Juan Miguel Bassols first pricked our consciousness way back in 2012, when he delivered a fine debut under the JMII moniker on 100% Silk. He's not released all that much since, making this first appearance on Hivern Discs his highest profile EP to date. There's naturally much to admire amongst the three original productions present, from the stripped-back but melodious acid house shuffle of "Thrills", to the wild lead lines and chugging bottom end of the analogue synth-heavy proto-house snap of "Tightbrass". Christian S provides two tasty reworks of that cut, including a dark and seductive "Angry Dub". A woozy, dreamier John Talabot re-edit of "Thrills" completes an excellent package.
Having previously plied his trade on a number of New York-affiliated imprints (Wurst, Night People NYC and Nervous offshoot Nurvous amongst them), Eli Escobar makes his debut on Transatlantic label Classic. Opener "Phreeky" features contributions from regular collaborators Vanessa Daou and Nomi Ruiz, and is little less than a killer combination of classic piano-house grooves, party-starting disco samples, relentless cowbells and choice old school vocal samples. It's something of a belter, all told, and one of Classic's strongest releases of recent times. Escobar continues this retro-futurist feel on the Masters At Work-via-Detroit-and-Chicago vibe of "Can't Stop Dancing", where vibraphone solos and whispered female vocals ride an Andres-styles deep house rhythm.
French legend Ludovic Llorca is back under the Art Of Tones guise for the always impressive Local Talk. Acid soul funk? You bet! Take a listen to I "Just Can't (Get Over It)" and you'll believe there is such a thing. On the flip, the smooth and soulful groove continues on "Dirty Stories" which has an undeniably French touch about it, with good use wonky synths, emotive strings and SP1200 style vocal cut ups. Deepness in the vein of Pepe Braddock or Chateau Flight.
Hardworking Italian duo Riccardo Paffetti and Gabriele Michelli have enjoyed a relatively low-key career to date, despite the obvious quality of their chunky, bass-heavy deep house releases. This latest EP for Toy Tronics - their first for a year - is once again packed full of tried-and-tested dancefloor fare. They begin with the hazy, jazz-flecked bump of "Cassette 2", where sparkly keys and delay-laden vocal samples ride a deep and chunky groove, before ramping up the pressure with the robust analogue beats and bleep-era sub-bass of "Cassette 7". COEO adds even more swing to "Cassette 2" on a toe-tapping, hip-wiggling revision, while Carlo turns "Cassette 7" into a low-slung, Derrick Carter style boompty thumper.
More dreamy deep house for inner city rooftops again courtesy of Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay's always impressive All Day I Dream imprint. At the controls this time is NYC stalwart Lauren Ritter with the Lark EP. The title track has all the hallmarks of an ADID track; mesmerising and crystalline pads, xylophone melodies and emotive strings that distill the best influences of German imprints like Kompakt or Dial into it. So does "Swoon", this is the kind of bittersweet headrush that someone like Michael Mayer would unleash on you mid set. "Murmur" incorporates elements of Romanian style minimal with its big rolling bassline and intricate rhythm arrangements complete with hypnotic elements. Great stuff!
Italian electro-pop freaks Crookers are back! They make deep house these days and don't do too badly at it. "Beautiful" features a bossa-jazz flavour over its woozy esoteric beats. "Dub Side 3" is more direct like the name would suggest on this dark and low slung journey track that will appeal to Crosstown Rebels fans. Elsewhere there's a couple more remixes of "Beautiful" which are equally impressive but for our money it's all about Kry Wolf's druggy, party-starting tech house makeover which will get the adrenalin levels peaking with its tough beat, funky bassline and trippy elements all working in harmony.
Defected's ongoing House Masters series should be essential listening for anyone keen to discover more about the recording careers of some of the scene's most iconic producers. Certainly, this latest installment, chronicling NYC legend Todd Terry's finest moments, contains far more hits than misses. At 35 tracks deep, it's a bit of a beast, but features not only all of his best-known productions ("Weekend", "Can You Party", "I'll House You", "Bango (To The Batmobile)", his remix of Everything But The Girl's "Missing"), but also a swathe of lesser-known remixes (A slammin' version of Bizarre Inc's "I'm Gonna Get You"), Dubs (a brilliantly stripped-back version of Hardrive's "Voices Inside My House") and original productions (the hip-house era madness of Black Riot's "Warlock").
