14 November 2014
Autumn Blues is another Various Artists compilation (the fourth/final instalment of the Trouble Remixes series), featuring re-rubs of a selection of the label’s favourite up-and-coming acts from across Scotland by up-and-coming and more established production talents.
Bandcamp (buy direct: help us survive)
NB Free digital files included for all vinyl supporters (i.e. complete package, including the two, bonus, digital-only tracks).
Selected DJ Feedback
‘Marco’s mix on this one is the standout for me’ (The Revenge, GLAS/Worldwide)
‘My favourite is Marco Bernardi. The Mick Wills one is decent too. Both expertly produced! Only Human has some nice elements’ (Auntie Flo, GLAS/LDN/Worldwide)
‘A bit like taking your favourite new wave ghost on a walk to Vienna. Bernardi takes it to Munich instead. Lovely’ (Neil Landstrumm, EDIN/Worldwide)
‘Really like Marco’s mix, stand out for me’ (Domenic Capello – Sub Club, GLAS/Worldwide)
‘Really nice!’ – Pumajaw/Dimitri Veimar (Sovnger, FR/Worldwide)
‘The Veimar, Wills and Bernardi remixes are all really great’ (Nacho Lovers, Toronto/Canada)
‘Dimitri can do no wrong at the moment, another belter!’ (Matt Walsh – Clouded Vision, UK/Europe)
‘I dig the Bernardi remix, will play for sure’ (Max Ulis, Vancouver/Canada)
‘Wow fav Marco Bernardi on it!!! Also love the Mick Wills remix. Big up’ (dMIT.RY – Neo Violence, Prague/Europe)
‘Marco Bernardi remix is my track here! Thanks for the good stuff’ (Kosmos – Tracy Recordings/Nitsa, Barcelona)
‘I am really feeling the Numbers Are Futile tracks (original and remix)’ (Cedric Woo – Beauty & The Beat, LDN/JP)
‘Love the remixes on the flip. Two solid tracks. Nice varied EP as ever’ (Bobby Cleaver – Numbers, Scotland/UK)
‘Loving the Leonidas & Hobbes mix! Great remix. Nice EP.’ (Mash, Glasgow, UK)
‘I LOVE the Leonidas & Hobbes mixes )’ (Ben Osborne – Slipped Disco/Noise of Art, LDN)
‘Mick Wills remix is the one for me. Love the retro disco feel!’ (Geoff Ticehurst – The Plug, Sheffield, Leeds Uni)
‘A fantastic range of sonic weaponary here ’ (DEMI, UK/Europe)
‘Only Human: Wonderfully atmospheric backing that builds around a heart wrenching vocal… quite beautiful’ (Andrew Pirie – Melting Pot, GLAS/Scotland)
‘A2: I love the EBM/Nu Beaty sounds on this, and the way it kinda chugs along with that sleazy mid-tempo swagger. B1: The track of the EP for me. Only Human (instrumental): I like this, would fit in the void that all the weird odd b-side dubstep tunes left after it went out of fashion’ (Giles Walker - Various/Aberdeen)
‘A1 is WOW! A2: Really like what he’s done. B1: Perfect dance-floor fodder! B2: Menacing basement vibes here. SMOKE MACHINE!!! A cracker to round off a really polished release! This one’s my fav!’ (Kris Walker – Wasabi Disco, EDIN/Scotland)
‘Marco Bernardi – Nice tight groove’ (David Elders, Solar Radio/Cabaret Voltaire, EDIN)
‘I think this is perhaps my favourite release so far! Highlights are: Marco Bernardi remix of Monster. Deep, evocative techno / electronica. The original mix of Monster. Haunting and weirdly wonderful. Kind of like Kate Bush on acid!!! Leonidas & Hobbes Instrumental mix of Only Human. The vocal is too weird in the other mix, but the instrumental works! Overall a great EP… a great slab of electronica taking in a variety of styles and influences on it’s journey’ (Felix – 10 Kilo, LDN)
‘Nice and moody, I just love what Dimitri Veimar has made with that
Pumajaw track,’ (Nemone, BBC 6Music).
