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This week at Juno

A double helping from PAN, killer house from Delroy Edwards, techno from Shifted and more featured in the week’s best releases.

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1-800-Dinosaur launches with James Blake release

Former R&S Records manager Dan Foat has launched a new label called 1-800-Dinosaur with James Blake at the helm for the debut release.

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Various Artists – 116 & Rising review

At a time when music critics and fans alike are more than happy to endlessly debate what the next stage of dubstep’s progression should be called, Hessle Audio present 116 & Rising – a rich demonstration of how the label has progressed over the past four years and an exciting portent of where they might go in the future. Whichever format you choose to sink into, when you come out the other side you can’t help but be fully impressed.

As anyone who has followed the label’s progression will attest, it’s natural that the triple vinyl edition contains the most swagger, with the design work from regular collaborator Will Bankhead looking stunning across the gatefold sleeve and the twelve new and exclusive tracks spread across three slabs of vinyl, two to a side. Furthermore the inclusion in this edition of all 24 tracks on CD makes it the smart choice to indulge in.

If you can see past the temptation to merely sit and admire the artwork and actually bask in the music on offer, you will be richly rewarded with an array of brilliant material from the Hessle camp. Mainstays such as Elgato, Untold and James Blake naturally feature alongside contributions from the two thirds of the Hessle Audio decision-making team that produce. Flexing their status at the top of the game, Hessle can also call on new tracks from Addison Groove, Peverelist and D1, which is clearly a move to show which of their contemporaries has helped to shape the direction of the label since it launched in 2007.

So far so impressive, but how does the actual music sound? It surpasses expectation and has you gripped from the moment Elgato’s “Music (Body Mix)” starts. Along the way Blawan serves further notice that he’s got the best drum flex in the game on “Potchla Vee” which might just work in the rattle of a can of spray paint. Sitting next to this is “Stifle”, the one Pearson Sound submission, which sounds like a 23rd century twist on “Din Da Da”. Fans of David Kennedy are well stocked though, as he graces 116 & Rising with no less than three Ramadanman productions – perhaps finally putting this alias to bed?

Elsewhere, Cosmin TRG’s “Bijoux” is every bit as impressive as the four tracks that made up A Universal Crush, his EP for the Rush Hour Direct Current series (this reviewers favourite release of 2011 so far), whilst Joe invokes the spirit of West London circa 2001 on the tinny broken sensation of “Twice”. Amidst such celebrated company, Addison Groove might just steal the show on “Fuk Da 101” which combines dexterous sampling of urgent vocals with a cacophony of crazed percussive touches.

More words could be said on the music that features on the second CD but followers of Hessle Audio will be familiar with the brilliance of tracks such as “Fram”, “Rut” and Martyn’s ever excellent remix of TRG’s “Broken Heart” and happy to have them on CD for the first time, whilst late comers will delight in experiencing these and the nine other inclusions for the first time. With such a detailed musical representation of the label’s past, present and future, you might wonder why there was no thought given to the inclusion of sleeve notes. However the music is strong enough to speak for itself, and perhaps enough people spend far too much column space discussing their music anyway?

Tony Poland

Hessle Audio is 116 & Rising

The Hessle Audio imprint overseen by Ben UFO, Pearson Sound and Pangaea will release a 24 track compilation entitled 116 & Rising next month with such luminaries as Untold, Cosmin TRG, Addison Groove and James Blake contributing.

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More names added to Field Day bill

Carl Craig, Michael Mayer, Faust and Jamie xx are among the names today confirmed for this year’s Field Day festival, set to take place in East London’s Victoria Park on August 6.

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James Blake debut LP details revealed

The artwork and tracklisting for James Blake’s eponymous debut album – set for release in February 2011 via his own Atlas imprint – has been revealed.

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Juno Plus: Top 50 tracks of 2010

After a week in which we’ve cast fond glances back at our favourite labels, albums and more besides from the past 12 months, now is time for the pièce de résistance – our top 50 tracks of 2010. From sprawling disco chuggers delivered in one take to brooding techno, boundary pushing future bass and killer throwback house primed for sweaty dancefloors, there’s been something to suit everyone’s musical palette.

