Tag Archives: Vinyl

Record Watch: Tames – Vivid Elements (Galdoors – GAL004)

This big release came out last week, read on to find out just why we like it so much.

Galdoors 004

Galdoors returns for its fourth release, this time from its co-boss, Tames. Its his first release but if he hasn’t much practice in putting together good releases, you really can’t tell. The A side holds the title track and it’s a real strong opener. It’s got that melancholic melody in those synths and those rattling snares which give it a bit of structure above and beyond that subby kick. Early set, peak set, warm up set…whenever you hear this tune it would work. Check out the Until My Heart Stops mix for RA from Leif and Joe Ellis for a longer snippet and also to hear how it sounds in a mix.

The B side opens up with the more restrained feeling Episodes. It’s lighter in every way from Vivid Elements: the beat is softer, the synths less sharp and the bass notes less prominent. The EP finishes off with Squeeze, a proper acid warbler. The acid sound is made to sound fresh by being combined with hi-hats and a high pitched note which emphasises the kick as well as generous layers of reverb. We’ve all heard those acid tracks that are just a bit boring, not adding anything new to the genre, just rinsing that 303 sound. Squeeze, fortunately, is not one of these, sounding like exactly what you’d expect, but also sounding fresh and memorable at the same time.

A strong debut release on a solid label. Expect to hear this one a lot, especially the A side.

Hoping For A Repress 05

It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, perhaps because there’s been loads of tasty represses since the new year, from Kerri Chandler to Chez Damier, Ron Trent and Mood II Swing, to name but a few. There’s always more records that we’d love to get hold of though and so we’re back to our repress requests.

Ark & Dolibox – Be My Baby (Karat Records – KARAT 40)

Discogs Asking Price: None Available

This is a great record – collaboration of the highest order from Ark & Dolibox and probably my favourite release that either of them have put out. There was a copy on sale for £20 towards the end of last year but it’s gone now – presumably the seller realised this one’s just too good to let go. Okay yes – it’s on Beatport, but sometimes that just doesn’t cut it.

That’s on the A side. I love the way it develops from this stop start beginning into more of a roller while keeping that glitchy feel throughout. The vocals are manipulated to perfection and for most of the track there’s just that one chord breaking them up. This one sets up for the B side very nicely, hinting at a deepness that is just on the other side, but taking on more of a dancefloor filling complexion than you’d normally associate with deep house.

On the B side you get Deep At All. This one for me is a perfect blueprint for deep music – slow development, lovely detail and all kept interesting over the track’s 10 minutes +, allowing you to drift off while being kept firmly tied to the dancefloor.

The track amalgamates all sorts of disparate vocals into its patchwork and slots them beside a deep, almost dubby bassline where they sit comfortably alongside a hesitant beat, melancholic acoustic guitar, jazzy piano and the occasional string crescendo and saxophone blast. The result is that it sounds both organic and electronic with that high note every few bars keeping everything in place.

Omniverse – Venere/ Antares (Antima Records – ANT 004)

Discogs Asking Price – £16.40 – £164.16

Classic release. It sounds just as good today as (I imagine) it did in 1991.

Across both tracks jacking beats, chord stabs, bits of female American vocals and soft melodies in the background combine to create two tracks that make you think of 90s era house music. They don’t sound clichéd, tired or imitated, they just sound great. This Omniverse release has endured for over 20 years because it came before there was a formula for house music. These are the sorts of tracks that had a big part to play in shaping perceptions of how house music should sound and has been imitated countless times with never the same result.

Vinalog – Relative 002 (Relative – RTV-002)

Discogs Asking Price – £28.72 – £41.03

A great release you might recognise played by all the big names in big room techno. That doesn’t take away from it at all though – it’s everything big room techno should be: a wall of low end, a pumping beat and an eerie vibe on top of it all. None of the tracks are too fast, so you can even bring them in to a slower set than you’d usually associate for playing techno bangers. These would cut right through most of the records in my collection in a blend.

The A side boasts Military Field and The “Do” Trip. Both are guaranteed to get a reaction, especially Military Field with its frantic looped vocals. The “Do” Trip is more melodic and haunting. Just a great slab of wax to have. The B side I’ve not heard as much of, but the record is worth getting for the fantastic A side alone.

