Loleatta Holloway – Stand Up (Pangaea’s Mix)

A Moving Highlight of 2017

Salsoul Records officially release the Pangaea’s mix of “Stand Up,” a rendition to Loleatta Holloway. Good news for those who missed the White Label 12-inch from Hessle Audio’s member that came out in early August as “Devotion 17” through Hadal and packaged with an edit of Nomad’s ‘Devotion’ on the A-side. It has been doing the rounds since, either as a soulful play on the radio or a signing DJ moment in sets. The flip-side is about to remember the leading ’70s disco diva from Chicago. A classic revisited that went sold out. A moving highlight of the year is now available.

Kevin McAuley (a.k.a. Pangaea) approaches to Loleatta Holloway’s classic with reverence bringing up a bit of suspense. It takes a minute and a few seconds before her full-bodied gospelized vocals irrupt in tremendous energy. If you have forgotten this is a re-edit, heavy-bass points the intro to clarify what you are about to listen is a respectful time capsule from current sound perspective. He compassed a nitid way that belongs to the tradition of UK bass artists, bearing his dubstep signature credited from the beginning in 2007 all through his career to “In Drum Play,” his debut in the album format back in 2016. If there were hard-hitting percussions, this time around Pangaea flourishes an in-out Brazilian-style percussion loop to reach Loleatta’s soulful and timeless workout.

All the Loleatta’s whoops and shouts come from an acapella, the breaking part of ‘Dreaming,’ a song included in the album “Loleatta” (Gold Mine Records, 1976). Like the original, the re-edit placed her in a central position. She is the meaning of the track, flanked by stripped-back rhythm from both sides, at the beginning and the end and contrasting with the tech-treated reimaging speech in the middle. Sparse and minimalistic beat that acts elliptically, like the omission parts of a sentence or a statement, a sequence of dots for the updating.

Pangaea’s rework makes me think of the origin of House music where re-edits created new versions of soul and funk classics in reel-to-reel tape to play differently every day. Those that distinguished the dance-floor sound of Music Box from the one in Power Plant, the two Chicagoan clubs fronted by Ron Hardy and Frankie Knuckles respectively. Those pioneers shared almost nothing in music style but friendship and Loleatta Holloway in their respective charts.

D.A.F. – Das Ist DAF (Grönland Records)

A myth, back in vinyl

Grönland Records has released a Deutsch Amerikanische Freundschaft (D.A.F.) compilation, containing their four seminal albums accompanied by the extra material of new recordings and remixes. It is the rise of the German act formed in Düsseldorf as a band in 1978 and moved to London in 1980. A period in which they became a duo and one the European precursors of techno, pioneers of EBM, a secure entry for the Industrial music and an edgy representative of the art-punk by 1982, featuring Gabriel “Gabi” Delgado-López (vocals) and Robert Görl (drums, percussion, electronic instruments).

“Das Ist DAF” reissues in vinyl the four albums released in a short time span of eighteen months between 1980 and 1982, unavailable in this format since the ’80s. The Deluxe 5LP Box Set includes “Die Kleinen Und Die Bösen,” (Mute, 1980) and so-called “The Virgin Trilogy,” that is to say “Alles Ist Gut” and “Gold Und Liebe,” both released in 1981, and “Für Immer” (1982). Alongside it comes a 12-inch with remixes by Giorgio Moroder and Boyz Noise and a 7-inch with two previously unreleased songs, plus all the goodies expected in a set like this, from lush booklet to poster, original D.A.F card, slipmat and download code.

Like every retrospective, this one serves to memory and dignifies the singularity of a band to call it influential. Approaching the 40th anniversary of formation, D.A.F. is related to the late seventies and the early eighties, a challenging time when everything was about to be transformed into new conventions. Everybody was moving to other places where to grow with new ideas, and some musicians left guitars away to plug into new devices.

“Das Ist DAF” offers a part of that move. It is a musical portrait of a band that made an artistic an physical journey coming from Düsseldorf, the unassumed Mecca of German futurist and avant-garde music since the late ’60s when Krautrock licensed itself from Progressive with electronic treatment in a motorik pattern. From the early seventies, Düsseldorf was the place to go for refreshing and daring new ideas. Just to mention the famous, David Bowie and Iggy Pop were in the city before moving to Berlin. Brian Eno collaborated with Harmonia as a previous step to concentrate later in Bowie’s “Berlin Trilogy” albums.

