A selection of images from our recent shoot with Tim Dunk at locations in and around the city of Leeds >>>>
This August, we’re bringing you one of our most diverse, high-octane and party ready bills to date! Make sure you’ve got your dancing shoes ready for this one…
Hailing from Leeds, Galaxians have been busy wowing crowds at festivals like Beacons and Bluedot with their dynamic, lively mixture of funk, house and space disco. Since the addition of vocalist Emma Mason, their live show has become even more immersive, and with new studio material on the way, we’re delighted to be bringing Galaxians back to Newcastle after a three year gap for this special summer headline slot.
One of the most in-demand names in north-east hip-hop, Kay Greyson had built a formidable reputation on the back of shows with the likes of Pharoahe Monch as well as last year’s Morning After Music mixtape. Get excited for this one!
Having amazed us (and plenty of others) at Evolution Emerging this year, Jennifer Walton’s opening set is not one to be missed. Although relatively new to live performance, her intricate and dazzling productions have already been making waves nationally. The future is now.
PLUS: Endless Window DJ after the live acts until late, playing…
BROADCAST / THE FALL / MY BLOODY VALENTINE / ST VINCENT / THEE OH SEES / GHOSTPOET / EAST INDIA YOUTH / STEREOLAB / FKA TWIGS / THE CRAMPS / CHROMATICS / WIRE / NICK CAVE / PJ HARVEY / SLEATER-KINNEY / CAPTAIN BEEFHEART / THE AVALANCHES / DEATH GRIPS / TALKING HEADS / RUN THE JEWELS / ROBYN / MAGAZINE / MELT YOURSELF DOWN / JANELLE MONAE / WILD BEASTS / CATE LE BON / OMD / FACTORY FLOOR / D’ANGELO / SIOUXIE AND THE BANSHEES / DAVID BOWIE / EMA / SLEAFORD MODS / ROXY MUSIC / SAVAGES / PIXIES / THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS / DEVO / KATE BUSH / THE MONKS / DEERHUNTER / PREOCCUPATIONS / PANDA BEAR / GANG OF FOUR / CHVRCHES / SONIC YOUTH / LONELADY / GALLON DRUNK / HEALTH / XTC / JOY DIVISION / BATTLES / THE GUN CLUB / KRAFTWERK / LIARS / RAMONES / DEERHOOF / THE VELVET UNDERGROUND / CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS / M.I.A. / DJANGO DJANGO / GALLON DRUNK / THE SONICS / DAN DEACON / OUTFIT / LUKE HAINES / CLINIC / PUBLIC IMAGE LIMITED / THE SLITS / ANOHNI / YEAH YEAH YEAHS / AND SO MUCH MORE…
£6 on the door, 7:30pm until late.
Host Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/endlesswindow/
Stargaze Records Presents….
(Night School // Glasgow)
(Dither Down // Leeds)
1 more tbc
Amor is a new quartet based largely in Glasgow, consisting of Richard Youngs, Luke Fowler, Michael Francis Duch and Paul Thomson (Franz Ferdinand / Yummy Fur). AMOR is a master-class in blissful, searching, avant-disco fuelled by telepathic ensemble playing and an untouchable, higher joy.
Recorded predominantly at Glasgow’s Green Door and mixed by Golden Teacher/The Modern Institute-member Richard McMaster, both tracks edge the 14 minute mark, slices of ecstasy seemingly hewn from a band deep in the Zone. Mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy Studios, the balance between hefty, bass-thick kicks and crisp percussion, an elastic double bass that lends a bounce to proceedings and floating piano chords recalls a warped take on Philadelphia International Records, a version of Can decimating the disco charts of late 70s USA. Paradisebegins with a proto-house kick drum and Paul Thomson’s inescapably funky percussion, inviting Duch’s bass into the mix. Fowler’s subtle electronic touches set up some of the most open-hearted, love-infected vocals Richard Youngs has ever set to tape. Guided through various drops and ecstatic highs by ceaselessly inventive rhythm composition, the listener is elevated to several plains, to different levels and spirits. In Love An Arc, arguably goes deeper. Jane Sayer’s guest violin scrapes us in, with formless shapes polluting the stereo field until a plaintive piano chord pattern brings us into the groove. Sounding like a lost spirit looking through the glass darkly, Youngs’ vocal is melancholic and truthful. Fowler’s synth playing evolves upward, duetting with the stringed instruments’ deep excursions into the night.
While these are only the first recordings by AMOR, the members have separate exceptional histories in modern music. Richard Youngs has a 140+ long discography covering any number of musics often invented by Youngs himself, while Luke Fowler is an award winning film-maker and visual artist, as well as an electronic musician in his own right. Paul Thomson is a drummer and percussionist with Franz Ferdinand and The Yummy Fur and Michael Francis Duch is a double bassist based in Norway with deep roots in the world of improvisation and minimalist composition. Most importantly, however, is that this is the sound of a band, as one.
