This will be the first part of a monthly series where I bang on about house records that I've heard clips of on YouTube and stuff. Wicked.
The first record I want to talk about is Leron Carson's Red Lightbulb Theory '87-'88. Carson recorded these experimental ('experimental' in the sense of someone with no prior experience messing around with hardware, not the chin-stroking Wire magazaine way. NB: Father Christmas got me a subscription to that magazine and I love it. Just to clarify) house tracks when he was fifteen. When I was fifteen I was spending all my time masturbating, listening to Safety Scissors or perving on girls on MySpace. This guy was crafting some of the most simplistically brutal jams I've heard in years. All the tracks on the EP, re-issued on Theo Parrish's Sound Signature label, are percussion heavy extended work outs. The drum machines and bassline generators feel almost primitive in their simplicity but it is this simplicity that makes the record so good: sometimes you just want heads-down-no-nonsense thumping house with kickdrums so hard they sound like they'll break yr speakers and molasses thick jackin' basslines all over the shop.
You can download the EP here: Red Lightbulb Theory
Interestingly, Detroit's current grandmaster, Omar-S, was involved in the re-issuing of the Carson material and remastered it. Omar's released so much good stuff this year and his Fabric mix was possibly the finest in the series since Ewan Pearson's. He took a leaf out of Ricardo Villalobos' book and filled the mix with his own productions. And then claimed to have never heard of the Chilean DJ/Producer ("who the fuck is Ricardo Willalobos" etc). Omar's sound is firmly rooted in that wonderful retro-futurist vibe that Detroit techno's thrived on since the early days. He also knows how to use a filtered vocal better than anyone apart from Daft Punk:
Luckily for us, his Just Ask The Lonely album was reissued this year and is worth checking out if you're even remotely interested in house and techno. The Still Serious Nic EP that came out towards the end of 2009 is a complete classic as well. Genuinely one of the most exciting talents on the planet right now.
Ahhhh, Kompakt. The Cologne based label introduced me to techno a few years back and I've been in love with them since. The yearly Total compilations are essential for those of us who can't afford to buy 12" after 12" and act as snapshots of the last few months. The tenth in the series (anyone wanting to buy/just download one of them should go for the third one) features everyone you'd expect: DJ Koze, Superpitcher, Burger & Voigt, The Field, Michael Mayer etc. This is a different breed of house to that purveyed by the boys in Detroit though: to use an awful analogy, if the Leron Carson album is an unlubricated fist-fuck in a night club, Total 10 is taking you out to a nice resturaunt, treating you well and then gently slipping it in at the end of the night. Sure, the relentless thump-thump-thump is there. But it's softened slightly.