Wednesday, 16 December 2009


I've just been sent what is surely the pop single of the year.

Jammer: 'Party Animal'

Jammer's 'Party Animal' follows in the tradition of Dizzee Rascal's 'Bonkers' and Wiley's 'Wearing My Rolex' in taking old skool rave - the days when dance and hip-hop cultures were one, not two scenes - and fusing it with the roughneck vocal attitude of grime MCs. It's out on January 11 through Big Dada.

No doubt you'll be reading how the London producer/rapper (this tune was actually produced by Toddla T) is the new overnight sensation in grime but he's been on the garage sound since the days when Locked On was the only label to be seen on. This mix (below) kicks off with an unidentified dubplate and the track 'Army', both from seven years back.

The quality ain't great but it's still worth a listen, just for reference like...

Tuesday, 24 November 2009


ARTIST: Various
TITLE: Soma Compilation 2010
FORMAT: unmixed CD compilation
RELEASED: February 1

Somewhat cheekily titled, given that this compilation actually contains most of what the Glasgow label was up to on vinyl this year. But don’t let that out you off.

Highlights here include Funk Devoid & Sian teaming up on a ‘sleazy dub’ version of their eerie, understated club classic ‘A Raven Wheeling Overhead’, Gary Beck’s lively fusion of live brass and drum machine funk on ‘Tijuana’ and the reverb-drenched, vocoder-heavy electro of Let’s Go Outside’s ‘Machismo’.

The ever original Silicone Soul and the caustic Autechre,

whose mix of The Black Dog’s ’Tunnels OV Set’ welds hip-hop beats to electronic extremism, are probably the biggest names on display, alongside label owners Slam whose anthem ‘Positive Education’ gets yet another remix courtesy of D’Julz,

Admittedly, Soma shows little sign of ever diversifying from its devotion to second generation Detroit heroes like Jeff Mills and Drexciya, but a wholesale conversation to dubstep, crunk or donk at this stage would just seem like daftly opportunistic bandwagon-jumping. In fact, there are subtle developments going on here and that, together with a wide-eyed enthusiasm for intelligent, original dancefloor techno which positively oozes out of the CD player, indicates that the Soma empire has a lot more years in it yet.



LABEL: Marine Parade
RELEASED: digital November 30 / physical January 18

After putting his name on the house music map with remixes for U2, Bloc Party and Phoenix in 2009, Alex Metric rounds off the year with a versatile EP destined for pop crossover and underground DJ support alike.

The EP’s title track is a surprisingly perky vocal track, sounding like an amphetamine-boosted New Order on their most commercial form and boasting some truly roasting guitar abuse from Russell Lissack of Bloc Party fame. The hooks are so catchy that remixers.Evil Nine can’t help but retain them for their equally 80s-slanted but beefed up beatswise remix.

But most interesting for more club-orientated DJs will be the two instrumental tracks ‘Discotron’ and the orgasmic ‘Gusto’, the latter of which has been proving the climax to most of Metric’s set this year. Similarly retro nods to New Order, Depeche Mode and other 80s synthpop greats make the chances of a thumbs up from Spikyben considerably more likely, provided of course they’re dragged up to date with new skool 00s beats like this, of course. Something for everyone, then, and a big indication that Metric is a serious contender for a big breakthrough in 2010.

Friday, 20 November 2009


TITLE: Nightwalker / Raw
FORMAT: 12” vinyl
RELEASED: January 25

If we tell you that ‘Nightwalker‘ has been the most played track in Richie Hawtin’s sets over the last eight weeks then you’ll probably have some idea what to expect. Brooding, building rhythms, slowly adding and subtracting elements with almost imperceptible subtlety. Vinyl distortion crackling away in the background. A spooked out synth line that sends shivers down your spine And, we not much else. Well, that is why they call it minimal, isn’t it?!

It’s a DJ tool for sure and as such hardly likely to get the postman whistling, but all the same several cuts above the average dancefloor filler. Flip track ’Raw’ is even more spacious and weird, its hi-hats creeping up on you as echoing effects bring vintage Sabres of Paradise to mind. Class all round.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009


Artist: Jaga Jazzist
Title: One Armed Bandit
Label: Ninja Tune
Format: Free download (
Released: Now

Imagine if old 70z prog band Soft Machine had been born in California and raised on a mixture of jazz-funk and old skool Mo’Wax and you’re getting close to imagining the sound of Norway’s nine piece Jaga Jazzist.

No doubt confounding to some - nothing here seems to follow the regular dance music rule of ‘pick a beat then run with it’ - the Ninja stalwarts have hit on something heavy, unconventional and quite irresistible. With a live band rather than programmed feel, there’s oodles of character and very human playfulness , but they’re definitely as fun as they are experimental. A name for the ’must see live’ list.


Artist: The Heavy
Title: No Time
Label: Counter
Format: CD single
Released: November 23

A nice mixture of the er, heavier rock side of The Heavy, as in evidence on their latest LP ‘The House That Dirt Built’ and the blues/funk that made their debut so compulsive.

Singer Swaby’s complaints about the lack of attention his lady lavishes upon him may not be the most originals of lyrical themes, but there’s still some passion and power in his vocal delivery, so coupled with a catchiness many guitar bands would do well to emulate and backed with a superlative instrumental remix by Ghost which concentrates on the substantial Zeppelin-meets-Funkadelic groove, this is an attractive package.


Artist: DJ Food
Title: The Shape of Things To Hum
Label: Ninja Tune
Format: 5 track vinyl / 9 track CD
Released: December 14

The welcome return of DJ Food, once a collaborative banner for Coldcut and friends but these days the sole preserve of Camberwell resident Strictly Kev. Once part of the Open Mind collective - see also Mira Calix and fellow member David, who does the artwork here - Kev certainly hasn’t abandoned his twin roots in hip-hop and sonic experimentalism, with the results being an amorphous trip through soundscapes and echoing, multi-layered spoken word all underpinned with a sturdy b-boy backbone.

Forgive the obvious comparison, but sounds like kind of rich, deep ambient trip hop DJ Shadow might have ended up making if he hadn’t got sidetracked by post-rock, UNKLE collaborations and the DJ Hero computer game. Still more modern than most of the week’s postbag - welcome back to the fray.