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be playing at the amazing Bluedot Festival at Jodrell Bank again this year!
We’ll be hitting the Nebula stage at 11pm on 8 July.
Bluedot is a weekend of music, science, arts, technology, culture, food and film underneath the iconic Lovell Telescope.
Last year we had the privilege of playing at exactly the same time as Jean-Michel Jarre! We also really enjoyed playing with buddies Cowtown, The Girl Sweat Pleasure Temple Ritual Band and Lonelady.
This year we’re excited to be playing with Xam Duo, The Girl Sweat Please Temple Ritual Band (again!), Post War Glamour Girls, Mi Mye and plenty more from the other side of the Pennines.
- Phil Gerus – If Not, My Eyes Closed (Lumberjacks Boogie, 2016)
Released on Netherlands label Lumberjacks Boogie last year, this track from Russian producer Phil Gerus is what you might call “the shit”!
One of four tracks from the ‘Lumberjacks Boogie vol. 2’ EP, all of which are totally banging. There’s no other word to describe them, really. You need it in your collection – buy it now!
- ABCF – Phantom (Future Vision World, 2016)
ABCF = A Band Called Flash. Executive produced by legendary house producer Ron Trent (check his 1995 classic from ‘The Nature of Retribution EP’ here), this is a great modern boogie number that channels elements of French house with soulful vocals, slap bass and synths.
- Tomas Malo – Love Stoned (Whiskey Disco, 2013)
An innovative, thoughtful and respectful rework of Kashif’s 1982 classic ‘Stoned Love’, which stays true to the original by taking original elements from the track and sensitively rearranging them. Normally, I would never tolerate any kind of messing around with a Kashif track, but this track is so expertly crafted that it had to be included on the mix. Released in 2013 on the ‘Future Lovers EP’ from re-edit label Whiskey Disco.
- Tyka Nelson – L.O.V.E. (Shep Pettibone Dance Mix) (Chrysalis, 1988)
Tyka Nelson is the late great Prince’s sister, and unsurprisingly also a great musician. This track was produced by boogie/disco producer Shep Pettibone, and is full of tasty synths, 808 drum machines and more.
- Jiraffe – Out’a The Box (Crazy Club Dub Mix) (GoldQwest Records, 1988)
Co-produced by Richie Weeks from Weeks and Co and The Jammers, this is a super lo-fi garage house track originally released on the budget GoldQwest Records in 1988 before being reissued on Italian label Omaggio last year. Lots of stuff going on here – drum machines distorted through the four track, crunchy synths and a nod-along kick. What is this box they’re on about, though?
- Claude Jay – Love Is The Answer (Purple Majic Records, 1986)
Yes! Love REALLY IS the answer. What a track, and how important to have this playing REALLY LOUD as much as possible these days! Claude Jay is a New York-based singer and producer, and this track was released on the obscure Purple Majic Records in 1986. The production quality on this track is superb – the gospel-style choir really tugs at the heartstrings! It deserves a re-release and Claude Jay deserves our huge thanks for this superb track.
- Anthony Lockett – Decisions (Boogie Times Records 2011, originally released 1983)
Anthony Lockett is a member of Cameo (of ‘Word Up’ fame) and is a guitarist and producer. French label Boogie Times Records (recently defunct as of 2014) re-released this track in 2011.
- Hall Boys Organisation – Send In The Groove (Studio Records, 1985)
Not sure who the Hall Boys Organisation were, but they were probably funky robots who had a synth fetish, because that’s what this sounds like. It’s all about the synths and the drum machines and that 100% electronic crusing groove. Released on Maryland-based Studio Records in 1985. Wind down those windows and crawl down the palm tree avenues…
- Colorblind – Crazy (Capitol Records, 1984)
Colorblind were a modern soul band who released one album and single on Capitol in 1984. Some sweet little riffs and close harmonies dominate in this track. It almost sounds like it could have been a 80s Four Tops or O’Jays production, such is the the quality of the recording.
- Affinity – Pick Me Up (Rock Me Non-Stop) (Pow Wow Records, 1986)
Synth bass, drum machines and a kind of loose production that makes this a garage house/boogie crossover track. Affinity also released another great track (a boogie number called ‘Don’t Go Away’ on Mango Records in 1983), but this is a steady banger released at the period where house music was beginning to become a thing in the US. Pow Wow Records are also known for releasing Serious Intention’s classic ‘Serious’ in 1986 – another proto-house track with lots of influences on the likes of Easy Street Records, Strictly Rhythm and more.
Super Friendz & Youth Club Sounds Collaborate On Mixtape
From I Like Press press release…
With the Collaborationz project, the promoting team behind Belgrave Music Hall and Headrow House, Super Friendz, wanted to take the opportunity to celebrate the people and partnerships that make the North an exciting place to collaborate. One collaboration will be launched each month with each having its own focus on a different partnership, the aim is to highlight the diverse range of talent being cultivated in the North at this moment in time.
