August 27, 2014
Marking his debut on the ESKIMO RECORDINGS imprint, ALEXANDER SKANCKE‘s ‘Found My Place’ ditches the four-four aesthetic, instead focusing entirely on elegantly layered acoustic and electronic elements.
Poignant strings and gorgeous pads float above a sultry sub-bass as HEwrote’s gloomy vocals deliver a spine tingling intensity. A regular to the imprint, Vinny Villbass (pictured above) provides two remixes. The first, his ‘Tropical Mix’, earns its name from a cacophonous beat accompanied by spectral chimes and throbbing synths that ebb in and out intermittently. His ‘House Mix’, which just dropped exclusively on Radio 1 thanks to Pete Tong, employs a fuzzy hook, deep bassline, and firm kicks before erupting into a cascade of groove and vocals.
Tying up the release is Berlin-based producer Oskar Offerman, known for his stellar work on the likes of No.19, White Music, Yoruba Records and Aim. Offerman dissects and reproduces the cut into a melancholic renovation with a marching cadence, the result being a refined and understated jam executed tastefully.
The full EP and remixes will be available on digital September 8.
August 26, 2014
We’re excited to host a CTC exclusive today, thanks to our friends at Austin-based record label, WHISKEY PICKLE. Straight out of Texas, Whiskey Pickle specialise in the underground across a wide variety of genres with a hearty lean towards the cosmic, psychedelic, and more leftfield disco.
We’ve selected the BROTHERS IN ARMS rework as our favourite of a very fruitful bunch, you can check out the full Thomas EP over on the Whiskey Pickle soundcloud, or stream the Brothers In Arms mix below!
August 22, 2014
CTC is keeping it local this Friday, thanks to an outstanding release from new Hackney-based imprint, Cartulis Music. Having recently set up shop in the famed East London borough, the young label plays host to Polish born, London based producer, KOZBER‘s latest EP “A Night Food”.
It’s a weird and wonderful look at the lesser-known realms of house, spliced with shuffling, technoid percussion and a languidly rolling sax riff. The producer’s two originals are backed up by rework’s from Jay Tripwire and Alex Kid, both of whom build upon Kozber’s all-but-perfect template.
An ear-pricker filled with unexpected delights, “A Night Food” is a dense and gloopy trip through tech-flecked house, bouncy r&b melody and eclectic jazz fusion that’s left us screaming out for more!
Listen to more CARTULIS MUSIC magic on soundcloud.
August 20, 2014
Late last month as part of our brand, spankin’ new B2B interview series, Chase The Compass got the chance to sit down with two burgeoning legends of, arguably, the UK’s most influential house scene.
The Yorkshire city of Leeds has fostered a plethora of high calibre producers and DJ’s over the last two decades, as well as spawning legendary parties like Dave Beer’s Back To Basics and seminal electronic imprints including 2020 Vision. Producers Jonny Cade and Cera Alba (real name Liam Jones – pictured above) have both cut their teeth in the city’s most celebrated clubs since college, subscribing to Leeds’ diverse yet typically dark, tech-heavy and mercilessly chugging timbre.
As a result, it seems only natural that Leeds sit front and center for our maiden CTC B2B, as we take a moment to look back with the boys, to the city that is still set to shape so much of their future.
Charlotte: Hi Jonny and Liam! First up, talk to us about how you know one another. You both have a connection with Leeds and you’re both DJ’s, does that automatically mean you’re besties?
Liam: We met in Leeds when we were both at uni but if I’m honest I have no idea where we first met [laughs]. It must have been at a party, maybe through some mutual friends.
Jonny: Yeah we met through clubbing and mutual friends in Leeds whilst I was studying there. Once you’ve met someone on the music scene in Leeds its hard not to bump into them every weekend and so here I am stuck making music with him 4 years later!
Liam: [laughs] Besties? We are close mates but can end up arguing sometimes, you could say it’s a love hate relationship. But at the end of the day if we both agreed on everything then it wouldn’t create a vibe. We both knew each other from our music and DJing so when we met it kind of made sense to bring our skills together to try improve our music. The best way to make music is to get inspired by artists you appreciate.
Charlotte: Jonny, Leeds has long been recognised as a “house music mecca” in the industry. Can you talk a little about your journey to becoming producer? Do you think living in Leeds was partly responsible for your attraction to electronica?
Jonny: I can see why Leeds would be described as a “house music mecca” with it being the birthplace of Back To Basics and 2020 Vision but I have been into house and electronic music for a lot longer than my time living in Leeds. I grew up on the outskirts of London and have been clubbing to house music since I was about 14 with my older sisters. Back then it was all funky house!
I had been drumming for 8 years already so when I got my first set of decks shortly after, beat-matching came naturally. When I was 16, I had a motorbike accident and snapped my femur, which prevented me from drumming. This was when I decided that I wanted to concentrate on producing and enrolled to study music production at college. I then went on to study music at Leeds College of Music, which is where I feel I advanced my producing skills the most.
