One of the obvious things I love most about running this passion project is the sheer volume of new (and old) music I’m forced to familiarise myself with, as well as a whole new era of incredible DJs. Indeed, what is the point in running a music-focused website if you’re not going to give a platform to up-and-coming artists? And Luisa is a woman who’s definitely deserving of the attention. A DJ/producer and promoter based out of El Paso, Texas, Luisa’s career as a DJ kicked off in the clandestine raves of Cd. Juarez, the Mexican town that straddles the US border. A well known figure in El Paso’s music scene, she has shared the stage with a host of renowned international acts such as Kim Ann Foxman, Hito, John Acquaviva and more.
Luisa is also hard at work behind the scenes, where she acts as podcast manager for Female:Pressure, an an international network of female, transgender and non-binary artists in the fields of electronic music and digital arts founded by Susanne Kirchmayr and also known as Electric Indigo. In pre-pandemic times, she was also an integral part of El Paso’s bi-weekly Ask a Freak party, and judging by her online Soundcloud mixes (which you can check here) she’s certainly a talent befitting of the international stage. Another fitting induction to our Uncut Gems series, here’s what happened when we asked Luisa to give us her thoughts on some slightly under-the-radar tracks that are definitely worthy of your attention…
Supernova – Vibrations (Chakra Mix) (Big Life, 1990)
I wonder what sampler was used to make this. Not an MPC for sure. Maybe they used an SP 1200. With a track like this, I might buy it cause I like having these style tracks around, but I would not play it out. It’s one that for me just doesn’t stand the test of time. Also something about the vocal saying “vibration” over and over. It feels like it’s not even really a part of the song. I think I would totally play an instrumental version of it. And normally I would like those opening and ending samples with the helicopter flying in and out, but guess what I am not doing on a helicopter?? I am not dancing.
Slam Mode – Cancion de Amor (Right Area Records, 1992)
Oh man! That opening chord has so many memories for me. Humans are suckers for nostalgia. The way the bassline was set up is dope and cuts right in the mix. You’re filling up my bag with 90’s gems. Thank you. I will definitely play this in one of my sets. I never heard of Slam Mode, but they have a sick logo. I need to look them up. So a long track, but in this case that’s just fine. Good tracks deserve their moment on the dance floor. I’d still mix out of it a little early though! Sorry! I can’t help it. My fingers won’t let me chill. I would eat my spinach for this track and pay money. Discogs here I come!
Paul Johnson – 4 The World (Peacefrog, 1994)
I love Paul Johnson. He is one of the most notorious artists from the underground scene. Who isn’t only timeless but so prolific. He created song after song. Always hitting the worldwide charts in the 90s. I can’t even tell you how many times I have played his stuff but oddly enough I have never heard this song. But wait, there’s a Peacefrog Records logo on the sleeve. I already know you are definitely getting a solid selection. The chords on this track sound almost religious, the piano notes are catchy. An absolute dance floor banger. Would I buy it? Yes I would love to get a copy of this on vinyl. I think it will be a good addition to my collection. I’m a fan of Paul’s work and I’m inspired by his perseverance. #teacher
Karnak – Black Moon (Tribal America, 1995)
The track is going to hit the dance floor good. I would play this towards the end of my sets, maybe. I never heard of this artist. The bassline just keeps going and the song keeps adding to it. We are getting a lot of 90s joints here. Would I buy this track? Probably not. The way the track is being layered it feels alot like some classic mpc production house music. If that’s the route I’m going, I think I’d find me some Mr. G or something like that. This track is good, but it’s not aged well in my honest opinion. It’s too long too. I am mixing out in 3 minutes. Next!
Rhythm in Progress – Good Time (Rhythms in Progress, 1996)
This is gonna be good. I can feel it. The samples are really chippy in a signature kind of style. If this was made on all hardware, I would not be surprised. The track is rough but has class in all the right places. It progresses at just the right amount for me. I could play this pretty much anywhere in my set. I couldn’t help myself and take a peek. I’m a little surprised that this is from 2019?? Oh nooo, it was written in 95 and I guess discovered or recovered by the label Molar? That’s cool! My better half has two harddrives full of tracks that he forgot about. There’s some good stuff in there. I know it. Good job Molar for putting this out. Keep an eye out!
Donnacha Costello – Leaving Berlin (Poker Flat, 2010)
Okay, so I see the name Donnacha Costello and the first thing I think of is precision in music and of course his Color Series on vinyl. He’s a hit or miss for me. Let’s hear it! Well the beginning is certainly pretty. I’m glad he dirtied it up with that low tone piano thing. Thinking about my DJ sets, I would play this near the beginning while I am trying to feel out the crowd. Will they like it? In a perfect world they would. Still a beautiful track with precise moments full of emotion. I think it might be too pretty for me. I would have to mix out of it half way. You really can’t go wrong with Donnacha. I would pay some stimulus money for this.
Stump Valley – Caruso (Uzuri, 2015)
This song has a very beautiful, emotive melody and a warm dusty sound. Oh man, I can tell you I love a good kick that sounds heavy, with a good This track is on the very deep end of House, the I could totally picture myself starting the night right off with this one. Would I buy it? What do you mean?! I already have it in my collection. I purchased it right after I listened to it for the first time on Peggy Gou’s Spotify playlist for Vogue Magazine. It was her pandemic playlist. She was talking about artists who inspired her. The Italian duo definitely know how to deliver a nostalgic vibe with a twist of Detroit flavor.
Andy Kolwes – YSL (Pressure Traxx, 2015)
I’ve heard the name but am not too familiar with Andy Kolwes. Again I have no clue what he’s saying, but I am a straight sucker for these slow burning vibes. It could be reciting some straight heinous shit and I’m still playing it. This could go in the beginning of one of my sets or the end. With tracks like these, what I love is that I am able to apply my own feelings to the song. Depending on how I feel, that’s what I’ll get. The other thing about tracks like these is that they potentially set up the next track to hitting it out of the park. I knew this was gonna be good just from the logo. I’m also a sucker for good typography and logo design. Get in my bag! I wonder what else does Pressure Traxx have?
Sandy B – Student Night (Invisible City Editions, 2017)
fgvrcxI love tracks that have those opening sounds letting you know the environment of the track. A bottle emptying into a glass. Have a cold drink. Sh*t’s gonna be alright. Does what he’s saying matter? I’d like to know but thinking about all the tracks I like, I probably don’t know 90% of the lyrics. I really dig the feel on this track. It is like they have Garage Band and not much else. You would catch it in my set pitched up a bit. If I found 2 copies of this at my local record store I would get them both. I love the simplicity. Tracks nowadays can’t help themselves but put more and more on top of itself when really it’s not needed. Maybe it’s the vocals but I get some Rock The Casbah vibes from this without the jet fighter. I’d rock the shit out of it.
Marlon Hoffstadt – Don’t Worry My Son, It Will All be Good (Midnight Themes, 2020)
I can hear some cheesy old school vocals coming in but they never do. A good thing! Never heard of this producer but that dreamy synth that rolls in from over the clouds makes for an instant connection for me. It would fit somewhere near the end of my sets where maybe everyone knows the end of the night is near. I get a really warm feeling closing my eyes to this song. Makes me have visions of a science fiction teenage drama where your love is right in front of you but there’s something keeping you from being together. Maybe it’s that synth line towards the middle. Kinda flips it over towards the cheesy end for me. Maybe I would not play it after all. Love is fickle. Ahh and I’m thinking of Weird Science because of the artwork.