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06 Aug 12
Review: This second split EP from deep housers Alex Agore and James Johnston has already proved popular on vinyl, and it's not hard to see why. Both producers have brought their "A" game, delivering strong cuts that bristle with dancefloor intent. Dutch studio don Agore steps up first, delivering two tracks dripping with classic US house flavour; "Take Me", in particular, sounds like a cross between MK and classic Morales. Johnston continues this revivalist theme with "Stand Up & Jump", a bumpin' groover built around a deliciously wicked classic house riff. "Not So Easy" is deeper and woozier, making great use of chopped up party atmospherics and bluesy vocal samples.
11 Apr 11
Played by: Pete Dafeet, Adam B (Homegrown Music/Palooza), Tomson, The Revenge, The Warm Signal, Mike O'mara(Development Music), Alkalino, Sound Black / Lady Blacktronika, Juno Recommends Deep House, Axer Rouf, Jimpster, James Johnston (No Matter What), Gr-Oy, Tommy Finger Jr., Roy Gilles, 6th Borough Project
Review: This four-tracker from up-and-coming producers Alex Agore and James Johnston signals a promising start for new deep house imprint No Matter What. Agore's "Improper Change" is an intoxicating take on Detroit deep house - all drawn-out one-key chords, bumping low-end bounce and slick vocal snippets. The included Lady Blacktronica remix takes things up a notch thanks to some subtle acid tweakery, Beatdown chords and decidedly snappier beats. James Johnston's "I Know It's Not Time", meanwhile, is arguably his best production yet - a flowing jazz-house builder with a sweet, bluesy edge. The package is completed by a chunkier Rick Wade remix, which cleverly injects some thick, bassline-driven bounce.
15 Oct 12
05 Jul 12
03 Dec 12
Review: If you're after high-grade deep house, the Black Key label is an imprint worth checking. Here, their recent vinyl showcase for "friends of the family" BLM, Flori and James Johnston gets a deserved digital release. BLM opens proceedings with "My Sound Tool", a fluid chunk of eyes-wide-shut deepness containing just the right amount of bump. James Johnston's "Lights Off" is typical of his recent atmospheric outings, and matches the loose fluidity of BLM's opener. Best of all, though, is Flori's "Red Rectangle", a Larry Heard-ish chunk of classic Chicago deepness with just a hint of classic analogue shuffle.
27 Sep 11
07 Sep 10
05 Mar 12
Review: British deep house producer James Johnston has enjoyed a productive career of late, dropping tracks and remixes on Fine Art, Under The Shade, Boogie Originals and Gerd's 4Lux imprint. Here he returns to No Matter What with arguably his strongest set to date, a four-track onslaught of hip-wigglin' deep house with a distinct old skool US garage twist. While "XTC" and "Get The Feeling Back" are standard Johnson fare - warm, organ-rich deep house with a tidy '90s flex - there's something decidedly rude and sweaty about "Lost The House Keys". Its bone-rattling sub-bass, skippy beats and starlight organs scream "garage", even if the stabs and smooth production try and say otherwise. Nicely done.
24 Dec 10
25 Jun 10
Played by: Gerd, Carlos Nilmmns - Ornaments Berlin, Juno Recommends Deep House, Amplified Orchestra, James Johnston (No Matter What)
Review: After impressing Jimpster and Moodymanc with Honesty, his debut EP on the Undertones imprint last year, James Johnston returns with more deep house cuts on "Missed The Party" for the 4 Lux Black label. The Glaswegian has only just returned to the house music he grew up on after several years of delving into experimental music as part of a guitar noise duo and playing squat parties throughout Europe (Thurston Moore was a fan) but Johnston clearly has a talent for crafting impressive deep house. The title track takes the plaudits here - a bumping percussive rhythm wrapped in neat vocal edits and extra warm bass line where the hypnotic groove early on is transformed into Romanthony sampling deep house bliss. Johnston opts for a jazzier feel on "In The Dream Count To Three", drenching the lolloping beats in an exquisite synth melody and submerged atmospherics. "The Day We Expanded" brings you out of the mist with a slow building mix of uptight hi hats, Detroit-esque synth work and squiggly acid bass stabs.
