Claremont 56’s latest release is very much a family affair. It sees Idjut Boy Conrad McDonnell - a regular remixer of Claremont 56 releases since the label’s inception - serve up two spaced-out, dub-wise revisions of a little known cut by Bison, the imprint’s very own “super-group”. The 12” has extra emotional resonance for Bison’s Paul ‘Mudd’ Murphy and Ben Smith, as it marks the band’s first release since the passing of fellow founder members Holger Czukay and Ursula Kloss.Clutching his cherished space echo and tape delay units, McDonnell has delivered two tasty new dubs of “Salmon Spungcake”, a spacey, gently throbbing Bison cut that he co-wrote, produced and mixed for Claremont 56’s 10th Anniversary box-set in 2017. While the original version shied away from the dancefloor in favour of creating a hazy, horizontal mood, McDonnell’s “Zip It Shrimpy Mix” re-invents the cut as a hypnotic dub disco shaker rich in weighty bass, layered hand percussion, locked-in kick drums and spaced-out vocal snippets. In true dub fashion, flashes of the band’s original instrumentation - effects-laden guitars, hazy electronics and meandering, deep space chords - float in and out of the mix at irregular intervals. It’s the kind of remix you want to get lost in while wearily shuffling at 5am in a dark, sweaty basement.The glassy-eyed, head-in-the-clouds fun continues on the “I Think I’ve Got Gout Mix”, an even more spaced-out affair that recalls some of the other inspired dancefloor dubs McDonnell has produced alongside Idjut Boys partner Dan Tyler. Stripped back, heavy, percussive and driven forward by sturdy kick-drums and the track’s rich, warm bassline, this is a deep space dub disco tailor-made for space cadets and intoxicated sunrise dancers.
Leng Records has long had close ties with the underground music scene in San Francisco, with low-slung dub disco and psychedelic disco outfit 40 Thieves releasing their acclaimed album The Sky Is Yours on the imprint way back in 2014. Now Leng has turned to another stalwart of the Bay Area scene, Cole Odin, on a single that’s every bit as trippy and engrossing as you’d expect from one of San Francisco’s most frequently overlooked talents.Cole made his Leng debut earlier in the year, contributing the electro-influenced track ‘Numbers Game’ to the label’s 10th anniversary compilation. On ‘Little Boxes’, he’s joined by good friend Eddie C, a much-loved disco and house producer from Canada best known for his releases on Endless Flight and Red Motorbike. The pair recorded the track while Eddie was staying with Cole in San Francisco last year.In keeping with the low-slung, hallucinatory sound that has always been a big feature of the San Franciscan scene, ‘Little Boxes’ is a trippy, mind-altering affair in which waves of sitar sounds, cosmic synths, effects-laden guitars and kaleidoscopic electronics rise above a weighty punk-funk bassline and crunchy, snare-heavy beats. It has serious dancefloor chops but is also atmospheric and immersive: perfect 5am music for Bay Area beach parties and mushrooms-fuelled forest raves.Fittingly, it’s 40 Thieves who provide the accompanying remix, a 10-minute epic created with the assistance of Adonis and Rodney from the psych rock band ‘Guavatron’ for additional synths and the guitars. Beginning with tabla-style percussion, swirling chords, psychedelic guitar licks and mystical sitar sounds, the remix builds in waves, with looser drums and even weightier bass propelling the track forwards at a metronomic and hypnotic pace. By the time the eyes-closed guitar solos drop two thirds of the way through, you’ll be tripping hard and reaching for the lasers. It’s a genuinely stunning remix of a genuinely intoxicating, mind-mangling track.
Multi-instrumentalist and Frenchman Jype serves up a sumptuous debut album here that finds him link with a host of fine collaborators. The tracks are all brain cleansingly clean and melodic, airy and free from clutter. There are elements of pop and jazz, funk and soul from the likes of Sade and Wham! littering the horizontal Balearic grooves and the results are perfect. This is lush poolside music with proper songs and hummable top lines, deep bass and lush vocals. Only two of these slo-mo bliss-outs have been heard before, so dive in .