Shazam x Juno: Our thoughts

Last week, Shazam & Juno announced that the Juno catalogue (which in our experience is pretty thorough, covering both the big releases and many smaller ones) will be available to users of the app. What this means in practical terms is that you’re out and you hear a track, you wave your Shazam equipped phone in the air and within a few seconds you’ll know exactly what it is and be presented with a purchase link on the Juno site.

Shazam Juno

Whereas before this service was restricted to Beatport’s digital catalogue, this new development now means that people with smartphones (which is most of us nowadays) can find most tracks that you’re likely to hear out, unless you’re listening to a set full of whitelabels and dubplates. We don’t see this as a positive, and we’ll go on to explain why.

Being able to identify vinyl tracks through Shazam effectively undermines DJ culture. The previous Beatport deal did so as well, but its impact was restricted. Extending its reach from the CD wallet to the record bag is more of an issue because 90 second clips and YouTube rips were previously the only digital footprint of a vinyl only release.

A DJ is only as good as the records they bring to a party. A good set is a combination of track selection and technical ability. Making track IDs available to everyone with a smartphone removes the mystery over the track selection. If you’re a DJ, the chances are that you’ve spent a great deal of your time digging – either in a basement somewhere or with your laptop on your knees. Given the amount of time spent on this, it’s only natural that DJs want to preserve an element of mystery in their sets. Reducing them to performers pushing buttons and stroking records is a resounding negative.

Having the musical knowledge required to play a standout, unique set is not something that comes for free. It’s earned through years of dedication to finding that one gem that very few people will recognise. It comes from listening to ten shit tracks to find that one obscure gem. Shazam’s partnership with Juno removes that essential step from the equation, which is a bit of a slap in the face to people who have put in that application to digging, listening far wider than looking for a single track ID invites you to.

The point that we’re trying to make here is that music and musical knowledge is something that you have to work for. For us at least, when you hear a track and you nor anyone with you knows what it is, it embeds itself in your audio memory and remains there until you find it. If you dig for long enough and in the right places, you will eventually find it. Shazam has reduced the process of obsessing over a track and digging for it to a matter of using your phone. This instant musical gratification is not a good thing. It will, in our opinion, cause higher still Discogs prices and make it harder to get hold of records that you’ve had your eye on for a while and this is why it bothers us.

Perhaps the more concerning issue that Shazam and Juno have raised is the potential for infringement on the rights of the record labels who stock Juno’s warehouse. There’s a reason besides a preference for vinyl as a medium and its aesthetic qualities why much of today’s underground music continues to be released on what was once thought of as redundant technology. Music released digitally is far harder to control; it has the potential to spread far beyond its intended environment. Releasing music on wax is a way of ensuring that your records will reach their intended listeners. Electronic music is a fundamentally underground thing, and releasing music on vinyl is a major part of this. Record labels will now have to opt out of Shazam’s track ID service, which is at best a hassle and at worst an infraction of their rights.

Of course, in many ways Shazam’s announcement can be a great thing for small, independent imprints: it will expose their music to a greater audience and should result in more sales for them. But to say this rather misses the point that it should be down to the label how their music is discovered, distributed and sold. The internet is something of a double edged sword for music; on the one hand it can give you the possibility of achieving a solid musical education and invites communication and creativity like never before, but on the other it leaves music open to over exposure. Shazam and Juno have taken a big step towards the latter by removing the element of the unknown from vinyl.

Subsoil Mix 02: Drei Farben House

As spring comes in and it’s getting pretty toasty here in London, the Subsoil mix series comes back out of hibernation with a mix from our interviewee from January, Tenderpark’s Drei Farben House.

It’s an hour long vinyl mix from the man from Berlin and it’s what you’d expect from him: melodic grooves on top of a laid back vibe. We get the feeling that Drei Farben House -much like ourselves- isn’t a man in a rush, and this is evident in the tone and mood of the mix he’s made for us. It languishes at a leisurely pace – exactly the kind of vibe that’s working wonders for us at the start of this week following a heavy weekend.

