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Reviewed this week
A decade has passed since Tom Bioly and Benjamin Frohlich launched their Permanent Vacation label with a compilation of the same name. This fourth instalment sticks to the same formula as its' predecessors, serving up evocative, emotion-rich music that's tickled the fancy of Bioly and Frohlich over the last two years. Predictably, there's much to enjoy throughout, from the hammock-fresh laziness of Carrot Green's dreamy "Vodou", and the instrumental, Balearic synth-pop of Fantastic Man's "Seaside Special", to the tribal drums, jazz bass and ghostly chords of Benedikt Frey's "Lucid Dream". They predictably finish with a flourish, following Mapache's hallucinatory deep house shuffler "Let Me Sleep", with the dubby Balearic beauty of Suzanne Kraft's blissful "Tiles".
Well, this is surely the most special treat this week and we're not surprised it's coming from the Hypercolour mandem. These guys have been on fire over the last three years, releasing everyone worth releasing and even having them remix themselves such as on this new compilation. You have all the big guns: Maya Jane Coles, Kris Wadsworth, Tom Demac, Mark Henning, and George Fitzgerald. But, the best part of it all is that they're rewired and revamped by none other than: Bonobo, Jimmy Edgar, FaltyDL, Mr G, KiNK, Deetron, Matthew Herbert and more! We don't need to go on about how big this is...just enjoy this festival lineup in whatever way pleases you best. BIG and RECOMMENDED.
Aus Music are proud to present another wonderful deep excursion by the artist formerly (well...still, actually) known as Marcus Intalex. This legendary Mancunian producer always had a distinct knack for all things soulful and emotive, even when he was experimenting in breakbeat science. It is no wonder he fits into four to the floor grooves like a glove, as shown on great releases for Klockworks, The Nothing Special and 3024. "Casino" gets the EP of to a fine start with uplifting piano chords lifting you higher and higher over a subtle backing arrangement while the dub version injects more adrenaline into it, complete with a stomping beat and haunting dub chord resonations: well steely! Finally "Contact" is definitely more in line with the label's sound on this fluid and sombre tech house groove that's smooth as silk!
!K7 Records launches a new compilation series entitled Kollections: Club which inaugurates the project. The tracklist features artists of the partner labels under the !K7 umbrella such as Turbo, AUS Music, Mobilee, Mister Saturday Night and Hypercolour. Each edition explores a different musical theme but this first installment, naturally, is all about the club! Highlights here include Midland's recent hit "Blush", Maya Jane Coles' funky afterhours tech house jam "Not Listening" (from a few years ago), KiNK's roaring remix of Kerrier District's (Luke Vibert) "Techno Disco" and Lauer's recent feelgood number "Killian" showing off his knack for classic retro vibes like no other.
Craigie Knowes is a weird and wonderful leftfield disco label based in Glasgow. How weird you ask? It's pretty out-there, but then all the best music has nearly always been so, and that's fine by us. This various artists EP, Knowes Universal Broadcast, features five tracks, the shortest of which is seven minutes long. That would be "Fade Away" by Baltra, a lo-fi distorted acid jacker, Highfield Casuals deliver the dreamy and melancholic "Highfield Daze", whilst Natureboy Gold rocks it harder with the slammin' Fairlight/303 orgy, "Prozac Test". Lastly Stephen Simpson delivers "Qaua", a heavily percussive, sub aquatic groove machine.
Those who were following the fortunes of the Nordic Traxx label in the late '90s and early noughties may remember Gavin Froome. He was a regular contributor to the Canadian deep house imprint for many years, before disappearing from view in 2003. Don't Come Home marks his return after 13 years. "Don't Come Home" is as assured as you'd expect: a warm, rich and comforting chunk of hazy, sun-kissed deep house featuring a lusciously soulful vocal. The Revenge successfully draws out the original's subtle disco touches on a pair of Balearic-minded house re-rubs, while Froome's own remix of "Erupt The Quietus" is a soaring, evocative, string-drenched chunk of knee-trembling trip-hop soul.
Resoe aka Denis Uprock's Baum Records are back with Leftover on the Mandelbaum EP and providing some sublime and immersive dub techno textures here. Starting out with the rolling and glacial wall of sound that is "Lust", he then provides something more energetic on the dubby yet ethereal groove of "Static Infinite". He delves deeper into the void on the lovely "Haint Blue", which echoes and resonates away gloriously while the hypnotic closer "Segment" gives a nod to fellow homeboys Echocord on this functional dub techno groove.
