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Since arriving on the block last year with their début release on Southern Fried, Jack Fell Down aka Tony Craig & James Vickers, have been steadily gaining traction within in the scene, picking up A-list admirers on the way including Dennis Ferrer, Felix The House Cat + Jaymo & Andy George... culminating with a cameo role on the later's "Moda Black" label compilation last year.
Since then they have had releases on German imprint 'Exploited', which saw them rub shoulders with Jesse Perez, Claptone and Timo Garcia. An artist EP with the highly regarded 'Home Taping is Killing Music' and another artist EP with London based imprint Manucci's Mistress, which you can listen to below.
The lads kindly gave us a few minutes of their precious time to answer a few questions for us:
1) What is your musical heritage and how did you end up producing house music?
J) Ha ha ha - I was brought up doing the rounds on the festival circuit with my father, so drum and bass and techno were my baptism in to dance music. This would have been in the late 1980's or early 1990's in a field somewhere, me and my older brother used to find it all a bit funny. I didn't really get it at the time but as I got older I began to listen to rave tape packs like Helter Skelter stolen from my brother, until eventually finding something I really liked in House Music. Jeremy Healey and Alastair Whitehead's Fantazia House Collection was the first album I brought.
T) I just stole tapes from my older friends when I was quite young, they were the usual rave tapes and some more decent stuff by Cox. I actually didn't like any music until I heard house ha!
2) What is your current production setup and how does it work with you both living a couple of hundred miles apart?
J) We are currently both running on Mac and Logic 9, for us, Logic is the best platform for production working with both audio and MIDI. We have a limited number of Audio Plugins and a few drum boxes and synthesisers.
T) Our stand out instrument is the M1 audio unit – nothing comes close to this, we have played with the idea of buying the physical synth but the sound from the plugin is absolutely spot on and you get the ROM sound banks too.
J) Working with each other is interesting at times. We use drop box to host our projects and as long as we tell each other when we are working on the tracks it seems to work. We do fall out loads about our sound, but I think that's to our benefit, it keeps it interesting and makes for a healthy relationship with the music.
3) Do you have any tips you can give to aspiring producers and DJs, Jack Fell Down’s top 5 do’s and don’ts if you will?
T) The first and most important tip I can give is finish your tracks. We get sent music all the time from friends asking for advice, it always has loads of potential but people never finish it. I bet half the producers reading this will have hundreds of tracks half finished!
J) I think it's also important to avoid using loops where possible and if you do use them for bread and butter stuff then stick something on them like overdrive of drop them in to a sampler and pitch them around.
J) Try to stand out! This is so obvious but I read an article a few weeks ago saying that you should find a song you like and copy it. How on earth will anyone ever notice you? I suppose some label owners are guilty of nurturing this trait because they want music proven to sell but it makes for a boring night out!
T) Audio from MIDI, MIDI from audio! Especially when using loops, it changes the sound right around and is a good way of cultivating some creativity.
J) Don't smash out thousands of torrented plugins, you learn nothing! Take what you have and learn how to use it! It's so much better than pre-set bashing!
4) Which producer would you most like to remix your work and why? Or, which musician/singer/producer would you most like to work with and why?
J) How can we answer this? SOOOO much talent to choose from! From the new school I would love to get Waze & Odyssey on the remix, they can really get the party started! As for working with someone, I would take anyone that can bring something good to the table. Vocalists like Annabelle England or Róisín Murphy would be incredible.
T) I agree with J on this, sooo hard to choose, Urulu and Steve Huerta are on fire at the moment, as is Ejeca and Citizen. From the old school we would love to get on a dark room with Marshall Jefferson or Kerri Chandler! That would be cool.
5) What does the rest of the year hold for you guys? Any forthcoming releases or gigs we should keep an eye out for?
J) We are in T's home town of Belfast for some fun at Mynt club on the 25 of May.
T) On the music front we have two of our biggest releases to date waiting to drop! We have been working with the extremely talented Stee Downes on a four track EP that is coming on Southern Fried records in June that should really blow up for us. We also have a single coming out on 12" and digital with Ejeca, Tom Flynn and Frank B which is going to explode! This is on a new label called Newington – It's pretty much set to take over!
