“On a mixtape of exclusive material debuted on NTS Radio, the Toronto-based producer Jacques Greene trades distanced, soulful melancholy for full-on dancefloor hypnosis.
By the time Jacques Greene released Feel Infinite, his 2017 debut album, he’d mastered the art of headphone house: dance-lite takes on electro-R&B that are more about the club than for it. The Toronto-via-Montreal producer, born Philippe Aubin-Dionne, spent years perfecting his style by flipping chopped-up vocals from artists like Ciara and Tinashe into sweaty, syncopated heat. His bedroom tones and chart-music samples became a hit among Tumblr kids and techno elites. And then, right at the moment moody R&B began to sweep the mainstream, he changed gears.
Aubin-Dionne’s venturesome new mixtape trades distanced, soulful melancholy for full-on dancefloor hypnosis. The 48-minute stream of new material, debuted on NTS Radio and also available on YouTube, is far-out and shape-shifting, like wandering through the different rooms in a dark, labyrinthine nightclub. There are trance climaxes, purring techno intervals, ambient meditations, and spells of after-hours soul—sounds that seldom appear alongside each other, especially this elegantly. Unlike Feel Infinite’s song-focused format, this collection flows with the finesse of a sophisticated DJ set, with each new discovery a seamless surprise. If you thought his club days were behind him, think again.
The Jacques Greene alias was built on eclectic digital crate-digging and fearless sampling (Aubin-Dionne is known to bury YouTube covers and strangers’ phone recordings into the sheets of his tracks). Here, he expands on this affinity for imaginative vocal samples by chopping them into more abstract forms, and then folding them into dancier structures. While this isn’t a dramatic reinvention, it’s a distancing from the diva samples and pop re-cuts he became known for (his edits of Drake and Radiohead, though tasteful, feel beneath him). The only remix here is a spin on Rhye’s “Song for You,” where synth arpeggios and whirring drums make the serenade feel ominous and urgent. It’s the closest the producer gets to the kind of traditional vocal that played such a big part of his old sonic identity. But aside from Cadence Weapon’s hushed raps on “Night Service,” the soulful murmurs that appear here have been so heavily treated that they provide more texture than melody. Similarly, the nervous “DMs With God” begins as a cluster of clangy percussion and humming before a warm, grooving bassline lifts it into a dancefloor moment.”
– Pitchfork 6.9 review
The new release features 7 tracks and follows Julien’s critically acclaimed debut album, Fallen. Released in 2016, the autobiographical LP was a bold new direction for Julien, and the first release under his birth name. Over the years, the Apron Records boss’ bold, experimental electronics, jagged club cuts and outside-the-box collaborations have seen him carve out a lane all of his own making. His debut LP was divided into two musically contrasting sides, and told the tale of a fallen angel though jazz-fusion, chiming soundscapes and dark acid-tinged techno.
Since his album release, Julien has continued his creative streak by playing across the globe, from Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai to Montreal and Melbourne, and further developing his label, which released a string of underground 12”s in 2017 from the likes of Max Graef, Hanna, Molinaro and more.
On ‘Bloodline’, Steven continues the soundtrack style mood of ‘Fallen’ – channeling ominous analog techno, drifting synth-house masterpieces, warm soul and hints of new age. Both the title and artwork is a nod to the influence of Julien’s family on his rich musical world and distinct nonconformist style, explaining how: “the influence my family has given me growing up and my ancestors from Africa to native Indians from the Caribbean, has all played a big part in the music I create.”
Recorded in Apron Studios based in East London, each track on ‘Bloodline’ also features a tr808 or a piece of a 808, as a dedication to the iconic Japanese engineer Ikutaro Kakehashi, who passed away April 2017. The much-loved Roland founder and TR-808 creator revolutionised electronic music in the 1980s and 90s.
