Reviews/Previews

Music Review: Arkityp - Pyramids Of Geezer [AKTP003]

Conceived in 2015 as a party and then transformed the following year as a record label, Arkityp is the fusion of London's Archie Hamilton and Rossko. From the very beginning, the project has generated an incredible hype around, as the pair have released both blissful deep cuts like “XR3i” and heads-down-hands-up stompers – as the name suggests – like “Maximum Boost”.

 

 

 

The second chapter called “3 for a Tenner” was released in 2018 and after a year hiatus to concentrate on their solo activity, the two halves meet again for AKPT003. In fact, both the guys have been super-productive over the last year, with Archie committed to releasing his debut album Archive Fiction and Rossko full-focused on preparing his upcoming Late Night Skanking label.

 

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 Click HERE to buy Pyramids Of Geezer EP - AKTP003

 

The project’s strength lies into a genuine long-time friendship and their ability on effectively complement one another, cutting down to the essential and providing exactly what the dancefloor needs, whether it’s peak time, sunset or those special after-hours moments.

 

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Arkytip then reaches its third instalment with the three-tracker “Pyramids Of Geezer” EP.

 

Opening with the infectious “Hyper Speed”, the Londoners up the tempo, delivering a high-octane club anthem. Their penchant for rich and dynamic soundscapes from across the house sphere quickly becomes apparent as they fuse driving synths and harsh drums beneath delayed vocals. The groove sounds sharp and boxy, with just the right amount of reverb, dense and defined, whilst the bassline flows liquid, undisturbed. Noisy snare rolls, introducing acid warped synths that culminate in an explosion of airy and uplifting spacey sounds. After the first few minutes, a catchy and emotional synth makes is appearance, stealing the limelight to the powerful groove. Grainy FX move all over the track, sweeping and washing out the mix. The speed continues to increase and it’s like a trip across the galaxy. We can clearly feel the tension the two wanted to express. Cruising in deep space. Dodging asteroids. Discovering new realities. Fasten your seatbelt, it’s “Hyper Speed” time.

 

 
 

 

Up next, “Learning, Earning and Gurning” brings us down to earth, into the wiggly and trippy dimension so dear to both of the artists. Hypnotic leads stand out distant as the dubby percs wisely panned in the mix, while a robust kick and a snaking bass lay right in the middle, spelling the rhythm alongside pressing shaker-ish hats and overpowering snappy claps. Bell-like arps create a nice light atmosphere, whilst noisy pads shine in a huge space, merging with the heavily sidechained vocal. It’s the extreme-processed delay on the vocals that almost make them jump on the upbeat, creating a homogenous texture with the other drum elements, giving to the whole piece an endless rotation mood. There’s an impressive dose of craftsmanship in this music: confirming the two UK producers themselves as forward-thinking musicians.

 

 

Last up, “California Sunrise” definitely got the funk! Bass rolls super tight, with doubled congas hitting fast and swingy, reminding us in certain aspects the groovy “Ricochet” but in a heavier magnitude. Heads down. Hands up. Eyes shut. The clap is further apart, splashing in a wide plate. Dark pads create an evocative background layer, to which are added sinister strings and splashes of gloomy sounds. The main open-hat sounds very old school and introduces an interesting contrast with the grain of the other groove elements. There’s a very ambient-music imprint in the choice of the sounds used, in stark contraposition with the club-dimension of the track. In fact, when the track kicks in, abruptly, an acid bassline arises. The raw 303 sound is gritty and growly, answering to the dreamy stabs that open our panorama to a beautiful and wider view, only visible from the top of the pyramids of Geezer. Acid sunrise in the swing word. Stunning.

 

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: Djena & Swann Decamme - H2YPE EP [Time Has Changed]

Timid Boy & Acumen's long-lived Time Has Changed has been released powerful house, techno and minimal tunes over the last 13 years, involving famous artists such as Mihai Popoviciu, Leon, Julien Sandre, Alexkid, Tripmastaz, Todd Bodine, Gorge, Mathias Kaden. The label is approaching the 200th release and this time its latest EP comes by Djena (STAMP Records, Inwave) and Swann Decamme (Earthly Delights) with H2YPE EP which comes packed with a remix by label-head Timid Boy himself.

