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Since 2014, Brighter Days has been a part of the rich tapestry of Amsterdam nightlife – a semi-regular party promoting positivity and inclusiveness run by resident DJs Kamma and Masalo. On the back of the platform provided by the party, the duo has notched up a string of memorable club and festival appearances, a regular Brighter Days show on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM, and a memorable Boiler Room set streamed live from Dekmantel Festival.

Now Kamma and Masalo have taken the next step and curated a Brighter Days compilation for Rush Hour, a collection that does a terrific job in offering up slept-on and unreleased gems – including a clutch of their own tried-and-tested re-edits – while also accurately representing the sound, style and ethos of the event that inspired it.

Like Kamma and Masalo’s event, which invariably takes place in intimate dancing spaces in Amsterdam, the Brighter Days compilation offers up an open-minded, club-friendly soundtrack that joins the dots between crate-digging obscurities from the recent and distant past, fresh cuts, ‘secret weapons’ and previously unreleased music from young, local producers who have become regular faces on Brighter Days dancefloors.

Across nine tracks, Kamma and Masalo deliver an enticing blend of tactile and colourful house, disco, basement-ready throb-jobs, inspired dancefloor dubs and righteous boogie jams, some of which are appearing on vinyl for the very first time (see Haroumi Hosono and Yasuhiko’s ‘Turquois’, an exceedingly rare, CD-only chunk of deep, throbbing tribal house intoxication).

There are highlights everywhere you look, from the piano-house rush of the ‘Subterranean Mix Edit’ of S’Xpress’s overlooked 1990 single ‘Nothing To Lose’ and the South African Kwaito-boogie brilliance of Cisco The Champ’s ‘Move On’, to the Italo-disco excellence of Hugh Bullen’s ‘Alisand’, and Mr Fingers’ jacking 1988 remix of ‘We’re Gonna Work It Out’ by fellow Chicagoan house producers North/Clybourn.

Kamma and Masalo’s remixing and re-editing skills are put in the spotlight, too. There’s the edit of Discotheque’s 1982 Dutch-Belgian disco classic ‘For Your Love’ and a previously unreleased ‘dub’ edit of French-Cameroonian artist Anyzette’s 1984 gem ‘Baladoun’, a low-slung slice of drum machine-rich body music that blurs the boundaries between Italo-disco, Afro-boogie and proto-techno.

Completing the package are two cuts that demonstrate the duo’s love of showcasing tracks by young and little-known Dutch producers. Peffa’s ‘Routine’, an immersive and emotive treat that blends elements of deep house and Detroit techno, is just one of numerous unreleased tracks by the producer that Kamma and Masalo has been showcasing in their sets in recent years, while Desmon – whose ‘Submerge’ is a woozy, off-beat deep house treat – has been a regular on Brighter Days dancefloors since the start. It’s a fitting nod to what makes Brighter days special: a close-knit community of dancers and inspired, lesser-known music old and new.

TRACK LISTING

S'Express ‎- Nothing To Lose (Subterranean Edit)
North / Clybourn - We're Gonna Work It Out (Mr. Fingers Mix)
Haruomi Hosono & Yasuhiko Terada - Turquois
Desmon - Submerge
Discothèque - For Your Love (Kamma & Masalo Extended Mix)
Anyzette - Baladoun (Kamma & Masalo Dub)
Hugh Bullen - Alisand (Dub Mix)
Peffa - Routine
Cisco The Champ - Move On

EP compilation of essential UK house cuts recorded between 1987 - 1990. TIP!

Before British house and techno found its’ distinctive groove at the turn of the 1990s, one act led the way: Bang The Party, a trio who emerged from London’s vibrant underground party scene in the mid 1980s and proved, beyond any doubt, that UK producers could make music every bit as magical as the pioneering productions put forward by their counterparts in Chicago, Detroit and New York.

By the time long-running DJs and party promoters Kid Batchelor and Leslie Lawrence joined forces with trained engineer Keith Franklin at legendary North-West London reggae studio Addis Ababa in 1987, they’d spent years as DIY dance music activists in Britain’s capital city. They channelled these experiences and their love of imported house and techno sounds into a new project, Bang The Party, in the process becoming the first British act to appear on Transmat, a reflection of the quality and authenticity of their music.

The latest Rush Hour Reissue Series release offers a snapshot of some of the numerous gems nestled in the Bang The Party catalogue, delivering a much-deserved celebration of one of Britain’s most significant early acid house collectives. It features four fully remastered cuts recorded and released between 1987 and 1990 – on-point and far-sighted club workouts that sound as fresh and timeless now as they did when Britain was sweltering under its infamous ‘second summer of love’.

