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RUNNING BACK

Johannes Volk (Exploration, Axis) delivers a debut EP for Running Back that is like a Swiss knife. Five tracks moving within the boundaries of techno music and many times well beyond those. The title track yields the way in an electric drill manner, before new wave techno, piano house and Italo tropes meets beaming electro and even a slick homage to the man referred to as the purple one. It’s hard to imagine all of that without Volk’s upbringing in the tropic of Frankfurt’s techno legacy. Owing as much to Detroit as to Depeche Mode, it is what it is and you hopefully still just can’t get enough of it.

"I first stumbled across this record on a Tony Humphries Kiss FM Mastermix from 1990. While my obsession with vintage Humphries radio shows is no mystery, "Das Rote Haar“ stayed one for a while. With all the ingredients of a novelty record (German lyrics about someone falling in love with a red haired person), but graced with a backing track that sounded somehow like a Ben Cenac or Larry Heard production and not German at all, it was almost impossible to be placed in any corner. A few years down the line, I finally found out that it was by a - surpassingly enough - short-lived German studio project called Love Club. Behind it was one of Germany’s longest-serving DJs: Jens Lissat. Together with Peter Harder they recited a poem by Francois Villon that was made popular by the late German actor Klaus Kinski and built a deep house instrumental around it. According to the creator the idea was indeed to find a groove that was similar to those of the "cool records going out of Chicago and New York at the time“. So there you go. Re-issued, re-mastered and with a re-designed picture cover, it’s your chance to share my joy with a record that is as balearic as it is basement ready. Including a dub and in case the vocal creeps you out, an instrumental version par excellence. But maybe you will fall in love with the red hair, too."
Gerd Janson

STAFF COMMENTS

says: Once again Gerd Janson works his reissue magic, bringing us a wonderful German House obscurity he first heard in a Tony Humphries mix. Think Sceneries Not Songs era Larry Heard or Frankie at his most melodious, but with a breathy German vocal on top.

Master Plan was the Chicago based dance music project of Pepper Gomez and Tom O’Callahan. Spanning from 1984 to 1986, the groups development is in sync with the dance music scene of Chicago during that era. While their first record „Pushin’ Too Hard“ is a Windy City version of the NYC club music of the time and its European cross-pollination, „Electric Baile“ from two years later down the line is almost a quantum jump into house music. With the engineering help of Matt Warren, it bears the marks of Ron Hardy, Chip E, Farley Jackmaster Funk or the WBMX dance party craze, if you will. Here you have remastered and updated versions by Enzo Elia and Gerd Janson. The first ones’ edit attempt of „Electric Baile“ ignited this edition. A custom-tailored main mix is completed by a dub and useful bonus beat version to do, what DJs used to do. Concluded by two edits of „Pushin’ Too Hard“ by GJ, you get two great slices of yesterday that are still major dance music blue prints today.

Rheji Burrell Presents: New York House'N Authority

Out Of Body Experience

    You cannot say Nu Groove without saying Burrell. The seminal New York House label that existed from 1988 until 1992 was at the helm of a sound that was as much traditional as it was transitional. Since the closure of the Paradise Garage in 1987 and before the „NYC House sound“ was well-defined and fenced, Nu Groove was a kaleidoscope and an amalgamation of everything that informed it until then: uptempo r&b, reggae, dub, disco, freestyle, techno, jazz, and the sound that was embossed by Larry Heard in Chicago that was so well picked up in the Big Apple, you name it. Ronald and Rheji Burrell provided its basis, first floor and roof. But that story has already been told by our dear friends from Rush Hour, including its most important chapters. But we are going to tell a new one.

    Rheji Burrell presents N.Y. House’N Authority & The Utopia Project. Twelve tracks split over two EPs on Running Back. Named „Out of Body Experience“ and „The ’V’EP“, it features all new music that feels like modern garments cut out of a classic cloth. Almost as if the Nu Groove would have never stopped. And that it is - at the risk of self-praise - all that old or new fans and also we could hope for. Two EPs full of deep-that-doesn’t rhyme-with-sleep house music, has simple, yet clever arrangements, features jazzy sounds, but snappy drums, merry melodies and glossy grooves. An overall joy to listen or dance to. The difference in both EPs is for the Burrell-die-hards and Nu-Groove-scientists to decide.


