Three years on from their last full-length excursion - the fine Borough 2 Borough on Delusions of Grandeur - Craig Smith and The Revenge return with their third 6th Borough Project album. Predictably, it's a fine set, with the duo tweaking their now familiar blueprint - think sample heavy, Balearic-minded deep house built around killer grooves and impeccable production - to guarantee a slightly more eclectic listening experience. So, while there are moments of locked-in dancefloor hypnotism - see "The Weight" and acid-gospel thump of "Tainted Dub" - they're accompanied by trips into wide-eyed, loved-up two-step territory (brilliant closer "Back Where It All Began"), seductive, synth-heavy dreaminess (Paul Joseph hook-up "Find Your Rhythm"), intoxicating downtempo chuggers ("Someday"), and much more besides.
Berlin duo 2raumwohnung are back! The duo comprised of Inga Humpe, and her life partner, Tommi Eckart made it big in the early noughties with their irresistible electro-pop ditties which got them lumped in with the whole electroclash trend (lest we forget) and of course the inclusion of their anthemic "Ich Und Elaine' on Tiga's legendary DJ Kicks mix in 2002. The master DJ Koze's remix is where the Hamburg hero stays true to the original by retaining most of the elements but injects the track with his trademark knack for deepness, emotion and all things quirky and trippy. If that was not enough, the king of minimal Ricardo Villalobos lends a helping hand and delivers a pumping, rolling and glitchy makeover which could be one of his best remixes in recent times. Finally Thi Chanh knows what he's doing, as he treads a similarly poppy path. He gives the track a dreamy and ethereal rendition that will appeal to fans of the Crosstown Rebels sound.
From the moment the trembling keys and swirling breaks of opener "Let's Stay" hit you, you know Hector is onto something special here. A subtle hurricane of atmospheres and emotions, it's the perfect introduction to his hazy, lefthanded cosmic soul (if you haven't already become acquainted from his previous Albert's Favourites dispatches) The languid smoky blues and soothing spoken charms of And Is Phi of the title track, the alien dancehall and fizzy keys of "Bossa B", the broken steeple soul and pitched vocal warps of "Lonely Man", Hector is carving a genuinely singular sound that complements everything that's currently going on musically while pushing in a completely new way. This really does shine.
Shelter began his production career re-editing quirky cuts of a Balearic persuasion, before dropping a fine collection of original tracks on Uber last autumn. That set of woozy, horizontal gems clearly impressed International Feel boss Mark Barrott, as he's decided to release the French producer's debut album. Zon Zon Zon is arguably a little more varied than some may expect, with Shelter combining his usual new age inspired melodies and tropical flavours with nods to rubbery, post-disco pop, dub, woozy ambient and the kind of fluid, sun-baked electronica that defies easy categorization. However you describe it, Zon Zon Zon is mightily impressive, delivering a near perfect blend of electronic and acoustric instrumentation.
More chill balearic shenanigans courtesy of Claremont 56 head honcho Paul Mudd Murphy teaming up with studio partner Kevin Pollard on keyboards. They've been collaborating since 2007 across several fine EPs but N7 Odyssey marks their first full length; the title being a direct reference to the Holloway studio they recorded in for many years before Murphy moved. The album draws together freshly re-mastered versions of their previously released singles with a clutch of previously unheard tracks.
Norse twosome Of Norway will soon release a new album on Connaisseur, the Oslo combo's on-off musical home for the last half decade. "Parallel Lines Meet At Inifity" is the first single to be taken from that soon come set, and sees them giddily skipping of into Scandolearic deep house pastures. The track is wonderfully bubbly and melodious, with sparkling melody lines, glistening motifs and head-in-the-clouds chords clustering around an elastic house groove. It's accompanied by single-only bonus cut "The Life & Death of Italian Mantrance", a wonderfully atmospheric, stretched-out ambient number that joins the dots between vintage Pete Namlook, the sample-heavy ambient house of The Orb, and the psychedelic electronics of early '90s ambient techno.
