Third House Of Music magazine is available now! Grab your free copy at your favorite record store near you, or order it online. Incl. interviews with Ron Trent, Hunee, Floating Points, Aroy Dee, Yahiliyya Fields & many many more….Read More
Hunee’s debut album is out now! We are happy to finally release the complete work: an amalgamation of different moods and influences. “Hunch Music” has become a surprising and seductive artistic chapter in Hun Choi’s the musical carrier.
As a DJ, Hunee manifested himself as a fine connoisseur of classic and contemporary music. Always smiling, he is determined to share every fine record he finds with the world. Over the past few years, Hunee the producer has put out some highly acclaimed EPs, but only a handful. The producer went quiet for a moment, but “Hunch Music” proves Hunee’s unstoppable character.
“Hunch Music” is rather special: it is a cinematic journey from the beginning to the end, with scenes we haven’t encountered before. It starts with “Woods” as the perfect introduction – a moody, mystic night haze that quickly changes into a warm and soothing whole. Following with “Crossroads”, the mystery transcends into something that moves us to the dance floor, and we’re not sure whether we want to keep moving or we just want to listen. “Hunch Music” has a nocturnal aura, an organic groove, and moments of glorious acid. It takes us up and throws us down, gently, while subjecting us to many cinematic and musical elements.
“Hunch Music” is available from RH’s store on LP and CD: http://bit.ly/HuneeHunchMusic
“So nice to hear Music as inspiring and positive as is Hunee, an amazing Dj, a great person and a dope producer!”
“One of the very best for real house music…”
Joe Muggs (Boiler Room/The Wire):
“Beautiful, beautiful record, soothing our souls on Monday morning in the office”
James Mason’s “The Dance Of Life” is out now! Over three decades after “Rhythm Of Life”, James Mason rediscovered tapes with more recordings from the same late seventies period. “The Dance Of Life” (ft. Bernard Purdie on drums and Fonda Rae on backing vocals) and “Up Jump” are the first two tracks taken from the “Recollection Echo” album that Rush Hour are very proud to release on vinyl.
James Mason only made one album, that got acclaim years after it’s release. “Rhythm Of Life” became a soul-jazz cult classic, recorded in around 1978/79 with musicians such as Narada Michael Walden and Gene Torres, and featuring Clarice Taylor’s beautiful, characteristic vocals. The multi-instrumentalist recorded far more tracks around the release of “Rhythm Of Life”, but his music became out of fashion because musical trends shifted. Another album never arrived, and the recordings ended up in a box. Today the release of James Mason’s second album is finally set, and will be an collection of these forgotten tracks.
Because little remains known about his career after the release of his debut album, we had a few questions that we were lucky enough to ask. During two Skype sessions Mason happily shed some light on his early life as a musician, shared his feelings about the music he produced during his creative peak in the late seventies and early eighties and painted a frustration picture about the music industry he faced during that time.
The extensive interview will be published in our third printed House Of Music magazine, please find the introduction below…
In 1977 you had become a successful guitar player as a part of Roy Ayers’ band. How did you manage to get all those great musicians for “Rhythm Of Life” ? You’ve got a star line up there!
I had met Narada Michael Walden (drums) through Carlos Santana, because we opened for him one night with Roy Ayers’ band. Clarice Taylor (lead vocals) was recommended to me by a good friend, Gene Torres (bass) I met at a random gig and I had been playing together with Justo Almario (saxophone) for almost a year. When I asked all of these people to come into the studio to record for me, they were gracious enough to do so.
James Mason around the time
he recorded “Rhythm Of Life”
Despite the growth of appreciation for your first album over time, it can be considered a commercial failure when it was released. How come?
Basically I fell in between two categories: the jazz radio stations wouldn’t play my music because it was too funky and the R&B stations wouldn’t play it because it was too jazzy… I guess the business didn’t want me. I didn’t have the credentials nor the resume for a second record deal… One thing I have to thank the people of Chiarioscuro for, is that they weren’t like the rest of the music business. They gave me the smallest possible budget for “Rhythm Of Life”, but they didn’t tell me anything and stayed out of my way – that’s pretty much the only time that ever happened.
The track “Night Gruv” has attracted a lot of house and techno DJs to your music. How did that track come about?
