The first in an on-going series of charts with descriptions, this will hopefully bring some much needed attention to those tracks that are hot, unique or just plain under appreciated (sorry no DJ Koze, Johnny D or anything released on Get Physical featured for the forseeable future).
Tom Trago – Passion (Rush Hour)
Taking over where Yuro and Trago’s “Primary Roots” left off, this one starts with hints of French filter house before kicking off a thoroughly satisfying trip on the Detroit-Euro express: magnificent chord arches, wiggling synth notes and deep bass kicks. After the breakdown Trago even manages to fit a tight funk bass lick in for good measure before bringing it all back.
James Kumo – Dreams (Tribute to Delsin mix) (Ann Aimee)
Straightforward dance music that is aimed squarely at the floor. Building off a slowly burbling acid line and wood block percussion this has the makings of an updated acid monster in the vein of Kink & Neville Watson or 2 AM/FM. But an odd 3 minutes later Kumo changes direction and sends it into the techno-sphere with a series of sweeping synth vamps.
Agore – Blue (Logos)
Taken from Agore’s upcoming Reflection album, “Blue” is a gorgeous piece of jazz-inflected techno soul. Using nature sounds, loose breaks and jutting double bass “Blue” opens up into warm strings, a reflective melodic theme before unveiling the plaintive saxophone line that seals this track’s place in the lexicon of jazz techno fusion to come.
Matt Chester – Cold Restraint (11th Hour)
It was a toss up between this and the DJ3000 remix of “Kick It,” my other favorite track from the Endless Days 12″, but this one won out with Chester’s trademark melodic progressions really pulling you in. And with a fierce electro bassline, strong drum kicks and filthy percussive fills this one is worth tracking down.
DJ Q – Cheat (NRK)
Reminiscent of 69-era Carl Craig this single-sided release from Paul Flynn tugs at the heartstrings with rich minor chord harmonics and a looped up breakbeat before introducing a sampled excerpt of Chris Rock’s comedy routine on cheating. But it’s the rolling digital bassline oscillator that emerges later that is the touchstone to an era in techno that rarely sees the light of day any longer.
Orlando Voorn feat My Shorty One – Beat It Up (Voorn remix) (Voorn Kollektiv)
I believe this one only made it to digital format but music as catchy as this without T-Pain auto-tune vocals deserves attention. What you get here is whispered sensual vocals in the vein of the Yin-Yang Twins mixed with the melody from Vanity 6’s “Nasty Girl” grafted to a jacking stripped down house beat. Guaranteed to get even the ugliest DJ some action if dropped.
AEOD – Only In My Dreams (D1)
I’m a little late to this one for reasons unknown since I’ve been listening to his tracks via Myspace for the past 2 years or so. Joey Nicholson’s productions are completely unique with a raw underproduced feel at times, and the Sadness EP isn’t much different drawing on driving techno rhythms with strange vocal streams echoing. But with “Only In My Dreams” you get silky smooth deep house with a punch. The track is rather simple but the elements are all drawn together in an effective manner: a pitched up vocal sample running through it (going on about some “read to achieve” program), dramatic chord drops paired up with a funky 2 note bassline, and a strong rhythm beatdown.
Titonton Duvante – Rodeo (Frankie)
Continuing on with his exploration of the freaky side of dance music, Titonton Duvante’s recent The Way You Ride EP features “Rodeo.” Not quite as explosive as the earlier “Reverse Cowboy” but with a subtler interplay of cut up vocals and twisting bass notes until they all become central components of the rhythm themselves. And at first it appears that this is nothing more than a rhythm track but halfway through Duvante slowly teases out a shards of an echoing melody with an accompanying Rhodes keyboard backing. Tight stuff for those deeper jacking moments.