London producer Fold has built up a small but respectable discography of 12" releases, largely for local capital concerns Man Make Music and Electric Minds. He's also got something of a penchant for humorous titles, which is on full display for this debut Fold 12" on Will Saul's Aus Music label. Calling your record Netflix and Chill might put off the house purists with no time for internet memes, but you can't fault the standards of Fold's productions here. Lead cut "Calmer Mood" features some fine sampling over skipping drums and a hefty bassline, whilst the appropriately named "Wallop" could be mistaken for a Maurice Fulton track. On the B-side, the drum heavy jungle-house hybrid makes for a refreshing change of tone and is backed by a killer Kassem Mosse remix.
'Thug Houz' champion and Unknown To The Unknown founder, DJ Haus, has whipped up a storm with club nights, releases and DJ sets all over. Now he properly introduces himself with a long player, "Burnin' Up", on London's Rinse. There's 11 cuts on here, all of which reveal his fondness for all things 90s. Highlights include the hard, uncompromising acid of the title track, the short nostalgic burst of rave-organ fun that is "Hypnotizin'" and the dark body music vibes of the moody "Houz Musik".
A bassline with an often quite maximal approach to production, Jack Beats resurfaces here on Rinse with the slightly more stripped back Zone EP. The title track is sturdy, bassy throbber with hints of tropical beats and an assertive vocal flow from MC Riko Dan (there's also an instrumental dub if that's not your thing). Companion track "Coupe De Ville" meanwhile, with its psychedelic 90s rave stabs and edgier beats, is the real star here.
Bradley Zero's Rhythm Section label has recently enjoyed a great run of success, which he is hoping to continue with new signing Tom Burford, aka Contours. The title of the EP, Technician, is a good indicator of his stylistic approach - meticulous and slightly cerebral without ever being dull or dancefloor repellant. There are six deep and unique tracks to choose from including the remarkable percussion and raw atmospherics of the title track, which was the first (of many) Contours tracks to blow Zero away. Now it's our turn to experience the same.
Japanese producer Takuya Matsumoto first surfaced back in 2001 on a split release with compatriot Kouji Nagahashi (seek out "The Rubicon") but its more recently he's been getting the attention his classy house productions deserve. Matsumoto lands on Fina with the Places Of Colour EP after superb 2014 drops for R&S subsidiary Meda Fury and Clone Royal Oak and if you were a fan of those you will want to check these four cuts! Subtle and warm, opener "Souvenir" sets the tone thanks to Matsumoto's perfectly balanced blend of silky vocals, delicate chords and dusty cymbals. Evocative piano melodies play their role in "Coco" too, easing up alongside poignant strings as the producer shows his flair for rugged, interesting rhythms. Flipside jams "Flio" and "Seasons" veer off into jazzier territory and make it easy to see why Flo Po rates Matsumoto so highly! As do we - Juno recommends this 12"!
As debut singles go, this four-tracker from Look Like on Drumpoet Community is pretty darn good. For starters, it's pleasingly varied - contrast, for example, the sweaty, retro-futurist techno punch of "Phone Interference", and the chiming, cut-up, garage-influenced deep house warmth of "B.A.B.E" - and contains all manner of brilliant ideas. The loose, synth-heavy "Dapra", for example, boasts the intoxicating, synth-heavy madness of Maurice Fulton's Syclops project, but couples it with the booming, strobelight intensity of warehouse-friendly acid house. As for "Float", it's a paragon of picturesque beauty, with synthesized steel drum melodies cascading over a jaunty deep house groove.
Drop Music head honchos and the undisputed kings of UK tech house return, with a serving of funky and slinky tech house. The Nottingham duo get stuck in straight away with the liquid, early evening groove of "I Think of You" with its soulful vocals sure to start some hands in the air moments. "Turn Around" keeps on with well executed, soulful house vocals above a bouncy bass and swing fuelled rhythm with that Derrick Carter style 'boompty' sound, that we all love. It is more typical fare by Riley and Richie on "Still Feel Good": some clean cut deep house with a razor sharp bassline, tight rhythm and nice vocal stabs, but closes out with the smooth and dusty R&B groove jam that is "Watt About It".