D.A.F. is Düsseldorf to the bone, like Kraftwerk and Neu!, but, contrarily, they had spread ears to the UK post-punk. They were part of a bunch of a scaping mover from what they considered established (Kraftwerk) or the old (Neu!). D.A.F. is undoubtedly Düsseldorf but belongs to the edgiest side of it, the one it opened the Ratinger Hof in 1975. It was the headquarters of a new generation of punks acts, where D.A.F as well Die Krupps, La Düsseldorf and Der Plan all started to become part of “Neue Deutsche Welle.” At the time of its opening, Kraftwerk was breaking up in the USA with “Autobahn” (1974) and “Radio-Activity,” (1975). They were bound to stardom and writing a new chapter to conceptualize in the musical history. In the meantime, Suicide (Alan Vega and Martin Rev), the American correspondent to D.A.F. concerning the synth-pop duo’ forefront aesthetics, was looking for its place of understanding going from rioting show to another, from Mercer Arts Center to Max’s Kansas City to CBGB’s.

The “Hof” in Düsseldorf, like the legendary Bowery Club in NYC, was a counterplay. “Hof” bands like D.A.F. were Düsseldorf kids familiarized with the UK explosion of post-punk, from Wire to Siouxie & The Banshees. They sang in German as a sign of affirmation and to break with the English spoken domination of music. They loved the punk attitude, but instead of expressing it in two guitar chords for few spit words they took synths and sequencers to modulate the energy. The first cheap Japanese synths (Yamaha and Korg) came up with a helping hand to the pocket. It was a jump, an as natural or unnoticed process as immersed they were in the “Zeitgeist,” the backdrop, the musical legacy of the city.

“Ein Produkt der Deutsch-Amerikanischen Freundschaft” (1979), D.A.F.’s first album, was an apocalyptic sum of untitled instrumental tracks though, having vocalist “Gabi” Delgado left the band temporarily. The first ever show of D.A.F at the Ratinger Hof was in February 1979, months before the release of David Bowie’s “Lodger,” the third and his final Berlin albums. The show was no electronics at all but a noise-driven guitar set. That year, Margaret Thatcher began with the neo-liberal era while Joy Division made an impressive step into post-punk with “Unknown Pleasures,” as well as Cabaret Voltaire’s debut, “Mix-Up,” was about to release.

The “virus electronicus” inoculated to the “Neue Deutsche Welle” conglomerate of bands was the birth of the second generation of electronic artists, in this case, drafted in punk. The trend was in the UK creative net already, but the German input’s peculiarities of it did impress the always perceptive British brains for the new. Daniel Miller signed D.A.F. to Mute, and the rest is history.

Along with Kraftwerk, D.A.F. accomplished the challenge of being German singing act in a restrictive music industry dominated by English. The two icy dressed in leather germans were a provocative portrayal of fighting taboos in Genet tradition, and their Nazi imaginary made a staged Teutonic fantasies’ sarcasm model of themselves. Gabriel “Gabi” Delgado López (son of Spaniards immigrants) took his learned German-speaking as a matter of creative. Suspending his sentences off the hammering, precise and guttural German speech with obsessive and repetitive words, he brought the key to a new musical patterns development, wrapped up in sequencers and fitted in a new synth’s regime. Their dour image was pioneering a new way of love songs, punchy social statements, and irony invocations to sex. All this compiled in “Das Ist DAF.”

Marlena Shaw – Woman of the Ghetto EP (Catz ‘N Dogz Remix) [Pets Recordings]

I Want You To Get Together

Catz ‘N Dogz (Grzegorz Demiañczuk and Wojciech Tarañczuk) take over this iconic vocal live sample to officially honor American jazz, blues, soul singer Marlena Shaw. The three-tracks EP will be out on August 25 through their imprint, Pets Recordings.

