Codek Records started its journey in 1996 in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York. The disco-punk rooted label was set up by Swiss duo, In Flagranti. From funky Japanese-tinged sounds of In Flagranti’s ‘Kachi Kachi (Unreleased Funky Mix)’ (feat. Ayakamay) right the way through to In Flagranti’s dark, paranoia-inducing Chicago house trip ‘Voices In My Head (Innovative Treatment Mix)’ (feat. Andrew Edward Brown), Codek continues to push the boundaries of its idiosyncratic sound.
Review: Still reeling from the release of his 'Selftitled' LP last year, Steppin' Wolf is a fully fledged independent artist pushing a curious sound that meets somewhere in the middle of electro, synthwave and post punk inspirations. Having contributed a now rare release to DJ duo MANAMANA's Mana All Nite label (sub-label to KANN records), Steppin' Wolf's music has largely come through independent releases on F.M.O (For Madmen Only). Picked up by Inflagranti's Codek, Come Up, You Fearful Preacher brings together some poetic and industrial angst in "The Torrent Of Words" next to the darkwave acid trip of "Whip The Whip". Shed-like kick drums make it into the the dubby electro-and-Italo mix of "Coyote Boy & The Drums" with a deep and dreamy "A Reason For The End Of Civilization" hitting something super deep and sweet.
Review: Having impressed with their debut single, a cover of Marshall Hain's 1978 track "Dancing In The City" that grew out of a "spontaneous recording session", Dornbrin 78 (ALA Hackney-based Lithuanian Adelina Sasmauskraite and Whatever Whatever's Bryan Mette) are back on Codek. In its original form, "Love Bomb" is a trippy and tipsy chunk of heavily electronic, off-kilter nu-disco topped off with a wavy lead vocal from Sasmauskraite. Outtake's "Metal League" remix cannily re-invents it as a chunk of wall-of-sound electro disco complete with ear-catching synth bass and starburst electronics, while the arguably superior Boy's Shorts mixes (vocal and instrumental variations are available) brilliantly join the dots between acid house, beatbox electro and stirring, string-laden NYC disco.
Review: Swiss world music fusionists Alma Negra are favourites with the likes of Gilles Peterson, Nightmares On Wax and Four Tet, which should give you a rough idea of what to expect here. 'Fire' is a midpaced, organ-led groove that'd work in longer deep house or nu-disco sets, and has rolling Afro-style percussion to match the chanted vocal that appears towards the end. The EP's other two tracks, 'Wedding Song' and 'Yo', operate in more straight-up African music territory and so are less well suited to house/disco sets, but could still find favour on those floors that like their beats a little more on the eclectic side.
Review: Back in November Andrew Edward Brown made his bow on Codek with a fine single remixed by label chiefs In Flagranti. Here he pays back the favour, adding his distinctive vocals to a fresh In Flagranti track. "Voices In My Head" comes in two distinctly different flavours, with In Flagranti providing vocal and instrumental versions of each mix. The EP-opening "Innovative Treatment" mix takes a typically eccentric approach to vintage Chicago house, with weirdo electronics and creepy but melodic chimes providing an interesting counter-point to Brown's Robert Owens style vocal. The "Overwhelming Response" mix is an altogether more energetic affair fired by sweaty disco drums, mazy synth solos and swirling chords. When you add in Brown's vocals there's a lot going on, which only adds to the track's druggy feel.
Review: Andrew Edward Brown has been around for a while, though his discography is a little thin. Given the quality of this single on Codek, that's something of a surprise. His version is available in both vocal and instrumental flavours, and it's the former that really stands out. Brown is a great songwriter and vocalist, and his lead vocal works perfectly with the warm and woozy backing track - a heady blend of deep house grooves, rich chords, squelchy nu-disco synth bass and a few nods towards '80s boogie. Label bosses In Flagranti handle remix duties, turning in vocal and instrumental takes that brilliantly re-imagine the track as a flash-fried chunk of guitar-laden dub disco goodness tailor made for peak-time dancefloors.
