Review: It's been a while since Clone dipped into the archives and re-released a long-forgotten classic. Here, they revisit Clio's "Eyes", a curious Italo-disco classic from 1984 that sounds like a long lost Bobby Orlando production (for the record, it isn't (it just bears similar sonic hallmarks). As well as the superb, tongue-in-cheek original, the package also includes the Paris Version - yep, sung in French - the vocal-less dub and a spiralling re-edit from new school Italo producer Bottin. Cheap, cheerful and very, very good - a refreshing blast of original European dancefloor flavour.
Review: Holland's Clone Records crew has struck up quite a partnership with veteran Chicagoan Joe Lewis, a producer who delivered some of the most distinctive early house records back in the mid 1980s. They've already re-released tons of Lewis's sought-after cult classics and here deliver a much needed reissue of his 1986 debut "Love of My Own". As with the original 12", there are two versions of the title track available: the melodious, glassy-eyed and loved-up "Instrumental", which is a bit like a Larry Heard cut after a day in the sun, and the percussive, punchy and floor-friendly "Dub On My Own (Remix)". There's also a tasty bonus in the shape of "Life Immoreal", a spacey but driving deep house cut that was first featured on Lewis's 1994 EP "Separate Ways".
Review: Back in 1988, Chicagoan DJ Joe Lewis delivered Lost In Tracks, an early acid onslaught that has since become a must-have for serious house collectors. Some 28 years on, it finally gets a reissue on Clone's Classic Cuts series. All six of Lewis's tracks from the original release are present (David Whiting's short percussion track, tagged on to the '88 12" as a bonus, has been omitted), and are here presented in newly re-mastered form. As you might expect, the material sits somewhere between sweaty jack-tracks and handclap-heavy box-jams, with "Just Hold Back The Feelin" - with its' sampled diva vocal lines and classic Chi-town bassline - and wild, ragging "One On One" amongst the many highlights. Given that original copies are "almost unobtainable", this should be on your shopping list.
Review: Clone's Classic Cuts sub-label continues to mine the impressive back catalogue of veteran Chicago producer Joe Lewis. The majority of cuts here first appeared on now hard-to-find 12" singles first released on Target Recordings in 1990 and '91. "Midnight Dancin' (Club Mix)", featuring the slick, soulful vocals of sadly departed singer Darryl Goodlett, is a sparkling fusion of Chicago house bottom end and the colourful musicality of New Jersey garage. Arguably even better is the little more stripped-back "Dancin' Mix" (originally released in 2005), which layers the more freestyle sections of Goodlett's vocal over a killer groove. Arguably best of all, though, is closer "Simply Yours", a premium chunk of wiggly acid mania, underpinned by a thickset synth bassline and typically raw drum machine beats.
Review: It's been a while since Clone last mined the undersea vaults of peerless Detroit electro/techno legends Drexciya. You'd expect the quality to dip a little on this fourth and final volume in the series, but Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller IV is every bit as essential as its predecessors. It's packed with far-sighted, next-level moments, from the bleak drum machine rhythms and gnarled electronics of "Hydro Cubes" and intense acid funk of "Aquatic Bata Particles", to the spine-tingling techno futurism of "Black Sea", the pure melodic joy of the rush-inducing "Sighting In The Abyss" and "Unknown Journey VII". A fitting finale to this excellent series from Clone.
Review: There's a reason that Drexciya are considered by many to be the most influential of all Detroit techno and electro acts. Aside from their addictive combination of mysticism and mystery, Gerald Donald and James Stinson made fabulous music - genuinely otherworldly electronic compositions that have stood the test of time. Whether you're a confirmed fan or Drexciyan novice, Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller should be essential listening. The first of four collections of classic material to be released by Clone, it gathers together their brilliant early '90s works in newly remastered form. Bristling with raw analogue funk and far-sighted techno, it's a timely reminder of their immense talents. Simply essential.
Review: Following the first installment of Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller, Clone delves back into Drexciya's archives for the follow-up. Like the first release, the Dutch label has been granted access to tracks from the Detroit duo's earlier releases, including Bubble Metropolis and The Unknown Aquazone, which fetch hundreds of pounds online. Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller 2 is also fascinating for the way that Clone have curated and programmed it. "High Tide", from the ultra-rare, shamelessly expensive Uncharted EP issued on Somewhere in Detroit in 1997 kick-starts the release in abrasive mode as yelping analogue riffs and rolling snares rush in over a malevolent, insistent bass. And despite all the music media's talk and pontificating about Drexciya testing the boundaries of electronic music, invading our subconscious and bringing us to new worlds, it should not be forgotten that they were also entertainers par excellence. Even at their most obtuse, on the dystopian synths of "Unknown Journey", the duo were sneaking in EBM basslines and memorable hooks. It's a similar story on the squelchy P-funk of "Danger Bay" (also from Bubble Metropolis), which features a brilliant but daft 'ha ha ha ha' male vocal sample and "Dead Man's Reef" (from 1997's The Quest), with its mock-horror riffs unfolding over phased hats and murderous bass. The other misconception about Donald and Stinson was that they were merely an electro act. The warped, low-slung minimal techno of "Bang Bang" replete with mock robo vocals dispels this myth - and could be the sleazy counterpoint to DBX's pure minimalism - as does "Davy Jones Locker" (from 1996's True People: The Detroit Techno Album). With its warped bass and mysterious piano lines, the lithe rhythms seem to cruise in a space between Detroit electro and UK jungle. The tendency to inhabit these grey areas is also audible on "Journey Home", taken from the eponymous 1995 EP for Warp. On that occasion however, Drexciya push towards a 4/4 arrangement with their warm low ends and woozy synths making for one of the most nakedly emotive and personal takes on Detroit techno. In case the listener is in any doubt about Stinson and Donald's mastery of many sounds, the beautiful "Neon Falls", with its dreamy synth hooks and innate fragility brings this second installment of Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller to a close. Forget the hype, myths and half-truths surrounding Drexciya; just drop the needle on the record and dive straight in.