Londoner Roska has been reigning supreme ever since founding his Kicks & Snares imprint back in 2007. Here he returns with a new long player, Refresh, which sees him continue to evolve from his grimey roots into newer house sounds. There are eight tracks including singles Frst &Frmst and Lean & Green. Highlights include the linear tribal vibes of opener "Waves", the sci-fi grime jam "Light Dem Up" and the dreams n' bleeps of garage-pop anthem "Higher" which features the soft vocals of Jamie George.
Shadow Child & Kry Wolf bring you Boxia, the next recruit presenting on Food Music. According to Boxia's bio, he has been around for about a year, "dealing in under the counter tracks to some of the DJ elite". Enough said! First up "Biology" is banging acid house with the most exquisite 303 squelch you'll hear ever, complete with chipmunk vocals and white noise build ups; all the good stuff! Next up, the dark tech house of "Crunch" is a more serious affair featuring a pitch shifted monologue and a sample of Inner City's "Pennies From Heaven" riding on top of a rolling, early morning groove for hedonists. Finally "Progress" pays homage to the original deep house sound of early nineties Chicago featuring warm swirling chords, a swing fuelled beat and cut up female vocals.
Berlin's Hugo Massien makes his return to the mighty XL, and he's got four slabs of pseudo house music with him. "Kontrol" itself is a mass of rave sirens, stuttering drums and pulsating low-ends, while "All Night" is more of a classic dance anthem for the late night drives. "Better Let Her" takes broken vocal samples and sprinkles them over a pumping, Chicagoesque groove, whereas "Fahrenheit" takes another cruise down the chillier end of things, coming out with a mood burner for the end of the night.
Fresh from releases on Nang and Chopshop, Gloucestershire-based disco/boogie/deep house fusionists Situation pop up on Paper Disco. "Get A Taxi" is arguably one of their strongest tracks to date; a seductive fusion of bubbling P-funk synth lines, vintage electrofunk swing, smooth disco drums, heady vocals and just a little 21st century deep house flavour. Interestingly, it's this latter element that most of the remixers choose to focus on, with Alkalino, Goshawk and Vampire Disco all delivering nu disco-meets-deep house interpretations. Love Drop do things a little differently, serving up a warm, Balearic-inclined interpretation that doffs a cap towards jazzy, early noughties broken beat.
Emerging star out of Leeds Denney is still hot from recent releases for Hot Creations and Poker Flat and now makes his debut on the legendary Steve Lawler's Viva Music with some slinky tech house grooves set to explode on the island or any or other beach party for that matter! "On & On" features a tight rhythm beneath a bouncy, razor sharp bassline and powerful diva vocals; ticks all the right boxes. The "Monday Club Mix" gets a bit more on the late night tech house tip; a bit darker and sleazier. The legendary Justin Robertson of Lionrock fame lends his hand on a deft remix; the "Deadstock 33s Remix" is a bleepy minimal groove with a resonating, hands in the air melody that sounds somewhere between Marc Houle and Will Clarke. Finally "This Is Music" is a grinding, squelchy 303 acid stormer that even still manages to squeeze in some diva vocals; mental! The Waifs & Strays remix takes the acid into deeper and darker territory with another rolling late night groove that'd appeal to fans of Gruuv or Saved.
Few DJs can lay claim to enjoying such a long residency as Sven Vath and on this release cele-brating his sixteenth year in Ibiza, the storied German spinner mixes it up with considerable aplomb. The basis for Vath's selections are split between European and American-influenced variations on house and techno. On Europe's side there's the deep, druggy "XTC" by DJ Koze, Jacob Korn's mushy, organic house grooves and the brittle rhythms of Ricardo Tobar. Ever conscious of elec-tronic music's history Vath includes the booming, pulsing Carl Craig take on Kevin Saunderson fea-turing Inner City's"Till We Meet Again", Deetron's techy house and Alden Tyrell's banging ware-house remix of Geeeman's "Wanna Go Bang". Another season, another masterful Vath mix.
