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Reviewed this week
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Given the "contemporary classic" status of Danilo Plessow's Raw Cuts series - arguably a string of 12" singles that helped redefine deep house for a new generation - the announcement of a surprise remix release is enough to make even the most level-headed DJs go weak at the knees. Pleasingly, said remixers more than live up to the hype. Marcellus Pittman's version - smooth and deep, but with enough raw disco cut-ups and wonky Detroit swing to impress those who like it raw - is particularly good, though Mike Huckaby's locked-in deep house groover is not far behind. There's also a superb version from Recloose, whose crackly, shuffling beats, sweeping pads and soulful vocal samples recall his earliest productions for Planet E.
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By diligently releasing quality underground jams, Stockholm's Local Talk continue to prove that the Scandinavians aren't just all about the stadium-filling jock-house of Swedish House Mafia. Here in typically reasonable Scandi style they divide this EP equally between two talented acts. First up Chesus & Timmy P serve up some pretty serious tackle in the form of "Vitamin C" - all New York claps and rolls, diva vocals, retro organ riffs and trippy stereo-panned loops. Zoe Zoe, on the other hand, opts for deep US garage married to relentless hip-hop samples on the slammin' "Bust Them Wifes".
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Kieran Hebden knows his way around a good remix, be it the 200 odd official remixes done as Four Tet (not to mention a raft of illicit ones) or the many superb remixes he's commissioned from other artists (with the classic Joy Orbison remix of "Love Cry" from 2010 our favourite) Winding down proceedings on his Beautiful Rewind album from last year, Hebden here assembles a fine cast of rising production talent to put their own spin on tracks from the album. Any release that features production input from Detroit prodigy Jay Daniel, gritty funkateer Seven Davis Jr. and London-based producer PhOtOmachine is worth some time investigating and it's the gooey take on "Buchla" by Mr Davis Jr. that has proved to be the Juno office favourite this week.
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Holland's Ben La Desh has, in just a short amount of time, notched up some serious ammunition on a selection of upmarket labels. Here though, he returns to his beloved Dirt Crew for the appropriately-named Stellar Talk EP - which features four slices of intergalactic tuneage. All display a certain star quality, but especially so on the deep and pad-heavy Chicagoisms of the title track, the totally wasted cosmic Moroder vibes of "Whiplash" and the proggy Balearica of disco-tinged closer, "Call Her".
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Brazilian duo Digitaria are back in action on Hot Creations following their label debut earlier this year with Night Falls Again Daniela Caldellas and Daniel Albinati's third long player. As you'd expect there is plenty of hook laden electro pop and minimally minded house music to be found amidst the 12-track album as Digitaria effortlessly weave through moments of introspection ("End Of Line" makes for an icily atmospheric opener) to more outright dancefloor-focused tracks ("Golden Leaves", "Plastic Population" and the wonderfully named "Shopping Centre Soundtrack" are highlights) . The vocals from Daniela Caldellas throughout the album lend proceedings a compelling degree of moodiness too.
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It's always a good thing when a long-lost gem is found by a noble digger, dusted down and given a new lease of life. Da Posse's "In The Heat Of The Night" beautifully captures the various stages of a particularly good night down Clink Street circa '88. The entree is the vocal mix: a slammin' jacker with the echoey seductive vocals of Christa Jordan. The peak time is the Acid mix, which whisks up a hypnotic mix of bleepy 303s and chopped up vocals. Finally we end with a rooftop sunrise courtesy of the deep, lush pads of the keys mix. Essential.
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Everyone's favourite strawberry-flavoured techno creator, Erdbeerschnitzel returns to Delsin with a quad of cuts that billow with synthetic detail and imagery. "The Ample Waters" is an upbeat juggernaut powered by melodies and counter melodies that smoulders with UR heritage while "Never Tilt" provides sweet contrast thanks its slow-burning synth-heavy soul. Further on we hit "With Level Hopes", a subversive deep house cut that seeps jazz sentimentalities in such a way it could make Moody Man blush. Finally we're sent to the cosiest of pastures with the beautiful R&B homage "Yet Unfulfilled". Slinky, sleazy and laced with subtle vocoder elements, it's an emotional conclusion to a highly accomplished EP.