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Session Victim's 2012 debut full-length The Haunted House of House was arguably one of the best deep house albums of the year. Here, they return with their first new material since. Opener "Yes I Know" features their trademark loose, swinging drums, warm chords and classic deep house sheen, alongside a healthy amount of what sounds like organic instrumentation. With the addition of a delicious disco vocal sample, it makes for wonderful listening. Max Graef remixes, turning in a version that sounds like a deeper take on 6th Borough Project. "Glow In The Dark", meanwhile, is wholeheartedly Balearic - a blindingly sunny slice of semi-live disco-house bagginess that should get maximum rotations in warmer climes this summer.
After successfully remixing some very popular dance tunes to widespread approving nods from the likes of Loadstar, Clean Bandit and Naughty Boy, the Bristol duo have returned to the studio to furnish the bass music community with a second EP released on cutting edge label Black Butter. Bringing together house, garage and bassline for that oh-so-now deep house feel with a characteristically twisted outlook, each track is a swarming mass of influences and irresistible experimentation. "Scatter" in particular has that perfect MNL combo of hip-swinging dancefloor compatibility and relentless hard-hitting beats and you've almost definitely already heard the badness of "Levels" on your travels. A definite buy on sight.
Mullet Records continue their quest to impose the sound of the Billboard Dance & RnB Chart circa 1985 on modern dancefloors everywhere, and it's a cause we totally support. Strong, Latino-style female vocal? Check. Timex Social Club-style electro bass? Check. Debarge-style tropical melodies? Check. In short, a winner! Lots of good remixes too, the best being the ever-dependable Elijah Collins who transforms the song from a good retro tune into something more unique and contemporary.
In the last 18 months, Dutch duo Detroit Swindle has come from nowhere to become one of deep house's go-to names. This three-tracker for Tsuba - their first for Kevin Griffiths' label - is another 'must-check' release. Lead cut "Sometimes" is typical of their output to date; deep, stylish, quietly soulful and blessed with relentless riffs that propel the track forwards at a rate of knots. Arguably better is "That Freak Stuff", a slick chunk of deepness blessed with some rougher drums, an addictive bassline and some atmospheric, whispered vocal samples. Soulphiction remixes, turning the track on its head thanks to shuffling analogue drums, a fuzzy bassline and some glistening pianos.
Edinburgh producer Hostage has no intention of losing the heat garnered from a host of important releases on labels like Herve's Deep Thrills and Black Butter. The newfound interest in the deeper side of things is kept up on "How We Go Down" which features buzzing low bass and tough house beats. "Keep Dark" is sultry speed garage, the sparse "Conscious" veers into 4 x 4 territory and ""Show Ya" wraps things up with a warped rave organ riff and some very late night UKF grooves.
It's not all that long since Local Talk's first Talking House compilation dropped. Given the sheer volume of 12" singles from the label - there seems to be one every week these days - it's little surprise to see this follow-up dropping in double-quick time. The label's best material has always been superb, and there are some real gems here. Check, for example, Dirtytwo's clever (and exceptionally well executed) fusion of HNNY's "For The Very First Time" and Midnight Star's "Midas Touch", John Mood's "Basement Romance" (clearly inspired by classic Mood II Swing), and Cle's colossal piano house bomb "The Jam". Oh, and the thrill-packed blast of Balearic magic that is Fred Everything's "Brothers & Sisters (AM Pacific)".
In truth, very little is known about Ten Walls, Dixon and Ame's latest signing to their recently quiet Innervisions stable. What we do know, though, is that he makes some tasty music. Opener "Gotham" is particularly good, slowly building into the sort of deep, sinewy, confidently melodic chugger that Ame and Henrik Schwartz used to do so well. "Epos" is, if anything, even deeper, with intense warmth, and an almost Arabic feel to the intoxicating synthezier melodies. "Moag", on the other hand, is so drowsy it's almost asleep - all atmospheric chords, bubbling electronics and cavern-deep grooves. Whoever Ten Walls is, he's very good.
