Review: Legendary French producer I:CUBE resurfaces from the studio to deliver the post covid-generation a new series of unreleased tracks! With a second round set to arrive in November, all productions to make this Cubo live session series were recorded over the last few years and were either the result of rehearsals or live performances in his Paris studio. Taking in random and various improvised set ups of his machines, there's no denying the live, analogue and sequential heat in the deep 13-minute-long techno burner "Session 1". Slower tempos and horror Italo-motifs make it into "Session 3" with "Session 2" turning in something cosmic and disco-tinged that's full of grunge and funk. Few artists' music ooze the analogue quality, flair and panache of I:CUBE and we're glad he's back.
Review: Versatile's main man (alongside Monsieur Gilb'R) returns to the fray, with a hotly anticipated set of tracks on the label's 120th release. I:Cube has been busy, and he's keen to share the fruits of his labour with us. Delve deep into the exotic on the sublime "Flutes Souterraines" or "La Nuit Des Rats"- the latter featuring some truly hypnotic polyrhythms. There's also some wicked throwback sounds, like on the acid house stormer "Troglo Dance" and some emotive/ethereal deepness that the man always does so well: as heard on "Bifurque" and the truly evocative "Fractal P".
Review: The Versatile main man and one half of Chateau Flight doesn't drop as many singles these days as he used to, but at least when he holds off he can come correct with some firepower for the floor. Sizzling hats and a solid disco beat set the tone for "Transpiration" while the meat of the track comes in the form of a nasty old-skool rave stab. It's a monster tune that should get sweat pouring from anything in a five-mile radius. The title track is a pacey, Italo flavoured cut that seems to intentionally challenge the demonic moniker, while "Jah Menta" opts for a deeper shade of disco. Highly recommended.
Review: Given that Versatile Records is now into its 20th year, it's perhaps unsurprising that boss Gilb'r is in a nostalgic mood. The latest edition in the label's occasional Classics series delivers two early gems from 1996, when the Parisian imprint was - like others in the French capital - dedicated to delivering "French touch" style disco-house. First up is Daft Punk's overlooked remix of I:Cube's brilliant "Disco Cubizm" - think deep house-meets-French filter funk - which still sounds fresh two decades after its original release. Flip for something previously unheard: an alternate version of DJ Gregory's similarly classic rework of Cheek's "Venus (Sunshine People)", an obscure Gilb'r production with a warm, happy, anthem-like feel.
Review: A taster from Peggy Gou's contribution to the DJ Kicks series, this split release showcases the range and breath of her selections. On one end of the spectrum there's I:Cube's "Cassette Jam 1993", where the maverick French producer delivers a frazzled, hazy groove that bathes in a mellow glow and is made even more trippy thanks the use of some indistinct vocal samples. At the opposite end sits Hiver's "Pert", where the Italian pair loop a pulsating, acidic groove to infinity and beyond. Gou's own contribution is very much at the mellow end of the scale: "Hungboo" is led by cosmic flutes, organic beats and some cosmic Asian vocals.
Prins Thomas, Stereolab & The High Llamas - "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" (Stereolab vs High Llamas remix) - (4:15) 130 BPM
Prins Thomas & 120 Days - "Sleepless Nights" - (0:22) 124 BPM
Prins Thomas, Carmen Villain, Continental Fruit, Mats Gustafsson & Sonic Youth - "The Moon Will Always Be There/The Moon Was My Only Witness/Art 3 - Contrabass Sax" - (6:16) 92 BPM
Prins Thomas, Erik Wollo, Alexander Rishaug & Sun Araw - "Ody At Sea/Satellites/B - Sun Araw Saddle Soap Remix" - (3:18) 156 BPM
Prins Thomas, Bjorn Torske, Mats Gustafsson, Sonic Youth, Serena-Maneesh & Sun Araw - "B - Sun Araw Saddle Soap Remix/Arthur's Return - Extended Version/Introspection/Leipziger Love Life - Ancient Mix/Part 4 - Voice" - (9:36) 159 BPM
Prins Thomas & Wildest Dreams - "Off The Lip" - (6:21) 112 BPM
Prins Thomas & Four Tet - "Lovesick" (Four Tet remix) - (4:40) 97 BPM
Review: This triple-album collection is something of a treat for Prins Thomas fans. Released as an accompaniment to his epic, three-disc Paradise Goulash mix, it's entirely made up of previously unreleased re-edits from the Norwegian maestro. Musically, it's as cosmic and varied as you'd expect, variously touching on ambient (Claude Speed), Balearic jazz (Gabor Szabo), Middle Eastern oddness (Cat Trance), synth-samba (Richard Schneider Jnr), modern classical (a Johanna Billings cover of Arthur Russell's "This Is How We Walk On The Moon"), and all manner of hazy, sun-kissed grooves. There's little slamming dancefloor fare, but plenty of unique versions of overlooked, little known or forgotten musical gems. For that alone, it should be an essential purchase.
Review: On the latest instalment of the long-running DJ-Kicks series, Peggy Gou paints a vivid picture. It starts with the widescreen ambience of Space Time Continuum's 1993 debut, "Fluresence", before moving into her own, cosmic "Hungboo" and the niggling acid of Pearson Sound's "Earwig", a contemporary cousin to Plastikman's Musik. There are other endearing oddities here, such as Andrew Weatherall's seductive house version of Sly & Lovechild's "The World According To..." and the raw drums of Kyle Hall's "Flemmenup". Gou has also included a Detroit techno classic, Psyche's "Crackdown", but balances this out with new, unreleased tracks from I:Cube - "Cassette Jam 1993" sees the maverick French producer deliver a frazzled, hazy affair - and Hiver's pulsating, acid-flecked "Pert".