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Reviewed this week
Congratulations to Germany's Dirt Crew Recordings, which marks a century of releases with a celebratory volume of the popular Deep Love compilation series. As befits the momentous occasion, the 11 tracks on offer are all exclusive and previously unreleased. Predictably, there's plenty to enjoy, from the dusty, crackly deep house warmth of Felix Leifur's "Feels Like", and classic U.S garage swing of Ponty Mython's "New York, New York", to the sweet, jazz-flecked haziness of Harry Wolfman's "Rainbow Set", and Huerta's dreamy, glassy-eyed Balearic deep house cut, "Blvrd". Throw in fine contributions from big hitters Detroit Swindle, Nachtbraker and The Revenge, and you have an undeniably essential collection.
Steve Huerta's first single for Amadeus, 2014's Apotheke, was widely praised for its' fusion of bumpin' deep house grooves and trippy, tech-tinged sounds. In contrast, Apache Line begins with "Mandala", a breezy, warm and lightly melodious deep house cut that benefits greatly from some intricate synth-work throughout. The deep and musically rich vibe continues on the Kaidi Tatham style broken beat-meets-jazz-funk flex of "EisTee", before Youandewan lends a hand on the bumpin', late night shuffle of "Apache Line". Youandewan gets a chance to go solo, too, completing a fine EP with the deliciously hypnotic, ocean-deep throb of "Yo Endlos".
Since making his debut on the label in 2006, Joss Moog has been one of Robsoul Recordings most prolific artists. The Parisian specializes in the kind of fuss-free, club-ready tackle that blends elements of "French Touch" style disco-house, the "boompty" deep house funk of Derrick Carter, and more tech-tinged, bass-heavy excursions. These influences can be clearly heard on the four tracks that make up "Triple Loop", all of which could be regarded as proper dancefloor jackers. Highlights wise, we're particularly enjoying the jazzy organ riffs and chunky U.S deep house style of "Hey Mr DJ" and the Carter-esque heavy Chicago bump of "Triple Loop", though it's all pretty damn good.
Joey Negro has ordained Scandi producer Opolopo to work his magic on this, the latest Z Records comp. This he does and then some, literally zig zagging his way through Z Records' back catalogue like a louche disco serpent. He eventually whittled things down to 35 tracks, all of which are contained here both as full tracks and within his DJ mix. Exclusives include new Opolopo reworks of "Staying Power" and his own "Sustain". Other highlights include the speedy smooth funk of "Midnight Sun" by Doug Willis and the sensual grooves of "Face The Face" by The Sunburst Band.
Dresden native Jacob Korn has clearly decided that quality of preferable to quantity. Since 2014, he's really cut back on the number of EPs he's put out, with this simply titled four-tracker being his first release of ant description for 18 months. Predictably, he barely puts a foot wrong, moving from the chunky grooves, alien melodies, dusty musical touches and pulsing loops of "The Happening", to the low-slung, disco-flecked mid-tempo deep house bump of "Thru The Eye". Along the way, pay close attention to the choppy, post-Soundstream edit-house swing of "Holiday", and the soaring, near-symphonic disco-house heaviness of "Goodbye", which is arguably the EP's most bombastic moment.
Germany's Boris Brejcha is back with the Fear EP on his own Fckng Serious imprint. The title track is a dark journey with a razor sharp bassline, druggy drums and soaring synth leads leading to proper dancefloor bliss of the darker kind. Next offering "Sad But True" gets more fierce and tunnelling with its swelling sub bass, dreamy melody and tight shuffle; perfect to lead into the peak time. Finally "Happiness Lies" keeps on with the po faced aesthetics like its name may suggest but goes out with a big bang; this seething and slow burning prog-house journey is reminiscent of James Holden's work in the mid noughties. Wicked!
Bristol's master practitioner of boompty electro house returns for west coast institution Dirtybird with his rendition of DJ Godfather's 1999 classic "Booty Perculate" feat DJ Funk, but in the process sounds more like Cajmere's seminal "Percolator" with its stomping Chicago hard house groove and wobbly melody. Second offering "House Girl" sounds more like the Clarke we know with its massive bouncy baseline, tight rhythm and buzzing synth leads that fly all over the shop for perfect trippiness beneath druggy pitch shifted vocals. That's what we're talking about right here!
One of Norman 'Fatboy Slim' Cook's many aliases in conjunction with Gareth Hansome, Mighty Dub Katz originally released "Let The Drums Speak" in 2002 on Southern Fried Records. It now gets some remix treatment by an all star cast with Mannheim tech house hero Butch stepping up to deliver a loopy and funked up rendition that will appeal to fans of DJ Sneak or Phil Weeks. The classic "Just Another Groove" from 1995 gets a makeover by Hamburg legend Boris Dlugosch but delivers more of an edit which doesn't deviate too far from the original, while Brit in L.A. Doorly's version is well funky tech house for party people.
"Chicago" is a pure jacking house tune which features all the hallmarks of the Trax Records sound: the legendary Windy City label which founded the house and acid house legacy. Milanese legend Carmelo Carone fits with the unique sound of TRAX, which is said to have very much influenced over the years his artistic identity. The "UK mix" gets a bit darker and dubbier with those MK style keys atop, which are a great touch. There's also some fine remixes on offer, but for our money it's all about the tough, swing fuelled jack courtesy of the Hologram Hookers which is reminiscent of classic Armand Van Helden or Miky Talarico's slow burning cosmic disco rendition.
Washington DC breakbeat duo Fort Knox Five presents yet more killer remixes of Pressurize The Cabin, originally released a year and a half ago. Starting out with the Eighteenth Street Lounge affiliated Ursula 1000, who delivers a low slung and funky rendition of "Ready Go" which will rock the dancefloor of any party, there's also a handy instrumental version for serious DJs. Meanwhile Palletz delivers a bass heavy, very UK makeover of "24 Hours To Set It Off" complete with ragga vocals which will storm any serious soundclash. Interestingly enough, this fella is from British Columbia, Canada; who'd have thought! Again, a handy instrumental version is included of this remix too.
