Following the launch of our impending series of alfresco events we're calling 'El Verano del Disco', we thought we'd compile 5 of our favourite records to play outdoors, next to the pool, in the sun, cocktail in hand... you get the picture.
It's that time of year where, obligatorily, we are going to provide you with a countdown of our favourite 10 tracks of 2017.
Since Love Come Down's inception 3 years ago, there's been a handful of songs that we've kept coming back to again and again. Find out which tracks made the top 5 Love Come Down Anthems and why...
2017 has been a brilliant year for disco records. We've been blessed so far with countless new original tracks, remixes and edits that have been perfect to play on Love Come Down's dance floors across London and Barcelona.
To celebrate that fact, we thought we'd give you a list of our 5 favourites of the year so far. In no particular order:
Aeroplane 'Love On Hold' (Glitterbox Recordings)
From the moment you press play, this is an instant classic. It recreates that classic boogie sound, yet still manages to sound fresh – and then hits you round the face with a killer vocal hook.
Aroop Roy 'Talkin Bout Life' (House Of Disco)
Not only does this record make great use of it's uber-summery sample, it somehow manages to transform what is on the surface a breezy rooftop party jam into something with a monster drop that comes from nowhere. Dynamite.
Karizma 'Work It Out' (Lumberjacks In Hell)
A devastating gospel sample turned into a dance floor bomb. When it's this good, who cares that the beginning and end are so abrupt it sounds like it's been taped off the radio?!
Dimitri From Brooklyn 'I Knead You' (Razor N Tape)
More gospel-influenced action here, with Dimitri's edit of a slightly obscure version of a Sylvester original doing this business at the end of the night. Every time. (It's track 2 on the player below – such a hot track it's not on YouTube!)
Tuxedo '2nd Time Around' (Stones Throw)
Love this vocal on this. It's that track you play when you're fictitiously roller skating through Miami in 1982. The best song Chromeo never released.
2016 was perhaps the worst year on record for losing beloved musicians. And none more so, in our opinion, than Prince. The ultimate musicians' musician left us way, way too early.
Part of the appeal behind Prince's wild popularity across the decades, apart from his incredible songs, was the mystique that he created around himself. Stories and rumours regarding his outrageous behaviour continue to be in constant circulation, which is why this article from GQ Magazine is so fascinating. A collection of Prince's closest friends and colleagues have given us a glimpse behind the purple curtains at Paisley Park, and taster of what it was like to spend time with a true genius.
Aside from his 'I'm uber-famous' weirdness, many of the stories also reveal other sides of the man born Prince Rogers Nelson – his wicked sense of humour, his generosity and even a sometime tendency for normalness. We've collected a few of our favourite quotes below:
Recently we discovered Chrissy via his edits release on Razor-N-Tape – and then found his astounding website. The bloke did a new edit every week for a whole year as a project! Anybody who knows anything about music production will know that's quite an achievement. And you can download them all for free here.
Here's our pick of the bunch:
At the end of September, the world lost music producer and boogie pioneer Michael Jones – a.k.a Kashif – writer and co-producer of the song that inspired this very club night: 'Love Come Down'. Better late than never, we thought it was about time we paid our respects to the man and, of course, the music.
As The Guardian astutely point out in their obituary, when Michael Jones decided to rename himself from a book of Islamic names he chose aptly, as 'Kashif means “discoverer”, “pioneer”, or “revealer”'. A multi-instrumentalist and promoter of the use of technology in music, Kashif helped to shape the sound of the 80s by writing a slew of boogie and R&B hits for artists such as Evelyn 'Champagne' King, Whitney Houston, George Benson and himself.
Indeed, Kashif's early adoption of synthesisers and drum machines in a world traditionally dominated by full, 18 piece soul bands would act as a precursor for what was on the musical horizon at the end of the 80s. With hip-hop and house just around the corner, in hindsight boogie combines many of the hallmarks both genres are famed for. Drum machines and deep, synthesised bass lines rub up against diva vocals to create a then-modernised version of soul that sounded fresh and exciting – and in the process inspired countless producers coming of age during the period.
To celebrate the life of one of the unsung heroes of music, below we've highlighted our five favourite Kashif tracks (unsurprisingly, it's pretty Champagne King-heavy!). For those of you who use Spotify, we've made also made it into a playlist here.
5. Evelyn 'Champagne' King 'I'm In Love'
Kashif's first collaboration with ECK and the song that simultaneously put him on the map and revived her career, 'I'm In Love' features all the aforementioned key elements. Drum machines, squelchy bass and a killer hook, it sets the tone for things to come.
