When we first launched this Tricky Disco blog back in the Spring, we had high hopes. Full of enthusiasm, we vowed to update it regularly with reviews, comments, event info and interviews. It was a simple plan, and one we should have stuck to. Sadly, life took over and we found we didn't have time to post up our inane ramblings and worthless thoughts on all things good and groovy. Slapped wrists all round.
In our defence, it's been a busy few months. Most of our time has been taken up by launching the Thumbs Aloft project and Pointless Edits label. We pressed up and released out first 12" back in June, after getting some brilliant DJ reactions to 'Stick Around' (first posted on this site for your downloading pleasure). Since 'Bedmo Disco Volume 1' first hit stores it's sold remarkably well, with almost all the initial 500 pressing having been snapped up. Our cause was undoubtedly helped by the support of Radio One's Annie Mac, who played 'Stick Around' on her June 29th show. We thank her for her support on that one. We've also been developing a Thumbs Aloft Bedmo Disco Soundsystem live show, which we've been lucky enough to roadtest it at various venues in Bristol, London and beyond. Our biggest show came at the Bloom Festival in Dyrham Park near Bath, where we rocked the Funk Bar on Friday Afternoon. At the same event we also hosted what we hope will be judged a world record-breaking game of musical statues. There'll be more reflections on that at a later date, but if you want to get a taste of what it was like, check out this footage on YouTube >>
Right, update over – it's high time we got to the music. The sun is shining, we're midway through a bank holiday weekend and all is good with the world. So much so, we though we'd share our thoughts on some records that have been lighting up our summer…
Ilija Rudman – Blast From The Past EP (Rong Music, USA)
I think it's fair to say few Eastern Europeans funk quite so hard as rookie producer Ilija Rudman, or have such an appreciation of classic electrofunk. Over the last six months he's started to make a real name for himself thanks to a few choice remixes, a well thought-of forthcoming EP on 1gnition's Love Is War Music, and this 12" for the always reliable Rong Music. Here he offers up four stuttering electro-disco grooves that range from the Man Parrish meets Chicken Lips vibes of the title track to the Freez-isms of 'You Got, a delightfully retro chunk of dubbed-out synth dicso-pop, Rudman's clearly not the real deal just yet, but this is a very good start – if he keeps up this level of quality he'll certainly be a name to watch in the next couple of years.
Ray Mang – Mangled (Eskimo Recordings, Belgium)
It was hearing Norway's DJ Strangefruit playing Mang's brilliant remix of 33 1/3rd Qaueen's 'Disco Four' - also known as 'Not So Fantastic' on his Eskimo album 'Mangled' – at Villa in Oslo that made me turn back to this classic Raj Gupta album. It's one of those albums I'd listened to a few times on it's original release back in 2002 then largely ignored. Big mistake. Since coming back from Norway I've been losing myself in its tight dub disco grooves and feelgood vibes on a regular basis. It's interesting to note Mang managed to put together a coherent album from what are essentially re-edits and reworks, long before the current faze for re-editing even the most awful of disco records. He was a bit of a pioneer in that respect. If you missed out first time around, it's available to download from Juno Download and other legit sites.
M.E – R&B Drunkie (Golf Channel Recordings, USA)
This illicit re-edit of Janet Jackson's 'R&B Junkie' has been causing quite a commotion online ever since Hans-Peter Lindstrom and Prins Thomas included it in their Radio One Essential Mix earlier in the year – and with good cause. It's deliciously simple, rises and falls in the right places, and gets most dancefloors hot under the collar. The Birmingham prducer behind it – no names, though I'm sure you all know the score by now – told the beards on DJHistory.com he did it "just as a bit of a DJ Tool". It's much more than that, a majestic midtempo electrofunk throb that coaxes out the extended dancefloor bomb we all knew was hiding deep within the original's slick synth-heavy grooves. Sadly there are only 100 vinyl copies about - boo, hiss etc - but expect another release at some point soon.
Tricky Disco – Tricky Disco [Remixes] (Warp Records, UK)
In many ways, this summer has all been about bleep and bass. Or, more specifically, bass – and copious amounts of it. Back in July, I hooked up with the Kelly Twins and Rich Carnage (of TAPE fame) for an end-of-night set of bassy badness at Bristol's annual UNITY shindig at Lakota. In our slightly merry post best before: mood, we decided we'd put away the disco and instead jack things right up. The crowd loved it, and so did we – it gave us the perfect excuse to dust off the likes of Fast Eddie's 'Hip-House', Armando's 'Downfall', Nightmares On Wax's 'Aftermath' and these original remixes of Warp bleep anthem 'Tricky Disco'. These - the 'Inner Space Mix' and 'Saxy Mix' – strip down the slightly odd original, boost the bass and jack the whole thing up to the max. The results are sublime – two colossal chunks of heavyweight late night pressure that still sound good nearly two decades after their original release. Bleep is due a comeback, for sure.