London producer Fold has built up a small but respectable discography of 12" releases, largely for local capital concerns Man Make Music and Electric Minds. He's also got something of a penchant for humorous titles, which is on full display for this debut Fold 12" on Will Saul's Aus Music label. Calling your record Netflix and Chill might put off the house purists with no time for internet memes, but you can't fault the standards of Fold's productions here. Lead cut "Calmer Mood" features some fine sampling over skipping drums and a hefty bassline, whilst the appropriately named "Wallop" could be mistaken for a Maurice Fulton track. On the B-side, the drum heavy jungle-house hybrid makes for a refreshing change of tone and is backed by a killer Kassem Mosse remix.
The mysterious, canine-loving producer delivers three slabs of euphoric but tough techno for Mi-chael Mayer's label. The title track is full of the kind of spine-tingling hooks and melodies that this project has long been associated with, but on this occasion, it is delivered against the backdrop of a steely, spiky rhythm. On "Musik Hypnotises", all semblance of melody is absent, and in its place there is a rough, acid-soaked techno workout. Finally, "Wasp Factory" inhabits a similar space, with heavy, warped beats and nasty 303 riffs propelling this dog lover into a much more abrasive sound than before.
A bassline with an often quite maximal approach to production, Jack Beats resurfaces here on Rinse with the slightly more stripped back Zone EP. The title track is sturdy, bassy throbber with hints of tropical beats and an assertive vocal flow from MC Riko Dan (there's also an instrumental dub if that's not your thing). Companion track "Coupe De Ville" meanwhile, with its psychedelic 90s rave stabs and edgier beats, is the real star here.
'Thug Houz' champion and Unknown To The Unknown founder, DJ Haus, has whipped up a storm with club nights, releases and DJ sets all over. Now he properly introduces himself with a long player, "Burnin' Up", on London's Rinse. There's 11 cuts on here, all of which reveal his fondness for all things 90s. Highlights include the hard, uncompromising acid of the title track, the short nostalgic burst of rave-organ fun that is "Hypnotizin'" and the dark body music vibes of the moody "Houz Musik".
As debut singles go, this four-tracker from Look Like on Drumpoet Community is pretty darn good. For starters, it's pleasingly varied - contrast, for example, the sweaty, retro-futurist techno punch of "Phone Interference", and the chiming, cut-up, garage-influenced deep house warmth of "B.A.B.E" - and contains all manner of brilliant ideas. The loose, synth-heavy "Dapra", for example, boasts the intoxicating, synth-heavy madness of Maurice Fulton's Syclops project, but couples it with the booming, strobelight intensity of warehouse-friendly acid house. As for "Float", it's a paragon of picturesque beauty, with synthesized steel drum melodies cascading over a jaunty deep house groove.
Redlight isn't messing around, that's for damn sure. The Bristolian has already released on Mercury and Polydor, two major majors, and now he's back up on Lobster Boy with a new album! The "Intro" sets the scene perfectly to an LP that explores the various shades of house and club music, a start that falls neatly into a funky, seductive bassline house number in "Gold Teeth". "Lessons" offers listeners a bit more of a classic house sound, while cuts such as "Lion Jungle" - which features none other than Prodigy - verge onto more UK-centric, hip-hop-filtered sounds, and others like "Threshold" drop us into pop / r&b territories. The latter is particularly suited to radio playback, and it's no wonder why this guy has been released on such big labels.
Londoner Roska has been reigning supreme ever since founding his Kicks & Snares imprint back in 2007. Here he returns with a new long player, Refresh, which sees him continue to evolve from his grimey roots into newer house sounds. There are eight tracks including singles Frst &Frmst and Lean & Green. Highlights include the linear tribal vibes of opener "Waves", the sci-fi grime jam "Light Dem Up" and the dreams n' bleeps of garage-pop anthem "Higher" which features the soft vocals of Jamie George.
