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The Weekly Froth! - 20161118

  • Published in Columns

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: ‘Walls To Build’ by KLLO (Mall Grab remix)

I love the vocals, which are right there from the start. The rhythm that’s put underneath is nice and bouncy, and it’s stopped for a moment just after the minute mark, where the vocals are put in the spotlight with only a small percussion element. Then, the rhythm is thrust right back in there, and this time around the vocals are clearer and cleaner, which is a nice effect, a nice change-up for the track. They still are lovely and dreamy though, a bit apathetic, a bit removed; a tone that fits the deepness of especially the synth sound that works in conjunction with the beat. At about the 3:30 mark, again, a short stop, this time accompanied with higher pitched synth sounds, though quickly the deeper ones return to help the transition to the bass and beat again a little while later. Released on the Ghostly International label in America, which says it all, really.

‘Is There No End’ by Shit Robot (New Jackson remix)

New Jackson gets this one going with a beat to do some of that House club jackin’ to. The atmospherical sounds give it a slower, more melancholic feel, whilst the clean beat design also shows off some of the intricacies in the drum pattern. At 1:40 there’s a wobbly synth sound that arrives in there, though the big shake up comes after the two minute mark, when the bass takes over. The tone of the track stays intact though, even when the talking vocals come in. These are alien, from outer space (or from out-er-that-vocoder-thingy-over-there), and New Jackson subtly shifts in the rhythm department underneath all that talking. It’s a lovely, hypnotic track, of which the original was part of Shit Robot’s What Follows album, which was released earlier this year.

‘On Hold’ by The XX

This track, really, has all the hallmarks we have come to know from the band. The somewhat detached vocals, the melancholic sound, and the interplay between the male and female voices. Building up to the chorus though, they bring in the more orchestral, the bigger sounds, with the chorus getting a helping hand from a more punchy, rap like male vocal. The sounds underneath are also a tad trippier than I remember from when I saw them tour their debut album, which seemed to have a more minimalistic approach to it. The core sound though, the essence of the band, that’s still there, and it still has that little something something that made them go from 0 to 100 in 60 seconds.

‘Disco Child’ by Sean Sounds

How about that riffin’ to start this one off nastily, along with the bass and, immediately, the female vocals taking you right into that Disco Queen party. And why not, as we are all disco children, really, aren’t we? And this one gives you the riff, the bass, the percussion, and, of course, those horns (ah, the horns!) to get some dancing done to. With the vocals leading the band, talking about how in the ye olden days she was already imbued by them dancing sounds, and now she’s quite hooked. Given how Sean Sounds picks up that rhythm after she finishes her choruses, no wonder, because that just makes you want to boogie down, now doesn’t it? At the three minute mark we are treated to some percussion and some of that disco innuendo (Take that beat, now, why don’t ya?), after which the horns are put to some good use before la diva returns for the next chapter in her disco origins story. It’s got the disco flavor down pat, and the euphoria is as addictive as the riffs at the start.

‘Trust Me’ by Mr. Tophat feat. Robyn

Mr. Tophat is about to take you for a ride, giving you those house club sounds with that deep, rich beat as his base for (at least part of) his ten minute extravaganza. To juxtapose that, just listen to those sounds way back in the mix that are there even before he picks up the pace with some extra percussion just after the minute mark. Near the two minute point Robyn comes in for her first set of vocals, which also seems to be the cue for Mr. Tophat to move a bit more into the space territory. At about 3:05, again, a little pick-me-upper in the percussion, with Robyn helping out, her vocals becoming more pronounced and tied in with some disco inspired sounds. And after Robyn and the disco, the space and the deep rhythm sounds come back in, which apparently is so shocking to Robyn she gives out a few good yelps on top of a galloping rhythm that moves into some slick bass action. Mr. Tophat does that so well, keeping it weird and quirky, but also grounded in the origins of the genres on display. The rhythm in there is diverse, but all the transitions work well (although the real shocker at about the six minute mark is another thing yet again), and then there’s Robyn to add some of that typical vocal work that befits the tone of the track. It requires some trust (…), but the result is an eclectic funbox with the first part taking on the classic dancing genres and bringing it home.

‘That’s What You Told Me’ SR Edits

SR Edits adds some percussion, adds some drums, though already from the start we hear some of those original sounds right back in the mix, slowly moving forward, waiting until y’all on the dancefloor are ready for it. And a good minute in, they decide you are, as the beat takes over and the horn and piano sounds come in a bit clearer than before, giving you that good ol’ disco feel. At 1:40, the female vocals come in, quickly followed by their counterpart, as they sing about how the other is going To be loo-hoo-hoo-hoo-ne-ly. Just before 2:30, the male vocals, super silky smooth, giving you all that sweet soul and a bit more, giving you that whole Motown thing that Ashford & Simpson are known for (albeit, admittedly, this was a track released after). It’s a sweet soul disco track, and this edit highlights the latter, the dancefloor part, for some of them good times.