‘Sounds ace! Really strong – love all the tracks’ (Vic Galloway, BBC Radio Scotland)
‘I like Only Human remixes. I love the groove/beats. Mick Willis did cool Ubre Blanca remix, I like it too. But Numbers Are Futile is damn good tune – it is not track I would play in my club sets but this is damn good psychedelic tune. Very very good’ (Bert – Last Robots/Czworka Polskie Radio, Warsaw/Poland)’
‘A really mature selection of forward-thinking electronica, 7/10’ (Mixmag)
A1, Plum is Edinburgh solo artist Shona Maguire (now relocated to Brighton), who I first met through the mighty Benbecula label in the early Noughties. Having trained at London’s Point Blank Music College, Shona has spent the last 10 years honing her sound and live performance, chalking up Best Electronic act at last year’s Scottish Alternative Music Awards, with her last album The Seed also in many bloggers’ Albums Of The Year lists (2012). She always goes down very well at Limbo, so it was a no-brainer to invite her contribution to this project. Our resulting Leonidas & Hobbes remix of Only Human (the original version of which came out on last Autumn’s ace Betsy Thunder EP) strips back the more claustrophobic feel of her original, highlighting the skanking Augustus Pablo vibe of the melodica alongside a more dystopian synth, while giving her fragile vox room to shine in an electro-dub/techno hybrid. The energy builds via moody bass, 808 snare-fills and claps, the breakdown punctuated by a steadily tweaking acid line, with a dramatic pair of interlocking arpeggios, à la Laurent Garnier et al, rounding it off. An instrumental version is included on the digital package for the heads.
A2, Another act who have consistently impressed at Limbo, Pumajaw are a duo, currently based in Perth after many years in London. John Wills is also a member of lauded 80s/90s psychedelic/drone experimentalists Loop (who recently curated/headlined the ATP Festival), while Pinkie Maclure has her own rich heritage of work with indie labels from the late Eighties and early Nineties. As well as high profile live shows and tours across Europe, they’ve floored Edinburgh Fringe Festival crowds and critics this year and last with their immense Song Noir show. Previously remixed by Various Productions, Crooked Man and (John Peel-favourite) Christ., again they seemed an obvious choice for this project and everyone was suitably wowed when German newcomer Dimitri Veimar delivered the ten-minute work-out of the tremendous Mask (from 2011′s excellent Demonmeowmeow album), which he calls his ‘Turtle‘ mix. A lumbering behemoth of a slo mo house/techno tune, it certainly goes down a treat. After a mutual friend put me in touch with Dimitri a year ago, the German emailed to say how impressed he was with the HM output and would love to put something out via the label. A true pro, he’d delivered his final mix within a few weeks but the nature of release schedules and working with various artists meant I had to sit on it for a whole year. In the mean time, Dimitri’s shifted gears and is currently devastating clubs across Europe with his sound. Daniel Avery, Matt Walsh, Ewan Pearson and Silicone Soul are all big fans, too…
B1, Ubre Blanca are another duo, who boast previous in widely acclaimed Glaswegian acts Shitdisco, Divorce and Remember Remember. Live drums and vintage analogue synths: it’s a simple proposition. Some might say, well-executed, it’s hard to beat, especially when referencing glorious late Seventies / early Eighties touchstones John Carpenter, Claudio Simonetti/Goblin, Giorgio Moroder and Kraftwerk. A total sucker for Messrs Carpenter, Moroder, Hütter and co myself, it seemed churlish not to ask the guys if they’d like to contribute some material and, the title track from their debut EP (released late 2013 via the ace Clan Destine label), Polygon Mountain was already a bit of a behemoth. Mick Wills is from Stuttgart, excited chatter of whose immense DJ skills originally reached me via Glasgow’s Slabs Of The Tabernacle crew a few years back. His dance floor destroying remix for John Heckle (released via Tabernacle Records late last year) really sealed the deal, though, and he’s not let us down. Wills and studio partner Isabella Venis have honed the eleven-and-a-half-minute original into a more tightly-hewn but no-less-relentless synth wave beast. Guaranteed to get people moving.
B2, Numbers Are Futile are another new duo who combine synths with live drums, plus main man Filipe Bernardo‘s vocals. Originally from Portugal, he’s joined by Greek drummer Panos Baras. The pair have been based in Edinburgh for a few years now but have been taking the local live circuit by storm since releasing their debut EP last year, tearing the roof off every gig they’ve played, not least Limbo back in January and the Hidden Door festival in April. Glaswegian techno/electro specialist Marco Bernardi needs little introduction, with a discography spanning the last decade, including releases for Planet E, Clone, Crème Organisation and Future Boogie, among others. I’ve known Marco for years (we last worked together at one of my Trouble nights at Cabaret Voltaire around ’07-08). He’s always maintained a defiantly underground stance and, needless to say, he stripped the band’s original right back, tunneling deeper down for his remix, which is primed to set pulses racing across Europe and likely to be the highlight of the whole package for some.