Premiered by BBC Radio 1 DJs Pete Tong and Annie Mac, it’s a surprise summer track. It’s the kind to be on that list of titles that update old sounds for a purpose, as well as Bedouin will drop Pink Floyd’s “Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun” on the same date. It’s another suggestion what Berlin based Polish duo have done with the original material though. Instead of a recreational cover, they take the vocal sample to a current techno deep house beat from where suddenly rumps an acid straight line. As simple as it has ignited every track, remix and DJ set that has used it throughout these years, more than two decades. But, this time, in full credit. A second version goes for the Afrobeat percussion inspired and developed from the back then stage performance.

Originally included on her second studio album “The Spice Of Life,” the last she released for Chess’ subsidiary Cadet Records in 1969, ‘Woman Of The Ghetto’ got a live version on July 5, 1973, at Montreux Jazz Festival. The recorded performance hit the shelves a few months later as “Marlena Shaw/Live: Cooking With Blue Note At Montreux”. The moody spoken introduction to the song became house music’s legacy. The line hit with Blue Boy’s “Remember Me (Pharm, 1997) and peaked with ‘Rose Rouge,’ on St. Germain’s album “Tourist” (Blue Note, 2000).

It is by way of tribute not only to Marlena Shaw herself but for a generation that grew in the 90s; a period trended on the so-called rare groove scene. At the end of the 60s, she occasionally ventured in soul charts, right after being the vocal counterpart for Jazz giants like Cannonball Adderley and Ramsey Lewis Trio. Splitting from Cadet Records, she worked periodically with Count Basie until she signed for Blue Note in 1972 to build a solid recording career. She left some gems on the way, and diggers were aware. As it happened with ‘California Soul,’ with Diplo’s remix featured on volume 4 of the “Verve Remixed” compilation series, now it’s time to recognize officially to Marlena Shaw for the famous inviting phrase on the “Woman Of The Ghetto” introduction line in a remix.

Pump The Volume : 30 years of a Milestone

Pop went the house

On August 3rd, 1987, 4AD released this breaking ground track as a 7″ and 12″ single credited to recording act called M/A/R/R/S for the sake of UK Acid house and sampling music development.

The promotion sheet described the single: ‘We’ve used a lot of rhythms and time signatures from old records, classic soul records, but mixed with modern electronic instruments and A.R. Kane guitar sound.’

Originally, the record was anonymous white label mailed to the 500 most influential clubs and dance DJs so that it received exposure six weeks before its official release. A standard process in the musical record industry that fed an immediate response on the dance floor, as repetitive as ‘Pump Up The Volume’ shouting was asking for a name. The real impact came weeks after of releasing its stock version, on the double A 12″ with the added scratches and samples by UK champion scratch mixer C.J. Mackintosh and London disc jockey/journalist Dave Dorrell. It was something new, energy at once, powered by a ‘mix-and-match trickster spirit’ as DJ Rapture would say. More than a regular promo it was an exploratory artifact with a mission: cutting edge should be a reach from the few for the people. Before giving reasons to that idealistic thought, just to remember M/A/R/R/S was an acronym, formed by the forenames of the people involved in the project, all members of two 4AD bands, Colourbox and A.R. Kane. Corresponding to the slash separated initials, in order. First M/ was for Martyn Young from Colourbox. /A was for Alex Ayuli and /R for Rudy Tambala, both A.R. Kane members. Following doubled /R went for Russell Smith (an associate A.R. Kane member), and finally /S for Steve Young, founder member with brother Martyn of Colourbox, who died July 13th, 2016.

It was a factual proof that everything is possible with the honesty of the right proposals, courage for a dared aim and sensibility to presume what is society impelled to say for transformation, even unknowing it shouts for it for so long. ‘Pump Up The Volume’ was a euphoric and straight answer for the demanding. It’s a work of art what we have here, a celebration for a maverick one-hit-wonder that gave us a glorious propelling sound to believe. Nothing was sacred anymore. A precedent that overthrown elite barriers down. The avant-garde was on the radio. It was a stand-up, and one-off was enough. Never there was a follow-up, but a myriad of followers.

