Aphrohead – Resurrection TBC Promo Review

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We are proud at TBC to be able to bring you another promo album review and this time its the turn of Aphrohead with his album “Resurrection” on Crosstown Rebels. Already we can imagine you are asking “who is Aphrohead?” but don’t worry we initially asked the same question and in fact actually bypassed this album early on when it became available. With a little bit of detective work however, we found out that this is in fact an older alias of Felix Da Housecat which has been resurrected with an aptly named album title. Felix Da Housecat is an old favourite of TBC from way back in the early naughties when we were introduced to the sounds of electro clash which was heavily influence by the crazy electronica of the 80s but spiced up with the newer, more contemporary sounds of electro (heavy basslines, acid squelches, drums and many other effects you could throw in). The seminal track Silver Screen, Shower Scene lead TBC to discover artists such as Jacques Lu Cont (Thin White Duke remix of the aforementioned track), the label City Rockers which brought us some great compilation via Damian Lazarus (discovering Damian at the same time too who would go on to great things with Crosstown Rebels), Soulwax, Tiga, Ellen Allien and Miss Kittin to name but just a few of many, many DJs and producers. Once we found out who was behind the Aphrohead alias we therefore became very excited! The LP provides us with 10 new tracks to listen to and review which take us on a journey from electro to heavy techno, we hope you read on and can enjoy the album yourself.

Tracklist:
1. RESURRECTION
2. KlymaXXX
3. Come to ME
4. Let’s PRANCE
5. Elevator (I’ll Take The Stairs)
6. Grown Man Cryy
7. 1KING 1QUEEN
8. Medusa
9. Front to Backk
10. Sashe Sashe Sashe

From the 1st track you feel right at home with the album title track Resurrection which is signature Felix Da Housecat, vocoder lyrics, electro synth keys and uplifting tune ease you into the album, welcome back Felix! KlymaXXX steps it up a notch but continues in the electro clash style with a rolling bassline, uplifting synth keys and squelchy sounds that hark back to the early naughties and leave a smile on your face as you cannot fail to be entertained by this track, its uplifting, euphoric and feels like a sign of good things to come on the album. The track builds and builds to a climax, pardon the awful pun. Come To ME can also be put into the electro genre but with a more deep house feel, the track is atmospheric, moody and again delivers some excellent keys and a nice kick drum which moves along nicely. It is a step down in pace from KlymaXXX but nonetheless it continues a run of three great tracks to start the new album. At this stage it feels like Aphrohead was trying to lull you into a false sense of security where the three previous tracks sat nicely in the electro genre, this tracks introduces some heavier bass and a number of different drums which move the track into a more techno vein (which obviously excited TBC), by two minutes in you are wanting to prance like the track is telling you to as a marching techno beat kicks in, “let’s prance”. By the time you get to track 5 you start to forget that you had been enjoying the electro a few tracks ago as we move into some heavy bass tinged techno with Elevator (I”ll Take The Stairs). While we have no idea where the track name comes from and to be honest the title seems totally random, this track is an excellent bouncing, rolling techno track with some great percussion thrown in for good measure and the vocal is perfect. Play this track loud and you will be thoroughly entertained, turn the sub woofer on and you will be blown away and of course you will be upsetting the neighbours. Mid way through the album and you are well on course for the heavy techno we eluded to in our introduction.

Onto the second half of the LP we go and Aphrohead continues to deliver, Grown Man Cryy is up sixth and wow this is a stormer, it starts hard and continues throughout. This is full ‘pots and pans’ style techno, its fast, heavy, has a kooky lyric which delivers in a monologue style (which sounds like Felix himself, what do you think?) with some gospel style elements  and simply rocks. Some may be offended by the heavy nature of this track as it is simply relentless but TBC absolutely love it and it is one of the standout tracks on the album. 1King 1Queen, which some of you may recognise from a recent TBC DJ set is another of the standout tracks on the album, heavy techno continues and once again the vocal is on point to deliver a balanced package of tune and vocal. The techno is straight out of Tresor, hard, banging, fast and is right up TBC’s street. When the vocal comes in it is haunting and freaky along with a circus style fairground tune (a distorted accordion sound) before the techno bangs straight back in. Where has Aphrohead been hiding if he has had this level of techno in the making, this level of production is what we would expect from Felix but not on this genre! By the time you get towards the end of the LP you may be a little exhausted but track 8 Medusa does not relent however it doesn’t match up to the levels experienced in tracks 6 and 7. The production level decreases with a more acid squelch track that doesn’t vary too far away from its core apart from the Medusa lyric that is thrown in from time to time. The track is well suited to the second half of the album as it continues the heavy techno vibe but it fails to inspire, it does have some crazy, scary effects and sounds towards the end though. Front to Backk is the penultimate track and the you may think that Aphrohead would start to bring the album down a few notches but the heavy techno continues and the production level picks up a bit too from Medusa, returning to the style of the earlier standout tracks, turn it up loud and scare your friends, this track is crazy. The last track Sashe Sashe Sashe does finally see a slight drop in pace and is not as monstrous as the last 4 tracks but it still falls into the techno bracket and is a great way to end the album as it introduces some melody and atmospheric sounds to the techno structure. “Sashe let’s dance” is one of the lyrics but we doubt you will need this reminder as you will have been dancing your ass off for the last 40 minutes.

