Sonar’s Ghost – The Remixes

While I’m wondering where this whole drum & bass revival will go and how long it will last, I’m still willing to follow it some more as it seems to be the right time to reminisce over that exciting period of my life. And along comes Sonar’s Ghost, half a year after those new/old tracks have surfaced, and this time they bring reinforcements. That term is not only true for the remixes themselves, but also owed to the fact that two old Reinforced label mates are involved in their making: Marc Mac in his Nu Era disguise and Mark Force aka G-Force. All four tracks are available as a download release for £3 (or more) from the Ghost’s Bandcamp store.

Nu Era – The Third Adam

What started as another 4hero moniker, soon became Marc Mac’s solo outlet for futuristic beats, stylistically at home somewhere between Detroit and West London sound. When broken beat came to an end in 2006, it seemed the days of Nu Era were over as well, especially with Marc’s increased focus to hip hop. Turns out that isn’t true and there’s a full album coming your way later this month.01. Microchip Angel
02. Four Days Earlier
03. The Third Adam
04. Dye Menshun
05. Robot Moves
06. Dream Frequency
07. Swing Machines
08. You In The Strobe Light
09. Jacob’s Looking Glass
10. Project Eve
11. Eighty Seven
12. Sweet Tweets
13. Warped Soul
14. Semiconducting
15. Arcadians

Apart from Robot Moves, it seems like these are mostly new tracks. The Third Adam will be available as limited CD release and as download title, both can be pre-ordered on Marc’s Bandcamp page.

Cold Mission – The Remixes

Cold Mission - The Remixes

Label Print

This record is quite an oldie, it came out back in 1996 on 4hero‘s Reinforced label. However, I did not know about its existance since Mr. Beatnick wrote his fantastic article on broken beat music.

Behind Cold Mission itself are Reinforced founders Dego and Marc Mac, just one of the production duo’s many monikers alongside 4hero, Tom and Jerry, Jacob’s Optical Stairway or Waterproof.

The Nu Era remix on this 12-inch is a production by Marc Marc, and it can be argued whether it marks the first attempt at broken beat. Reinforced has long been the breeding ground for artists such as Seiji, Domu, Volcov and further inviduals of West London’s Bugz in the Attic collective.

If you like the track above, you can easily find yourself a copy on sites like Discogs, Gemm or MusicStack. For more of a similar vibe, I strongly suggest checking out Volcov’s Soul in Motion compilation released back in 2002.

The Cover Art of Reinforced Records

For the 20th anniversary of Reinforced Records, Marc Mac of 4hero has compiled all of the label’s artwork and put it out in a self-published book. I have to say, I’m not all crazy about it design-wise, but it’s a nice document for those who grew up with the music.

Over 200 releases and more than 20 years of forward thinking electronic music; Reinforced Records present their history in the form of a collectors guide cover art book. 120 pages of full color artwork from the early cut and past techniques through to hand drawn and computer generated artworks.

Though the first record I ever bought was from the label, I wasn’t aware it was Goldie who designed their logo. Just one of those small facts I like about the book.

You can get yourself a copy of this book over at Blurb. It’s available in a hardcover edition with image wrap or as standard softcover.

Here Comes Treble Podcasts

Back in 2008, when the Here Comes Treble compilation was set for a release on Domu’s label, there were six mixtapes from featured artists to set you in the mood.

HCT Minicast Volume 01 mixed By Rondenion
HCT Minicast Volume 02 mixed By Nu Era AKA Marc Mac
HCT Minicast Volume 03 mixed By Soulparlor
HCT Minicast Volume 04 mixed by Lukid
HCT Minicast Volume 05 The Domu Oddcast
HCT Minicast Christmas Mixtape Special – Domu live at OOFT!

As these mixes have disappeared together with TrebleO website, I decided to put them online again.

Weekly Bits 7/2010

If you like the music featured on this blog and you’ve been out in London, you know Plastic People as the first address for underground music. Be it the FWD parties, Tony Nwachukwu’s CDR events or IG Culture’s CoOp club, they all take (or in the latter case took) place at the same address in Shoreditch. It now seems Plastic People’s license is currently reviewed by the London Police, threatened to close its doors forever. To stay updated on the events and to learn how you can help, join this group on Facebook.

This is what happens, when you try to ignore Valentine’s Days and any related links passed to you on Twitter: I completely overlooked Hudson Mohawke‘s slow jams mix for LuckyMe.

Stumbled across a couple of interviews this week. No Depression’s Jay Hayes had the rare opportunity to sit down and have a chat with Betty Davis. The Okayplayer forum collected questions for Dego of 4hero and 2000Black fame, you can read it on his blog. While we’re at 4hero, let me also mention Knowledge Mag’s Week In The Life of 4hero with Marc Mac.

