New Year, New Wax.
With a rare soul reissue on Floating Points’ acclaimed Melodies International and a six LP Ron Trent compilation out, this month’s issue of New Wax has our wallets feeling much, much lighter.
With labels the likes of Rush Hour, Ninja Tune and Madlib Invazion coming through strong this January, our man Jaxon Eastabrook is here to give you the lowdown on what’s going to be big in 2017.
Tomorrow’s People – Open Soul [Reissue] (Melodies International)
The reissue of this highly sought after soul gem (with an original pressing listed for £1.1k on Discogs) is brought to us by Melodies International. Headed by Floating Points, DJ Love On The Run, Mafalda and Javybz, the imprint also (excitingly) reissued the works of Aged in Harmony in late 2016. Hailing from Chicago, the four Burton brothers make up Tomorrow’s People, and this forward thinking soul record they originally released in 1976 has gone down as legend. A favourite of Sadar Bahar, the tune that gives its name to the record is a 20 minute journey traversing its way over the entire B-Side. The release also contains a small booklet and an interview with one of the members, and was in fact mastered and restored from various original copies (due to destruction of the masters).
Alton Miller – Nu Forms [Reissue] (Inner Muse)
This gorgeously deep jazz-house record is brought to us by Detroit don, Alton Miller. Featuring keys from friend and fellow Detroit native Malik Alston, the reissue comes from Miller’s own label – ‘Inner Muse’. The record was originally pressed on New York’s Track Mode in 2003 and represents a fantastic Detroit tinged fusion of jazz, funk, soul and of course house. Quite possibly one of the more underappreciated Detroit house producers, Miller has released on prestigious labels including Peacefrog, Soul City and Planet E, and has definitely been an essential player in the growth of the Detroit scene and sound.
Max Graef & Glenn Astro – The Yard Work Simulator Remixes (Ninja Tune)
For fans of warped jazz and funk sounds, Ninja Tune gives us four remixes of Graef and Astro’s broken beat jazz burner (some may spot the titles Simpsons reference). The first, a dub up from Glenn and Max is a darker and grittier flip of the original with deep crunchy drums accompanied by a sparse bassy synth. The second, a remix by IMYRMiND continues on the theme of a funky low synth with playful digressions throughout. On the B Side we have a beautiful remix by Byron The Aquarius, who (as per usual) brings his silky soulful house vibe to the track, along with some tasty acid licks. Lastly, we have a much harder take on the track from Techno don Greg Beato. Utilising a punishingly thick kick, Beato gives us a certified dark room stormer.
Dohnnie – Dancing is Your Love [Reissue] (People’s Potential Unlimited)
Reissued by the highly-reputable imprint, People’s Potential Unlimited, ‘Dancing Is Your Love’ is a stone cold disco ass-wiggler. It was originally released on Donald “Dohnnie” Walker’s imprint Posh Records, all the way back in 1979, with original copies being well sought after and rather expensive. ‘Dancing Is Your Love’ is the only track on this one-sided EP, and it definitely deserves a whole 12” to itself. The ridiculously funky bassline pushes the track along with fun guitar strings and disco vibed vocals from Dohnnie himself. An essential addition to the collection of any of you discerning disco listeners out there.
Madlib & MF DOOM – Avalanche (Madlib Invazion)
The infamous Madvillain team up again for the first time since their 2004 masterpiece Madvillainy, this time credited individually, but nonetheless moving in a similar direction. Dusty samples, gritty loops and raw drum work underlay DOOM’s characteristically ingenious wordplay and harsh flow. The full track is released in the form of a 7” on Madlib’s label, Madlib Invazion, following years of speculation over a snippet of the track. As well as this, the release comes with a beautiful 8” tall figure crafted by the same team behind the original ‘All Caps’ figure, Kid Robot. Pre-orders for another February release are available now, and I would recommend making the most of it, this is not one to sleep on.
Waffles – Waffles 005 (Waffles)
There is not a lot of information on the mysterious Waffles series, other than the fact it is succeeding greatly. Number 5 in the series gives us two extremely busy, psychedelic breakbeat electro re-edits. A refreshing and interesting use of source material, the Waffles imprint is rumoured to be a project of Soulwax, the Belgian alternative rock and electronic band. Despite the mystery surrounding this release, the record itself is rife with energy, interest and movement, and is well worth checking out.
There is no online copy of this one, kids. If you want it…buy it!
Kai Alce – Movin’ Thru (Sounds of the City)
Whilst often concerned with exposing budding musicians he comes into contact with, his first solo release for a while comes to us on Sounds Of The City. The two track EP shows he’s still got it when it comes to making deep, smooth and hypnotic house music. The first track entitled ‘Just Wanna’, contains a simple drum pattern, three note bassline and faint vocal samples, exhibiting a trademark deep and soulful simplicity. On the B-Side we have possibly one of the harder tracks produced by Kai in some time. Joining him on this track, with additional keys is Byron the Aquarius, and the result is a deep and juicy bassline, a thicker kick and some higher pitched synth work peppered amongst everything, definite deep early morning material. For the lover of gentle house, this EP certainly shows that simplicity isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Lord Echo – Just Do You (Soundway)
A delicious little taster from the forthcoming third album of cult disco hero, Lord Echo. This single featured vocals by Mara TK from Electric Wire Hustle. It is laid back, choppy, punchy and is tinged with Caribbean vibes. The record has a dub mix, which is understandably darker and grittier, and as well as this contains a track in which Toby Laing, of legendary Reggae fusion group Fat Freddy’s Drop, takes over on the vocals in place of Lord Echo. The record comes to us by way of Soundway, an amazing label brought to us by English DJ, Miles Claret, well known for his incredible compilations covering Afrobeat, Latin, Caribbean, Funk, Soul and everything in between.
Various – Doing It In Lagos (Boogie, Pop & Disco in 1980’s Nigeria) [Compilation] (Soundway)
This 21-track compilation is an absolute feast for the ears. Containing tracks that were either extremely rare, or completely unavailable, the compilation outlines the nooks and crannies in the exciting world of Nigerian pop music. Containing influences from electro, disco, funk, soul, afro beat and jazz, each track is flirtatious and fun in its own way. For example, the opening track, Hotline’s – ‘Fellas Doing It In Lagos’, is a fun electro-tinged disco burner with vocals and soundscape material that could even verge on cheesy. Sony Enang’s – ‘Don’t Stop That Music’ contains a thick and funky bassline which pushes along through classic disco instrumentation. Served up as a 3 x Vinyl LP, the set contains too many gems to miss out on.
Ron Trent – Prescription Box Set [Reissue/Compilation] (Rush Hour)
This absolutely mammoth 6xLP set is the house head’s dream. Lovingly put together by the reputable Rush Hour Records, this set chronicles Prescription, a massively influential deep house label operated by dance music royalty, Ron Trent. The set contains dead set house classics including Chez N’ Trent’s ‘Morning Factory’ and ‘Don’t Try It’, as well as ‘Piano Track’, ‘Foot Therapy’ and ‘Pop, Dip & Spin.’ Many of the tracks in this set have, in their own right, become extremely rare and expensive, and whilst being a bulky and pricey venture for the average digger, the set contains essential music from one of the best to ever do it. Some personal favourites from me, ‘Don’t Try It’: a laid-back house burner with an emotional female vocal and dreamy pads. And ‘Morning Factory’: an extremely stripped back, deeper than deep journey with amazingly simple but effective uses of choppy drums, juxtaposed with long and droney synths to create a real masterpiece which has always been on heavy rotation in the DJ world. The set drops in late January, get saving.