Last year, Melbourne's Harvey Sutherland signaled his arrival in emphatic fashion with the acclaimed Brothers EP for Voyage Recordings - a sumptuous, soul-flecked EP of boogie-influenced deep house. Here, he continues to impress with a superb tracks for Dani Plessow's MCDE imprint. "Bermuda" is deliciously warm and summery, with jaunty boogie synths and cascading chords riding a smooth, shuffling deep house groove. "New Paradise" works the same formula hard, with dreamy, held-note chords and bubbly synthesizer melodies wrapping themselves around loose, analogue-sounding percussion and a rich bassline. If there were any doubts about his talents moving forward, this should dispel them. Clearly, Sutherland is here to stay.
Delusions Of Grandeur have been relatively quiet on the release front this year, but they're back with a bang thanks to this latest collaborative effort from Dan Shake and Medlar. The former has gotten a name thanks to being the first non-Detroiter on Moodymann's Mahogani Music, while the latter has been pushing his disco-friendly take on house music largely via the Wolf Music imprint. They got two cuts on here, the first one being a boogie-leaning, hazy summer club jam in the form of "Walk", and the second one a jazzier affair with plenty of soulful vocals and tribal drums called "I On You". Philpot bossman Soulphiction takes care of transforming "Walk" into a pot of filter-licking madness, where the percussion is stretched and freaked out further out into the ether compared to the original. What a package!
Fresh from dropping fine EPs on Heist and Splendor & Squalor, regular collaborators Brame and Hamo join forces for their second outing on Dirt Crew. Opener "Lamaj" is little less than sublime, with twinkling piano and string samples riding a loose, lolloping, jazz-flecked deep house groove. Andy Hart's straighter, chunkier remix is good, too, though it lacks a little of the original's yearning blissfulness. Elsewhere, the duo doffs a cap to boogie and funk on the sumptuous summer house jam "Four Lights", before closing proceedings with the rolling grooves and fireside Rhodes chords of the bizarrely titled "Garlic Fist Pump".
In-Beat-Ween Music programme of remixes from Lay Far's much loved debut album So Many Ways features an all star cast; Ashley Beedle, Peter Oakden & Craig Smith, Tommy Rawson and Aroop Roy, to Atjazz, Inkswel, Jonny Miller and Thatmanmonkz, to name a few. Inkswel's version of "When I'm Seeing You" is soaked in the warm sound of distorted drum machines and tape delays, while Jonny Miller remix of "Summer Vacation" immediately teleports you to the open air party in the Adriatic Sea coast. Inspired heavily by classic blaxploitation movies, Shadeleaf Music label boss Thatmanmonkz comes up with a dynamic soundtrack for the imaginary chase scene and it's Ashley Beedle who calls shotgun, rewiring the vocal hook from "Yes You Can" with infectious drum breaks, mellow organic chords, piano solos and synthetic bass lines. Fathoms Deep Label honchos Craig Smith & Peter Oakden focus on "We Are The Drum" teasing out a truly irresistible afro-influenced house groove, whilst Tommy Rawson adds some classic house flavour to "Let Me Fly Away". London-based master of reworks and a true nomadic soul, Aroop Roy instils some notable Latin spice to the Sarah Winton featuring "So Many Years" for a superb finale to this round of remixes.
Following a recent outing on Hudd Traxx, Dutch DJ/producer Nachtbraker returns to Detroit Swindle's Heist Recordings with four more chunks of floor-friendly deep house. There's much to admire throughout, from the squidgy basslines, relentless cymbals and floatation tank chords of "Dark Roast", to the loose-limbed, triple-beat-goes-jazz flex of the wonderfully fluid title track. The eyes-closed chords, intricate melodies and undulating acid lines of the smoother "Gurl" impress, as does "You're Out of Your Element", a warm, rich and jazzy homage to Detroit deep house blessed with all manner of aural Motor City trademarks. While considered a bonus track (it was hidden away on the flipside of the vinyl version), it's arguably the best thing on a strong EP.
Gallic groove meister Sebastien Guertau (Around7) began his musical quest by playing bass in a jazz-funk ensemble. Eventually he learned to fuse electronics with live instrumentation and boom! His new label (with Joss Moog & Jean Ce) Ondule was born. Le Bel Age translates as 'the best years' and clearly he's talking about where he's at right now - there's three of his best tunes here - the beguiling jazzy shuffle of the title track, remixed into some cool after hours house by Phil Weeks, echoed in the deep house undulations of "Nuit Blanche" and the abstract piano-meets-beats jam, "Grasse Mat".
