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SWITCH GENRE
 
Reviewed this week
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Authoritative house imprint Paper dusts off its disco sibling with another well-curated compilation exercise. Featuring the likes of Alkalino, Flash Atkins, Tuxxedo, 80s Child, Yam Who and many more respected names in edit craft and genuine disco specialism, you know this is the real deal before you even press play. Highlights include Sophie Lloyd's bluesy fused edit of Kongas' "Tattoo Woman", Flash Atkins' P-funk busting stomper "The Jungle", Pablo & Shoey's slinky, slippery bass-laced "Love Feelin'" and Yam Who's straight-up disco slapper "Don't You Want My Love".
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Nils Penner's first release for Freerange, 2012's Munich/Berlin EP, seemed to re-ignite his career, landing him subsequent appearances on Compost Black Label and Exploited. This return to Freerange as every but as warm and involving as you'd expect, with the title track skipping along on a wave of Innervisions-style bottom end, shuffling drums, heart-aching string chords, bluesy vocal samples and some wonderfully tactile riffs. Even better is Pittsburgh Track Authority's superb remix, which adds a little Detroit swing and classic Chicago deep house bounce to Penner's very European-sounding original (think jaunty piano chords, eyes-wide-shut strings and fizzing Motor City percussion). Bonus cut "State of Mind" - all melancholic pianos, drawn-out breakdowns and tech-house swing - is pretty tasty, too.
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If you've not invested in a physical copy of Session Victim's excellent sophomore set, See You When You Get There, you probably should. Alternatively, you could pick and choose between the various digital samplers on offer. There's tons of high quality material on this third EP. Throughout, the German duo expertly tiptoe the fine line between disco and house, variously delivering warm, rolling, Rhodes-heavy deep house (the brilliant "The Most Beautiful Divorce Ever"), loose and organic disco-house ("Under Your Spell"), eyes-closed slow jams (the seductive and becalmed "Eeo's Place") and cut-up Balearic beats (the picturesque "Crystal Maze"). Throughout, the production remains warm, smart and endearingly dusty.
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Tartelet have called upon a serious spread of heads for this sprawling selection of funk-infused, loose and lively house jams. Glenn Astro & Imyrmind are wonderfully dusty and downplayed on "Bochum", while Uffe brings plentiful amounts of Rhodes and other such joyous keys to a thoroughly funky conclusion. Max Graef has an equally shuffling, hand-played time of it, while Damiano Von Erckert gets a tighter groove out to get his own party started. Whichever track you plump for the sounds come on organic and soulful in the extreme, while the arrangements will have bodies popping all over the joint.
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Here's something of a pleasant surprise: a Steve Lawler record on Hot Creations that finds artist and label eschewing their typical sound in favour of something a bit different. The plainly titled "House Record" comes on like a long lost Tyree or Fast Eddie production - all "This Is Acid" stabs, thickset bass and lolloping hip-house rhythms. Flipside "City Nights" continues on a similar theme, with spitting drum machine percussion, jack-tracks style handclaps and an undulating bassline stirring long repressed memories of sketchy warehouse parties sometime around 1988. As a package, this is easily Lawler's - and Hot Creations' - best release for some time.
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Having focused exclusively on digital releases for its first six years, leading Mexican disco/house/Italo fusionist label Electrique has decided to press this 80th EP to vinyl. Happily, it's also available as a digital EP. An all-star concoction featuring various label regulars, it variously touches on bleep-heavy deep house (La Royale and Pato Watson's bleep-heavy "Gravy"), dirty analogue electronics (a trippy and fuzzy offering from Max Jones), rubbery machine funk (Gameboyz), throbbing heads-down fare (Bufi, Eddie Mercury) and Latin-tinged analogue disco (Juan Soto & Rocco Desentis). Best of all, though, is Thomas Jackson's Lee Scratch Perry-sampling "For The Junkies", a prize slice of fuzzy, Prins Thomas-ish organic disco.