“Night Gruv” was a kind of exercise. I had a student who was particularly skilled and had one of the first really elaborate home studios. Yamaha used to make a pretty sophisticated console that was modular: it had moving faders and everything else was virtual, it was like a mini Solid State logic board. He had four of those and wanted to learn how to use them a little better, so I brought my gear down to his studio and we produced the track there…
Interview: Roel de Boer
JAMES MASON – THE DANCE OF LIFE
(RH RSS 17)
After over two decades of Prescription, Ron Trent looks back on his musical journey, shifting through the releases to capture the essence of Prescription’s legacy. The Chicagoan started Prescription together with Chez Damier from Detroit, and the label’s innovative discography became a landmark in house music.
Rush Hour spoke to Ron Trent extensively. „As time went on the label changed, the sound changed. Sometimes the material that we picked up from other people changed as well. So we are aiming to secure the essence of Prescription, what it used to be and what it still is”, says Trent. This trailer introduces the project, an extensive video interview with Ron Trent will be the follow up.
Ron Trent presents Prescription : Word, Sound & Power
RH RSS 020
Release: autumn / winter 2015
Director: Bernie van Vlijmen
Story: Mijke Hurkx
Camera: Noel Schoolderman and Bernie van Vlijmen
Edit: Bernie van Vlijmen
Sound mix: Paul Gabriels
Color grading: Bernie van Vlijmen
Production: Mijke Hurkx
“Ron Hardy (Dedication To You)” was previously only available on CD. This is the first official vinyl release of Ron Trent’s tribute track to the legend that Ron Hardy is…. This next addition to RH’s RSS series is pressed one sided in a limited quantity.
Ron Trent – Tribute To Ron Hardy (RH RSS 19)
1. Ron Hardy (Dedication To You)
Rush Hour’s Young Marco, San Proper and Antal are packing up for a trip in Japan. It’s is going to be a very exiting week with the Rainbow Disco Club festival ahead of us, and a show with Soichi Terada in Kobe plus digging stops… Anticipated as we are, we will drop as much Japanese updates as possible via our RH platforms. Updates about Japanese gems, the tour and the shows, starting out with a ‘Favorites From Japan’ playlist… Stay tuned!
Favorites From Japan
This trip is a good reason to recollect our Japanese favorites in an ever expanding Youtube playlist… Let’s highlight a short selection from that list here.
1. HARUOMI HOSONO – PHILARMONY
This masterpiece gets a repress soon!! “Philarmony” is an avant-garde solo project from Japanese electronic music maestro Haruomi Hosono, founder of the Yellow Magic Orchestra. Originally released in 1982 on his own Yen label, the LP features experimental, boundary-pushing and schizophrenic compositions, veering from wildly abstract beauties to tight and funky dance floor fillers. It is a mesmerizing wander through the sonic genius of Japan’s legendary musical innovator.
2. KIMIKO KASAI WITH HERBIE HANCOCK – BUTTERFLY
‘Butterfly’ is a wonderful and very rare 1979 LP by Japanese songstress Kimiko Kasai and jazz legend Herbie Hancock. Inspired performances from Kimiko herself as well as the supremely talented band of musicians Hancock united for the project, including master drummer Alphonse Mouzon and renowned organist Webster Lewis.
3. RYO KAWASAKI – HAWAIIAN CARAVAN
This beautiful track is taken from “Ryo”, released in 1982. The Japanese jazz guitarist was a musician for the band Tarika Blue, to name another favorite of ours. Kawasaki is best known as one of the first musicians to develop and popularise the fusion genre and for helping to develop the guitar synthesizer in collaboration with Roland Corporation and Korg.
4. RYUICHI SAKAMOTO – RIOT IN LAGOS
This otherworldly electronic track is also from a Yellow Magic Orchestra member. “Riot In Lagos” by Sakamoto was firstly released in 1980 on Island Records. The Japanese musician from Tokyo was also an actor. He played a role in, and composed music for the award winning Bernardo Bertolucci movie The Last Emperor.
A few days before Ge-ology joins us for Somewhere In Amsterdam with Sadar Bahar and Robert Bergman, the skilled DJ drops by to explore our store. From the record pile he has built, he selects a few tracks to make this very fine mix.
