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By now, we should all know what to expect from Serbian scalpel maestro Tonbe. His frequent EPs are aimed fairly and squarely at the dancefloor, delivering a mixture of re-edits, reworks and sample-heavy productions that don't try too hard to impress. This latest EP is full of such cheery, tried-and-tested cuts, from the rolling jazz breaks, comfy Rhodes stabs and fluttering soul vocals of "Gambling Face", and punchy disco-house flavours of "Sweet Love", to the rich, organ-flecked soulfulness of "Those Days", and riotous, disco-goes-hip-house opener "Don't Mess With Us". In other words, it's another rock-solid collection of tasty peak-time bangers from one of the edit scene's most reliable producers.
Italian duo Mena and Melgado step up to the plate with their first appearance on Midnight Riot, bringing with them a quartet of funk-fuelled dancefloor bombs. They begin in confident mood, successfully looping up a breezy, impassioned vocal sample over a tooled-up disco-boogie groove on "Wings of Love", before "African Food" sees them stick a house rocket underneath a horn-heavy Afro-funk jam. "Instant Party" happily lives up to the promise of its' title, with chopped-up chants, spiraling sax links and goodtime grooves ensuring an energetic, club-ready feel. The EP also includes a tasty remix of "Wings of Love" from Masterworks and Hot Digits man Kiu D, who successfully drags the track further towards bumpin' disco-house territory.
Having put out their last release on Chez Damier's Balance imprint (the rather fine Tried & Tested EP), 25 Places return to their previous home, Dirt Crew Recordings. As you'd expect, the Party In The Hills EP contains another clutch of floor-friendly deep house explorations. The title track, which successfully blends chopped-up Brazilian vocal samples, sustained note chords, dirty analogue bass and a hustling deep house groove, is undeniably the EP's strongest moment, though the bold and fizzing "Closing Title Song" and chiming, riff-heavy "Backyard Stories" aren't far behind. Those who fancy something a little more ragged should check Laurence Guy's disco-house-meets-acid rework of "Closing Title Song".
Polish heavyweights Catz 'N' Dogz has had a quiet year by their usually prolific standards. It would be fair to say, though, that these two cuts have been worth waiting for. "It's Happening" is a warm, rich and groovy affair, with fluttering deep house notes playing second fiddle to a booming disco bassline, flanged vocal samples and huggable drums. "Our Crazy" feels dirtier and a little more intense, with restless arpeggio lines and nagging electronic percussion combining perfectly with the duo's deliciously dense, tribal-influenced drums and chiming, marimba style lead lines. It's the kind of track you whack on to raise the temperature on the dancefloor when things are flagging, and every DJ needs a few of those in the crates.
Ralf Fabian Laumer is no nu-comer (sorry) to music production, boasting a discography that stretches back to releases on Daniel Offermann's White imprint at the tail end of the noughties. This, though, is his first EP for well over a year, and sees him showcase a warmer sound than we've come to expect. He gets off to a flying start with "Endup", an attractive 112 BPM riff on Afro-house that sits somewhere between the humid, new-age influenced deep house goodness of Young Marco and the comforting haziness of Balearic nu-disco. He dips the tempo significantly on the EP's other two tracks, first laying down some hypnotic, dub-influenced slow house on "Cosa Mia", before repeating the trick with the quietly disco-influenced Balearic chug of "Palomita".
Heist Recordings brings down the curtain on another successful year with their now traditional Roundup release, an expansive EP featuring "family remixes" of material released over the previous 12 months. As usual, there's much to enjoy, from the cheery, disco-tinged goodtime bump of Detroit Swindle's rework of Obas Nenoor's "Wakee", to Frits Wentink's jazzy, lo-fi, swinging deep house remake of Detroit Swindle's "Future Imperfect". Other highlights include a skuzzy, acid-fired interpretation of Nebraska's "It Won't Be Long" by Nachtbraker, and Nebraska's sunny, jammed-out fix-up of Frits Wentink's "Rising Sun, Falling Coconut". Best of all, though, is Ouer's remix of Nachtbraker's "Pollo Con Pollo", which boasts twinkling electric piano solos riding a thrusting analogue bassline and breezy disco guitars.
U-Dee is a fresh alias from Uffe Christensen, whose two fine albums for Denmark's Tartelet Recordings portrayed him as a man who doesn't like to settle on one groove or stylistic idea for too long. The deep house material showcased on this Delusions of Grandeur outing is notably warmer, richer, and looser than we've come to expect, with an in-built jazziness and quiet soulfulness that's rarely less than impressive. Of course, there are tougher moments - see the fizzing, sweat-soaked drum machine workout "MTV Cars", and the delay-heavy madness of "Sleep" - but for the most part Christensen keeps things rich, organic and lo-fi. Highlights include the breezy, Afro-tinged warmth of "Wa I O", and the jazzy, pared-down soulfulness of "Love Is Gone".
