This track found itself a home in Visionist‘s rather excellent Boiler Room set a few months back and now emerges as part of Glasser‘s new remix EP, out now on True Panther. Alongside Deetron, Hyetal and Kowton on remix duties, Visionist refits the original into a floating piece of minimalism, painted with his palette of sparse, mournful textures. It’s an excellent direction and only whets appetites for his forthcoming ‘I’m Fine II’ EP for Lit City Trax, dropping soon. There really isn’t much going around that sounds like this.
Gettin’ Dusty will be a semi-regular column for the obsessive yet frugal 21st century record collector, highlighting vinyl gems that have been discovered behind Phil Collins ‘No Jacket Required’ in charity shop and bargain boxes around the capital that month.
This month fingers got dusty on the first 12″ by Jamie Lidell and Cristian Vogel’s Super_Collider, a trio of 80s disco dubs and a ghettotech classic by the late Disco D:
Barbara Fowler ‘Come And Get My Lovin’ [Dub] (Master Mix)
Sinnamon ‘He’s Gonna Take You Home (To His House)’ [Fierce Dub] (Becket Records)
The New Jersey Connection ‘Love Don’t Come Easy’ [Instrumental] (Carnival Records)
Disco D ‘You Need Another Drink’ (Rapster)
Total cost: £3.97
Opal Tapes continue 2014 in fine form with a split cassette/digital delivery from Austin Cesear and Stefan Jós. Cesear’s four track contribution to OPAL039 is a beautiful journey across drone noise, filtered samples, deep pads and static all pulled along by a faint rhythmic backbone. Opener ‘Holly Street’ reminded me of his excellent ‘Cloud Hall’ (from his ‘Cruise Forever’ release on Public Information), while the ambient tones of the un-Googleable ’7HF9B.383348H.382753J’ still feel too short even with the tracks six minute duration. The alarming vocals on ‘New Years Eve Eternity Is Forever’ are the most restless he gets, opening the floodgates for Jós’ half of the release – the dischordant and alarming ’01′ makes way for the pops and clicks of ’02′ & ’03′, the gorgeous muted tones of ’04′ (a personal highlight) and striking closing track ’05′.
A perfectly balanced release of two halves, OPAL039 demands sitting down with a cup of tea and taking it all in full. I just wish I still had a tape player at home.
Buy OPAL039 on cassette/digital here.
Lisbon based producer Chainless has dropped his new EP ‘Grey Veils’ today through fresh London imprint Cohort. Across the 7 tracks, the producer explores a dark, cyber-gothic sound that draws on classic John Carpenter soundtracks to create a dense and claustrophobic environment, overflowing with haunting melodies, ghostly choirs and reverb drenched drums. There are no duffers here but personal highlights include ‘Hiding’, a rototom driven epic that’s begging to be sound tracked alongside a 28 days later esq end-of-the-world scene and the ghostly ‘Gaia’s Chant’ which drags itself along on a hazy bed of clipped vocals and detuned trance synths. Fans of Holy Other and Fatima Al Qadiri will find a lot to like here.
If you follow either Slackk’s monthly mix series or Glacial Sound’s SubFM show then chances are you’ve heard a William Skeng beat (Pompelmo & Symbiotic Wetsuit Riddim have both been rinsed) but if not then you should go investigate his Soundcloud because no one is making tracks quite like him right now. He’s just uploaded ‘Two Parts Nightshade’ which is a great introduction to his sound, featuring a hyperactive square wave melody that skitters about above a cavernous half step and dreamy choral pads. Fully tipped, get to know!
I first heard this jam on Ossie‘s Boiler Room earlier this year, and the chatter was that it was forthcoming soon after. My prayers were answered as Wolf Music upped it to their Soundcloud yesterday. The title track (streaming below) is a bouncy number, projected by a hypnotic vocal and bumpy rising bass. I;’m glad Ossie took some time away from Black Orange Juice to nail this one – as long as I don’t hear this one belting out of a Slug & Lettuce anytime soon (you heard me Bashmore!) then all is well.
Cop ‘She Knows (That Love Hurts)’ on 12″ on Monday.