Legendary British duo Pet Shop Boys are back with another instant club anthem on "Say It To Me". Neil Tennant's unmistakeable vocals are backed by an early '90s hi-NRG style arrangement that's sure to bring the house down, with its piano rolls and big breakdowns. "A Cloud In The Box" shows off Chris Lowe's studio mastery, as he plunders the vaults of classic 90s dance once again on this epic, retro trance journey. Finally "The Dead Can Dance" is more like the Pet Shop Boys we know on this gentle, flowing and catchy pop ditty. Finally, they save the best for last with the equally legendary Stuart Price and his alternative mix of "Say It To Me".
Never underestimate the power of the mighty Kenny Dope. The co-member of Masters At Work probably has more remixes under his belt than any other house producer, and this guy has never ceased to kill it since his first productions began to appear back in the late 1980's. No, we are not worthy. He's still at it now, and these two remixes of "Tell Me" by Waterson are big and bad: first up is a vocal mix, a gorgeous house nugget with dusty drums and an impeccable baseline, but it's the dub we're after, a staple of Dope's remix style and this one is particularly effective in just about any way you can imagine. Drums, bass, melodies, and general execution. Hotly recommended!
2016 marks a decade since Arlington Heights' Sean Biddle launched the digital-only Bid Muzik imprint. Here, he celebrates the occasion with a compilation that smartly gathers together some of the highlights of the label's first decade. There's plenty to enjoy, from the pulsating wobble bass, jackin' beats and pitched-down vocals samples of Biddle's own "Freak Show (Rescue Mix)", and the hip-hop sampling, cut-up house thrust of RED's "Werk It", to the horn-heavy funk-house thrills of Milty Evans' "We Are One", and Steve Nagarro's electrofunk-flavoured interpretation of Jangatha's super-sweet "When I'm With You". Throw in a couple of disco-house scorchers from DJ EQ and Greg Robertson, and you've got a rather fine package.
Budapest's Rony Breaker has appeared previously on Blacksoul, Foliage and Deepalma and now appears with "I Feel Loved" featuring the vocal talents of Frenchman Jay Sebag who many of you will know from his collaborations with Martin Solveig. The original track is a catchy, disco-infused serving of pop-house that gets some more club friendly renditions courtesy of an all star cast. Starting with UK legend Ashley Beedle of X-Press 2, whose two tremendous remixes are reminiscent of an '80's style B-side extended dub mix, with one version foregoing the vocals completely. We particularly enjoyed Ron Basejam's "I Feel Dubbed mix" which is a lovably cheesy Italo disco rendition, while Cram's remix is the most energetic: a main room funky house explosion!
Young Swiss producer Nicolas Meyer follows up a great debut on Hustler Trax earlier this year with the Devil Cell EP for Alex Agore and David Nicol's Closer To Truth label. Starting out with the deeply emotive vibes of "Devil Cell Number" reminiscent of classic Glenn Underground or Boo Williams, he's then on to the supremely uplifting vibes of "Always Drunk People" which will appeal to fans of 6th Borough Project. For something different, there's also the low slung groove of "The Folding Man" to build some more mellower moments on the dancefloor.
Effective new tech bullets from the utterly on-point San Proper, a contemporary king of the dance circuit, and an artist that we always love to hear new material from. The producer is up on his native Dopeness Galore, a Dutch label whose material ranges from the jazz of Chet Baker, to Pharaoh, Sanders, and through to Kid Sublime or Inkswel. "Lovesick" is one of those tunes that you leave the club humming, a memorable house banger fuelled by sexy vocals with a romantic twist. Dope. "Monkeys Play With Fire" comes in a remix version by San Proper himself and Wouda, and this is the killer here, a trip dub experiment with lovely tribal drums and wild samples. Recommended!
Bournemouth's Catchment are back on the always reliable Azuli imprint out of London with another euphoric anthem (and what we think will be another surefire hit) in the form of "Trapped". This tune follows in the footsteps of Disclosure and Gorgon City style stadium house epics. Using an acapella of the Colonel Abrams classic over a massive bassline, killer chord progressions, uplifting pianos and of course.. a headrush inducing drop! It ticks all the right boxes as you'll soon find out.
Plaisir De France is a French production duo consisting of Boris Herve and Julien Barthe, and together they've made some pretty spectacular house and electro over the years. Since 2000, these guys have appeared on the Pro-Zak Trax label, their household, with sporadic EPs and wonderfully executed tunes. More recently, they've parked their electro edge, and have gone for a more traditional yet still interesting approach to house. "Americaine" gets eight makeovers here: there's a sexy and seductive '2002 mix', and the more electro-leaning 'Footloose 2002 mix', but among these our favourites have to be slower, more broken 'Croosty Pop 2002 mix', and the heavy house licks of the 'After L'Amour 2016 remix'. A fully-loaded, heavy-swung EP. Killer.
Exclusives
RONY BREAKER feat JAY SEBAG - I Feel Loved (Peppermint Jam Germany)
MIGHTY DUB KATZ - Let The Drums Speak/Just Another Groove (Southern Fried)
WATERSON - Tell Me (Kenny Dope KDA Mixes) (Back To The World)
Exclusives
ALKALINO/CID & FANCY - It's Time / Oh Haaay (Audaz) - exclusive 01-10-2016
FORT KNOX FIVE - Pressurize The Cabin Remixed Exclusives #1 (Fort Knox US)
RAUMAKUSTIK - Dem A Pree (Emerald City Music)
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