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White Noise: August 2012

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Holy Other – Held

Label: Tri-Angle

It’s surprising, given how quickly ‘witch house’ was relegated to the past as a micro-genre, just how many of its artists have endured. First Balam Acab, then oOoOO, and now Holy Other; trendsetting label Tri-Angle’s chosen few, have consecutively proven that their music has legs and can endure whatever labels the public chooses to throw at them. With his hotly anticipated debut LP, Held, mysterious Manchester-based producer Holy Other offers a compelling and tasteful successor to his justly lauded debut EP, With U.

Fans of Holy Other’s previous output will be pleased to see that all the staples of his established sound make an appearance here. The young producer has an uncommon skill for fusing broken fragments of RnB, Pop and Bass music into a ghostly concoction that intoxicates by its subtle textures and, deep beneath the chopped vocals and ambient washes, a beating, broken heart. This is not the re-processing of past genres to aim at not-quite dance material a la Burial or his devotees; these tracks are aimed solely at giving the listener a personal experience and response, and they do so magnificently.

U Now

Opener (W)here lays on the textures thick; blustering static gives way to a two-tone vocal cry, treated into a flattened motif that almost loses its humanity over synth bleeps and a deep bass throb. The music on show here is deeply grounded in atmosphere and the emotions associated with the ambiance; introspection, insecurity and sadness weigh heavily upon these misty layers of sound. Elsewhere there is a twinning of sensuality and fear that comes across in the breathy moans and twitching percussion of tracks like Impouring, eliciting some of the album’s more dramatic and memorable moments.

An emotive double-punch in the centre of the album ranks among Held’s greatest moments; with the taut clicks of U Now  accompanying the repeated vocal echoes uneasily, creating a nervous tension that gives way to phasing ambient synthwork. The tune leads naturally into the soft, slow tones of In Difference, where growling swathes of bass cloaks some of the most nakedly plaintive vocals on offer here alongside keening melodic touches that emote powerfully.

In Difference

One downside of the release is that texturally the tracks tread very similar ground; the genetic make-up consisting of bass, slow-mo beats, a deep ambient hum and haunting vocals is never subject to much change, meaning some of the less individual tracks such as Past Tension  are likely to go unnoticed despite some good vocal work, while the crumbling soundscapes of Love Some1 appear less impressive in the context of an album that seems to do the same thing a lot. One could argue that this criticism is tempered by the album’s brief runtime, clocking in at a very short 35 minutes, therefore allowing the listener to really delve into the depths of these tracks. All the same, any listeners hunting for something different in Holy Other’s sound or a real sense of musical variation is likely to go away disappointed.


Yet for those who love this rather unique sound, it will be hard not to accept Held as a perfect successor. Granted, it doesn’t really change the formula, but there is a great deal of promise. The immersive journey of title track Held is the one of the most impressive musical sequences on here; switching from dusky atmospherics and restrained beats to brighter synthwork and a brilliant piano sample towards its close that feels conclusive despite its sadness, offering a powerful emotional punch that brings out the quiet desperation in the vocal cry which takes the form of a simple but potent request; ‘hold me’.

In Held, gone are the sexy undertones of last year’s With U EP, and presented in its place is the emotionally shattered core laid bare through gauzy, pulsing soundscapes and raw, unintelligible vocal pleas. Whether you can make out the words or not, this is moving stuff, introspective and haunting; and these tracks are likely to stay with you in the quiet hours long after the album runs its brief course.


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Monday, 27 August 2012

Austin Cesear – Cruise Forever

Label: Public Information

This has been an uncommonly fine year for explorative techno music; from Donato Dozzy & Neel’s superbly organic Voice From the Lake to Actress’ masterful meditation on death RIP to Darling Farah’s uncompromisingly dark debut LP Body. Thankfully, this is a trend that shows no sign of letting up, the year not only holds a new LP from bizarre virtuoso Lukid but also this; the debut album from an unknown producer from San Fransisco. It’s easy to see why Austin Cesear was snapped up by UK label Public Information, his analogue-centric productions have a nostalgic gauze that offer techno tropes mixed up in the form of a strange but complete vision of a mystifying and exciting future. Throughout his glittering debut, Cesear gyrates between techno and ambient sections but mostly dwells somewhere in between, resulting in an album that’s as beautiful as it is paranoid.