For all the hype that often surrounds young, up-and-coming producers, it's often the case that it's the more established heads that deliver more consistently. We'd argue that's the case with Shur-I-Kan, AKA long-time Freerange and Lazy Days producer Tom Szirtes. He barely puts a foot wrong throughout this latest four-track outing, matching his usual ear for mood and melody with rock-solid grooves and a few decidedly old school touches (see the cut-up soulful house vocals on bouncy opener "Deep In My Heart", or the sweeping strings and darting synth-bass that dominate the Alternate Version of the same track). In the 'best track' stakes, it's a toss up between the rubbery, boogie-tinged warmth of "Withdrawal Method", and the sparkling, piano-heavy retro-futurism of "Track Two".
Flex FM's regular hot stepper Smokey Bubblin' B keeps it real. Here he sees one of his white labels get digitized for the masses and boy aren't we lucky - the vinyl will have surely sold out by now. "Vintage" takes its cue from the good old days of the 90s UKG scene: cut up organ riffs, sharp and fresh speedy garage beats and druggy vocal wafts. Doctor Nick also rocks up, smacking on the rubber gloves to perform some augmentation, turning in a smoother, leaner body in the process.
Bicep has long been fans of Brassica's brand of hard-to-define electronic music, so it's little surprise to see him delivering the latest single on their revitalized Feel My Bicep imprint. He begins with the tactile, four-in-the-morning hypnotism of "Time Tunnel", where spaced out electronics and cyclical riffs ride an ultra-deep, locked-in groove, before doffing a cap to vintage Meat Beat Manifesto and early Orbital on the thrilling "Wryders". You'll then find two interpretations of "Time Tunnel": a warm, hazy and slightly more loved up edit by The Sphinx, and a thrusting, high-octane acid-meets-psychedelic techno assault from Roy of the Ravers.
Eric Duncan may be best known for his sterling work in Rub N Tug amongst many other projects, but now he's also to be found cruising the highways and byways of the late night disco underworld under his own name. This release on Not An Animal represents everything you want to hear in a sleazy party spot, with throbbing arpeggios and shimmering lead lines hovering in a perfect retro-futurist reverie that comes on like second nature to the NYC producer. Daniele Baldelli and Marco Dionigi turn in a remix of "Shut It" that raises the temperature a touch without losing that addictive veneer, making this a record perfect for all kinds of neon-lit abandon.
David Platzdasch has enjoyed a productive 2016, releasing a string of quietly impressive singles on Manuscript and Gents & Dandys. Here he rounds off the year via an appearance on '80s Child's Masterworks Music. First, he heads into loose, loopy, peak-time disco-house territory with "First Step", before diving into deeper, warmer and groovier territory via the mid-tempo deep house shuffler, "Gleichtsicht". The German aims deeper still on "Free At Last", where swirling strings, dreamy chords and a dense analogue bassline smother a bongo-rich disco drum track. Finally, he wraps up proceedings with "Strimpulse", a spacey deep house number blessed with twinkling electric pianos and warm, sun-kissed chord progressions.
Somewhat remarkably, it's now 20 years since Paul Flynn first donned the DJ Q alias. Since then, he's delivered a string of loopy, tracky, disco-tinged house bumpers for labels including Filter, Glasgow Underground, Go! Beat and NRK Sound Division. Surprisingly, this two-tracker marks his first appearance on the similarly vintage Robsoul Recordings. There are few surprises, but then few make this kind of muscular, energy-packed deep house quite so well. Choose between the hard-worked vocal loops, thumping beats and heavy bass of disco-jacker "Feelin' Moody", and the low-slung, basement-bothering deep house funk of "Inner Groove", where Flynn gleefully makes merry with darting, rave-era stabs and cut-up hip-hop vocals.
It would be fair to say that "Larry's Exotic Blend" was a little overlooked when it first appeared on Bouq Records' Friends & Family E.P Part 3, way back in 2010. It remains, though, something of a chunky, boompty-influenced gem, so it's no surprise to see Classic giving it another lease of life. Zappe's original sits somewhere between tracky, disco-influenced deep house, vintage Chi-town boompty, and the kind of bumpin' tech-house that's always been a specialism of Rob Mello and Phil Weeks. As fine as the original version is, it's out-shone a little on this reissue by a sweaty, low-slung revision from Joeski full of weird effects, thrusting drums and a killer disco bassline.
