Let’s Play House inaugurate their new offshoot Goodnight Moon next week with the unheralded Almost at the helm – hear the lead track exclusively here.
Since expanding operations from a Le Bain club night into a fully fledged record label, the Let’s Play House duo of Jacques Renault and sometime Juno Plus contributor Nik Mercer have quietly settled into an impressive monthly release schedule.
The first two picture disc releases from boutique San Francisco imprint Public Release featured some brilliant and oh-so New York photography, with contemporary 5 borough icons Tim Sweeney and Jacques Renault taking the musical reins. The former - Sweeney’s only official productions to date – was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it promo affair, while the latter featured four essential edits from the Runaway man.
For release number three we’re treated to a decidedly French affair; steak with chives, what looks like a blob of hollandaise and chips on one side of the record, an empty plate on the other; a brilliant visual concept. Indeed, so brilliant the obvious concern is that the music doesn’t live up to the visual mastery of the release. Thankfully, in the hands of Parisian producer Jerome Caron aka Gallic edit maestro Blackjoy such concerns are quashed well before the needle reaches the run out groove on Side A.
Aptly named the Jekyll EP, Blackjoy debuts his new, somewhat darker Joie Noire alias (which even the pathetically monolingual scribes at Juno Plus could deduce as French for ‘Black Joy’) on the A Side, with the heavy acid jam “Secret”. Bordering on techno, it carries a menacing undertone beneath the intricately layered synth work, showcasing an altogether new facet to the producer’s armoury – a distinct move away from the upbeat disco edits and insouciant house he’s known for.
Flip over and Caron works under his more familiar nom de plume, dropping a sultry slow-mo disco excursion characterised by some wonderfully languid funk riffage. Originally released in shorter form on Blackjoy’s 2010 Erotis album, here the track is extended and given some much needed room to breath.
After a week in which we’ve cast fond glances back at our favourite labels, albums and more besides from the past 12 months, now is time for the pièce de résistance – our top 50 tracks of 2010. From sprawling disco chuggers delivered in one take to brooding techno, boundary pushing future bass and killer throwback house primed for sweaty dancefloors, there’s been something to suit everyone’s musical palette.
The collection you see before you are the 50 tracks that have soundtracked the past year at Juno Plus, and considering the site launched in late 2009 this serves as a neat little snapshot of where we are at. Our small team of contributors have all had a say, with the final list assembled through the kind of open, democratic process that would make Sepp Blatter blush. Some of the tracks included are obvious selections that will populate many a ‘best of’ list – and rightly so – but we’ve also taken time to include some of the less heralded but equally awesome tracks from 2010. Drum roll please…
Before making a name for himself as one of New York’s most prolific makers of off-kilter house and disco, DFA associate Jacques Renault was something of a low-slung disco fetishist. His first releases, as one half of Runaway, were a series of oddball disco and punk-funk re-edits on Roy Dank’s Wurst Edits imprint. In an edit scene saturated with string-drenched reworks of familiar favourites, those Wurst 12”s were a revelation.
This new 12” for Hand of God sees Renault return to those roots with a pair of distinctly heavyweight disco jams. In style and feel, they sound like those early edit excursions fused with Renault’s more recent trips into organic deep house. Lead cut “Marilyn’s Gold” sounds like it was inspired by Renault’s superb remix of Midnight Magic’s “Beam Me Up”. It has a similarly prominent disco bassline, this time sitting atop some of the greatest drums ever to grace a disco record. They may not be original – anyone with a serious interest in disco will spot the source – but they still sound great. On top of this, Renault throws all manner of bizarre and brilliant loops and samples. The effect is mesmerizing. It’s not always easy listening, but it will sound formidable blasting out of a big soundsystem at five in the morning.
Compared to the A, flipside “Pleasure” offers some light relief. To these ears, it sounds like Basement Jaxx’s “Fly Life” recreated by Patrick Adams. It boasts the sort of deadly dancefloor groove that’s near impossible to dislike. Furthermore, the action all revolves around a near-perfect disco bassline. Honestly, it’s a killer. Throw in some well-timed vocal hooks and Renault’s usual late night production sheen, and you’ve got a real winner. If they’re not dancing to this in sweaty Brooklyn basements already, they soon will be.
Review by Matt Anniss
Jacques Renault is pretty much the go-to man for Juno Plus when it comes to all things disco and house these days. His remix of Midnight Magic’s “Beam Me Up” is up there with the best thing our ears have hear all summer, while his On The Prowl imprint (launched with co-conspirator Marcos Cabral) has served as a neat conduit for showcasing Runaway productions and unearthing gems such as NYC freestyle artist Corinne. Meanwhile the On The Prowl Party Breaks sub label has dropped some seriously cheeky edits, including one particular reworking of Jet Brown that is still on regular rotation in the JP office. Indeed, so much has happened since we caught up with Jacques at the beginning of the year that we just had to call up the Big Apple and see what’s in his record bag at the moment.