Fittingly, the EP begins with ‘I Feel Good All Over’, the group’s ground-breaking debut single. Dedicated to their home city and one of the earliest UK interpretations of house music, the track exists in the grey area between Chicago house and New York ‘garage house’ – all jaunty organ stabs, jacking Windy City beats, restless bass and soulful vocalizations. ‘Jacques Theme’, which follows, originally nestled on the B-side of that single release. An early, acid-flecked expression of hip-house with a British twist, breakdance-friendly bongo patterns and a dose of Larry Heard-inspired deep house dreaminess, the track remains an under-appreciated classic whose rap verses reflect the popularity of hip-hop in London at the time.

1988’s ‘Release Your Body’, Bang The Party’s most celebrated early release, was reissued in the United States by Transmat, reflecting the strong working relationship between Derrick May and Kool Kat Records’ Neil Rushton. A hypnotising affair propelled forwards by sweat-soaked drum machine beats, jacking fills and an addictive bassline, the track offers another near perfect distillation of the band’s Black American musical influences while delivering something genuinely new and fresh.

Rounding off the EP is a choice cut from Bang The Party’s sought after 1990 album Back To Prison. Doused in the star-lit synth sounds of the Motor City with jaunty organ stabs inspired by the kind of New Jersey jams championed at East Orange institution Club Zanzibar, ‘Let It Rip’ is a superb slice of deep house soul featuring a lead vocal every bit as emotive as anything laid down by Robert Owens. Like the rest of Bang The Party’s output, it has stood the time better than anything laid down by their London contemporaries.

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Real nice vintage house music from London during that embryonic period. Still cutting the mustard today, this one's remained quite scarce and under appreciated until now.

TRACK LISTING

I Feel Good All Over
Jacques Theme
Release Your Body
Let It Rip

When it first slipped out in 2015, Manabu Nagayama’s ‘Light & Shadow’ passed most people by. Yet it’s a genuinely overlooked gem a musically expansive and uplifting Japanese deep house workout that first featured on a promo-only compilation back in 2015. A softly spun slab of slow-building brilliance full of fluid piano motifs, heady hand percussion, the track effortlessly sashays between heartfelt dancefloor melancholia and tactile deep house positivity. One DJ to see its potential was Rush Hour co-founder Antal Heitlager, who asked Masalo to remix it. Over ‘a few years’, Masalo worked on the revision in bursts, tweaking it and subtly altering the arrangement until he was happy. The results are undeniably impressive, elevating an already excellent track to whole new levels. DJs seem to agree, too, with Masalo’s fine remix becoming something of an underground anthem following the release of a limited number of white label test pressings earlier last year.

Taking the spiritual end of deep house as his inspiration – and happy memories of attending events while visiting Japan – the Dutch-Japanese producer has delivered a slowly-building epic that subtly ratchets up energy and excitement throughout, while effortlessly eking out every last drop of emotion from Manabu’s piano-laden production.

Extensively road-tested at the Brighter Days parties he runs with long-time DJ partner Kamma, Masalo’s remix settles into a chugging groove before introducing Manabu’s tactile hand percussion – a staple of spiritual deep house cuts – and melancholic piano refrains, as well as his own lilting chords and cascading synth sounds. By the time the original’s bouncy piano riff drops midway through, you’ll be lost in the music. Fittingly given the quality of Manabu’s original, it’s a revision that showcases the track’s best elements while gently lifting it to new heights.

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Beautifully rich, emotive and textured deep house here - it's the Japanese formula alright, but we haven't grown tired of it yet! Masolo is on hand to elevate it to spiritual realms. Yep, we're onto a winner.

TRACK LISTING

Light And Shadow (Masalo Version)
Light And Shadow (Original Version)

First ever vinyl pressing of Haruomi Hosono's full album "N.D.E." Featuring Goh Hotoda, Yasuhiko Terada, Yasuaki Shimizu, Bill Laswell & François Kevorkian. Big TIP!

Ever since his days as a pioneer of Japanese electronic music in the 1970s, Haruomi Hosono has constantly pushed forwards musically. The 1990s was a particularly fertile decade for the Yellow Magic Orchestra co-founder. Following two decades spent creating and releasing innovative electronic pop, imaginary sound worlds and inspirational ambient music, Hosono established the Daisyworld label to showcase cutting-edge ambient, techno and electronica, while also embarking on a wide range of often overlooked collaborative projects.

