Dirty Dancing: November 2013

Greetings Dirty Dancers! We’ve got a bit of an EP fest for you this time around, with new material from the likes of Kraak and Smaak and Cadien, and of course the big new release from Andy C (ear defenders at the ready)! We’re drawing close to the end of 2013, and, as the wind up to Christmas begins, this lot should keep you energised through those many, many drunken nights out passed off as festive gatherings. Enjoy!

Single: Andy C – Haunting/Workout (RAM)

For a single that has had more than its fair share of excitement surrounding its release, it’s a relief to discover that 'Haunting' more than lives up to the hype. Expect deafening drum and bass with razor sharp synth and an almost uncontrollable energy.

B-side Workout picks up the tempo slightly and ramps up the tension with some ear-splittingly high synth effects before dropping a bass line that threatened to damage the absurdly expensive speakers that I’ve just treated myself to!

EP: Matthus Raman – Simple Day (Tenth Circle)

Shortened from 'A Simple Day for a Hero' (who says I can’t do dance music trivia?), Simple Day is an almost introspective piece of house music centring on some wiry synth effects and leaving much of the bass to the imagination.

Good perhaps for a solid warm up set or for those nights when you need to create a bit of mood instead of just forcing bass down clubber’s throats, it’s an interesting experiment in what can be produced when house music turns inward. B-side 'Dear Fairy' for me, was a little less inspiring, and goes for an even more minimalistic approach.

EP: Punks Jump Up – Fairlight

Old school disco aficionados will want to give this a listen. Although my own youth was not that long ago (relatively speaking!) music styles have moved on sufficiently since then to allow me to feel justified in calling 'Fairlight' an example of how things sounded in the ‘good old days’ of electronica.

Currently up as a free download on Soundcloud, make sure you check out the alternative club mix which manages to bring the track up to the modern day without plastering dubstep noises everywhere and obscuring it with a giant picture of David Guetta holding a woman dressed as a sexy rabbit.

Album: Andy C/Various Artists – Nightlife (RAM)

Whenever I open my inbox and see a message from the guys at RAM, I get a little twinge of excitement - and this time was no different. Spread over three CDs and mixed by the D&B master that is Andy C himself, Nightlife plays like a drum and bass greatest hits album, with offerings from DC Breaks, Stealth and Neo making up just three of 100+ tracks. Ear damaging bass is what it’s all about, and Nightlife delivers on an apocalyptic scale.

EP: Boofy – Nank (Tumble Audio)

Grimy, urban underground electro is the name of the game here, transporting you to a place you’d rather not be seen in by respectable people. Garage-esque bass lines mingle shadily with gravelly synth, creating a scene much akin to an illegal rave in the midst of uncontrollable urban decay.

Yet, whilst this is not the type of music your mum raised you to listen to, the Nank EP is well worth getting hold of, both for the title track and for b-side 'Warzone' which is my personal favourite.

Artist of the Month

EP: Until the Ribbon Breaks – A Taste of Silver (Republic Records)

I’d actually never heard of Until the Ribbon Breaks up until now, but the Taste of Silver EP is, in fact something a little bit special. True, the blend of live instrumentation strays at times into something other than electronica, and, in parts, there’s not much of a bass line to speak of, but there’s so much feeling, drama and imagery crammed into these five tracks that we can forgive all the other minor shortcomings.

Listening to A Taste of Silver is something akin to watching a Studio Ghibli animation – you’re always a little bemused, but the overall effect is simply amazing.

EP: Sonny Fodera feat. Amber Jolene – Hold it Down (Soul Heaven)

Soulful house with plenty of modern flavour thrown in, 'Hold it Down' keeps the bass lines simple and focuses instead on creating sublime melodies and vocal samples to overlay it with. Despite being impressed with the original version, I preferred the Cause and Effect remix which somehow makes the whole thing sound a little more… sexy. Which can only be a good thing, right?

Album: Kraak and Smaak – Chrome Waves (Jalapeno)

Kraak and Smaak have been at what I can only describe as the forefront of electronic music for pretty much the past year. With albums following EPs following singles, mixes and more EPs, the masters of dance/funk/electro seem to currently have boundless creative energy when it comes to a decent synth track or a catchy vocal riff.

Trademark rhythms establish themselves early on, but many of the tracks here have a more mature feel to them (for example 'How We Gonna Stop the Time') than some of the past works which is actually quite refreshing. Favourite tracks for me included 'Good for the City' and 'Where You Been', with the guys getting the cowbells involved. As the first track suggests, for KaS, it’s looking like the future really is theirs.

Single: Cadien – Miracles (Jalapeno)

Combining one of the coolest pieces of cover art I’ve seen for a while with some impressively epic synth, Cadien sets the track to a breakbeat tempo and turns the whole thing up to eleven. If this doesn’t grab you right from the start, there’s something seriously wrong! The deep, moody start weighed down with oppressive synth is dispelled abruptly by a euphoric drop that should have every single party goer in the club on their feet.

Quick Fixes:

Single: NiCe7 – Bassline Soldiers (DFTD)
Plenty of energy here! Various remixes of last year’s big tune.

Album: Various Artists – Above the City (Culprit)
Sublime party music from the heart of Los Angeles and fresh off the Culprit label.

Album: Various Artists - Jalapeno House Vol. 3 (Jalapeno Records)
High standards of house are delivered by the ever-dependable Jalapeno guys.

Single: The Swiss – Kiss to Kiss (Kitsune)
Interesting and uplifting electro/pop featuring a remix from Breakbot.

That’s all for this month folks! As I mentioned earlier, the festive season is rapidly approaching. Of course, every day feels like Christmas to me what with the enormous amounts of awesome (and sometimes not so awesome!) electronica cascading into my inbox, and it’s a genuine pleasure to hand pick some of the very best bits and showcase them on this column.

Keep an eye out over the coming Christmas period for my round up of the year’s releases with the 'Dirty Dozen' – my top tracks from 2013, and as always, feel free to drop me a line over on Twitter. Until next time, don’t stay in…

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