Party Non Stop by Pirupa – Desolat
Martin Buttrich and Locodice’s Desolat imprint is now approaching its fifth year, and while Dusseldorf may not have the allure of Berlin or Frankfurt for some electronic music fans, the label’s put out some fantastic singles over the years, roping in everyone from Jay Haze and Livio & Roby to Luciano and Guti, alongside its founders’ work. For their 19th EP they enlist Italian producer Pirupa, whose energetic house music’s graced the likes of Cecile, Saved, Suruba and Rebirth in recent times, and Party Non Stop, a sort of hip-house influenced dancefloor record for the new decade.
Taking a percussive core that shuffles and slaps with a nod to Dirty Cash, spooky sirens inhabit it until the first of a menagerie of vocal samples appears. Alternating between robotic, electro, distrorted and pitched-down, their rawness matches with the stripped-down melodics, with the bassline and popping hits providing sparse backing, feeling like an updated early 90s rap-house fusion. The Instrumental, stripped of the words, works like a standard raved-up retro house cut, the sirens and rapsing percs providing a power all of their own. DJ QU’s remix is mean and moody, taking just enough of the samples, and pairing them with sonic swathes and an analogue bassline.
If I Were Music by I’m Fine & Antonio Olivieri – Steyoyoke
New Berlin imprint Steyoyoke makes its debut with an EP from a pair of city-dwelling production outfits, letting their music do the talking rather than drowning the listener in a barrage of hyperbole. Berlin music engineers I’m Fine (Marco Perschon and Alexander Grafenauer) and Italian local Antonio Olivieri form a triumvirate whose influences come together across a three-track EP that gives the fledgling label an interesting start.
The title track centres around its eponymous vocal, pitched-down to sit in synch with the warm basslines and airy chords that provide the melodic backing. It’s an almost jazzy affair, leaning into deeper waters with eastern influences from a wandering note in the breakdown, part of the blend of old and new. Your Ghost is a livelier mid-point, birdsong floating in the background and a mystical vocal that hangs beautifully in the air over the phased chords and floating melodies, a compelling contrast to the opener. Do Not Care is different again, with off-kilter guitar and pounding kick leading to analogue bass notes, before handclaps and cheers usher in each drop, a mixture of electronic and almost pop, with the multi-tracked male vocal nodding to David Byrne. Ambitious and intriguing.
The Minneapolis Touch EP by Shonky – Apollonia
Out of the ashes of the legendary Paris label Freak n Chic comes a new label – Apollonia – formed by three of its main protagonists. Dan Ghenacia, Shonky and Dyed Soundorom have all been more than busy enough since Dan’s previous home called it a day in 2010, but none of them have slowed down in the studio, so the logical progression came in forming Apollonia to put out their new work, and it kicks off with Shonky’s three-hander, another cut of characteristic galactic house.
Columbia – perhaps echoing directly the farewell to the space shuttle itself – heads into the troposphere, its popping percs and sure-footed chord structure enveloped in spacey pads and reverb-laden vocals, with a sprinkling of starry, glass-like chords to add the sparkle. The Minneapolis Touch heads deeper, its bright chords offsetting the solid low-end groove and wistful pads, as elements ebb and flow in the mix, subtly changing its character. Closing out the label’s solid debut is Kotero Mi Amor, sounding like an early-90s synth houser, its bubbling bassline and warped vocal pads giving way to a soulful vocal sample, fusing modern and classic in one touch.