This year marks two decades since Jamie 'Jimpster' Odell founded Freerange Records. To celebrate 20 years in the game, Odell has put together a five-disc vinyl boxset of previously unheard material, which is also being released on a number of digital EPs. There's much to admire on this first volume, from the hazy deep house chug of KiNK's "Roads", and the glitchy, broken-house thrills of Odell's Jimpster remix of Tim Toh & Ranavalona's "All I See", to the loose, jazzy deepness of The New Tower Generation's "Eyes Can See". Best of all, though, is "We Play Pads", a wonderfully deep, melodious, hazy and evocative chunk of boogie-influenced deep house from Luv Jam & Jimpster.
Master magician Lorenz Brunner is back as Recondite on Innervisions serving up three perfectly executed dark journey tracks for maximum dancefloor drama. Starting out with the brooding mystery groove of "Osa" whose sombre yet razor sharp melodics guide you down the abyss, he's then on to "Andever" which is a bit more uplifting with some bass driven deepness and haunting bell melodies reminiscent somewhat of the classic sound of German imprint Dial. Finally "Nick" hammers the message home in esoteric and transcendental fashion with its epic and wandering arpeggio backed by trancey atmosphere engineered for total dancefloor bliss.
On this intriguing package, Jacques Renault has signed up a quartet of like-minded party-starters to remix tracks from his 2015 debut album, Zentrum. Borrowed Identity kicks things off with a bluesy, Rhodes-heavy deep house rendition of "Faith", before classic U.S house revivalist Nicholas channels the spirits of Bobby Konders and Chez Damier on his deep, dreamy and intoxicating rework of the same track. Massimiliano Pagliara impresses with a bouncy, synth-laden disco-house interpretation of "Redlight Rubber" full of clipped guitars and spine-tingling vocal samples, before Max McFerren steals the show with a heady, rave-influenced breakbeat-house take on the Latin-influenced "Mi Casa Samba".
The latest release on Tronik Youth's label features a return visit from Heretic. Real name Timothy Clerkin, he makes an impressive sound on the title track. Jittery Chicago drums underscore an androgynous vocal sample, noisy acid and atmospheric synth sweeps. It's redolent of classic Mood Music and Ewan Pearson before the electro house boom got out of hand. The remix from Low Manuel is more considered and reflective, with the Italian DJ toning down the acid and fusing it with a hypnotic pulse. Thomaas Bank's version returns to the original track's noisy approach, with the synths stripped away and just the bare, bruising rhythm remaining.
It's amusing to see some outlets calling the latest release by Thomas Brown and Aaron Turner aka Perfume Advert 'garage house'. The reality is that the northern English duo takes influence from the hazy deep house sound carved out by DiY during the 90s. Sure, there are vocal samples on "Mirror Shield", but like the Nottingham collective's releases and DJing, Perfume Advert bury them deep inside cavernous chords. "Single White Junker" follows a similar path, with a powerful bass supporting the dissected samples. Perfume Advert then turn their attention to German influences, with "Destiny Bond" sounding like Terry Lee Brown Jnr at his dubby best and "Gown" veering down a clicks'n'cuts route.
Having flirted a little with Pets Recordings, Adam Port returns to the loving arms of Keine Musik. In its' original form, "Sonnenfinsternis" is a curious but hugely attractive concoction, with trippy siren sounds, dub effects, spiraling chords and snappy snare fills wrapping their way around a metronomic, Kraftwerk-inspired groove. Regular collaborator Jennifer Touch adds her sweet, hazy vocals to the dreamy tech-house shuffler "Working For It", before Port offers up an extra special treat: a brand new re-edit of his previously overlooked hook-up with jangly guitar band Here Is Why, "Tonight". This new version sounds like a Balearic disco/AOR soft rock classic in the making.