The Weekly Froth! - 20160129

  • Published in Columns


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: ‘Can’t’ by Mall Grab

Mall Grab gets the beat going, but also the jazzy vibes with some nifty guitar work. A lethal combination, as the beat, and the extra percussion that is added, give it its hypnosis and rhythm, with the guitar and, later, the vocals giving it its heart and tone. The vocals sing that they have had a long conversation on the phone with you, and she Can’t get you out of my mind. The beat is the backbone here, keeping it ready for the dancefloor with a reasonably deep flavor, especially when at the two minute mark you get a bit of that deep grain as effect. In the meantime, the vocalist keeps repeating her conversation to us, clearly not able to let it go, with only the guitar able to clear it out of her head for just a minute. Though the bluesy overtones might just be a decent representation of her state of mind anyway. I just love that sound, with the beat keeping it from stalling, and the vocals almost resigned, beaten. One of four tracks on Mall Grab’s upcoming Sun Ra EP.


‘Fashion’ by Joey Negro & the Sunburst Band feat. Pete Simpson

Perhaps the sole good thing about a star passing is that we get some of all those old works back out there (for free downloading, no less). This is an older remake of Joey Negro doing that David Bowie thing, taking on the funky ‘Fashion’, which here, too, gets plenty of that bass. Though the little guitar riff is not forgotten, as the girls in the back sing that they are the Goon squad and we’re coming to town (beep-beep!). Different vocal turns are used, both male and female, going all out. It makes it more of a funky disco sound than the more apathetic turn of Bowie. At about the three minute mark we get some serious horn work, with shortly after the vocals coming in, all singing together Fa-fa-fa-fa-fashion, before steering away again for a bit of that sax solo they manage to work in. Just another Bowie inspired thing to boogie to-till-you-can-boogie-no-more.


‘Just A Little Love’ (Dr. Packer rework)

How about 'Just A Little Love' from Dr. Packer, going all Teena Marie on us with this funky little something. You’ve got the quintessential disco sounds already, and with the twenty second mark he puts in the boogie-woogie with the eloping bass. Around the fifty second mark we get some string action, and just after the minute mark we first get the women in the back, though Teena Marie herself soon walks out on stage as well. After doing her thang, quickly, the bass is put back in to get back into that funky little dance y’all were doing. The bass takes a backseat for a minute, coming back together with the vocals at about 2:10, as Teena Marie says you should ask her what she needs, to which she will reply that oh, how she needs Your lovin’ (just a little bit of it will do, babe). Dr. Packer knows how to get the disco and funk to the dancefloor, heralding the bass and vocals, with flurries of horns and strings and what not. He sure manages to make everything sound like something you want to dance to.


‘Bless Her Soul’ by Man Without A Clue feat. Meleka

BBC Radio went for a bit of that dance and house when they played Man Without A Clue’s ‘Bless Her Soul’, with a serious vocal take from Meleka. There’s a fast paced beat in there, which gets its help from a rhythm sound, some extra percussion, and, on occasion, something of a horn-like persuasion that comes in. And, as said, Meleka, who goes full throttle in blessing this woman’s poor soul, with, after done so, that horn sound coming in. It’s a fast paced tune for the dancefloor, not letting up, and the big, bold, vocal turn makes sure it keeps the pedal to the metal. Will be out early next month through Defected Records, if you fancy this one.


‘Don’t Go Lose It Baby’ by Hugh Masekela (Vito & Druzzi rework)

Vito & Druzzi waste no time getting those characteristic percussion sounds in, soon adding a beat to that to give it a clear backbone. After that, a deeper drum sound enters as well, though lighter, more African sounding percussion balance it out again. At the 1:30 mark the girls briefly come in with the vocals, though at all times it are the multiple layers of percussion and rhythm sounds that bring the best out of all the dancers with this one. And they keep pushing that sound relentlessly, making sure you get all the drums, toms, and hums to move your body to. At the 2:30 mark we almost, nearly, get the famous Oh noooooo (before he dives into the "don’t go lose it baby"), but it stops short of moving into the chorus, instead focusing on the percussion once more. Just before the four minute mark, a similar set-up, with a similar result, moving to the lighter percussion before adding the deeper sounds in, though these are in the background. If you’re craving some percussion, then this might just scratch that itch.


‘808 Beauty’ by Dam-Funk

Dam-Funk released kind of a beast of an album last year, with loads and loads of tracks, and this is apparently an unreleased one that wasn’t on there. It is a lush, funky slow groover, with a big, grainy bass sound which gets juxtaposed by the light, clear piano and synth sounds that are woven through there. To help the bass out, there are also the drums in the back, just  to give this instrumental piece a bit of extra backbone. Just after the two minute mark the bass gets a short bit of rest, with just those padded drums and the synths giving everyone a bit of a peace of mind. Shortly after though, the main sound (aka, the bass) gets in there to groove this slow burner forward a bit. It’s for the lovin’, and the making of it, at night.


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