Reviewed this week
The recording career of Salzburg's Bernard Weiss, AKA Demuja, has followed the well-trodden path of multiple compilation appearances followed by well-received EPs for a couple of little-known labels. There's a feeling that he just needs a breakthrough, and this single on Jimpster's Freerannge label could provide it. Certainly, the four included tracks are amongst his strongest to date. Choose between the sumptuous, shuffling deep house dreaminess of "Move", the warehouse-friendly thrills of "B.o.o.m", the hard-wired Italo-disco revivalism of "Into My Brain" - all raging arpeggio lines and dreamy pads - and the fireside-warm deep house/disco fusion of "Turn Me On". The latter's fusion of live instrumentation, evocative vocal samples and rolling house drums is particularly inspiring.
German house label Running Back has featured the likes of Radio Slave and Boris Dlugosch in its schedules. Now its time for cult hero Philipp Lauer to join the party and he's marked the occasion with the Phlipper EP, possibly his most Italo disco-influenced release yet. Basically the whole record is the sound of summer holiday fun - the title track is breathy retro Eurotrance, (think the Rhythm Of The Night) all stonewashed synths and hands-in-the-open-night-air melodies. "Muscle" meanwhile is more your 80s Outrun-style arpeggio disco and "Lauer Vizzi" is pure late 80s Italo house joy think Rimini via the Hacienda.
Dutchman Bas Roos is the latest producer to contribute to Exploited's Shir Khan-curated Black Jukebox series. He kicks off a fine EP via "Downtown", a lumpy, bumpy chunk of dusty, piano-laden peak-time goodness driven forwards by bustling drums and a killer disco style bassline. You'll find more blissful piano solos on the similarly hustling, low-slung "One Way", which also makes great use of impassioned disco-soul vocal snippets and restless handclap samples. Elsewhere, "Take Life Easy" is an impeccable hybrid of jazzy disco samples and swinging deep house percussion, while "Ugly House" sounds like a long lost collaboration between Kevin Saunderson's Inner City Project, Chez Damier and Sheffield-based dusty house specialist Thatmanmonkz.
Kraak & Smaak singles are rarely anything less than party-starting treats, and this latest outing is no different. It helps, of course, that Eli Escobar - a producer known for delivering colourful, disco-and-boogie flavoured house hits - is on remix duty. His version of "U R Freak" is arguably a little dreamier and more musically intricate than his singles on Classic, but still packs a punch thanks to bustling organ stabs, bongo-laden beats and some on-point synth bass. The rest of the EP is taken up by Mood's modern boogie-meets-deep house remixes of "Prescription". Eric Biddiness makes his presence felt on the vocal version, rapping and singing over a squidgy, synth-laden backing track that perfectly tiptoes the fine line between club-ready fare and radio-friendly cheeriness.
Recently, Gerd Janson has been using Running Back not only to release new material, but also reissue some of his favourite old house and disco cuts. He's at it again, here, re-releasing Alex M's It Works, a relatively obscure Mateo & Matos production that initially appeared on Final Cut back in 1992 and has since become something of a sought-after item. The title track remains a near perfect fusion of Larry Heard style deep house dreaminess and the rhythmic swing of New Jersey garage. You'll find a similar blend of dreaminess and low-end hustle on the two versions of "Without Thought", while "Lakeside Slang (First Mix)" peppers a tidy groove with impeccable electric piano solos and hazy vocal samples. Arguably even better is the jazzier, Jovonn style "Lakeside Slang (The Mix)".
As the title suggests, this EP boasts fresh reworks of the title track from Marco 'Tensnake' Niemerski's much played Freunchen EP. First to play around with Niemerski's parts (tee-hee) is man-of-the-moment Red Rack'em. The Berlin-based Brit employs some savage sample editing, layering filtered vocal and orchestral samples over a typically tactile, hybrid disco/house groove. Niemerski's old friend Phillip Lauer takes a different approach, re-imagining the track as a bouncy chunk of mood-enhancing Balearic house complete with Italian house piano riffs and bubbly arpeggio lines. Arguably best of all, though, is the killer version by Russian producer Phil Gerus, which sounds like a loved-up fusion of Italo-disco, synth-boogie, Belgian New Beat and sun-kissed Balearica.
Over the course of the last decade, serial collaborator Kieran "Komon" Lomax has worked with all manner of like-minded producers, including White Boi, Arkist, Appleblim and Will Saul. Here he reunites with the latter for the duo's third collaborative EP in 12 months. In its original form, "Harmonize" is pleasingly wonky an off-kilter; a spiraling chunk of hazy late night house featuring big builds, quirky cut-up vocal samples, eccentric electronics, beefy bass and a rock solid, kick-drum-driven rhythm track. While quietly impressive, the duo's 101 Dub - think granite drums and squelchy acid bass - is arguably stronger. The two commissioned remixes are great, too, with Juju & Jordash's weirdo analogue house interpretation just rising above Nick Hoppner's blissfully warm and melodious deep house rub.

