Pantha Du Prince is the man of the moment. His new 12’ The Splendour on Rough Trade is the most elegiac piece of music you are likely to hear this month. Driven by an eerie bell sample it is pastoral techno at its romantic best. Played at high volume, the slow, majestically rumbling bass hits you like an avalanche. The other two tracks – -Water Falls’ and -Sach Mal Baum’ (German for -Say -Tree”) – keep up the momentum and sweep you further down the slopes.
The Alpine references are no coincidence. Hamburg-based artist Hendrik Weber, that’s Pantha’s real name, recorded much of the music on the site of a Swiss village that was wiped out by a landslide in 1816. Alpine field recordings are an integral part of Pantha’s sound and add breathtaking depth and icy clarity – a bit like staring down a deep ravine. All in all an unusual 12’ that wets my appetite for Pantha’s upcoming album Black Noise, which is due out this month (Stream the album below).
The five track EP Whitebox Stereo by Luke Abbott stalks similar territory somewhere between Techno and nature inspired Ambient sounds. Yet Abbott’s take on pastoral techno is more green and intimate, compared to Pantha Du Prince’s icy splendour. -Whitebox Stereo’ will not necessarily knock you over the first time you hear it. But once you delve a bit into the detail there are goodies to be found, like the sunny mini-tune -Quincunx’, for instance.
The name is a bit cheesy but the music that comes under the ill-named UK funky tag is choc-full of dancefloor destroying killer tunes with a beat that proudly breaks with the four-to-the-floor formula. Instead, UK funky artists borrow heavily from syncopated Caribbean rhythms such as soca.
As the name suggests, UK funky is the new big thing across the Irish Sea and features top talent from the dubstep and grime scenes as well as two step and garage veterans. UK Funky is basically a combination of bouncy, Soca flavoured beats with rolling, mellow bass line. Due to the garage/two step connection there’s a hint of bedroom R&B and a touch of Digital Dancehall has recently been creeping in for a bit of extra spice.
Artists to watch include Apple, Sully, Brackles, Mosca, L-Vis 1990, Gemmy and CR Zero, whose whopping -Walk With Me’ white label from last year has turned out to be a genuine dancefloor staple. Fresh 12’s to look out for are -Loot’ by Sully and -Square One’ by Mosca. This scene is moving fast, new names pop up all the time, so get on it and shake that booty.
Some tracks from last year get a new lease of life now that UK funky has taken hold as a trend. If you haven’t got them yet, this is the time to dig out the Greenmoney remix of US rappers Yo Majesty’s -Don’t Let Go’ and Martyn’s totally sick Dark Mix of -Acid Bells’ by Efdemin.