2014 Playlist Review and the TBC Favourite

February Selection:

Dj Kicks – Brandt Brauer Frick 

BBC Essential Mix – Kolsch * 

BBC Essential Mix – MK 

FabricLive Vol.73 – Pangaea 

Watergate vol.15 – Kerri Chandler 

Live @ Output, Brooklyn NYE 2013 – DJ Tennis 

June Selection:

Decay – Efdemin 

It’s Album Time – Todd Terje 

BBC Essential Mix – Marcel Dettmann *

Do It Again – Royksopp & Robyn 

Fabric #75 – Maya Jane Coles 

September Selection:

Fabric #77 by Marcel Dettmann – Various Artists 

Too Slow to Disco – DJ Supermarkt 

Global Underground #40 by Solomun – Various Artists 

Defected Pres. Nic Fanciulli in the House – Various Artists *

Essential Mix of the Year Selection:

BBC Essential Mix – Bicep 

BBC Essential Mix – Caribou 

BBC Essential Mix – Jon Hopkins 

BBC Essential Mix – Joy Orbison *

BBC Essential Mix – Ten Walls 

December Selection:

Balance Vol.25 – Danny Tenaglia 

Watergate Vol.17 – Pan Pot 

Balance Pres. – Kolsch 

Verbalizer – Anthony Rother *

Sankeys 20th Anniversary – Darius Syrossian 

 

Introduction

This is probably the latest edition of any music website’s ‘best of 2014’ article but at TBC we like to do things differently and are not worried to break the mould from time to time when necessary. While you may have had to wait some time for this article it will not have had its relevance diminished by the tardiness in its publishing. 2014 was a great year for electronic music and the playlist above which shows the shortlist from each of our playlist’s last year and is a clear indication that we were graced with some great production albums, compilation CDs and live mixes/radio shows. If you were to have a listen through the best of selection above you would be spoiled by some of the best producers; Dettmann, Rother, Efdemin, CD series; Fabric, DJ Kicks, Balance, Watergate and the best (TBC’s favourite anyways) radio show the BBC Essential Mix. While the music industry life cycle process seems to shorten each year with individual tracks coming and going at an ever increasing pace these mixes and albums have captured and exhibited a key milestone in electronic music. Their ability to deliver such range and diversity in electronic musical genres while exhibiting such quality throughout the mixes and albums is something to be proud of as a music fan and a great indication of a buoyant and healthy industry.

In order to select our favourite of the year we have reviewed our previous favourites shortlists, taken heed of our own advice in the previous  favourite choices and had a listen through them again. Are our previous favourites still at the top of our list, are some still in our CD player or on our iPods, have we forgotten about some of our previous selections?! The review and selection process isn’t easy when trying to select your favourite from a whole year however in 2014 TBC can remember some mixes very vividly and these are the ones which we have homed in on in order to select our favourite of 2014.

Verbalizer – Anthony Rother (2014)*

Defected Pres. Nic Fanciulli in the House – Various Artists (2014)*

Fabric #77 by Marcel Dettmann – Various Artists (2014)

Too Slow to Disco – DJ Supermarkt (2014)

BBC Essential Mix – Marcel Dettmann (2014)*

BBC Essential Mix – Jon Hopkins (2014)

We are pleased to see a balance across our 2014 shortlist in both genres and format; electro, techno, house, electronics and disco are represented via production albums, compilations and radio shows. We always like to keep our options open and ensure that we capture as many formats as possible when we compile our playlists and review our favourites and this is nice to see.

Pete Tong always represents with his legendary and consistent Essential Mix show on BBC Radio One, our previous feature on the 2014 best mix highlighted his ability to maintain his curating excellence with such a wealth of talent on show. Our previous selection Joy Orbison we felt was the best of the year but for our enjoyment factor we only included Marcel Dettmann and Jon Hopkins as we are still listening to them into 2015 which is testament to their quality as they can still compete with the new shows which air every week!

