Dirty techno how it should be. Slow and shuddering with constantly mutating grooves that sound like they’re emanating from the sewer. This is one of the roughest recent L.I.E.S. releases and comes to the Brooklyn label from Glasgow native Murray. These are the type of tunes I’d love to hear in the main room at Berghain, waves of throb enveloping a cavernous warehouse.
Shark Story of the Century
Contort Yourself is a record label from Glasgow run by Murray CY that releases a soothing mixture of original 80’s Industrial/EBM with brand new raw and dirty techno. This 5 tracker of various artists mixes nice clanging beats from Enrique and techno thud from Beau Wanzer and Prostitutes. Killer cut on this EP for me though is the Broken English Club remix of a 1988 tune from Spanish industrial outfit Esplendor Geométrico. The original is included and is great, tribal raw drums with screams and chants that still sounds fresh. Broken English adds the bass and morphs it into a stripped back pulsing throb with whispered vocals adding to the menace. Perfect for 3am. The past meets the future, possibly?
Baby Whale – Coral Cassette Extended Edit
Gorgeous shimmering house with Patrick Adams style disco elements. It doesn’t waste any time and slams in straight away, rolling bass and piano moving and modulating throughout the mix. One for the cosmic jazz-funk disco raver hands in the air crew. Killer.
Rappin it Up
[Private Press 1979]
Super dope disco rap obscurity from Jamaica, Queens, New York that I’ve been hunting down for over 20 years. On the A-side Dancin Willie and Moe Meek freestyle over slap bass, moog and strings whilst a female vocal moans. On the flip we get three tracks, an instrumental that emphasises the rhythmic strangeness and out-there arrangement, plus a couple of off kilter funk disco tracks that are reminiscent of some of the ace tunes found on the rarer Peter Brown labels.
[Clone Jack for Daze]
4 tracks of kinda retro-house rave from Rotterdam with a couple of remixes from Legowelt and Vin Sol. The DJ Haus “In the Body, Acid Dub” mix is the one for me though. Slamming acid and stomping groove with a stuttered vocal sample that jacks super hard. The vinyl is nicely cut and mastered too, loud and clear for full on dancefloor damage.
“Keisa Kizzy Kinte” is an amazing track that is part drone art weirdness and part deep techno for the early hours. It starts with atonal and shifting chords before slowly morphing into throbbing undulation and crisp and shifting percussive elements at 124bpm. An epic 9-minute hardware work out that manages to combine experimental tonal exploration with dark funk and groove.
Dr. Walker vs. Omsk Information/St. Tétik
Under the radar, new label from Berlin, mixing up the genres and keeping it low and undercover with each release encompassing a variety of artists. The A-side and killer stand out track for me here is an immense 10-minute modular madness collaboration from veteran acid disturber Walker and more recent producer Omsk. The tune slowly careers, turns and builds into a frenzy of analogue tones and frequency manipulation that is almost psychedelic as it takes the listener deep into the heart of the machines.
Black Mass Plastics
Under the Radar
[Ugly Funk UFU009]
Off kilter funk from Black Mass over 8 booming new tracks straight from his audio research laboratory. Doom and bass infect the slamming grooves and make this an essential purchase for those who like their beats disturbed. The key tones on these tunes emanate from an array of handmade modules designed and built by the artist himself. These machines are designed to cause maximum audio damage and indeed take no prisoners as they take centre stage and help form his unique sound. This is music that defies easy description or analysis but is not aimed at a mythological past. These are tunes for the present and beyond. Gloomy future dance floor classics.
I’m Going to Go
[Dark Entries Editions]
Life With You
[Dark Entries Editions]
I’ve got to admit I have a love/hate relationship with most Italo-Disco. Some of it is legitimately the cheesiest pop-dance nonsense ever committed to vinyl. Some releases though are not just guilty pleasures but bona fide early electronic dance classics. In fact, this music still deeply resonates from my initial forays onto the dance floor of underground clubs back in the early eighties. A time before House and Techno had appeared, and when the electronic music that I heard the DJ’s mixing was mostly European.
