It's always a tricky proposition when well-respected DJs decide to make a foray into production after years of simply spinning records for throngs of appreciative clubbers. After all, selecting tunes is a much different proposition than making them. NY's Eamon Harkin is one such case, as the Northern Ireland native has been lighting up Big Apple dancefloors for years and throws well-respected parties such as Sunday Best and Mister Saturday Night. Apart from his success behind the decks, Harkin has increasingly been stepping up his production efforts, both as a solo artist and as one-half of Harkin & Raney, a partnership with Brooklyn's Steve Raney (a.k.a. Oneauff). Next week, the duo is releasing the Word to the Wise EP on The Rapture's Throne of Blood label and, if the title track is any indication, the boys have cooked up a delicious aural brew that happily invokes classic house while employing techno precision and just a touch of disco bump.
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LA boy/girl outfit Kisses (pictured above) are a precious couple of singers and music-makers who rely on the simple ideas of '80s pop and the beachfront stylings of Balearic disco to color in their heartwarming, immediately lovable songs. The duo's latest single, "People Can Do the Most Amazing Things," will be released August 2 along with this remix from Saint Etienne co-producer Pete Wiggs. For his version, Wiggs switches out Kisses' original upbeat, post-punk-referencing instrumentation for a colder vibe composed completely of electronic elements. The result sounds something like a lost b-side from Matthew Dear's Asa Breed album, and even a bit like a Hot Chip number circa The Warning. But regardless of who the remix reminds us of, Wiggs' re-work is a great production, and provides a perfect counterpoint to Kisses' more buoyant original.
The Wagon Repair artist stable isn't the first place one would expect to find Jules Chaz. The label is home to techno dudes (and dudettes) like Mathew Jonson, Seth Troxler, and Dinky, to name a few, yet the Canadian imprint is still about to release the debut album from this one-time jazz percussionist and Cobblestone Jazz affiliate from Victoria, British Columbia. As it turns out, Toppings is the first-ever instrumental hip-hop album to be released on Wagon Repair, and it shares a lot more sonically with like-minded West Coast beatmakers several hundred miles to the south in Los Angeles than it does with the music being turned out by his Canadian techno brethren. "Blak Lodge" gets extra bonus points for its liberal sampling of the Twin Peaks theme, as Chaz expertly slices up those somber tones over some just-bumping-enough beats and a smattering of tweaky psychedelic synths. Toppings will be released on September 14.
We were already excited about Jimmy Edgar's forthcoming album, XXX, but after hearing this Machinedrum remix of first single "Hot, Raw, Sex," we can go ahead and upgrade our status to 'positively giddy.' The original version is perfect for cooly surveying the club and scoping the dancefloor, but the remix offers something a little more manic and fun. The NY-based producer does import the silky '80s funk vibes and shimmering synths from Edgar's original, but he employs them alongside a nimbly skittering house beat and a wonky, darting bassline. The Hot, Raw, Sex single is available now. XXX will be released digitally on July 27 and physically on September 14.
American techno maven Matthew Dear is getting ready to release his third full-length, Black City, and while the press materials make reference to the album's "imaginary metropolis peopled by desperate cases, lovelorn souls, and amoral motives," few people really know what the music actually sounds like. "Soil to Seed" is the first track to be unveiled, and it only offers a limited preview, as the song barely cracks the two-minute mark. Sure, it's ostensibly techno, but Dear seems to have continued his drift toward organic sounds—the drums and guitars certainly sound real, and his voice sounds like an actual human being. It's definitely not a rager, but Dear seems to reserve those tendencies for his Audion alias anyways. One might say that "Soil to Seed" is more of a tease than a proper taste, but it's got us interested enough to give Black City a thorough listen.
Jesu is one of the few outfits that can justifiably lay claim to both metal and shoegaze simultaneously, which certainly speaks volumes about the versatility put forth by bandleader Justin K. Broadrick. Prior to Jesu, the multi-faceted UK musician had been a part of the metal scene for years, and now, we find him working solo and busily producing under a new moniker, Pale Sketcher. Taken from the new project's forthcoming debut album, Jesu: Pale Sketches Demixed, "Plans That Fade (Faded Dub)" is a tranquilly brooding composition focused on thick washes of filtered synths, subtle bass rumblings, and a slow-paced drum-machine beat. Broadrick's reverberated voice floats in, around, and throughout the ominous track, and showcases a falsetto croon most wouldn't initially expect from a veteran metalhead. Jesu: Pale Sketches Demixed will be released August 24.
The title track from South African DJ/producer/vocalist/graphic artist Spoek Mathambo's forthcoming debut album is a bubbling piece of club-friendly riddims, rubbery basslines, and sparse synth hooks pulled together around playful vocal work. Mathambo handles the bulk of the MC duties, but brings in a group of ladies to help fill out the chorus of "Mshini Wam" and its "Little Drummer Boy"-referencing refrain. Months before the album comes out September 13, the track's official single will be released July 27, along with "Gwababa (Don't Be Scared)" and remixes from the likes of Schlachthofbronx, Subtitle, Krazy Fiesta, Canblaster, and many more.
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