It's a sign of the ludicrously prolific nature of Mad Mats and Tooli's Local Talk imprint that this is their third compilation of label highlights this year. That the quality threshold remains impressively high is credit to their A&R skills. Encompassing revivalist US garage, twinkle-eyed deep house and enveloping groovery, Talking House Volume 3 is packed full of distinctive dancefloor highlights. Check, for example, the fearsome acid tweakery of Anaxander's breathless "My Aniseed Lollipop", the wide-eyed, piano-laden rush of Deep Space Orchestra's brilliant remix of The True Rebels' "Bitter Love", and the baggy, organ-heavy samba-house warmth of Tommy Rawson's "Don't Lose It". And that's just for starters. In a word: essential.
Originally released in 1992, "Always" stands the test of time with immaculate aplomb thanks to Alana's soul-stirring vocal and MK's intimate knowledge of groove science and synth warmth. On the remix-front we find Route 94 adding more weight and resonance to the bass hook while Gerd supplies three remixes. For the Gerd remix he removes the classic house elements for a bouncier, bass-informed tech blend while - under his NY Stomp alias - he returns to the formative source with two big belters, one that puts full focus on the vocal while the dub pays homage to Todd Edwards with stunning vocal processes. An exemplary collection of contemporisations, Defected have done it again.
Few artists have enjoyed such attention and warm acclaim as Shadow Child. Not just surfing the recent deep house / UK garage wave, Dave Spoon's alter-ego is one the producers that caused the tsunami in the first place. This comprehensive collection of originals and remixes showcases his influences with stark, sharp consistency. Each track deserves a place in all good house DJs' playlists but highlights can be found in the staccato minor key stabs and swaggering rhythm of "The Verdict", the oceanic depths of his stuttering, fuzzy two-step shuffle of "Southsea" and the speaker-shattering Metalheadz homage that is his remix of Justin Martin & Leroy Peppers' "Riding Spaceships". Twenty six reminders why Shadow Child has been one of the most influential artists of recent times, this is essential.
You can always count on Local Talk to bring the heat where pumping New Jersey house action is concerned, and it's no different on this offering from label mainstays Dirtytwo. "Waisted" sounds as though it looks to a certain Mr Vandross for some soulful crooning, but he's surrounded by a wealth of romantic string blasts and cheeky DX7 lines to round out a peppy belter. "Talkin' 2 U" gets sassier thanks to a crazily addictive lead synth line that bounces like the most uplifting of peak time jams. If that wasn't enough, there's a "Hard On edit" of that second cut that lets some squelchy acid in on the action amidst more wistful synth lines.
Dave Lee and Andrew Livingstone's 20-year-old funky house classic gets a well-deserved revamp from Hed Kandi faves Crazibiza. From one Hed to another, they've paid complete respect to the genre-setting original throughout; swashbuckling drums, a juicy groove of obese proportions and full focus on the infectiously catchy vocal, it's a kindly reminder of how timeless house music can be when it's in the right hands. File under: 'quintessential remix'.
Having appeared on Smoke N Mirrors in 2012 with a remix of Shiny Objects, Adnan gets his debut solo EP opportunity and he kicks it right out of the park. "Sky Toucher" is all deep bass bubbles and heads-down drums before sharp shards of strings merge majestically into the mix. "Bring It Down, Bring Us Up", meanwhile, flexes deeper into the cosmos with shimmering one-string guitar plucks, a slinky bassline, mesmerising reverse effect textures and a commanding vocal from Carla Tutu. Remix-wise Safeword takes "Sky Toucher" into a techier territory with angular electro edges on every fill. Stunning.
With the new cycle of transformation that the change in the ancient Mayan calendar has supposedly brought, it seems fitting for NDATL to release a track namechecking a lost Mexican civilization. "Olmec Save Us" sees R&B powerhouse Donnie on vocals, while NDATL boss Kai Alce provides production; characterized by a typically classic style that nevertheless feels fresh, its high-end synth tones conveying the weird and otherworldly sense of Donnie's strange tale. Meanwhile, Osunlade provides his "Yoruba Soul Mix", providing a slightly deeper version of the original which provides a nice contrast to Alce's jazzier original. Instrumentals of both tracks are included for those who like their tracks sans vocal.
Usually responsible for pilfering other people's licks, here we find Will.I.Am being sampled himself. The result is outstanding: Sharam Jey, Kinree and De2part have processed and pitched his vocal down with seriously demonic, hooky effect. Laid bare over a low-swung electro bass groove there's a great sense of simplicity and funk weaved deep into every element. One of the biggest Bunny Tiger bangers to date, this demands your attention.