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Joshua James

Coarse - Inc. Justin Cudmore Remix

Erol Alkan welcomes Joshua James to Phantasy for his debut release ‘Coarse’ featuring The Bunker NY producer Justin Cudmore on remix duties.

A fixture of London’s dedicated queer club scene, James maintains a trio of distinct residencies, including XOYO, the notorious 'Savage' parties, as well as fortnightly on Rinse FM. On this unapologetic and upfront track, the DJ-turned-producer instantaneously captures the raw energy and sexuality that underpin his life by night, backed by a remix from a key figure in the US underground, Justin Cudmore.

Designed with sweatboxes and serious sound-systems in mind, ‘Coarse’ wastes no time in establishing its rude intent; hammering jack-bass, orgasmic cut-up vocals and larger-than-life synthlines flirt expertly from the off, before the track descends into outright sleaze in the spirit the of gnarlier edge of acid-house. Only a series of breathless gasps indicate you’ve safely reached the other side… A personal weapon for James each week behind the decks, as well as for Phantasy founder, Erol Alkan, ‘Coarse’ is a powerful dancefloor paean with only one (well, maybe two) things on its mind.

Having turned heads with his own uncompromising acidic perspectives on labels such as The Bunker NY, Phonica White and Honey Soundsystem, New York-based DJ and producer Justin Cudmore unfurls ‘Coarse’ in a trippier, deeper direction, nonetheless still bumping in a style that subtly recalls the peak-time sound of classic 90s NYC clubs like The Tunnel.

Red Axis return to Phantasy are a mega debut for the label. The Israeli duo are one of the most credible acts in dance music right now, with an impeccable catalogue; but these three tracks find them in even more confident form, harnessing the power of electronic music like no one else out there.

"Sound Test" opens via a well executed robo-vox intro, counting down into a upward spiral of bleeps, rising sine tones and shattering glacial synth patches, when the final '1' announces the arrival of the track Red Axis flip the track into a bass-driven juggernaut the plumes outta the speakers like dragon's breath. Gradually, the layers of percussion build up again, with ripples of intensity equal to that of a high dose psilocybin trip. "Shabak Shalom" opts for a more shuddering and thrusting take on mid-tempo techno framework with a plethora of perc hits attacking a pulsing two-note bassline while an arsenal of dizzying synthwork and plucked melodies converge on the track. Constructed with an unfathomably level of intricacy, is really highlights the Red Axis team as skilled and inspired producers. "Kookoo Papa" concludes with a kind of modern EBM power track that I'm sure Weatherall and Fairplay are just dying to utilize at one of their ALFOS parties and sure to work its way into MCR jocks Jon K and Annabel Fraser's repertoire.




STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Truly out-there but reeking of the right now, Red Axis conjure up a black-leather goth-dance masterpiece for the heady industrialists populating the more leftfield dancefloors in 2019. Check!

Late Of The Pier

Fantasy Black Channel - 10 Year Anniversary Edition

    Late Of The Pier announce a special 10th anniversary edition of their cult debut album ‘Fantasy Black Channel’, produced by Erol Alkan and released in 2008 to great acclaim. Fittingly, the reissue will be released on a limited lenticular edition of 500, alongside a standard edition both with heavyweight vinyl. Both reissues are accompanied by a digital companion album of unreleased demos and outtakes from the album recording sessions – set for release through Alkan’s Phantasy Sound label, landing in stores on 18th January 2019.

    LOTP (Sam Eastgate, Andrew Faley, Ross Dawson and Sam Potter) were a band of inter-dimensional musicians who landed in the late noughts, whose wild journey took them from the quiet North West Leicestershire countryside to the stages of Coachella, Tokyo and beyond, touring with the likes of Soulwax and Justice. Their music was a mutant take on pop that described the chaos of being a teenager by looking forwards and back-wards over and over again until the present moment started to make sense. Following the release of Fantasy Black Channel they put out singles ‘Blueberry’ and ‘Best In The Class’ in 2010, picking up fans from Mike Skinner to Dave Grohl along the way. Talking in a 2014 interview, Grohl exclaimed, “They blew my fucking mind. They’re called Late of the Pier. They made one record and disappeared. […] They use crazy computers and then they rock and it sounds like dubstep for one minute, then it’s a crazy prog thing, and it’s like, ‘Wow’.”

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    Deluxe LP Info: Deluxe version is a lenticular sleeve edition and is limited to 500 units worldwide. Both formats contain a digital bonus of rare demos and oddities.

