Given his love for blurring the lines between vintage Chicago jack, shiny Paradise Garage style proto-house and original electro-pop, it was probably only a matter of time before fast-rising producer Murphy Jax made an appearance on Tiga’s Turbo label. So far, the accurately-named Jax has impressed with two stand-out releases; a superb retro-house collaboration with Mike Dunn on Clone’s Jack for Daze offshoot (“It’s The Music”) and the bubbling Masters Of Meta Space EP on My Favourite Robot – a collection of star-gazing space disco jackers with a thrilling electro-pop bent. It says something about Jax’s talents that this third EP raises the bar again after two previously impeccable releases. Without a shadow of a doubt, We Dance is his best release to date. So far, at least – he has more 12” singles ready to drop imminently.
Like his previous output, We Dance comes loaded with raw analogue funk, endorphin-releasing synth chords and dancefloor-baiting acid tweakery – all wrapped up in the German’s trademark retro-futurist production. It’s a sound that unashamedly looks to dance music’s past – most notably New York and Chicago in the mid 1980s – but never sounds anything less than 100 per cent current.
The EP is itself is something of an epic at seven tracks deep, but it rarely drags – thanks in no small part to a hot-to-trot mix of near-perfect original material and on-point remixes. Of the original material, it’s the title track itself that most impresses. A near-perfect fusion of touchy-feely early 80s Italo-influenced synth pop (think the Pet Shop Boys Please album) and dubbed-out Chicago jack, it’s pop-house perfection. There are two unfeasibly heavy remixes, too, from Populette (radio-friendly rave-jack) and Freak Seven (growling, percussive darkroom acid).
Elsewhere, there’s plenty more to get excited about, not least the foreboding electronic growl of “8BitEpos” and the anthemic space disco-jack of “Suburban Path”. There’s also the small matter of “Time To Bump”, an emotion-rich builder that fixes snappy 808 beats and 303 tweaks to a grandiose synth wash seemingly inspired by “West End Girls”. That gets a fittingly bumpin’, bass-heavy rework from Matt Walsh and Zhao that offers the perfect finale to a near-perfect release.
Two of the driving forces behind the esteemed Turbo imprint (fronted by the Canadian crooner Tiga), Mike Mind and Thomas Von Party know their way around a dancefloor. Both are DJs and producers du jour, and quite good friends to boot – so we asked Mike to interview Thomas about his role as the label manager of Turbo, the changing world of A&R and why DJing after Proxy sucks.
It’s been a watershed year for Londoner Matt Walsh, with the release of the debut Clouded Vision EP on his own imprint, some fine remixes on esteemed labels Turbo and XL and a slew of DJ slots at festivals and clubs across the UK and Europe. He’s a man with a finger very much on the pulse of electronic music – a connoisseur of everything from deep techno to peak time disco. He guided us through his top 12″s for November (plus a CD or two).
Enigmatic Moscow producer Proxy must be every audio engineer’s nightmare. His new EP, as usual, shows little regard for small PA systems. “Who Are You” stomps off with a tribal bounce, before slamming into Proxy’s signature subby drawl.
All the while a vocal hook regurgitates itself over the cacophony. Simple stuff that will deliver for any big-room jock at bass friendly venues. Watch that gain knob… “8000” is Proxy’s own Eastern Jam. Sub-continental sitars and flutes syncopate over a crunchy, up-tempo bass line.
When that descending scale of screeching bleeps kicks in, this track absolutely takes off. Definitely the pick of the bunch, so don’t waste it on your iPod.
Sweden is a hotbed for quality techno producers: the likes of Adam Beyer, Tomas Andersson and Hakan Lidbo all reside in Stockholm. Add to that list the Dahlback cousins Jesper and John, who (on special occasions) join forces to become Hugg & Pepp, combining a quirky sense of humour with a penchant for banging techno. After releasing material on Dahlback Records they were snapped up by Tiga’s fashionable imprint Turbo, with the Sweet Rosie EP proving a huge hit on European dance floors. They spoke to JunoPlus editor Aaron Coultate…