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Sleazy Team ~ Best of '16



Jebus, another year gone by already? Time sure flies when the world's going bonkers and the masses are bent on sticking all their eggs in one giant smelly basket and having Farage, The Donald and a host of other lunatics break them all at once while laughing hysterically.

All farcical geo-political madness and neo-patriotic nu-bigotry aside, 2016 was a memorable year for us at SB. We tricked The Popular People's Front - our heroes, the originators! - into doing us the final record in the Black Ops series, which sold out in what seemed a nano-second. After burying the Black Ops project with a sniff and a tear, we launched a new imprint, Make Believe Disco, with French prodigal kid Folamour handling the inaugural release, which, unbelievably, also sold out from the distro on day one.

At the tail-end of the year we sat down in our cabin in the woods, started a fire and got the s'mores going, while looking back on 7 years of Sleazy Beats. We agreed that in spite of our valiant efforts of keeping it going, the blog wasn't quite the hub it once used to be. Option one was to simply draw the curtain and switch off the proverbial lights, but that didn't feel quite right. The internet's attention span is getting shorted by the month, and my signature move on social media these days is unfollowing/unfriending pages and people that clutter my feed with generic one-liners about new records. 'Boom' doesn't quite cut it as a review now does it? Option 2 was to bring in new blood and give the blog a new lease of life with the help of some fresh ears and sharp pens. We posted a little 'cri de coeur', got a dozen reactions within a few hours and triple that in a day or two. It was truly heartwarming, all these friendly messages of people missing the blog of old and passionate about music and writing. You might have noticed a few new faces and reviews in the past few weeks already, but what better way to introduce the new squad than to have everyone pick their favourite record of 2016? So here goes, Team Sleazy Beats' best of 2016!

Monsieur Monod / Mood Hut - Better (Mood Hut)

I'm not sure about the lo-fi craze that's sweeping the nation at the moment, and I don't like everything the much-revered Mood Hut imprint puts out, but the second I heard the snips of this two-tracker on Vancouver's finest I was sold. Is it clever, or well-produced? Hardly, it's loopy edit business with chunky drums.  Is it something really new and original? Of course not, Gladys has been sampled a million times. Why is it my favourite record of the year then? Because it's a perfect party record. Not meant for the beards, but to make people dance and smile. Stashed in that small section in the bag that is reserved for disco weaponry.



Gone everywhere at the moment but we've been told a repress is imminent, so no need to feed the sharks just yet

Kris Percy / Benedek & Noble - Airwayz *Garage Mix (Superior Elevation)

We covered this one earlier in the year but it deserves another mention, it's just that good. The story is that we were invited over to Bristol last winter to dj with the unbelievably handsome Bodywork lads at their 2nd bday party at Crofter's Rights. After a kickass party Friday we were hungover to hell the following day, and they boys had lined up a relaxed gig with a few beers at a local boozer, which was an ideal unwinding session. About half way through the night, one of the guys threw on this stunner of a tune that turned out to be Airwayz. Almost mid-conversation, Guy and I spat out our beers and were on our feet up to the booth to see what was playing. Smashy, crunchy drums and oddly distant, tropical Benedek-guitars are the backbone of this mellowed-out-but-somehow-still-not boogie beast. One of the baddest basslines I've heard comes in after a bit alongside some 'woopwoop-ing' of the highest calibre. It all comes together in a sonic soup that for me could be blended into a variety of sets. Not to be missed this tune, such a joy to have in the bag. The finest tune on Superior Elevation in my opinion, and my pick of 2016.

 


Hopelessly sold out and very expensive on the used circuit. There's a digital option on their Bandcamp that might ease the pain of having missed out a little.

Martin Hayes / Jagger Botchway Group - Moko Le Dzen * Ruf Dug Tight Disco Dub (Culture of Souls)

I've been a Ruffy fan since the early days of Ruf Kutz and was lucky enough to have him over a couple of years ago here in Leipzig alongside my friend Preller. He is truly a great character, properly devoted to and passionate about music, old VHS tapes and that hiss and hum one often misses in music these days. When a new Ruf Dug record is due I'm always restless right until I get to hold it in my hands. In 2016 he did very well for himself but this remix is my 'Ruffy' highlight. It's part of a 2x12" release on Cultures of Soul. The remix turns the upbeat Afro original in an excursion with heavy percussion, great bass guitar, lots of fx and this great chord that still gives the the chills even after listening to it for the umpteenth time. Highly recommended for floors that are up for some fine Afro-infused disco and Balearic hedonism.



Buy here

Martín Miguel /  Cody Currie - Apollo 11 (Pusic)

Young Londoner Cody Currie had one of the best debut EPs I've heard in recent memory. The five tracker, released by Austria's Pusic Records, consisted of four lush deep disco cuts and a remix from favorite Moony Me. "Apollo 11" takes the cake for me, with its surprisingly fresh integration of Sylvester's "Over and Over" in a filtered, midtempo format complimented by clever synth work and incredibly detailed percussion. The inspirations for the track are clear; you can tell the young buck is a big fan of the likes of Junktion and older Melbourne Deepcast style deep disco. In a game now saturated with sample/synth compositions, Cody managed to stand out with this superbly layered gem. Certified and guaranteed to rock even the most reluctant of parties.





Lars Brown / Junktion - Don't Mess Up (Outplay)

We know now that Outplay don't need an introduction. I personally fell in love with the Fouk/Leseman/Junktion sound the minute I heard 'Cat Lady' on Outplay 001 and I've been avidly collecting every release since. 2016 has been another cracker and the label has quite rightly featured on the blog a couple of times this year. My personal favourite of '16 was Junktion's 'Wide Awake' EP, in particular the B2, 'Don't Mess Up'. This is my track of the year simply for that feeling you get when you hear something thrown into a mix and instantly start counting down the days until the wax lands on your doorstep. The Outplay guys have a sound - we know it and we love it. This though, this was a little different, a little leftfield and a little bit special.