The Groove

Opener Cloud Hall introduces itself with shimmering monochrome atmospherics, chopped-up noise slowly 
building to a warm bass bounce and subtle melodic variations. Although the decayed style draws comparisons to the likes of Actress and Andy Stott, Cesear effortlessly creates a sound that is entirely his own, and offers a series of increasingly mesmerising curveballs as the album progresses. In fact, this unpredictability is what impresses most across the LP, he’s a new enough producer to still be establishing and experimenting with his sound, but accomplished enough to make each variation confident and successful. After the electronic creaks and ominous static of brief interlude If You Knew What Would You Do, second track-proper The Groove takes an abrupt left-turn; a subdued affair that gives more than a passing nod to the ghosts of Chicago house. The woozy strings add a deeply unsettling atmosphere to the minimal beats, accompanied by rips of static and pitched down vocals that intone ominously into the nervy darkness.

Peralta Palace

The sounds are just as exciting as the structures here, with Cesear surprising for the fifth time in five tracks in Peralta Palace, a masterful construction (a little reminiscent of 2562’s Air Jordan) where the percussion is formed by a long loop that sounds like the rhythmic clank of machinery. This is gradually overlaid by a synth note that wails out almost like the Muslim call to prayer, and sporadically, a heartstopping bass throb. The narcotic, disorientating effect of the track is precisely what Cesear does so well time and again across Cruise Forever; to create intoxicating combinations of sounds that are woven together fluidly, always surprising and changing the formula to keep the listener on their toes.

Cesear takes in many dance tropes but uses them, like a cleaner version of Actress, to dreamier and more beautiful ends – balancing swift changes with minute details such as shifting rhythms and mutating synths that twitch almost imperceptibly. The Beast is one of the most out-and-out dance numbers on offer, a thrashing ride that through chopped, half-heard vocals that feels like it is releasing a lifetime’s worth of coiled, percussive energy before its abrupt end. Shut In is the glittering nine-minute centrepiece of the album, which lies suspended in ambient synth sweeps before slowly hypnotising the listener through a surprising airy rhythmic loop in a field of bubbling, ever-changing synths.

Shut In

Despite the impressive diversity of tunes and structures, the album feels very coherent, united by an overall feeling of different experimentations cut from the same sonic cloth. This is greatly helped by the fantastic interludes the bridge the main tracks, often utilising dark, beatless spaces such as the frightening  grinding of Forest Forever or the hazy drone of Mountain Ascension. If the whole album gives one the impression of a monochrome glimpse of the future, the final two tracks pair together to chart its collapse, with the twinkling glass-shards of In The Depths Of The Ocean Is Our Capitol passing into the restrained dub clanks of Travellers In Faith Dub.

There’s a lot that impresses across the course of Cruise Forever, from the diverse structures and sounds to the surprisingly coherent effect the album has when listened to as a whole. Cesear’s masterful hand retains control over his sounds throughout this classy debut despite its unhinged, decaying sounds, resulting in a wildly unpredictable debut that is all the more impressive for its confidence and unerring success.


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Friday, 24 August 2012

Indigo – Symbol #7

Label: Auxiliary

Although I've never followed the Drum & Bass world particularly closely, I’ve always felt inexorably drawn towards the music of Synkro, Indigo and the artists associated with Mindset Records, Indigo’s label. Known for stretching Autonomic beat patterns towards ambient and bass music territories, they’ve been attracting more than a little attention of late. There’s something intensely cinematic and atmospheric about the music of these producers; eschewing straight-edge DnB to create richer, more varied soundfields which never fail to create a unique ambience amidst the bristling beats.