Fabric continue to rollout their series which ties in with their Saturday night event along the lines of techno and house, they haven’t been that consistent over the last few years but continue to provide a few gems each year and Mr.Dettmann’s offering not only shows off Fabric’s techno heritage but also himself as he has two places in our shortlist for 2014 which is an amazing feat.

Our most recent playlist and review brought Anthony Rother back into the limelight, he is one our all time favourite DJ’s who has helped introduce TBC to so many of our favourite DJs and music styles, Bodzin, Huntemann, Gigolo style electro house, haunting/scary electro, techno and bleepy/freaky minimal techno. We were so pleased to see his new album Verbalizer bring back his signature sound with a 2014 twist and freshness.

Nic Fanciuli is a DJ who I have personally seen DJ since he began as a resident back in Club Class in Maidstone around the early 2000’s. He has provided so many good sets over the years and continues to represent all things Maidstone while taking over the DJ world with his club nights and also providing some of the best mix compilations we have ever heard; Renaissance, Mixmag CD’s, back to back compilation with James Zabiela etc. His new mix on Defected is another superb addition to his discography and another superb release on the Defect label which has been on a role in recent years with their In The House and Masters series. This two disc compilation lead to complaints in a hotel in Manchester when celebrating my birthday in July 2014, we listened to it on repeat the whole weekend while dancing around like wollies and it remains one of our first choices for any pre/after party.

Finally one of favourite DJ’s at the moment not just because of his great DJing ability, his excellent website promoting all things disco and electro pop; ‘How Do You Are’, but also because he is genuinely one of the nicest DJ’s out there. After some twitter correspondence with the disco king from Germany, he even invited us to one of his parties in Berlin when we visited this Easter (2015) to finally meet one of our heroes. His mixes are legendary and are well worth checking out via his Soundcloud page, his previous guise as Le Hammond Inferno is one of legend if you are into certain musical circles and his recent Too Slow Disco series (which is soon to be added to with volume two in summer 2015) is pure excellence. The track selection, the album art, the introductions to the tracks and the album itself are genius. Reviving leftfield classic disco from the 60’s and 70’s when others look to the standard classics from that era is both brave and highly commendable as it exudes that geeky side of music where he trudges through old vinyl and classics to find those forgotten gems. DJ Supermarkt always seems to strike gold and his brave selections are so exciting to listen to at home and in the club when you see him live. We can only recommend seeing him live and because of his musical history knowledge you could probably take your Mum and your Gran and they would have a ball too!

The Verdict

As ever the final decision isn’t easy but we won’t bore you with the small talk at this stage, this time round anyways! Based on both being selected as one of our favourite previously back in September and continuing to entertain us at TBC it has to be Nic Fanciulli’s edition of Defected In the House. We don’t think this release got enough attention when it was released back in July, it doesn’t seem to have many publicised reviews on any of the big music websites but this compilation is exceptional. It represents the Nic Fanculli sound, his attention to detail when selecting the tracks is simply a masterclass in set structure and this is just a mix CD! The way each CD builds and flows between house and techno is just like seeing him live when playing a long set where he has time to take you on a Fanciulli musical journey. Congrats to Nic and Defected for the best release according to TBC in 2014. Great to see Maidstone representing at the top of the electronic music industry. We expect Nic to continue his domination of the World in 2015, he already has a world tour planned and the Social festival later in the year, we hope he has a great year and TBC followers and fans get a chance to see him.

Fanciulli2

We would like to commend both DJ Supermarkt for providing us with such entertainment with those Too Slow To Disco gems and Marcel Dettmann for featuring twice in our 2014 shortlist, you only just missed out on being selected our 2014 favourite.

