If you struggled to get a handle on Jack Hamill’s much-vaunted Welcome To Mikrosector-50 album, you’re not alone. While it had its charms – not least a series of tough, P-funk influenced cuts and heaps of Hamill’s usual emotion-rich, stargazing melodies – the elaborate concept and garbled, intergalactic narrative even left seasoned Space Dimension Controller admirers scratching their heads. It wasn’t a bad album – Hamill is too talented a producer for that – but it struggled to live up to expectations. By broadening his horizons to more accurately reflect his influences, while trying to tell a story in music, the Northern Irishman probably just bit off more than he could chew. One day, we might look back on it as a masterpiece; at the moment, it just seems a little flat.
The three members of the Aniara gang – Alexander Berg, Nils Krogh and Fabian Bruhn – have created something special with their record label, party and production collective. They’ve caught the ears of some very respected artists who might have dismissed Sweden as belonging to the staid, manly sounds of Techno with a capital ‘T’. The austere yet psychedelic music of Genius of Time and Dorisburg combine an understanding of the past with a yearning for something new and space age. It’s for these reasons that we singled out the Gothenburg-based imprint to be the first in a new feature focusing on our favourite record labels. And while the guys can seem reserved or shy at first, a few drinks in, they can party with the best of them – just as Berlin-based Juno Plus scribe Pablo Roman-Alcalá found out. (Scroll down to the bottom of the article to hear a stream of the recent Genius Of Time set at Swiss club Dachstock.)
A lot of house music comes through these doors – rarely though does anything reach out, slap you in the face and grab your attention as much as this 12″ from young Swedes Genius Of Time. After two auspicious releases on the Swedish label Aniara Recordings, the production duo have made the step up to Clone’s Royal Oak series, previously graced by the likes of Space Dimension Controller, Reggie Dokes, Marco Bernardi and Gerd. Taking this esteemed company into account, we don’t take it lightly when we say this record is as good as anything we’ve heard on Royal Oak, with A Side offering “Drifting Back” a jazzy delight imbued with softly pumping chords and twinkling piano lines, making for a jam that wouldn’t seem out of place in the KDJ back cat.
It’s the two flipside offerings, however, that really capture your attention. “Houston We Have A Problem” is one of those tracks you know is going to be a killer within the first four bars, with an insistent beat soon complemented by two female vocal samples played off each other to enchanting effect. A thumping house kick then enters the fray, before congas and a languid funk bassline join in the on the fun. It’s page one, chapter one of the ‘how to make a house track’ handbook – but rarely is it done this well – and the calming synths that undulate gently as the track progresses lend “Houston We Have A Problem” a reassuringly snug and cosy feeling.
The shares the B Side with “Juxtapose”, which could almost pass for David Kennedy in Maurice Donovan house mode such is the nature of the tough, raw drum programming that underpins the track, although the soaring strings give it a nice classicist bent. With some intriguing projects on the horizon, including a remix of the unholy Amsterdam trio of Tom Trago, Young Marco and Awanto 3′s new material, 2011 promises much for this duo.
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