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.
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.
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: Collaborations are often the fortune of timing. With Andy having moved on since closing the Dissident label to launching his Cave Paintings project to Tim's departure from Battant and striking out as Andrew Weatherall's engineer and soon to be co-member of The Asphodells, an alliance was born between the two to undertake a series of live jam sessions at each's respective studios. A love of new wave, new beat, UK Bleep and Detroit techno all feature in B-Ultras and the aptly titled, Neu Beat. Both cuts are heavily soaked in the pitch black, smoke machine funk and strob-laden fug of Andy's (and co-hort Joe Hart) infamous World Unknown dancefloor. Running at around 10 minutes the tracks are essentially an examination of acid house's ideals. Clattering hats, throbbing basslines, stabbing keys and doses of 303. Keeping it pretty simple but all about a pure groove on and on. Backing these up is a remix of B-Ultras from Jamie Paton that accentuates the groove and drags the acid deeper down to some B-boy Dub throwdown - with more to follow from all protagonists in 2014.
Review: Especial is delighted to welcome Baris to the roster. Known for his edit series of obscure Turkish Psychedelic, Rock and Disco, here he takes the producer's chair to present "200". Working with musicians and singers to create a completely original production. The song's message for equality (of the sexes) highlights the bigotry and backward political and religious boundaries his country faces and acts as a siren to the current troubles. Handed to Emotional Recordings over 5 years ago but with no label to release it at that time, now we are delighted to be able to release 200's message. The original is backed with remixed from new production duo Khidja, as well as East London's finest, The Asphodells. Teaming up with guitarist Balabas, Romania's Khidja turn in a deep and introspective interpretation mixing their own heavy eastern influences, while the figurative B-side sees Weatherall and Fairplay don their Asphodells mantle for two renditions that firmly lay it before the ALFOS alter. With artwork (by Jamie Paton) highlighting the struggle for fairness and freedom in his homeland, we hope the release can be seen as a support for their tribulations and highlight the talent that lays East.
Goat - "Run To Your Mama" (Cage & Aviary remix) - (8:52) 95 BPM
Blancmange - "The Western" (Cage & Aviary nothing is dub) - (7:59) 115 BPM
Teeth Of The Sea - "Sentimental Journey" (Cage & Aviary wyld dub) - (7:16) 115 BPM
Blancmange - "The Western" (Cage & Aviary fear is nothing dub) - (8:05) 115 BPM
Review: Following their acclaimed debut album, Migration, on Prins Thomas' Internasjonal label in 2012, Jamie Paton and Nigel Hoyle (aka Nigel Of Bermondsey) have seemed relatively quiet save for the odd remix here and there. Tucked away deep in their South East London base though, a series of remixes and solo projects have been steadily forming. With new C&A material planned for 2014, plus more to come from Jamie's new solo efforts, as well as Nigel making a long overdue reappearance in Maurice & Charles, now seems the right time to draw a line under their collective work to date. Here then are a collection of unreleased interpretatons, including the sought after vocal remix of psychedlic darlings, in Goat's anthemic Run To Your Mama. This is followed by a late night dub of 80s pop duo Blancmange that mixes strings, guitar and some dub bass with a dose of space echo before bringing Neil Arthur's classicly recognisable refrain shining through. To finish is a remix of Goat's label mates Teeth Of The Sea. FX-soundtrack vocal, bubbling 303 and 808 combine on a proper 3am dub that builds beyond some mere drug-chug.
Review: After a couple of releases for the label, including many notable remixes, plus an excellent recent 7" for Hoga Nord Rekords, Jamie returns to the warm glow of Especial for a collective vinyl only EP of 4 'unreleased' remixes brought together for limited release.
Opening is his dark, brooding rework of See You In The Dark from Sexy Merlin's 2012 release Heater. Taking the 2mins + plus original and feeding it through modular and space echo environs, this long form remix has been alighting dance floors whenever aired. Throbbing bass and phased, twisted vocals pull the track deeper, all with that neu-wave touch that has become Jamie's hallmark - whether sought or not!
