Chateau Comtal

New from Sean Johnston’s Hardway Bros and the perfect way to pick yourself up on Saturday, Chateau Comtal is nine minutes of kickdrum, fuzzy bass, tom toms, feelgood chords, wiggy synths and driving electrical impulses. Impossible not to enjoy. Takes you away. Uplifting. New favourite track. And so on.

Life Can Be Cruel

Would you like to start your Sunday with a hot off the press Hardway Bros re-edit of Japan’s Life In Tokyo? Of course you would, why wouldn’t you? Sean Johnston has given the 1979 David Sylvian- Giorgio Moroder co-write a sultry update, setting the controls for a nine minute voyage to the heart of the chug. It all gets a bit wiggy and spun out too. Get it here or below.

Life In Tokyo (Hardway Bros Re-edit)

A Motorik Oscillation Retread

Back in March I posted a pair of tracks by A Mountain Of Rimowa, a driving, electrified, bass-led monster drawing a straight line between West Germany in the 1970s and small nightclubs in 2019 filled with chuggy cosmic disco/house. It shouldn’t therefore be too much of a surprise to find out that the man behind A Mountain Of Rimowa is Sean Johnston, Hardway Brother and one half of ALFOS. The two versions of A.M.O.R. disappeared from Soundcloud a while ago but it is now back digitally, at Bandcamp and Youtube, with a release scheduled for early October. Let there be much psychedelic and groove based rejoicing. Especially if you’re lucky enough to be in Carcassonne this weekend.

Monday’s Long Song

I don’t know if we are in the midst of a Balearic revival or if it’s just that I’m just finding a lot of it at the moment. This new track from Fjordfunk is a Balearic beauty, a slow motion eight minute epic with ripples of warm synth sounds, descending keyboard parts, a funky bassline and a guitar solo that stays just the right side of going over the top.

There is also a Hardway Bros remix that strips things back and heads into slightly darker territory although the twinkling synth and strings definitely keep things centred around the Mediterranean. Fjordfunk is producer Jann Marius Dahle from Norway.

 

Midweek Mix

This has just gone up at Test Pressing, your one stop shop for all things dubby and Balearic. Test Pressing asked Sean Johnston to put together a mix, specifically two hours of trippy and wigged out tunes from Sean’s record box. You can find it here (and download for free) and you won’t regret it. I can’t get the player to embed.

A couple of years ago Sean put out an e.p. in his Hardway Bros guise, the Pleasure e.p. This song is stunningly effective piano house, guaranteed to spread joy.

You Don’t Really Need Me

This is from a new e.p. by Dan Wainwright, a resident of these parts apparently, a slice of cosmic, Eastern tinged, progressive chug which at some point in the fourth minute when the soft multi-tracked vocal comes in reveals itself to be a cover of The Supremes classic Keep Me Hangin’ On.

The e.p. then takes a turn into darker territory with a Hardway Bros remix, a moody, low slung groover, the appropriately titled Swamp Dub, which sounds just like a sweaty basement after hours. In a good way.

There’s a third track too, The Endless Process Of Release, starting out with synths and coo’d breathy backing vox, some lovely sequenced bass and then a mid-tempo beat gently pushing things forward, various percussive sounds reverberating round the mix, more roof terrace in the sun than cellar rave, until it all starts to build for the last few minutes, twinkling arpeggios and rushing bleeps.

A/B Music

Back in 2013 Hardway Bros put out this monumental piece of dance music, A/B Music, a dramatic collision of  cavernous acidic squiggles, metallic guitar and a driving, lurching rhythm track. A dark, propulsive dancefloor gem.

A/B Music is also Sean Johnston’s tribute to the sounds of Belgium in the mid-to-late 1980s and the Antwerp club that the track is named after (AB, Ancienne Belgique). Belgian New Beat was centred around slow, downtempo club music, DJs spinning dark European industrial music, Eurobeat pitched down from 45 rpm to 33, early house from Chicago, a minimalist precursor to house, acid and techno, played to full houses as the youth of Ghent packed into the Boccaccio club. A record label in Ghent have recently put out two compilations, each one a four CD box set, packed full of new beat. Volume One is here and Volume Two is here.