Proper Picks 003 With DJ Deep

It’s been another long wait for the next edition of our Proper Picks feature, but what better way to kick off 2013 than to present the the man behind Deeply Rooted House, DJ Deep! Cyril Etienne’s impeccable taste and mixing skills have helped solidify him as a stalwart veteran of the French house and techno scene. With his brand of boundary-blurring “deeply rooted house,” and imprint of the same name, he’s helped revitalize contemporary dancefloor sounds with an inspired run of releases from a variety of house/techno veterans and new blood. Capturing his “DJ diary” of 2012, he was invited to kick off Tresor’s KERN mix series, introducing a broad base of listeners to some the favorite tracks of his career.

For this Proper Picks, Deep wanted to highlight what he considers to be five underrated and overlooked gems of 2012 spanning the sounds of house and techno. And after having heard them (with the exception of “Easy Does It” — I promise I did not put him up to that!), I can understand why he curated these particular records! Without further ado, Proper Trax presents DJ Deep and his Proper Picks.

Matti Turunen – Elokuu [Muhk]

A promo of this was sent to my house which is something that does not happen anymore for me. I absolutely love the title track “Elokuu.” It’s definitely a deep track with a bassline reminiscent of classic Chicago house, but it has a lot of personality, and I find myself touched by it’s unique vibe. I feel lucky to have received a promo record that I feel so much!

Markus Schatz – Smoking Wild Album Sampler [Salon]

I absolutely love this record. Since I got it, it’s stayed in my bag. It somehow reminds me of the early days of Deepside and St. Germain. Not that it sounds like them, but the structure of the tracks have a feeling that is close to that era. My favorite from the sampler is “Deep X” but the flip side is also very nice.

Claudia Anderson – Hysteria [Singular]

Marcelus’s first release on his Singular label is by a young Austrian female producer, and I have to say the track “Falling Lines” really grew on me. When I first heard it I thought it was perhaps very inspired by Marcelus’s EP1 on Deeply Rooted House, but I realized after playing it that there was more to it, and I got hooked on “Falling Lines.” I think it takes a little time to really appreciate this record.

Will Azada – Easy Does It [Mystical Disco]

This one is stuck in my record box, and I even had to buy a second copy, which is the same thing that happened with Zadig’s “Manic Mansion.” It’s got a unique feel that for some weird reason reminds me of Armando but it has no element in the track using any of Armando’s signature sounds. It’s “classic” feeling but not retro in approach, which shows Will has a great talent for showing respect to the early days of House, but brings something new and personal to the table. This is one of my favorite records!

LIBRAH – 2BWU [Parkwest]

I guess man is made of contradictions right? On the one hand I am sometimes a slightly disappointed how people copy their mentors or push their nostalgia so far that they do carbon copies of past tracks by House heroes such as Kerri Chandler or Ron Trent. On the other hand, I like this record which definitely pays tribute to the original House
creators, but I also like the fact it’s somehow fresh and naive—at least this is the way I hear it!

For more insight into the mind of DJ Deep, check out his recent interview with Juno Plus.

Fucking Proper, Volume 1 – Mixed by Will Azada

FUCKING PROPER VOLUME 1 BY WILL AZADA

Proper Trax is proud to present the first in a series of mixes that is geared toward the past, present, and future works of the label’s artists.

The first volume is a two-hour showcase of the straight-up, body-bumpin’ shit we do.

Volume 2 to follow early next year, with a taste of the darkness.

600

Mr. Chris Mitchell is blowing the lid off the Proper Trax Soundcloud account with a load of fresh listens coming through for the exclusive mix he did for us. We’re not sure if it’s our exceptional keyword tagging skills in honor of his penchant for azngrls or a supercool blogger trying to get street cred, but we’re happy to see the influx of heads looking for something good to listen to. Whatever, it doesn’t matter, we’re just happy that someone appreciates the dopeness on display!

Here it is for those that haven’t heard it:

Berlin’d

The last two weeks have been a little hectic, to say the least, for some of us involved with Proper Trax–particularly for me (Will) and Alex Falk. Shortly after we arrived in Berlin for our two-week stay, Proper Trax 4 hit the first of the European shops (Decks.de) and quickly sold out. It then hit Juno and climbed to #9 on the site’s techno sales charts within a week, followed by my own direct distribution to Spacehall in Berlin, which were completely sold out within three days of drop-off. There’s still one more batch of fifty copies that landed at our main distributor today, and once those are gone, PROPER-004 will officially be sold out, and will have been the fastest-selling in the Proper Trax catalog so far. And with that said, I speak for us all when I say, “THANK YOU” to all of you out there that have been following the label, whether you’re just arriving or have been with us since day one.