    Running Back, no.1 stable for new house music vibrations, enlist Subtle Houzze for their first foray on the label.

    Veering into the techier realms of the house music spectrum, the four tracks here are littered with Detroitian tropes, jagged drum machines and space-age synthesis. "Hemisphere" kicks us off and could well be something out of Derrick May's back catalogue with its Motor City drums, intergalactic pads and Mayday-esque, pitch bent M1 lines. The Blade mix neither relents on energy or spirit either - engage lasers with this one massiv!

    "Magic Phantasy"'s seductive female vox, soaked in reverb and presented alongside sweet leads and caressing pad presets present one of those MDMA-drenched peaktime moments that few producers execute with such spine-tingling panache as demonstrated here. When that synth-clav line explodes expect unified rushes across the dancefloor.

    Finally, in the same week that Rhythim Is Rhythim's classic blueprint, "Innovator" drops, "The Traveller" concludes, a heart-on-sleeve tribute to the legendary Detroit LP that in many ways must have influenced this entire record's concept.

    A must for fans of that OG Detroit sound! Recommended.








    Krystal Klear returns, bringing with him a superb follow-up to a healthy string of releases over the past few years (2018's 'Neutron Dance' being a particular favourite). We kick things off with the octaved synth pulses and hammering 4-4 percussives laying out a statement of intent straight away before filtering in a syncopated resonant 303 throb on 'Entre Nous', slowly building into the charicatured but oh-so-effective 'drop' around the two minute mark. We get the whole gamut of perfectly produced and undeniably satisfying rave standards (piano, stacked saw waves, filters, sweat, bruxism, nystagmus, etc.) before following up with the soaring Italo pomp of 'Autobahn'. It's a bit more of a slow burner this, with the first couple minutes slowly pushing up the fader on the woody percussion loops and the latter half bringing in an octaved synth in a similar manner, but acts perfectly as a gradually growing and eventually explosive closer to the exciteable first side. 

    'I'll Be There When You Need Me' opens the second side with a slightly whimsical wash of subtle melodic counterpoint and panned 5ths all floating and ducking around the churning filter sweeps and snappy 909, layering elements into a stunning culmination of dewy-eyed retrospection and productional futurism, before closing with the more immediately poppy neon glare of 'Gambino', summarising the previous pieces while acting as a well-needed palate cleanser from the halogenic intensity of the previous three. 

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Bright, soaring instrumental bliss here from Krystal Klear, with huge synths and shimmering keys all coalescing into a euphoric, sweaty bath. Massive all round.

    Tiger & Woods come back with a new album - the third one to date. It is packed with playful melodies, italo disco, balearic house and cosmic funk. Believe or not all samples are legit and copyright paid in full! 
     
    These two Italian producers know how to work out the sustain-release pattern pretty well. It is not just a cut and paste exercise - creativity is at the epicenter of their creations. The opener, 'Forever Summer' is a slow chugger with plenty of sunshine. Very glossy. 'Warning Falls' carries on with the same narrative but accompanied by some vocals with a strong vocoder thrown on top. Reminds me of some ole good Daft Punk. In 'A Lovely Funk' we get more cosmic and more funky. Sounds like Sade in places. 
     
    'Night Quake' goes a bit darker and even slower than the chuggers above. Could fit in the 'Drive' soundtrack with any Italians Do It Better stuff. 
     
    On the flip, 'The Bad Boys' up the tempo slightly and loop the hell of a great riff creating a monster track, followed up closely by the italo, Moroder-esque 'Salsaro Ete'. Dancefloor territory now. 
     
    On '1AM', as the title implies, we are pumping and thumping on the dancefloor with its bright neons and playful acidic melody. Closing the LP is 'Kelly McGillis' where the tempo is slowed right down to produce a hypnotic 80s beauty with an outstanding bassline. 
     
    Classic Tiger & Woods. In top shape as the golfer himself who has just won the Augusta tournament after battling his inner demons!


