Last year, Melbourne's Harvey Sutherland signaled his arrival in emphatic fashion with the acclaimed Brothers EP for Voyage Recordings - a sumptuous, soul-flecked EP of boogie-influenced deep house. Here, he continues to impress with a superb tracks for Dani Plessow's MCDE imprint. "Bermuda" is deliciously warm and summery, with jaunty boogie synths and cascading chords riding a smooth, shuffling deep house groove. "New Paradise" works the same formula hard, with dreamy, held-note chords and bubbly synthesizer melodies wrapping themselves around loose, analogue-sounding percussion and a rich bassline. If there were any doubts about his talents moving forward, this should dispel them. Clearly, Sutherland is here to stay.
Here's something of a pleasant surprise: Studio Barnhus co-founder Kornel Kovacs turning up on Glasgow's masters of all things dancefloor-friendly, Numbers. While there's a little more of a garage swing to opener "Lighthouse" - think darting string samples, booming sub-bass and energetic deep house drums - the Swede doesn't seem to have wandered that far off-piste. So, we get some undeniably classy, jazz-flecked deep house (the rubbery and flexible "Gangsta"), a surging, saucer-eyed dose of piano revivalism ("Malon", featuring Marcus Price, and some suitably jumpy drums), and, best of all, the late '80s Paradise Garage Latin house brilliance of "Pantalon". Stellar stuff, all told.
The longevity of Alex Patterson's Orb project never ceases to amaze. While the ambient outfit has gone through many changes since making its debut in 1989 - longtime production partner Thomas Fehlmann being the man at the controls these days - Patterson shows little sign of wanting to call it a day. Here the duo delivers their 21st album, returning to the stargazing obsessions that have served them so well over the years. Consisting of four typically epic workouts, Moonbuilding 2703 AD doffs a cap to many of their obsessions of recent years - hypnotic Berlin techno, classic ambience, woozy tech-house and dub, primarily - with the jazz-funk-meets-ambient dub flex of the title track standing out.
Marseille's finest DJ Steef steps up to the plate for the next Foto release, supplying three hefty house tracks of varying tempo's and moods. Main jam 'Shaking' kicks off proceedings with a chopped-up break and kicking groove before a piano-laden mid-section sends the temperature rising. Next up Freeters hits heavy on the pitch-down vibe with some wonky electronics underpinned by a solid 4/4 low end. Over on the flip big bossman The Revenge hits back with a trademark stripped-out mix of Shaking which is heavy on the machine funk. Rounding things off Mojica Tribe is an altogether deeper number with smooth pads and an ethereal atmosphere.
Parisian-in-Cologne Jennifer Cardini has always had immaculate taste right back to her early Kill The DJ days at Le Pulp. Here she presents her label Correspondant's third compilation and it's a daring and impressive selection of gems from acts new and established. Of the 13 jams here there are some real stunners, including Squarewave's incredible '80s horror-style slow-drone electro-throbber "Digital Punk", Chloe's bleepy electroclash sizzler "Wonky" and the utterly sinister jack-fest "Muscle Touch Ban" by Bird Of Paradise. C'est bon!
Six years on from launching the It's A Summer Groove series, Joey Negro returns with a fifth selection of sunshine-friendly tracks from the Z Records vaults. While much of the label's output - soulful, accessible, funky and heavily influenced by disco, funk and boogie - could be described as "summery", there's something particularly bright and breezy about the 21 tracks gathered together here. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the smooth disco-soul goodness of the Reflex's recent remix of the Sunburst Band's "The Secret Life of Us", and the terrace-friendly piano house of Shur-I-Kan's rework of Zo & Erro & Phonte, to the vibraphone-laden boogie-house goodness of Rainbow Connection and Taka Boom's "Surrender".
Simma Black deliver another large compilation - this time 26 tracks - and there's multiple contributions from guys like Dom Townsend & Nathan Cozzetto who deliver hits like the dirty vocal track "It's Been Done" to the big room "Streaming". Meanwhile Bumpy Fool turn up their sirens on "Talkin Bout" while "Feelings Like This" delivers an old school NY ballroom sound. Him&Me are all about the 909 hi-hats and basslines in their track "Guest List" - and to be honest the list goes on; too many jams here to mention.