During our stay in Berlin, we hit a lot of cool parties, but two of the most surreal and amazing moments of the trip had to be on our first Saturday morning at Panorama Bar with Ben Klock vs Marcel Dettmann and Ryan Elliott, and the next Monday morning at Berghain with Dustin Zahn followed up by Discodromo closing out Panorama Bar. The first night set the stage and raised the bar for the rest of the trip, while the last night couldn’t have made for a better climax and resolution to the journey. Not only were these parties exceptional in terms of vibe and music selections, but they marked major milestones for the label. There is nothing quite like hearing your music played by some of the best DJs in the world, on some of the best sound systems in the world, for the most insane crowds in the world. Truly a landmark two weeks for me, the Proper Trax crew, and our friend Jackson Lee at Mystical Disco! It all culminated in one of the most moving periods of my life as a musician and lover of this music we call house (or techno, whatever!) My eternal gratitude goes out to Dettmann, Elliot, and Zahn for spreading what I like to call PROPER TRAX! Also, I can’t forget to mention the mind-bending sets that came from Karenn, Giorgio Gigli, Shackleton, Xhin, and Discodromo (who I had never heard of previously, but seriously took things next level at Panorama Bar during my last morning there. I think that four-hour session was the pinnacle of what people describe when they describe a “perfect” night at PBar).


The last two weeks have been a proper conclusion to all the hard work and efforts we’ve made as a crew for the last couple years. Props to all of you locals that showed me around and helped us out (Nick, Harold, Kris, Marcus, Gabriele). Thanks to all the homies that were there with me and even those that couldn’t be–this time. Grey People, Chris Mitchell, Alex Falk, Jackson Lee, Adam Arthur, Merino, Kyle Geiger, and everyone else….ya’ll all know who you are. So with that said, with 2013 right around the bend, it’s time to GO HARD, GET RAW, and KEEP IT PROPER!

-Will Azada

Will Azada’s “Floor Freakers” October Chart (w/ commentary)

The state of house, despite all the mediocrity and commercial saturation, is decidedly healthy from my perspective. 2011 was a truly memorable year, but three-quarters through 2012 and I’m feeling like this will be the best yet. Unfortunately, it’s also been my financially toughest year personally, so I’ve done my best to stick my head in the sand to numb the pain of missed records. Nonetheless, I am first and foremost a DJ and fan of music, so I can’t help but hunt, dig, and snatch up the best of the best as often as possible. With that said, here’s a snapshot of 11 releases that have been jacking my jock for the last while now.

Will Azada’s Floor Freakers! [October 2012]

PROPER 004 PROPER TRAX 4 CHRIS MITCHELL / GREY PEOPLE

1. PROPER TRAX 4 – Chris Mitchell & Grey People [Proper Trax]
This should be obvious, but I’m extremely proud of the fourth Proper Trax release. How could I not be, considering some of the tracks have been in my own DJ rotation for nearly a year or more at this point–and yet I never tire of them. Huge thanks to Chris and Alex for believing in the label and offering up their skills to proper it up.

2. TWENTY-THREE – Marco Zenker [Ilian Tape]
I like to think I have integrity and do my best to avoid tit-for-tat support of music for the sake of relationships or the continuation of free promos. Too often have I come across charts that are slathered with that mentality, and it is frustrating. I’ve been knocked off promo lists for giving honest feedback that may not be what was expected, because a lot of labels and artists are too caught up in their own greatness to accept that while I may appreciate gifts, I’m not going to kiss ass for them. However, when Marco sent me this EP a couple months back, I knew it was gonna be a fucking smasher from the first notes of “Anisa.” Each track here has its own distinct vibe, and it’s obvious that Mr. Zenker put his most into presenting a properly cohesive EP, the way it should be done. It doesn’t rely on big name remixes or filler garbage–it’s just one carefully crafted selection of top-notch techno. One of my favorites of the year!

3. EARTH CALLS – Joey Anderson [Deconstruct]
Even though its catalog is still in the single digits, Deconstruct has yet to do less than floor me with each release, and Joey Anderson’s latest is absolutely no exception. It’s rare I buy doubles, but in the case of this one, I was on top of it from the moment I caught Halcyon’s alert. Both tracks here are simultaneously tough, thoughtful, sexy and tense–the last of which is a staple of Anthony Parasole and Levon Vincent’s release mentality. Only kick out the best, and only when the time is right.