Next Jamie turns to the Eastern melodies of Guy Schalom. The drummer and percussionist first came in to Paton's orbit via his partnership within Cage & Aviary and his remix here strips the original to his affinity with dub and bass. Horns rise and fall, driven by snare and dabuka in a unique reversion of a version in the truest (es)sense. Roots and vulture y'all.
The B-side heads back deep with his wonderful remix of Gatos Negros's Overdrive. Taken from the bands 7th Life album on Spain's Rotten City, the interplay with arpeggio, bass and vocals shows why Jamie has his own unique following.
Closing the EP sees a return to a relationship first seen via Cage & Aviary's remixes of Blancmange in 2014. A mutual admiration achieved, the band requested a special remix of their rerecorded 1982 classic Feel Me. Jamie rebuilds the track with a nod to it's past, his own sound and also, as a final homage to nights remembered at the Brixton HQ years of World Unknown, where the original was such a highlight. Here comes a love song...
Review: [Emotional] Especial is the new label from the Emotional Recordings stable. A sub label to Emotional Response, Especial is though squarely aimed at the floor rather than the head. In a similar vain to the limited 4 EPs-only label that was Emotional Relish, it will merge the sounds and styles that influence contemporary electronic producers, taking in new wave, new beat, EBM and proto-house to create something modern. Jamie Paton of Cage & Aviary helms the debut release with Bizarre Feeling. A youth soaking up punk, dub and new wave, the EP acts at times as a homage to the sounds of New Order, The The, Kraftwerk and the then other-wordly machine funk emanating out of mid-80s Chicago. With both Timothy J Fairplay and Scott Fraser aiding and abetting down in the Scrutton Street bunker studio, with keys, guitar and a heavy dose of space echo, plus hypnotic FX laden vocals from Jamie himself, all propel the EP beyond pastische and make the perfect start to Especial.
Review: Having previously established the Junior Fairplay alias with last year's superb Sugar Puss on Crimes of the Future, Timothy J Fairplay returns to the pseudonym for a vivid and vivacious EP on Emotional Especial. The Asphodells man opens with "Classic Version", a deliciously melodious fusion of twinkling synth lines and restless drum machine percussion, before reaching for the classic house breakbeats on the early '90s rush of "How Do You Like Me Now". That intoxicating and tuneful feel continues on the dreamy, psychedelic and oh-so deep "Shazquatch", before the delightful "Wave Men" offers an overload of chiming, glassy-eyed melodies, foreboding bass and skittish rhythms.
End Of Love (Roy Of The Ravers remix 1) - (6:40) 132 BPM
The Shazsquatch Goes Back Into The Woods - (4:47) 125 BPM
Faxes From The Future - (6:44) 120 BPM
End Of Love (Roy Of The Ravers remix 2 - Digital Bonus) - (4:45) 131 BPM
Review: It's been a hot minute since Timothy J. Fairplay slipped on his Junior Fairplay guise, but he's done just that for this bleep-tastic new 12" on (Emotional) Especial. "End Of Love" is unabashed in its embrace of early Yorkshire techno tones, making a fine job of resurrecting the bleep spectre and letting it shake up the dance once more. Roy Of The Ravers is a smart choice of remixer, and he brings an off-kilter acid rub to the table in his idiosyncratic, braindance-inflected style. The B-side is equal laden with purposefully dusty dance grooves transplanted from the late 80s / early 90s, with "Faxes From The Future" hitting a particularly sharp point in its lazy breakbeat roll and the clanging harmonies of the stabs.