Last year, Mat Chiavaroli popped up on Quintessentials with his first EP since 2012, a collection of tasty deep house cuts titled Swan. It turns out that the well-received EP was merely a taster for No Stranger To Madness, a debut album almost six years in the making. While there occasional downtempo moments - see the Balearic ambience of opener "Introduzione", gentle beatdown grooves of "Storia Losca" and smoky R&B shuffle of P-Lok hook-up "Latexxxnite Enemy" - for the most part the material is groovy and club-ready, with Chiavaroli drawing on all manner of classic U.S deep house tropes. Highlights include the sun-kissed jazziness of "Whoja Vu" and the Chez Damier style goodness of "Jeep Ridaz".
It's been relatively quiet from Trujillo recently, but now the Venezuelan producer casts out a transmission from his Berlin base to let everyone know that all is well and we can get back to the business of smooth grooving. "Everytime I Think Of U" speaks to the Balearic tendencies embedded in the producer's aesthetic, with a reflective vocal swirling amidst dreamy guitar chops and swooping synth warbles of a strictly blissed out nature. Telephones does a sterling job of remixing the original version into a warm and funky deep house jam peppered with organic delights. Kiss Me Again comes back to Apersonal Music, with an Afro-house-disco remix of "Everytime I Think Of U".
Thrillingly, this second instalment in Suol's Summer Dance series boasts tracks from an impressive cast-list of producers. For example, Hollis P Monroe lends a hand on the dreamy electro/deep house fusion of Fred Everything's string-drenched "Jessie's Couch", while British deep house veteran Atjazz makes his presence felt o the melodious, jazz-flecked, broken house brilliance of TrueSelf's "Next Chapter". Elsewhere, Jacob Korn goes deep into analogue synthesizer and drum machine territory on the cheery Balearic house sweetness of "On The Move", Black Loops drops a heavy chunk of jazz guitar-sporting NYC style deep house ("Climax") and Till Von Sein escorts us to sunnier climes via the humid deep house warmth of "Venao Jam".
DJ Aakmael is Greg Stewart of Richmond, Virginia. Producing since 2004, some say he creates some of the deepest and rawest house tracks of today's deep house scene! There's some real proper emotive gear for the late night on the smooth and sexy groove of "Mood Capacity" while "Pass It" rounds up in style on this soulful Motor City style affair; think Three Chairs! Speaking of which, "Deep Side" will appeal to fans of Big Strick/7 Days Entertainment's style of inner city blues plus there's equally dreamy and summery vibes on the lush "Kosmic Bounce"with its ecstatic xylophone vibes keeping up with some dusty beats on this lo-slung groove to make you move. Tip!
Before she passed away in 2013, Chiwonsio Maraire impressed with the Rebel Heart album. Here, one of the highlights of that set, breezy dancefloor sing-along "Gomo" - is given the remix treatment. The sun-soaked original version kicks things off, before David Marston and MOA turn it into a saucer-eyed chunk of Balearic house complete with snaking saxophone solos, tactile chord progressions and bubbly analogue bass. The rest of the reworks come from DJ Spen and Souledge. Their headline remix (also available in instrumental form) successfully re-imagines the track as a bumpin' chunk of tech-tinged Afro-house goodness, complete with seriously heavy bass, intricate marimba melodies and vocal cut-ups. Arguably even better is the "Saxfro" mix, which gives more prominence to the jaunty saxophone solo and delay-laden vocal snippets.
Since making his debut on Rhythm Section International in 2016, Polish producer Earth Trax has proved to be one of the major players in the revivalist dream house movement. He's at it again here, delivering another swathe of tactile, ear-pleasing and mood-enhancing cuts. "L'Aventura" is available in two tasty variations, both of which are underpinned by snappy drum hits and thickset synth bass. The "Main" mix makes great use of fluttering synthesizer flute lines and cascading pianos, while the "Dub" is a little more stripped back and percussive despite the presence of plenty of humid synth sounds. Elsewhere, "Nokturn" is a masterful exercise in eyes-closed sunrise nostalgia, while closer "HG" massages your ears with all the sensuality of a forgotten Morenas production.
Prior to the Scandolearic explosion of the mid 2000s, Oslo's underground dance producers were more renowned for delivering chunky (and often disco-tinged) deep house bombs. In some ways, then, De Fantastiske To - AKA producers Ravi Brunsvik and Marius Summerfeldt - are a blast from the past. In its original form, "Hardtslaende" is a throbbing, warehouse-friendly treat, with late '80s stabs (think Inner City) and hazy vocal samples riding a jaunty rhythm track and simple-but-effective bassline. Alinka delivers a deliciously heavy and forthright remix that successfully pushes the track further towards pitch-black late night territory - think forceful beats, foreboding synth lines and 1990 Yorkshire bleeps - before Minaret successfully joins the dots between dreamy Scandolearic disco and woozy deep house.
