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.
Holger Flinsch – Toranaga
A new decade! A chance for fresh starts, new resolutions, and most importantly, new music. But rather than cook you up something fresh, I’m going to take you back to 2003. Remember 2003? Me neither. While I was generally getting up to no good in primary school, Holger Flinsch was busy making this swamper. Honestly you can’t get much better than this. Meditative, deep, tribal, psychedelic. You can carry on with the labels and superlatives all day with this one and not run out. It’s actually a relatively simple song. It doesn’t develop much or have a huge amount of progression – factors I traditionally find most appealing in music. If anything, this song is actually pretty repetitive. It’s hard to argue with the fact that the biggest development in the song is the addition of the hi-hats just before the three minute mark. Usually that level of formulaic boringness is reserved for tech house, but when the hi-hats comes in here, they feel like they could tear the roof off. The best techno finds a compelling loop and drills it into you until you discover a narrative within it. I think that’s what happens here. That wailing vocal will mean something to you, whether it’s a ritualistic war cry or an Amazonian witch casting a spell or just a pretty cool vocal that will sound sick on a big soundsystem. Combined with the other components of the song, it really works and the result is just absolutely magical. This is music to make jaws hang from their joints, and deserves to be reserved for the deepest, darkest, weirdest moments of the night.
Gipsy & Queen – Love (Mix-Master Remix)
WW3 seems inevitable. Brexit is happening. It’s dark and Australia is literally on fire. There doesn’t seem much around to be optimistic about at the moment. Luckily, music is one of the best incubators available from the outside world, and when I need a bit of time away from it all, I turn to songs like this. Gloriously cheesy, dripping in ecstasy and with more swagger than Mick Jagger, this is the real deal. How can you not feel a little more cheery after listening to this?! Yes it’s cloying and a bit naff, but that’s kinda the point. As I say with all italo/80s music, you can forgive the pop-iness of it because it’s so well-produced, and this is apparent here. The synth lines are triumphant and surgically sharp, and the mixing and mastering are excellent. The end product is a fantastic dose of artificial serotonin. Maybe we should play this song on the radio across the world so people can CALM THE FUCK DOWN and stop threatening mutually assured destruction. Who would’ve thought a Gipsy and a Queen could work together for world peace?
Nathan Micay – The Canadian Shield (Loon Song)
I like pretty much everything Nathan Micay has released. His Bwana alias put out some sick stuff, and c’mon, who can’t like a guy who made a trance edit of Andrea Bocelli’s Con Ti Partiro? How those two things have never been combined before is beyond my comprehension, but I feel a lot more comforted about the human race that someone has finally done it. Anyway, this song is Micay’s newest release, and it is a beast. Firstly, I think the beat is the best I’ve heard in a while. It’s so dominant and driving. My mouth is salivating thinking about playing that at somewhere like Corsica Studios (Room 2 if you’re asking… as you can finally stand in there for more than 30 seconds without your ears bleeding), because it would be all-encompassing. Unsuspecting dancers would think they’re hearing the second eruption of Krakatoa it would be that explosive. The whole song is brimming with charisma and confidence in a way that I haven’t really heard much lately in modern music. There’s a looseness to it which can only be achieved by not taking itself too seriously, which makes this song a perfect party track. Adding to this, I love that Micay labelled this song ‘Business Trance’ in his Soundcloud tag. Not only does the guy make above-average tunes, the guy has an above-average wit as well. The bloke can do no wrong, and considering he’s both young and hungry for more, the sky’s the limit for Micay.
Coil – Theme from Gay Man’s Guide to Safer Sex
I mean, it’s definitely hard to find a more NSFW song title than this surely? My only other suggestion would be the excellent Three Nudes Having Sax On Acid (which presumably, sounds great while having sax on acid), but it’s a tight contest regardless. I found this song in a Red Light Radio show from the soon-to-be-superstar Lauren Hansom, who I’m tipping to have one of the biggest breakout years in 2020 (in addition to Darwin, Re:ni and DJ Fart in the Club). It’s really quirky that this song really was a soundtrack to a documentary explaining how to have safe sex in the 80s. In addition to the great backstory, the song is absolutely wicked. The softly wailing synth line is super cool, drifting through the song mysteriously and deliciously. The bassline is also throbbing, which is fitting given what this soundtrack is for… You can almost smell the sleaze on this song, and I absolutely love it. I found it’s worked really well as an afters tune, and at the moment it’s my go-to song to listen to in the Uber home at 4am. If you are unlucky enough to be stuck in a car with me at that time, expect to hear this.
Humate – Love Stimulation (Paul van Dyk’s Love Club Mix)
Saving the best until last with this one. It’s amazing to think that Paul Van Dyk – a DJ your grandparents might well have heard of, and an artist more commonly seen on Ibiza clubland 2004 CDs than pseudo-intellectual dance playlists – can make a song as truly special as this. It’s trance, but not really. It leans more towards house in my opinion, bar the beat and Future Sound of London-esque vocal samples. It’s astoundingly nostalgic and euphoric. Those piano chords evoke distant memories of Hacienda clubland and Adriatic sunsets which you can almost touch they feel so real. My favourite part of the song is the break at around four minutes. It’s a brief respite, but when the song kicks back in with the pianos in full flow, it is disorientating in its ecstasy. Piano house doesn’t really fit into any of the sub-genres that the scene is pre-occupied with at the moment. But when it comes down to it, you ain’t gonna change lives with that razor sharp dubstep white label you just picked up. But if you play this, you might well change some young person’s perspective on music, and even their life. This sounds stupid, but how many people can say they’ve had a life affirming moment triggered through music. I know I have, and if you’re reading a boutique electronic music magazine such as this one, odds are you have too. Think back to that song which did it for you, and consider whether this is on the same level… See, NOW you get it. To me, this is not just a song to make you feel better or to tap your foot. This is a song that can change lives. That is the scale of this song, and deserves that level of respect and appreciation. I just hope that listening to this song means as much to you as it does me. Because this song has become incredibly important to me in an incredibly short space of time. Enjoy.