Originally known as one half of UKG/UK funky/house fusionists Cause & Effect, Chris Lorenzo has decided to venture out on his own for debut album, Destroy The Image. The Birmingham-based producer is known for his love of collaborating and over the 14 tracks here we encounter hook ups with Alex Mills, DJ Zinc and Sam Nicolosi. Highlights include the creeped-out techno mantra of "Come Down", the radio-friendly EDM anthem, "We Are" and the dirty tropical baile attack, "Bad Bitch".
Next up on Bristol's Futureboogie is Alex Warren aka Kiwi who has had previous releases on the likes of Optimo Music, Blase Boys Club and Sneaky Music in addition to promoting for well known London parties and clubs like Orlando Boom/Kate Boss and The Nest. The versatile producer wastes no time getting stuck in, starting out with the explosive "Orca" which features one of the most amazing arpeggios this side of "I Feel Love". There's more vintage, synth driven disco vibes on "Minke" or "Logmans Break" while the feel good nu-disco vibes of "Pygmy" are reminiscent of modern greats like Jay Shepheard or Milton Jackson.
Italian duo Mena and Melgado step up to the plate with their first appearance on Midnight Riot, bringing with them a quartet of funk-fuelled dancefloor bombs. They begin in confident mood, successfully looping up a breezy, impassioned vocal sample over a tooled-up disco-boogie groove on "Wings of Love", before "African Food" sees them stick a house rocket underneath a horn-heavy Afro-funk jam. "Instant Party" happily lives up to the promise of its' title, with chopped-up chants, spiraling sax links and goodtime grooves ensuring an energetic, club-ready feel. The EP also includes a tasty remix of "Wings of Love" from Masterworks and Hot Digits man Kiu D, who successfully drags the track further towards bumpin' disco-house territory.
It would be fair to refer to Dino Lenny as a "veteran": the Italian producer has been churning out dancefloor hits since the dawn of the '90s. This release sees him join forces with Cajual and Hot Creations regular Doorly for a loving tribute to the joys of club culture. The action centres on a meandering, largely spoken vocal describing a mesmerizing late night dancing experience in "The Magic Room". On the lead version - a tasty re-edit by Lenny and Seth Troxler - this is accompanied by "Lazy" style pianos, and a chunky, disco-tinged house groove. The low-slung guitars and bass are pushed to the fore on Doorly's energy-packed remix, while Luke Solomon doffs a cap to the jazz-flecked boompty sounds of Chicago on his busy rework.
Having put out their last release on Chez Damier's Balance imprint (the rather fine Tried & Tested EP), 25 Places return to their previous home, Dirt Crew Recordings. As you'd expect, the Party In The Hills EP contains another clutch of floor-friendly deep house explorations. The title track, which successfully blends chopped-up Brazilian vocal samples, sustained note chords, dirty analogue bass and a hustling deep house groove, is undeniably the EP's strongest moment, though the bold and fizzing "Closing Title Song" and chiming, riff-heavy "Backyard Stories" aren't far behind. Those who fancy something a little more ragged should check Laurence Guy's disco-house-meets-acid rework of "Closing Title Song".
By now, we should all know what to expect from Serbian scalpel maestro Tonbe. His frequent EPs are aimed fairly and squarely at the dancefloor, delivering a mixture of re-edits, reworks and sample-heavy productions that don't try too hard to impress. This latest EP is full of such cheery, tried-and-tested cuts, from the rolling jazz breaks, comfy Rhodes stabs and fluttering soul vocals of "Gambling Face", and punchy disco-house flavours of "Sweet Love", to the rich, organ-flecked soulfulness of "Those Days", and riotous, disco-goes-hip-house opener "Don't Mess With Us". In other words, it's another rock-solid collection of tasty peak-time bangers from one of the edit scene's most reliable producers.
Even by his usual high standards, this EP from Melbourne producer Fantastic Man is pretty darn special. It begins with the tactile, loved-up brilliance of "Galactic Ecstasy", where glistening, intergalactic synthesizer lines and chiming melodies tumble down over restless acid lines and a hustling rhythm track. "Acid Martin" boasts a little more jacking intent, whilst retaining the new age influenced melodies and humid textures more associated with Young Marco's work. He closes proceedings with the superb "Legoman", where winding, intelligent techno style melodies rub shoulders with lusciously deep chords and Project Pablo style deep house breakbeats.
