Ciara returns; Felix da Housecat’s newest drop after almost half a decade; Four Tet gets house-ier; Black Butter Records’ string of stellar releases with future house proponents Kid Kidnap and Gorgon City plus my pick of the month from the label’s 19-year-old signee, Joel Compass; also, a censored music video. Damn, April. You’re good.
Behling & Simpson vs Ciara - Goodies Rebax
100bpm slow cookers, Ed Bayling and Sam Simpson are no strangers to Bristol’s bass scene. In their method to dancefloor-filling madness, the duo’s tempo-downed house-centric foundation allows space to weave in R&B inclinations. First savoured with a remix of Faith Evans’ “Love Like This” (found on the vinyl flipside of their rework on Julio Bashmore’s “Father Father” released on label Futureboogie’s offshoot, Boogiefuturo,) they’ve kept the future bass ball rolling with remixes of Ciara’s “Like A Surgeon” and “Goodies”. B&S edits are usually championed by DJs looking for sex.
Felix Da Housecat - Sinner Winner
In an interview with Noisey, Felix mentioned that his latest track, “Sinner Winner” was loosely based on a hypocritical and racist New Orleans preacher who is very much against club culture as he is a part of it. “He's preaching, telling everybody, you know, ‘You shouldn't be doing this,’ while catching on the ravely spirit,” Felix says. In an attempt to satirise said protagonist, the iconic producer brought back the sound of vintage Chicago house driven by a crescendo of 808s that explodes at the heart of the preacher’s sermon. Good looks for his first release after almost a half-decade wait.
Four Tet – For These Times
The distinctive euphoric build up found in both Felix and Kieran Hebden aka Four Tet’s tracks – which I included in my April Mix – sits nicely towards a club’s peak-hour slot. Shameless plug aside, Kieran’s jazz-inflicted, tribal-esque track sends a nod down Theo Parrish’s way. Taken from Boodika’s label, Non Plus compilation Think And Change (featuring the likes of Pearson Sound, Martyn, Basic Soul Unit and Joy Orbison,) Kieren seems to be on a house music tip in recent times cumulating to a remix of Justin Timberlake's “Suit & Tie”. When in musical doubt, Four Tet.
Gorgon City feat. Yasmin - Real
House music is pretty much reaching its cyclic annex. Past the douchebaggery qualities posited by the likes of David Guetta, Avicii and an army of mainstream crossover producers, others like Disclosure, Dusky, George FitzGerald and now, Gorgon City has a foot in house music of the old and another in the future. Peppered with grime, hip-hop, garage and 2-step, producers RackNRuin and Foamo of Gorgon released their second EP with the title track, “Real” trailblazing on all fronts. Counted as BBC Radio 1 Breakfast Show “Record of the Week”, the duo was also tipped as one of the hottest acts to watch this year by i-D Magazine. 2013, bitch – the duo might say but didn’t.
PICK OF THE MONTH: Joel Compass - Back To Me
London’s Black Butter Records are pretty much in the center of today’s bass-music rise. Already with Gorgon City, Rudimental and Kidnap Kid on their roster, they had to go and sign this 19-year-old R&B singer-songwriter who only has about one track on his Soundcloud that could go on and win a Barclaycard Mercury Prize or something. Then directors Ian Schwartz and Cooper Roberts had to come along and craft this I-don’t-want-to-cry-with-all-these-people-around-me music video employing the painstaking cinemagraph technique – also called: What? Those are GIFs? – that could go on and bag a music video award of some sort. The track taken off Joel’s forthcoming Astronaut EP is stunning on all levels. It does help that your voice sounds like a blend of Sam Smith, Abel Tesfaye and Frank Ocean. No really, it does.
Kastle feat. Ayah Marar - Red Light
If the Disclosure-esque “Red Light” featuring London’s sultry Ayah Marar (whose portfolio includes vocal duties for Calvin Harris, Camo & Krooked and Marky) is anything to go by, Barrett Richards aka Kastle’s forthcoming album, Upbeat, is definitely something to queue up for. Blessing our eardrums with a fusion of genre-bending remixes of The Weeknd to Cassie and Beyonce to Brandy, the San Francisco-native goes bass-heavy house on his current run. Onwards, my noble steed!
Kid Kidnap- So Close (Club Mix)
This article is proudly brought to you by Black Butter Records. Kidding, Kid Kidnap. You deserve to be on this list, label notwithstanding, with your feel-good single, "So Close" (which includes that gentle future house track, “Animaux”.) Can I call you, kid, Matt Relton? Bet that’s what they call you back at Sheffield. Noticeably, “So Close” has been making its rounds, first debuting on Annie Mac’s show. Sorry, what, kid? You had a mix on Diplo and Friends on BBC Radio 1? Holding us hostage to your choons, aren’t ‘cha? Word. Go places, kid. Go many, many places.
Raffertie - Build Me Up
As an unofficial tribute to Mariah Carey, Londoner Benjamin Stefanski aka Raffertie sings: “Build me up, but don't let me go / Cos you know that I won't ever leave, no no / You're my baby” – a slab off Mariah’s 1993 hit, “Dreamlover”. You wouldn’t notice it because Benjamin compensates the cheesiness of it all with one-part thudding kick drums, two-parts squelchy synths and a whole lot of unpredictability. Easy to lump it into the experimental drawer, but then again, the title track off his EP (due on May 20 through Ninja Tune) is pretty darn infectious.
Robin Thicke feat. TI And Pharrell's - Blurred Lines (Goddamn Censored Version)
“Might be a good idea to watch this away from your girlfriend,” says Hypebeast on the uncensored version. “Three gentlemen grooving alongside some lovely ladies with some interesting props to provide that additional flare,” says Hypetrak sarcastically on the censored version. “Ugh. As soon as we got all excited to watch a video where classy but totally nekkid models dance with Robin Thicke, T.I., and Pharrell YouTube had to go and ruin our sexy good time,” says Complex who said it all. Oh, and nice rack. I mean track, by the way.
Wretch 32 ft Shakka - Blackout
Wretch is back (sorry, had to do it.) Off his forthcoming, yet to be titled, third studio album, “Blackout” retains the English rapper’s societal-themed lyrical endeavours. As the Tottenham-born artist explains, “I still stay in my hometown, still local and it definitely does help. The thing is you have to be in or around something to be able to speak about it.” Riding on the back of surging electronic beats while offering faint aural hints of African inspirations, his latest single remains deeply rooted in an environment which birthed the nature of his words.