As the album comes to an end you will want to put it on loop and listen again, or extract a few favourites and belt them out loud to really appreciate this album. We will have this on our stereo and will be waxing lyrical about it at TBC HQ for some time to come. Super album Felix/Aphrohead, we are pleased you have resurrected this old alias courtesy of Crosstown Rebels and look forward to more of the same soon.

Thanks for reading, more to come very soon.

TBC

Playlist December 2013

P1000864Breach – DJ Kicks (2013)

Oliver Huntemann Pres. Funf – Five Years Ideal Audio inc. mix by Andre Winter (2013)

Joseph Capriati – Self Portrait (2013)

Various Artists – Weapons of Choice #30-39 – 50 Weapons (2013)

Pete Tong b2b Eats Everything & Sasha – Warehouse Project 20th Anniversary BBC Essential Mix (2013)

Harvard Bass – Stay True (feat. Green Velvet) (2013)

Various Artists – Selected Label Works 4, Permanent Vacation (2013)

Various Artists – Selected Label Works 2 & 3, Permanent Vacation (2010 & 2011)

Trentemoller – Lost (2013)

Nina Kraviz – Mr. Jones (2013)

ZZT – Partys Over Earth (2011)

Fenech Soler – Rituals (2013)

Various Artists – Pete Tong Collection (2013 – Triple CD)

Dexter – The Trip (2013) 

Claude Von Stroke – BBC Essential Mix (2013)

Midnight Magic – Midnight Creepers (2013)

Rudimental – Warehouse Project 20th Anniversary BBC Essential Mix (2013)

Paul Woolford b2b James Zabiela – Warehouse Project 20th Anniversary BBC Essential Mix (2013)

Rudimental – Home (2013)

Drexciya – Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller VI (2013)

 John Digweed – Live in Argentina (2013)

Various Artists – 10 Years Crosstown Rebels (2013)

DJ T. presents 25 Years of DJing 1988-2012 Part 1 – Get Physical (2013)

Kolsch – 1977 (2013) *

Bloody Mary – Wilde Podcast #013 (2011)

Bloody Mary – Fabric Promo Mix (2013)

The Classics

Sneaker Pimps – Becoming Remixed (1998)

Soulwax – Most of the Remixes (2007)

Armand Van Helden – Ghettoblaster (2007) – first album at casa de Roffey in 2007

Tom Middleton – Sound of the Cosmos (2002)

Aeroplane – BBC Essential Mix – 500th Anniversary Mix @ Circus Liverpool (2010)

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas to all you TBCers who have been so kind to join in and run through our December playlist. There have been some excellent releases during the holiday season, we have cracked out some older gems and had a good old root around on the internet for the best podcasts and radio shows. The list features over 30 albums, live sets or mixes that we would recommend for a festive party, chilling out with family over Christmas or to be cranked up and blared out in true TBC style over the New Years celebrations. Hope you enjoy and have a great Xmas break.

In this months list we have got some great diversity for you with the traditional end of year collections from Permanent Vacation (Disco/House) and an old school collection from Pete Tong (house, rave, techno, trance), Anniversary radio shows from BBC Essential Mix celebrating 20 years at the Warehouse Project in Manchester (3 weeks of WHP Essential mixes were aired at the end of 2013) along with the new releases and ‘the classics’. We have even thrown in some Hip Hop from Dexter (German artist), Urban from Rudimental, Electro-Indie from ZZT (Tiga’s band named after their favourite band ZZ Top) & Fenech Soler and some experimental electronica from Trentemoller. All in all we have been very very busy at TBC getting through all this music to ensure that we could bring you a bumper Christmas playlist that our loyal TBC fans deserve.

The shortlist this month:

Armand Van Helden – Ghettoblaster (2007) – Starting with a classic, and boy is this a classic and a half, from the legend of New York Garage and House music Armand Van Helden. Having been looking through some old CD’s and skimming through some recent mixes (including his Duck Sauce Essential Mix with A Trak in 2013 and some old Tiga shows) we found Ghettoblaster which has so many good memories for us at TBC HQ as it was the first album played when me moved into our current apartment in 2007. What a party that was and what an album this is. Great party disco/electro tracks that you will be singing, dancing and generally going crazy to once this album is played, trust me we have succumbed to this many a time! A highly recommended listen especially with NYE just around the corner and for anyone wanting to recreate a NYC loft party vibe from either the 90’s or naughties.

Breach – DJ Kicks (2013) – 2013 has been a big year for DJ Kicks and Breach (A.K.A Ben Westbeech) which in some way makes this combination on the recent Dj Kicks compilation a match made in heaven. Dj Kicks started the year of with a mix from Maceo Plex (A.K.A Maetrik) which was a solid release but failed to really hit home, however the later 2013 release of John Talabot was where Dj Kicks really showed off with one of the best releases this year and, not to rest on the laurels, they then squeezed out one final release in the year from Breach. The latter release is superb and has been enjoyed on multiple occasions this month both in TBC HQ and out and about on our travels . This mix starts with the blissed out house we are used to from Ben Westbeech, progresses onto spacey, disco vibes, then into some more gritty urban feeling tracks before culminating in the samba-esque, steel drum extravaganza of Sabre Nightdrive to Bolland. If you miss this Dj Kicks you will be missing out and if you own all three from 2013 you can give yourself a pat on the back for some amazing music procurement this year and some great aural senses.