U-Dee is a fresh alias from Uffe Christensen, whose two fine albums for Denmark's Tartelet Recordings portrayed him as a man who doesn't like to settle on one groove or stylistic idea for too long. The deep house material showcased on this Delusions of Grandeur outing is notably warmer, richer, and looser than we've come to expect, with an in-built jazziness and quiet soulfulness that's rarely less than impressive. Of course, there are tougher moments - see the fizzing, sweat-soaked drum machine workout "MTV Cars", and the delay-heavy madness of "Sleep" - but for the most part Christensen keeps things rich, organic and lo-fi. Highlights include the breezy, Afro-tinged warmth of "Wa I O", and the jazzy, pared-down soulfulness of "Love Is Gone".
Ralf Fabian Laumer is no nu-comer (sorry) to music production, boasting a discography that stretches back to releases on Daniel Offermann's White imprint at the tail end of the noughties. This, though, is his first EP for well over a year, and sees him showcase a warmer sound than we've come to expect. He gets off to a flying start with "Endup", an attractive 112 BPM riff on Afro-house that sits somewhere between the humid, new-age influenced deep house goodness of Young Marco and the comforting haziness of Balearic nu-disco. He dips the tempo significantly on the EP's other two tracks, first laying down some hypnotic, dub-influenced slow house on "Cosa Mia", before repeating the trick with the quietly disco-influenced Balearic chug of "Palomita".
Nightmares on Wax main man George Evelyn cut his teeth at soul and funk all-dayers in the 1980s - he was a teenage breakdancer - before falling in love with house and techno. Both of these aspects of his heritage are reflected on Ground Floor, which he's trailed as an attempt to go back to his roots. The EP opens with the stretched-out, soulful deep house of "World Inside", which not only boasts a wonderful vocal from Andrew Ashong, but also snappy, dub-influenced rhythm patterns reminiscent of some of his early bleep productions. That aspect of his career is also referenced on "Reclaim The Balcony", a breakbeat-driven house bumper that boasts some seriously heavy sub, and electro-tinged wobbler "Dirty Triumphant", which was co-produced by Acid Mondays.
Polish heavyweights Catz 'N' Dogz has had a quiet year by their usually prolific standards. It would be fair to say, though, that these two cuts have been worth waiting for. "It's Happening" is a warm, rich and groovy affair, with fluttering deep house notes playing second fiddle to a booming disco bassline, flanged vocal samples and huggable drums. "Our Crazy" feels dirtier and a little more intense, with restless arpeggio lines and nagging electronic percussion combining perfectly with the duo's deliciously dense, tribal-influenced drums and chiming, marimba style lead lines. It's the kind of track you whack on to raise the temperature on the dancefloor when things are flagging, and every DJ needs a few of those in the crates.
Marcel Vogel's Lumberjacks In Hell label shows no signs of slowing as it ramps up a killer new salvo from debutant artist C Scott. "Climb On" is an uptempo workout to capture the absolute peak of the party in the funkiest of ways, while "Hands Free" provides an apt alternative with its slow, organ-led whimsy. Disco remains the backbone of the sound here, whatever tempo the track rolls at and wherever it may head. "Stuttering" demonstrates this perfectly with its heavily treated, head-spinning FX still capturing that classic good-time mood, while "At Ease" finishes on a life-affirming canter of Rhodes led celebration.
Somewhat remarkably, it's now 20 years since Paul Flynn first donned the DJ Q alias. Since then, he's delivered a string of loopy, tracky, disco-tinged house bumpers for labels including Filter, Glasgow Underground, Go! Beat and NRK Sound Division. Surprisingly, this two-tracker marks his first appearance on the similarly vintage Robsoul Recordings. There are few surprises, but then few make this kind of muscular, energy-packed deep house quite so well. Choose between the hard-worked vocal loops, thumping beats and heavy bass of disco-jacker "Feelin' Moody", and the low-slung, basement-bothering deep house funk of "Inner Groove", where Flynn gleefully makes merry with darting, rave-era stabs and cut-up hip-hop vocals.
What a collaboration this is! Two of the modern masters of hypnotic techno (and dynamic live acts alike) team up for some elaborate, melodic and truly entrancing auditory journeys for Hypercolour. Mathew Jonson should need no introduction: the Canadian producer bursting onto the scene in the mid noughties with releases on itiswhatitis and his own Wagon Repair imprint. Sebastian Mullaert also has a long history in electronic music; at one time part of duo Minilogue in addition to recording for Kontra Musik and m_nus more recently and running his great WaWuWe label. Strap yourself in for an epic journey across all its 12 minutes of glory on St "Pollen 4 Life (main mix)" where a medley of dreamy and gliding arpeggios dance away over subtle and minimal elements; a trademark of both respective producers. The dub version is much tougher and darker; aimed squarely at the dancefloor to get into some of those more tunnelling, vortex like moments.
