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Reviewed this week
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York-based Alfa Flite is slowly building a reputation as a purveyor of fine, soul-flecked edits that tiptoe the fine line between deep house and disco. Here, the mystery combo drops a new edit - a sensual, head-nodding and toe-tapping reinterpretation of what appears to be a classic Sade cut. With rubbery bass, unfussy beats, gentle guitars and emotion-rich vocals, there's plenty to enjoy. With a decent amount of compression on the beats and bassline, as well as a surprisingly distant feel about the vocal, it feels primed and ready for dancefloors that like their grooves toe tapping, head nodding and groovy.
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This is a significant moment in the development of Michael "Huxley" Dodson. Following six years building his reputation via a constant trickle of singles, the London-based producer has finally delivered a debut album. It's a little more expansive and varied than many of his singles, and variously touches on many of his regular inspirations - UK garage, deep house and bumping techno, in particular - as well as some he's not previously explored (see the pitched-down rave breaks of "Give 2 U" and the "Circles"-ish liquid D&B of "MXR"). The result is a polished, floor-friendly set that impressively straddles the line between club tracks and home listening fodder.
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While Italian producer Nicholas has always been obsessed with classic house - be it the piano-laden release of early '90s Italian productions or the New Jersey bump of later period Nu Groove - he's more than capable of producing deep house laden with soulful intensity. That's what's on offer across these four tracks, beginning with the heavy bass, dreamy chords and sensual vocal (provided by Shaun J Wright) of "Love Someone". The Italian wisely provides a darker, chunkier dub of the same track, before exploring acid and sprawling pianos on the deliciously effective "Message". Finally, "J.U.N.E" features an attractive blend of hazy freestyle vocals and cute Rhodes keys riding a fizzing, late '90s US deep house groove.
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Ultra Bass is a label that has been gaining steady ground with its UKF-flecked bass-house bangers. Here David Eliza adopts the well-rounded soulful tones of vocalist Jael for the synth washed break-step jam "Amazin'" and the deeper, housier "The Ride". Standout remixes here include Rare Candy's sumptuous poolside rerub of the latter and Tommy Mc's deliciously dirty basement garage rework of the former.
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This release is a sign of how much of a global phenomenon underground electronic music is, as all of the contributors come from Mexico. Thomass Jackson kick-starts the release with "Bad Chat", a malevolent, bass-heavy groove that is propelled over frenetic drum rolls. Eddie Mercury's "Rim Cow Shot" inhabits a similar space, albeit one that is powered by grainy kick drums and razor-sharp percussive volleys. An interest in the darker side of electronic music must be a common theme for Mexican producers because both Mijo's "Working Late" and Inigo Vontier's "Lunatico" are led by eerie, warbling synths and throbbing basslines and Theus Mago's "Ritmo Extraterrestre" is a wild acid extravaganza.
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In a bid to celebrate 16 years in business, Mallorca-based Garito Cade Bar has joined forces with the like-minded souls from Sweden's Local Talk imprint. The result is a collection compiled and mixed by resident DJ Nacho Velasco, featuring both well-known and previously unheard gems from Mad Mats and Tooli's well-loved label. While many people will have some of the better known material here - think Fred Everything's excellent "Brothers & Sisters (PM Atlantic)", HNNY's "Fr The Very Forst Time" and Kyodai's "Something Special" - it's the previously unheard selections that make it Music Joined Us worth investigating. Of these new cuts, it's Tommy Rawson's lusciously loose "7 Days" and Jesse Futerman's smouldering "Life Is A Gamble" - smoky soul re-made as Latin-tinged deep house - that stand out.
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It has been four long years since South African producer Culoe De Song last graced Dixon's Innervisions imprint. Happily, this belated return - a year after dropping his impressive Exodus album on Soulistic - sees him at the top of his form. "Y.O.U.D" is, in many ways, what you'd expect - a dense but picturesque blend of thick tribal percussion, fluttering electronics, sampled yelps and eyes-wide-shut melodies. He opts for altogether deeper vibe of "Geyser", layering dreamy chords and hazy melodies atop a hypnotic, shuffling groove blessed with delicious atmosphere. Strong stuff, all told; it's a pity it's been so long between drinks.