Drei Farben House has been kind enough to provide us with a tracklist so you can scope out his track selection without getting your hands dirty. This mix includes a few cuts from the forthcoming Tenderpark release from Tilman, the label’s first of 2014.

Remind yourself of our interview with Drei Farben House.

Listen and download via our Soundcloud.

Moomin – Doobiest

Ivano Tetelepta & Roger Gerressen – Time

Simon Weiss – Yesterday Is Around

Cellule Eat – Panda (Drei Farben House Remix)

Borrowed Identity – Dans La Nuit

Tilman – Whip Me Up

Drei Farben House – Tapered Layers

Alex Agore – Memories

Tazma Funk – Bob’s Trumpet (Trumpa Dub)

Mood II Swing – Move Me

Tilman – Whip Me Up (CMAT Remix)

Red Eye Records: Wine, Weed & Vinyl

We caught up with Tom from Red Eye to talk a little about his backstory and his thoughts on the vinyl business.

Most of you will have come across Red Eye at some point. We were on there over the weekend and to our delight picked up a few records that we’ve been wanting to see repressed for some time now: Rudoulpho’s Sunday Afternoon and Workshop 12. There’s some real gems on there at the moment, so over the next few days we’ll be posting a “Subsoil Recommends” thing.

Red Eye Records

Can you give us a quick introduction to yourself and also to Red Eye?

I’m fairly old now as I started Redeye in 1992 when I was 20, it started as a little shop doing House/Hip Hop and what became Jungle/D&B but was then tagged as hardcore.

Where was your shop? What made you make the move to an online store?

The shop was in Ipswich, I used to work for my step father in his wine business for a couple of years and when he closed it I took over the lease and turned the wine racks into record racks. We traded on-line and through the shop there until the shop side of things was almost pointless.

I went into mail order and then on-line in ’97 and ’99 to survive, we had no cash and I used to live off selling weed really. We were always a good shop and going on-line gave us the opportunity to show a wider audience what we were about.

Do you see online record stores as posing a challenge to “physical” ones?

Walk in stores should see a resurgence as everyone misses them in some respects but the competition from on-line traders was years ago now.

Is there anything that you feel record stores could be doing better?

I have not been into another record shop for ages so I can’t really say what they are doing or should do but if I had the time I’d like to run one like the Italians run a bar. I’d sell records, food, coffee, booze, ice cream and have a space for people to relax while their mates bought some beats.

You hear so much these days about the resurgence of vinyl sales. How much have you seen that reflected in Red Eye? There are people who seem to think it’s mostly down to older people buying expensive double packs of old Pink Floyd albums, that sort of thing rather than people buying new 12″s.

Sales of records have gone up for sure, I suppose that people who actually pay for music would like something more tangible with a 2nd hand value instead of digital. Records are the best way of listening to music if you have the chance, we all know that.

Have you got anything else to add?

We sell good records to great people and we love it.

Rough House Rosie Interview

Rough House Rosie

Over the past year there’s been some deep sounds coming out of Cologne due to the work of George Beridze and his Rough House Rosie label. Although the label is only 4 releases young, George has managed to forge out a sound and an aesthetic that is recognisably and undeniably Rough House Rosie’s.

The Rough House Rosie visual aesthetic has its roots in silent films from the first part of the last century. The vinyl print is a rendering of Clara Bow‘s face, the title actress in the 1929 film Rough House Rosie, which has forever been lost with only a trailer remaining.

“I think the 1920s were the best times to be around. And I also love cinema from that era. I have seen many of Clara Bow’s silent movies and this particular one was interesting to me because it is lost. I really wanted to have seen this movie, the plot seems nice and the title also.”

Talking to George, it soon becomes clear that the Rough House Rosie project is a labour of love for him, born out of a desire to introduce new artists and sounds to the house music community.

“In late 2012 I moved from Munich to Cologne and I was in my new empty flat. I had no internet and no bed, nothing, so I listened to my whole music collection on my laptop. And I thought I have here some nice tracks from HVL produced a while ago, so why not start a label, no one wants to release them anyway.”