“Leeds is a city that doesn’t tend to follow trends because it has so many music heads in one small area. Everyone books a variety of wicked DJs, both young and old.” – Jonny Cade
Charlotte: In contrast to Jonny, you grew up in Newcastle Liam, but also moved to Leeds to study. How do you think your youth in Newcastle differed from Jonny’s early musical influences, if at all?
Liam: Well my upbringing was pretty rough in Newcastle so we were influenced by the influx early 90’s acid house. Jonny was brought up in Tring so he had a more natural setting than me. I think as much as your environment effects you, it’s also your personality which guides you to what kind of music you like. I prefer more emotionally driven chords, pianos and vocals, as they catch my ear more.
Charlotte: So how influential do you think your time in Leeds has been in honing your musical taste?
Liam: I think the turning point was in my second year at uni. My best friend Bond introduced me to Kerri Chandler’s Bar-A-Thym and the track changed my whole perspective. I felt like it was the sound I had been searching for and being in Leeds just ignited this even more. There were so many amazing nights happening at that time, Back To Basics, Dirty Disco, Louche and Mono_Cult all had huge influences on me. It was quite a scary experience in those days, mainly down to the popular sound of the time, which was dark minimal techno.
Charlotte: So what were some of your defining musical experiences as a student Liam?
Liam: Wow that’s a difficult question as there were so many great moments but I can pick out a few that I remember. My first experience is Back To Basics was hearing one of the residents play Matt O’Brien “Serotone” (Radio Slave remix). The track is literally insane, scary and mental all at the same time. Matt Cooper once played an after party and dropped one of my favourite tracks ever, JIMPSTER “SEVENTH WAVE” (Dirt Crew remix), it was a special moment. Dyed Soundorom was playing at Louche and played the absolute classic, Gemini “What Do I Do” (1997 remix), the groove in that was something else.
Probably the best sets I saw there were from Youandewan who was warming up, he had the whole crowd in the palm of his hand and hardly played a track with a hi-hat. Then he played JOST & KLEMANN CC01 (Detroit) and the place erupted! My favourite overall set was from FLOATING POINTS, he is one of my favourite DJ’s, he can mix anything and go from disco to techno in a flash. He is probably the tightest DJ I have ever seen.
Charlotte: Back to you Jonny, how do you think the Leeds sound has changed over the last two decades, from what you grew up with to now?
Jonny: Well, I think the Leeds sound has stuck with a steady flow of timeless house and techno. Obviously there are a lot more parties going on than 10 years ago but those core parties are still sticking with their sounds!
The music scene is forever changing and, of course, the sound has progressed but I feel Leeds is a city that doesn’t tend to follow trends because it has so many music heads in one small area. Everyone books a variety of wicked DJs both young and old.
“There are so many influences in Leeds, the scene is so diverse which is why it’s so good. I have love for almost all music.” – Cera Alba
Charlotte: Leeds has a strong connection with 90’s rave, youth rebellion in the late 80’s and, of course, the acid house movement. Do you have a soft spot for acid? What dance music genre is closest to your heart?
Liam: That’s a hard question to answer – I certainly think it had an impact on me. But, I think it was the mid 2000’s minimal techno scene which had the most influence on me. Idolising DJ’s like Ricardo Villalobos, RICHIE HAWTIN, Loco Dice and MAGDA. That’s the music that set me off on my journey, then real deep house came back with artists like Motor City Drum Ensemble, Jimpster and Soul Minority.
There are so many influences in Leeds, the scene is so diverse which is why it’s so good. I have love for almost all music, I’ve just been to Glastonbury and it really has opened my mind. My favourite producers right now are Machinedrum and Lone, I have been lucky enough to see them both play live recently and their music really impresses me.
There’s a slew of Leeds-based DJ’s and producers who are taking the world by storm with a combination of creative talent and business acumen. Who do you personally look up to when it comes to music? Do you have any mentors?
Jonny: I tend not to concentrate on what other people are doing too much because it can be a little disheartening. The reason I got into music in the first place was for my love of music, not to make money or be famous. Obviously my goal in life is to earn a steady living through making music but this is something I am trying not to concentrate on because it can lead me astray from what I truly want to produce.
If I were to name a mentor it would be Michael Dodman AKA HUXLEY. I grew up with him in the same town and he was the first person to show me how to produce. He’s by far the best producer I know and he is the most ridiculously down to earth person, it’s a joke. I owe him a lot!
Liam: Yeah, I look up to a lot of people around me who are doing well as it helps to push me to improve my music and increase my determination to do well. Friends of mine Ryan and Lewis from NO ARTIFICIAL COLOURS are really doing well at the moment, which is inspiring. I have never really had any mentors but my new agency are helping me get to the right contacts at the bigger labels, I am planning to let them manage my future releases as they have some great contacts for PR.
Pictured above: Mint Club, Leeds
Charlotte: Jonny, you cut your teeth as a resident at Flux and Liam you’ve manned the decks at seminal parties like Back To Basics. If we had 24 hours in Leeds on a Saturday night, where would you tell us to go?
