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Reviewed this week
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Chesus seems to be in a happy place right now. Certainly, there's a confident and outgoing feel about his second outing for 4Lux under the Earl Jeffers alias. All four tracks feel like the product of enjoyable studio sessions, and almost bristle with celebratory release. "Jump", which recalls the disco-inspired bump of early '90s New York house whilst adding sturdier bottom end, leads the way. Following close behind is "Elevation", a carnival-friendly fusion of pounding percussion, snaking synths and booming bass. "Intergalactic Jam" is a warm and rich exercise in stargazing deep house, while the curious "Bootsy's Nightmare" is hard to pin down. Listen carefully, and you can hear influences from UK funky, UKG, kuduro and ultra-deep house.
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In a bid to celebrate 16 years in business, Mallorca-based Garito Cade Bar has joined forces with the like-minded souls from Sweden's Local Talk imprint. The result is a collection compiled and mixed by resident DJ Nacho Velasco, featuring both well-known and previously unheard gems from Mad Mats and Tooli's well-loved label. While many people will have some of the better known material here - think Fred Everything's excellent "Brothers & Sisters (PM Atlantic)", HNNY's "Fr The Very Forst Time" and Kyodai's "Something Special" - it's the previously unheard selections that make it Music Joined Us worth investigating. Of these new cuts, it's Tommy Rawson's lusciously loose "7 Days" and Jesse Futerman's smouldering "Life Is A Gamble" - smoky soul re-made as Latin-tinged deep house - that stand out.
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As sure as night follows day, there will be at least one Kyodai release a year on Local Talk. Konbanwa is the Berlin-based Garayalde Oses brothers' third EP for the Swedish house imprint in as many years. The title track is particularly potent. Impressively, it chugs along in a foreboding manner - think tough, late night deep house with growling electronics - before breaking down into a piano-laden middle section that will have the hairs on the back of your neck standing on end. It's then a piano-laden darkroom sprint to the finish. "So Special", meanwhile, brilliantly laces vocal samples from an NYC Peech Boys' Larry Levan-produced '80s disco classic over a chunky, rolling, classic-sounding US house groove.
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Proud Yorkshire label Hudd Traxx have been putting out a reliable stream of quality deep house since 2005, with artists like DJ Sneak, Rick Wade, Iron Curtis, Jay Bliss and Agnes just some of the many names to appear on the label. This 46th release features three debutants, while the fourth name, J.T. Donaldson, spearheads the release with a wishy-washy, bassline driven deep house vocal cut "Got Myself Together". Hudd Traxx provides Dusseldorf producer Maximiljan with his first physical release with the track "Son Of A" which merges the linear 909 house style of Norm Talley with smooth chords and cheeky vocals similar to the now defunct Swiss house duo Azuni. But most interesting for the label on this release, it's the two new names in Professional Gigolo and Tuneon that prove Hudd Traxx still know where to look when it comes to unearthing new and vibrant talent.
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Here's a deliciously simple idea from Matias Aguayo's Comeme label: DJ friendly re-edits of tracks from Russian producer Philipp Gorbachev's decidedly off-kilter Silver Album. Aguayo shows the way, turning the loose and eccentric "Distance" into a heads-down chunk of no-wave house complete with military drum rolls and a whisper of acid freakery. Elsewhere, look out for an inspired EBM style reinterpretation of "Arrest Me" from Optimo man JD Twitch - arguably our pick of the bunch - and a brilliant, slo-mo blend of "New Sound" and "Silver Symphony" from Ana Helder. Oh, and a no-nonsense reinterpretation of "What Do You Need" from fast-rising, former Hot Creations man Danny Daze.
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It's safe to say Midland is now one of Aus Music's marquee artists. This Duster EP provides the Englishman with his seventh release on Will Saul's label since 2010 with that killer split 12" with Ramadanman (now Pearson Sound). The title track features a Caribou-like bassline and synths which swell and vary in size over a skipping house beat. "Replex" is rougher and frenetically percussive while still remaining melodic, while "Pitch Drift" is the deepest production on the record that some how, in amongst the trippiness of it all, stays tropical.
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Ultra Bass is a label that has been gaining steady ground with its UKF-flecked bass-house bangers. Here David Eliza adopts the well-rounded soulful tones of vocalist Jael for the synth washed break-step jam "Amazin'" and the deeper, housier "The Ride". Standout remixes here include Rare Candy's sumptuous poolside rerub of the latter and Tommy Mc's deliciously dirty basement garage rework of the former.
