Daniel Leseman and Hans 'Junktion' Peeman first joined forces under the Fouk moniker late last year, delivering an impressive debut EP, First Things First, that skillfully combined the former's jazz-tinged rhythms with the latter's smooth deep house nous. There are plenty more reasons to be cheerful on this debut for Detroit Swindle's Heist Recordings imprint, not least the driving bass, jaunty jazz samples and warm chords of "Kill Frenzy". There's even more soul present on the loose house beats, glassy-eyed vocal samples and rich textures of "Leftys Bar", while "Ken Sent Me Release" is as woozy, wavy and dreamy as you'd expect. Soothing stuff, all told.
It doesn't always follow that a producer's surroundings influence their music, but you can certainly hear more than a little of the laidback, sun-soaked haziness of Baja, California, in the work of producer Fabricio "4004" Tepetitlan. It was there on his 2014 debut for Quintessentials (Looking At You, alongside pal Sebastian Vorhaus), and comes to the fore again on this solo outing for France's Faces imprint. There's a genuine jazzy looseness and Rhodes-driven warmth to opener "Reciprocal", while "Round Streets" mixes a subdued soulfulness with bouncy percussion, chunky bass and tasty deep house melodies (check, too, S3A's breezy piano house-meets-rave remix of the same track).
Running Back boss Gerd Jansen has already shown a love of DJ-focused rhythm tracks via beat-focused releases from Redshape and Todd Osborne. Here he goes one further, pulling together a six-track collection of drum workouts from an impressive roll call of producers. Amongst the drum machine-heavy treats you'll find a brilliantly loose, metallic workout from Disco Nihlist (track four), a smacked-out chunk of tropical oddness from the ever-impressive I:Cube (track 2), a surprisingly jackin', cymbal-heavy roller from Ame (track 5), and a dense chunk of afterparty voodoo from Radio Slave (track 6). Manuel Tur's dirty, low-down opener is pretty darn tasty, too.
On the second May bank holiday weekend, the Lost Village festival makes its debut, with the action apparently taking place at a "mysterious woodland village". Moda Black bosses Jaymo and Andy George are doing their best to promote the event, putting together this collection of tracks and remixes from artists playing at the event. Based firmly in the deep house camp, but also boasting tracks that touch on disco, tech-house and more leftfield exploits, highlights come thick and fast. Amongst our favourites are Tiger & Woods lolloping boogie-house rub of Rex The Dog's "Do You Feel What I Feel", Dan Ghenacia's bumpin' "Acid Walk", and the delay-laden riffs and booming basslines of Dusky's anthem-like "Love Taking Over". It is, though, all rather good.
France's DJ W!ld has been concentrating on his DJ career over the last few years but the Parisian house staple is no stranger to the mixing room and, as per usual, he comes through utterly correct on Phil Weeks' Robsoul label (going strong since 2000). The All About You EP is classic W!ld ding what he does best. "Beakin'" takes hard-hitting drums and places them over minimal chords and melodies, "With You" is driving and like a steel pulse running through the dancefloor with its stabs of percussion, while "Only What I Am" is funkier and more kreaky thanks to its hypnotic samples and luscious chords. "All About You" is deeper, more lo-fi and yet filled with Wild's inimitable flair and charisma. It blows away most tech-house imitators, top stuff!
Having made his name making decent deep house, Fantastic Man appears to be following in the footsteps of fellow Melbourne export Tornado Wallace and pursuing a far more Balearic, kaleidoscopic sound. Certainly, Dream Machine is arguably his strongest EP to date, delivering a trio of cuts that expertly fuse Italo, Scandolearic and new age influences. There's naturally much to admire, from the lilting melodies, tactile proto-house rhythms, Italo attitude and bubbling synth bass of "Fountain Gate", to the marimba-clad breeziness and chiming tunefulness of "St Elmo's (Theme)". The title track, a study in early deep house melodiousness, is also pretty impressive.
