Tim Simenon's Bomb The Bass returns with new album Back To Light very soon, but ahead of that comes this release with singer Paul Conboy in tow. Always working with the tide rather than against it, Simenon's sound and production has constantly changed to suit the times - as seen in landmark singles like 1988's "Beat Dis" or 1995's "Bug Powder Dust" - and it's great to have the master back sounding as fresh as a daisy in 2010.
Boy Girl is a great choice of single, with long-standing BTB collaborator Paul Conboy lending some nicely strung out vocals to the slowly rising bed of synths. It has enough club action and pop sheen to prove a hit, but the remixes put a little bit more fire into the song's belly. Canadian duo FM Radio Gods do a great job of cherry-picking the vocals and adding some seriously funky and deep grooves.
Brazilian DJ and producer Anderson Noise also keeps the vocal but adds some dynamics, doubling the length of the original to create a dark slice of Techno genius. Leo Zero goes even longer (which won't surprise anyone who's heard his edit of America's Horse With No Name) and takes 12 minutes to unfurl his beautiful Balearic-flavoured mix. Always able to confound expectations, it's great to hear Bomb The Bass still sounding so relevant. Roll on the album!
Nothing really beats the first few seconds of this startlingly original debut from Germany's BBF. The rest of it is great too of course, but it's during those very first 30 seconds that you immediately get where this album is coming from. As opener "Corky Prelude" is slowly faded up, the rumbling percussion part and distant bass sounds (which could easily be just another ordinary techno tune) reveal themselves to be a piano and blocks being hit, both clearly being played live. BBF clearly approach techno (or indeed all dance music) with more than an awareness of jazz and classical modes. And so, over You Make Me Real, they set about making techno but with live drums, treated pianos, trombones, harp, marimba and a host of other treated live sounds. The results go beyond the obvious Steve Reich/'70s minimalist precedents and genuinely create a deeper, more nuanced and, ultimately, more fun sound. "Mi Corazon" for example is as playful as it is intense, while the slight Latin lilt to "Bop" makes sure this isn't just a po-faced, overly-earnest project - the songs here live and breathe. After the dominance of the drum machine and the 303, perhaps this kind of project will start making fellow producers explore live techno like never before.
Brandt Brauer Frick hook up with Frank Ocean producer Om'Mas Keith - one of the brains behind Channel Orange - for this single from their new album, Miami. Gone is the organic sound of yore, replaced by something more electronic and groove-based. Indeed, "Plastic Like Your Mother" is a hyperactive affair, by turns deep and dreamy and mysterious and haunting, but without losing the musical touch that the act have become known for. The vocals help to lend a sense of mystique to the arrangement and it is tailor-made for festival stages and cavernous venues like Berghain where the Berlin trio are used to performing.
It's difficult to make dance music with 'real' instruments, as so many second rate punk funk acts have proved, but Miami proves to be an anomaly. BBF have taken inspiration from jazz influences for this album, which makes for an adventurous, at times breathless work. At one end of the spectrum there's the seductive piano lines and soaring woodwind of the title track and "Miami Titles", while at the other there's the high tempo, syncopated rhythms and deranged brass of "Skiffle It Up" and "Broken Pieces", which features a contribution from Jamie Lidell. Another contributor, Nina Kraviz, helps to turn the air blue on the abrasive "Verwahrlosung", but in the main, Miami is a work inspired by warm sea breezes and ice cold cocktails.