The first three months of 2017 will see Super Friendz and the venues partner up with the likes of Youth Club Sounds, Welcome Skate Store and Alphabet Brewing Co. Details of each collaboration will be released quarterly and each will be produced on limited release and available for one month only.
The first collaboration to see the light of day will be a 16 track mixtape put together in conjunction with Leeds label Youth Club Sounds, featuring a host of Leeds’ artists including Krrum, Caro, Denmarc Creary & Izzy Flynn, and Galaxians. Harris Hameed who has received heavy rotation from the BBC Asian network, and producer/multi-instrumentalist Dulahli who’s chopped and screwed hip-hop has seen his added to this years Soundwave festival.
Youth Club Sounds continue the grand tradition of Leeds’ Hyde Park area sitting at the beating heart of its underground and DIY music community. Youth Club Sounds’ Robbie Russell explains their beginnings “We started Youth Club about 18 months ago, for fairly selfish reasons. We simply wanted to hear the music we loved on big speakers. It opened a door for us to start introducing the city to new music, influenced by the experimental Soundcloud beat scene, fusing together aspects of Atlanta trap, New York hip hop, grime and dance music.”
Youth Club Sounds were approached by Super Friendz to become a part of the Collaborationz project. “Having the opportunity to work with Super Friendz has been immense, as they’re always willing to commit to pushing the Leeds scene, facilitating shows with cutting-edge musicians and given local talent a stage to cut their teeth on. This release is about showing the city off, condensing the best of Leeds new wave onto a nicely packaged cassette tape.”
The Super Friendz / Youth Club Sounds Mixtape will be available from Crash & Jumbo Records in Leeds and available to listen to on Soundcloud from the 28th January.
Ben Lewis – Head Booker, Super Friendz:
“Leeds has always had praise heaped on its guitar music, but right now there’s a really exciting scene coming up of producers, multi-instrumentalists and MC’s, what we’re doing with this mixtape is wanting to shine a light on some of these artists and the forward thinking, progressive music they’re making. We’ve teamed up with Youth Club Sounds to help curate the tape as they’ve been at the forefront of pushing Leeds’ nightlife in the last few months and have really nurtured a stable of artists, many of whom can be found on this mix.”
Krrum – Blessing In A Black Dress
Denmarc Creary – Rollin’ Remix Ft Dialect
Peakes – Pray For You
Caro – Cold Comfort
Jason Everest – Island
Duhlahli – All I’m Doing Is Fortune Tellin’
Harris Hameed – Let’s Go
Galaxians – Street Level
Loyal Hardware – On You
Moegli – U A Freak
Izzy Flynn – Gracious
Kaluax – Into U
The Northaze – Azorian
Raymond’s Child – Kohaku
Georgia Thursting – Take it out on me
Paya – One
Leeds Print Festival / Room 237 / Recon present..
Jessy Lanza (Hyperdub, Can)
April 1st 2017
£10 Advance (separate ticket to the Leeds Print Festival talks, joint tickets will be available in early 2017).
“a gorgeous and deadly pop music manifesto” – Pitchfork
“a formidable contender in contemporary electronic music.” – Spin 8/10
“upended R&B beamed down from outer space” – NME ****
“there could be a bona fide pop star in Jessy Lanza yet.” – The Guardian ****
#4 2016 Album Of The Year – The Quietus
#11 2016 Album Of The Year – Resident Advisor
Jessy Lanza is a producer and singer who comes from Hamilton Ontario, but studied music at Concordia in Montreal. Her debut album which she recorded with partner Jeremy Greenspan from Junior Boys ‘Pull My Hair Back’, came out in 2013 to almost universal praise, she was featured in Guardian, Times, Dazed and Confused, Wonderland, Pitchfork, Fader and more, and performed on KCRW, arte.tv in Europe and Channel 4 in the UK.
She has toured with Cut Copy and toured the world with Caribou, as well as contributing a song to his 2015 album.
In 2015 she also recorded singles with DJ Spinn and Morgan Geist as well as being short listed for the Polaris prize 2014 and performed on Canadian TV.
The first single from her album ‘Oh No’ ;’It Means I Love You’ was released in January 2016 to an excited audience and was immediately picked up for ‘Best New Music’ at Pitchfork, and was featured on ‘New Music Friday’ with Apple. Spotify and Tidal.
GALAXIANS are Jed Skinner (synths // programming) and Matt Woodward (acoustic drums // programming). The pair met in Leeds and played their first show as Galaxians in 2012. Their rise to prominence as an exciting live dance act has been swift.
In 2016, vocalist Emma Mason joined Galaxians. Emma’s stunning vocal delivery – reminiscent of Gwen Guthrie and other powerful female soul singers – appears on on four new songs, ‘Street Level’, ‘Subway Dancers’, ‘How Do U Feel?’ and ‘Worldwide Experience’.
