Record of the week

RECORD OF THE WEEK - CE ES MUSIC - JORDAN ZAWIDEH (NO 'LABEL')

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Less than a minute into the first track of 'Ce Es Music', Jordan Zawideh slams a relentless loop of a chopped lo-fi vocal sample: a jacking "House Me!". That sample will linger, distorted and reassembled, throughout this double-pack, freshly released on the consistently unpredictable No 'Label'. Zawideh channels the raw and ardent machine rhythms of classic early Chicago house era. Interspersed literal and hypnotically repetitive short vocal loops recall the Muzique crew's edgier iterations of this classic sound. It's a relatively straightforward idea, but one that's meticulously executed with such an individual touch to shape classic tropes into refreshing and unorthodox sonic forms.

Jordan Zawideh's music reflects, in a way, his personal migration from native Detroit to the birthplace and spiritual Mecca of house music, Chicago. Witnessing the warehouse party scene in Detroit from the early to the late Nineties, Zawideh relocated to Chi-town in his 20s: a stalwart presence as a DJ and producer for almost two decades, you could have also found him behind the counter of Kstarke Records (the city's legendary record shop and label). It should come as little surprise that his sonic output is deeply rooted into the rich music heritage of both these cities. His previous material released on Kstarke, Nation and Detroit's Interdimensional Transmissions shares an appreciation and genuine love for the raw power of the cassette era of Chicago house. Twisted acid, slamming Jakbeat and an encompassing DIY warehouse vibe, make this sound highly compatible with output from fellow artists such as Traxx, JTC, Deecoy, Hieroglyphic Being and Beau Wanzer.

Most of the tracks on 'Ce Es Music' are dancefloor demolishers: from the acid-leaning, percussive 'Work Delay' and 'I'm Busy', to 'House Me', 'Music Music', 'In A Dream', where chopped vocal loops establish busy rhythmic patterns, repeating sound is bruised into new forms, or is sliced up into further percussion. The DJ tools that are included stand alone too. 'House Me Accapella' & 'Oscillator Accapella' are radical lo-fi reassemblies of voice and drum samples - at times expanded or contracted past breaking point that find new and danceable senses in the phonemes.

It might sound trite when describing a record that falls into the 'dance music' category, but these are tunes that will quicken your pulse and stir your body into a cathartic dance. Dancing like nobody's watching. Whether in a club or, more likely given the time of it's release...your own living room.

Jordan Zawideh's latest release proves that you can push musical boundaries while staying true to the roots of an established music tradition. A testament to the continued vitality of the Chicago house sound, it reveals its endless potential. As D. Morris puts it in Frieze mag, "the experience of something constantly reconfigured from within its own constraints is what makes such scenes so vital and exciting."

CE ES Music was recorded in Chicago, 2019. Ltd Edition Double Pack. Artwork By Cosmo Knex

( Ivana H.) ⁣

RECORD OF THE WEEK 16 - TWYLYTE '81 - THE FIRST COMING ⁣

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Here's another record we've been playing a lot in the store lately: Favorite's impeccable reissue of Twylyte '81's 'The First Coming', a⁣⁣ criminally overlooked and notoriously hard to find soul jazz album that sank without a trace almost directly upon release, but sounds more beautiful than ever almost forty years later. Led by the honey-voiced Frank Jones Jr, whose voice sits somewhere between Jon Lucien and Leon Thomas sans acrobatics, the trio only released one record that sounds wonderfully accomplished considering the three were all only around 18 at the time. From the first bass notes of opener 'Like a Ferris Wheel' you know you're in for something special. 'Ferris Wheel' is a deep and spiritually charged soul jazz statement that echoes the warm and folky⁣⁣ sound of Terry Callier, an influence that can also be heard on the slow and compelling 'Chance To Love' that's carried by John Belzaguy's plucky bass guitar and session player LeeAnn Ledgerwood's beautifully lyric⁣⁣ piano. 'A Dreamer' is the centerpiece of this album. Ledgerwood absolutely kills it with her hypnotic piano patterns creating the⁣⁣ perfect backdrop for Belzaguy to go all out on bass in the elongated instrumental part of the song before the whole thing suddenly drops into a breakfest deluxe (get your samplers out, everyone!).⁣⁣

