Listening, Oct. 18
$hit and $hine, Very High EP (Diagonal)
I bought this one on a solo trip to Rough Trade East, killing time before linking some friends at Genesis on Commercial St (PS I liked the staff outfits way more than the food there). Looks like your regulation hand-stamped white label from afar, but up close the type is no easier to read. I didn’t know who made it ’til I got home and read up. Truly felt like the “very high” EP.
Not gonna lie, they had me with the Steely Dan flip, let alone the Ri-Ri sample. I played the A-side at the ‘wrong’ speed in the shop, but it worked on me - turned a 90-ish bpm R&B chugger into a springy funk jam and lent the vox that half-chipmunk effect (which I’m a sucker for). Some more voices (one amongst these is from [Road Wars](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_Wars_(TV_series), apparently?!) drift in and out of focus and freakishness throughout, with layers of distortion adding to the trip. Fits right at home on Diagonal.
Peverelist, IDLE050 (Idle Hands)
Gripped on the same trip as the one above. I did feel a bit voyeuristic about this ode to Idle Hands, a Bristol record shop I’m still yet to actually step inside. On the back of the record is a short story about how the shop came to be, penned by Joe Cowton AKA Kowton. Anyone who’s followed him on twitter will immediately recognize the familiar humorous droll, but there’s genuine warmth and inspiration here as he recounts the desperate times (feat. daily “stale cheese sandwiches”) of Rooted Records (RIP) and brighter days feat. Sam Binga’s fervorous painting skills (his bright green choice of 2011 has since been retired, unfortunately). He actually mentions punters at oversea gigs chatting glowingly about the shop having never visited, which helped me feel less creepy.
In keeping with the landmark catalogue number, Pev is on full-on party vibes on the A-side, ‘Left Hand’. Ravey piano stabs and percussive drive reminiscent of Skull Disco era Shackleton are in full effect. This bounce reminds me a lot of Dance Until The Police Come, but the hums of paranoia and screwfaces are washed away and replaced with ear-to-ear smiles. On the flip, Pev just goes and ‘Pevs’ it - watertight drums drenched in subs. Sparse, distant, submerged. One to bump very loud and in the dark.
Lil Mofo, RA.645 (Resident Advisor)
I first listened to this mix on my Monday morning commute. Maybe the time in my week which is hardest to avoid “going through the motions”. Something she said in an accompanying Q&A perfectly describes the all-encompassing jolt it gave me.
“What I can do is just do what I can do (DJ) to mix up the people to feel better in this super-stressed society.”
This utilitarian and giving ethos is too often missing from many moments spent in a metropolis like London. Even on it’s dancefloors. At it’s core, this attitude is what I’m really trying to find (unconsciously or not) in DJs, but it goes a bit beyond that. If the DJ isn’t looking out for you, then who is…
Mofo shimmys effortlessly through ambient, jungle, trance, garage and techno beat structures (amongst others), and juggles this with a deep sensitivity to mood all the way to Joy’s closer. I’ve been coming back to this one when I could do with tuning in to the world (and back out). Once you’re done checking this out you should go peep ALL the soundclouds!
Joy O, 81b (Hinge Finger)
Courtesy of Honest Jons dance wall. Digi is up on the Toss Portal bandcamp, too.
I think Joy is one of the few real constants in my dance music listening habits, at least since I started going to clubs. Lots of my happiest times in clubs have been punctuated by those killer records. If I’m being honest (and corny), hearing Hyph Mngo come through the store speakers while working at All Saints was a musical re-awakening for me (having been distracted by paint-by-numbers, Hospital Records template DnB uni raves for a bit), and made me excited about London’s sounds again. Nostalgia-bathing is nice, but more importantly the tunes still bang.
Those classic Joy O signifiers are dotted over 81b, but sit next to fresh and varied soundscapes. There’s the warm patter of a record shop punter passing on a 2-step record at the start of COYP (come on you Palace!), echoing the intro styles of Fuerza (featured on Lil Mofo’s mix, incidentally) and the TTT mix, but wrapped in a hypnotizing chug that builds on the recent CO/R and Toss Portal records. Seed delivers the customary Dancefloor Rescue Track for DJs everywhere, wavy drum patterns sprinkled with a dark and infectious chopped up vocal, while TENNOV6TEEN does a sick Tangerine Dreams/John Carpenter impression (one for the Stranger Things heads) via a beatless sizzling synth.
I actually listened to it all the way through for the first time on a Sunday, the morning after a late mixing session with friends. The depth and detail of the tracks meant it sounded vibrant, even refreshing, after a barrage of club sounds the night before. Would recommend this setting to get your ears around it.
SOPHIE, live (Fabric, 23.10.18)
This was so much fun. Room One @ Fabric is a great place to be rattled around by artists that know how to bathe it in low frequencies. I remember seeing Kano in full flow at a Butterz night in the same room a few years back, and I didn’t think I’d see someone have the place in the palm of their hand like that again.
I’m still smiling thinking about this one having everyone lose their shit while SOPHIE calmly dragged on her cig amid the chaos. Go see her in your town or someone elses, it’s a beautiful reminder of what unified joy and overdosing on bassweight feels like.