Die Popkolumne aus London
From Balearic Beats to Ghostly Dubstep
Now, as everyone knows October and September are always big months for music with huge bands releasing their latest albums to massive fanfare. As such we can expect new albums by Muse, Green Day and No Doubt. But we’re not going to review this type of music here! Why? Well, mostly it is because these albums are usually rubbish, living off past glories, while trying in vain to make up for the complete and utter absence of soul in their songs by over-emoting, over-producing and over-making me feel a little bit sick. By JOHN BITTLES
So no, this is where I make a stand in this Raymond Carver short story which we foolishly call life and say »You may have fluttered your eyelashes in my direction a few times, but your later stuff is shit, and I shall have no truck with it anymore!« Instead I shall be joyfully highlighting some new releases which have excited, soothed, and kept me jovial company over these last few darkened weeks.
First up is the delicious I Feel compilation coming out on International Feel on October 8th. And now that the summer is officially over we really need albums like this with their Balearic brilliance if just to remind us exactly how great this season can be. Even while walking through London with my soaked umbrella being battered by the wind it was amazing that, listening to this, I could almost feel the warmth of the sun on my pale forlorn face. Taking in elements of House, Techno, Dub and all sorts of fun-filled styles I urge everyone to go out and buy this wonderful 2CD comp upon release.
Similarly sunny is the new album on Gomma, Moullinex by Flora which through sheer force of will managed to make me erupt into a huge beaming smile. Its 13 songs are stuffed with funk-filled licks and choruses to die for and I challenge you to listen to tunes such as Take my Pain Away and not raise your hands in joy. Rumour has it that the songs contained within are now being scrutinised by medical professionals to see if they are a better cure for depression than antidepressants. That’s the type of doctor I’d like to see: »Just listen to this album three times a day and see if the symptoms persist«.
In October Matt Tolfrey hits us with Word of Mouth and in my humble opinion no-one has given us an album of such beautiful deepness since the glory days of Charles Webster. Really, for me, there is no greater compliment. With basslines to die for, tracks such as Never Assume, Mission to Paradise, and Not so Little appeal directly to your heart while insistently tugging at your feet. Featuring the vocal talents of James Teej and Marshall Jefferson among others this is a timeless house music album that people will be listening to for many years to come.
Next up is a wonderful techno album from those lovely people at Ostgut Ton. Transsektoral by Barker & Baumecker features the type of techno that geeks like me have wet dreams about. With depth, funk and melody, tunes such as Trafo, Tranq and Silo truly engage the listener with layer after layer of sound. My usual main gripe with the so-called Berghain sound is the lack of warmth and melody, which in my humble opinion takes techno music back to the bad old days of rooms full of sweaty men with their tops off jumping up and down relentlessly to furious beats. This is not my idea of a good time. Thankfully this collection of songs dispels my prejudice perfectly. Sounding not unlike the wonderful album by Steffi which came out on the same label last year this is the type of music which can make delicate souls like me, and countless ladies, get up on the dance-floor.
Other recent techno releases to note include the new Jori Hulkkonen album Negative Time just out on My Favorite Robot. Deep propulsive tunes are the order of the day for a collection of quality house and techno that works equally well at a club or at home. I’m also loving the new album by Daniel Stefanik out on Cocoon. Seriously every time I put it on I can’t stop grooving. I did an experiment by inviting some elderly neighbours for coffee and put the album on and within five minutes we had a full blown rave going on. Good times! Confidence is out now.
For those poor unfortunates who wish to overdose on funky goodness I would suggest checking out two stunning releases from the party people over at Comeme. First up is Free by Alejandro Paz. Four tracks of dirty synth delight. Pick of the bunch for me is New Guy in Town with its insanely catchy chorus. In Free Alejandro implores that he wants to be free »To sing in English and Spanish«. With tacks this good he can sing in any language he wants. In and Out is the new album by Daniel Maloso also on Comeme and out on October 22nd. With ten tracks of dance-floor gold that simply demand that you get up and boogie, this may well be one of the party albums of the year.
Mark E is surely one of the greatest producers of this time. Project E which is his new alias treats us to a new three track EP called Megacity which came out on Merc on the 24th of September. From Italo Disco to 80s synth pop the influences come thick and fast to create a fresh and vibrant listening experience. Seriously, if you haven’t heard any Mark E yet then now might just be the time to begin.
For those who want something a little bit chilled may I suggest the new album by The XX. Coexist has just come out and made me very happy by maintaining the high standard set by their debut. Ghostly dubstep vibes lurk in the background of songs about loss, loneliness and love. Perfect music for gazing out the window on a grey Autumn day! And who doesn’t like a bit of that?
Michael Mayer is someone who should need no introduction. A living legend and one of the good guys of the House and Techno world. His new album Mantasy (the music is better than the title, trust me) is out on Kompakt on the 22nd of October. Starting out grooving with tracks such as Lamusetwa, and Wrong Lap the pace and momentum builds until Voigt Kampff Test and Neue Furche blow things up. A true album listening experience, and closing with the uplifting vibes of Good Times is absolute genius. Read next week to see a full interview with Michael where we’ll be discussing the album in depth.
Thanks for reading.
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