⁣⁣ The jury is still out on 'The Love We Lost', a brave but ill-advised organic attempt to attack high energy disco that nonetheless has its moments. The disco experiment works better on 'Time', but 'Some Go Up'⁣⁣ makes it clear that the trio is at its best when they reach for a higher spiritual plane. That doesn't mean the tempo has to be low though; the dazzling jazzdance stepper 'Can I Change' proves they have the capability to shine bright at any tempo, as long as they refrain from attempting to go full disco. Just to be clear: the disco discussion doesn't take anything away from this fantastic album that easily ranks among the best reissues we've heard this year (RO).⁣⁣ ⁣

RECORD OF THE WEEK 15 - KNXWLEDGE - 1988 (STONES THROW) ⁣

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Knxwledge has always been one of our favorite hiphop producers of the post-Dilla era. We all love his beat tapes here and ‘Hud Dreams’, his 2015 debut album for Stones Throw, is nothing short of a Rush Hour store classic.

Personally I may have taken it a bit too far with the Knxwledge love though - in the months after the Anderson Paak collabo NxWorries came out (an album that arguably features Paak’s best work to date and that’s saying something) I played it in the store so much I was repeatedly asked to please put on something else for god’s sake by my esteemed colleagues - something known here as the Quasimoto-effect. Apparently you can have to much of a good thing.

‘1988’ is only his second proper solo album for Stones Throw, but that doesn’t mean he’s been taking it easy recently. It’s been raining digital Knxwledge albums, EP’s and tracks on Bandcamp for years now, but he’s clearly been saving up some of his best beats for this one.

‘1988’ (the title referencing to Knxw’s year of birth) still has the character of one of his many beat tapes, morphing 22 tracks into a thrilling 38 minute collage of slick grooves and blissed out loops borrowed from seventies symphonic soul, bouncy boogie, jazzy modern soul and syropy swingbeat, interspersed with clever samples and spot-on vocal appearances. Sultry and understatedly funky, it’s the perfect companion for comfy home listening - and we need way more of those right now (RO). ⁣

RECORD OF THE WEEK 14 - JAMIE 3​:​26 PRESENTS A TASTE OF CHICAGO ⁣

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It's one of the coolest comps out there right now: BBE's 'A Taste of Chicago', lovingly compiled by extended Rush Hour family member Jamie 3:26, the broad smiled Windy City veteran who's been dominating dancefloors for decades with a potent mix of raw Chicago house, bold disco, heavy funk and whatever else works to whip the crowd into a frenzy. On 'A Taste of Chicago' he shares some of his secret dancefloor weapons in the form of personalized edits and reworks of both timeless classics and lesser known floorburners, opening with a track that falls firmly into the latter category, an edit of one of Chicago's best kept secrets, BSTC's highly percussive 'Venus & Mars'. It's followed by one of Jamie's biggest crowdpleasers, the crazed out scat track that is 'The Lesson' by Mighty Science. Jamie moves into classic Chicago house territory with his rendition of Jungle Wonz' deephouse anthem 'The Jungle' and Quest's equally anthemic 'Mind Games' only to crank it up another notch with the high energy handclapping house of Braxton Holmes' 'Stomps & Shouts'. Proceedings slow down a bit on Chip E's mechanic 1985 house banger 'It's House', before Jamie goes all out on his version of raunchy New Jersey funk outfit Calendar's 1976 monster 'Comin' on Strong'. Anything goes with Jamie, as long as it's funky and lights up the dancefloor - It's that Chicago attitude that makes this compilation for BBE such a strong one (RO).⁣ ⁣ ⁣

RECORD OF THE WEEK 10 - LEISURE CONNECTION - R=A+7=6 (R=A)

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A pair of high voltage fairy-tales from the ever psychedelic Leisure Connection crew.

Leisure Connection is a side project of Rahdunes, a band comprising of Aaron Coyes (50% of Peaking Lights) and his long time friend and partner in noise, Nate Archer. The band carved out their sound jamming endlessly for days on homemade equipment and have colourful history together - back in the early 2000s they would turn up at underground parties with tons of electronic gear, load in like they were booked and just start playing. They also performed live on cult US cable TV show 'Lets Paint TV' (youtube that!). The L.C. guise came seemingly out of nowhere in 2013, when the duo dropped two highly original percussive pounders on their, now classic, No 'Label' 12". Aside from a few remixes that followed, no new material surfaced for a long time. That was until a year or so ago when they announced completion of the soundtrack to an obscure indie movie by L.A. by artists, the Haas Brothers. No release was initially planned, but now two pieces from the OST have found their way to this cracking 7" vinyl release.

