Review: Half Baked are back with a new record from Pressure Traxx main man Arno. On this particular record the minimal tastemaker is indulging his love of hip hop and rave culture, artfully distilling rowdy elements into a funky twist on the micro house aesthetic. It's a potent blend that reaches from the scatty delights of "Why Does The Lion Get Lost In The Jungle?" to the chirpy organ-led "No Car; Big Garage". On the flip, there's a more distinctly house slant to "He Displays Nothing But", with the same playful demeanour powering the grooves albeit in a more stripped back way.
Review: After a barn-storming year making their name on their own self-releasing terms, Birdsmakingmachine slide over to Half Baked with a pair of new productions that further build on their continued invigoration of the minimal scene with tracks as soulful as they are stripped back. "King Pulga" features a plush spread of tones and textures that make up the full atmospheric language of the track, creating discordant atmospherics and warming melodics that slide in between the razor sharp beats. "Gnip Gnop" is more outwardly friendly with its gently dubbed-out chords and linear persuasion, leaving plenty of room for Fumiya Tanaka to interpret a more freaky version of the track on his remix.
He Told Me Bullshit (Arno & He Was Right remix) (8:01)
Review: DB Jam is a mysterious new project that kicks off Half Baked's 2020 in style with an EP of reduced, refined grooves in keeping with the London institution's firmly established identity. "I Met A Leprechaun In A Russian Forest" is a psychotropic trip marked out by tunneling synth lines and heavy washes of reverbed voices - the perfect dissociative anthem. "He Told Me Bullshit" keeps things simmering under the surface with a crisp, pattering beat and plenty of intricacy kinked into the bassline. Arno's remix of "He Told Me Bullshit" refigures the original into an electro-tinted broken techno workout that maintains the trippy vibe but adds swathes more texture into the mix for a wholly different kind of transcendence.
Review: Having demonstrated the breadth of his artistic vision with the excellent One Against Time album last year, John Dimas returns to Half Baked with a focused 12" of dancefloor heaters that keep the vibe varied but the beats ever-present. "5putn1k" is a cheeky, boxy workout with plenty of swing and some wriggling bassline flex. "@L5d" takes a trippier route through spaced out synth lines and a subliminal rhythm section for maximum lock-in, and then "5p@c3 T@lk" heads skywards with a gorgeous tapestry of melodious expression strapped to a rock-solid groove. "@rkyn" completes the set with a snagging 2-step funk and plenty of the space in the mix for the meditative crew to get all eyes-closed to.
Review: While you can never 100% predict what Mike Huckaby will deliver next, you can guarantee that it will drip with quality. Certainly, the well-respected Detroiter is on the money with this two-tracker for the HBF Agency's occasional Half Baked imprint. A-side "First Gear" is a drowsy, Sunday afternoon deep house roller, though its' bleep techno style bass and rough electronics suggest more peak-time ambitions. "Second Gear" is an altogether jazzier proposition, with Nuyorican Soul-era Masters At Work style beats, cascading vibraphone solos, and a wealth of drifting organ chords. There are starry electronics, too, making it something of a heady, intoxicating treat.
Review: Calling upon a strong contingent of contemporary house innovators, London's Half Baked crew make the leap to a vinyl-only release in utterly fine style. Le Loup steps up first with a cleanly delineated groover that calls upon a lilting string hook and crisp drums to tap into a forgotten well of micro house imagination. It's a vibe carried through each of the tracks on the record in different twists, with Ordell coming up trumps with a woozy, squinting meander into detuned hum and slackjawed rhythm. Seuil is in an equally downtempo mood on "Teoparti", throwing in plenty of brushed cymbals and tricksy percussion without ever sounding overly busy, while Yakine takes a slightly snappier stance with cheeky Rhodes stabs and a prim shuffle to get early doors heads bobbing.
Review: Nomadic London events crew Half Baked settled nicely into life as a record label last year, issuing 12"s from Birdsmakingmachine and Mike Shannon after launching with a split release featuring Le Loup , Yakine and Seuil. There's a sense of expectation surrounding the label then, and it's nice to see standards maintained on their first release of 2014, with Italian DJ and producer Enrico Mantini behind the buttons. There's a sense of pedigree that comes with Mantini, who has been producing since the early '90s and his class shines through on the three productions on Overflowing, with "Low End Walker" a considered highlight.
Review: Though it was founded last year, the label branch of London promoters Half Baked seems like it's had an injection of ingenuity in 2014 with this JC EP from resident Robin Ordell their third release this year following Mike Shannon and Enrico Mantini drops. Having featured on the inaugural split artist 12" that Half Baked released, it's nice to see Frenchman Ordell granted the opportunity to spread his production wings across a full 12" and the results are atypically the kind of minimal leaning house you will find soundtracking one of their East London parties. The smartly named "Nobody Loves Bishopgate" is a particular highlight with Ordell laying down a rubbery bassline that complements the crisp snare rolls and generally murky atmospherics.