Review: Few electronic acts could easily sustain three expansive 'best of' compilations, but then Detroit techno-electro fusionists Drexciya weren't your average electronic artists. In the space of little more than 12 EPs and a handful of albums, released in a ten-year burst between 1992 and 2002, James Stinson and Gerald Donald did more to push electronic music forwards than many of their Motor City peers. This third retrospective in Clone's excellent Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller series expands on the first two volumes, swimming between atmospheric IDM ("Aqua Worm Hole", "Vampire Island"), balls-deep techno workouts ("Nautilus", "Intensified Magnetron") and shimmering future electro (the futuristic Kraftwerk vibes of "Aquabahn").
Review: Originally released in 1995 on Warp, Elecktroids was a side project from Drexciya's Gerald Donald and James Stinson. Now Clone continues its reissue of the Detroit act's catalogue with this timely re-release of the sole Elecktroids album. Elektroworld is impactful because it brings together so many of the Stinson-Donald tropes. There's the slightly creepy, Dopplereffekt-esque speak-and-spell vocals of "Future Tone" and "Japanese Elecktronics"; the visceral, wave-jumping electro of "Perpetual Motion" and "Silicon Valley", a mysterious, slow-motion slice of electronic soul that's up their with Stinson's Other People Place output. For completists and causal listeners alike, this is an essential work.
Review: Clone reissues some timeless tracks from the vaults of US producer Jovonn. "Project X" is a killer disco house track, its muddy bass and screeching saxophone riff lending it a raucously soulful feeling. "I Can't Make Up My Mind" is based on a dark, jacking rhythm and a deeply soulful albeit somewhat tortured vocal - 'can't u see I'm yearning' - that belie Jovonn's gospel roots. There are also two versions of "This Thing Is Jammin. In its original format, the stripped back rhythm plays host to a stuttering vocal sample, while the dub version sees Jovonn bring the crashing cymbals and grainy drums to the fore for the track-heads.
Review: New York's JoVonn arrived on the worldwide house scene in the early 90s. He's released hundreds of jams but the Dutch crew at Clone are all about the vintage cuts. Here they present an EP of tunes that date from around 1992, newly remastered by the mighty Alden Tyrell. "Basics 4 Love" sounds like a female Prince protege philosophising over campy New York garage, complete with suspended strings and cool bleepy riff that arrives halfway through. From there "Jus Luv" is deep and jazzy with a Bobby Konders vibe and "Show You Luv" features slammin kicks and snares and Nightcrawlers melodies.
Final Auto Attendant (Alt version) - (1:00) 64 BPM
Review: Le Car is the side project of Ian R. Clark & Adam Miller: one half of Detroit electro punks ADULT. and co-owner of the seminal Ersatz Audio. Here Dutch retroverts Clone Classics compile some of the duo's finest moments over the years between 1996 - 2000 and believe us there's many. Where the project differs from Miller's main musical outlet is less emphasis on punk/cold wave aesthetics (as he did with Nicola Kuperus) and more focus on tougher/grittier Detroit electro-funk grooves. The dirty subterranean boom and snap of "Audiofileeight" from 1996 is as aquatic as anything Drexciya or Ectomorph were doing at the time, "#15" from '97 is where the synths get more wacky and dope sounding: like something out of Space Invaders on acid. Another great example is "Cinematic-Automatic" from '98 which is the best example of deep, dark and minimal electro in the same vein as homegrown heroes Dopplereffekt.
To Be Or Not To Be? (original mix) - (6:16) 131 BPM
The Gathering (Gerd edit) - (6:29) 126 BPM
To Be Or Not To Be? (May Day mix) - (6:31) 131 BPM
The Gathering (Pain mix) - (5:06) 84 BPM
Review: Second time around for Neal Howard's 1988 techno classic "To Be Or Not To Be", a cut that could be considered the missing link between vintage Detroit futurism and the alien funk of the UK's emerging bleep techno scene. This time round, the fantastic original mix - all bubbly bleep melodies, hustling drum machine handclaps and slick futurist sheen - comes accompanied by a fresh Gerd edit of Terry Baldwin's "The Gathering" mix. It's a tidy edit that does an excellent job in showcasing Baldwin's hybrid Chicago house/Detroit techno rework. On the virtual B-side you'll find Baldwin's original Gathering Pain Mix - a little darker and sweatier, but still full of jaunty early house pianos - and the dizzying futurist hustle of Derrick May's '88 May Day Mix.