Numbers Are Futile’s original version is also included, so you can get a sense of exactly how far it’s been transported by Marco and marvel at the band’s own glorious ability to combine Balkan/Middle Eastern styles with more European synths, drums and vox, creating something fresh and unique. Unfortunately, there wasn’t room for this version to be included on the vinyl EP so this track is a download-only release at this stage…
13 August 2014
It’s been a very exciting first year for Hobbes Music, with praise coming from all corners: Erol Alkan, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Justin Robertson, Ashley Beedle, Maceo Plex, Ivan Smagghe, Domenic (Subculture), JD Twitch (Optimo), Jimpster, TEED, Citizen, Sean Johnston, M.A.N.D.Y., Philippe Zdar, Sinden, Locksmith (Rudimental), Bot (Crookers), Alan Braxe, Alex Metric, Leftside Wobble, Mixmag, Resident Advisor, Mixmag and many more.
Also, i-D Magazine hosted a Leonidas & Hobbes ‘Back To Mine‘ mix on their Soundcloud (April ’14) which has had over 8,000 plays to date and a whole load of love.
BUY THIS RELEASE
Bandcamp (buy direct: help us survive)
NB Free digital files included for all vinyl supporters (i.e. complete package, including all three, bonus, digital-only tracks).
Selected DJ Feedback‘This sounds boss – will play some of it on BBC6, thank you’ (Tom Findlay / Groove Armada – LDN/Worldwide) and he did. ‘The Debukas and Craig’s dub are perfect for me – thanks’ (The Revenge – Glasgow/Worldwide) ‘Digging the the Debukas & Craig Smith mixes. Both are in the bag’ (OOFT – Glasgow/Worldwide) ‘Debukas Remix – will use in my sets. Full support.’ (Patrick Alavi – Germany/Worldwide) ‘What a refreshing EP!!! Such depth and variation of quality!! Thanks for sending, so good to get some great music among the dredges of crap I get sent!! Big up!!!’ (Arveene / Arveene & Misk – Ireland – Europe) ‘This is really the sound of now for me. I truly love the remix! Thanks for the great stuff …. the whole package, but maybe Debukas remix is my fav’’ (Kosmos – Tracy Recordings / Nitsa, Barcelona / Europe) ‘Loving Craig’s mixes and the Debukas one’s a cracker too’ (Chris Duckenfield, Sheffield/Worldwide) ‘Wow – some very nice variety here. Heady stuff, thanks for sending!’ (Jusin Sloe – Cuplrit/Droog/Sloe Jams – US/Worldwide) ‘My fave now is Amstrad Billionare! 4/5! The original one! Feels like the perfect track to put in the middle of a deep set just to give a shake to the crowd!’ (Scuola Furano – Barcelona/Europe) ‘Cool EP, maybe not my kind of style but I like Busted (Debukas remix) and the track from The Son(s) make me think a little bit of a Trentemøller track, good atmosphere’ (Sovnger – Paris/Europe) ‘I like it! Debukas remix is brilliant tune, very groovy. We included it on our monthly Last Robots chart mix. I will play it on my Saturday radio show. I already played it on my show, I also played and I like original version, the one that was digital bonus – it’s very good track. I also play both in clubs and they work very well.’ (DJ Bert, Warsaw) ‘Thank you very much, such a great release! Really love Leonidas & Hobbes and Debukas remixes!’ (Dimitri Veimar – Germany/Europe) ‘Amstrad/Debukas – Fantastic, been playing it out to great reaction’ (Yogi Haughton, Scottish Soulful Weekender/Solar Radio/674 FM – Cologne - Scotland, UK) ‘Lots of really good stuff here! Really like the Debukas remix (amazing robo-funk groove) both the Craig Smith remix (so so deep, love it) and dub (useful tool), the remix of Slow & Easy (great slow jam for downtempo sets) and the original Am$trad Billionaire (love that 80′s electro disco feel). Will be using in warm-ups in Sheffield and Leeds and the slower stuff at any outdoors summery things. Really good EP’ (Geoff Ticehurst – The Plug/Sheffield, Leeds Uni) ‘Really loving all of this EP. Another winner from you lot!’ (Teamy Teamy, Wrong Island – LDN/Glasgow) ‘Solid release as ever. The infectious ‘Busted’ is probably my fav with echoes of Tiger & Woods and 80s boogie. I look forward to playing it out. Got to give a nod to the Leonidas & Hobbes and Craig Smith remixes for lush Balearic vibes. A release with its finger very much on the pulse of underground Scotland and all its forms. Excellent.’ (Kris Wasabi/Wasabi Disco – Edinburgh) ‘Thanks for these. Great energy on the Debukas remix and I love the vibe/wonk of Joe Howe’s remix!’ (Barry Fell/B-Jam – Edinburgh) ‘This is ace… Again, such diversity on here… From the catchy as hell hooks on Debukas’ remix to Leonidas & Hobbes remix of Slow & Easy, which is just pure ethereal dubby loveliness. Kinda brings to mind Weatherall’s production of Beth Orton in the way that it balances acoustic and electronic elements. Craig’s remix is chunky and really warm as well – a really solid package’ (Jacksonville – 20:20 Vision – UK/Europe) ‘Yeah, loving it.’ (Larry Tee, NYC/LDN) ‘Nice. ;o)’ (Ben Osborne – Slipped Disco/Noise Of Art, LDN) ‘Loving HM005, played the Debukas mix on my radio show last week and will probably spin another tune on this week’s show’ (Paddy Freeform, Universal Vibes – LDN) ‘Debukas Remix – cracking bit of kit, will 100% be getting some rotation in my sets – nice strong groove to it. Craig Smith mixes – all useful slates. The Sons – actually really liking this one, got a really Balearic feel to it for me – kinda thing you’d be hearing on some beach as the sun comes up’ (David Elders, Solar Radio/674 FM – Cologne – Edinburgh)
Following April’s second Leonidas & Hobbes EP, HM005 is another Various Artists EP, the third in the series of Trouble Remix compilations, featuring remixes of a selection of up-and-coming acts from across Scotland by some of my favourite Scottish producers.
