It's been bleedin' yonks since we waxed lyrical about some top forthcoming releases, and it's about time we put that right. So, without further ado, here's some thoughts on new, forthcoming and classic music we've been digging lately here at TD Towers...
Surkin - 'Next Of Kin E.P' (Institube, France)
The prize for the biggest surprise of the week goes to French scenester Surkin, whose previous releases have been championed by lots of people in day-glo face paint, tight jeans and sunglasses. Indoors. Cynicism aside, his forthcoming 'Next Of Kin' E.P (out on Institube on May 26) features a cracking old skool banger in the shape of 'White Knight'. Sounding not unlike Inner City on steroids, it's got a deliciously authentic 89/90 kind of feel – think 'Big Fun' riffage, soaring synth strings and rush-inducing pianos. Thankfully it keeps the predictable French filtered beats and sub Ed Banger synths to a minimum, instead showcasing a cut-up-to-buggery vocal sample from Sir Piers' 'Special'. It really is rather good, and we're pretty sure it's going to be massive. Incidentally, the rest of the E.P is pretty bog standard sub Justice fare, with 'Next Of Kin' sounding like a needless re-hash of 'D.A.N.C.E'. Still, one out of four isn't bad.
Gameplayer - Beirut Disco (Gameplayer, Belgium)
Next we'll turn our attention to more traditional Tricky Disco fare, and a pair of cheeky edits/reworks from Ghent's Fredo & Thang, residents at the city's Make-Up Club (currently co-owned by Dirk from Eskimo Recordings, and one of our favourite clubs). They're terrific DJs, by the way – open-minded mash-up merchants in the mould of the Glimmers – and have now made the leap into production. Their first 'hush hush' 12" is due to drop any day now on their own Gameplayer label. The lead cut, 'Beirut Disco', is the killer. Somehow, they've managed to turn a strange, gypsy influenced folk track from New York's Beirut into a record that works on the dancefloor – all sympathetic beats, nagging organ and dubbed-out effects. When the original vocal, bassline and fiddle drops, you'll be dying to sing along. It's very good, and sounds ace in a club. If that wasn't enough, they've gone all Balearic on the flip, extending a particularly blissed out Henri Texier track. Good work, lads.
Henrik Schwarz & Amampondo - I Exist Because Of You (Innervisions, Germany)
This has been getting plenty of play from house DJs we like - not least Innervisions boss Dixon - and it's easy to see why. The original 'Henrik Schwarz Live Version' is lush, soaraway deep house with a surprisingly good 'world music' style vocal. And marimbas. In true Henrik Schwarz style, it's a good ten minutes long, but packs in a lot of action. Hell, it's even got a great bongo breakdown and a super-Balearic build. Dixon provides a chunkier, stripped down edit that concentrates more on the superb bassline, spun-out riffs and vocal. Another great Innervisions release, all told. Excitingly, the next release on the German label is rumoured to come from Laurent Garnier, which is said to be "very old skool". We can't wait to hear it.
Michocan - Opiate Opus (Tiny Sticks, UK)
Not sure when this is out, but it's been stuck on our hard drive for a few weeks so it must be soon. While it's not the best Tiny Sticks release we've heard (and they're usually very good), it's still worth a listen - not least for the druggy analogue vibe of Michocan's nu-disco original. We'd recommend heading for Nick Chacona's remix, which continues his recent trend of fusing MDMA-friendly nu-disco with floor-friendly house. He's been in good form lately, and this is another fine rework. Most playable, and gert lush to boot (as they'd say down Bedmo).
Mental Overdrive - You Are Being Manipulated (Smalltown Supersound, Norway)
Mental Overdrive man Per Martinsen is arguably the granddaddy of the Norwegian nu-disco scene, having been knocking out electronic music - both on his own and with partner Aggie as Frost - since the early 1990s. In fact, he used to work as an engineer for R&S Records and released a number of Euro-techno numbers for the legendary Belgian imprint. Over the last few years he's put out odds and ends on his own label, Love OD Communications (named after one of his R&S tracks, fact fans), as well as contributing bits and pieces to Smalltown Supersound and Prins Thomas' Full Pupp imprint. 'You Are Being Manipulated' features some of these well-known nu-disco gems ('Spooks', the bass-heavy 'Original Material' and his genius electro-disco cover of Iron Maiden's 'Run For The Hills') alongside a series of bleep-heavy weird-outs, analogue housers and deliciously wonky disco gems. One track, 'The Rage', sounds like Lindstrom & Prins Thomas after too much ketamine. It's rather fine all told, and out towards the end of May. We'll be having a chat with Per later, so expect a wee interview up here sometime soon.
Fabrice Lig - Puple Raw Part 1 (Versatile Records, France)
When Versatile boss Gilb'R came and played for us in Bristol a few weeks back, he enthused no end about this E.P, telling us Fabrice had put together a record that had "out Detroit-ed Detroit". Having scurried away to check it out, we have to agree. Lead cut 'The Track' is particularly good, sounding not unlike the Motor City's finest with a subtle European twist. It's techno with soul – the sort of thing Carl Craig would make if he was a lovetorn Parisian dreaming of a honeymoon in space. Lig has been making some great music lately - his Soul Designer rework of Chymera on Delsin being one superb example - and has a new album on the way. We can't wait to hear it. Incidentally, B-side 'The Riff Pourpre' is also superb, this time taking a more midtempo electrofunk approach. Proper machine funk, basically - we like. It's out now, so head over to your online record store of choice and check it out.
Disco Deviance - Don't Let Go/Ivan [PH Edits] (Disco Deviance, UK)
Following hot on the heels of their recent Ashley Beedle edits 12" comes another double-order of disco edit goodness from the Disco Deviance camp. This time round, the edits are provided by Pete Herbert (though we didn't tell you), who takes time out from LSB and Reverso 68 duties to serve up a pair of summer sizzlers (yes, we know it's still spring). Choose between the sweet, midtempo Balearic disco of 'Don't Let Go' (all shimmering orchestral sweeps, semi acoustic guitars and chunky bottom end) and the strings-n-analogue bass of the equally E'd-up 'Ivan'. Reach for the sun! Again, we've not got a firm release date, but expect 12s in stores in the next few weeks.
Chromeo - Fancy Footwork (Backyard, UK)
It seems that the indie kids, hipsters and plastic nu-ravers have finally cottoned on to the genius of Chromeo. To be fair, it's taken a while - when we first started championing the duo (both in our sets and in the music press) they were still signed to Turbo/V2 and seen as something of a novelty. It's great they're getting recognition at last, though we could do without the endless stream of kiddie-friendly student rave remixes Backyard are serving up. This "official single release" of 'Fancy Footwork' features remixes from Guns 'N' Bombs (rock-rave cobblers), Kissy Sell Out (actually not atrocious, but still dubious), Crookers (Jesse Rose goes bassline house - actually better than it sounds) and Russ Chimes, whose recent mix of Sam Sparro's 'Black & Gold' was thoroughly rancid. His version of 'Fancy Footwork' is an odd beast; starting off sounding like a mid ’80s Solar System release (think the Whispers or Midnight Star at their poppiest), it eventually turns into a screeching mess of electrohouse synths. Ouch. Not quite nul points, but Backyard, for chrissakes get some good remixers!
Right, that's enough gibberish for now. Expect more soon though :)