Taking their cues from classic labels such as SAM, TRAX, Sleeping Bag, and Street Sounds, and producers such as Leroy Burgess and John Morales, Galaxians fuse 80s drum machine sounds with acoustic drums and analog synthesizers played live. Their live shows have earned them a reputation as an exciting and joyous spectacle, with the soulful energy of both the human hand and heart always at the forefront of their live sets.
Galaxians have shared stages with acts such as Tom Tom Club, The Juan Maclean, Golden Teacher, Zombie Zombie, Discodeine, Horse Meat Disco, Auntie Flo, Bodybeat, Marklion, You Man, Ultramagnetic MCs and Ital. They have toured the UK and Europe extensively since 2012.
“The spirit of disco is alive and well in Yorkshire. A two-piece consisting of Matt Woodward (drums) and Jed Skinner (synths), the house-influenced duo tear up every show they play, regardless of who they’re billed with. A room full of indie kids, a room full of disco lovers, a room full of punks – they all fall hard for the Galaxians party.”
The new outfit formed by Matthew Benn of Hookworms and Christopher Duffin of Deadwall. Their recent release on Sonic Cathedral brings tracks of improvised ambient beauty are both meditative and peaceful. It is astral jazz with an experimental kosmische undercurrent; modular synths meet saxophones; Cluster meets Terry Riley; Laurie Spiegel meets Pharoah Sanders; Ohr meets Impulse!.
XAM was originally Matthew’s solo project, the name borrowed from the closing song of latter-day Dusseldorf-via-Detroit cult classic ‘Subway II’. He recorded a number of tracks at home between Hookworms albums in 2014 which were released last year as the ‘Tone Systems’ EP on Deep Distance. Following the EP’s release, there were offers to play live, solo, for the first time.
Christopher says he approaches each song as a “mini-soundtrack to an imaginary film that doesn’t exist yet” and reveals that, while he was practising at home, he played along to clips of ‘There Will Be Blood’, ‘Mulholland Drive’ and ‘Synecdoche, New York’ to get the requisite atmosphere. Live sets are also completely improvised, meaning no two shows are ever the same.
Manchester’s “night of live electronic music and ritual dancing” Space Cassette welcomes Galaxians to their first party of 2017.
The event takes place at Manchester’s Mantra Warehouse on 10 February and features Toulouse resident Julien Chastagnol aka Ruby My Dear, and SC residents Age of Glass.
Along with Manchester’s Hidden – also something of a cult amongst it’s attendees – the organisers of Space Cassette are reshaping Manchester’s long established club and party culture by fashioning a genuine alternative and reforming the template for rave culture in the city.
“Space Cassette combines live electronic music, theatrical happenings, conceptual elements and warehouse raving to bring a new hybrid party to Manchester”
Tickets available at:
We’re excited to announce the first of two Galaxians releases for 2017…..
‘Out They Minds’ 12 (Dither Down Records // Brooklyn)
Release date: 23.01.17
A) Out They Minds – Original Mix
B) Out They Minds – SIREN Remix
Dither Down Records, founded by Brooklyn resident Tim Wagner (Sunrise Highway // 33hz) and Chad Chicus Snyder (Redbud Records) presents DD024, our second release on the New York label after Personal Disco Component in 2015.
Recorded and mixed at the former Ghost Town studio in Leeds by Ross Halden, and mastered in New York by legendary masterer Herb Powers Jr.
Available now online and in selected stores.
The theme this month is: obscure modern soul.
Jed takes us through December’s mix. We give thanks to the uploaders of YouTube, without which this wouldn’t have been possible (due to the fact that some of these records are long out of print/are prohibitively expensive). Enjoy!
- Keni C. – Find Someone (To Love You)
Insanely rare 45 which will set you back about $300 if you ever come across it. There’s hardly any information on this release online, so I’ve pieced together what I can and made a few educated guesses.
It was released on Space City Records at some point in the 1980s. Space City is a nickname for Houston, so it’s possible that this record was released there.
The label states that it was produced by Tom Burton III – who also appears, according to Discogs, as a horn player on another record in 1982 (released by The Sound Of Brooklyn). So, about 1982 would be my best guess as to the year of release for this.
The label also states that it was produced by Robert ‘Baba’ Lyles, who could be Bobby Lyles, the keyboard player with Young-Holt Unlimited. He currently resides in Houston so it wouldn’t be out of the question to assume he was involved with this record’s production.
- Marc Reed – One Body
Released on London-based 20/20 Records in 1986. Apparently this is Marc Reed’s only release – a 12” single (surely there’s an album out there?)
Produced by Lenny Fearon, who had some success with the Brit-Funk group Galaxy in 1982 with ‘Head Over Heels’ and in 1983 with ‘Dancing Tight’.
The bassline is reminiscent of Steve Harvey’s classic ‘Tonight’, which you should totally check out.