Buy here

Joseph (Heights) / Al Kent - Come Back Home (Razor-N-Tape)

Without question, my favorite record bag grab of 2016 has to be Al Kent's Edits unearthed on Razor-N-Tape. Come Back Home, from the B-side, hits me like a slap in the face every time. It's as if it says, "why the hell aren't you dancin' fool?!" right when it comes on. I just can't help myself. The vocals cry for a bygone era - where a man was a man and he fought for love. The wavy, whimsical strings transport the listener to a sweaty, dimly lit discotheque full of tight bellbottoms and shuffling feet. But those sweet, sweet ebony and ivory keys help bring it all home. Kent put together one superb EP, but this track was the ultimate floor filler or closing track all year. I'll let the grooves speak for themselves.



Buy here

Juan Manuel Cortes / Land of Light - Flares / Kuniyuki Takahashi remix (ESP Institute)

Lovefingers' ESP Institute is responsible for releasing some of the most captivating music I've come across in recent years. Records with the ESP stamp share a characteristic ambience filled with musicality and spontaneity, and seem to belong equally at Cafe Del Mar and Paradise Garage.

Land of Light is a collaborative effort between Kyle Martin and Johnny Nash. Their first and only release dates back to 2012. One of the many gems of ESP Institute's catalog, the duo's organic instrumentation and sense of space navigate balearic infused new age. In line with the slow-moving ambience of the music, the record took 3 years to make and Land of Light has been quiet ever since. Fast forward to 2016: a remix EP surfaces on ESP, including the most mesmerizing track I heard all year, Kuniyuki remix of 'Flares'.

 Japan's Kuniyuki Takahashi is a revered producer with a knack for melody. His approach to remixing 'Flares' is by no means dancefloor oriented. On the contrary, it's a song that moves slowly and evolves throughout eleven introspective minutes. By adding presence to the drums and incorporating more electronic - yet no less organic - elements, Takahashi delivers a patient but driving remix that feels like taking a dip in the Mediterranean on a starlit night. in an era where speed is king, Kuniyuki testifies to the pleasures of slowing down.
 

Dries / Steven Be Calm - Slow (Shall Not Fade)

I am soooooooo bad at picking. No, but seriously. Ordering takeaway already makes my palms sweaty (Noodles? Pizza?! Or maybe some sushi!), so it's safe to say that having to decide which song I liked most in 2016 was quite the challenge. There were plenty of worthy contenders (Ethyene's 'Cinnamon Flavour' and 'Bootman' by Ross From Friends are some that immediately pop to mind), but ultimately there was one tune that kept putting huge smiles on my face every single time I pulled it out of the bag, and to me that's what music is all about.



Tooli / Chaos In The CBD - Background Explorer (YAM)

No reason to lie here, I've been kind of obsessed with Chaos In The CBD since I heard them the first time. Every single preview they've uploaded on soundcloud I've hit repeat on until I get the real thing in the post. This one was no exception. Background Explorer is a b-side to their first release on YAM Records, Global Erosion. It's not groundbreaking nor contains an arrangement that will change the way we humans think about house music, but it's a straightforward house track with an amazing atmosphere. True - I wrote to Ben and Louis on Soundcloud after hearing it and promised I'd check them out at Dimensions Festival - two flights and 6 hours in a car two months later I did that. And it was great.

 

The Silver Rider / Hotmood - Hotmood Vol. 1 (Tugboat Edits)

For me, 2016 certainly came with no shortage of record purchases. When considering this post, it wasn't hard to identify the one I reached for most in my sets or when listening at home. Hotmood made a huge splash on the scene when he dropped his first volume of jazz-laden joints on the revered Tugboat Edits label out of Chicago. Since that initial transmission, the Mexican funk-meister has hit an impressive stride with two additional outings for Tugboat plus digital EPs for Editorial and Deep Sense. His ultra-looped jams carry an authentic haze of analogue fatness and the irresistible arrangements breathe an effortless class that is undeniable.



Kian T / Max Graef and Glenn Astro - The Yard Work Simulator (Ninja Tune)

Rather than a 'best of 2016' pick, my post is sort of a celebration of a couple of artists and friends that finally released their "masterpiece" so to speak, on the mighty Ninja Tune imprint. Without a doubt Max and Glenn showed us their unique vision of what one might call house music in the past few years. After various solo experiences, many GREAT records, their label Money $ex, this album perhaps reinforces that fact, as it serves nothing less than REAL underground "a-la-carte" to the masses.

I don't need to say much more about the artists because they should be quite well known to you underground heads, they have created a style and sound we have become accustomed to in these days of modern house music. The album represents perhaps a culmination of all they've done together so far, on perhaps one of the greatest labels out there for obscure electronic music. Without further ado, I'll let these guys' music do the talking - if you know and appreciate their tunes, check this out - you know it will smash it.



That's all she wrote folks! Hope you had as much fun reading/listening as we did compiling this little list. Here's to a great year of record collecting and bring on 2017...

Comments

  1. Many thanks! I knew you wouldn't let me down and you sure didn't!! Amazing music that I was completely unaware of. I particularly love Cody Currie's "Apollo 11". Wicked! Thanks again and have a fantastic 2017!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed, Nick. A little birdie told me that Cody has some dope releases coming this year. Keep those eyes peeled.

      Delete
  2. Mighty fine selection as always guys - thanks

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for be part of best sleazy beats 2016 with my track Hotmood - Dararaw

    ReplyDelete
  4. Very nice collection of music!

    ReplyDelete

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