Out To Lunch's 27's 12" in 21 years sees another beautiful and highly contrasting v/a double-up. First we have Gunnar Wendel under his Kassem Mosse guise laying down a blissful, twinkling church-like serenade while OTL's own Black Point continues the twinkling, emotional theme but from a twitching, densely layered jungle perspective. Two sides of a very beautiful coin.
Acid Pauli is a name synonymous with Berlin clubbing culture; he got his musical education in the city via experiences at places like Bar 25 and Fusion Festival and claims to be 'deeply rooted in musicality and adventurousness.' BLD is the second full album from Martin Gretschmann aka Acid Pauli and builds on his already impressive back catalogue that includes a debut album released on Nicolas Jaar's Clown and Sunset. Starting out with the deep and tropical ethnic vibes of "Baris, the deep dub techno of "Majid" equally impressed us while the sexy and sublime beatless synth workout "Joan" added some romantic flavour. Closing track "Jorge" has some wonderful analogue synth textures hypnotising you into submission on this esoteric journey that'll appeal to Crosstown Rebels fans.
Two years on from his last outing under the alias, Green Door Studio engineer Stuart Evans delivers a new Sordid Sound System EP. As usual, dusty old electronic instruments and analogue hardware are the Glaswegian's tools of choice, with hard-to-pigeonhole thrills being the result. He begins with the Golden Teacher-ish trip that is "The Grove", where echo-laden vocal snippets and dub-wise cut-ups wrap their way around acid-fired electronics and a chugging groove. The densely percussive "Fear Eats The World" sees him wander off towards post-punk krautrock pastures, while "Blues Pour Vivienne" is a slipped waltz beamed down from another planet. A fine EP is drawn to a close by "Sordida Discoteca", a delay-laden voyage into proto-techno territory in the company of a gaggle of Italo-disco and EBM freaks.
Jacaszek's last outing on Matthew Dear's fine Ghostly International imprint came all the way back in 2011 but, then again, the artist doesn't exactly put out a vast amount of music. It's most certainly quality over quantity for this imperceptible producer, and we respect him for it. In fact, this is surely what drove Jon Wozencraft to land him on the sublime Touch label, and we take that as a sign that this guy is worth shouting about. KWIATY is a work of immense beauty, dipping and diving its way through dark and mysterious corners of the ambient domain; places that many other artists of this calibre rarely visit. For an album that is somewhat ominous by nature, there are plenty of uplifting moments throughout, and this is undoubtedly brought to the foray by the soulful voices riding high on the crest of solitary, hollow drones in the underbelly of the sonic sketches. It's an ambient album for people who are not into the genre. It's for those wishing to float and meditate to some beautiful melodic waves.
DJ Kaos' Berlin based imprint presents another jolly jam from Milwaukee, WI based producer and visual artist Richard Galling who teams up with Gruzis on what makes this his fifth EP for the label. Starting off with the lo-slung, slo-mo disco of "Further Past The Break", they'll treat you to even more chilled balearica on "Flight" by way of '80s film soundtrack aesthetics (think To Live And Die in L.A. or Miami Vice) while "Tangerine Stream" like its name may suggest goes for some progressive rock style workout with sublime guitar treatments going head to head with rich vintage synth textures and glimmering arpeggios.
Manu Delago is an Austrian 'Hang' (like a steelpan) player, percussionist and composer based in London. The single "Freeze" was released on Tru Thoughts back in 2016 and taken from his great Metromonk LP. The sublime metallic and textural melodies of his chosen instrument are pure bliss on the track, perfect for drifting to. Swiss DJ and filmmaker Pablo Nouvelle gets on the remix, giving it a deep and emotive nu-jazz overhaul which we truly adored. Then finally London's Poppy Ackroyd; who presented the great Feathers LP on Denovali in 2014, also lends a helping hand. Her version infusing the track with some avant garde classical undertones to work that sombre sense of mystery into something truly next level.