Upon first listen to "Serious Clowns", you could be forgiven for exclaiming "oh no! not another re-edit!" Thankfully though this Canadian coast and the countryside collaboration between Neighbour (Vancouver) and DJ Spiltmilk (Calgary) is an original composition that combines sultry arpeggiated Italo disco with an 80s soul mood (a la Imagination or Dennis Edwards). The rest of the EP is pretty funky too: "Look At Each Other..." managing to channel both Plastic Dreams and the Minneapolis sound, "No You Bite It" touches on deep house and best of all is the almost Viewlexx inspired "Red Or Black".
Roberto Rodriguez's "Lies", previously released with tweaks from Attu, gets a second airing. The sinewy original - a kind of dubwise deep disco-house concoction - is remixed by Satin Jackets and Kyodai. The latter reaches for the heavy Rhodes chords and skippy US garage-influenced drums on his sunset-themed remake, apparently aiming to soundtrack happy evenings dancing on Mediterranean terraces. Nu-disco don Satin Jackets unsurprisingly emphasizes the original's more disco elements on his warm, baggy remake. It's a typically enjoyable and breezy chunk of deep house/nu-disco fusion.
Electro-deviant Jimmy Edgar has linked up once again with his JETS partner Machinedrum to launch the Ultramajic imprint, and he gets first stab at a release with this taut three tracker. "Hot Inside" is as unashamed a peak-time heater as Edgar has ever turned his hand to, sporting a riotous diva vocal hook and crisp house drums, but there's still a strong techno injection in the synth work and shifting phases of the track. "Strike" is a more abrasive affair with its metallic delay vibrations and relentlessly nagging jack, while "Shout" comes on all electro house in its fulsome bassline and shouty vocal snippets.
Last seen on Ostgut Ton back in 2011, the wonderfully monikered Dinky resurfaces on Visionquest with the Fallen Angel EP which precedes the release of Dimension D, her fifth studio album which has been mixed and co-produced by Matthew Styles. Visionquest press notes claim the forthcoming long player sees the Chilean DJ, producer and vocalist evolve into a fully fledged singer-songwriter and performer, which makes Dimension D a perfect fit for the label. As a taste of what's to come, "Fallen Angel" excels, with Iglesias's ethereal vocal the perfect foil for the dark, rippling techy groove. Kudos to Visionquest for the remixes too, with the aforementioned Styles further finessing the original's darker intricacies whilst Pepe Bradock completely rewires proceedings in his own inimitable style.
The sheer volume of Local Talk releases is dizzying. It can make keeping track of their output difficult, which is mildly irritating given the high quality threshold. This latest EP - their first from Orazio Fantini - is another belter. While rooted in classic US house and deep garage, there's a summery breeziness not often found on Local Talk EPs. The three tracks are fairly similar, with clever use of sampling, bouncing melodies and just the right amount of retro chic. "Feel It", with its surprise jazz-funk breakdown halfway through, is probably our pick, though the more upbeat, groove-driven "On Hold" (which seemingly features an M People vocal sample) is pretty tasty.
Having been active since the mid 2000s, Glimpse (aka producer Christopher Spero) is almost reaching "veteran" status. Here, he pops up on Aus with a bulging sack of late night delights. "True South" is typical of his wonky, darkroom productions - all robust, stripped-back grooves, foreboding Belgian techno bass and a smattering of deliriously wonky vocal samples. With its off-key horns and clandestine atmospherics, "L Plate" is, if anything, even wonkier, while the dubwise "Whiles" sounds like a knowing tribute to post-dubstep era Skull Disco with a cheeky wink towards contemporary deep house. Notable remixes from Tom De Mac and South Soul Project, the latter a body-popping trip into bass music territory, complete a fine EP.
Erdbeerschnitzel has long been a reliable source of the sort of fascinating, floor-friendly material that defies easy categorization. Here he's at it again, offering some distinctly positive, mixed-up goodness for Delsin. Opener "Cushion" is a veritable blast of humid summer air, lacing twittering synth flutes and darting, near tropical melodies over a bumpin', slightly crusty deep house groove. "Am Bossele" tweaks the formula, delivering starbust deepness, loose but rigid drums and woozy, cut-up vocal samples in spades. Closer "Crossroads", meanwhile, is the deepest of the bunch, offering the right balance between wide-eyed synth lushness and ocean-deep midtempo grooves. Impressive stuff, all told.
