POLICY “POSTSCRIPT” LP (SILK065) $12
Manhattan filmmaker-turned-beatbroker Francis Hsueh aka Policy has been unfolding a skewed yet chic house blueprint across the last three years, as evinced via a series of EPs for eminent dancefloor wholesalers such as Rush Hour and Argot – yet his latest seems his most assured and distilled to date. Postscript plays street dice with choppy electronics and disrobed rhythm architectures, maxed out but close to the chest, splashed with off-grid percussive patterns and muted jazz textures. Policy’s policy of artisanal layering has never been more elegantly executed; metropolis gems like “Postscript 187,” “Ghost In The Groove,” and “Big Beast Anthem,” swing and stutter, brisk and bouncy, graffitied with smoke-lounge keys, soft pad dub-stabs, synth-flute streaks, burnished brass, city grit. A uniquely contemplative take on funky uptown house by one of NYC’s rising talents. Cover photograph by Francis Hsueh. Mastered by Dietrich Schoenemann at Complete Mastering. Edition of 450.
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. Edition of 430.
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 430.
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 450.
ALEX BURKAT “TAROT” 12″ (SILK050) $9
Brooklyn’s boroughs are famously contaminated with creators of every shade, so the only surprise with hearing BK-dweller Alex Burkat’s first 100% SILK masters was how subtly exquisite he’d nailed them down. Patient, swelling loops of new age club mist give way to classic Chicago figure-8 bass patterns, punctuated by dubby, sampled drum fills, before billowing back out into breathy warehouse atmospherics. His recent EP for Mister Saturday Night explored more upbeat-oriented dynamics but Tarot unwinds with a dreamier deja vu, waves of arpeggiatted echoes, strobing stereo shimmer, and low acid warble arcing over a limitless subterranean dance floor. Hypnotic humanist mantric mystery music for the 21st century, for those invested in what the deck has to hold. Mastered in Los Angeles by Eric Hanson. Edition of 475.
POLYSICK “UNDER CONSTRUCTION” 12″ (SILK049) $9
BACK IN STOCK – WAREHOUSE FIND, 12 COPIES
Visionary Roman hyperrealist Polysick (aka Egisto Sopor) is one the most inspirationally omnivorous electronic futurists in the biz right now. From the miasmic sci-fi terrariums of his 2012 opus Digital Native to his scrambled alien radio hijack tape Flow FM to his recent new age metropolis techno-fantasy Daydream, he traverses every sphere with a masterfully warped, expansive, and maximalist touch. Under Construction finds him fracking into fresh dancefloor terrains: breezy rooftop acid stretched into animal balloons, degenerated house dubs refracted through 80′s video arcade ambience, jazzy champagne-spritzed 303-dosed loft funk, screwed Barry White samples echoing across the chill out lounge, etc. Four instant time-travel crate-dug classics by one of today’s most clued-in constructionists. Edition of 460.
OCTO OCTA “BETWEEN TWO SELVES” 2×12″/CD (SILK046) $20/$9
Sophistication and elegance have not always been the strobelight honey of many dancefloor pursuits but it’s been Octo Octa’s strongest suit since his 2011 SILK debut, and here again are those core moods of displaced identity and intimacy giving way to an adrift, uneasy feeling. Between Two Selves has a facile sensuality – the reclining nude of Octo’s Blue Period – with more room to breathe and sigh anthemic samplics (“I don’t want you to go,” “All his kisses taste sweet”). There’s fewer elements in the mix but more space to explore them, pitched down and out across abstracted, extended compositions. A deep accomplishment of regal soul and melancholy.
PHARAOHS “REPLICANT MOODS” LP/CD (SILK045) $12/$9
Not Pharaoh – one guy, one midi controller – but Pharaohs, plural; a dance band and magical rarity amid the forlorn ‘Lesis landscape of solo producers and desktop DJs. Bunkered between an arrangement of stackable synths, the Pharaohs squad jams workshop-style, an endearing, funky, spirited live-thrive. Replicant Moods is one part airy coastal jazz, that Ibeatha-meets-Madchester baggy-style the group melted soles with on their first 12” Uhh Uhh, and two parts sci-fi soar into the new age, complete with Philip K. Dick winks, tech-know wonks, and sleek Daft Punk-choreographed boogies. A Maria Minerva guest soft spot on the ESG/Weymouth bass bust “Miraculous Feet” lends another sweet shuffle to the clone conga line of Technics tracks. Replicant Moodsis sensual – like a slinky cyber-booty shake – and also considered, a nuanced composition slowly evolving into a compelling layer dip of star-stretching get-down.