4. Stacy Lattishaw 'Jump Into My Life'
This song came to our attention after being featured on John Morales's excellent 'Club Motown' compilation, and is typical Kashif. All power snares and synth bass, the 12" version also features an extended break with some great bell percussion and reversed drum hits.
3. Evelyn 'Champagne' King 'Betcha She Don't Love You'
ECK and Kashif's professional relationship produced numerous important records, and this is one of our favourite non-Love Come Down Champagne King tracks. In this record it's particularly clear how good Kashif was at leaving space in between the elements to allow the others extra punch. The groove is, in a word, irresistible.
2. Kashif 'Lover Turn Me On (I Just Gotta Have You)'
Easily his best solo track, this song's hook is the epitome of 'killer'. Combine that with the immediately familiar Kashif bass sound and a super-sweet vocal, and you're onto a winner. It's just been revitalised for us by our discovery of Coutel's excellent edit – one which will definitely get played at Love Come Down Halloween.
1. Evelyn 'Champagne' King 'Love Come Down'
What more can we say about 'Love Come Down' that hasn't already been said? The fact that it is the only song which has been played at every single one of our club nights says it all, really. A bona fide classic, surefire party starter and without doubt the career highlight of all involved. R.I.P. Kashif.
Want to hear records like these in a club? Join us at Love Come Down Halloween on Sat 29th October at The Arch Gallery. Full details and tickets available below.
In the digital age, where everybody (us included) is a DJ, it's very rare that you'd hear a song with a tempo change in the middle. Most modern tracks are rigidly tempo locked, perfect to DJ with but not exactly pushing any boundaries.
In the 70s and 80s, however, there was a trend of producers and artists utilising the tempo change as a powerful tool to add impact in the middle of the track – in some cases changing the mood completely. Here's 3 examples of tracks we love which do just that:
Diana Ross 'Love Hangover'
Perhaps the most obvious choice, this Diana classic starts off as a slow burning, sultry ballad. The tightly mic'd vocals are very much front and centre, as if Ms. Ross is whispering directly in your ear. Then, at around the 2.40 mark, it transforms into a full power disco stomper, complete with massive Earl Young-esque open high hats and a bouncy bassline. Great stuff (and even better, re-edit king The Reflex has recently provided us with a DJ friendly version!).
The Chi-Lites 'My First Mistake'
Now here's where things get interesting. This absolute barnstormer of a track will be best known by most younger readers as one of the two tracks sampled by legendary DJ David Morales on his track 'Needin' U' - a house music anthem and a UK top ten hit in 1998. The original, though, is an incredible piece of work. Beginning as a mid-tempo funk track, 'My First Mistake' has a smooth, horn and string laden intro that essentially acts as a 2 minute build up. Then, the track explodes into what can only be described as complete fire. Insanely catchy vocals, a horn solo, string flourishes left, right and centre – plus listen out for the brilliant baritone male voices in there singing 'bet you bet you bet you' as low as humanly possible.
Taana Gardner 'When You Touch Me'
Perhaps a little more obscure, we discovered this Taana Gardner (of 'Heartbeat' fame) track because it's a Larry Levan production (of course) and features on various compilations, including this great West End Records retrospective mixed by Masters At Work. As the newest of these three tracks, it probably has the most 'kick' production-wise. The beginning is again very sultry, probably inspired by 'Love Hangover', but when the tempo change comes in the track pre-empts house music, transforming into a total banger complete with massive kick drum and four-to-the-floor hats. Plus is comes in at over 10 minutes long!
Before I really started getting into disco records, I might have known one Change song. 'Change Of Heart', with its 80s production from Minneapolis based Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis is perhaps their signature tune, and a great one at that (we particularly like the Dr. Packer Rework). But they're not one-hit wonders.
Earlier this month, they released 'Reach For The Sky: The Change Anthology' - a full set of remastered, extended versions taken from their formidable back catalogue. It's the perfect way to showcase some of their work prior to the aforementioned 'Change Of Heart' album from 1984.
Formed in Bologna, Italy in 1979 by businessman Jacques Fred Petrus and producer/songwriter Mauro Malavasi, Change looked to Chic for inspiration. Like their heroes Nile and Bernard, the pair opted for a behind the scenes role, concentrating on creating high quality backing tracks at studios in Italy that would then be sent over to the US to have vocals added. Like Chic, that meant the band featured a revolving door of musicians and singers and a distinct European feel.