Japanese producer Takuya Matsumoto first surfaced back in 2001 on a split release with compatriot Kouji Nagahashi (seek out "The Rubicon") but its more recently he's been getting the attention his classy house productions deserve. Matsumoto lands on Fina with the Places Of Colour EP after superb 2014 drops for R&S subsidiary Meda Fury and Clone Royal Oak and if you were a fan of those you will want to check these four cuts! Subtle and warm, opener "Souvenir" sets the tone thanks to Matsumoto's perfectly balanced blend of silky vocals, delicate chords and dusty cymbals. Evocative piano melodies play their role in "Coco" too, easing up alongside poignant strings as the producer shows his flair for rugged, interesting rhythms. Flipside jams "Flio" and "Seasons" veer off into jazzier territory and make it easy to see why Flo Po rates Matsumoto so highly! As do we - Juno recommends this 12"!
Berlin's Hugo Massien makes his return to the mighty XL, and he's got four slabs of pseudo house music with him. "Kontrol" itself is a mass of rave sirens, stuttering drums and pulsating low-ends, while "All Night" is more of a classic dance anthem for the late night drives. "Better Let Her" takes broken vocal samples and sprinkles them over a pumping, Chicagoesque groove, whereas "Fahrenheit" takes another cruise down the chillier end of things, coming out with a mood burner for the end of the night.
Israeli progressive house hero Guy J's career has gone from strength to strength in the last few years with most of his epic journey tracks being released on the legendary John Digweed's Bedrock imprint. Quite fitting then that he now releases his first full length for the label, with they describe as "a vast melting pot of sonic exploration." Starting out with the driving percussive techno of "Bungalow" and the heavenly "8 Minute Flight" it's then business as usual on tracks like "Fools Dont Last" or "Live Another Day" which nail that progressive journey sound that he's now synonymous with. Other highlights include the dark groove of "Nirvana" the eleven minute long epic "The Love & The Fear" and the atmospheric slow burner "Paradox". There's a lot to get through but it's all killer, no filler. Also comes as two continuous mixes as bonus tracks by Guy J himself.
Retro-minded Londoner Charlie Beale takes his time with his releases. However he's finally back with three new sizzlers that sound like they're straight outta 1941. That's not strictly true of course as Beale also has one foot in the present, and so "The Gal From Joes" has a sassy old skool-swing but plenty of 4/4 thump too. Elsewhere "Diggin' My Potatoes" and "Tale Of AG Smith" both take some mournful bluesy laments and injects them with some accelerated dancefloor adrenaline.
Established house DJs Ralston and Henderson have individually received much support in the past from the likes of Radio1 and Rinse FM as well as many top DJs. Now they've teamed up for the commercial-orientated Makes Sense EP. There are three collabs to enjoy - the poppy and upbeat title track, the piano breakdown-laden rolling garage of "Get Ya" and the tougher afterhours pounder "Feel The Hurt".
Drop Music head honchos and the undisputed kings of UK tech house return, with a serving of funky and slinky tech house. The Nottingham duo get stuck in straight away with the liquid, early evening groove of "I Think of You" with its soulful vocals sure to start some hands in the air moments. "Turn Around" keeps on with well executed, soulful house vocals above a bouncy bass and swing fuelled rhythm with that Derrick Carter style 'boompty' sound, that we all love. It is more typical fare by Riley and Richie on "Still Feel Good": some clean cut deep house with a razor sharp bassline, tight rhythm and nice vocal stabs, but closes out with the smooth and dusty R&B groove jam that is "Watt About It".
Fresh from releases on Nang and Chopshop, Gloucestershire-based disco/boogie/deep house fusionists Situation pop up on Paper Disco. "Get A Taxi" is arguably one of their strongest tracks to date; a seductive fusion of bubbling P-funk synth lines, vintage electrofunk swing, smooth disco drums, heady vocals and just a little 21st century deep house flavour. Interestingly, it's this latter element that most of the remixers choose to focus on, with Alkalino, Goshawk and Vampire Disco all delivering nu disco-meets-deep house interpretations. Love Drop do things a little differently, serving up a warm, Balearic-inclined interpretation that doffs a cap towards jazzy, early noughties broken beat.