"N.D.E.", one of the headiest, psychedelic, evocative and gently mind-altering albums in Hosono’s vast discography, is one such project. It formed part of a run of albums that saw the Japanese producer embrace contemporaneous influences – think Spacetime Continuum style ambient techno, DJ Spooky-esque illbient, weighty ambient dub and the ambient house antics of The Orb - in his own inimitable, far-sighted style.

He was ably assisted on "N.D.E." by an undeniably impressive roll call of collaborators, most notably no-wave hero turned ambient explorer Bill Laswell (who Hosono subsequently worked with on joint album "Interpieces Organisation"), NYC DJ / producer Francois Kevorkian, and fellow Japanese ambient pioneer Yasuaki Shimizu.

With such a stellar cast-list, it’s perhaps unsurprising that "N.D.E." has achieved cult status over the years, despite being near impossible to find outside of Hosono’s native Japan. Remarkably, it never received a full vinyl release, with only five of the set’s cuts appearing on an ultra-limited sampler. Rush Hour have delivered a DJ-friendly, remastered version that spreads that album’s seven tracks across two slabs of vinyl.

"N.D.E." remains an impressive, unearthly and otherworldly album. Its unique and distinctive sound makes use of multiple nods to Eastern musical culture - think Tabla rhythms, heady violin courtesy of guest musician Arun Bagal, and transcendental synth sounds - but also throbbing techno grooves, Pete Namlook style ambient electronics, spaced-out dub rhythms, bubbly melodies reminiscent of Warp Records Artificial Intelligence-era IDM output, trippy tribal drums, and immersive electronic dreamscapes that recall the greatest exponents of Japanese new age ambient music.

Highlights are plentiful, from the Test Department-at-dawn brilliance of Bill Laswell co-production "Edge of the End" and the sunrise-ready, dew-fresh dreaminess of "Aero", to the surging ambient techno hedonism of "Strange Attractor" - a near cult cut that remains a timeless slab of hallucinatory dancefloor excellence - and the slow-motion space-dub of Francois Kevorkian collaboration "Teaching of Sphinx", whose oddly processed sounds and low-slung bass subtly reference the Orb’s earlier remix of YMO’s "Tong Poo".

There’s also the impeccable, pleasingly experimental "Spinning Spirits" - all addictive Indian rhythms, punishingly distorted bass, raw electronics and paranoid aural textures - and the sparkling bliss of "Heliotherapy", a woozy chunk of sun-bright electronic hypnotism that encapsulates everything good about Hosono’s mid-90s productions.

TRACK LISTING

Spinning Spirits
Navigations
Teaching Of Sphinx
Strange Attractor
Heliotherapy
Higher Flyer
Edge Of The End
Aero

Amsterdam and Naples based bassist Daniel Monaco (bass player for Nu Genea, Mystic Jungle & Capinera) joins the Rush Hour Store Jams imprint. A strong, disco-heavy two tracker featuring vocals from Mame N'Diack Seck Thiam and a wink to Cerrone, including instrumental versions. Released in conjunction with Utopia records London.

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Boasting credentials with Mystic Jungle and Nu Genea, Daniel Monaco is becoming somewhat of a modern disco superstar. His solo work is always super interesting too, as this new 12" for Rush Hour proves. Get in on one of the hottest talents in the modern scene. Tip!

TRACK LISTING

Life Lesson Feat. Mame N'Diack Seck Thiam (Vocal Mix)
Life Lesson (Instrumental Mix)
Medicine Feat. Mame N'Diack Seck Thiam (Vocal Mix)
Medicine (Instrumental Mix)

Gigi Testa is a bona fide Neapolitan hero whose work draws inspiration from local music of the last four decades - think Pino Daniele, Tullio de Piscopo, Tony Esposito, James Senese & Napoli Centrale, Nu Guinea, Mystic Jungle Tribe and rising stars such Fabrizio Fattore, Daniel Monaco and Raffaele Attansio - but also deep house and owes a lot to African music in all its forms.
He’s back with a brand new EP collating all these wild influences into one cohesive, tropical flavoured package. Three tracks of feathers n facepaint, rainforest-tinged house music that’s perfect for getting frisky under the moonlight.