A1, Am$trad Billionaire is a duo who met in Glasgow (now part-relocated to Stockholm). Busted grabbed me immediately, when I first heard it last year, and its combination of chopped up vox and early Eighties boogie seemed ripe for a remix. Debukas (Inverness via Glasgow) is no newcomer, following his run of great EPs and recent album on 20:20 Vision. In his own words, his remix sounds a bit ‘like Daft Punk and Juan Atkins crashed the party‘. Quite.
A2, Night Noise Team is Edinburgh-based, Gallic-Irish duo Fabien Pinardon and Sean Ormsby, who I’ve known for years. Picking Up The Pieces is one of the highlights from their latest album, Rêver Electrique, far-and-away the best thing they’ve released, exhibiting a deep love of loads of great music (and literature) from the past. Recently one half of the widely acclaimed 6th Borough Project but no stranger to the studio (following countless productions since the late Nineties, having actually originally earned his DJ stripes in late Eighties Edinburgh), Craig Smith has been around the block a few times and shows no sign of letting up. He takes NNT’s original to a very blissed-out place. The dub and reprise are handy club tools for DJs.
B1, Digital Jones are a trio, fronted by the indomitable Nikki Kent (a bona fide stage force majeure!), who have been kicking around the Edinburgh scene for years, playing countless great shows. This remix by Glasgow ‘skweee‘ disciple Joe Howe (aka Ben Butler & Mousepad) was actually completed a couple of years ago but has lost none of its vitality in the interim and gets the party started in a jerky, analogue cutup, Madlibjamming-with-Prince kinda way!
B2, The Son(s) is the brainchild of a solo Edinburgh native, who has been threatening to get a band together ever since he and I first started talking about working together (some three years ago now). Taking the woozy, Ray Davies feel of the original and re-directing it to a psychedelic electronic dub place we like to visit (paying respects to the likes of Orbital, Lee Perry and the early productions of Andrew Weatherall, among others), we recorded this mix during the winter of 2011-12. So, it has taken a while to get out but, given the lyrical content, we felt it had to emerge at this time of year and it arrived just in time for the festival circuit, summertime chilling outside etc. Hope you enjoy it. We certainly enjoyed creating it…P & C 2014 HOBBES MUSIC All rights reserved. Logo & Design: jpmjustice.com Mastering: Kenny Inglis at Eighth Nerve, Glasgow, 2014 (except Craig Smith Dub & Reprise remixes – both mastered by Chris Lyth at Tron Mastering). Distribution: Rubadub hobbesmusic.co.uk Made in the E.U.
28 April 2014
BUY THIS RELEASE
Bandcamp (buy direct: help us survive)
N.B. Free digital files included for all vinyl supporters.