Munich's Benjamin Frohlich is back on his own beloved Permanent Vacation imprint which he founded back in 2006 with Tom Bioly. On the Rude Movements EP he gives us four servings of wonderfully deep nu disco. On the A side is the soaring and cosmic sci fi odyssey of "Holloway" with its glorious arpeggio. Also "Spitting Image" gets that classic early 80's Chicago proto house sound happening with a pure booming 808 workout that makes a wicked DJ tool. On the flip "Amos" is a sick and gnarly acid house grinder which is perfect to up the ante at 3 AM and get the kids dancing.
Bristol house type Ishmael got his debut on Wolf Music some three years ago, sharing space with Bicep, Medlar and Casino Times on one of the label's trademark split 12"s and not looking out of place one iota. He's since gone on to contribute several further 12"s to the Wolf cause as well as align with the similarly-minded Church with whom his debut LP, Sometime In Space, was released earlier this year. This new 12" for Wolf picks up where that LP left off as Ishmael runs through deep burnt gospel house ("Mercy, Mercy, Me"), heat-treated vibers ("Doldrums") and buff MCDE-style piano tinklers ("Matilde"). The mighty Soulphiction pops up to lend his own brand of shuffling percussive house class om a closing remix of "Doldrums."
DJ Deeon's original version of Freak Like Me was a house hit first time around - that's 20 years ago! It was revived in Ibiza when Marco Carola dropped Lee Walker's remix and now it's newfound success continues with remixes by the mighty Armand Van Helden and Sonny Fodera. The former opts for stripped and tough speed garage with swirly synth breaks, whilst the latter opts for rolling drums, stark vibes and elastic bass. With the quality of all these new mixes this tune is on its way to becoming immortal!
Next up on Offenbach institution Connaisseur is Perugia, Italy's Francesco Chiocci with "Black Sunrise" which gets a stellar bunch of remixes this time around. Olderic's remix really nails the label's sound perfectly on this deep and slinky progressive house rendition. Next up is Venice's Lehar whose makeover retains the wonderful vocals from the original and crafts this into one of those epic dark journey tracks that are all the rage at the moment. Musumeci also appears here; his version also walks the darker, left hand path but has more adrenalin and bounce to it; but just wait for that Life & Death style melody to come rushing in. Finally Cologne's Peter Pardeike provides the most uplifting version here with his slinky tech-infused groove creating something that you can really drift too.
When Beesmunt Soundsystem release an EP, it isn't just for show or for the sake of it. No, these guys prefer to keep it quality over quantity and we respect them for it. They're up on London's Church imprint this time with three deep and expansive house swervers that'll appeal to all sorts of house and bass lovers around. "Afterglow" is a gorgeous closing tune that is stripped right down by Sort Of into a sparse ambient rhythm - excellent. "Opium" is a warm, pulsating glow that won't stop growing and developing, while the original to "First Timer" introduces a heavy, growling bassline followed by Mosey's tech-house version. Suave is the word we're looking for.
For its 4th release, Malka Tuti is welcoming J.A.K.A.M. to its ever-expanding family. Born in Tokyo Japan, J.A.K.A.M. has been been one of the leading figures developing the music scene in Japan from the early 90s as a DJ, producer and a band member. His wide variety of musical influences ranges from house, hip hop, drum&bass, techno, reggae, jazz, rock and world music. With combining these different styles of inspirations and tradition, he creates the most unique time and space on the dance floor, a kind of fusion of early tribal house (recording live instruments in the studio), world music with a pinch of shamanic spiritual vibes. On his ep for Malka Tuti he delivers 2 Original epic tunes, followed by a smokey dub version by Versatile Records boss Gilb'r and a total dance-floor smashing remix by Aussie prodigy - Dreems.
The slow, gradual rise of the Guangzhou Underground imprint has mirrored that of China's emerging house scene, which it was set up - in part - to celebrate. The label's latest EP gathers together previously unheard cuts from label regulars present and future. Alex Agore, who had the honour of putting out the first EP on the imprint in 2014, impresses with the breezy, bouncy, soul-flecked, UK garage-inspired "No1Else", while Spangleman offers up a chunk of elastic, off-kilter house/funk fusion, in the shape of jammed-out shuffler "Access To Success". Band Of Misfits' take us back to the early '90s with the piano-heavy, disco-house bump of "Wanna Go Dancin", before Stijn Van Wijk rounds off a solid EP with the loose, analogue-sounding deep house shimmer of "Specter".
