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Reviewed this week
Like its' predecessors, the fifth installment in Freerange's ongoing 20th anniversary EP series contains some killer new cuts. Fittingly, it's label boss Jimpster who leads the charge, encouraging us to sway in the afternoon sunshine on the deep, tactile and woozy "Ceilings" (which also features evocative vocals from Laura Barrick). The water-side, alfresco dancing vibe is accentuated by Shur-I-Kan on "Beach Life", a hazy, wide-eyed trip into symphonic deep house territory that ranks amongst his finest productions to date. Elsewhere, Brian Ring melds Mascara-clad '80s new wave and early Chicago house on the fine "Love Taken Over", while Clavis layers dreamy marimba melodies on top of huggable deep house grooves on the delightful "Cydalise".
Nachtbraker's latest expansive EP for Heist Recordings - his first release of 2016 - boasts a host of hot, floor-friendly excursions. The EP's first two missives offer two distinctly different takes on disco-house - the throbbing sub-bass, extra percussion hits and early Daft Punk riffs of "Gotta Act To React", versus the smooth, classic disco-sampling loop-jam "Pollo Con Pollo" - before the woozy, drawn out "Intermezzlow" allows the Dutch producer to showcase the groovy, downtempo side to his work. The accompanying "Intermezzo" is a jazzy, percussive deep house variation on the same sun-kissed theme, while "Gotta Act To React (Float Mix)" re-casts the EP's opening tune as a hazy deep house bumper.
Even by Ilija Rudman's immaculate standards, "In Her Eyes" is something special. With the help of a spine-tingling vocal from soul man Andre Esput, Rudman has delivered a breathtakingly evocative chunk of stripped-back Chicago house. While it contains some of his usual aural trademarks - tactile synth bass, sparse production and simple, chiming melodies - it somehow feels extra special. Happily, remixer Charles Webster has stepped up to the challenge of reworking such a cracker, turning Rudman's sparse original into a dreamy, percussive, slowly-building chunk of eyes-closed deep house that brings back memories of his classic late '90s work as Presence.
Talk about a transformation; former Minus mainstay and minimal stalwart Marc Houle goes from ping-pong beats and hiccuping rhythms to this deep, 80s-referencing house release. " Don't Want To Watch You Read" is a mesmerising affair, centred on a booming bass and featuring a mysterious vocal that is similar to the one that featured on Brian Kage's record on FXHE earlier this year. There is a reference to Houle's minimal past on the rushing sirens of the Golden Filter remix of "Read", but in the main this is a radical departure. The title track is a pulsing electronic disco affair, while the Red Axes remix of "Read" is an epic, EBM-fueled reshape.
A new EP by Frankfurt house hero Phillip Lauer is up next on Live At Robert Johnson. This is his first release in five years since the H.R. EP and let's not forget that great Live At Robert Johnson Volume 6 mix CD as well. The Tearsh EP features the retro emotive Summer of Love style groove of the title track, which you could imagine playing at a rave under the M5 motorway back in '89. "Antinat" continues on with the same knack for lovably cheesy 80's synth disco melodics which he explored with Fabrizio Mammarella on the Black Spuma project last year while "Jetdentist" takes things down a druggier nu-disco route more suited to the early hours. He saves the best for the last on the explosive hi-NRG stormer "Deass" which we admired in in all its camp ferocity!
Amsterdam-based Italian Marco Antonio Spaventi has been one of M>O>S Recordings' most reliable artists over the last three years, delivering a string of fine 12" singles for the acclaimed label. It's perhaps fitting, then, that his latest album - the Rome-born analogue obsessive's second in total - should come out on the Dutch imprint. Predictably, it's a hugely enjoyable set, with Spaventi utilizing a range of vintage synthesizers and drum machines on a series of explorations of classic deep house, Motor City techno, and the grey areas in between. Highlights include, but are not limited to, the deep space shuffle of "Luna Piena", the rising, piano-laden snappiness of "Titanic Moments", and the deep house/techno fusion of the wonderfully warm and hazy "Missing Sunlight".