4. IDIOT SAVANT MASTERPIECES – Amir Alexander [Vanguard Sound]
Real. That’s all you gotta know about this one. “Realest of the Real” and “Sonic Weaponry” are my favorite jams here, but the whole thing, as with most of my favorite EPs, is a journey from start to finish. “Real” is just plain nasty, and sure to be rinsed for years to come. Driving, funky, and proper techno-house. Amir is on a roll!

5. ATLANTIC AVE – Anthony Parasole & Phil Moffa [The Corner]
“Atlantic Ave” is one (well, two) of those tracks that doesn’t really snatch your attention with a big hook or particularly polished sound design when previewing or listening on small sound. But when you take this fucking record out and put it in context…watch out! Both versions of the title cut are pure, unadulterated mindfuck jams that WILL melt faces when dropped at the right time. They’re particular beasts, and as is typical of Mr. Parasole’s (limited) discography, the time must be right…but when it’s that time, you will know. “Ocean Bottom” is a fine textural piece that I’ve not played out, but could see being just right for when you want to stir some shit up. Experimental, inter-dimensional techno that will fuck you up!

6. WHO CARES WHO WINS – Dense & Pika [Dense & Pika]
Awwww yeah. My kind of sleazy, trashy, shitty machinefunk techno-house. Hadn’t heard of these guys before, but got tipped off recently by Ste Roberts and received this one to preview. I like ‘em dirty, and this one does not disappoint with its degraded sound design and “fuck it, let’s roll” attitude toward arrangements. Just a selection of three proper fucking tracks, no bullshit, no dicky tricks.

7. NV ELECTRO – 2400 Operator [Tartelet]
Boss classic-tipped electro jams here from the one and only 2400 Operator, brought to you by one of my go-to labels for off-kilter dance tunes. Title track is my favorite, but once again, this whole EP has a cohesive quality to it that makes it worthwhile as a whole. It’s a little retro in approach, but to my ears it is skips out on the reverse-engineered retro revivalism of so many others and has no qualms presenting a polished piece with contemporary flair. Goddamn, that sounded like such a douche RA reviewer line. Tight shit, buy it.

8. MUSIC FOR COSMONAUTS – CCO [Lux Rec]
NEW CCO, NEW LUX, FUCK YEAH! If you’ve followed my ramblings/charts/mixes over the last year, you know I’ve got a boner for all things Lux Rec. Those motherfuckers have yet to fail, and this is another one of those must-have acid jams from CCO. His first for the label has stayed in the crate since I found out about the label in late 2011, and I’d wager this one will be honorably serving my cosmic-acid-love needs for the next!

9. CRITICAL DISTANCE PART 2 – Tom Demac [Hypercolour]
This one’s been making the trend tossers all hot ‘n’ bothered recently, but with all my hipster foresight, my recognition of this one’s curb appeal was immediate upon receipt. Wonky vocals that sound like Thom Yorke on (more) drugs veering into a huge-as-fuck bassline that will make even the most ignorant brostep/moombatron/trap kiddie a house convert…all while keeping the bar high in “legit factor,” if you know what I mean. Could have done without the remix, honestly, as it kinda ruins the surprise factor of the original. Nonetheless, a dope track that makes me happy and still keeps the crowd on their toes.

10. OUTTA SIGHT – Mr. G [Phoenix G]
MISTER FUCKING GEE BITCH. PROPER TECH-HOUSE GOD. RAW AND NASTY. I DON’T KNOW WHY THIS IS #10 AND NOT HIGHER, EXCEPT THAT I FEEL LIKE I’VE CHARTED AND PLAYED G’S BEATS SO MUCH AND FOR SO LONG THAT I TAKE HIM FOR GRANTED. DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE LIKE ME. FOR HE IS TRUTH.

11. LET YOU IN THE SKY – Lando Kal [Icee Hot]
“Let You In The Sky” is just…just fucking great. The rest is aight, but honestly, I keep going back to A1 and forgetting to listen to the rest. One day it will be that record that I flip over and go “oh yeah, I totally slept on this B-side.” Featuring a remix from Anthony Shakir. But don’t ask me what it sounds like, cuz I’m too busy listening to the title.

Now, click here to peep ‘em!

-Will Azada