‘I have those last 12s you sent. Really dug them’ (Erol Alkan)
‘Three uber groovy cuts from the nu class of club cadets…’ (Mark Barton/Losing Today)
‘Really nice EP, that’s funky! I love the Mo’ Moody track, really great, I’ll play it for sure!’ (Fabrice Lig, Planet E/R&S/Playhouse – Beligum/Worldwide)
‘Great release! Mo’Moody is my jam!’ (Moullinex, Lisbon/Portugal/Europe)
‘Wicked release, Turn U Round so good’ (Tiago, Lisbon/Portugal/Europe)
‘I like Sputnik a lot!!!’ (Gunrose, Lisbon/Portugal)
‘I love the release! Thanks for more great stuff’ (Kosmos, Nitsa/Nasty/Boombox/Tracy Recordings – Barcelona/Spain)
‘Another great EP from the dynamic duo… all the grit and dirt one could ask for.. Mo Moody is my fave – thanks for sending!!’ (Thomas Pudell, Black Alley – Berlin)
‘Very eclectic electronic music, deep and funky with smatterings of ol’ skool happenings, There are even some Lil’ Louis moments. Sputnik is one of my favourite things on the label’ (Yogi Haughton, Scottish Soulful Weekender)
‘Turn U Round is my shit!!!!’ (Kay Suzuki, LDN/Tokyo – Round in Motion)
‘Great sounding productions all the way once again. Turn U Round is one track I could see someone like Theo P drop at Plastic People – that kinda vibe. The trippy and haunting Sputnik could cause some mayhem on the floor in the later hours’ (Cedric Woo – Beauty & The Beat, UK/Japan)
‘Deeply into Sputnik. Great EP guys!’ (Dimitri Veimar, Germany)
‘Thank you boys. Sputnik is the one for me!’ (David Varchola, Embryo/We Are Unity, Slovakia/Europe)
‘New EP sounding ace!’ (Debukas – 20:20 Vision, Scotland/Europe)
‘Sputnik is a standout for me, love the 303 bassline. Really big stuff! Love the look of the record as well. All round winner’ (iO Sounds, LDN/Europe)
‘Great – all strong but particularly love the lead track. Top work!’ (Bobby Cleaver – Numbers, Glasgow)
‘SPUTNIK – DOPE!!! All three trax are great… *)’ (Murf, Mongtrax – LDN/Worldwide)
‘Yeah, it’s good. Will try to play it’ (Larry Tee, NYC/LDN)
‘Sputnik is alright, thx.’ (Dmitry Malyshev / NEO Violence, Prague)
‘I liked it. Mo’ Moody is the one for me’ (Ben Martin, High Sheen/Elastic Artists, Glasgow/LDN)
‘Yes really feeling Turn U Around on this release.. very funky and acidic and will be featuring on the show next week for sure. Music is getting better and better from these two..a fruitful partnership!’ (Alex Pewin – Voices, LDN)
‘Mo’ Moody – love that synth line and those deep stabs are cracking. Wicked groove. Love the retro vibe on Sputnik, great acid line, can imagine it’ll do a nice job in the very early hours’ (Geoff Ticehurst – Leeds Uni/The Plug, Sheffield)
‘Sweet! That Sputnik track is killer… The break in the middle is very John Barry. Makes me think of Moonraker’ (Teamy – South Palace Hotel, London // Wrong Island, Glasgow)
‘Really good stuff here!!’ (Jacksonville – 20/20 Vision, Scotland)
‘Nice!’ (Astroboy – Kelburn Garden Party, Scotland)
‘My favorite is now Sputnik. It’s percussive and dynamic in its evolution. Deep psychedelic twist too. Can’t wait to listen to it on a full audio set up!’ (Belle Bete, Beauty & The Beat, LDN/UK)
‘I am into it – I particularly like Mo Moody…the balance between urgency and abstraction seems just right…I would definitely play that!’ (Jeremy Gilbert, Beauty & The Beat, London)
Working together on-and-off at their respective bases in London and Edinburgh, Leonidas & Hobbes have honed a mutual love of soul, acid, house, techno, psychedelic and dub sounds for Mo’ Machines. Their collaborative debut EP, Machines, Tapes & Electronic Setups (HM002), won fans across the board last year.
Leonidas has had two collaborative releases out previously through Kay Suzuki’s Round In Motion label (Tokyo/London) and a solo track released as part of the Rhythm Kings Volume 1 compilation via DJ Ionik’s Traveller Records label (Finland), all of which have equally found fans and acclaim internationally.
A1) Turn U Round employs another vintage gospel sample (as per Driftin’ on HM002) alongside a bank of equally vintage synths (ARP Odyssey, Roland Juno 106, Roland SH-101, Sequential Circuits Pro One). However, on this occasion there’s a deeper aesthetic (reminiscent of Penthouse Dub from HM002) and a more sample-based approach, recalling that of the AKAI MPC-loving electronic producers of the last two decades, using a bank of drum sounds from the Roland TR-808. The result is a contemporary take on the Chicago house sound of the Nineties (especially the productions of a certain Curtis Jones, aka Cajmere).
A2) In the spirit of many releases on classic Nineties US labels, Mo’ Moody uses the same rhythm track as Turn U Round for its jump-off point, but creates an entirely new track with a heavier kick and clap (Roland TR-909). It’s got all the funk of Turn U Round but a more traditional, classic house groove for those who like their house music faster and more instrumental.