Credits:
Written Arranged & Programmed : Gigi Testa
Mixed & Engineered : Gigi Testa & Paolo Convertito
Synths, Keyboards, Drum Machines, Effects, Live & Electronic Drums : Gigi Testa
Fender Bass,Live Guitars & Additional Keyboards : Paolo Convertito


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Tropical house master Gigi Testa returns to Rush Hour with more of his conga-heavy jive. House music and congas are inseparable; but when you add his other trademark elements - marimbas, warm pads, delicate bells etc - it's clear Gigi Testa has a vision and a palette to back it up. A inimitable yet highly mellifluous producer who's track's just emanate positivity.

TRACK LISTING

Jinja
Malinke
Echoes In The Sky

Rush Hour bring us this official re-release of this 'lost' 6-track mini album by New Yorker Ben Cenac (of Newcleus fame). Originally recorded and released in 1990, it's an absolute gem of a record - very much in the vein of Larry Heard's best recordings. Now available again for the first time in 22 years, with remastered sound and full artwork.

'A truly, dreamy, beautiful classic deep-house mini-album from the golden-post-Larry Heard era. New-yorker Ben Cenac, who was also member of electro pioneers Newcleus (and part of Sha-lor, who had a cool jazzy garage-house hit in the late 80s), shows a great sensibility and delicacy here in following mr Heard's path. His approach is perhaps slightly more sci-fi in the synths and pad sounds, and perhaps a tad less crafted and mercurial in production than the master (IE; less timeless), but this adds in realness and charm.

So, past the classic deep-garage dream "My Love Turns To Liquid" (in the vein of these sultry garage productions from Peter and Vanessa Daou), the rest of the record shows constant quality, with song titles that could have been (or actually have been) used by Mr. Heard himself, and a content oscillating between warming deep-house, sweet acid, lush garage and relaxed space-jazz piano parts, the whole thing also evoking the Beloved's better 'rave' moments ("The Sun Rising" etc).


TRACK LISTING

Side 1
1. My Love Turns To Liquid (5:25)
2. Breathe Deep (5:36)
3. Mystery Of Love (5:20)
Side 2
1. How Do I Love Thee (7:44)
2. Liquid (4:46)
3. Dream To Science (4:42)

Rush Hour-affiliate and Amsterdam local Relmer is back with what may well be his best work so far. ‘H2O’ expertly displays the vibrant energy he’s known for with two Amazon-inspired deep house groovers; a melancholic walk through the jungle; a Detroit-infused progressive anthem and a hypnotic midtempo floorwarmer. Absolutely stellar stuff from A to Z.

Produced to an exquisite standard, with maximum clarity, weight and dyanamic, "Bummer Paradise" opens and forces you to absolutely lose yourself to in the club. Heads-down, fist-pumping, sweat poring from every orifice. "Strange Movement" is a more delicate, enchanted offering, with rippling synth work, ethereal pads and crisp, midtempo disco beat.

"Naked Chimp" deploys a tribal chant and broken beat rhythm section, whirring sirens and extreme sound design to a deadly effect before "H2O" sweeps in on galactic chords, phazed hats and twinkling melodies from the outer cosmos. Space age techno funk that'd make B12 or John Shima sit up and take note. Amazing stuff here. the course of a few days. Sweet and savory both, the new material strikes a perfect balance between emotive sensibility and dancefloor appeal.


STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Check that "Bummer Paradise" track! Proper driving, late night tech vibe. Similar to Manchester's D. Ball. Feelin' it. Rest of the EP ain't half bad either.

TRACK LISTING

Bummer Paradise
Strange Movement
Naked Chimp
H20
Natural Disruption

Mother Tongue

Message Is Love

First time (commercially available) 12" pressing of this seminal UK house production. Originally released in 1989. For fans of Dream 2 Science / Sha-Lor, Virgo etc... TIP!

'The United Kingdom has long been an ardent supporter and consumer of African-American music. Dating back to the electrifying earliest performances of blues artists like Big Bill Broonzy during the early 1950s – an influence on Eric Clapton and John Lennon – right through to the dawn of Chicago house and onwards. In fan clubs, like the Tamla Motown Appreciation Society, started by soul writer Dave Godin, to the numerous fan magazines that have documented dance music culture from Blues & Soul to Mixmag, there has been an extended obsession with black music culture.

This lineage continued into the house era, our generation’s defining dance genre, and one with which British producers were swift to adopt. This record is a prime example of this. Although Mother Tongue was a one-off project, its history is rooted in this long-standing culture stretching back decades. The main man behind Mother Tongue was a drummer and record producer named Richie Stevens. Stevens was steeped in music and the industry, thanks to his father, John Stevens, also a professional drummer. Stevens senior played in numerous jazz ensembles during the 1960s and onwards, including performing with Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Scott, Evan Parker, Derek Bailey and was a session player with John Martyn (among numerous others) during Martyn’s finest period (it’s John’s drumming you can hear on ‘Big Muff’).

