Review: Ian Blevins has been busy making a name for himself on ESP Institute and Futureboogie, but now he comes to Not An Animal with a slightly different approach that still speaks to the skills the upstart producer has in his sonic arsenal. "The Birds" is a focused, steady-tracking cut for the deeper end of the night, but there's some serious weight in those drums and the heavily processed vocal snippets pack plenty of malaise. Man Power then step up with a "Tropical Bastard" remix of the original, cracking the curtains to allow a little light into the mix but stopping short of over-cooking the mood. "Locate Yourself" on the flip finds Blevins in tracky techno mode, and it turns out it's a style he can nail just as easily as the more organic tones he's known for.
Things I see. Things I hear. Things I say. Things I wish I'd said. Things I do. Things I'm meant to do. Things I wish I'd done. Things I love. Things that make me love. Things that make me smile. Returning to Not An Animal for the 4th time, Ess O Ess create the 'Voice Inside' on NAAR 16.
Instantly tom rolling into a neo-electro commodity, 'Voice Inside' undulates with lustrous vocals that stand as the tracks core. Pads cling to bleeps and guitar chunks that evaporate with alternating delays. 'Voice Inside (French)' adds a sensual linguistic twist, although the elements remain the same, they feel so different. 'Voice Inside (Dub)' completes the A, stripping tones back and chopping the duration to find yet another gorgeous avenue.
On the flip, Backwoods Remix adds to the original atmosphere with a face scrunching bass-line and pulsating 4/4 kicks that embraces the not so distant future. Last but by no means least, the mighty Craig Richards' signature 808s pound on the remix to close the B. Pulling darker tones to pitch shifted vocals, this minimalist beat composition is perfectly suited for vigorous floors.
Flamingos & Wombles & The Blue Oyster Cult (Cyber dub) (8:28)
Review: After strong turns on Ene Records and Love On The Rocks back in 2014, Ess O Ess make a welcome return with this surefooted single for Not An Animal. "Flamingoes & Wombles & The Blue Oyster Cult" is an urgent, driving slice of motorik disco powered by arpeggios, live bass and shamanistic chanting that calls to mind Yello's chart-baiting classic "The Race". The A side version keeps the synth levels high throughout, while on the flip the "Cyber Dub" teases the ingredients out for a more subtle effect. Whichever side you plump for though, the transcendental qualities are strong on this 12".
Review: Not An Animal Records was formed in 2015 out of the ashes of the London-based party Bad Passion, and has thus far welcomed the likes of Man Power, Ess O Ess and Eric Duncan to release on the label. Now they turn to James Hadfield, a relatively new producer previously spotted on To Rack & Ruin and Me Me Me. On this four-tracker he deals in brooding synthwave tones mixed with classic jack track rhythms. "Literate" is just the kind of taut, sinister club creeper we can't get enough of, while "Buried Answers" takes a skippier but no less moody approach. On the remix front, Jamie Blanco takes the prize, turning "Buried Answers" into a bombastic slice of driving synth pop.
Review: The Not An Animal crew follows up excellent releases from Man Power, James Hadfield and Ian Blevins last year with this 12" of soaring 80s-inflected dancefloor boogie In:State & Giuli. It's actually a dreamy remix of "Vizitoz" from Lauer that opens up the 12" before the pulsing, wavey throb of the original kicks in. "Plus One" on the B side chops up the beat a little, but the same fulsome synth lines shape out the track. That leaves it to Lizards to wrap the record up with their own version of "Vizitoz", bringing a motorik thrum to the track that should nudge it into the bags of all manner of DJs from the cosmic warm-up crew to the EBM-favouring techno peak timers.
Review: Aptly setting the scene with some dance-floor absurdity, Komodo comes Running into The Sun for NAAR 015.
Perfectly obtaining the dance-floor ambiance, 'Running into The Sun' produces the visceral beat that gets the party started, with quintessential house stabs channeling the tracks inner balearic heat. Next on the A, Eric Duncan's remix of 'Running into The Sun' funnels the original's heavier elements and pours them into a rattling house shaker. A
On side B, the steady pace of 'Slow Burning' swiftly evaporates with blissful counter melodies that intertwine with arpeggiated synths, sludgy 303s and propulsive drums that create a hypnotic timbre. 'Between Shadows' explores the balearic-beat once more, with opposing guitar melodies vibrating as the soundtrack to this drive-time burnout. Finally, new kids on the block, Latrec add their intrusive Techno remix of 'Slow Burning' to complete the release.
Review: Que Sakamoto has been previously spotted knocking around labels like Roam Recordings and To Rack & Ruin, dealing in the kind of sun-soaked contemporary funk rollers that will get Croatian festivals lit up this summer. The Japanese producer is in good company on Not An Animal, the label which has also carried the likes of Ian Blevins and James Hadfield. "Uchuu Hikoshi" kicks things off with plenty of drama and longing woven into the swirling synths and strident bassline, which Apiento then builds on for the super-deep "SE6 mix". "Kamakura" is another evocative track loaded with tension and texture, but still centred on the groove. Vyvyan brings a cheeky Ed Banger-esque dirtiness to her version of the track, completing a package that balances atmosphere and party chops in equal measure.