|Special Request — Soul Music (2013)|
Special Request — Soul Music
≠≥ "Absolutní žrádlo. To, co si schoval Paul na toto dvojalbum, objímá celou Zeměkouli. Neskutečný grázl! Jak mě může takhle fackovat, aniž bych cítil špetku bolesti? Vrcholy alba jsou Black Ops a Capsules. Kdyby mi nabízeli bačování v horách bez tohoto díla, rozhodování by bylo moc těžké, ledaže spolu s ním, to bych bral." — B.T. Amundssen
≠≥ "Spurred by excellent, challenging production, the record maintains an adequate sonic distance from its inspirations, and the bonus disc's excellent selection of remixes fosters a dialogue between jungle, house, and techno's past and present." — Tim Gentles
Name: DJ Paul Woolford
Aliases: Bobby Peru and Special Request
Location: Leeds, UK
Album release: October 7th/21st, 2013
Record Label: Houndstooth
Duration: 64:25 + 75:19 => 139:44
01. Forbidden 4:41
02. Undead 5:16
03. Cold Blooded 5:59
04. Body Armour 5:32
05. Lockjaw 5:57
06. Ride VIP 7:14
07. Soundboy Killer 6:31
08. Broken Dreams 6:01
09. Black Ops 4:58
10. Capsules 4:09
11. Deranged 5:27
12. Descent 2:40
01. Tessela — Hackney Parrot (Special Request VIP) 7:06
02. Lana Del Rey — Ride (Special Request Remix) 7:48
03. Mindwash 6:24
04. Alone 6:30
05. Mindwash (Anthony Naples Aftermath Remix) 4:42
06. Lolita (Warehouse Mix) 7:36
07. Vapour 6:03
08. Deflowered (Kassem Mosse & Mix Mup Remix) 7:49
09. Mindwash (Anthony Shakir Remix) 6:41
10. Capsules (Lee Gamble Full Length Remix) 7:43
11. Deflowered (Hieroglyphic Being Remix) 6:57
℗ 2013 Houndstooth
≠≥ Using a studio built almost exclusively from vintage hardware and boosted by industrial-strength EQ and an FM transmitter, Woolford constructs what he refers to as "false memories" - broadcasting his material in order to sample and re-incorporate it in a myriad of different ways. The outcome of this unorthodox method is an album of considerable weight.
≠≥ This debut will be released in two stages: 7th October sees the album released on a triple vinyl LP; whilst the CD and digital versions, released on 21st October, include a bonus volume featuring the Special Request VIP of Tessela's 'Hackney Parrot' alongside the remix of Lana Del Rey's 'Ride', further tracks from the previous 12-inches, plus unreleased reworks from Detroit's Anthony Shakir, New York's Anthony Naples, Leipzig's Kassem Mosse & Mix Mup, Chicago's Hieroglyphic Being and London's Lee Gamble. Not for the faint hearted...
By Larry Fitzmaurice; October 24, 2013; Rating: 8.1
≠≥ When it comes to evoking nostalgia, Paul Woolford is keeping it extreme. For his Special Request project, the UK producer keeps his studio space loaded with vintage hardware, including an FM transmitter that allows him to broadcast over his own frequency and sample the results. This complicated process, which Woolford has referred to as "creating a false memory," plays a large role in his aim to honor his teenage years of listening to pirate radio, hearing the thrilling sounds of first-generation jungle and rave through his speakers as rave culture was forming and, as the years progressed, re-shaping itself into new forms.
≠≥ "The attractive thing about pirate radio is that it sits outside of convention," Woolford told FACT earlier this year while discussing his still-strong attachment to the format. "So there are no rules." The relative constraints applied to Special Request speak to a method of creating new rules to escape the encumberances of ones already in place; in other words, it's a highly conceptual project, and not the first of its kind. With Death of Rave, sound deconstructionist Leland Kirby dismantled rave's glory days as a tribute to the culture, degrading its sounds until there was little more than an exquisite corpse left over; meanwhile, Burial's own decayed-throwback style owes something to the enigmatic producer becoming enamored with artifacts of an era he didn't experience first-hand: "Old jungle, rave and hardcore...they still sound future to me."
≠≥ The 38-year-old Woolford's recent tendency of looking towards the past has coincided with a spate of new visibility for the producer, who's been churning out high-grade techno for nearly a decade under his own name: his single for Hotflush this year, "Untitled", has become something of a low-level "hit", adding another jewel to the accomplished producer's already impressive crown. Capitalizing on the increase in attention, Special Request's proper debut LP, Soul Music, pushes the needle into the red again with winning results.
≠≥ With a sense of nasty-edged playfulness that keeps the project's nostalgia from lapsing into stiff reverence, it's unquestionably one of the most exciting dance records of this year. When Four Tet's Kieran Hebden unleashed his own pirate-radio hat-tip this year in the form of "Kool FM", there was an expectation that the according full-length, Beautiful Rewind, would similarly dive headlong into clattering waters; that record turned out to be more subtle than expected, so anyone disappointed by Hebden's muted elegance on display there will most likely find the head-rush corrective they're looking for in Soul Music's 12 tracks.
