This is an overview of the music that the 909 crew are feeling this month. Not focused on new releases, it serves as an insight to our musical journeys and the discoveries we make on the way.
Susumu Yokota – Amanogawa
You can just tell that this song is loved by the Amsterdam crew. It just pongs of something that the Rush Hour/Red Light Radio guys would dig, and unsurprisingly I found this from an Orpheu the Wizard set, who is the co-founder of Red Light Radio. Those dusty pads and gentle chord progressions are undeniably gorgeous, and I really like how the synths and piano chords complement each other. It has the precision and sophistication that so often defines Japanese ambient music, and you can imagine this song being made for listening sessions in boutique little spaces deep in the abyss of Tokyo. This song also sounds extraordinarily similar to this by Satoshi & Makoto, two Japanese analogue wizards who released an album on Young Marco’s Safe Trip label, but it might just be a little bit better.
Harmony Cats – Cat’s Theme (Kon Edit)
This sounds like something straight out of a Tarantino film. It’s brash and theatrical and straight fireeee. This song just has absolutely everything. Wicked guitar twangs, vinyl pullbacks, really tight drums and a lovely choral ensemble vocal. The bassline does a lot of the background work, quietly pulling the strings, defining the groove and turning the cogs so that all of these other components can shine. This is a song made in the days where every single instrument would have been played by a professional. It’s something that is lost with the plethora of bedroom producers around these days. Back in the 60’s, 70’s and even 80’s all the funk, disco and soul songs were so good because they were made and played by true musicians who were experts in their craft. There’s just no way you can recreate that through sampling or through a MIDI keyboard. That does not mean that you can’t make amazing music unless you’re a pro, but these kind of swashbuckling songs with big production and multiple instruments just aren’t around anymore. Kon is one of the good guys who can edit these songs very well, but over the next 20/30 years disco will still be alive and kicking, and there just won’t be enough good musicians to make the songs. Therefore, edits, re-edits, remixes and bootlegs are the future of disco. To be honest that’s what’s already happening, but it is bittersweet to think that song’s like these are already a lost art, and that music has taken an irreversible step away from this kind of production and sound. This is why songs like this must be treasured and played often. You can guarantee that I will do both of these.
Farron – Paneth
What an absolute monster this is. The label it’s on is called XCPT Music, and it only has three releases to date, all involving some producer called Nothus. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the label is vinyl only and you’ll be hard pressed to find a digital copy of this song anywhere. It’s nice to see that breaks can still be used innovatively, as it’s rare to see drums as riotous as these combined with such a delicate, haunting synth line. That contrast works fantastically, and it is precisely the type of song that I constantly clamour for when looking for new music. Ideally you would slow this song right down to under 130bpm, as it’s a bit too fast for me at normal speed, and I very rarely traverse the plains of 140 sets (although I undoubtedly do dabble, as evidenced here), and I don’t actually think that this is destined for peak time. It’s a bit too hypnotic and subtle for that. It would work best in the latter stages of a warm-up set, or when you’re getting a bit deep and weird in the later hours of a night. Either way, this song needs to get played a lot, as it is potentially one of the best releases of 2018 so far. I know that Steffi has been playing it a lot, which is basically a stamp of approval that this song is class, and I hope that many other DJs follow suit.
LNS – Recons One
I don’t think that LNS has gotten enough recognition yet, and it’s a real shame. It seems that everything she touches turns to gold. Her collaborations with DJ Sotofett are nothing short of masterful, and I seem to love every single one of her own productions. I’ve also heard on good authority that she is a killer DJ and has outshone DJ Fett Burger and a few other highly respected names when she’s been able to strut her stuff. This song is really great. I just love that initial synth that flushes in like a wave at the start of the song. The additional chords that twinkle on top add a really nice euphoria to the song, and then they develop into more serious and more hypnotic sounds. That progression really makes this song a journey that feels both erratic and intense, but also wildly exhilarating. Although it is only four minutes long, it feels like it accomplishes so much in that time, and to that end it would add such a huge boost of energy to a set. I couldn’t help but notice that everything about this song reminded me of Dexter’s productions. It is like a weird amalgamation of Laputa and D-Funked, but it doesn’t feel plagiaristic at all. It’s probably just because she uses the same hardware that he uses, but Dexter is one of the best producers in the game so to be compared to him is a pretty great accolade in my opinion. I’m going to ensure that I continue to champion LNS because she’s one of the most talented females in the game at the moment and she needs to be better known. It’s great that females are getting far more attention these days but it feels a bit exhausting to constantly have Nastia or Peggy Gou or Black Madonna shoved in your face on every possible lineup. I’m here to rep the gals like Dr Rubinstein, LNS, Elena Columbi and Jane Fitz who are murdering everyone else in the game at the moment.
DJ Healer – We Are Going Nowhere
It finally happened. On Easter Sunday, a mysterious website called www.allpossibleworlds.de popped up, with the option of pre-ordering two triple LPs from unknown artists called Prime Minister of Doom and DJ Healer… Could this possibly be? Our hopes and dreams were confirmed when it became clear that these were new aliases for ya boi the Prince of Denmark. After cutting ties with Giegling last year and retiring his PoD alias, it was unclear whether this meant a hiatus or a retirement. Thankfully, it was the former. I, like hundreds of others, bought both records blind in the assumption that the contents would be magnificent, and boy was I not wrong. This is my favourite song from his DJ Healer alias, which is not too dissimilar from his work as DJ Metatron. I actually first heard this song all the way back in 2016, when Traumprinz did a Boiler Room show in Mexico, in which he didn’t actually perform, but instead a vacant DJ booth pumped out a load of unreleased music. I remember one of the songs being particularly good, and my ears perked up in the knowledge that this was THE tune. Alas, the show was never catalogued and the music was seemingly lost forever. However, listening to the DJ Healer album I instantly thought that that delicate, yet beautifully elegant synth line was familiar. Pure ecstasy overtook me when I realised that this was THE tune. There are few sweeter feelings than when you finally find a song that has eluded you for years. Perhaps this is why I love it so much, that sentimental feeling that this brings of those simpler times at uni, listening to this song at 4pm in the afternoon on a weekday in my front room. The strings are absolutely classic Metatron, yet the sample from O Superman is pretty unique for him, and undeniably amazing. Although this song is quite understated and repetitive, it is still deeply emotional. Melancholic, uplifting? I don’t even know anymore. Each listen evokes something different in me. Maybe that’s what’s so good about the Prince’s music. The pure naked emotion, characterised by what Resident Advisor rightly describes as an “uncool pureness of sincerity”, is unprecedented in house music. However it is presented in such a refined and reserved way that it doesn’t feel cheesy in the slightest. It feels classy, but more importantly, honest. Honesty is such a hard thing to convey effectively in music, but it is exerted effortlessly here. I think that this song can connect personally to every single person that listens to this, and I hope that it touches everyone in the same way that it has with me. This is quite simply just wonderful.