Review: As expected, Rekids has assembled a crack team of remixers to put their stamp on Jerome Sydenham, Fatima Njai and Mario Punchard's brilliant Afro-house-goes-electro cover of Kraftwerk's 'Trance Europe Express'. Gerd Jansen steps up first, delivering vocal and instrumental takes that brilliantly re-imagine the track as a Moroder-influenced, retro-futurist disco-house treat (think sequenced bass, Chic-style guitar licks, punchy drums and sweeping synth-strings). Naturally, Ricardo Villalobos takes a totally different approach, crafting a wonky-but-bouncy new rhythm out of Punchard's percussion and his own medical-grade kick-drums, before adding all manner of mind-mangling noises. It's one of his funkier reworks of recent times, but still formidably out-there and unusual. That's a great thing, by the way - it's a hugely impressive rework.
Review: Second time around for Catz 'N Dogz and Gerd Janson's first collaborative single, 'Modern Romance', a gloriously retro-futurist fusion of nu-disco, classic house and freestyle synth-pop that's here given a freshen up courtesy of three talented remixers. Dusky steps up first to deliver a pair of insanely sub-heavy revisions, both of which add rave style piano riffs, stirring chords and stabbing bass to a peak-time-ready breakbeat groove. Bella Boo takes an entirely different approach, opting for a mixture of shuffling house drums, chiming melodies, wavy electronics and delay-laden vocal snippets, while Ryan Elliot's remix and dub versions are muscular, classic-sounding affairs that reminded us of vintage David Morales Red Zone mixes of early '90s synth-pop hits. A terrific remix package all told.
Review: Gerd Janson is back on the Misfit Melodies imprint, an occasionally used subsidiary of Running Back, serving up a superb remix here of the track he created last year with PETS Recordings duo Catz 'N Dogz. The one of course is "Modern Romance" and reworked by 17 Steps head honchos Dusky. The main remix has an undeniable UK-style energy about it, capturing that ecstatic Second Summer of Love aesthetic from the late '80s. The rave under the M25 motorway, circa '88, continues on the stripped down Dub version, for all the DJs out there.
Review: Following this year's release of Pacific Coliseum's third LP, How's Life, Slim Steve's label debut with the I Do It EP and two Westcoast Goddess titles, Let's Play House caps of a fine year for the empty dancefloors out there with Jacque'd Toolbox - a super combi between 'the' Gerd Janson and New York's Jacques Renault! Throwing into the mix all matter of edits and cutting techniques to disco, pop, electro and house music, the pair throw down hard when giving the free world a dose of what the really want; be it the stringed, pumping heaviness of a piano-ladened "Never Saw Never" or the rave-infused happy house of "Movin' Kinda Screwy". Find some '80s breakbeat electro in the shoulder pad pop of "One More Slice" next to the space pongs and filter loop tropics of "One More Slam" and percussive disco banger of "Jus Wanna Party". Disco, check!
Review: Here's something to write home about: a surprise debut album from on-point retro-futurists Tuff City Kids, AKA Running Back boss Gerd Janson and old pal Phillip Lauer. Given the opportunities for expression offered by the album format, it's perhaps unsurprising to find that they've decided against packing it entirely with hustling, warehouse-ready old skool house jams. Instead, their usual vintage synth stabs and drum machine rhythms are put to work on tracks that variously doff a cap to skewed synth-pop (Joe Goddard collaboration "Tell Me", Annie hook-up "Labyrinth"), cello-laden late night house (Kelley Polar hook-up "Aska"), acid-flecked electro ("Boilered"), early Human League tributes ("Scared"), and blissfully positive electronica ("Farewell House").