Demos for the 'The Soft Bounce' was created as far back as 2009, but through other projects coming and going, disbanding and re-grouping, we didn't get a chance to finish the record until 2015.
'Diagram Girl' was a song I wrote back in 2009 in around 15 minutes, and I always saw it as an indie-pop song inspired by the C86 movement. The original demo featured my scratchy vocals which were never going to make the final production, so we asked Hannah Peel to sing the vocal line to a version of the track which was sped up considerably. We then dropped the entire track, and took her vocal back down to the original tempo which in turn transposed her vocals down to the register which matched mine... The androgynous nature of a woman singing like a man about another female as the subject of the song is something I haven't really spoken about until now. I am still not sure if the 'Diagram Girl' is the narrator or the subject, or both?
'Diagram Girl' was the first single to be released on July 1st 2016, it was announced with a video directed by our good friend Kieran Evans. Kieran created 5 videos for various songs on the album, which were all joined together as part a short film titled 'A So To Sleep', which Kieran described as "‘draws on the influences of the French New Wave films, Surrealist cinema and the dream logic of Samuel Beckett.". It was backed by an extended version from ourselves, and a tripped out remix from our good friend James Righton under his Shock Machine alias.
The sleeve was designed by myself and Phil Sims, and pressed onto baby blue, heavyweight vinyl."
For PH52, Phantasy returned to the studio space of Ghost Culture, who returned to the club-ready headspace occupied on earlier singles such as 'Red Smoke' and 'Half Open'.
On ‘Safe’, he provided a gnarly acid number, with a jackin acid bassline and a crunching, warehouse-ready aesthetic, before typically subverting such gnarliness with soaring, choral pads for a transcendent resolution. ‘Multiply’ is immediately compelling in a different manner, a distinct blend of bouncing bassline and euphoric, even trancy synths. Both still absolutely undeniable, impeccably crafted techno cuts from the other side.
The two tracks were pressed onto 12" vinyl, released 15 April 2016, and copies have been sold out for a while.
Erol Alkan: "'Creation' was the second single to be released from 'The Soft Bounce', a song we co-wrote with Jane Weaver and also featuring Hannah Peel on backing vocals. Originally written in 2009, 'Creation' the 10 minute instrumental synthesizer jam, sat on the hard drive, unfinished, until we sent it over to Jane asking if she'd like to contribute. Both Richard Norris and I have been huge fans of hers, so we were pretty pleased when she agreed.
By this point, Hannah has already put down the 'Ah wuh wah wuh wah' hook and that amazing outro vocal, so Jane's first ‘la la’ demo of 'Creation' captured what we needed melodically, then it was a case of the lyrics having a certain theme to lock in with the concept of the record. When we recieved her final lyric, we knew we had something really special on our hands, it was the final piece of the puzzle which gave birth to one of my own personal favourite singles on Phantasy.
Our friends Psychemagik provided two wonderful latin house inspired remixes, the dub mix was pressed on a heavyweight yellow 12" alongside a remix of 'Delicious Light' from London noise merchants Teeth Of The Sea.
The video was directed by Kieran Evans featuring choreography by Alexandra Green. The whole dance routine was learnt backwards, filmed then reversed."
“I will greet this day with love in my heart.
But how will I react to the actions of others? With love. For just as love is my weapon to open the hearts of men, love is also my shield to repulse the arrows of hate and the spears of anger. Adversity and discouragement will beat against my new shield and become as the softest of rains.”
An unforgettable, blunted nugget in the Phantasy back catalogue, U embarked on the well-trodden path between flattery and irreverence in dance music with his next two-track for the label.
'Friendly Ghost' sets the tone with a splay of combat bongos, a before a strangely negative bassline sets the pace in nu-wave perpetual motion, spiralling far back in on itself.
On the flip 'Ascension Hymn' rushes into a mantra of self fulfilment over a build towards enormous hardcore catharsis. ‘Ascension Hymn’ in particular continues to be beloved amongst adventurous DJs, and most recently formed the centrepiece to ‘A Psychedelic Sensibility’, our recent compilation curated and mixed by John Loveless that you can check out here.
As Resident Advisor remarked in their review at the time, "this EP chases a full-on euphoric rush. Of course, though, the journey there isn't conventional.... U's going in a lot of directions here, but each one feels just right."
Pressed to heavyweight vinyl, designed and printed by the artist, 'PH54' is currently back in stock in limited supply here.
“And now, let’s do it!”
Continuing their club hot streak, Cowboy Rhythmbox once again enraptured the record box of a huge range of DJs with their wildest record yet, 'Mécanique Sauvage', “drawing us into a world of concrete shopping centres, the occult and physically irresistible repetition”.
The title track 'Mécanique Sauvage' amounts to one part brutal exercise in poise and restraint, and one part undiluted disco excess.
Dropping the tempo but extending the length, 'Children Of The Monolith' takes the listener on a very different kind of trip at 100bpm. A widescreen composite of tribal drums, sinister synths and the beguiling mantras of an arcane cult. As the Cowboys themselves advised, “don’t touch the brown acid…”
Sitting pretty and fizzy on the flip, ‘Soda Jerk’ is a true gem in Phantasy’s back catalogue. Throwing everything but the kitchen sink into a constantly percolating mix of filter house and hi-NRG madness, years later and you can still find it at the centre of many Erol Alkan sets and beyond.
