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Reviewed this week
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The UK's Billy Kenny makes his debut on the always-on-point, Four40! Kenny is a pure garage wizard, with a sound that could seriously rip up the floor. "Call You Back" features one of those basslines which you can leave on loop for hours, allowing it to seduce you into its incessant rhythm, providing a tune for the late-night hours that you can mix in with just about anything. "Work" is similarly funky and loaded with bone-shaking low-end, except this time Mr.Kenny is in an even nastier mood. Fire!
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Given the "contemporary classic" status of Danilo Plessow's Raw Cuts series - arguably a string of 12" singles that helped redefine deep house for a new generation - the announcement of a surprise remix release is enough to make even the most level-headed DJs go weak at the knees. Pleasingly, said remixers more than live up to the hype. Marcellus Pittman's version - smooth and deep, but with enough raw disco cut-ups and wonky Detroit swing to impress those who like it raw - is particularly good, though Mike Huckaby's locked-in deep house groover is not far behind. There's also a superb version from Recloose, whose crackly, shuffling beats, sweeping pads and soulful vocal samples recall his earliest productions for Planet E.
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Holland's Ben La Desh has, in just a short amount of time, notched up some serious ammunition on a selection of upmarket labels. Here though, he returns to his beloved Dirt Crew for the appropriately-named Stellar Talk EP - which features four slices of intergalactic tuneage. All display a certain star quality, but especially so on the deep and pad-heavy Chicagoisms of the title track, the totally wasted cosmic Moroder vibes of "Whiplash" and the proggy Balearica of disco-tinged closer, "Call Her".
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Jennifer Cardini's Correspondent label is all about exploring the primitive, raw sounds of pure, adrenaline-fuelled techno, so this summertime compilation is something to cherish. Stepping away from the harsh realities of the dancefloor for a second, the first sounds heard are the haunting pads and dampened drums of Undo's "3,9 Grados En La Escala Richter", piling on grim focus while synths oscillate. Following, "Phantoms Are Watching Us" is Swedish producer Paresse's chance to share some fragile observations, and he does not disappoint. Offset offers "Retro Future" next, filled with understated brightness, Inigo Vontier toughens up with the hard hitting bass of "Motor" and finally Brisoki's "Sunday Morning" rolls on into the sunset with retro disco sounds and a guitar loop that just don't quit. A stunning collection.
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It's always a good thing when a long-lost gem is found by a noble digger, dusted down and given a new lease of life. Da Posse's "In The Heat Of The Night" beautifully captures the various stages of a particularly good night down Clink Street circa '88. The entree is the vocal mix: a slammin' jacker with the echoey seductive vocals of Christa Jordan. The peak time is the Acid mix, which whisks up a hypnotic mix of bleepy 303s and chopped up vocals. Finally we end with a rooftop sunrise courtesy of the deep, lush pads of the keys mix. Essential.
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Kieran Hebden knows his way around a good remix, be it the 200 odd official remixes done as Four Tet (not to mention a raft of illicit ones) or the many superb remixes he's commissioned from other artists (with the classic Joy Orbison remix of "Love Cry" from 2010 our favourite) Winding down proceedings on his Beautiful Rewind album from last year, Hebden here assembles a fine cast of rising production talent to put their own spin on tracks from the album. Any release that features production input from Detroit prodigy Jay Daniel, gritty funkateer Seven Davis Jr. and London-based producer PhOtOmachine is worth some time investigating and it's the gooey take on "Buchla" by Mr Davis Jr. that has proved to be the Juno office favourite this week.
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Brazilian duo Digitaria are back in action on Hot Creations following their label debut earlier this year with Night Falls Again Daniela Caldellas and Daniel Albinati's third long player. As you'd expect there is plenty of hook laden electro pop and minimally minded house music to be found amidst the 12-track album as Digitaria effortlessly weave through moments of introspection ("End Of Line" makes for an icily atmospheric opener) to more outright dancefloor-focused tracks ("Golden Leaves", "Plastic Population" and the wonderfully named "Shopping Centre Soundtrack" are highlights) . The vocals from Daniela Caldellas throughout the album lend proceedings a compelling degree of moodiness too.