Claremont 56 founder Paul "Mudd" Murphy has a thing for studio supergroups. New project Hillside follows in the footsteps of Bison (who once counted Holger Czukay, Ursula Kloss and Sal Principato amongst their members) and Paqua. Their debut single is closer in tone to the latter than the former, with opener "Hidden Port" offering a deliciously languid, wide-eyed fusion of eyes-closed jazz-rock guitar solos, unfurling kosmiche keyboards, bobbing Latin rhythms and an electric violin solo from a musician renowned for his work with British folk legend Bert Jansch. You'll find more electric violin on the wilder and more up-tempo flipside "The Kings Tun", where distinctive fiddle solos rise above jangling acoustic guitars, warm bass and spacey keyboard flourishes. Anyone fancy a cosmic hoedown?
Two years ago, Ferdi Schuster was a young multi-instrumentalist and producer daydreaming of releasing his music on Claremont 56, one of his favourite labels. Now he’s set to release his stunning debut album, “All One”, on Paul Murphy’s long-running imprint.It’s been a long time between drinks for the German producer, who last graced C56 with his superb double A-side single, “Little River/Befreit”, in the autumn of 2017. Fittingly, it’s “Little River” – a babbling brook of audio bliss rich in samba-influenced drums, soothing acoustic guitars and spacey synthesizer licks – that kicks off “All One”, a seductive set in which every drumbeat, piano note, guitar riff, synthesizer flourish and fireside-warm bassline was played by the man himself.Throughout, it’s easy to see why Murphy decided to snap up Schuster and push the producer to record a debut album. Check, for example, the dubbed-out shuffle of “Thinking of You”, where ghostly chords, soft-focus guitar solos and ethereal vocals drift across the soundscape, and the slowly unfurling bliss of “The Good Fight”, an effortlessly Balearic workout rich in sun-kissed guitars, bubbly synth lines and chords so snugly they could probably be used as a comfort blanket.Schuster’s greatest strength is undoubtedly the evocative and enveloping nature of his instrumental music, which draws on a variety of complimentary influences but never sounds anything less than original and fresh. Some listeners may be enchanted by the loose and languid pulse of “Fading Away” or the lo-fi reggae-jazz of dusty closing cut “Night Talk”, though others may prefer the stoned funk shuffle of “Interaction” or the spacey vibrations of “Pulsa”, where intergalactic synthesizer lines wind their way around heady bass guitar and sparse, off-kilter deep electro drums.“All One” is that kind of set; an atmospheric and musically accomplished collection of cuts capable of muting the mundane and distracting from the stress of 21st century life. As debut albums go, it’s something of a stunner.
Since joining the label back in 2018, Hear & Now have quickly become one of Claremont 56’s most prolific and consistent acts. The Italian duo impressed with their debut album Aurora Baleare – a drowsy, mood enhancing masterpiece – and then went one better with 2020’s Alba Sol, a seductive and sun-kissed set that incorporated more nods to Hear & Now members Ricky L and Marcoradi’s 1990s deep house roots.The pair have once more struck sonic gold with their third album, Milvus, a set whose colouful chords, unfurling melodies, warming instrumentation and sun-soaked vibes were mostly laid down during the various pandemic lockdowns of 2020. If it’s vivid, picturesque and immersive musical escapism you’re after, Milvus delivers and then some.The album’s clear White Isle-friendly intent can be heard on opening track ‘Bassa Marea’, a yearning chunk of horizontal brilliance in which guest musician Marco Evengelista’s emotive flugelhorn sounds spar with slow-motion, eyes-closed electric guitar solos over billowing ambient chords and a tactile, thickset bassline. The pair’s ability to craft high-class, saucer-eyed Balearic soundscapes is a theme that’s returned to several times across the album, with ‘Abisso’– another near beat-free slab of touchy-feely dreaminess – standing out.Ricky L and Marcoradi’s love of evocative, pitched-down excursions is another recurring theme. For proof, check out the chugging weariness of ‘Zanziblu’, where a lone whistle drifts across waves of heady chords and metronomic beats, the dub-fired Balearic reggae shuffle of ‘Coccobello’ and the bright aural colours of gentle title track ‘Milvus’, whose cascading piano motifs, echoing harmonica motifs and chunky dub disco grooves are as appealing as they are infectious.While the prevailing mood is perhaps even more horizontal than their previous albums, Hear & Now have not completely abandoned the dancefloor. Two of the set’s standout moments are those where the pair actively explore their early ‘90s Italian dream house roots.There’s the rolling haziness of ‘Levante’, where more emotion-rich electric guitar solos and ear-catching whistling softly spar with pulsing pads, club-ready house beats and chiming synthesizer motifs, and the breathlessly brilliant ‘Baiadriatica’, whose stirring, sustained opening chords should always be described as “rush-inducing”.Rich in jangling piano riffs, fluid keys, squelchy bass and glistening guitars, the track is little less than a glorious 21st century update of the dream house sound first made famous by the likes of Sueno Latino and Key-Tronic Ensemble. Like the rest of Hear & Now’s absorbing and emotive third album, it’s a stunning, sunset-ready delight.