EP Clips

Indigo, aka Liam Blackburn, has not put out a release to his name since a collaboration with Synkro with last year, and although he’s the lesser-known of the two producers, this new EP on Auxiliary should be set to cast the talented producer more firmly into the spotlight. Symbol #7 is an exquisite collection of tracks, oozing taste and atmosphere from every sound. Symbol #7.1 kicks off the A-side with deep, echoing drums contrasting with frenzied beats sped up almost to the level of static, before a huge synth sweep stutters an introduction to the core groove. Despite the frantic pace of the beats, running at an even 170BPM, the track glides rather than falters, with some deep ambient synths offsetting the twitching rhythms.

Symbol #7.3

Not only does Indigo pay attention to micro-edits and atmospherics, he goes on to prove himself a more-than capable sound designer in his own right. Two-minute interlude Symbol #7.2 closes the A-side, a superb combination of atmospherics and haunting vocal melodies drifting off into the dark amidst sporadic percussive touches. The producer goes one better with standout Symbol #7.3; an excellent combination of his melodic and percussive personalities that opens out with a plucked oriental melody which is allowed to play out, nakedly beautiful , over water effects for over a minute before the beats kick in. When they do, the combination is unexpectedly subtle, the plucked notes complimenting the subdued yet detailed percussive field to gorgeous effect. Indigo has a way with vocals and melodies which proves intensely emotive, a rare asset in his field, and all this goes without mentioning his masterly dextrous application of half-stepping Autonomic drum patterns, beats that shift ceaselessly and create soundfields at times unstable with nervous energy while at other points surprisingly calming in their fluidity.

As if this all wasn’t enough already, with closer Symbol #7.4 Indigo goes in a new direction entirely. Clearly the darkest cut of the pack, the finale runs heavy on the dread, a muffled 4/4 acting as the only anchor for the majority of the track in a deep field of ominous pitched-down vocals and rain effects. Expertly applied textures dominate the moody second half, rounding off a powerful closer that shows how skilled a producer Indigo is even without his spectacular beatscience. It’s been a long wait for a proper solo statement from Indigo but Symbol #7 is unerringly superb; ambitiously dramatic and intensely atmospheric, it’ll have you eager to hear just what this talented producer can do next.


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Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Contemporary Classical, Ambient, and everything in between

For the last few decades, classical music and the experimental fringes of electronic music have been on a collision course. As living legends Philip Glass and Steve Reich became early advocates of electronic production, a number of the electronic generation’s upstarts are going back the other way; with genres like Ambient and Drone eschewing the pop and dance worlds’ need for hooks and simple melodies and replacing them with patient meditations and hypnotic loops.

In this playlist I hope to draw a bridge between contemporary Classical music and some of electronic’s more patient microgenres. This list is by no means exhaustive and should serve only as the most casual of introductions to these dense forms of music. Most of these tracks are contextualised immensely by their surrounding albums, but this should offer a tantalising taster for some of the most beautiful and thought-provoking music currently being put out.

Philip Glass – Metamorphosis One
Max Richter – On The Nature of Daylight
Steve Reich & Musicians – Music For 18 Musicians
Aphex Twin – Avril 14th
Tim Hecker – Chimeras
Nils Frahm – For
Loops Of Your Heart – Cries
The Caretaker – All You Are Going To Want To Do Is Get Back There
William Basinski – DLP 5
Fennesz – Endless Summer
Stars of the Lid – Even If You’re Never Awake

From the melancholy instrumentals of Philip Glass and more recent composer Mix Richter, the list takes in one of Steve Reich’s most vivid compositions in the form of Music For 18 Musicians.  The big daddy of IDM, Aphex Twin, has tried his hand at purely organic music in the form of the achingly pretty Avril 14thwhile Ambient legend Tim Hecker offers a typically dense soundfield in Chimeras. Nils Frahm’s  For is a reverb-drenched affair that followed his beautiful piano-led album Keep, and it’s followed by The Field alter-ego Loops of Your Heart, whose slow-burn Cries fits surprisingly well into the mix. Next Leyland Kirby’s The Caretaker project and legendary loop-master William Basinski approach the subjects of memory and loss by decaying samples to different effects, and Fennesz’ glitchy classic Endless Summer somehow evoke the sunshine behind a great deal of beautiful electronic noodling. The list closes with Stars of the Lid, a familiar name in Drone circles, with their haunting (and beautifully titled) Even If You’re Never Awake.