Whilst Laurie Osbourne's contribution to the hardcore continuum cannot be debated thanks to his involvement in the Skull Disco label with Shackleton, his production career as Appleblim to date has had a sense of needing the safety net of a studio partner, albeit impressive ones with collaborative releases alongside Peverelist, Ramadanman, Gatekeeper, Shackleton and most recently Komon. Finally Osbourne shows his hand at solo releases with the release of the Fluorescent single which comes via his own Apple Pips label. Both productions see Appleblim embrace the house template, albeit with a broken sensibility which is most prominent on "Flourescent". Hopefully this pair of cuts is just the start for Appleblim in solo mode.
Hot Creations boss man Jamie Jones resurfaces on the Crosstown Rebels label with his first solo transmission of the year, the rather fruitily titled Moan & Groan. Filled to bursting point with all the typical Jammy Jones production points - think bouncy groove, irresistible drops and hushed deviant vocals - "Moan & Groan" arrives just in time for the summer slog on the Croatian coastline. It's complemented by two remixes of "Tonight In Tokyo" - one of the secret weapons Jones included on last year's Crosstown Rebels album of sorts Tracks From The Crypt - from Breach and Cassius. Ben Westbeech's darker alias teases out some deep basslines for his rework whilst veteran French duo Cassius are on altogether more epic form.
Between them, Edinburgh-based twosome Ricky Reid and Peter Oakden have plenty of experience, with the former having previously released on Instruments of Rapture and Restless Soul. Here, they deliver a sinewy slice of hypnotic, mid-90s Chicago deeopness (think Prescription and Chez Damier) for Local Talk. The head-nodding, hip-wiggling groove takes a breather occasionally to make way for a classic piano breakdown. It's expertly done, which you'd expect given their vast production experience. Deep Space Orchestra provide the remix, making more of the delicious pianos on a similarly hypnotic version that builds towards a sweaty, all-action climax. Excellent stuff, and one of Local Talk's best for some time.
Canada's Homebreakin' label, so often a home to P-funk and electro influenced party-starters, welcomes a new name to its roster, Laberge. "Falling Away" is a little different to their usual fare, with the title track delivering a deep, shimmering chunk of R&B-influenced nu-disco. Chris James' remix brings out the garage elements of the original (think pitched-up, messed around with vocals) and adds some shuffling beats, while Terrence Pearce's version is a wide-eyed chunk of UK garage nostalgia. As for the bonus tracks, "At Night" is a soaring slice of slo-mo electrofunk (think big synths and big vocals), while "Yesterday" is a near perfect example of how to execute slo-mo nu-disco.
The second single from Will Saul's more organic side project, Close, benefits greatly from the effortlessly soulful, melancholic vocals from Fat Freddy's Drop vocalist Joe Dukie. They sound majestic over Saul's sparse, shuffling production, all loose, live drums, subtle guitars and hissing cymbals. The remix package is impressive, too, with Dusky offering a perfectly-pitched version that manages to keep the fragility of the original whilst adding some stomping, garage-influenced drums. Midland's murky deep house tweak is pretty tasty, too, while Tanner Ross & Slow Hands go all Balearic on their beatless version. If anything, it's even more spine-tingling than the superb original.
Los Angeles-based Rinse FM regular Doorly pops up on Toolroom, with the first of a series of EPs under the slightly silly Boom Boom Room title. There's plenty to admire in the two tracks showcased here, not least the bass-heavy late night bump of opener "Wait Until The Morning". Its fuzzy, low-end swing is complimented perfectly by Mario's soulful, almost casual vocal. "The Sleazy Drummer" takes things in a more hectic, percussive-driven direction, with classic rave stabs and hip-hop vocal samples riding a sweaty, loose-limbed house groove. It sounds like a warehouse anthem in the making.