Needwant are back with the next entry in their long-running Future Disco series. Entitled Nighttime Networks, the eighth entry is a laid back, more minimal yet still groovy entry.
Andras Fox opens the mix with Your Life, a loose cut full of jazzy touches, sweeping string and and looping keys. It's a subtle and gentle starting point. Much of what remains follows on from that template - this is the least overtly soulful entry in the series yet, drawing more from deep house than the disco that has inspired most of the previous entries. Dippin' In from Ron Basejam and Danielle Moore plays a background of soft keys and shuffling drum beats beneath Moore's vocal.
Whilst the subtlety of much of the material means that Nighttime Networks lacks any real tent-pole moments there are still some standouts. The Chopstick and Johnjon remix of Zoot Woman's Don't Tear Yourself Apart is a refined slice of rhythmic electronic pop, full of autumnal hues. VIMES gorgeous track Celestial is given a make-over on a Gardens of God remix - falsetto vocals, strummed bass and plenty of manipulated effects giving the track a dreamy, spaced-out feeling.
James Zabiella gives Hot Chip's How Do You Do an electric body music makeover - tough drums and basslines reign supreme until the familiar chords kick in. It is another moment that says a lot about the direction this album has taken - stripped, meticulous and designed to make you move.
Future Disco albums often seem to end with a pair of vocal tracks that sit apart from the rest of the album and, in this regard at least, Nighttime Networks is no different. Portable's Surrender is a horizontal slice of electronic melancholy - loose electronic bass and flute provide a backing to a vocal describing giving in - you are left to you own mind what we are giving in to (battle? Love? Sleep?!). The album closes with the similarly downbeat Something by Weval, which sounds like Hot Chip with a hangover. In other words it is human, sad and glorious electronic music and a fitting if overtly dejected conclusion to the album.
Future Disco 8 is without doubt an unusual entry to the series, but the quality of the music and the pacing and fairly undeniably great. An album to dance to, but also one to make you happy think and feel.