Friday, 18 November 2011

FEATURE: Fave Five Albums of 2011: Simon from Sonic Emporium + Mix

First up to the plate to tell Vainzine their Top 5 Albums of 2011 is Simon from the Sonic Emporium, that's him on the right getting strangled by Ozzy. In case you don't know who Simon is here is a little bit about him.

Kicking off with a DJ residency at legendary London club The Cross, Simon quickly established an enviable reputation for playing extended and expansive sets that helped him blaze a trail across the capital’s biggest clubs – Fabric, The End and Ministry Of Sound. Spells back in his former Newcastle home at Shindig added to a growing portfolio followed by an 8 year residency in the Dance Arena of Serbia’s gargantuan Exit Festival and back across the UK for Wax:On as part of People Get Real - taking in a wrath of further UK and world-wide favourites.

Before long though, the bright lights of London became too strong to resist and Simon was off again on a new path of musical adventures as ‘The Sonic Emporium’. The floor-rocking DJ sets continue along with pitch-perfect festival appearances & live support slots for Soulwax, Simian Mobile Disco and LCD Soundsystem.

Bang up to the present day his first proper forays into production are garnering increasing love and support, with a pant-wetting remix of Audibilis - 'Dropping Mean' set for release in February 2012.

Simon has also done a special Minimix for Vainzine which you can download below. Mad respect for that and don't forget to download it because it is jaw droppingly good. But first up here's his Fave Five Albums of 2011.

When Saints Go Machine - Konkylie

Surprised this gorgeous, floaty little number never got the traction it deserved with the taste makers, even more surprising when you think how anything with a slightly motorik air sends the sceney bloggers typing off into the stratosphere... File this review under the 'internet = poor attention' cliché heading because that's what I'm going to blame for people not going banana's for this record. You're not gonna 'get' this one with 1 minute online previews or with your player set to shuffle. Maybe I should be thankful though, a little more attention and you can imagine lazy TV music researchers claiming this as their own when they want to set the muzak dial to spooky, sound bedding every last thing from Crimewatch to David Dickinson's Real Deal.

New Look - New Look

Analog synthy pop that brings to mind the uber-cool artists of the Italians Do It Better fold, only with a smoother coat of turtle wax applied. You can easily see the Urban Outfitters/American Apparel set appropriating this as their own but fear not, there's not an ironic beat in sight. The approach may be old school, with shades of early 90's R&B but this is very much a modern pop record. Add to that the fact that there's not David Guetta parp or RedOne klaxon in earshot and you can reassure yourself that all is not lost in the modern musical melting pot.

Grimes - Halfaxa

Mysterious, ethereal and electronic - touches on similar territory to When Saints Go Machine only with a sprinkling of 'Salem' at their twitchy, witchy best. Lush and involving, though in the proud tradition of classic horrorists Goblin, I'm guessing this record will develop a dark heart of it's own now that the nights are quickly drawing in up here in the northern hemisphere.

Nebraska - Displacement

Yeah! A proper House record. No messing about, superb deep sounds and productions with a rawness to satisfy the no sleep 'til Tuesday mob and an intelligence to suit the home listening beard strokers in equal measure. I got this album on vinyl earlier in the year and it's never left my record box since.


Influenced by the subplot behind SBTRKT I may have been as much as anything (cooler than thou record label, catching their first ever official live gig) the first thing that struck me about their debut was how few of their previously released singles and tracks made the final cut. The ultimate result though is a tight LP of familiar feeling but fresh tracks, fashioned to work together as whole not merely a set of overlong club bangers. It's a dark record with a hazy shimmer of hope, a menagerie of shapes and shades. Much as I've loved the James Blake, Jamie Woon, Metronomy and Azari & III records this year, you can help but feel that up against this they all occupy very two dimensional spaces.

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