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Reviewed this week
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Mr Scruff's Friendly Bacteria album was something of a return to form; a sprawling, soul-flecked concoction full of broken beat, jazz, dub and classic house influences. Here, two of the album's highlights get the remix treatment. On the A, "We Are Coming" - a bumpin', basement-bothering bruk cut in its' original form - is turned into a warm and wide-eyed deep house shuffler by Berlin-based Max Graef. It's an excellent revision, which weaves the original samples and keys into a fuzzy, analogue-sounding groover. On the flip, Scruff himself extends and reworks "Feel Free", turning in a hazy nu-jazz rub built around rubbery double bass and snaking, muted horns.
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Given the rising popularity of contemporary house records influenced by classic Italian house, it's perhaps unsurprising that Dave Lee has chosen to release a collection of classic Italo house cuts. Here, three of that compilation's best-loved cuts get the re-edit treatment. Lee dons his familiar Joey Negro alias for two perfectly pitched reworks; a shuffling and melodious rendition of Shafty's deliciously wide-eyed 1991 cut "Deep Inside of You (Soul Trance Mix)", and an undulating, electric piano-laden tweak of D-Rail's breakbeat-driven "Bring It On Down". If that wasn't enough to get you salivating, there's also a rolling, piano-laden rearrangement of Keytonics Ensemble's 1990 anthem "House of Calypso" (not to be confused with the record's better known flipside, "Calypso of House").
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Aroop Roy - London based soul boy 'of many dimensions' - has been pretty silent for nearly a year. Perhaps he just went on holiday in some exotic far-flung dimension, but he's back now, all guns blazing. Brazil Breakdown Part 2 features three spicy cuts of feverish retro Latin funk, all boasting irresistible beach party grooves and seductively catchy vocals.
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After eight years spent honing his skills on his own Speak Recordings imprint, New Yorker Henry Maldonado pops up on Local Talk with a typically warm and breezy EP of sun-flecked deep house treats. "Violent Mood Things" delivers the perfect start, with Maldonado layering darting strings, spacey bleeps and touchy-feely chords over a rolling, Afro-influenced deep house rhythm. "True Indeed" is decidedly woozier, with minor key chords, unfussy beats and a deep bassline underpinning a female spoken word vocal (an instrumental mix is also included, for those who prefer that kind of thing). Dresden-based Uncanny Valley member Cuthead provides the EP's most enjoyable moment, giving "Violent Mood Swings" some hazy Balearic shuffle via snare-heavy beats, acid-era bass and picturesque melodies.
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Amazingly, it's 20 years since the release of Ian Pooley's breakthrough club hit, "Roller Skate Disco". In the years since, he's shifted focus numerous times, releasing material on such labels as NRK, Force Tracks, Simple Records and Innervisions. Here he returns to Dixon's acclaimed imprint with two more tracks of woozy, heavily electronic deep tech-house. "The Beginning (Dub)" kicks things off, lacing simple electronic melodies and synth bleeps over a moody, atmospheric, late night groove. Pooley ratchets up the tension throughout, with long, drawn-out chords pushing us towards a glassy-eyed conclusion. "Floris" is a little deeper, with organ chords and melodies that seem to creep up on you slowly from behind. With a similarly hypnotic, shuffling groove to "The Beginning (Dub)", it feels like an early morning gem.
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Tomorrow Is Now, Kid! returns just in time for summer with a collection of tracks taken from a reel of tape. In My Ghetto is the debut EP of Anthony Brooklyn, who has crafted four jams in spirit of the roughness of New York City's famous borough, Brooklyn.
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Futureboogie's annual Summer Riot series is usually a reliable source of extra-spicy material that's sent dancefloors into raptures during the Bristol crew's numerous festival sets. This third instalment is no different. Perhaps the most startling including is "Red Road", an authentic chunk of disco-boogie (complete with Chic style guitars, rubbery bass and cheeky pianos) from Back to Basics resident Buckley. Really, it's superb - one of the best new straight-up disco tracks we've heard in a while. Elsewhere, local lads Outboxx drop a chunk of loved-up deep house, Waifs and Strays impress with the bubbly, powdery "Now Come", and newcomer Kemback goes all dreamy and delicious on the pleasingly wide-eyed "Mistake".