We're absolutely loving these recent Trumpet and Badman collaborations by DJ Q and UTTU boss DJ Haus, respectively, and just so you know the former has been making sick house music since the 90s, never afraid to dabble in a little bit of bass and broken beat now and again. The first of the two cuts, "Body Ache", is a swinging house duster with plenty of chopped-up vocals and dubby chords; the second, "Only U", is an old-school kinda lick, recalling early Trax records by the likes of Ron Hardy and Freddie Knuckles. Bad!
Black Fan has only put out one EP on Wolf Music Recordings prior to this latest outing on Sweden's excellent Local Talk stable. His music is characterized by deep, dubby and raw beats coated in a distinctive party flavor, qualities heard loud and clearly on the wonky bumps of "In The Water". "Dancin' Together" takes the more soulful approach, where choppy female vocals ride above jittery chords and starry pads, whereas "J2015" is an altogether dustier affair, a quick-firing mass of percussion shots and siren-like melodies.
Paris' infamous Rex Club launches its label with a split EP by two of its oldest members, Phil Weeks and D'Julz, who have been churning out house music on the club's dancefloor for decades. "Ligne B" sees them in a bumping mood, where a fluttering bassline knocks to and fro among dusty percussion swings and choppy, mutated vocals. Trus'me takes care of the remix duties and quickly transforms the tune into a spacier, more cinematic offspring while still retaining that same circling bassline. "Miles Away" is a silent killer, a stealthy DJ tool weapon with a menacing percussion ready and mean for the Rex floor.
Having previously released a mini-album's worth of Vincent Floyd's unreleased early '90s recordings, Rush Hour has decided to re-release one of his most notable original EPs - 1991's Dance Mania released I Dream You. Happily, all four tracks have aged well, with the title track sounding like a near perfect blend of vintage Larry Heard, early Bobby Konders, and the more new age-inclined offerings of the Burrell Brothers. There's a bit more of a New Jersey shuffle to the superb "Get Up" (check out the wonderfully tactile organs and pads), while "Cactus Juice" sees Floyd in Chicago Jack-meets-Detroit techno mode - all alien electronics, clattering machine drums and raw energy.
Veteran DnB producer dBridge recently raised eyebrows and ears with a string of dark, deep and sexy house cuts under the newly assumed alias, Velvit. This new direction has led to a new EP for 17 Steps dubbed the Be So Cruel EP. As good as the other stuff was, this new EP is next level stuff - the title track being nearly seven minutes of whack-thump drums, hoover bass and catchy soulful vocals. "No Excuses" sprinkles some vinyl crackles on some deeply warped tropical house and "South Of Your Soul" is an intoxicatingly sleazy after hours grind.
Jose Marquez has long been a member of the Basic Fingers family. Since making his first contribution to the acclaimed re-edit imprint back in 2011, he's regularly delivered tasty reworks of Latin jams and African gems. Here he returns with two more killer Latin cuts piled high with South American percussion. "Quinto Y Bongo" smartly combines killer drums and vocals from an unknown, stripped-back salsa record with the sort of subtle, spacey synths and thickset bassline you'd normally find on a high calibre deep house record. "Canto Del Caribe" is, if anything, even heavier, with the combination of sturdy house kicks, dense Latin percussion and chanted vocals creating an intoxicating mood.
The second release for Danny Ward's Well Cut Records comes from Balaphonic, a project which fusing organic live instrumentation with deep and modal dancefloor sensibilities. "Adventures in Lagos" is an evolving and hypnotic build of afro grooves featuring spoken word samples of Fela Kuti and street sounds taken from 1970s Lagos. "Three Strikes and Out" is 120BPM percusive bumper while "Disorganics" is a nod toward the great Brazillian recordings of the 1960s and '70s made with the dancefloor in mind; live samba percussion, strings guitar and a driving double bass the track's focal point. "Silver Lining" closes the EP and is a tribute to the great jazz musician and musical visionary Horace Silver. Ride cymbals abound, the earthy house drums propel a modal grand piano and double bass riff to build in tension which evolves with the help of an ever expanding synth line, keeping energies high whilst percussion and string parts develop to great effect!
