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100% SILK

In the fall of 2013 Maria Minerva mapped an 8-show United States trek up the west coast and across to Chicago but, being newly emigrated from Estonia without car or driver’s license, needed a traveling companion who did. Given the grueling itinerary only one road warrior / joie de vivrist came to mind: dear friend, penpal, and SILK sister Chelsea Faith AKA Cherushii. The two covered over 3,000 miles together, performing in bars and towns not known for leftfield electronic patronage (i.e. VFW halls in Missoula, Montana). Though attendance was occasionally minimal they bonded deeply, in ways specific to arduous American DIY touring.

In subsequent years the pair shared bills, traded tracks, and remained close – even playing live together a few times – yet the dream of a proper collaboration always loomed. The tragic Oakland fire of December 2016 cut short such plans but not before they’d written, recorded, and mixed the better part of six songs. With the devoted assistance of David Last, Adam Gunther, and Brian Foote these recordings were posthumously polished and finalized and now it's time to share them with the world. Drawing on Minerva and Faith’s most vibrant Venn diagram overlap, the tracks evoke mirror-lined music video sets, downtempo night drives, rainbow eyeshadow, glittering skylines, and sweaty discotheques, flowing from lush to lavish, highly finessed and full of feeling. It’s the sound of true union, Faith’s divine dancefloor DNA threaded through Minerva’s chic pop hooks, rhythmic and revelatory, the best of both beautiful worlds. The collection closes with a swooning ambient edit by Glassell Park hardware-whisperer Leech, Maria’s voice dubbed into a gauze of otherworldly emotion: “I’m going astray.”


Scotland-born Parisian Paradise 100 (aka DJ Africa, aka Graham Peel) has been percolating stripped-back, bouncy-castle house constructs onto the web for a few years but never locked them in wax until now. High time. Following his minimalist dictum “more than three tracks on a song is just indulgence,” his debut EP’s four cuts share a sleek, spare design, jigsawing slinky bass, classic keys, lean drum programming and flashes of synth mirage into fluid, aerodynamic patterns. Touches of melodic acid and crossover new wave color the mood an exotic, hedonistic hue (further evinced by titles like “The Loin King” and “French Kissing in the House of Love”). His own vision of the project is appropriately fantastical: “The image in my mind is of tropical forests at night, torchlight, distant sounds of tribal ritual dance and ghosts.” Regal music for pleasure domes.

This debut full-length from Los Angeles ensemble follows a pair of 12"s on 100% Silk and ESP Institute. Not Pharaoh - one guy, one MIDI controller - but Pharaohs, plural: a dance band and magical rarity amid the lorn ’Lesis landscape of solo producers and desktop DJs. Bunkered between an arrangement of stackable synths, the Pharaohs squad jams workshop-style, an endearing, funky, spirited live-thrive. "Replicant Moods" is one part airy coastal jazz, that Ibeatha-meets-Madchester baggy style the group melted soles with on their first 12" "Uhh Uhh", and two parts sci-fi soar into the new age, complete with Philip K. Dick winks, tech-know wonks and sleek Daft Punk-choreographed boogies. A Maria Minerva guest soft spot on the ESG / Weymouth bass bust “Miraculous Feet” lends another sweet shuffle to the clone conga line of Technics tracks. "Replicant Moods" is sensual - like a slinky Shakira-bot booty shake - and also considered, a nuanced composition slowly evolving into a compelling layer dip of starstretching get-down.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Cosmic house action on 100% Silk. Thumping beats and analogue bass jam "Again" is a straight up dancefloor weapon, while elsewhere boogie meshes with first wave Detroit.

Roland Tings

Milky Way

Like the satisfying first sip of soda water spritz, Roland Tings’s debut EP 'Milky Way' bubbles, barms and beads through your body. Roland Tings is Rohan Newman, a Melbourne producer who, like recent rubies Holy Balm, Forces and Canyons, proves there’s just more and more greatness behind the great and powerful Oz. Melodic acid trips soak in swish-ticky booms, like a rubber ball in space with endless bump and bounce. Sweet off his Japanese jaunt, speeding things down with Sapphire Slows shows, Newman’s taste is pure effervescence and buoyancy. But he’s got a percussive stickiness as well, a vim / vigor that raps and rips through Trax touchups and echo-plexes. Not the nineties but the “none-ties” - no glimmer glam, sampladelic vocal vacations or happy house heartbeats. He ends the creamy Milky Way with a brilliantly wonky theme that springs like a wind-up toy gone loose. Roland Tings, Dings and Zings.


Octo Octa adds the melancholy to LA Vampires infinite fadness on "Freedom 2K", their reachin’ / preachin’ 50/50 collaboration on 100% Silk. Here La Vamps has traded her cheap'n’chic booty-budget grooves for sleek'n’chic haunted house. With lyrical references to Minnie Riperton, Arthur Russell, and Evelyn 'Champagne' King, vocalist Amanda Brown reappropriates realms of romance, skewing them into fresh sonic moods. Her wash'n'rinse sing / speak is backed by Nick Malkin’s keys-like-skippin’-stones, Britt Brown’s Tex-Mix dub-bumps, and Brian Foote’s sense and sexpertise, which are all just spit and shine for Octo Octa’s moonlit piano naïve melodies. Gloss and glow design by aesthetic-elevator Bobby Houlihan, with silver and pink toned drop-of-androgeny photography by Ashley Anthony, will push your candy buttons. "Freedom 2K" provides dance-or-be-danced-on anthems for the 21st Century, with a diagonal devotion to our generation’s gay nineties. 'We were living in a fantasy' - George Michael, "Freedom 90".

Catwalk calls from a Creole Camelot; Sir Stephen’s more Boy London than Boy Bayou. Like the well-lit fitting room of a United Colors of Benetton store in Milan, “By Design” is consumer-cool counter culture, if the counter’s a denim bar that only takes gold Amex. Like the pool on the roof of a luxury hotel in Tokyo, “By Design” is Starck-er than stark, wetter than wild, and deeper in the shallow end. Like a Kuwakuba runway during Paris fall fashion week, “By Design” is baggy on Agynes, mixxy on Moss, jammin’ on Gemma. It’s so down it’s beat, so after-hours its early afternoon, so oversized there’s room for two. Made by design with the finest materials - rayon and on, cashmere and cream, and 100% silky Silk. Yeah, boy. Well, that's what 100% Silk say, we think this sounds like a quartet of Inner City Detroit house B-side dubs. Kevin Saunderson gon' get paid.




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