The tracks have twists and turns aplenty along the way, with the studio sounding gloriously badly wired and sparking. March of the Imbecile is indeed pretty stupid.... stupidly pretty that is. It's a fantastical and aptly cinematic ride through immersive harmonies and gorgeous tape bent melodies that are underpinned with a solid, plodding old school drumbox. Worries go on hold during this the duration of this one. Every spin. Over on the flip, Love from the Astroplane begins with an obscure, synthetic, field recording like scene, then takes a stark dive into thundering psychedelic tribal realms. There's a wild atmosphere on this one, like a vivid scene from Jodorowsky or Kenneth Anger movie.

This record is a good example of how some things just really work on a 7". R=A are channeling their love of the format - putting out nuggets from the electronic sphere, involving Beau Wanzer, Robert Bergman, Tribe Of Colin, Jamal Moss & Black Deer to name a few. Check them out. ⁣

RECORD OF THE WEEK 9 - AUX 88 - COUNTERPARTS⁣ (DIRECT BEAT CLASSICS)⁣

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At Rush Hour we have a few artists we would follow to the end of the earth and beyond. Aux 88 is one of them. The Detroit electro legends’ new album ‘Counterparts’ has been awaited here with bated breath, so we are delighted to dedicate this week’s ROTW to them. ⁣

⁣ ‘Counterparts’ is a yet another masterpiece of topnotch timeless retrofuturism by Keith Tucker & co. The double LP starts with a Kraftwerky vibe that crescendoes into classic Detroit techno. You Don’t Want None Of This warns listeners with the title before launching into a futuristic instant electro classic. The vocals maintain that almost robotic feel that Aux 88 is renowned for. It’s a definite club shaker. Moon Walker experiments with leftfield electronics, creating a bassline few artists can pull off to this standard. Electro In The Key Of Funk is slightly slower, again maintaining the classic electro sound in an electronic undulation of wonderfulness. ⁣

⁣ There is an almost computer game feel to Pothole Paradise. The track is fast, funky and melodic with its long synths, paying homage to the Detroit jitters. Manic sounds just that - manic. It has an incredibly heavy-hitting bass and is hectic but mystical, nodding to space like sounds that are consistent through the album. Personally, this is my favourite, it draws out everything I love about electro, a heavy but surreal vibe. The message that this album is futurist and space-like has been pushed enough, but no track encapsulates that like My Electro Visions Acapella. It takes a step away from the heavier sounding tracks, relying on distorted vocals and lyrical genius to create another Aux 88 classic. My other favourite track from this album is undoubtedly Stereolized, it captures the repetitive harsh-sounding yet playful tones that have always been a given in their earlier work. The final track My Electro Vision is intense with an almost B-Boy beat and again, elements of Kraftwerk with an added Detroit spice. It concludes an album that easily lives up to expectations and is absolutely essential for anyone who has even a mild interest in Detroit electro. (KAT)

RECORD OF THE WEEK 8- PRISCILLA ERMEL - ORIGENS DA LUZ (MUSIC FROM MEMORY)⁣

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Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist Priscilla Ermel has been long-loved by Music From Memory, and this LP, “Origens Da Luz”, is utterly Brazilian, with influences from all around the world, resulting in an ethereal and relentlessly beautiful concoction of fifteen tracks that each encapsulate the nomadic question: where is the line that separates and defines global sounds? Priscilla blurs it entirely.⁣

⁣ Luar is the first track, opening with an eerily stunning classical melody that sets the scene of a romantic summer evening, bird sounds to boot. Martim Pescador is both calming and chaotic, with clunky offbeat percussion, it is both unique and borderless. Campo Des Sonhos encapsulates an almost Studio Ghibliesque tone and immediately makes everything feel slightly more exciting in a melancholic animated way. Origens Da Luz is hypnotic, the instruments combined with haunting voices create an unusual atmosphere and appear to draw on Priscilla’s anthropological roots. Meditaçâo is calm, melodic and classically Brazilian in its tone and delivery. Americua is upbeat and really shows how Priscilla’s music opens up a mystical space. Cine Mato Gráfico integrates a slow pace, merging and connecting a multitude of cultures simultaneously. The intense echoing slowness of Cristal De Fogo is simple yet effective, it underlines the point where ancient and modern music evolves into a new language. ⁣⁣