Bonus Treat

We haven’t included a favourite track of the year before and its always hard to pick a favourite across genres and the whole year but 2014 belong to a track from I Break Horses called Faith which featured in the Jon Hopkins Essential Mix in one of the greatest mixes ever between the Gary Beck Alogoreal track and the Fields remix of Faith. Jon Hopkins is to thank for bringing this track to my attention and ever since at TBC it has been on repeat. It has featured on our recent TBC playlists that we create every so often, it has been played loud at TBC HQ, in the car on our travels, in Berlin on holiday, the list is endless. This track is perfect electro, moody, progressive, catchy, an amazing vocal, great bassline and simple but perfect track structure. The original version is our favourite and its 3 minutes and 48 seconds of perfection, have a listen using the link below, we challenge you to not dance around like a lunatic and avoid a massive smile on your face. The Fields version is also linked below to see the alternative version that Jon Hopkins used, it is an 11 minute techno stormer! We would recommend you also check out their album Chiaroscuro for an alternative listen.

 

Many thanks for all the support in 2014, we hope to see you all later in the year at our next TBC event and keep coming back to read our latest articles.

TBC

Promotional Reviews February 2015

VIVa115_artwork

Happy New Year TBC followers, this is our second and very belated post for 2015. Apologies for the delay but with the festive period, a busy January and a disrupted February we have been unable to publish anything new until now. ‘Quality not quantity’ and ‘patience is a virtue’ are both sayings that come to mind in this time and fear not as we are bringing you a brand new promotional article now and this will be followed shortly by the end of year playlist for 2014 as well as our ‘Best Of’ 2014 article. This coupled with a very active 2015 for new music and you will see a lot of activity over the next month or so.

This article is being brought to you by a one armed, lame TBC writer as I unfortunately fell victim to the icey conditions in Sheffield in January. I slipped and managed to break my shoulder resulting in a long lay off, currently 3 weeks but due to be 4/5 in total, and extended rehab spanning a few months! It wasn’t pretty and I would not wish this injury on anybody. It hasn’t been nice, the pain has been bad and the partial lack of use in my left arm is frustrating. On the positive side I have had plenty of time to listen to music including an array of new promotional material from One Records, Eskimo Recordings, Culprit Records, Hot Creations, International Feel, Crosstown Rebels, Firehouse, Viva Music, Hot Trax, Rebellion and BLDG5 Records. I have also had access to plenty of pain killers to take the edge off so every cloud and all that. I hope you enjoy the article, the structure will be a short review for each of the 13 records and I will then select the TBC top 5 with a favourite which will get some extra write up.

This article has been a joy to write and we have enjoyed listening to the new records from artists such as Subb-An who recently completed his Essential Mix on BBC 1 and two great offerings from one of our favourite labels Eskimo Recordings. Skream also chips in with a new release – he has become an interesting prospect in the house and techno scene since his transition from dubstep. All this plus an array of new artists that have excited and entertained us at TBC HQ over the last few weeks.

Subb-An – Warp (One Records) 

Two great tracks on this EP; Warp and TV. Bass heavy, chunky tech-house with the A-side Warp focusing on a more stripped down groove and bassline while the B-side TV really excelling with its reverberating bassline and haunting vocals from Jacob Phono. This is Subb-An’s first release on the label he co-founded. Great first release and looking forward to the next one already.

Du Tonc – Every Song (Eskimo Recordings)

What you come to expect from Eskimo Recordings; they have such a nose for artists that deliver their signature sounds and with such a timeless quality. Du Tonc provides an uplifting summery pop/disco track with a great male vocal. Reminiscent of an Aeroplane/MGMT track which is testament to how good this track is. The only downside is that this is a single track release only.

Maxxi Soundsystem – Medicine EP feat. Name One (Culprit Records)

Culprit have a great array of artists who have featured over recent years; Lee Curtiss, Adriatique, Shonky, Subb-An and Hot Natured. Droog, a collective of DJ’s, have done a great job in developing their label. Uk based Maxxi Soundystem provides a three track release for Culprit titled the Medicine EP.The tracks sit in a nu-disco, house genre with a great vocal on each track from Name One. The title track is the standout track with wonky disco/electro infused house that accompany the vocal perfectly.

