Skip Navigation

Reviewed this week
David 'Trus'Me' Wolstencroft's fourth album marks a sea-change in direction for a UK producer best known for soulful house and techno. This shift is audible from opening track "1979", where a caller to a late night radio show describes seeing aliens at an unnamed facility. The outer space-fixation continues on the eerie soundscapes of "The Unexplained", before he eventually hits the dance floor on "Dark Flow". Here too though the mood favours the otherworldly as ghostly vocals and resonating piano keys unfold over muted kicks. "Ring Round Heart" ventures back towards the hypnotic house sound that Trus'Me is known for, but it's a relatively short divergence and both 'Red Sun' and 'Our Future' see the UK producer push techno into the most far-flung end of our galaxy.
Tsuba's ten year anniversary - that's right, it has been that long already - has been marked with hit after hit from a wide selection of artists from across the house kingdom. In fact, for this 2nd instalment of the festivities, we have White Material frontman Galcher Lustwerk remixed by the inimitable Jimpster, with the latter putting a more starry-eyed mechanic onto the original; For Romeau complete the A-side with a vintage-sounding remix of "Pinball" by Williams. On the flip, Roy Comanchero drops the Chicago bass over a minimal sort of percussion groove on "Hypba". Kevin Griffiths adds a little acid to the jingly 707 beat of "Satori", and completes a stellar EP from the magnetic Tsuba.
Arguably best known as one half of FCL (alongside San Soda), Red D has been promoting, producing, DJing and running record labels (most notably We Play House) for well over two decades. Chez marks the Belgian's first appearance on Freerange. The title track is little less than a heartfelt tribute to U.S deep house legend Chez Damier, with tactile synth stabs and sunrise melody lines riding a tasty groove. In contrast, "Into Darkness" starts off melodious and Balearic in feel, before smoothly morphing into a Chicago-influenced, late night throbber. Uncanny Valley regular Jakob Korn delivers remixes of both tracks; his pulsating, ultra-deep take on "Chez", in particular, is superb.
The words 'Chicago' and 'house' come to mind with this new Trax series by Audaz boss Alkalino. There's little trace of his disco influence here as he presents four tracks that could have been made in the windy city in about 1987. "Pull Me Through" begins the EP with some deep, touchy feely, soulful house goodness before the pounding snares and atonal electronics of sweaty basement anthem "Much love" arrive. Next we take a detour with the ABBA-sampling hiNRG jam "Rollercoaster 3000" before "Treat Me Right" wraps things up with some darkly sensual punky funk.
Reykjavik's Felix Leifur has appeared previously for local homeboys Lagaffe Tales but really hits the big time now with his second release on Berlin's Dirt Crew with The Sunday Club EP; five delicious servings of dusty deep house goodness! The title track and "Berg Toppur" are the kind of lo-fi, hip-hop influenced house grooves that would make even Glenn Astro stand up and notice. Equally suited to a stoned Sunday afternoon stroll through Mauerpark is "Giving" however the sampled up soul/disco vibes makes for something more funky and sultry. There's a pretty sweet remix of "Berg Toppur" too by Hidden Spheres which goes for a more straight up and polished production with added dancefloor dynamic.
The 23rd release on Daniel Solar's Dikso imprint comes from rising talent Freiboitar. The Cologne-based producer has previously contented himself with making straight-up house, but here showcases his skills with a bunch of disco samples, a set of filters, and some groovy house rhythms. There's plenty to enjoy throughout, from the loved-up positivity of "Harlem Streets", where filtered vocal hooks and horn lines cluster around a sun-kissed disco groove, to the heavyweight, low slung hustle of peak-time scorcher "Dear Mom". Eyes-closed, filter-disco shuffler "Call The Cops" also gets remixed by Chris Caspar and Jean Philips, who cannily emphasize the track's in-built positivity.
A master at work with or without partner Kenny Gonzales, Louie Vega is back with "A New Day", his latest solo effort. Of course he always gets a strong vocalist involved and this single is no different, with the mighty Caron 'Soul II Soul' Wheeler drafted in to hit those notes. The original is a smooth slice of warm and soulful house and there are more remixes than you could ever wish for too. Highlights include Jazzie B's stunningly evocative and hauntingly tribal rework, Ron Trent's sparse and percussive remix and Shelter's positive Latin house rejig. A classy release indeed!
