Levon Vincent’s sole 12″ of 2012, Stereo Systems, contains three cuts that each approach the dance floor on their own terms.
It’s with great pleasure that we ring in the new year with Levon Vincent at the helm for our 149th exclusive podcast: a journey through his record bag stocked with favorites both new and old.
The same water that makes NY’s pastrami and bagels so renowned seems to affect our house music as well, as Fabric 63, mixed by Levon Vincent, catches a group of musicians at the height of their powers.
For LWE’s first year-end list, assistant editor, Chris Miller, selects five of the best records of the year which ordinarily escape list-makers.
With little advance fanfare, Levon Vincent drops his second Novel Sound 12″ of 2011, the somewhat understated Impression Of A Rainstorm.
01. Maxi Mill, “To The Next” [Rush Hour Recordings]
02. Morning Factory, “Fantasy Check” [Royal Oak]
03. Rio Padice, “Woodland” [Claque Musique]
04. Mount Kimbie, “Carbonated” (Peter Van Hoesen Remix) [Hotflush Recordings]
05. Roof Light, “On The Third” [Phuture Shock Musik]
06. Ricardo Miranda, “Urbanism”
[Noble Square Recordings]
07. Legowelt, “Backwoods Fantasies”
[Long Island Electrical Systems]
08. Levon Vincent, “Man or Mistress”
09. DJ Duke, “Summer Madness”
[Self Defence Records]
10. Juju & Jordash, “Chelm Is Burning”
[Golf Channel Recordings]
Novel Sound’s fifth transmission — its first since 2009 — sees Vincent release one of his biggest and best tracks so far, accompanied by two more than worthy B-side attractions.
LWE’s fourth 2Q Report has Chris Miller recapping 10 of the most essential non-commercial downloads from the first half of the year.
01. Gerd, “Time & Space” (Original Dusty Tape Mix) [Clone Basement Series]
02. The Weeknd, “What You Need” [self-released]
03. Tazz, “Underground 12″ [Tsuba Limited]
04. FaltyDL, “Voyager” [Planet Mu]
05. Sven VT, “Sunday Funk” [Suol]
06. BNJMN, “See Thru Stars” [Rush Hour Recordings]
07. Kassem Mosse, “Untitled B2″ [Workshop]
08. John Heckle, “What Once Was”
09. Levon Vincent, “Tyner” [Soul People Music]
10. Ajello ft. Hard Ton, “Chocolate Black Leather” [Danny Was A Drag King]
The line-up for Earth Tones 2 is as equally stacked as the first, featuring Black Jazz Consortium, DJ Qu, and the return of Levon Vincent.
Despite dividing opinion in its original version, the Aybee and Levon Vincent remixes of Jus-Ed’s “I’m Comin’” are more likely to bring fans back together.
The latest record to receive Juno’s largess tries to seem anonymous in spite of its striking, purple marbled vinyl and a garrulous press sheet that makes The Freeze/The Melt Down seem like a blind item: Which boldfaced U.S. house producer drew dancers to the booths at Panorama Bar and Fabric with this incognito platter?
Although Levon Vincent has seen his profile rise dramatically over the past 18 months he’s anything but a newcomer. Having spent nearly a decade making house music after many years studying music generally, Vincent’s recent fame can be seen only as welcome payoff to someone who has spent his fair share of time in the trenches. Enmeshed in the much-discussed revitalization of New York house with his own imprints, Novel Sound and Deconstruct Music (with Anthony Parasole), alongside Jus-Ed’s Underground Quality stable, he blends his influences into a thick, rich soup of raw house music that finds him wearing his heart on his sleeve. LWE caught up with Vincent in Paris before his appearance at Rex Club kicking off a month of touring around Europe to discuss everything from Thriller and Discreet Music, the newest musical instrument in his arsenal, and the struggles of being a vinyl proponent in America.
