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Tigerbalm

Ello Koko - Inc. Flamingo Pier / JKriv Remix

As one half of British twosome Earthboogie, Nicola Rose Robinson has spent the last few years offering up joyously tropical musical fusions on Leng. She continues to explore and blur those boundaries with her new solo project, Tigerbalm, whose debut single “Ello Koko” is as colourful a concoction as you’d expect.

Robinson first started work on the track while travelling in Lombok, Indonesia, drawing influence from her humid surroundings, the country’s distinctive musical culture, and the far-sighted blend of aural inspirations. On returning to the UK, she enlisted the assistance of Alex Searle (bass and lead guitar) and Patrick Dawes (percussion) to complete her musical vision.

Opening with an infectious rhythm rich in disco drums and ear-catching hand percussion patterns, “Ello Koko” brilliantly blends flash-fried tropical funk guitars, squelchy electro synths, weighty dub disco bass, warm electric piano chords and sampled Indonesian vocal snippets. The resultant dancefloor-focused workout is simultaneously low-slung, jaunty and kaleidoscopic: it’s as impressive a solo debut as we’ve heard for some time.

As you’d expect, Robinson’s original version comes backed with some similarly inspired remixes. The first revision comes courtesy of rising stars Flamingo Pier, a collective whose glorious fusions of electrofunk, disco, Latin and African rhythms regularly explore similar sonic territory as “Ello Koko”. Their take on the track is powered forwards by an elastic synth bassline, Nile Rodgers style disco guitars, NYC boogie style lead lines and Patrick Dawes’ superb percussion. It’s a summer-fresh treat.

To complete the package, Razor ‘N’ Tape co-founder and Escort band member JKriv sticks a rocket up the backside of “Ello Koko” and turns it into an unfeasibly heavy dub disco treat. Alex Searle’s bassline and Dawes’ heady percussion dominate the mix, with Robinson’s dancing melodies stretching out atop the weighty grooves. Throw in some well-placed, delay-laden breakdowns and you have a version tailor made for celebratory peak-time moments.

DJ Pippi & Willie Graff

Lunares EP

If you’ve visited Ibiza in the last few years, there’s a fair chance you’ll have encountered DJ Pippi and Willie Graff. The experienced duo has been DJing together on the White Isle for years, finding time between sundown sets to make music together in Italian veteran Pippi’s home studio. The pair’s first collaborative EP dropped on Drumpoet Community way back in 2007, with the belated follow-up appearing a decade later on Compost Disco. Here they make their bow on Leng with the “Lunares EP”, a typically warm and woozy collection of cuts named after the Spanish word for “polka dots” (a fashionable item in Spain and the Balearic islands throughout the 1980s).

They begin with the slow-burn sunrise bliss of “Lunares”, a shuffling and glassy-eyed affair in which evocative, emotion-rich strings, heady vocal samples, echoing sitars and lilting guitars slowly rise above a thickset backing track rich in dubby bass, swelling pads, starry electronics and snappy drums. Capable of tugging at the heartstrings, it’s a sublime slab of mood-enhancing bliss perfect for both weary dancing and sofa-bound relaxation. “Saxolicious” lives up to the premise of the title, with Pippi and Willie wrapping snaking, effects-laden saxophone solos around a languid, slow motion groove bristling with hazy intent. Expect chiming electric piano chords, dreamy pads, rolling grooves and another fine bassline that will worm its way into your subconscious, spark up a spliff and stay there for days.

The EP’s final musical moment is, if anything, even more spaced-out and intoxicating. Employing extra-slow beats and a prominent jazzy bass guitar part, the pair invites us to get locked in to a chuggy rhythm. Throw in druggy synth lines, tactile electric piano stabs and some suitably cosmic effects and you have a hallucinatory treat that would no doubt have gained the approval of the late, great Andrew Weatherall.

Earthboogie

Creepy Steve / Human Call - Inc. Joel Harrison Remix

Since debuting on the label in May 2017, East London duo Earthboogie has been part of the extended Leng family. In that time, Izaak Gray and Nicola Robinson have delivered a swathe of superb singles and a fine debut album, 2018’s critically acclaimed "Human Call". Here they present their sole single of 2019, a two-track fusion of intergalactic, terrestrial and tribal elements reflective of their by-now trademark style.

Fittingly, lead cut "Creepy Steve" - a previously unheard workout recorded during the sessions for "Human Call" - contains many of the musical ingredients that made Earthboogie such an enticing proposition. It boasts a raw, fuzzy and driving analogue bassline, densely layered tribal percussion, dub disco-influenced guitars, woozy electronics and sporadic blasts of African style chanting. As if that wasn’t enough to get the blood pumping, Gray and Robinson have also thrown in some extended, rock style guitar solos and more cowbells, bongos and timbales than you can shake a stick at.

