Soon to be Innocent Fun #4
WORDS BY THEO KOTZ
I recently went to a festival somewhere in Europe. I’d rather not mention which. It was a grim reminder of the darker side of what club culture has become. The club I worked in for the last year or so is a bastion of the weird and wiggy – a place where glorious freaks gather in defiance of the dismantling of the painstakingly built tolerance we once took for granted.
As such, I’d forgotten that dismantling had actually been taking place. Maybe I’ve been shielded from the reality of your average night out in Britain, its modern-day party colonies, or maybe I’m just a snob. Either way it was the first time in a very long time that I’ve been genuinely repulsed by something I was a part of. There I was, among a uniform mass of big burly cunts with the same sleeve tattoos, small vests, and frat-bro rapey attitudes toward women.
Anyway the point is: there are people in this world I’ll never be able to understand, and a lot of them like ‘dance music’. Here are a bunch of tunes that have kept me from moving back to the countryside and trying to learn to play the harp.
AS ALWAYS, CLICK ON A PIECE OF ARTWORK TO HEAR THAT RELEASE
Jerome Hill – Toy Box Part 2
Wonky techno from a genuine OG. A DJ first for sure, I’ve seen him play a couple of times recently and the guy is a wizard. His latest release shows he’s got the goods as a producer too. From the tongue-in-cheek ‘Donkey Bite’ and the mean, scratchy acid of ‘Slither’, to the wheezy drone of ‘Mr Worm’ and the choppy breakbeat of ‘Torque Talk’, Toy Box Part 2 demonstrates the many sides to the don that is Jerome Hill.
Warlock – Seventeen Camels
(2015, Kick and Clap)
Frenetic, breaksy techno from Jason Alexander. Four absolute weapons with shitloads of swing. I saw him and Jerome Hill b2b for six hours a few months back and it was biblical.
Coby Sey – Whities 10
Coby Sey is a busy man. Between his NTS show, Curl, production on albums by Micachu and others and more recently a growing schedule of playing out he’s highly in demand. Among all that he’s consistently dropping tunes of a ridiculously high standard. His first EP proper is the tenth on Whities. It’s woozy, dark, charged and uplifting. It’s really good to see someone with this kind of enthusiasm getting the props they deserve.
Khidja – Microb
(2017, Malka Tuti)
'Microb (Tolouse Low Trax Version 118)'
The A-Side is a perfect reason why Khidja are an artist that make me stand up and take notice whenever they drop a new one – with its deliciously twisted bassline it’s a paragon of deep, chugging rollers. The remixes from Toulouse Low Trax are what make this though. The first doubles down on the witchy broodiness with a paranoid German vocal and spacy slide guitar, while the second switches the pace up, slowing it to a menacing march and imbuing it with a kind of ominous paganism.
Jago – I’m Going To Go
(1985, Full Time Records)
'I'm Going To Go (Frankie Knuckles Remix)'
Frankie Knuckles’ first ever remix, dug up and re-released by Dark Entries. One of the all-time Italo basslines, jagged synth slides, deft little guitar hooks and irresistible vocals. For the last few months this hasn’t been far from my speakers.
Shinichi Atobe – From The Heart, It’s A Start, A Work Of Art
'The Test Of Machine 2'
After going AWOL for 13 years after his first release, Shinichi Atobe was tracked down in Japan by the guys from Demdike Stare. This is his third release with their label in as many years. It’s a subtle collection of cascading depth and beautiful weirdness. ‘The Test Of Machine 2’ would be my pick. Vive le polyrhythm!
Hard House Banton – Siren
(2008, Spoilt Rotten Entertainment)
SPHERIC GHOST / FEAR THE CROWN'
UK Funky banger. Still so fresh, so funky.
Gate – Saturday Night Fever
(2016, MIE Music)
Michael Morley of The Dead C’s broken, fuzzy take on disco. Building into trembling cacophonies these tracks take the notion of Saturday Night Fever, and all the phrase entails, smashes it up and sends it higher than the sun.
Red Axes – The Beach Goths
(2017, Garzen Records)
Such a dope record. In a similar vein to the above Gate record or Ivan Smagghe’s It’s A Fine Line, Red Axes marry disco sensibilities with grubby, krauty, rock n roll. Start to finish the whole record keeps it fresh but the doomy sirens and military march of ‘Shlomit’ take the biscuit.
Equiknoxx – Fly Away
(2017, Swing Ting)
Their album on DDS from last year is unlike anything else I’ve heard before and since, taking dancehall and melting it into the freakiest shapes and sizes. ‘Fly Away’ is the perfect wonky club-banger, taking an irresistibly melody and undercutting it with angular and clashing percussion. Iceberg-lettuce crisp.
Ashanti – Only U (GUNDAM Refix)
(2015, Classical Trax Bootleg)
'ONLY U (GUNDAM REFIX)'
GUNDAM makes an already monstrous track into a fucking golem. Been run by loads of young quick-mixers for a couple of years now I think but I only recently heard it.
Bruxas – Mas Profundo
Wicked EP on Amsterdam’s peerless pace-setter. Four tracks that channel the searing heat of some mythical island, desert madness, or a kind of impish mischief. Proper gorgeous and satisfyingly spooky.
Ploy – Intrigued By the Drum
Magic from the artist formerly known as Samuel. ‘Zoom’ is my favourite, a gorgeous tribal headtrip, while ‘Bad Seed’ is a dubby stumble in the dark, a la African Head Charge, that blooms to a druggy critical mass. Ploy is the boy.
Bullion – Blue Pedro
(2017, Trilogy Tapes)
That this can claim to be the oddest thing to be released by Will Bankhead is quite something. The A-side rolls along a sort of sea-shanty with unabashed glee. I imagine it has split opinion but, for some reason, I fucking love it, even if it is an elaborate lampoon (harpoon). The other tracks are less to shout about but still provide a couple of delicious bubblegum workouts.
Soichi Terada – Sounds of the Far East
(2015, Rush Hour)
'Saturday Love Sunda'
A couple of years ago Hunee put this together for Rush Hour, basically the best of Soichi Terada’s early-nineties productions before he went on to soundtrack video-games (if you’re into it, his Ape Escape soundtracks are some of the best out there, probably second only to Koji Kondo in my eyes). Loads of deep, lush house tunes with that intangible sheen that all the music Hunee plays seems to have.
Nathan Fake – The Sky Was Pink
(2004, Border Community)
'The Sky was Pin'
So since I started compiling this list together I’ve been to another dance music festival, this time in the UK. I should mention that there were nowhere near enough women on the bill, and practically no people of colour, which is very disappointing in this day and age. If they address this, it will be a real 10/10. That’s because it was already one of the best things I’ve been to, hands down. It was loose, it was inclusive, security would subtly turn-blind eyes to certain goings on and DJs generally played for around four hours. It felt like a paradise in dance music, and was the perfect antidote to the beachside hell I’d encountered earlier in the summer. I heard this at Optimo’s weekend-stealing set, letting loose ripples of bittersweet emotion through the crowd. It was gorgeous.