JT The Goon’s story is one that hasn’t been well documented – searching for him on Google, Discogs or Youtube won’t give you the real picture of just how involved he’s been in grime over the past 10 years, rather his is a story that’s only coming to light now. Growing up in Stratford, East London, he began his career producing for seminal crew Slew Dem alongside Waifer and Top Dolla where he was responsible for classic instrumentals such as ‘Gunman Riddim‘ and my personal favorite ‘Gully Dub‘. However, its only these past couple of years that have seen his profile as a solo producer start to rise, due in no small part to the support that he’s had from DJ’s like Oil Gang and Slackk. Both have rallied behind him, making his tunes staples in their sets and shouted to the wider community about his talent. He’s now found a home on the Oil Gang label alongside the likes of Spooky, Splurt Diablo and Darq E Freaker which has resulted in the critically acclaimed ‘Twin Warriors EP‘ and a forthcoming album due later this year. I caught up with the notoriously prolific producer late last week to chat about his creative process, what inspires him and how things have changed since he first started.
Big ups JT, first up how did you start out making music? Were you always making grime or have you dabbled with other bits?
The honest answer is my parents – there was always music being played around me and such a variety of things so out to my fam for that. The first song, as far as I can recall was a track called ‘You Don’t Wanna Do Nuffin’ produced on a Playstation by me and Waifer. It was SICK! Anyway Mini Discs were the latest gadget for music at the time and I used an optical lead to record the tune out on to one (I was feeling super futuristic at the time). So we played this tune to anyone that would listen locally and before you know it I’m at Lewi White’s yard running it through what I can only describe as the stuff I’d dreamed of. G Man (Slew Dem) wrote a hook and it featured some crazy lyrics from five or six other MC’s. It was over 7 minutes long – raw, real grime and I was hooked right there.
Is the music a full time thing for you or are you balancing it with a day job? How do you manage to keep the productivity levels high whilst keeping the other commitments in your life on track?
Music is my life so yeah its full time but it don’t pay my bills if that’s what you mean. Lucky for me Slackk started playing some of my bits and Oil Gang was spinning one of the tracks from the Headshot EP back in 2012, then I released the Basspower EP in 2013 with Grime Orchestra being people’s favourite free download. Boxed (which is a must-go-to night for any grime lover) push new music from such a huge variety of producers whom I probably wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for these guys, so out to Slackk, Mitch, Oil & Logos all fucking day! I decided to start DJ’ing again last year and it’s been a blast so far. I’m hoping for more bookings, so yeah book me! I’m blessed to have a supportive family putting up with the endless sub basses and mad melodies.
What’s the creative process look like for you? Do you sit down and mess about with some ideas or is it quite structured?
I always start with “what mood am I in” then make a sound to match that mood. I’ll start with some simple chords – if I’m all happy & shit you can hear major C’s, E’s and D’s and plenty of harp, flute and string arrangements but if I’m feeling slightly haunted then its minor chords, plenty of trumpet, low strings, squares [waves] etc. When I start getting variations between the two then I become that same excited 20 year old making his first track. I put the drums in last usually and sometimes I don’t use drums at all if the track rolls nice. These days I tend to spend a day on a track,12-14 hours per tune in one sitting whereas before I’d have had a 20 track zip file ready to send all the DJ’s in one day.
Are there particular things you find inspiring – stuff that just makes you want to sit down and start making tunes straight away?
Yeah lots of stuff does that but the main thing is other producers. There are so many talented people around at the moment, its keeping the scene healthy all this music being made, collaborations all over the place. There is some really weird shit going on and the truth is I’m enjoying the variation in grime. The way Murlo bends time with his insane melodies, the way Rabit makes his square basses laser zap peoples ears, the way Slackk makes me teleport to ancient Japan. I could go on and on…
You’ve got a real knack for melody and harmony in your tunes, a sense of musicality that is much more present in your stuff than a lot of other grime out there – have you had any classical training at all?
Thanks for the kind words, I’ve never had any training, I’m just a huge fan of instruments in general. I love sound and have spent the best part of 10 years bashing a midi keyboard! I still hit the wrong keys every time I record something but luckily when I was doing a lot of stuff with Slew Dem I met Top Dolla and he plays the keyboard like no one I’ve ever seen. We made quite a few tunes together and I practiced a lot to try and be half as good as he is. Top Dolla is a seriously talented producer – we’re gonna collab again soon and I can’t wait to be honest.
You use a lot of classical instrumentation as well – strings and harps and more traditional instruments as opposed to some of the more abstract stuff that others have utilised. Is there something in particular that draws you to these sounds?
If I could recreate my music with every instrument being played by a person as opposed to a machine I would die very happy. That said, I also love the capability of being able to play these instruments digitally on a keyboard, that’s the main attraction for me. But I also love synthetic sound, that electric awesomeness, distortion is so yummy… my god I love every wave form, there’s a few frequencies I’m not too keen on but oh well. I’m not drawn to any one sound in particular but sound as a whole interests me.