- UDM – To Please You
Not, in fact, the Union of Democratic Mineworkers, but a track written by three members of the disco/boogie group Rhyze (check out their classic ‘Just How Sweet Is Your Love’). Those guys were Leon Stuckey, Roscoe Taylor and Ellsworth Anderson. I have no idea why they’re called UDM…anyone else?
Released on Kadabra Records in 1983, this is apparently the only release on that label. Not sure why, because Rhyze were pretty well-known on the scene by this point and were signed to SAM Records and then 20th Century Fox Records.
Maybe they couldn’t handle the funk.
- Tchukon – Too Late
According to Discogs:
“Canadian modern soul group … one of the finalists for the televised Star Search talent contest in 1986. Tchukon is Warren ‘Slim’ Williams, Kathleen Dyson-Oliver, Harold Fischer, Ingrid Stitt and Eric Roberts”.
So there you go.
‘Too Late’ is a track from their album ‘Here and Now’, released in 1987 on Aquarius Records.
- Vickie McKisic – Burnin’ Hot
Released in 1986 on Atlanta-based HoMark Records.
Discogs has a good inventory of their releases, going back to the early 70s, so it seems that this is a soul label that moved with the times and went electro in the mid-80s.
This seems to be Vickie McKisic’s only release, although she is still performing around the Atlanta area today.
- Smoke City & Starr – Lots of Love
Chicago-based soul band Smoke City released this in 1986 on Empie Records. Previously they’d had a couple of releases on Epic Records, and they released an album on Epic in 1985.
This was meant to be from a second album, but was never released. The marvels of Facebook mean that we can now find out why, from former bass player Mike Sterling:
“The Epic contract was only for the one LP. Before I left the band in 1986 (the LP was released in 1985), [manager] Emmet Gardner told me that the next Smoke City project would be focused on the female lead vocalist, Starr.
“He said that it is much easier to promote one person instead of a band and at that time many well-known groups were pushing their lead vocalists to solo projects”.
Sadly that second album never came out, and the band appear to have split shortly after this track was released.
- The Connection – Keep Your Front Door Open
Three-piece vocal group The Connection hooked up with songwriter John Glover (The Four Tops, The Dells, The Supremes) to produce this soulful slow jam.
Released on Detroit-based R&R Records in 1986.
- Monica Mason – No More Weekend Girl
Produced by singer/songwriter Harvey Scales, this track has all the hallmarks of a smash hit.
Released on Georgia-based Gunsmoke Records in 1986, its small-label distribution might help explain why this didn’t get the exposure that it clearly deserved.
Monica Mason is still performing in the Atlanta area today, though, and this track is testament to her vocal skills.
- William Bostic – What You Do To Me
Released on SOR Records (Sound of Richmond Records) in 1983, this is a lo-fi boogie banger. And that’s Richmond, California. Not Yorkshire.
- The Futures – Let’s Get To It
Another super-expensive record. Currently, there’s one for sale on Discogs going for just under £500. Which is daft. So here it is on this mix, instead.
Released in 1982 on Warped Records (not Warp!), this features a lot of session musucians who were active in the Philly Soul scene in the mid-70s through to the mid-80s, including some of Dexter Wansel’s backing band.
The ridiculous price is because this has never been repressed, and released on a minor label despite it featuring some big names. It’s also dope. Supply and demand!
- Clarence Jackson – Wrap It Up
Like The Connection (track 7), this was produced with Detroit-based songwriter John Glover.
Released on R&R Record’s sister label RR Records in 1984, it’s all about THAT BASS. So deep!
- Pause – It’s Just Amazing
It’s just amazing that this was never released on anything beyond a white label. A white label! Can you believe it?
Anyway, this is great soulful jam from the London-based Pause. There’s no information about them anywhere, so here’s a picture of what they looked like in 1987.
13. Ken Chaney – Ready For Your Love
Rapid drum machines, lo-fi production. Released in 1985 on Philly-based Tempre Records. Co-written by Eugene Curry, synth player in Redd Holt Unlimited (before they changed their name to Young-Holt Unlimited).
It should be noted that Eugene Curry, as well as playing on this record, also appears on the classic ‘Love Sensation’ by Loleatta Holloway.
Jed talks us through some of the tracks from this month’s Galaxians mix.
Connie – Experience (Dub) (Sunnyview, 1986)
Connie, aka Consuelo Piriz, was mainly active in the mid-80s, releasing material on the New York-based Sunnyview label. Although it had a NY address, Sunnyview focused its releases on artists from Florida, and this included Connie, a native of the state.
“Experience” was Connie’s second single, released in 1986. It was produced by Amos Larkins in Miami, and features elements typical of the ‘Miami bass’ sound from the period. Connie still performs around the US today.