Lots of videos from the London Red Bull Music Academy are there to discover on their YouTube page. One of the highlights is the concert of Henrik Schwarz & Bugge Wesseltoft at the Royal Festival Hall.

The all new Armchair Dancefloor mix features a guest-spot from Blue Daisy, one of the names to look out for in this year.

Another free download is taken from the highly recommended Mind Over Matter Remixes from Greymatter. You can grab the TRG Remix of “Believe In Something” from his SoundCloud page.

And lastly, I read this article on FACT Magazine with great interest: Basic Channel‘s Mark Ernestus is about to launch a new label called Dug Out, specialized in reissues of classic reggae records.

Mixtapes, Mon Dieu!

With so many mixtapes to share, there’s no way I’m letting you wait until next Monday. Here’s some of the stuff I came across.

As the long-awaited debut album Butter from Hudson Mohawke came out this week, The Fader arranged not only to get him for an interview, Hudson also made the mixtape.

Another new album comes from Dâm-Funk, who blessed this week’s Deviation show with an exclusive, two-hour set. He also put together a mix for Clae Amusement, playing music by Kaidi Tatham, Mr. Fingers and Nite Jewel (via Crazybirds).

Nosaj Thing is still touring through Europe, Percussion Lab has one of his sets – it’s almost a year old, but sounds fresh enough to be heard again.

Two very dubby sets come from Brendon Moeller and Ike Release. The former was playing at this year’s MUTEK_10 and his set is now available for download. Ike’s studio mix was exclusively recorded for the great Sonic Router blog. You can download it here.

Not a download, but a mix worth a stream comes from Greenmoney Radio, who had Joy Orbison in to do a guestmix.

Lastly, 4hero’s Marc Mac posted a new podcast featuring unreleased outtakes and some rare remixes. Don’t forget, they’ve got a new album called Extensions in stores!

New Year Soul Music

Today I got two mixtapes with classic soul music for you. The first comes from 4hero‘s Marc Mac, who delivers the fifth edition of his The Soul Arranger podcast.

So I figured I should continue the series. This one is from the back of the soul crates, great vocal, string, horns and riddim sections all over these. And in the spirit of diggin’ I haven’t put a playlist up but I’m sure someone will soon enough. Hope you like these cos they are some of my faves.
oh and happy newness.
-Marc Marc

And there’s even more! Skymark of Barcelona’s Soul Sociedad collective presents his Soul Music Against Winter mixtape, an impressive 120 minutes set of music from the late seventies and early eighties.

Unfortunately, there are no tracklists available for these!

Here Comes Treble

Cover Artwork

Cover Artwork

It’s been one of my favourite compilations of the year and I’m late on my review duties – but in fact this blog didn’t even exist when everybody else was loving it already. Today we’re talking about Here Comes Treble, the first compilation from Domu‘s young TrebleO label. And it’s a great debut, way too fresh to be put in this blog’s classics category! Dominic has proven great taste putting together such diverse collection of styles and artists, even the cover artwork is an outstanding piece of work, designed by Mr. The Beef.

So, being the last blogger on the planet to review this, let’s make it a proper one. Here Comes Treble was preceded by two download-only samplers (via ithinkmusic) and accompanied by mixtapes from Nu Era, Soulparlor, Rondenion, Lukid and Domu himself.

Personally, I’m always a bit sceptical when it comes to compilations of different styles of music. TrebleO on the other hand manages to fuse all these genres, broken beat, hip hop, soul, drum and bass, house and what not in an exceptional sensitive way. The opener Twice is a jazzy-smooth track with soft hip-hop beats, rich of strings and brass. It comes from Lukid, a young London based producer with a nice portfolio on his MySpace page. Next up is Probe DMS, one of half of NYC’s Spymusic. It’s the track Voodoo Magic I didn’t like when first listening to it. But it has grown on me since, it’s a fresh hip-hop tune with raps (from Probe himself?) that has an oldskool Ummah feel to it.

A fantastic sound clash of genre-bending underground music! Simply needs to be heard!
Mark De Clive Lowe (Antipodean)

The music is then makes a twist towards laid back house with Breakin Bread from Chris Barker, followed by the soulful Ben Mi Duck. They already had an EP Stepping Back Patterns on TrebleO, but Pointless Dreams is exclusive to the compilation. Lush strings and soulful vocals with a 4hero feel, that already got some airplay on Gilles Peterson‘s radio show. It is 4hero’s Marc Mac in his Nu Era disguise who contributed Robot Moves, a personal favourite.