One thing's for sure – they knew how to pick a vocalist. Debut album 'The Glow Of Love' featured two lead singers: a then relatively unknown Luther Vandross and the more established Jocelyn Brown, who had previously found fame singing for Musique on their hits 'In The Bush' and 'Keep On Jumpin', and would go on to great things with Inner Life.
The album's first single was 'A Lover's Holiday', which is a great place to start with Change if you're one of the uninitiated. The most popular version of this track is actually a remix by NYC based DJ and producer Jim Burgess, who was known in the 70s as one of the premier disco selectors and played at prestigious clubs such as the Paradise Garage:
Two more singles followed. 'Searching', led by a very familiar bassline, was a nice showcase for Vandross, but it was the third single and title track 'The Glow Of Love' that really cemented Change's place in disco history. A timeless song that oozes class, 'The Glow Of Love' is a perfect example of a track that counteracts the cliched, Saturday Night Fever-inspired archetype of the disco sound. We'll overlook the fact Phats & Small sampled it, for now:
Follow up album 'Miracles' came in 1981, and with it another couple of fantastic singles. 'Paradise' features potentially the most to-the-point bass guitar intro of all time:
After that came 'Hold Tight', a slower groove that isn't perhaps as dancefloor friendly but still has a lot to offer:
1982's 'Sharing Your Love' doesn't contain much of note, but 'This Is Your Time', released in 1983 (remember when bands used to release an album a year? Nor do I.) led with the title track. 'This Is Your Time' is typical of the Change sound - Italo disco production stylings with Chic-esque backing vocals where the lyrical focus is on going to a club:
From the same album there's also 'Got To Get Up', a sparse, slow-burner that has a lot more space between the elements than most other Change tracks:
And so we come to 1984, and 'Change Of Heart' itself. Undoubtedly a great track, but certainly not the only song Change should be remembered by.
The good doctor is also immensely productive, with scores of reworks on offer - many of which are commercially available.
Always adding some serious weight to the low end, Dr Packer's edits are quickly turning into an essential part of our playlists here at Love Come Down. Here's 3 of our favourites:
Dr. Packer 'Can't Figure Out'
This edit introduced me to the cracking original from Skipworth & Turner called 'Thinking About Your Love':
Dr Packer 'Magic In Your Eyes'
Another one that introduced me to a track I was completely unaware of, a lost classic from The Circle City Band: 'Magic':
Dr Packer 'Cranium'
An edit of one of Prince's dirtiest tracks - 'Head'. You can't go wrong:
Love Come Down Halloween at The Arch Gallery is imminent, and in the run up to the event we've been counting down the days by posting one of our current favourite tracks each day.
1. Change 'The Glow Of Love' (12" Extended Version)
I'm really into Change at the moment - they're so underrated. This track is one of Luther Vandross's first lead vocals (he'd previously been a backing vocalist for Chic, Diana Ross AND Bowie, amongst others), and boy does he deliver. This is some smooth shit.
2. Deep & Disco 'Feel The Rhythm'
Razor-N-Tape is an awesome label out of Brooklyn, who have delivered a host of great edits and original tracks since they started up back in 2012. Their slogan is: "Cut in Brooklyn. Good for dance", which says it all really. This track is an edit of Chic's 1977 track 'Strike Up The Band', and we love it. But the A-Side to the 12" 'So Tight' is also well worth a listen. It was tough to choose between them.
3. Masters At Work feat. India 'When You Touch Me' (MAW Remix)
Masters At Work's most famous song also features India's vocals, but I recently discovered this one and like it just as much. Straight up, this is disco/house crossover at it's best.
4. Teddy Pendergrass 'You Can't Hide From Yourself' (Dimitri From Paris' Super Disco Blend)
Another incredibly smooth male vocalist in the vein of Luther Vandross, this Teddy Pendergrass track is one of those songs you'll probably know as soon as you hear it. Those horn stabs have been sampled so many times! The ever-reliable Dimitri From Paris brings it up to date.
5. Inner Life 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' (JM 4AM Mix)
A (perhaps THE) Paradise Garage classic - Inner Life's take on the soul standard 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' (a song that, nearly 40 years after its first release, was heavily borrowed from by Amy Winehouse) is for me the definitive version. Controversially, I'm preferring the John Morales mix to Larry Levan's perhaps more famous version here - mainly because it's slightly more suitable for modern dance floors. You will hear this on Halloween.