B) Clocking in at seven-and-a-half minutes, Sputnik is the veritable beast of this EP (in more ways than one): it started life as a one-hour-long synth jam, featuring the Pro One and SH-101 programmed to play a sequence in tandem, to evoke the triple oscillator effect available on a Moog, while Leonidas & Hobbes got busy at the controls. The resulting audio was then given some tape delay treatment via a Roland RE-501. As much of a testament to Leonidas’s engineering skills as the duo’s collective thirst for pushing their respective boundaries in the studio, suffice to say, the result is nothing short of psychedelic.P & C 2014 HOBBES MUSIC
28 October 2013
This is the third Hobbes Music release and the second in a series of remix EPs featuring up-and-coming Scottish artists remixed by well-established and emerging local and international talents. Clips below. Full EP on Bandcamp.
Dawn Chorus will be released by Hobbes Music on Monday 11th November 2013 and available as limited edition (of 300) vinyl 12”s and via all download platforms, with worldwide distribution by Rubadub.DJ Reactions “I really like the first half of the Ali Renault mix. The CAS is quite sweet. The Auntie Flo is a good tool…” (Ivan Smagghe, LDN/Worldwide)
30 August 2013
Pavement K (from the Leonidas & Hobbes debut EP, Machines, Tapes & Electronic Setups) featured as the soundtrack for the ‘Spooks’ film by up-and-coming Edinburgh visual artist David Lemm (aka A Little Island) and Spooks has recently been invited as a submission for official selection of this year’s Cut Out Festival of animation and digital art in Mexico (Experimental Category) as well as being selected for a similar screening at Berlin’s Pictoplasma Festival in April.
The work was originally commissioned by Hobbes Music and Go Reborn as a visual installation for their Day Of The Dead ‘secret warehouse party’ event in Leith last Autumn. You can view Lemm’s animation here.
31 July 2013
We did some remixes for the Pet Shop Boys’ new single, Vocal, recently (from new album Electric). We’re really proud of them. They’re currently unreleased but you can check them out below and download them both for free via my Bandcamp. Please leave a comment etc if you’re feeling them. Feedback welcome.
This second label release is an introduction to productions lovingly slaved over by myself and my studio partner/old friend, Leonidas. We started working together about four years ago and this debut collaborative EP demonstrates our mutual love of classic disco, techno, electro, acid, house and UK bass/dub, to create an EP with one foot in the past, one foot in the future and both eyes aimed squarely at the dance floor.
Much like previous release (Midnight Thunder) Machines, Tapes & Electronic Setups has been getting some excellent feedback thus far, including a great Mixmag review. Check out the audio clips below or listen to the whole EP in full on Bandcamp. Scroll down for selected feedback/quotes and a bit more info about the music.Selected Feedback ‘Favourite: Jackin Pschidt – An excellent an varied EP, Big support. 5/5′ (Ashley Beedle, UK – Various, Worldwide) ‘All the EP has a lot of originality, driftin and program my favourites. 5/5′ (Bot/Crookers, Italy – Various, Worldwide) ‘Favourite: Driftin – Great to see Hobbes Music taking off. Great EP. 5/5′ (Auntie Flo, UK – Various, Worldwide)
A1) Driftin’ employs a vintage gospel sample and a bank of equally vintage synths (ARP Odyssey, Roland Juno 106, Roland SH101, Sequential Circuits ProOne) for a very contemporary, hybrid mix of UK bass and house. This track received early support from Rob Da Bank on BBC Radio 1), has proved popular on Soundcloud and has been dropping extremely well when played out, so we think you’ll agree it’s rather special!
A2) Penthouse Dub is a more spacious composition. Classic disco congas and a delaysoaked guitar line recall the Balearic style of Norwegian modern disco don Todd Terje, then the vintage (Sequential Circuits Prophet T8) synth lines drop… The title is a nod to Heaven 17’s classic album, Penthouse & Pavement - a key reference point during this track’s production.
B1) Jackin’ Pschidt treads a more European path, referencing Belgium’s late Eighties Nu Beat scene via its drum programming and acid line, with a heavily arpeggiated synth for its euphoric main riff and classic Nineties techno claps driving the beat home. A vocal refrain, compelling you to ‘break it down: get into the groove’, is as simple a call to action as any you’ll find in dance music. But, again, it’s the track’s bassline which will really get people moving their bodies: no fuss, few effects, just simple dancefloor dynamics. This mix has also proved popular on Soundcloud and been dropping well when played out. The title is a nod to a certain Chicago legend…
B2) Referencing after-hours parties in dingey warehouse spaces, Pavement K flips the script completely, slowing things down and spacing them out all heavy reverb, plodding kicks and atmospheric toms that ring out like some tribal gong in an old Kurosawa film. The bass stabs are as fierce as anything DMZ have put their name to, while the acid line and skittering hats are closer to early Plastikman. The brief vocal snatches are hardly any less abstract, before more waves of bass wash moodily over you and that familiar voice returns to let you know about ‘a lot of machines, tapes and electronic setups….’ Watch yer bass bins!
