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Reviewed this week
Tsuba's ten year anniversary - that's right, it has been that long already - has been marked with hit after hit from a wide selection of artists from across the house kingdom. In fact, for this 2nd instalment of the festivities, we have White Material frontman Galcher Lustwerk remixed by the inimitable Jimpster, with the latter putting a more starry-eyed mechanic onto the original; For Romeau complete the A-side with a vintage-sounding remix of "Pinball" by Williams. On the flip, Roy Comanchero drops the Chicago bass over a minimal sort of percussion groove on "Hypba". Kevin Griffiths adds a little acid to the jingly 707 beat of "Satori", and completes a stellar EP from the magnetic Tsuba.
Saucy Lady is a Japanese-born, Boston-dwelling artist on a one-woman mission to return to the outre disco diva chic of yore. Word of her larger-than-life persona has spread to the UK, where a close collaboration with Yam Who? has resulted in this joy of a retro disco single. The latter's mix blends four to the floor beats, Chic-style guitar, electro boogie bass and a sumptuous synthy atmosphere. Elsewhere E-Live adds a smooth 80s soul twist, Ourra opts for a dubbed out bass heavy vibe and Yuki takes us to Funky Town in the EPs sexiest mix. Hot stuff!
Natal Zaks is a talented chap. To date, he's released a large amount of very good material, under numerous pseudonyms, for a wide variety of labels. Here he returns to Dekmantel with the second part of the Political Dance series, under the now familiar Central guise. Just like its' predecessor, it's a deliciously positive, melodious and atmospheric affair. The brilliant "Detour King" sounds like Space Dimension Controller, Vincent Floyd and Boyd Jarvis jamming on Mars, while "Political Dance" is a deliciously loved-up journey into early New Jersey deep house, with some distinctively spacey flourishes to boot. Zaks also doffs a cap to ambient house era intelligent techno on the luscious "Convenient Departures".
Seb Wildblood is back on London imprint Church with Jazz Vol. 1. It's some sultry and soulful deepness on offer that's no doubt influenced from a lot of Moodymann listening sessions and we can appreciate that, like on the smooth opener that is the title track. "Seal Of Approval" carries on with this sentiment quite gloriously with those sampled jazz vocals and piano over a seriously dusty arrangement being such a nice touch. He goes for more of the early nineties Chicago vibe of Larry Heard on the bittersweet and emotive "Nothing". Finally Medlar of Wolf Music fame steps in to give Seal Of Approval" a funky and upbeat makeover that's just perfect for an open air party this Summer.
Re-edit maestro Inxxxwel arrives with the first of presumably many Dancefloor Meditations. Not that he's crossing legs and chanting 'ommm' any time soon, nope he's opted to deliver four sparkly disco re-cuts that truly span whole worlds of style and taste. "Check It Out" is an intriguing slice of murky lo-fi Afro disco that sounds like a special eighth gen cassette secret that's been covertly passed into your hands. Elsewhere we get the raw Japanese punk-funk-pop of "I See You", it's all about disfigured 90s RnB on "Make Me" and finally the bright and shiny boogie stomp of "Old Fashioned".
A master at work with or without partner Kenny Gonzales, Louie Vega is back with "A New Day", his latest solo effort. Of course he always gets a strong vocalist involved and this single is no different, with the mighty Caron 'Soul II Soul' Wheeler drafted in to hit those notes. The original is a smooth slice of warm and soulful house and there are more remixes than you could ever wish for too. Highlights include Jazzie B's stunningly evocative and hauntingly tribal rework, Ron Trent's sparse and percussive remix and Shelter's positive Latin house rejig. A classy release indeed!
Gorgon City are Matt and Kye from London and hot off a well-received tour of the US with Rudimental, they now present their new single. "Money" is a driving and adrenalised peak time tech house cut that ticks all the right boxes: razor sharp bassline, tight rhythm, trippy synths and massive headrush style drops. The remix by the NYC don of house David Morales (yes, you heard that right!) is not the kind of funky disco house you'd usually expect, rather an even darker and twisted journey than the original that ploughs away in sinister and tunnelling fashion. Tech house prankster Riva Starr also lends a hand, giving the track a much more funky and upbeat rendition.
Man of many pseudonyms Natal Zaks brings his Central project to Dekmantel, with the first of a series of EPs entitled Political Dance. It's an expansive affair, with the Danish producer delivering a quintet of tracks that meld distinctive Detroit techno, early US deep house, broken beat and deep space ambient influences into attractive new shapes. Highlights abound, from the rolling, loved-up grooves of the starry "Keep Love On Me", and Motor City deep house shuffle of "Body Issue", to the horizontal bliss of "Longest Way Between Two Points", and tech-jazz swing of standout "This Is Hand". Impressive stuff, all told.
Miami's Jesse Perez follows in the tradition of his hometown's musical legacy ie: seriously bass driven dance music for freaks. He teams up with the west coast don of electro Egyptian Lover on "Cell Phones" fuelled by some fierce and funky breaks beneath a collage of hip hop samples that will appeal to a wide cross range of DJs. "Twerk Machine" will have you doing exactly that, right after the sick drop; bumpy and funky minimal tech house in the vein of Jamie Jones or Jey Kurmis plus those breaks make a welcome comeback. Finally "The One Two Checka" re-asserts that breakbeats are his main strength once more, these ones come at you fierce like a wall of sound; check it!
A self-confessed 'bass music reprobate', Jason Laidback has certainly paid his dues, being one half of Slyde (Finger Lickin') and a veteran of the Bolshi label too. Here he delivers a new solo bomb, "Namechecka!" and it's clear that his ferocity hasn't diminished over the years. The UK mix of the tune combines a big thumping shuffle and seductive female vocals with almost Plastic Dreams-esque 90s house goodness. His esteemed pal Leeroy 'The Prodigy' Thornhill also appears with a mix that is unsurprisingly a tough big beat assault with plenty of cacophonous 303 mayhem! Another day, another destroyed dancefloor!