It’s not too hard to draw the lines between classical and experimental these days as the borders soften between organic and electronic instrumentation, and I’m sure we’ll see an enormous amount of innovation and beauty continue to bloom from this heady intersection. But that’s not to say this isn’t happening already- I urge anyone who takes an interest in these tracks to go out and explore these artists; there’s a whole world waiting already.

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Monday, 20 August 2012

Moodymann – Why Do U Feel

Label: KDJ

I’d be wasting my time introducing Moodymann to anyone but the most casual observer of dance music, so I’ll cut it short this time. On his hotly-anticipated new release (already sold out pretty much everywhere, would you believe?), Kenny Dixon Junior offers three diverse and predictably on-form tunes of pure groove. The definitive edition of I Got Werk is the most typical Moody track here, a warm array of background sounds create the rich atmosphere of a house party, while searing synths battle for prominence with a spare groove and a funky guitar loop. The track’s simple, but that’s not all it has to offer; you have the big man himself singing the catchy vocal hook and some bristling low-end frequencies in the breakdown that all add up to a potent combination, proving that Moody’s as on form as ever.

EP Clips

The tracks that bookend this central number are a little more unexpected. The closer is a remix of the ubiquitous Lana Del Ray, in the form of Born 2 Die. Guitar loops and subdued kicks deftly surround the neatly-chopped vocals, but your enjoyment of the tune will probably come down to what you already think of the controversy-bating songstress. Either way, the faltering gap at ‘walking through the- streets’ is a heart-in-mouth moment that works brilliantly by dint of its subtlety. These two tracks are well-crafted as could be expected, but it’s the title track that really amazes here. Why Do U Feel is a breathtaking journey of stop-start percussion and sweet nostalgic vocals, and easily ranks among the best tracks of the year so far. The crystal-clear voice creates a unique ambience with soft, filtering synths and clattering beats, before the tune lurches into a beautiful skipping groove two minutes in. Moodymann doesn’t leave it there though, the tune continues to mutate and surprise throughout its course; as the bass emerges and recedes allowing the vocals to shine out with an intense fragility which holds a rare power in its emotive pull, alongside a masterful series of edits towards the close. On this EP, Moodymann not only offers a classic update of his style but also a thorough modernisation in the title track, and in doing so justly holds on to his title as one of the true legends of house music.


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Friday, 17 August 2012

Nitetime – Jive Talk

Label: Future Classic

While house music is experiencing a big resurgence recently, it has led to a lot of discourse on whether producers and artists are looking to the future or the past; those leaning forwards introducing the digital traits of the bass scene, and those with their eyes fixed on the past bringing back old hardware and tougher sounds. I think what is so often left behind in these discussions is the ability to listen to a release with fresh ears, unpolluted by genre and era, to listen out for a good groove or a killer hook.

Nitetime, a Boston-based production duo comprised of Kon (who you might remember as half of Kon & Amir) and Don (aka Whisky Baron), easily sidestep this debate by the pure quality of their tunes. This is pure house music, and although the music has a definitive retro tint, it never feels like throwback; because how can any tunes that are so danceable really ever feel out of style? 

Each track on offer corners a different niche of the house sound with bombast and a deft eye on structure. Opener Teddy’s Jam is likely to win you over immediately, with its big-room stomp that builds achingly over echoing vocals to a breakdown of slow, melancholic pads. In a way, the track feels a little like house music that’s lost its lustre and spirit, crafting a deadly-deep groove that feels more than a little introspective. Even when a flawless piano loop emerges midway through the track, it feels jaded as well as jubilant, and in this contrast lies the track’s very unique appeal.

