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Reviewed this week
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Daniel Leseman and Hans 'Junktion' Peeman first joined forces under the Fouk moniker late last year, delivering an impressive debut EP, First Things First, that skillfully combined the former's jazz-tinged rhythms with the latter's smooth deep house nous. There are plenty more reasons to be cheerful on this debut for Detroit Swindle's Heist Recordings imprint, not least the driving bass, jaunty jazz samples and warm chords of "Kill Frenzy". There's even more soul present on the loose house beats, glassy-eyed vocal samples and rich textures of "Leftys Bar", while "Ken Sent Me Release" is as woozy, wavy and dreamy as you'd expect. Soothing stuff, all told.
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The 20th anniversary of iconic New York house label Henry Street Music has previously been celebrated via a series of 2014 reissues of classic material from Clone. Now, BBE has taken the baton, putting together a superb retrospective that stretches across five CDs and, in this case, three heavyweight slabs of wax. Wisely, BBE has chosen to pack it with both must-have classics - Bucketheads' "The Bomb", Armand Van Helden presents Old Skool Junkies' "The Funk Phenomenon", and DJ Sneak/The Polyester's string-laden disco-house bomb "Show Me The Way" - and lesser-known gems. It's these that really set the pulse racing, with Timmy Regisford's hard-to-find - and utterly brilliant - remix of DJ Duke and Roland Clark's "D2-D2 (I Get Deep)" standing out.
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Trevor Jackson has long been obsessed with blurring the boundaries between art and music, so his decision to release the 12 tracks that make up Format - his first album in 14 years - across 12 different physical formats (including 8-track, VHS and reel-to-reel tape) could be viewed as a grand artistic gesture masquerading as a commentary on the disposability of recorded music. Either way, it's nice to see that The Vinyl Factory has finally made the tracks available on a single CD and digital release. Musically, Format explores Jackson's usual obsessions - industrial, new wave, EBM, electro, post-punk disco and techno, in particular - with great gusto. As a result, it's a moodier set than his more playful early work (particularly Playgroup), but ultimately more fulfilling.
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While they've been part of the Dirt Crew family since contributing to the Deep Love 3 compilation in 2013, Love More marks Rotterdam duo 25 Place's first 'proper' release for the long-established German label. They've gone all out to make it special, too, delivering five tracks of impeccable deep house. There's the string-laden late night hedonism of "Love More", the ultra-deep pulse of the enveloping "Strange Days" - complete with yearning, bluesy vocal samples - and some more rush-inducing fare in the shape of "Sometimes" and the piano-laden "These Moments". Oh, and a dash of ambient house-inspired goodness that's as fluid and picturesque as the Pacific Ocean (the wonderful "Ecstatic States").
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Portugese edit hitman Alkalino drops two new cuts on his home label Audaz, and it seems he's in the mood for some deep and mystical house servings this time around. "Dancing With Somebody" is a true groover, a chunky dance arrangement surrounded by loopy R&B vocals, while "Dance To The House" is distinctly old-school in flavour, a mid-90's joint that has been reworked and twisted into a more contemporary disguise.
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Boot & Tax have been members of the Optimo Music family since 2013, releasing a pair of well-regarded 12" singles on the offshoot Optimo Trax imprint. While those were formidably dancefloor focused, this eponymous debut set offers them a chance to flex their artistic muscles in a range of styles. For the most part, it's a surprisingly humid set, with the Italian duo variously doffing their cap to indie-dance, post-punk, dub and new beat, with occasional bluegrass and psychedelic flourishes. It's a formula that guarantees mixed results, at least aesthetically. For all the genre shifts, the quality threshold rarely drops from "excellent" throughout.
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JD Twitch has previously said how much he loves Severed Heads, so it's little surprise to see his Optimo Trax label reissuing a trio of kikller dubs from the Australian combo's late 1980s "dancefloor-friendly" period. The well-known "Greater Reward" is offered up in two versions; the original 12" dub - think classic undulating acid house bass, fizzing electronics, big builds and an even bigger piano line - and Twitch's own "Piano Power" edit, which emphasizes the famous keys even more than normal. The scattergun dub of "All Saints Day" takes a similar sonic approach - with a little more of a Cabaret Voltaire circa "Easy Life" feel - while "Big Car (Crash Dub") is a flurry of synth bass, discordant hits and Fairlight stabs.
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Landis Lapace lands most vertically on This Ain't Bristol with two minimal cuts in UK flavour, dressed with plenty of salt and vinegar and a little bit of BASS. "Surrender" is a bleepy and teched-out floor mutant for the peak time hours, while "Zesty Nachos" is a little more ravey, peppered with deranged piano keys and even the odd break here and there! There's also a 'hard mix' of the latter, which features a tad more drum swing in the mix.
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The historic Classic imprint sticks close to its big guns and has Luke Solomon's "Stop The Riot" bomb remixed and anted-up by, well, two special names in the game. The vocal stems come from Sam Lynham but it's Shit Robot who turns in a growling, electro-leaning remix in his signature style, and PBR Streetgang who go for something a little more funky and considerably more...disco!
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The unstoppable and utterly inimitable Catz N Dogz are back on their own Pets Recordings! "Killing With Kindnes" features the vocal talents of Phat Kat above the duo's sleek and minimal tech-house swing, while "Keep On" invites the legendary Green Velvet to spit some utter truth amid hypnotic melodies and a dusty groove. There's also "I Can Do Anything", an R&B flavoured funky house bomb and a club mix of "Killing With Kindness". Woof!
