You Were Away EP by Bonar Bradberry – NeedWant
Leeds’ own Bonar Bradberry (yes, that is his real name) arrives in 2012 with a lot to match up to from his last twelve months. Very much a DJ and production talent in his own right, the previous year saw him alongside his erstwhile musical companion, Tom Thorpe, as together they manned the decks as PBR Streetgang at We Love…. in Ibiza, as well as a slew of gigs in their home town and throughout the UK. To pigeonhole them as nu-disco would be short-sighted though, just as to compartmentalise Bradberry’s own work over the past few years would be lazy. The focus is solely on the groove, with releases on Mindless Boogie and Under The Shade, and his return to London’s Needwant, after 2010’s Suila Grande EP, is a welcome start to the year.
The track is an airy, warm cut of groove-laden house that while it may sit down the bpms, but lacks nothing in breezy style. With his own breathy vocals taking centre stage, under the bonnet are combined guitar licks, handclaps, analogue stabs and rhodesy chords, nodding to seminal band Crazy P as it employs piano and euphoric stabs to rise to a smile inducing crescendo. B-side Lip Therapy is a mutli-layered synth workout that showcases Bradberry’s skills, part modern house, party Studio 54 homage. Remixes come, along with an Instrumental, from Teutonic trio Space Ranger, who send the original into the heavens with a punchy, spacey rework, while Maxxi Soundsystem transform Lip Therapy into a vocal-infused, shimmering slice of classic house.
The Entity by Maetrik – Truesoul
While Eric Estornel bestrode 2011 under his Maceo Plex moniker, releasing massive EPs on No.19 and Crosstown Rebels alongside his album Life Index on Damian Lazarus’ imprint, even finding time to launch his own Ellum Audio label, it’s as a techno artist that he first found recognition. Producing for over a decade, with two albums and numerous EPs on Cologne’s Treibstoff as well as work on Immigrant Dumb Unit and Mothership, the start of 2012 sees Estornel return to his roots with a three-track EP on Truesoul.
While there are some flourishes and sonic elements – drum fills certainly – that do share some common ground with his housier work, it’s clear that Maetrik is a style very much of its own, with muscular, moody stabs, metallic hits and growling vocals dominating the EP’s title track, showing why the producer enjoyed much success prior to the appearance of his Maceo Plex project. Astroid Funk is more inventive, with constant transformation throughout its eight plus minutes as oscillating notes and fx revolve around its underlying powerful groove. Closing out is digital-only Revenge of Jack, which riffs on retro b-lines, pads and vocal sample, all enveloped in modern, weightier percs.
Shaman EP by Made To Move – Electronique Digital
London imprint Electronique has been carving itself a niche in the crowded house scene since its birth in 2009. Formed by Simon Heslin, it’s swept past a dozen releases late in 2011, with EPs from the likes of Max Chapman, Tom Goulding David Glass and Rebel, concentrating on a tight-knit group of new artists from across Europe and beyond to build its reputation, and selecting key artists for remix work, such a Luca M and Guilio Marchini. Continuing this vein in the new year, its first release is from Mexican artist Made To Move.
Shaman is a cut of classy house that’s full of warmth and depth. Its rolling bassline and keys, cascading in delay, form the backbone of the track, with a spoken vocal permeating the breakdown, giving the track its character. On the flip, Here We Go takes an old school route, with rasping rides, vocal snippets, choppy drum fills and stabs that hark back to the classic US house of the early 90s. Alongside the two originals comes a trio of remixes, with Hot Creations’ Cera Alba the pick, his bass-heavy rework sensually stripping back to the original’s groove. Elsewhere, Rebel’s remix heads for acid-tinged territory, while Ben Pearce’s solid effort goes sparse, bass-led and jacking.