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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'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.
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.
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).
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.
Dan Berkson and James What are old sparring partners, having built their reputation at the tail end of the noughties with a series of collaborative releases on Poker Flat and Crosstown Rebels. After a couple of years out, they've decided to launch their own label, Modelmaker. This first release shows the deep tech-house due at their mesmerizing best, delivering a pair of atmospheric, undulating and rolling dancefloor jams. Choose between the tough-but-melodious late night wooziness of "Seraphim" (all analogue style bass, tumbling chords and fizzing percussion) and "Firebird", a loopy shuffler built around tactile beats, classic stabs and dreamy, heavily electronic melodies.
More from Munich-based Lino "Alkalino" Rodriguez, who, having recently showcased his re-editing and original production skills, delivers a pair of previously unheard remixes. There's a warped, bass-heavy, techno-tinged late night feel to Rodriguez's version of Arno's "Lokalderby", with the Portuguese producer wrapping rave-influenced stabs and late night electronics around a booming, after party-friendly groove. There's a similarly murky feel about Rodriguez's version of Deep Blast & Ricco Rizzo's "Lufthans", with detached electronics and bittersweet melodies riding a shuffling, early morning groove. Both tracks seem designed to be played loud in dark German basements, somewhere around 4am.
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.
For this latest instalment by House Of Records the compilation-focused label turns to Jeudi, a Hamburg-based operation that's been releasing laidback, often minimal and disco-tinged house since 2010. This 12-track compile features music from names like HNNY who provides a summery, Axel Bowman-like disco-house groover, while James Silk & Lee M provide some Ibiza popping, bassline house. There's also some downbeat disco from Lesale and some dubbier moves by Monitor 66.
The Squatters touch down on Vicious Bitch with a debut two-tracker for the label! Both the artists and the label are known for their nomadic qualities, where the former has released on countless up-and-coming labels, and the latter has taken on many artists from different spectrums of the bass scene. "Nudge" is a gorgeous, garage-leaning house track for the end of the night, while "Thirsty" is a little more playful and a little more funky. Deep!
Publicist is longtime producer/performer/musician Sebastian Thomson. His tracks approach house music from a darker angle, adding processed vocals and noise to a raw foundation that also takes cues from New Beat, acid house, and Detroit techno.
When performing live Publicist sequences the synths and not the drums, preferring to play an electronically treated drum kit in the middle of the dance floor. This adds an element of sweat, excitement and virtuosity not found in most electronic producer's live performances.
Sebastian Thomson is also known as a founding member of post rock pioneers Trans Am and as the drummer of heavy metal innovators Baroness.
Living in Brooklyn by way of Buenos Aires, Washington DC and London, Publicist has spent the last four years touring Europe extensively.