In spite of a very mainstream revolution for Electronic music, the underground edge of House music has soared valiantly throughout 2012. By far one of the most hotly tipped additions to the Hot Creations roster and an already long serving asset to British club culture, Leeds based funk advocate Miguel Campbell takes to the pilot seat to see in the debut album of Lee Foss and Jamie Jones’ notorious imprint.
To rather mixed resonations, familiarity has become a recurring hallmark for global Dance music. Armed with a host of exclusive label cuts and the considerable edge of his adept reputation for orchestrating club land with decades of Electronic music, Bedrock Recordings head honcho John Digweed returns to the compilation format to shake up the stamina of his craft for the final leg of 2012.
In a year of scattered hype and regrettable conformity for Electronic music generally, the ongoing presence of renowned Circus ringmaster turned Liverpool club veteran Yousef Zahir has been a welcome relief to many unamused by the modern comfort zone. But having set the record straight in 2009 with ‘A Series of Scars and Situations’, round two of his full-length legacy drops to test the quality and substance of the dying industry concept in the hands of a favored asset to melodic Tech House and warped Techno alike.
A household name he may be, but we don’t find the Liverpool based producer resting on his laurels quite yet. From the mellow movie-like introduction of ‘An Old Friend’, there is an immediate sense that something has changed in the three-years between Yousefs’ full-length debut. Still rallying the extensive experience of his own global residencies and club exploits for more upfront floor-fillers ‘For The Terraces’ and ‘Unusual’, refreshing interludes such as ‘What Is Revolution’ provides a fresh take on the down-tempo discordance that has so tragically slipped off the industry of late. While his full-length debut three-years ago may have lacked the vocal edge now commonly collating with modern Electronic music, Alexander East, Tom Crew and David Williams make amends with a series of deep and emotive appearances that positively aid the utilization of his sharp dexterity for advanced melodic hallmarks and the ability to not let past exploits dictate modern aural experience. With thicker and more consistent atmosphere than its predecessor, you would struggle to criticize the mature composition and unpretentious scope that reigns A Product Of Your Own Environment as an outright victory for the underground British club movement and the long serving Circus ringmaster alike.
As comfortably catering for the club floor as it does those still entranced by the instrumental dimensions Electronic music can muster, Zahir’s second coming is one of maturity and diversity from the outset. At a time when full-length records remain wholeheartedly disposable to the industry and listener alike, such timeless and well composed offerings as Yousefs’ second attempt proves that far from a dying format, the album platform can still be masterfully artistic in the right creative environment and at the hands of such worthy underground advocates.
A Product Of Your Environment is out 22 October on Circus Recordings.
Those more accustomed to the unexhausted heat of Spanish House music know all too well the particular set of skills brandished by David Penn. At the essential summer ascent for this award-winning asset to the ballsy Balearic beat, his latest summer compilation ‘Ibized’ embraces a hunger for seasonal hallmarks that the Madrid based producer and his Urbana imprint was born to quench.
A born survivor and ever-enthusiastic floor filler in spite of predictable times for genre and industry alike, Penn’s enigmatic ear for sharp Mediterranean grooves pervades this mix of assorted House gems from the loins of his Urbana imprint. While such personal and re-orientated cuts as Fredrico Scavo’s take on ‘Lovin U’ and Penn’s worthy remodel of ‘Whatever May Come’ make for obvious album standouts, label favorite Deux’s essential club cut ‘Party People’ and Julian Guargue’s ‘No Accident’ showcase the label at its most affirmative. But the most impressive factor in this modest label compilation remains the consistency to which this uncompromised Spanish stronghold swears by throughout. Without one single groove mismatched or tropical gem outspoken, Penn’s diligent Balearic composition screams wonders for the years that this Mediterranean Maestro has committed to mastering the heart and soul of Spanish club culture.
While Penn caters for a rather specific field within modern Dance music, anyone seeking the genuine heat of Ibizan summer clubbing should immediately orientate themselves with this prime showcase of ardent and exotic House music that shows no sign of falling out of favor upon the taste making island.
Ibized by David Penn is out now via Beatport.
The perfect summer soundtrack is all too often claimed, but rarely attained. Given his long serving presence on the global clubbing circuit, Mark Knight knows this better than your average industry icon. Following a successful first month of action at his weekly home from home of Space Ibiza, the Toolroom Records head honcho turns his head to filling the speculative void with an affirmative bag of gems to fuel the increasingly popular domain of the Ibizan summer.