Denney – Pimp Out (Hot Creations) 

This is a two track release from Denney on Hot Creations (always such a busy record label) with Pimp Out. The title track is a catchy, nice paced and infectious house track that verges on G-House with its ghetto feel. There is even time for some acid house samples to leave this track sounding slightly old school-esque. The B-side Low Frequency has a slightly slower pace but where it slows down it adds groove and a superb acid squelch. The vocal is far more ghetto which again leaves this house near the G-House genre. Overall a great release from Denney and we could imagine dancing away to this one at Kater Blau in Berlin.

Satin Jackets – Shine on You (Eskimo Recordings)

As with Du Tonc Every Song, Eskimo Recordings are able to churn out quality disco and house with ease. Satin Jackets are stalwarts for Eskimo featuring on the label for a few years now and Shine On You doesn’t disappoint. This is a 5 track release of Shine On You and remixes: Radio, Original, Mighty Mouse, Ben Macklin Remix & Dub Remix. Ester’s vocals are perfect for this uplifting, summery, emotional and atmospheric pop/disco track. Mighty Mouse chips in with a more energetic and club ready remix while Ben Macklin slows things down to create a remix that oozes disco sophistication.

Double Knots – Double Vision EP (International Feel)

“Imagine Tangerine Dream soundtracking Miami Vice through Todd Terje’s ears” is the summary of this EP on the press release, nuff said. This is a three track release, on International Feel who specialise in the more alternative side to electronic music, from Double Knots. Each track is slow, atmospheric, cosmic disco that seems to come from a film score which is testament to the production quality on offer here. Its hard to pick a favourite but I would say the title track Double Vision mixed by Toby Tobias as it reminds us of a DJ Supermarkt Too Slow To Disco track, lets see those disco fingers!

Skream – Still Lemonade (Crosstown Rebels) 

Crosstown Rebels, as Hot Creations above, continue to churn out quality releases. This time Skream offers his Still Lemonade track with a remix from Redshape on the B-side. Skream’s transition to house and techno from dubstep shows that a quality producer can perform in any genre of music. The original is a progressive techno stormer which builds to an electro infused breakdown. The bassline, drums and synths are epic. The Redshape remix cranks it up a notch and leads the track into a more full on techno track with a thunderous grumbly bass.

https://soundcloud.com/factmag/skream-still-lemonade-redshape-remix

Kim Ann Foxman – Firehouse 002 

The second release on Kim Ann Foxman’s new record label Firehouse and Kim delivers more solid house production as she develops her style since pursuing a solo career outside Hercules & The Love Affair. A 5 track release, Open The House with 2 remixes from Eli Escobar, The Lady is a Vamp and Eye See Me. The Eli Escobar remix is the stand out track as it spices up the house formula to provide an uplifting feel with strong beats, key and percussion. The Lady is a Vamp is a quirky B-side with freak show-esque horror sounds and effects. Eye See Me completes the diverse record with a cosmic, futuristic sounding progressive track with a nice breakdown.

Mark Jenkyns feat. MC Chickaboo – On Me (Hot Creations) 

This is yet another Hot Creation release and another quality one at that. Mark Jenkyns provides us with a 4 track release named On Me which has 3 iterations; original, club tweak and Skream remix plus Like This. The vocal is the standout element to this track courtesy of MC Chickaboo. The Skream remix is the best of the 3, providing a club ready, well produced and polished track remix. The remix builds and develops around the vocal perfectly with an excellent breakdown for the dance floor.

Monday Club – Blackout (VIVa Music) 

Steve Lawler’s record label provides the next release from Monday Club who are Luke May and Paul Sidoli. They have been on the electronic music scene for some time and are a duo of high calibre. Blackout is a 5 track release; Blackout has two mixes (one from the recent on form Luke Solomon), Footprints and Girls Jacking. The theme for this record is ‘Accciieeeed’ and lots of it. Each track features the signature acid house sounds and squelches. Blackout has an old Speak and Spell computer vocal, Footprints is rave with a great male vocal and Girls Jacking is the most party track and does exactly what is says on the tin ‘jack’. Hard to pick a favourite as each is a solid release, the Solomon remix was not his best and doesn’t take Blackout to a new level, shame.