Ge-ology has been a record collector and a genre defying DJ and producer for over two decades. He’s produced for the likes of Mos Def, Talib Kweli, Jill Scott and De La Soul amongst others. At this point he is preparing a release for Theo Parrish’ Sound Signature label, that we are most definitely looking out for…
This is the first mix in a series of Rush Hour mixes that include store picks only. Click on the track names and find the releases that feature the tracks.
01. MB/OD – Manual Greever
02. Joan Bibiloni – The Boogie
03. Twice – All night (Volcov edit)
04. Twice – Saela
05. Rahaan – You Got The Right To Dance (Rahaan Edit)
06. Rick Wilhite – In The Rain
07. James Mason – Nightgruv
08. Vincent Floyd – Dawn Notes
09. Phuture – Mental Breakdown (in store only)
10. Jamie Principle – Bad Boy
11. Liaisons Dangereux – Los Niños Del Parque
12. Jackmaster Hater – Unreleased Acid Trax
13. ERB – The Weekend (Instrumental)
14. Ron Trent – Movement 7
15. Jamie 3:26 & Cratebug – Hit It N Quit It
16. Cuttlefish & Asparagus – Drum Song
17. K Alexi – All For Lisa (Original mix)
18. Leon Carson – China Trax
19. Eddie Palmieri – Mi Congo Te Llama (Sacred Rhythm Dub Mix)
20. Twice – You & Me (TwICE and Volcov edit)
21. Usje Sukatma – Waiting For Your Love
22. 2000black – Make It Hard
Over three decades after “Rhythm Of Life”, James Mason rediscovered tapes with more recordings from the same late seventies period. “The Dance Of Life” (ft. Bernard Purdie on drums and Fonda Rae on backing vocals) and “Up Jump” are the first two tracks taken from the “Recollection Echo” album that Rush Hour are very proud to release on vinyl.
James Mason only made one album, that got acclaim years after it’s release. “Rhythm Of Life” became a soul-jazz cult classic, recorded in around 1978/79 with musicians such as Narada Michael Walden and Gene Torres, and featuring Clarice Taylor’s beautiful, characteristic vocals. The multi-instrumentalist recorded far more tracks around the release of “Rhythm Of Life”, but his music became out of fashion because musical trends shifted. Another album never arrived, and the recordings ended up in a box. Today the release of James Mason’s second album is finally set, and will be a collection of these forgotten tracks.
“Following a sense of disbelief that I could have ever forgotten about this music, for me the first echo was recollection, a flood of memories. I had poured all of the passion I could muster into this music. I labored tirelessly and thoroughly loved what I was doing. I thought I was creating my future and that this was my big chance. My idealism is evident in the lyrics. The first echo carried with it a recollection of the process of making this music. The nights in the studio. The learning curve. The equipment I borrowed. The effort and the passion. The exhilaration of a young man’s immersion in an act of self actualization is difficult to put into words. I was making the music that I loved and was engaged in an act of ‘proving myself to the world’. As it turned out, the affirmation I was seeking would only arrive as an echo — as recognition and acceptance of “Rhythm of Life” built gradually over the decades”, James Mason states in the “Recollection Echo” album release.
“[…] I am proud of much of this collection, but this is not “Rhythm of Life”. Narada Michael Walden does not play on any of these tracks and I definitely would have liked to have had a lot more of Justo Almario. Most of it was created with zero budget and was intended to be redone with an appropriate budget and higher production values supported by a record deal. I wish you could hear these songs with the production treatment they deserve. For those of you that have enjoyed “Rhythm of Life” I sincerely believe that there are moments and motifs in this collection that can take you to those same inner spaces. Otherwise I would not have approved this release.”
“[…] When I listen to this music I experience a recollection of the passionate execution of the production process, a young man engaged in an act of self-actualization and the dissolution of my relationships with these musicians who were once my friends. But, I also experience a profound reaffirmation of my belief in myself as an artist. With the benefit of the hindsight of my current sensibilities, even in the midst of its various defects, I hear in this music what I always believed I had in me as an artist. Some of this shit’s really good! I hope you think so too…”
1 The Dance Of Life
2 Up Jump
William Burnett’s Black Deer project continues with “Pray For Us”, an indulging four tracker that is released now from Rush Hour Distribution.