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Innervisions' Secret Weapons series is always worth a look, if only for the opportunity it gives to delve into Dixon's CD wallet and see what he's been hammering over the last six months. As usual, there's plenty of Grade A material to enjoy, from the undulating rhythms and drifting chords of Hunter Game's "Ice", to the forceful electronics, woozy pads and dreamy vocal snatches of Flowers & Sea Creatures' picturesque "Overworld". Elsewhere, Nu Tone delivers some intense afterparty fare in the shape of "Rumble", while Ripperton reaches for the lasers on the shuffling deep house gem "Unfold". Arguably best of all, though, is Aera's "Freak Wave", a midtempo shuffler that boasts a wonderfully warm, organic feel, with rich percussion and fuzzy analogue synth-work.
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The German label is 12 this year, but as it faces into its teenage life, it retains the same hunger for new music. Get Physical owner DJ T delivers one of the compilation's highlights, a stab-heavy techy take on John Tejada's "Timebomb". Like a slowed down take of Dave Clarke's "Red 2" infused with disco riffs, it sets a high watermark. Nonetheless, T faces stiff opposition from The Martinez Brothers, whose "Issshhh" is all tough percussive volleys and insistent chords, like a tough take on Levon Vincent. Elsewhere, new acts like Siopis and Gorge impress with drum-heavy tools, while old hands Tiefschwarz deliver a spaced out, bleep-heavy version of John Monkman's "Follow Me".
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Everyone's favourite strawberry-flavoured techno creator, Erdbeerschnitzel returns to Delsin with a quad of cuts that billow with synthetic detail and imagery. "The Ample Waters" is an upbeat juggernaut powered by melodies and counter melodies that smoulders with UR heritage while "Never Tilt" provides sweet contrast thanks its slow-burning synth-heavy soul. Further on we hit "With Level Hopes", a subversive deep house cut that seeps jazz sentimentalities in such a way it could make Moody Man blush. Finally we're sent to the cosiest of pastures with the beautiful R&B homage "Yet Unfulfilled". Slinky, sleazy and laced with subtle vocoder elements, it's an emotional conclusion to a highly accomplished EP.
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By diligently releasing quality underground jams, Stockholm's Local Talk continue to prove that the Scandinavians aren't just all about the stadium-filling jock-house of Swedish House Mafia. Here in typically reasonable Scandi style they divide this EP equally between two talented acts. First up Chesus & Timmy P serve up some pretty serious tackle in the form of "Vitamin C" - all New York claps and rolls, diva vocals, retro organ riffs and trippy stereo-panned loops. Zoe Zoe, on the other hand, opts for deep US garage married to relentless hip-hop samples on the slammin' "Bust Them Wifes".
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Freshly Squeezed have long proved themselves king of the swingers, but just in case you've somehow missed them here's a little reminder. Blue Cover Series Vol 1 collects highlights from the label's 1940s big band releases - all of which feature blue-tinted sleeves (unsurprisingly) and hellzapoppin' swing madness from the likes of DJ Dunya, Cristal Distortion & Got KDS and Le Jockey.
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Muscovite Alexander Lay-Far has earned some serious disco stripes courtesy of a slew of releases on a multitude of cool labels. Here the disco-house meister delivers three new sizzlers, both perfect for the summer sun - the shimmering six and a half minute poolside soulful warmer "Without", the lean and funky guitar-led "Summer Is On (dedicated to George)" and the uptempo Latin-tinged disco loops of "Pensamento Novo". The latter is turned into epic Italo-tinged retro house by remixer S3A. Summer has just found its new soundtrack.
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It's been almost two years since we last spotted LOTI on Phonica. Since then he's made some awesome documents on the likes of Permanent Vacation, Firecracker and Catune, constantly whittling his sharp, timeless techno stick with the perfect amount of subtle drama. "Greane" leads the charge with a majestic 10 minute production; lolloping with equal amounts of comic soul and techno attitude, he conjures a powerful sense of atmosphere before dropping into a moment of guitar-shimmered bliss (in a way that's not too far from his fellow countrymen Silicone Soul) Meanwhile on "Gigha" we're treated to a softer palette of sounds as a tubular riff slowly evolves into a string-drenched serenade. As the original riff morphs into a sinewy acid lick, the strings take hold with classical theatrics. Drop at the right time and there won't be a dry eye in the house.