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Numbers aren't giving much away about the identity of Deejay Deer - unless, of course, he is genuinely a forest-dwelling animal with a sideline in synth-laden late night house, as their amusing press release claims - but in many ways it doesn't really matter. Both tracks here are superb, with "Natural" offering a fizzing, melodious take on deep house with clear Floating Points, Tiger & Woods and Joy Orbison influences. There's also a touch of Caribou about virtual flipside "Unantural", whose fluid waves of synthesizer and exotic, almost psychedelic chords seductively crash over a wide-eyed, loose-limbed jazz groove. It's impressively produced, suggesting this is the work of a seasoned pro rather than a little-known newcomer.
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It has been four long years since South African producer Culoe De Song last graced Dixon's Innervisions imprint. Happily, this belated return - a year after dropping his impressive Exodus album on Soulistic - sees him at the top of his form. "Y.O.U.D" is, in many ways, what you'd expect - a dense but picturesque blend of thick tribal percussion, fluttering electronics, sampled yelps and eyes-wide-shut melodies. He opts for altogether deeper vibe of "Geyser", layering dreamy chords and hazy melodies atop a hypnotic, shuffling groove blessed with delicious atmosphere. Strong stuff, all told; it's a pity it's been so long between drinks.
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This is a significant moment in the development of Michael "Huxley" Dodson. Following six years building his reputation via a constant trickle of singles, the London-based producer has finally delivered a debut album. It's a little more expansive and varied than many of his singles, and variously touches on many of his regular inspirations - UK garage, deep house and bumping techno, in particular - as well as some he's not previously explored (see the pitched-down rave breaks of "Give 2 U" and the "Circles"-ish liquid D&B of "MXR"). The result is a polished, floor-friendly set that impressively straddles the line between club tracks and home listening fodder.
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At once foreign and familiar, Desert Sound Colony brilliantly scores a nostalgic journey through the proverbial looking glass. The plaintiff vibe of "The Way I Began" envelopes the listener in warm guitar licks and hushed vocals, transporting them to a time when innocence and insecurity gave way to transcendence. The road takes a turn with "Fire Egg", a classic stomper that drives introspection with looping guitar melody and bouncy bass. And before we return to size, "Iris" carries us further inward with scattered claps and a skipping kick, before releasing us into a deep and chugging, eyes-wide-shut, euphoric roller.
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It's taken Baba Stiltz a while to settle on a sound of his own. While his early material - released as far back as 2011 - stuck rigidly to skwee and hip-hop influenced downtempo grooves, latter projects for Studio Barnhus have seen him head in a much more immersive deep house direction. This imaginative and eccentric debut album, presented as a doublepack with full artwork, stitches together these disparate strands. The results are impressive, with vibrant, Balearic-influenced deep house cuts nestling side by side with robust acid jams, scratchy downtempo grooves, grandiose synthesizer soundscapes and skewed instrumental pop. It's an assured and curiously off-kilter debut, which should appeal to those who enjoy more leftfield strains of deep house.
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Since making their debut on Lost My Dog last year, Mountal's profile has risen dramatically (thanks, mainly, to the success of a sneaky remix of Pharrell's "Happy"). This sophomore EP builds on their debut, delivering five more chunks of undulating, bass-heavy deep house. Highlights are plentiful, from the "Bar A Thym" style cowbells, riffs and rolling grooves of "Nothing To Undo" and sub-heavy, UKG-influenced wobble of "Masterkill", to the deep and dreamy flex of the extra-intoxicating title track. That track is given the remix treatment by US house veteran Mr V, who drops two contrasting versions; the tech-tinged deep house shuffle of his Sole Channel Mix, and the sparse-but-attractive electronics and minimal-influenced rhythms of the 2AM Mix.
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China's house scene is still in its infancy, but it's good to see new label Guangzhou Underground promising to represent it worldwide. This debut release, though, comes from experienced European producer Alex Agore. Aside from the deliciously melodious closer, "Mistakes" - a trip into '80s instrumental slow jam territory - Agore goes straight for the jugular, delivering a series of bumpin' cuts that take much influence from vintage US house. "Do It" is positive and smile inducing, with heavy organs and sampled horns combining well with driving beats. There's more of a DJ Duke-meets-UKG feel about the booming "Tygah Style", while "I Miss Your Luv" sounds like a classic Night Grooves release dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
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Having previously built up a solid relationship with legendary New York deep house producer Ben 'Cozmo D' Cenac via their 2012 reissue of his Dream II Science 12" from 1990, Rush Hour once again mine his back catalogue with impressive effect. Bang The Drums, his first and only album under the Push/Pull alias, has long been regarded as something of a slept-on deep house classic. It's similar in style to the Dream II Science material, but with greater use of African rhythms and instrumentation. Given when it was made, there are also nods to hip-house (check the groove and stabs on "Africa", as well as the title track) and, perhaps most interestingly, classic New Jersey garage ("Zanzibar", seemingly a tribute to Tony Humphries' club of the same name).
