Interview: Rhenalt

Rhenalt DJs at TBA Brooklyn, a new house music venue in Williamsburg.

When I met DJ, producer, and label boss Rhenalt Rimple for a drink at a cafe in Union Square last week, it wasn’t far from where, as a teenager with a fake ID, he went to his first club, Palladium, in 1992. That first venture to the disco was in the waning golden age of New York’s club culture, when kids would pack massive venues like Sound Factory and Tunnel, dancing into the dawn to the new sounds of house and techno.

After pursuing careers in acting and dance, Rhenalt was inspired to take up DJing and production himself in the mid-2000s. He toured in Eastern Europe and collaborated with the legendary figures Todd Terry and DJ Pierre before recently launching his own label Rebel Eye. In the last couple years, the label has curated shows at TBA Brooklyn, Space Ibiza, and the defunct Verboten, as well as in Miami.

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New Music: Jun Kamoda – Blind Disco

Japanese producer Jun Kamoda came to the fore last year with his EP “The Clay,” released on Brooklyn label Mister Saturday Night, and particularly for the track “Physical Graffiti,” one of the most singular dance tracks of its age. Demonically orgasmic, it builds on a racy guitar vamp into a hypnotically hissing drone, inviting us to hedonism.

His new EP, “Blind Disco,” out this week through Bristol’s Black Acre, continues with the same off-beat themes, vibrating with the frenetic action of a pinball machine or a “Ren & Stimpy” cartoon.

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New Music: Flabaire – Alors Actually EP

 

Parisian deep house producer Flabaire explores the range of his ingenuity on his new record Alors Actually, released last month by fledgling UK imprint South Street. A brooding tour de force, the record shows Flabaire’s gifts at carving out stirring, human expression with opaque electronic instruments. Raw samples, drum machines, and keyboards come together on tracks both radically imaginative and immediately recognizable.

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New Music: Mood J – Turn Your Love Around

Australian producer Mood J explores a decidedly New York aesthetic on his debut record Turn Your Love Around, full of sincere emotional depth and undeniably infectious movement. Out next month on increasingly indispensable London imprint Distant Hawaii, it’s a satisfying melange of stark club beats and engrossing grooves, and a rich addition to any record bag.

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After Oakland Fire Tragedy, NYC Activists Rally Against ‘Dance Ban’

New Yorkers dance illegally at the legendary Paradise Garage, in the 1970s.

If there’s anything certain in this world, it’s that New Yorkers love to cut the rug. Perhaps counterintuitively, then, in the city that gave us bebop, salsa, disco, and hip hop, it is illegal to dance in most public establishments. That’s because New York’s cabaret law, enacted in 1926, requires bars and restaurants where three or more people are dancing to have a special cabaret license, which is nearly impossible to get.

Passed during the Harlem Renaissance, when racial integration and anti-establishment thinking were on the rise in swinging jazz clubs, the cabaret law allows police to fine or even shut down places where people dance. Although some egregious original provisions (like outlawing saxophones) have been lifted in subsequent decades, opponents say the law is still an assault on freedom of expression, an instrument of oppression against already marginalized communities, and that it forces would-be dancers out of safe, highly regulated spaces and into potentially dangerous settings. Continue reading “After Oakland Fire Tragedy, NYC Activists Rally Against ‘Dance Ban’”

Brazilian funk trio Azymuth continue to astonish after forty years

Brazil holds a special space in the collective imagination, at least of Americans, as a place laden with a mythical, otherworldly glamour, permeated with saudade, that hard-to-pin down sense of crushingly beautiful nostalgia and longing. It’s a stage for the erotic, the bacchanalian, the Carnaval, replete with conflict and ingenuity. 

All of this, along with Brazil’s peculiar historical confluences, has provided for an endlessly fascinating sonic formula, combining the exotic timbres of the indigenous people, the corporal rhythms of Africa, the lyrical fado of Portugal, and, later, the embrace of North American jazz, rock n’ roll, hip hop, and electronic music. Continue reading “Brazilian funk trio Azymuth continue to astonish after forty years”

New Music: Hodini – WOLFEP039

One of England’s most consistently excellent and prolific dance labels, Wolf Music continue their streak with this raw, hypnotic effort from German producer Hodini.

The Brighton outfit, founded in 2009, seem to release a new must-have record on a monthly basis. Here, we find Hodini probing subterranean rhythms in a style both restless and winkingly gratifying.  Continue reading “New Music: Hodini – WOLFEP039”

New Music: Razor-N-Tape – HADE Edits

Brooklyn label Razor-N-Tape once again assert their preeminence in the realm of disco edits with this new record by Cologne-based artist HADE. It’s outstanding for both its astutely wide-ranging source material, as well for the expertly stylized production, which will delight fans of beats of any stripe, whether hip hop, house, funk, or anything in between.

You’d expect nothing less from a producer whose remix portfolio includes the work of top club DJs, alongside “Ghost Song” by The Doors, and a ridiculous ’80s German pop remake of Black Sabbath’s “Ironman.” (The music video for the last one’s worth a watch.)  Continue reading “New Music: Razor-N-Tape – HADE Edits”

Review: DJ Heure – Outsider Resource

 

 

“Outsider Resource,” the debut release from new London dance label All My Thoughts, finds Australian producer DJ Heure trafficking in the moody, lo-fi aesthetic currently ascendant in certain circles of Internet-propelled house music. Reaching over to explore a classic English style, the Adelaidean artist combines frantic breakbeats with soulful pads and electric piano, for an unsettled ambiance that evokes a quiet walk back from the club in a misty dawn.

Such a cloudy style is perhaps non sequitur coming from an artist working on a remote, sun-drenched island, but it puts him in good company, namely alongside heralded Down Under producer Mall Grab, who broke into the top 100 DJs of 2016 in Resident Advisor’s readers’ poll. Continue reading “Review: DJ Heure – Outsider Resource”

Interview: Soul of Hex

Magic seems to happen around Gerardo Cedillo, the young, humble, and intensely brilliant Mexican house music artist, with whom I met last weekend at his New York debut, surrounded by fog machine mist and disco lighting. He was in a corner hanging out on the couch when I found him, speaking intently to a friend. We were on the top floor of an industrial building in Bushwick with a rented sound system blasting, and I approached to ask if he was indeed the mastermind behind the records that have emerged recently as among the most exciting dance floor numbers on the scene. When we spoke, he was cheerful, despite nursing jet lag and a hangover. He was excited to be in the city, he said. It was only his second visit, and earlier he’d made the trek to the diner from Seinfeld, his favorite TV show, on West 112th street.

Coming from Tijuana, Cedillo, better known under the moniker Soul of Hex, is part of an emerging scene of house artists based in the Mexican hotbed of renegades and excitement. Lately his efforts have gained momentum through sheer artistic ingenuity, and support from recognized European labels, propelled by crushing house rhythms made palpably vivid by analogue synthesizer lines.

After beginning as a teenage bedroom track-maker, under the tutelage of producer 4004, his profile has risen over the past couple years, and his material has been remixed by the likes of pioneering Chicago house legend Larry Heard and contemporary English trend-setters Henry Wu and Glenn Astro. His brand-new EP Snake Snares was his second effort released by Freerange Records, a long-standing London deep house staple, and his collaboration with Ponty Mython put him in prestigious company on Berlin’s Dirt Crew Recordings. Continue reading “Interview: Soul of Hex”