Reviewed this week
SMBD aka Simbad is back on GAMM again after a longer break and said to be planning a few EPs with seasonal themes for the label. The first EP as you might expect delivers three tasteful season influenced reworks and remixes which the label claims will 'be your perfect DJ weapons over the Summer months.' If the Afro broken beat groove of Bootsy's "Rather Be With You" (Alphabets Heaven X SMBD remix) won't do it for you, or the super soulful Colonel Abrams tribute "Table 42" (SMBD Tribute) does not grab your attention, guaranteed that the stunning 4/4 rework with Mike Lowrey of Jazzy Jeff's Summer classic "Summertime" has the potential to be a huge tune in the coming months.
The Munich based deep house and nu disco institution returns for their fourth safari and it is quite the trip if we do say so ourselves. The landscapes.. the wildlife.. be prepared for an epic journey! Highlights on here include the gutsy analogue punk of Drvg Cvulture's "Night Time Is The Right Time", prog house don Henry Saiz teaming up with sometime John Talabot cohort Pional on the dreamy "Uruboros" and Sweden's always reliable Axel Boman with the dreamily hypnotic "Die Die Die!" which despite its title is summery and lush: a potential anthem of Summer 2017. Hidden treasures, lost classics and exclusive tracks through the deepest house valleys and the highest disco mountains of the label's catalog.
Opolopo barely puts a foot wrong, so it's little surprise to find that this collection of Bits N Bobs is really rather good. Highlights include the sparkling, jazz funk-goes-deep house swing of "Put Your Cap On", the P-funk bass and squiggly D-Train synths of "Spray Tan" and the swirling, life-affirming disco-house bump of "Stroke My Disco", where cut-glass string loops and crunchy Clavinet lines ride a relentless groove. Elsewhere, he further enhances his disco/house fusion credentials via the intricately produced, musically expansive warmth of "The Lakedown Stomp", before rounding things off via the bubbly Dam Funk synth solos, Chez Damier chords and snare-heavy drums of jammed-out highlight "Eventide".
It was way back in 1992 when Detroiters Raphael Merriweathers Jr. and Niko Marks first joined forces under the Unit 2 alias. "Sunshine", their cheery, piano-laden debut single, has long been one of Gerd Janson's favourite house tracks. Here, the Running Back boss has roped in Kink and Tiger & Woods to put a fresh spin on the stone cold classic. While Kink's version - all fizzing drum machine rhythms, steady bold and explosive piano solos - is top-notch, we prefer the Tiger & Woods rework. Typically loopy and tactile in the Italian duo's distinctive style, their mix is a lesson in the dancefloor potential of bass heavy, saucer-eyed, piano-laden loop funk. We have no doubts that it will become one of the house hits of the summer.
At the beginning of June 2017, Session Victim will release their third album, Listen To Your Heart. This taster EP - the first of a series of digital releases containing cuts from the set - offers a tantalizing glimpse of what's to come. Predictably, there's plenty to set the pulse racing, from the cowbells and timbales-laden deep house blues of opener "Bring It Back" to the drowsy, pitched-down dreaminess of closer "The Hatch", a colourful and atmospheric chunk of Balearic electronica. Sandwiched in between you'll find the EP's standout moment, the Afro-house meets synth-disco gem "If We Can Make It Here", and the dusty, head-in-the-clouds deep house shuffler "Moons & Flowers".
Big Miz left the cherished bosom of the Dixon Avenue Basement Jams crew to guest on friend Wheelman's new Stereotone label. Here he returns to DABJ with his second solo single. Title track "The Bomb" is something of a killer, with Miz lacing a bouncy, funk-fuelled drum machine rhythm with wild but jazzy synth lines, warehouse-friendly stabs and bleep style electronics. Elsewhere, "Sponk 900" is a breathless, ghetto-house inspired slammer, while "You Lose" is a raw and wonky fusion of noisy but funky electronics and thrusting machine drums. "Break The Law", a more hypnotic but no less guttural jack-track reminiscent of early 2000s Chicago tech-house, completes a fine package.
Back in 1996, Rupert Parkes had yet to establish himself as one of drum and bass's most musically talented producers. It would be fair to say that "T'Raenon", his sole EP for Kirk Degiorgio's Operation Applied Rhythmic Technology (Op-ART) label, remains one of the standout releases of his early period. Here presented in lusciously re-mastered form, the title track remains a deliciously dreamy, melodious and atmospheric trip into deep drum & bass territory with distinctive nods to mid '90s intelligent techno. Those influences are explored further on the flipside "Version" of the title track, as well as the slow-burning IDM delight that is closer "Kenei".
