Congratulations to Germany's Dirt Crew Recordings, which marks a century of releases with a celebratory volume of the popular Deep Love compilation series. As befits the momentous occasion, the 11 tracks on offer are all exclusive and previously unreleased. Predictably, there's plenty to enjoy, from the dusty, crackly deep house warmth of Felix Leifur's "Feels Like", and classic U.S garage swing of Ponty Mython's "New York, New York", to the sweet, jazz-flecked haziness of Harry Wolfman's "Rainbow Set", and Huerta's dreamy, glassy-eyed Balearic deep house cut, "Blvrd". Throw in fine contributions from big hitters Detroit Swindle, Nachtbraker and The Revenge, and you have an undeniably essential collection.
You don't get any more NYC than Manhattan disco/deep house hero Eli Escobar who presents his debut album on Luke Solomon's Classic Music Company. Starting out with the soulful feel good opener that is the title track, there's more quality on offer on the pure disco inferno "Phreeky" featuring Hercules & Love Affair's Nomi Ruiz on vocals (who appears on several tracks throughout the albums duration) and the cheeky "Chaka Khan" which is a bouncy after-hours jam for freaks and the deep low-slung groover "Next To Me". But that's just scraping the surface. The album is full of quality grooves from start to finish, inspired by one of the Big Apple's finest talents and we highly recommend it!
Steve Huerta's first single for Amadeus, 2014's Apotheke, was widely praised for its' fusion of bumpin' deep house grooves and trippy, tech-tinged sounds. In contrast, Apache Line begins with "Mandala", a breezy, warm and lightly melodious deep house cut that benefits greatly from some intricate synth-work throughout. The deep and musically rich vibe continues on the Kaidi Tatham style broken beat-meets-jazz-funk flex of "EisTee", before Youandewan lends a hand on the bumpin', late night shuffle of "Apache Line". Youandewan gets a chance to go solo, too, completing a fine EP with the deliciously hypnotic, ocean-deep throb of "Yo Endlos".
Since making his debut on the label in 2006, Joss Moog has been one of Robsoul Recordings most prolific artists. The Parisian specializes in the kind of fuss-free, club-ready tackle that blends elements of "French Touch" style disco-house, the "boompty" deep house funk of Derrick Carter, and more tech-tinged, bass-heavy excursions. These influences can be clearly heard on the four tracks that make up "Triple Loop", all of which could be regarded as proper dancefloor jackers. Highlights wise, we're particularly enjoying the jazzy organ riffs and chunky U.S deep house style of "Hey Mr DJ" and the Carter-esque heavy Chicago bump of "Triple Loop", though it's all pretty damn good.
Paul Woolford has finally begun releasing music under his own name again, following years building up the hardcore and jungle flavoured Special Request project. "Heaven & Earth" follows a similar approach to his recent "Mother & Child" 12" on Hotflush, combining slick house rhythms with luscious, occasionally soaring orchestration. This time round, the bottom-end tech-house grooves are subtly darker and more intoxicating, while the string stabs and sweeps slowly build towards a spine-tingling breakdown, and notably wistful conclusion. The "symphonic house" flavour is stripped back a little on the epic flipside extension ("Part 2"), which offers three minutes of beat-less orchestration before introducing Woolford's elastic groove.
As Tuff City Kids, Lauer and Gerd Janson are masters at delivering raw-as-sandpaper jackin' house-pop (just the way we like it). Here though with the help of Norwegian popette Annie they indulge their hidden campy side on the monumentally fun "Labyrinth". With a classic mid-80s arpeggiated energy, the track perfectly straddles the fine line between Italo Disco and early Jamie Principle (think Bad Boy) with a hint of the Smalltown Boys. Their own TCK rework steers things more towards the Ron Hardy side of town, and there's also some tasty reworks by Morgan Geist and DJ Oyster too.
Italian duo Alex Carpentieri and Pietro De Lisi are System Of Survival and present their second album since 2012's Needle & Thread LP on BPitch Control. There are some diverse moods and grooves on offer that really pack a punch on D-Votion, such as the hi-tech soul of second track "Packing" or the appropriately titled "From Motor City With Love" a dusty deep house jam which sounds reminiscent of MCDE's Raw Cuts series. There's the usual tech house shenanigans from the duo on offer in the form of "No Time To Waste" or the title track where they team up with homeboy Salvatore Stallone. But our favourites were the latin house epic "Kutting" featuring Vhelade's powerful vocals or the tunnelling and mysterious "The Bear, The Wolf & The Eagle" which is perfect for building a vibe.
