Reviewed this week
Here's something to cheer: the first EP from Dimitri From Paris and DJ Rocca's collaborative Erodiscotique project following the release of last year's superb debut album on BBQ Japan. As usual, their inspirations and musical reference points tend towards the vintage. Opener "One For Frankie", for example, smothers a vintage Chicago house groove with the kind of dreamy, positive and melodious musical flourishes that were a hall mark of Frankie Knuckles best productions, while "Zanzibar" pays tribute to the bustling, percussive, synth-heavy pressure of early '80s NYC and NJ "proto-house" productions. "Don't You Feel The Same", on the other hand, wraps sweet Balearic synth lines around a chunky, "French Touch" style disco-house groove.
UK funky's favourite freshness detective MHW returns to RKS with four outstanding beat blends. Once again he reveals more layers to his rich dark soul sound; "Mono" is a breezy introspective afro-beat driven slice of deepness, "Say It Twice" is straight up modern day dancefloor soul while "That Love" is nothing short of pure hypnosis thanks to its snaking filtered synths and a husky jazzy vocal sample. Hold tight for the grand finale as "Forever" buses up a more broken drum arrangement and heaven-sent emotional pads. Pound for pound this is the best crime Murder He Wrote has solved to date. And when we say crime, we mean EP. And when we say solved, we mean released. Case closed.
On the other side of the great, giant pond, the cause of bass music has never pushed more so than by LA's AC Slater and his Night Bass label. Sometimes its output can be raucous and underground, but sometimes the label can be commercial too. Either way the output is always totally lit. "Come Back" is strictly in the latter camp, a hook up with Shift K3Y, it has resulted in a super infectious and uplifting banger, with rolling bass, skippy beats and more build ups and break downs than you can shake a stick at!
There's something rather special about this surprise new single from Kitsune regulars Parcels. For starters, it's the result of a yearlong collaboration with Daft Punk, who produced "Overnight". Musically, you can hear the duo's influence throughout, with the clipped, Nile Rodgers style disco guitar riffs recalling their colossal 2013 summer smash, "Get Lucky". There's a little more of a languid, Balearic-inspired feel to this track, with hazier and baggier vocals working in collaboration with luscious synthesizer parts. While it may not be as sizeable as "Get Lucky", "Overnight" is a brilliant piece of summery disco-pop. Expect to hear it a lot in coming months.
Upon its arrival about 15 years ago, DJ T's mighty Get Physical label helped put electro-house on the map, big-style. Now all these years later the label is stronger than ever, and that's all down to the talent. Here we have a long player, Circles, by Jazzuelle and it only just compounds this fact. Boasting 14 tracks, this South African producer impresses on this LP highlights with highlights like the shimmering, otherworldly chimes of "The Darkside Paradox", the dreamy electro-funk of "Music Of the Spheres" and the cinematic bombast of "RX J1532". A deeply satisfying record.
Pop soul hero Mike City first rose to prominence back in 2000 by being the man responsible for penning and producing Carl Thomas' #1 hit I Wish. From there he's gone on to create hits for Brandy, Rihanna, Angie Stone and Jamie Foxx and Sunshine Anderson. Here though he steps out into the limelight himself with a solo album, The Feel Good Agenda Vol 1, on Barely Breaking Even. As expected quality is the unifying theme here over the course of 12 star-studded tracks, with highlights including the choppy, cut-up future boogie of "Rock Wit U" (feat Dwele), the warm and soothing "When I Luv" (feat Faith Evans) and the deep electro-boogie of "Been Too Afraid" (feat Teedra Moses).
A hipster hero hailing from Vancouver, it was perhaps unsurprising that he and a label like Kitsune would eventually collide. And you know what? It is has resulted in a meeting of minds. Displaying more of a 90s retro vibe than the elctroclashy 80s vibes of yore, this debut album, Hold On Let Go, is bright, positive and refreshingly quirky record in a vintage 90s kinda way. Highlights of the 13 tracks here include the warm and gloopy neo-soul of "Oh No" that shows Jesse Ware how its done, the fizzy abstract 'H(ouse)n' B' of "Mar Vista and the haunted 3am synth soul of "Hollywood'.