Black Fan has only put out one EP on Wolf Music Recordings prior to this latest outing on Sweden's excellent Local Talk stable. His music is characterized by deep, dubby and raw beats coated in a distinctive party flavor, qualities heard loud and clearly on the wonky bumps of "In The Water". "Dancin' Together" takes the more soulful approach, where choppy female vocals ride above jittery chords and starry pads, whereas "J2015" is an altogether dustier affair, a quick-firing mass of percussion shots and siren-like melodies.
Hot on the heels of the well received Words Gone single comes Love Somebody, the first album from former Turbo and Cocoon producer Popov in almost 16 years. For those used to the more abrasive sound of his earlier releases, the warm, tactile and more melodious fare on offer here will come as something of a surprise. Packed with hazy, surprisingly soulful vocals, smooth, tech-tinged grooves and the unmistakable shuffle of powder house, Love Somebody sits somewhere between a radio-friendly, home listening excursion and an Ibiza-ready collection of club tracks. By skillfully ticking both boxes, it should find favour with a range of DJs and listeners.
Hyped producers come and go, but Martin Landsky can always be relied upon to release sublime deep house. This is apparent on "Under the Bridge", a typical Landsky house track. Tight, shuffling drums provide the basis for gradually up-building chords - that hint at a euphoric release - alongside dramatic stabs. The overall effect is spine-tingling and evocative. On the title track, the Poker Flat artist departs from the script. Sure, his trademark acid licks and minute vocal samples are audible, but they ride a booming, Reese-style bass. Rounding off this excellent release is the house version of the title track, whose synth washes sound like Mike Huckaby at his most ethereal
Despite being based in Germany (Hanover, to be exact), This Ain't Bristol was launched to showcase "new British club music". Their latest missive comes from deep house/garage fusionist Billy Kenny, whose discography includes releases on Dirtybird, Nu Wave, and All Over It Recordings. There's much to admire on his latest EP, starting with the toast sub-bass, woozy deep house chords and crackly UKG beats of "What You Sample". While arguably heavier, "I Eat Beats" benefits greatly from a killer string riff and some heady electronics. Dirtybird regular Ardalan delivers a killer remix of the same track, beefing up the bassline and beats whilst retaining Kenny's superb string melody.
It's been some six years since Hun Choi made his debut on William Burnett's WT Records imprint. In that time, he's proved incredibly hard to pin down. This debut album for Rush Hour seems designed to continue that trend, offering a series of warm, melodious and curiously Balearic cuts that defy easy categorization. Sure, there are dancefloor-focused moments - see the cacophonous, Detroit-influenced hustle of "Error of the Average", the deep acid madness of "Silent Sensations" and the classic deep house bounce of "Desire" - but also a range of downtempo and ambient jams that arguably impress more. Of these, it's "The World" - a humid exercise in tropical drums, twittering flutes and looped vocal samples - and the sublime, string-laden "Bruises" that really stand out.
After a couple of quiet years, Nicolas Jaar has hit back hard this year. As well as delivering a second album of crackly, intricate ambient compositions (the excellent Pomegranate), he's also found time to return to his dancefloor roots with the Nyphs II EP. This speedy follow-up to that 12" explores similar territory, with the 13-minute "Swim" rolling along on a wave of loose percussion, held-note bass and dusty, off-kilter samples in his usual eyes-wide-shut style. It takes a little time to really get going, but brilliant builds towards a dark, cacophonous conclusion. Flipside "Mistress" sees Jaar back in ambient mode, delivering a brilliantly atmospheric, high-minded piece for guitar and piano that's little less than stunning.
It's long been something of a tradition for Tosca's albums to be followed, within a year, by a set of remixes and alternative versions. Shopsca: The Outta Here Versions maintains this trend, delivering all-new reworks of the Viennese duo's 2014 full length, Outta Here. While there's a thread of blazed dub running throughout, the variety of the reworks is actually rather impressive. FaltyDL's version of "Have Some Fun" - all bittersweet horns and fizzing future-jazz electronics - is particularly inspired, while the Ogris Debris version of "Kickin' It Down" is a wild, electrofunk-meets-glitch-house gem. Throw in some dub disco style reworks and a woozy house re-fix of "Crazy Love" from Tom Demac, and you have a rather strong set.
