Mad Mats and Tooli have decided to celebrate five and a half years of their much-loved Local Talk label by gathering together a swathe of fresh cuts that best represent the label's eclectic approach to house music. It's a fine set, moving from the electric bass driven jazz-house of Art Of Tones' "Violation" to the UK garage influenced deep house skip of Hugo LX, via the rich, soulful house warmth of Sean McCabe, the synth-laden Herbie Hancock-isms of DJ Spinna and the celebratory disco-house heaviness of S3A's "Bob Morton". Chuck in superb contributions from Bodhi Satva, Simbad (as SMBD) and newcomer Marcel Lune, and you have a near essential collection of feel-good house moments.
This is big: a collaboration between Balearic nu-disc heavyweight Pete Herbert and "the voice of house" himself, Robert Owens. In its original form, "Pass Me By" is bubbly and attractive, with Owens' adding deep, soulful and emotion-rich vocals to a sparkling, synth-heavy backing track that effortlessly joins the dots between freestyle, proto-house and Italo-disco. The equally impressive remix package is headed up by two fine reworks from Daniele Baldelli and DJ Rocca: a chugging, undulating cosmic disco vocal version and a spaced-out, groove-driven Dub that hits home hard despite the lack of Owens' full vocal. Elsewhere, Aussie adventurer Dr Packer gives it an electrofunk flavoured house makeover and Pete Herbert turns in a fluid, Balearic-inspired rework full of heady synth lines and tumbling pianos.
The latest missive on Yam Who's Blackriot label comes from Robjamweb, a Derby-based producer who has recently been in a rich vein of form. Roots & Elements is tinted with more than a hint of rose-tinted nostalgia, with piano-heavy opener "House Muziq" coming on like a vintage Frankie Knuckles remix with Eric Kuper on keys. "Heads Down At Five AM" reaches for the acid bass while paying tribute to the deep and dreamy brilliance of Larry Heard. The latter influence is all but removed from the TrueSelf Dub, which wisely emphasizes the floor-filling potential of Robjamweb's machine groove. Those looking for something a little looser should head for "Ghetto Laureate", where an inspirational spoken word vocal rides a jazz-fuelled Afro-house groove and deliciously heady Rhodes chords.
Snatch! is Riva Starr's first label project and the aim behind it is to push new talents and established forward thinking producers. Expect slamming fresh house cuts from some of the most exciting talent in the scene and next up is Napoli's DJ Simi with three funked up tech house cuts for main room action. Starting off with the sexy and driving summer heat of "Hot Pants Tribe" (original mix) full of hip hop style sampling, there's also "Sunrise" (Rising Love Anthem) which has that rolling kinda groove that would appeal to fans of Saved or Material Series, but with an undeniable latin flavour. Finally "Man Drake" (original mix) goes for something more on moody jazzy tip: very emotive like classic Nick Holder.
Needwant round up the best works by duo VIMES (comprised of Azhar Syed & Julian Stetter) over the last few years. Taking in tracks from their album Nights In Limbo (in the form of some special reprise style renditions) as well as all the killer makeovers that followed on several remix EPs. We have waxed lyrical about the stellar remixes so we'll just mention these new versions from the album. "Celestial" (reprise) is a serving of dreamy and ethereal indie house on the shoegaze tip that'd make even Ulrich Schnaus stand up and notice, "Rudal" (Reprise) is Life & Death style dark journey house by way of Erased Tapes style gloomy aesthetics and "Celestial" (Gardens Of God Remix) serves up a lush stylish depiction of modern deep house.
Birmingham's Riggsy started the dharkfunkh project back in early 2012. Over his 17 year career as a producer, he has worked on countless variations of underground house and techno under many different monikers racking up hundreds of releases. A studio engineer by trade, he is now focusing on the deeper side of tech house, deep house and techno with his solo productions. Not to mention this one right here on the always reliable Glasgow Underground with London's Sam Young aka Vanilla Ace. Entitled "What We Gonna Do?" this one is a tough and swing fuelled people mover with some catchy horns and funky elements of the darker persuasion. Label boss man Kevin McKay lends a helping hand on the remix: his rendition going for some late '90s disco house action which we were really diggin'!
H.P. Vince is Vincent Kriek: a Dutch house producer that for close to two decades has released various strains of dance music under about a dozen aliases not limited to Black Onyx, Upsilon and Kompressor to name but a few. Here on "Wait A Minute" he serves up a well executed remix of a certain urban soul-funk classic for a modern audiences on Babert's Disco Revenge imprint. This is totally hot!
