Following a recent dalliance with Brooklyn-based Razor 'N' Tape Reserve, COEO returns to the loving arms of Toy Tonics with another solid four-track excursion. Happily, they hit the ground running with the rushing positivity of "Mydonna", a bumpin' chunk of peak-time house goodness built around some superb disco samples and a bustling groove. The accompanying, "alternate cut" smartly emphasizes some of the original instrumentation, whilst adding some subtle swing to the disco-house drums. On the flip, you'll find the deep, smooth and sensual "Torrow", and the breezy, atmospheric, piano-laden shuffle of "Coast To Coast".
As the rather functional title suggests, this EP gathers together some fresh remixes of tracks from Soul Clap's superb 2016 full-length, the similarly imaginatively titled Soul Clap. Deep house veterans Doc Martin and Blakkat step up first, laying down a chunky but trippy re-make of "Funk Bomb" that sounds a little like a classic track by The Beloved. The Jolly Mare version of "Future 4 Love" is an attractive fusion of rubbery dub disco grooves and thrusting Italo-disco influences, while Obas Nenor does a terrific job in re-casting Wolf+Lamb collaboration "Dirty Leslie" as a quirky chunk of Mungolian Jet Set style nu-disco eccentricity. If you're after something a little more slick and soulful, David Marston and Myles Karp's gentle, trumpet-laden version of "Numb" more than fits the bill.
German duo Frankey & Sandrino are back again on Innervisions their third release for Dixon and Ame's label thus far. On "Wega" it's a deep and spacey tech house affair, with exotic choral chants reminiscent of Villalobos' "Enfants" used sparingly over a tunneling and entrancing groove. Next offering "Pollux" is the real winner on here though. This darkly minimal house experiment builds gradually into a chill and glitchy house jam with sparse rhythm arrangements and buzzy melodies.
For his latest audio adventure, Footjob founder Phonk D has joined forces with old pal Le Rubrique for a joint foray into the world of quirky disco-house. Opener "Flying Circus" is something of a cheeky dancefloor treat, and features the duo melding cut-up elements from a familiar, disco-era anthem with swinging house beats and a seriously chunk bassline. Borrowed Identity provides a smoother but still eccentric deep house revision of that tune, before Phonk and Rubrique wrap spacey, stretched-out synth chords over a snappy house groove on the quietly impressive "Latenight Flight". A tasty package is completed by the wonky, Syclops-style electronics, slipped Italo-disco arpeggio lines and hazy disco samples of "In The Air".
Carlos "Carlo" Alvarez returns to Good Ratio Music for the first time since 2015, and this time he's got company. All three tracks on Intermission were co-produced by Black Loops, a Berlin-based Italian who has previously released solo material on Toy Tronics and Gruuv. All three cuts here are rich, loose and funk-fuelled, with the duo doing their best to combine carefully chosen disco and jazz-funk samples with their own beats and basslines. The real killer is arguably "Venerdi", in which swirling strings and clipped guitars ride a loose-but-bumpin' disco-house groove. If you're after something altogether deeper, check the clicking drum machine percussion, gentle chords and bubbly electronics of closer "Domenica".
This debut from Dutch imprint Le Freund, produced by sometime Rhythm Section International producer Duke Hugh, won heaps of praise when it was recently released on vinyl. Thrillingly, this expanded digital download edition boasts four additional tracks. There's plenty to set the pulse racing throughout, from the fireside-warm broken house/space boogie fusion of "Movin' On" and analogue deep house melodiousness of "Poly Valence", to the ultra-deep hypnotism of "I Got" and the poignant melancholy of "Awake Again". Awanto 3's epic remix of "Movin On" - a feast of delay-laden percussion hits, jaunty synth bass and loved-up chords - is also pretty darn hot.
2017 marks two decades since the release of Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber's first album under the Tosca alias, the undeniably baked Opera. Given their length of service, it's heartening to see that their desire to create evocative, dubbed-out music remains undimmed. There's plenty to enjoy on Going Going Going, their first studio set for three years. Check, for example, the swirling, late night stroll through Istanbul that is "Amber November", the dub-meets-jazz warmth of "Friday", the flowery piano lines and jangling acoustic guitars of "Supersunday", and the thrillingly trippy, krautrock-influenced ambient dub of "Olympia". It would be churlish to say that it's a return to form - they've always been reliable, after all - but it's certainly one of their more impressive full-length outings.