Raumakustik – Raider (Hot Trax)

Hot Trax is a sub-label for Hot Creations to release some tougher techno style tracks and Raumakustik provides Raider with a remix by the head honcho at Hot Creations Jamie Jones. The original is a marching tech-house track with heavy drums and effects that build, warp and reverberate the dance floor or speakers or both. Jamie Jones provides a tougher take on the track more towards techno focusing on the key elements of the track to produce a more bass heavy, sub-shaking track.

Dino Lenny – Dont Believe (Rebellion)

Another sub-label this time for Crosstown Rebels and Dino Lenny who has 90’s notoriety from remixing INXS, Underworld, Missy Elliot & Timbaland. He steps up with his newest production Don’t Believe. A two track release with Plastic Man on the B-side which is right up the street of Maceo Plex or Ten Walls which means this track is one that TBC like. The A-side is deep, progressive with haunting vocals and roaring chords that create a sinister sounding track. The B-side is dark and moody with keys that provide a ‘wub…wub….wub”  throughout. Progressive again in style with an array of effects, sounds and vocals. Couldn’t choose between the two as they are both excellent productions.

Garden City Movement – Modern West EP (BLDG5 Records)

The most alternative music offering of this article and to be honest it wasn’t strictly TBC material but we are always open to new music. Garden City Movement are an alternative urban group who produce experimental, urban sounding, dubstep,grime and pop crossover. A five track release with the title track being the weakest offering as it was just too cheesy. Each of the other 4 tracks were interesting with uplifting dubby track Rebellion and an alternative disco track with balearic sounds called My Only Love. Sorting Things Out was a crackly hubby number with nice percussion and beats while When We Had It Easy provides a broken beat pop record. Sorting Things Out was probably our favourite but the whole record was a nice alternative offering.

Our Top Five, in no particular order:

  1. Subb-An – Warp (One Records)
  2. Denney – Pimp Out (Hot Creations)
  3. Skream – Still Lemonade (Crosstown Rebels) 
  4. Mark Jenkyns feat. MC Chickaboo – On Me (Hot Creations)
  5. Monday Club – Blackout (VIVa Music)

Just choosing a top five has been difficult as there are some great records covered in this article. Dino Lenny’s Don’t Believe and the Eskimo Recordings releases were very close to squeezing in. Unfortunately we had to shortlist otherwise we would just be selecting every release from the 13 which is not only lazy but a failing when writing up a review article. In the shortlist we have a great Subb-An record on One Records (who were kind enough to share this promo release with us). He has been on a roll recently with his Essential Mix on BBC that was well received – we are sure he will have a good 2015. Denny is a new artist to TBC but his sound isn’t and this release is a great addition to our G-House collection, we can’t fault a good G-House record as we have become hooked since discovering the genre last year via Amine Edge and Dance’s Essential Mix and our experience at Kater Haus in Kater Blau, Berlin. Skream provides a sample of his upcoming album, which is to be released via Damian Lazarus’s Crosstown Rebels label, with Still Lemonade. This is a well produced club stormer with a great remix from Redshape, we challenge you not to be impressed with this record and we can’t wait to hear it out in a club. Mark Jenkyns is another newbie to TBC but MC Chickaboo isn’t as she featured on one of my all time favourite songs by Timo Maas which I loved so much back in the day I even invented a dance called the ‘Shifter’, I am not joking! On Me and Like This are great tracks plus the Skream remix is superb, he is on a roll at the moment. Monday Club was the surprise of the bunch as we weren’t expecting much from this one but it has provided the most fun at TBC HQ with the warehouse rave tracks, great acid house style and quirky effects, vocals etc. including the excellent ‘Speak & Spell’ vocal effect on Blackout which is so retro its excellent.