    Erol Alkan

    Spectrum / Silver Echoes

    Erol Alkan returns to his home at Phantasy with "Spectrum" and "Silver Echoes", his first original solo material in five years; two pure dancefloor cuts which perfectly embody Alkan's charismatic, psychedelic tinged and singular approach to DJing and production.

    "Spectrum" opens with gated synth lines shuddering into focus over a wash of electrostatic. Reminiscent of the sounds you might well hear in seminal London club Trash (which he founded), it rises in intensity, with Alkan's skilled synthesis morphing the leadline around various stylistic points and melting your face clean off in the process!

    On "Silver Echoes" Alkan bridges melancholia and dischord into slowly developing euphoria - something he does very, very well. Diving immediately into the heart of a powerful melody that gradually flourishes, the track increases in energy with every rotation until you're swamped in a fizzing mess of synthesized elements.

    A perfect summation of both past and contemporary influences, as well as a lifelong open-minded stance, "Spectrum" and "Silver Echoes", each capture a side of Alkan's always-evolving energy and technique, mixing his studio prowess with a timeless instinct rooted within the communal potential of the dancefloor.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Matt says: Ever-reliable Erol, that's what we call him here at Picc HQ. The producer who's presence across clubland rarely fades, comes correct with two late night juggernauts.

    Taken from Gabe Gurnsey’s upcoming debut solo LP, "Physical" (also out on Phantasy), "Eyes Over" zones in on techy, intricately constructed electronic groove; comprised of interwoven synth stabs, a growling analogue snarl and darting elasatic lines. Gurnsey's vocal reminds me of Green Velvet - all drugged out and warbling; and sounding super paired next to these narco-beats.

    The stripped back, jugular hitting, "Extended Dub" takes more precise aim at the dancefloor, allowing each disparate, analogue element more room to attack across that bassline throbb. Specialist tackle from Gurnsey here...


    Five years after his critically acclaimed debut Drone Logic, London-based producer Daniel Avery announces his highly anticipated second album Song For Alpha, set for release on March 9th 2018 through Phantasy. The album is preceded on January 19th by a 4-track limited edition 12” vinyl EP titled Slow Fade.

    The new long player, on which the track ‘Slow Fade’ will appear, follows 2013’s incendiary debut Drone Logic. Upon its release the latter was called “A mesmerising debut" by Mixmag, “Exceptional” by the Times and "A benchmark for so many other dance albums to aspire to" by Dummy, while Pitchfork proclaimed “Avery owns this space.” “Underground dance music with this sort of ambition hasn’t been heard in quite a while", noted Resident Advisor, and Q hailed  "The arrival of a new left­field dance superstar."

    In the years since, Avery has helmed a DJ-Kicks mix CD, resided over a monthly radio show for NTS Live, curated an extensive remix compilation and collaborated on a series of side-projects including a recent collaboration with Nine Inch Nails synth specialist Alessandro Cortini; he has toured relentlessly, cementing a reputation as one of the defining techno DJs of the decade. He has also worked studiously on what he wanted to say next as a producer. 

    With newfound energy and time to develop, Avery’s sonic vocabulary has expanded. Here, the booming sound of the big room is brilliantly countered by the music of the small hours. Where celestial ambient lullabies ‘First Light’ and ‘Days From Now’ sit perfectly next to the mesmeric techno assault of ‘Diminuendo’ and ‘Sensation’; where both ‘Projector’ and ‘Clear’ evoke early rave records, only ones engulfed by waves of beautiful cyclonic distortion. William Basinski, Warp’s Artificial Intelligence, Brian Eno plus his own excursions with Alessandro Cortini all serve as touchstones for a record that sees Avery take his signature psychedelic-electronic sound to new dimensions, a sound that plays to the head as much as the body.


    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: Delicately presented electroacoustic compositions, supported with a finely honed backbone of melodic suggestion and hypnotic rhythmic pulse, Avery once again proves he is one of the masters of his craft.

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLP Info: Double 180 gram vinyl.

    2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Cowboy Rhythmbox

    Tanz Exotique Remixes - Inc. Red Axes / Marvin & Guy Remixes

    Initially described as 'superlative 25th century electronic exotica' by Cowboy Rhythmbox themselves, the fourth EP from Phantasy’s in-house trouble and hitmakers received support from top jocks including Dixon, Jackmaster and Marcel Dettmann. Now, it’s dynamic lead track is rejigged, expanded upon and shot through with analogue energy by two equally inventive producer pairings.