When I'm DJing, there's only one CD that I never leave the house without: Prince Ultimate.
You may scoff that it's a Greatest Hits collection, but this is Prince we're talking about. Both discs are great, but Disc 2 is where this compilation really becomes a cut above your usual 'Best Of'. It's all about extended, 12" Prince.
The only gripe is that there's so many incredible tracks from Prince's 'purple patch' (1979's Prince through to 1988's Lovesexy) that had to be cut. 'When You Were Mine', 'Erotic City', 'Bambi', 'Take Me With U' and 'I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man' are all absent, amongst many others.
In the words of the great man: "So many hits, so little time."
Prince is the dream we all dreamed of. His music can be played in any context, to any crowd. If you have Prince Ultimate with you, you're sorted.
At a house music night? You can drop Prince.
DJing a wedding? There's countless options.
Hip-Hop or RnB night? No problem.
Playing a rock night? You can still play Prince (Ok, ok - this isn't on Prince Ultimate but it should've been)...
Need an incredible last-song-of-the-night option? It's on there.
It goes without saying that you can play Prince at a disco night. The man effortlessly fits into almost every genre - mainly because he is a genre unto himself.
Recently I've been cultivating a massive Masters At Work obsession.
Kenny 'Dope' Gonzalez and 'Little' Louie Vega have been making music as a duo since the late 80s. They came on the scene just a few years after Frankie Knuckles, Marshall Jefferson et al had started using machines to transform disco records into the dance floor fodder we know as house music today - but crucially MAW introduced a host of South American flavoured, organic textures to compliment their peer's drum machine led sound.
The thing that really gets me about MAW productions is their impeccable rhythm sections. Every track has wonderful drum sounds that - with the exception of some of their darker, more club focussed tracks - sound like they've been played by a full percussion section. Basslines, meanwhile, meander around them with a rubbery dexterity that surpasses the musical ability of other house music producers.
Although predominantly a disco night, here at Love Come Down we're also very interested in the intersection between disco and house - two genres that remain intrinsically linked today. Much of Masters At Work's output straddles that divide perfectly, so here's few of our choice pick MAW productions to get you into the vibe before our Halloween party next month (and yes, there is a Simply Red (!) remix in there, but don't be put off by that, it's amazing):
Masters At Work 'When You Touch Me' (M.A.W. Remix)
Simply Red 'Thrill Me' (Masters At Work House Mix)
Masters At Work feat. India 'Backfired' (M.A.W. Main Mix)
Masters At Work feat. India 'To Be In Love' (M.A.W. Mix)
Black Masses 'Wonderful Person' (M.A.W. Vocal Mix)
Luca Moplen is one of an elite group of producers currently intent on re-editing and reinventing countless disco classics for a modern audience.
Alongside Kon, Dimitri From Paris and The Reflex, Luca Moplen takes the original stems (or separate parts) of a much loved track, and respectfully turns it into something suitable for dancefloors in 2015.
This is a far more creative process than it may initially appear, with some of the more radical edits totally rearranging songs regarded in their original form as masterworks. As anyone who’s ever tried their hand at making music knows, the arrangement of a track is often the hardest part to get right.
Here’s a selection of my favourite Moplen edits – including a snippet of his much anticipated forthcoming mix of Chic-produced Diana Ross cut ‘I’m Coming Out’. (UPDATE: it looks like Moplen has fallen foul of the great Soundcloud purge of 2015, so some of the tracks have been removed - including the Diana Ross one!)
Talking Heads ‘Once In A Lifetime’ (Moplen Edit)
First Choice ‘Let No Man Put Asunder’ (Moplen Edit)
Diana Ross ‘I’m Coming Out’ (Moplen Edit)
Gwen McCrae ‘Ain’t Nothin’ Goin’ On But The Rent’ (Moplen Edit)
Pitchfork have coincidentally posted an interesting article about '80s disco as part of their 'Pitchfork Essentials' series.
It's a genre and era that's central to Love Come Down's music policy and general ethos, so have a read:
There's also a 10 song playlist of tracks to listen to (which Apple Music users can sync to their phone). Look out for the Chemise and David Joseph tracks (they're bangers) as well as Larry Levan's definitive version of 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', of course!
Check it out, and meanwhile standby for an announcement regarding our next party shortly...
Although not strictly an artist in his own right, DJ and Producer Lawrence Philpot - A.K.A. Larry Levan - is one of the most important people to have ever been a part of the disco scene.