This year marks 10 years since Bastian Volker first donned the Baaz alias. He remains one of deep house's most reliable producers, as this outing on longtime home Office Recordings deftly proves. He begins with the ocean-deep chords, softly spoken electronics and hypnotic groove of "Ween Been", before wrapping heart-aching pianos and drowsy chords around a barely audible drum track on the near-ambient bliss of "Absent". On the flipside you'll find the tech-tinged shuffle of "The Friend", where bolder kicks and snares rise above his liquid dreamscape, and the brilliant ambient electronica of sublime closer "Two (For You)". This is music for sunsets, sunrises and particularly sleepy afternoons.
Long-serving deep house producer Konstantinos Malamis ALA Cockney Lama returns to Robsoul following 2016 outings on Moodyhouse, Something Else and Henry Street Music. Predictably, he begins in confident fashion, layering woozy vocal samples over a wiggly synth bassline and bumping beats on "Baby Funk You". The track that follows, "I've Never Been There" is similarly high octane in feel, deriving much of its power from Derrick Carter style drums and a low-slung disco bassline. Elsewhere, "No Worries About My French" is an attractive and punchy disco-house bumper, while "Johnny The Danger" is a low-end stomper smothered in boomty drums and sampled guitar licks.
Having kicked off 2017 with a fine EP from Mr Beatnick, Tief has turned to an old friend: exiled New Zealander John Sable, who made his debut on the imprint two years ago. Given his close friendship with fellow Kiwis Chaos In The CBD, it's no surprise to find that "Dolphin Hotel" is warm, rich and evocative - a grown up dose of deep house that wraps live instrumentation and heady electronics around a jazz-tinged deep house rhythm. "Gray Paper Moon" is, if anything, even jazzier, with fluid piano lines cascading down over a Nuyorican Soul style drum track. To round things off, Chaos in the CBD sprinkle a little magic dust over the track, turning it into a hypnotic chunk of rolling deep house loveliness.
The E-Beamz label recently debuted with a fine 12" of jungle-influenced haziness from Tim Shug and DJ Playstation. Here, they swiftly move on to EP number two, showcasing tracks from debutants DJ Boring and Magma. The former's A-side cut, "Winona" - so called because it utilizes vocal samples from an interview with actress Winona Ryder - sounds like a long-lost early '90s cut: an ultra-deep treat full of deep space chords, analogue deep house beats and psychedelic TB-303 abuse. Magma's dustier flipside cut, "You", explores similar old skool pastures, making use of both barnstorming techno drums and sweaty jungle breaks. Throw in ridiculously deep chords and riffs, and some eyes-closed vocal samples, and you have another late night winner.
Reykjavik-based BORG Ltd can hardly be described as 'prolific'; in fact, this EP from sometime Hot Haus and Unknown to the Unknown producer Locklead is only the imprint's fourth release since debuting in 2014. Thankfully, the two tracks on offer are both impressively bumping and forthright. Opener "Madniz" is a typically British concoction: a thrusting fusion of bleep style sub-bass pressure, the swing of two-step UK garage and the four-to-the-floor bump of 1990s New Jersey garage. While "Roa Tek" feels a little more "straight-up" in vibe, it retains a similar low-end approach - think booming bass and chunky drum hits - while peppering the groove with all manner of eccentric electronic noises.
It's been three years since Joseph Longo III - AKA veteran New York deep house hero Pal Joey - popped up on Ornaments under the French Touch alias. Like its predecessor, this sequel is an expansive and varied affair, with a number of Longo's friends and associates lending a hand throughout. The more up-tempo moments reside on the virtual A-side, with the hypnotic deep house shuffle of "Come On (Fredo Remix)" and rap-sampling jazz-house deepness of "Breakin' Necks (Papastomp Mix)" both standing out. Much of the rest of the EP rolls at a hip-hop tempo, with Longo and pals dropping head-nodding heat such as "Crowd Jumpin' (Dj PH Mix)" and the "golden era" flava of Ben Muller hook-up "Movin Up".
TOMSON/EDDIE LEADER/CHEZ DAMIER - I Am With You (Hudd Traxx) - exclusive 03-07-2017
MAT CHIAVAROLI - No Stranger To Madness (Quintessentials Germany)
DJ AAKMAEL - Tales From The Deep Side (Axe On Wax)
COCKNEY LAMA - Baby Funk You (Robsoul)
SLG/NEWBORN JR/CATZ 'N DOGZ/JACEK SIENKIEWICZ - Friends Of Pets - Part 3 (Pets Recordings Germany)
EARTH TRAX - L'Avventura EP (Phonica)
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