If you like your Italo-disco bright, full-throttle and peak-time ready, Thomas Blanckaert’s occasional work as Palermo Disco Squad (he’s better known for his rave-ready techno jams as Innershades) should be on your radar. It’s been four years since he last used the alias, but the project’s belated return to Bordello a Parigi is predictably triumphant. He sets his stall out with the freestyle and Bobby Orlando-influenced shimmer of ‘After All These Tears’, before opting for more chugging sequenced synth-bass and undulating lead lines on the slower ‘L’amice Geniale (theme)’. ‘Loupara’ sounds like a shinier, more sun-splashed ‘Please’-era Pet Shop Boys instrumental, while ‘The Return’ is a rushing, feel-good slab of freestyle/post-Italo fusion that’s as sunny and joyous as they come.
Belgian Thomas Blanckaert aka Innershades debuts in Cartulis with a 5 tracker representing his best shades of Techno/Electro.
This September Nocta Numerica will release its twentieth record. In the meantime, to mark the occasion and look back on the past six years, they released the compilation “Twenty Moons – Nocta Numerica In 20 Tracks”, 20 tracks that represent the identity of the label: 19 of them are from past Nocta Numerica releases and one is exclusively taken from Zobol’s upcoming EP.
Innershades and Do or Die are joining forces together blending their powerful and distinctive styles to deliver a genre-bending record which ranges between Techno, Rave, Acid and Trance.
2020 was a tough year for almost everyone and definitely a year to forget for our scene. Events and gigs canceled, venues closed, artists lacking a way to earn a decent living and club culture facing a threat like never before.
In the midst of these events were several people / organizations who tried to ease the pain, offering out some comfort by releasing music to people for free or by pay as you want download. This was always done, but this year I noticed that more and more artists are doing this.
Here is a selection of albums and compilations I came across this year and that I think is worth mentioning again.
Part 1 of a Trilogy inspired by Belgium Dance Music from early/mid 1990s till early 2000. Produced by Thomas Blanckaer aka Innershades under his new alter Ego ‘Emotive Response’. Belgium Trance was at its commercial peak during those years and while Dj’s showcased their skills on national television (TMF!), a new group of producers stood up injecting the lively scene with big tunes. The often dramatic and dark melodies that defined their typical sound can be found again in the four club bangers collected on this first EP. All containing that energetic and uplifting sound from those days, but with a an own twist from the man Innershades.
“Here’s a free compilation to celebrate our 20th birthday, which fittingly falls right in the middle of the biggest crises the world has faced this century. This is not a retrospective, in times like these it important to look to the future. It features exclusive tracks by label mainstays and some up and coming artists from the West Coast and beyond. Up to you to figure out which is which.”
Innershades returns to Time Passages. He hits the ground running with “It’s Time”, a warehouse-ready throb-job full of new beat riffs and creepy electronics, before offering up another funky Euro techno cut that sounds like it could have been played at an after-party in 1990 (“Forum”). Elsewhere, “Euphoria In Ginza” is a deliciously chiming and melodious breakbeat-house workout, while “No Romantic” is another retro-futurist romp full of squelchy synth bass and rushing, turn-of-the-90s style nostalgic riffs.
UK’s OPIA tell the tales of ‘Florence and the Machines’ via the form of otherworldly sounds. Etienne kicks off proceedings on the sixth release of the label with ‘Engage all Targets’. Distinctive drums and wavering synths zoning in on your senses. Belgian producer Innershades provides ’10,000 Steps’ a hard hitting jam, leaving nothing to the imagination. Rounding off the A side is sub heavy goodness from a man on fine form, Daif. Glitchy rhythms with the machine theme of the VA heavily embedded in its sound, ‘Vade Retro’ by name. Serving up on the B side are young duo and Slowlife affiliates, Primary Perception. Ice cold broken drums, riding an elastic bass that swallows you up. ‘Maelstrom II’ is one of their cleanest cuts to this day. Robotic conversations in the closing track from Berlin based Formas, the trio deliver a curious final chapter to the story with ‘A Su’. Another discerning VA from OPIA, bringing together vital and established artists once again.
EYA Records is back with their first double 12″. Music provided by Belgian producer Innershades, Uruguayans finest Two Phase U, Berlin based Otis and Arma resident Zots. An eclectic selections of tracks that reflect the label vision.
A true lowlands collaboration on the Clone Jack For Daze Series. Betonkust and Innershades team up for the Benelux Connection EP. Harking back to the days of when New Beat and early Chicago House ruled the Dutch and Belgian dance floors and ravers cruised the Benelux in search of that perfect beat.
The second chapter in the Family Matters serie marks the 10th release on the Belgian record label 9300 Records. Via electro, through house and breakbeat, all the way to New Beat, established members offer you their view on the different aspects in the spectrum of electronical music. It’s a nostalgic reference to the past, through the eyes of the present. Alessandro Parisi makes his first contribution to the label with an ominous New Beat influenced track, while Betonkust joins him on the dark B-side with his well known non compromising electro. A-side consists of dance-floor approved electro/house tracks of both Intimacy & Innershades and a sober, yet sophisticated anthem by the hand of Robert D.
Innershades presents a heavy and vibrant trip through electro, techno and acid on Ocular Unity, the 12th release on Berlin’s Mechatronica. Following up on his ”Aalst To Charlois” rave weapon released on the label last year, the Belgian producer continues to push his signature sound in new directions, maintaining harmony and once again underlining his undeniable strength in producing hypnotizing electronic music for the floor.
Innershades with his signature mixture of electro, house and techno hybrids on Time Passages.
The undisputed one man army returns to Bordello A Parigi with an adventurous tour through the history of his beloved sports club. Palermo Disco Squad is Innershades aka the Belgian artist Thomas Blanckaert.
Making their debut on Crimes Of The Future are Betonkust & Innershades with ‘Forever In Boccaccio’ their homage to the legendary Belgian nightclub & neon lit club scene which no longer really exists. Made in January 2017 under grey Belgian skies, while listening to a lot of New Beat, Acid & Trance.
Innershades makes his debut on french imprint Nocta Numerica.
Berlin’s Mechatronica returns with another compilation of forward-thinking electro and acid sounds from Innershades, Norwell, DJ Nephil and Gestalt. The A-side packs a dose of merciless electro/acid for the floor by Innershades, followed by a dazzling, atmospheric electro journey by Norwell. The flip boasts a more gritty sound, as Russian producer Gestalt debuts on Mechatronica with the twisted ‘Mndfck’, and DJ Nephil’s slow-rolling monster ‘White Dwarf’ finishes off the record.
After inaugurating the label with a first EP in december of 2014, Innershades returns home to deliver what will be the 6th release on 9300 Records. Kerrebroek Memories is the self made soundtrack of his childhood memories in the shared hometown of Aalst (Belgium). Expect to hear a homage to early Dutch electro with a modern twist and Innershades well known trademark for dancefloor injected house tracks. Rising Dutch star and new BFF of the Belgian 9300 family ‘Betonkust’ polished the A1-listed ‘Darkness Fades’ track into a melodious electro classic.