Leo Ceccanti should be a familiar name to all followers of the Claremont 56 label. Alongside sometime studio partner Gianluca Salvadori, he was responsible for two delightfully distinctive Almunia albums released on the label, 2011’s New Moon and 2013’s Pulsar. Both sets were filled with golden, sun-kissed sounds, psychedelic grooves and immersive, life-affirming soundscapes.Now he’s decided to go it alone as Leo Almunia, delivering a debut album for Claremont 56 that’s every bit as alluring, wide-eyed and evocative as those he made with Salvadori. In keeping with his previous work, the album blends layered acoustic and electric guitars with toasty bass, dreamy synthesizers and grooves that variously touch on hypnotic house, chugging mid-tempo disco, sunset-ready Balearic beats and, on the glistening, life-affirming album highlight ‘Wishing Star’, loose-limbed jazz breaks.What’s most significant about Ceccanti’s personal musical style is not the blend of stylistic influences he draws on – think psychedelic rock, progressive rock, jazz-rock, new age ambient and slow-motion disco – but rather the way he uses it to paint vivid aural images that genuinely linger long in the memory.After opening with the duelling guitars and chunky dub disco grooves of ‘Sinking Fields’, Ceccanti sashays between magical moments of rush-inducing positivity, heart-tugging poignance and heady nostalgia.Along the way, you’ll find numerous sonic highlights. On the intoxicating 21st century psychedelia of ‘Panerea’, jangling chords and eyes-closed psych-rock guitar solos ride a chugging, thickset electronic bassline, while ‘Instant Love’ is a metronomic, flash-fried workout rich in fuzz-tone guitar motifs, bluesy riffs and echoing instrumental touches.He cannily joins the dots between Mid-West Americana and throbbing, psychedelic disco-chug on ‘Loveblind’, while ‘Minor Circle’ sits somewhere between Santana, the Pat Metheny Band and sunrise-ready Balearic blues. Arguably even better is the saucer-eyed brilliance of ‘Brillo De Luna’. A dubbed-out electronic beat becomes enveloped in life-affirming acoustic guitar chords, exotic slide guitar motifs and string-bending solos with additional drums by Leo's friend Andrea Pelosini. If John Lennon had ingested MDMA rather than LSD before writing ‘Across The Universe’, it would probably sound like this.Then there’s the album’s crowning moment, closer ‘Can’t Hold a Lover’. A heart-aching, largely ambient instrumental that channels the loneliness and anguish felt by many of those separated from their nearest and dearest during the pandemic, it sees Ceccanti brilliantly wrap a variety of sun-bright guitar textures and solos around some of the loveliest synthesizer chords you’re every likely to hear. On an album packed with effervescent, mood-enhancing musical highs, it’s a rare moment of bittersweet bliss. credits
Since slipping out a decade ago, Fürsattl’s sole 12” on Claremont 56 has become an in-demand item, thanks to a mixture of its’ undeniable quality and the patronage of several high-profile, well-regarded DJs. Because of this, the label has responded to demand for a reissue of those two tracks and announced the release of a double-album of the krautrock-inspired trio’s works for the label.Presented in a gatefold sleeve sporting Mark Warrington’s original 2012 artwork and limited to 400 copies, the 2022 album edition of Rheinlust not only tells the tale of the band’s now decade-long association with Claremont 56, but also features a previously unreleased track from the archives, ‘Für Paul’. Tucked away at the end of the LP, the track is amongst the most atmospheric in their catalogue –a slowly building number in which celestial synthesizer chords, ambient textures, echo-laden electric piano chords and lilting synth strings rise above a rubbery bassline and Jaki Liebezeit style drums.It provides a superb conclusion to a genuinely evocative album of music you can get lost in, but it’s by no means the only highlight. Fittingly, the album’s first slab of wax boasts both tracks from Fürsattl’s hard-to-find debut 12”: title track ‘Rheinlust’, a driving but deep and hypnotic krautrock masterpiece full of elongated chords, restless bass, twinkling motifs and cascading electronic melodies, and the wonderfully