TOTD // 27/04 // Red Rack'em

Published: April 27, 2017, words by Lydia Harris

Danny Berman, better known as Red Rack’em, is a testament to the “just do what you love” ethos. He’s worked on his craft and passion for the best part of 20 years, never feeling pressured by commercialism. Despite this, his music has a natural personality and lovable weirdness that makes it shine in a prime time set. When ‘Wonky Bassline Disco Banger’ became Juno’s biggest selling track of 2016, the only person surprised, was him.

Red Rack’em’s latest album, Self Portrait, is just that – a portrait. Produced over a four year journey of love, life and late night parties in his adopted home of Berlin, the album draws on personal experiences through a sea of disjointed samples. Touching on disco, soul, funk, and classic house, every track pulses with an infectious late night groove.

Red Rack’em started making waves in 2004 with a series of soul and disco edits. He soon got noticed by fellow eclectic spinner Gilles Peterson, and later went on to perform at the 2009 Worldwide Awards, alongside Floating Points and Jazzanova. He launched the Bergerac imprint in 2010 with his How I program EP and his debut LP, The Early Years. Danny now runs three labels in total; Bergerac for the bangers, Nettles for the bootlegs and edits, and Smugglers Inn – companion to his record diggers’ radio show of the same name. Alongside this, he’s released on the likes of Sonar Kollektiv, Ramp recordings, Phonica, Telefonplan and Wolf Music (who can forget 2013’s sunrise anthem ‘In Love Again’?). He’s produced crispy two-step under the Marlinspike alias and super-disco-boogie as Hot Coins.

Red Rack’em’s DJ sets, in the same vein as his productions, are a tasty mixing pot of disco, funk, house and boogie, with a few sprinkles of whatever the hell he likes. Listen to the Smugglers Inn radio show to hear everything from Chicago house to Moroccan jazz. You can catch Red Rack’em spinning his signature wonky jams all around Europe this Summer. Upcoming shows on the Self Portrait tour include London, Oslo, Berlin and Beirut. Listen below to four key tracks that influenced Self Portrait.

Photo Credit: Giovanni Dominice

via youtube

Jneiro Jarel

N.A.S.A.

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“This is from the super slept on 3 Piece Puzzle album by Jneiro Jarel which came out in 2004 on Kindred Spirits. I chose it because it has the dreamy vibe which I love and also he’s doing the kind of slightly demented pitch shifting, which is something I have definitely explored in my recent productions. So much music is so static and dry and I love that within hip hop certain producers like Dilla, Pete Rock, Madlib and Jneiro Jarel can create such a wonky, mangled and soulful vibe using just clever sample selection and usage. So much hip hop production today is laughably basic and lacking in vibe. But stuff like 3 Piece Puzzle and MF Doom is really where it’s at for me. If you want to make good club music, don’t listen to club music.”
via youtube

Jimmy Edgar

Jefferson interception

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“I am HUGE fan of early Jimmy Edgar – he bloody had that shit locked down. And the vibe on Jefferson Interception is something which really influenced Self Portrait – just straight up PROPER dance music vibes with a nod to the past but with a futuristic feel too. Although there’s no techno as such on the album – I am hugely influenced by electro and electronic music in general and I love the deeply personal vibe on  Jefferson Interception. It sounds like something deep from Jimmy’s mind. Love this track.”
via youtube

Pépé Bradock

Ghost

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“This isn’t the most obvious Pepe Bradock track to be influenced by but for me it’s really special. I am trying to take house music out of the club and into peoples minds. It’s just a tempo you can work at. It doesn’t have to have a DJ friendly structure. It doesn’t have to be linear. It can be cinematic. It can contain many emotions and feelings beyond just ‘lets have it’. My background is hip hop and that’s a huge influence on the house music I make. Pepe Bradock began making hip hop and playing guitar in jazzy bands and you can hear this in his music – his sample work is incredible. The subtle variations on a repetitive theme. The biggest fault in dance music today is the lack of variation within the parts. People just write a 1 bar drum loop and use it on the whole track. They vary a synth hook a couple of times throughout the track – maybe as a reward after a few minutes of the same thing. Listen to Ghost intently and you will hear the incredibly subtle variations within each part happening throughout the track. It’s a dying art. The key I think to Pepe’s amazing music is the constant fluctuations to things often happening simultaneously – he’s a true musician and it shows. Not on some nerdy level – it’s about creating more complex feelings. Life has bumps and so should music.”
via youtube

Funkadelic

Back in our minds

  • Calm

  • Energetic

  • Euphoric

  • Happy

  • Melancholic

  • Nostalgic

  • Tense

  • Wonky

“This Funkadelic track is about them trying to shape up after their lack of discipline had seriously damaged their professional standing and it’s something I can relate to in the last couple of years! I spent four years working on my Self Portrait album and it was a pretty turbulent time – looking back I lived such a wild life – I can’t believe I am still here!  I was exploring the tawdry nightlife of Berlin and my increasingly beleaguered mind in equal amounts. Lots of travel and pushing things to the limit seemed to make me feel sane but inside I was so so tired. So I think the music on the album is a reflection of the inner peace and escape I felt while working on it. Back In Our Minds is such a dope tune – Funkadelic are celebrating their return from space and embracing normal life and it’s routine duties. Which is a beautiful thing!”

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