Jonny: I would suggest for you to start off with a few drinks and possibly some food at Distrikt, which is a wicked little underground bar round the corner from Call Lane. The next stage of your night is pretty bloody impossible to predict because there are so many good parties happening every weekend! I would judge the next bit on the line ups. Look out for who is playing at The Faversham, Canal Mills, Wire, Beaverworks and Mint Club and make a decision that way!
Next you should get yourself over to Headingley or Hyde Park because there is ALWAYS a party going on. Whether its a few students with a guitar in their front room or a full-blown function one in someone’s basement, something is always going on in Leeds.
Charlotte: Jonny, your depth of expertise when it comes to percussion is evident on all your tracks – particularly your latest Morris Audio release, “Atrocious Focus”. Do you try to apply the same kind of rhythmic, drum-centric spotlight to your DJ sets? When can we see you play next?
Jonny: Thanks for noticing! Yes my sets always have a rhythmic focus but then again so do most DJ’s sets don’t they? I enjoy listening to interesting grooves so if I find a track that pricks my ears for that reason, then I will usually buy it. You can see me playing next in Croatia at Dimensions and then in London shortly after for Troupe!
Charlotte: Liam, you recently dropped your EP “Take Control” on Audiojack’s stellar imprint, Gruuv. It’s a solid-as-a-rock club cut aimed squarely at the dance floor and we love it! Tell us what you’ve got planned next production wise?
Liam: My Gruuv work has been the catalyst for the direction of my new sound, solid club cuts designed for the peak time. I enjoy making deeper music but I find it doesn’t always reach the wider audience required to push my name to the bigger gigs.
I’ve just released a new 4 track EP on Steve Lawler’s VIVa Music, I’m really excited to be involved with them. I also have EP’s on Made Fresh Daily that included remixes from Sasse and Timmy P. Then I have an EP on Abstract Culture with a Trikk remix. After that, I have a release with the huge Moon Harbour! On top of that I’m also remixing for Leftwing & Kody’s Lost Records as well as a few other bits in the pipeline.
Charlotte: Thanks boys!
August 19, 2014
Manchester-based Polish producer ROBOT NEEDS OIL initially released his ‘Mood Swings’ track on ARTREFORM back in early 2013, and since then the track has developed into one of the label’s bestselling and most talked about productions. Garnering support from a slew of industry tastemakers, Nic Fanciulli recently featured the track on his instalment of the ‘Defected in the House’ album series, and with such pervasive appeal two more artists have been tapped to provide a couple of killer remixes on the Ukrainian imprint.
A regular to the label, Joss is first in line and incorporates soft chords, subterranean synths and melancholic breakdowns to generate a dark and mesmerising reincarnation of the original. On the other hand, British duo Trav & Volta present a renovation that carries the upbeat vibe of the original, whilst injecting it with a little more oomph. A heady hook now drives the track onwards, whilst chopped and distorted vocals assist in adding extra bounce.
Robot Needs Oil ‘Mood Swings Remixes’ is out on Artreform on August 22 (vinyl) and August 25 (digital).
August 14, 2014
If you’re serious about dance music, then you’re serious about Kompakt. The seminal German label has carved a comfortable niche as one of the world’s most reputable imprints, taking risks, redefining genres and bolstering the world’s most seminal dance artists – including owners Wolfgang Voigt, Michael Mayer and Jürgen Paape – in it’s wake.
Following a wave of uncharacteristically negative press for the usually media savvy record label – Maceo’s new CONJURE SUPERSTAR video anyone? – Kompakt has dropped a well timed youtube playlist, that features 12 of the imprint’s most influential releases. A cut and paste job from their 12 Kompakt Total compilations, which feature the likes of The Pachanga Boys, DJ Koze and more techno legends than you can poke a stick at, it’s a friendly reminder of just how much the Colonge-based label has shaped the electronic music landscape over the last two decades.
If you’re looking for a crash course in techno, a weekend warm up playlist or you just want to reminisce about your glory days on the dancefloor, then this is one playlist to which you should commit. Our personal favourite? 2001’s epic techno chugger “Abi ’81” by The Modernist – which one will you pick?
Read more about Kompakt HERE.
You can buy all of Kompakt’s TOTAL compilations on BEATPORT.
August 13, 2014
Artifact is a name with which you should get familiar. The Bristol-based DJ is the latest producer to release on the much-loved SAINTS AND SONNETS imprint, spearheaded by UK beat maker, HUXLEY and Jimmy Posters. The title track from “How Did You Change” dropped exclusively this morning thanks to Earmilk and features the kind of warm clicks and whompy hook that have become synonymous with ARTIFACT‘s burgeoning sound.
Basic in structure yet impeccable in execution, it’s a soul-influence house cut that’s hard not to like, kicking off with a simplistic piano riff before dropping in some punchy percussion and a catchy vocal loop. The second track from the EP entitled “Even” is similar in feel, despite being slightly more bumpy and rugged in texture, with Huxley adding in a driving, bass infused re-edit of “Even” to round out the three tracker with class.
Artifact’s ‘How Did You Change’ EP is out on Saints & Sonnets 18th August 2014.