Bridging the gap between underground clubbing culture and the dazzling White Isle demeanor, Knight’s seamless ability to balance tropical House gems with gritty Tech fuelled endeavors forges ‘Ibiza 2012’ as one of the most persuasive island soundtracks to emerge within the full-flamed summer season. While both ‘Together’ and ‘Alright’ prove vital forces from volume two of Knight’s highly acclaimed Bullets EP series, label favourites Rene Amez, Luigi Rocca & Manuel De La Mare push forward the familiar Toolrom mindset that has forged them as such a to-the-mark imprint in modern Dance music. Accompanied by exclusive content from Mihalis Safras & Siwell aswell as further label triumphs from Tocadisco and Adrian Hour, imported summer anthems including Miguel Campbell’s ‘Something Special’ and Cadenza’s own Technasia for ‘Heart of Flesh’ see Knight approach the composition of his summer soundtrack selflessly with maximal aural impact.
While every compilation aimed at the unhindered edge of the Balearic island will claim to embody the definitive soundtrack to Mediterranean club culture, the Space veteran turned British industry leader behind wave-after-wave of seamless House gems comes dangerously close to taking the biscuit with this fluid collection of seminal floor fillers from the definitive scope of a label that has more than earned its keep on the digital market and White Isle alike.
Toolroom Knights Ibiza 2012 Mixed By Mark Knight is out August 12 on Toolroom Records.
You don’t have to move too far to find a repetitive Electro banger or Euphroic European festival anthem these days. But in a year of the unadventurous overhaul and an allegedly regressive trend for breakthrough underground talents, Toolroom Records look to throw a little heartfelt flare into the thriving Ibiza club scene for 2012.
Boasting a sizeable selection of fresh floor fillers between the sheets of this seasonal nod to all walks of Electronic music, Knights’ renowned House stronghold play their strongest hand to bring forth a slew of talents as ready for the floor as they are aligned with the labels’ creative pulse. Led by exclusive material from Mihalis Safras and long serving British protagonist Jon Rundell excel the new school stead such a compilation might suggest, the likes of Matt Smallwood, Jack Dixon and George FitzGerald hold the new age contenders’ corner with proficient strength. From boisterous European Techno to the more exotic waves of tropical tech grooves and the rare hint of stern British Garage, it takes just 35 cuts to establish that amid the tedium of headline 21st century Dance music, there is a lot to shout about below the surface of the White Isle’s signature Balearic House bliss.
But with Pirupa, Jay Lumen and Ramon Tapia bringing that essential dose of credibility to this essential nod to the promising culture of collective club integrity, there are few better spotlights of fine European Dance music than collected in this short yet sweet installment that paints Toolroom as an imprint more than capable of feeding both ends of the industry with notable stamina throughout.
As a molecular mixer and remaning monument to the White Isle’s Balearic sound scope, Luciano is yet to shed his proud plumage within Ibizan clubbing culture. Be it his firm output of music under the Lucien-n-Luciano guise or the extensive allegiance of likeminded peers Cadenza Music call their own, there is something indestructible in the charm of his plentiful and passionate extensions of tropical club fuel. Shifting from the underground haven of DC10 to balance a twin-center residency at the formidable island venues of Ushuaia and Pacha Ibiza back in 2010, his unrivaled Vagabundos concept receives a formative summer soundtrack to try and immortalize the seasonal magic that his musical legacy has seemingly commandeered.
Unfolding in the disjointed yet ultimately Balearic fashion that Luciano has benchmarked throughout his long serving career, this warped and exotic collection of brutal Techno grooves and divine sun kissed House functionalities remains a breath of fresh air amid the current repetitive movements of the American club overhaul. While Le K marks an ambient flow forward for the Luciano’s distraught journey through sun kissed club delicacies, benchmarked label favorite Technasia is joined by tribal advocates El Pocho and Israel’s Guy J to relish in the fact that past the oblivious peak time action, Ibiza still moves to the sound of forward-thinking Dance music.
The chances are you will hear an endless slew of compiled gems throughout the summer clubbing season. That being said, you are unlikely to find a more stunning collection of tropically perverted sound waves as those collected in this firm embodiment of Cadenza’s vital hallmarks courtesy a man who knows a thing or two about keeping the Ibiza blues at bay.
As warm and welcoming as the piercing glare of the Mediterranean sun and the spiritual vibes of the White Isle, Simon Dunmore’s annual nod to the Ibizan summer tends to be the summer wake up call to thorough-bred House aficionados across the globe. But with the label’s head honcho back on track for an affirmative run through the imprints finest summer House bullets, Ibiza 2012 extends its steady arm with one of the more eclectic sound scopes from their long serving compilation concept to date.
Balancing minimalistic nuggets of Balearic beat mastery alongside such dignified Electronic exports as Groove Armada, the labels’ ability to tick all the crucial boxes in their genre remains untarnished. While such gems as Flashmob’s ‘Need In Me’ and Supernova’s ‘Casandra’ outline the labels latest wave of eccentric European talents, returning cuts from label favourites The Shapeshifters for ‘Only You’ and the Sandy Rivera’s infamous Kings of Tomorrow project with ‘Show Me’ extend that shade of vintage character that Defected relinquish upon their every musical movement without a single sign of sounding hackneyed or dated on the modern dance floor.