There were slim pickings in 2016 for fans of Steve Huerta. After a prolific few years, the Los Angeles-based producer seemed to take a step back, releasing just one 12" single in 12 months. Happily, LK Tapes - his first outing on Brooklyn's Let's Play House - was worth the wait. Rich, melodious, woozy and analogue-rich, its' four loved-up tracks are amongst the producer's best work to date. Highlights are plentiful, from the woozy, sunset-friendly chords, glistening melodies and Larry Heard bottom-end of "LK Tape Track" and hazy, toaster-warm shuffle of "Lindos", to the fuzzy analogue beats, tactile chords and dream house sensibilities of sublime opener "Umbanda".
After years slaving away at house music's coalface, Red Rack'em is now big news. Given the runaway success of "Wonky Bassline Disco Banger", now seems an opportune moment for Danny Berman to release his second full-length under the alias. Predictably, Self Portrait is an assured, confident and hugely enjoyable set, effortlessly slipping between hazy house (check Rick Wade hook-up "The Music"), analogue-rich deep tech-house jams, loose, jazz-flecked workouts (the ace "Mad House"), disco-tinged fare ("Kos Mich"), and hard-to-describe weird-outs ("Sel", "You Used To Make Me Feel"). Naturally, it also includes fine versions of his 2016 anthem, and killer recent single "Tomato Pope".
Few artists are quite as good as S3A at turning dusty, obscure samples into soulful deep house gold. Here, the French producer makes his first appearance on Quintessentials with four more sample-heavy dancefloor workouts. There's naturally plenty to get excited about, from the dirt-encrusted, disco-sampling deep house grooves of "Dick Jones Track" and warm, loved-up piano house vibes of "Feels Like Garage" (of the U.S variety, of course), to the brilliantly bombastic, hip-hop style quick-fix "Massive Horns (Interlude)". Arguably most impressive, though, is the hard-boiled, boogie-era disco-meets-21st century house bump of "Rush". It sounds like a guaranteed party-starting, peak-time smasher.
With his 2015 debut EP for Breaker Breaker, London-based deep house misfit Ross From Friends made a seriously big impression. Much was made of his dusty, fidgety, lo-fi sound, and his penchant for jamming out tunes using outboard hardware. This belated follow-up for Lobster Theremin offshoot Distant Hawaii takes a similar approach, kicking off with the loved-up chord progressions, clattering drum machine percussion, redlined tape hiss and heart-aching vocal samples of "Talk To Me You'll Understand". "Gettin' It Done" is an altogether more positive and Balearic-minded trip into dusty deep house territory, while "Bootman" makes merry with mutilated '80s soul samples, hazy chords and fuzzy drums.
Dutch duo Weval's eponymous debut album was arguably one of the most underrated records of 2016. Here, tracks from that hard-to-define set - think minimal wave-inspired synth-pop fused with ambient and elements of Detroit futurism - are given the remix treatment. Italian twosome Margot steps up first, delivering a version of "Ways To Go" that smothers a wonky, off-kilter drum pattern with woozy, stretched-out cathedral chords, tactile hand percussion, and atmospheric vocal snippets. Red Axes drag the same track towards the dancefloor via relentless bass, skittish drum machine percussion and delay-laden handclaps, before Kaspar Bjorke steals the show with a dewy-eyed, early morning Balearic house re-make of "You Are Mine".
The Annual Fundraiser courtesy of Scottish imprint Craigie Knowles is back! They've recruited another bunch of heavy hitters to light up the clubs, with a cause to lighten the burden of war that's placed on the shoulders of children. Kiwi duo Chaos In The CBD throw down the Afro influenced, spiritual life music of "Natural Taboo", BRSTL's finest Shanti Celeste gives us the booming electro-funk of "Dolphin Chant" and Den Haag's legend Legowelt gives us the shimmering analogue soul of "At Delphi". Elsewhere, UK hardware maverick Neville Watson throws down the rather first wave Detroit sounding "Hazing" while the Going Good and Lovers Rock affiliated Yoshinori Hayashi serves us a wonderful, Erased Tapes style classical ambient journey titled "Pogado Tower"
Berlin's Studio Kreuzberg are back with a brilliant release by local legends Tiefscharz who team up with Yawk on "Calling home" a driving and dark tech house cut that is aimed squarely at peak time dancefloors with its razor sharp bassline, druggy vocals, and woozy melody, all accompanying seriously a tight groove. There's some awesome remixes too: courtesy of Aussie in Berlin Eluize and a label regular: the Kansas kid Nick Galemore. His remix in particular takes it down an even more sinister route and will appeal to fans of the Innervisions or Exit Strategy sound.
