Dublin act New Jackson have been announced as the next release from the Hiven Discs label.
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Dublin act New Jackson have been announced as the next release from the Hiven Discs label.
Stream Hippie Dance duo Pachanga Boys going to town on John Talabot’s “When The Past Was Present”.
Catalan producer John Talabot will release two outtakes from his magnificent 2012 opus ƒIN on his forthcoming tours of North America and Europe.
John Talabot’s masterful debut album fIN is set to be remixed by a raft of producers, with the first volume of tweaks supplied by Bullion, Kenton Slash Demon and Pachanga Boys.
It’s a mark of the quality of John Talabot’s productions that they spark debate, not least between journalists and the producer himself. Ever since the first tracks started trickling out of his Barcelona studio in 2009, he has proved a master at producing the sort of rich, deep, melody-driven house that transcends dancefloors. Listen to his definitive single Matilda’s Dream, for example, or his contributions to Permanent Vacation’s superb If This Is House, I Want My Money Back series, and you almost forget they’ve been designed to make people dance.
In the current climate where the disco/nu-disco realm is flush with poorly executed edits of disco tracks that have already been spliced and diced several times over, it’s all too easy to bemoan the launch of yet another label specialising in them. However, when a label as renowned as the Hivern Disc crew elects to dip their toes in the overpopulated waters you get a sense there will be an element of classiness inherent in all aspects that makes it worth investigating.
Such a statement bears fruition on this rather fetching 10 inch, the inaugural release in the Hiverned series (geddit?) which arrives housed in the kind of marble flecked silk screen cover that will send a shiver of excitement down the spines of vinyl obsessives everywhere. Just as the presentation impresses, the music itself excels in its obscurity.
Reclusive label figurehead John Talabot opens proceedings with an deliciously rough sounding edit of a seemingly forgotten NYC boogie track called “Party Girl”. With little clue as to the origins – even after some concerted Googling endeavours – it’s difficult exactly to focus on what Talabot has done to the track. Supposedly melding the vocal and instrumental versions together, the tracks odder elements probably shouldn’t work (and perhaps its why the original remained an obscurity), but somehow do. It’s hard to decipher whether the high pitched main vocal is being sung by a pre pubescent boy a la a young Michael Jackson or a helium enhanced lady, but there’s a certain quality to it that is quite amusing. Beneath, the heavy boogie bassline, simple yet effective drum sounds and slightly askew synth lines combine brilliantly.
As thrilling an edit this is, particularly the drum-heavy breakdown with the proto rap freestyle, it’s the B Side that really works it for these ears. The lesser celebrated Marc Piñol can rank the God like Ivan Smagghe amongst his fans, and it’s not hard to see why on an edit that provides a darker edge to the rough cosmic sunshine of Talabot’s opener. Again there is scant clue as to the source material for “Wheels” – we’ll leave that to the more obsessive corners of the internet – but regardless it’s quite brilliant. Emerging from a spoken word Gothic ether into a raw EBM throb worthy of Gatekeeper at their finest, the track aligns into a groove of rumbling bass, pitched down spectral vocals and heaving organ refrains, all underpinned by siren like melodics. It’s perfectly befitting of spinnage at any upcoming Halloween parties and serves notice of Piñol’s talent, which will hopefully be given further room to develop on the Hivern imprint. Overall, you get the impression this release is the work of a well respected label having some fun and getting away with it.
Some two years on since the inaugural edition, a second serving of Permanent Vacation’s brashly titled compilation If This Is House I Want My Money Back arrives with twelve tracks that, for this scribe, act as the perfect antidote to the overly polished and far too ubiquitous shallow house endeavours of Hot Creations et al. Buoyed by a distinct lack of refund requests, the Munich label retain some of the artists from the 2009 ten track compilation whose stock has risen in the subsequent period, whilst also welcoming some new names into the fold.
When Permanent Vacation slipped out a four track vinyl teaser early last month, this reviewer was struck by the sheer class demonstrated by all on show that a desire to hear the full compilation became quite overpowering. Anyone who peruses this site on the reg will know how much we’re fans of Hivern Discs artist John Talabot, and “Leave Me” (Friendly Pattern Version) remains one of those tracks which you can quite happily return the needle/put on loop/press repeat some weeks after you first hear it. Within the context of this full compilation, it still shines through and acts as a bit of a tease for the forthcoming album on Permanent Vacation from Talabot, showcasing his talent for recycling naggingly familiar samples into an intoxicating rhythmic ride. Crucially however, there is plenty more on Zwei that impresses. Talabot’s Hivern cohort Pional opens proceedings with “Just Passing Through”, a sexed up improvement on the feel and sounds of the title track from Nico Jaar’s opinion dividing debut album.