Digital Bonus Track: Upping the tempo again to end on a lighter note, Program is an electro tribute to one of our favourite Eighties films, Tron. N.B. Program is not included on the vinyl release and available as a free download exclusively to people who buy the full EP (vinyl or digital – nb purchasing the vinyl includes free download of all digital files) from Bandcamp.More Feedback
Leonidas & Hobbes, Machines, Tapes & Electronic Setups is released by Hobbes Music on Monday 3rd June 2013 and available as a limited edition 12” vinyl and via all digital download platforms, with worldwide distribution by Rubadub.
This track is taken from the Midnight Thunder EP, the 12″ vinyl of which will finally hit record shops this Wednesday/Thursday (worldwide distribution via Rubadub), with digital downloads to follow at the end of May. Read more about the artists and check out all the excellent DJ feedback here. Listen to the whole EP below.
A lot of people have been talking about Daft Punk’s new hit, Get Lucky, over the last few weeks, with the majority seeming to agree that it’s pretty big. Now I don’t hate this record but i don’t think it’s that special either. Are you bored of it yet? Even with that, admittedly killer, guitar refrain (the only really decent hook in the tune) by Nile Rodgers, whose funk is clearly undiminished by his advancing years, the ravages of cancer etc, Get Lucky is still a pretty disposable tune and thus unlikely to last much longer than summer.
‘So what?!’ you might very well retort. ‘I love the way it sounds and how good it makes me feel right now!!’ And, up to a point, that’s completely fair enough. A lot of pop is very fleeting, and i’m definitely not saying Get Lucky is bad but the best (pop) music does so much more than just distract you for a few seconds (and Nile Rodgers knows this better than anyone – see below for more about that). What’s more, everyone involved in this record’s creation has made much better records before…
Let’s break Get Lucky down into its main component parts. The guitar hook is great but, bar the chorus, it lasts for the whole song without any changes. They all knew full well that it was the best part of the song and they didn’t really have any better ideas, so they just leant on that one all the way. The rhythm section is all good: the bass and beats do their job, filling out the groove that propels the whole song forward and makes it work well on the dance floor. Pharrell’s vocals do sound quite good but the lyrics are a bit weak really: this part could have been so much better. Daft Punk’s vocoders are even weaker (used/abused so much since their second album, Discovery, and now sounding massively clichéd – bit of a lame ‘trademark’, no?) but i guess if you’d never heard them before you would probably think they are pretty fun. Clearly a lot of pop music functions/succeeds on the back of such clichés but it doesn’t endure that way. After that, there’s only really that wee keyboard flourish towards the end before the whole thing is over. So, that’s one great idea, a decent rhythm section and then two or three fairly weak/average ideas. As our US cousins like to say: do the math. On balance, this is good but it’s not that great, is it?
And, with the dawning of the realisation, mid-song, that the tune isn’t actually going to progress past Nile Rodgers’ initial guitar hook, it becomes clear just how half-baked Get Lucky is. It sounds like the three of them spent about one afternoon/evening cooking up these ideas in the studio before phoning in the results from the pub/club later. ‘Let’s raise the bar,’ croons Pharrell, as if he knows that the mere mention of such an endeavour, coupled with all their names, is enough to fool the world that they’re doing just that. Oh, but they just did, didn’t they? More fool me… In the grand scheme of things, Get Lucky barely moves the bar at all and, if it had been made by anyone else, it wouldn’t be nearly as successful as it is right now. It will be played to death for a few weeks before everyone – very quickly – tires of it. Those layers will peel away to reveal a shallow heart…
If you still don’t understand where i’m coming from, take a few minutes to listen to these three moments of genuine pop genius from the back catalogue of the three acts involved here. These records all became summer anthems when they were released and I think they all trump Get Lucky for creativity. I’ve included a bit more background info below for anyone who doesn’t know the artists’ significant history.
While most people would probably say Studio 54 ‘tribute‘ Le Freak is the bigger tune (and on a worldwide scale it was, especially in the US), I Want Your Love was bigger in the UK and its impact has endured ever since, thanks first to Detroit maestro Moodymann’s huge Nineties re-work, I Can’t Kick This Feeling When It Hits, and second to Norwegian disco edit don Todd Terje’s more recent re-edit, which pasted the two versions together to create a hybrid fix for the Noughties’ disco revival circuit. Genius like this will always endure.
