Best New Releases: Maceo Plex, Vin Sol & Matrixxman and Ray Mang


Maceo Plex – Conjure One EP

Ellum Audio

Released 17/03/14

I love that Maceo Plex has brought that gritty electro sound back into fashion – never mind the syncopated siren drops of the commercial electro world – this is the real, raw deal. Conjure Drama is brutal, dark and (would you believe it) dramatic, Conjure Bass rumbles along but never quite gets to where it means to go, whilst Conjure Balearia starts with determination, then spins the listener off into contemplative waves and definitely sounds inspired by a track Plex has been playing for the last half a year, Place of Love (also out on Ellum).

Listen and buy it here. 



Sade – Never Thought/Love is Stronger (Vin Sol and Matrixxman remixes)

Stamp Records

Released 20/03/14

Here are two smooth and silky remixes of one of the most distinctive voices of the 20th century – Sade. Vin Sol and Matrixxman have gone for complimentary, rounded tones and light and festive percussion, making both tracks the ultimate in easy listening. Limited hand-stamped copies are available from Phonica.

Listen and buy it here. 

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Mari – Free (The Ray Mang versions)


Released 24/03/14

Well this is just too happy for words. The UK’s Ray Mang has picked up Italian singer Mari (Marina Conti) and transposed her vocals onto a tight piece of euphoric disco. Swirling piano arpeggios, major chords and swelling strings weaving around Mari’s husky vocals defy you to listen to this without cracking a smile. It’s a wax release only at the moment, with digital on the way. Shout out to Bill Brewster for the tip off. 

Listen and buy it here. 



Jordan Smith


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Tune Talk: James Zabiela 'The Healing'

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I first heard Zabiela’s The Healing whilst staring through the window at my parents’ sunny garden in Australia during an extended visit home. My friend had posted it on his facebook wall in all sorts of excited hysterics about the final arrival of James Zabiela’s new label, Born Electric, and its inaugural release from Zabiela himself, whose own productions are quite rare (whhyyyy? WHYYYY?). I don’t know what I was expecting, but it wasn’t what I heard. Zabiela had been producing melodic stuff before now, but always welded together by slightly chopped rhythms and flat bass beats. There was nothing chopped about The Healing; the whole thing was pure silk.

It begins with rippling. A light and hypnotic rippling which is gradually layered upon by a loop of Zabiela’s own silky vocals, light percussion and trance-like synth arpeggios which build before the track gently drops into a very slow and simple 4/4.  It’s essential this is listened to with the best speakers on hand, so you can enjoy every level of texture, most crucially the sonorous waves of bass that intermittently wash over the lower end of the track like a warm vibrating blanket.

With a constant sense of travel the track rolls through several different variations on a theme, stimulating enough to keep you out of a trance but without breaking its own flow. Just when you think it’s all over there is a standout vocal couplet doubled by bass, bringing the song to a heart-wrenching but satisfying close.


Like other Born Electric releases that followed, The Healing comes with a quality selection of remixes made by artists Zabiela personally requested and admires: Hot Chip, Midland, Clubroot and his own re-working to make it club friendly. My favourite remix by far, however, emerged a few months later as part of Sasha’s Involv3r mix, in which he takes the stems from twelve eclectic tracks and re-works them from the bottom up. Sasha introduced a heavy, acidy bass line to The Healing which morphed it into quite a different creature, whilst still maintaining warmth through Zabiela’s vocals.

Zabiela has stated that The Healing is a very personal song… but he didn’t need to say it. Anyone that gives this their full attention will connect with it on a deeper level; one youtube commenter even said, “it makes me want to punch a goose”, but I’m not sure what that means, musically speaking.

Check out the Born Electric discography HERE. Modest in size, but excellent in quality. 

Jordan Smith


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Tune Talk: Modeselektor 'Berlin'

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I first heard Modeselektor’s Berlin played by the Modeselektor boys themselves at the We Love Closing Party in Ibiza. I was lethargically riding my eleventh wind by this time, midway through a brutal closing party schedule that had left me deranged, dehydrated and a bit deaf … but what a tune. It was prefaced by some weird mumblings and squeals into the microphone from Modeselektor boys Gernot and Sebastian, who asked the crowd in their best robo-chipmonk impression, “hey bitches you want more? OK cool” – and in rolled Berlin.

