Victoria's finest come together to launch the Melbourne Deepcast imprint, proving that there's much more to the city than great coffee. Up first is Lewie Day - perhaps better known to the record buying public as Tornado Wallace - who drops the immensely pleasing soulful mid tempo bump of "Some Kind Of Man", a sample-heavy house jam that has been receiving a lot of love on the Juno office turntable. This is followed by "Devoted", an effort from MD head honcho Andy Hart that shimmers with Motor City soul - watch out for those keys! Up next there's some eagerly anticipated new tackle from Fantastic Man, with the deep groove/low slung riffage of "From Start To Finish" sounding like a snug fit for the 6th Borough Project back cat, while Weekend Express's "Deeper" bristles with vintage Chicago vibes. An auspicious debut.
Even by his usual high standards, this EP from Melbourne producer Fantastic Man is pretty darn special. It begins with the tactile, loved-up brilliance of "Galactic Ecstasy", where glistening, intergalactic synthesizer lines and chiming melodies tumble down over restless acid lines and a hustling rhythm track. "Acid Martin" boasts a little more jacking intent, whilst retaining the new age influenced melodies and humid textures more associated with Young Marco's work. He closes proceedings with the superb "Legoman", where winding, intelligent techno style melodies rub shoulders with lusciously deep chords and Project Pablo style deep house breakbeats.
Melbourne-based deep house stalwart Mic Newman has enjoyed a relatively quiet year under his Fantastic Man alias, with just the odd release to keep fans happy. He's clearly been saving his best till last, though, because this EP for Let's Play House (his second for the Brooklyn-based imprint) is top drawer. It's hard to pick highlights, with all four tracks delivering a delicious blend of evocative melodies, tumbling grooves and sympathetic chords. The decidedly melancholic Serotonin-release of "Zero" is probably the pick, though lead track "Heartbreaker" - as emotion-rich and vulnerable as the title suggests - being close behind. The deeper, spookier "Keep Out" - think Larry Heard meets Young Marco - is excellent, too, as is Suzanne Kraft's spacier, dubbier, analogue-heavy remix.
Having made his name making decent deep house, Fantastic Man appears to be following in the footsteps of fellow Melbourne export Tornado Wallace and pursuing a far more Balearic, kaleidoscopic sound. Certainly, Dream Machine is arguably his strongest EP to date, delivering a trio of cuts that expertly fuse Italo, Scandolearic and new age influences. There's naturally much to admire, from the lilting melodies, tactile proto-house rhythms, Italo attitude and bubbling synth bass of "Fountain Gate", to the marimba-clad breeziness and chiming tunefulness of "St Elmo's (Theme)". The title track, a study in early deep house melodiousness, is also pretty impressive.
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