Drexciya – Grava 4 (Clone Aqualung)
It’s Drexciya. Don’t really know what else there is to say, so I’ll say it again: It’s Drexciya.
OK. Look. There are actual reasons why you should buy Grava 4, chief amongst them is that it really, really was the end of, well, I was going to say era but that makes it sound like the death of Britpop or something. It was the final gleaming of something which lent fresh meaning to a genre already growing lazy and formulaic despite being less than 15 years old. And although it perhaps lacks something of Drexciya’s early, rougher, musical journey, listening to it now is a profoundly exciting and unsettling experience which reminds you once again how much further Donald and Stinson had moved beyond everyone else. Whether it’s the sleek, soulful electro of 700 Million Light Years From Earth, the signal from deep space which is Cascading Celestial Giants, or the low slung, prowling, Powers Of The Deep this is Drexciyan electro refined and widened. There have been countless imitators but no one ever sounded like Drexciya because the moment you try to copy them, it just turns to dust. Just buy the album.
Sueno Latino With Manuel Gottsching Performing E2 E4 (Dance Floor Corporation)
I loved Sueno Latino way back when, but I’m a little more ambivalent about it nowadays. Perhaps that’s because I heard it so many times. I don’t know. It’s still a great tune, and one of those big numbers which no box of records is probably complete without, even though that begs the questions of why you wouldn’t already have it. Ah, but such logic is not for fans of the repress…
Anyway, I guess the track you favour is tied into the era you first heard it. For me that obviously means the take by Big Derrick May, and his version probably remains the best known, at least to those of us who were kicking around in clubs when techno and house really, really began to explode. The three other version here are all pretty good, each of them providing the tune with different qualities and different angles. But no matter what mix does it for you the best, all of them rely on the tune’s undoubted daybreak warmth and light for their soul and emotional centre. Aside from Dezza’s take, my personal favourite here is probably the Winter mix – a loose, freeroaming and gigglingly lopsided slice of happy-go-lucky simplicity and sunshine. As fine an example of all that was good about Balearic house as you’ll find. And as an added bonus every track comes with a free aviary of loons. Much loonacy in fact. Ho Ho!
ERP – Lunar Ruins ( Harbour City Sorrow)
Fact – if it hadn’t been for electro labels, the state of represses in 2017 would be shocking. They have collectively done us proud so far, which is a damn sight more than I can say for the rest of the ill-bred family. Frustrated Funk offshoot Harbour City Sorrow have been doing some particularly impressive work recently when it comes to reprints, and the return of this 2011 release by ERP is especially welcome, seeing as – by even his unusually high standards – it’s a pretty damn fine record.
ERPs’s track record when it comes to deep, engulfing electro is well known, but this is something else. Title track Lunar Ruins, and Into The Distance are both spectacular bursts of deadly yet soulful alien-machine music, organic but disciplined and so deep that your feet will never touch the bottom. But the real stand out here, I think, is Mimosa Canopy, where the breaks are replaced with a tight, grooving 4/4 that acts as a springboard for some of the most gorgeous bassy noodlings you will have heard in quite some time. It’s a track which touches on the stellar themes of Juan Atkins, Drexciya and a host of others, but emerges from the wormhole as something exquisitely, uniquely, fresh.