COYOTE CLEAN UP “2 HOT 2 WAIT” LP/CD (SILK044) $12/$9
Metro Detroit frisky/risky dreamer DJ Coyote Clean Up serves up a heart n’ hardbody emotional saga with 2 Hot 2 Wait, his deep-debut freaky full-length on 100% Silk. Hot-under-the-collar horniness (a woman simply counts to three on “Zebra Go Seek” and you start to undress), headphone-house grain (the fuzzy gut-bump on “The Least U Could Feel” is like warm breath whispering in your ear), screwed freestyle strip-hop (stuttery layers give hopeful, life-affirming energy to the lover-lost “Awesome Luv”) and out-of-time mash-ups (“Double Dip” is a memory overlapping, with a classic ’95 dial-tone under and over contempo EDM knob-twists) blend blissfully, fashioning a sentimental journey through a sex-love-loss odyssey.
BOBBY BROWSER “STILL BROWSING” 12″ (SILK043) $9
House is at home with Bobby Browser, who may be Still Browsing after 2012’s Just Browsing EP, but these four tracks feel like he’s finally splurged on the pleasure-purchase. Never afraid to fuse sad Soul II Soulisms with flute-floozy Milan model-walk wonders, or blue lipstick platformed dance with classic groove-back ogle-voguing, Bobby Browser remains a San Fran late-night-on-Haight-night Latin legend. Browser’s known for Djing gel-gems like “Bad Bad Boys” and other, mostly forgotten romantic thrift store singles, and as producer he’s got the same no-boundaries deep-‘preciation for all that can be stirred in his stoopid stew. Howard Jones meets Earth, Wind, and Fire meets N’dea Davenport meets Sade meets Frankie Knuckles but not at all straightforward, and nothing short of silky slip-peeling. Always lovely and light, sleek and chic, Bobby Browser’s bought a spot on your yacht. It’s going to be a smooth cruise.
MARIA MINERVA “BLESS” 12″ (SILK042) $9
Fresh again, SILK’s favorite dunce-dance diva Maria Minerva tries on a new wardrobe with her BlessEP. Busting out with sweet n’ swingy single “Black Magick,” Minerva caters her classic la-la lyrics about an occult/joke-cult romance over a new waif, Schneider-esque pop-Rock Lobsta beat. “Space 4 U” slips echo-drone vocal monologues over a LaFace-style RnB booty bumper, while “Symbol of My Pleasure” sneers with a “Walk This Way” funk lick, both reminding fans of Minerva’s naughty/playful creep-creativities. Rounding out the EP are “Soul Searchin” – a sleazy, down-tuned, junk-jungle comatose doser – and Lady Blacktonika’s “Black Magick” Garage trippin’ remix – a layer cake of luscious tush pushin’ and an ode to another sassy Lady, Miss Kier herself. Confidence is key, and this is Maria Minerva struttin,’ on and off key, through her newest collection of Wand Songs.
SHAMS “PIANO CLOUD” 12″ (SILK041) $9
The occasionally polarizing Brooklyn performer and producer does much more than just antagonize crowds with party pranks; he also creates careful, caressing house-fantasy tracks for escapist addicts, comfort creeps, and next-wave hedonists. Piano Cloud mixes Balearic ambience with cheeky disco love-hangovers. Troublemaker and Bubblebreaker, there’s an effortless effervescence to Shams and his airy, sprightly continental brunch-house.
LEECH “TUSKS” 12″ (SILK040) $9
Micro-scene main man and Kranky konfidante Brian Foote bounced from Chicago to Portland to L.A., first getting into gear and then getting into gear to become Leech, his deconstructed-dance-‘deavor. Known for “just getting it,” Foote was the maker of dreams come true when he manned the mix for Zola Jesus, LA Vampires, and Grouper, but as Leech he takes his levels-devil, diagonal dub, mood mixin’ wonk wizardry to someplace strange and sideways. Leech plays a conceptual concert, sucking sounds from hear and theirs. His is the genre of Chrono Dance, taunting with temporary tempos while foregoing four on the floor for time-traveling beats. Tusksis a style-sampler, approaching acid, teasing techno, and jumbling jazz; it’s the blip and bloop-ers reel of Big Dance Ideas, and you will dance – just not comfortably.
MAGIC TOUCH + SAPPHIRE SLOWS “JUST WANNA FEEL” 12″ (SILK038) $12
When 2 become 1: “Just Wanna Feel” is gush-worthy, hype-topping, expectation-shattering perfect house pop from blonde disco Don, Magic Touch, and heavenly weirdo wizardress Sapphire Slows. The single is singular; like early St. Germain mornings, breezy, bright, and breathtaking. B Side, “When I See You,” is pure piano pleasure; from opposite sides of the Pacific, Touch and Slows have created coastal holiday sand n’ sea sweet sensuality. The 12” also includes end-of-days echo-ccordian, slippery dark nights risin’ rubix remix by outside-the-box beat bester I:Cube, as well as a dub-do-over from M. Touch himself. A match made for the internet age, a flawless faraway coolaboration with the best of both and mucho more. All design by effortless art hooligan Bobby Houlihan.
