A couple of months ago, when I last played in Brighton, I was talking to Paul Budd, the promoter (and DJ Pablo Contraband), about how things were going with his Unity Agency (a man of many fingers in pies is Paul / Pablo). He was really excited about just having added The Reflex as the latest addition to an increasingly impressive roster that also includes the likes of Late Nite Tuff Guy, Rayko, Social Disco Club and Fingerman. The Reflex is London based French DJ / Producer, Nicolas Laugier, and it wasn’t just his work that impressed Paul, but his overall persona. Paul told me;
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The first 2 releases on the new A&R Edits label are simultaneously issued this week on limited DJ only vinyl – ‘Buffalo Dance’ / ‘Voice of Nature’, Henry Greenwood’s reworks of Neneh Cherry’s ‘Buffalo Stance’ and George Benson’s version of ‘Nature Boy’, and ‘Nobody’ / ‘Music Up’, Derek Kaye’s takes on ‘Ain’t Nobody’ by Rufus Featuring Chaka Khan (which fuses the Frankie Knuckles ‘Hallucinogenic Mix’ and the ‘Bassapella’ with the original) and ‘Turn The Music Up’ by Players Association.
Daft Punk are sitting pretty at the top of the UK singles chart for the first time. The track in question, ‘Get Lucky’, taken from their forthcoming album, ‘Random Access Memories’, came as something of a surprise, for instead of hitching itself to the current EDM juggernaut that’s sweeping America, the French duo have completely bucked the trend by drawing their influence from Disco, featuring its most celebrated guitarist, the great Nile Rodgers of the Chic Organisation (as well as R&B vocalist, Pharrell Williams). A media sensation, it’s everywhere at the moment – on the radio, on the TV, in the clubs and, of course, all over the internet, becoming the most streamed new release in Spotify history. It’s already been re-edited by a whole host of DJs and is pretty much nailed on to be the single of the summer.
As I mentioned in my last post, Detroit Hustles Harder, festival season is very much upon us. Next month’s Vintage is my first full-on UK festival of the summer (a weekend event, rather than a one day gathering, as with Love Saves The Day in Bristol earlier this month – a big success despite the lousy weather), which has found a new home within the scenic grounds of Northamptonshire’s Boughton House. Looking forward to seeing Chic there, with the great Nile Rodgers – I’d intended to check them out at Playground in Australia last March, but the festival, as I’ve mentioned here previously, was cancelled due to flooding (when it rains over there it really rains). Aloe Blacc is also on the bill – his progress has been of particular interest to me as he was one of the participants at the Red Bull Music Academy in Melbourne (2006), who was in the audience when I gave my lecture there. I met him the following afternoon when we were sat at the same table having lunch, and he really made a big impression on me – you could sense that this was someone who was destined to go places, someone who was down to earth, but with a strong sense of himself. I remember doing an interview when I came back to the UK, where I tipped him as ‘one to watch’, so it’s good to see that my instincts were correct. It wasn’t his music, which I hadn’t heard at the time, that had marked him out for me, but his unique DJ approach. The previous night I’d headed along to Revolver, the club where I was making my Australia debut that weekend, and was struck by a DJ who was, in an impressively understated manner, rapping and even singing along with the tracks he was playing – this turned out to be Aloe.