Craig Paradise Cooper – Boogie Paradise (Trax I) 06:29 (Boogie Paradise Records, 2014)
Craig Paradise Cooper is actually Italy’s Simone Vescovo. Harking back to the classic drum machine/Juno synth production methods of Trax Records, this track was released on Japan’s brilliant Boogie Paradise Records in 2014.
Circuitry – The Firm Funk 11:18 (Unknown; maybe – but probably not – 1985-86)
Who are Circuitry? As far as I can tell, someone uploaded this to the internet, claiming that was an “a demo instrumental from studio sessions in 1985-1986”. Discogs isn’t much more help, either. Maybe it’s always going to be a mystery. My money’s on it being a modern production. Either way, it’s great – 808s, synths and reminiscent of Dam Funk.
Kylie Auldist feat. King Merc – Good Time Girl (Original Mix) 14:25 (Freestyle Records, 2016)
Australian vocalist Kylie Auldist released her album “Family Tree” on London’s Freestyle Records this year, featuring this track with King Merc. Her previous album ‘Still Life’ came out on Tru Thoughts in 2012, which is also home to superb Australian funk band The Bamboos. And as chance would have it, both Audlist and Merc have previously worked with The Bamboos. So it’s good, is what I’m saying…
Gina – Hooked On Your Love 18:38 (NIA Records, 1984)
Cover of the classic Fantastic Aleems track of the same name. And also on the same label, NIA, as the original release. Not as raw as the original 1979 recording, but a great take nonetheless on a boogie classic.
NIA Records were based in New York and basically existed to showcase the many talents of the legendary Leroy Burgess, a central figure in the history of the development of funk, disco and dance music from the 70s through to the 90s.
Although Leroy was in the Fantastic Aleems, and despite being a multi-instrumentalist and immensely talented songwriter, he didn’t write “Hooked On Your Love”. That honour falls to brothers Albert and and Arthur Allen (Arthur sadly died in 2014). Although their names are actually recorded as Taharqa Aleem and Tunde Ra Aleem on the credits for this record, which I think everyone can agree is way cooler.
Who was Gina though?
Gus Pirelli feat. Andre Espeut – Meet In The Middle 24:44 (Gutterfunk, 2015)
Bristol-based DJ Die’s label Gutterfunk released this in 2015. Long sold out, it’s a modern funk masterpiece. Fellow Bristolian producer Gus Pirelli and superb vocalist Andre Espeut pull out all the stops with this shuffling, synth-driven groove – apparently all recorded with original equipment and no samples in sight. If it was 1982, this would be on Top of the Pops…mark my words.
Sho-Nuff – Hold On For Love 29:48 (Jamila Records, 1984)
This 7”, released on Jamila Records in 1984, would set you back about £200 if you looked for it on Ebay. And there’s plenty of reasons why: that synth bass, the super-tight horn section, that vocal hook – it’s all great. And really obscure, which is what we like, obviously.
Sho-Nuff were actually a fairly big band in the 70s – they had albums out on Stax – but by the mid-80s they’d faded from their former glory. Jamila Records was a really minor label, so it must have been a bit of a change to go from the dizzy heights of Stax to issuing the odd limited-press 7” once a year – with it all wrapping up by 1985. And it’s undoubtedly for those reasons that this production sounds so raw, which only adds to its appeal. A great and very underrated track, with exemplary musicianship.
Joan Bibiloni – Migas 34:02 (Blau, 1987)
Joan is a Spanish jazz guitarist, and this track is part of a soundtrack album for an 80s Spanish TV series called ‘Silencio Roto’ (‘Broken Silence’). Released in 1987, this track features tasty DX7s, drum machines and an acceptable amount of synth-jazz-fusion. I’ve no idea what ‘Silencio Roto’ was about, but this track gives my imagination plenty to go on…
Zenit – Waitin’ 38:10 (Spray Records, 1986)
Zenit were an Austrian jazz-funk band, who – of course – were particularly popular in the mid-80s. “Waitin’” is the final track from the 1986 album “Straight Ahead”, written by Zenit’s keyboardist, Hannes Treiber. Treiber actually worked with Donna Summer in the late 80s, with writing credits on her album “All Systems Go”.
Pink Rhythm – Melodies Of Love 43:46 (Beggars Banquet, 1985)
Some of the members of London funk band Freeez formed Pink Rhythm in the mid-80s. “Melodies Of Love” came out in 1985 – it sounds quite Italo in places, but keeps hold of that minimal bassline/drum motif for long enough to drag it firmly back into boogie territory.
T-Kut & Parkway Rhythm – FM Feeling 48:58 (Parkway Records, 2015)
Produced by Mark Seven and released on his Stockholm-based label Parkway Records in 2015. A seamless blend of old and new, with nods to classic ‘FM’ sounds produced by keyboards such as the DX7, old drum machines and strings, but with a modern production aesthetic. Actually a B-side to ‘The Feeling’, this one gets my vote over the A-side.
