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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Self-professed "90s MTV addict, vinyl supporter, and Akai lover" Marco Zanin is usually seen alongside Steve Murphy as Die Roh or indeed Steve Murphy & Co. Lately the Italian has been spreading his production tendrils as DJ Octopus with appearances on Chiwax, Muscle Records and Enlightened Wax. The Cycling EP sees Zanin bring his cephalopod house styles to the ever impressive Hot Haus operation overseen by DJ Haus and the four tracks see the Italian combine what people love about the Analogue Cops with bassline house techniques of artists like Huxley, with dirty Chicago fare thrown in. Four different shades of contemporary house music to make the one killer EP.
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.
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".
Detroit Swindle's debut album, Boxed Out, confirmed Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets' position as one of the most talented deep house duos of recent years. Here, they take a back seat, as tracks from that album are handed over to a quartet of remixers. Perhaps the most ear-catching rub is MRSK's DJ Sneak style loop funk rub of "He's Just The Guy, You Know?", a whirlwind of tough, bumpin' drums and "Red Alert"-esque slap bass. There's plenty to enjoy elsewhere, too, from the warm chords and chunky grooves of Cuthead's take on "Me, Myself & You", to the soulful fluidity of Jimpster's immersive remix of "B.Y.O".
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.
Parisian producer Rhythm&Soul has been bubbling away on the deep house underground for some time, having released his first 12" back in 2011. Here, he pops up on occasional collaborator Jef K's long running Silver Network imprint. "1998" is in many ways typical of his output, with subtle disco licks, dreamy chords and looped, filtered vocal samples riding a swinging, Chez Damier style groove. The original is joined by a trio of remixes, with Claap and One Records regular John Dimas particularly impressing with his chunky, bass-heavy and pleasingly percussive rub. Elsewhere, Djebali weighs in with two versions: a lush, dreamy, Circulation style Remix, and a deeper, bass-heavy Dub. Both are deliciously warm and melodic.
Oslo boys Trulz and Robin are hardly newcomers, having released their first EP way back in 2000. Even so, Sol marks their debut on one of Norway's most influential labels, Prins Thomas's Full Pupp imprint. The title track seems tailor-made for the label, with sun-kissed synthesizer melodies and attractive, Scandolearic style electronics wrapped around a chunky, Italo-influenced groove. Like so many releases on Full Pupp, it sounds distinctly Norwegian - the kind of record you'd expect from Blackbelt Anderson, Magnus International or Telephones. Thomas remixes, delivering a wonderfully saucer-eyed ambient interpretation that could soundtrack a thousand sunsets. Finally, "Froskelar" sees them saunter off in a different direction, attractively fusing Norwegian disco and dub house in the grooviest of ways.
Damian Lazarus is usually good at spotting musical trends, then reinterpreting them in his own occasional singles. The globally focused Ancient Moons project, which sees him working alongside Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford and various musicians and vocalists from around the world - is a perfect example. Here, the tech-house-meets-world-music jam "Lovers Eyes (Mohe Pi Ki Majariya)" is remixed by Mendo and Dixon. Both producers make extensive use of the traditional qawwali vocals, with Mendo layering them over a thrusting, Panorama Bar-friendly darkroom rhythm. Dixon, meanwhile, goes deeper still, delivering a chugging, Innervisions style groover that makes great use of the original's traditional Asian percussion.
Following well-regarded outings on Unterton and Delsin, Gerd Janson and Philip Lauer bring their Tuff City Kids project to Prins Thomas' Internasjonal imprint. Predictably, there's much to admire about the Parallel Forest EP, not least the wide-eyed electronics, disarming effects and analogue deep house shuffle of "PF01". There's more vintage electronics and ear-pleasing melodies to be found on the acid-influenced goodness of "PF02", while "PF03" sounds like a long-lost demo for a late '80s deep house/synth-pop crossover (minus the vocals, of course). If you're after something a little more gritty, head for "PF04", whose sparse but intense arpeggios, analogue beats and intoxicating electronics recall the more experimental end of early Chicago house.
Following the success of EDMX's Wicked Drummer EP, Skufix turn their attention back to house music by granting Aashton a debut release. It's the first solo outing for the producer after appearing on a Sccucci Manucci various artists EP earlier in the year. The EP's house music highlight is the summery tones and bassline grooves of "Clocked It", while the EP's opener "4 Real" is skippy, upbeat with plodding splashes of grimey tones. Cosmo Lopez, an artist who released on Ninja Tine back in 2012, remixes the title track, delivering a production focused on progression designed to fuel a full dancefloor.
It's been two years since we heard from Simon Garcia, a producer who last appeared on Steve Bug's Poker Flat in 2012. Here the Spaniard embraces loops and repetition by delivering a deeper take on disco-influenced, Tiger & Woods-styled house music, with the title-track grooving with chimes and octave jumping Rhodes to appease the Saturday night crowd. "How Long" is a heavy disco burner you can imagine DJ Harvey using to light up a festival set, while Mathew Styles delivers a minimal remake of "Radians" laced with a huge dose of euphoria.
Hade could accurately be described as "little known", despite having delivered a handful of superb, soulful, heavily electronic deep house remixes for Melting Pot Music. Here, he finally gets his chance with a two-tracker on Gold Finger. Lead cut "It's Not Right" is particularly special, with a classic Whitney Houston R&B vocal riding a warm, sensual deep house groove that's almost huggable. Much of the track's endearing appeal comes from the combination of toasty chords and deep acid bass on which Houston's vocal sits. Flip for "Mobb Deep Ultra", a shuffling deep house/tech-house hybrid that makes great use of vocal samples from an interview with the infamous hip-hop combo.
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.
Former Les Petits Pilous man Jean-Patrick Simonetti has a new alias: Workerz. Here, the French producer presents his Back Office debut under the new pseudonym, a three-track trip though rubbery electronic deep house with a soulful synth-pop bent. There's plenty to enjoy, starting with lead cut "Deep Stress" - a radio-friendly blend of skittering, Chicago influenced drums, shimmering chords, impassioned vocals and heavy, low-end bounce. "Alkaline" throws in a little Todd Edwards style cut-up garage flavour whilst retaining the classic house influences and drawn-out chords that feature heavily in the title track. Finally, the garage influences come to the fore on "Douglas", a three-minute blast of wide-eyed goodness built around fluttering riffs and oh-so tipsy vocal samples.
There's been much hype around Las Vegas-based musician Shamir Bailey following the release of his impressive debut EP, Northtown, back in June. This follow-up is every bit as thrilling, with the curious 19-year-old delivering an infectious leftfield dance-pop stomper built around spiraling chords, surging bass, scattergun electronics, nagging cowbells and his distinctive, androgynous vocals. Brooklyn's Joel Ford (Games, Ford & Lopatin) delivers a more dancefloor-friendly edit on the virtual flip, extending the wonky drum machine groove and making great use of some trippy vocal effects. The results are thrilling. It's this version, rather than the radio-friendly original, that will no doubt become a staple of club sets over the next few months.