epic ‘Links Der Pegnitz’. Clocking in at just under 15 minutes, this sublime excursion features band members trading glistening guitar and colourful synthesizer solos over a funky but laidback groove that sits somewhere between krautrock and cosmic funk.The album’s second slab of wax showcases Fürsattl’s lesser-known tracks for Claremont 56, alongside the previously mentioned unreleased cut. These two workouts were originally featured on the label’s Claremont Editions compilations and further expand on their now trademark krautrock sound. There’s ‘Leerlauf’, a breathlessly up-tempo, weighty and immersive chunk of low-slung dancefloor creepiness that you’ll want to get lost in time and again, and the twangy and buzzing ‘Haru’, a birdsong-splattered affair that sounds like their tribute to krautrock originals Neu! and Harmonium. Like the rest of the album, these are seriously seductive outings that slowly build towards impactful, emotive conclusions. credits
In the midst of a global pandemic that has seen gigs, club nights and festivals cancelled, and tens of millions around the world in some kind of lockdown or quarantine, the need for musical escapism and aural daydreaming is greater than ever. It was this search for creativity and positivity that led to the recording of Sunday in June, the gorgeous and sun-kissed debut album from Hillside.The outfit’s origins lie in the ongoing friendship and musical relationship of guitarist/bassist Alex Searle, percussionist Patrick Dawes and Claremont 56 founder Paul ‘Mudd’ Murphy, a trio who have been playing on each other’s records since the dawn of the millennium. They began jamming and creating instrumental music together for what would become the Hillside project a few years back, but the pace of production increased during the pandemic year of 2020, with multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Michele Chiavarini (an experienced solo artist and long-term member of Dave Lee’s Sunburst Band) coming on board to help shape the sound of their eight-track debut album.Built around warm, languid grooves, expansive musicality, simmering strings – arranged by Chiavarini and replayed live by Pete Whitfield – and seductive solos provided by a handful of guest musicians (most notably flutist Tamar Osborne and violinist Mike Piggott, who has previously worked with Ralph McTell, Pentangle and Bert Jansch), Sunday in June could be considered an imaginary soundtrack to a long, lazy drive down the U.S West Coast.The collective’s intent is exemplified by stunning opener and title track ‘Sunday in June’, where soaring strings, eyes-closed guitar solos, expressive keys and subtle percussive touches seemingly dance atop a sun-soaked groove that sits somewhere between jazz-funk and vintage West Coast rock. It can be heard, too, on the low-down hustle of ‘Trinity Strut’ – think Steely Dan doing Blaxploitation movie funk and you’re close – and in the languid drift of ‘Aguila Negra’, with its heart-aching orchestration, jazzy guitars and sunset-ready synths.Sunday in June has many subtle twists and turns. Check the swelling, flute-sporting, organ-rich breeze of ‘For Daniel’, a track written in tribute to an old friend of Murphy’s who passed away in 2020, and the kaleidoscopic, smile-inducing positivity of ‘1939 Grand Avenue’, whose title references the address of a favourite San Diego hang out. There’s also room for recent single ‘Walpole Days’, a gorgeous downtempo odyssey, and a new album mix of the combo’s most Steely Dan-esque cut, 2019 single ‘Hidden Port’.Rounding things off is a rather impressive bonus cut: a previously unheard ‘Spiritual Healing Mix’ of ‘Walpole Days’ by the great Joaquin ‘Joe Claussell’. Whereas his previously released versions of the track were largely percussive and dancefloor-friendly, this interpretation takes us deep into the world of weightless new age ambient, with Hillside’s impeccable instrumentation slowly rising above immersive chords and pads.As usual with Claremont 56, the album’s artwork is every bit as detailed and painstakingly crafted as the music, with the stunning cover illustration coming courtesy of regular label collaborator Mark Warrington. His vibrant vision is naturally a perfect fit with Hillside’s colourful and emotion-rich music.