The collection you see before you are the 50 tracks that have soundtracked the past year at Juno Plus, and considering the site launched in late 2009 this serves as a neat little snapshot of where we are at. Our small team of contributors have all had a say, with the final list assembled through the kind of open, democratic process that would make Sepp Blatter blush. Some of the tracks included are obvious selections that will populate many a ‘best of’ list – and rightly so – but we’ve also taken time to include some of the less heralded but equally awesome tracks from 2010. Drum roll please…

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Blake and Woon on BBC Sound Of 2011 list

James Blake and Jamie Woon are among the artists featured in the BBC’s Sound Of 2011 long list, released today.

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James Blake to drop album in February

As disclosed in an interview with the NME last week,  it was today confirmed that James Blake’s debut self titled album will be released on February 7 next year via his own (major label funded) Atlas imprint.

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James Blake covers Feist; album due in early 2011

James Blake will round off a watershed year with a cover of Feist & Chilly Gonzales’s “Limit To Your Love”, to be released via ATLAS on November 8.

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James Blake – Klavierwerke review

If there was any doubt that UK producer James Blake was more than just a dubstep /funky artist, then Klavierwerke provides evidence to the contrary in spades. Indeed, in what is a commercially brave move by the recently re-launched Belgian label, Blake has been given the freedom to depart from the confines of the dance floor and enter a realm where there is only a passing reference to rhythm-based music. The title track is a prime example: based on a gloriously haunting piano intro that hangs in the air, Blake then introduces his somnambulant, deeply mournful vocals. The title track transposes the UK producer to a new realm, but it is also clear on this release that he doesn’t want to forget his roots either. This is evident on “Tell Her Safe”, where Blake’s eerie, indistinct vocals are also audible, but are presented over intricate, glitchy rhythms and organic percussion. “Don’t You Think I Do” also makes references of sorts to his releases for Hessle and Hemlock, as insistent claps underpin his melodic outpourings. However, the standout track, “I Only Know What I Know Now”, manages to straddle both of Blake’s worlds and understated, low-paced drums underpin the kind of ethereal piano-based songs that Nick Drake used to craft. Equal parts reflective songwriter and rhythm innovator, James Blake is a 100% exceptional talent.

Richard Brophy

James Blake – CMYK EP review

“CMYK” has been Nick Grimshaw’s ‘record of the week’, it’s made James Blake’s Spotify debut, and has also led to the 22-year old London based producer appearing on Gilles Peterson’s radio show as well as featuring in The Guardian’s ‘New Band Of The Day’ slot. Not bad going. Appearing on legendary techno label R&S, the release follows on from James Blake’s debut 12” Air And Lack Thereof which dropped on Hemlock Recordings in 2009, The Bells Sketch EP on Hessle Audio a couple of months back and some high profile remixes on labels like Scuba’s Hotflush Recordings. Blake’s reputation as a producer has been predominantly built on his unrivalled fresh, innovative approach to electronic music, incorporating sampling and overtly soulful overtones, around the 140bpm mark.

The EP sees Blake sampling 90s R&B divas Kelis and Aaliyah in the title track, whose plaintive vocals are neatly chopped, diced and blended into a wider landscape of sonic textures, leftfield beats and dubstep tempos. It’s all executed with a smooth, polished finish, which marks it out as a future anthem, much like Joy Orbison’s “Hyph Mngo” was for future garage last year. “Footnotes”, up next, tunes into some distinctly futuristic vibes, with weird vocodered, fuzzy samples playing havoc with some delicate yet jumpy beats, before moving into a calmer second half with a more pared down, relaxed tone. “I’ll Stay” returns to the chopped up glitchy, soul drenched vocal sound of “CMYK”, with a warm glow glimmering softly beneath. “Postpone” concludes the EP, fusing Blake’s own distorted vocals with hissing atmospherics, a rather detached thumping beat and a sonorous, choral element. All in all, it’s a beautiful EP, which needs to be beheld to be believed – absolutely outstanding.