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Following two high-class collaborative EPs alongside pal Sascha Sibler for Permanent Vacation and Innervisions, Daniel Bortz turns his attention to remixing eccentric German duo Rey & Kjavik. His version of the largely forgotten 2012 cut "Face It" is something of a soft focus delight, with the duo's impassioned vocals riding a sweet and melodious wave of vintage synthesizer melodies, enveloping pads and eyes-wide-shut electronics. It's an atmospheric concoction, an effect helped by Bortz's beats, which fizz and pop (think classic electro, or leftfield synth pop) whilst retaining the unmistakeable pulse of German deep house.
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While Italian producer Nicholas has always been obsessed with classic house - be it the piano-laden release of early '90s Italian productions or the New Jersey bump of later period Nu Groove - he's more than capable of producing deep house laden with soulful intensity. That's what's on offer across these four tracks, beginning with the heavy bass, dreamy chords and sensual vocal (provided by Shaun J Wright) of "Love Someone". The Italian wisely provides a darker, chunkier dub of the same track, before exploring acid and sprawling pianos on the deliciously effective "Message". Finally, "J.U.N.E" features an attractive blend of hazy freestyle vocals and cute Rhodes keys riding a fizzing, late '90s US deep house groove.
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Remix compilations can be a little hit-and-miss, but this one - gathering together five years of eccentric and often inspired reinterpretations from German veteran DJ Koze - is anything but. Koze often saves his best work for the remix domain, delivering imaginative reworks that take the original material into surprising new places. So, Herbert's "If Only" is turned into a sparse chunk of atmosphere-rich late night deep house, Caribou's "Found Out" is blessed with a new sense of wonky, left-of-centre purpose, and Zwanie Johnson's "Golden Song" is given a decidedly Balearic, beatless makeover. Highlights are plentiful, with Koze's dubby, low-slung afro-jazz reinterpretation of Soap & Skin's "Marche Funebre" standing out.
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Snuff Crew have long described their style as "the new old house sound of Germany". It's an apt description, as their productions ripple to the familiar sounds of jackin' Chicago house rhythms, the undulating intensity of acid and - on occasions - the druggy, synth-heavy pulse of Italo-disco. The masked men of mystery are at it again on this three-tracker for BPitch Control. Choose between the throbbing, Italo-meets-the Chemical Brothers vibes of "Berlin", the handclap-heavy Chicago-meets-New Jersey warmth of "Sick World" and title track "Pump It Up", which comes on like the soundtrack to a particularly messy night in a downtown Windy City basement.
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Pomelo has been releasing music since 1994, with tracks in the early days coming from DJ Hell, Punk Anderson and Hi-Lo, while in more recent years the label has been a platform for Alex Cortex, DJ Stingray, Brendon Moeller and Tin Man. This second 20 Yrs various artists EP adds to Pomelo's milestone celebrations by featuring tracks from Tin Man, who delivers an archetypical acid techno production called "Detroit", while Macro associates Elektro Guzzi provide a vamping "Radicale" which is forever peaking. It's Digilog who pulls out the wild card though with a cavernous, 303-fuelled "Mind Gap".
Exclusives
ELIZA, David feat JAEL - Motion EP (Ultra Bass) - exclusive 17-11-2014
WORKERZ - Deep Stress EP (Back Office) - exclusive 27-10-2014
GEENA - On The Top Of Deep Hearted Fern (Antinote) - exclusive 27-10-2014
Exclusives
HUXLEY - Blurred (Aus Music)
SOLOMON, Luke - Louder Than Words Vol 2 (Toy Tonics)
GORBACHEV, Philipp - Silver Album DJ Edits (Comeme)
Alexander Robotnick DJ Chart
Kito Jempere DJ Chart
Pablo Bolivar DJ Chart
Lady Blacktronika DJ Chart
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