The international smash-hit had many difficulties in the making. Electronic group Colourbox and alternative rock band A.R. Kane were dissimilar in styles but were able to propose the same thing by separate ways. The joint-venture created in different studios catch producer John Fryer in the middle but led to happy end by 4AD label founder Ivo Watts-Russell. He smoothed down any disagreement in a Solomonic way, giving creativeness parts to everyone and reinforcing the prospective idea that innovative American house could play the central role in a commercially oriented dance record. ‘Pump Up The Volume’ has the honor to write ‘commercial’ with no blame.

When Chicago/Detroit house pioneers admitted they had been fascinated to listen to British acts on the radio like Human League, Depeche Mode, Ultravox to name a few, they had to go to the import record stores to get their copies. They bought synthesizers, drum-machines, bassline-synthesizers to emulate that primarily electronic sound. They were asking themselves what I can do with this disco/funk/soul record on the turntable to stretch what I have in mind. They weren’t aware but work out a new genre in the try, delivered it on a repetitive 4/4 beat to an added off-beat hi-hat cymbals.

On the other side of the Atlantic, artifact M/A/R/R/S took over that advanced way of making music only British can do; the way always has done since the time of rock and roll. Take what other’s creation is and transform it into something of their own. As American house music grew as the pattern for innovation recreated and tagged in several distinctions to the limits of experimental for the few, ‘Pump Up The Volume’ emerges as the British-made house hit for everyone, marking a turning-point to the popularity of the genre. Its secret is popping the known things up over an unfamiliar rhythm structure. The first is a peak on the art of sampling; the second is the talent to share what is at the forefront in understanding terms. Pop went the house.

JLin: “Black Origami” (Planet Mu)

The Art Of Isotopes

Ending with a title like ‘Challenge (To Be Continued)’ is more than a conclusion for an album. The twelfth track rounds Gary, Ind, producer’s second full-length release, “Black Origami,” with stand-up. JLin waits for more. She’s defiant. Apparently, we are in a footwork situation. But she’s not. She’s faster in mind to predict any of her movements.

Forget that no one took footwork this far out since the late DJ Rashad. With her impressive track “Erotic Heat” on the 2011 Planet Mu compilation “Bangs and Works Vol. 2.” and the “Free Fall” 12″, the latter advancing her debut àlbum “Dark Energy,” she was giving a signature stamp to a convention of sound. She belonged to it, but she played as a sneaker of diverse, shaking and turned it upside down. She was demanding with herself. You had to be on fractals with the inspired remix she made late last year out of “Wave,” the original track from “25 25” Factory Floor’s album, a post-punk techno pulse repeated itself in high-tech to a buzz.

Back in February, she gave a clue of her new rush with “Dark Lotus EP,” a taster for the brand new and hugely anticipated long-player. Two tracks announced as a work of “switching rhythmic structure.” Indeed they are. ‘The Escape Of The Blvck Rxbbit’ (produced with Avril Stormy Unger) is a warpage of juxtaposed sound fractions and vocal samples, an unrepentant raw piece under snare drums. On the reverse was the percussive ‘Nyakinyua Rise’ with some elements of drum & bass in its tempo. Same idea, same result. A shocking challenge.

Credited with collaborations like avant-garde composer William Basinski, sound artist Holly Herndon, South-African rapper and producer Dope Saint Jude and Parisian Fawkes (Sarah Foulquiere) is expecting nothing but experimentalism for the rest ten tracks. A whole idea explored in fragments, vividly interposed in a polyrhythmic percussive based core. A soundscape of urban, nature and ancestral, made out from tech and organic tools, including the original human instrument, the voice. A chasm of sound entries coexisted as acts of present and recalled past looking back and forth for a relationship, feedback from tribal beats to hints of rave. The are 999 calls as ululations. You can travel in a sound chase from batucada to the heartbeat of the jungle, from Savannah’s elephant trumpet to whistle blows on the streets of Rio. Nothing is continuous, from a start to an end. Expect no melody.

It’s how nature works. Beyond appearance, we live in a vacuum; we don’t step solid ground, but a non-fully described amount of forces yet, brief and vanishing interchanges of energy that fulfill and create what we call reality. This unsubstantial we now represent on screens with the pulse of immediacy. Lots of inputs coming from everywhere are instant disruption’s work of art. JLin approaches to it in sound.