From here a gradual rise in tempo unfolds across the compilation, with notable contributions along the way from Mano Le Tough – who continues to grace his productions with as much warmth and love as he does the titles – and Beautiful Swimmers. Their track “Excited” sees the Future Times duo step out of the DC comfort zone for the first time, delivering exactly the kind of roots of house music jam Benji and Tom P.V. asked for. A bastard concoction of Faltemeyer synth stabs and proto house pressure, the track matches the contribution from Talabot in the impressing stakes. It’s followed by energising contributions from Hunee and the Uncanny Valley duo of Jacob Korn and Cuthead collaborating under the smart Kornhead moniker. Their respective productions come from entirely different sonic angles – driving, subaqueous jack and heavily percussive Afro ripples respectively – which perfectly captures the label’s ethos behind releasing this compilation.
There are further treats in store from the likes of Soul Clap, Session Victim and the Permanent Vacation overseers themselves with an original track and an edit of Mathematics artist Contra Communem Opinionem, which in total make for a more consistent statement on the best in contemporary house music than the inaugural edition.
The John Talabot pseudonym first appeared in 2009, with a debut 12″ for Munich based label Permanent Vacation alongside remixes for Delorean, Zwicker, Glasser and, most memorably, Aufgang. A deep, slinky and richly melodic take on house immediately caught the ear, and so detailed and nuanced were Talabot’s productions that attempts to categorise his sound resulted in wildly differing interpretations. Some critics littered reviews with words like shimmering and summery; the producer himself believed his early material was actually dark and brooding. In a way, both opinions are correct, as Talabot managed to balance quirky instrumentation and beautiful thrift store samples with beefy club friendly drums – if the Avalanches made house music it would probably sound something like this.
Talabot’s rise to prominence continued last year, once again gracing Permanent Vacation with the breakthrough 12″ Matlida’s Dream, as well as a debut release for the Hivern Disc imprint he is closely associated with. As interest in his music grew, it became apparent the producer was working under an alias, determined to keep his face out of the media glare. As such his reputation has grown organically, and the visual connections to his music, left entirely up to the listener, are much nicer than any press picture – the baked brown hills of his home city, Barcelona, for example, or the artwork that adorns his records.
Both Talabot and Hivern are part of a pleasing trend of small labels and collectives operating outside recognised hubs like Berlin and London, such as Gothenburg’s Aniara, Stockholm’s Studio Barnhus and Dresden’s Uncanny Valley. These labels are bound by their strong visual direction and work unencumbered by the restraints of being attached to a particular style or scene. Talabot has also built a name as a DJ of some repute, securing festival slots in 2011 to compliment further recognition in a year that has also seen an EP release for UK imprint Young Turks (home to The xx among others) and news of a forthcoming debut album for Permanent Vacation. A few weeks back we announced that Talabot would be performing at our second birthday party at The Nest in London in September, and to mark the occasion we coaxed a rare interview out of one of electronic music’s most promising talents.
If we were to judge the forthcoming If This Is House I Want My Money Back Zwei compilation on the basis of the four tracks on this sampler, then it’s likely that the twelve track set due out on Permanent Vacation will rank highly amongst our favourites of 2011. Set for release later this month, the second volume of the Munich’s label doctrine on the current trends in cosmopolitan house expands on the sounds of the 2009 debut set. Zwei features many of the artists that made up the well-received inaugural compilation, as well as newcomers such as Beautiful Swimmers, Soul Clap and Session Victim.
The latter are included on this sampler, adorned with simple yet memorable artwork, alongside resident permanent vacationers in the shape of the Hivern duo John Talabot and Pional as well as a collaborative effort from Uncanny Valley’s Jacob Korn and Cuthead. With his own star rising high after a series of excellent releases and remixes, and with a debut album due on Permanent Vacation later this year, it’s only natural that Joh`n Talabot should open proceedings here.
“Leave Me” acts an intriguing insight into how that album might sound and also sets the template for what unfolds across a quartet of tracks whose unifying sound is an unwillingness to plunder just the one rhythmic direction. It’s also a calling card for the Catalonian’s ease and slickness for weaving almost recognisable samples into his own intoxicating spell. Commencing with what might be a snatch of guitar from a Dolly Parton cover, the track never sits still, constantly threatening to mutate in different directions with the hypnotic titular vocal hook the one constant. The introduction of another naggingly familiar sound, this time heavily cut up horn section, dominates your thoughts right up the dramatic descent into silence.
The opening bars of Session Victim’s “Large Professor” seem quite straight and narrow in its ambitions by comparison; however as the track progresses the duo reveal new qualities – a cooing, angelic vocal hook bestowing the virtues of rainbows comes gliding through on the back of some shimmering chords which engulf the previous sparse arrangement in an all new warmth. The contribution from Dresden operates on a similar path, as “Oohja” swiftly strays from the boisterous boogie of the opening few moments, heading straight down through the insistent bassline into a sprawling percussive groover of epic proportions. Deviating between the African tinged flavours that inform the track’s title and a defiantly rippling direction, Korn & Cuthead’s contribution matches Talabot’s in their steadfast refusal to offer up a straight house jam.
