artists such as CosMes. Ironically, with his remix, Japanese based Max Essa lends a Euro Pop lilt to the track, softening the beats and adding delicate 80s digital melodies."
Review: After a three-year absence, former Redux and Cynic duo Machete Savane (AKA Saul Richards and Andy Bainbridge of Bad Passion Project) return to action. Fittingly, it comes on Bad Passion Project's Not An Animal Records. "Manticore" is something of a treat for those who like their disco electronic, atmospheric and doused in perm-sporting rock and '80s AOR influences (think winding guitar solos, Italo-disco arpeggio lines, punk-funk bass, and spacey electronics). It comes backed with two contrasting remixes: a throbbing, disco-tech revision from ESP Institute regular, and an ambient re-invention from Jonny Nash. The latter's alternately glistening and dreamy version is as sublime as you'd expect.
Review: Que Sakamoto has been previously spotted knocking around labels like Roam Recordings and To Rack & Ruin, dealing in the kind of sun-soaked contemporary funk rollers that will get Croatian festivals lit up this summer. The Japanese producer is in good company on Not An Animal, the label which has also carried the likes of Ian Blevins and James Hadfield. "Uchuu Hikoshi" kicks things off with plenty of drama and longing woven into the swirling synths and strident bassline, which Apiento then builds on for the super-deep "SE6 mix". "Kamakura" is another evocative track loaded with tension and texture, but still centred on the groove. Vyvyan brings a cheeky Ed Banger-esque dirtiness to her version of the track, completing a package that balances atmosphere and party chops in equal measure.