Jay Newman is a producer from the UK who has already served up a few bombs on labels such as Kittball and Resonance. He is also one half of the infamous Boxer and Jay Newman duo and resident for Doorly & Friends as well as Ministry Of Sound. Now he makes his debut on Great Stuff with two fresh cuts. "Innovations" is the kind of rolling, main room, peak time tech house that you can imagine tearing up clubs on The White Isle this Summer: highly recommended for fans of the Gruuv/Saved/Material sound. Next track "Panama" is a funkier and straight head affair with its swing fuelled shuffle, womp synth lead and buzzy synths leading the way to clubland euphoria.
Ibiza based Kike Henriquez has had releases on labels like Brique Rouge, Something Different and Defined thus far but now breaks out on the always reliable Music For Freaks. On "You're Speaking To God" its a funky, filtered and tribal work out that's looped to perfection like a DJ Sneak or Phil Wekks style jam. Second offering has much more of a rolling groove happening and definitely dives deeper, but it's certainly upfront house no doubt. For fans of Man Without A Clue or Sidney Charles: this would be right up your alley!
For their get this: 900th release, house institution Strictly Rhythm serve up a whopper in the form of two heavyweights. One half of Masters At Work Kenny Dope and the inimitable Roland Clark rocking the mic on the NSFW "Talk Dirty". We've first got the "Kenny Dope O Gutta mix" which is the deep and smooth version then there's a handy instrumental.Celebrating with a big bang indeed!
Moscow's Vehicle now presents more deep house, nu-disco and of course a few of their reknown V edits on the Intercity Remixes here. Miles Ahead's "Human Nation" (V's Parisian mix) is a jazzy soul jam with quite a few familiar sounds from a certain timeless classic. "Human Nature" (V's Nuyorika mix) however is much funkier, deeper and absolutely emotive. Elsewhere, The Thoors' "Love Her Badly" (V's L.A. to New Orleans mix) does exactly what it says on the tin with this cheeky rework of a right anthem until Rocking Blues' "My Desire" (V's Moscow To Tokyo mix) closes out this fine little EP out in good and proper style with those hands in the air pianos, jazz drums and bongos all working in perfect harmony.
Frenchman Matthew Heyer served up one seriously pop inflected EDM anthem on his recent single "Fire" which we picked as a sure hit prediction. Featuring Watford based Grace Ackerman's amazing vocals atop of Heyer's life affirming and evocative arrangement: we didn't think it could get much better than that. Enter Gunjah; the Dresden based legend and former resident at Berlin's legendary E-Werk and more recently a regular at Kater Blau. With the latter in mind, his remix here of "Fire" gives the track a deep and tripped out vibe for the afterhours with one razor sharp bassline that'd make even the Hot Creations camp stand up and notice!
Utrecht, Netherlands based producer Falco Benz released his lush and stylish synthpop ditty "Like This" in late 2016 which featured some super sultry female vocals over his neon-lit synths and it now gets a series of brilliant reworks. Mason's summery and uplifting funky house remix was certainly a nice touch, Leipzig's PWNDTIAC retains those wonderfully lush retro sounds from the original but lays down a solid deep house framework beneath in the vein of Hot Creations. Finally homeboy and frequent Palmbomen II collaborator Betonkust gives you your fix of dusty lo-fi house that'd make even DJ Boring stand up and notice. Benz has since signed up with Canadian house heroes My Favorite Robot for his next release: this guys definitely one to watch!
Tromo's Beatservice now presents The Familiar, an electro-pop duo consisting of homeboy Mads Martinsen with Ruth Mirsky from Brooklyn. On this latest release, two of their tracks are remixed by the Norwegian house underground. Veteran local producer Doc L. Junior (Music For Freaks, Paper Recordings) delivers a remix of "White Poison" that is a deep and slinky late night cut in the vein of classic Dessous Records sound. Another 'Tromso-ite' Syntax Erik is up next with his retro makeover of "Dark Eyes" complete with shimmering vintage synths and spangling arpeggios. "White Poison" is revisited for the final track, with Oslo's Rave-enka (Paper Recordings, Trunkfunk) serving up some smooth and sultry nu-jazz business that would make even Atjazz stand up and notice.
We've always felt that Navan Rajan's work under the DJ Nav alias offers a pleasing blend of assured, floor-friendly production and loose, dimly lit atmospherics. These twin attractions are once again much in evidence on Soul Shine, his second EP for the Pocket Money label. Throughout, he tips a wink to classic U.S and European deep house styles - Dream II Science and Nu Groove-era New Jersey deep house on "Soul Shine" and "Moody Beats", and Italian dream house classic "Sueno Latino" on the two fine versions of "Dream" - whilst retaining his usual rhythmic shuffle and tactile chord progressions. It makes for an impeccably produced, unashamedly melodious EP stuffed full of cuts that sound as good at home as they do in the club.