2. Roll of the Dice
5. Queen Of Ungilsan
7. Temple Rd
OFFICIAL RSD 2018 release. Reissue; 34th anniversary edition, originally release in 1984 by Durium Records. Mannequin Records present a reissue of Personal Computer from the avant-garde Italian-born producer Doris Norton, release in a trilogy with Norton Computer For Peace (1983) and Artificial Intelligence (1985). Apple’s first music “endorsement” and Roland affiliate, Doris Norton is one of the most important women pioneer in the use of synths and in the early electro/computer music. Norton is the wife of Antonio Bartoccetti, progressive rock guitarist, and mother of the musician and techno producer Rexanthony. As a teenager, she was drawn to medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music, not to mention quantum physics, differential equations, organic chemistry, the experimentalism of John Cage, and animated movie soundtracks. Her love for modules and circuits found expression through the waves of an old harmonium, the frequencies of a MiniMoog, a Roland System 100M, a Roland System 700, and the ARP 2500/2600. In 1980, Norton began her solo career by recording at Fontana Studio 7, the Milan studio of the composer and musician Tito Fontana, resulting in the electronic opera Under Ground. Norton became more prolific, continuing her adventures in experimental electronics and computer music with Parapsycho (1981), Raptus (1981), Nortoncomputerforpeace (1983), Personal Computer (1984) — whose album cover prominently features Apple’s colored logo — and Artificial Intelligence (1985). While the beat-oriented style of Norton’s music aligns her with such fellow global-travelers as Yellow Magic Orchestra and Kraftwerk, her championing of the personal computer as a tool for self-sufficient musical creativity also connects her to more artsy musicians such as Pietro Grossi, Laurie Spiegel, and The League of Automatic Music Composers. Norton’s predilection for the bright, glossy timbres of early digital instruments also recalls Hubert Bognermayr and Harald Zuschrader’s bizarre 1982 one-off Erdenklang. Later, her talent and expertise attracted the attention of IBM, who in 1986 named her as an official consultant. Already the reigning queen of the Italian electronic scene, she recorded two CDs for IBM: Automatic Feeling (1986) and The Double Side Of The Science (1990). Influenced by her son, the musician and producer Rexanthony, Norton brought her fascination with the early days of techno into the 1990s, when she released three volumes of Techno Shock on Italian trance/hardcore label Sound Of The Bomb. While her music remains largely out-of-print and inaccessible, Norton’s early records have recently begun to receive the inevitable rediscovery treatment.
RSD 2018 release. Reissue; 35th anniversary edition. Mannequin Records present a reissue of Doris Norton’s Norton Computer For Peace, or Nortoncomputerforpeace, originally released on Durium Records in 1983. This is a part of a trilogy of reissues from the avant-garde Italian-born producer, released alongside Personal Computer (MNQ 120LP, 1984) and Artificial Intelligence (1985). Apple’s first music “endorsement” and Roland affiliate, Doris Norton is one of the most important women pioneer in the use of synths and in the early electro/computer music. Norton is the wife of Antonio Bartoccetti, progressive rock guitarist, and mother of the musician and techno producer Rexanthony. As a teenager, she was drawn to medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque music, not to mention quantum physics, differential equations, organic chemistry, the experimentalism of John Cage, and animated movie soundtracks. Her love for modules and circuits found expression through the waves of an old harmonium, the frequencies of a MiniMoog, a Roland System 100M, a Roland System 700, and the ARP 2500/2600. In 1980, Norton began her solo career by recording at Fontana Studio 7, the Milan studio of the composer and musician Tito Fontana, resulting in the electronic opera Under Ground. Norton became more prolific, continuing her adventures in experimental electronics and computer music with Parapsycho (1981), Raptus (1981), Nortoncomputerforpeace (1983), Personal Computer (1984) — whose album cover prominently features Apple’s colored logo — and Artificial Intelligence (1985). Third studio album, Nortoncomputerforpeace involved Doris Norton, Antonius Rex, and Rudy Luksch (hardware engineer). “Don’t Shoot At Animals” was used as original soundtrack for the RAI TV program Rumore Di Fondo directed by Umberto Marino.
Created on a laptop computer using Ableton Live software to control and mix VST plugins as well as manipulations of audio recordings. Plugins used for sound generation include Omnisphere, Kontakt, Dexed and Arturia V Collection.
Whities 014 is by Londoner and master digger, Jules Venturini. It’s a 3 track 12” of discordant choral euphoria with artwork designed by Alex McCullough.
