The Anglo Files is a weekly European dance music column by Billboard.com Senior Editor/Europe Chucky Thomas.
MOONFACE -- DIGWEED'S NEW PROTEGE: Ever had that paranoid feeling that everybody's talking about you? Southampton based deep house producer Phil Thompson -- aka Moonface -- must have had it bad.
Whilst he was working his day job, Sasha and Jon Digweed were among those following his musical output and singing its praises. Hotly tipped as "the new face" of Digweed's Bedrock imprint, on March 26 he delivers "Between Worlds," his debut mini-LP for the label.
Thompson, who can now count amongst his fans Danny Tenaglia and Deep Dish, was always a keen music lover. He inherited a set of decks in 1993 and set about compiling and distributing his own mix tapes, securing his first DJ slot as a support act for Boy George in 1994. He then began experimenting in a friend's studio and churned out a bootleg Italian house-style tune, which kick started a desire to build his own home studio. "Everyone was DJing so I thought the only way to get ahead of the game was to actually make my own music," he says.
He began touting his creations around record labels and two weeks after sending a tape to Danny Howells in the summer of 1998, he received a phone call from the man himself. "He said, 'I've got one of your tapes here, it's got 10-11 tracks on it and I love them all.'" Howells liked his work so much he cut his own dubplate of a track titled "Syncronized Knowledge" specifically to play at Bedrock's monthly parties.
Others followed suit. Digweed licensed Thompson's "Futurized Fears" for his "Global Underground: Hong Kong" compilation last year and Sasha also registered his approval. "I was listening to the radio late one Saturday night and Sasha was playing my track, 'U Get So Give.' I don't even know how he got hold of it," he admits. Following this incident, Thompson's records were elevated to the level of train-spotters gold.
It would be rude to suggest that "Between Worlds" is a trance album, but Philistines might lump it into the genre out of laziness. Truthfully, it is like a seedy amalgam of Timo Maas and Stacey Pullen. Hypnotic, tribal and vastly textured -- purely intended for listening in dark spaces during the early hours of the morning.
Thompson, now a resident DJ at Bedrock, says, "The sound of the Bedrock label is exactly up my street. I've always been into it and there's no good reason for me to want to go anywhere else."
AUSTRALIA STRIKES BACK: Not many could have predicted that the Avalanches, a collective from Australia (of all places), could so effortlessly steal the thunder surrounding the U.K. release of Daft Punk's second album, "Discovery." But steal it they have. In fact, two last minute U.K. DJ dates by the Avalanches in March caused a total media frenzy.
A six-strong collective hailing from Melbourne, they were initially inspired by various Japanese punk outfits before defecting to samplers, synthesizers, and turntables. Word is they've built a studio around a giant octagonal waterbed -- known as the Control Pad -- which goes some way to explaining the organized chaos (they have likened their block party feel to that of '70s funk outfit Parliament) on their forthcoming album. "Since I Left You" (XL Recordings). It's a bizarre hotchpotch of hip-hop breaks, flute solos, '80s Madonna samples, deep house, and downright camp. The album will get a U.K. release on April 16, with live dates in the region promised in May.
NINJA GOES INTERNATIONAL: London based cult U.K. label Ninja Tune launches its international clubbing initiative this month with the first Xen - Solid Steel nights in Europe. These will include a monthly residency at the Batofar in Paris beginning Thursday (March 15) and bi-monthly commitments in Berlin, Cologne, Oslo, Stockholm, Lisbon, and Barcelona.
Compex Cornish production wizard, Wagon Christ (aka Luke Vibert), who releases his "Muspial" album on the label March 26, will guest at the March 29 London launch of Xen at Cargo.
MAJOR BLACKOUT PREDICTED: Creating a massive buzz on the two-step scene thanks to support from U.K. garage DJs the Dreem Teem is Blackout's "Mr. DJ," a fierce fusion of two-step and house beats that will have you digging out all your old Shannon records from the '80s. This is the foursome's first single on Independiente, an essentially non-dance label that lists Paul Weller and Travis amongst the artists on its roster.
Blackout producer Merlin, formerly signed to WEA and Sire U.S., had success previously working with Neneh Cherry and S-Express.
The Anglo Files is a weekly European dance music column by Billboard.com Senior Editor/Europe Chucky Thomas. She can be contacted directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.