As reported earlier on the site regarding the ‘Underground Quality Label Showcase & Mix CD’ at the Tape club in Berlin Sept 2009.
Please find the full review below of all 6 mixes (Anton Zap, Levon Vincent, Dj Qu, Fred P, Nina Kraviz and Jus Ed) with artist information, links and also the Underground Quality and Juno link to purchase the CDR.
Anton Zap comes from Moscow Russia, he studied sound engineering for two years and also pursued his thirst for music by collecting vinyl from an early age. Anton and Jus Ed met through the social networking site Myspace and this is where the UQ relationship initially began. Anton has released records on Underground Quality, Deep Explorer, Millions of Moments and more recently Uzuri pushing that Deep House sound cascading vintage warmth and groove. In Jan 2009 Anton made his debut appearance at Berlin’s most revered and exclusive nightspot Panorama Bar. Anton has slowly carved out a delicate mix of releases leaving ears gasping and everyone else quick firing praise, my expectations upon this mix are the same as what I conjure up with most of his releases, ideas of emotive deepness encrusted around fine rhythms, and detail.
The mix rolls without much urgency early on with sweeping pads layered upon each other and percussion slipping in and out of tracks seamlessly. Delicate piano keys tick the old school Deep House box and nice use of build up and breakdowns create space within the mix. As the mix winds downs the last track is a stretched out ambient number with a short sequence of drums thrown in. Anton fans will not be disappointed with this mix showcasing Anton’s talent to attened to the critical details coupled with creating space and form within the mix.
Levon Vincent for a period studied at the State University of NYC now Levon lives out in Indiana to concentrate primarily on music. Levon runs the much hyped Deconstruction Label with Anthony Parasol and also the Novel Sound record label which have been causing a stir amongst a differing range of Djs from House and Techno backgrounds.
Levon Vincent’s mix head’s straight for the dancefloor stripped with this guitar groove opener that really jacks with these loose but spikey guitar chords that twang and contort. Levons Games Dub on Underground Quality slips in next and throughout this mix it’s a real heady dancefloor exchange with a repertoire of unreleased tracks that will no doubt become critically acclaimed upon release. ‘Levon invincible’ could become his Dj booth alias at this rate fusing elements that I hear people vouch as being Techno based and or House based, to me this sounds like fresh inventive and well produced electronic music that has fed many appetites of bored ears! The final track in true vintage fashion, shouts out the names and soldiers of the scene, including label heads, artists, bookers and bloggers, true dancefloor dynamite.
Up next Ramon Lisandro Quezada or less formally as Dj Qu – Strength Music label boss From NYC and also the main representative behind the House Dance Conference parties, which goes on tour in the USA, Turkey and France pretty soon. Qu’s style of rhythmic detailed drums and percussion always interest me as Qu used to be a underground dancer no less, check the Strength Myspace site for the Japan video.
Qu’s mix I most looked forward to as his House Dance Conference mix on the Uzuri Bookings website has been on repeat at the Keep It Deep Studio’s lately. At the Drop of the flag and Qu immediately pushes the deeper edge with subtle detail, warmth and memorable groove. Things really start to warm up around the 19 min’s mark with rolling drums encased around a male chant. The recognisable ‘Buzz’ drives in next and as there are releases on UQ, Deconstruction and a single project release on Strength music over the next few months scheduled we most certainly wont be short of music to groove! As the mix winds down into the latter stages Qu finishes with a harder edge with searing percussion and form which wins the 100m dash on the CD Rom for me, my ears delighted at the detail and never wanted the mix to end, lets hope Qu gets a good slot at Tape club for all those attending.
Fred P or Fred Peterkin in full has released most of his material under the Black Jazz Consortium moniker on the Soul People Music label. Key releases have been highlighted recently with Fred P expressing exquisitely deep and conflicting subtleties within his music mixing lighter eloquence with harder elements and rhythms on tracks including Ambroshia and Truth in High Places. Over the last few months Fred P has been mentioned in certain circles and being included on the UQ Tape Club CDR will definitely raise awareness and his profile as it did with me.
The mix starts super deep with classically refined arrangement and these lush chord programmed over a very simply kick drum and three key bass line, Just like it says on the tin Soul People Music’ straight up and down. As the claps are restrained and patience is reinforced things build and browse slowly, like nurtured pockets of detail awaiting escape. Levels another BJC piece swings in and into the latter part of the 1hr mix, later in the mix Truth in High Places drops with the echoed male vocals bringing the mix to an end. Fred’s very well executed and arranged mix delights in places with unexpected brilliance.
Hailing from Russia Nina has been Djing for several years and now currently works on soon to be released studio productions and remixes. Check out The Red bull Music Academy as Nina participated in 2006 and also performed at Sonar 2006 for the RBMA Lounge. Nina is the lesser known artist included on the mix however this will all change with a rumoured release scheduled on Efdemin’s (Phillip Sollman’s) new imprint Naif – Hotter Than July EP To be released very soon and also Nina has new projects rumoured awaiting release for Underground Quality’s new sub label details to follow soon!
Back to the mix and having listened to all the mix’s over several days now I can honestly say this has been the most challenging to listen to as Nina is the artist I know least about and the mix actually pushes more boundaries than the others. I didn’t know what to expect from the artist I hold no expectations off and as I listened I still was unsure of what would unravel next and the tone and texture flowed and sequenced with essence. The mix kicks off with a sub 125 kick drum bpm riddled with male and female spoken word whispering in and out of the track which I presume to be Nina’s voice as her Myspace information states Nina’s tendency mid set to break out on the mic with improv singing and also her involvement with the more pop concerned group Myspace Rocket. The mix leans and swivels with swagger, with real lo-fi sounds and straightforward programming, synth stabs mingle with kick drums and timely claps. A deep workout of some serious material which has this Cassy spoken word edge but less dancy groovy and more calculated and precise. As another lady enters the vortex, realms and dimensions my excitement is immeasurable as I try to imagine what awaits this talent, this voice, and this Dj and observant soul!!! Femme Fatale for sure and a welcomed entity to the mainly man dominated discipline.
Label CEO, Internet radio connoisseur and brainchild behind this UQ Tape Club fundraiser CD, Jus Ed kicks off the first of six mixes found on the CD. Anyone that has logged into Ed’s My House – Your House Radio show will be accustom to the shout outs and general humorous observations Ed’s sights. Back to the mix and Ed’s ability to understand his audience nails the initial moments with some basic grooves accompanied by small catchy percussion keys and chords. Around the 24 minute mark there is this particularly subtle piece with a delicate siren hook, which really stands out within the mix. Around the half hour mark the mix does get slightly political with Ed denouncing all ‘fake ass mofo’s’ and illustrates the idea that we all need to do our own thing which is also sang quite eloquently by Ed. Ed’s mix overall brings the collaboration together reinforcing the message that the medium is still very important including vinyl, and as this CD Rom will help fund the label showcase at Tape club in September. A gesture I find very modest and imaginative seeing as the challenging financial climate has most certainly not passed and in certain contexts questions have been raised regarding underground music and its direction. In months maybe years to come this project may become more defining and significant than we imagine, but for now I pleasure at the music and the ideas, long may it continue.