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Reviewed this week
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Last year, Melbourne's Harvey Sutherland signaled his arrival in emphatic fashion with the acclaimed Brothers EP for Voyage Recordings - a sumptuous, soul-flecked EP of boogie-influenced deep house. Here, he continues to impress with a superb tracks for Dani Plessow's MCDE imprint. "Bermuda" is deliciously warm and summery, with jaunty boogie synths and cascading chords riding a smooth, shuffling deep house groove. "New Paradise" works the same formula hard, with dreamy, held-note chords and bubbly synthesizer melodies wrapping themselves around loose, analogue-sounding percussion and a rich bassline. If there were any doubts about his talents moving forward, this should dispel them. Clearly, Sutherland is here to stay.
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Delusions Of Grandeur have been relatively quiet on the release front this year, but they're back with a bang thanks to this latest collaborative effort from Dan Shake and Medlar. The former has gotten a name thanks to being the first non-Detroiter on Moodymann's Mahogani Music, while the latter has been pushing his disco-friendly take on house music largely via the Wolf Music imprint. They got two cuts on here, the first one being a boogie-leaning, hazy summer club jam in the form of "Walk", and the second one a jazzier affair with plenty of soulful vocals and tribal drums called "I On You". Philpot bossman Soulphiction takes care of transforming "Walk" into a pot of filter-licking madness, where the percussion is stretched and freaked out further out into the ether compared to the original. What a package!
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Fresh from dropping fine EPs on Heist and Splendor & Squalor, regular collaborators Brame and Hamo join forces for their second outing on Dirt Crew. Opener "Lamaj" is little less than sublime, with twinkling piano and string samples riding a loose, lolloping, jazz-flecked deep house groove. Andy Hart's straighter, chunkier remix is good, too, though it lacks a little of the original's yearning blissfulness. Elsewhere, the duo doffs a cap to boogie and funk on the sumptuous summer house jam "Four Lights", before closing proceedings with the rolling grooves and fireside Rhodes chords of the bizarrely titled "Garlic Fist Pump".
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In-Beat-Ween Music programme of remixes from Lay Far's much loved debut album So Many Ways features an all star cast; Ashley Beedle, Peter Oakden & Craig Smith, Tommy Rawson and Aroop Roy, to Atjazz, Inkswel, Jonny Miller and Thatmanmonkz, to name a few. Inkswel's version of "When I'm Seeing You" is soaked in the warm sound of distorted drum machines and tape delays, while Jonny Miller remix of "Summer Vacation" immediately teleports you to the open air party in the Adriatic Sea coast. Inspired heavily by classic blaxploitation movies, Shadeleaf Music label boss Thatmanmonkz comes up with a dynamic soundtrack for the imaginary chase scene and it's Ashley Beedle who calls shotgun, rewiring the vocal hook from "Yes You Can" with infectious drum breaks, mellow organic chords, piano solos and synthetic bass lines. Fathoms Deep Label honchos Craig Smith & Peter Oakden focus on "We Are The Drum" teasing out a truly irresistible afro-influenced house groove, whilst Tommy Rawson adds some classic house flavour to "Let Me Fly Away". London-based master of reworks and a true nomadic soul, Aroop Roy instils some notable Latin spice to the Sarah Winton featuring "So Many Years" for a superb finale to this round of remixes.
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Ultra Bass recently released an epic label compilation, The Ultra Underground Vol 2, however rather than sit back and bask in the glory, they're already knocking out even more jams. The latest of which is "Take Me Away" - a collaboration between producer Junior UK and London singer/songwriter Martin Carr (not he of Boo Radleys fame, mind), and the original mix is big, summery Euro-dance with its eyes on the top ten. Also, our picks for remixes include Thorn's slinky late-night-stepper, Rare Candy's 90s-style house cut and Underheadz's garage-wobble hybrid.
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Following a recent outing on Hudd Traxx, Dutch DJ/producer Nachtbraker returns to Detroit Swindle's Heist Recordings with four more chunks of floor-friendly deep house. There's much to admire throughout, from the squidgy basslines, relentless cymbals and floatation tank chords of "Dark Roast", to the loose-limbed, triple-beat-goes-jazz flex of the wonderfully fluid title track. The eyes-closed chords, intricate melodies and undulating acid lines of the smoother "Gurl" impress, as does "You're Out of Your Element", a warm, rich and jazzy homage to Detroit deep house blessed with all manner of aural Motor City trademarks. While considered a bonus track (it was hidden away on the flipside of the vinyl version), it's arguably the best thing on a strong EP.