Following recent excursions channeling the big room sound, Project Pablo returns with a sleeker, more refined EP for Technicolour. The resulting five tracks span upbeat opener “Napoletana”; through the swirling improvised piano loops of “Last Day”; to the bumpy two-step of “Less And Less”. The Canadian producer has had a stream of quality releases via labels such as Clone’s Royal Oak imprint, Spring Theory, Lone’s Magicwire, and most recently Ninja Tune’s Technicolour imprint.
2017 reissue with new artwork. Originally released in 2000. “If you’re keen to track down some truly creative house music that sounds like it indeed could be the soundtrack for a parallel dimension, look no further. This is it. That said, Parrish’s style of house isn’t just abstract for the sake of being abstract. It’s actually quite musical and brilliantly crafted.” –Jason Birchmeier, AllMusic
2017 release. It is now possible to see a big picture. This means there is a timeline with enough years and developments since this sound emerged on its own. Lycox is of course part of a newer generation that keeps adding to the transmission, but he is already inspiring a younger set of producers. Sonhos & Pesadelos helps materialize a multiverse of bold, shiny chrome architecture, staying true to the original kuduro backbone while Lycox organizes new forms, song structures and even artificial life. If you can’t call it “raw” it’s only because this is mental space translated into sound. The physicality of the music is but one element in Lycox’s ambitious take on dance music, although we should really say pop music, such is the melodic and harmonic forces at work. “Solteiro” could be just an ambient beauty but the abnormally long four-minute mark reveals layers of masterful song crafting well outside what some might still be tempted to classify as “ethnic”. Not a classic seaside romance. Features PuTo NeLo, Puto WilsoN, and MIX-BwÉ.
“His ear for odd melodies suits his bright palette, which maintains pop intrigue while remaining unconventional, intriguing and occasionally confusing.” –Resident Advisor
“He might have the sharpest ear for melody of all the Príncipe crew, too, often prioritising catchy tunes over complex drumwork, but that doesn’t mean it’s not tough – the midsection is full of heavy bass and drums, peaking with ‘Quarteto Fantástico’, a track as bug-eyed and disorienting anything we’ve heard from DJ Marfox or DJ Nigga Fox.” –The Wire
“‘Solteiro’ is an uncharacteristically gentle and pulsating tune that feels — more than anything — romantic in its rhythm. Truth be told, it’s quite beautiful. And it follows lots and lots and lots of heretofore phenomenal music from the label.” –Tiny Mix Tapes
2017 release. Txiga means something like “come close” and that takes you to the heart of the matter. Although especially apparent in the tarraxo style they are so connected to, the expression reveals unbounded enthusiasm for music, taken from the roots up, wherever the feeling projects it to. And so Príncipe felt this crew had to come across in a special way. Three seven” records, one for each of the main producers represent three branches of the same tree. Features K30, DJ NinOo, and Puto Anderson.
2016 release. Niagara started 2016 firmly committed to their own Ascender label, having released a first 12″ late in 2015. A string of stellar CDRs guaranteed their relevant (and private) output became available outside their studio. The consistency is such that it was no effort selecting four additional tracks to assemble a third EP on Príncipe. Opener “Asa” is strong on keys, suggests a cool jazz walkabout where the machines and other instruments seem to be jamming together without interference. This broadens the horizon of whoever thought they are a house band; As countless other dance tracks, “IV” is built around a steady kickdrum, supporting a succession of vibes hitting left and right, obeying only the illogical architecture of Niagara’s sonic world; “Amarelo” is the longest track in the set. Very physical and expansive beats, a funky guitar groove, deep bass tones and it ends just like that. A cascading drum machine holds its own, then comes a wandering flute and passing waves as jets in the sky. Trippy and brilliant, “Laranja” changes coordinates and points to a fresh destination.
“The trio’s house music remains deeply eccentric, though, its sonorities bright and its rhythms ramshackle. Their third EP for the label, São João Baptista, a scrawl of clapped-out drums and spidery guitars, highlights their idiosyncrasies. Sonically, the trio have found new ways to make the analogue and the electronic sit well together; stylistically, their mutant-funk tendencies are given freer rein.” –Resident Advisor
2016 release. DJ Nervoso’s self-titled release on Príncipe.
