Unfortunately I am always running a month beyond on these things so my apologies to all of the labels for sending me so graciously these promos and then waiting (and waiting) for me to actually muster an opinion on them. I am working to get back on track with the May edition with (possibly) two round-ups this month. Oh boy, betcha can't wait...
Mid-Spring was kind with the techno from the Belfast based Nice & Nasty imprint which was started by Desy Balmer and Robbie Nelson (of Agnelli & Nelson fame) but is now run solely by Desy who is a nice enough guy. Of course he is going to get pissed off at me when he realizes that I lost all of the information on the tracks he sent to me. What I do remember was that I was keen on the "Heretics of Disko EP" which covered every side of techno from minimal and deep to banging assembly line Detroit meets Tresor style madness. Also good were the Irish remixes of "Tracy's Revenge" that really distinguish the fact that the Irish, unbeknownst to me, are quietly putting out some of the best techno platters in the world. Overall one of the best tracks of the month also comes from Nice & Nasty courtesy of Chymera, already a well-established producer with releases on Josh Wink's Ovum imprint amongst others. His track "Merde" is just the right amount of house, techno, and melody and to me reminiscent of the stuff Joris Voorn is championing and that is never a bad thing.
As I have mentioned before, Chris Fortier is one of those guys constantly bubbling under both as a DJ and as a producer/remixer. His Fade label has been responsible for a recent string of consistent hits that defy classification falling somewhere between techno, mnml, and progressive only harnessing the best elements of each. Chris was gracious enough to send me a whole slew of new remixes under his 40oz moniker earlier this spring. The results were quite impressive and should drive dancefloors wild this late spring, early summer. What I found to be the most dancefloor ready were the remixes of Tini Tun, Kasper Bjorke, and Saint iBot. The best of the bunch were remixes of a new one from Steve Porter entitled "Pixy" and one of the better remixes of the rapidly ubiquitous "Rectum" by Vincent Vega. The big winner however was an emotronic doozy by Adultnapper & Dan Berkson which is my pick of the bunch. I hope to have five questions with Chris up on these pages very soon.
Speaking of Adultnapper, this kid happens to be one of my favorite producers of the moment. Hailing from Brooklyn he is an early adopter of the emo-tronic sounds of Chris Fortier and his Fade imprint. His own Ransom Note imprint released an amazing single last fall featuring an original entitled "Maxwell's Demon" and a great complementary remix from Alexi Delano. The two have turned out to be two of my biggest weapons in the DJ arsenal and just ooze good hooks and danceability. Why can't all records be as good as this one?
Lisa Shaw, best known for the deep house classic "Always" has a new album coming out on Miguel Migs' Salted imprint. It is a welcome treat to hear Ms. Shaw's beautiful voice, something that doesn't happen often enough. The Dave Warrin remix of her latest single "All Night High" appears to be an elusive promo only and while it does strip away the vocals down to practically a dub the track combines the elements of house and techno so well I expect to be playing this as a transition track from now til Xmas.
If you haven't figured out by now the label of the month has to be Toolroom, who else is getting their records not only into the boxes of the most cheeseball guido mofo DJs but also a good chunk of the snooty techno jocks as well? Few labels are having as much commercial success while still taking some chances with a few underground releases sprinkled in the ol' release schedule at the same time. It's not easy running a label and somehow Toolroom has managed to do it right.
Big ups to local promoter and DJ G.A.M.M.A. for dropping the first release on his new imprint Left Coast Techno, the "Blackhole EP". While I think his allegiance is far more to the rave and crusty side of techno (think Chris Liberator and the Routemaster imprint and not Richie Hawtin or anyone from Detroit...ever.) and the A-side definitely reflects this with a track so fast only a handful of speed demon jocks will be championing it, the b-sides however show off more sophistication with assists from more local talents. Kudos for pressing it to vinyl too. The real winner on this release is the "Boogie" remix from Psylence of Korpus Kallosum & Reno's top DJ David Aaron teaming up to create a contempo slice of the NorCal sound combining the new West Coast groove with the darker more tribal sounds of the West Coast circa 2003 and just a smidge of breaks for a tasty concoction that is also homegrown.