Hivern’s other gem, Pional, drags us towards the depths of the house music spectrum, as “Just Passing Through” swerves on a downward spiral through the dark and dusted nether regions of beatdown, tinged with sonic paranoia, and ripe to burst into a bottom heavy sex funk with little or no notice. It’s reminiscent of how you wanted “Space Is Only Noise” from Nico Jaar’s debut album of the same name to unfold in your head, rippling with sonic sensuality as opposed to the slightly arid sensation that, in reality, informed the track.
Hype is a funny thing. Sometimes an artist can go from unheralded underground producer to much-discussed dancefloor hero in the blink of an eye. That’s what’s happened to Jacob Korn. Less than a month ago, the Uncanny Valley man was being described by deep house nerds as one to watch; now, he’s widely regarded as one of Germany’s most talented exports. So what’s changed? This release, that’s what. The Dresden-based producer had already built up a bit of a reputation thanks to some seriously good releases on Dolly, Left Of The Dial, Running Back and, of course, Uncanny Valley, but these still left a sense that the best was still to come. This EP, his first solo set for Uncanny Valley, contains arguably his best work to date. Bring on the hype.
“She” takes a satisfyingly detailed and musically complex approach to deep house. While it boasts some notable hooks – like the best dancefloor music – the production is far more intricate and densely layered than your average Germanic deep house cut. The groove itself as a case in point; at various points throughout the composition, there are hissing jazz cymbals, bongos, fuzzy snares and thick kicks, alongside a bassline that changes shape and form several times in seven minutes. Add in beautiful marimba melodies, cascading pianos, rising strings and foreboding chords, and you have something remarkable. It’s arguably his most musically advanced composition yet – and that’s saying something. “Once Love” repeats the trick, building from a dark and atmospheric opening into something almost blindingly bright. By the time it drops into a snappy mix of drunken horns and quietly uplifting melodies, you’ll be lost in its delightfully woozy, undulating groove.
To compliment Korn’s superb originals, there are two remixes of “She”. Iron Curtis is up first, turning the intricate original into a delightfully melancholic slab of tear-jerking warm-up house. It’s a touch more soft focus and dreamy than the original, but nevertheless packs the required amount of punch. John Talabot rounds off the package with an excellent interpretation of his own, that strips back the crowded original before building into an intoxicating late night stew of spiralling organs, heady melodies and spooky stabs. It’s arguably the better of the two remixes, and caps a near-faultless release.
Young Turks continue their assault on releasing good music, paying no heed to genre politics in securing some all too rarely seen original material from Barcelona resident John Talabot. Part of the Hivern Disc family that resides in the beautiful Spanish city, Talabot’s obvious talent for crafting house music has been seen on just a handful of EPs. The clamour and critical acclaim surrounding him has been embellished by the raft of inventive remixes Talabot has submitted – most recently a delightful take on Teengirl Fantasy’s signature track and a EP stealing appearance on the Mario & Vidis EP on Future Classic (no mean feat when Soul Clap and Andre Lodemann are also involved).
The tracks on Families really provide further evidence of the somewhat mysterious producer’s endless progression into a musician of real talent, perhaps most notably on the title track collaboration with Glasser’s Cameron Mesirow. The comfort her distinctive, haunting voice shows surrounded by the shuffle of syncopated programming has been demonstrated plenty of times since Glasser broke through on the True Panther imprint in 2009, the most recent example being Lindstrom’s superlative remix of “Mirrorage” released earlier this year.
Whilst Talabot is no stranger to utilising vocal samples on his tracks – see the vaguely orgasmic cooing that permeates through the lower reaches of his most recent Permanent Vacation release – he seems to revel in the opportunity to craft his trademark rough edged drum tracks around Mesirow’s voice. “Families” is in a word sublime, a perfect melding of pop sensibility and glorious electronic production. It’s obviously going to add to the reputation Talabot has amongst the music press glitterati, but crucially could see him gain wider appreciation.
This is not a one track EP though, with Talabot indulging in some crazed digi horrorcore boombap business on “Lamento”, all jagged vocal edits stretched over a sea of white noise and click clacking percussion. “Lovers Tradition” occupies similar territory, aping the hip-hop trend for chipmunk vocals and sinking them deep beneath twisting Eastern melodies that worm their way into your cerebral cortex with far too much ease. The final track sees Lonely Club rework “Families” – adding more club meat to the beat and laying down some hypnotic melodic qualities before slowly bringing in the vocal refrain. It’s a perfect end to an excellent release.