Once Nitetime have lured you in with their sound, they don’t let the quality slip for a second. Hey is a slightly more upbeat affair but retains a lazy groove, with hypnotic synthwork building over a tight bass bounce to a series of drifting female vocals. On All The People things start jumping, 909s bounce to jittery beats to create a tune that keenly evokes that early 90s sound, and it includes a superb breakdown replete with tight handclaps and a catchy piano hook. Meanwhile Jive Talk contains some of the strangest sounds on the EP, big synth sweeps taking centre-stage and accompanying a vast array of detailed and textured percussion; from congas to cowbells.

The whole release has a sunny, block-party feel to it, but that’s the result of a keen attention to detail as well as the strong grooves. The production is notably rich and warm at all times, yet the sounds come across as crisp and distinct, indicating a mixdown that’s a perfect fusion of modern and retro styles. Furthermore the interludes of chat and loose beats in the outros of the tracks really recall how releases were formatted back in the day; more as a complete listening experience than a disposable selection of interchangeable tunes. It’s in this very respect that Nitetime have really pulled it off; Jive Talk functions even better as a 4-track release than as individual songs: you’ll want to play it from start to finish, and probably a whole lot more than just once.


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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Total Redraw: Dance Edition

Remixes that really shake things up

To continue from Monday’s part 1, White Noise now presents some of the best dance remixes from recent times that have been lurking in our music vaults. Again, special attention is paid to remixes that really change the original, and a lot of these are tracks from the non-dance world that have been given a special rework by a top producer.


Storm Queen – Look Right Through (MK Don’t Talk To Me Dub)
Classixx – Into The Valley feat. Karl Dixon (Julio Bashmore Remix)
Groove Theory – Tell Me (George Fitzgerald Refix)
Florence & The Machine – You’ve Got The Love (Jamie xx Remix)
The Weeknd – What You Need (Prison Garde 808 Edit)
Radiohead – Lotus Flower (Jacques Greene Remix)
The xx – Crystalised (Dark Sky Remix)
Hard Drive – Deep Inside (Pearson Sound Refix)
Amerie – One Thing (French Fries Remix)
Zed Bias – Neighbourhood (El-B Remix)
The Drop – Looking To The Sky (DjRum Remix)
Fat Freddy’s Drop – Cay’s Crays (Digital Mystikz Remix)
Bo Saris – She’s On Fire (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
TRG – Broken Heart (Martyn’s DMC Remix)
Modular Pursuits – No Boundaries (Daphni Remix)
Mosca – Tilt Shift (Julio Bashmore Remix)
Late Nite Tuff Guy – A Deal With God
Boards of Canada – Olson (Midland Re-edit)


Special thanks to my friend Tom for helping me compile this playlist. Check out his superb mixes on Soundcloud.

Hope you enjoyed the remix roundup, I’ll leave you with a taster of one last track; a forthcoming release from Lorca mixing up FaithEvans and Nuyorican Soul – Enjoy!

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Monday, 13 August 2012

Total Redraw: Home Listening Edition

Remixes that really shake things up

No self-respecting music fan is a stranger to the idea of the remix. After a track is completed, the stems are passed off to other like-minded producers and are reshaped to allow the style and personality of the remixer to come out while elements of the original are retained. While the odd remix on the B-side of an EP really shines, they can all too frequently come across as unnecessary additions to the original mixes, so when a really good remix comes about you’re sure to take notice.

This feature doesn’t focus specifically on ‘great remixes’, but rather remixes where the producer has taken the core track and has really invigorated the original track, leaving it recognisably the same but taking the tune in a totally different direction. After much ploughing through my music library, I’d like to present some of the most successful remixes I’ve heard where the remixer on hand has really gone beyond the call of duty; and these will be shown  and discussed along with the original tracks.