 

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The EP kicks off with "H2YPE2", which is built around an exquisite and rich percussive groove and tribal chants. Over the whole duration, we can feel a nice Balearic feel, making of this track a versatile tech-house jam. Very essential elements-wise, this piece is energetic and strong, with the congas and bongos hitting continuously in a hypnotic cycle. After 4 minutes of wait, pads finally come in, creating a lovely melt with the vocals.

 

 

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Djena

The instrumental mix gets rid of the chants, leaving room for the groove which can now be appreciated in its full potential.

 

 

 

Timid Boy's DUB remix gets dirty with a dusty groove is lost in the sandy feel of the sounds. The tempo rises, as well do the drums that nimbly bounce above a rolling bassline. High strings are more prominent and an extra female vocal set the mood deeper and sexier with the tech attitude getting lost in favour of a more romantic atmosphere.

 

 

 

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 Swan Decamme

Closing "ELA" is a more minimalistic track, almost totally centred on the drums. Noisy hats and nervous low-end both rock on top of modular textures, with tiny groove elements arranged in intricated patterns. Suddenly, ethereal harmonic sounds kick in, projecting the listener in a totally relaxed mood, with delicate piano and guitar hits that remember us of Alva Noto's music. Soon track gets dry again, with the typical gloomy dub-tech groove.

 

 

 

 

Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Music Review: Oshana’s new label Psionic Records kicks off with Astral Travel – As One EP [PSI001]

Psionic Records is the newly created label owned and curated by Oshana. For the first release, the American born DJ and producer has teamed up with her close and longtime friend Anthea under their Astral Travel moniker. This is their first studio endeavour together, which came naturally as both artists have frequently shared decks playing cohesive B2B performances and Oshana’s collaborations on Anthea's imprint Partisan. Their new collaborative project unveils ¨As One¨, a three-tracker EP that evokes the ethos of the new imprint, one that drives inspiration from the supernatural ability and transcendental qualities of music to transport listeners to other dimensions. As the name suggests, "As One" is the result of the synergy created when two like-minded producers converge on a unified musical path which leads to new frontiers.

 

FRONT

 Click  HERE to pre-order your copy of "As One" EP - PSI001

 

The opening track's called ¨Sky’s The Limit¨ delivers a refreshing take on ethereal techno as it grounds itself with a dominant kick drum, followed by an arpeggiated acidic melody, clicky electric beats and retro video game-like sounds. On the flip, ¨As One¨ is a breakbeat inspired theme that uses grittier and textured sounds for an edgy take on the minimal style, featuring splashes of electro and robust 909 drums.

 

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Anthea

Lastly, ¨Orbiting¨ closes off the release with an elegant and deep groovy house roller, perfectly in line with the futuristic and transcendental sound of the recording. These dancefloor-oriented gems come together “As One”, and are the perfect EP to path the way of the newly conceived, Psionic Records for years to come.

 

 

 

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Anthea

 

More info on Oshana
Facebook | Resident Advisor | Soundcloud | Discogs

More info on Psionic
Facebook | Soundcloud

 

 

Words by Daniel Ordoñez 

 

More MEOKO: Facebook Soundcloud / Youtube

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Music Review: Revivis - Slung EP (incl. Nick Beringer Remix) [EWax]

EWax resident and Berlin-based Revivis steps up for his first outing on the German label. Over the last year, the British producer's output has been just incredible, raising the quality level release by release. After appearances on We_R House and Talman, he delivers "Slung" EP, which also sees another Berliner, Nick Beringer, on the remix duties. 

 

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Title track "Slung" gets straight to the point from the very first kick drum, showing Revivis' usual approach into a perfect melt between classic house and modern, minimal sounds. Bass is fat and liquid, with French male whispers that give a very lo-fi mood to the whole piece. Housy pad opens up gently, enlighting the scene and making the track breath. It is reduced from time to time to a low hum, but when the filter opens up again, it slowly fills up the piece with soul, contrasting the noisy drums move fast for a powerful dub shake. Despite the few elements in there, the track is immersive and goes on by itself, neverending.

 

 

 

Up next, Rubisco label-head Nick Beringer offers a more minimal and tighter interpretation of the main original track. The whole groove, starting from the hi-hat is shorter and lighter and everything is more swingy and dried-out, with wise processing creating the necessary variations. The vocal part is now in front, acquiring importance, whilst the bass is very thick and groovy, with short notes riding the kick and the FM pad sounds metallic, almost as slowed down bell hit. The drums, alongside the subtle acid line, are relegated in a small room, while pad and vocal lay in a wider space, creating two separate grounds that never collide. While the track walks, it gets weirder and more complex, changing chords, exploring jazzy progressions, standing out for its constant movement. 