Various Artists – Selected Label Works 4, Permanent Vacation (2013) – The annual collection releases from record labels can sometimes  be seen as a ‘cash-in’ opportunity by many of the avid collectors of each EP, LP or single release and to many as including some of the not so revered tracks from the past year which you have to delete or skip as to avoid when listening. If you know of Permanent Vacation (PERMVAC) you will know that this is not the case with their Selected Label Works series of releases, the German Disco record label knows how to show off their wares. The recent volume 4 was highly anticipated at TBC following the enjoyment the previous volumes of this series have brought to us not only in the sheer quality of each release, that leave you bopping and swaying about until the collection is finished, but the education it provides in new artists and the nu-wave of disco that continues to be released via PERMVAC. The artist list on their releases is nothing short of impressive, including; Roisin Murphy (formally in Moloko), Tensnake, John  Talabot, Mano Le Tough and Arto Mwambe. This is well worth the investment while sitting round your family’s this Christmas as it will have everyone (including your Gran) dancing away or for a quality selection to kick off your NYE celebrations.

Kolsch – 1977 (2013) – This guy is going to have a great 2014 in our opinion at TBC. Not only is 1977 an amazing debut release but he is being tipped by Peter Tong for big things in 2014 including the first BBC Essential Mix in 2014 which is a great accolade for Kolsch who has played the dark horse in 2013. 1977 was released in the middle of 2013 and was quickly found by TBC who have enjoyed in multiple occasions since. The production is sublime and the music ranges from house to a trancey/progressive sound which suits an early warm up or a post clubbing chill out session. There is some great variation on this album and you will have your favourites; Der Alta reminds us of Pocket Piano from Dj Mehdi (RIP),  Siberpfeil hints of a Bpitch/Apparat-esque haunting, epic sounds, Loreley and Zig remind us of Booka Shade and there are urban, electro numbers along with serious quality house tracks. The ability to produce tracks from such a range of styles while creating an album that flows well and always keep you hooked until the end on your first album really sets Kolsch off on the right foot. Here’s hoping that in 2014 he continues to progress and transfers his sound to radio shows and live shows for all of our enjoyment. One to Watch!

John Digweed – Live in Argentina (2013) – The legend John Digweed continues to release mix compilations, record label collections, live mixes and a radio show at a scary, unrelenting rate. Historically I have enjoyed Renaissance, Northern Exposure, Global Underground, Bedrock releases and BBC Essential Mixes of which I still treasure many. Having seen ‘Diggers’ live on many occasions and witnessed some of the best mixes I have ever heard I always look forward to a new ‘Live Mix’ CD or radioshow. Unfortunately having seen and heard a lot of ‘Diggers’ over the years I am also aware of the more mundane, less enjoyable side that can sometimes end up in your CD player or PC playlist. This results in a great deal of apprehension when another of the ‘Live at…’ mix cd is released especially as the previous entries have varied from amazing to the more middle of the road release that just doesn’t seem to go anywhere. To my delight the new collection recorded in two locations in Argentina; Metropolitano in Rosario and Mandarine Park in Buenos Aires, over 4 CDs is superb. It doesn’t take long for the bass to start thumping, we are treated to a great journey through progressive (some Trancey numbers), house and but mainly not straying too far from Techno which we at TBC particularly enjoyed. If you can find yourself a few hours, large speakers and get through the full box set you will find yourself well and truly pulverised by this mix, a great addition to Mr.Digweed’s Live series.

Dexter – The Trip (2013) – The left field selection in December comes from Dexter a German Hip Hop artist, this  is the third album released by Dexter in his career. We stumbled upon this album while perusing a selection of releases and from the first listen have been captivated by the Hip Hop style that Dexter presents. Harking back to a DJ Shadow-esque trip hop/hip hop style that reminds us of early Mo Wax releases in the 1990s this album brings a modern and current spin to this style as enjoyed via the Gorillaz in the early 2000’s . Chilling at home is where this album is best enjoyed, the bass and melodies in the tracks will have you hooked from start to finish. If you are looking for an alternative album for an Xmas present, have a hankering for some quality new Hip Hop or just fancy a change this is a great place to start. Looking forward to more from Dexter.

It has been very difficult to make a choice for the best of Decembers playlist and this has divided opinions at TBC HQ. This is down to the sheer quality of music this month and this makes picking a favourite very difficult however after some extended deliberation we have gone with our selection due to its quality and varied production exhibited throughout the album:

Kolsch – 1977 (2013)

Merry Christmas everyone, have a great holiday and New Year. TBC are off on their travels for a few weeks to Thailand so will see you in the New Year for tales of our travels & exploits along with our selection of the best from 2013 along with our favourite release of the year.

TBC