Tabu Ley – Haffi Deo 55:12 (Genidia, 1985)
Tabu Ley was a singer-songwriter, dancer and later politician from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was an extremely prolific songwriter, known as the African Elvis because he was so famous at the height of his popularity in the 70s.
This ‘soukous’ style track is just so infectious and danceable – Elvis himself should have released something like this and then maybe he’d be on here. The call-and-response vocals, drum machine, synths, horns and guitars are all just spot on. It seems like it could never end, and you could dance forever.
1) Get It // FRANCISCO (Slow Motion 2016)
2) So Let It Be House (Featuring A.M.O.R, Alinka, Coco Solid, Debonair, Nightwave) // VIOLET X ELLES (no label 2016)
3) Dub The Tension // J-A GROOVE (Studio 1986)
4) Somehow, Someway // VISUAL (Prelude 1983)
5) Dubbing In Sunshine // ROCKERS REVENGE Featuring DONNIE CALVIN (Streetwise / London 1982)
6) I Need A Freak (Black Freak Mix) // S.L.Y (Elite 1988)
7) Don’t Turn Your Love (12″ Dangerous Mix) // PARK AVENUE Featuring TONY JENKINS (Movin’ 1987)
8) Circles // MIKE HUCKABY (Sounds of the Universe 2015)
9) Real Love (Paradise Garage Mix) // MAN FRIDAY Featuring LARRY LEVAN (Nite Grooves 2007)
10) Take Ya Pik, Nik!!! // OMAR S (FXHE 2016)
11) I’m In Love // SHA-LOR (Gertie 1988)
12) Don’t Let It Be Crack // CLAUSELL (Easy Street 1986)
FRANCISCO – Get It
On first listen you might be forgiven for assuming this super-tight minimal house jam to be a Larry Heard production from his mid-90s period. It is, in fact, the work of Italian DJ and producer Francesco De Bellis aka Francisco / Mr Cisco, founder of the Edizioni Mondo label, and forms part of Slow Motion Records’ third outing in their “strictly retro” Lineabeat 12” series. Francesco’s career spans over a decade and during that time he’s been prolific in his field running labels, organising radio shows and parties, and penning little-known gems like this one.
I’m not an advocate of the mindset that new dance music has to always push the envelope to be interesting, or that the four-to-the-flour house jam has become something to avoid. Put simply, a good song is a good song, whatever compositional form it takes and how it’s made. Exhibit A, right here.
VIOLET X ELLES – So Let It be House
Made solely by female producers and artists in celebration of International Women’s Day 2016, this cover of Mike Dunn’s Chicago house classic on Westbrook includes vocal performances by A.M.O.R., Alinka, Coco Solid, Debonair, Elles, and Nightwave and helped raise money for Equality Now, an NGO (a non-governmental organisation) fighting for gender equality around the globe.
It’s a tasteful version (and I’m not a fan of covers, usually) with some fresh vocal performances and a subtle revision of the song’s core framework and sounds.
I struggled to find anything online for A.M.O.R (little help here?), but I can tell you that Chicago DJ (and now Berlin resident) Alinka has a prolific and impressive CV including live sets at Berghain, a multitude of successful remixes, and a long-lasting musical partnership with Hercules & Love Affair singer Shaun Wright. Coco Solid aka Jessica Hansell is more familiar, an emcee and writer and one half of disco-not-disco duo Parallel Dance Ensemble (I’m a fan of their first EP Pizza Turtle Cadillac on ISM 2009).
Looking forward to some further digging on Debonair, Elles (Legendary Children?) and Nightwave….
J-A GROOVE – Dub The Tension
Yes, the a-side (Release The Tension) is superior but it’s always nice to mix things up…
An interesting tale behind this one. It was originally demoed by Colonel Abrams – the version of which was recently released on Rush Hour – and also appeared in 1984 as a 12” by Circuit on 4th & B’way. This is by far my favourite version though. It’s a real fist pumper and the a-side always makes it into my DJ sets. A prime time 2am cut which always makes people dance without fail.
More interesting though is that this is a Boyd Jarvis tune, through and through. No biggie, but Boyd is only one of the originators of house music and something of an industry legend. An innovator in music production techniques, he also trained himself in applied Synthesis architecture and has worked with industry icons Prince, Madonna and Herbie Hancock. Not bad.
VISUAL – Somehow, Someway
…..and on to the next Boyd Jarvis track. Less well-known than The Music Got Me for sure, but great nevertheless. What I love about this song and other BJ compositions of this era is that they transcend sub-genre tags and show the transition from disco, to boogie, to garage, and then finally to house. There’s an experimental approach at play in many post-disco tracks from the early 80s and here it all sounds pretty effortless and organic. We all know the mega-hits of their 70s output but Prelude Records definitely had it going on in the post-disco, pre-house years, too.