Portugal's Moulinex, otherwise known as Luis Clara Gomes, has made his name on his native Discotexas label, an outlet reserved for positive, disco-filtered house music. This latest effort sees Gomes' "Take A Chance" tune being rewired, remangled and transformed by a pair of remixers; the first is by Satin Jackets who goes for a strictly hazy, utterly boogied-out approach for the summer months, while Black Loops takes care of turning the original into a dark, dubby and pulsating floor stomper with subtle filter-house waves.
Eddy Ramich and Zvonimir Dusper are a Croatian deep house duo with a penchant for the jazzy vibes. They've been releasing only a limited number of track since their debut all the way back in 1999 but with this latest release on Freerange it seems like they're back to stay. "A From B" is a delightfully playful house tune boasting a rampant collection of melodies and a perfectly off-kilter percussive flex. The remix comes from Yoruba Soul, who morphs the bleeps into wavier, more lingering tones thanks to an injection of delay and some other FX trickery. There's also a dub mix of the original to tie things off in fine style, a steady and chuggy house nodder with a tribal twist.
Given the obscurity of its producer - his most recent EP dropped way back in 2012 - many people might skip past this debut album without giving it a listen. That would be a mistake, though, as Life In The Clouds is actually rather good. Largely ultra-deep, spacey and unmistakably electronic in outlook, it effortlessly flits between dreamy, tech-tinged deep house, sprawling downtempo piano jams, horizontal dub techno workouts, and - in the case of the rather fine "Stain" - luscious organic house. The album also comes bundled with a terrific, 12-minute rework of the title track from Sebastian Mullaert, who somehow makes the dreamy original even more intoxicating.
Jose Marquez has long been a member of the Basic Fingers family. Since making his first contribution to the acclaimed re-edit imprint back in 2011, he's regularly delivered tasty reworks of Latin jams and African gems. Here he returns with two more killer Latin cuts piled high with South American percussion. "Quinto Y Bongo" smartly combines killer drums and vocals from an unknown, stripped-back salsa record with the sort of subtle, spacey synths and thickset bassline you'd normally find on a high calibre deep house record. "Canto Del Caribe" is, if anything, even heavier, with the combination of sturdy house kicks, dense Latin percussion and chanted vocals creating an intoxicating mood.
Six slabs of hybrid bass so big they can temporarily shut down the sun, Abyss dig deep into the future with their latest multi-artist collection. Nick Hannam's "Stumblin" struts and shakes with a Chris Lorenzo feel, all waspy high end bass and an overweight groove. Hott Like Detroit get their ghetto shake on with a B.I.G sample hook, Oris Nutone quenches his thirst on the endless 90s drinking fountain with "Keep On Dancing" while X5 Dubs chugs up a frenzy with a bassline house jam so thick you could crush a car. Finally Samantha Loveridge lays down a slinky jam that wouldn't have gone amiss on Get Physical 10 years ago while Mike Jones provides the essential hands-up cut of the set with "Long Time" thanks to its reflective chords, classic wailing vocals and sinewy acid bassline.
n the two years since he made his debut with the expansive Kuwa Huru double-pack on Studio Barnhus, Usio has been strangely quiet. Strangely, he's only put out a single track, the wonderful "Galaxy" on Huntleys & Palmers' Chapter 2 compilation. Happily, this belated return to Studio Barnhus was worth the wait. He begins with the classic, Soundstream style disco-house thump of "Gonna Make It", before indulging his funk influences on the similarly chopping and surging "Planet Dust". Flip for the loose-but-dense, acid-tinged deep house throb of "Over The Andes", and the impeccable Balearic deepness of the Afro-tinged "Pamoja". It's probably this latter excursion for which this EP will be remembered, even if it does lack the party-hearty immediacy of the two A-side cuts.
Given their frequent habit of charging off in different musical directions, predicting the contents of a new Juju & Jordash record is getting increasingly difficult. Down To The Roach, their latest release for regular home Dekmantel, is typically wide-ranging, variously exploring bouncy fusions of techno futurism and whimsical deep house (the title track and its' accompanying dub), new age-influenced dream house (the bizarrely titled "Bean Bag Motel"), and spiraling, synthesizer-heavy house/electronic disco hybrids (the stargazing goodness of "Lights at Night"). It goes without saying that all four tracks are imaginative, immaculately produced, and hugely enjoyable. Excellent work all round.