Review: Ever since the first white labels appeared at the end of Summer 2013, [Emotional] Especial has been putting out music that is slightly left of (club music) centre. Influenced as much by and including dub, electro, disco, proto-house, house and techno, guided more by a feeling than a sound. This thinking has been that exemplified by every 10th release being a label sampler - a showcase of unreleased tracks or remixes of what has come before, plus the odd one off cut by an artist to watch. Some 4 years since the last Sampler, the label's 40th release presents new label heads Giraffi Dog, returning after their recent "live" Multiverse EPs, here teaming up with GF Rich for a breaks anthem. Sub bass rising, the persistent build leads to piano before drop and Acid mayhem ensues, highlight why G Dog are such a producer to watch. Label mainstay Alphonse returns, with White Pepper from the "Stolen Sunrise EP", here remixed by House stalwart Toby Tobias. Having released for a who's who of labels including REKIDS, ESP Institute, Delusions Of Grandeur and Futureboogie, the illusion these past years of who is Alphonse can finally revealed as Toby himself. The remix of his alter ego takes the 'Balearics' of the original and adds breaks and 303, all retaining a laid back feeling for summers return. The label welcomes rising star Remotif, with a series of EPs showcasing a growing talent, his recent Coymix release sealed the deal. Here, his comedically titled Beam Me Up Softwoiii belies a party anthem, where breaks and arps rise in unison before an Aphex sunrise burst, drops and heads down in pure dance. Akio Nagase returns to close with another of his Japanese folk meets lilting 303 Acid House. An Okinawa traditional folk song, conveying a life lesson, here to Hosenka flower is laid across slo-mo acid bubbles to quirkily and perfectly complete another 10th release of the Especial path.
Review: Especial is delighted to welcome Alphonse back to the label for a third EP to again show his deep knowledge of the past to make a future. After the debut dub-breaks-poem of Same For Me and success of his warrior afro-dance Smokey EP, Alphonse made new friends with acclaimed releases for Klasse Wrecks, Hypercolour and Black Orpheus, before here returning like a chosen one with four sun kissed blessings.
Before the fields of Letchlade, hills of Castlemorton or beaches of Skegness had witnessed Alphonse exploring the sounds of many a free party sunrise, summers were misspent travelling the disco buses of Europe, tripping the light fantastic from Spook to Amnesia, Disco Piu to Euritimia.
The music, shared experiences and inclusion all led to an acute understanding apparent in his production skills. Ambient dreamscapes, warm bass lines, 808 breaks, 909 kick, piano, flute and horn melodies atop all lift to the heavens. In Moan Up and White Pepper Alphonse takes, reshapes, rebuilds and rewrites to create anew, expanding minds and hearts like never before.
Long stories, short stores, a nod and wink, at its heart Stolen Sunrise is an EP of wonderful expression, a producer peaking, providing a soundtrack to share for those that look to the future horizons with love.
Review: Stellar vocal cut here from Alphonse Rozel, who has had previous releases for Klasse Wrecks, Emotional Especial and Black Orpheus. Described by Hypercolour as 'spacey and dusty deepness' and that's pretty on point. Vocals are provided by one Rev Be, which Rozel utilises across these three versions. The deep bleep techno of "Better Weather" in its original version calls to mind the sounds of northern UK sounds from the early '90s, the trippy dub version - or Phazed version - is vaguely reminiscent of Derrick May's studio expriements around the same time with its funked up, flanged out and reversed elements galore. Finally is the more straight ahead and dancefloor friendly bounce of the Abyss version.
Review: Travelling both space and time with his constructions, Alphonse Rozel makes a welcome return on [Emotional] Especial after the Same For Me EP released last year. The incisive hit of the disco beat on "Smokey" is hard to ignore, while the booming toms and African chant lines feed into a perfect slice of dancefloor dynamite from an unspecified era. Meanwhile The Pilotwings take to the track with glee, whipping out some crisp breaks to drop over the proceedings in a pleasingly early '90s manner. "Glint AM" is quite the foil, leaning on some uplifting synth chords to provide the magic around the crafty drum programming.
Review: Stuart "Chuggy" Leath continues to churn out the releases on his must-check Emotional Especial label. His latest missive features previously unheard reworks of material featured on the imprint's last nine releases, and predictably there's much to enjoy. Fast-rising production duo Khidja is undoubtedly the star of the show. As well as serving up an extended version of their ultra-deep, oh-so atmospheric "Looki", they also turn Unknown Cases' classic "Masimbele" into a druggy, percussive chugger full of tribal chants, throbbing analogue bass and cut-up guitar riffs. Elsewhere, Cage & Aviary turn their own "Imagination" into a loved-up epic, and Alphonse's rave-inspired "Same For Me" is re-imagined as a psychedelic, dubbed-out masterpiece.
Same For Me (Junior Fairplay remix) - (8:03) 129 BPM
Review: The first and last known whereabouts of Alphonse Rozel were on Resista back in 2014 with the Can't Keep It / Skate single, and now the somewhat unknown artist has resurfaced with just the kind of renegade rave ephemera that [Emotional] Especial are prone to supporting. There's no arguing with the power of the jack on "Same For Me", but this is more than just a Chicago rip off. The additional percussion, lilting flute and unusual choice of vocal hook all add to a stand-out party track with bags of character. Junior Fairplay meanwhile drops a rowdy breakbeat-loaded version for the slower junglists out there.