No 27 in the Wolf Music discography sees the Lupine London label look to the Lowlands (try saying that five times in a row) and introduce their network to the talents of Dutch duo Homework. As Homework, Amsterdam-based Tom Waist and Zip Stolk have racked up a clutch of releases for Shir Khan's Exploited label over the past four years and their brand of classicist Chicago house is most definitely high grade Wolf material. It's hard to describe the three Homework cuts here as anything other than luscious with "Time & Time" a definite highlight thanks to the vocal sample flip. Includes a rather dusty remix from Wolf Music regular Greymatter.
Here's a surprise Christmas present from Jennifer Cardini's Correspondant label - an expansive "best of" compilation featuring gems from the imprint's first four years. Like the label itself, the Correspndant Xmas Compilation is pleasingly varied, touching on a hatful of styles and tempos. So, we get the midtempo, disco and new wave influenced chug of Squarewave and the Mansisters, the wonky house swing of Rebolledo's classic remix of Red Axes, the revivalist Italo vibe of Nhar (the excellent "Thelema"), a dash of acid (Manpower, Careno Is LB remixing Javi Redondo) and some twisted, late night Scandolearic disco from Andre Bratten. Oh, and a great fusion of techno and post-punk attitude from Alex Smoke, whose remix of "Polina" by Agents of Time is superb.
Baaz has been quietly building up an impressive discography since 2007, delivering quality deep house on labels such as Elevate, Quintessentials and Slices of Life. Here he returns to his Office Recordings imprint with his most ambitious release yet - a long-promised debut album. While there's plenty of spacey, dancefloor-focused club tracks - see "Closed", "Endori", the becalmed "Anyway" and pleasingly picturesque "Glass Voice" - the Berlin-based producer also takes the opportunity to showcase a previously undisclosed love of downtempo beats. So, we get the Motor City electronics and glitchy beats of "Spacehub", the ambient hip-hop of "Pressyn", and the beautiful, beatless electronica of opener "Everyone". The result is a rich, evocative album with its head in the clouds, and its feet on the floor.
Delusions of Grandeur present a second selection of tracks from Session Victim's superb sophomore set See You When You Get There, the German duo's acclaimed follow-up to 2012 debut The Haunted House of House. Predictably, there's much to admire, from the jazz keys and skewed deep house swing of opener "Do It Now", to the rubbery disco bass, smoky atmospherics and Moodymann style, jazz-flecked grooves of "Make People Dance". There's also a hip-hop tempo excursion in the form of the heady title track, and - best of all - a deep, bluesy disco-house jam in the shape of the brilliant "Hey Stranger".
Looking back it's been a killer year for DJ Haus and his pair of labels, Unknown to the Unknown and Hot Haus, and it seems like he won't be easing the gears down from "unfcknrelenting" now December has arrived. The latest Hot Haus release (the sixth issued since September!) sees a welcome return for whippersnapper producer Palace whose Vision is the third release issued on the UTTU offshoot in a year! If you liked previous Palace releases you'll love the three tracks here, which are all raw and effective DJ tools sprinkled with immediacy, individuality and nagging basslines - "Solstice" in particular is a real burner of a track.
Legendary bassline producer DJ Q comes through with the first in a series of self-released bombshells on his own Q Recordings outlet. "Ordinary People" is a classic Q floor-filler packed with an artillery of swinging hi-hats and claps - and some lovely female vocals, of course - but you also get a 2-step mix of the same track for some extra groove flex in the groove.
Apparently, deep house producer Daso - famed for his outings on Connaisseur Recordings and Still Von Talent - has been looking for an outlet to release the disco side of his work for some time. Here, he finally gets that chance with an EP of shimmering, melodious nu-disco chuggers on Dikso. Opener "Tide Waves" is particularly beautiful, with smothering strings, twinkling keys and bubbling electronics riding a sun-kissed Balearic disco groove. "Cosmic Alone" doffs a cap to Italo whislt retaining Daso's deft nu-disco touch, while standout "Ride Tide" is a Scandolearic disco gem with definite hints of Diskjokke, Blakbelt Andersen and Magnus International. Best of all, though, is Daniel Solar and Andi De Luxe's voluptuous synth-house rework of "Tide Waves".