Motor City veteran and longtime friend Amp Fiddler is the latest artist to join forces with Theo Parrish for the latter's ongoing Gentrified Love series of collaborative EPs. Virtual A-side "Trust (SS Translation)", which also features soul vocalist Ideeyah, offers a perfect fusion of the two producers' work; think dusty, organic modern soul underpinned by typically loose and wayward deep house beats. Arguably even better is near 12-minute virtual flipside "My Soul", a drowsy, woozy and stretched out trip through jaunty, broken house rhythms, Fiddler's impeccable keys work, and the kind of starry synthesizer motifs that were once the hallmark of Detroit techno.
The latest release on Tale of Us' label comes from Patrice Baumel. The German DJ/producer has always focused on a dreamy, tranced out sound - and Glutes is no exception. On the title track, he uses a purring bass to underpin building, minor key melodies, but still manages to maintain an understated, studied feeling and avoids slipping into an over the top cliche. "Engage" is a different matter; it sees Baumel up the pace and drop a pulsing, rolling groove that draws on eerie Detroit synths to create an atmospheric, spaced out arrangement that, like the title track, defies categorisation.
Dutch party crew/ label Dekmantel has achieved more in the past decade than most labels, and that they are able to call on such a heavyweight line-up for the third installment of their celebratory series is evidence of this fact. The release starts with the steely drums and mournful, rainy day pianos of Levon Vincent's "UK Spring Vibes" - which is a rare contribution from the US artist outside of his Novel Sound label - and continues with the fist-punching acidic sweeps of Legowelt's "Blue Austral Techno". Shifting the focus back to the other side of the Atlantic, Joey Anderson weighs in with the spooky, swirling synths and understated "Opened Gate", while Danish artist Central rounds off the EP with the jazzy abstractions of "Six Five Two".
Irish producer Mano Le Tough made his name with deep, melodic house, so "Big Words From The Small Mouth", from the latest release on his Maeve label, marks something of a change. It's stripped back and resounds to minimalist drum patterns, while a wiry, frazzled acid line that weaves its way through the arrangement. The presence of a wobbly, menacing bass throughout adds to the understated sense of menace. The title track is more mellow, featuring warm tonal squiggles cosying up to organic melodies over a fuzzy rhythm. However, like "Small Mouth", it too is somewhat abstract and far removed from the more accessible sounds that Mano Le Tough had been known for.
Having spent much of 2016 focusing on the 20th anniversary of his impressive Freerange label, Jamie "Jimpster" Odell returns with his long-awaited sixth full-length, his first album since 2013's much admired Porchlight & Rocking Chairs. As you might expect, Silent Stars is a musically expansive affair, with the producer's usual floor-friendly deep house workouts being accompanied by tracks that pay homage to starry jazz-funk (brilliant opener "Migrations"), synthesizer-heavy new age ambient (the wonderful "Sylvanshine"), loose and languid Balearica (Jinadau collaboration "The Sun Comes Up"), Floating Points Ensemble style jazz ("Tau Tona"), modern soul ("Everytime") and even a touch of Osunlade style tribal bounce ("Silent Stars"). In other words, it's superb.

On his sixth album, Berlin based DJ, label owner and producer Oliver Koletzki presents his remarkable vision of contemporary electronic music. The Arc of Tension speaks to its listener as a singular, self contained work, which communicates by way of its natural flow and arc of suspense. The latter is mirrored not only in the multifarious narrative of the actual album, but can also be understood as evidence for its creator's long musical history. While Koletzki focused on a diverse range of vocal collaborations on his previous long players, he now moves on to a different form of storytelling, rooted in the quiet confidence of a veteran musician, as well as the hectic lifestyle of a globally in demand DJ. The Arc of Tension is the 'psychoanalytic' journey through the various continents of Oliver's consciousness.
Looped up and funky disco house shenanigans courtesy of Glasgow's Sub Club resident and son of Harri: Jasper James with the "Dirty Wrong" on Seth Troxler's always reliable Play It Say It. This is his third release following up some impressive outings on Optimo Trax and Leftroom in recent years. The London based deep house legend Rob Mello hands in a brilliant rendition on another one of his wicked No Ears remixes and there's a handy dub version included for DJ use only!