Some three years on from the release of their acclaimed, self-titled debut album, Letherette's Andy Harber and Richard Roberts are finally ready to share the follow-up. Happily, it's another sublime set. Over the course of 10 impeccably produced tracks, the duo shimmies between dreamy instrumental hip-hop (the traditional Ninja Tune grooves of opener "Momma"), loose-limbed, jazz-flecked electronica, spacey Dam Funk style electrofunk (the brilliant "Shanel"), garage-influenced UK house ("Wootera"), blazed downtempo pop (the claustrophobic "Bad Sign"), and various strains of imaginative, colourful deep house ("Dog Brush", "Soulette"). They even find time to squeeze in one of the most beautiful cuts of the year, the crystalline "Rubu".
Permanent Vacation co-founder Bejnamin Frohlich is at the controls on this latest EP from Californian dreamers Woolfy vs Projections. He's chosen to serve up a pair of remixes of two different tracks: the previously unheard "Not My Lover", and Stations album track "Walkaway". He begins with a delay-laden, atmospheric "Downtown" remix of "Not My Lover" - think head-in-the-clouds, tech-tinged deep house - before moving further towards dub disco territory with a fantastic "Uptown" version of the same track. His "Rockers Riddim" remix of "Walkaway" blends authentically blazed dub vibes with a splash of Innervisions style tech-house, while the accompanying "Rockers To Rockers" rework is a heady, soul-flecked dub-house workout.
David Platzdasch has enjoyed a productive 2016, releasing a string of quietly impressive singles on Manuscript and Gents & Dandys. Here he rounds off the year via an appearance on '80s Child's Masterworks Music. First, he heads into loose, loopy, peak-time disco-house territory with "First Step", before diving into deeper, warmer and groovier territory via the mid-tempo deep house shuffler, "Gleichtsicht". The German aims deeper still on "Free At Last", where swirling strings, dreamy chords and a dense analogue bassline smother a bongo-rich disco drum track. Finally, he wraps up proceedings with "Strimpulse", a spacey deep house number blessed with twinkling electric pianos and warm, sun-kissed chord progressions.
Since the tail end of the noughties, Alex Agore has sporadically used The Shake Up Connection alias to deliver deliciously hazy deep house cuts built around original disco, soul and boogie samples. Live At The Basement was originally released back in 2009, and here gets a deserved reissue on 4 Lux Black. There's naturally much to admire, from the cheery, horn-wielding disco-house positivity of "I Know", and vibraphone-laden deep house bounce of "Righteous Men", to the sun-kissed warmth of "Shake Up Theme", and drowsy, boogie-driven "Uh La La". He also delivers some tasty jazz-house in the shape of "Jazz 4 Ya", and goes all Gospel on album closer "You".
For all the hype that often surrounds young, up-and-coming producers, it's often the case that it's the more established heads that deliver more consistently. We'd argue that's the case with Shur-I-Kan, AKA long-time Freerange and Lazy Days producer Tom Szirtes. He barely puts a foot wrong throughout this latest four-track outing, matching his usual ear for mood and melody with rock-solid grooves and a few decidedly old school touches (see the cut-up soulful house vocals on bouncy opener "Deep In My Heart", or the sweeping strings and darting synth-bass that dominate the Alternate Version of the same track). In the 'best track' stakes, it's a toss up between the rubbery, boogie-tinged warmth of "Withdrawal Method", and the sparkling, piano-heavy retro-futurism of "Track Two".
Statue is a new Australian percussion-based dance project by two drummers: Tom Gould and Nicolaas Oogjes of Melbourne bands Worlds End Press and NO ZU respectively. The pair now collaborate on Statue, a project said to have drawn influence from artists diverse as Floating Points, Pachanga Boys and even Ricardo Villalobos. You can certainly hear it across this handful of oddball balearic/exotica infused grooves. The polyrhythmic drum workouts on "Entrance" or "Admiration" will certainly appeal to fans of Harmonious Thelonious, while "Monument" gets a brilliant remix by Tel Aviv's enfant terrible Moscoman, rocking those funky steel drums even louder than the original!