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Gallic groove meister Sebastien Guertau (Around7) began his musical quest by playing bass in a jazz-funk ensemble. Eventually he learned to fuse electronics with live instrumentation and boom! His new label (with Joss Moog & Jean Ce) Ondule was born. Le Bel Age translates as 'the best years' and clearly he's talking about where he's at right now - there's three of his best tunes here - the beguiling jazzy shuffle of the title track, remixed into some cool after hours house by Phil Weeks, echoed in the deep house undulations of "Nuit Blanche" and the abstract piano-meets-beats jam, "Grasse Mat".
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Black Fan has only put out one EP on Wolf Music Recordings prior to this latest outing on Sweden's excellent Local Talk stable. His music is characterized by deep, dubby and raw beats coated in a distinctive party flavor, qualities heard loud and clearly on the wonky bumps of "In The Water". "Dancin' Together" takes the more soulful approach, where choppy female vocals ride above jittery chords and starry pads, whereas "J2015" is an altogether dustier affair, a quick-firing mass of percussion shots and siren-like melodies.
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In recent years, Dave Lee seems to have been concentrating on remixes, compilations and side projects. As a result, "I Can Hear Your Body Rock" is, somewhat surprisingly, the first original Joey Negro single for two years. As you might expect, it's a deliciously summery affair that effortlessly joins the dots between piano house, early '90s US garage and '80s boogie. Lee concentrates on the latter on the alternative Serious Mix, which pleasingly sits somewhere between the delay-laden proto-house of Paul Simpson's Serious Intention project, and breezy early '90s house. For those who just want more pianos, Lee also obliges with the sumptuous "Pianohead Dub".
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After flitting between labels for the first four years of his career, Blawan has decided to become master of his own destiny. Last month's Warm Tonal Touch EP marked the debut of his Ternesc imprint. This speedy follow-up continues on a similar theme, delivering a range of ragging, dark and often intense modular techno workouts. All four tracks prioritize percussion and rhythm, with any melodic elements - usually short, nightmarish loops, or horror-influenced textures - playing second fiddle to his impressive drum programming. It's a formula that works well, from the left-of-centre bounce of "Hanging Out With The Birds" and throbbing 4/4 pulse of "Mine Oh Mine", to the sludgy, industrial fuzziness of closer "Diatonic Valves".
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Hot on the heels of the well received Words Gone single comes Love Somebody, the first album from former Turbo and Cocoon producer Popov in almost 16 years. For those used to the more abrasive sound of his earlier releases, the warm, tactile and more melodious fare on offer here will come as something of a surprise. Packed with hazy, surprisingly soulful vocals, smooth, tech-tinged grooves and the unmistakable shuffle of powder house, Love Somebody sits somewhere between a radio-friendly, home listening excursion and an Ibiza-ready collection of club tracks. By skillfully ticking both boxes, it should find favour with a range of DJs and listeners.
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Hyped producers come and go, but Martin Landsky can always be relied upon to release sublime deep house. This is apparent on "Under the Bridge", a typical Landsky house track. Tight, shuffling drums provide the basis for gradually up-building chords - that hint at a euphoric release - alongside dramatic stabs. The overall effect is spine-tingling and evocative. On the title track, the Poker Flat artist departs from the script. Sure, his trademark acid licks and minute vocal samples are audible, but they ride a booming, Reese-style bass. Rounding off this excellent release is the house version of the title track, whose synth washes sound like Mike Huckaby at his most ethereal
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Dutch label Dynamic reflection continues to go from strength to strength with power duo Abstract Division comprised of label boss Paul Boex and Dave Miller. The original of Metropolis is a nice slice of soulful melodic techno that fans of Heiko laux or Vince Watson will be all over. The first thing you may think then listening to the Trolley Route mix is it sounds like Oscar Mulero; and it is! Things start getting hectic when they big guns Function and Marcel Fengler are called in for remix duties. Dave Sumner's pounding yet atmospheric version is all you'd expect. But he keeps the lush melody of the original intact and it works well. Fengler's rendition delivers exactly what he's renowned for in the form of energised, peak time minimal; just the way it should be!
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A taster for Karmil's second album, due this year, Play It.. draws on a range of house influences and tropes to create an idiosyncratic release. "Play It" is all dense drums and full of the kind of tripped out delays and filters that were last heard during the minimal house boom. In contrast, "Do It" is a rolling, linear affair, powered by a strong sub-bass and recalling the late 90s/early 00s sound of London tech-house. Karmil ventures farther back in time for the final track, "Say It". Here, the production is cleaner and sparser, the synths have an eerie, otherworldly sound and the end result is reminiscent of Two Lone Swordsmen's unforgettable flirtation with deep house on Swimming not Skimming.