More from Bristol-based party-starters Boogie Cafe, whose recent releases have impressively straddled the fine line between tooled-up re-edits and all-original productions. First they've persuaded New York-based Bristolian DJ Nature to remix current Bristol resident Admin. The man formerly known as DJ Milo does a terrific job, too, offering up a trippy chunk of loose, breakeat-driven, deep house disco that boasts serious amounts of energy. Then, Admin remixes Chezz's "Bossa", wrapping spacey synthesizer motifs and a killer synth bassline around a superbly fluid and crispy broken-house groove. It's a seriously soulful interpretation, and arguably the stronger of the two tracks.
Here's something to get the blood pumping: a fresh Ron Trent remix of the title track from legendary Brazilian jazz-funk outfit Azymuth's most recent album, 2016's "Fenix". The original version is, of course, rather tidy - think darting synths and vocoder lines, dexterous slap-bass and rich, life-affirming chords - but Trent still manages to serve up a seriously good alternative version. He appears to have utilized every bit of individual instrumentation found on the master tapes, offering a subtle deep house/jazz-funk fusion cut full of loose-limbed drumming, intertwined solos and chords that pulse with sun-kissed positivity. It's not a particularly revolutionary remix, but when the musicianship is this good, why change it?
Asa Moto duo Oliver Geerts and Gilles Noe impressed with last year's debut EP, the synth-pop delight that was "Stay Awake/Wanowan Efem". This follow-up for DeeWee, co-produced by label founders (and Soul Wax members) David and Stephen Dewaele, is every bit as impressive, even if its four tracks draw on a much wider palette of influences. Opener "System Naturae" wraps sharp, rave type stabs around a jaunty drum machine groove, deep melody flourishes and warped analogue bass, while "Make Me Prada" is an exercise in alien funk/ambient/synth-pop fusion. Then you'll find the bleep-laden analogue house thrust of "Athina", while closer "Syriacid" is a sweaty jog through acid-fired deep house pastures with wayward pop overtones.
Bordeaux based Noire et Blanche follow up a great first release by fellow countryman Folamour with the debut of Australian producer Loure, who serves up four slices of sexy and jazzed up deep house for the late night. Opening track "In The Evenings" is reminiscent of Ludovic Navarre's works, while "Keep It Real" brings in the smooth four to the floor style assisted by some epic sax playing and glistening synths which calls to mind the classic sounds of San Francisco's Naked Music. Hidden Sphere's great remix of "In The Evenings" injects the track with a nice broken beat style that really compliments the jazz elements in a way that would make even Atjazz stand up and notice!
Dirtybird is having a BBQ and we're all invited. Hirsute selector Will Clarke is the man tending to the grill, liberally spreading around his "secret ingredients" for other DJs to taste. There's plenty of juicy, char-grilled goodness to be found throughout, from the warehouse-friendly hip-house revivalism of DJ Glen's "Move Your Bone" and sub-heavy, Afro-tinged tech-house tribalism of Seamus Norv's "Wuuvulu", to the mind bending electronics, wonky vocals and TB-303 driven madness of Tekla's "Shake" and Sam Swindle's throbbing, bleep-laden closer "Disco Slut". If that's not enough to get you drooling like a dog at dinnertime, Dirtybird has also included a killer DJ mix from Clarke.
Dawn is French DJ/producer Chloe's first release in almost five years. Formerly associated with the Kill the DJ collective, she has now set up her own label, Lumiere Noire. "The Dawn" is a taster for her new album and is part poem, part ode to her Djing. Over the course of ten minutes, it moves from a spoken word narrative into a pulsing, minimal groove that builds gradually and eventually to epic proportions.

The massively popular Dixon is charged with the remix, and he does a fine job; sirens build up to crescendo levels, synths swirl dramatically and all the while, the Innervisions boss mainatians a steady, driving groove

LOURE - Westside Movements (Delicieuse) - exclusive 02-06-2017
THEO PARRISH feat AMP FIDDLER - Gentrified Love Part 3 (Sound Signature US)
JAMES CURD - Freak Of Nature (Madhouse)
THE FITNESS - Freak Out (Wolf & Lamb US)
WILL CLARKE/VARIOUS - Dirtybird BBQ: Secret Ingredients (unmixed tracks) (Dirtybird US)
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