Red Axes - "Waiting For A Surprise" (Kris Baha remix) - (7:19) 110 BPM
Bal5000 - "Kids" - (7:41) 114 BPM
Review: (Emotional) Especial heralds its 30th release with a killer package from an all-star cast that takes in label regulars and newcomers alike. The vibe starts heated and heavy with modern acid champ Roy Of The Ravers taking a blunt instrument or two to Junior Fairplay's "End Of Love," firing off the kind of bludgeoning b-line and fizzing drums that makes his direct approach to the dancefloor so potent. It's somewhat surprising to see Freeform Five pop up on this 12", but Jamie Paton's remix of "Throwing Stones" sounds utterly natural in the habitat - a brooding, simmering trip shot through with noirish synths. Kris Baha gets busy with Red Axes' "Waiting For A Surprise," twisting out an exotic bubbler perfect for the low tempo chugging crowd, and then Bal5000 wraps things up with the gorgeous electro-disco delights of "Kids".
Review: Having previously delivered the brilliant "Mustafa" - a Middle Eastern-tinged chugger with flashes of acid - Khidja return to Emotional Especial with a four-track assault. Title track "Never Seen The Dunes" is a similarly mystical chugger, with intoxicated, stretched-out guitar lines and psychedelic chords riding a post-punk influenced cosmic disco groove. There's more punk funk influenced bass to be found on the decidedly dubby - but no less trippy - "Aura", whilst there's a decidedly Turkish flavour to the spiraling synthesizers and intelligent techno-inspired acid lines of "Indecis". Finally, the duo strays into deeper territory with the chiming melodies, foreboding guitars and after-party rhythms of "The Quiet Before Red Stop".
Review: Emotional Especial return with a release from Romanian duo Khidja that comes packing some excellent remixes from senor Fairplay and Juju & Jordash! Brought to the attention of EE thanks to Hardway Brother Sean Johnston, who returned from a Bucharest DJ gig singing the praises of two young DJs, Khidja's productions are as impressive as their selections on the evidence here. "Mustafa" is more immediate with shuffle percussion, swirling sirens and acid bubbles leading to a perfect horn break. In the hands of Mr Fairplay, the track takes on anthemic qualities; the stabbing bass and build have allegedly seen howls of appreciation when it's dropped at A Love From Outer Space. "Abdul" finds Khidja in a more calming mood reminiscent of Art of Noise, though the kick and bass ensure there is plenty of rhythmic emphasis, whilst the Juju & Jordash remix edges towards a Balearic digidub vibe.
Review: Stuart Leath flexes his contacts book with an all-star cast of producers and respected scalpel artists called on to rework cuts from the recent Never Seen The Dunes EP by Khidja. Any 12" featuring the collective talents of Discodromo, In Flagranti, Red Axes and Selvy on mixing desk duties should get you excited and this crew bring the disco heat. "Never Seen The Dunes" is given the Discodromo treatment, adding pulsating bass, driving arpeggio, all while allowing the bump of the original to keeping pushing things on. This is followed by In Flagranti's inspired 'Autobahn' retake of the deeper vibes of "Aura" which is apparently a huge favourite of the label. A matured cruiser that keeps the swing, it all leads to those strings and Eastern flavours gliding over for the perfect finale. Things head darker on the reverse, with Tel Aviv's shinning stars Red Axes, manning the controls for the scatter bounce of "Indecis" for the stand out remix. Twisted vocals, brooding FX and reversed guitar all atop a mesmeric kick, things just keeps going higher and higher. Finally "The Quiet Before The Red Stop" is tweaked by Selvy of The Very Polish Cut Outs and Transatlantyk fame, adding some club bump to Khidja's Balearic original.
Review: Especial welcomes Kim Ann Foxman to debut on the label with an ode to the power of the moon. The sample heavy, acid vocal cuts no slack and shows Foxman confidently developing as a producer and is backed with a stellar set of remixes from Roza Terenzi, Dawl & Sween and Violet. Revered by many as an on point clubber, dancer, singer, DJ and producer, her breakthrough in Hercules & Love Affair was a start, soon carving out her place as a solo artist and global DJ, while fitting in time to run the Firehouse - recently featuring Richard Sen and Kasra V - and SELF-TIMER labels - home to new project, Pleasure Planet. As veteran of the San Francisco 90s heyday, slipping breaks around a 4/4 kick is a blast of past meets acid future, as 303 meets M1, while Foxman's lyrics - written during the Blood Moon over London - extols the power of the tides, nature's internal and external flow. The remixes are a manner of breaks-heaven, as Roza Terenzi rips a steppas dub, Tone Dropout's Dawl and Sween master a latter day M25 anthem, before finally Violet, edits, strips, builds and takes things deep. Make me lust, make me bleed...