From “Black Origami” we can go to the Japanese art of folding paper. It’s a fitting simile for the sound she proposes. Origami also relates to DNA to create two- and three-dimensional shapes at the nanoscale. Even for her atomized work, better to talk about isotopes, those variants of a particular chemical element which differ in neutron number that can occupy the same position on the periodic table.

Not surprisingly, “Black Origami” includes some title tracks that belong to science like ‘Never Created, Never Destroyed;’ ‘Kyanite,’ a blue silicate mineral, or ‘Hatshepsut,’ name of a Pharaoh described in Egyptology. There’s a purpose, getting further with ‘Nandi’ and the enigmatic ‘1%,’ until ‘Carbon 7 (616)’ vertebrates the whole thing. It’s the hitherto undiscovered isotope of Carbon, connoted in black and preserved in secret’s opacity for speculation grass. It all comes from way back in time. French scientist Corentin Louis Kervran (1901 – 1983) proposed that nuclear transmutation occurs in living organisms. The proposal fell outside mainstream scientific discourse.

Supposedly, ‘Carbon 7 (616)’ comes from transmutation of Carbon 12 (666), of which 99% of forms are composed, including humans. The defined six protons, six neutrons, and six electrons become ‘Carbon 7 (616) with six protons, one neutron, and six electrons. This possibility came to science community worrisome observation when solar-magnetic radiations did affect radioactive decay of elements on Earth like isotope Carbon 14.

From this point on, believing, esoterism and mythology are the stepping ground to describe the unknown. A possible transmutation of Carbon 12 (666) into Carbon 7 (616) in the brain of few spiritual adepts (1%?), versed in out-of-body experiences and another supernatural phenomenon such as bilocation, would amplify thought and other hyperdimensional fields. That proposed free neutron would function as a communicative and translative mechanism between what it can be so-called matter (protons) and spirit (electrons). The quantum physics has something to say in the energetic duplicate of everything as the new paradigm to formulate the interactions that rule the Universe.

It’s written because it’s referred. By the way, if “Black Origami” is the coexistence of different rhythmic patterns it’s because JLin subsumes them as isotopes at the same time, in the same place, in one structure. It is, at least, maverick creativeness. And we need it to disrupt the conventional for a while.

JLin will performs “Black Origami” on June 16th, at Sónar by Night/ Sónar Lab stage in Barcelona. Hope Avril Unger, choreographer and performance artist from Bangalore, India, founder of independence dance collective Storm Factory, will perform together with JLin.

“Abstracte”: Various Artists Compilation

(Barcelona Avantgarde & Industrial 1981-1986)
Somebody got to do it!

Domèstica did it. The Barcelona-based label quotes: “It’s been four years of hard work, with lots of surprises, drawbacks, hours of research and people involved. We can say now that this record is one of the most complex and ambitious projects we have released so far.”

Yes, it is an encapsulated piece of time. “Barcelona Avantgarde & Industrial 1981-1986” is a sound document that recalls for almost forgotten musical efforts in the cultural history of the city. The research offers hints of what the West Capital of Mediterranean did for jumping into musical movements that flourished in Europe and the USA in the previous years. It bounds to visit an apprehensive place and fulfill the interregnum between what was the late 70’s, a hard time for creativeness, and the promising future lead by so-called “La Movida” in the early 80s, six hundred kilometers away, in the Capital of Spain, Madrid.

For Barcelona was the period that lost its hegemony in the musical forefront. Those years were going from what was the epitome of local progressive rock wave (Rock Laietà), concentrated at Zeleste, the historic venue at Argenteria St. (then called Plateria, located in Barri Gòtic), to an almost deserted punk-rock scene. That’s how history explained it. But it’s not the truth, not all the truth. Or better to say there’s a layered one that is about to reveal in this Domèstica release (at least, in part of). By the way, it pays recognition to a few ones connected abroad.

There were people in Barcelona at that time aware of innovative sounds tagged as industrial, synth-pop, experimental, new wave, avant-garde, and minimal. Some came back to the city with a copy of Suicide’s debut album in the suitcase. After playing it in a party, friends went to buy it at Gay & Co next day, where they left from with more records that nobody knew in the bag. Like these were artists impressed about what was going on elsewhere but here, listening cassette tapes, long wave German radio stations and saving for a trip to London. Any of them could be in the credits of this album, belonging as an abstract impersonation to it. All were stubborn kind of fellows, facing the hostile. Some almost made it out, most of them didn’t.