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Given that it's been two years since Bavarian MPC abuser Sam IRL last released on Jazz & Milk, the Free Two Grow EP is long overdue. The Gilles Peterson favourite is at his best when coming at styles from a different angle, and that's exactly what he seems to have done on opener "Free Two Grow". It's deep house - swinging, loose, off-kilter and typically evocative - but boasts a heavy sub bassline and is built around a jazzy flute loop. "Ions" has a similar dusty, minor key-heavy, soul-driven deep house feel, but its closer "Einerfuerheiner", a dancefloor-friendly head-nodder full of hip-hop drums, jazzy keys and throbbing electro bass, that hits home hardest.
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In terms of current US artists, no one seems to have made as much of an impact in recent times as the the superbly named Charles McCloud Duff has done under his Matrixxman name. Unknown To The Unknown, Spectral Sound and Soo Wavey Records are some of the labels that have put the call out for material from Matrixxman, whose club ready style of house and techno has always been complemented by a clear sense of humour. Matrixxman's superb debut for Dekmantel makes for a perfect start to 2015 for the increasingly influential Dutch label and is hopefully the start of a prosperous working relationship. Opener "Sermons" is loose and jacking, with a decidedly haywire acid line at its core, whilst "Cybernetic Implant" reins in the rhythmic madness in order to let those deep bleeps catch you off guard. If you like rolling vocals a la Hodge's "Amor Fati" do check closer "System Blackout", which is our pick!
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Danish duo Swing Republic follow up their 2012 album Midnight Calling with the equally alluring, wholly authentic Let's Misbehave. Flexing from the sensuous cover of "Sing It Back" to the smoky jazz samples of "He Ain't Got Rhythm" to the silky, bluesy charms of "Do Your Duty", each cut is a horn-blasting, piano-slapping exercise in modern swing with full references to the sample and source for those in need of further research. No act does swing like Swing Republic.
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Room Service, a new Brooklyn-based label, introduces itself to the world with a boisterous party-starter by Quell, a Grecian producer now residing in Berlin. The four originals included here are no-nonsense, high-octane jams that vacillate between deep house and garage with touches of techno and disco thrown in for good measure and depth.
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Given the rise in popularity of Dance Mania-inspired ghetto-house and ghetto-tech releases over the last couple of years, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would put together a compilation celebrating the label's greatest moments. That it was Strut that did it with Dance Mania Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997 was something of a comfort; Quinton Scott's crate-digging imprint does these kind of history-driven compilations so well. Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness is a second trawl through the archives of the label and features some fifteen cuts of little-known or hard-to-find tracks from the likes of DJ Funk, Paul Johnson, DJ Rush, Jammin' Gerald and Wax Master Maurice (whose bizarre but brilliant "Bounce That Body" is a highlight).
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Having already covered the likes of Croatia and Australia, Toolroom's latest Poolside installment is timed to coincide with the BPM festival in Mexico. As such, it's a fizzy sunkissed collection of party house boasting 32 tracks and a bonus DJ mix too! Highlights include the crystalline synth pop interlude "Fall Apart" featuring the breathy vocals of Patrick Baker, the Eats Everything-esque stab-heavy electro houser "It's On You" and the sublimely soft, Euro trance anthem "Spinning Around" by Alex Barck.
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For their latest missive, German label Toy Tonics has turned to Italian producer Andrea Pedra, previously famous in his native Tuscany as a DJ and promoter of parties in a "dirty old jazz cavern". This EP - his first for Toy Tonics - showcases his love of sleazy but fluid deep house, created using analogue equipment. There's naturally much to admire, from the revivalist Italian house bump, late night vocal snippets and jaunty organs of "You Know What?", to the driving drums, woozy synths and densely layered vocal samples of "Muff 60". Best of all, though, is opener "In My Eyes", an effective fusion of undulating acid lines, fireside chords, trippy vocal samples and boompty-influenced drums.
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Having originally made his name with the (now dormant) Peanut Butter & Jams blog, Washington-based Jackson Ryland has turned his hand to music production. This debut release for Massimo Previti's popular DaBit label shows much promise. Lead cut "Crystal City" is particularly potent, with glassy-eyed chords and gently throbbing melodies tumbling over sweaty, carnival style percussion. The thumping, cut-up house of "JP's" is also impressive (check the heavy sub bass that enters during the breakdown for proof), while "Up The Shelf" expertly fuses new age electronics with the best of British bass music. Chiwax man Steve Murphy remixes "Crystal City", delivering a tight-but-swinging roller that makes great use of deep chords and colourful piano stabs.