Although there’s plenty of imprints releasing deeper house inspired sounds, George doesn’t see Rough House Rosie as just another one of them. He counts Udacha, Firecracker Recordings, Mathematics, Minuendo, Deep Explorer, Workshop and Leleka among his influences but he sees his label’s music as a variation on the kinds of sounds that these labels are known for rather than as a direct tribute.

I think the kind of music I release doesn’t exist for such a long time…I mean it is not typical deep house I wouldn’t say. I’ve been into this music ever since artists like Vakula, Pjotr, Alex Danilov and A5 emerged.

Originally from Georgia, George moved from there in 2007 as a student, living in cities including Amsterdam, Lyon and Munich before settling in Cologne.

“Cologne has several places where one could hear quality house music, notable house and techno names visit this city. Also it is located quite nicely for travelling to Netherlands or any other place, so basically good music is all around.”

George Beridze

Although George lives in Cologne, none of the artists whose music he’s released do.

“None of my artists are Cologne based. HVL is Georgian as am I, so we know each other from there. Although at the moment he also lives in Germany in Stuttgart. Alex Danilov is Russian and since I speak Russian I talked to him through soundcloud about doing a release with RHR, since I am a big fan of his music. All of us like the same kind of sound I guess.”

I ask him if he sees this as an obstacle to working together and releasing music, but he doesn’t see it as a difficulty or an inconvenience.

“Ok, so I live in Cologne but none of my artists do. But I don’t think the city is important, only the music is, the label could be based in Greenland, it doesn’t really matter. I call the label a family because we share a love of the same music and sound. Also, with Russian, Georgian and Ukrainian artists I personally share a Soviet past and childhood, so we sort of get each other.”

In fact, he’s gearing up to release a VA featuring artists with whom he doesn’t even share a country, past or language, just similar musical ideas.

“The Rough House Rosie family will be definitely increasing although mostly with new faces, with people who have had 1-2 releases or none at all. I don’t see the point in re-releasing the same thing over and over again. In the future RHR will be paying homage to Japan and Japanese music lovers with a special VA. Of course, HVL will also be back sometime in the future and we will also see some other artists return who have already collaborated with RHR.”

I tried to push George for a hint as to who’s appearing on the Japanese VA, but he was having none of it. Next out on the label is Silent Movie Sounds Vol. II featuring a few of our favourite artists: Pjotr, A5, Laak and Gamayun. Be quick!

A Chat With…Drei Farben House (Tenderpark Records)

Drei Farben House makes house music with vocal depth and organic sounding instrumentation. He also runs the superlative Tenderpark label, which spans multiple interpretations of deep house, from Roman Rauch’s low slung, sluggish sounds to the more defined beats of Ivano Tetelepta’s Black Dynamite alias and YNK’s textured vocals. Tenderpark clearly has no shortage of talent. Read on to find out what Drei Farben House has to say about his own sound, and about the story of Tenderpark.

Drei Farben House

I would say that there’s been an evolution in terms of your sound, from As Long As It Lasts in 2005 to Choice Item last year. Do you think you’ve found your groove? Or are you still discovering the kind of music you’d like to make?

Yes, there has definitely been an evolution. When I first started making music, I didn’t use any samples at all. I sang my own vocals, made my own beats. Today this is quite different: I love to sample warm drum sounds from old 70s records and I love to sample vocals from my record collection. And still, the evolution has not come to an end; in the near future it will change again a little bit.

How would you describe the style of music that you make?

I think my music has always been fairly laid back. I wouldn’t describe it as big room music. It’s far too shy for that. I’m a pop and soul music guy. In the beginning some record labels described my music as pop house, hehe.

What would you say are your biggest musical influences? Is there any one type of sound, or “feel” that you have consciously tried to emulate?

My musical influences are really quite various. I’m a little older and I grew up with radio. Back then radio was really good. Hard to imagine nowadays. But really my biggest, biggest musical influences were the American and British charts. I’m talking about the eighties and early nineties. Back then you could hear so much good music there. Early dance music, guitar pop, soul and swingbeat, Manchester rave, indie. That’s where I got my musical education from. Back then you had really good music in the charts, not at all like today!

That’s interesting, because I wouldn’t say that your tracks are really constructed in a “poppy” sort of way, I mean you don’t really go for vocal hooks that much, and Tenderpark’s output is mostly quite introspective.