 

 

 

On the flip, "Chicago Trippin" perfectly captures an old-school flavour with the classic 303 acid vibe. Who doesn't love acid? The massive sub-bass noisily flows underneath, sharing his space with a gangsta-inspired bassline. There's a lovely back-and-forth between the vocal sample and the main stab, in a crescendo that never stops making your feet move, as the track keeps on getting more and more crowded till the break. Tiny synths are zapping around and stabs are looped in short repetitive patterns, nervously crossing each other. Hard bouncy feeling and headbanging guaranteed.

 

Rounding out the package, "We Go" combines breakbeat patterns with lo-fi old-school sounds. Some classic house stabs meet a deep and soothing bassline, echoing the elastic behaviour of both kick and drums. When the arabesque arp kicks in we are catapulted in timeless space, with short lead sounds lift the heavy groove with a touch of sweetness. For the second drop, extra-drums are added, layering below the initial groove. Again, the stab doesn't rest and keeps hitting, mental. 

 

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Words by Francesco Quieti & Francesco Zambianchi

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Curtea Veche celebrates 5 years of uncompromised minimal

Labels are often remembered for a record, maybe for two or more. Then there are labels that are remembered for an idea, a feeling, something that goes beyond the simple music. That's the case of Wales-based Curtea Veche, which is celebrating its 5th birthday with a special various artists compilation that includes tracks by Tulbure, Guy From Downstairs, Herck, Clarkent, Direkt and DragoshDespite the clearly Romanian inspired name, the label has never got stuck into the fashions of the moment, resulting instead one step ahead of many other imprints, successfully dictating new trends and style difficult to imitate, both because of the top-notch quality music released, and because of the close link with his evocative abstract artwork realized by no one other than Halo Varga. Over the years the label has seen incredible music, including the sister-labels Curtea Veche LTD and Curtea Veche Serii Speciale, straight from studio wizards around like Einzelkind, Giuliano Lomonte, SEPP, Viceversa and Cally, receiving support from heavyweights such as Rhadoo, Pedro, Barac and Raresh, but also coming to hands of unexpected but equally appreciated names like Marco Carola and The Martinez Brothers. 

 

To celebrate the label's birthday we've decided to give the floor to the head-honcho Haydn, and then we will have few words from three of its most representative producers.

 

Happy birthday Curtea Veche!

 

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Click HERE to buy CV5 Five Years Of Curtea Veche

 

  • Starting from the roots: how's the project started and what the name "Curtea Veche" means? What pushed you to open the label?

So I started the label with a friend in 2015 when the hype with that minimal Romanian sound was rife. My friend chose the name after the old princely court in Bucharest... don't ask why because I couldn't tell you haha!! But we were going I guess for that Romanian sound so it was pretty apt.

 

 

 

  • What's the artist that you've most satisfied to have on the label? And who is the want you still deeply want to have?

I'm happy with the all the artists I've had on CV all have given their own stamp on the label and its sound. My good friend Sergiu (Herck) has been with me on my journey from the start with all my labels so I could say him, but no, really, all artists have been amazing and I'm super grateful if the output I've been able to give on CV. Going forward I just want to keep the ethos that I've tried to stick to, to be honest, good music and artwork, nothing more, nothing less.

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  • Since the very beginning, the label has seen some amazing feedbacks and support from lots of the biggest DJs around. Do you think that there's one particular release that was a game-changer? Or is it because of the constant quality of the music and research on creating a kind of CV-brand that you've provided over the years?

Haha, tough one... there have been some really good ones I guess. Having Arno (Einzelkind) was a big deal for me, especially as it has been his last release under the Einzelkind alias before moving on the Arno moniker once and for all. I've been following him and his music for years, so I was pretty chuffed, to say the least, to get him on. That EP with Giuliano Lomonte was great, with the artwork and splatter vinyl was pretty special, seen as it was the 10th release too. But if I'm honest I've got to go with CV002 by Herck: Cookie Jar was a huge track that's been hammered all over the world by people from DeWalta. Barac, Raresh and even people like Carola and The Martinez Brothers. It was definitely a big crossover track, that boosted both the profile of the label and Herck's one.

 

 

 

So yea, that for me was the game-changer. Also, I have to say one of my personal favourites is Victor's Rodul EP (CV008) I still play his track "Drumul Spre" all the time, timeless stuff.  