Review: Four tuff but quite experimental house workouts here from Melbourne's Paz, a producer whose musical roots lie in hip-hop, dancehall and bass music. The EP as a whole is long on tribal rhythms, Caribbeean-like percussion sounds and brash, analogue-sounding synths: the latter take centre stage on the nagging title track and the original mix of 'Carpel Harmon', while Alma Negra supplies a far deeper, percussion-led remix of the latter that pushes us into Afro-oriented territory. Completing the EP is 'The Eye Knows', which rocks a similar MO to the first two but with the addition of HUGE buzz bassline.
Review: Barcelona-based Ivan Fabra makes his bow on Codek with an EP that has already one support from Cinthie, DJ Harvey, Moscoman and Andrew Weatherall. Like the producer's previous releases for Night Noise and Emerald and Doreen, there's a strong Italo-disco influence on "Space Bass", with decidedly intergalactic '80s synth lines and blissfully starry electronics bubbling away above a rubbery bassline and unfussy machine drums. Eve's remix delivers an even more positive spin on Febra's original, while Yuki Tosaya's revision is an altogether more druggy proposition, an effect achieved via the use of suitably psychedelic acid lines and a pitched-down groove. To round things off, Fabre transports us to deep space via the cascading electronic motifs, sustained chords and arpeggio-driven grooves of "Rising Pulsar".
Review: Despite being active in the scene for decades, In Flagranti show no signs of slowing down or slipping up. For those who enjoy druggy, off-kilter club cuts, it's comforting to know that each successive EP from the Swiss duo will be as essential as its predecessor. There's naturally plenty to get the juices flowing on their latest four-track missive, from the densely layered hand percussion, dubbed-out spoken word snippets and weirdo samples of "Expensive Wardrobe", to the bustling late '80s warehouse pump of "Soft White Skin" and hypnotic late night throb of metronomic deep house jack-track "Arousing Touch". Bizarre-but-brilliant opener "Rather Sexy" is pretty darn tasty, too.
Review: Da Funk is in full effect on this ace two-tracker from Melbourne disco producer Kayroy, who's previously featured on labels such as Whiskey Disco and Finer Things. In its Original Mix form, 'Harlequin Fiasco' is an unabashed late 70s-style disco romp that recalls the work of glossy, hi-camp outfits like Lipps Inc or Voyage, complete with space disco synths, wukka-wukking geetars and a suitably rumpshaking b-line, but the accompanying In Flagranti Dub flips the script completely as it floats chunks of the original in and out of a proper hefty dub cut that wouldn't disgrace Jammy or Tubby themselves - an unexpected trick that works remarkably well.
Review: Thanks to the release of two stellar productions - the druggy disco single "Glamoflage" on Opilec and the tropically minded "The Caribbean House" on Bear Funk - 2018 has already been a great year for Niccolo Bruni AKA Billy Bogus. Here the Pizzico Records co-founder rounds off a successful 12 months with another tasty offering: an album-length collection of sample-rich original productions on In Flagranti's Codek label. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the dreamy, slowly building fizz of "Uniporn" and slo-mo, tropical-tinged psychedelic chug of "Enter The Ninja", to the enveloping choral creepiness and doom-laden dub disco bass of "Necula" and the Balearic instrumental synth-pop colour of "Spiaggi Cannibale".
Review: Last time we heard from Fa Ventilato and Frank Heer's Bingo Palace project was way back in 2003, when they dropped a rather fine debut album entitled Whistle Me Higher. This belated follow-up is made up of two long, meandering suites of tracks ("Before" and "After"), with an atmospheric, sound effects-based interlude, "The Wave" sandwiched in between. Musically, the cuts that make up "Before" are drowsy and gently groovy, touching on dub, krautrock, trip-hop and gentle Balearica. "After", meanwhile, is more obviously electronic in tone, offering up instalments that variously doff a cap to vintage electronica, dub techno, Giallo-style synthesizer soundtracks, ambient and starry late night soundscapes.