24 Oct 11
04 Feb 13
Played by: J.cub - E.a.r / Cub Records, Sw, Alkalino, Juno Recommends Deep House, Leg Jazz, L'atelier
Review: UK don James Johnston and German champ Alex Agore once again come together on their hot-to-trot No Matter What imprint to lay down the law on their righteous tributes to vintage house music. Johnston delivers some dreamy garage swing on "Think About U Everyday", and takes things deeper on "Do U Understand?" by drawing you in with an alluring chord line that purrs at the heart of the track. Agore is in equally feisty mood with some textbook vocal turns over his "In My Soul" workout, and then switches up for a breezy, carefree wriggler in the form of "In Your Arms".
11 Jan 12
Played by: Alphabet City, Slow It Down, Golden Fleece, Alkalino, Juno Recommends Deep House, Marvin Zeyss, Manhattan
Review: Killer four track EP of sumptuous deepness here from the Much Love imprint, with James Johnston, Alkalino, Alphabet City, Bartellow and Roman Rauch all stepping up to the plate with uptempo house jams. Johnston's title track takes on an almost proggy hue with a killer titular vocal hook, while Alkalino & Alphabet City's insouciant key-driven "Dolve A La Discoteca" has 'Ibizan terrace party' stamped indelibly across its forehead. Bartellow's loopy, jazz-fuelled slice of house exotica ("Perhaps Strang") leads into the deepest of the lot - just check those chords on Rauch's "Space Places"!
25 Jun 12
Played by: Owain Kimber (Owain K), Fingerman, Superbreak, Dirt Crew, Shota Tanaka (Beaten Space Probe), Tura, Gitchell Moore, The Legendary 1979 Orchestra, Heion
Review: The fourth drop on the fledgling Outernational ensures standards are maintained with James Johnston and Ben La Desh providing a track on each side. Glaswegian producer Johnston is in fine form currently, having established the No Matter What label he runs with Alex Agore in the collective hearts of the deep house cognoscenti, and "That Was Now" is a sublime example of embellishing thick set house music with the spirit and soul of classic disco. Hints of glistening strings and a well plucked bass guitar sit deep in the mix as the packed groove builds effortlessly towards a quite lovely drop and build back into a final movement where the subtle disco elements become more prominent. Not to be outdone, Dutch juvenile delinquent Ben La Desh counters with "Drug Carrier", a quite intoxicating burner that's got several distinct rhythmic movements, with the point where some wide filtering introduces a heavy vibing Baltic disco mid section.
10 Aug 11
17 Dec 12
02 Aug 11
Review: Leicester hasn't got much going for it musically. Praise be, then, for City Fly, the acclaimed local deep house night that's now morphed into a record label. This first release - a four-track label sampler - delivers some high quality deep house fare, suggesting that City Fly could well be a label to watch in coming years. There's a variety of top notch dancefloor flavours on show, from the midtempo shuffle of James Johnston and soulful boompty-lite cut-ups of YSE to the luscious late night deepness of Tone Control (an excellent remix of their own 2008 Kerri/Theo fave "Illusion") and lo-slung techiness of Basic Soul Unit.
05 Oct 11
Played by: J&m Brothers
01 Apr 13
Played by: Sw
Review: Quality deep house labels aren't hard to come by these days, meaning the fledgling Deep Down Slam Records has its work cut out for it, but given the strength of this first release the label should have no problems establishing themselves. First up are the talents of rising house producer Washerman, whose jam "Tell Me" kicks things off in a 90s New Jersey house style, albeit one filled with a contemporary production nuance that makes it stand out amongst the crowd, while "Come Closer" offers a similar cut with good time chords which owe a considerable debt to French touch house. Meanwhile, No Matter What don James Johnston provides two expectedly thumping house cuts; "The Music" combines belting piano chords with rubbery strings that pull you in deep, while the tribal feel of "On The Ground" is accented by some alluring Motor City melodies.