Veteran Italian DJ/producers Alex Vanni and Tony Barbato draw influence from the hallowed sounds of Chicago and Detroit. They started working together in 2005 under the Mono moniker, and they’ve had much success. The twosome’s acclaimed Flowers EP issued that same year on Rewind Records was played by legends including John Digweed, Alex Neri and appeared on Steve Lawler’s Lights Out 2 compilation. In 2015, Vanni and Barbara formed Klondique as an outlet for deeper electronic excursions, and they have gone on to produce choice tracks for Stereo Productions and MoodMusic. The pair make another bold musical statement as Klondique on their upcoming Light & Dark EP (Favoritizm), a two-track release featuring warm melodies, atmospheric pads and quixotic basslines. We’re extremely pleased to world premiere “Backtrack,” an intoxicating track from the release out August 30 on Traxsource and everywhere else on September 13.
Buzzy London synth outfit Emotional — the musical union of Sian Dorrer (The Bomber Jackets, PLUG and Ravioli Me Away) and Adam Parkinson (Dane Law and SDF) — formed in 2013. Drawing from a wide swath of electronic music — trance, pop, house, electro and freestyle — their sound recognizes no boundaries. After three years of hard work, the pair will release their enthralling debut album via MÏLK on September 9. In advance of the full-length’s release, the twosome put their track “Hawaii” in the hands of iconoclast Tokyo-based composer/coder Renick Bell, which we’re pleased to world premiere. Bell methodically slices and dices “Hawaii,” adding restrained dollops of glitch and angular beats. In the process, he’s reimagined the original’s icy pop sheen and has transformed it into something darker and equally as wonderful.
After previously working together on a few musical projects, Glaswegian singer Kali Phoenix reconnects with influential Bristol producer Hundred Strong (a.k.a. Ben Dubuisson) to create Voices. The album is an intensely personal journey that’s informed by the ending of Phoenix’s relationship. Her strong vocals mark her as one to watch.
Voices is dominated by her strong, passionate voice and soulful blend of different musical genres. From the gentle mix of soul and jazz on “What’s Your Poison” to the swirling acoustics and P-Funk grooves of “Bolt From The Blue” (which sounds like a more soulful version of Bristol legends Portishead) to the gentle but stirring beats of “Save Me,” there is a such a variation of different sounds. Each of the tracks segue together effortlessly, and despite all that is going on sonically, nothing ever sounds out of place.
These musical landscapes are bolstered by Phoenix’s voice. She can go from a gentle hush to an emotional howl in a heartbeat with ease and confidence. Under the tutelage of Hundred Strong, Phoenix displays her talents which despite the seemingly laid-back vibe of the project are defiantly focused and supremely executed.
There’s is a strong hip-hop and dub influence under the whole thing with Hundred Strong’s Bristol roots giving Voices an urgent yet familiar feel. The producer does a fantastic job with the two styles, making them work brilliantly together. Although the material could be raw given the subject matter, the musical outcome is smooth and uplifting and sounds all the better for it.
The circumstances for the content of the album may have been brought together by a tumultuous experience but the result is definitely a positive one. Kali Phoenix’s voice is the perfect example of the healing power of music and establishes her out as a talent for the future.
Picking up where they left off with the CDJ-2000NXS2 which boasts a seven-inch high-res touch screen, enhanced track browsing functionality and support for playing high-quality FLAC and ALAC files, Pioneer DJ has unveiled their XDJ-1000MK2. The company’s latest and greatest USB-only multiplayer sports important features Track Filter, which filters tracks by BPM and key, and the new Matching feature displays suitable tracks you’ve previously tagged in rekordbox when they’re mixed with the track that’s currently playing. You can connect the DDJ-SP1 controller (sold separately) and use its large Performance Pads for tactile control of many of the new or improved features on the XDJ-1000MK2, including its eight Hot Cues. The XDJ-1000MK2 is available from September at an SRP of €1,299 including VAT (roughly US $1467). Check the machine in action below on this snazzy video.
Spanish DJ/producer Ramiro López (listen to his Big Shot Guest Mix here) has pushed his career forward in many ways this year. His 2014 collaboration with Coyu called “That’s Not Happening” got a second life courtesy of a phenomenal remix by Nicole Moudaber. Among other releases López dropped Apt 13, a sweet lil’ two-track EP on Chus & Ceballos’ Stereo Productions. Plus, he shifted the Odd Recordings label he co-runs with Arjun Vagale into next gear. Before he got on a plane to play his debut gigs in San Francsico and Los Angeles this weekend, López took time out from a studio session to answer our burning questions — by video (!) — about his pair of West Coast gigs, realizing his dream of releasing on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode in September and a summer filled with memorable gigs at Amnesia in Ibiza and all over South America.
Ramiro López plays F8 Club in San Francisco on August 26 and Exchange LA on August 27 with UMEK and Oscar L.
Jesse Rose’s acclaimed Play It Down label have announced the launch of Label Mates, a brand-new compilation series. Rose tapped LA DJ/producer Brillstein to mix the first installment, Label Mates 001, featuring 29 tracks culled from PID’s catalog. The session will include two new exclusives from Brillstein.
Obligatory press release gush from Brillstein: “I’m quite certain I’ve put more thought and time into this mix than anything previous. Trying my damnedest to intricately weave the story together, while paying proper tribute to each track without being too obvious or linear in the execution. The catalog of each label is so impressive and brought back strong musical memories. Compiling it was a blast, digging through dozens of my favorite producers most legendary, or sometimes even overlooked tracks. All of them nestled in over 15 years of consistently funky house music… It was no small task to narrow that tracklist down, I promise. I even got to throw a few of my own lil’ nuggets in there (including some exclusive edits.) It’s an honor to be the first of our talented crew to have a go at the Label Mates concept and I like to think I set a high benchmark. I can’t wait to see what everyone else does!”