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The Weekly Froth - December #2

  • Published in Columns

The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

This week we’ll have a look back at some of the more awesome disco/house/electro stuff that was released this year, unfortunately omitting loads of deserving and quality songs that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in 2014. But here are six of my favorites to just remind you how awesome the year has been!

Track of the year: ‘Happy’ by Tomas Barfod feat. Eddie Chacon

Eddie C. comes up with an amazing performance on this WhoMadeWho solo effort by Tomas Barfod. Stating that even though all his life people have been slipping away (“they keep dying on me man”), he vows that he’s Gonna be happy. Barfod puts in some synth work and, of course, drums, changing it up for the sections in between the vocals, upping the pace a bit. Throughout the song there’s both this sense of melancholia and perseverance. It’s so easy to fold, and there’s a lot that sees people hurting, but no matter what, I’m going to make the most of it. The second time those drums come in for the chorus (around 2:30), there’s a nice bit of oomph in there to power up that message. Not on the album I believe, but in my opinion the best track he released this year (though WhoMadeWho’s ‘Hiding in Darkness’ is a killer track as well).


‘All That She Wants’ by Yolanda Be Cool feat. SYF & Fitz Helder

Don’t mind me while I enjoy a corny edit or two, but even if you take some of the most well-known tracks (like ‘All That She Wants’) as your core, you can get on heavy rotation at my house. Or perhaps because of it, as there’s a certain awesomeness about standing on the dancefloor and then getting that recognition factor in. Now, the original definitely wasn’t this deep, and those vocals make it sexy and saucy, as the boys formerly of Azari & III know how to bring some attitude into a (deep) house track. So this is the version for those late hours at that seedy club then, as all involved just give it this awesome vibe, and those vocal turns by SYF and Fitz Helder are powerful to boot. There’s something about an edit of an older tune done well, and this definitely ticks all the boxes, from changing it up to something completely different to actually working as a deep, soulful grind tune on its own. Unfortunately no Azari & III anymore, luckily the two eye catchers on stage didn’t go gently into that good night.


‘My Offence’ by Hercules And Love Affair feat. Krystle Warren

Are you as cunt as I am? That is the question. Though not Shakespearian in origin, it does pack some punch and plenty of attitude as the lads from Hercules and Love Affair, supported by Krystle Warren, are basically saying, You know what, what according to you is my offence, actually that is my essence, and I’m going to take the word cunt and run with it in pride. Now, I already like how much of an idea there is behind it (and the clip, for that matter), but that would mean nothing if the track was a soft-ass tune no one could ever dance to. Fortunately, Andy Butler knows how to make it work, giving the music itself plenty of attitude as well, reinforcing the lyrics. I believe in an interview he called it a tom heavy “bitch” track, so there you go. Plenty of toms, and a lot to get bitchin’ to. Attitude heavy, but also fun and dancey, Hercules and Love Affair made an amazing house album this year, and this is definitely a prime example off of that.

‘Ain’t No Way’ by Opal (Horse Meat Disco edit)

The start says enough, me thinks, with a woman screaming to “get your hands off of my man”. You heard her! What then happens is basically what happens any time the guys from Horse Meat Disco get their hands on things (...); an eruption of euphoric sensation. And, of course, they transform it in a killer disco dancefloor song to do some moving to. You’ve got the bass going on, the synths, but those lovely old school vocals reign supreme, as she is fighting for her man with all the attitude in the world. She goes from warning everyone around her to keep their hands off of him, but she also resorts to pleading him to “stay right here, stay right here, stay right here”. Horse Meat Disco throw a deep rhythm synth in there as mid-section, which is slowly build-up back to a disco anthem with synths and other such devices (even coming with nifty little guitar line at one point, just before the drums come in) to help out with the feel, vibe, and dance department. There’s still plenty of disco left in this world for sure, and 2014 is no exception to that.