Yes, with Tenderpark it’s different. There are other artists on the label with a different background. But all the artists have a soulful vibe in common and although some of them might even hate pop music, hehe, but they all have a certain lightness in their music which is absolutely essential to Tenderpark. I consider my music as pop music with the means of house. House music with a pop background. That’s how I would describe it.

To go back to your productions, let’s talk about vocals for a minute. How do you go about finding a vocal? I’ve heard A Tribe Called Quest sampled by you and also some UKG tune I can never remember the name of. What do you look for in a vocal?

Well, some of the vocals are my own voices, but a lot of vocals come from my record collection. Soul, disco, hip-hop, dance pop… I have quite a few records and I use tiny bits from them. That’s how I pay my respect to the music that I love.

What do I look for in a vocal? Sweetness, lightness, groove, funk, soul, harmony.

Is there a particular vocalist that really does that for you?

Yes, Janet Jackson for example. Although she is not a good singer in a traditional way, her vocals have something really special and cute about them.

How do you approach making an album? You’ve had 3 goes at it. How hard do you find it to maintain a consistency over 10 tracks, compared to say, an EP of 3?

Yes, you’ve said already what I’m aiming at: I like to have a consistent sound. I think with Choice Item, my third album, I’ve really totally achieved that. I like to have different songs with different chords and lines and everything, but they all have to contribute to a bigger picture, to a consistent sound that runs through the album. Like Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers did with Chic and Sister Sledge. You can instantly recognize their trademark sound although the albums consist of a lot of different songs. I think the secret is using the same instruments throughout the album. That’s how they did it and that’s how I do it. I really hate these modern techno and house albums where there is no consistency at all and everything sounds totally different.

You mentioned things will change a bit in your sound in the near future. In what way?

Yes, I want to have a more live feeling in my music and I’m going to achieve that by incorporating my own bass playing into my songs. I started to learn bass guitar a while ago because that is my favourite instrument, but I want to go on playing live more and also record more of my own bass lines with variations which hopefully contributes to a more lively and natural feeling.

Tenderpark Records

You’ve already said a little bit about your choice of artists on Tenderpark, can you say what the original idea was behind the label, and how you came to start it?

Well, I first started it for egoistic reasons; I was a little tired with wandering from one label to another. I was a little tired with the lack of continuity, so I started to create a base for myself. But on the other hand it was clear from the start that the label should not at all be just about me. Otherwise I could have named it Drei Farben House records. Tenderpark is supposed to be a home for the light and funky and soulful side of house music and I’m really glad I have other musicians on the label who share this idea of music.

Is Berlin a natural home for this kind of house music? Most of what we hear about Berlin in England is Berghain, Berghain, Berghain…

Ahahaha, yes, Berghain is the centre of the universe, haha. I think Berlin is a good place for house music, there are a lot of other nice house labels here, but I have to admit that Berlin has always had a massive techno scene, so techno will always be the main focus here. But I like to play the role of the opposition sometimes, hehe.

Is there anywhere else in the world that you have found the Tenderpark sound to be well received?

That’s hard to say. Germany is probably the biggest market but judging from the sales there must be some Tenderpark fans in Britain as well, which really makes me happy because I have always had an affinity with the British house scene. Back in the nineties when Germany was full of techno, I quite envied England for its big house scene. The Brits always seemed to have a better understanding for house music, or at least back then.

What is there to come from Tenderpark? Any big plans for 2014?

Yes, 2014 will be great. Coming up next in spring is a record from a new signing called Tilman. He’s a friend of YNK and his sound is deep and uplifting at the same time. After that it’s the return of Black Dynamite which I’m really looking forward to. Also, we are starting a new artwork series which moves into a new direction. Till Sperrle is the art director of Tenderpark and he has collaborated with a very good photographer named Magdalena Bichler. The artwork is quite different from now, but on the other hand Till has very much taken care that there will also be continuity to what we’ve done before. I’m excited!

Be sure to check out Drei Farben House’s Choice Item LP, released last year on Tenderpark.

Buy from Phonica.

On the Tenderpark YouTube channel, you can find uploads of all their releases. Discover them for yourselves here.