SIR STEPHEN “SANCTUARY” 12″ (HOS002) $9
French Quarter diva-house decadent Sir Stephen explores fresh palatial terrace party terrain on Sanctuary, a six-song rosary for SILK streetwear subsidiary House Of Silk. Seemingly inspired by that short-lived (and culturally off-limits) stylistic intersection of 90′s club music and devotional New Age – think early Enigma, deep house PM Dawn white labels, wind chime samples, etc – the EP glides between moods of self-reflection and celebration, often in the same track. Vocals rise through synth-swells of incense and candlelight, tag-teaming with sub-currents of tribal percussion, trumpet, sax, software warble, piano stabs, and acid-jazz flute. An absorbing and sensual resurrection collection by New Orleans’ foremost dancefloor defibrillator. Hand-stamped white label 12 inches mastered by Marshall Jefferson in Chicago, IL. Edition of 175.
GOLDEN DONNA “II” CS (SILK064) $6
Madisonian synthesizer omnivore follows the trippy club-crunched double helixes of his recent split 12 on Atlanta’s burgeoning CGI imprint with a 7-song skybath of breezy balcony themes, trap-flecked trampoline electronics, pale dream-pitched slow-rides, and diamond-headed aerodynamics for SILK’s subliminal magnetic tape division. There’s a consistent looking-glass curvature to the way he bends textures and percussion, giving them this lens flare plasticity, like a warped sheen of translucent plastic. Dense but dispersed, II pushes past his debut into higher altitude airspace, towards warmer climes. A uniquely hardwired hanging garden of hibernation strategies from a voracious jammer locked in the lair of midwestern winter. Mastered by Ghost Sounds. Hand-numbered edition of 100.
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.