‘Sugar’ by Alkalino

Talking about old school, the fuzz of the LP is very much part of the sound of this track. I just love the whole feel of this one, even if some of the transitions aren’t as smooth as on other tracks (though it feels almost intentional in an effort to date the sound even further back down in history). Actually, it does give it character, especially those volume jumps in the singing. I just love those old vocal tracks that are happening here, which have plenty of soul to carry this one and even give it some gravitas. Additionally, Alkalino puts in those drums and those pace changes to spice up the disco vibe a tad. The main thing about this one is the aged vibe that it provides, combining it with just enough drums to keep this one trotting forward whilst keeping the soul front and center. Just such a good example what you can achieve in terms of sound and feel if you think outside of the box a little.

‘I Know It’s A Good Thing’ by Shamir

To be honest, that ‘On The Regular’ single I could’ve lived without, though I’m still gutted I couldn’t make it to his live show earlier this week. I do love this track of his EP so much though. It’s got the kick going in the background, but it’s the piano and the fragility and desperation in the voice that gives this rather down paced track its power. Those backing vocals he brings in are also just an ace little touch that just add the right amount of feel to this one. At about the two minute mark he kills the drums for a moment, doing just the piano and his vocals that are singing “God knows I’m hard to please”, after which the beat comes back again. It’s just the mixture of all these elements, even in the delivery of the vocals (which later become more bombastic and emotional, which it has to, as the instruments do the same), that make this one both quirky and working brilliantly at the same time.




The Weekly Froth! - July #1

  • Published in Columns


The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.

Track of the week: ‘Playground’ by Starving Yet Full

Starving Yet Full was one of the two vocalists with the house unit Azari & III, which unfortunately has ceased to be. SYF is not done housing though, and he’s readying a solo album which, from the sounds of it, will include at least one out-and-out house cut. So you’ve got the cymbals, the beat, the bass, all those rhythm elements you need to get jacking too old school. SYF has a lovely voice, which is plenty of soulful and which balances the deeper rhythmic elements. Around the 2:30 mark there’s a break where they lose the rhythm sounds and let the synth play out a bit, a sound he continues even when the beat and all that gets back in. In the mean time SYF is singing that gravity “brings him right down”, so I’m assuming it isn’t all going smooth and easy for the narrator. At about the four minute mark he throws in a slightly deeper beat to really get into underground dance mode, and truly this is the kind of house track I love to hear in the club. It’s got a deepness to it, it’s easy to dance to, and the vocals on there are great. What’s more to want, really?


‘Mighty Bloody Real’ Joey Negro’s special dub mix

Joey Negro always knows what to do with disco, and here he takes the classic high energy track ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ by the symbol of the gay disco movement Sylvester, and he makes it into a dub. As in, from the start, this one gets its high energy restrained a bit by the beat and the other percussion elements, which provide you with the dancing opportunity, as opposed to the original. That original bass sound comes in at about 45 seconds though, with the high synths shortly following as well. It’s definitely not an unrecognizable affair, though especially the percussion causes this one to still sound plenty of different (and how that bass is used as well). Probably, whatever you are going to do with this one, it’s going to set disco dancefloors alight (unless you really botch it up, that is), it’s just that kind of a track, really. Leave it in the hands of a master like Joey Negro, and it’s dancing until you drop. The more original elements come in, the more high energy it starts to feel, though he always returns to the bass and the percussion to keep this thing grounded just a tad. In the mean time we are halfway, and it still is primarily that bass and those very recognizable sounds of the original that we hear, and we’ve yet to be treated to those trademark vocals, which he is saving up probably. And yessir, at 4:30, there they are, to just provide that dancefloor with that extra punch of recognition. The original is one of those tracks which is just going to make any disco dancefloor happy in whichever form it is presented to them, and this one is a good addition to that whole bag of Sylvester sounds and edits.