Von Party is back on his Multi Culti imprint and, as always, this guy means business. But, unlike his previous techno releases for the likes of Turbo Recordings or Convex Industries, this time he's on a balearic tip. There's four mixes of "Cobra Rush" here, but it's the original mix by Von Party himself that gets our attention thanks to its slow-building waves of phased-out funk. The remixes aren't exactly without their merits either, though, with Rodion offering a warm, dubby house version. Peter Power reinterpreting the tune through a more tribalistic lens, and Sabo offers a more classic deep house sound to sooth the DJs.
Dresden native Jacob Korn has clearly decided that quality of preferable to quantity. Since 2014, he's really cut back on the number of EPs he's put out, with this simply titled four-tracker being his first release of ant description for 18 months. Predictably, he barely puts a foot wrong, moving from the chunky grooves, alien melodies, dusty musical touches and pulsing loops of "The Happening", to the low-slung, disco-flecked mid-tempo deep house bump of "Thru The Eye". Along the way, pay close attention to the choppy, post-Soundstream edit-house swing of "Holiday", and the soaring, near-symphonic disco-house heaviness of "Goodbye", which is arguably the EP's most bombastic moment.
Colin McBean is an unstoppable force at the moment isn't he! At the moment you say? Yeah too right; the guy never actually stopped his relentless pursuit of the perfect house and techno grooves since the '90s and this Conectionz EP is no exception. Starting things off in explosive fashion with the "You In Or You Out? (Sims Jacker edit)" with its relentless thud and crack of a 909 workout with funky bass and evil pads helped out by some generous reverb build ups; all you need really. The original version up next is more restrained deep house with that great vocal refrain repeating "live your life the way you wanna be free" the tracks aggression provided by those hissing rhythms. Finally "Bring It" is a soulful breakbeat number with soaring synth leads that is a great departure from McBean's normal style.
Jack's House Recordings launched by long serving island resident DJ and producer Clara Da Costa, is a new label born out of Ibiza, which also boasts a successful weekly prime time live radio show that focuses mainly on exclusives and vinyl releases, broadcasted on the award winning Ibiza Sonica. Jack's House also hosts parties at the worlds most famous club, Space for Carl Cox. This first release comes from the talented and well respected, Alex Arnout from Dogmatik Records. Alex has had numerous releases over the years on many other respected labels such as One Records and the Fuse imprint. He is also known for launching, nurturing and finding good talent. This 4 track EP fully demonstrates Alex's versatility in the studio by offering 4 distinctive quality productions which can only be described as true house, and underground house music, made with integrity.
Zurich deep house duo Jules and Spatz present "Rotwii-Lied" a dusty, trippy and low-slung jazz groove that sounds vaguely familiar and then you realise that this project features local legend Kalabrese: so it indeed makes sense. Second offering "Phaettidaense" gets properly funked up and quirky with some subtle latin drumming, warped vocals and smooth Rhodes vibes for added measure. To close this EP out in spectacular fashion, there's a killer remix of "Rotwii-Lied" by Frankfurt's finest Tuff City Kids, who deliver a feelgood retro house rendition with its bleepy analogue synth leads that will certainly get the hands in the air.
According to their social media profiles, newcomers Gheist aim to "connect the sound and vibe of an electronica band and the clarity of an energetic DJ set". That's certainly what's delivered on this debut two-tracker for Exploited. "First Day", for example, combines the rolling, melody-driven positivity of classic electronica - with some subtle indie-influenced guitars buried in the mix - with the swing, bump and energy of dancefloor-focused deep house. Virtual flipside "Viertanz" sees them move further towards tech-house territory, toning down the IDM influences and arty aesthetics in favour of a more straight up tech-house roller. As debuts go, it's certainly promising.
You Got Me marks the 4 Lux Black debut of The Shake Up Connection, an Alex Agore alias that pops up sporadically, last appearing on vinyl only imprint Vakum. It's a predictably assured and entertaining collection, with Agore delivering four fine, club-ready house cuts. Both "Shake Up Theme" and "You Got Me" draw heavily on disco and boogie for inspiration, whilst retaining the warmth and low-end pressure of quality deep house. "Untitled" is a thickset, jazz-flecked bumper, rich in Rhodes riffs, rolling bongos and simmering soul samples, while "Righteous Men" is a Detroit style, groovy deep house number complete with all manner of tasty, jazzy flourishes.