Review: The label is delighted to welcome Kris Baha with his first EP for Especial. After killer remixes of Sfire and Red Axes for the label, his name as an artist, with his darker take on dance music, has risen and risen. With releases on Bahnsteig 23, CockTail d'Amore and Pinkman, Baha has become a respected artist in just a few years. Building analogue equipped studios in Melbourne and Berlin, DJing, producing and mixing have all led to atonal ear, where success came through dedication. Following his debut album Palais, Barely Alive acts as release from these years of sweat. A call to all in this modern world, the song exemplifies a move from club music to a freedom in sound and song, as vox crash against 808 and Arp 2600. Remixes start with Timothy J Fairplay - a name synonymous with Especial. Here TJF laces his trademark echoplexxed wash for a cold wave mover. Next prodigy Job Sifre builds on his acclaimed debuts with a remodel that goes straight to that basement, mixing his love of electro, new wave and industrial. To close, the legend of Das Ding creates a re-alternate remix, fusing his unique fuzz with Baha's ode for a brittle finale.
Review: Perhaps better known as one half of Swedish pair Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Mariam The Believer has now also attracted attention as a solo performer due to her album Blood Donation. Some nu-disco heavyweights have recently reworked tracks from the LP, the latest being Wolf Muller. Here we get both his sparse six-minute trippy punk funk remix of the raw "Invisible Giving", as well as his largely instrumental freaky dub mix.
Review: Peter Riley's back story as Persian reaches back to the early 90s - his back catalogue of crucial, sought after deep house cuts is a must-grip for any serious digger of globetrotting grooves. [Emotional] Especial taps up this vaunted producer's archives to present two of the finest productions he's ever committed to wax. "Khaab" is a subtly bumping jam with gorgeous square wave bass, smoky pads and evocative vocal trysts. "Parvaaneh" is a spacier cut that puts the bass front and centre and does away with the drums, making for a powerful, atmospheric statement to create tension mid-set. Project Runaway remix "Khaab" in a respectful, immersive fashion, and Alphonse nudges "Parvaaneh" into a dense and chugging roller.
Review: Throughout his career Phil Gerus has proved adept at producing synth-powered, delay-laden music that brilliantly pays tribute to proto-house, electrofunk and Balearic synth-pop. He's at it again here on "Still Blind", a brilliantly Balearic affair that sounds like a long lost John "Tokes" Potoker B-side remix of Simple Minds (that's a good thing, by the way). The accompanying remix package is naturally strong, too, with Phillip Lauer kicking things off via a darker, new wave inspired version that bobs and weaves in all the right places. Bristol-based Jamie Paton brilliantly fuses sparse, chugging electronic grooves and alien synthesizer motifs on his atmospheric "Remix", before wrapping the track's most picturesque elements and bleeping electronics around a booming bassline and sparse percussion on his excellent accompanying "Dub".
Review: Previously spotted on Emotional [Especial] with the fantastic Love Is Enough, Plus Instruments get the remix treatment in a classic '80s style with the Dub Is Enough single. The producers tasked with delivering versions vary wildly, but they make for a strong combination. Jamie Paton's "Cloudy Dub-Out" is masterful, simmering the elements down to a sensual bassline and delicate ripples on top, while Luke Solomon brings his bumpy, off-kilter house style to the table. Khidja has a more dramatic, synth laden approach and Alphonse creates a dusty, funky roller out of that killer bassline groove.