JMII “NUEVA YORK” 12″ (SILK033) $9
Barcelona-to-Berlin boy Jami Bassols, AKA JMII, makes his SILK debut with Nueva York, a loosey-goosey, sensuadelic 5 a.m. den off the Gold Coast of house. Emotional transcen-dance for post-party, religious rave rovers. Super psych bliss-bloops, heavy sighs, textural key clouds, angelic piano ambles, spiritual lift-offs. Under the moniker Aster, Bassol’s released on Hieroglyphic Being’s Mathematics label, and as JMII he’s created a sort of Reincarnation House; dance music for past and future lives, part new age/part gospel, all-in ambient acid. Ciento por ciento seda!
SIR STEPHEN “HOUSE OF REGALIA” LP (SILK032) $12
N’awlin Dah’lin Sir Stephen knows why the Cajun bird sings. The Homme of Homage creates a time-trippin’, style-hoppin’ virtual reality fantasy zone with his debut LP, House Of Regalia. 8 flava profiles to drop on yr tongue – from the Brand New Heavies-spectre, “One X One,” with N’Dea-diva vocals by Fleur de Lis, to the cooltempo/rare groove New Order redux, “Dance For Life,” to the Underworld-weary born-and-raised slippy ripper “Get Wet.” HORis a luxe layer-cake of sister-soul mantras (“I’ll be pushin’ on!”), acid jazz lounge breaks, jackin’-the-Black Box piano house holds, thrown shades, fashion plates, and dizzy dancefloor dee-lites. This is music for dancers, pure n’ sample. Limited Edition 500 vinyl with luscious Spencer Longo x-scape cover art.
LA VAMPIRES BY OCTO OCTA “FREEDOM 2K” 12″ (SILK031) $11
BACK IN STOCK
Octo Octa adds the melancholy to LA Vampires’ infinite fadness on “Freedom 2K,” their reachin’/preachin’ 50/50 collaboration on 100% Silk. Here LaVamps has traded her cheap n’ chic booty-budget grooves for sleek n’ chic haunted house. With lyrical allusions to Minnie Riperton, Arthur Russell, and Evelyn Champagne King, vocalist Amanda Brown reappropriates realms of romance, skewing them into fresh sonic moods. Her wash n’ rinse sing/speak is backed by Nick Malkin’s keys-like-skippin’- stones, Britt Brown’s Tex-Mix dub-bumps, and Brian Foote’s sense and sexpertise, which are all just spit and shine for Octo Octa’s moonlit piano naïve melodies. An extra-finessed Malvoeaux remix closes out the collection. Gloss and glow design by aesthetic-elevator Bobby Houlihan, with silver and pink toned drop-of-androgeny photography by Ashley Anthony, will push your candy buttons. Freedom 2K provides dance or be-danced-on anthems for the 21st Century, with a diagonal devotion to our generation’s gay nineties. “We were living in a fantasy” – George Michael, Freedom 90.
MAGIC TOUCH / ITAL 12″ (SILK030) $9
ONE TIME REPRESS of 100 COPIES
Groovesome twosome, din-yin and bang-yang, San Fran band of solo brothers, Damon Palermo and Daniel Martin McCormick disjoin forces here for a split personality. Magic Touch and Ital, respectively, travel the globe separately and together (as the harmoniously ever-evolving Mi Ami), forging a years-long relationship that supercedes the prod of producer’s ego. Like his previous paean “Clubhouse” but with gospel-gush swirl and swoon, Magic Touch’s “Anywhere You Want Me” bursts with soul to squeeze, a slip-disco house hunt for the perfect ease-ster egg. Then, re-envisioned by Ital, “Anywhere” goes satin to satan, perfect paranoia pitch, choir curse, a ‘bot-banger out of darkness into flight. Flip to Ital’s “From A Dream” and find your BPM on a trip-treadmill, jacked, pumped, maxxed Max Headroom seizure samples, with moments of power-pretty sweat-spritz dizziness. The remix from Magic Touch jumps through italo-boogie loops and hoops for a revolution-evolution of hooks and crammies, all dissolving into an interzone afterglow. Compliments to the chefs.
