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Reviewed this week
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Another week, another new set of high grade re-edits from the Midnight Riot label. This time round, label boss Yam Who hands a debut to Stafford-based Dave Gerrard and Rob Bairstow's Greyskooledits project. Predictably, they head straight for peaktime dancefloors with opener "Saving My Love In", a brilliantly cut-up, hustlin' rework of a well-known disco classic. They dip the tempo a little on "Hesitate", impeccably stretching out and tweaking Salsoul Orchestra's "Runaway" for modern dancefloors. Even better is "Definite Strangeness", a brilliantly dubbed-out, beatbox electro tweak of Barbara Mason's "Another Man", while "Who Do You Think You Are" sees the duo brilliantly chop-up funk classic "Mr Big Stuff" in a vintage hip-hop breaks style.
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Kompakt's annual label sampler returns for a 15th year, gathering together another 24 highlights from the long running Cologne imprint's ever growing back catalogue. As usual, there are numerous styles represented - from the spiraling dancefloor synth-pop of Kolsch and punk-influenced techno of Audion, to the soft focus melodies and hypnotic beats of Gui Boratto, and the intoxicating global electronics of Jurgen Paap - as well as much-played tracks from some of the imprint's most notable talents (see the contributions from Rex The Dog, Superpitcher, Matias Aguayo and John Tejada, whose "Two O One" is a tuneful techno delight).
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Bristol's Futureboogie return with some sure fire nu-disco grooves to get any party started. London's Jay Shepheard is on board with "Henry's Theme" sporting an early nineties house vibe. Next up is PBR Streetgang from Leeds doing their thing with a nice journey via a progressive house sound on "Suel Baril". There's also local Bristolian Lukas doing more of his low slung slo mo disco business and Phil Gerus with "Never Coming Back".
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While he'd been building a reputation for a few years already, it was 2009's In The End (I Want You To Cry) EP for Running Back that first thrust Marco 'Tensnake' Niemerski towards the spotlight. Some six years on, Gerd Janson has decided to put together an expansive new package of remixes. There's plenty to enjoy, from Pete Herbert and Dicky Trisco's breezy, guitar-laden boogie rework of "Holdin' Back (My Love") and Prins Thomas's dense-but-wonky, Scandolearic disco revision of the same cut, to the bright-and-breezy, rush-inducing melodiousness of Lone's sublime rework of "In The End (I Want You To Cry)". Tiger & Woods' remix of "Holding Back (My Love)" - all relentless build followed by thrilling boogie-meets-house release - is also pretty darn special.
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Sven Vath's annual residency in Ibiza is home to some of the best and most adventurous electronic music on the white island and the annual compilations follow the same path. O starts with the fuzzy, frazzled trance of Roland M Dill's "The Messenger", followed by the rolling, steppy house of Tripmastaz "Grindin" and Dana Ruh's "If You Don't Know A Name", which sounds inspired by the growling bass of Kevin Saunderson's E-Dancer project. The madness doesn't end there and O also boasts trance techno from Dast, Tom Demac's rave sampling house and Steve Parker's tribal techno banger, ""Brian's Lullaby" - making the compilation as wild and unpredictable as Cocoon's own nights.
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Chaos In The CBD have quietly been building an impressive reputation for some time, with releases on Hot Haus, Amadeus and Needwant all hitting the spot. Here they transfer to Bradley Zero's Rhythm Section International with what's arguably their most mature and musically expansive EP to date. There's a decidedly dusty, eyes-closed deep house feel throughout, with hypnotic grooves laden with all manner of neat, often jazz inspired touches. This is perhaps most obvious on the St Germain style jazz-house goodness of "Observe" - all skipping cymbals, bouncy grooves and killer pianos - but can also be found on the deeper "Observe". It's there, too, on the lilting brilliance of "Midnight In Peckham" - think yearning trumpets and twinkling piano motifs - and the blissful "Luxury Motivation".