Review: In Flagranti have carved their own niche in dance music since back in the Electroclash days. This is due to their sexually charged analogue disco-funk style and sound. Here they rustle up "The Camelwalk" for Codek, a tune that sounds like a frisky Red Axes doing the soundtrack for a 70s porno with help from Bobby Konders (lots of flute!). Rayko's "Spiritual Wiri mix" features tough 4/4 drums, bass twangs, ascending arpeggios and yes, those flutes again. Inigo Vontier's mix revisits deepest, crackliest 80s Chicago and there also some cool retro beats featured in the bonus dub mix too.
Review: In Flagranti are the partnership of Alex Gloor and Sasa Crnobrnja. Both are from Switzerland and currently live in Basel and Paris respectively. The duo were originally inspired by the pioneering cosmic scene that emerged from '80s Italy, plus a general eclectic bag of genres (which you can all hear across this opus' 30 tracks) including "funk, rock, punk, afro, electronica, house, reggae, kraut, classic, glam, blues and hillbilly". Incidentally, 'Sprezzatura' is an Italian term defined in the Renaissance that means doing something extremely well without showing effort, and on the evidence of this joyful, mind-bending and next-level creation and it's impossible to disagree.
Review: It would be fair to say that In Flagranti's latest EP, a collaborative affair alongside New York based performance artist Ayamakay, is one of the best things they've put out in ages. This is due in no small part to their smart choice of remixers. Polish dub-head Das Komplex does a terrific job, stretching out a spacey, dubbed-out groove, before twisting "Tonight, Good Night" into a bustling, dub disco masterpiece. For those who dig the Idjuts style disco dub drums, he's also delivered a tasty Bonus Beat version. In Flagranti themselves deliver a smoker-friendly Dub of "Pokkit Pokkit", while Dutchman-in-London gives "You Only Live Once" the full glitch-clad punk-funk treatment.
Review: Former Konk bandleader Jonny Sender is building up a decent relationship with In Flagranti's Codek label. Having released a fine EP of sleazy disco originals earlier in the year, Luck Sum Don sees him in dip his toes into the world of the Balearic disco re-edit. We're not entirely sure of the original source material, but it sounds like a particularly saucer-eyed, pitched-down fusion of early Italo-disco, Giorigio Moroder, and soft-focus, European easy listening. It's curiously druggy, all told, but also fairly sweet and deliriously loved-up. Sender smartly waits a few minutes to drop the vocal in, and ends the track with a couple of minutes of trippy, bleep-heavy grooves.
Review: In Flagranti, the undisputed kings of the one-track digital EP, return to their Codek imprint with another sweaty dancefloor slammer. "A Million Wiggles" sounds like the sort of heavy, low-slung workout capable of raising temperatures on even the most packed and lively dancefloors. Built around a relentless, post-punk disco bassline, wild organ stabs and rolling, old school house percussion, the track is peppered with quirky samples. The most ear catching of these is a gravelly American voice stating: "the party...is me". This has seemingly been taken from a recording of strip club promoter, which later develops into rambling speech. It adds interest, but it's the restless, rump-shaking groove that's the real winner.
Review: Serial disco-punk troublemakers In Flagranti return with a fresh transmission on their Codek label. It comes from little known curio Jonny Sender and this is one that will appeal to the attendees of Dusseldorf's Salon des Amateurs or advocates of that venue's founding father Tolouse Low Trax. In particular lead track "Zhivago Zhivago" which features the vocals of Elhadj Fall plunged to the depths of the mix whilst Jonny Sender lays down a deliciously sleazy, mid-tempo throb. Who better to remix it than Romania's foremost exponents of electronic psychedelia Khidja? Andrei Rusu and Florentin Tudor have outdone themselves on this remix. The other tracks see Sender trading in a more explicitly disco sound with dashes of house stabs and cowbells, cowbells, cowbells.