    Israel’s finest, Red Axes take the first turn, coaxing the cosmos out of the original and allowing the bewildering vocal samples to lead the way through waves of more than pleasurable cosmic tension. Soon, with the timing just right, feet to pedals and strobe to hand, the pair unleash a series of distorted guitar licks that blow dust off the stacks, even throwing in a sharp blast of their trademark surrealist vocals for extra freaky FX. On the flip, Marvin and Guy zone out and hone in on the original’s EBM-indebted elements to contribute a trippy, wave-riding electro rework that oscillates irresistibly. Teasing listeners with a playful, almost naive synth line, the mood shimmers instead with uncompromising acid, as the pair ultimately push the modulars into strange and hypnotic territories to get lost in.


    Various Artists

    Erol Alkan Reworks Vol. 1 - Limited Edition Box Set

      Phantasy release ‘Reworks Volume 1’, a comprehensive collection of remixes from prodigious DJ and producer Erol Alkan.

      ‘Reworks Volume 1’ is a musical overview of what makes Erol Alkan one of his generation’s most iconic remixers. Framing a corner of his career in perspective - a success in taking on any source material and melding it into something of his own. Alkan’s philosophy towards a remix is to ‘re-produce’ work as if the original never existed. Avoiding methods like the transplanting of a vocal on a contemporary dance beat, or adding a four-to-the-floor 808 kick drum underneath a rock band, Alkan instead takes a considered approach to build something new that offers a fresh and divergent take on the music in front of him.

      This collection of reworks illustrates that his distinct style of remixing is just another layer in what makes Erol Alkan unique to dance music. Unpredictable but equipped with a Midas touch - you never quite know what’s coming but you can count on it to be special, a quality shared between both his DJ sets and his production work. Erol Alkan is a dance music artist with an alternative sensibility, a psychedelic approach and a punk outlook - what makes him stand apart in dance music is what makes him one of the genre’s most enduring and influential artists.

      The vinyl box set includes ten classic reworks remastered and spread across five pieces of vinyl, an exclusive interview and download code to the full digital album containing a further 10 reworks. The box is covered in linen with a red foil print.

      Trip. A simple arrangement of four letters that has many associations: a trip to the seaside, a drug trip (and so a journey into the unknown), a trip is to suddenly fall.

      "The Soft Bounce" is a trip album in the widest sense: containing nearly 45 minutes of carefully programmed music, it sets off into to the unknown, it contains pleasure and pain, doubt and transcendence, and it ends somewhere that is different from where you started.

      Beginning with expansive synth washes and "Love To Love You Baby"-style oohs, "Delicious Light" is immediately uplifting: we’re off on a switchback journey that will pass from light through darkness and confusion and pain to transcendence and acceptance. Darkness of a sort is forged in explosive motion ("Iron Age") before passing through sunshine pop ("Creation"), first wave UK psych ("Door To Tomorrow" with its invocation of "Emily", beloved of both the Pink Floyd and the Piccadilly Line), and the blissful Balearic emotion of "Diagram Girl". This passes into the American Gothic of "Black Crow" - that traditional avian harbinger of doom - and then we’re down the rabbit hole.

      “Tomorrow, Forever" begins in the sound of nothingness and slowly unfolds into beatless cloud reveries that are at once solemn and hopeful. Weightless, blown with the wind, you come down to earth with the skipping afro beat of "The Soft Bounce": a soft female voice pleads for connection, but she is almost swamped by the stinging, shocking guitar reverb. The positive moods of "Finally First" and "Triumph" put everything back together before the all-out acid assault of "Third Mynd": from life to death to rebirth, ‘you throw the sticks up in the air, and they come down in a different pattern.’

      “Is it the history of human kind or a personal, individual odyssey? With guest appearances from Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets), Euros Childs (Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci), Jane Weaver, Holly Miranda and Hannah Peel, Erol Alkan and Richard Norris have constructed an album that is both highly enjoyable and on a deeper level, perceptual and psychological. Growth is necessary, as is adaptation to change: neither are achieved easily or without some kind of sacrifice. Operating on a level that can be verbal but is more often non-verbal, music can ease that passage.” - John Savage.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: This is indeed a trip. Melodic but psychedelic rock music to get up and dance to. Anthemic choruses and stoner guitars hide behind swirling synths and softly delivered vocal harmonies before smashing into the foreground with a riotous burst of distortion and glam. Exciting and groovy, gleefully nostalgic ('Emily' he sings, I was fully expecting Barrett to walk in and tell me about how she plays), but resolutely modern. A trip through all the best bits of all the things you should like. Ace.


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