Nils Penner's first release for Freerange, 2012's Munich/Berlin EP, seemed to re-ignite his career, landing him subsequent appearances on Compost Black Label and Exploited. This return to Freerange as every but as warm and involving as you'd expect, with the title track skipping along on a wave of Innervisions-style bottom end, shuffling drums, heart-aching string chords, bluesy vocal samples and some wonderfully tactile riffs. Even better is Pittsburgh Track Authority's superb remix, which adds a little Detroit swing and classic Chicago deep house bounce to Penner's very European-sounding original (think jaunty piano chords, eyes-wide-shut strings and fizzing Motor City percussion). Bonus cut "State of Mind" - all melancholic pianos, drawn-out breakdowns and tech-house swing - is pretty tasty, too.
Italian musician Papik certainly believes in 'amore speciale', recruiting none other than his own wife to luxuriously breathe her vocals all over this jazzy poolside breezer, "Special Love". The song is culled from his recent double album Sounds For The Open Road, which boasts two CDs - a soulful one and a jazzy one (the mellow Fender Rhodes chords all over this tune tie it firmly to the latter). Remix-wise we get drivin' housey funk from Submantra, deep, downbeat glitchy vibes from From P60 and trumpet-led, sun bleached bossa-house from Sounds Of Soul.
Glasgow Underground has been continually committed to keeping the memory of Romanthony alive with some choice reissues of his early material, and so it is here with "Testify" receiving some modern revisions from a host of characters. Jimmy Edgar has a great time editing the track into a looped up, heated banger, while Waifs & Strays let the vocal come through a little more and ask the drum machines to bring the intensity. Illyus & Barrientos deliver a remix that thoroughly modernizes the track with some crisp synth styles, while Ed One & Bodden tap into the contemporary garage house sound for their own version.
Morales returns to the bold chunky soulful sound he really made a name for himself with 20 years ago; a hook that nags so hard you'll be humming it for weeks, beats that chugging so relentlessly you won't sleep for weeks and a groove so funky you'll be shifting you booty for hours, "Lovin" has all the hallmarks of a straight up summer anthem. Move over deep house, it's time for soulful house to shine again.
Disco boogie house vibes courtesy of new Z signings Soulpersona & Princess Freesia. With lavish keys, a gossamer bassline and ear-worm vocal, sunlight seeps from every element as Joey Negro adds his production magic on two remixes (one instrumental and one full vocal) offering a feel-good guarantee in the process. For added DJ creativity jump on the beatless reprise. Get back to work.
It's some 26 years since Sueno Latino's self-titled, sample-heavy homage to Manuel Goettsching's E2 E4 took global dancefloors by storm. It remains a landmark record - arguably the most Balearic Italian house record of all time - so it's good to see it getting another reissue. The four versions here are taken from various 1989 releases. The Paradise Version - the original 10-minute 12" mix, fact fans - remains peerless; a delicious fusion of E2 E4 loops, baggy house pianos and breathy, spoken word vocals. The sparser Agua Version (almost ambient, in fact) is also superb, but it's Derrick May's highly regarded Illusion First Mix from 1992 that really stands out. Humid, sticky and oh-so dreamy, it builds to a fantastic crescendo over 11 spellbinding minutes.
Toolroom bossman Mark Knight gets busy on Mike Mago's latest cut "The Gift". Wrapping his trademark chunky big room beats around a riff that you feel like you've known forever, it's an instant soul-soother that pays off with a fantastically foraged spoken word sample. With the WEMC on the horizon, this has the hallmarks of being one of the event's core soundtracks. Get on it now before everyone else does.
Carl Cox's latest compilation shatters the perception of the White Island as being a haven for monochrome minimal and deep house - and Space Terrace is a full on, rave-fuelled journey through the veteran UK DJ's crate. While he is best known for tough house and party techno, Cox's roots lie in the early 90s rave movement and this part of his background seems to have inspired many of these selections. From the piano keys on Future Freakz' remix of Audiolush's "Feel The Power" to the psychedelic riffs that infest DJ Sneak's version of Green Velvet's "Shake & Pop" to straight up rave bangers like Overnoise's "Caramuy", this compilation will have you reaching for your glow sticks.
Here's a straight-up jack attack courtesy of Housesession off-shoot Club Session; packing the funkiest punch possible, all eyes are on the peaktime prize. Defected champ Fodera lets rip with low-end lashing "Jack This", the legendary Eddie Amador returns with the super-sized "Super Duper" while Code3000 fuses elements of garage with slinky Get Physical-style tech on "Positive". Elsewhere Leomeo's "Oulala" gets flipped into a stomping, heads-down deep house cut by Hoxton Whores while Rawtone concludes business with the well-weighted prog charms of "This Can't Be Real". Five tracks, five golden moments for your dancefloor. High fives all round.
We've seen an upsurge in activity from GLP ever since he returned with album Pump The Bass last June. "Hopi" is the latest installment in a string of post album singles, and comes in two forms. The standard club mix sees vintage bongo and brass samples welded to a strong and funky rolling behemoth. Best though, is the tribal mix, with its epic suspended synth pads and delays swirling around a tough thumping backbone. Guaranteed dancefloor ammo.
Will 2015 be the year when minimal house makes a comeback? The latest release on German imprint E Minor makes it sound like that is a distinct possibility. Carbon's "Back in Time" is a swirling, atmospheric affair, its mixture of lush pads and angular rhythms even making room for some bluesy guitar lines. Despite having these musical elements, it still retains a dance floor edge. Steven Campodonico's "Classic Coke" is less frenetic, but it is possibly even more effective due to its tripped out, spacious arrangement - as well as the series of siren-led break downs that make it sound like a close relation to False's Fed on Youth.
Having dented summer 2014 with its piano-primed riff and well executed soulful vocal, Xaanti's "My Heart" now gets the Freemaison treatment with three new remixes. Dale Castell adds a honeyed synth bassline and chop-slapping garage beats while Nick Tee twists the original bass hook into a sharper, heavier electro-style romp. Unsurprisingly the sax remix lives up to its name with seriously horny results.