Two heroes of the new breed kick off a new mix series for Jamie Jones' esteemed Hot Creations imprint. Jones began Paradise at DC10 (Ibiza) five years ago and it's gone on to be a huge success, inviting the biggest names in the business to come play alongside his crew of residents. The first mix is courtesy of Toronto's Nathan Barato, a frequent collaborator with local heroes such as Carlo Lio and The Junkies and whose career has been on the rise with releases on Cajual, Saved, Circus and Defected. Highlights include the Derrick Carter classic "Where Ya At?" (Mix Originale), Makam's brooding "Loleatta" and Jared Wilson's rusty acid odyssey "Girl, I'm Waitin". UK talent Patrick Topping this year completed his third summer as resident at DC10 in Ibiza for Paradise. Here Topping showcases the sound and style of his sets with high energy from the word go. His mix features several of his own productions guaranteed for maximum dancefloor impact, as well as Metaboman's lo-slung and exotic "Next Please" through to Dave Clarke's massive remix of Jark Prongo's "Movin Thru Your System".
If it wasn't for artists like Trikk, the Portugese dance scene would not be where it is at the moment. The Porto native has rapidly grown in both skill and fame since his first EP for Man Make Music, back in 2012, and a series of fine EPs for imprint such as Drumcode and Optimo Trax have really helped to solidify his version of house music. This new four-tracker comes courtesy of the mighty Innervisions, and we hear Trikk in a slightly more contained mood than usual, leading with the deep tribalism of "Florista", which falls neatly into the sparse, aquatic house medley called "Veneno". "Mozam" is a fine since of dub-leaning micro-house, propelled into gear by fluttering bleeps, and "Wardance Dub", as the name implies, pushes the boundaries of Trikk's house style into more dubwise territories. A sublime EP from the rising artist of Oporto.
With the Christmas gorging season fast approaching, WotNot Music thinks it's an appropriate time to crack open a second selection box of Dancefloor Sweets. EMV128 kicks things off with the sugary soulfulness of "Warm 'n' Easy", a deliciously rich and tasty fusion of broken beat, future jazz and deep house. Galactic Ganesh impresses with the soft-centred, but hard-boiled electrofunk/house fusion of "Tell Me", before Danvers invites us to unwrap the gooey melodies and popping drum machine hits of "Hoxton 203". The last sweet in the tin comes from Body-san, whose dub-wise fusion of heavy bass, undulating organs and cheery positivity will leave you hungry for more.
On UKNOWYs latest release 'Homeless Soul Music' NEMOY delivers a trilogy of warm & unique house grooves further extending and developing UKNOWYs catalog of organic dance music. From the rolling and hard hitting banger 'We made it' to the percussive piece 'Particular Beat' to the laid back, bassline driven 'One for CKENZ' NEMOYs sophisticated blend of delicious synth- and samplework with additional remixes by Sam Irl & Chief makes for an overall exciting EP. Ranging from classic house cuts to afrobeat elements this crisp production will get into your head & legs!
Statue is a new Australian percussion-based dance project by two drummers: Tom Gould and Nicolaas Oogjes of Melbourne bands Worlds End Press and NO ZU respectively. The pair now collaborate on Statue, a project said to have drawn influence from artists diverse as Floating Points, Pachanga Boys and even Ricardo Villalobos. You can certainly hear it across this handful of oddball balearic/exotica infused grooves. The polyrhythmic drum workouts on "Entrance" or "Admiration" will certainly appeal to fans of Harmonious Thelonious, while "Monument" gets a brilliant remix by Tel Aviv's enfant terrible Moscoman, rocking those funky steel drums even louder than the original!
More commonly found lurking around on Ornate and People Are Looking At You, Jonno & Tommo make the leap to Baby Ford's legendary Trelik label with a diverse range of club tracks that highlight their flexibility in the dance. "Love Songs" may be packing a punchy rhythm section, but the dusty vocal sample injects a haunting soul into the framework of the track. "Bloc via Bow" meanwhile keeps things sprightly and notably tech-minded with its catchy lead chord stabs, before "Running Hammock" heads down into a mysterious, jazz-tinted abstraction of deep house, neatly rounding out a strong EP.
Exclusives
TRIKK - Florista EP (Innervisions Germany)
VARIOUS - The Roundup Part 3 (Heist Recordings)
AROUND7 - RawZe EP (Ondule Recordings) - exclusive 16-12-2016
Exclusives
DESERT SKY - Need For Afiliation (PAL SL) - exclusive 01-01-2030
SLEAZY MCQUEEN - Huit Etoiles (Let's Play House)
RED RACK'EM - Tomato Pope (Bergerac)
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