Swiss musician-turned-producer Disco Channel made his recording debut earlier in the year, joining forces with Rare Movement for a tasty two-tracker on Cadenza. Here, he delivers a debut solo release that comes backed by a host of big-name remixes. "Eyes In Eyes" is a wonderfully evocative affair, with Disco Channel's distinctive, soulful vocal riding a bouncy tech-house groove and some deliciously dreamy chords. Jamie Jones provides the headline remix, dragging the original further towards early morning tech-house hypnotism, while pal Lee Foss introduces some psychedelic electronics and subtle acid lines on his fine rework. Fissonik's two techno themed, acid-laden reworks are pretty darn tasty, too.
Viennese producer Joyce Muniz serves up some dark and sultry pop inflected tech house made for the Kater Blau and Ritter Butzke crowd in mind on "Cover Me Up" featuring Kat Vinter's amazing vocals. There's some great remixes too; Waifs & Strays rendition is pretty good, stripping it down into a more functional version for the dancefloor and turning it into a right dark journey track! Brazil's ANNA also steps up to the challenge; her version is a much fiercer and adrenalised form of peak time techno and will appeal to fans of the Drumcode/Truesoul sound or more recent sounds coming from Diynamic.
Hard-working Toronto producer Demuir has appeared on all manner of labels in recent times, but none more so than Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon's Classic Music Company. This debut EP for the long-running imprint undoubtedly contains some of Demuir's strongest work to date. Chief among these is opener "My Predictable Locals", a boompty-influenced chunk of disco-flecked Chi-town bump that could easily pass for a DJ Sneak or Derrick Carter production. Elsewhere, Mark Farina lends a hand on the rolling deep house hustle of "Story Of A DJ", and soul chanteuse Cynthia Amoah lends her honeyed tonsils to the modern soul-goes-house celebration of dancing that is "Here's To Friday".
New York City deep house hotshot and Let's Play House head honcho Jacques Renault is back with some remixes from his recent Zentrum LP. Starting out with the tremendously dark and soulful epic "Mi Casa Samba (Octo Octa remix)", Vito & Druzzi get stuck into "Faith" giving it an uplifting soulful house makeover; think Body & Soul NYC. "Words (Cooper Saver & Turbotito remix)" goes for more of a groovy nu-disco route, leading in nicely to another remix of "Faith" only this time by Lemonade, who gives it some smooth Max D style deep house flavour for summertime open air terrace party vibes.
Unblock Music main man Tuccillo is back again on Visionquest with three servings of slinky and sexy deep house music on the Full Time EP. Starting out with the smooth and sultry low slung groove of "Keep It Down" he then gets stuck into the rolling yet subtle tech house tool "Take DB"; just wait 'til those emotive Larry Heard style pads come swirling in! He closes this great EP out with the title track which is emotive deep house at its funky and finest; this has the kind of bounce to it which earned him releases on I'm A House Gangster. So go figure!
Distant Hawaii, the wavy Lobster Theremin offshoot, seems like the perfect home for Garrett David's lighthearted strain of house music, and we are very impressed with the Smart Bar resident's development over his last three EPs. The Chicago DJ and producer drops a pulsating little bomb in the form of "Octagon Blues", but "Power Up" is what truly brings his Chicago roots through thanks to its funky, jazzed 'out sound that never goes anywhere near being cheesy. On the flip, "Remedy" is sunken and aqueous in shape and texture, whereas "Healing Channel" eradicates the beats and percussion in favour of warm, hollow chords that spew neatly onto an off-kilter beat with a broken house edge.
Exclusives
VARIOUS - !Kollections 01 (The Club) (K7)
VARIOUS - Kon & The Gang (BBE)
Various - Permanent Vacation 4 (Permanent Vacation Germany)
Exclusives
LEE WALKER/DJ DEEON - Freak Like Me (Defected)
DJ MOY - India Electronic (Sound Exhibitions)
JOYCE MUNIZ feat KAT VINTER - Cover Me Up (feat. Kat Vinter) (Exploited Germany)
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