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SWITCH GENRE
 
Reviewed this week
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Nils Penner's first release for Freerange, 2012's Munich/Berlin EP, seemed to re-ignite his career, landing him subsequent appearances on Compost Black Label and Exploited. This return to Freerange as every but as warm and involving as you'd expect, with the title track skipping along on a wave of Innervisions-style bottom end, shuffling drums, heart-aching string chords, bluesy vocal samples and some wonderfully tactile riffs. Even better is Pittsburgh Track Authority's superb remix, which adds a little Detroit swing and classic Chicago deep house bounce to Penner's very European-sounding original (think jaunty piano chords, eyes-wide-shut strings and fizzing Motor City percussion). Bonus cut "State of Mind" - all melancholic pianos, drawn-out breakdowns and tech-house swing - is pretty tasty, too.
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Here's something of a pleasant surprise: a Steve Lawler record on Hot Creations that finds artist and label eschewing their typical sound in favour of something a bit different. The plainly titled "House Record" comes on like a long lost Tyree or Fast Eddie production - all "This Is Acid" stabs, thickset bass and lolloping hip-house rhythms. Flipside "City Nights" continues on a similar theme, with spitting drum machine percussion, jack-tracks style handclaps and an undulating bassline stirring long repressed memories of sketchy warehouse parties sometime around 1988. As a package, this is easily Lawler's - and Hot Creations' - best release for some time.
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If you've not invested in a physical copy of Session Victim's excellent sophomore set, See You When You Get There, you probably should. Alternatively, you could pick and choose between the various digital samplers on offer. There's tons of high quality material on this third EP. Throughout, the German duo expertly tiptoe the fine line between disco and house, variously delivering warm, rolling, Rhodes-heavy deep house (the brilliant "The Most Beautiful Divorce Ever"), loose and organic disco-house ("Under Your Spell"), eyes-closed slow jams (the seductive and becalmed "Eeo's Place") and cut-up Balearic beats (the picturesque "Crystal Maze"). Throughout, the production remains warm, smart and endearingly dusty.
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Having focused exclusively on digital releases for its first six years, leading Mexican disco/house/Italo fusionist label Electrique has decided to press this 80th EP to vinyl. Happily, it's also available as a digital EP. An all-star concoction featuring various label regulars, it variously touches on bleep-heavy deep house (La Royale and Pato Watson's bleep-heavy "Gravy"), dirty analogue electronics (a trippy and fuzzy offering from Max Jones), rubbery machine funk (Gameboyz), throbbing heads-down fare (Bufi, Eddie Mercury) and Latin-tinged analogue disco (Juan Soto & Rocco Desentis). Best of all, though, is Thomas Jackson's Lee Scratch Perry-sampling "For The Junkies", a prize slice of fuzzy, Prins Thomas-ish organic disco.
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Given that Creative Swing Alliance's Pablo Valentino owns Faces Records, it's surprising that this is the deep house duo's first single for the label (it's doubly surprising given that the imprint has been active since 2002). Happy, the Weekend EP was worth the wait. Each of the four original tracks delivers the perfect balance between tactile soul, chunky dancefloor grooves, rhythmic swing and heady musicality, as if their aim was to sit somewhere between Moodyman and Motor City Drum Ensemble. Arguably the EP's standout moment though, is Rawinthecity boss Fulbert's remix of "The Way You Need Me" - a dusty, ultra-deep groover capable of sending shivers down the spine of even the most sober of punters.
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Auckland-based eight-piece Weird Together are an interesting proposition - and not just because it's helmed by Tokyo-based journalist Nick Dwyer and one-time NRK deep house regular Dick 'Magik J' Johnson. Their style, as showcased on this debut EP for the admirable Soundway Records, is fiendishly hard to pin down. In essence, they take inspiration from a myriad of global styles - mainly localised sounds from parts of South America, Africa and the Caribbean - and fuse them with contemporary house rhythms and structures. Throughout, highlights come thick and fast, from the dense percussion, booming bass and African vocals of "Gban Gban Lewa" and picturesque, Soweto-house shuffle of "Karima's Story", to the South American bliss of "Mbira".
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If you're going to put together a set of "past and future acid classics", we can think of few better to handle compilation and mixing duties than Altern 8's Mark Archer and veteran British DJ Jerome Hill, once a renowned face on the "summer of love" free party scene. The collection they've put together - some 34 tracks deep, with a mix from each - pretty much touches all bases. Sure, there are Chicago classics present (think Phuture, Master C&J, Pharley Jackmaster Funk, Mike Dunn and Maurice Joshua), but also rave-era British records (Slipmatt, Hill and Archer) and later remixes and original productions from Mike Ash, Steve Mac and others. The result is an excellent selection of 303 abuse in all its forms, with plenty of lesser known gems and "secret weapons" to entice those with deep collections.
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If the first instalment of Huntleys and Palmers' Chapter series of split EPs was all about showcasing up-coming talent, this second volume has been designed as a tribute to those who've influenced them. It's a neat twist, with typically formidable results. There's much to admire throughout, from the surging machine disco of oklo Gabon's "City Gym" and the undulating alien funk of Comeme man Sano's "Duraco", to the Ket-addled wonkiness of Golden Teacher's trippy "What Time Is It". While Uslo's spacey, piano-laden, percussively loose "Galaxy" is also inspired, it's beaten in the "best track" stakes by Balearic man Wolf Moller's "Rudeltanz", a decidedly cosmic chunk of live dub-disco with tumbling synth melodies and baked, low-slung synths for days.
