Tuesday, May 25, 2010
1) Make sure you know which way you're going when jumping in a cab late at night. While most cabbies are extremely friendly in the D, we have been screwed for being idiot techno tourists at times... No need to drive by Wayne State at 3am on a Friday night ;-) Have a map of the city, use GPS on your phone or use your sixth sense but know where you're headed...
2) Eat the festival food with caution. Chicken on a stick + hot sauce may taste delicious for hangover-heavy lunch but the facilities at Hart plaza get seriously rammed and messy later in the day...
3) Focus your time on the Detroit DJs! It’s the reason the festival exists in the first place! The venues you'll hear them spin at (whether stage or after-party) consistently have the best vibes. Satisfy your other music cravings at the Beatport, Red Bull and Torino stages but make sure to spend a few hours every day with the hometown heroes. Pretty much all of them are guaranteed to blow your mind even if you’ve never heard of them!
4) Hit up the labels parked near the festival entrance. You'll often find well-priced and hard to find records. Last year the Mahogani stand was a treasure trove of hot Moodymann records priced to sell at reasonable prices. I picked up this and this for FAR below Discogs value… Matrix also had the goods with new and classic releases from Shawn Rudiman and Convextion. UR has been a bit weaker recently when I've stopped by but maybe they'll have some hot stuff this year? I'm hoping other labels come out to the fest this year too as doing a bit of digging is a nice break from the action.
5) Talk to the locals. I've found people are extremely friendly and cool in Detroit. I realize this is somewhat of a silly recommendation but most of my fondest memories have come from partying and hanging out with random local DJs, promoters and fans. In general I find DEMF is for music lovers eager to meet other cool like-minded people. Get to chatting while bouncing.
I hope the above is a bit helpful.
For those about to DEMF... We salute you!
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Voodoo Funk: Lagos Disco Inferno
DAMN. This is serious! A compilation of disco music produced in Nigeria in the 70s, this is an amalgamation of some truly raw funk. While I expected sound quality to suffer on some cuts due to the source material, I was pleasantly surprised with how well this entire thing plays- even on a loud system. However, what is truly mind blowing about this release is that the vast majority of the material can easily slot into a modern disco set today and not sound out of whack. Good examples of tunes that can accomplish this on the comp are Geraldo Pino’s “African Hustle” and Grotto’s “Bad City Girls”. The latter is definitely my favorite piece on the double LP: a burning disco jam with fuzzy guitars and vocals about bad, bad, bad girls in the city. The jam starts out loose and dirty and then really takes off when the entire thing is interrupted by a an ambulance siren blaring over a funky bass solo. Madness! Don’t sleep on this one, and, if you can, catch one of Frank’s equally nuts Voodoo Funk DJ sets this summer.
Samples & Frank's Blog can be found here:
Skudge – Convolution
Dub techno is a genre much maligned for trying to match the heights achieved by its progenitors through imitation. Towards late 2009 there was a feeling in the techno community that everyone was more or less sick and tired of limited edition, pretty-colored Echo-something records. Fans felt like the structural possibilities established by Basic Channel, Chain Reaction, Convextion and others had been exhausted… However, every once in a while a record will still come out of the scene that manages to innovate within this general framework. While I don’t think this Skudge record is necessarily ‘ground-breaking’ I do think it’s very cool in that it adds an element of funk to dub-techno that is not often apparent in this sound. On the A-side here the Swedish producer throws a heavily-treated disco diva sample into an otherwise straight-forward techno track. The effect is pretty trippy as it essentially sounds like Loleatta Holoway spinning and falling through a black hole. I know this may be a bit of a ‘cheap thrill’ but this record has definitely been growing on me…. If you want to hear how it performs ‘in the mix’ I highly suggest checking out Fudge Fingaz’ excellent RA podcast (minute 40 or so). There has also been a follow-up 12'' by the same producer on this label but I have yet to get that one although I'll definitely be hunting for it...
Listen Here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9PAMGRbNyE
Bubble Club – Violet Morning Moon
This is going to be a bit of summertime gem...Warm, heavily delayed guitars swim amongst filtered synths and digital bongo patterns… It really does feel like bubbles are coming out of the speakers?! There is a mix by Rub n' Tug's Eric Duncan on the flip which seems to add MORE filters to the mix and make this even more blissed out. This is what Balearic / Cosmic disco should sound like in 2010... Can't wait to catch this in some tripped out disco sets. Maybe DJ Harvey will drop it at his DEMF after-party next Monday?
