Nic Fanciulli's label documents the dark, deranged side of tool house on Matters & Ashes. Tougher and denser than the standard DJ fare, the impenetrable groove of "Matters" provides the backdrop for a chemically refreshed male vocal, rambling on in a way that makes Marshall Jefferson's performance on "Mushrooms" seem positively normal. However, it's "Ashes" that really impresses: once again, &Me deploys a rolling, drummy backing track and intersperses the arrangement with subtle breakdowns. But it's the combination of another tripped out male vocal - where do they find them? - and a purring Resse bass that makes "Ashes" so irresistible.
NR& is a project uniting &ME (Berlin via Hamburg) and Rampa's (aka Gregor Sutterlin: Keinemusik head honcho) production with the voice of New York Disco-House-siren Nomi of Hercules & Love Affair. "Taste Like" is the sultriest and risque deep house you'll hear this year with its low slung groove supported by Nomi's dirty rhymes and 'that' bassline. "Spoken For" is the more upbeat track on here; a dark journey track that you could imagine Tale Of Us playing at sunrise to a crowd of mad ravers with their hands in the air.
This Berlin-based label celebrates its twenty-fifth release with a collection of tracks from its regular artists. Rampa's "Mod" is a classic serving of minimal German house, its tinny drums and percussive shards riding a buzzing bass, while David Mayer's "Smoke" follows a similar trajectory. On this occasion however, the dense, drummy framework is populated by woozy chords, subtle ticks and twists and the kind of dazed stutter that used to characterize old Grant Dell records. &ME's "Birdland" is a jazzier affair, and the final track makes for a real surprise; Adam Port teams up with '90s UK hip hop act Stereo MCs for a deep house groove full of the rapper's sultry, smoky vocals.
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