By Stef Siepel
The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.
Track of the week: ‘So N2U’ by James Ferraro
I love James Ferraro, especially that Night Dolls with Hairspray album he did. He had a fantastic ’80s teenage film vibe going on for that. The man is just amazing in taking sounds and making these lovely collages out of them, akin to what some of these pop art artists did. This is no exception. Here he takes on more the funk side of the ’80s. It’s so amazing to me that he can mix and match all these sounds, all these samples, and not get this muddled, hard to listen to mess. The track is smooth, but definitely not dull, with all these different elements and how he has placed them. I really think of this as similar to Pop Art collages/pastiches, where they take all these pop culture things we know, assemble it, and make it this easy-on-the-ear and very refined piece out of it – which I, for one, think is an amazing feat.
‘Diamonds’ by Midnight Magic
Midnight Magic are gearing up to release their debut album, and they’ve been presenting a few cuts off of that. The band, in heart a disco ensemble, has already shown us some different things they can do, and for this they take it down a notch. Understated disco instrumentals in the background accompany what is essentially a tour de force by singer Tiffany Roth. The sounds, especially the horns, make sure the disco aesthetic is taken care of. The song narrates a story about a romance that, apparently, is going haywire. This track is slightly more wordy than their other ones, which is okay, but because of the looong extensions of words as well as the little production tricks they play with them, I find it a hard song to follow – a problem I certainly didn’t have with their other efforts. I have to admit that this is not my favorite one of them, though I still am looking forward to that album immensely.
‘The Fall’ by Rhye
I love that clear piano that opens the song. Then a beat comes in, equally clear in production and clean in sound, to aid that piano. Then those lovely, lovelorn vocals appear, asking someone to come home, even if it is just for a while. I just love the apparent simplicity of this. Two main sounds with the piano and the drums, and then these crystal clear vocals that sprinkle some melancholy on top of it. Naturally, they sometimes add a little something something, though it never takes over from the main ingredients as they are just there to add some flavour. Case in point, those lovely little horns that come more and more to the fore near the end. The ending is where those “secondary” sounds do shine, which is a great way to signal that something new is about to happen, in this case the ending. Lovely little tune, one that sounds so small but still has plenty of emotion to bring it home.
‘Flash of Light’ by Luca C & Brigante feat. Roisin Murphy
Luca C and Brigante perhaps thought, Now, how can we build a vehicle for Roisin Murphy to shine? I’m not sure this is the definite Murphy song, but I do like the contrast between Mrs. Moloko’s voice and the deep, deep sounds of Luca C & Brigante. They lay down the groundwork, and Murphy does her thing, and does it well. Her voice is just so amazing. What sometimes goes wrong with things like this is that you get a guest vocalist in, and then that guest vocalist has to battle those deep beats. But thankfully here Murphy is really put up front, the beat is put in the back, and only when Murphy sings skkyyyyyyy with increasing fragility they mix a light sound in there to help her get to the top. Love that beat that comes in just after the vocals around 3:30, also shows that this isn’t just about Murphy’s voice but that the boys can make something happen even when she’s not singing. As said, not the definite Murphy song that will be a staple on every single compilation of hers from now on, but still a pretty great tune.
‘Say U Love Me’ a Late Nite Tuff Guy edit
Late Nite Tuff Guy is one of my favorite people in terms of taking on the old classics. Here he takes on one of the Jackson family, which is instantly recognizable by that funk and by these vocals. Even that guitar. First there’s a bit of Michael in there (‘Don’t Stop ‘Till You Get Enough’ I reckon), then he switches to Janet pleading that, if you love her, say you do. This to a constant dancefloor loving sound in the background that will have you dancing no problem. Some lovely disco sounds come in at 3:30 to give it some extra atmosphere, in case you even needed more incentive to be moving that body and do a little dance. And 5:30 has a lovely vocal high if you’re interested in that sort of thing. Lovely, smooth remix that I’m sure any fun loving dancefloor would be happy to hear.
‘Power’ by Pompeya (Mario Basanov dub)
The beat is dull and hard, but I guess that’s what I get for picking a dub version of something. Still, after thirty seconds, with some additional sounds (both rhythm and for flavour) and these humming vocals (humming doesn’t really describe it, but oh well) it finally gets somewhere. Add the bass after the first minute mark (a deeeep bass at that), and I’ve already forgotten that shaky start. I like these sort of slightly detached sounding vocals, they fit well with the deep bass that by now is the power behind the dub. No more of that dull beat, it’s the bass that does the working, and I’m all for it. Around the four minute mark he takes his foot off the pedal for a moment before returning with that lovely bass, which does give it that Basanov vibe I think. Forget the dub label; it’s a nice, deep cut driven by a deep bass that is perfect for a little spin after three o’clock in the morning.