Lady Blackbird ‘Collage’ (Bruise Remix)

Not since Roisin Murphy’s ‘Incapable’ has there been such a tub-thumping, sweat-dripping-from-the-walls euphoria dowsing of a record. The slightly off kilter piano loop, jacking baseline and this talented woman’s exceptional vocal make this a record I’ll be playing all summer (if you’re in the southern hemisphere) and the perfect record to warm you through the tunnel of winter (for friends of mine in the western hemisphere)… The dub is absolutely killer too, but it’s not often I find a 115bpm vocal house record that I want to play in a club, so that’s what I’ll be doing down at 121 on the 13th of November for my All Night Long set (plug plug). One question: where’s the vinyl people?

If you’re blessed enough to live in Wellington (New Zealand) hit me up on Facebook for doorlist (I have five freebies to give away). This is going to be a very special summer for clubbing in Aotearoa; I feel so lucky to be part of it.

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Khan ‘Give Me More’ (Second Circle)

I grant you, it’s a bit odd posting two records from the same label one after the other. However, when a label is on fire, it’s on fire. While the Giuseppe Leonardi was a couple of months old, this is a brand spanking new reissue (if there is such a thing) of a 1994 mid tempo chug thug. This is the same Khan who wrote the stone cold classic ‘Say Goodbye’ (featuring Julee Cruise) on Playhouse back in the day: a favourite record of mine from that era… Make sure you check the Losoul mix too if you’re new to it.

Whatever the weather, this is a potential weapon for the right DJ.

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Giuseppe Leonardi ‘MenteMente’ (Second Circle)

While I always used to be desperate to get the newness up on the blog first, these days I like to take a different approach: I like to live with a record for a month (or two) and see if it’s still doing it for me. If it’s still delivering after 40 drives with the kids yelling in the back and my wife talking over the music about the perils of (ironically) holding onto my stress… only then do we have a potential blog post. These are the tests that matter. Not the musings of a reclining single music enthusiast intently rolling a joint with one hand while fine tuning the mids on his Alpha Recording Systems mixer with the other. This is not music in its real word setting, people.

This lovely record has been soundtracking my tea making activities for ages now, and it pairs beautifully with early spring and a peppermint tea bag. I’m a big fan of Second Circle records (and mothership label Music From Memory for that matter); Dazion is one of my favourite contemporary producers (period) and Androo is nothing but flava, as we used to say in the 90s.

Spanning Balearica, synth boogie, house(ish) and electro, this record touches a lot of bases without feeling like an EP of random tracks that were just sitting on the producer’s desktop. It’s also a really strong evolution from his debut ‘TBC’ on Second Circle, which had some great ideas but was ultimately stumped by some less than perfect mix downs. This is immaculately conceived and executed in every respect, with enough sonic variety to maintain your attention and sanity during those long drives to the trampoline park.

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Roisin Murphy ‘Murphy’s Law’ (Cosmodelica Remix)

While I know this remix is probably in pretty much everyone’s serotonin replacement playlist (if it’s not, well, you’re welcome) and perhaps not a typical Heads Down record, I just had to talk about it. As with any single that follows a classic, La Murphy’s original was a record with a lot of expectation riding on its Gwen Guthrie-esque shoulders after the DJ Parrot-produced monster that was/is ‘Incapable’. Unfortunately it just didn’t quite hit, you could sense the promise, but it wasn’t quite there.

Enter stage left another Murphy, DJ Cosmo aka the brilliant Colleen Murphy: radio DJ, club DJ, Mancuso acolyte, producer and general all round purveyor of warmth, happiness and positive energy. Colleen has delivered a remix that feels modern but instantly classic and imbued with the spirit of early 80s NYC: cascading pianos, gorgeous string lines, killer synth bass and a vocal that has with open arms finally found its instrumental soul mate. More than anything though, it’s just so deeply musical and life affirming; the perfect radio record during this surreal time in this overwhelmingly imperfect world. Thank you so much ladies. (P.S- check out Roisin’s lockdown version below if you haven’t already).

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Frank Booker Interview

Last year I had the total pleasure of playing alongside one of my favourite DJs, Mr Chris Cox aka Frank Booker down at Body Electric at Club 121 in Wellington, New Zealand. It was a classic evening from the needle dropping on the first record to the last hugs… One of those ones. Beforehand Monsieur Booker and I hit go on a couple of iPhones and had a wee chat: about his beginnings as a DJ, the music that he loves… That kind of thing. He even kindly brought in a couple of tunes to discuss, check them here and here. He’s one of the best to do it (and I don’t say that lightly)… enjoy!

