Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Records, records, records…I’m surrounded by new music and bouncing back to old things that I’ve forgotten or rediscovered.

On the old stuff, the second Soul Jazz celebration of early Philly stuff, “Philadelphia Roots Vol 2”, is probably better than the first, with long lost and hard to track down early Three Degrees singles, a 1967 pre-Maze, Frankie Beverly single that I’m playing over and over again, and a killer take on Sly’s “Family Affair” by the Family, and a whole raft of early, obscure stuff from the musicians that defined the eternal Philly soul sound of the seventies. So far beyond essential, it’s ridiculous.

From the same label the Gallery comp celebrates the sound of Nicky Siano, who along with Levan, Mancuso, Gibbons and a very few others defined the New York sound that led from soul to funk to disco to garage (and house). The Bill Withers track “Harlem”, and the psycho-Motown duo from The Undisputed Truth & The Temptations that finishes side one are highlights on a really cool collection.

To the twelve inch records, a couple of mid nineties tracks I’m hooked on right now are a white label (actually black & white) from about 94 from DJ Pierre…Dharma Meet DJ Pierre “Love Talks” is a classic, but fairly obscure vocal wild pitcher with a bottom end that throbs somewhere below my sub. The other is the mighty Leftfield dub of React 2 Rhythm’s “Intoxication” on William Orbit’s long missed Guerilla label from back in 91. Druggy proggy nonsense that betrays prog house’s original direct line from wacked out JA dubplates, before it lost its way circa 94. Wicked stuff and with the nice crackle of a much loved tune.

Jumping back even further, I’ve been besotted with the 12” Martin Rushent produced Pete Shelley single “Homosapien” since it came out in 1982 and it gave me a real buzz to fill a dancefloor with it last week. I had a queue of kids asking what it was. See…there is still a place for throbbing gay punk electro in 2004.

Not all records I like are old…honestly….

Going through another big Tiefschwarz thing right now. The mix of Unit 4’s “Body Dub” on Clone buzzes and bubbles along nicely and has almost an italo disco feel so it’s perfectly matched by the sprightly Bangkok Impact mix on side two. I’m still not sick of “Blow” with Eric Clark, but the real killer from the German brothers is their rejected remix of Kelis’ “Trick Me”, a one sided booty version that has somehow slipped out (wonder how?). Snippy acid loops and minimalist dirty bottom end make this a dark electro classic. Love it.

Blake Baxter seems to be a flavour again…poor bugger slips in an out of favour every five years and never really crosses over. His recent Abe Duque collaboration ("What Happened"...record of 2004 so far) has highlighted a Detroit legend who has never really stopped making amazing records. “Poetry & Rhythm Sessions Vol 2” contains a very cool spoken take of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” which kinda nags at you until you realise what it is.Uber-cool.

Another one I’ve been playing for months is the “Electro-Robotic Disco” single from Vector Lovers on Soma, a lovely lush electronic landscape. I hate the word pretty but its the only word that works here. I’ve got to find the album, but, naturally, in Auckland, finding something like that these days is nigh on impossible.

"Vapour" by Stratus, on the German Klein label is a record I know nothing about but right now its the record I like to put on first thing in the morning when I'm avoiding the tail end of the breakfast radio shows. I keep thinking Can or DAF, and then it goes all lush and goey towards the end.

Locally, Tomorrowpeople's remix of indie Rockers Pluto's track "Dance Stamina" works and is truly inventive, taking the popage of the original to somewhere far more contemporary.

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