⁣ Sete Quedas highlight’s Priscilla’s flawless vocals once again, the track is layered and tells a story of its own. Following on from this, the dramatic and heavy hollow tones of Corpo Do Vento have an almost warlike drum beat, with whining melodies and a wobbling mouth harp that creates an incredibly beautiful tribal feel. It is 15 minutes long and in that time, we are taken to... (read more via link below or in bio) (KAT)⁣ ⁣


Record of the week 7- THANASIS ZLATANOS - A RETROSPECTIVE ( OSÀRE! EDITIONS)

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Elena Colombi created the label Osàre! Editions in 2019 to shine a light on daring and future-facing artists “rooted in free-spirited musical abandon”. Her releases are deeply thought through and represent a unique and refreshing approach to music, therefore it isn’t surprising that “A Retrospective” by Thanasis Zlatanos has caught our eye for Record Of The Week. This compilation album has been prepared by Elena and Zlatanos, pulling tracks from his previous work to shine a light on an inventive and imaginative artist who has previously been overlooked. ⁣

⁣ “A Retrospective” links genres while simultaneously obliterating the need for them altogether. Wave, pop, ambient, proto electronic and Macedonian folk music are all heard, but the overall tone is something that certainly cannot be put in a box. The album’s opening track, “Master Chameleon”, has a plinky melody that takes you into a dreamy daze alongside a grounding, darker sounding synth. “Nor The Reflection” is rough around the edges, with effortless wave-style vocals and a Lo-Fi sound. The third track of the album, “Without us” is dramatic and theatrical. The folky voice, over heavy percussion, is suddenly interrupted by a grounding vocal. “Psychedelic Clown” is slightly offbeat, giving a feeling of confusion and slight creepiness, something the title already adheres to. This is one of my personal favourites from the album, it’s weirdness is on a different level and it sounds like nothing I’ve heard before. Time to chill out a bit, with “The Crystal Sight (Excerpt II)”, the ambience is ghostly but calming and beautiful. The next track is titled (and sounds) “Distorted”. It maintains a sereness but in an intrusive way that conjures the image of a weird hymn. ⁣

⁣ The slow-paced, undulating eerieness of "Surreal Moment", blends perfectly into the warping continuum and beautifully quirky lyrics of "No Explanation", which sounds like a trippy pop song for the early hours and is another personal favourite. "The Crystal Sight (Excerpt I)" isn't at all similar to its sibling track. It has more of a new-age electronica feel, with a futuristic, space-like vibe, clinking and plinking into a satisfying abyss. "The Dead Don't Remember" is wonderfully robotic, again with a hymn feel and lyrics that sound like a mantra. "The New Barbarians" is Vocoder-laden, operatic, performative and marvellous. "Macedonian" is heartbreaking. The melody feels hopeful and agonising simultaneously. The album concludes with "The Light", a guitar solo piece that is completed with electronic-effects that make it, like most of the tracks on this album, unlike anything else. Listen to "A Retrospective" in one sitting and you will be taken on a journey into part of your brain that is rarely visited. It is truly a masterpiece, Thanasis Zlatanos and Elena Colombi both deserve praise and left no question in our mind when choosing Record of the week (KAT). ⁣


Record of the week 6- Trenton Chase - Planar Array (Artificial Dance)

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Artificial Dance has released yet another banger of an album, this time from Trenton Chase. As half of Manie Sans Desire and the co-owner of June records, he’s known for his uncompromising sound that touches a wide range of genres. His latest LP, titled “Planar Array” is no different. The release is heavy-hitting with distorted vocals, industrial textures and dagger-like synths. It’s a satisfying array of wave, EBM and experimental music. ⁣

Transit Decay has a consistent clunky bass line and depth at its core. Its tone is hostile, something you can definitely imagine spurring excitement in some smokey dark room at the dead of night. Wind Shear is like riding around in a convertible Chevrolet in the 80s. It’s uptempo and exciting, with drone sounding synths that are simultaneously melodic and chaotic. Narked is defined by its aggressive electronics. The kick is consistent and angry, with distorted vocals scattered here and there, giving it an unusually uncomfortable vibe. ⁣

