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Reviewed this week
The first compilation on Koze's Pampa label is a lovingly curated affair. It starts with the left field house of Herbert's take on Lianne La Havas and Ada's r&b-infused "You & Me", as well as DJ Koze's own hymnal take on Roman Flugel's "9 Years". Other Pampa regulars like Axel Boman are well represented and he provides the ultra-mellow "In The Dust of This Planet". Equally though, Koze also provides a platform for newcomers to the fold. There's the utterly bizarre, glitch-hop of Nasrawi and Funskstorung's contributions, and at the other end of the spectrum, wide-eyed deep house from Mount Kimbie and Jamie xx & Kosi Kos' pumping indie-dance "Come We Go".
If you're looking for anything termed under the umbrella of 'Balearic', then Canada's Multi Culti will deliver in fine style, and save you all the hassle of digging for lost B-sides from the 1980s and 1990s. It's a call to the Sun Gods this time with Sun Gaze II, a sublime collaborative EP from a bunch of new and exciting talent. Nicola Cruz opens the doors to heaven with the tribal-minded chugger that is "Pagano", followed by Moscoman's more house-leaning jingle on "Se Acabo". "Boom Boom Boom" by Sanga features Sheikh Djibouti on the vocals, offering a hazy wave of Hispanic rhyming, while "Shkarim Ba Afela" by 84PC is a tune that you could truly imagine being in a Cafe Del Mar mix by the likes of Jose Padilla - softly-spoken but nonetheless effective and sensual on the hips.
Despite debuting way back in 2007, Wanderlust marks the full-length debut of Belgian analogue enthusiast Metrobox (AKA producer Berten De Beukelaer). The album format offers him an opportunity to showcase his wide palette of influences, from drowsy, blue-eyed synth-soul (opener "At Night (When I See The Light)", the electro-tinged "Messing About"), revivalist new beat ("Bounce Bounce Baby"), and melodious Italian deep house ("Ten Thousand Thundering Typhoons"), to krautrock ("Wanderlust"), vintage Chicago jack ("F (Want You To)"), and acid-influenced late night darkness (the undulating throb of "Erotic Psychotic Hypnotic Freak"). Given his classically trained history, it's perhaps unsurprising that the album is also immaculately produced.
Werkha's LP, Colours Of A Red Brick Raft, firmly put this Glaswegian producer on the map and now album track "City Shuffle" follows as a single. Boasting soulful breathy vocals by Bryony Jarman Pinto, the song features delicate jazzy guitar and gentle Sunday afternoon beats. Elsewhere General Judd remixes the tune into some pretty fine deep and techy house, Scratcha DVA turns "The Invincible" into a virtually beatless dubby menace, Tom Blip gives "Falling Through The Wall" a warm and sunkissed makeover and Contours wrap things up nicely with the nuanced percussion and soft piano chords on "A Revolution Blue".
Glasgow's Sei A is back on Aus Music, which is no surprise to us as he's truly proven to be one of Will Saul's go to guys for surefire tech house grooves over the last few years. "Space In Your Mind" is the title track from his album released in early 2016 and is an absolutely gorgeous serving of ambient house with rich synth tapestries and Will Sampson's angelic vocals: just made for drifting! A track like this was just begging to be turned into a dark journey track, wasn't it? And who better to perform the job than Life & Death main man DJ Tennis who turns this into a bittersweet anthem that'll no doubt be played on many a rooftop this summer. He also turns in the "DJ Tennis Miami Dub" for those of you less keen on the vocals, keeping them to a minimum and working the suspense factor that bit more.
Following the release of last year's Key Change album, veteran Canadian lo-fi artist Mocky now returns with the third instalment of his celebrated 'Moxtapes', the first of which arrived in 2013. There are seven short and sharp cuts on here and a remix too. Highlights include the Al Green-goes-neo-soul vibes of "Keep Feelin' This" (which features the additional talents of Jamie Lindell), the swoonsome piano lament "Surprise You With A Smile" and the completely warped funk of "Put It Away". Also worth mentioning is Mr Oizo's fantastically nasty slow electro rework of "Soulful Beat".
it's time for some of Ohal's breezy, chilled-out balearic fizz on Styles Upon Styles - just perfect for the Spring months and, as always, a much welcomed arrival onto our leftfield charts. However, this time the Balearic binge gets a further twist, a placement onto the Cancelled Faces film soundtrack, a heady, independent neo-noir from Korea. Ohal goes all out here, with "Cancelled Faces" itself being a starry, mood-filled synth journey boasting a delicate percussion stroke, and there is more brooding winds elsewhere, such as on the desolate drones of "Swans", or the Eastern vibes of "Meeting Emperor". Get your OST fix right here - recommended!
The Gasman is a bit of a worrying talent, to be honest. This is because he seems to drop quality whatever the genre he goes for at any one time, and each and every album that he's released on Planet Mu has been more than memorable. This time, however, he experiments new pastures on Onomatopoeia for the label's 16th instalment, and he's got 12 cuts of supreme balearic-driven machine funk. Preferring to keep to the hybrid formats, Aeriform does't deal in concrete genres, and tunes like "Trip", Zports", or "Inventions" could be played by anyone from Lovefigers, to Theo Parrish, or even Skream, and that is exactly the sort of album we're into. Sickness y'all!
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Eighteenth Street Lounge Music US
K7 Germany
Music For Dreams US
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