And, in Chic guitarist Nile Rodgers’ case, the list of hits and classic tunes is a very long one indeed: Dance, Dance, Dance; Everybody Dance from their 1978 debut album, ‘Chic’; Chic Cheer, Le Freak, Happy Man, I Want Your Love and instrumental B side Funny Bone from second album (also released in 1978) ‘C’est Chic’; while, from 1979’s ‘Risqué’, Good Times played a massive part in the evolution of hip hop when the Sugarhill Gang sampled it for their equally anthemic hit, Rapper’s Delight, but there’s also My Feet Keep Dancing, My Forbidden Lover and What About Me. Sister Sledge’s classic 1979 album, We Are Family, was a Chic production (and largely also co-written by Rodgers and his partner/bassist, Bernard Edwards), as was Diana Ross’s most successful album, 1980’s Diana (featuring Upside Down and I’m Coming Out). And that’s before we even start on his even more prolific and often equally classic work with pop music royalty in the Eighties, among which: David Bowie, Let’s Dance; Madonna, Like A Virgin/Material Girl; Duran Duran, Notorious; Steve Winwood, Higher Love… You see, I’m really not averse to great pop music. I just think it needs more than one great idea to make it as good as that.
[N.B. I have the utmost respect for Nile Rodgers. His autobiography, Le Freak, was easily the most compelling book i read last year. It details a childhood surrounded by beatnicks, artists, criminals, weirdos and junkies (two of whom raised him) in Fifties New York, the ups and downs of the music industry, his own battles with addiction, losing his life-long friend and sparring partner, very much the yin to his musical yang, Bernard Edwards (who died of pneumonia when he only 44), plus plenty more incredible anecdotes, while imparting a fair few nuggets of wisdom for anyone thinking of pursuing a similar line of work. The BBC made a good documentary about him recently, which you can view here.]
2) Daft Punk, Around The World
Again, just about anything on the French duo’s 1997 debut album, Homework, shows more imagination and/or depth than Get Lucky. From the same album, Da Funk is arguably the bigger/more classic of the two tracks but was always designed more for club than radio play. Also, check out Thomas Bangalter’s ace Tracks On The Rocks EPs, Vols I and II (Roulé), from 1995 and ‘98 respectively. This duo went slightly the boil after Homework. 2001’s Discovery was definitely a bold side-step but most of it didn’t do much for me when compared to the consistent peaks of Homework. Sure, One More Time has its time/place, but i think this is basically at a wedding or children’s birthday party… I still rate Daft Punk massively for the way they changed the game for house/dance music in the Nineties. They incorporated everything that had come before them into their own style and spearheaded what was labelled the ‘French Touch’ movement by British journalists at the time and their production style has arguably been more influential than anyone else’s ever since. However, they were always very reluctant pop stars and their classic tracks are almost all best experienced at loud volumes in a club. It’s also worth noting that they adopted a more Seventies approach to production in the making of Get Lucky, and they perhaps didn’t appreciate how much more time, effort and downright sweat this would actually involve, as Nile Rodgers hints in this recent interview. No doubt making Get Lucky was a lot harder than making any of the tunes on Homework etc. Oh, the irony.
3) Pharrell Williams, Frontin’
Much like the others, Pharrell worked as part of a duo in his early days and much of his work with Chad Hugo as The Neptunes and N.E.R.D wipes the floor when compared to Get Lucky. Check out Noreaga’s Superthug (from 1998), Kelis’s 1999 debut album Kaleidoscope (featuring Caught Out There, Get Along With You, Good Stuff), 2002’s In Search Of N.E.R.D album (featuring club banger Lapdance, among others), Nelly’s Hot In Herre (2004). Oh yeah, they also produced Britney’s I’m A Slave For You – a worldwide hit, which still sounds great today. Frontin’ was massive for us at Trouble when it came out, you couldn’t escape it that summer and it also still sounds fresh today.
The main reason all these records are so powerful is because they contain more than just one great idea. Get Lucky contains one. I don’t think anyone who loves dance music can really hate it and it’s not really about that. It’s about desiring that wee bit more from people of whom we’ve generally come to expect great things. Nile Rodgers is the only person who can really be commended for his part in this release and that part is the only real reason it’s actually sticking for so many right now. It’s a shame this trio couldn’t let Get Lucky incubate until they were able to turn out something that was genuinely worthy of all their talents. But, perhaps more fundamentally, isn’t its massive success really a complete indictment of what a parlous state contemporary music is in?
I’ll leave the final assessment to Gareth Sommerville, a DJ for whom i’ve always had enormous respect, whose talent is definitely very much undimmed after 20 years on the circuit and who has always had a way with a pithy phrase: ‘It’s the disco equivalent of walking around Ikea whilst sipping on a Starbucks latte.’ Quite.
10 March 2013