The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.
Track of the week: ‘Playground’ by Starving Yet Full
Starving Yet Full was one of the two vocalists with the house unit Azari & III, which unfortunately has ceased to be. SYF is not done housing though, and he’s readying a solo album which, from the sounds of it, will include at least one out-and-out house cut. So you’ve got the cymbals, the beat, the bass, all those rhythm elements you need to get jacking too old school. SYF has a lovely voice, which is plenty of soulful and which balances the deeper rhythmic elements. Around the 2:30 mark there’s a break where they lose the rhythm sounds and let the synth play out a bit, a sound he continues even when the beat and all that gets back in. In the mean time SYF is singing that gravity “brings him right down”, so I’m assuming it isn’t all going smooth and easy for the narrator. At about the four minute mark he throws in a slightly deeper beat to really get into underground dance mode, and truly this is the kind of house track I love to hear in the club. It’s got a deepness to it, it’s easy to dance to, and the vocals on there are great. What’s more to want, really?
‘Mighty Bloody Real’ Joey Negro’s special dub mix
Joey Negro always knows what to do with disco, and here he takes the classic high energy track ‘You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)’ by the symbol of the gay disco movement Sylvester, and he makes it into a dub. As in, from the start, this one gets its high energy restrained a bit by the beat and the other percussion elements, which provide you with the dancing opportunity, as opposed to the original. That original bass sound comes in at about 45 seconds though, with the high synths shortly following as well. It’s definitely not an unrecognizable affair, though especially the percussion causes this one to still sound plenty of different (and how that bass is used as well). Probably, whatever you are going to do with this one, it’s going to set disco dancefloors alight (unless you really botch it up, that is), it’s just that kind of a track, really. Leave it in the hands of a master like Joey Negro, and it’s dancing until you drop. The more original elements come in, the more high energy it starts to feel, though he always returns to the bass and the percussion to keep this thing grounded just a tad. In the mean time we are halfway, and it still is primarily that bass and those very recognizable sounds of the original that we hear, and we’ve yet to be treated to those trademark vocals, which he is saving up probably. And yessir, at 4:30, there they are, to just provide that dancefloor with that extra punch of recognition. The original is one of those tracks which is just going to make any disco dancefloor happy in whichever form it is presented to them, and this one is a good addition to that whole bag of Sylvester sounds and edits.
‘Ain’t No Way’ by Opal (Horse Meat Disco edit)
The new Horse Meat Disco compilation is out (Volume IV y’all!), and that’s the best that queer disco has to offer. And yes, maybe disco is a bit gay by default, though the “gayness” part of it sure gets amplified with the lads from Horse Meat Disco behind the decks. So you’ve got all that sass and camp that you want to play it all up, and this is another example of that. It already starts with just vocals, with Brenda Watts yelling out that you need to get “your hands off of my man” as there is “no way I’m gonna give you up”. Add that disco bass in there, those trademark disco sounds, and you’re off rolling. Those vocals are so lovely 45” disco single, they’ve just got that whole old school '70s vibe in them. So you’ve got the bass to dance to, the synth to keep it all sounding light and fresh, and then the lads change it up after the two minute mark. They dial down everything except the vocals, and after that they get some deeper, faster synths in to ramp up the pace and the dancing a bit, and they throw in a bit of guitar for good measure. So they show they can even keep the crowd dancing and the disco vibe up without the vocals (and they also show they can play a bit with pace and slide into different disco modes in one track, which with a running time of 8+ minutes is a huge plus). Obviously the vocals come back for another go around, as you just need the girl telling these skanks to keep away from her man, whilst also telling her boy that there’s no way he’s going anywhere. Those boys just really know how to put the fun back on the dancefloor.
‘Be Brave, Clench Fists’ by Leon Vynehall
To start this one off you get some percussion sounds, though from underneath all that you already get some deep moodiness, which is quickly balanced out by a higher pitched sound. It definitely goes for mood at the start, with this slow piano coming in just before the minute mark. And, just before the beat, which starts to play at about one minute in and which cranks the pace up a bit. That beat is definitely in the realm of deep house, and that beat is not the thing that makes this one special (though it is necessary to keep this one moving forward, and we’ve all learned from Woody Allen that has to happen otherwise the thing dies). It’s definitely not an all out party track this one, as what makes you want to listen to this are the atmospheric elements that keep on appearing right on top of the beat. So it’s all about mood and doing a little dance with your eyes closed, though when the second rhythm element comes in to bolster that beat a bit there’s definitely a tick upwards in the danceability department. I really like the vibe and richness of this one, definitely one I’d be happy to be listening to on my headphones as well. That very very last part I could’ve done without, I have to admit.
‘Girls on Film’ by Duran Duran (Luxxury edit)
Luxxury prides themselves in the write-up that in this edit they’ve almost exclusively used bits from the original multitrack stems, though listening to the original you can already spot a few immediate problems for the disco/house dancefloor (and the cowbell like percussion isn’t one of them, obviously). So, first thing to do is slow the fucker down, and Luxxury does that right from the start, with the percussion and drums leading the way and keeping things more danceable and rhythmic than the original ever was. Still plenty of Duran Duran 80s vibes there though, with that guitar still in there, and the overall synth new wave vibe pretty much represented. With that, this edit revolves around the bass sound most of all probably, which for a dancefloor edit is the thing to do really. Maybe I would say at times it’s a bit too crowded with all kinds of sounds thrown in there, but with the bass doing its thing and with plenty of Duran Duran still blasting out of the speakers, it’s an enjoyable entree in a series of edits from these boys.
‘Sensify Me’ by Zimmer feat. KLP
I like how this starts, especially with the finger snapping in there. Lovely vibe they throw out there, and plenty of room for the female vocals to set the tone. After the beginnings you do get the bass in, though it stays a relatively low paced affair. In the mean time there’s plenty of richness going on in the background, from atmospheric synths to what seem like bongo’s to a more poppy synth line. The rhythmic layer is there with the bass, and on top of it all are the vocals. These two instruments get plenty of room, and then what gives this track its own flavour and its tone are all the things that happen in between those two main elements. It is tagged on Soundcloud as “horizontal disco” and “slow house”, and I’m not even sure what that means, though it’s definitely got slices of synth and pop in there as well, and a bit of sensuality with the way those vocals deliver the lines.