Home > 2012, boogie, detroit, ehiopia, House, LA > Picks 12/8/2012

Picks 12/8/2012

I had an unexpectedly busy week filled with lots of drinking, late night spliffs soundtracked by Ethiopian jams, and some schmoozing with an EDM promoter who can apparently drop 20k for his Wednesday night party. Went to the Nosaj Thing listening party the other night and the only thing I really walked away with was that remixes of Burial don’t work. Beat Swap Meet is tomorrow and I’m expecting a couple of packages this week so I’m going to be stocked up through the end of the year. Nice.

Pulled from orders to All Day Records, People’s Potential Unlimited and discogs.

Theo Parrish – Solitary Flight b/w Dellwood II (Sound Signature, 2002)

This is one of my all time favorite Theo Parrish songs and I’m really glad to have been able to pick up a physical copy of it. I’ve had a low quality mp3 for some time, so its wonderful to finally hear that truly deep bass and feel the warmth of the 12″. As anyone familiar with Theo knows, he often is more concerned with vibe than making a track that is easy to dance to. His music feels like an improvised composition – an improvisation by an artist who keeps Coltrane hours and casts visions that are Mingus-big. Typically low-fi and analog, he makes house so soulful I sometimes wonder if the genre tag only gives the listener wrong expectations.

“Solitary Flight” (above) begins with a little hi-hat and a swirling rhodes – keeping the atmosphere light, yet invoking a Wizard of Oz vision of waking up in a place a bit more fantastical than you remembered. Light, soaring strings float in and cast a sense of twilight, accented with a slowly pounding kick – thick and groggy. The track is meditative and gentle, with the soft bounce of the kick and tapping of high hats really helping build the trance. The track is repetitive, but to at even 10 minutes long it feels too short. This is a great track for sunny day-time parties or even for 5 in the morning – just the perfect spot to add a little mysticism to the vibe. Also, check out the typically hilarious Youtube comments on the video, it will give you a peek to the loyalty of Parrish’ fans.

On the flip, “Delwood II” is darker, more aggressive and far more raw than its counterpart. The synth tone is thick and sci-fi, overdriven to the point of molasses chords – all brooding texture, only subtly balanced by spacy electric keys. Real raw and dripping with soul, this music is looking inward, yet skywards with a sci-fi curiosity that resembles a modern day Sun Ra. With Theo Parrish at the helm, this is Afro-futurism at it’s finest.

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Loni Gamble Band ft. Lisa Warrington – I Like the Way You Do It (PPU, 1984/2010)

People’s Potential Unlimited has some of the sickest reissue game out there. These cats pull tracks that I had no idea could even exist. Carmen’s “Time to Move” from earlier this year still kills and I have never played Westwood & Cash’s “Psycho For Your Love” and not had someone ask me about it. Whenever their webstore has a sale I count my pennies, and stock up on raw boogie funk for the cold winter months.

The mysterious Loni Gamble (possible relation to Kenny Gamble?) seems to have suffered the fate of many of the starry-eyed soul musicians that PPU digs up; the cat recorded one or two funky as hell singles and then moved on. The brilliant “I Like the Way You Do It” (above) is a real treasure completely unknown to me before this. Musically, the track is a chugging boogie/freestyle inflected post-disco stormer with a strong guitar riff and absolutely phenomenal vocals from Lisa Warrington. The vocals are submerged and sexy, Warrington perfectly performing the role of the sumptuous siren – equally loaded with sass and soul, playing a diva role that would soon become dominant in R&B. Riding underneath the exquisite vocals is Gamble’s Nile Rodgers-aping guitar riff; managing to be both funky and glamorous at the same time. This is an absolute perfect 10.

On the flip is a great Tom Noble Edit, a track that pays tribute to the grandfathers of the edit by exposing the little bit parts outside the vocal and reworking the groove around those little nuggets. The track here is more toned down, a bit more spacey in a Francois K. kind of way, but still remaining groovy sunny disco. Each side is great and will work in different situations – which means this 12″ will most likely never leave my crate. Cheers, PPU, thanks for adding another killer to my arsenal.

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Marek Hemmann – Junoka (Freude Am Tanzen, 2008)

Occasionally I will wake up in the morning after a long night of drinking and come to realize I did a bit of internet shopping. While most of the time it will be strange surprise from ebay or discogs, I do land a few good buys. I think I heard “Junoka” (above) on a mix and I found the track infectious, very romantic and groovy.