Trevor Jackson has long been obsessed with blurring the boundaries between art and music, so his decision to release the 12 tracks that make up Format - his first album in 14 years - across 12 different physical formats (including 8-track, VHS and reel-to-reel tape) could be viewed as a grand artistic gesture masquerading as a commentary on the disposability of recorded music. Either way, it's nice to see that The Vinyl Factory has finally made the tracks available on a single CD and digital release. Musically, Format explores Jackson's usual obsessions - industrial, new wave, EBM, electro, post-punk disco and techno, in particular - with great gusto. As a result, it's a moodier set than his more playful early work (particularly Playgroup), but ultimately more fulfilling.
Doorly's arrival in the late noughties created big waves in techno with the DJs residencies in Stealth and Ibiza seeing him create a reputation for pushing forward thinking electronic dance music. Here though, he is thrilled to look backwards for once, with the majority of this collaborative release consisting of reworks of his old school house influences. Highlights include his immense "rechunk" of Todd Terry's raw "On A Mission", a techy retwist of 80s classic "Jack Your Body" and peak time jacker "Drongoism".
Theo Keating, who also makes music under The Wiseguys moniker, appears with his twisted brand of UK deep house under the Fake Blood alias on the excellent Food Music - the label itself being a regular home to some of the best up and coming talent from the Anglian corners. If you wanted house music with a distinct 'bass' edge to it then you've come to the right place, indeed, as tracks like "Music Box" flutter their 4/4 rhythm among amen breaks and right-edged basslines. "Hornets" itself is basically a Metalheadz tune circa 1997 that's been given a dosage of tranquiliser and taken down to house-techno levels.
The last Rhythm Section release came from Vancouver man Local Artist, but number six sees Peckham man Bradley Zero actually looking to local artists in the shape of FYI Chris. The production handle of Chris Watson and his namesake Coupe, this Peckham duo have already impressed with the No Hurry stealth drop on Church late last year, but it's clear they've learnt a few new tricks since then. Nestling snugly into the SE London beatdown sound Bradley has been cultivating through the label, Back In The Millenium is pleasantly hard to pin down with bits of house, hip hop and acid thrown into the mixer. We are quite impressed by "Jeru" which desiccates a famed '90s Primo sample with some dextrous MPC work, whilst MCDE fans will be all over "Need I Say More".
Portugese edit hitman Alkalino drops two new cuts on his home label Audaz, and it seems he's in the mood for some deep and mystical house servings this time around. "Dancing With Somebody" is a true groover, a chunky dance arrangement surrounded by loopy R&B vocals, while "Dance To The House" is distinctly old-school in flavour, a mid-90's joint that has been reworked and twisted into a more contemporary disguise.
Most commonly found dwelling in his spiritual home of Circus Company, French-Canadian artist Guillaume Coutu Dumont now sidles over to Freerange Records with a three-pronged salvo of bubbling grooves for those who like their house jams funky as hell. "You Lost It" uses a dynamic set of percussion at its core, and then proceeds to take its time in unfurling woozy organ lines around the drums for a perfectly simmering cut. "Doughnut Jam (Who Took It Out?)" has a snappier edge with its peppy tempo and anthemic chord lines, before "Sutra" cools proceedings down into a thoroughly deep concoction that spreads itself out over eleven minutes of mystical house enchantment.
Germany's kings of the compilation, ChinChin, recently dropped ChinChin Present 2015, a widescreen view of their current roster highlights. Now they've followed it up with a more specific collection, The Art Of Electro Swing Volume 4. It shares some tracks with the former but still forms its own cohesive shape with 17 delicious variants this iconic sound. Highlights include Pep's Show Boys thumping electro-swing rework of Louis Armstrong's "Cuban Pete", the spooky electro-pop refrains of "Alibi Afternoon" and Sound Nomaden's epically catchy housed-up rejig of "Goin' Wild".