Focusing in for a minute on the ‘Twin Warriors EP’, your most recent release – how that come about? Did you specifically choose those four tracks or was it more a case of Simon Oil Gang selecting from a broader host of tunes?
Yeah that was Simon. He picked the tracks and presented the idea. We had been chatting for a while on Twitter then eventually met up and spent a day listening to all sorts. It’s a really nice way to work and luckily I have quite an extensive archive of music so it was just a case of finding a nice balance between the tracks and then making a few tweaks before mastering. It’s been a pleasure to work with such a sick label – the artwork is really special and the vinyl sounds wicked so big ups to Oil Gang every time.
Where’s your head at with this recent instrumental grime resurgence? Alongside Spooky, you are one of the few who sits comfortably between the ‘old guard’ (for want of a better phrase) and then the young guys coming through.
I think its nice to see people getting stuck in. I rate anyone that makes a track and sends it to someone else. It takes guts especially if you’re unknown, developing your sound and still learning (I’m still learning too btw) so big ups you lot. It’s also good to see the more established producers and DJ’s playing a wider variety of stuff. There’s an endless amount of different stuff out there – take the producer Matt Wizard for instance; he is making the most futuristic sounding grime I’ve ever heard, yet it retains a vintage ‘I belong here’ sound to it. It feels like I’m listening to some early R’n'B or hiphop from the states in grime format. Out to everyone that is actively playing a part in our music.
Do you think MC’s still have a place in the genre? Are you still making tracks with an MC In mind?
To be honest as an adult the MC side of grime has kinda died for me. I still listen to MC’s of course in lots of genres but in grime it’s not where the spotlight is anymore lets be honest. Producers its our time now! That said, I must confess that when I’m making a song I’ll be spitting a bar in my head or singing a hook, something that relates to the music or the mood I’m in.
How’s the debut album coming together? I saw a tweet from Oil Gang about the tracks going off to be mixed down shortly? Are there any tracks in particular that you are excited to see come out last?
Ahh man I’m so excited about this LP. Again Oil Gang has been tasked with picking the tracks and order. Its been through some revisions, Simon changed some tracks and then some more but it’s what is needed when doing a project this big. It’s critical that every track has its place and he has done a wicked job on the selection. I cant pick a track but its between the Dullah and Rabit collabs, both are sick riddims, Big ups to Dullah for ‘Day 1′ and Rabit for the ‘Twin Warriors Remix’. The album’s worth copping for those two tracks alone!
And when’s it due out?
We ain’t got an exact date yet as it’s still in the process of being mastered but definitely sometime this year.
What else have you got in the pipeline for the next few months?
The next few months I’ll be keeping busy with various projects. Firstly making sure we’re good to go on the Murlo/JT EP and then me and Dullah have some stuff in the workstation ready to be announced soon. I’ve also got a couple bookings in April so stay posted to my Twitter for details on those.
A collab with Mumdance is overdue and then me and Novelist are due to do a madness. He’s one to watch, as is Typah – he’s got skeng on skeng bars! My collab with Shriekin Specialist is nearly finished, plus a Slackk collab soon and then finally a release coming out in the summer on another sick label, so watch this space!
Bloody hell you’re keeping busy! Okay well finally any last words?
Big ups Spokes & Loose Synths for this interview/short story it was emotional.
The Twin Warriors EP is out now on Oil Gang.
The first official trailer for The House That Chicago Built has just dropped, and suggests that we all know a little less about the genre than we maybe thought …
We’re pretty excited about this one – directed by Lil’ Louis, the film will feature interviews with heroes of the genre including Frankie Knuckles, Theo Parrish, Marshall Jefferson and many, many more. At a time when house music is perhaps more popular than it’s ever been, this looks to be a great opportunity to look back on where it all began. Listening back to tracks such as French Kiss, the song that made Louis a household name, it’s pretty crazy to think that some of them were made over 25 years ago.
No release date has been given yet but it’s certainly one to look out for. In the meantime, you can view the trailer below.
The Brownswood Recordings family can do no wrong of late (should that be ‘of ever’?), as Alex Patchwork’s edit of Diggs Duke ‘Something in My Soul’ attests. The track is perfect late-night listening and a real head-nodder… If you’re a sucker for a bit of sax, then this is definitely for you.
You can stream the track below via I-D’s soundcloud, or cop on Brownswood’s Bandcamp.