The record takes us back to the beginning of the Black Deer project, where after the release of “Trail Of Tears” two years ago, we had the opportunity to speak with Burnett for RH’s House Of Music magazine. For the occasion we are sharing his story here:
William Thomas Burnett a.k.a. Willie Burns, DJ Speculator, Grackle, PG&S, Black Deer, Galaxy Toobin and Daywalker, is a versatile man. He puts out great records on L.I.E.S., The Trilogy Tapes and on the Dutch labels Crème Organisation, Bunker and No Label to name a few. On his own label W.T. Records he releases whatever he likes, with ‘no real plan’. Alongside his musical pursuits, he also teaches swimming.
W.T. explained how he ended up combining his guitar playing with house and other electronic music, and how he became affiliated with the Dutch from De Hague years and years ago. A few times he said ‘be back in about 40 minutes’, and he took off to give swimming class.
Yeah, I teach all ages and levels, and some water polo as well. Today I substitute, and teach babies and little kids. Back in Texas I was a competitive swimmer from when I was about 8 until 18 years old. Then I played some water polo in college. It was nothing serious though.
Were you already into music as well?
You moved to New York, was it for the music?
I was living in San Francisco first. I skateboarded, bought records and played guitar in a band. I had a good job, nice friends, cheap rent, and everything I wanted. And I got kind of bored. I was too young to be that comfortable and had to get out of there. So I went to Brooklyn, in 1999. I had never been there before. I just showed up, got a place, started working and never stopped.
Back then you already knew quite a bit about music. Wasn’t music a reason to choose New York at all?
Uh, yeah. But I was into weird stuff, not into dance music. I was into indie rock and electronic music like Oval. And bands like Stereolab, Magnetic Fields and Palace Brothers. In New York there was stuff like the electronic punk band Suicide and you had all the no wave stuff. I was more into that, I didn’t know a thing about house. Or about disco or whatever. I got into that, only because those records were all here, and in the cheap bin. I just started listening to them, and discovered they had synths and drum machines, and were good songs. I didn’t differentiate, it was just music. It was really mixed when I got in New York. At a party one room would be with a rock band, another room could be techno, or gothic or hip-hop. I am talking about the mainstream parties. That was really one thing about New York, it used to be really mixed. This is how electroclash kind of got the idea, mixing punk with disco and electro.
Not long after you moved, you got in touch with L.I.E.S. main man Ron Morelli. He was your roommate, and at that time you already hooked up with the Dutch Bunker crew from De Hague. How did you get in touch with these guys?
They were just around. There was a mailing list called ‘electro punks’, a lot of guys were on that list. Like Dan Selzer, Ron, and Bryan Kasenic from Bunker. You would meet people at Sonic Groove record store, owned by Frankie Bones, Adam X and Heather Heart. It just happened at record stores and parties.
After a few years you started doing parties with Bunker crew in New York, and did tours with them in the U.S.
Yeah, I was doing parties with a defunct record distributor called Safety in Numbers. We also did parties with Vice, because co-founder Suroosh Alvi lived across the hall of my apartment. I met the Bunker guys at another platform. DJ TLR had a message board for Bunker records, called Global Darkness. Because of those message boards, we found out about music and underground parties before Myspace and Facebook and all that. We all used to hang out there, and the Bunker guys decided to come over and we did a Vice party with them.
What were the Bunker parties like in New York? Like in hometown De Hague? Raw acid, techno, and stroboscopes with LSD?
Haha, no. The Bunker parties here were at a fancy designer hotel called the Tribeca Grand Hotel. We were friends with the creative director and they did parties. It was a weird mix of people there. Downtown fashion freaks mixed with weirdos from Brooklyn. 2ManyDJs and Erol Alkan would always play in the basement and we would do the lobby and the back room of the lobby. Legowelt and Bryan Kasenic played there. It was more stuff like that… it was not that raw. We would also DJ there on Thursday nights and get paid way too much. Everyone played there because you would get free rooms. We also did tours with Bunker, the other parties in the U.S. were just at normal rock venues. Really shitty dive ones mostly.
So you did tours with Bunker as well and after that you became friends?
Yeah something like that.
How did these guys influence your music?
Well, I guess it was nice to be able to ask about gear and see how they did their live sets and just record shopping and listening to music. I think we were already kindred spirits so we had a lot in common, I don’t really know how they influenced me. It was nice to see they had a real do-it-yourself spirit. I met a lot of people around the world during that time and I think we helped each other. It was a good balance. Later I would go to Europe and they would hook me up as I did for them.