Defected have ambitious plans for their upcoming Ibiza season. In fact they've so much hot new music that they need three mix CDs to feature them all. This year the club brand relocate to Amnesia's famous terrace and Simon Dunmore has been recruited to present us with its soundtrack. Expertly mixed, the mixes here are presented digitally and include all the individual tracks too. There's a whopping 42 slices of forward thinking future house here including highlights from Guti, Reboot, Session Victim, Chez Damier, Louie Vega and Damian Lazarus to name but a few. Roll on summer!
JD Twitch has previously said how much he loves Severed Heads, so it's little surprise to see his Optimo Trax label reissuing a trio of kikller dubs from the Australian combo's late 1980s "dancefloor-friendly" period. The well-known "Greater Reward" is offered up in two versions; the original 12" dub - think classic undulating acid house bass, fizzing electronics, big builds and an even bigger piano line - and Twitch's own "Piano Power" edit, which emphasizes the famous keys even more than normal. The scattergun dub of "All Saints Day" takes a similar sonic approach - with a little more of a Cabaret Voltaire circa "Easy Life" feel - while "Big Car (Crash Dub") is a flurry of synth bass, discordant hits and Fairlight stabs.
Manchester's Paper Recordings are back with a new generation of talent who pretend that the noughties never happened. Leading the charge is Flash Atkins - a man with a penchant for wearing dodgy superhero tights and producing slick, downbeat instrumentals. There are eleven such examples of this style on his Life & Times album, all woven together with a thread of mellow acid vibes - highlights include the slow and forlorn synth soul of "A New Kind Of Superhero", the punchier druggy bouncer "Summer Of Love" and the seductive electro-pop of "Forbidden Flesh".
Making their first appearance here, Chocki Hookon sounds like someone who has been making weapons grade house jams for more than five minutes. Considering their first outing in via Let's Play House, they have more than stepped up to the plate with the assured piano house blast of "In The Street" coming on like an early 90s classic. "Random Madness" is an altogether different kind of beast, dripping with rambunctious synth lines and late night heat of the finest kind. Jacques Renault is then on hand to deliver a pair of remixes of "In The Street", and in both instances the tone is bright and sprightly with plenty of punch for the peak time dance.
Crosstown Rebels boss Damian Lazarus seems to be mellowing with age - or at least getting more artistically adventurous. This follow-up to his 2009 debut, Smoke The Monster Out, was co-produced by Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford in LA. London and Mexico, with the assistance of an impressive cast of musicians from around the world. While rooted in the kind of tactile house and techno most associated with the evergreen hipster, Message From The Other Side is impressively psychedelic, otherworldly and stargazing in outlook. The album's woozy, horizontal appeal is therefore enhanced by Lazarus and Ford's use of Indian instrumentation, African percussion and impeccable keys-work from American jazz pianist Eric Lewis.
Until the release of the first two volumes in the El Rudo Del House series earlier this year, Matias Aguayo hadn't put out any of his own material on Comeme since 2009. This third instalment in the series is as essential as its' predecessors, offering a quartet of quirky, South American influenced house and techno jams. There's naturally much to admire, from the low-slung bass, metronomic rhythms and pitched-down vocal samples of "El Grubb", and thumping, Cumbia-influenced madness of "Ven Aqui Que Te Destapo", to the tribal drums and sludgy, mind-altering bottom-end of "El Volcanio". Best of all, though, is "Chup Chup", a sweaty, basement-bothering, choppy house workout destined to raise the tempo in more than a few clubs this summer.
The 20th anniversary of iconic New York house label Henry Street Music has previously been celebrated via a series of 2014 reissues of classic material from Clone. Now, BBE has taken the baton, putting together a superb retrospective that stretches across five CDs and, in this case, three heavyweight slabs of wax. Wisely, BBE has chosen to pack it with both must-have classics - Bucketheads' "The Bomb", Armand Van Helden presents Old Skool Junkies' "The Funk Phenomenon", and DJ Sneak/The Polyester's string-laden disco-house bomb "Show Me The Way" - and lesser-known gems. It's these that really set the pulse racing, with Timmy Regisford's hard-to-find - and utterly brilliant - remix of DJ Duke and Roland Clark's "D2-D2 (I Get Deep)" standing out.