‘Ain’t No Way’ by Opal (Horse Meat Disco edit)

The new Horse Meat Disco compilation is out (Volume IV y’all!), and that’s the best that queer disco has to offer. And yes, maybe disco is a bit gay by default, though the “gayness” part of it sure gets amplified with the lads from Horse Meat Disco behind the decks. So you’ve got all that sass and camp that you want to play it all up, and this is another example of that. It already starts with just vocals, with Brenda Watts yelling out that you need to get “your hands off of my man” as there is “no way I’m gonna give you up”. Add that disco bass in there, those trademark disco sounds, and you’re off rolling. Those vocals are so lovely 45” disco single, they’ve just got that whole old school '70s vibe in them. So you’ve got the bass to dance to, the synth to keep it all sounding light and fresh, and then the lads change it up after the two minute mark. They dial down everything except the vocals, and after that they get some deeper, faster synths in to ramp up the pace and the dancing a bit, and they throw in a bit of guitar for good measure. So they show they can even keep the crowd dancing and the disco vibe up without the vocals (and they also show they can play a bit with pace and slide into different disco modes in one track, which with a running time of 8+ minutes is a huge plus). Obviously the vocals come back for another go around, as you just need the girl telling these skanks to keep away from her man, whilst also telling her boy that there’s no way he’s going anywhere. Those boys just really know how to put the fun back on the dancefloor.


‘Be Brave, Clench Fists’ by Leon Vynehall

To start this one off you get some percussion sounds, though from underneath all that you already get some deep moodiness, which is quickly balanced out by a higher pitched sound. It definitely goes for mood at the start, with this slow piano coming in just before the minute mark. And, just before the beat, which starts to play at about one minute in and which cranks the pace up a bit. That beat is definitely in the realm of deep house, and that beat is not the thing that makes this one special (though it is necessary to keep this one moving forward, and we’ve all learned from Woody Allen that has to happen otherwise the thing dies). It’s definitely not an all out party track this one, as what makes you want to listen to this are the atmospheric elements that keep on appearing right on top of the beat. So it’s all about mood and doing a little dance with your eyes closed, though when the second rhythm element comes in to bolster that beat a bit there’s definitely a tick upwards in the danceability department. I really like the vibe and richness of this one, definitely one I’d be happy to be listening to on my headphones as well. That very very last part I could’ve done without, I have to admit.


‘Girls on Film’ by Duran Duran (Luxxury edit)

Luxxury prides themselves in the write-up that in this edit they’ve almost exclusively used bits from the original multitrack stems, though listening to the original you can already spot a few immediate problems for the disco/house dancefloor (and the cowbell like percussion isn’t one of them, obviously). So, first thing to do is slow the fucker down, and Luxxury does that right from the start, with the percussion and drums leading the way and keeping things more danceable and rhythmic than the original ever was. Still plenty of Duran Duran 80s vibes there though, with that guitar still in there, and the overall synth new wave vibe pretty much represented. With that, this edit revolves around the bass sound most of all probably, which for a dancefloor edit is the thing to do really. Maybe I would say at times it’s a bit too crowded with all kinds of sounds thrown in there, but with the bass doing its thing and with plenty of Duran Duran still blasting out of the speakers, it’s an enjoyable entree in a series of edits from these boys.


‘Sensify Me’ by Zimmer feat. KLP

I like how this starts, especially with the finger snapping in there. Lovely vibe they throw out there, and plenty of room for the female vocals to set the tone. After the beginnings you do get the bass in, though it stays a relatively low paced affair. In the mean time there’s plenty of richness going on in the background, from atmospheric synths to what seem like bongo’s to a more poppy synth line. The rhythmic layer is there with the bass, and on top of it all are the vocals. These two instruments get plenty of room, and then what gives this track its own flavour and its tone are all the things that happen in between those two main elements. It is tagged on Soundcloud as “horizontal disco” and “slow house”, and I’m not even sure what that means, though it’s definitely got slices of synth and pop in there as well, and a bit of sensuality with the way those vocals deliver the lines.


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