A veteran of the heady days of 'French Touch', Madji'k has 20+ years experience in the business of making killer electronic dance music. He's had all kinds of projects and bands, but here he is on his own for the Forceful Rhythm (T'Chida) EP. Well, when we say 'EP' it's actually just one tune, but clocking in at seven minutes, it's kinda double most two-track singles! On to the track itself, and it's a momentous slice of Latin-tinged funky house that features rolling snares, cheeky vocals and saxophones. There's also a clubbier dub edit for the later hours.
Richard Barratt has been around from the days of rulebreaking new wave DJ sets to early house music, Sweet Exorcist to The All-Seeing-I and now Crooked Man, his collaboration with Mick Ward and David Lewin. Signed to DFA no less, their album came out late last year and impressed all that heard it. A highlight, the nostalgic closer "Happiness" now gets the remix treatment. "The 24 Inch Version" is so optimistic it's almost M People, the "DNA 6 mix" is a skewered Minneapolis funk style rework and lastly the 11 minute "!2 Inch version" is sleek and infectious electro-house fun.
Since launching back in 2015, the Misfit Melodies label has released some of the most sumptuous, dusty and atmospheric deep house around. Interestingly, this latest EP - the first for the label from Truth Be Told founder Robert Dietz - is a little more forthright in tone, with the producer delivering a quartet of thrusting, club-ready workouts aimed squarely at peak-time dancefloors. This is perhaps most evident on the throbbing "Bone Apple Tea", whose bustling beats and sharp, warehouse-friendly stabs recall the late night sweatiness of Maurice's Chicago classic "This is Acid". It can be heard, too, within the rolling, alien funk riffs, hands-in-the-air ethos and retro-futurist drum machine work of "Parmacy" and the heavy analogue bass and jaunty electronics of "Telepathic People". Impressive stuff, all told.
Kiko Navarro is a Majorca-based house veteran who has seen and it all. Recently he teamed up with Barely Breaking Even to release a hit long player called Everything Happens For A Reason. The album was literally oozing ideas and styles and one stand out track, "Lo Siento" now gets to stand out even further by getting its own single release. This time the album version appears in an extended mix; a beguiling whirl of Sueno Latino rhythms and passionate vocals from Spain's Concha Buika. An instrumental version also appears for those that just dig the music.
Honey Dijon may sound like a type of mustard, but is in fact a Chicago-raised DJ known for producing hot and peppery joints. Inspired by Danny Tenaglia's sets at legendary 90s club Twilo, Dijon is travels the world playing everywhere from the Sub Club to Berghain. Whenever she's got a spare minute in all this, she's also dedicates her spare time to transgender activism. Here however she's doing what she does best - delivering a pulsating tech-house stormer that balances tough beats with delicate rhythms. Cakes Da Killa adds some MC flow, bringing a touch of old skool hip-house vibes in the process.
Like the pitched-down grooves that have become his trademark, Timothy J Fairplay just keeps chugging along. Having opened his account with a tasty EP for the Netherlands' Charlois imprint, he returns to the same label with his first missive. Title track "My Etherealness" is a typically analogue-rich affair, with sharp, alien synthesizer lines and bold, repetitive riffs stretching themselves out across a cymbal-heavy drum machine groove. By his standards, it's almost anthem-like, and certainly more positive in outlook than many of his cuts. The darkness returns on the freaky, moody and delightfully ghostly "Phantom Trap", before he adds a bit of Dutch style electro-disco pump to the organ heavy madness of "Flying Saucer".
Hailing from Cologne, Germany, Johannes Klingbiel is a busy guy - DJing everywhere from Berlin to Mexico and playing in a multitude of bands (all this on top of his own solo productions too!). Here he serves up a new EP for Mireia and it's a triumph of synth emotions. There are six works on here, all of which are stunning, but particular highlights include the eerie, haunted 4/4 house of the title track, the woozy, gated waves of the David August-esque "Where Is U" and the total tearjerker, "Forever Yours": a New Romantic Bladerunner-style cloudsurfer of a tune.