Dance music enthusiasts of all kinds were treated to a wide variety of tracks from Levon Vincent last year: minimalist peak-time anthems (“Solemn Days”), vocorded house jams (“I Owe You Everything”) and dub-techno freak-outs (“Games Dub”). With his newest release on his own Novel Sound, the wonderfully titled Double Jointed Sex Freak, I find myself returning to an increasingly common question for each LV release: What the hell is this? With the help of his muse Rebecca (“a true athlete”) Levon has managed to out freak himself, taking the varied sounds of his breakout year and throwing them into one big messy pile of dance-music bliss. Other producers might provoke skepticism by claiming, “It is the best record I have ever made — my proudest moment!” m, Levon’s enthusiasm rings true; and even compared with his top notch back catalog, it’s hard to argue Double Jointed Sex Freak is anything less than the work of a man realizing his full potential.
With DJ Jus-Ed on permanent impresario/wood-cutting duties and Levon Vincent releasing a near-constant stream of contemporary classics, New York house’s flagship positions look pretty well locked-down as 2010 gets cracking. It’s a bit more of a tossup for the underdog slot. Fred P., whose Black Jazz Consortium long-player and singles for his own Soul People Music imprint were among 2009′s most coveted dance records, makes for something of an easy bet, though I can’t deny his talent at cranking out tense, minimalist house trips. And Anthony Parasole, who’s already proven himself a formidable selector, will almost certainly raise his asking price when his first solo production credit drops later this year. But I’m throwing my lot behind DJ Qu, the New Jersey man and former dancer born Ramon Lisandro Quezada. His latest, “Party People Clap” for Vincent’s and Parasole’s Deconstruct Music, has a whole lot to do with it.
It’s likely we all know the events and stories for which 2009 will be remembered: global recession, the first year of Obama’s presidency, a seemingly endless stream of celebrity deaths, the stolen Iranian and Afghani elections and Japan’s historical shakeup, and Twitter’s penetration into almost everything. But when we look back at the year and remember the dance music artists whose significance was widely felt in 2009, whose faces and vinyl sides will spring to mind? This is tricky territory to parse while still standing inside its confines, but a worthwhile pursuit nonetheless — if for no other reason than to see how accurate I am a few years down the line. The producers I chose made artistic decisions whose deep impact is still creating ripples now, perhaps into 2010. My list overlooks many influential artists (special apologies to STL, Fred P., Moritz Von Oswald, Appleblim, et al.) and shouldn’t be seen as necessarily an endorsement of each selected, but rather acknowledgment of their importance to the dance music climate created this year. Together yet apart, these individuals contributed to the broader narrative none of us can yet decode; here’s my attempt to make some sense of it.
When the Clone label announced it was turning the lights out earlier this year it was a sad day for techno/electro obsessives like myself. But as it turns out the label’s death has been greatly exaggerated, or at least has pumped creative spirit into other, more focused areas. The result so far has been a steady stream of releases on what might be called “boutique” sub-labels such as the Club Series, Loft Supreme Series, West Coast Series and the Jack For Daze Series; all fall under the Clone banner while each concentrates on a specific style of electronic music. Confused yet? Well just this past month they unveiled one more imprint called the Clone Basement Series, keying in on hard-boiled dance tracks. Based on that criterion it makes sense to find Tresor resident Mike Dehnert in charge of the first release.
Three words I hate throwing around in dance music: “buy on sight.” Face it, it’s a phrase that’s almost never true. In a music scene where “awesome” means something exceedingly specific to every DJ with a brain cell in their head, it’s a solid bet eventually even your own personal Villalobos will cut a platter that just isn’t your style. In principle, then, I can’t call Levon Vincent buy-on-sight. But I’ll let my record bag speak for itself: each and every paper-sleeved 12″ the New Yorker has hand-stamped his name on this year has found its way in there, and dammit do I want more. Mixing the minor-key dub atmospherics of records on Modern Love or Echocord with the metallic timbre and classicism of the Ostgut crew, Vincent doesn’t push a forgotten or underrepresented sound so much as he generously drizzles some much-needed (and ultra-distinguishing) big city sass on his contributions to the recent bumper crop of quasi-white label rawness.