    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: No, they are not fading out. These two Italians still do it finely . A compendium of slow chuggers, balearic house bliss and at time dancefloor friendly hits. Cut and paste in a more refined manner. Still rocking!

    Third album by Frankfurt's Phillip Lauer - one half of Tuff City Kids (with Gerd) and one of Germany's prime exports regarding all things melodic and dance related. "Power" is a topical take on classic dance and 80ies pop figures, disco music in a closet (Lauer is still in denial), singing arpeggios, android choirs, beautiful bass lines and sometimes the apparitional architecture of house music.

    Neatly placed on one piece of vinyl, “Power” collects nine songs that follow these roads. Expertly produced, recorded on high-end tape and complemented with intricate songwriting, many are regarding this as Lauer's magnum opus.

    “Power” is vintage Lauer. Like his attic - Pyramide Studio 2 for those who know - where a vast synthesizer collection from the days of yore and tomorrow meets other digital dinosaurs and analog axes, it showcases a sanguine, punky and vivid DIY-aesthetic that isn't too far from a garage band turned into a one-man-orchestra. Glazed with two songs featuring the vocal talents of Jasnau ("Mirrors" and the eponymous "Power"), that sentiment is consolidated through a complete and dizzying LP which takes the listener over rainbow roads and electronic super highways. 


    Running Back long standing legacy on modern dance music continues with an absolute dozzy of an EP by Helium Robots. If you like that twangy, hi-gloss, slightly exotic blend of house music oft permeated by artists on the label (think Telephones, Tensnake and Marco Passarani to name three), then this my friends is for you!

    Four tracks that instantly transport you into a carefree 72 hour weekend. The kids are at home, you've got money to spend and friends / lovers by your side. All that's left is to find your spot on the dancefloor (front left, obvs...), get loaded and dance the night away. Holiday house never sounded so good!

    Recommended. 


    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Bedazzling EP from this go-to and long running label. There's not many duff ones in their vast catalogue and this new one certainly hits the 'Yes' pile.

    History revealing compilation project centering around the legendary Front Club in Hamburg Germany that existed from the 80´s - late 90´s - a leading club in terms of music selection, mixing technique, rave culture - in a very important period of time.

    Eponymous resident DJ´s Klaus Stockhausen and Boris Dlugosch take a close look back at that time, guide you through the history, the early beginnings and absolute key moments of house music club culture in Germany.

    37 legendary tracks make up the CD release - many of which have not been on sale forever and a day while the vinyl, set across two volumes, selected 16 of the hardest hitting numbers for an unmixed selection for the DJs and collectors alike.

    Hamburg’s Front club was already the stuff of legend, and the story is important now, 21 years later as not many peoiple know how house music infiltrated Germany to give techno some competition on the dancefloor. With Front you wouldn't have Robert Johnson or, to some extent, Parorama - house and disco simply were not celebrated in large numbers until Front, Stockhausen and Dlugosch opens minds and record boxes to the soulful sound. 


    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLP 2 Info: LP Part Two.

    Tornado Wallace

    Lonely Planet Remixes - Inc. I:Cube / Move D / Prins Thomas

      After the well deserved critical success of Tornado Wallace's 'Lonely Planet' (No.5 in the only chart that matters...) Running Back enlist a crack team of remix heroes to transform the Talk Talk-inspired Balearic pop of "Today" and the new age thrust of "Trance Encounters" into the floor filling club cuts the DJs have been dying for. First among equals is Versatile boss I:Cube, who calls on decades of dance floor experience to twist "Today" into a esoteric, Asiatic, Balearic house groover awash with precision percussion and a rolling boogie bassline. So far so fantastic, but then the Frenchman blows us away with his beats mix, a rambunctious rhythm track topped with fx soaked vocal idents and mixed to within an inch of its life. Say YES! Elsewhere, semi-professional sommelier and deep house deity Move D delivers his own version of "Today", treating the light and airy elements of the OG to a burrowing bassline and pulsating 4/4, before Prins Thomas offers an interdimensional acid disco overhaul of "Trance Encounters", reminding everyone exactly why he's the Prins.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: I'm having this! The best bits of our No.5 LP of 2017 get pulled apart and re-rendered by I:Cube, Prins Thomas and Move D. Expect deep house drama, Balearic bounce, lysergic space disco and powerhouse percussion across these four mixes...