Odopt have been responsible for some serious, sinewy heaters on labels like Born Free, 777 and Discos Capablanca. That should give you some idea of the kind of sonic sphere they operate in - rugged hardware house with a wavey bite and a playful instinct. It makes total sense then to see them sidle up to [Emotional] Especial with this four-tracker of surefooted deviant dance. 'A14' opens up proceedings on an ominous bassline and plenty of mechanical grind, while 'Keylat' jacks things up a smidge while resolutely wallowing in the muck of Odopt's studio practices. 'Sample Commerce Shot' is the catchiest cut on the record, riding a slinky beat and featuring a powerful lead hook that sounds beamed in from somewhere in a distant galaxy. 'Holy Motor$' finishes the record off on another brooding, death disco groover, bringing things full circle with the nocturnal offerings of 'A14'.
Akio Nagase is a well known acid specialist from Osaka and now he is back on the (Emotional) Especial label with a second offering of 303-infused world music. His last offering was an Asian orientated EP, but here it is ethno-inspired dance from Africa that provides the stylistic overtones. First up, 'Acid Maasai Collecthiv' sets the scene with TB 303 weaving around dub heavy bass then 'Morisyen Acid' is more ethereal with Mauritian samples that really uplift. 'Serengeti Acid' find the 808 and 303 in harmony and closer 'Jua' interweaves the fabric of life with a psychedelic beat design to bring people together and dance.
The Botanic Minds stable continue to inject the vague framework of minimal club music with some colour and sass with this excellent EP from Romanian mainstay Sepp. 'Fluturul' is a perfect 10-minute escapade with a seriously funky bassline and dreamy but snappy melodic hooks on top to carry you away in a reverie of sunkissed psychedelia. 'Vulturul' takes things in a deeper direction without losing the panache and personality that made the A side a winner. 'Si Gaita' seals the deal with a sundown delight that weaves together more of those interlocking melodic lines to get bodies shaking in an effortless, day-into-night fashion that spells out a long and fruity session ahead.
The ever reliable Constant Sound is back this week, with Burnski's imprint serving up a full LP release by the ascendant Leeds DJ/producer Matthew Farrow aka Kepler. A solid selection of retro techno cuts are featured on Freedom Mills, and all for maximum dance floor impact. From the bleep techno euphoria of 'Fold', or the classic '90s house motifs of "Contact" to the dusty rolling beats of 'Professor Pace' and the sunset breaks of "Era" - they are all sure to bang the party. Tip!
Following a great one by local veteran Jason Hodges, the third vinyl release on Demuir's Toronto-based label Purveyour Underground Limited presents a brilliant two-tracker by Detroit legend Rick Wade. On side A, there's the sublime Detroit Beatdown vibe of 'Can't Be Beat' with positive vibes abound, followed over on the flip by the dreamy Sunday afternoon feels of 'Soldier's Story' that's perfect for those eyes-closed moments on the dancefloor.
When he's not dishing out breaks-y garage and slick retro-future electro, Burnski still finds time to exercise his decades deep prowess in the art of tech house. On this new drop for Constant Sound he's clearly having a lot of fun sculpting a hefty, big room sound with Ibiza in its sights. 'Trigger' hinges around an epic breakdown-build up which goes off like a rocket when it drops, swinging with glee and leaning in on playful synth licks. 'Go' is an absolute monster too, which nods to Burnski's recent UKG explorations with some rough bass and a killer 4x4 groove. If you want to do some damage in the dance in the classiest of ways, look no further.