≠≥ Woolford's "no rules" approach is evident from Soul Music's opening track, "Forbidden", an icy slice of techno reinforcing the notion that Special Request is less about evoking the sounds of pirate radio's heyday and more about recreating its anything-goes attitude. Not to say that Soul Music isn't sonically slavish to its nostalgic ideals, too: junglist breaks abound, along with plenty of strangled vocal samples and sound effects that give each track its own open-transmission vibe. The straight-techno tracks that Woolford's put out under his name and other aliases have often been colorful and full, beacons of chaos even during minimal techno's light stranglehold on the genre. The songs collected on Soul Music are similarly and gleefully overstuffed, a series of funhouse constructions that approach mania with cool-handed seriousness.
≠≥ Soul Music's most straightforwardly dusty moments are reminiscent of the recent work of Zomby, the bass music enfant terrible who's made a name off of contorting dance music's history in his own twisted, smoggy visage. Structurally, Zomby's own 'ardcore-revivalist vibes have often resembled tiny nuclear reactors constantly powering up and malfunctioning, brief bursts of energy with short half-lifes. ≠≥ Woolford's approach is different, as he lets most of these tunes stretch their legs past the five-minute mark with plenty of room to tweak their structures ever so slightly and pleasingly (see: the placid bed of tones that stride into the midsection of "Lockjaw"'s gaping breakbeat maw). Accordingly, the collection's longest cut, a nearly eight-minute "VIP" edit of Woolford's remix of Lana Del Rey's "Ride", is Soul Music's most revelatory head-rush, a constantly evolving torrent of breaks with a serpentine bassline not unlike the one that dotted the undercarriage of his 2011 single "Can't Do Without".
≠≥ A dense collection of dance cuts that make few overtures to those not previously converted by the genre, Soul Music is a thick listen that carries even more potency when broken up in small chunks than as a still-immersive front-to-back playthrough. ≠≥ Along with a vinyl release that took place at the top of this month, the CD and digital versions of Soul Music arrive with a bonus disc of selections from previous Special Request 12"s, as well as remixes from Woolford and others; while this additional volume has some essential gems — Woolford's remix of fellow Brit Tessela's already-massive tune "Hackney Parrot", NYC house wünderkind Anthony Naples' dissonant take on "Mindwash" that appeared on this year's Hardcore EP — it's perhaps more rewarding to seek out Special Request's excellent run of preceding EPs and build your own "early works" compilation here. As a single-disc shot, though, Soul Music is a truly unique and enriching experience: a collection of old sounds from one of dance music's enduring mainstays, re-assembled in a way that sounds fresher than ever. (http://pitchfork.com/)
Words / Andrew Ryce / Rating: 4/5
≠≥ Seven years since the massive success of "Erotic Discourse," Paul Woolford has rebooted his career. Most recently he's shown an affinity with a new wave of UK DJs and producers, topping off a string of bass-heavy tracks with the uplifting piano house of "Untitled," one of this year's biggest summer jams. But even that one pales in comparison to his music as Special Request, a project he started last year as an outlet for his more junglist leanings. In early 2012, the slam of drum breaks felt intoxicating, radical even; a year later, it's fast becoming the sound du jour, typified by producers like Tessela. But if Soul Music does anything, it underlines the primacy of the conceptual endeavor that is Special Request.
≠≥ The Special Request sound hasn't changed dramatically since those first releases. Each track is built from the same rave-era foundation of creaky breaks, groaning basslines and shooting-star synths. It's a relentless but nimble assault that manages to sidestep both the masculine aggression of techno and the conservatism of house. Soul Music offers up endless variations on this set of sounds, and does much more than pummel the listener into submission. Check the smooth piano in "Undead" or the pure pop basslines of "Body Armour," which climb and fall like overexcited children at a playground.
≠≥ Woolford has spoken before about his search for what he calls an illicit quality in music, a feeling that made pirate radio so exciting in the '90s. Polished as it is, Soul Music doesn't fit that bill perfectly, but there is something attractively raw about it in spite of its own perfectionism. On the chaotic "Lockjaw," the punchy chord progression feels like it's trading blows with the Reese basslines. "Soundboy Killer" floods an R&B sample in caustic syrup and unleashes time-stretched breaks, revelling in the pure joy of sound manipulation (like the best early jungle itself).
≠≥ Soul Music feels a bit too modern to slot in perfectly with the music it's pining for, but that's part of what makes it a success. In a way it recalls Instra:mental's 2011 LP Resolution 653, looking back just far enough to escape the complacency of the present. Woolford does so with a balls-to-the-wall conviction that puts pure emphasis on the dance floor, with a fuck-you attitude to anyone who might not like it. And even though he might not be alone in making this kind of music anymore, he is by himself at the top of the heap. (http://www.residentadvisor.net/)
Agent: For Worldwide Bookings — Paramount Artists email@example.com // North America bookings Detroit Premiere Artists firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Gentles; Rating: 8.5/10
Words: Joe Muggs
Photo: Paul Woolford’s alter ego Special Request is behind some of the most brutally exciting releases in dance music this year. Photo: Shaun Bloodworth
|Special Request — Soul Music (2013)|