Quavius is a producer and rapper from the southern United States. Born in the late 80s with family in the military, he's bounced between Virginia and Florida, soaking in regional go-go and baltimore club music along with rap, R&B, jazz and Drum n' Bass. After some years experimenting behind the DAW, he's amassed a diverse catalog of tunes, 8 of which are featured on his debut self-titled album for Lustwerk Music. Energetic deep house, two-stepping astral funk, crispy cloud raps and cascading rollerskate riffs occupy this all-encompassing EP. Quavius manipulates samples like watercolors, letting bitrates blend and snap into euphoric moments of clarity. His rapping is that of a shapeshifter, making room in the mix any way he sees fit, high, low, melodic or not. And the lyrics? Catchy, life-affirming, fun. What more could you ask for?
Sous Sol are Swiss duo Lukas Meyer and Teo Finonem from Luzern who present their next release on Copenhagen's What Happens imprint following up great releases by Tim Andresen and Anna Cavazos. Starting out with the slinky and sexy progressive house journey "Frisky" where a sultry voice gaps "I'm feelin' frisky tonight". ooh la la! Second offering is Pornbug's rendition of this ultra-sultry track, giving it a good injection of adrenaline and a bit more swing to help DJs transition into the peak time slot with style.
"Chicago" is a pure jacking house tune which features all the hallmarks of the Trax Records sound: the legendary Windy City label which founded the house and acid house legacy. Milanese legend Carmelo Carone fits with the unique sound of TRAX, which is said to have very much influenced over the years his artistic identity. The "UK mix" gets a bit darker and dubbier with those MK style keys atop, which are a great touch. There's also some fine remixes on offer, but for our money it's all about the tough, swing fuelled jack courtesy of the Hologram Hookers which is reminiscent of classic Armand Van Helden or Miky Talarico's slow burning cosmic disco rendition.
On their previous releases for the likes of Pinkman and Clone Royal Oak, Antenna has proved adept at delivering atmospheric, analogue-rich deep house and dusty basement tracks. As fine of these EPs were, none were anywhere as picturesque and saucer-eyed as this four-track outing on Beats In Space. Sure, the Dream 2 Science influences remain on the dreamy "Primavera May", and "Before I Fall Asleep", but the classic New Jersey deep house sounds are also accompanied by Kate Bush style improvised vocals, glistening melodies and breezy chords. Those wanting a little more low-slung basement grunt should head for the icy but acid-flecked fuzziness of "Primavera April", while closer "Acceptance Snow" is perfect for those who like their house ultra-deep and ambient-influenced.
It's been a long time between drinks for Victor Eich. Sugar appears three long years after his debut EP, the atmospheric Downtown Beat on Thirteen Moons Recordings. "Sugar" is something of an epic: a ten-minute chunk of woozy, bass-heavy deep house laden with fluid electronic motifs, weary vocal samples and, as the track progresses, psychedelic TB-303 acid lines. The original version is accompanied by two contrasting remixes. Joseph Terruel abandons his slo-mo house past in favour of a hypnotic, locked-in, tech-tinged dancefloor stomper, while Eich delivers his own alternate take - the looser, deeper and exceptionally atmospheric Ain't Always Sweet Mix.
Stefan Schwander aka Harmonious Thelonious is back on Italic presenting a new album of globetrotting sounds. More often seen experimenting with polyrhythms with Florian Meyer aka Don't DJ and Marc Matter as The Durian Brothers, most of Schwander's work these days is centred around his Harmonious Thelonious project. Often contributing to Meyer's Diskant label as well as presenting original works on his Asafa imprint, International Dance Record follows up last years Santos LP. The Harmonious Thelonious sound is undoubtedly centred in traditional musical forms, but not bound to specific practices from any one part of the globe. Starting out with the uplifting Afro vibes of "Uhura", there's plenty of variety on offer when considering the sublimely exotic drum science of "Kimbili", the feelgood Nigerian boogie vibes of "Remake" and of course the killer drum sampler workout "Too High To Get Over".