Running through a real range of contemporary music, a lot of these will be dance-focused but some are even stranger takes on recognisable classics alongside less well-known contributions. So without further ado, let’s get listening and check out some of the best remixes to be found in the White Noise vaults.

This two-part series will be split, with the first section dedicated to home listening tracks and the latter a big playlist of remixed dance music. Enjoy part 1!

Gold Panda – Marriage (Forest Swords 1am Hotel Room Redraw) 
In this stunning rework of one of Gold Panda’s best tunes, the atmospheric Forest Swords completely rebuilds the track from the ground up, entirely with acoustic instrumentation. The melody is still there, but it’s hard to imagine a more imaginative and successful redraw.

Efdemin – Acid Bells (Martyn’s Bittersweet Mix)
Sounding more Aphex Twin than Efdemin, legend Martyn relegates the original’s driving rhythms to the background, allowing a haunting piano melody to take centre stage.

Aphex Twin – Untitled (Four Tet Mix)
Apparently devised at the tender age of 17, Kieran Hebden’s IDM-fuelled mix of one of Aphex Twin’s most brilliant ambient tracks is a dream collaboration that retains aspects of both producers’ styles.

Mount Kimbie – Maybes (James Blake Remix)
James Blake applies a trademark warmth to one of Mount Kimbie’s best, fuzzing up the duo’s crisp production and lending it a woozy dubstep momentum.

Fever Ray – If I Had A Heart (Fuck Buttons Remix) 
Here Fuck Buttons take Fever Ray’s darkness as far as it will stretch, wielding a driving 4/4 and growling bass frequencies to create something black and wildly hypnotic.

Fever Ray – When I Grow Up (Version by Lissvik) 
Alongside for comparison, the most bizarre remix here is courtesy of one half of Balearic duo Studio, as Lissvik sets Fever Ray’s straining vocals to bouncing house with tropical synthlines. The strangest thing isn’t that it works, it’s that it works so damn well.

Star Slinger – May I Walk With You
Although not technically a remix, Star Slinger’s rework of Life Without Buildings' The Leanover is a brilliant recreation, taking Sue Tompkins’ jittery vocals to their logical extreme alongside tough beats and some of the catchiest looping you’re likely to hear.

Bibio – Lover’s Carving (Letherette Remix)
This dreamy hip hop rework of Bibio’s upbeat classic works like a charm, chopping up the vocals while retaining the sunshine of the original. The only flaw is that it’s all too short.

Lianne La Havas – Forget (Shlohmo Remix)
Shlohmo on excellent remixing form again, applying Lianne La Havas’ vocals both in original and chopped forms to a dreamy soundscapes replete with clicks, blips and deep haunting bass.

Agaric – No Way I Know I Feel  (Axel Boman Remix) – Clips of Original
Axel Boman takes Agaric’s dense original and cleans it up, making that nagging vocal the centrepiece of a world of swirling samples and twinkling beats.

Shlohmo – Rained The Whole Time (Nicolas Jaar Remix) 
The superb Nicolas Jaar livens up Shlohmo’s melancholy original with harder woodblock beats, blowing up the guitar in the original alongside soulful beats and samples that shift and swirl magnificently.

Colonel Abrams – Trapped (Hell Interface Remix)
Boards of Canada, under their Hell Interface moniker, take chopped and screwed to a new deathly extreme in their growling slow-down of Colonel Abrams’ 80s classic.

Burial – Shell of Light (Shlohmo Remix)
Tampering with Burial is not done lightly, but Shlohmo nails this one, isolating the hopeful last 30 seconds of the original and casting them onto an emotional widescreen with deeper-than-deep bass and ghostly vocal touches.

Nuyorican Soul – I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun (4 Hero Remix)
It’d be hard to outdo the original, backed by Masters of Work production and Jocelyn Brown’s honey tones, but 4 Hero turns the tune into a feelgood jazzy odyssey, thoroughly living up to the glory of the original.