It's hard to believe that it's been a decade since the release of "Detroit". To celebrate double figures, its author has released a sprawling "10 Year Anniversary mix", alongside the original version. The party doesn't end there though, and Dirtybird has also selected some impressive producers to rework it. Unsurprisingly, Marc Houle's take is a slinky, stripped back affair, while Octave One's interpretation mines the kind of tribal, percussive sound that the Burden brothers have made their own over the past two decades. Fused with the original version's brooding synths, it makes for a intoxicating techno groove. Finally, Visionquest bring the curtain down with a laid back, groovy house take on this modern-day classic.
With a name like Jack Jenson he was sure to be in the spotlight somehow! The Salon zur Wilde Renate regular now appears for fellow Berlin institution Kater Mukke for the Full Of Acid EP in collaboration with the tech house hero Tigerskin and it's pretty good! The title track gets its 303 wobble on in good and sleazy fashion after the creepy sampled movie dialogue and white noise washed drop. "Stable Dance" goes for more of a restrained and hypnotic vive with its whirling arpeggio and tight rhythm supported by odd violin improvisation. Finally "Make It Work" rocks one of those Derrick May style synth-funk melodies over a rolling bass driven groove for some impressive dancefloor dynamic.
Saucy Lady is a Japanese-born, Boston-dwelling artist on a one-woman mission to return to the outre disco diva chic of yore. Word of her larger-than-life persona has spread to the UK, where a close collaboration with Yam Who? has resulted in this joy of a retro disco single. The latter's mix blends four to the floor beats, Chic-style guitar, electro boogie bass and a sumptuous synthy atmosphere. Elsewhere E-Live adds a smooth 80s soul twist, Ourra opts for a dubbed out bass heavy vibe and Yuki takes us to Funky Town in the EPs sexiest mix. Hot stuff!
Turbojazz man Tommy Garofolo is well known to Local Talk co-founder Mad Mats, having previously released an EP of Latin jazz reworks for the Swedish veteran's G.A.M.M imprint. This time round, he's showcasing his original production talents, delivering a couple of loose, jazzy and sumptuous deep house gems. He begins with Motor City soul shuffler "Unbreakable", where the slick vocals of guest David Blank spar with heady synth lines and fluid Rhodes chords over an MPC style house groove, before doffing a cap to the liquid jazz-funk of Herbie Hancock on the sparkling deep house shuffler "Unicorn Rising". Finally, EVM128 serves up a jazzy and sensual broken beat/nu-jazz rework of "Please U".
Natal Zaks is a talented chap. To date, he's released a large amount of very good material, under numerous pseudonyms, for a wide variety of labels. Here he returns to Dekmantel with the second part of the Political Dance series, under the now familiar Central guise. Just like its' predecessor, it's a deliciously positive, melodious and atmospheric affair. The brilliant "Detour King" sounds like Space Dimension Controller, Vincent Floyd and Boyd Jarvis jamming on Mars, while "Political Dance" is a deliciously loved-up journey into early New Jersey deep house, with some distinctively spacey flourishes to boot. Zaks also doffs a cap to ambient house era intelligent techno on the luscious "Convenient Departures".
Does exactly what it says on the tin really: No Filler Just Killer comes in again for the third volume courtesy of Oliver Koletzki's long running Berlin tech house institution. Experience the soundtrack to a misspent youth in Berlin this summer, coming at you courtesy of label head honcho Koletzki himself with the moody and tunnelling journey of "This Heartless", the tripped out minimal madness of Asem Shama's "Magic's Gonna Happen" which reminds us of classic Audion or Marc Houle, Bjorn Storig delivers some smooth and slinky progressive house vibes on "Babylon Angels" while Ferdinand Dreyssig ventures further into the void on the moody industrial-edged stomper "Amnesia".
Collaborations from Dutch pair Steffi and Martyn under the Doms & Deykers alias have been frustratingly intermittent with just the sole 12" and a contribution to last year's Zehn boxset from Ostgut Ton. This 12", Dedicated To Those Who Feel, is apparently the precursor to a full album from the duo which is great news! "It's You See" sets the tone, cleverly fusing 808 State style chords, pitched-up vocal samples, warehouse-friendly analogue bass, and the sweaty hustle of techno rhythms. "Bafff" continues the retro-futurist theme, with restless rave stabs and psychedelic acid lines peppering a locked-in groove, before they explore deeper - if no less loved-up - territory on the colourful warmth of "For Those Who Feel". It is, as expected, a rather fine EP.