I saw Jacques Renault DJ once in a hot, musty, dimly lit room in South London. The New Yorker’s sweaty face was beset with a wide grin, and frankly I suspect he may have been under some sort of musical influence. I recall he had a propensity for seeking out undiscovered areas of the volume gains, and, more importantly, was great fun to dance to.
When not releasing original records as one half of Runaway, Mr. Renault enjoys unleashing edits upon the world, gladly steering clear of anything too obvious and regularly exploring outside of the disco realm. His editing style is very rough and ready, with a healthy dose of echo effects to cover up any misaligned nonsense. It feels quite homemade but for that reason it has that classic razor-blade’n’tape feel. The Tuesday EP contains four doses of disco edit fun, released in a picture disc format replete with superb artwork.
The horn-led title track “Young Single and Free” is a largely instrumental sassy disco stomper, though the eponymous vocals come in for the chorus towards the end. Effective dancefloor stuff. “Dancing in the Sky” is a serotonin-tinged sing-along that arguably owes a lot to Chic (in fact if it was produced by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers I wouldn’t be all that surprised). The last track, “In The City” is a delightfully soulful end-of-night affair, just mellow enough to help wind-things down but with enough kick to keep people shuffling.
It’s the throbbing, one-note bass of “Come On Y’all” with its clavinet tinkering, synth outbursts and uplifting string sections that will arguably be raising the most smiles. The Paul Sabu original (“We’re Gonna Rock”) has a lead male vocal that some might find grating, making this edit particularly useful. All in all a killer EP.
Review: Simon Busby
The debut release on the Party Breaks offshoot of the always classy On The Prowl label set the tone with epic reimaginations of music from the New York City of days gone by for contemporary dancefloors. Marcus Cabral’s shuffling 12 minute dubbed out rerub of New Edition’s “Lifetime Groove” was given instant must-have status amongst us disco nerds after featuring on a Aeroplane mix and has been hailed as a modern day balearic masterpiece by Riotous Rockers.
It’s safe to say that volume II, compiled by Cabral’s partner in running away, Jacques Renault, will further solidify OTP Party Breaks’ potential as one of 2010s best imprints. Doubling the sucker punch with four edits that dip into different genres and play out like textbook examples of how to slay a dancefloor (you’d expect nothing less from someone who has released music on Rekids, DFA, I’m a Cliche, RVNG, Wurst, Chinatown and Mule).
Setting the uptempo mood is “In The Middle of The Night”, a subtley nuanced edit of a slice of classic late 70s disco from Jet Brown that adds some neat percussive chops to what is already a lovely warm melody. Fans of Tensnake’s recent “Coma Cat” will be all over “Love & Happiness”, a dirty basement jam that reworks a mid nineties collaboration between Louie Vega and long term muse India to perfection. Renault’s production nous is on evidence with “Miranda” which begins with some very Switch-esque production before dropping into a massive jack of a tribal house groove with several little changeups to keep the dancefloor on its toes. The EP ends with “My Baby Loves Me” which amps up the 80s sax house to the max. More must have material from the record vaults of Jacques Renault.
Review: Tony Poland
Having graced Radio Slave’s Cabin Fever Trax Vol 6 and released on labels such as Italians Do It Better, I’m A Cliché and Rekids, the New York-based Jacques Renault has been long admired for his full-on disco edits.
Despite being one half of Runaway with Marcos Cabral whilst also running the label, On The Prowl, he’s found time to produce his new EP out on Hole in The Sky.
Favicon is a 4-pronged attack on the senses with the single motive to get you dancing, each track bursting with soulful vocals, energetic melodies and hip-shaking rhythms.
One hundred per cent dancefloor and/or make-out material, “Norman’s Fire” kicks off the EP with groove-tastic trumpet-blaring floorfiller. “Look At You” is the slower jam with the vocals as also used in Eddie C’s “My Woman” released on Wolf Music, whilst “Pianos on the Beach” as expected, goes berserk on the keys.
Review: Flora Wong
Interview: Jacques Renault
Jacques Renault has released on more disco and house labels than you care to mention –from New York’s DFA to French imprint I’m A Cliché; via Matt Edwards’s Rekids and Toshiya Kawasaki’s Mule Musiq. Apart from being a talented musician (he’s mastered everything from the violin to the trumpet and drums), he’s also in demand as a DJ, producer and remixer. Add to that his Runaway project and new label On The Prowl, and you have a real, erm, Jacques of all trades (did we mention he was once a carpenter too?). Aaron Coultate caught up with the man himself to find out more. Read the rest of this entry »