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Italian musician Papik certainly believes in 'amore speciale', recruiting none other than his own wife to luxuriously breathe her vocals all over this jazzy poolside breezer, "Special Love". The song is culled from his recent double album Sounds For The Open Road, which boasts two CDs - a soulful one and a jazzy one (the mellow Fender Rhodes chords all over this tune tie it firmly to the latter). Remix-wise we get drivin' housey funk from Submantra, deep, downbeat glitchy vibes from From P60 and trumpet-led, sun bleached bossa-house from Sounds Of Soul.
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Auckland-based eight-piece Weird Together are an interesting proposition - and not just because it's helmed by Tokyo-based journalist Nick Dwyer and one-time NRK deep house regular Dick 'Magik J' Johnson. Their style, as showcased on this debut EP for the admirable Soundway Records, is fiendishly hard to pin down. In essence, they take inspiration from a myriad of global styles - mainly localised sounds from parts of South America, Africa and the Caribbean - and fuse them with contemporary house rhythms and structures. Throughout, highlights come thick and fast, from the dense percussion, booming bass and African vocals of "Gban Gban Lewa" and picturesque, Soweto-house shuffle of "Karima's Story", to the South American bliss of "Mbira".
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Morales returns to the bold chunky soulful sound he really made a name for himself with 20 years ago; a hook that nags so hard you'll be humming it for weeks, beats that chugging so relentlessly you won't sleep for weeks and a groove so funky you'll be shifting you booty for hours, "Lovin" has all the hallmarks of a straight up summer anthem. Move over deep house, it's time for soulful house to shine again.
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Since first joining forces in 2010, Red D and San Soda's FCL project has provided DJs with a stream of scintillating singles, including arguably the tune of summer 2012, the Panaromabar Acca version of "It's You". Here, they deliver their first commercial mix for Defected's long-running In The House series. Red D handles the first selection laying down a deep, warm and groovy live mix that effortlessly moves between the melodious bump of Jason Korn, the Detroit futurism of Vince Watson, and the US garage-influenced bump of Mudhen. San Soda's set - apparently a studio mix - is a little more energetic, moving from the twinkling deep house of Larry Heard to the bumpin' disco-house of Audiojack via Stacey Kidd, Mousse T and Seven Davis Jr.
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For someone so young, Belgian twentysomething Innershades knows a thing or two about classic dance music. His previous EPs for Wicked Bass, Creme Organization and R-Zone have variously touched on early R7S style Belgian techno, new beat, acid house and slamming beatbox electro. There's more warehouse-friendly retro-futurism to be found on Dark Society, from the Beltram-ish rave blast of "Momentum" and Armando style dark house of "CVS", to the Technotronic-does-acid fun of "Oase". Best of all, though, is the title track, whose alien electronics, sharp stabs and heavy bassline recall the early days of UK techno.
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If the first instalment of Huntleys and Palmers' Chapter series of split EPs was all about showcasing up-coming talent, this second volume has been designed as a tribute to those who've influenced them. It's a neat twist, with typically formidable results. There's much to admire throughout, from the surging machine disco of oklo Gabon's "City Gym" and the undulating alien funk of Comeme man Sano's "Duraco", to the Ket-addled wonkiness of Golden Teacher's trippy "What Time Is It". While Uslo's spacey, piano-laden, percussively loose "Galaxy" is also inspired, it's beaten in the "best track" stakes by Balearic man Wolf Moller's "Rudeltanz", a decidedly cosmic chunk of live dub-disco with tumbling synth melodies and baked, low-slung synths for days.
Exclusives
SWING REPUBLIC - Mo' Electro Swing Republic - Let's Misbehave (Freshly Squeezed) - exclusive 02-02-2015
CARRENO IS LB - Disharmony (Correspondant Germany)
WOLF MOLLER/OKLO GABON/SANO/GOLDEN TEACHER/USIO - Chapter 2 (Huntleys & Palmers)
Exclusives
AARDVARCK - Housenose (Fino Y Gordo) - exclusive 27-01-2015
TERRANOVA - Headache (remixes) (Kompakt Digital Germany)
RYLAND, Jackson - Crystal City EP (DaBit)
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