Review: Belinda Rowse

Mount Kimbie – Remixes Volume 1 review

Mount Kimbie – Remixes Volume 1 review

Artist: Mount Kimbie
Title: The Remixes Part 1
Label: Hotflush Recordings
Genre: Dubstep/Grime
Format: 12″, Digital
Buy from: Juno Records, Juno Download

Bringing us the tastiest of flavours and the phattest of beats, this double decker remix sandwich of Hotflush Recordings’ hotly tipped heroes, Mount Kimbie, is well, what can we say…a bit of a treat. Delivered as a ‘part one’ and ‘part two’, the double EP release sees remixes of MK’s most delectable tracks from James Blake, Tama Sumo & Prosumer, FaltyDL, SCB and Instra:mental.

To begin the proceedings, James Blake revisits “Maybes” (coincidentally the duo’s debut release on Hotflush from early 2009) coating its progressively clapping, clicking, clunking rhythms, and intricate, heavily referenced tapestry of sounds in a warm, fuzzy glow. In doing so, Blake adds a suitable dash of soulful rigour over the top of what has been heralded as a blueprint for MK’s iconoclastic sound. The second track, “Serged” sees the New York-based, garage-house-IDM-electronica fusionist, FaltyDL, go in on the original with faultless aplomb, giving the tune a fresh trans-Atlantic flavour, all smoky riddims and snatches of deep, honeyed vocals. Then it’s Instra:mental’s turn; fresh from setting up their experimental Autonomic imprint with long time collaborator, D Bridge, the duo transfer their expertise to MK’s delicately evocative plink-plonk, hissing percussive number, “At Least”.

Moving on to the second part of the release, Berlin-dwelling, Panorama Bar’s Tama Sumo & Prosumer re-work the lo-fi minimalism of “William” into a more shuffling deep house number, with ticking beats and occasional nods to Burial. The final track of the EP means it’s time to take our hats off to SCB (the moody techno alter ego of Hotflush head honcho, Scuba) who revisits “Vertical”. It’s a deep, brooding number with gently pounding, steam-puffing rhythms, made all the more poignant by SCB’s unique touch and marking the final artistic flourish for a fantastic remix package.

Review: Belinda Rowse

Artist: Cosmin TRG
Title: See Other People

James Blake – The Bells Sketch EP

James Blake – The Bells Sketch EP

Artist: James Blake
Title: The Bells Sketch
Label: Hessle Audio
Genre: Dubstep/Grime
Format: 12″, Digital
Buy From: Juno Records, Juno Download

21 year old south London producer James Blake certainly turned many heads in 2009 with one of the strangest yet most beautiful remixes of the Bass world with his rendering of Untold’s “Stop What You’re Doing”, championed by the likes of Mary Ann Hobbs and Gilles Peterson.  Incredibly, this came from a man with only one solo release to his name, the dubstep-heavy “Air and Lack Thereof” on Hemlock Recordings. Blake, also a live singer with the group Mount Kimbie, is building on the momentum of last year with his new release on Hessle Audio, the label run by Ramadanman, Ben UFO, and Pangaea.

James Blake’s combined use of his own warbled, pitch shifted vocals and freaky, manic synths conjure up aural images of a Burial-Joker hybrid wonderkid.  On “The Bells Sketch”, Blake’s eerie bent vocals unfold over backwards sounding synths and flickering cricket-like sounds that all collapse together over slow, throbbing thumps. On “Give a Man a Rod”, Blake mutates his voice even more (if possible) over serene rolling beats with more space in between.  Meanwhile “Buzzard and Kestral” starts with snare hits that give way to harmonic yet disjointed sounds of voice and keys that playfully keep you listening for new sounds every time you play it.  In fact, every time you listen to this whole EP, you’ll notice something interestingly different—quite a feat in the increasingly crowded world of bass.

Review: Steve Phillips