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Despite being based in Germany (Hanover, to be exact), This Ain't Bristol was launched to showcase "new British club music". Their latest missive comes from deep house/garage fusionist Billy Kenny, whose discography includes releases on Dirtybird, Nu Wave, and All Over It Recordings. There's much to admire on his latest EP, starting with the toast sub-bass, woozy deep house chords and crackly UKG beats of "What You Sample". While arguably heavier, "I Eat Beats" benefits greatly from a killer string riff and some heady electronics. Dirtybird regular Ardalan delivers a killer remix of the same track, beefing up the bassline and beats whilst retaining Kenny's superb string melody.
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It's long been something of a tradition for Tosca's albums to be followed, within a year, by a set of remixes and alternative versions. Shopsca: The Outta Here Versions maintains this trend, delivering all-new reworks of the Viennese duo's 2014 full length, Outta Here. While there's a thread of blazed dub running throughout, the variety of the reworks is actually rather impressive. FaltyDL's version of "Have Some Fun" - all bittersweet horns and fizzing future-jazz electronics - is particularly inspired, while the Ogris Debris version of "Kickin' It Down" is a wild, electrofunk-meets-glitch-house gem. Throw in some dub disco style reworks and a woozy house re-fix of "Crazy Love" from Tom Demac, and you have a rather strong set.
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The masked wonder returns after some time spent away with a new two track throwdown for Nonplus. After last year saw a pair of 12"s drop on Running Back, it's been a fairly quiet time in the world of Redshape, but he comes to Boddika's label with his surefire analogue intent intact, dropping a pair of assured club jams oozing with warmth and funk. "I Feel Like Riot" rumbles along on a crunchy set of percussion, around which wobbling LFOs of bass and plush synth hits spiral outwards in a fine Motor City tradition. "The Rift" meanwhile drops a slick set of conga-enhanced drum science with a different salvo of thick, throbbing melodic twists for the sleazy end of the dance.
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After a couple of quiet years, Nicolas Jaar has hit back hard this year. As well as delivering a second album of crackly, intricate ambient compositions (the excellent Pomegranate), he's also found time to return to his dancefloor roots with the Nyphs II EP. This speedy follow-up to that 12" explores similar territory, with the 13-minute "Swim" rolling along on a wave of loose percussion, held-note bass and dusty, off-kilter samples in his usual eyes-wide-shut style. It takes a little time to really get going, but brilliant builds towards a dark, cacophonous conclusion. Flipside "Mistress" sees Jaar back in ambient mode, delivering a brilliantly atmospheric, high-minded piece for guitar and piano that's little less than stunning.
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Did you know that Lima, Peru, has earned a reputation as South America's party capital? Or, for that matter, that the City is home to a thriving "tropical bass" scene, where a dedicated band of homegrown heroes giddily fuse dubstep, techno and electronica? Peru Boom aims to chart the rise of this healthy but internationally under-represented scene, via tracks from all of the city's major players. For those not schooled in the scene's intricacies, it makes for fascinating listening, as traditional South American rhythms and vocals get mangled, re-arranged, and fused with heavy sub bass lines, fizzing electronics, humid melodies and tipsy, 8-bit funk.
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It's been some six years since Hun Choi made his debut on William Burnett's WT Records imprint. In that time, he's proved incredibly hard to pin down. This debut album for Rush Hour seems designed to continue that trend, offering a series of warm, melodious and curiously Balearic cuts that defy easy categorization. Sure, there are dancefloor-focused moments - see the cacophonous, Detroit-influenced hustle of "Error of the Average", the deep acid madness of "Silent Sensations" and the classic deep house bounce of "Desire" - but also a range of downtempo and ambient jams that arguably impress more. Of these, it's "The World" - a humid exercise in tropical drums, twittering flutes and looped vocal samples - and the sublime, string-laden "Bruises" that really stand out.
Exclusives
GOLDFFINCH - Twin Turbo 033: Unworthy (Turbo Recordings)
LAY FAR - So Many Ways Remixed (In-Beat-Ween Music) - exclusive 17-07-2015
INVISIBLE CITIES - Moments In Between (Double Drop) - exclusive 13-07-2015
Exclusives
LANCELOT - Mover	(W&O Street Tracks)
JUNIOR UK & MARTIN CARR - Take Me Away (Ultra Bass) - exclusive 29-07-201
VARIOUS - What Happens In The Groove Vol 2 (What Happens)
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Bodhi DJ Chart
Chus Ceballos DJ Chart
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