To us the name Frank Virgilio conjures up impressions of an Italian-American medallion man, a master of disco, strong cologne and exposed chests (of all kinds). The distinct waft of the 1970s will emanate from your speakers when you press play. There are four tough and strutting cuts here, as hard hitting as Rocky. "Inside Out" sees the Gibbs take ecstasy and get looped outta their minds, "2 Late" is a slow, New Beat style re-edit of an electro soul gem and "Meltin Melton" is a loose and live heavy funk cut. Lastly "Somebody Else" ends things with some serious, chopped-up attitude.
Manchester duo Scurrilous (aka Adam Bell & Andre Cornwall) have been delivering solid US-style house jams for about three years now. Self described devotees to 'the 303, 606, 808, 909' its quite clear where these guys are coming from, and these machines are all over these two new tracks. "They Play It Safe" is a tough progressive house roller, with hazy, Chi-town vocals. "Smoke n Pancakes' is edgier - all sleazy, jackin' rhythms and undulating basslines that conjure up images of hedonistic nights at the Music Box.
Despite a career that stretches back to the tail end of the 1980s, Retro Soul is - somewhat remarkably - the full-length debut of Basement Boys man Teddy Douglas. Created with the help of vocalist Marcell Russell and his honeyed tonsils, the album begins with a spine-tingling acapella, before working through a range on sweet, immaculately produced, on-point soulful house gems. There are occasional smouldering ballads, torch songs (see "Good Morning Love" and the slick "Wonderful") and modern soul gems (the horn-heavy "Clap My Hands"), but for the most part it's a deliciously bright-and-breezy, dancefloor-centric set.
As you'd expect, there's far more hits than misses on this second sampler for Secretsundaze acclaimed Dance 2017 compilation. We're particularly enjoying the deep and spacey shuffle of Jayson Wynters's "Chi Kung", where eyes-closed electronics and intergalactic synthesizer flourishes cluster around a bongo-laden, acid-fired groove. Bastien Carrera's gently bobbing "That Time Again" is also quietly impressive, but it's the opening salvo from DJ Slyngshot that really impresses. Entitled "Hygh Tech", the track doffs a cap to both tactile, loved-up old deep house and chunkier early UK tech-house, while carving its' own breakbeat-driven, rave-for-days old school niche..
Simma Black is a UK label that divides its time between London and the Midlands. They specialise in commercial but edgy house and this latest release by relative newcomers Weikum is a perfect example. The first of the two tracks featured here is "What You Do To Me?" which is a mid-paced, sultry electro-house jam - all undulating bass, clap-along rhythms and snippets of soulful vocals. On the digital flipside "Make It Grove" is essentially a dubby/tech house rework of the title track that spans nearly seven trippy minutes.
There's something undeniably summer and festival-friendly about this outing from German duo Claremont (AKA house producers Oliver Kling and Artus Rupalla), and honey-throated vocalist Sean Bradford. An atmospheric chunk of sunshine-friendly, feelgood house, "Do You Feel" stands out thanks to Bradford's brilliant vocals and the duo's sparkling production, which boasts an elastic, tech-house style bassline and shimmering, hands-in-the-air piano riffs. While the radio edit quickly gets to the point (as you'd expect), we much prefer the slow build-up, layered production and undeniably "big" sound of the accompanying extended version. It sounds like something with the potential to be a big club hit, so expect to hear it all over the place this summer.
PARCELS - Overnight (Kitsune)
JAZZUELLE - Circles (Get Physical Germany)
JEM STONE - Stone Grooves Vol 1 (Bona Fido) - exclusive 23-06-2017
HONEY DIJON feat CAKES DA KILLA - Catch The Beat (Classic)
ROBERT DIETZ - Sound Design EP (Misfit Melodies)
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Dave Lee Joey Negro DJ Chart
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