Friday, May 26, 2006

Summer here kids

Fuck, two days till the end of my academic career and the beginning of the most sustained partying period I've undergone in a year. Followed swiftly, of course, by the sinking in my stomach as I confront the fact I've yet to find myself a job, and having to spend the second half of the summer sending CVs to incredulous employers as I sweat untold buckets into my England shirt. The World Cup, baby. How long now? Ten days or summat. Fuck yes.

Thoughts of summer have been heavy on my mind today, and they have very little to do with the weather, which seems to be carrying on as if it were deepest February. That's what it's like in England. You forget what summer feels like. So imagine my gratitude when I got hold of Serge Santiago's ferociously good re-edit of the Sunshine Underground's 'I Ain't Losing Any Sleep', surely the most plucky contender for non-techno summer anthem I've heard this year? I've been ludicrously sleepy in terms of keeping up with indie shenanigans in the past year, largely because I no longer live with my dear friend Sam and his dutiful NME-buying, not to mention his gift for sifting through the swathes of boyish imposture which tend to dominate guitar-based music these days in search of the truly golden nuggets. Sigh. Anyway, from what I gather the Sunshine Underground (pictured above) are precocious alt-rockers who use punk-funk as a starting point rather than a dressy afterthought; some of the lyrics are awful (what's with the 'Whadya say, hey?'. What's wrong with 'Whadya say, eh?', eh?) but it really doesn't matter 'cos the tune is fantastically simplistic in that life-affirming, i-could-have-made-that-up-myself-in-the-shower way, and Serge works the mixing desk like I've never heard him before...

Notionally, I'm a big fan of Serge (pictured left), but even his fairly legendary colour series which went some way to defining the nascent electro-house/italo/disco revolution in 2004 only yielded occasional fruit for this picker - the green one, with the emphatic double whammy of 'Adventures in Failure' and 'It's A War', has long been a beloved 12" throughout TAPE headquarters. I also really fell for that mix of Goldfrapp he did, not to mention the retro-space-age triumphalism of 'Atto D'Amore', which rocked the floor at TAPE back in the Blue Peterish Elbow Room days. But I never clicked with the old Radio Slave stuff, and I can't say I rush to check his new productions. But this is different. A subtle but beefy edit which doesn't resort to big-cocked synth riffs to prove its point, Santiago instead gives the adenoidal vocal much-needed room to breathe, ups the banging-on-dustbins punk-funk element and confidently but gently inserts winning electronic progressions under the surface, clicks and beeps and italo metronomy galore. Most importantly, he works the drums perfectly, retaining the clobbering live sound but varying the emphases in such a way that pilled-up techies may even surrender to the feelgood guitar riffs. Spanking.

The Sunshine Underground - I'm Not Losing Any Sleep (Serge Santiago Remix) // CDR

So, there was me, listening to the Sunshine Underground with real pleasure but ruefully thinking 'Wherefore art thou electro/tech-house?'. Every year's a great year for music, you know, but I don't think it's unfair of me to say that the electro-house sound really hit the peak of creative fertility last year, giving birth to monstrous classic after monstrous classic and effecting something approaching a third Summer of Love in clubs and living rooms across the world. Or maybe I just took more drugs back then? I'm not suggesting that we've been shortchanged with music this year - I mean, new-school disco gets better and better, dub has made a glorious return to our listening shores (I know it never left for some) in both techno and dubstep styles, and there've been a fair few bangers coming off the press. If there weren't, God knows I wouldn't bother to update this blog. All I'm saying is, that spasm of new wave electro-house that culminated in 'Mandarine Girl' has receded, if not departed. But wait...what's this? A two-month-old track from John Tejada (pictured above right). So what? I haven't liked anything he's released in the last six months. No, wait, I've been told he's throwing in the production towel! Really? Yeah, apparently - he just wants to get on with normal life. Shit - how bizarre. Someone should tell him how dull normal life is. It may be an elaborate ruse. Must be. But what's this track you're on about like anyway? It's AMAZING. How so? It came out two months ago and no one caused much fuss. God knows why they didn't - trust me, it'll remind you of 'Mandarine Girl' and the early summer of 2005 and reinstate your love of trendy trance! You lie! No, seriously, I'm telling the truth! It's got this delicate, blissfully unfolding melody that rises and rises and takes you all the way with it - And it's backed up with tight, tough, clicky percussion lines the likes of which you thought only the 'Shade at their peak were capable of! No, really. You are shitting me. For fuck's sake, listen. YOU WILL LOVE THIS. It doesn't sound pioneering, I'll concede, but it's just superbly crafted and will've burrowed its way into your consciousness before you can say 'Tejada'. I think you're lying, but I'll give it a try. ---Seven minutes later----. Oh. My. God. You're right - it's fucking sublime. And it kicks.