Hyenah's debut single, The Wish, was arguably one of Freerange's strongest singles of 2014. This follow-up is, if anything, even better. The Cayman Islands-based producer is clearly a devoted follow of both Joe Clausell and Franck Roger, because the original version of "Tale From The Dirt" sounds like an effortless fusion of their styles - a humid deep house shuffler full of rolling African-influenced percussion and warm, enveloping chords. The original's tasty afro-house grooves are explored further on Rampa's superb, stripped-back, tech-tinged remix. Virtual flipside "The Chase" continues on a similar theme, though it's the "Beastrumental" version - a superb drum dub with just the right amount of heavy bass - that really stands out.
Following on from their excellent Hands of Doom collaboration on Sex Tags, Lozano and Fett Burger get together again. On this occasion however, Lozano delivers three tracks, with Fett Burger providing a remix. The title track is a tracky, acidic affair, based on a discordant rhythm and shot through with high-pitched vocal snippets. "Come With Me" is closer in sound to Hands of Doom, with its robust break beats supporting ponderous tones and bleeps. It sets the scene for "The Afterworld", an atmospheric, fluid track, supported again by lithe back beats, while Fett Burger sends the track into a dreamy state, with a balmy, serene house groove.
Nu-disco fans now have an unexpected Christmas bonus in the form of this meeting of minds collaboration between Belgium's mighty Mugwump and Relish's DC Salas. As expected "Giallo" is a moody heavy breather that is clearly influenced by the legendary soundtracks of 1970s Italian giallo horror cinema. Soft Rocks step in to add some seriously amazing drama in their massive Flesh & Fantasy mix too. Lastly things on a stoner high end with killer Balearic chug-a-thon "Hinterland". Essential!
South Wales duo Somerville and Wilson are well loved in the deep disco scene (that's slower, more expansive nu-disco for newcomers). Given their status, it's no surprise to see them popping up on Yam Who's ISM imprint to celebrate the label's 50th release. The two original tracks here are typical of their style, with glassy-eyed synths and ear-catching melodies riding chugging, arpeggio basslines. "Sun Speciale" sounds like slowed-down deep trance (in a similar way to some of the productions on Prins Thomas' Full Pupp imprint), while there's a Balearic bagginess to "Cenobite" that's consistently infectious. Remix-wise, Chris Massey ups the tempo and turns "Sun Speciale" into a new-Italo slammer, while Rayko adds some sunshine disco sparkle to "Cenobite".
Italian producer Somne is a relative newcomer on the scene, and he's making quite the splash landing on the always-reliable Nonplus imprint and offering up a fulsome five-track EP by way of announcing himself. His sound is a neat fit on Boddika's label, laden in the kind of modernist, atmospheric techno touches that have infected many a track on the label. "Millennium" itself is a patient, brooding workout, while "Treppendorf" moves with a graceful yet kinked groove as it cuts through thick swathes of synth. There's fractious rhythm at play throughout the EP, while the pads and leads come on in warm, analogue tones, hitting upon a fertile spring of danceable electronica and sounding very promising for the future.
Matthew Herbert's return to the dancefloor, via the re-launched Part series (volume one landed way back in 1995, amazingly), has been one of the good news stories of 2014. Part 8 is the third instalment in the long-running series this year, and features another quartet of wonky, left-of-centre house cuts in his inimitable style. Naturally, there's much to admire, from the piano jazz-meets-outsider house swing of "Remember Ken" and the glitch-funk of "Ticket", to the acoustic-goes-electronic pulse of "Her Face". Arguably best of all, though, is "The Wrong Place", which boasts many of Herbert's aural trademarks - think cut-up vocal edits, tipsy electronics and a delightfully odd, low-slung groove.