“Abstracte” includes from Pascal Comelade‘s charming, intoxicating miniatures on minimal synth lines to Victor Nubla’s experimentalism, all through a cross-section of an underground scene. Metakrilato® and Ultratruita are forgotten names being suddenly brought back to memory. New Buildings wear the flag of cold-wave representatives. Anton Ignorant, Scherzo, Autoplex, and Terminal took their names as synth-pop warriors. An electro-funk by Klamm, released 35 years ago, shares a track list of mostly unreleased material to discover.

It all takes back to late 70’s early 80’s, to what was so-called Spanish Transition, the political reforms that formally finished with forty years of Franco’s dictatorship to become a democratic country. “Abstract (translation of the original word in Catalan)” is an appropriate noun to title this compilation, even more from nowaday’s perspective. Back then (still now?), everything was gestures, isolated light traces of freedom struggling to remain vivid out of a darkly textured framework of conveniences.

More than a regular compilation or retrospective, it belongs to the idea of fulfilling a lapse of memory, in which music was a glimpse of a disperse but a groundbreaking movement. It grew misplaced, at the right moment but under unfavorable circumstances. Sure it got fueled by the aspirations of freedom, but it was moving on impulsive steps, with a total lack of cohesiveness. There was not enough response from a long time accommodative society, having lost curiosity and the power of being critical many years ago. Young generation was merely waking up to conscience, but some pioneers were showing it up on the warm streets of indolence. The new was found rambling down to record stores and warehouses. A counter-culture was growing up away from mainstream circuits, cartooned by firms of now local icons, soundtracked in rock’n’roll, aired in fan waves, and danced both in rumba and salsa. A few plugged it on other devices.

Uner & Fideles: “Havona” EP

In good company

Catalan DJ and producer Uner debuts on Last Night On Earth imprint joining Italian duo Fideles (Daniele Aprile & Mario Roberti) with a 4-track EP called “Havona.” A joint-venture of two classically trained musicians to compliment each other’s way of production, pairing his passion for pure instrumental improvisation with their layered electronic sense of melody. The result is powerful, atmospheric and emotionally charged.

“Havona” enriches all its tracks with an elegant and refined fluidity of added elements, that is the finesse of fulfillment. Expect no other way from these know how guys to lay the groundwork. Uner & Fidelis go together for a remarkable 2017. The Italian duo had already released on Innervisions, and prepare more equally highbrow productions scheduled for later in the year. The talented Catalan is in good company.

The title track is poignant synth delicacy over an immersive wave to an end.

‘Dzyam,’ pulsed in cold, steely time, breaks in synth praise for attention, in claims textured soundscape, where an emotive bass pad is in charge for a while to let the pulse to recapture.

‘Blade’ has two offerings. The original grows emotion in a modulating synth line under the realm of kick. The strings version intensifies the mood on harmony and orchestral arrangements.

Uner (born Manuel García, nicknamed as Manu) is one of a kind. He plays piano since he was four years old. His interest in electronic music comes from his father, who used to buy ambient records.

Now he’s part of the international stardom, but he walks unnoticed on the streets of Pardinyes, the district of East Lleida (El Segrià, Catalonia) where he lives at least a week every two months each year. The rest takes him flying all over the world. 127 gigs in 2016 is an impressive score for a young man who debuted in 2009 with “Raw Sweat” through German prestigious Diynamic imprint. In less than a decade, he got the support of influential people like Laurent Garnier, Luciano, Âme, Dennis Ferrer, Matthew Dear or Damian Lazarus to mention a few, who take Uner’s records into their cases. Sasha also believes in his talent, in his music concept, where classical matches with dancefloor, by signing him for his next step on Last Night On Earth.

Unnoticed in Lleida, but demanded to be on selfies of those who recognize him on the streets of Eïvissa (Ibiza), where he will be for Ushuaïa Opening Party on May 27th. Right after that, in Barcelona. Check him out.