Emerging star out of Leeds Denney is still hot from recent releases for Hot Creations and Poker Flat and now makes his debut on the legendary Steve Lawler's Viva Music with some slinky tech house grooves set to explode on the island or any or other beach party for that matter! "On & On" features a tight rhythm beneath a bouncy, razor sharp bassline and powerful diva vocals; ticks all the right boxes. The "Monday Club Mix" gets a bit more on the late night tech house tip; a bit darker and sleazier. The legendary Justin Robertson of Lionrock fame lends his hand on a deft remix; the "Deadstock 33s Remix" is a bleepy minimal groove with a resonating, hands in the air melody that sounds somewhere between Marc Houle and Will Clarke. Finally "This Is Music" is a grinding, squelchy 303 acid stormer that even still manages to squeeze in some diva vocals; mental! The Waifs & Strays remix takes the acid into deeper and darker territory with another rolling late night groove that'd appeal to fans of Gruuv or Saved.
Bradley Zero's Rhythm Section label has recently enjoyed a great run of success, which he is hoping to continue with new signing Tom Burford, aka Contours. The title of the EP, Technician, is a good indicator of his stylistic approach - meticulous and slightly cerebral without ever being dull or dancefloor repellant. There are six deep and unique tracks to choose from including the remarkable percussion and raw atmospherics of the title track, which was the first (of many) Contours tracks to blow Zero away. Now it's our turn to experience the same.
Shadow Child & Kry Wolf bring you Boxia, the next recruit presenting on Food Music. According to Boxia's bio, he has been around for about a year, "dealing in under the counter tracks to some of the DJ elite". Enough said! First up "Biology" is banging acid house with the most exquisite 303 squelch you'll hear ever, complete with chipmunk vocals and white noise build ups; all the good stuff! Next up, the dark tech house of "Crunch" is a more serious affair featuring a pitch shifted monologue and a sample of Inner City's "Pennies From Heaven" riding on top of a rolling, early morning groove for hedonists. Finally "Progress" pays homage to the original deep house sound of early nineties Chicago featuring warm swirling chords, a swing fuelled beat and cut up female vocals.
Dark tech house journey tracks for lovers of Life & Death et al, and done damn well for Hamburg's Jeudi imprint. One of the Harbour City's own young guns steps up in the form of Monte Cito. The original version of "Radical" features one of 'those' awesome wonky basslines that modulate and resonate to a climax over a tough, sparse beat and dark atmospherics. The Man Power remix is a great version in the way that it doesn't deviate too much from the original, instead just creating a deeper, slow-mo version more suited to the after-hours. Second track "Simpler" ups the ante on this peak time monster which keeps 'that' bassline (of course!) beneath a mesmerising melody and furious beat. It's an epic expedition towards right dancefloor euphoria. The Washerman remix gives the track a funk injection with a sharper bassline, syncopated wooden percussion and generous smatterings of white noise.
Tokyo label Blindetonation drops a killer split release that encapsulates all that's great about modern disco. It opens with Gabriel Ferreira's "Slow Sugar", which, as its title suggests, is laid back but expansive, chugging along at 90 bpm or thereabouts. The tempo increases on Club Bizarre's "Supernova", with heavy claps and warbling acid creating a sense of spaciousness and a similar approach is audible on the lazy, dub-tinged groove of Bird Of Paradise's "92 Responder". The release takes an electronic turn on Steve Ekman's "Obscuria", a pulsing bass coming together with spiky beats, but soon enough, it veers back to its dubbed out environment courtesy of the languid groove of "The Back Door" by
Brian Harden is back on D3 Elements with a new three track EP that once again explores richly musical deep house with a difference. Harden is a criminally overlooked Chicago producer who had big success in the 90s thanks to releases on Moods & Grooves, Nite Life Collective and Undaground Therapy Muzik. He then took a break away from music, but the D3 label boss coaxed him out of retirement in 2014 with a top debut EP for the label. Since then he has also released on Sistrum and Soul Print, and is now properly back in business. First cut 'Paradox' is a mid tempo house roller with scale-riding chords and emotive, late night tinkles on the keys that really speak to your soul. Golden pads stream in the background and it's a hugely classy affair all round. 'Nostalgic Pieces' is then a deeper cut with a warped baseline and starry night sky melodies up top. Again, lush, musical chords shimmer and simmer deep in the track, lending it a real sense of artistry and separating Harden from the legions of modern deep house imposters. Finally, 'Chicago Homage' is an elastic, spacious cut with rubbery kicks, soft hi hats and a tumbling bas riff that once again come coated in gorgeous pads. This is music that makes you feel good as you dance your every day woes away.