Brian Harden is back on D3 Elements with a new three track EP that once again explores richly musical deep house with a difference. Harden is a criminally overlooked Chicago producer who had big success in the 90s thanks to releases on Moods & Grooves, Nite Life Collective and Undaground Therapy Muzik. He then took a break away from music, but the D3 label boss coaxed him out of retirement in 2014 with a top debut EP for the label. Since then he has also released on Sistrum and Soul Print, and is now properly back in business. First cut 'Paradox' is a mid tempo house roller with scale-riding chords and emotive, late night tinkles on the keys that really speak to your soul. Golden pads stream in the background and it's a hugely classy affair all round. 'Nostalgic Pieces' is then a deeper cut with a warped baseline and starry night sky melodies up top. Again, lush, musical chords shimmer and simmer deep in the track, lending it a real sense of artistry and separating Harden from the legions of modern deep house imposters. Finally, 'Chicago Homage' is an elastic, spacious cut with rubbery kicks, soft hi hats and a tumbling bas riff that once again come coated in gorgeous pads. This is music that makes you feel good as you dance your every day woes away.
EleFlight Records continues to impress with its bight, breezy, jazz and disco-flecked take deep house. Following fine releases from Shur-I-Khan and Darias Vaikas, the London label turns to Erik Ellman, who recently impressed with a solid single on Large Music. "People Say" is something of a sun-kissed treat, with distinctive jazz guitar loops and woozy vocal samples riding a chunky, rolling deep house groove. Helsinki's Lauri Saine provides the remix, offering up a sumptuously warm and jazzy re-make that makes great use of swirling, easy listening strings (think "Deep Burnt", and you're close), dusty jazz samples, dubbed-out vocal cuts and a head-nodding bassline.
Man of the moment Seven Davis Jr recently consolidated his reputation for quality unpredictable productions on album, Universes. Here two album tracks, "Sunday Morning" and "Welcome Back" get the remix treatment. First up Kaytronik reworks the former as both a throbbing, looped house jam and a quirky Afro/carnival-esque 'Breaks Dub". Meanwhile Yoruba turns the latter into a deep and twisted analogue workout, the instrumental of which proving to be the more immersive listen.
According to Goldmin's accompanying blurb, Florian Muller was once described as "France's answer to Moodymann". While that may be pushing it a bit, Muller's use of jazzy instrumentation, blazed textures and hazy deep house rhythms certainly has more than a little in common with Kenny Dixon Junior. That said, there are other influences at play on this EP, too. Check, for example, the distant vocals and tumbling synthesizer melodies of the decidedly Balearic "Once Upon A Time", the dubbed-out, organic deep house bliss of "Un Retard Certain" and the spine-tingling, folksy female vocals and flamenco guitars of "Deep Pavane".
Mysterious Berlin duo Berg return with another slab of vintage, analogue deep house. First track "3000-3009" has beautiful dark strings with a haunting and modulated vocal phrase that persists while the relentless thud and hiss of an analogue drum machine keeps the pace. "Montag" does more of the same, just not as dark; more uplifting with its mesmerising melody and rolling bassline. Finally "Melodien" gets deep and subterranean again with its lo-fi textures giving it its odd beauty. Fans of STL and Benjamin Brunn; take notice here!
Apparently, Rene Pawlowitz doesn't already have enough production aliases. Having already released killer material as Shed, Head High, Craft, WK7, The Traveller and War Easy Made (to name a few), he's now adopted another moniker: Zigg Gonzalezz. "High Jackin" sees him expertly doffing a cap to Nuyorican Soul-era Masters At Work and similarly loose-limbed US house from the turn of the millennium, layering sparkling deep house chords and sweaty vocal samples over a bustling, Africanism-style rhythm. "The Kind" explores similarly territory, though it feels a little deeper despite the presence of denser, tribal-influenced rhythms. As for "The Kind (Storm Dub"), it feels like a long lost DJ Duke jam from the tail end of the '90s.
Since 2013, Pusic Records' occasional EPs have all followed the same blueprint. This sixth release sticks to the template, delivering more hazy, soul-flecked warmth that sits somewhere between deep house, broken beat and jazzier, more experimental flavours. M5K's "Phase Em Out" neatly fuses spacey electronics and wonky, off-kilter hip-hop beats, whilst Snacks' "Between You & Me" laces bold, jazzy piano lines and sweaty, diva vocal samples over a bouncy deep house groove. There's a little more Chez Damier style bump to Woodcut's "The Projects", which Hodini also reworks - in a loose and jazzy broken house style - under his Hulk Hodn alias. Finally, Funkyjaws' reaches for the stars with the rising synth lines, breezy melodies and cymbal-heavy beats of "Burr".