Dark Entries from San Francisco normally re-release super serious rare and obscure industrial and dark wave. On the Editions series though they specialise in unearthing Italo dance rarities. Beautifully packaged, these records are presented in vibrant pastel sleeves and even include an insert card with the lyrics printed on. Perfect for those early morning karaoke sessions after a night drinking Campari and Aperol. The two tunes I list here are particular favourites. Jago is stripped back electro funk proto house with a proper pop jaunt and swagger. For the spotters they include the rare Frankie Knuckles mix but I prefer the vocal original and sometimes you do need to dance to lyrics such as:
“I like listening to the drop falling from the tap, when I think of you,
and since the drop falling makes me feel bad, I prefer not to think of you.
I’m going to go
Are you going to sing or talk?
I’m going to go
Are you going to go or stay?”
The Expansives tune is a lot more sparkly. It features an amazing bass line, super sweet chords and excessively sugary melodies whilst at key points a vocoder replies in response to the overly angst ridden vocals. The desperation in the voice is slightly at odds with the up-tempo arrangement. Italo is always at least slightly camp. The arrangement here is also particularly odd in places but this only just adds to the weird mutated pop aesthetic.
Waffles (001, 002, 003, 004)
Great new edit imprint from Belgium that only features colour pictures of tempting assorted waffles on the label and no other info. Four releases so far and pretty much all are consistently excellent deep and spacey afro disco re-works. My overall favourites though are the chocolate and coffee waffles, 001 and 003 respectively.
Three of You/*MM
Drum Electronic Sound
Drum Electronic Sound (Paul Du Lac Edit) is my favourite cut on here. A stomp and chug industrial funk groove with some heavy reverb claps propelling the beat. Subtle percussion and flange on the edit help the rhythm pump and snarl nicely.
4 soothing and rolling repetitive house influenced tracks from Tokyo based artist Powder aka Moko Shibata. The tunes here all feature beautifully crafted slow and intricate polyrhythms that both hypnotise and mesmerise in equal quantities. This is electronic music that feels very Japanese in its minimal beauty and cut down aesthetic. Raw and seemingly simple these tracks have a dreamlike quality controlled by the rolling bass, synth pulses and subtle flecks of percussion.
Hypnosis in the modern age Volume 2
Dark and moody techno repetition from Silent Servant with a touch of 80’s EBM thrown in the mix. Pure dark room chug and throb.
Old Jams Die Hard #1
4 tracker on the Riverette label from Madrid. Going Dutch is the tune I play. Fucked up distorto house with a gully bassline and a classic stuttered vocal as the groove kicks back in. Proper jackin.
Pluton and Humanoids
Amazing cosmic space disco obscurity from 1981 that was originally released on a small Québécois label in very limited quantities. This tune genuinely feels unearthly and unlike any of its peers from this period. Melancholy synths float over a chugging metallic disco groove whilst ghostly vocoders warn of aliens watching humanity. The final section features an epic if slightly disturbing key change as synths and alien choir ride a clattering groove that collapses at the end. This was repressed a couple of years ago in Berlin, I found my copy in a flea market there, but even these versions are going up and are hard to find cheap. If nothing else, fans of obscure weird cosmic space disco should check out the audio online.
Aigbe Lebarty – Unity [PMG]
Blo – Back in Time [PMG]
Aleke Kanonu meets Tolbert the Miracle Man Nwanne, Nwanne, Nwanne [PMG]
In the last reviews I did for Datacide  I hyped the amazing re-issue
of Nana Love and her Disco Documentary Full of Funk LP, the sound of Ghana meets Harlesden in an after hours disco. If you haven’t
picked that up yet then seriously get on it ASAP The past few years have seen a host of other obscure Afro funk hitting the shelves and here are some more three figure rarities to add to your collection for a fraction of the Discogs price.
Unity by Aigbe Lebarty was inspired by Anita Ward’s ‘Ring your Bell’ but is way more funky and urgent, also how can you argue with it’s credentials when the backing singers are called the ”Sex Bombers”!!
Blo’s “Back in Time” is smooth and funky on the A-side but it’s the burning Nigerian disco heat of “Dance in Circle” that is the fire here.
Nwanne, Nwanne, Nwanne is an insane and hyper fast latin infused afrobeat track that features a mental drum workout from Nigerian percussionist Aleke Kanonu. Incidentally this was originally released on the same cult label, Rojac records from New York, run by local gangster Jack Taylor, that put out some highly sought after first generation hip hop from rappers at the legendary Harlem World venue.