TEMPLES “EARRINGS II” 12″ (SILK063) $9
Portlandia house bastion Ecstasy termed Temples’ 2012 debut mini-LP, I-VII, “ambient jack,” which captures something of the project’s contradictory strengths: airy yet agile, sparse but plush, flights of intuition mapped onto morphing grids of percussion, crystalline electronics, and pastel skylines. Avalon Kalin’s latest collection of tech finery, Earrings II, dials back the atmospheric quotient somewhat, though there’s still a rock garden spaciousness to his mixes, each element arranged with regard to some higher harmony, the poetry of negative space. Recorded in his home studio “while dancing,” the four tracks here ebb between passages of pressure and release, euphoric but unstable, dusted with pyramid-chamber slap back and live dubbing acrobatics. Their melting clock asymmetries more closely echo Kalin’s hardware improvisations with Scott Goodwin as Polonaise than the velvet vocal house of his other solo vessel, Finesse, but Temples is ultimately a holy place all its own. A sleekly compelling statement from one of the Pacific Northwest’s secret heroes. Mastered by Eric Hanson. Edition of 305.
ROCHE “STILLHOPE” 12″ (SILK062) $9
San Fran synth sensei Ben Winans aka Roche ventures further into his arcane hardware labyrinths on Stillhope, his second slab of mind-wired Pacific house for 100% Silk. As always with his work there’s a great sense of spaciousness and flow, coastal fog billowing around Alcatraz and over Land’s End, invisible currents taking control. “Stillhope” and “The Medicine” skew more towards the hazed and zen, cliffside smoke seances rendered via samplers and circuitry, percussion patterns ghosting through hidden lunar cycles, while “Change” brings back the bass, riding an acid-funked electric slide into a chorus of street soul chanting. Closer “Theme For Ikaros” leaves the bay (and earth) behind, a techno spy theme for hijacking a distant moon base, filtered arpeggios ramping the suspense against a steady stalker’s pulse until it all dissolves in dubby echoes, a stark clap, and a sample whispering about “the essence of life.” Even in deepest space, there’s Stillhope. Black vinyl 12 inches in SILK label sleeves designed by Luke Brown. Mastered by Eric Hanson. Edition of 315.
STILL IN THE MAILROOM:
MAGIC TOUCH “PALERMO HOUSE GANG” 2×12″ (SILK060) $20
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.
1 – Parker Medicine – Life On Mars – CT-HI
2 – Andras Fox – After The Rain – Dopeness Galore
3 – Pender Street Steppers – M Flight – PPU
4 – Policy – Ghost in The Groove – 100% Silk
5 – Merwyn & Inkswel – Eternal Freedom (GB Rmx) – Hotshot
6 – D’Boldiss – Freak Huh? Round One – Coco Machete
7 – Erosion Flow – Bedroom Jam – Man Make Music
8 – Max Graef – Bummse – The Gym
9 – Legowelt – Cruise Till The Sun Shine – PPU
10 – Moon b – Untitled – Going Good
11 – Magic Touch – Passion – 100% Silk
12 – Telephones – Blaff – Running Back
13 – Sequence Report – Been Steppin to your Love – Tevo Howard Recordings
14 – New Musik – Warp (llo Edit) – Pleasure International Exports
15 – Seven Davis Jr – Celebrations (Funkineven Edit) – Apron
16 – Suzanne Kraft – III – Running Back
17 – Andras Fox – Soft Illusion – HLR
Los Angelite Magic Touch is packing up his denim tuxedo for a 6-week tour/trek into the Deep East of live shows and DJ gigs. Expect sweat, sweet spots, and rare “Palermo House Gang” t-shirts. Dates below!
Magic Touch Asia Tour Summer 2014 (Indonesia / Hong Kong / China / Japan)
~ INDONESIA ~
May 30th Bali @ Metis (DJ)
~ HONG KONG ~
June 6th Hong Kong @ XXX Gallery (W.Hong Kong) (DJ)
~ CHINA ~
June 12th Shanghai @ 390 Club (DJ)
June 13th Beijing @ Dada Bar (LIVE)
June 14th Shanghai @ Arkham (LIVE)
~ JAPAN ~
June 20th Naha Okinawa @ Record & Music Bar “ON” w/ Oorutaichi (LIVE)
June 21st Fukuoka City @ Kieth Flack w/ Oorutaichi (LIVE)
June 22nd Nagasaki @ Big Deal w/ Oorutaichi (LIVE)
June 24th Okayama City @ Pepperland w/ Oorutaichi (LIVE)
June 27th Tokyo @ TBA
June 28th Sendai Miyagi @ Club Shaft w/ Oorutaichi (LIVE)
June 29th Takasaki Gunma @ Woal w/ Oorutaichi (LIVE)
June 30th Tokyo @ Dues Shinjuku w/ Oorutaichi (LIVE/DJ)
July 4th Osaka @ Stomp (LIVE)
July 11th Tokyo (DJ) Amate-Raxi (DJ)
Vertical67 – Fly
Lord of The Isles – Horizon Effect
Submersible Machines - Amni
Metropolis - Black Hole
Vertical67 - Playing Games
Wisp - House of Aos
Ceephax – South Bank
Legowelt - Sark Island Acid
Vertical67 - Clacid
Osborne - L8
Vertical67 – Turn
James Booth - Christa’s Reverie