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Having originally made his name with the (now dormant) Peanut Butter & Jams blog, Washington-based Jackson Ryland has turned his hand to music production. This debut release for Massimo Previti's popular DaBit label shows much promise. Lead cut "Crystal City" is particularly potent, with glassy-eyed chords and gently throbbing melodies tumbling over sweaty, carnival style percussion. The thumping, cut-up house of "JP's" is also impressive (check the heavy sub bass that enters during the breakdown for proof), while "Up The Shelf" expertly fuses new age electronics with the best of British bass music. Chiwax man Steve Murphy remixes "Crystal City", delivering a tight-but-swinging roller that makes great use of deep chords and colourful piano stabs.
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For their latest missive, German label Toy Tonics has turned to Italian producer Andrea Pedra, previously famous in his native Tuscany as a DJ and promoter of parties in a "dirty old jazz cavern". This EP - his first for Toy Tonics - showcases his love of sleazy but fluid deep house, created using analogue equipment. There's naturally much to admire, from the revivalist Italian house bump, late night vocal snippets and jaunty organs of "You Know What?", to the driving drums, woozy synths and densely layered vocal samples of "Muff 60". Best of all, though, is opener "In My Eyes", an effective fusion of undulating acid lines, fireside chords, trippy vocal samples and boompty-influenced drums.
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Room Service, a new Brooklyn-based label, introduces itself to the world with a boisterous party-starter by Quell, a Grecian producer now residing in Berlin. The four originals included here are no-nonsense, high-octane jams that vacillate between deep house and garage with touches of techno and disco thrown in for good measure and depth.
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Liverpool-based producer Bantam Lions has long been part of the Scenery Records family, helping label boss ASOK launch the imprint with 2012's One To One EP. Here he returns with his third release for the label. Lead cut "Recollections" is particularly good, delivering a deep and attractive fusion of fuzzy analogue warm, dreamy melodies and intoxicating chords. He ups the tempo further on "Many Years Later". Which layers dubbed-out chords and swirling textures over an energy-packed techno groove. The accompanying remixes are pretty tasty, too, with The Cyclist particularly impressing with his Detroit techno-goes-lo-fi interpretation of "Recollections". That said, the dreamy, new age-influenced downtempo take from Mood Hut regular Cloudface is pretty darn good, too.
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Having sold its initial run of hand-stamped white labels in record time back in September 2014, Stefano Esposito's Paper Scissors Rock EP finally gets a proper release. It's undeniably his biggest release to date, with opener "Carry On" - all bouncy synth bass, cut-up vocal stabs, gorgeous classic house strings and bold pianos - sounding like a long-lost Italian house classic. Esposito himself provides a suitably sleazy, warehouse-friendly Dub, while JC Williams delivers a fluid reimagining that blends deep house with "Knights of the Jaguar" style Detroit electronics. There's also some organ-laden late night dancefloor pump in the shape of "Nothing Else" - pure early '90s revivalism - and a deliciously thumping, glassy-eyed dub of the same track by Cera Alba.
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By sampling a famous scene from Scarface for this release's first track, is Delroy Edwards, like Tony Montana, trying to say: "You need people like me so you can point your fuckin' fingers and say, 'That's the bad guy'"? With an EP title like Kickin' Butts!! it's certainly possible, and he's the type of artist that's made it known he doesn't care what others think of his music. It's a minimal five-track EP overall and very lo-fi, none more so than the Steve Poindexter-styled "Str8 Fuckd" and on the swirling, metallic phase action of "Insane In The Membrane". Edwards throws down a basic hip hop beat in "Die Motherfucker" while it's the title-track that provides this release with the most dynamic moment of the lot.
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Local Talk offshoot One Offs may have started out as an excuse for Mad Mats and Tooli to gather together "secret weapons" from their producer mates, but to date its provided DJs with some killer material. This first compilation gathers together pretty much the label's entire output to date, and is naturally packed with killers. It's mostly deep house in various forms, though there are plenty of curveballs, from the thumping Chi-town jack of Will Berridge's "I'm The Jack" and the disco soul-meets-deep house of Kuemel's "California My Way", to the nu-disco meets early US garage loveliness of Sasse's "Pino". It also contains arguably the best-named track of 2014, Twinpeaks' "Not That Tech-House DJ Tool Dropped By Paris Hilton You Were Searching For".
$10.05
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Jimmy Edgar apparently thought long and hard about what to include on his first contribution to the Fabriclive series, then decided to focus largely on unreleased and forthcoming material from the Ultramajic label he founded with pal Arden back in 2013. In the wrong hands, this could seem self-indulgent, but in truth Edgar's reliance on tracks he's signed gives the mix a distinctive feel. Although there's some fine deep house, Detroit techno and ghetto house selections from other labels peppered throughout (including tracks from DJ Godfather, Patrice Scott and Terrence Dixon), it's the warehouse-friendly middle section - complete with Ultramajic exclusives from Crystal Bandito and a Jimmy Edgar (including a hook-up with the late DJ Rashad) - that really makes the mix.
Exclusives
A1 BASSLINE - Without Time EP (Fina White)
SAM IRL - Free Two Grow EP (Jazz & Milk) - exclusive 02-02-2015
TINGS, Roland - Roland Tings (Internasjonal Norway)
Exclusives
VIRGINIA - My Fantasy (Ostgut Ton)
NADASTROM - House Shoes (Dubsided)
RAMBOIAGE - Silver EP (Audaz) - exclusive 23-03-2015
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