Church has certainly grown into one of London's most dependable house music outlets these past few years across their various interlinked label divisions. The emergence of Laurence Guy is testament to that - last year he debuted on Church with the well-received Kojak EP, and has gone on to prove his worth across a number of 12" releases and V/A contributions. Bamboo sees him back in the Church fold for their ninth White Label release and it's a confident four-track display of measured deep house. From the warbling melodies of the title track to the Smallville stylings of "Knotweed" and "Lotus", Guy is clearly improving with each release!
Alan Abrahams delivers more splendid and spacey deep house from the future on "Say It's Going To Change" featuring his now trademark haunting vocals. Swiss high tech soul merchant Deetron gets on board for the remix which keeps on with the deep house side of things but gives it an equally advanced and futuristic aesthetic, using a completely insane processing of space delay that twists up your mind before the drop!
The latest release on Compost's offshoot imprint sees Dini make a return visit with two unusual house tracks. Produced in conjunction with Michael Reinboth and Beanfield, both compositions follow a distinct path. "Pouran" is more understated and less direct, as Dini teases out an off-beat rhythm punctuated by chimes and wooden percussion. In contrast, "Gohar" is sure to get all the DJ attention. Underpinned by a pulsing groove and powerful, purring bass, its veers unexpectedly into dramatic string sequences that makes the listener feel like they are being chased by a hit man down a dark alley. The fact that Dini doesn't miss a beat while all of this is happening makes it all the more impressive.
Over the last couple of years, Noo (a collaboration between Plastique De Reve man Christoph 'Daze' Deasen and Bangok Impact/Putsch '79 type Sami Liuski) has delivered a trio of killer 12" singles on Optimo Music's occasional Disco Plate series. This thrill-a-minute debut album gathers together tracks from those singles, plus a couple of previously unheard bits, and shows the duo - alongside a swathe of vocalists and musicians - cheerily joining the dots between string-laden New York disco, breakdance-era electro, boogie, Moroder-ish machine grooves, and hands-in-the-air piano house. It's a terrific set, all told, full of stretched-out floor-fillers, eyes-closed anthems, and life-affirming workouts.
UK-based Icelander ILO has a number of underground hits to his name, including a killer rework of New Musik's "Warp", and a notable revision of Grace Jones' classic "Private Life". Here he concentrates on his own production, delivering a trio of tracks tailor-made for dark warehouses, tiny sweatboxes, and illicit rave-ups. First up is the deliciously bass-heavy, early '90s-influenced bump of "Put Of A Jack On It", where sampled, delay-laden vocals weave their way around fizzing percussion and vintage riffs. He delves deeper on the woozy, sleazy and hypnotic "Prayer", before rounding off a fine EP with the thunderous acid bass, hissing Detroit techno cymbals and occasional floatation tank chords of "Hiddenlane".
German house duo Hendrik Burkhard and Florian Kruse have become commonplace in Steve Bug's Poker Flat catalogue, and this seems to be firmly on-point given their deep and expansive brand of dance music. "Moments" sits somewhere between house and techno but it's more of a song with a beginning, middle and end, rather than a mere club jacker; "Black Moose", on the other hand, is darker and more punchy in its delivery and, by comparison, "Sirens" is the house pumper that can be mixed with pretty much anything you want. Effective and party-centric, as per usual.
Its 20 years of Jamie Odell aka Jimpster's revered deep house imprint and he's celebrating in great style with this 20 track compilation that demonstrates that business is as good as ever and they're testament to how much the label has remained relevant. The label head honcho himself appears of course; first with Luv Jam on the smooth and dubby "We Play Pads" and the sombre and emotive "Ceilings" featuring Laura Barrick. Other highlights include Bulgarian hardware maverick KiNK's "Roads", Detroit Swindle's fiercely bumpin' "Race Against The Machine" and Pittsburgh Track Authority's magnificent high tech soul jam "Oculus Sinister".