      FORMAT INFORMATION

      12" Info: One copy found

      Running Back's Mastermix series is a timely reminder of what has made Running Back endure and remain at the top of many house music fans' favourite label lists for over a decade. Gerd Janson's widely adored imprint has invited one of house music's original & greatest proponents of the Mastermix, NYC's Tony Humphries, to curate and mix the CD edition of the compilation, accompanied by an unmixed double-LP which features a handful of the compilations rare & exclusive cuts. Beginning with Todd Terje's blockbuster "Ragysh" and traversing tracks from across the label's history, it includes contributions from long time label regulars alongside more recent additions and reminders of some of RB's best reissues. Label mainstays Tiger & Woods, Matthew Styles, Redshape and Leon Vynehall all appear, alongside Mr G, Paul Woolford and recent breakthrough artists Shan, Jex and Roy Camanchero. Tiger & Woods's "Don't Hesitate" appears on vinyl for the first time, while the Dixon edit of Precious System's anthem "The Voice From Planet Love" will be available on wax again after only appearing on a super limited 12" run the first time around. The choice of Tony Humphries to mix the compilation is a significant one. Having received his break in the early 80s as an understudy for the legendary Shep Pettibone's Kiss FM show, Humphries went on to become one of the defining DJs of house music's formative years with his residency at New Jersey's Club Zanzibar and London's Ministry of Sound. His previous mixes illustrate his continuing ability to bridge dance music's past & present, with prior contributions to Resident Advisor and Fabric's respective series in addition to label compilations for King Street Sounds and West End Records.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: New Jersey don, Zanzibar luminary and Kiss FM's most celebrated dance jock, Tony Humphries takes time to explore the vast Running Back catalogue and delivers a highly enjoyable master-mix that perfectly encapsulates both the impressive depth of the label alongside Tony's unique and coveted DJ style.

      The eye of the storm: welcome to Tornado Wallace's debut album! How about some references? New Age sounds meet new wave melodies, Grace Jones runs into the Dire Straits at Compass Point, while a Korg Mini Pops and a Roland CR78 make amends for Sly & Robbie's absence, Michael Mann pictures Joseph Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness', Robert Rauschenberg tries his luck at naturalism and an imagined Wally Badarou echoes through all of it. The accumulation of about four years of work, with tracks written in Berlin and Melbourne, "Lonely Planet" is nothing like you may have expected from the Australian expat. Merging functionality with a musical playfulness on releases for ESP Institute, Beats in Space and Music From Memory's sister Label Second Circle, Tornado Wallace's found himself as one of the producers behind José Padilla's International Feel album. Here, he leaves the needs of the dance floor behind in order to create a magical mystery tour de trance into his and our inner jungle. Sandwiched between the title track and the yearning beauty of the album's final point "Healing Feeling", you get all of that as well as collaborations with and contributions of NO ZU, David Hischfelder and the voice of Sui Zhen on "Today", who would easily make Anna Domino take her proverbial hat off.
      Tornado Wallace created an album that supersedes the requirements and expectations of a debut. Like a lost Island Records or a never released Made to Measure album, "Lonely Planet" soundtracks notions and ideas that recall the nostalgic future in the past as much as it looks ahead.


      STAFF COMMENTS

      says: Comprising of seven expansive compositions, ‘Lonely Planet’ transports the listener to a dreamlike landscape alive with excellent birds, dense foliage and breathtaking vistas. As he glides effortlessly between future primitive visions and otherworldly ambient suites, Wallace marries lush FM synthesis with Knopfleric guitar and organic percussion, grounding us in reality while our eyes dart over the intangible. And there, nestled in the midst of all this utopian beauty is ‘Today’, the greatest 80s pop record that never was. Boasting a blithely shrugged vocal from No Zu’s Sui Zhen, the track sounds like a springtime meeting between Talk Talk and Gina X at a far flung resort. Yet despite its abundance of detached cool, this cinematic gem lends the LP a human touch, allowing the listener to find their place in the natural rhapsody. Clear your schedule, close your eyes and take the trip of a lifetime.


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