Listen here: http://soundcloud.com/bubble-club
Keith Worthy – Moments in Rhythm Vol. 2
There was a moment in 2009 when I almost gave up on buying Keith Worthy records… Even before putting them on the platter I was fairly confident what the sounds coming out of the speakers were going to be like: muted tones, analog drums and soft pads… I dreamed and prayed for something as riveting as ‘Deep for Dayz’. I finally feel the moment has arrived with “Now That’s House”. Abandoning the soft pads for electro / futuristic synths, I think Keith is channeling the sci-fi spirit of vintage Derrick May on here and it’s definitely working! While the pads return on both versions of “Rockit Science” they are nicely coupled here with some menacing synth-work that keeps the futuristic feel in the mix. Overall this is probably one of my favorite Detroit-originated records of the year...hell, its one of my favorite records of the year PERIOD!
Samples here: http://www.rushhour.nl/store_detailed.php?item=53939
…And Wrapping Up… Nebraska – A Weekend on My Own EP
While not necessarily ‘new’ I feel I have to give a shout to Nebraska’s incredible ‘A Weekend on My Own’ EP. Honestly this is some truly captivating stuff from Ali Gibbs that deserves much more exposure. Beautiful drum arrangements and constantly shifting melodies- this music easily holds your attention while getting you in a deep groove. Definitely am planning on hunting down the rest of the man’s back catalogue!
Listen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aBCx_sW4Uqc
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Over the past two years deep house has become the most popular sound of the global club circuit. After mnml techno was denounced as ‘soulless’ by clued-in dance fans around 2008, labels everywhere seemed to turn to house as a means of preserving their credibility (and cash flow). Overnight, DJs that had been all about spinning the sleek, aerodynamic minimal sound were suddenly desperate for the raw and direct feel of vintage US house! In response to this phenomenon, many labels tried to cash-in on the trend by releasing tunes crafted in the mold of classics on Prescription, Cajual, Nuphonic and other great labels… While the majority of these copycat releases quickly proved to be throwaway records (or worse, throwaway mp3s), one label that managed to differentiate itself from the pack was We Play House.
Run by veteran DJ and producer Red D, the label carefully toed-the-line between playing homage to styles inherited from the 80s and 90s while keeping things fresh and exciting. Last year when trendy producers were releasing ‘deep’ records full of software-pack percussion and elevator jazz flirtations, WPH went on a limb and started putting out records with vocals… Mind, these weren’t ‘vocals’ as in samples of Black Panther speeches or sound bites of random conversations between African Americans, but heartfelt lyrics sung by real singers!
Out of the pack of records released by the Belgian label last year, the one which really blew me away was Dynamodyse’s amazing Christmas-time warmer “Gare du Nord”. Built on a chunky, syncopated house pattern, the beautiful vocals on this track were powerful enough to mix comfortably alongside the most classic vocal house tracks of the 90s.
2010 has seen a great slew of releases from the label, with FCL’s “Vocals for Everyone” standing out as one of my favorite records released so far this year. Now WPH have just released a new album-sampler EP from San Soda which is packed with emotive house music. Make sure to check out “Ode Aan De Verkeersdrempel” which fuses euphoric Detroit-techno style synths with a solid groove.
In celebration of our appreciation for this label, we are sharing an amazing funk, disco and house mix that Red D put together for the site. I asked him to make it extra funky and that’s just what we got! Gracefully shifting between vintage funk and disco to contemporary sounds, this is true house: not only in SOUND but in ATTITUDE. As the weather gets nice and warm in the northern hemisphere, make sure to rock this on your Ipod and take that spring-time warmth to the next level!
Messing with Your Emotions:
1) Common Sense – Voices Inside My Head
2) Trus’me – Sucker For A Pretty Face
3) Sylvia Striplin – Give Me Your Love
4) San Soda – Birdies That Fly
5) Chez Damier – Why (D’s Deep Mix)
6) Unknown WPH…
7) Marcello Napoletano – What’s Going On Detroit?
8) Duckbeats – Repeat Prescription
9) FCL – More Than Seven
10) Tensnake – Come Cat
11) Argy – Sometimes I’m Blind
12) Chymera – The Rumours Of My Demise
13) San Soda – Home Alone Again
14) José James – Blackmagic (Joy Orbison’s Recreation)
15) Simian Mobile Disco – Cruel Intentions (Joker Remix)
16) Asusu – Small Hours