Review: In Flagranti seem incapable of putting out releases that feature more than one track. Of course, when that track is pretty tasty, it's still an enticing proposition. That's certainly the case with "Whenever", which continues their method of blurring the boundaries between re-edits, remixes, and sample-heavy original production. Heavily electronic, a little trippy and seemingly designed for locked-in dancefloor moments, it sits somewhere between groovy proto-house, proto-trance, and the more Balearic end of later Italo-disco. There's also a rather odd spoken word vocal that plays throughout, though it's buried in the mix making it tricky to comprehend. It all adds to the track's inebriated effect.
Review: In Flagranti seem to have a thing for releasing one-track digital singles. Unbelievably, As Fast As I Can is their 36th such release since the turn of the millennium. The Swiss duo has described this one "as a little vintage slow sleaze", suggesting it was recently rediscovered in their no doubt bulging vaults. Interestingly, it's a little baggier, looser and groovier than their usual, often forthright fare, with woozy, Moodymann/Seven Davis Jnr style vocals riding a head-nodding, live-sounding groove. There are some neat touches, of course - sparkling synthesizer melodies, sweet strings, additional percussion hits - but it's the blazed feel of the track that makes it so addictive.
Review: In their typically minimal press release for this two-track salvo, In Flagranti simply describes the EP's content as "edit/rework/party tunes". It's an apt description. Lead cut "Beast" delivers a deliciously saucer-eyed trip into vintage Chicagoan deep house territory, cutting up what sounds like a classic Mr Fingers production and layering it with nagging vocal samples, additional electronics and hypnotic, locked-in beats (admittedly with some additional crashing cymbals as the track progresses). "Forty Deuce", on the other hand, is an altogether more celebratory affair, brilliantly looping and chopping a long forgotten AOR disco gem. Think Tiger & Woods builds and blue-eyed soul vocals, and you're close.
Review: Swiss duo In Flagranti are ridiculously prolific. When they're not releasing bombastic original material (see their recent outing on Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound label, "Headrush"), they're churning out party-friendly cuts that blur the boundaries between re-edits, remixes and original material. That's what they deliver here, in the shape of a pair of sample-heavy, floor-friendly bangers. Choose between the wonky electronics, punk-funk drums, rap samples and 808 handclaps of sweaty hip-houser (of sorts) "Interpolation", and the rolling, organ-heavy disco groovery of "Different From The Rest". It's the latter, with its curious vocal and house sassiness, which gets our vote.
Review: "Eocene" is arguably In Flagranti's most interesting release of recent times, delivering a sweaty, tropical brew of shuffling, low-end house rhythms, deft electronics, cute marimba melodies and a Sting vocal sample. It's loosely based on The Police's "Walking In Your Footsteps", utilising the original's melodies and the vocal hook that dominates the original track. Since the original is definitely Balearic, it's a clever move.
Review: Serial disco-punk troublemakers In Flagranti continue their obsession with single-track releases, delivering another eccentric but desirable one-track missive. "On The Spot" is a typically curious concoction, mashing together elements from familiar favourites (the break from "Dirty Cash", a dash of vocal from "Somebody Else's Guy", various bits of barely audible AOR vocals), with formidably heavy bass, twiddly synths and some very odd (but rather good) backing vocals. It should be a mess but, strangely, it works. There's little subtle about it, but it's a bona fide party banger. In these miserable times, we heartily improve.
Review: Yep, this is another one of those killer single-track salvos that In Flagranti seem so obsessed with these days. To be honest, it's one of their best for a while; a woozy, midtempo cut that sits somewhere between lazy disco-funk, stoner prog and moody nu-disco. This groove itself is authentically disco - with a touch of stoned rock in the guitars and bass - but the stuff layered on top - bittersweet strings, fuzzy electronic noises, all manner of effects -is anything but. The combination works well, though, giving the impression that it'll sound good over a sizeable system.