Well, the great part about buying a record solely off one track is the excitement of hearing the rest of the music. I was very pleasently surprised by the force of “Who Two,” as the track propels forward with slick use of an ultra deep bass pulse and tight rhythmic movements. The swing is really excellent, but what keeps the track on repeat for me is the use of vocal elements within the track – whether it be a phonetic noise of a melodic whistle. The affect gives the song a lot of life and for some reason reminds me of the punk element in dance music, a realm where the strangeness of Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club and Dinosaur L hold much weight. It’s a vibrant track and one that has a lot of energy – it’s big without being too big.

First off, doesn’t the intro to “Junoka” (above) sound like it was lifted for T-Minus’ work on Kendrick Lamar’s “Swimming Pools“? Anyway, it’s a beautiful way to start a track – that booming deep deep deep bass ushering in a wealth of sensation of anticipation. A garage swing steps in, followed by an excellently unintelligible vocal sample. The track moves forward at full swing, but it remains subtle and focused; cloudy and sensual. This is music for late nights, dark spaces and the smell of wine, hash and sea breeze. Very happy to see this record, I think I will put it to good use.

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TMS – Get the Feeling b/w Caprice –Candy Man (PPU, 1982/2006)

Another bomb from PPU! I’m not usually big on 7″ records, but I had to make an exception for this one here. Two sugary sweet early 80’s R&B/Synth Soul with a lovely bounce and fun vocals. Both tracks just beg to be played at a backyard party where the air smells rich and the beer is cold and abundant.

Caprice’s “Candy Man” (above) predates the Mary Jane Girls’ track of the same name (and my favorite Rick James track!) by a year, but is just as sensual and sweet. It’s mid-paced, and not very forceful, but the slow funk will work great tucked between some Debbie Deb and Chic. It’s a fun track that lingers after its gone.

TMS’ “Get the Feeling” is the heavy hitter here, with an early 80s R&B influenced vocal delivery that is charming and fun. This is the track that will have people getting down, singing along and doing a poor ass soul train line.  A wacky synth is fairly prominent in the mix, but it doesn’t really do much other than add a vague electro feel to it. Overall a very great track that I will probably find myself playing out way too often.

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Delroy Edwards – For Club Use Only (L.I.E.S., 2012)

Dark, dank, gritty, peaktime house and techno by the mysterious Delroy Edwards on the typically excellent LIES record label. Word has it Delroy Edwards is the alias for a Los Angeles veteran, and the work really does show the touch of an old head. The tracks are thick with smoke and analog dust, and sound as if they were mastered off a cassette that’s been the staple of a roadtrip mix to desert raves for the last 15 years. There’s grit, but its nice and on the right soundsytem the low-fi approach adds a dense ambiance that is hard to imagine and harder to describe.

“Bells” (above) is my favorite jam out of the bunch, sounding what a reviewer said is like (I’m paraphrasing) a lost Dance Mania acetate that’s been sitting in a dank basement for years. The track channels 90s ghettohouse in such a beautiful way; raw and funky, yet a deep melancholy sits at the base – altogether invoking a level of raunch that will undoubtedly affect all dancers. Led by a detuned marimba melody, the track swings gracefully in a way that is both uplifting and dreary. A lazy kick and persistent high hats keep the groove hot, and accentuate how the track really does a lot of damage for how simplistic it is.

Love Goes On and On” is the other big winner on here for me. It takes an aquatic Drexciyan direction, just fuzzed to death with cold sheets of synth slipping through the fog. It’s a forward kick that is simple and effective, while icy synths rise and fall, sending the traveler on a dark journey soon interrupted by a sub-crushing bass pulse. The title track is similar and equally subterranean and effective. An excellent debut single, I’m excited to hear more.

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Getachew Degefu Amhara Wedding Songs (Philips/Mitmitta/Domino, 1973/2012)

You can never have too many Ethiopian records. The music is unparalleled and inexplicable. Managing to be highly emotional, dramatic and deeply mystic, a sound that comes from not an instrument, but something much deeper. This record was originally released by Philips in 1973, it collects typical Ethiopian wedding songs. The collection offers spirited and festive tracks that are influenced by Stax or King, but remain innately Ethiopian. Constant handclaps, the wonderfully shrill “ililta,” and strong vocals keep the energy high and mood celebratory.

Most of the material is vaguely similar, r&b/rock’n’roll/jazz inflected stompers with touches of flute and guitar – the focus is predominately on the singing and lyrics.
One of the standouts is “Asha Gedawo” which features two singers and a really fun guitar-lead bounce – the celebratory nature is largely apparent. The album comes with a nice write-up and some photos of Ethiopian weddings. Very nice.

Categories: 2012, boogie, detroit, ehiopia, House, LA
  1. Tyler
    December 8, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    My picks from your picks are Solitary Flight(reminds me of that Mccoy Tyner album i bought off you two winters ago.) and Getachew Degefu. Its hard to beat anything that came out of Africa in the 70’s, or 60’s.

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