Ecstasy – Disclosure

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; you’ve got to hand it to Disclosure. They seem to be able to ride each musical wave as it comes, while maintaining something that makes them distinctive. Much easier said than done.

Their latest offering is out now on Island Records. They seem completely oblivious to the fact that it isn’t mid-Summer, but I won’t hold that against them. It is sun-soaked house banger after banger. Props.

My top pick is Tondo, a high energy afro-infused number. Enjoy.

More of my thoughts on the lads’ previous release here.

JPEG – Digitalism

Remember when Digitalism were just so on it? The year was 2007, and the album was Idealism. Pogo, proper stuff. Anyway now it’s 2020 and they’ve lost a bit of their lustre, but it still ain’t bad. Their 4th album is called JPEG and it came out a few months ago.

In particular, check out Panavision for some uplifting electronic fun.

Bonus album: yeah I’m not going to leave you hanging like that.

New Shit Has Come to Light – Lovebirds

A cheeky little 3-tracker from Lovebirds. If I had to sum it up in three words I would say: happy dancefloor grooves.

But I don’t have to sum it up in three words. I have as many as I want. It’s my blog. Here are some more words.

It kicks off with Glove, a pleasing little house number with the kind of bassline that sort of went out of fashion in 2012, kicking in around 3 minutes in. Next we have Da Sixty – smooth where Glove is funk, but still with the time to incorporate a little Hugh Masakela sample. I don’t hate it. Finally, the stand-out track is Disco Train – as you would expect from the title it lifts heavily from Kiki Gyan’s song of the same name, but gives it a little bassy re-rub.

Not an EP that is ever going to blow your mind, but its nice, its tidy and it’ll give you some nice toe-tapping moments.

Bonus track: I’ve had to go to Youtube to find a full-length version of this beauty from 2011. Lovebirds’ all time #1 smasher, Want You in My Soul.

placeholder – Hand Habits

A bit of a change of pace here – something to nurse your Sunday heads. Meg Duffy’s Hand Habits was my most-played band of 2019; I’m slightly hooked on their particular brand of wistful folk . Lead singer Meg Duffy’s vocals waver in a fragile kind of way that draws emotion right to the surface. It’s beautiful, it’s calming and feels real. I hope you like.

Bonus album: placeholder is her second album, but the first, Wildly Idle (Humble Before the Void), is just as nice. Enjoy.

There’s a lot more to say about Meg Duffy, but I don’t really feel qualified. If you want to read more about how her album is “staging queer stories against a wistful Americana backdrop” then read this Pitchfork review.

Radical (Feat. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs) – Amtrac

Radical combines Amtrac’s characteristically picturesque electronica grooves with the yearning vocals of Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs’ Orlando. It’s a soft, sweeping number that really grows on each listen. Enjoy.

Amtrac is due to release his second album titled Oddyssey later this year, a full 9 years since his last album, Came Along. Keep your eyes open, the other singles have been on point.

More Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs here.

Where Did The Night Go (A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven) – Gil Scott-Heron

Icon. Probably an overused word. But fully deserved in this case. Gil Scott-Heron’s instantly recognisable street poetry comes to the fore in this Makaya McCraven remix. It takes the brooding, sinister energy of the original and raises it onto a vaguely beautiful plain. Extra points for flute.

The original:

Bonus album: impossible to post about Gil and not get this out there. Jamie xx made a full remix album based on I’m New Here. The sound of 2011. Full taste.

 

Rain Dance – Roberto Rodriguez

I’ve been waiting for this for ages. It’s one of them where the physical release is a few months ago before the digital – but it finally dropped in December.

Finnish producer Roberto Rodriguez skates between the organic pulses of Harrison BDP and the sultry house samples of James Welsh and comes up with a very nice groove indeed.

Shout out to Ben Gomori for the tip. You can find more of Ben on his excellent Turned On podcast – he just did a really tasty wrap of 2019 featuring Rain Dance and whole host of other bangers. Find it here.

Piano Dream (Heaven & Earth Mix) – DJ Mountain Dad

I don’t know much (/anything) about DJ Mountain Dad, but he looks like a jolly fellow. Anyway, he (/she?) has a new release on Let’s Play House and it’s dreamy. Skip through the vacant 1 minute hard-house opening and tuck straight into the 100% good Gypsy Woman sample. Primo. Can imagine this going off at a festival somewhere.

The original for you sample-lovers:

Closing thought: this wave of electronic music producers with kind of ironic names is really fun. DJ Tennis, DJ Seinfeld, Ross From Friends, DJ Bus Replacement Service, DJ Boring… literally, what next?

Love Beyond the Intersect – Space Dimension Controller

As you will know if you are familiar with his work, Space Dimension Controller doesn’t just release albums, he releases chapters of an interstellar story. Love Beyond the Intersect is the latest instalment of Mr. 8040 journey across space and time. This one is a story of love. Expect more squelching synths and cosmic vocals – and actually some really beautiful arrangements.

So, the plot in 120 words or less: Mr. 8040 has crash landed on a strange planet. His ship is screwed, he is on the verge of death. He is awoken by a native woman. She gives him some of her life-force. They go on a journey (including to The Reflective Forest; a psychoactive environment that causes hallucinations and almost makes Mr. 8040 break down (the native woman saves him again). They make it back to his ship, he sees a past version of himself, he knows he has to let go of all that came before the crash, both good and bad. In a sudden burst of light, Mr. 8040 and his past version become one. Mr. 8040 and the woman leave the planet on a new adventure.

Phew. Good luck out there Mr. 8040 xx