The first Novotek Raw Series reviewed at Resident Advisor, DJ Mag and Ibiza Voice. The supports from this media consolidate the launch of new Novo Music’s label.
Such is Ibiza’s overarching influence on global clubland, it’s all too easy to pass over music from its neighbour, Mallorca. The tortuously-monikered 1000Smiley Faces & Angel Mora are a Frenchman, Frann Delice, and two Mallorquin producers, Enrique “Xuzav” Sitjar and Angel Mora, who state a pretty solid case for further investigation of what’s happening on the Balearics’ largest island.
That said, it’s a Dutchman, David Labeij, who is given lead-off duties on Novotek Raw Series’ debut release. His take on “Bloody Mary” is a jacked-up slab of skippety East Coast house that doesn’t quite fire the imagination as much as the original does. Here, 1000Smiley Faces & Angel Mora—we promise that’s the last time we’ll mention them—adopt a classic approach. From the outset, an insistent piano lick straight from the Dubtribe Sound System school of uplifting, organic house sets its controls straight for the heartstrings, with heavily-treated, “testifying”-style vocals simmering in the background before they are brought fully into bloom.
The Leix remix of “Wave Jerks” strikes out on an original US garage tip, although some intriguing beeps and boings are added along the way. It somewhat pales in comparison with the original, however, whose trippy pads phase in and out of the mix in a display of stereophonic dexterity. On this evidence, we suggest that future releases give second billing to the remixers.
Deeper than that conversation in the corridor at the after-party, this first outing on Leix & Samu’s new vinyl label is marvellous, the garage-tastic David Labeij mix of the title track especially.
God knows if “1000 Smiley Faces” has some deep, metaphorical meaning, or maybe it sounds better in Spanish. In any case, it comes across as a little bit awkward. This debut release on the Barcelona – based Novotek Raw Series is full of promise though, and showcases an understanding of elemental house form and function, as well as giving a glimpse of what’s happening production-wise on Ibiza’s larger balearic neighbour, Mallorca.
The original versions come complimented by a remix each, but the interpretations don’t really add anything. Both remixes have the obligatory toughened percussion but the added crispness of production is relatively similar over each. Leix‘s remix of ‘Wave Jerks’ is perky and skippy enough, as is David Labeij‘s take on ‘Bloody Mary” both tracks though feel over-reverential in their approach. Labeij’s has a little bit more going for it, but I prefer the discofied, dampened original. Nothing beats a filtered build done well, the momentum mounts and then all hell breaks loose. The shrieked, gospel-style vocal could be better but lends an idiosyncratic air, even if you’ve heard it done before and better. It hardly dominates though.
Meanwhile, the original version of ‘Wave Jerks’ pales the other offerings on this release into insignificance. It’s pacey ambient flanging driven by a nicely pacific undertow is by far the most sonically interesting track here.
It’s house, as we know it, and that’s its appeal. The right buttons are pushed in the correct order and sometimes you just want to hear things done simply with a bit of panache. Moreover, the originals outshine the remixes, which is almost always a good thing.