It comes accompanied by a previously unheard remix of “Human Call”, the title track from their superb debut album, by friend and fellow musical fusionist Joel Harrison. His version is warm, woozy, driving and percussive, brilliantly re-imagining Earthboogie’s original version as a supersonic slab of peak-time ready deep house. The band’s original chanted vocals, guitars and melodies slowly rise above bustling, all-action drums, weighty bass, alien-sounding electronic flourishes, poignant trumpet parts and seriously dreamy sustained chords. 


STAFF COMMENTS

says: Percussive rich and with plenty of cosmic warmth and... boogie! Or is it disco? A belter nonetheless.

Lay-Far & Phil Gerus

Solitary High Social Club

Two of Russian electronic music’s rising stars, Phil Gerus and Alexander Lay-Far, invite you to join them at the Solitary High Social Club. While table service is provided, they’d much rather you throw caution to the wind and head to the dancefloor.

Before joining forces in the studio, both Moscow-based musicians have delivered a string of memorable solo productions. Lay-Far has previously released a wealth of material on such labels as Local Talk, City Fly, Lazy Days and 4Lux Black, while synthesizer fetishist Gerus has showcased his electrofunk and disco-fired cuts on Futureboogie Recordings, Sonar Kollektiv, Public Release and Superior Elevation Records.

The five tracks that make up Solitary High Social Club deliver a perfect marriage of the two producers’ distinctive solo styles, combining the rich musicality of Lay-Far’s house productions with the spacey, intergalactic electronics of Gerus’s discoid adventures. In many ways, it’s a marriage made in heaven – or in Lay-Far’s celebrated In-Beat-Ween Studio, at least.

The duo’s spacey and melodious musical fusion is arguably best exemplified by lead cut “City 2 City, Star 2 Star”, a widescreen, mid-tempo disco epic rich in tactile Rhodes riffs, supernova synth solos, delay-laden drum beats, tumbling melody lines and heavy analogue bass. Fittingly, the track returns in “Reprise” form – think sweeping, weightless ambient bliss – to round off the EP.

Elsewhere, the duo provides further proof of their combined musical talents. Check, for example, the gentle drum machine electro beats, cascading new age melodies and sparkling, stretched-out synthesizer chords of the impeccably beautiful “Am I Tripping”, or the devilishly percussive, mind-altering brilliance of “Love Life”, where mutant electro bass, wide-eyed chords and alien melodies rise above a heavy, Afro-influenced groove.

As for “Snowflakes On Her Lips”, you’ll struggle to find a more confident and positive dancefloor workout all year. Blessed with killer piano parts, darting analogue synth-bass and a range of disco-tinged musical flourishes, it’s by far and away the most celebratory moment on an already happy-go-lucky EP. It confirms, too, our initial hunch: at the Solitary High Social Club, life is always good. 

STAFF COMMENTS

says: On the eve of the World Cup, Leng line up two of Russia's hottest producers for a 5 tracker of smooth grooving dance music flavoured by funk, boogie and disco.

There’s much to be said for chance meetings. Vitruvians – in their words, “a meeting of minds, cultures, styles and experiences, powered by music, and designed by faith” – owe their very existence to once such random encounter. In the summer of 2014, producers Frankie Valentine and Thomas “T-Ash” Sciurpa bumped into each other in a London shoe shop. Over a fine selection of brogues and loafers, the conversation drifted onto music. The duo quickly realized they had much in common, and a plan began to form: they would get together and make music as Vitruvians, using the alias as a vehicle for their collaborative work. Some 18 months and numerous recording sessions in England and Italy later, the first Vitruvians record is ready for release. Dropping on Paul Murphy and Simon Purnell’s Leng Records imprint, “Spaghetti Saloon” is a banjo-pickin’ hoedown at the last drinking hole in the Milky Way. Propelled forwards by a restless drum machine rhythm, the duo’s original version expertly combines winding synthesizer melodies, wild honky-tonk piano solos, clanging ‘closing time’ bells, and the most loved-up banjo player in the galaxy. Ennio Morricone, eat your heart out.
The flipside of the 12” features a pair of tasty, DJ-friendly revisions. There’s the chugging Banjo Dub, where delay-laden bells and undulating banjo lines rub shoulders with a throbbing, space disco groove, and the even more psychedelic and alluring Piano Dub. As the title suggests, this pushes the duo’s distinctive keys work to the fore, stretching out the life affirming solos in a bid to incite even greater dancefloor abandon. Down a glass of bourbon, grab a partner, and get dancin’.



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