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White Noise: June 2012

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Holidays and Quick Spins: Session Victim, Christian Löffler

Hi everyone,

White Noise has been running for a year now, and I thought it was time that the site had a bit of an overhaul. As well as a much prettier layout, there are now different sections in the header for easy navigation and the site runs a great deal faster.

I'd also like to introduce a new feature to bring to the site, in the form of a brief series of musical recommendations. I run this site solo so I don't always have time to write a full review of all the great stuff I hear, and I thought it would be worthwhile to occasionally drop in with some recommendations of albums and tracks without the need for a whole review.

Of course I will still be writing reviews, features, and creating playlists, and each of these articles will go in their appropriate section so the key posts won't get lost amongst more casual recommendations.

Finally, tomorrow I'm leaving for a trip around the West coast of the USA for a month, so the site won't be regularly updated again until mid-July.

Have a good month everyone, and I'll leave you with some recommendations from what I've been listening to this week.

Session Victim - The Haunted House of House

The first thing I'd like to recommend is this fantastic album which slipped under my radar on release a couple of weeks back. Session Victim have been slowly building a reputation following on from their 2011 classic Good Intentions, and their debut LP has finally hit the shelves. It's a top-notch album of classic-sounding house music with a modern twist, and the end result couldn't be better. Literally every track is expertly put together and demands attention, from Dark Sienna's moody locked grooves to the smooth, feel-good glitching of Cow Palace by way of the title track's punchy boogie vibes. It's stylish, it's current, and it's endlessly satisfying and rewarding on repeated spins, so I recommend you get yourself a dose of Session Victim as soon as humanly possible.
Christian Löffler - A Forest

The second album I highly recommend is by Christian Löffler, whose Aspen EP I reviewed earlier in the year. Here the German producer offers a beautiful collection of organic and cerebral deep house; intricately structured and with an enormous array of natural-sounding textures. The album is clearly a labour of love for Löffler and it comes off as one, presenting a singular and consistent vision whether its in the deep groove found deep in a jungle of synths, effects and chimes in A Forest, the melancholic vocals that haunt the clicks and beats of Blind or the tumbling synths in pacing closer Slowlight. There are even a few tracks featuring guest vocalists, and while not quite all of these work for me (Gry's voice really starts to grate about 5 seconds into Feelharmonia), other collaborations such as Eleven feat. Mohna are a surprising success. Any fans of the deeper, slower end of the Electronic spectrum should check this out as Löffler's star is only set to rise from here.

That's it from me for a month, I'll leave you with some moody vintage house vibes, this killer track out soon on Delsin courtesy of Trevor Deep Jr. It's certainly been brightening up my day.

Trevor Deep Jr - Keep On!

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Monday, 11 June 2012

XI – Joy / Fear

Label: New Kanada

Canadian export XI has been creating big waves since his recent move to Berlin, marking a seismic shift from his usually maximalist productions on his fantastic second release on Orca this January, Immunity / Squeeze. On his latest EP for New Kanada, the Toronto-born producer shows he’s not done genre-switching yet, offering up three tense and moody slices of dance music that reference Bass, Dubstep and Garage.

On Joy / Fear XI offers up three tunes that offer different takes on contemporary Dance trends, and the title track is a monstrous dancefloor killer that’s sure to get pulses racing. Joy / Fear kicks off with unsettling looped vocals and a percussive pattern that slams hard against the bass bins, building to an early climax where everything unexpectedly drops away, replaced by disorientating pitchbent synths and throbbing bass stabs. The two disparate sounds duel for control of the track, receding and intruding to keep the listener always on their toes, resulting in an incredibly powerful assault on the senses that creates an uneasy tension and refuses to let go right up until the end.

Joy / Fear

Second cut Nightlif is a much more delicate affair, with a 4/4 pulsing gently under iridescent synth effects. Over the top of this XI laces canny micro-edits, tight vocal loops and a surprisingly pretty synth melody that simmers seductively over suffocating bass throbs and punchy beats. An early vocal loop recalls his Orca B-Side Squeeze but Nightlif is a force unto itself, proudly brighter and catchier than anything XI has produced to date. If these first tracks sound different to each other, it’s because they are, with only the producer’s relentlessly shifting percussive punches to offer a continuity of sound across the EP. Ultimately this works to the EPs advantage, as a real variation of the flavours on offer makes Joy / Fear a diverse and gratifyingly listen on repeated spins.