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Maurice Fulton & Peggy Gou ‘Jigoo’

For those of you who have followed the blog over the years it will come as no surprise that this is just another article of proof that my Maurice Fulton fanboydom is veering on out of control. From wayback in the Spectrum and Tranfusion label days to the golden era power punches of the Love Endeavor remix and Kathy Diamond album, Mr Fulton has always been (Metro Area aside) the man to beat. Not only in a production sense but as a DJ too; when I was first given a promotor budget back in the day (Tom Dodd I salute you) Maurice was the first DJ I wanted to book. His style of veering seamlessly between underground disco and dubbed out Syclops weirdness was/is totally explosive. If you’ve never heard Maurice out, you’ve got to do it.

This collaboration is one of the best considered and most symbiotic of his career: the mix of his trade mark gas face programming and Ms Gou’s joyful melodies and eastern fusion is a match made in heaven. What an amazing thing to pop out of the ether! It’s a vinyl and digital purchase for this one, without a doubt. Buy it here, at Gudu’s Bandcamp.

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Omar S ‘You Want’ LP

Omar S’s new LP might just be the best electronic album of the year, in February (how’s that for annoying journalistic hyperbole). Let’s get that out of the way. It swerves on an empty Detroit superhighway between dance tropes with a gas face ghetto steeliness that just can’t be faked. Like the Ron Hardy reel edit of ‘Baby Wants To Ride’ it pops and and hisses, a ghostly memory of half remembered nights spent on dance floors of long forgotten clubs. Yet somehow it feels crazy NOW. A totally joyous middle finger to the black tee’d toys playing pseudo Moulton edits and over 909’ed remixes of already average records.

I’m not going to give you a blow by blow highlight summary of this FXHE release… Pretty much every tune is a raw, effortlessly propulsive leviathan. Make sure you check out the video to ‘Second Life’ above… It artfully yet unpretentiously sums up the flavour of this, Alex ‘Omar’ Smith’s greatest work to date.

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LX72 aka Lexx ‘State Of Resilience’

I’ve been waiting for for my 12″ of this to arrive in the post New Zealand Christmas logjam, as I didn’t want to write a word before I could physically put a needle on it. It’s so heartening to hear a club record from Swiss underground hero Lexx (aka Alex Storrer), because irrespective of genre all his productions have a sort of grown up bounce and snap. From the MPC bump of State of Resilience to the Theo Parrish-esque blazed beatdown of ‘Duster’, this record is an absolute testament to good taste, and I mean that not in a kind of ‘buttoned-down’ myopic sense, but rather in a ‘I’ve dedicated my adult life the only buying the best music and here are the fruits of those labours’ kind of way.

Turns out that I needn’t have waited for the vinyl… It’s now available digitally to on Bandcamp too. This is my kind of dance music: subtly soulful (rather than ‘soulful house’ as it were), deep and absolutely built and EQ’ed for big rigs. I can’t wait to play this out in the Body Electric room at 3am during the 121 Festival in March…

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Flamingo Pier ‘Indigo EP’

Brothers in arms Luke, Brad and Dominic are back with a new discoid ICBM in the form of the Indigo EP on the ever-reliable Soundway Records, just in time for the tail end of the southern hemisphere’s summer and the leg-baring optimism of the European spring.

Their upliftingly cosmic, afro house sensibilities are once again front and centre, all artfully lacquered with an astute pop sensibility. To their credit they pull off the rarely realised trick of being highly produced and vocal forward while never feeling saccharin or too overtly commercial, and despite this only being a four track EP (with a radio edit of Indigo) they have created the impression that there is something for even the most devout disco deviant. For the DJs there is the deep percussive push of Jungle Groove, while Indigo and Tripping Up will happily Spotify the drive to many a local surf spot and late night beach party this summer.

I’ve been lucky enough to DJ with Luke Walker a couple of times now, and having heard him out I can detect his love of Italo, post punk and Afro eclecticism gently permeate through every production on this record. While I don’t know the other fellas involved, I get the feeling that they are very much on the same page. Out on February 7th it will be available for your aural pleasuring from all your usual streaming services and vinyl emporiums… Get involved pilgrims.

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Zatua ‘Nun Vuelvas Más’

One of the great things about this “new” way of record shopping is it’s possible to actually live with music for a while before you take the plunge at your local vinyl emporium or Discogs. You can Spotify or Bandcamp the shit out of it before saying “yes, this record will actually leave it’s sleeve more than once and won’t be yet another circular monument to the fact my kids will never go to a decent school”.

This is a tune I’ve been hammering on Apple Music for months before buying the vinyl and I still bite my lower lip and let out a little ‘uh yeah’ every time it comes on. It’s the third track on the debut album Sin Existencia by Zatua, a promising outfit from Indonesia. It’s absolutely dripping in funk and is the kind of record you play to black music purists who think that anything under the balearic or world music moniker is just a load of Birkenstock (not that there’s anything wrong with Birkenstocks) tie dyed Hackney bollocks. It really is rather good.

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