The 12" was released 4th November 2016 and has been sold out for a while.
Richard Norris: "Daniel Avery is a big part of Phantasy so it was a natural thing to ask him to remix 'The Soft Bounce'. His spacious and spatial rework added another multi dimension to the sound. BTU - a combination of Babe, Terror and U - took things even further out with their epic 18 min disorientation, a full on trip to the centre of the third mind. Do not listen while operating heavy equipment."
The remix 12" was pressed onto heavyweight white vinyl and released 19th August 2016. We've got the last few copies on our web store here
Erol Alkan: "'Black Crow' was the final single to be released from 'The Soft Bounce'. Co-written with Holly Miranda and Will Cameron back in 2009, it sat on a hard drive for 6 years until it was finally mixed and featured as the centrepiece of the Beyond The Wizards Sleeve album. Originally built around a sample by Joy Unlimited (which we replayed) and featuring drums from Leo Taylor, we approached Holly after falling in love with her track 'Waves'. After a few exchanges via email, she and Will both came round to my home studio in late 2009 and put down the vocals in a single take. I think we had the entire song recorded in an hour or two. We then had some tea and I didn't see Holly for a number of years, not until the song was finally released in 2016.
As well as Kieran Evans' video (as part of 'And So To Sleep'), we released a second video directed by Romano Pizzichini around the time of 'Black Crow' appearing as a single, pressed into blood red heavyweight vinyl on 7th October 2016. The sleeve was designed by myself and Phil Sims.
There was an alternative version of the song released on the flip side of the single titled 'White Crow' which was a far more electronic production of 'Black Crow'.
Unfortunately, it has yet to be used as a Bond theme."
We have a handful of mint copies left over on our webstore here
Ghost Culture: "The Nucleus EP for me was a moment in time for experimenting with the sound of Ghost Culture, to see what new sonic fields I could discover by letting go a bit of what I had done before. I was trying to let musicality and technicality sit together without arguing for space.
It stands for me as a singular moment in time that I have since moved on from, but it still holds it’s own, and I can listen back on it and remember the introspective moments I had making it.
The artwork by Ross Anderson was based around a radio map of a constellation, which is where the name for each of the tracks was in reference to.
I feel like a touch of this experiment has lived on in the musical world of Ghost Culture, and it was an important moment of letting go and feeling freely creative with rhythm, melody and the technical method behind producing the music."
'Nucleus' EP was released 24th February 2017, and we've got a box of 12"s left on our web store here
Released today exclusively on Bandcamp, Gramrcy & John Loveless remix ‘ICO130’. All proceeds from sale before August 31st will go to the Stephen Lawrence Trust, the London-based organisation founded to tackle inequality in all forms. Download it on Bandcamp here
On his first EP under his given name, James Welsh displayed not only the dancefloor mettle established throughout his work as Kamera, but a new sense of wistfulness that coaxes his typically outstanding machine work into altogether more reflective territory.
James Welsh: "The idea with 'Standing' was to create a more conventional (for me) vocal track using unusual and experimental noises. The main melody in 'Standing' was made using only resonance & feedback from an old Yamaha delay. A lot of the percussion is from a camping gas stove. 'Slip' is a personal favourite of mine and was made using a lot of Alesis reverb a tanzbar and my trusty prophet. The artwork was by my good friend, Martyn Woolley."
‘Standing’ throws listeners headlong into Welsh’s formerly anonymous industrial complex, generating a churning, relentless rhythm offset with a dry female vocal that recalls the sardonic stance of vintage electroclash. Meanwhile, the more sombre and emotional tones of ‘Slip’ is an initially unexpectedly spectral diversion, transmitting a curious synth line into space, and receiving a choral, sombre frequency in return.
'Standing / Slip' was released 21st April 2017 and some copies are available for just £5 over on our web store here
Five years after his critically acclaimed debut 'Drone Logic', Daniel Avery returned proper with a four-track EP, 'Slow Fade'. Anticipating the arrival of second album, 'Song For Alpha', 'Slow Fade' was the first glimpse of Avery’s expanding sonic world after almost constant years on the road.
Exploring the twilight world of a personal, transient life spent between clubs, hotel rooms, airports and home, 'Slow Fade' captures the expanded foundations of Avery’s sonic palette. ‘After Dark’ alters this aesthetic to it’s raw, pensive elements, stripping Avery’s distinctive drums completely. ‘Radius’ announces itself with industrial intent, before unfolding seamlessly into a wistful electronic hymn, eventually evolving into slow-motion motorik. Closing the EP, ‘Fever Dream’ found Avery at club tempo, but in a somewhat agitated state, on this occasion focusing on a paranoid rhythm that emerges clean from eerie, even paranoid territory.
'Slow Fade' was soon followed by a remix EP (PH70) featuring contributions from electronic visionaries Actress, Inga Maeur and an utterly blistering take from Surgeon.
The music video for 'Slow Fade' was created by Flat-e and part of the full album visuals for his second album 'Song For Alpha'.
We've got 8 copies of the 'Slow Fade' 12" left on our web store here