Also, having Halo Varga got on the artwork from, I think the 5th release, he has given the label identity. As soon as you see a CV cover, you know it's a CV cover, so yeah, he does an amazing job, one of the best at his game, and a massive pleasure to have him on as I grew up with his music in the early '00s.

 

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  • Tell us more about the 5 years compilation. Why you not here? Will we ever see you on the label? 

Yea so the 5 years free EP we are giving away on Bandcamp is just "a thank you to all the support we have had over the last 5 years". I think it's good to give our supporters that have spent money on buying our releases something back. There are 6 tracks on there by artists from the past and future, CV favourites Herck and Guy from Downstairs, Tulbure who is on the next CV013 EP, Dragosh, Direkt and also Clarkent. Not a bad EP for a free download for sure! So yeah, thanks to these guys too for providing some lovely tracks! 

Regarding the second question... who knows... I've got not much time for production when I'm running 4000 labels hahaha! But yes, it's something I want to do in the near future, let's see! 

 

  

  • After this 5 years milestone, what should we expect in the next 5? And what in the next 100? (or maybe I should ask this to Herck haha)

Haha yes! We just want to keep releasing good music an, that's the foremost thing I think, keeping the quality high, always!

We have a couple of spin-offs (CVLTD & CVS)  so keep an eye out for some really good stuff coming on these, from some well-established name like Cristi Cons, Franco Cinelli, Mihai Pol, and also some amazing up and coming guys that you need to keep an eye on!

There is this amazing duo we just signed from Tel Aviv called Oskar Pink, the demos blew us away, keep an eye out for their Track 'Donnie' coming later this year, so good! 

Its been good having my friend Martyn (TIJN) on board too for the last year or so, he's got a great ear and is a godsend with the A&R stuff. He also does an amazing job with the mastering too! 

 

 

 

Now let's get right into some of the protagonists of this stellar VA compilation and lets' see what they have to say about the label...

 

Guy From Downstairs

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"Curtea Veche...ah, just another vinyl label from Wales, with a Romanian name, that releases a specific sound with a soulful touch, leaving its mark on the (so-called) minimal music niche for the last 5 years. Loads of those fit that profile, right? 

Difficult to write "just a few words, mate" about the good Olden Yard. Almost impossible to remain objective when you've watched it grow and move people on dancefloors around the world since its early stages (is there anyone on the planet that still hasn't dropped Giuliano & Einzelkind tracks?)

 

 

When everything sounds the same these days, somehow, our friend and label-captain Haydn always manages to find rhythmic gems from (known or not-so-known) artists and put together all those releases that are each so unique in style, always different, yet keeping the smooth, impossible to pinpoint, trademark flavour of CV. 

It won't do justice and it's not easy to choose a favourite release from the back catalogue, but...let's say that SEPP's La Gura Sobei EP (CV006) never leaves my bag. I don't know many artists that can truly envelop the Romanian traditional spirit in the minimal realm, without sounding clichéd or tedious. Not in this case! Those two tracks are so enchantingly executed in such subtle way that, every time I listen, they really make me feel like I'm on a plane, back in the day, watching peasants working on fields under the sun, but at the same time also grooving with aliens from planet Bass.

 

 

 

"I love the Curtea universe - modern sound, old school, timeless or eclectic, colourful or at times outlandish. I'm happy to be part of it along with other (way more) talented, crazy producers and hope that new music will keep flowing for many years to come!" - Guy From Downstairs

 

Herck 

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"Well...nothing much to say about the label, the music speaks for itself. My first release there was a huge impact for me, and for the label also because we helped each other to grow in the industry. Haydn (the owner) had and has all his respect for me and I have for him, and of course, we trust each other when it comes to releasing new material on the label. Over time, the label released great music, with great artists, and I personally don't have a favourite one, because every release has a story to tell..." - Herck

 

 

  

TIJN 

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"Since first discovering Curtea Veche through the "Cookie Jar" release it became very clear that the consistency of the output was exceptional and it's continued that way endlessly. For me, the label is the complete package the sound as well as the detail to the artwork is perfect and work hand in hand. It's really hard for me to choose a favourite we have so much amazing stuff coming but for now ill go with Einzelkind & Giuliano Lomonte - This N That. its been a goal to release on the label and to now be apart of the projects moving forward it's even better." - TIJN

 

 

 

 

 

 Words by Francesco Quieti

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