What has been a big influence for you?
I think finding the record store that I work at. It’s called The Thing. I was walking down the street and some soul DJ I know, called DJ Whiteshoes told me about it. I went there and I never left. It’s just a basement with hundreds of thousands of records. I would go in all my free time. And after a while I started working there.
Can you tell me a why it’s so special? What I know about it is that you get boxes and boxes of fairly cheap records in…
Uh… most of the records are from DJ collections. There are a lot of 12″ singles from every genre. I don’t know… it’s just so many records in one place… and you can bring your own turntable and just listen to records all day. You can listen to every record you don’t know. Some of the records are from like Larry Levan’s collection, or we just got Red Alerts records in… and we also get test presses. It is the best record store in the world. It is not that you are going to find what you are looking for. You have to be patient and discover new stuff. It is not for the weak or lazy.
Now you are well known as Willie Burns, your moniker for house music. But you have a lot of aliases. Every alias has its own character.
Yes, Speculator is for DJing and it used to be for some remixes. Then some band started using the name Speculator and I got bummed. So I only use it for DJing now. Then there is Galaxy Toobin with Eliot Lipp, Grackle is my psych disco thingy and Willie Burns is house. Black Deer is krautrock, PG&S is me and Professor Genius. Daywalker and CF is me and Entro Senestre, Smackulator is me and Legowelt. And I got a new one, that is called Odd Numbers.
Can you tell me more about Odd Numbers and Circuit, Burns & Hawk? Under both monikers you’ve recently put out records on No Label.
Odd Numbers is me, Secret Circuit and Susanne Kraft, the Circuit, Burns & Hawk project is with Secret Circuit and Torn Hawk. I was in Los Angeles and met Susanne Kraft the week before. Something happened with the place I was going to stay, so I called him and we met up. He asked me if I wanted to go to a studio the next day and I was like, sure. We ended up in Secret Circuits studio and we made some tracks. It was just one of those things, we got along and apparently we have lots of mutual friends. This actually happened already more than a year ago. I recently went to LA again to finish it up. On the same trip I also did the Circuit, Burns & Hawk tracks and that ended up being the release called ‘Live From The Legal Pad’. We jammed for 2 or 3 hours, Hawk played some guitar, and it was recorded. It went all really quick.
The Black Deer release on No Label, ‘Trail of Tears’ is about Native Americans, I still don’t know how you came up with this idea really.
Haha, I don’t know, it just happened. I thought that native American music was very much like techno, repetitive. My great grandmother is half Chakta Indian, so I don’t know… It was just an idea and something very patriotic and American without being all guns and hamburgers. And somehow everything I do ends up being kind of krautrock. I don’t know how that happens, I can’t explain it. It is probably just the guitar and what I was listening to when I learned to play.
You have started your label W.T. records because you really thought a track by Stinkworx had to be put out. So you decided to just do it yourself. You have treated us to quite some releases so far, what is your direction for W.T.?
I don’t have a direction, I just put out what I like. No real plan. I mean I listen to music all the time from friends and all over the internet. It usually just happens… I hear something and decide it would be a good idea. I actually don’t even know what my next releases will be.
No plans, no ideas at all?
I have 2 ideas… I want to release more stuff from people that already did records for the label. Entro Senestre needs more records out for sure. He makes good music and he records stuff all the time. And I Iike to do a DVD release. I’m thinking about it and making some plans, but who knows it might happen or not. The idea really came from talking to friends around me about the recent interest in our music. I thought it might be cool to give another perspective.
The next title in Rush Hour’s series of Vincent Floyd releases is an absolute favorite. Always being on the hunt for soulful house tracks, the label ran into “I Dream You” years ago.
Originally released on Dance Mania, “I Dream You” is an absolute Chicago House classic. It is one of the deepest and smoothest releases the label put out in their early days, and it totally captures Vincent Floyd’s signature sound.
Rush Hour will re-release “I Dream You” and the 12 inch will be available for purchase very soon.
