After hours grooving…
John Martyn – Small Hours
From my favourite album of his, One World, couldn’t have a more appropriate title either – really does sound great before the world get’s going in the morning. It was recorded in the open air by a lake, giving it some lush natural reverb and ambience. Keep a listen out for the ducks!
Dorothy Ashby – Joyful Grass And Grape
Describing this as a psychedelic Jazz harp record probably won’t sell this to most, revealing that it’s been a regularly plundered sample source for the likes of J Dilla, Flying Lotus and Madlib should get you interested enough to go digging for it. From her ace LP The Rubaiyat Of Dorothy Ashby, this is probably my favourite track but the album as a whole is essential for the after-hours.
Bob James – Women Of Ireland
Jose Padilla (of Cafe Del Mar fame) is basically the guy who switched me on to the power of music, which set me off on the musical path I currently find myself on. This track by Bob James off the tremendous LP ‘Three’ (you’ll know Westchester Lady well) appeared on a classic Jose cassette mix from ’91. This is proper Balearic…
Beautiful People – If 60s Were 90s
I’m not the world’s biggest Hendrix fan as I feel much of his music has been ruined by music bores, but this, essentially a chill-out mash-up with nods to the likes of contemporaries at the time Enigma, is a pure trip-out smasher.
Grace Jones – Unlimited Capacity For Love
Recorded during those peerless Compass Point years this remains one of my favourite tracks of hers, difficult as it is to choose just one.
Jean-Michel Jarre – Arpegiator
Big, cosmic, bleepy lushness reverberating around vast halls in China – the first time a western pop artist had done so since the Cultural Revolution there. I love the album as a whole, but especially the little interludes of ambient sounds recorded in and around the shows
Gina X – Nice Mover
Way ahead of their time, their sound and influence is all over electronic music today – this just sounds MEGA on great sound system.
Fantastic Plastic Machine – Different Colors
Fantastic Plastic Machine made a name for himself fusing the likes of Bossa Nova and Lounge with Electronic Music – I love this one for its usage in the video (essentially an advert for Louis Vuitton) featuring the work of ‘Superflat’ visual artist Takashi Murakami. A great 5min Alice In Wonderland update.
United Future Organization – United Future Airlines ‘Astral Hijack Mix’
Recently dug these guys records back out again. They remind me of late nights, mid-week – driving from who knows where, to who knows where between odd gigs and parties, listening to Gilles Peterson (they were on his label, Talkin’ Loud) or Mary Ann Hobbs on the radio. Gilles remains a massive inspiration, not least for continually opening my ears to an array of off-kilter sounds that nobody else seems to go near.
Chuck Mangione ft Esther Satterfield – Land of Make Believe
It’s like a weird jazzy show-tune, as far from the big club fodder as it’s possible to get yet I heard this first in a club, well ok, a ‘loft.’ Or perhaps that should be ‘The Loft’ as it was David Mancuso playing it. For me it’s something of a definitive Mancuso record. Warm, full of love and a little bit trippy – designed to take you out of your day to day. Stick with it, it’ll become a go-to favourite whenever you need a little lift.
The Sonic Emporium – Gemini Seven (Blindetonation Records)
For its second release, Japanese label Blindetonation turns to The Sonic Emporium for a six track pack that features two top originals as well as fascinating remixes by Heretic, William Earl and Alejandro Molinari. Blindetonation is an outlet for all manner of chugging disco sounds as influenced by label boss Kezokichi’s time in London DJing and hosting his own Back To Back events. The man behind the latest release is UK star The Sonic Emporium, who distills a love of all forms of dance music and a decade DJing and producing into his own intoxicating jams. He releases on Join Our Club and Wax: On and plies his wares all over the globe. His first cut here, ‘Gemini Seven’ is a robust composition that has a sticky, stuttering bassline underpinning some ornamental synth patterns, spoken word vocal samples and dark drums. Tough to categorise but sure to do damage on machine music loving dance floors, it’s a fine opener. Remixing is William Earl, a UK talent just starting out but who is already impressing with his earliest forays. This one is a case in point: it’s a cosmic, deep and delicious rework with plunging bass, reverb heavy vocals and plenty of skyward melody.
The Sonic Emporium’s other original is ‘What Do You Think You Saw’ a much less oppressive affair with watery droplets, whining pads and chugging disco drums. It has freewheeling melodies rolling off the groove and is the sort of thing that takes dance floors higher and higher. Heretic turns out two remixes of this one, with the first being a super slow and captivating chugger that traps you in a swampy groove and doesn’t let go. Instead, it treats you to a melodic opening of the clouds above your very head that offers a direct view into a perfectly cosmic sky. The second is a rock infused number with raucous drums that encourage you to get loose and is much more tense and tortured sounding. Italian DJ, composer and producer Alejandro Molinari then steps up for a remix and flips the track into a wonderful, beguiling affair that is both dark and menacing and freewheeling and summery. Colourful chords and quirky percussive patterns wrestle with churning drums and the result is a hugely refreshing, slowly hypnotic track. This is a diverse disco package that takes the genre into titillating and unknown new territory.
The Sonic Emporium – Gemini Seven (Blindetonation Records) Out 17th August 2015.