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Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Session Victim – The Haunted House of House

Label: Delusions of Grandeur

House music has always, at its heart, been about the endless refinement of the groove. Perhaps that is why, although many dance genres come and go (although resurgences do happen), there has always been a place for house music, and the genre is currently undergoing its biggest revival in recent years. So what better time for an album that is not just a house album, but seems in some way an album about house?


Hailing from Lüneberg, Germany, Hauke Freer and Matthias Reiling have been releasing as Session Victim since 2008 and this marks their debut LP, a collection comprising material released across three EPs on Delusions of Grandeur. Throughout their careers the pair have shown an irreverent talent for mining house music’s past in order to access its future, and they’ve rarely failed to produce those perfect grooves. The music of Session Victim has always been warm, solid, and eminently danceable, and on this LP we see the truest and grooviest statement from them yet, although unfortunately the release is marred by a lazy final quarter.

The Haunting of the title is eminently apparent as soon as the record begins to play; the ghosts of Chicago, Detroit and New York house run rampant through these eleven tunes, and the producers clearly have a deep understanding and love of their source material. Yet to the duo’s credit these tracks always remain modern and tasteful, never resorting to simplicity or the siren-call of retro fetishism. The sounds of old hardware are evoked along with the new, and while the song structures are rarely wildly unexpected, they prove immensely satisfying on repeated listens, both for the dancer and the home listener.

Cow Palace

That said, sitting at home and listening to this LP without moving around should prove quite a challenge. By second track Zoinks you’ll know that these grooves are so strong it’s impossible not to dance; the pair lay on warm pads and crunchy beats along with some perfect filtering synthwork, and it’s a recipe for success that they pull off time and time again. This music is unabashedly straight-up house, but it’s all done so very right that it’s hard to decry it for a lack of variation: the beats always hit hard and just on time, the synths unfailingly weave strong melodies, and there’s always a wealth of detail on offer for those who want to explore deeper than the banging grooves. The early tracks stand out especially strongly; opener Dark Sienna paces with moody vibes and superb vocal flourishes, while Push Comes To Shove takes a warmer, stop-start approach with a heavy bassline and mutating synthwork laid over a thick bed of bristling percussion and tight handclaps.

Session Victim have a noticeable habit of including a killer detail towards the close of their tracks, whether it’s a whole phase like the desperate ‘please’ in Zoinks  and the tension-building ‘in the dark’ in Dark Sienna or merely a minute vocal blip such as the one that nuances the close of LP standout Cow Palace. As a result you’ll want to follow each of these tracks through to the end, as each is crafted with due precision and care. The LP hits its highest mark with the phenomenal classic Good Intentions, a track which apparently had Move D in tears when he played it as a closer in a summer festival set. In this short track is the summation of everything Session Victim do best; a powerful groove with a jazzy Rhodes melody and some insanely feel-good vibes. 

Good Intentions

The pair never manage to quite top Good Intentions, but the first eight tracks on this LP give it a good enough run for its money. Unfortunately, the album droops significantly in its final quarter. When the beats begin to disappear the tunes clearly start to fall apart. Light Scent of Decay is toothless and hugely overlong; the minor variations in structure and instrumentation can’t make it interesting for 3 minutes, let alone 10. Following this is F.I.N.E., an odd tune that features relative unknown Grand Agent rapping listlessly over the top. The production is a little basic but keeps the track afloat with some punchy beats, but Grand Agent lacks the personality, voice and lyrics to save the tune. The final track Flying Visit gives me the vague sensation of being in a very cheery waiting room, and it’s a puzzling closer to an album that abruptly gives up after the strongest of starts.

It wouldn’t even be fair to say that the sequencing leaves a lot to be desired, because the gap in quality between the first eight tracks and the last three is vast, and it appears Session Victim overstretched themselves slightly in trying to pack in a full LP’s worth of material. It’s not the end of the world that every track isn’t perfect, but listening to the album through from the start has the unfortunate effect of leaving you with a bad taste in your mouth after so much brilliance at the start. Still, the pair achieve so much with the front end of The Haunted House of House that you can forgive the final run, as there are more warm house gems frontloaded onto this album than a lot of producers put out in a career.


