Spoon, Harris & Obernik-Baditude CD single (Toolroom)(UK)
Not surprisingly this late spring, early summer balearic inspired collabo from some of dance music's heavy hitters-Dave Spoon, Paul Harris, and Sam Obernik (you may remember her sassy vocal stylings on the Tim Deluxe smash "It Just Won't Do" from about five years ago) has really torn up the charts since this year's WMC. "Baditude" straddles the line well by being techy enough to attract the progressive and tech house aficionados but when you add in the Iberian guitars and Obernik's club friendly sloganeering ("DJ, do it again, from Boujis to DC-10, Tokyo back to The End...) the whole affair becomes a pop friendly anthem suitable for your grandmother. Despite the missing middle eight that would have added a nice bridge and some depth to the pop side of things "Baditude" is a completely irresistible dancefloor sensation and I suspect most DJs will be playing this track this summer whether they like it or not.
Ananda Project-Night Blosson 2xCD (King Street Sounds)(US)
Chris Brann has to be one of dance music's most soulful dudes best known for his collaboration hit "King Of My Castle" under the Wamdue Project alias but his Ananda Project has had a few moments as well with a warm and soulful vocal house style best typified on another major international hit "Cascades Of Colour". Night Blossoms revisits Brann's 2007 release Fire Flower with a slew of remixes that span a range of styles from the expected deep house to latin, techno, and beyond. The variety of remixes on disk one is almost breathtaking with something for just about every DJ with a modicum of taste including re-works from Joe Claussell, Blaze, Pastaboys, and Jay-J. The highlights for me included the Idjut Boys' leftfield techno version of "Moments Before Dreaming" as well as the original version of said track mainly because of the sustained melancholic mood infused into the song-whether it is the vocals or the chord progressions and key changes I can't say but this particular track is memorable has staying power. The second disk is a mix collection expanding the repertoire of this already eclectic project with no two tracks repeating the same style. This subtle but attention grabbing mix concludes on a high note with a reprise of "Cascades Of Colour" to close things out.
DJ Yoda-Fabriclive 39 (Fabric)(UK)
The latest from the more urban oriented Fabriclive series is a cheeky hodge podge collection from UK turnatablist DJ Yoda. On Fabriclive 39 Yoda mixes up current UK hip hop with classic early 90s American hip hop and throws in a lot of modern sounds as well including indie rock, nu booty, and even jungle. At first glance the tracklisting looks a bit scattershot but Yoda's deck skills brings everything together giving even the Violent Femmes a funky beat while stealing a page from DJ Format's playbook with some original go go breaks (Ghost-"It's All Love") and humor (The Hot 8 Brass Band turning "Sexual Healing" into a college fight song has to be heard to be believed). Even with the skilled hands of a surgeon Yoda never draws too much focus onto his skills and while his technique is incredible he shows the mark of a true DJ craftsman by not allowing it to outshine his stack of records. By the time the 50s proto reggae classic "London Is The Place For Me" by Lord Kitchener finish the mix you can't help but feel satisfied by both the mixing and the programming, something all too rare in the world of hip hop.
Elvis Benait & Tony Gomez-Gate One CD single (Toolroom Trax)(UK)
Quietly over the past five years the Swiss have quietly become the top seeded team in the international sport known as dance music. Unlike their German cousins who are more focused on fusing house with dubby Basic Channel inspired minimal techno the Swiss seem instead more interested in coupling the melodic familiarity of early Detroit techno with modern assembly line rhythms. This has created a new middle ground between trance and techno and fueled the tastes of big name DJs like James Holden and labels such as Kompakt and Border Community. Elvis Benait is the brother of big name Swiss producer Danny Freakazoid and has paired up before with Tony Gomez on a couple of previous hits but this marks their first for Toolroom. While their is an airport motif for this release that struck a chord with a frequent flyer like me neither "Gate One" nor "Gate Two" were able to catch fire and that has been my problem with the Swiss thus far, an inability to break their neutrality and take a stance for something truly original and unique choosing oft times languid melodic filler instead.
Azam Ali-Elysium Remixes CD EP (Six Degrees)
As I finally pour through the remaining stack of CD singles that San Francisco based downtempo imprint Six Degrees sent me last year to promote their new digital only release series I finally came to the conclusion that either none were that great or they were shooting for a different demographic than me on these releases. Either way not one of the releases has been very satisfying despite a slew of tracks on each disk (this one has ten tracks, enough to be considered a full length). While there are some highlights on this mostly remixed affair like David J of Bauhaus teaming up with DJ K for something called a "Bass Bomber Remix" and of course the always dependable Banco De Gaia it is the remixes that should have been good like the ones by Holmes Ives and Transglobal Underground that are and just plain bad. Hardly anything on here is world beat or new agey enough for your stereotypical hippie listener and certainly not edgy enough to be considered dancefloor fodder so the message (and the music) here seems muddled.