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Since delivering a quartet of sensual, slo-mo house EPs way back in 2011, Mexican producer Joseph Terruel has been surprisingly quiet. In the last four years he's released just one solo single, last year's well-received Tool For Love EP on Hotbox Boogie. Slave To The Rhythm, then, is a welcome return, and sees him further developing the dreamy, tactile, slo-mo and mid-tempo deep house sound we've come to love. The impressive "Dropping Down" (which also gets the remix treatment from Softmore) is the audio equivalent of a tantric sponge bath, and arguably the EP's strongest moment. That said, the darker, slightly uncomfortable "A Day Like Today" is tasty, too, while the title track is as breezy and lovely as you'd expect.
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London based US Producer Lance De Sardi joins the Hudd Traxx fray for the last title before the label hits 50 releases and commence the 10th Anniversary celebrations. Although there's only three cuts on West Country, De Sardi more than shows his diversity as a producer and it's a fine addition to a discography that dates back to the '90s. "Pariah" kicks the EP off in fine style with smooth beats, an infectious vocal and lush pads ensure that this will be a big one for the heads. Flip for the B Side and find a tough acidy number in "Youth", and a groovy track in "Race the Clock" which is made for the dance floor. 2015 is already proving to be a big year for Hudd Traxx following releases from Iron Curtis & Nachtbraker, and Lance De Sardi keeps the flag flying high with this solid EP.
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Crosstown Rebels boss Damian Lazarus seems to be mellowing with age - or at least getting more artistically adventurous. This follow-up to his 2009 debut, Smoke The Monster Out, was co-produced by Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford in LA. London and Mexico, with the assistance of an impressive cast of musicians from around the world. While rooted in the kind of tactile house and techno most associated with the evergreen hipster, Message From The Other Side is impressively psychedelic, otherworldly and stargazing in outlook. The album's woozy, horizontal appeal is therefore enhanced by Lazarus and Ford's use of Indian instrumentation, African percussion and impeccable keys-work from American jazz pianist Eric Lewis.
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With just the one release, 2011's Deephouz Y'all for Creme Organization, the Seaside Houz Boys alias from Danny 'Legowelt' Wolfers looked to be one of those amusing one-off projects cast aside as he went on to focus on his next deranged endeavour. A round of applause to DJ Haus for coaxing some further Seaside Houz Boys material out of Wolfers for this latest Hot Haus 12". Living up to it's title, this 12" arrives with some wonderfully ludicrous artwork depicting Wolfers and what looks like Creme boss DJ TLR surfing ice cream on oversize Oreos. The music itself is prime Wolfers, ranging from the furious yet deep jack attack of "Nude Beach" to the grotty Dancemania style tumble of "I Luv My Life" and low slung acid burn of the title track.
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These days, new material from Versatile overlords Chateau Flight is few and far between, with I:Cube and Gilb'r seemingly pursuing solo projects. There was a time, though, when they were amongst the most prolific remixers in the business. Chateau Flight Remixent, first released on CD back in 2002 and now being made available digitally for the first time, charts this prolific period in the late '90s and early 2000s. Musically, they've never been ones to stick to the same formula, and the 14 tracks here variously take in nu-jazz, organic deep house, broken beat (a brilliant version of Serge Gainsbourg's "Lola Rastaquouere"), tech-jazz, afro-house, proto nu-disco (a terrific Bebel Gilberto rework), and electronic dub (a slo-mo version of Peace Orchestra). Terrific stuff, as you'd expect.
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The strength of Church continues to build with a fine back catalogue covering the likes of Happa and Seb Wildblood amongst many others, and now they follow up Ishmael's release with this selection from new London hopeful Laurence Guy. The funk gets laid on nice and thick on this spread of deep house delectations, with the title track heading out into blissful downtempo territory before kicking into simmering disco groove. "W.L.Y.B" plies a trade in delicate keys and sizzling drums of the highest order while a cheeky bump amps up the appeal of "Stavros". "Rizzo" finishes the EP off with another wistful ride through all kinds of soul signifiers that pack a mean punch.
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Theo Keating, who also makes music under The Wiseguys moniker, appears with his twisted brand of UK deep house under the Fake Blood alias on the excellent Food Music - the label itself being a regular home to some of the best up and coming talent from the Anglian corners. If you wanted house music with a distinct 'bass' edge to it then you've come to the right place, indeed, as tracks like "Music Box" flutter their 4/4 rhythm among amen breaks and right-edged basslines. "Hornets" itself is basically a Metalheadz tune circa 1997 that's been given a dosage of tranquiliser and taken down to house-techno levels.
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Despite being in the game for nearly 20 years, Tempo Elektrik, aka Jay Partridge, is only hitting his stride - remixing the likes of bonkers Czech pop star Veronika Vesper and more. Here he presents new track, "Looking", in two formats - an effervescent radio friendly pop-garage one, complete with Baby D-style piano motif, and his own four to the floor VIP remix that's destined for summer dancefloor carnage. Still on top of his game.
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American trio Belmar Sol describe their sound as "meditronica", going on to define that as "a new genre of music that fuses meditation music, ambient soundscapes, electronica, world grooves and downtempo beats". While all of those influences are present here, for the most part Drums of the Heart - and particularly the title track - sounds like a warmer, richer, more beach-friendly take on the much-hyped Mood Hut sound. That's perhaps most obvious on crew member DayzOne's remix of "Drums of the Heart", though it can also be heard on "Fusion Illusion" - a rather tasty mix of rolling, tropical house drums, spiralling synthesizer melodies and a vintage house bassline.
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Nineties house legend Kyodai steps out of his more familiar Local Talk surroundings and lands most vertically on Germany's Rooms With A View! "Times Fly" goes for a low-key approach, a solid and dubby groove accompanied by gentle swarms of sonic delight and summery instrumentation. You also get the wonderfully atmospheric and percussive swing of "Sacred Ritual" and the hypnotic bundles of melodies within "You Know It". Guaranteed deep house quality for the more diverse DJs.
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