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Friday, 3 August 2012

Leon Vynehall – Gold Language / Don’t Know Why

Label: ManMakeMusic

There have been a remarkable number of young producers entering the house game over the last couple of years, but with his sophomore release on George Fitzgerald’s ManMakeMusic imprint, Brighton-based Leon Vynehall is starting to pull further ahead of the pack. His debut EP, Mauve, on Well Rounded, was a likeable but somewhat predictable collection of house tracks referencing vintage sounds with acid sweeps and deep chords, but in final track Picture Frame there was a hint of something different and more interesting in the retro-fetishism. Relaxed vibes and a strong groove produced an intensely likeable and catchy tune, and here Vynehall has stepped his production up a notch, resulting in an utterly infectious and current take on the UK house scene.

EP Clips

These tracks are darker, dustier, and more unpredictable than those on Vynehall’s debut EP, and the A-side is the stunned here. Gold Language combines an unusual selection of melodic elements but pulls them off with unexpected style and class. Textured percussive clicks and twitches underlie mournful yet jazzy keys, before a venomous bass growl introduces the track-proper; a rich and tech-y field of different percussive effects that work together in a perfect, shuffling harmony. Add those deep chords and the back-and-forth synth sweeps that occupy the second half of the track and you’re left with a different and memorable tune that would fit snugly in all manner of DJ mixes and styles. Gang Colours takes a typically melodic, sensual approach to the remix; offering a new take richly textured with dusty piano melodies and woodblock percussion. It’s dreamy and effective, but unlikely to get too much playtime when compared to the ace original mix.

B-side Don’t Know Why is a straighter affair, with a pitched-down vocal taking centre stage over aching Rhodes chords and a bouncing bassline. Yet again it’s the details here which surprise and impress: the eerie whistling effect making an appearance just before the 2-minute mark, the subtle additions to the shifting drum patterns or the decayed sirens that clear out the soundfield. These nuanced additions result in an intriguing listen which, while not quite as necessary as the A-side, still proves a welcome addition. For anyone looking to put their finger directly on the pulse of the intersection between the current UK bass and house scenes, look no further than Leon Vynehall’s stellar second outing, an infectious pair of tunes that retain a rare class and style.


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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

June / July Roundup and Release Sheets

Before our huge roundup of the last two months in music, I’d like to take a moment to introduce a new feature. You’ll notice a new tab at the top of the screen titled ‘Release Sheets’. This is a new collaboration between White Noise and the Bass Music Release Sheets tumblr, and it will be constantly updated with all the biggest dance releases week by week, so make sure you check it out regularly to ensure you’re caught up. On to the music.

This is it. The big one. As I was away for the end of June, here White Noise presents a mammoth playlist of two massive months of dance music, all in one tidy package. Each of these tracks is a real stunner, covering pretty much every genre, so be sure to give this playlist some serious time. Enjoy.


Bicep & Ejeca – You
Jacques Greene – Prism
Koreless – Lost In Tokyo
Joy Orbison – Ellipsis
Leon Vynehall – Gold Language
Anthony Naples – Mad Disrespect
Nitetime – All The People
Trevor Deep Jr – Keep On!
Flashmob – Need In Me
Mosca – Eva Mendes
Julio Bashmore – Au Seve
Wheez-ie – Remember The Score
TNGHT – Higher Grond
Eats Everything – Jagged Edge
Boddika, Joy Orbison and Pearson Sound – Faint
Helix – Honig
Akkord – Persistence
Kuedo – Work, Live & Sleep In Collapsing Space
Fracture – Get Busy
DJ Rum – The Darkest Hour Is Just Before Dawn (Undercoat Pt 2)
Face & Heel – No Stars
John Roberts – Paper Frames
Pablo Nouvelle – Be True To Me
The xx - Angels

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