Dirty Dancing: June 2013

Pity me, dear reader, for I am suffering from some fairly hideous sunburn at present – the result of assuming than humans can survive unscathed in temperatures higher than the average person’s bathwater. If, like me, you have been just as foolish and are in need of some relaxing indoor pursuits whilst you recover from varying degrees of sunstroke, you could do a lot worse than check out our electronic discoveries this month.

So kick back, turn the stereo system up to maximum and prepare to be entertained!

Artist of the Month

Album: Hourglass Sea – Live From the Crematorium (Outpost)

We’re launching straight into the good stuff this month! Live From the Crematorium is the brilliantly crafted debut album from Hourglass Sea and to be honest, if the opening track doesn't make you sit up in amazement, you’re probably due for the crematorium yourself.

Slightly mind-blowing rhythm techniques overlaid with inspired synth tracks clearly aren’t enough for Dean Bentley, as he quickly jumps right in and starts hurling Clapton-style guitar riffs around like there’s no tomorrow. I genuinely sat down and listened to the entire album non-stop from start to finish twice over, with the title track or the stunning 'Memory Eternal' being standout tracks for me. New, exciting music - that's what it's all about!

EP: Hylu and Jago – Uplifting Riddim (Unit 137)

Rumour has it that summer has arrived. Perhaps this year instead of dragging out the old, tired collection of Bob Marley classics at that BBQ you’re hosting, you could instead introduce your guests to some of the best modern reggae around. Although perhaps not strictly electro, Uplifting Riddim has enough stomach-trembling bass and decidedly tidy rhythms to warrant an inclusion in this month’s Dirty Dancing. Basically, I make the rules, OK?

As upbeat as the name suggests, this is finely crafted reggae party music at its very, very best.

Album: Royksopp – Late Night Tales (Late Night Tales)

Royksopp's album Melody AM was one of the albums that first got me in to electronic music, and after a year or two under the radar, I was pretty interested to see what Late Night Tales would involve.

Stylish and sublime from the outset, bonafide electro arrangements may be a little thin on the ground here, but the album more than makes up for this by providing an intimate view of the influences and musical loves of the duo. Expect big names, exclusive Royksopp releases and past classics to feature highly, and if you’re as big a fan of the artists as I am, or just nursing an interest in electro music’s history and background, you’ll want to track this down.

Album: Riva Starr – Hand in Hand (Snatch!)

For your monthly dose of spectacular electro-pop, Riva Starr ticks all the boxes. Usually, it has to be said, I find this type of stuff a little on the light side (give me a devastating bass line and ear-damaging synth hook any day!) but in the case of Hand in Hand, things are a little different.

Completely engaging from the word go, the opening tracks carry elements not only of quality pop, but also sounds that might have been taken directly from the likes of Joy Division or The Cure, as melancholy lyrics blend with more-than-a-little-bit retro synth and light percussion. By track four, the pace picks up and the album becomes a much more energy filled affair, before swooping back down to tracks with titles such as 'Detox Blues'.

Just keeping up with the highs and lows of this slightly bi-polar work will keep you on your toes, but ultimately, it’s a brilliantly produced, shamelessly individual 15 tracks that should be guaranteed to entertain.

EP: SLDGHMR – Reset (Always Never Records)

What was I saying about ear damaging bass?! Playing Reset through a decent PA system, a couple of 12 inch subs or those ridiculously expensive headphones you bought yourself when you told yourself you were becoming a DJ, is basically a recipe for disaster. As the name sort of suggests, SLDGHMR throw in bucketloads of bass and follow it up with razorsharp synth, mind-warping tempo changes and a sh*t load of intensity!

I love this from start to finish - with the first two tracks providing much of the energy and the maximum audio punishment, and the tail end of the EP slowing things down a little with some smoother offerings.

Album: Various Artists – Future Disco Presents Poolside Sounds Vol 2 (Needwant)

Suitably chilled, high class electronica; good for relaxing (by a, eh ... pool probably) or for the calming effects required when trying to remember what happened last night. As always with the Future Disco lot, the range of artists is impressive and eclectic and the track listing intelligently picked. Well worth a second look if you happen across it in the local record store.

Album: Basement Freaks – Funk From the Trunk (Jalapeno Records)

Music like this can’t get much cooler. As suggested in the name, Funk From the Trunk is a funk–laden party epic with plenty of bass and super-crisp vocals thrown in for good measure. From the harmonica-filled deep south offering of 'Blues Thang' to the easy going 'Last Train', this plays out like a greatest hits, and inspires and connects with the listener like few other artists. This has beats you’d have to be dead not to want to dance to.

EP: Rituel – DEUX (Micronautics)

A cross of vaguely Aztec tribal influences and deep space exploratory sounds are married perfectly to form DEUX. A particularly energised brand of deep house, this will be a new sound to many, and if you are into your house in a big way, or are just nurturing an interest, this will be something of an education. Perfect for those euphoric, sweaty Ibiza nights, the overall feeling screams lasers and dry ice, and there are plenty of put-your-hands-up moments to enjoy.

In addition to the three main tracks, there are radio edits and numerous instrumentals to play with included in the EP. No remixes however, but perhaps providing instrumentals is Rituel’s way of saying ‘that’s up to you?’

Album: Congo Natty – Jungle Revolution (Big Dada)

Heavy, heavy reggae-tinged dub with mind blowing vocals and a jungle-esque bass line. Definitely one for the crowded nightclubs, this is jump around music and then some. I get goosebumps just imagining losing it to this at around one in the morning in the middle of a jam–packed club with the speakers turned all the way up. Dirty dancing at its very, very best!

Album: Various Artists – Defected in the House presents Ibiza 2013 (Defected)

Super sexy house from carefully selected masters of the genre. Defected prove their house music worth yet again with 3 CDs of tunes to kick start the party season. Many of the old hands feature – Nick Curly and Flashmob for example - but keep an eye out for the new faces and their very worthy offerings.

Quick 'n Dirty:

Album: Various Artists – Soul Clap Presents: Dancing on the Charles – A Boston electronic music story (Soul Clap Records)

Mellow funk and dance hand-picked by the more-than-capable Soul Clap Record label.

EP: KDNZ – Jungle Death (Vertigo Records)

Weird, but suitably heavy, expect big things from Kid Noise in the future.

EP: Sebastien San – Ab Initio 03 (Ab Initio)

Progressive minimalism from across the channel reminds us that the French can do so much more than those delicious little pastries.

That’s all for this month folks. I hope this has further enhanced your musical knowledge (or at least killed half an hour). As always, feel free to get in touch via the Dirty Dancing Twitter page and I’ll do my best to answer all fan mail!

Don’t forget to check out the new Dirty Talk Column and keep an eye out for the next edition – appearing soon!

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