Icelandic producer Felix Leifur made a big impression with his first EP for Dirt Crew, last year's The Sunday Club. This action-packed follow-up is, if anything, even more impressive. Over the course of six dusty, head-in-the-clouds cuts, you'll find skewed, effects-laden drums (think Theo Parrish crossed with Chaos In The CBD), alien chords, punchy jazz samples, J Dilla influences, sweaty percussive build-ups, fluid jazz-funk instrumentation, twisted R&B vocal cut-ups, and a serious amount of tape hiss. The result is a collection of tracks that shimmies between loose and groovy deep house, instrumental hip-hop goodness, and club-ready jazz-house heaviness. In other words, it's pretty darn tasty.
Italy's Hell Yeah have been rocking it since the end of the noughties, and they have truly become one of the most reliable sources of anything dance-related, specializing their craft across hosue, techno, minimal, and even electro. Nu-disco dons Somerville & Wilson have already appeared for Hell Yeah's sub-label, Danny Was A Drag King, but this new eight-tracker sees the pair branch out into much deeper corners of the electronic game. Aqueous synths and dreamy pads make up the majority of this EP's atmosphere, and we highly recommend it to anyone who is even remotely into the field of balearica. Tunes like "Melt", with its glitch tribal percussion, or even the acid-laden "Cero Gravity" do manage to branch out into more kinetic territories, but this is without a doubt a release that focusses on the meditative side of social music. We love it, and we think you will too.
Exotic Refreshment are an independent house and techno label based in Leszno, Poland and founded at the beginning of 2007 by Kuba Kraczewski. They are back with another edition of their Exotic Series; Vision Of Love 4 to be precise and they've sure rounded up some big names on this one. Highlights include Fouk's sexy and slinky remix of Kraak & Smaak's "Way Back Home" (feat Ivar), Lets Play House main man Jacques Renault's remix of Minneapolis duo No Regular Play's "El Dorado", as well as the return of Brothers Vibe who teams up with YouANDme for "Don't Take This Shit So Serious". If that was not enough, the always impressive Borrowed Identity throws down an awesome remix of Miajica's "Der Schlosser".
Fresh from the heat of "Buddy Now Buddy", Bosconi barons Minimono return to Robsoul with four freaky house jams. "Let'em Come" has a raw edge from the warped vocal manipulation but soothes with the woozy jazz pads. "Know Is Fonk" is much more visceral and direct with its shuffling beats and weaves of human rhythmic shots while "Estroverso" comes on strong like a really early Sneak record at -5 thanks to its stately jacks, spoken word samples and jazzy sprinkles. Looking for a more delicate disco touch? Jump straight on the wondrously loopy, flute-snapping viber "Junior". Heavens above.
Lo Recordings has taken pride in exploring a wide and broad range of sounds. To mark 20 years of their imprint, they've taken a bold approach to their output, further exploring developments in electronic music today. As known users and fans of the MPC, both Mr. G and K15 were given the same samples dug out of the Lo Recordings archives to create a track which would showcase their techniques and methods. This then became the theme in a series of three releases to come out throughout the year from the pair. The legendary Colin McBean delivers the funk as always on his contribution "Navigate" where tribal rhythms face off with mesmerising chords and rolling bass; not to mention those crashing Mr. G hi-hat rides that are his trademark. K15's "The Guilt Within" goes for something deeper and emotive: geared more for the early evening or the chill-out alike, channeling the vibes of classic Larry Heard with its melancholic pad sweeps, immaculate rhythm programming and stylish Juno 106 bassline.
More and more, the Laut & Luise label are positioning themselves as one of the most trusted sources of contemporary deep house and meditative techno around. We love that they have a real consistency to their sound palette, and that they always seem to snap up the finest NEW talents rather than imitating what other imprints are doing. Newcomer Kerala Dust debuts with a thrilling four-tracker, starting with the slow, lounged-out Balearic drift of "Untitled", which is followed by the similar yet more beat-driven charge of "Nevada". "Spiegel" is a sublime minimal techno driver, powered by a deep, wholesome wave of low frequencies, and Another Shade Of DWIG ties the EP off with a vocal excursion to Kerala Dust's original mix of "Untitled". Don't underestimate the power of Laut & Luise!