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Pomelo has been releasing music since 1994, with tracks in the early days coming from DJ Hell, Punk Anderson and Hi-Lo, while in more recent years the label has been a platform for Alex Cortex, DJ Stingray, Brendon Moeller and Tin Man. This second 20 Yrs various artists EP adds to Pomelo's milestone celebrations by featuring tracks from Tin Man, who delivers an archetypical acid techno production called "Detroit", while Macro associates Elektro Guzzi provide a vamping "Radicale" which is forever peaking. It's Digilog who pulls out the wild card though with a cavernous, 303-fuelled "Mind Gap".
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Here's a deliciously simple idea from Matias Aguayo's Comeme label: DJ friendly re-edits of tracks from Russian producer Philipp Gorbachev's decidedly off-kilter Silver Album. Aguayo shows the way, turning the loose and eccentric "Distance" into a heads-down chunk of no-wave house complete with military drum rolls and a whisper of acid freakery. Elsewhere, look out for an inspired EBM style reinterpretation of "Arrest Me" from Optimo man JD Twitch - arguably our pick of the bunch - and a brilliant, slo-mo blend of "New Sound" and "Silver Symphony" from Ana Helder. Oh, and a no-nonsense reinterpretation of "What Do You Need" from fast-rising, former Hot Creations man Danny Daze.
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Remix compilations can be a little hit-and-miss, but this one - gathering together five years of eccentric and often inspired reinterpretations from German veteran DJ Koze - is anything but. Koze often saves his best work for the remix domain, delivering imaginative reworks that take the original material into surprising new places. So, Herbert's "If Only" is turned into a sparse chunk of atmosphere-rich late night deep house, Caribou's "Found Out" is blessed with a new sense of wonky, left-of-centre purpose, and Zwanie Johnson's "Golden Song" is given a decidedly Balearic, beatless makeover. Highlights are plentiful, with Koze's dubby, low-slung afro-jazz reinterpretation of Soap & Skin's "Marche Funebre" standing out.
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Since making their debut on Lost My Dog last year, Mountal's profile has risen dramatically (thanks, mainly, to the success of a sneaky remix of Pharrell's "Happy"). This sophomore EP builds on their debut, delivering five more chunks of undulating, bass-heavy deep house. Highlights are plentiful, from the "Bar A Thym" style cowbells, riffs and rolling grooves of "Nothing To Undo" and sub-heavy, UKG-influenced wobble of "Masterkill", to the deep and dreamy flex of the extra-intoxicating title track. That track is given the remix treatment by US house veteran Mr V, who drops two contrasting versions; the tech-tinged deep house shuffle of his Sole Channel Mix, and the sparse-but-attractive electronics and minimal-influenced rhythms of the 2AM Mix.
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Redshape's last outing on Running Back, Bonuz Beatz Vol 1, was something of a stripped-back affair, offering a quartet of forthright DJ tools. Here, the masked techno producer returns to his usual full-throttle best. The original version of "Leaves" is decidedly robust, with clipped acid lines, electronic squeaks and a rumbling bassline riding a locked-in groove. The "Rotated Mix" offers a little more space for the groove to breathe, with Redshape getting busy with drum machine handclaps, hissing cymbals and classic rave-era stabs. The "Stripped 2 Clip & 303" version, meanwhile, pushes the nagging acid lines to the four, stretching them out over a tweaked, cowbell-laden groove.
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While he's more than happy to reflect and look back via his Trust Me I Was There mix series and the recent Rinse 20 re-releases, Zinc is in his element when he's bringing the roots kicking and screaming into the future... Which he's done consummately right here with this six track UKG/bass house adventure. "If You" is a bubbling old school rave feeling wrapped up in contemporary house styles, Marky co-lab "Double" is a dark strutter, all snares and menace, "Boppa" flips the electro switch with one simple waspy bassline, "Emanate" does that hooky up-and-down bass refrain Zinc has always been a sucker for while "After Time" is an organ-heavy twist on the current deep house flavours. Finally we hit "Runouts". A breakbeat-surcharged homage to the hardcore era in which Zinc cut his teeth, it's instant shock-out material. Bring on Structures part two!
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For those who had assumed that Butch was a tool house producer and not much else, this release will come as surprise. Favouring a more experimental approach than usual, "LFO" is led by weird, freaky frequencies and a bleep bassline. "Delusion" sees him go down a deep, dubby route, the robust bass leading into a sweeping, dramatic climax. Butch keeps the focus on more reflective sounds with the weeping synths and tough claps of "Sphere", while he returns to the experimental path of "LFO" for the denouement. Both "Tone 2.0" and "Busy B" are reduced tracks, with the former based on subsonic blips and bleeps and the latter boasting a stuttering groove bolstered by a Hoover bass.