With imported gems from Pirupa, Mark Fanciulli and Butch digging deeper into the underground House spectrum, Ibiza 2012 flourishes courtesy of its unassuming ability to integrate a taste of every worthy element in modern floor fuel without sinking its longstanding integrity and club friendly charm for even one second. As traditional as the Sunday roast and as potent in summer-proof spirit as one comes to expect from fort Dunmore, the heartfelt Housekeeper valiantly sticks to his guns to wave in the next generation of eccentric House talent and it’s timeless sound that Defected can be held accountable for so much of. In an age where changing times equated to questionable standards, their stubborn onslaught of the ‘In The House’ ethos remains a refreshing indicator that mainstream commodities and American influence aside, some elements of modern House music remain sacred.
It has been many years since Roberto Rodriguez stepped onto the scene as Helsinki predominant House asset. But as the digital market has continued to progress and repel certain genres, the Finnish producers creative surge has shown little sign of simmering. For his debut full-length Dawn, aptly dropping on the ascent to the Ibizan summer season, Rodriguez’s biggest tests were to be those of relevance, stamina and sun kissed appeal.
Luckily, the years have been kind to this fine Finnish specimen of eclectic House nonconformist. Balanced between instrumental poolside anthem ‘Show Me’ and the disjointed House foundations of ‘Body Right, Rodriguez places strong studio quality and a rigorous journey of melodic depth into this inherently diverse full-length offering. Drawing on the edge of heyday European chill with the divine rhythmic progressions and string work of ‘Eva’, the later part of Dawn inherits a new class of down-tempo Electronica for the digital market to digest, with ‘Shibuyu’ pitting in as one of its more moving examples.
Outside of Dawn’s compelling ambient appeal, Rodriguez stirs his creative dexterity to a new high with a selection of inherently timeless vocal offerings. From the vintage canvas of seductive instrumental work that makes ‘Tell Me’ alongside Kholi a most fitting throwback to the warmth and charisma of late-1980′s Electronica right through to the deep and dark club stylings of ‘Lies’ alongside familiar House mouthpiece Max C, the balance between mood-setting modulations and radio-friendly vocal tracks is yet another bullet in the Finnish producers diverse full-length endeavour.
There are sure to be countless claims to having cracked the equation for the essential summer sound over the next few months. On the merits of creative integrity and stunning sound-to-season captivation, Helsinki appears to have mustered itself a true artist of the aurally supreme in Roberto Rodriguez and the ambiguous canvas of sun kissed blessings that made Dawn one of the more compelling full-length Electronic offerings of the decade.
There are few more technically superior composers on the modern Dance music market than American technologist Brian Transeau. Having donned the industry orchestral electronic landmarks throughout his long serving career, there has been litte doubt to the fact that outside of his film scoring and rigorous studio duties BT is one the most creatively superior artists on the globe. Six albums down the line and one Grammy nomination later for 2010′s ‘These Silent Machines’ have seen the inspired producer transition from overtly mysterious clubbing entity to one of the industry’s most highly respected contributors to date.
But for a fresh extension of his similarly named radio project, the American EDM revolutionary takes on the gruelling tast of canning the evocative energy of his enigmatic live sets with two-discs definitive club fuel for Laptop Symphony. Considerably more in tune with the Electro-orientated stylings that have overrun his homeland, his collaborative effort alongside Adam K for ‘Tomahawk’ proves a potent amalgamative opener for the more heavy-set stylings of Wolfgang Gartner, Porter Robinson and Feed Me alike that fuel this first encounter. Though verging far from his more euphoric heyday as Trance’s club savvy middle-man, his undeniable wit and tangible flexibility towards this popular sub-genre is never tedious, but a formative insight into the creativity such an oversubscribed sound can still muster on the modern market.
While Disc One embraces the more familiar trends in EDM, it is Disc Two that reels in the more familiar magic of BT’s intrinsic presence both on record and behind the decks. In a collection of tracks that breed euphoria and divine melodic refinement from the outset, Myon and Shane 42‘s remix of his own vocal masterpiece ‘A Million Stars’ and Hardwell‘s infamous remix of his collaborative anthem alongside Tiesto ‘Love Comes Again’ reels in a sturdy instalment of the unfathomable beauty that BT has cornered within Electronic music. With more Trance orientated peers Andrew Bayer and Ferry Corsten on hand to extend his own tantalising standard of production, Transeau’s more devout fans are sure to breath a sigh of relief within the unwrapping progressions that make up the body of this definitive instalment.
With his Seventh artist album on the horizon for Arvin Van Buuren’s Armada Music imprint and first album track ‘Must Be The Love’ already stirring excitement across the globe, BT’s iconic status seems as safely preserved as ever within this impressive collection of defining musical movements.