Another month, another slightly disappointing gang of represses. Even so, there are just about enough great returns to make you crack a smile. And with summer just around the corner, these three fizzing slabs of wax should be more than ample to kick off your sunny soundtrack. Get them in before the rain comes back.
Anthony Naples – RAD001 (Rubadub)
Although this only came out for the first time in 2013, it seems to have been around for a lot longer. The first release on Glasgow institution Rubadub’s own (still far too occasional) label saw Anthony Naples cement his reputation as a genuine new house talent. Although he’d already released the great Mad Disrespect 12″ on Mr Saturday Night, this one was better in every way, carrying within its grooves some utterly sublime tunes. While there are very few people who would argue that the music on offer is visionary, it does exactly what you always want it to by magnifying the mood before distilling it down to a pure hit of emotional hand-in-the-air gorgeousness in a way that only a tiny amount of house producers seem willing to do nowadays. Pick of the bunch is Ill Still – a marvel of slow grooving energy that fuels its movement with delight and wonder. Both Naples and Rubadub have moved on from here but it remains a genuine high water mark for both. House music as it should be.
VA – Detroit: Techno City (430 West)
The two Detroit: Techno City EPs are rightly hailed as classics, with each of them serving up some of the best tunage to emerge from under the 430 West banner. Unfortunately, that’s not what we get here. Instead, it seems like the weird licensing situation 430 West seem have landed themselves with strikes once again as the two original records are stripped down of tracks to the point this new press becomes a sort of ‘not quite best of’ compilation. In real terms it means we lose the brilliance of Missing Channel’s Deadly Spell, Optic Nerve’s class mix of Alien FM’s Infinity, and Unknown Forces’ Exposure. What is important to point out though is that while all of this might add up to a killer blow for anyone else, there are plenty of outright thrills still to be had, even if it’s a lot more Burden brothers-centric than it once was. Everyone will know the pair of Octave One belters on this, especially Eniac, but the real gems are the two Never On Sundays tracks, particularly the gorgeous, flute haunted shimmer of Memories Of You which still sends a chill down the spine in a way that few techno tracks can. Another tasty re-release from 430 West, the tragic cull of great tunes excepted.
G Strings – Land Of Dreams (Seventh Sign)
A real deep underground Chicago gem this one. Originally out at the beginning of the 90s, and reissued again a few years back, The Land Of Dreams exists in that realm between sleep and wakefulness. Slowly unfurling melodies, the wonkiest of synths and some proper rolling perc build as the records runs, delivering a gang of tripped out jackers that just hang there in their own twilight. First released on the very short-lived G Strings label there has long been a mystery as to who the producer is, although rumour has it that Ron Trent is the man with the sleepy magic in his eyes. Not that it matters; what’s important is that The Land Of Dreams remains, after more than a quarter of a century, one of the most blissful house records committed to vinyl. Even with our modern obsession with ‘deep’ music, this still sounds like a well of house delights which leads straight down to the soul.