S-Express was a group of glorious misfits led by the legendary DJ Mark Moore. A teenage punk and New Romantic, he was a pivotal figure in London's club scene and one who helped house music reach the masses with "Theme From S-Express" which topped the charts in 1988. Here he invites an eyebrow-raising list of names to reinterpret his band's back catalogue and it's a thrill a minute listen. Highlights include HMD's deep disco rework of "Pimps, Pushers, Prostitutes", Chris & Cosey's deliciously electroclash rework of "Lollypop" and Primal Scream's gospel-tinged drone-rock rework of "Mantra For A State Of Mind".
In preparation for the forthcoming season on the White Island, Mark Knight's label drops this explosive release. David Keno, Stage Rockers & Samantha Nova's "I Like That" shows that house will continue to be Toolroom's main focus, albeit in this instance, a streamlined tribal take. The compilation also demonstrates that an appetite also remains for classic vocal tracks; Mash's "Shooting Brake" recalls the classic garage of early 90s New York, with its dark bass and layered vocal samples, while the infectious stabs, strings and plaintive piano of Playless' "Danser" could be as big as David Morales' late-'90s smash "Needin U".
Yam Who?, London's resident nu-disco heroes, are taking a step with the duo's Ism label looking to the far east and a whole new sound for their latest signing. This new addition to their roster being Jsquared aka the Tokyo-based artist John Enston and singer Honami 'Amy' Furuhara. "Dangerlove" is a smoothly produced slice classy...Europop in which Enston and Amy gently duet over a tropical beat that even touches on sunkissed RnB vibes. Remixes include the Autocycle version, which starts with a killer guitar riff and builds into dreamy arpeggiated disco and Yam Who?s own's piano house rework. Cool.
Young Bristol producer Applebottom (aka Joe Arthur) made a big splash a few years ago with his clubtastic debut on Madtech. Since then he's been doing a lot of growing up and with this new one-off, The Ride, he definitely proves that he's come a long way in a short space of time. Having already mastered the club banger, this tune sees him incorporate jazz samples into the mix resulting in a very organic form of house music, laden with atmosphere and hip piano work aplenty. Excellent as always.
Following their successful collaboration, Delight, back in 2012, Leeds electro-swing producer and sultry singer Octavia Rose have decided to rekindle the magic on new one-off, "Lost In The Rhythm". Once again the rule here is 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it', but although this new ditty sounds familiar, it's never dull. Stomping along at 120bpm, Rose lays down a catchy 20s/30s style vocal over a classic swing strum before the tune surprisingly opens up into some infectious synthy electro-pop, catching everyone by surprise once more. Another hit to be sure.
Aside from a string of successful EP's on the steady ship known as Toy Tonics, Berliners Black Loops have been nomadic in terms labels, and that just suits them down to the bone given their eccentric strain of house. We love "Cassette 5.1", it's a traditionally driving house tune with big chords and a begrime mentality, remixed here by Ed Herbst into a deeper, more gentle beast. Then there's "Rue De La Paix", a kick-heavy chugger that sits under the deep house umbrella but that does a lot more in terms of style and swagger; Baldo is on the remix duties for this one, dropping a beautiful woozing bass into the mix, accompanied by a Mr Fingers-style synth wormhole.
Earl Grey and PJU are both prolific produces on their ones and twos, but together they've formed a particularly effective duo on the mixing board, and this latest collaboration on the ever-fresh Muzik Box is literally music to our ears. The lead track "Drum Boxx" is a funky, old-school bassline banger that could fit in either a Chicago house set or any other Dj set for that matter, and "Computer Wars" is similarly crusty around the edges and accompanied by a magnificent Roland bassline that keeps on giving. "Muzik" is more stripped-down and focused on the percussion cowbells, but Earl Grey's own remix of the tune brings it back down to earth with a gorgeous, deep house swagger.
Berlin-dwelling Daniel Haaksman, recently showcased his newfound interest in African music on his second album, African Fabrics. Here the lead track, "Akabongi" gets the single treatment being released in its own right and bundled with some new remixes. The original featuring the mighty Spoek Mathambo gets extended into five minutes of infectious Afro tech bliss. Elsewhere Mo Laudi calms the vibes down to a more relaxed sway whilst exaggerating the atmospherics and Boyfriend delivers a half-time rendition that lends the tune song hip-hop kudos. Exciting stuff!
German label A Friend In Need, has amassed a very strong back catalogue of deep house/disco fusion jams in a just two years. Here they present new works by a variety of artists and again quality is paramount. Toefflinger delivers some smooth and emotional vintage sax-garage vibes on "That's The Way", Thomas Steiler drops some rumbling bass and hazy synth layers "Keep Dancin" and "Instellar" by Ciro De Gais is all about the suspended strings and Pettibone-style machine gun snares. Lastly Gregory Dub's "Closer" literally closes the EP with a kind of fusion of elements from all the above.
Exclusives
VARIOUS - Defected In The House Ibiza 2016 (Defected)
LOUIE VEGA STARRING CARON WHEELER - A New Day (Vega)
FORT KNOX FIVE - Mission To The Sitars (Fort Knox US)
Exclusives
SEB WILDBLOOD - Jazz Vol 1 EP (Church)
S'EXPRESS - Enjoy This Trip (Needle Boss)
JSQUARED feat AMY - Dangerlove (ISM)
Solomun DJ Chart
Oliver Heldens DJ Chart
Ross Couch DJ Chart
Kissy Sell Out DJ Chart
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