The title track Planar Array deserves an extra bit of attention, it stands out. It merges the classic tones of wave, EBM and experimental all at the same time. It’s melodic high synths compliment the almost calming vocals in the intro; it will be a popular one out and about this spring. Anamnesis is probably the most cheerful track of the album. It maintains the heaviness that runs through the LP, but is full of melodic, positive synths. Rto again has a slightly lighter, more synthy sound, however its harmony is less bouncy and more minor. Doppler Shift is dreamy. It’s clunky and offbeat, with a weird metronome feel that has you bobbing your head very slowly. The result is an excellent album that gets progressively more destructive. It really deserves its title as this week's Record of The Week. (Kat)⁣


Record of the week 5 - V/A - America Invertida (Vampisoul)


Let’s face it. Especially this last decade so many new archival compilations were thrown at the record buying public (which is ultimately a good thing - don’t get us wrong - there’s always room for more music) that by now it’s virtually impossible to still come up with something new or cover new ground. The infamous Vampisoul imprint has done just that with ‘America Invertida’, an essential collection of rare Uruguayan music from the eighties.

While the music of larger neighbouring countries like Brazil and (to a lesser degree) Argentina has been documented extensively, there has always been a shortage of good Uruguayian music on the market, even though we knew it was out there somewhere. That’s what makes ‘America Invertida’ a true treasure chest with glistering diamonds and other precious gems that have been hiding under the surface for decades.

Opener ‘Desencanto’ sets the tone perfectly, starting out as an ethereal folky groover that slowly moves further into bossa territory. It’s followed by the stunning ‘Tras Tus Ojos’ by Estela Magnone and Jaime Roos - a beautifully intricate and wonderfully groovy slowstepper with breathtaking ethereal shoegaze-avant-la-lettre vocals (think Slowdive and Lush five years before they even existed). A song so beautiful it would be worth getting the album for alone, but there are no weak moments on this stellar comp. Things get a bit more psychedelic with ‘De Los Relojeros’ and ‘Kabumba’ before the unmistakingly eighties smoothness kicks in on the B-side with ‘Llamada Insolita’ and ‘Y el Tiempo Pasa’. Another undisputed highlight is the chilling ‘A Ustedes’ by Fernando Cabrera, a menacing minimalist statement that ends in a dark haze of haunting choir vocals. ‘America Invertida’ is an absolutely flawless and amazingly accomplished work of art opening the gate to a beautiful, largely unknown musical landscape that’s waiting to be rediscovered (RO).⁣


Record of the week - Vegyn - Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds (Plz Make It Ruinz)


Vegyn is by no means the new kid on the block. You probably know him as the producer of Frank Ocean’s legendary albums “Endless” and “Blonde”. ROTW is Vegyn’s debut album “Only Diamonds Cut Diamonds”, an incredible piece showing his stand-alone work is set to be as iconic as his collaborations. The album is hard to define to one genre, it has chasms of hip hop, jazz and electronic sounds with an esoteric dream-like edge. What stands out about this is the contrast within the tracks, making the personality of this album multiply the further you listen.

We start with a dreamy futuristic vibe, the track “Blue Verb” is wintery with echoing vocals. These continue into “Nauseous/Devilfish”, in the breaks between verses from JPEGMAFIA. “That Ain’t No Dang Cat!” is a crescendo of hecticness, mellowed out only slightly by the glitchy but slow and melodic “Aspenz”. “Cowboy ALLSTAR” is the track on this album for me, it’s complex, melodic and spicy all at the same time. “Thoughts Of Offing One” again feels more emotional, whereas “Debold” has a broken beat, with abstract breaks and an atmospheric tone. “Fake Life” is beautifully constructed, and really fits into the genre of modern classical music, this contrasts entirely with “I Don't Owe U NYthing”, a more off-kilter hip hop track from the London talent Jeshi. “Fire Like Tyndall” crackles and opens into a slow jam, with trap-like rhythms and distorted vocal recordings. “Unknown, Forever Unknown” again points to modern classical music, the delicate melody is just beautiful, “Retro OTW” is equally as calm and classical, enriched by the beautiful monotone voice singing. “When I Strike” is a mashup of everything mentioned previously; it’s broken beat, melancholic, futuristic and glitchy. “You Owe Me” is another favourite of mine, simultaneously hectic and dramatic and calm. “It’s Nice To Be Alive” lives up to its title, the positive chords shine through. The album finishes with “Blue Verb Reprise”, a fuller version of its opening counterpart with a calming outro. The intensity changes, the style is eclectic, yet within all this Vegyn maintains a consistency of the utmost skill.⁣