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Archive for May, 2013

RomanthonyFor the vocalist on one of dance music’s biggest ever hits, Romanthony remained a very elusive character. Daft Punk collaborations One More Time and Too Long aside, he was probably best known for Hold On, re-released on Roulé (Thomas Bangalter from Daft Punk’s label) in 1999 or R.Hide In Plain Site, a 2000 compilation of some of his better known songs on Glasgow Underground, which briefly promised to take him into the mainstream.

Nevertheless, as 5 Magazine (a title that specialises in Chicago house music) puts it in an excellent memorial piece, there remained a “strange isolation” around Romanthony. “Many of the people that knew him before – the ones you would, from afar, identify as his ‘peers’ and colleagues and collaborators – don’t seem to know him now. No one I spoke to knew he was in Austin. They’ve lost touch,” the magazine continues. Indeed, so far under the radar was Romanthony that news of his death on May 7 didn’t appear until Saturday May 18.

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OdysseyIt is quite remarkable, given the circumstances, what an underrated album Odyssey is. Todd Edwards, its creator, has played a guest role on what is likely to be the biggest album of 2013 in Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories and Burial has claimed Odyssey as an inspiration. And yet Odyssey would struggle to be even considered a cult hit.

This may be to do with when it was released: in 2006 the UK garage sounds that Edwards had inspired had ground to a lonely halt, while Daft Punk’s third album, Human After All, had underperformed. There followed some fallow years for Todd “The God”, who took on other work outside of music before storming back in 2009, just as the tide was again turning in his favour.

Whatever the circumstances, it seems criminal that Odyssey should have been overlooked. It is not just a brilliant album; it is a totally unique one.

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atavismePepe Bradock is one of the most endearingly underground producers on the house spectrum.

His 1999 track Deep Burnt may well be a classic of the deep house field, injecting a dose of mystery and class into what can be the dullest of all musical genres and inspiring a terrible commercial cover version by Joey Negro, but Bradock remains determinedly under the radar, with his music only available via sporadic 12 inches on his own Atavisme label.

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RouleThe story of Roulé, the label founded by Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter in 1995, has to be one of the most unique tales in the history of dance music, no so much because there is an incendiary story behind it (in fact, it was very sensibly run by long-time Daft Punk associate Gildas Loaëc.) or because it shook the world to its foundations (it didn’t – although a world without Music Sounds Better With You would have been a sadder place).

Instead, Roulé was remarkable for the incredible run of quality it spewed forth, with almost every single record it released a buy-on-sight and wear-out-the-grooves affair.

Indeed, for eight short years Roulé pretty much ran things in house music, releasing a stream of 12 inches from Bangalter, his Paris friends and associates and various US house legends that were, variously, funked up, furious, deranged, soulful and nasty but always essential.

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daft punkDaft Punk – Burnin’ (Ian Pooley Cut Up mix)

It’s a strange thing to relate but almost all remixes of Daft Punk tracks are unconditionally awful. I’ve often wondered why. After all, it’s not like they’ve particularly spared the horses on remixes – the band have two remix albums to their name (three if you count Japan-only release Human After All Remixes) and they are all terrible, despite the involvement of some names who really should know better (Romanthony, Photek etc). Maybe it’s that there’s little to add to the originals; or maybe remixers simply get intimidated by the band’s reputation and end up making a pig’s ear of it.

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