The Soul Designer is back everyone! Belgian techno legend Fabrice Lig is still at it and boy are we impressed, as always. He never went away really; he just kept doing his thing: Motor City inspired techno-soul of the highest calibre, as displayed on his fabulous last single "No Judgement" (featuring Ann Saunderson) on Planet E. This time he teams up with Midwest legend Titonton Duvante for the Sensual EP. "Even Deeper" is the kind of track that you could imagine Derrick May or Laurent Garnier dropping mid set for one seriously ecstatic moment, with its funky SH 101 bassline (a Lig trademark) and some emotional chords/ keys. "In The Hood" gets a bit more tough and energetic for us with its darkly executed futuristic blues of the funkiest kind.
In preparation for the forthcoming season on the White Island, Mark Knight's label drops this explosive release. David Keno, Stage Rockers & Samantha Nova's "I Like That" shows that house will continue to be Toolroom's main focus, albeit in this instance, a streamlined tribal take. The compilation also demonstrates that an appetite also remains for classic vocal tracks; Mash's "Shooting Brake" recalls the classic garage of early 90s New York, with its dark bass and layered vocal samples, while the infectious stabs, strings and plaintive piano of Playless' "Danser" could be as big as David Morales' late-'90s smash "Needin U".
Man of many pseudonyms Natal Zaks brings his Central project to Dekmantel, with the first of a series of EPs entitled Political Dance. It's an expansive affair, with the Danish producer delivering a quintet of tracks that meld distinctive Detroit techno, early US deep house, broken beat and deep space ambient influences into attractive new shapes. Highlights abound, from the rolling, loved-up grooves of the starry "Keep Love On Me", and Motor City deep house shuffle of "Body Issue", to the horizontal bliss of "Longest Way Between Two Points", and tech-jazz swing of standout "This Is Hand". Impressive stuff, all told.
We always thought of Unknown To The Unknown as a multi-faceted and exploratory label when it came to sussing out new talent, but we didn't see this one coming. Mak & Pasteman, recently of Lobster Boy, are a duo who are more often than not categorised under the dreaded 'bass' banner, but what they have here are actually a couple of stone-cold house cuts with a Dance Mania kinda flavour. "Percwerc" is a gritty, jittery 4/4 bomb with vintage drop that'll have your jaw wrapped around your head in no time, while "T2000" is just as raw and filthy except that the mood is funkier, deeper and little more musical. Both heavy, both recommended.
Re-edit maestro Inxxxwel arrives with the first of presumably many Dancefloor Meditations. Not that he's crossing legs and chanting 'ommm' any time soon, nope he's opted to deliver four sparkly disco re-cuts that truly span whole worlds of style and taste. "Check It Out" is an intriguing slice of murky lo-fi Afro disco that sounds like a special eighth gen cassette secret that's been covertly passed into your hands. Elsewhere we get the raw Japanese punk-funk-pop of "I See You", it's all about disfigured 90s RnB on "Make Me" and finally the bright and shiny boogie stomp of "Old Fashioned".
Following up some great tracks by Anthony Brooklyn and Times Are Ruff Parisian DJ Steaw, he of Steaward and Rutilance vinyl imprints, is back with the Aquarius EP on the Tommorow, Is Now Kid! Label. The title track is the kind soulful and emotive deep house that this talented producer is fast making a name for himself with, covered in just the right amounts of dust and rust but with a good dose of bump and shuffle too. "Off Side" is smoother, with those swirling and hypnotic Rhodes keys and mesmerizing pads do most of the most of the work over a clever 808 drum workout. "Let The Deep" goes for more of the Detroit style high tech soul flavour in impressive fashion calling to mind the housier side of early Underground Resistance or Octave One.
FELIX LEIFUR - The Sunday Club EP (Dirt Crew)
CASINO TIMES - Familiar Circles (Wolf Music Recordings)
KAUF - Through The Yard (Fort Romeau Remixes) (Permanent Vacation Germany)
DJ STEAW - Aquarius (Tomorrow Is Now, Kid!)
MUNIR - Ritmo Echo (Dopeness Galore)
Kraak & Smaak DJ Chart
Jakobin & Domino DJ Chart
Chus Ceballos DJ Chart
Fabrice Lig DJ Chart
Top Labels
Strictly Rhythm
permanent vacation
Hed Kandi
z records