Detroit straight-hitter Rick Wade is no stranger to some serious house flexing, and the man has always provided us with reliable grooves and vibes of the years mainly through his Harmonie Park label. He's on Popcorn right now, though, with the warm and glowing touch of "Your Strength", a tune that reminds us of the sort of sample-laden, soulful house that Mr G is accustomed to; Flabaire's remix strips the whole thing down and takes it on a jazzy tip. "Warm Up" "Warm Up" is more of a bald-faced Chicago jacker that peeps like Brian Harden would much appreciate, while "Meditation" is slow, incandescent and verging on the hip-hop end of things... Matsa's remix ensures some Balearic waves are added to the equation.
Five years on from the release of his debut album, Gymnastics, Ramon Lisandro Quezada finally serves up a follow-up. Conjure is a fine set that neatly showcases the varied sides of the prolific deep house producer's output. So, we get Iberican tribal drums fused with hazy trumpet solos ("Feed Off Of"), dreamy ambience ("Candlelit"), groovy downtempo beats (the hip-hop influenced "Supafly"), sumptuous and sensual dancefloor deepness ("Lotus (In Memory Of)"), and dark, intense, occasionally dubbed-out late night business ("Whistle Song", "Visitation", the stripped-back hip-house of "Toc"). There's little in the way of filler or fluff, and plenty of playable, club-ready material.
The latest full-length excursion on Marco Dionigi's Quantistic Division label comes not from the man himself, but rather a trio of 30 year-old Italians. While they claim to have been drawn together by a love of house music - and many of their previous releases were in that style - Back From Space is an altogether more cosmic affair. Blending metronomic house rhythms with psychedelic electronics, trippy synthesizer lines, ambient flourishes, cosmic rock guitars, Italo-disco arpeggios and spacey melodies, the album drags the classic Italian cosmic disco sound into the 21st century. There's much to admire throughout, from the trippy post-Italo throb of "Atmosphere", to the whistling melodies and heavy house beats of "New Era".
While Nteibint's "Hide In" is a fine slice of cheery, melodious nu-disco/synth-pop fusion, it's the accompanying remix package that makes this an essential purchase. Ewan Pearson, in particular, is in fine form, delivering vocal and instrumental versions that drag the track kicking and screaming towards the dancefloor. Both make excellent use of particularly psychedelic acid lines, sturdy beats, sharp violins and some killer disco cowbells. Both are little less than total overhauls, and testament to Pearson's quality as a producer. Zombies In Miami do a fine job on their remix, too, which sticks a little closer to Nteibint's original while ladling on the atmospheric chords.
One seriously moody and emotive progressive house offering courtesy of Berlin's Florian Kruse and featuring the velvety voice of Hendrik Burkhard on "The Ground". The remix by Joris Voorn gets even deeper, darker and tripped out for some real early evening dancefloor drama. Second original track "Going Against The Grain" is one perfectly executed journey track of the darker persuasion (wonky melodies assured) whose bittersweet tendencies will pull at the heartstrings as much as it'll move your feet.
Pooledmusic presents label boss Ian Pooley's first serving of original material since 2013's What I Do LP. "Turakina" is hypnotic and textured tech house executed wonderfully by a true master. Those swelling and evolving pads that join in the mix later are pure magic. Things get more uptempo and mysterious on the dancefloor drama of "Mudou" with some immaculately programmed rhythms facing off with doomy and epic synth leads. There's also a dub version which takes the track into smoother, and yes, dubbier deep house territory.
Glasgow imprint Dixon Avenue Basement Jams are really on a roll at the moment aren't they! After some great releases by the likes of Casio Royale and Big Miz they now present the return of Detroit producer Jared Wilson, who last appeared for the label back in 2012. The Communing With Ghosts EP features "Pheo Acid" which is a dark and epic 303 excursion that will no doubt appeal to hardcore fans of the classic Chicago sound. "Acid River" (getting the theme now?) is more restrained with the relentless squelch of that little silver box, but still pumps along at a nice pace. On the flip we've next got "Smartbar Acid" which we really can imagine sounds like a night up at the infamous Windy City institution. Finally the title track might break the pattern of names thus far but not the sound (thankfully) and it's definitely the most high octane acid track on here that would make even DJ Pierre himself stand up and notice.