ROCKERS REVENGE – Dubbing In Sunshine
In Walking On Sunshine – arranged and produced by Arthur Baker, engineered by Bob Blank, and mixed by John “Jellybean” Benitez – New York City gave us one of the finest post-disco club tracks EVER, in my humble opinion. It’s hard to over-emphasise my love for this song and it continues to be a song-writing benchmark to aspire to. Interestingly, it’s a cover of an Eddy Grant song (sorry, Eddy, this version is better) and for me is one of the finest examples of what became known as proto-house. Simply put, it has everything I love from this period – elements of disco, boogie, and house, and combines live instrumentation with those classic early drum machine sounds.
Love the London Recs sleeve design on this one. And yes, this is the b-side because why not?
S.L.Y – I Need A Freak
Having recently discovered this one (like, literally a couple of days ago) and having trawled the internet for info about it I’ve drawn a bit of a blank, other than to say it was S.L.Y’s only record and features Jackmaster Black on Piano, aka Chicago house artist Peter Black. I’m not super-keen on some of the synth sounds used on this, but that’s beside the point. It’s a super-tight jam with a sweet groove and has all of the early ingredients of a classic early house banger.
PARK AVENUE – Don’t Turn Your Love
It’s fair to say – and has been said several times – that I have something of an obsession with New York, and I do admit to having a fondness for studio projects from the disco and post-disco eras named after places; Crown Heights Affair being a personal favourite. It just sounds so glamorous!
Aaanyway, Park Avenue was the writing duo of Rico Tyler and Todd Jackson who are arguably more well known for writing and playing on Adeva’s In And Out Of My Life (Easystreet 1988) and for their work with high-profile mainstream acts such as Kool & The Gang and Hugh Masekela. Again, this one is just a fine example of early house, with all of the musical motifs, sounds and compositional trademarks of the style. Above all else it’s super-soulful, and that’s what tweaks the emotions isn’t it?
MIKE HUCKABY – Circles
This one is from the recent Soul Jazz Records double vinyl comp Sounds of the Universe (Art + Sound) (2015) and along with the Golden Teacher track it’s a standout on the album for me. It’s nothing groundbreaking but it has a smooth, economic simplicity and a tasteful vibe, which as we all know, are common features of the Detroit style. Mike is a busy chap too – DJ, producer, sound recording teacher, lecturer…..who in the 1990s also used to work in the renowned Record Time music shop in Roseville, Detroit, alongside Rick Wade and others.
MAN FRIDAY Featuring LARRY LEVAN – Real Love
Not officially released until 2007 unless I’m mistaken and who wouldn’t be glad to see it see the light of day on vinyl? It’s impossible to say anything about LL that hasn’t been said already so I’ll just say that this has a deep, druggy, sexy vibe, which pretty much describes many of Larry’s mixes (and by all acounts his character, too). I recommend also checking out the more recent Man Friday 12 also released by King Street Records, which features two demos of the songs ‘Winners’ and ‘Groove (Larry’s Yaw)’ – both interesting if you’re a big fan of the MF stuff. And who isn’t?
OMAR S – Take Your Pik, Nik!!!
Gotta love Alexander Omar Smith. A former street racer and employee at the Ford factory in Detroit, Omar has released five albums and over thirty EPs on his FXHE Records Detroit label, as well as a number of mix albums. My favourite of his album titles has to be It Can be Done But Only I Can Do It. Genius.
This one is from his most recent album The Best and is possibly my favourite on the record, alongside On Your Way. It’s pretty typical of his style really – stripped back, minimal, raw-sounding, solid. The kind of jam you’ll always want to include in a late night set. The bass line is where it’s at.
SHA-LOR – I’m In Love
Otherwise known as Sharmelle Jon and Lori Maynard, with Ben Cenac (also of Dream 2 Science and Newcleus). I picked up the Rush Hour reissue of this a couple of years ago, but the original came out in 1988. Although I don’t tend to play it out it definitely has its charms and whenever I do put it on it never fails to reel my attention in pretty quickly. Ben’s Dream 2 Science mini-LP (also reissued on Rush Hour) is something of a New York deep house gem and is also well worth checking out.
CLAUSELL – Don’t Let It Be Crack
One of the less well-known Easy Street Records releases, this one. Or at least I never see it on playlists or hear it in mixes, but that’s probably more to do with the fact that most of my favourite Easy Street records are the least famous ones (Orlando Johnson’s 1983 Italo-disco gem Turn The Music On being another favourite of mine). I think that’s part of the appeal involved with digging for records and having a passion for labels in that one develops an interest in trying to track down some of the more obscure or less-talked about releases.
Clausell is in fact Clausell Hickenbottom, which sounds a somewhat unlikely name for a suave disco producer. This one is a Paul Simpson mix, I believe. The lead vocal is undeniably soulful and the drum and percussion is chunky and pounding. It’s typical of a mid-80s NYC house jam really, and that pretty much means a) it doesn’t fuck around and b) you might hear the odd sample key hit repeatedly which might be a human voice or dog bark.