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Muscovite Alexander Lay-Far has earned some serious disco stripes courtesy of a slew of releases on a multitude of cool labels. Here the disco-house meister delivers three new sizzlers, both perfect for the summer sun - the shimmering six and a half minute poolside soulful warmer "Without", the lean and funky guitar-led "Summer Is On (dedicated to George)" and the uptempo Latin-tinged disco loops of "Pensamento Novo". The latter is turned into epic Italo-tinged retro house by remixer S3A. Summer has just found its new soundtrack.
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The German label is 12 this year, but as it faces into its teenage life, it retains the same hunger for new music. Get Physical owner DJ T delivers one of the compilation's highlights, a stab-heavy techy take on John Tejada's "Timebomb". Like a slowed down take of Dave Clarke's "Red 2" infused with disco riffs, it sets a high watermark. Nonetheless, T faces stiff opposition from The Martinez Brothers, whose "Issshhh" is all tough percussive volleys and insistent chords, like a tough take on Levon Vincent. Elsewhere, new acts like Siopis and Gorge impress with drum-heavy tools, while old hands Tiefschwarz deliver a spaced out, bleep-heavy version of John Monkman's "Follow Me".
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Clocking in at 50 tracks, Tour shows that the German label isn't just about naive trance melodies and rickety, minimal beats. It starts with the deep ambience of Tominic's "Shine", which over the course of nine minutes moves into bleepy, minimal pulses. In contrast, there's the dubby house of Paul Bart's "Call It Anything You Want" and David Heckhausen's "Hang Zur Sonne Paul", a clicky, mid-tempo groove covered in organic textures. Despite this, trance fans won't be left disappointed; there's the buzzsaw bass and organic textures of Theo Meier's "Eichhorn", the gentle, spiralling melodies of Peet's seductive "Timers" and best of all, the brittle rhythm and day-glo hooks on Reinier Zonneveld's "Gevorderd Spelers".
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It's been almost two years since we last spotted LOTI on Phonica. Since then he's made some awesome documents on the likes of Permanent Vacation, Firecracker and Catune, constantly whittling his sharp, timeless techno stick with the perfect amount of subtle drama. "Greane" leads the charge with a majestic 10 minute production; lolloping with equal amounts of comic soul and techno attitude, he conjures a powerful sense of atmosphere before dropping into a moment of guitar-shimmered bliss (in a way that's not too far from his fellow countrymen Silicone Soul) Meanwhile on "Gigha" we're treated to a softer palette of sounds as a tubular riff slowly evolves into a string-drenched serenade. As the original riff morphs into a sinewy acid lick, the strings take hold with classical theatrics. Drop at the right time and there won't be a dry eye in the house.
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In case Watson's eight-minute original wasn't quite beautiful enough, Carl Craig has stepped up with a reboot of truly symphonic proportions. Retaining all the original textures and twists of the ever-evolving melodic narrative, he's added a further five minutes of spine-melting, imagination-grabbing elements that cascade with cathedral-like dynamics. A bona fide show-stopper, this is a very special remix that enthrals in every possible context.
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Innervisions' Secret Weapons series is always worth a look, if only for the opportunity it gives to delve into Dixon's CD wallet and see what he's been hammering over the last six months. As usual, there's plenty of Grade A material to enjoy, from the undulating rhythms and drifting chords of Hunter Game's "Ice", to the forceful electronics, woozy pads and dreamy vocal snatches of Flowers & Sea Creatures' picturesque "Overworld". Elsewhere, Nu Tone delivers some intense afterparty fare in the shape of "Rumble", while Ripperton reaches for the lasers on the shuffling deep house gem "Unfold". Arguably best of all, though, is Aera's "Freak Wave", a midtempo shuffler that boasts a wonderfully warm, organic feel, with rich percussion and fuzzy analogue synth-work.
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Oslo residents Trulz and Robin call their distinctive sound 'acid gone organic'. Immerse yourself into their tightly-weaved cosmic web and you'd be hard-pushed to argue. Perhaps just to add 'beautiful' to that succinct description. For this particular release the duo show us their broadest abilities... "I Takeskogen" pays homage to classic electro and the legacy of Detroit in the most psychedelic way possible. "Mosemannen", meanwhile, is a much more pensive affair. Rumbling at a stately 116, there's heaps of space for the twinkling melody to flutter and fluctuate gradually and confidently under sunset-like synths that glow and creep with colour and emotion.
