OCTO OCTA “CAUSE I LOVE YOU” 12″ (SILK061)
New England deep house patriot Octo Octa logged some real miles in 2013, flexing his live muscles, refining his crowd vibe antennae, and tracking a trio of fresh EPs to kick off the new year. Cause I Love You is the first – to be followed by 12′s for Skylax and Argot – and it’s a real shot to the heart. “Cause I Love You” jacks out of the gate, a jubilant drag race of tumbling percussion, intestinal bass, and slipstreaming vocal samples, a true banger to break the mold of Between Two Selves’ moody collective soul. It’s not all so raring though. Live staple “So Lux” lives up to the title, a creamy, serene slice of stereo software, while “Give” (featuring Raw Moans) coasts on a mesmerizing melody loop, filtered, flowing, and low to the ground. Closer “Mine (Second Chance Mix)” is classic Octo: lens-flared, high-stepping, turned on, turned loose. Though more of a variety pack than a linearly themed collection, these four cuts show a craftsman hot in the pocket, still picking up steam, alive with ideas. Mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann. In sand-dune fantasia SILK sleeve designed by Luke Brown/Les Level. Edition of 400.
MAGIC TOUCH “PALERMO HOUSE GANG” 2×12″/CD (SILK060) $20/$9
After three thick years of performances, passport abuse, and pumping, pleasure-principle EPs, Damon Palermo aka classic house torchbearer Magic Touch presents his pinnacle statement to date: Palermo House Gang. Joining forces with a vast cast of collaborators sourced from his intercontinental travels – Octo Octa, Newbody, Benny Badge, The Horses, Sarah Bates, Sorcerer, Ash Williams – the album’s eight cuts swing and sweat through funky new wave club mixes, freestyle R&B, mesh-top house, freeform hardware workouts, and decadent disco, a sprawling celebration of communal motion and dancefloor idealism. Sustained heavy touring often grizzles some musicians into cynical survivalists but it seems to have had the opposite effect on Palermo – these are his most generous, playful, and sensual tracks to date. Let go, lighten up, join the Gang. Mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann. Krazy cat artwork by San Fran cartoonist Primo Pitino.
BOBBY DRAINO “BRAIN DRAIN” 12″ (SILK057) $9
Before birthing his blasted acid house identity Bobby Draino drummed for various synth-punked groups around Vancouver, and some of that scorched earth live energy bleeds through the five primordial bangers comprising his vinyl debut, “Brain Drain.” Tracked live through one channel of a space echo straight to his computer, Draino’s MO is overdriven drum machines saturated with gritty fried acid, bass damage, and blown-tone sequencer patterns, fused into a radical and weird debased mutant house. The EP’s five tracks are the cumulation of two years of demo workshopping, TR-606 and 303 autodidacticism, warehouse party spelunks, etc; all savvy tactics for developing a shredding, progressively singular style, which BD has in spades. One of the most awesomely wrecked and raw SILK slabs to date. A West Coast wiz worth watching. Mastered by Eric Hanson.
CHERUSHII “QUEEN OF CUPS” 12″ (SILK056) $9
Bay Area hardware native Chelsea Faith’s debut as Cherushii – a name she’s been recording under informally since her first teenage techno Tascam experiments more than a decade ago – spills over with loves and lessons gleaned from her lifer voyage through the city’s thriving rave underworlds. Though she trained as a classical pianist at the San Francisco Conservatory Of Music the rigidity of the culture disillusioned her, so she dove headfirst into the Bay’s electronic warehouse scene, both as a promoter and as a performer. For her 19th birthday she received a Yamaha RS7000 sequencer, thus birthing an obsession with live PA sets, which she’s never deviated from. Recorded mostly in SF (with the exception of one track cut in Berlin), and mixed by Matthew Zipkin, “Queen Of Cups” takes the expansive blueprint of slow-burn deep house but threads it through with waves of synth wash, acid flash, and simmering strobe glow, for a loose yet composed suite of 21st-century free-spirit pulse generation. Mastered by Eric Hanson. In new SILK label sleeves designed by Bobby Houlihan.
PARADISE 100 “THE LOIN KING” 12″ (SILK055) $9
Scotland-born Parisian Paradise 100 aka Graham/Africa has been percolating stripped-back, bouncy-castle house constructs onto the web for a couple years but never locked them in wax till now. High time. Following his minimalist dictum that “any more than three tracks on a song is just indulgence,” his debut EP’s four cuts share a sleek, spare design, jigsawing slinky bass, classic keys, lean drum programming, and flashes of synth mirage into fluid, aerodynamic patterns. Touches of melodic acid and crossover new wave color the mood an exotic, hedonistic hue (further evinced by titles like “The Loin King” and “French Kissing In The House Of Love”). His own vision of the project is appropriately fantastical: “The image in my mind is of tropical forests at night, torchlight, distant sounds of tribal ritual dance and ghosts.” Regal music for pleasure domes. Black vinyl 45 RPM 12 inches, mastered by Eric Hanson. Edition of 410.
LES LEVEL “HOUSE OF NEED” 12″ (SILK054) $9
Melbournian multi-hyphenate Luke Brown has his hands in a lot of pots, from his defunct DJ duo with Ricardo Ramos, Leslie Salvador, as well as his ongoing death-disco/dark-synth revisionist twosome, Negativ Magick. But the past few years have found him exploring more classic, scruffed-up analog house terrain via his latest alias Les Level, and his debut, House Of Need, is 6 uncut bars of funky souled club gold. Bookended by a pair of of mixes of the stellar neo-Chicago anthem “House Of Need” (a “cheese mix” and a “dirty dub”), the rest of the tracks prowl through a host of suave, shuffling, Strictly Rhythmic variations, from the After Hours-ish 3 AM skyline seducer, “Smooth Sailing,” to the pumping, jazzy jack-groove, “Working Nights.” An expert assemblage by a nuanced craftsman with style to burn. Black vinyl LPs, 33 RPM, mastered by Eric Hanson in Los Angeles. Edition of 430.