Review: London institution Half Baked have been putting on secret warehouse parties for over ten years in the capital and started their in house label in 2013; releasing tracks by Birdsmakingmachine, Mike Shannon and Robin Ordell. Ordell is back on HB 007 as Pap Inc. a collaboration with Parisian minimal auteurs Seuil and Le Loup. It's as quirky as you'd expect really. "Busty Car Wash" is a bumpy, boompty reductionist groove with loads of random voice samples looped endlessly. The funky break on "Brack Bit" treads along tirelessly amidst sinister sound design and dark strings and more creepy voice samples; are they from movies? "Cigam" crosses over nicely into deep house territory with a swing fuelled beat and melancholic pads while "Meet Me At The Cosmic Parade" ends things in glorious fashion; a mini-funk groove that revels in all its micro-sampled absurdity.
Review: London's definitive minimal house party crew Half Baked are back with Rainer (Body.Parts/Red Panda/Serialism) who is, mind the pun, taking over the reins! On the A side we have "Talking Head" which is a sublime serving of boompty, shuffling mini-funk. Next up the bleepy yet bittersweet lo-tech soul of "Villawood" will appeal to fans of recent Eklo releases. On the flip, Rainer really saves the best for last on the dark and triply after hours jam "Sake" which you can imagine a bunch of young weekend warriors losing their heads to at Club der Visionaere next Sunday.
Review: Sakro has been delivering grade A minimal pumpers for some time now, appearing on labels as respected as Visionquest, Raum...musik, Karlovak and Pleasure Zone, and now he's landing on venerable London institution Half Baked with another salvo of upfront party delights. "Whispered Story" is infectious, funky and precision engineered for peak time action, while "Millions Of Stars" strips things back to a more mystical house shimmer adorned with gorgeous sweeps of pads. "Echoes" nudges things into woozy after hours territory with pitch-wobbling tones and a steady shuffling beat that will serve the minimal house crowd very well indeed.
Slip It (Melchior Productions Ltd remix - FT edit)
Review: Launched earlier this year, the Half Baked label from the London party crew of the same name set the tone for what to expect quality wise with their debut missive, a split release featuring Robin Ordell, Seuil, Yakine and Le Loup. Half Baked step it up some more with their second release which offers Canadian producer Mike Shannon his first physical release of 2013. "Slip It" trades the tunnelling techno of Shannon's recent Exone transmission for something alot more playful and jazzy and is matched by the flipside remix from Thomas Melchior that extends proceedings past twelve minutes and trims some of the Canadian's juices with a more minimally inclined crowd in mind.
Review: Mike Shannon rounds out a busy last quarter release schedule with the 5 Years Of Love EP, which represents a welcome return to the Half Baked label for the Canadian producer. The Berlin-based Shannon of course was responsible for the event-turned-label's first dedicated artist release last year and Half Baked have really grown since then. Faint strains of disco sit deep beneath the powerful, burning chords and choppy drums of "Over & Over (Time To Celebrate mix)", playfully making themselves known as Shannon skilfully toys with the track's focus. The dubby "Just A Glimpse" has the best kick drum sound since, er, Felix's "Kick Drum" (remember that one?) whilst "Pleasure Play" is most insouciant.
Review: London's Half Baked Records came to life in early 2013, as part of the HBF Agency - representing their renowned Sunday afternoon parties. The record label was created in order to complete their platform and as an output for the music of their residents, such as Robin Ordell and Greg Brockmann. As part of their eight year celebrations, they've roped in some legends and newbies alike for this celebratory EP. It's nice to hear Cynosure main man Mike Shannon return to some gutsier sounds, similar to the what he was producing a decade ago - the industrial influenced groove of "Gratiot Avenue" calls to mind his work with Dewalta on Indigo Raw a couple years back. Undersounds' Henry Hyde closes out the A side with the spacey swing fuelled breaks of "Green Flash". On the flip, Eklo head honcho Seuil continues with his new love of retro sounds on the funked-up Detroit tribute "Trois Bassins" while Oddmann return after their appearance on HB010 with the reduced and gloomy after hours deepness of "Hackney Weak".
Review: French maestro Shonky is one of the most consistent players in the game, endlessly delivering playful, imaginative 12"s for Apollonia, and more recently Third Ear. Now he's making his debut appearance on Half Baked with some truly individual tracks that point to his continued evolution as a seriously unique producer. "StudioOne" centres around a wonderfully unhinged set of synth wobbles and a skittering beat, while "Brazilienne" takes a more mellow, harmonious tone. "Fido Dido" harks back to the golden age of minimal, all oddball micro tones wriggling around a steadfast beat, which Robin Ordell nudges up into an electro-flecked strutter of the highest order.
Review: We were really impressed by "Invisibility Theory", the Sushitech released debut album from Christi Cons and Vlad Caia's Sideways Invisibility Theory project. This speedy follow-up for Half Baked Records (under the truncated SIT pseudonym) is rather good, too. Check first A-side "Spectral", a typically epic excursion where warm ambient chords, deep space electronics and glistening electric guitar motifs bob and weave around a chunky analogue bassline and locked-in tech-house drums. B-side opener "Owl Farm" is notably wonkier and weirder, with druggy drums, mind-altering electronics and the trademark glitch-laden shuffle we've come to expect from Romanian electronic music. That vibe is explored further on twisted closing cut "Animation", a particularly alien example of skewed tech-house funk.