Flagman Records has described this first label compilation as "the best dancefloor fuel you can get your hands on". Certainly, Diesel is packed with forthright club tracks from the label's growing roster of artists, making it a particularly shrewd purchase. For the most part, the material sits somewhere between deep house and nu-disco, with occasional forays into bustling disco-house (Yell of Bee's remix of Flagman DJs "The Butterfly") and pop-tinged vocal fare (cuts from Flagman DJs and Yell of Bee). Naturally, there's plenty to excite, from the nu-Italo throb of Oxyenen's "Discoshine" and the rolling jazz-funk-meets-nu-disco swing of Antonio Banderas's "Solution", to the synth-laden house of Flagman DJs' "Axel F"-sampling "Easy Touch".
Kellerkind continues his long-standing relationship with Stil Vor Talent on Move Me. The title track is a loose, rolling groove, punctuated by a piercing guitar and a doomy, incoherent vocal. It's house music, but only in the most liberal interpretation of that term. "Believe In You" is more direct. Featuring a tough bassline, a vocal sample intoning 'in you' and hypnotic drones, it makes for a more DJ friendly approach. However, the remixes push the release back towards abstract territories; the Jiggler take on "Move Me" is a dubby, tripped out house groove and Joachim Pastor's version sees him navigate his way through wiry abstraction on one side and powerful subs on the other.
Purple Velvet is Chris James and Lee Dearn, two purveyors of deep and sensuous house music since forming in late 2011. Having gotten to know each other at various late night music sessions, the pair have increasingly honed their own house sound that's as suited to the dark confines of a club as it is the sunnier vibes of an outdoor terrace.
Like UKF and Eton Messy, SubSoul started life as a YouTube channel dedicated to promoting "new and exciting electronic music". This year they've released two acclaimed compilations, and here round off a successful 2014 with a split EP featuring hot new tracks from a range of well-known and fast-rising producers. Icarus kicks things off with Annie Mac favourite "Missing You", a glassy-eyed chunk of melodious, bass-heavy UK house. There's more of a late night, big room flavour to N69's fluttering "Take You There", while Toyboy & Robin continue their adventures in garage and deep house with the pretty "Motions". Finally, De$ignated and Pistol Pete join forces for "Hey Papi (Dub Mix)", a thrillingly heavy trip into shirts-off bass-house territory.
The woman behind the Powerdress alias, Penny F, has already enjoyed a successful career as a songwriter. Here, she steps into the spotlight with her debut single - a bubbling UK house/deep house/pop hybrid featuring lyrics (sung herself, of course) celebrating her 50 Shades of Grey style S&M fantasies. The radio-friendly original is also backed by some strong remixes, with Pirate Jams delivering vocal and instrumental variants of their piano-heavy, rave-era rework (think hip-house breaks, spiralling electronics and hands-in-the-air riffs). There's also a deep, garage-influenced re-fix from Linier, but the EP's standout moment is undoubtedly Mumbai Sciences' hustling, organ-laden, old skool-meets-nu skool rework.
Hamburg-based Erijo Records has a thing about Mallorca. The vast majority of the label's many compilations focus in some way on tracks that sound good in the sunshine. While the Deep Soul brand is not Mallorca specific, this third volume in the series comes stacked with the sort of warm, hazy, sun-kissed deep house you can imagine shuffling along to on a Mallorcan terrace while intermittently sipping on a mojito. The 23-track collection is packed with sensual, slept-on gems, from the nu-disco influenced beauty of Williams' remix of Mousse T and Suzie's "All Night Long", and the spine-tingling breakdowns of JunZZi's "Songe D'une Nuit D'hiver", to the yearning melodies and soft-focus shuffle of Daniel Ray's "The Birds at My Window".
Here, Italian producer Alessio Pagliaroli returns to Moodmusic with his third EP for Klas "Freestyle Man" Linblad's long-running label. "Chance A Glare" is a memorable concoction - a quietly upbeat chunk of Innervisions style deep house that benefits greatly from a superb vocal by Benjamin Frnkln. Pagliaroli adds just the right amount of subtle musical touches - think occasional pianos, hazy electronics and drawn-out chords - to emphasize the beauty of Frnkln's vocal. Innervisions associate Peter Pardeike delivers the obligatory remix, laying down a slightly darker late night rework full of early '90s "intelligent techno" sounds, acid-flecked electronics and a thumping groove.