The standout single from Modeselektor’s seminal album Monkeytown and already a classic for many, Berlin provided the answer to my feeble prayers – the perfect pick me up at a tired feet friendly pace and I took full advantage of the chunky, laid back beat, swinging heartily around my fellow clubbers like a ghetto orangutan in orange converse. Things were getting pretty wild in the front row by this point, as Modeselektor always bring the party in the most raucous fashion imaginable; they were spraying champagne on their crowd well before Steve Aoki even found where the sync button was.  I’m pretty sure they must have dropped Berlin post-spray because I remember being vaguely sticky, but at that point it could have been anything from vodka to bin juice.


Vocals from half Romanian half German singer/songwriter Miss Platinum provided the ultimate hook. They’re as laidback as the beat and stupidly catchy; my housemates suffered me singing the complex lyrical structure ‘low low low low low’ for days on end afterwards. The film clip by François Chalet is weird, wonderful and totally Modeselektor. A King Kong sized silverback lumbers through a cardboard cityscape eating, flexing and generally wreaking havoc. He’s got a little red tongue sticking out though so it all seems very benign, even when he’s tipping a plane full of people upside down.

Gernot and Sebastian did their home town proud with this one – it has been on high rotation every since my first sticky encounter. 


Jordan Smith


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Preview Bugged Out Weekender, 7/8/9 March in Southport

BUGGED OUT WEEKENDER preview copyBugged Out! is known for their rich history in club culture, starting as a cult techno magazine back in 1994, evolving into an all-round events and festival brand across England and even widen their horizons to Barcelona, having the honor of adding the biggest names in the game to their lineup throughout the years.


1969314 10152212992169030 1456913910 nOn the 7th, 8th and 9th of March, Bugged Out! returns to Southport with what has become their flagship event: the Bugged Out Weekender. This year they will celebrate two decennia’s of underground clubbing. There is no better place to celebrate this significant milestone than in the North of England, where the foundation lays of how it all began. This year the Weekender will take place at the Pontins Resort in Southport, a different location than the previous editions held in 2012 and 2013.


This multi-roomed, three-day event will again feature worlds renowned DJs and live acts, offering accommodation on site and a broad scale of day time activities like several secret parties, pop up surprises, infamous pool parties, go karts, rave karaoke’s among many other occupations.

It wouldn’t be a 20-year birthday without a jaw-dropping lineup including the key players of today’s clubbing essence. They tried to find a balance of all the DJs who have been compatible with Bugged Out! over their 20 years of existence. For example this year Kerri Chandler, Dave Clarke and Green Velvet return to the lineup once again, as one of the firsts acts Bugged Out booked in the mid-90s.

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Alongside these veterans of House and Techno there will be a few live acts playing, Todd Terje’s first UK live show is a definite must-see. Other live acts include Kölsch and Ten Walls.

The hottest names at the moment will touch down in Southport during this three-day celebration. Among this long list of DJ's will be Seth Troxler, Carl Craig, Andrew Weatherall, Claude Vonstroke, Dixon, Julio Bashmore, Dusky, Daniel Avery, Eats Everything, Joy Orbison, Ben Pearce, Erol Alkan, Jackmaster and more - for this reason we’ve added the full lineup below.

For more information about the festival & for tickets or accommodation visit:


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Tune Talk: Apparat 'Song of Los'

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I first heard Apparat's Song of Los whilst slumped on a couch with four friends at the pointy end of a very big night in, flailing about in the final sighs of the evening where everything starts to slow and you can’t do much at all anymore except appreciate music and pass the lighter. Someone’s legs were underneath me and someone’s head was on my shoulder and I’d stepped in something sticky a few hours back… but as soon as this song came on it lifted me away from my squalor and into its world which, if you’ve seen the music video, happens to be the tragic tale of a robot that just wants a bit of love.

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Song of Los is nestled in second place on German musician Apparat’s finest album, The Devil’s Walk, and plays like a five minute-long farewell embrace…It stirs up emotion whilst soothing the senses, keeping the listener in a permanent state of wistfulness that they can’t quite account for. The simple but moving vocals (the voice of Sascha Ring, Mr Apparat himself) slide over the analogue bass, which pulses like a heartbeat as the texture slowly swells.

A Michael Mayer remix of Song of Los drummed up a lot of attention on the dance floor in 2012, especially plugged by melody golden boys Innervisions and naturally giving the song a fresh audience. The original will always be the best for me, although there's nothing second rate about blissing out to the remix at 7am on a dancefloor - and without Mayer's reboot this song may have never flown the confines of the after-party couch. 

You can listen to both versions here, and decide for yourself if you like your Apparat lying down or up on your pegs...

Jordan Smith




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