ROLAND TINGS “MILKY WAY” 12″ (SILK024)
BACK IN STOCK – WAREHOUSE FIND, 6 COPIES
Like the satisfying first sip of soda water spritz, Roland Tings’ debut EP, Milky Way, bubbles, barms, and beads through your body. Roland Tings is Rohan Newman, a Melbourne producer who, like recent rubies Holy Balm, Forces, and Canyons, proves there’s just more and more greatness behind the great and powerful Oz. Melodic acid trips doused with swish-ticky-booms, like a rubber ball in space with endless bump and bounce. Sweet off his Japanese jaunt, speeding things down with Sapphire Slows shows, Newman’s taste is pure effervescence and buoyancy. But he’s got a percussive stickiness as well, a vim/vigor that raps and rips through Trax touch-ups and echo-plexes. Not the nineties but the “none-ties” – no glimmer glam, or sampladelic vocal vacations, or happy house heartbeats. He ends the creamy Milky Waywith a brilliantly wonky theme that springs like a wind-up toy gone loose.
OCTO OCTA “OH LOVE” 12″ (SILK023) $9
100% Silk begs and pleads for all things Octo – that eight-sided honest octagon: sweet, sad, shy, hopeful, blissful, light, lifting, longing. Going deeper, swelling higher than his first “Let Me See You” 12”, “Oh Love” unifies touching human experience with technology, sound, and rhythm in a totality of vision. The thesis thrill here: selling dreams that can’t be followed, finding love that can’t be lasting, seeking a future that can’t solve your present. “Oh Love” is honeyed with tenderness; musings on dance history merge euphoniously with a wealthy sample bank. Octo Octa’s the new search engine; he’s connected and connective, the feeling fish to your computer chips. The dancefloor has been pulled out from under you, now you’re free to float in the “Oh Love” atmosphere – warm and womby, roused and roomy, a tear-jerk body-work. Poise yourself for poignancy.
OUT OF STOCK
FORT ROMEAU “KINGDOMS” 12″/CD (SILK022) $9
“Jack this groove,” a deep voice persists in “Jack Rollin’,” the tour-de-four-on-the-floor force set opener of Kingdoms. Seedy deeds are done during Fort Romeau’s late-night lush, a frolic down London foggy fascination streets. Vinyl crackle on the hush-hush, Fort Romeau plays bass face-time and clap attacks through shadow jackin’ steam, muted mambas, and the sultry spiral of total texture. A feminine touch, soothing and somnolent, with a man’s musk, pounding, pursuing. Makes you teary, tearing down Romeau’s Row, as syncopated swishes, like woodwind winter winds, suck, sigh, and blow. It’s a sauna sound: hot gusts, warmer water jets, sensual shuffles, breathy and beautiful.
STRATEGY “BOXY MUSIC” 12″ (SILK021) $11
Prince of Portland Paul Dickow turns his no-nonsense Nudge-sludge awesomeness into revved-up, avant tech-house arousal as Strategy. The moniker has found Dickow checking out hooks in his Community Library and niche-in’-out nooks on Kranky. With SILK he separates: “Skanking Stabs” stomps with reverb canned-can drums, bouncing in a dancehall vault. “Feel The Earth” is not your daddy’s acid jazz, with its bouncing house arresting piano bar tipped jar. “Starry Day” soft serves up a swirl of 80’s vamp funk, contempo computer chocolate chips, and haywire Cyberdyne scheming sequences. The dueling “Bolly Valve” tracks mix Arabic woodwind skill scales with whisper sizzle clatter data. In hot pink pop art Neu-bout-town jackets designed by the artist.
MI AMI “DECADE” LP/CD (SILK020) $9
The transformative duo of Damon “Magic Touch” Palermo and Daniel “Ital” Martin-McCormick together as Mi Ami have created a hardcore soft-serve swirl of afro-punk, disco-dance freakout, and primitive techno along their years-long journey toward Decade’s fine exploratory house. The yin of Damon’s deep focus rhythm, a seemingly endless widening beat, meets the yang of Daniel’s DC edge, his spikiness, that unsettling anarchic tension, on “Horns,” the album’s sparkly, dizzying opener. “Time Of Love” has the elegance and persistence of Sade being hunted; it’s soul on the move – cymbal crash symbolism, flanger flatlines, and drum roll pleads. Flip to “Free Of Life” to hear laser lover beams shooting across reverb tense pad stabs and synth-shred sweeps. Finally, “Bells” returns to that track one anxiety, perfectly palindrome: Damon’s boom-thrum-tum give to Daniel’s pitch-punch take, with a kiss of guitar ghosts, the Fender-mender between punk pasts and dance dawning. Decade is a chemistry test, a steady study, a link of love. Ten fingers to touch you art by Bobby Houlihan. My friends: MI AMI.