Curated by Harold (Australia's best bad-trip dancefloor DJ, co-conspirator behind Melbourne institutions ¿Club D'érange? and Pleasure Planet), Steeplejack have long been one of Australia's most interesting and visionary contemporary underground electronic labels. Across a variety of producers and releases, Steeplejack have pushed a core agenda of, in their own words, " an exercise in dance club equality and a challenge to passive consumption."This, their second compilation 12", might be their most succinct statement yet. Across these four tracks (by GLM, Reptant, Nullstaat, and Nerve), their producers paint a frantic, uneasy picture of lab-made psilocybins and grime-slicked gearshifts. Nervous, build-and-release tracks that, true to Steeplejack's code, force captive attention.An essential document of the Aus underground as it now stands.
Gunnar Haslam is the latest name to bat up an LP of experimental beats-offs and club trax for Ron Morelli's fine L.I.E.S. label. Their use really depends on you, but craftier DJs could no doubt put the rolling polyrhythms of 'Just For Me' to good use, as with the exotic swing and shuffle of 'Mark And Don' or the ace, low-slung acid squeeze of 'Cat Superhighway (version)', whilst equally the home-listening crew can immerse in the whole album's psychedelic modulations between the raw, grubbing house of 'B61', the loping Muslimgauze groove of 'Scheherezade' and the booming 808 swagger of 'Anatolia'. Good stuff.
For all its eerie qualities as a work of music, King Midas Sound's Waiting for You was just as striking in spatial terms-- bass throbs, snare hits, and voices, usually broodingly quiet or tautly fretful, reverberating in sonic dub chambers that practically dwarfed them a thousandfold. With all that room, there's plenty of scope to rebuild things, rearrange the elements, and see how the angles of all those deep echoes change. Dabrye's 2008 chrome-and-neon g-funk remix of "One Ting" was one of the earliest reinterpretations of Kevin Martin and Roger Robinson's collaborative efforts, and possibly the best to date. But it also shared space on the "Cool Out" b-side with Flying Lotus' twitchy, boiling-water mutation of "Lost"-- a remix just as eager to coax out the ghostly elements of Robinson's voice, but approaching it more like a counterpoint than a complement.
Virginia steps up with her first full-length on Ostgut Ton, playfully answering all questions and rhetorics about love, lust and life with her singing on eleven new songs. Titled Fierce For The Night and co-produced by renowned artists Dexter, Martyn and Steffi, the album offers a very personal insight to her inner self while drawing from club culture's long and rich history.
Well this one is fun. And fun, just about, in a good way, rather than stupid silly un-cool and uncouth fun. Kolter's Breakarama EP kicks off with the title track which makes use of the melodic motif from TV's much loved animation Futurama. It is sure to get some super reactions in the club with its playfulness and charm. 'Ghost In The Breaks' is more serious, with a slick and futuristic feeling breaks vibe then 'Get Out James!' is another laugh that makes use of the iconic riff from James Bond over some sleazy and dark UKG. 'Horny Breakdancers' is an airy, uplifting one to close.
Margaret Dygas may be based in Berlin but her unique sound can't be tied down to any one city or scene, as she proves on her latest 12" across three tracks for the consistently exciting Half Baked label. Not that there's anything half done here, of course, with A-side tune 'Butterfly Effect' a prime slice of groovy. resonant techno that's understated and restrained enough to gain comparisons to Jaydee's 'Plastic Dreams' classic. 'CC Is 33' is warmer, with nicely slidy, jazzy organ chords and itchy technofunk rhythms, with the most minimal of the three tracks, the static-infused, atmospheric 'Subliminal 20A7', coming last but by no means least. A great showcase for a great, original talent.
Instinct remains at the forefront of the UK garage scene as we roll into 2022 thanks to more heat like this from Main Phase. He follows up standout tunes on the likes of Time Is Now, Dansu Discs and Lost City Archives with his most complete statement yet. Opener 'Treat Me Right' is a lively stepper with lush hits and a wobbling bottom end. 'Whale Dub' gets darker and more stripped back but swings just as infectiously, then 'Nuff' layers up brain-melting bass with rude vocals and 'OG' ups the energy with a pumping old school sound and plenty of characterful details. There is more retro garage gold on closer 'Body' to make this a hugely useful EP.