Pre-order Vincent Floyd – I Dream You (RH RSS 15)
1. I Dream You
2. Get up
3. Cactus Juice
4. Get Up (edit)
Hunee releases his debut album “Hunch Music” this Spring. “Hunch Music” is the striking assembly of the artist’s versatile inspirations and productional talent. It is a rich musical journey that latches onto you and doesn’t let go easily.
Hun Choi, better known as Hunee, is a Korean Berliner who moved to Amsterdam over a year ago. In Berlin he used to work in a record store where he could extend his unquenchable enthusiasm for music. DJ and writer Finn Johannsen used to be one of Hun’s customers and they became friends. While listening to “Hunch Music” for the first time, Johannsen put Hunee’s music into words.
“When I met Hunee was many years ago, in a Berlin record store where he worked at that time. Of course. He noticed the Disco stuff I chose from the crates and soon we were talking. And also soon we were playing gigs together. I was actually looking back on many years of playing out then, and I was not that determined to keep on keeping on. But you cannot act reserved around Hunee, particularly as far as music is concerned.
Hunee’s enthusiasm for music is astounding. For every special record he learns about, he will find several other special records in return. It would be a waste of time for him to feed on the beauty of sounds and not share. And then Hunee the producer emerged, to add to all the other music around him. At first, his very own music showed the restlessness he so often displayed in everyday life, plus nocturnal endeavours. There were wonderful ideas, almost too many of them. It seemed that Hunee took in so much music that his own artistic persona had to fight its way out.
But it did. Yet after a few acclaimed releases, Hunee the producer disappeared again. I do not know why exactly, he never told me, and I never really asked. Apparently a debut album was ready to go, but it never saw the light. I felt that was quite a respectable and brave move, and I was very confident that he would not give up so easily. He never does.
But for an avid vinyl collector like himself, it is quite difficult to achieve that all the inspirations do not divert from your own signature, yet still shine through, and the album is still a format much superior to others. And so while he continued to drop platters that matter week in way out, he went supposedly Kubrick on his own. I am most probably not exaggerating. Why? Because I’m listening to this album while I am writing these lines.
And this album is rather special. Even the opening title is special. It does not show off some unjustified pretension, it sets a perfect mood, a misty Eastern mood, full of drips, whirls and sweet ambience. Ending in one of the catchiest melodies I heard since I first fell in love with Japanese Synth pop. Not the easiest task to transcend this blissful mystery to something you can dance to, but Crossroads does exactly that, adding a cinematic aura that feels like elements unknown are tearing the roof off the to display a panoramic view of something you have never seen before.
Silent Sensations, let me touch it. It feels acidic, and it has the glory. You will consider devouring it. Rare Happiness takes up the trip, and throws it around. A mean little groover, if I may say so. Burning Flower in all its fury may be Fitzcarraldo’s ship sliding all the way back down, with the fat lady still singing.
And if they pull that ship back up, this track will send it down again, instantly. Error Of The Average follows suit adequately, like a SciFi orchestra whipping a round dance of lost souls into oblivion, all swirling drama and voodoo frenzy. I’m still trying to unlock myself from it. Failed Movement takes its time, with string melancholia unfolding into a precious downbeat stroll. Bruises is just baffling.
Do not even try to tell me you have ever heard one of the most famous vocal samples of the Paradise Garage legacy accompanied by a heart wrenching string quartet. No, you did not. And you will probably not hear anything like this again. And is the exotic setting in Hiding The Moon really crashing into that several minute psychedelia breakdown that then finally explodes into those revolving bass lines and HEAVY beats? They may plant flowers and gardens through the deep and chaotic furrows this has left behind, but the idyll will never be the same again.
And it keeps going more places. The jazzfuelled interlude that is Amo (Admiration) reprises the Eastern atmosphere from earlier on, but in a puzzling way. We are talking suspense. And then… the End of The World, which I indeed did not know yet. If this is the afterworld, I am not afraid. It feels a bit feverish to me, even a bit uncertain. But I can hear a light at the end of the tunnel. Exaggerating? Me? No. I was just listening to this album while I was writing these lines.”
Words by Finn Johannsen.
Johannsen is a DJ and writer. He also co-runs the label Macro Recordings and works at Hard Wax, Berlin.
Hunee – Hunch Music (RHM 016)
3. Burning Flower
4. Error Of The Average
5. Silent Sensations
6. Hiding The Moon
7. Rare Happiness
8. The World
10. Amo (Admiration)