When Domu asked me to do a track for the album he used those magic words “you can do anything you want” and that’s how ‘Robot Moves’ came to life. You can clearly hear across the album that everyone involved had the same instructions and the result is a solid compilation of great diverse self indulgence. And that’s not a bad thing…
Marc Mac (4 Hero)

Domu’s first out of three tracks is Izittobe, the first output since the massive Dangerous Minds EP and it goes into a similiar direction. It gets even darker from here with Soulparlor’s Gee, moving between dubstep and broken beat territories. Let’s talk about my favourite track on the compilation, it’s a remix of an old Sonar Circle tune, remixed by Bassclef. I’m not sure if the original of Cry had a proper release on vinyl or if it first appeared on TrebleO’s recent collection of old material from Domu’s drum and bass oriented moniker. Another track from Domu is in the cue, So Move is probably the weakest track on the compilation. Bruk sound with sweet vocals that sound like Nicola Kramer, though it might not be her.

It represents brilliantly everything going on in the house, soul and jazz scenes at the moment.
Aaron Jerome (BBE/If Music)

Before the music makes another twist, Planet Zero from Cartridge is the last and probably darkest tune of the rougher side of the compilation. We go soulful from there! It’s the Baker Brothers with What You Do Is Right. I don’t know who they are or where the come from, but it’s a bright tune, it must have a full band behind the acid jazz flavoured vocals, very rich sounding! More positive sounds are delivered by Bedford’s DJ Marin (Bakura!), the Rondenion mix of Love Fantasy is an atmospheric deephouse track with soulful vocals. Sub Ensemble deliver 22 21, picking up the jazzy sounds of Dalindeo or japanese nujazz, you get the picture.

An interlude comes from Simbad, who teams up with Philadelphia’s spoken word artist Rich Medina for a short Momentum. Wise words, wise words. Everybody keeps talking about Austrian wunderkind Dorian Concept recently. Being heavily featured by Benji B, TrebleO released his Beat Tape and now he contributes Thank Capital Letters. You like Prefuse 73? You like Dimlite? I’m sure you will like Dorian Concept. I should mention he has a free album on Earstroke and another download from TrebleO. Just as we continue, it’s already the last track and it’s Ninja Tunes’ Daedalus. Drummery Jam is pure fun in the sense of Pizzicato Five or Wagon Christ, a bit like a song for children.

Want to listen again?01. Lukid – Twice
02. Probe Dms – Voodoo Magic
03. Chris Barker – Breakin Bread
04. Ben Mi Duck – Pointless Dreams
05. Nu Era – Robot Moves
06. Domu Feat Aina – Izittobe
07. Soulparlor – Gee
08. Sonar Circle – Cry (Bass Clef Mix)
09. Domu – So Move
10. Cartridge – Planet Zero
11. Baker Brothers – What You Do Is Right
12. DJ Marin – Love Fantasy (Rondenion Mix)
13. Sub Ensemble – 22 21
14. Simbad – Momentum
15. Dorian Concept – Thank Capital Letters
16. Daedelus – Drummery Jam
Now where can you get this? Being a young label and this being theig first longplayer, it’s suprising how widespread it is. You can get it on CD from Juno or Fat City, but also from iTunes, HMV or Amazon. To support the artists best, I recommend ordering a copy directly from the label. The CD sells for ₤10, the MP3s for just ₤5.99.

Our Music Our Culture Volume 1

Cover Artwork

Cover Artwork

The tracks sound familiar? That’s right, as they’ve been available in different outfits from the Coopr8 MP3 store. First you could get them on the five Cooperation III Samplers, the first two were even out on vinyl. Later this compilation showed up on the same store, under a different name but with most of the tracks, though not all of them. Now Kay Suzuki‘s Bipolar releases it’s first record, and it’s this compilation again.

So much for the introduction, let’s talk about music! The standout track for me turns out to be Simbad‘s Digital Revolution, the only track not featured on any of the previous releases – however, I’d love to hear an instrumental version. Next up are two tracks that were available on the first sampler, I C U from Karizma and Been Here Before from Lewis D. The first took a while to grow on me, but it’s a deep, tension-building dancefloor killer built around a sample of Nina Simone’s See Line Woman. Both tracks have a similiar feeling, broken beat on a house-tip – or vice-versa.

Unfortunately it goes straight downhill from there, though all the big names havn’t been mentioned yet. Afronaut makes a return with Change featuring Blu of Basement Jaxx-fame on the vocals, Domu contributes Nu Vision, from Marc Mac comes Take Ova Me.

The compilations suffers the problem, that it sounds like collection of left-overs or unfinished tracks. A theory that gets support from the Bugz in the Attic’s contribution called Reject. Especially the vocals on the majority of tracks are weak, the wish for instrumental tracks comes up more than just once. The list of artists featured sounds like an allstar roster, with many almost-forgotten names like Ayro or Colonel Red? For me this compilation is a big disappointment, most artists didn’t meet my expectations, I hope this compilation does not replace a proper Cooperation III album. I’m missing tracks of the quality of Domu’s Dangerous Times, Marc Mac’s Throwdown or anything Izmabad (a collaboration of the featured Karizma and Simbad). If you still feel like listening to more snippets, let me recommend you the sampler from the Coopr8 player. Also, Juno Records has this item in stock.