Like much of pop culture, house music moves in cycles, different sounds and styles coming in and out of fashion every few years. In the past 12 months, the cycle has resolutely stopped at the sound that Frankie Knuckles and Marshall Jefferson brought to Chicago in the 1980s. Diva vocals, stripped down jack tracks and the TB-303 are all back in style, largely a rebuke of the aggro “electro” sounds that have come to dominate our airwaves. At the pinpoint of this revival is Wolf Cub of Leeds-based crew/label Transmission Collective), who, as a whole, are doing more than just about anyone else to restore a positive ethos into the genre we all know and love. We couldn’t be happier to have Wolf Cub kick off May right with the latest in The Astral Plane mix series. Here, Wolf Cub puts the vibe first, wringing out as much raw emotion from a number of memorable tracks, both modern and classic, ranging from unforgettable disco sing-alongs to punchy house from producers new and old. Don’t forget to get nostalgic. Stream/download below and hit the jump for the full track list.
In which Transmission Collective don Wolf Cub continues to fine tune his updated take on classic Chicago house and tactful garage on “Kerouac”. Transmission Collective, and Wolf Cub in particular, make tunes for all the kids (literal or not) who have never heard a Kerri Chandler song in the club. They make songs for all the people who have grown up in an era that completely lacks subtlety, surrounded by the brosteppers and electro maniacs. Anyone hating on these revivalists clearly don’t understand the contemporary electronic music landscape, because really context is everything. Stream and download below.
Since founding their own label/group Transmission Collective earlier this year, Maru, Wolf Cub and Kahwe have been rolling out brilliant production after brilliant production and establishing themselves as a formidable force in the UK’s increasingly retro-leaning house scene. With groups like Disclosure and Bicep storming the charts, one has to ask if there is any point in referring to this type of house music as “90’s” or “retro” anymore? As a response to the garish, blow your load, synth-heavy shit on the radio, this more organic sound has become prevalent in the “underground,” otherwise known as anything not played on the radio. I don’t have a problem with noting that these artists are influenced by the past, but at this point, it seems a little bit demeaning to confine them into such a rigid structure. Rant over.
Anyways, the label’s first release, the Lex EP, was released in October and featured all three crew members collaborating. Porta Alpina is the label’s second release and comes as a Maru solo production, although it also features Wolf Cub and Kahwe remixes so take that with a grain of salt. “Porta” is centered around an low-hung vocal sample from Floetry’s “Say Yes”. Everything about the track, from the vocals to the euphorically warm synth washes, exudes a tactful sexiness, disguising a particularly propulsive kick drum. “Alpina” is built on a laid-back garage rhythm and deep organs and while it doesn’t reach the peak-iness of “Porta” it functions especially well as a slower paced B-Side. Kahwe and Wolf Cub’s remixes aren’t anything to write home about, allowing Maru to really take center stage. Expect to hear “Porta” is sets from some big names and stream below.