Seriously folks, this one's an epic. I don't know how it escaped my attention back in March. Turn it up well fucking loud and behold the Sound of E '05 Alive And Well In '06 - who'd have thought it? If Tejada really is on his way out, which I pray to God he's not, let's thank the man for his invaluable services to dancefloor engineering, and hope he's not quitting DJing, 'cos he's one of the best spinners I've ever heard. And if the whole thing is a hoax, well fuck him or whoever propagated it, but actually don't, cos 'The End of It All' is proper, proper good and I wouldn't have stumbled across it otherwise. Bo.

John Tejada - The End of It All // Palette

Just when you give up waiting for a soul-nourishing anthem, two come along at once. Truly, we are not worthy.

[EDIT: Clearly Tejada is not jacking it in. Curse you, whoever put that idea in my mind....]


Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey softie.. i think your links are the wrong way round for this post. John Tejada takes me to the Serge Santiago one and vice versa

7:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know john personally and music is his entire life, there is no way he's done producing. where did you hear that anyway? silly TAPEs!

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent! 2 genuinely cracking tracks. Thanks for flagging them up. Cant resist a decent indie remix.

8:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The End of It All is one fantastic track; Tejada's work is always top notch. His "Big City Music" 12" on Poker Flat is superb as well (I particularly like the B-Side "Asanebo").

10:10 PM  
Blogger stacy said...

Kevvy K's got it right. The songs are mis-matched.

10:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn you Softy, I ended up getting 1 of those upfont copies from Phonica cuz of you. Forget the usendit, I wait the week for the real deal! Peace

12:58 AM  
Blogger Blackest said...

sorry jewster, you know how it is! hope you enjoy the real deal....

1:15 AM  
Blogger Blackest said...

kevy k/stacy - cheers for pointing that out, should be sorted now

1:21 AM  
Blogger Blackest said...

daniel - i didn't hear 'big city music' properly, just listened to a sound sample and didn't go mad for it; will check it out properly soon, cheers for the tip
anonymous - glad to hear it!

1:24 AM  
Blogger hector23 said...

Hmmm... I have heard that Tejeda track somewhere before, but I am not quite sure where.
I heard he was quitting as well. But you never know with these producer jokers.

I just finished my degree two days ago and I am not really sure what to do with myself either so I am feeling you from the first paragraph.

Good luck and what is your chosen profession?

1:39 AM  
Blogger Blackest said...

hector23 - the tejada tune has been around for a couple of months, so I'm sure you probably have heard it. As for chosen my career, something in the sphere of journalism/writing/publishing; it's going to be difficult getting something, but fingers crossed, and good luck yourself!

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Soft - I wouldn't call Big City Music a floorstomper by any means (although with certain DJs the songs might work), but Asanebo is a track like a train - when it gets going about 3 minutes in, my feet take over!

4:39 PM  
Blogger Benedict x said...

the new Mono on Mono remixes are lovely lovely too, in bit more of a 'listen at home' stylee admittedly, but right lush, and Pole's mix even has that Dub touch.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Blackest said...

benedict - will check 'em out....speaking of Pole, are you going to Sonar, his label (i forget the name) are doing a lil' showcase (inc. Barbara Preisinger and a few others) which looks promising in a dubwise style...

5:28 PM  
Blogger Blackest said...

daniel - just bought asanebo off itunes and you're right - it kicks! cheers for the tip.

5:29 PM  
Blogger acidbearboy said...

Not feeling that Sunshine Underground jobby but the Tejada track is excellent, thanks. That groovey synth work stuff is exactly what I'm into at the moment. Not sure if you're aware of it, but it reminded me of Todd Terje's 'Glittertind' track. Although when I put it on afterwards and it actually sounds fairly different, but still ace in a space-synth style! Oh well, good luck with post uni life. Just coming to the end of year 2 here.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Benedict x said...

Ah man, I was supposed to be going to Sonar but my cousin decided to get married on the last day of it, so I have to do my familial duty, more's the shame. I'm working on having them all disown me, but it's taking way to long.

Posting up the Plaid mix in my next post, which should be up by tomorrow hopefully...

9:04 PM  
Blogger ::: hencha a.k.a. neon b. ::: said...

I must agree that last Tejada's releases are solid.

1:28 PM  
Anonymous porn said...

Excellent! 2 genuinely cracking tracks. Thanks for flagging them up. Cant resist a decent indie remix.

10:32 PM  

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