For the first time Vibraphone Records is releasing a record by an artist other than The True Underground Sound Of Rome. For such an exclusive event there could have not been a better choice than Italian DJ/Producer, Nick Anthony Simoncino. For the production of this record, Isole Del Tramonto (Sunset Islands) Simoncino uses a selection of strictly old school analog synthesizers, and drum machines, which takes you on a charming magical journey through the Mediterranean Sea with pulsating minimal deep bass lines, oneiric harmonic textures, exotic tom tom patterns, hypnotic sexy and catchy grove beats. Isole Del Tramonto is a record that connects and combines the essential elements and spirit of deep house music along with providing its visionary future.
Portuguese expat turned Munich machine Alkalino is back with another bomb for his relentless Audaz imprint. "Gorgol" is a smooth and dreamy deep house excursion with samples from the B-52s classic "Love Shack". Next up is Link with "Da-me Uma Chance (Ze Mig L Chi - House remix)" and it's something a bit different from the Audaz camp on this gutsy EBM flavoured techno chugger for the peak time.
We've lost count of the number of high quality house labels that Fred Everything has featured on over the course of his long career. The Winter Tones EP marks his first appearance on Switzerland's Drumpoet Community. "Winter Tones" blends his usual dreamy pads and eyes-wide chords with metronomic drums and numerous acid-flecked flourishes. The latter elements come to the fore on the deliciously stripped-back and heavy "Winter Dubs", while the gorgeous "Winter Outro" sounds like an ambient version of "Pacific State" after one too many sleeping pills. Tuff City Kids deliver two fine reworks; a sharp, stomping, acid-inspired "303 Mix", and the trippy, low-slung, bass-heavy throb that is the "Toneulator Mix".
Neapolitan house heroes Alaia & Gallo team up with vocalist Kevin Haden on the explosive "Who Is He?". The remixes on offer here are totally wicked, starting out with Dario D'Attis' rendition which bounces along smoothly letting Haden's vocals do most of the work effectively. But it's all about The Reflex Who's Who Remix as far as we're concerned, on this funked up, soulful and summery re-take that will really get the party started and definitely bring the heat.
Somewhat remarkably, it's been two years since the last single from former Get Physical and Crosstown Rebels producer Just Be. Here he re-emerges on Kerri Chandler's tech-house focused Kaoz Theory imprint. "Snakes In The Bed" is an excellent example of the London producer's work. Tiptoeing the fine line between European darkness, Visionquest style powder house and the sort of stretched-out moodiness that was once Danny Tenaglia's trademark, the track quietly rises and falls in all the right places. The accompanying remix comes from Magda, who retains the shuffling percussion while adding a killer, acid-inspired sub-bass line.
For his latest outing on regular home Suol, Till Von Sein appears to have distilled the essence of carnival - at least on standout "U.N.U". It seems tailor-made to raise temperatures at outdoor parties, with distinctive cowbell lines, clipped guitars and well-placed disco cymbals riding a speaker-shaking sub-bass line and sturdy kick-drums. In contrast, "Itiswhatitis" boasts the German producer's trademark shuffling tech-house drums, alongside all manner of lilting electronic motifs. The summery mood returns on closer "Dappat Se Gat", where tumbling guitars, synthesized steels drums and swirling pads cascade down over an elastic deep house groove. His EPs are rarely less than solid, but this is one of his finest for a while.
San Jose, California's Arturo Garces has sure come a long way since running independent labels Jump Recordings, Beat Bum Music, and Resource Records. He's back on Phil Weeks' esteemed Robsoul for some more real proper deep stuff with Beats From The Street Vol 4. Starting out with the sleazy and minimal bump of "Fazer", things get rightly funky and filtered on the big room groove of "Move You" but saves the best for last on the infectious disco loop tool "Rubber Band".
Exclusives
VARIOUS - 20 Years Of Freerange (Freerange)
VARIOUS - Recover: Ministry Of Sound (Ministry Of Sound)
SG LEWIS feat GALLANT - Holding Back (Remixes) (Virgin EMI)
Exclusives
LAUER - Tearsh (Live At Robert Johnson Germany)
DJ BIOPIC - The Kiss (Kolour Recordings)
ANTHONY MEA - Blame EP (NiteGrooves US)
MANIK DJ Chart
Meggy DJ Chart
Giom DJ Chart
& My Mother Say Chart
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