They just don’t make albums like this anymore. Throwing it back to 2001 with Groove Armada’s seminal third album, Goodbye Country (Hello Nightclub). Andy Cato and Tom Findlay shot to stardom with their previous album Vertigo; that release was certified Platinum in the UK and is a huge lounge record – think Inside my Mind (Blue Skies). Then, just one year later, as the title of the album suggests, they left the lounge behind to craft some bigger beats. This move was not a simple one, since ‘Chill Out’ was at the crest of a wave in 2001 (a movement that they had a hand in creating). The move also alienated some of their fans, but you have to say that history has proven them right on this one.
There is so much to love about this album. First up, Suntoucher. Six and a half minutes of the highly talented Jeru the Damaja channeled into a new world of groovy electronica. “Focus like a samurai, stronger than a Mai Tai”. Massive rhymes. You can read more of my thoughts on Jeru and this track here.
Suntoucher is followed by Superstylin’ which still hits different. The BBC wrote at the time that its bass line was “big enough to bowl over a bungalow.” You’ll understand when you listen to it.
And then we have My Friend. Try and listen to the opening two seconds and not get carried away.
Finally, a new find for me is Fogma. Groove Armada pick up a sample from the (now heavily overplayed) Bam Bam by Sister Nancy and take it into pretty brutal Chemical Brothers electro club territory.
All in all, the album is a classic. Not much more needs to be said.
Paul Johnson, the producer of the absolute #1 top-level banger Get Get Down, has passed away aged 50. He was a big part of the Chicago house and dance scene, and a lot bigger than that one track (although, as I mentioned, it is an absolute #1 top-level banger.
This is just an absolute beaut of a track from 2009. Four Tet at his haunting best.
The energy for the track is brought by the drums; really raw and tribal. And then halfway through the vocal sample comes in with the mystical aura of a Buddhist chant. It lasts for 9 minutes, but it could be double the length and I’d be happy. Only Four Tet eh?
Bonus tracks: Four Tet has a stunning knack for picking a sample. The two vocal samples in this are straight-up pop classics by none other than Brandy and Cassie.
A short story: the year is 2014 and I am dancing to an unnamed DJ in a clearing in the woods at Secret Garden Party. This track comes on, and my little mind is completely blown by the bassline. So much so that I for a brief moment I consider a career as a DJ. Anyway, here we are 7 years on and that loop that comes in at 2:18 still packs just as much heat.
Whipping you back to 2010 for Jai Paul’s edit of Emiliana Torrini’s Jungle Drum. He takes the original and blesses it with his warm electronic goodness.
I have written about Jai Paul before, so let’s focus on Emiliana. She is a Icelandic singer-songwriter who specialises on wistful folk. If you are a fan of Bjork or Laura Marling then she is definitely worth checking out. You can pick up the same melancholic fisherman’s wife thread running through their work. Me & Armini is my pick, and is the third of her six albums.
Throwing it back to 2013 for Touch Sensitive’s Pizza Guy. It’s an optimistic electronic track with heavy 80s synth vibes. It’ll lift your mood, and brings enough Future Classic freshness to feel exciting even though it is a homage to another era. Enjoy.
Sometimes a bit of club trash can do us all good. Utah Saints’ ’08 cut of Something Good is just that. The video even comes replete with a busty slow motion dancer. It’s no Destination Calabria, Call On Me or Infinity 2008 but it’s not far off.
If mid-noughties club hits are your thing then I have just the playlist for you
And finally, Utah Saints were known for taking samples out of tracks that had no business being on the dancefloor. Something Good is no different. Skip to 1:03 to for the original.
News has come out over the past couple of days that German DJ / producer / label owner Michel Baumann (aka Soulphiction, aka Jackmate) has died. He was associated with big labels like Playhouse and Pampa, and founded his own, Philpot. RIP