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On this second part of Pablo Nouvelle's debut release for the fast-rising Black Butter imprint, the Swiss producer's atmospheric productions are given the once over by a heavyweight line-up of remixers. Maxxi Soundsystem arguably takes the plaudits with two sinewy, dreamy deep house takes on "Poison", with the slightly more stripped back and electronic Dub being our pick. Similarly impressive is Calibre's effortlessly loose and tactile liquid D&B rework of "You Don't Understand" (complete with hazy guitars, sun-kissed pianos and soulful vocal samples), while Noze turns "Invading My Mind" into a gently glitchy chunk of leftfield deep house warmth. As if that wasn't enough, there's also a booming, slow jungle tweak of "Finding You" from Benton that's particularly enjoyable.
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Freshly Squeezed have long proved themselves king of the swingers, but just in case you've somehow missed them here's a little reminder. Blue Cover Series Vol 1 collects highlights from the label's 1940s big band releases - all of which feature blue-tinted sleeves (unsurprisingly) and hellzapoppin' swing madness from the likes of DJ Dunya, Cristal Distortion & Got KDS and Le Jockey.
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Second time around for Sparky's "Portland", which impressed with its baggy positivity, alien synths and retro-futurist swing when it first appeared on Numbers last December. Here, Gerd Janson and Phillip Lauer don their Tuff City Kids guise to deliver two excellent reworks. The Looney Mix is particularly potent, transforming the Glaswegian producer's original into a Belgian hardcore-influenced chunk of floor-friendly house complete with classic rave breakbeats, bouncy piano stabs and well-worn late '80s/early '90s samples. There's more wide-eyed rave revivalism on their TB Mix, which features a sliver of acid amongst the looped riffs, tough kicks and pitched-down amen breaks. It's probably the more straightforward of the two versions, and is every bit as playable as its' sanity-testing predecessor.
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Yellow Magic is the latest in a series of EPs on the Wighnomy Brothers' label by this German duo. Following on from this year's "Purple Magic" release, they have decided to give their studio trickery a different shade. The title track is a tracky, stripped back affair with vocal samples whispering in and out of the arrangement. It's exactly the kind of track one would expect Robag Wruhme to play. "Consoli" follows in a similar vein, but "Trsnumak" ushers in a change of direction as rattling percussion and menacing organ playing are introduced. Although billed as a bonus track, "Segelboot" also impresses, with its jazzy keys and insistent bleeps.
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Kris Klayton aka Karizma may be known as a house DJ, but as this release shows, his sound reaches farther and wider than that limiting title. The Kaytronik dub of "Tech This Out" is a driving affair that features deep, filtered chords as its centrepiece, stretched out over doubled-up beats. "Bounce B+" is a drummy jam, full of rattling, shaking percussion, hisses and whirrs and underpinned by a searing, jungle-like bassline. Even on the most garage-oriented track, "K To The P", Karizma adds some sub-sonic bleeps, lo-fi toy town melodies and ghostly vocals to his trademark choppy drums.
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For some grungy vocal house music with a touch of Chicago percussion and a healthy splash of the indie-synth wave that came crashing over electronic music in the late 2000s, Scissor & Thread's Black Light Smoke might be 2014's answer to Danton Eeprom circa 2009. We say Danton Eeprom, as the voice on the B2, "Screws In My Head", has a similar tone and enunciation of the Frenchman, or are we getting mixed up with Mathew Dear? The title track, "Firefly", brings back memories of Azari & III's debut EP only with druggy vocals coming from what could be the basement of a DFA rave in New York, while "Morning Comes" borrows some cowbells from The Rapture and sultry French inspirations from Jane Birken. "Black Bricks" then provides some slo-mo, lo-fi phase filtered house - and one hell of a bassline. Alternative electronics for the indie lover.
Exclusives
SPARKY - Portland (Tuff City Kids Remixes) (Numbers)
KURMIS, Jey - Lil' Nic French (Hot Creations)
BOSKA - Interiors EP	(Love OD Communications Norway)
Exclusives
FUTURE FEELINGS feat FUTUREWIFE - Stay On The Scene (remixes) (Electrique Music) - exclusive 01-09-2014
RMX TWO - RMX Two (Noir Music)
DEEKLINE - Bolivia (Gutter Gutter)
Joris Voorn DJ Chart
Flashmob DJ Chart
Brett Johnson DJ Chart
Sven Vath DJ Chart
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