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.
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.
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.
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.
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’”→
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.
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”→
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.
“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.
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.