Review: It was on the Greedy Ventilator imprint that we first heard the iconic sounds of Blue Chemise, an artist that still remains a mystery to us and most of his/her followers. Much like the sounds of artists like Eleh, or anyone residing on the Touch label, Blue Chemise's approach to electronic music is calm, calculated and almost mathematical in its composition. Across this wonderfully deep album of drones and cinematic soundscapes, there is a narrative and a strategy. While the essence of it may never be revealed or understood, it is not music for the sake of music, but rather an immersive collection of sonic experiments that demand an emotive response. We think it's the best bit of ambient that's dropped this week. For the hardcore purists, that is...
Review: DJ Pierre continues to be an unstoppable force in rabble-rousing, party-starting house music after he practically wrote the rule book back in the 1980s, and he's feeling particularly feisty on "Jack City Vol 1". "Sexy Aquarius" uses a great accapella from "Let No Man Put Asunder," while "Pinball Machine" draws on Salsoul Orchestra's "Love Break," but Pierre creates entirely modern club workouts for these iconic sounds to land in. "What's Mine Is Mine" is a delightfully tweaked out affair, but hold tight for the sublime tones of "The Spirit," which does a beautiful but equally jacking job with Deniece Williams.
Review: Tony Ollivierra is an underground hero from Detroit, who in addition to releases as Ibex on his Ibex Music and Northside District imprints, had some respected editions on the likes of Planet E around the turn of the millenium. He donned the DJ Slym Fas alias around 1996 - 1997, when he produced three EPs which have been much sought after in recent years. These unearthed jams come courtesy of STEP: the new vinyl-only label from the founders of PETS - Catz n Dogz. From the bleepy and lo-slung "Motion Activation", the emotive hi-tech soul of "Amphibious (Green)" or the epic futurism of "Functional Apparatus" calling to mind the work of local legends such as Derrick May or Juan Atkins.
Review: Fresh from a fine vinyl debut on Let's Go Swimming, William Earl pops up on freshly minted label Cherub. There's much to admire here, too, not least the fluttering, sunrise-ready melodies, dreamy chords and rolling deep house grooves of opener "Figure of Skate". Doppelate doffs a cap to the Vancouver style of new age deepness on his fine remix of the same track, before Earl serves up a "Stokey Waltz". This hot-stepping concoction packs a punch thanks to its loose and sweaty drum machine programming and some trippy, effects-laden vocal samples. Pepe remixes, craftily combining the futurist sonics and farsighted ethos of Detroit with the drifting melodic warmth of vintage Italian dream house.
Review: Admirable reissue imprint Comb & Razor Sound continues to unearth, license and re-print lesser-known gems from around the world. Their latest find is Fire Woman, the incredibly rare third album from little-known nine-piece Foundars 15. Interestingly, the album's tracks are not straight-up Afro-funk or Afro-beat workouts. Instead, they various take in Cymande style reggae/soul fusion, psychedelic '60s style pop, wild funk rock/Afrobeat fusion, Hammond-laden torch songs, and skewed Afro-jazz. It's a curious but hugely entertaining hotch-potch of styles that makes for hugely enjoyable listening from start to finish. Highlights include fuzzy, solo-laden closer "Ekele", the anthem-like "Simin Boogie" and Fela Kuti-ish "True Light".
Review: Much to the surprise of many house enthusiasts, Joe Claussel's Sacred Rhythm imprint delves into plenty of different genres and styles, all of them bound together by a recurring thread of percussive delight. Paul David Gillman debuts here, coming through with three gloriously loose slices of kinetic ambient fuzz, with the terms 'new age' and 'balearic' coming through vividly. The opening "Red Earth" is a supremely jazzy whirlpool of sonics and harmonic delight, which evaporates neatly into the much vaster planes of "Installation III". "Winter's Moon (excerpt)" washes away all the fury and energy of the previous two tracks to end up somewhere desolate and calming, offering a beautiful piece of soundscaping for the ambient fans. Recommended.