“It’s incredible how Nervoso and many of his compatriots seem to be able to make challenging fascinating and unexpected dance music from the simplest of ingredients.” –Cyclic Defrost
“He’s barely bothered to process his hits, there’s a minimum happening at any point, and somehow the result is hard, knocking dance music that could wake the dead. If you’re getting sick of fussy production and tracks built from tricks more than ideas, Nervoso is the antidote.” –The Ransom Note
“Much of batida’s appeal is its hyped energy, but some of the deepest grooves here draw from the slower, sexier pace of tarraxinha. It’s inspiring to hear how a keen sense of syncopation can do so much with so little.” –Resident Advisor
“Much of the album operates in this modular style of propulsive, lucid minimalism. Nervoso generates drama by varnishing and stripping layers of syncopation and texture from his tracks, revealing works that have been sheared to the bone, sinew and rhythm replacing melody and flesh. These are virulent, mutant dance tracks.” –Tiny Mix Tapes
2016 release. DJ Marfox’s Chapa Quente on Príncipe. MixMag listed Chapa Quente as their 2016 April Dubstep/Grime Album Of The Month, giving it a 9/10 rating.
“Lead single ‘2685’ is a euphoric interweaving of 1990’s techno, dangerously speeding flute melodies and an artillery of drums firing like automatic weapons. Needless to say, it’s unique.” –The Wire
“Few songs feel more like being catapulted through the air at tremendous velocity.” –Pitchfork on “2685”
“Yet this is the miracle of Marfox. His ability to shift time and space is unsurpassed. We knew he was one to watch in 2011, yet now it’s 2016 and I wouldn’t dare my eyes or ears away for a minute. Something important is happening.” –Cyclic Defrost
“DJ Marfox returns to his city’s Principe Discos label with Chapa Quente, a scorching six-track affair that demonstrates just how multifaceted this music can get. But it’s his uptempo cuts like ‘Cobra Preta’ that make Marfox such a vital artist, one whose potential has only begun to be revealed.” –Vinyl Me, Please
“Chapa Quente might be modestly sized, but it’s a very satisfying piece of work. Selfishly, I almost hope that the EP doesn’t continue Marfox’s rise to global prominence. How good is this? I don’t want to hear a million producers reproducing it till the inspiration is completely sucked dry.” –4ZZZFM
2015 release. Elusive underground metakuduro legend from the Lisbon suburban area, Normal Nada, aka Qraqmaxter CiclOFF, aka Erre Mente — every past moniker is like a shed skin he kissed goodbye — is a special kind of cosmogonical pirate exploring chemical balanced regimes of wake. Sleep and the seductive dimensions between both.
2015 release. Kolt, Noronha, and Perigoso return to Príncipe with a whole EP. Blacksea Nao Maya (BNM) are based to the south of Lisbon, across the river Tejo. The crew started as a family affair with Kolt and his uncle DJ Joker around 2008. Noronha (Kolt’s brother) and Perigoso joined a year later. While Joker since then pursued other avenues in life, all three remaining members committed themselves to the game they had chosen when still dancing to the deejays they admired: be the best deejays and producers they could be. The record opens with “Batidongoo”, an earlier track by Kolt and Noronha. Tense, spanking percussion and electronic tones, sounds like slower funaná crossed with the rudiments of kuduro; we think this one opens new ground; Next up, DJ Perigoso drops “Macobayou”, a fast, futuristic batida track with plenty of drums to hang on to (or lose yourself to); “Assabakuse” keeps the pace and adds emotion in the form of clipped guitar, the actual ruler of melody in here. It becomes irresistible in no time; Side B begins by spreading pure love. “We Send This” does sound like a gift to us listeners. Closer to house in tempo, this one reflects classic African music, sure, but also a synthetic, modern type of R&B sound in its layers of ambience. Short, direct, beautiful; “Perseguição” (translates as “Chase”) soundtracks a run through the jungle, over fallen trees, branches, around big rocks and in sight of wild animals. What a ride; “Comandante Em Chefe” has an undulating melodic hook occupying the whole duration of the song. Again, like slowed-down funaná accordion and it rises clearly above the usual complex percussive layers. It later gains even more artificial tones and echoes. Alien rumba for ballroom dance matinées.