We caught up with our newest friends, Behind The Groove, as the year comes to a close to see what their top releases of the year have been.
Located in-between Manchester and Liverpool, Warrington has a somewhat unreported reputation for clubbing having been overshadowed by its neighbours. From the town’s legendary clubs such as The World and Legends, that dominated the scene in the 80s and 90s, to the Attik (more recently closed due to the all-too-familiar property developers) the people of Warrington have always given it a shot, bringing something authentic to their home town.
The new kids on the block, Behind The Groove are looking to carry on this flame with their monthly funk, disco and house night – capturing the international bazaar of club music with a tough and gritty northern twist. With the night looking to broaden their horizons in 2017 to Manchester and Liverpool, they’ve thrown together some of their favorite vinyl releases of the year – songs that have defined their 2016…
Unknown Artist – Waffles 003
With these tracks being road tested on 2manydjs’ Despacio Soundsystem, and with the release being named after one of Belgium’s finest delicacies, something tells me that the Soulwax boys may have had something to do with this third release on the Waffles, vinyl-only, imprint.
A-side ‘Hankuri’ is a beefed-up edit of a Nigerian afrobeat track, of the same name by Mad Man Jaga, infused with a groove that will get any party started. Definitely our track of choice to turn heads from the bar to the dancefloor at Behind The Groove.
Munir – Ritmo Echo
Gushing with Indonesian-style synths, this track takes inspiration from what can only be described as an 80’s cop show with a pinch of futurism thrown into the mix.
All 5 tracks on Ritmo Echo hit the spot, with something truly unique to offer, but the standout track for us has to be ‘Under The Sea.’ The synth arrangements in this track are well-crafted and bring out a truly hazy and psychedelic tone which I’ve heard nothing like this year.
Another stellar release from the Dopeness Galore crew from Amsterdam!
Amiga 3000 – Queen Systemee EP
Berlin-based label H.O.T Records are no strangers to releasing big tracks. Even though they’ve only released 5 records since 2014, their output is sheer quality with no pretensions: dancefloor-ready music to get people moving. Their unique style is evident from the get go on their first release: ‘The Dip.’
Continuing on with a steady stream of releases, the label’s fourth instalment comes courtesy of Amiga 3000 with their Queen Systemee EP. Electro-funk combined with jackin’ house dominates the A-side whilst on the flip, it’s a raw cut up of Mood II Swing’s ‘Do it Your Way,’ which in my opinion tops the original.
Chayell – It’s Never Too Hot
This next one is a reissue of a late 80’s Hacienda classic…as I was informed by an old-aged raver at the last Behind The Groove. As we jump forward and listen to this in 2016, it still sounds light years ahead of its time, something you’ve got to really admire. Both sides on It’s Never Too Hot capture a strange space in between balearic, house and new wave; providing a dose of the unknown with its chug-chug beat, ugly basslines and smooth synths.
Magdy El Hossainy – Music De Carnaval
One of the heaviest releases of the year…and coming from one of the most unlikely places…
Another reissue on the list, this Egyptian-funk jam lead by keyboardist Magdi al-Husseini, of the band عبد الحليم حافظ, brings out a seriously raw groove with Music De Carnaval. A four-minute jam with impressively rough beats that will make you want to dig for more of this so-called Arabic-infused funk music.
However, it’s the B-side which has done the damage at Behind The Groove…A rework of the A-side by Steven J. brings a solid, almost hiphop groove, to what was already musical gold – Arabic-funk jams at their finest!
Andy Hart – Mistress In Your Mind
A hazy glimpse into the future sounds of house music with a cracking release from the man from down under – Andy Hart.
While he seemed to slip into hiatus last year with few new productions being released by himself or his label, Voyage, the man is back with a new EP on his personal imprint. Whilst all tracks bring something different to the table, the B-side’s ‘Dackhammer’ is a real stand-out with almost no melody and a heavy tribal rhythm from start to finish. This track has a real warehouse feel to it and gets my attention every time.
Al Zanders – Second To None
It’s been a great year for Wolf Music with a strong stream of releases that not many labels can match. Southerner-gone-Northerner, Al Zanders is no exception to the quality coming from Wolf Music this year with his four track release: Second To None. A1 is a climatic bomb with chomping keys, euphoric melodies and some good old soul to help tear up any dancefloor. Expect big things from Al Zanders in 2017 as he continues to develop his unique style of electronic sampling and production.
Ste Spandex – Tusk Wax Nineteen
This next favourite is on Tusk Wax, a label that is certainly an anomaly in electronic music.
At first listen you might question, “What the fuck is going on here?” but after a few listens, the Tusk Wax sound will start to make sense. Ste Spandex’s release on this label was my highlight of the year amid their rapidly-increasing portfolio with quality synth bombs all throughout.
Awanto 3 – Pregnant / Star Butchers
Legendary Dutch producer Awanto 3 has a niche in producing club-friendly music with an oddly twisted approach. His 2016 release on Dekmantel proves this tried and tested formula…
Originally released in 2012, the re-release of his track ‘Pregnant’ is a masterpiece that continuously builds whilst keeping things grounded all throughout its 12 minute run time. The song’s dreamy keys and simplicity make it perfect to open proceedings at Behind The Groove.
Mark Seven – The Fatal Flaw In Disco / Never Leave
Finally, it only seems right to end on a big track. A release that most DJs would probably turn their nose up to, due to it’s popularity: ‘The Fatal Flaw in Disco’ was probably one of the best house tracks of 2016 with its original take on the dated house sound injected with whacked-out trumpets and mega use of sampling, bringing it to a new generation of punters.
With this being the first release from the new World Buildings label, things are looking very promising for 2017, one to keep an eye on for sure.