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Big release for both artist and label here as London-based Australian producer Francis Inferno Orchestra comes through with A New Way Of Living, a debut album on the Voyeurhythm operation, which doubles up as its first full-length project. Having first surfaced in 2010 and dropped numerous 12"s along the way, you feel now is the right time for Griffin James to show what he's capable of over the length of an album and this is a very confident set. The dusty, sample laden house sound Francis Inferno Orchestra is known for is very much in evidence here but there's plenty of diversity shown over the seven cuts to keep you coming back for more. The daisy age goes house vibes of "The More You Like" and the weighty beat down "Rap Beef" are immediate standouts.
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Marco Dionigi tends to give buyers a lot of bang for their buck. That's certainly the case here, with seven decidedly cosmic disco jams to choose from. The title track - a chugging, exotic chunk of atmospheric dub disco with lashings of Indian style instrumentation - is available in three different flavours. Of these, it's a toss up between the Dub and the Original Mix for us, with the former just shading it. Elsewhere, "Roccia Antica" layers backwards effects and pianos over a spiraling, wall-of-sound groove, while "Malinconia" is slow, dubby and pleasingly out-there. "Onde", a hazy ambient excursion featuring more droning sitars and "Tomorrow Never Knows" style backwards loops, is also worth a listen.
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Phantasy Sound serve up another pair of remixes from Daniel Avery's world-beating Drone Logic LP, and this time they've turned to Roman Flugel and Ricardo Tobar to deliver the goods. Flugel takes on "All I Need" and rustles up a startling peak time burner full of earworm synth shimmers that show the German producer in his most club-ready mode, while keeping a healthy dose of the low-key moody tones of his own recent output humming away in the calmer moments. Ricardo Tobar meanwhile takes "These Nights Never End" into a leftfield headspace full of fractious rhythms, heavy layers of melody and noise, and an all-round rousing atmosphere.
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Since last appearing on Quintessentials, Berlin dwelling Borrowed Identity has seen his profile ratchet up with releases on Fina, Mistress and Stripped And Chewed leading up to a commission to contribute to Ryan Elliott's Panorama Bar mix. The Sexo Bonito EP is a fine time for some further exercises in sassy deep house for Quintessentials. "Shake" bumps along impressively, doffing a hat to classic U.S house via diva vocal samples, chunky bottom-end and wavy chords. "Get Down" reaches for the organs, placing them at the centre of a hustling groover that benefits greatly from some rubbery synth bass and delay-laden vocal samples. Finally, "Poems For You" is warm and calming. It sounds like the sort of thing you'd expect to hear drifting from the speakers at some beachside bar in hotter climes.
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Vibes New & Rare Music 2 reaches its conclusion here as Rush Hour drop the second and final helping of the Rick Wilhite-curated compilation with a suitably high profile cast of contributors involved. If you checked Part One which dropped earlier this year, you'll know Wilhite has expanded the remit to include producers from Chicago and New York - and if you didn't check it what's wrong with you! Any compilation that starts with an exclusive cut from Moodymann is gonna be good, and the dusty, disjointed "Momma" sets the tone quality wise for what follows. The Godson himself delivers a thunderous, stripped back take on "A Matter of Honour" by Sean Tate and this dukes it out with the apocalyptic electro of DJ Stingray and the rugged beatdown of Orlando Voorn as our favourites from this great collection.
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Having released their fifth album, Dreams, on Darup Associates in April, Danish punk-funk trio Whomadewho jump ship to the Plexmaster's Ellum Audio label for this raft of big name remixes. Maceo Plex naturally features, delivering one of his typically muscular yet emotive remixes of "Heads Above", transforming it into the kind of end of night fare you can imagine closing out a festival set beside the Adriatic Sea. The hypnotic piano loop and sun-soaked vibes of Mario Basanov's take on "Hiding In Darkness" show just why he's such a hit with the Innervisions crew, while FoF Music artist Kyson delivers a sumptuous downtempo version of the same track, swathing the original vocals in symphonic strings and heart-wrenching melody.