The latest subject of Rush Hour's archival intentions is No Pain, a one off alias from New York house produce Kevin (or Cevin as he preferred to be known) Fisher. Originally released in 1993 through the Hardtrax label, It's Gonna Be Alright is one of those classic late night house records, with deep and moody tribal production the perfect foil for some superb vocals from the unheralded C-7. Original copies are that extortionate but it's nice to see Rush Hour celebrate one of their favourite records from the era with a fully licensed and remastered reissue. There are five different mixes here, which all offer a subtle variation and each will work the floor like you need them too - the superbly titled Cliff Deep Flute mix is our pick though.
Gracing labels like Nang and ChopShop, Situation is also a regular on Our Records, and here the producer's 2014 It's A Beautiful Life album gets remixed. Dicky Trisco is the biggest name on the bill and Barry Reeves delivers a dubbed out, Rhode driven remake to the title-track, which is also taken on by Vampire Disco who bring out the tropicana vibe in their remix and it's all grimey bassline house in the Look Both Ways rework - that vocal! For straight up Detroit soul check out Bitter Suite's version of "Just On Me", while there's such danceability to the The Forgotton's remix of "I Wanna Feel Sunshine" - again, great work on the vocal! And for a bonus, boogie down to the instrumental version of the funkadelic "Keep It Cool".
Six slabs of hybrid bass so big they can temporarily shut down the sun, Abyss dig deep into the future with their latest multi-artist collection. Nick Hannam's "Stumblin" struts and shakes with a Chris Lorenzo feel, all waspy high end bass and an overweight groove. Hott Like Detroit get their ghetto shake on with a B.I.G sample hook, Oris Nutone quenches his thirst on the endless 90s drinking fountain with "Keep On Dancing" while X5 Dubs chugs up a frenzy with a bassline house jam so thick you could crush a car. Finally Samantha Loveridge lays down a slinky jam that wouldn't have gone amiss on Get Physical 10 years ago while Mike Jones provides the essential hands-up cut of the set with "Long Time" thanks to its reflective chords, classic wailing vocals and sinewy acid bassline.
Producers eh? You ask for a single, they give you an entire album (that's a saying, right?). Anyway, this is precisely what happened when London's Needwant hit up Ashworth for a release. The resulting 12-tracker, Grain, is due shortly but in the meantime we have this three-track sampler featuring of extended versions of some of the album's highlights. "Cork" kicks things off with a melodic warm gush of electro-house (not unlike In White Rooms-era Booka Shade), "Grain" keeps the warm, positive feel going, adding a little extra chunk but the restless and moody creepiness of "Fireworks" is the true highlight here.
Haunted Doorbell are Timothy J. Fairplay and Matilda Tristram who released 'Xylophone' together last year on Astro Lab Recordings. Picking up where Xylophone left off 'Unconnected thoughts on jacking' is four tracks of naive melodies, rough slamjack drums, and new age atmospheres. 'Starclash' kicks off side A, with its dramatic arpeggios and SID chip crashes, Techno to soundtrack the Saturday night laser show at the planetarium. Following is 'A night of adventure' with its eastern scales and washy broken chorus unit hiss. On side B we have 'Beautiful Sheffield' - an ode to electronic music's (possibly) most important British city and the title track rounds of the EP - house music for listening to while looking out to sea.
Delusions Of Grandeur have been relatively quiet on the release front this year, but they're back with a bang thanks to this latest collaborative effort from Dan Shake and Medlar. The former has gotten a name thanks to being the first non-Detroiter on Moodymann's Mahogani Music, while the latter has been pushing his disco-friendly take on house music largely via the Wolf Music imprint. They got two cuts on here, the first one being a boogie-leaning, hazy summer club jam in the form of "Walk", and the second one a jazzier affair with plenty of soulful vocals and tribal drums called "I On You". Philpot bossman Soulphiction takes care of transforming "Walk" into a pot of filter-licking madness, where the percussion is stretched and freaked out further out into the ether compared to the original. What a package!