As you can tell from the positive words above selecting a favourite is difficult and to be honest has divided opinion at TBC HQ as it is between Monday Club and Skream and both are excellent. The remaining entries in the shortlist have to be commended and it is great to see such a great selection of new tracks from just the 13 we have been lucky enough to review. Having spent a great deal of time listening to each of the favourites we had to go with Monday Clubs latest EP Blackout. The duo have created a superb 5 track EP that captures the Acid sound and warehouse party vibe perfectly. Each track would be well received at a party but could be equally enjoyed at home on a nice bassy sound system. The reason this release sets itself apart from Skream’s release, only just mind you, is that Monday Club deliver on three different tracks and even throw in a Luke Solomon stripped back remix along with an Acapella mix for good measure. It isn’t often an EP provides entertainment from start to finish so not only is this the best release it is also the one with the best value for money. Please have a look at Monday Club’s Soundcloud page below and check out Blackout once it is released, unfortunately there isn’t a streaming link we can offer currently.

Congratulations to Monday Club – Blackout (VIVa Music)

soundcloud.com/mondayclubmusic

Many thanks for reading and we hoped that you enjoyed. We will be back soon with more on TBC.

We would like to thanks Maouris, One Records and all of the individual record labels mentioned above for the opportunity to review their latest releases.

Nick

Hope Works 1st March 2014 Ben Sims and Kyle Hall

Hope works

TBC had promised ourselves a quiet March after the debauchery of our February and in particular our first party –  TBC Loved Up. Hope Works on the other hand had other ideas for us and when we saw the line up for their event on 1st March, any good intentions were thrown right out of the window! Not only had they secured UK techno god Ben Sims as the headline act but supporting him was Detroit’s fresh faced techno newcomer Kyle Hall. Well, tickets were booked without a second thought and excitement reached fever pitch in the days before the event. You see TBCers, Ben Sims playing in Sheffield was pretty damn special. Not only does he rarely play in the North of England but we at TBC had never seen him despite his tunes being regularly pelted out at TBC HQ and us having an all round humungous admiration for the guy! So yes, we were VERY excited!

We got to the club around 1.30am. By this time Detroit’s very own Kyle Hall was on the decks and his music was raw to say the least. It took a good 10 minutes and a shot of tequila for TBC to get to grips with the industrial, griminess that was being pumped through Hope Works. Once we did however, well ……. we really bloody liked it!  It wasn’t the easiest music to dance to as it was rather disjointed and brash however, its rawness suited the grittiness of Hope Works down to a tee. The set was varied and unusual. Mr Hall was also pulling off some very bizarre and ambitious mixing which shed a light on what a true DJing talent this guy is.

The layout of the club itself had also changed since the last time TBC came here. The dance floor had been widened and the place was generally more open than it had been which created a much easier space to get down and boogie in.

Ben Sims came on at 3am and his opening number made sure everyone on the dance floor stopped what they were doing and turned towards the DJ booth in awe. He played a gorgeously, rich and unexpected 1920’s swing track with footage of jazz musicians projected behind the DJ booth complimenting it perfectly.  It was a magnificent set opener and marked the bar for the rest of the set which was absolutely superb. Whereas Hall’s music had been difficult to dance to, Sims’ was the complete opposite. It had such an amazing flow and groove that made dancing to it a real pleasure. This was evident whenever TBC looked around the dance floor and was greeted by a sea of ecstatic faces and clubbers bopping away like nobody’s business. The night wasn’t a sell out which was a surprise considering the calibre of the line up. Come on Sheffield clubbing collective – what were you thinking if you missed this one? It did however mean there was ample space for TBC to throw our limbs around in wild abandon to the delicious techno that Sims was bestowing on us. His set varied from funky techno to hard as nails and at some points the intensity on the dance floor did make TBC think they might have a heart attack! Ben Sims was everything we had expected and so much more and the Hope Works team have a lot to be congratulated on and thanked for in bringing such a techno legend to the Steel City.

The only downside of the night was that despite the fact the music was awesome, the sound system wasn’t all that great. TBC still had slight ringing in their ears after a good nights sleep – hmmm not really what you want at work on the Monday! Aside from that though it was a monster of a night which appeared to be enjoyed thoroughly by all in attendance.