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Given that Leeds-based Jey Kurmis has been doing this thing for the best part of a decade with only moderate success, this EP for Hot Creations is a great opportunity. Pleasingly, it's one he's grasped with both hands, delivering four tracks that ripple with late night intent. Lead cut "Lil' Nic French" - a hazy mixture of undulating, tech-tinged beats, fluid synth motifs and heavyweight bottom end - sets the tone, before "La Shazz" delivers a bouncy fusion of growling electronics, wonky vocal stabs and fuzzy rave stabs. "Lover" is a thrilling cowbell-laden assault built around swinging, off-kilter percussion and more odd vocal hits, while closer "Miss Readi" is a prime chunk of exotic deep house funk.
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It's been a while since Duke Dumont updated this inherently underground, floor-focussed Turbo series. Since part two he's gone on to enjoy two massive UK number ones and an exponential profile boost, which makes this EP even more refreshing. Reminding us exactly where he comes from, and where his heart is, each of these three originals (plus the drama-drenched "Drumapella") are bona fide DJ dynamite that reference some of the most important aspects of electronic music history. From the Derrick Carter style pitched vocal naughtiness of "Mumble Man" to the acid house angularities of "Slow Dance", this is DD in his purest and most direct. Play on!
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Yellow Magic is the latest in a series of EPs on the Wighnomy Brothers' label by this German duo. Following on from this year's "Purple Magic" release, they have decided to give their studio trickery a different shade. The title track is a tracky, stripped back affair with vocal samples whispering in and out of the arrangement. It's exactly the kind of track one would expect Robag Wruhme to play. "Consoli" follows in a similar vein, but "Trsnumak" ushers in a change of direction as rattling percussion and menacing organ playing are introduced. Although billed as a bonus track, "Segelboot" also impresses, with its jazzy keys and insistent bleeps.
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On this second part of Pablo Nouvelle's debut release for the fast-rising Black Butter imprint, the Swiss producer's atmospheric productions are given the once over by a heavyweight line-up of remixers. Maxxi Soundsystem arguably takes the plaudits with two sinewy, dreamy deep house takes on "Poison", with the slightly more stripped back and electronic Dub being our pick. Similarly impressive is Calibre's effortlessly loose and tactile liquid D&B rework of "You Don't Understand" (complete with hazy guitars, sun-kissed pianos and soulful vocal samples), while Noze turns "Invading My Mind" into a gently glitchy chunk of leftfield deep house warmth. As if that wasn't enough, there's also a booming, slow jungle tweak of "Finding You" from Benton that's particularly enjoyable.
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Second time around for Sparky's "Portland", which impressed with its baggy positivity, alien synths and retro-futurist swing when it first appeared on Numbers last December. Here, Gerd Janson and Phillip Lauer don their Tuff City Kids guise to deliver two excellent reworks. The Looney Mix is particularly potent, transforming the Glaswegian producer's original into a Belgian hardcore-influenced chunk of floor-friendly house complete with classic rave breakbeats, bouncy piano stabs and well-worn late '80s/early '90s samples. There's more wide-eyed rave revivalism on their TB Mix, which features a sliver of acid amongst the looped riffs, tough kicks and pitched-down amen breaks. It's probably the more straightforward of the two versions, and is every bit as playable as its' sanity-testing predecessor.
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It sounds like Norwegian producer Jon-Eirik Boska is channelling a range of techno sources for Interiors. While the title sounds like the name of a design magazine, the musical interior is quite different "Aspartam" starts it off in relatively sedate mode, the shiny dewdrop melodies combined with a stepping rhythm, while "Caves" is far more abrasive. Over a frazzled rhythm and hammering minimal beats, he drops throbbing bass licks as the track drops and then climaxes in quick succession. "Safehouses" is more understated and stripped back, but carries with it a sense of menace thanks to the bleepy bass. Finally, Boska drops "Ferns", which sees a return of sorts to the territory occupied by "Aspartam" - the only difference is that this time, the rhythm is more jittery than Shane McGowan with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Exclusives
KURMIS, Jey - Lil' Nic French (Hot Creations)
SPARKY - Portland (Tuff City Kids Remixes) (Numbers)
BOSKA - Interiors EP	(Love OD Communications Norway)
Exclusives
KARIZMA - Beats & Bobs Vol 1 (R2 UK)
RMX TWO - RMX Two (Noir Music)
FUTURE FEELINGS feat FUTUREWIFE - Stay On The Scene (remixes) (Electrique Music) - exclusive 01-09-2014
Ben La Desh DJ Chart
Guy Gerber DJ Chart
Ralph Lawson DJ Chart
Todd Terry DJ Chart
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