His son, Richie, was playing professionally while still a teenager for the Dennis Bovell Dub Band and has subsequently backed everyone from Tina Turner and Simply Red to Hugh Masekela and George Clinton. He is also a long-term collaborator with Boy George. But the story of Mother Tongue begins with a band called Well Red. This group, effectively a studio creation by Richie and his then manager Martin Poole, recruited vocalist Lorenzo Hall, a fixture on the London reggae scene and sold the concept to Virgin Records. Well Red yielded two albums – Motion and Respect Due – but never really got the crossover success their songs perhaps deserved. “Virgin were very supportive of us,” recalls Poole, today. “They gave us a lot of money. They pumped money into it, and it never quite paid off, but we did okay. We recouped and got to make a second album with George Clinton. It was a good move, recording with him. It did us a lot of good here and in America. We did pretty well in the US. We were very well-supported over there.”

This same team, working in a tiny studio near Richie’s house in Wood Green, north London, called The Watershed, produced ‘Message Is Love’. It features the vocals of Syn-Dee (Sindy Finn) and Lovebase (Louise Porter), who co-wrote the track with Richie and Alan Lane, another Stevens collaborator, and Ian ‘Spy’ Austin, who’d previously played in the same reggae band, The Instigators, as Lorenzo Hall from Well Red. “Remember it well,” says Martin Poole. “We were just writing it there and then in the studio. It was me, Richie, Spy, and I think Syn-Dee was there as well. When I got home later, Richie played it to me over the phone and I said, ‘That just sounds brilliant,’ from how we'd started it off, you know?” Thanks to their experience in the studio with Well Red, they managed to produce a song that has the timeless feel of all good music.

Mother Tongue was the opening track on a compilation called On The Loose Volume 1 on their own Furious Fish Records. Every track on the album, despite having different artist credits, was done by Stevens and Poole, often using a rotating cast of characters that had also appeared on ‘Message Of Love’. Although it did not sell especially well at the time, it’s become a collector’s item over the years. This is the first time Mother Tongue has appeared as a 12-inch single, a long overdue (but very welcome) happening.'

(Notes by Bill Brewster)

STAFF COMMENTS

Matt says: Well mined deep house greatness; Rush Hour excavating "Message Is Love" from the gold seams of UK dance music. Obviously indebted to Chicago, it's an early and brilliant example cross-pollination and adoption from our fertile soils.

TRACK LISTING

Message Is Love
Message Is Love (Edit)

Soichi Terada & Masalo

Diving Into Minds / Double Spire

Soichi Terada & Masalo team up to produce club mixes of tracks from Soichi's highly acclaimed "Asakusa Light" album.

"Diving Into Minds" is given even more umph, pushed forward with multiple layers of rhythms, be it articulately programmed congas or aggressive 909 snares. "Double Spire" is equally ramped up, it's Italo-influenced origins given extra sparkle whilst the arrangement heads straight for the mainroom with active lasers and strobe lights primed for use across this big rig smasher! Really tasty tweaks that'r more than essential for your casual Terado fanboy and likely to do serious damage in the club too. Do not sleep! 


TRACK LISTING

Diving Into Minds (Club Mix)
Double Spire (Club Mix)

Torn Hawk

Men With No Memory

    Torn Hawk re-emerges on this ace limited edition double 7" edition. Intimate, darkwave bedroom ballads, plate-reverbed electronic punk and high degrees of rhythmic noise characterize this inimitable New Yorker, making him somewhat of a favourite here at Piccadilly. Across five tracks we get a further glimpse into what makes this freak tick, as he gracefully constructs a collage of abrasive and visceral textures underpinned with a dark, psilocybin-tainted sludge that makes you feel like you're in that scene out of Fear And Loathing when the carpet's melting and Hunter's struggling to keep a grip. Torn Hawk ably demonstrates the fractal and sonic fluctuations that occur during a peak psychedelic experience like few can, but rather than revel in the flowery, faux-hippy nature of the trip, he takes it to the darkest and most tumultuous parts of the journey; what a legend! Comes with fold out, full colour insert. TIP! 

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Men With No Memory
    2. Poser
    3. With Butterfly Knives
    4. Stealing Geodes From The Nature Company
    5. Not Quite Music


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