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The term 'locked groove' may be primarily associated with tough, loopy techno, but Tim Van de Meutter's latest release under this name is radically different. The title track starts with stripped back, minimal house beats, before de Meutter introduces a dramatic, surging bassline and tranced out synth lines. It's to the producer's credit that he manages to keep the groove dance floor-based. "Meditations In An Emergency" pushes even farther in an esoteric direction; a chattering rhythm and acid warbles provide the backdrop for Locked Groove to provide the kind of dreamy synth scapes that Derrick May used to produce. Van de Meutter's stage name may not fit this music, but "Meditations" is still deep electronic music at its best.
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Greek producer Alex Dimou follows his recent EP on Get Physical with this compilation of some of his tracks. "Turn Around" is a real 'lost it' moment, its glitchy percussion and slurred vocal recreating long, hazy nights on the dance floor. However, Dimou is clearly a producer of diverse tastes; "Efukt" is much more esoteric, featuring dreamy chords and lithe breakbeats, while "So True" featuring Lee Burton follows a similar, breakbeat path, albeit one that is lined with acidic segues and hypnotic bongos. Dimou's selection even makes nods to pop music with the psychedelic downtempo of "White Rabbit", before finishing with the contemplative piano house of "Oceanmoon".
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Damian Lazarus is usually good at spotting musical trends, then reinterpreting them in his own occasional singles. The globally focused Ancient Moons project, which sees him working alongside Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford and various musicians and vocalists from around the world - is a perfect example. Here, the tech-house-meets-world-music jam "Lovers Eyes (Mohe Pi Ki Majariya)" is remixed by Mendo and Dixon. Both producers make extensive use of the traditional qawwali vocals, with Mendo layering them over a thrusting, Panorama Bar-friendly darkroom rhythm. Dixon, meanwhile, goes deeper still, delivering a chugging, Innervisions style groover that makes great use of the original's traditional Asian percussion.
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Following well-regarded outings on Unterton and Delsin, Gerd Janson and Philip Lauer bring their Tuff City Kids project to Prins Thomas' Internasjonal imprint. Predictably, there's much to admire about the Parallel Forest EP, not least the wide-eyed electronics, disarming effects and analogue deep house shuffle of "PF01". There's more vintage electronics and ear-pleasing melodies to be found on the acid-influenced goodness of "PF02", while "PF03" sounds like a long-lost demo for a late '80s deep house/synth-pop crossover (minus the vocals, of course). If you're after something a little more gritty, head for "PF04", whose sparse but intense arpeggios, analogue beats and intoxicating electronics recall the more experimental end of early Chicago house.
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Oslo boys Trulz and Robin are hardly newcomers, having released their first EP way back in 2000. Even so, Sol marks their debut on one of Norway's most influential labels, Prins Thomas's Full Pupp imprint. The title track seems tailor-made for the label, with sun-kissed synthesizer melodies and attractive, Scandolearic style electronics wrapped around a chunky, Italo-influenced groove. Like so many releases on Full Pupp, it sounds distinctly Norwegian - the kind of record you'd expect from Blackbelt Anderson, Magnus International or Telephones. Thomas remixes, delivering a wonderfully saucer-eyed ambient interpretation that could soundtrack a thousand sunsets. Finally, "Froskelar" sees them saunter off in a different direction, attractively fusing Norwegian disco and dub house in the grooviest of ways.
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Former Les Petits Pilous man Jean-Patrick Simonetti has a new alias: Workerz. Here, the French producer presents his Back Office debut under the new pseudonym, a three-track trip though rubbery electronic deep house with a soulful synth-pop bent. There's plenty to enjoy, starting with lead cut "Deep Stress" - a radio-friendly blend of skittering, Chicago influenced drums, shimmering chords, impassioned vocals and heavy, low-end bounce. "Alkaline" throws in a little Todd Edwards style cut-up garage flavour whilst retaining the classic house influences and drawn-out chords that feature heavily in the title track. Finally, the garage influences come to the fore on "Douglas", a three-minute blast of wide-eyed goodness built around fluttering riffs and oh-so tipsy vocal samples.
Exclusives
SCHUHMACHER feat DR MAY - Back Home (3 Beat)
ASHWORTH/KIWI - Second EP (Sneaky) - exclusive 10-11-2014
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