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Graeme Clark has spent much of 2014 building up his Roar Groove label, dropping excellent 12" singles from some of his Glaswegian pals. Here, he finally returns to the imprint with his first single of the year, featuring three different flavours to enjoy. "Incredible Shellsuit" is one of his most picturesque and expansive productions to date, with decidedly Balearic, rush-inducing synthesizer lines wrapping their way around a loose, analogue-rich '80s house groove. "Loss Angeles Times" is denser and more intense, with foreboding chords and heavy, African-influenced tribal percussion. Finally, "Vorderman" keeps up the African theme, sounding like an unheard Auntie Flo production - all heavy percussion, nagging rave stabs and wild electronics.
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Over the last few months Jalepeno have been carefully building the hype around their recent signing, West London soul sensation Alexia Coley. "Drive Me Wild" marks the final push before the big arrival of much anticipated album Keep The Faith. It's a rip-roaring lead single too - all swaggering brass sections, Stax records and vintage American sounding vocals. There's loads of remixes too, the best of which include Valique sumptuous house remix and Marcus Jakes's Ayia Napa-friendly retro garage dub.
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Tsuba's "Limited" offshoot has delivered some of the label's strongest material in recent times. This three-track EP from fast-rising producer Jamie Trench is another high quality release. Opener "Cream", penned with one-time Say Ahh! man Angus Jefford is particularly delicious. With its addictive, rolling bassline, crunchy handclaps and smooth organs, it has a whiff of classic New Jersey house about it. On "Street Lamps", Trench opts for a deeper feel - think dreamy pads and drifting chords - whilst retaining the bumpin', US Garage-influenced grooves that have become a trademark. Best of all, though, is closer "Back In The Flow", a thrillingly loose and hustlin' romp through Andres style, soul-flecked deep house.
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Straddling the world of tribal house and European minimalism is Nick Curly. Although his catalogue shows that his sound usually inhabits the same techy terrain as Johnny D and Nick Okpara, the title track has more than its fair share of minimal signatures. Spluttering, hiccupping vocals and whooshing effects unfold over tough drums and the kind of relentless, jacking rhythms one would associate with Detroit producers like Dan Bell or even Claude Young. On "Headcount", Curly returns to what he knows best. Over dense, doubled up drums, he delivers insistent claps and filters that churn and surge without a single pause.
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Sandy Rivera aka Kings Of Tomorrow has certainly been around the block. With releases on everything from the holy grail of house that is Defected, to other legendary US imprints such as Strictly Rhythm, he's pretty much a legend in his own right. This time he makes a trip over to Europe's 20:20 with a glistening, techy new single. "Flutez" has it all: a touch of grit to its beats, an incessant melody and an arrangement jam-packed with gnarly effects. The always on-point Audiojack comes through correct with the remix, transforming the original into a darker, more spectral floor killer for the late hours.
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Joey and his Sunburst pals get the treatment from two well respected men in the form of Ross Couch and DJ Spinna. Spinna takes "Trust Me" back to the mid '80s with lavish analogue synths, 808s and an overall snake-like proto-house sound. Couch, meanwhile, takes "Only Time Will Tell" into a more upbeat pasture with Blaze style piano majesty. Making great use of the strings, both his original remix and equally thumping dub pump with a timeless house soul that could enliven the sleepiest crowd. Perfect.
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Shiny vibes: Dutch disco duo Bumper continue to develop their repertoire with glitterball glory. "Take Me To The Dancefloor" struts from the speakers with Zapp & Rogers-meets-2020 Soundsystem majesty as big dubby synth refrains, slippery guitar licks and spacy vocoder vocals unite to form the slinkiest of grooves, while "Body On The Dancefloor", purrs and groans with more of an overt sexuality and neat traces of '80s electro pop acts such as Laid Back. Silver City's Julian Sanza adds more of a drum-heavy chug and shinier guitars on his remix while Elijah Collins goes for more of a modern tech twist. Each cut lives up to the EP's promise; they'll take you to the dancefloor and keep you there for hours.
Exclusives
MERMAIDS - Welcome To Sunset (A Friend In Need) - exclusive 29-09-2014
JONES, Max - Cornetto (Correspondant Germany) - exclusive 22-09-2014
WILDBLOOD, Seb - Come Into My House EP (Church) - exclusive 22-09-2014
Exclusives
BROOKLYN, Anthony - In My Ghetto (Tomorrow Is Now, Kid!) - exclusive 22-09-2014
OCH - Dickens Tracks Volume 2 (PAL SL) - exclusive 31-12-2030
DJ KAOS - DJ Kaos Remixed (Jolly Jams)
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