Little Known DFA Fact # 23: James Murphy employs a rusty old swingometer to decide which of his cadre of DFA acts get to release an album. Having been stuck between LCD Soundsystem and The Juan MacLean in recent times, Marcus Lambkin snuck into the office one day whilst Justin Miller and his office minions were enjoying a lunchtime slice at Grimaldis and applied a liberal dose of WD40. Newly greased, the arrow of fortune finally fell on Shit Robot, allowing Lambkin to unleash the beast that is From The Cradle To The Rave.
Questionable title aside, this debut long player from the Godfather of DFA ticks all the boxes. The opening sinewy bass strains, synth rises and trademark congested vocal delivery of James Murphy which characterise “Tuff Enuff?” set the tone. References to early Chicago House, European progenitors of techno and the finest in gay disco pulse with energy throughout, but this is an album that works just as well on headphones as in the club. This is thanks in no small part to the impressive and interesting cast of guest vocalists involved. Hot Chip’s Alexis Taylor delivers a gloriously fragile falsetto turn on “Losing My Patience” which is matched perfectly by the glacial synth melodies crafted by Lambkin.
Equally impressive on the ears is “Take Me Up” the following track which allows DFA chanteuse Nancy Whang to maintain her record of seemingly appearing on every album the label drops. Long may it continue on this evidence as Whang’s almost disinterested vocals ride the retro mid tempo Human League synth breeze with aplomb. The inclusion of “Simple Things” lends familiar warmth amidst the overall newness of an album that feels just right at nine tracks long.
DFA’s Shit Robot aka Marcus Lambkin having had huge success with the record ‘Wrong Galaxy’ back in the day, has just released his new single ‘I Got A Feeling’ featuring B-side ‘Norfolk Nights’. Having remixed the likes of labelmates The Juan Maclean and Simian Mobile Disco, the Irish producer hailing from Dublin recommends his Top 10 tracks for March…
DFA are truly specialists when it comes to releasing retro-futurist club tracks. “I Got A Feeling” and “Norfolk Nights” by Shit Robot are joining a long list then, but it is testament to the label and the tracks that they release not none of them become forgettable faces amongst the crowd. “I Got A Feeling” is no different, establishing a unique sound for itself but fitting comfortably onto James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy’s New York label.
Following his move from his hometown of Dublin to New York in 1992, Marcus Lambkin or Shit Robot as he is now know, began playing and then later throwing parties in the city. Along the way he was to meet DFA co-founder James Murphy, who is now releasing the two tracks on his esteemed label. Serving as the follow up to 2009’s “Simple Things Work It Out” this release comes at exactly the right time for the Irishman.
“I Got A Feeling” builds slowly from its minimal beginnings complete with rough lead riff and slow jacking body onto the house-led second half of the track. At the mid-way point, housey piano chords start the ascent into this territory before the vocals from Saheer Umar, one half of NYC dance duo House of House, begin to kick in. Moving further, bassy synths and electro handclaps join a driving beat as the echoing vocals cascade over each other, sending the track into overdrive.
“Norfolk Nights” on the B, another 8 minute journey like its predecessor, merges old school beats and building Italian style, spacey synths on top. As it peaks though, things descend into an eerie quietness before the track builds itself back up from scratch.
Review: Tom Jones
Artist: Juan Maclean
Title: A/V Remix Project
Buy From: Juno Download
Opening with a surprising take on the desolate, down-trodden piano ballad, “Human Disaster”, House of House show exactly what a remix can do for a track – spin it around and turn it on its head so it becomes a completely different animal. And in this case a hungry one, gradually fattening itself up with every layered effect over the track’s eight minute sprawl. Blending together deep house tones with combination percussion and cut-up, looped together vocal distortions, the NYC pair maintain the momentum throughout beautifully.
Irishman Marcus Lambkin a.k.a. Shit Robot, stiffens up the more limber original of “No Time” with a deeper, more robust bassline which gives the track an oddly sinister feel. Combined with the pint-sized Nancy Whang’s aloof, icy vocals, the track becomes sassy, and starkly sexy. Meanwhile, having peeled away the surface polish of “Accusations” by re-recording the bassline with his own analogue synths, Gavin Russom replaces the rippling piano notes of the original with hollow maraca-esque percussion under lingering cosmic waves. The cruisy disco-funk vibe of the original is still there, but it’s less quirky, more otherworldly.
And speaking of otherworldly, Sydney duo Canyons, take “The Future Will Come” even further out to space, starting it off with a deep bass loop coupled with peculiar metallic echoes and sheepish robot wails before it kicks into gear with a retro drum roll and ghostly whisper.
Playing off skittering computer bleeps and a startling “woosh!” or two, the gentle quivering wails are alternated with eighties-inspired synths to give the forward-looking title track a slick-but-offbeat treatment.
Review: Bec Crew