Review: Originally operating in the 80s industrial scene, Plus Instruments have recently found a new lease of life. (Emotional) Especial are just the kind of label to jump on such deviant club fare, and on this package "Love Is Enough" gets a variety of remixes that all embrace the groups seedy ambience. Richard Sen brings a muscular thrust to the track, while Khidja takes a more delicate approach. Luke Solomon meanwhile casts his years of experience in oddball house on his steady grooving version, and then Jamie Paton taps into the industrial vein to finish the package off in fine style.
Review: Hailing from Tel Aviv and featuring Antinote-affiliated Alek Lee, Project Runaway make good on their initial promise with a sterling club-ready record for [Emotional] Especial. "Met" is a perfect statement of intent - a dynamic peak time record with an urgent, insistent groove peppered with organic percussion, zippy FX and a freaky vocal to get overground and underground party people shaking unanimously. The dub on the flip takes things out to weirder territory for the freak-out crew, without losing sight of the necessary functionality of the track. This is as direct a hit as you could ever expect from [Emotional] Especial, but loaded with bags of personality to satisfy the more curious minds out there.
Review: Friends for many years, Richard Sen and Scott Fraser come together with a dose of mutual admiration and back slapping by remixing each other on this 2 track EP. However, what makes this collaboration different is there are no original versions appearing, just these remixes. By completing an unfinished track of each the other, the pair have taken the respective unarranged music and gone back to their East London studios to, in essence, finish the other's songs in the form a "remix". Known for a myriad of deep electronic dubs in the last few years, Scott provides plenty of surprises with his remix of Richard's Night Navigator. A driving 10+ minutes 'piano-house' opus, the late 80s Italian / Balearic vibrations run straight through his interpretation of that classic Mediterranean sound. Not for long though, as firmly dragging things straight back to the dark and wet streets of Hackney, Richard takes Scott's Ask For Control and creates a tough, percussive, deep dub remix that would propel any basement dance floor through the early hours.
Review: Former Padded Cell and Bronx Dogs man Richard Sen has made some great records in his time, and "Songs of Pressure" is up there with the best of them. Joining the dots between murky dub disco, horror soundtracks and EBM, it layers spooky, delay-laden synthesizer motifs and wonky vocal samples atop a heavy dub rhythm and punchy machine drums. Pals Andrew Weatherall and Timothy J Fairplay deliver a bongo-laden, dubbed-out revision (part wayward exotica, part humid Balearic dub), while Acca strips the track down to its' nare bones for a ket-addled dub.
Review: The Unknown Cases' "Masambabele", first released way back in 1983, has long been considered an "Afro-cosmic" classic; a Daniele Baldelli favourite popular for its' tribal chants, growling guitars and chugging electronic groove. It's been remixed numerous times over the years, and here Emotional Especial have a go, handing over the original parts to Justin Van Der Volgen and The Durian Brothers. The latter jammed with some of the original musicians when creating their interpretation, which brilliantly fuses their renowned wonkiness and polyrhythmic beats with dubbed-out snippets of the original horns and electronics. While fantastic, it's Van Der Volgen's shuffling afro-cosmic-goes-dub-disco take - an altogether breezier proposition - that will undoubtedly get most plays from DJs.
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.
Review: Bamboo Room lands on (Emotional) Especial in a fit of 80s grooves as you would expect to find on the label, but this is in fact the handiwork of debutant duo Duncan Thornley and Laurence Horstman. As Weird Weather they're exploring the fertile hinterland between proto-house, dub abstractions and worldly sounds - they may not be the first to do so, but they sound like complete naturals in this curious bubble. "Sequence 5" is a driving beatdown peppered with space-shaping delays and reverbs, while "Trash Dolphin" takes a cooler approach with some delicate percussive tones and chimes. "Bamboo Room" is a stark, stern beat track fit for a mid 80s cop thriller soundtrack, and the "Ormus Mix" that follows shrugs off most of the drums and heads into satin-lined ambient territory.