Final cut Antikythera situates itself mood-wise somewhere between the first two cuts, with the darkness of the title track married to gently bubbling synths while a strong 2step beat pattern stops the tune from ever quite taking off into dreamworld, despite the shiny synths encroaching towards the close. While XI doesn’t offer up anything revolutionary here, all three tracks are attentively detailed and put together with a keen sense of mood. As a DJ, the release is worth a look for its outrageously heavy A-side, and you might just find something to love in the gentler variations of the other tunes.


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Thursday, 7 June 2012

Fantastic Mr Fox – San’en EP

Label: Black Acre

It’s been a while since we’ve heard anything from Manchester-based Stephen Gomberg, which might strike some as odd considering what a packed year FMF’s 2010 debut was. Across two EP’s on the genre-defying Black Acre label Gomberg showed a taste for glitchy electronic variations that referenced Dubstep and Garage while remaining intriguingly experimental and genreless, particularly in regards to track structure. His taste for RnB became clear in the split-release bootleg he took on with Pariah, remixing Brandy with tight clicks and mad bass variations while Pariah took on Erykah Badu with flair. Here after a long break FMF wears that love of RnB on his sleeve, crafting four distinctive and impressive tunes that are well worth the year-long wait.

 Despite early parallels to the likes of James Blake and Mount Kimbie, here Fantastic Mr Fox’s sound is more unique and distinctive than ever, even while he takes on a variety of styles. On San’en he creates a fine sense of coherence to the synths and basslines in particular, cutting four tracks from the same sonic cloth while admirably reconfiguring these elements across differing genres and styles. The inclusion of vocalist Alby Daniels on three of the four tracks could be a questionable decision but ultimately pays off magnificently, with some tracks using the vocals as sampled melodic elements while on others the lyrics are allowed centre-stage, meaning Daniels’ words never intrude or overstay their welcome.

Speak Nuh

Pascal’s Chorus sets the tone of the release, a melancholy House tune with a thumping 4/4 deep in the mix that builds with Daniels’ sensual and low-key vocal inflections. A heavily-treated organ melody drives slowly to the surface of the track, eventually intruding forcefully to become the track’s main element, complimented by tightly syncopated percussive clicks and beats. It sounds new and meticulously detailed, but the opener merely sets the scene for a host of great rhythms and nuances on the next three tunes. Speak Nuh, the only vocal-less track, is a rude grime-referencing number that should get even the most reluctant dancefloor-dwellers moving. After a moody build with deep kicks a detuned synth-line slowly cements into place before dropping like a brick to establish a powerful groove. Restless producer that he is, Gomberg adds racing percussive twitches and a constantly-shifting melodic field of chimes and synthwork to ensure the tune always keeps you on your feet.

Yesterdays Fall

Title cut San’en is a low-key affair, with surprising emotional impact thanks to the naked vocals and stark percussive field, showing a clear pop-sensibility absent in FMF’s earlier releases. An excellent breakdown offers a shifting bassline before the track opens up, strong yet reserved with Daniels’ lovelorn vocals adding a human element even while they’re being chopped and looped. All the tracks here give a lot for the listener to love, but for me final cut Yesterdays Fall is the standout, cloaking the big synths and chattering percussion in smooth melodic chords and the catchiest vocal line on the EP, culminating in a tune verging on both Pop and brilliance. On San’en Fantastic Mr Fox proves that, despite a break, he’s still as relevant as ever, showing a deft hand at mixing vocals into his highly individual dance sound while sounding bigger, brighter and smoother than ever.


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Monday, 4 June 2012

May Roundup

It’s that time of the month again, here are some of my favourite releases from May, in one handy playlist. This month I've included a couple I missed from the end of last month and a couple that come out at the beginning of June. Enjoy!

Omar-S feat. L’Renee – SEX (Constant Gardens Posse Remix)
Leon Vynehall – Picture Frame (Clip)
West Norwood Cassette Library – Coming On Strong (Clip)
Jimmy Edgar – U Need Love
Boddika & Joy O – Dun Dun
Girl Unit – Ensemble (Club Mix)
Head High – Rave (Dirt Mix)
Guy Andrews – The Wait
XI – Joy / Fear
Swindle –If I Was A Super Hero
Hackman – Forgotten Notes (free download here)
Bo Saris – She’s On Fire (Maya Jane Coles Remix)
Fantastic Mr Fox – Yesterdays Fall feat Alby Daniels
Bondax – Wet Summer (free download here)
Friendzone – Chuch
How To Dress Well – Ocean Floor for Everything (free download here)

Here are a couple of top quality releases from earlier this year well worth checking out:


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