By Cóilí Collins
Cóilí/Shampain is a resident DJ in Electric nightclub, former electronic music editor of District Magazine, contributor to District and Four Four magazines, former resident DJ of Hangar, and has written for Mixmag and worked on Rinse France.
As it has for the last 21 years of my existence on this earth, music really came through for me over the past three months when I spent the summer in France across Montpellier and Paris almost entirely on my own, bar of course some friends I made over the pond.
With so much time to myself I obviously filled the gaps by looking for new music, something I found plenty of over those 90 days, and something that helped me cope with not having anyone familiar to talk to for such a long period of time.
With that waffle out of the way, here are my five picks of the summer, some being EPs, some being albums but all entirely well rounded and ‘must listen’ collections of music.
Having previously been known for a much more club – orientated house sound, one that spawned the classic ‘It’s Just (House Of Dupree)’, it was surprising to see the UK native take on such a different approach to his most recent album. Inspired by his grandparents’ move to the US during the 1900s, he revisited their old apartment in New York after being gifted by a box of old photos and documents by his late grandmother.
From there he utilises the album as a vessel to document their lives in a sonic format, rather than using his normal batch of kickdrums, hi – hats and whatever else he could get his hands on. He turns to more orchestral and classical arrangements to bring us through the storied lives of his ancestors. Massive strings and dusty trip hop tracks really make this a stand out collection that brings one through a whirlwind of feelings and emotions.
Vynehall also penned a book to accompany the vinyl copy of the album which goes through what each element of each track represents. A 10/10 project that really goes out of its way to push the boundaries of electronic and instrumental music.
Dublin’s most mercurial producer finally made his solo EP debut this summer and it didn’t disappoint his eager bunch of fans either. Having initially released via his own label Rave Selekts alongside fellow Irishman Casper Hasting last year, Tommy’s most recent four track offering, which was brought to us by UK imprint Civil Disobedience, went about as far as a techno EP can in terms of covering all bases.
Similar to some degree as the above mentioned Vynehall, Ros Eo too is a concept release, focusing on the different aspects of Holohan’s youth spent in Rush. His upbringing was something he went into detail about in our interview for District Magazine in June. The EP kicks off with the obscure and ambient ‘Martello’ and then kicks right into gear with the mazey four to floor stomper ‘Seamos Gaf’, which wraps up with an audio clip from one of Rush’s infamous afterparties.
The second half of the EP is where it really kicks into gear with the DJ Mag-premiered ‘South Beach Burnin Bins’ taking Altern8-like rave stabs and recycling them through the tried and tested Holohan kick drums that have gotten him to where he is today. That, accompanied by the masterpiece that is the wistful and emotive vintage jungle-infused breakbeat finale ‘Remaining Rogerstown’, showcases Tommy’s ability to really tell a story, even in four tracks. It also cements his place as the best producer on an island where many have their heads firmly planted within the shallow sand of clubland.
Despite being one of the biggest pop albums of the year, the Walsall product’s debut extended play really manages to lose nothing in substance. This is despite the overwhelming hype surrounding the release after previous co-signs from Drake and many within the burgeoning UK scene.
Given the success of previous UK vocalists such as Emeli Sandé and Craig David that both had similar lead ups to their debut works, the pressure was on. She certainly delivers with an album that is dotted with already successful singles and ballads that are instant classics from the moment you press play.
Despite her lack of a big city upbringing, many of the instrumentals manage to play off her voice in a way that really brings on a sense of classic grandeur one would usually associate with the chicer quarters of Paris and London. ‘On Your Own’ stands out as the dark horse in an album littered with catchy but melancholic ballads.
Much like the previous two electronic contributions to the list, Bambounou’s first release in four years was rather longform despite its three track make up. Having already released two albums on now-defunct German imprint 50WEAPONS, seeing him dive into more experimental/not for the club sounds is no surprise.
However, seeing him cover so much ground on such a restricted EP format is particularly impressive. While no track necessarily stands out given that they’re all so unique, the back and forth, almost topsy – turvy nature of ‘Kosovo Hardcore’ and its use of an inverted drum pattern meshes perfectly with the tribal elements that have made the Parisian the star he is today, across both house and techno.
Having already said to me in our interview for Four Four Magazine that he no longer wants to release albums but still continue to push album – like sounds, this is a very solid step in the right direction.
Midland’s Graded label is one of the most well-respected imprints in a landscape that is diluted with DJ – owned labels. With that in mind, his Intergraded sub label has carried on that heritage by selecting some of the most under the radar acts and giving them a platform to show the underground community what they’re all about. Having already played host to Peach’s magnificent nostalgic house track ‘Silky’, Intergraded brought us Scottish and Irish house duo Hi & Saberhägen. Like Peach, they also impressed in their Boiler Room debut this year.
The four – track journey kicks off with ‘Loveless’, an almost nine – minute, down tempo masterpiece that features muddy drums and a tremendously pensive lo-fi aesthetic that weaves everything together with the touching vocals that appear about halfway through the track. Following on from that, we have another 14 minutes of slow moving house magic that caps off another successful release from one of the most trustworthy labels on the go at the moment. Once again, Midland solidifies itself as one of the most elite curators in the game.