While he's more than happy to reflect and look back via his Trust Me I Was There mix series and the recent Rinse 20 re-releases, Zinc is in his element when he's bringing the roots kicking and screaming into the future... Which he's done consummately right here with this six track UKG/bass house adventure. "If You" is a bubbling old school rave feeling wrapped up in contemporary house styles, Marky co-lab "Double" is a dark strutter, all snares and menace, "Boppa" flips the electro switch with one simple waspy bassline, "Emanate" does that hooky up-and-down bass refrain Zinc has always been a sucker for while "After Time" is an organ-heavy twist on the current deep house flavours. Finally we hit "Runouts". A breakbeat-surcharged homage to the hardcore era in which Zinc cut his teeth, it's instant shock-out material. Bring on Structures part two!
Taken from their summer album Broken Toys, modern day Northern soulsters Smoove & Turrell unleash this instantly hooky number. Galvanised with a life-affirming chorus and chord changes that sound so natural, you'll be singing along by the end of the first listen, it's one of the album's strongest tracks. And it comes with some very strong remixes, too! Ashley Beedle adds his trademark strut and disco bubbles, Opolopo gets his jazzy jack on while The Porters take S&T to the very edge of the cosmos on a ship made of twinkling arpeggios. Beautiful.
York-based Alfa Flite is slowly building a reputation as a purveyor of fine, soul-flecked edits that tiptoe the fine line between deep house and disco. Here, the mystery combo drops a new edit - a sensual, head-nodding and toe-tapping reinterpretation of what appears to be a classic Sade cut. With rubbery bass, unfussy beats, gentle guitars and emotion-rich vocals, there's plenty to enjoy. With a decent amount of compression on the beats and bassline, as well as a surprisingly distant feel about the vocal, it feels primed and ready for dancefloors that like their grooves toe tapping, head nodding and groovy.
Given the sheer amount of product Marco Dionigi releases, you'd be forgiven for accidentally missing out on his best work. Wake Up - another full-length excursion on his Quantistic Division imprint - should not be ignored, though; arguably, it's one of his strongest albums to date. There are few genuine surprises - the 13 tracks mine his usual influences, from cosmic disco, cosmic rock and nu-disco, to Italo, dub, Balearica and classic house - but the quality of the material on offer is impressively high. There's plenty of playable, dancefloor-friendly highlights, from the kosmiche chug of "Sweet Smell of Success" and slap bass-enhanced Balearic funk of "Kung Bo", to the stomping, Italo-influenced disco pump of "Who Touched Me (Original Mix)".
Hailing from London of Ghanaian lineage, Fuse ODG has cultivated a sound that nestles somewhere between Afrobeat, EDM and moombahton. He recently hit the jackpot with the synthy tropical anthem "Tina", and here's all subsequent remixes all in one neat package. Highlights include Bassboy's perky, wobble heavy houser, Adam Turner's slammin' peak time epic and Apexx's noisey electro-meets-Diplo banger.
Following the inaugural volume from Scott Diaz late last year comes the eager anticipated sophomore series edition from respected Swedish studio hound Eric Ericksson. Taking five well known soulful house slices from the last ten years and giving them his own magic touch, this sampler showcases some of Eric's own exclusives for the mix. The progressive synth breezes of The Realm's 2005-released "One Chance" will sooth your soul while his intricate vocal processing and contemporisation of "Time" will have all dancefloor-minded limbs twitching at double time. Elsewhere his jazzy arrangement and insistent rhythm dynamics of Gum's "Take Me To My Love" will ensure full floor participation, as are the big keys on "Superstar". Bring on the album!
Butcher Music present their finest chops of the year on one sizzling digital platter... Barclay & Cream's Patrice Rushen-homage "Forget Me Nots" gets an emotional synth-sprinkled repurposing, Lexmatic Sphere whisk Sound 2 Light back to the mid 90s with a thumping trance-tinged twist and classics such as East Side Beat's cover of Christopher Cross's "Ride Like The Wind" and Tears For Fears' "Shout" both get brought kicking into the future by Sweet Jungle and Al Faris and Freakquencer respectively. Bass heads need to jump on Lexmatic's "Drop Me"... The drop mid way on this German robo-romancer changes all games in a five mile radius. Musical mixed grills don't get any tastier.
Toolroom by name, Toolroom by nature. Mark Knight's label has a habit of delivering loads of one off DJ tools that are always tough and consistent and often consistently tough. Here Mario Ochoa steps up with a nice, (almost) seven minute long, slice of tough filtered disco house that will wind itself into many a fine set and clubber's head.
American house veteran Todd Terry is back on his own Inhouse label with the hands-in-the-air future classic "Feel The Melody". The clue's in the title as the tune is literally bursting with melodic joy - all incessant pianos, catchy vocals and some big synth strings towards the end. Good times ahoy!
German-born South African-based superstar Ralf Gum unleashes his third studio album, and it's nothing short of a soulful sensation. Peppered with sun-kissed grooves and golden-toned vocalists throughout, it will instantly flash you back to the warmer months. Highlights include the rich harmonies and oceanic Rhodes on "Our Love Is A Star", the slinky tech wriggles, gradual dynamics and Portia Monique's purring voice on "Free" and the delicate African percussion and gravelly tones of the title track. A genuine document of depth and soul, this is a reminder to all deep house pretenders of what can be achieved when you understand the real roots.