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Two years on from his last outing on Eskimo Recordings, Vita 'Aeroplane' De Luca returns with a pair of tracks that pay tribute to the uncomplicated, life-affirming cheeriness of early piano house. "Page One Is Love", featuring a vocal sample from Chicago pioneer Jamie Principle, sounds like an attempt to fuse together as many classic house influences and references - plus vintage US garage organs - as possible. "Dancing With Each Other" inhibits similar territory, with the addition of sparkling nu-disco synths, early Daft Punk melodies and a heavy bassline. The pick of the accompanying remixes comes from Cassara, who re-casts "Page One Is Love" as an intoxicating chunk of baggy, Balearic house.
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While Herve's presence, along with the likes of The Crookers, may not be in the spotlight like it was around the turn of the decade, he's still holding firm. Herve pays homage to a sound he help pioneer in his Future Fidget mix of this single which riffs on old school rave themes with that classic cut up sound. It stems from a production which essentially sounds like a vocal house jam from the summer of love. Jay Robinson, on the other hand, with a huge drop to boot, delivers a bassline makeover that lovers of anything dirty will want to revel in until the sunrise.
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Aside from a couple of EP's for Shadeleaf Music and Delusions Of Grandeur, respectively, the enigmatic ThatmanMonkz prefers to ride undercover. However, his latest record comes courtesy of Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon's infamous Classic imprint - which is run out of the Defected HQ these days - so it's clear that he's talking business. This four-tracker is all house vibes and no messing around: "In Bed With You" features the charismatic and soulful vocals of Pete Simpson over a deep but driving groove, and "Miss You So Badly" ups both the tempo and the hypnotics. On the B-side, "Kickin's It" is a Detroit house kinda' number, boasting ingenious little sample shots and anthemic melodies, something which can also be said for "Vainglorious Style" - another slice of Detroit-fueled soul.
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Originally arriving in the midst of the noughties electro-house mania, Daniel Dexter has matured into a respected purveyor of deep and jacking house. Here he's rustled up a euphoric diva house anthem with heavy nods to the sunkissed rave sounds of late 80s Ten City. Alexkid whips the tune into and eight-minute linear laser-house attack, but it's the slow and hazy Vogue-on-downers vibes of "Heroine" which is the real winner here.
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Given the label's longevity and consistently on-point releases - in a variety of styles, it should be noted - it's somewhat surprising that Gilb'r's Versatile Records imprint is not more celebrated. Here, they welcome back Zoot Records founder The Maghreban (AKA Dr Zygote), who goes all Idjut Boys with a trio of heavyweight dub disco workouts. The title track - all booming punk-funk bass, horror-influenced synth flourishes and dense, live-sounding disco percussion - sets the tone, before he pushes things up a notch with the relentless, low slung synthesizer gooks and sweaty house beats of "Frenetique". Finally, he presses the button marked "weird-out" on the lolloping, jazz-flecked dub disco madness of "Kung Fu".
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Jaymo and Andy George's Moda Black returns with another one from Hot Creations crewman Hot Since 82. He's got Habischman on board for "Leave Me" and it gets the remix treatment by the legend that is Dubfire, taking the said track on a dark journey through progressive house. Secondly we have "Sundown" remixed by Audiofly aka Luca Saporito and Anthony Middleton who take things on more of a sublime, afterhours tech house tip on the "All Day I Dream" vibe.
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Brightonian beat agitators Skint celebrate two decades of party science with a whopping 32 track compendium of highlights. Ranging from quintessential big beat (Midfield General, Indian Ropeman, Lo Fidelity Allstars) to quirky, lop-jawed techno (Roman Flugel, Tomas Andersson, Dave Clarke) via chunky, dirty-bottomed house music (Riva Starr, Foamo, X-Press 2) and perfectly formed left-minded pop music (Fatboy Slim, Tiga), Skint's successes can be found in almost every corner of the dance... Including the harder-to-categorise unique, forgotten classics such as FC Kahuna's evergreen "Hayling" and Justice's new wave pop strutting remix of Vicarious Bliss. Happy anniversary Skint!
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The Life And Death crew, famously known for putting out early material from the likes of DOP and Tale Of Us, returns to action with a split EP from a bunch of heavy-hitters, all of them prodigious supporters of the contemporary house game. First up is Aus Music's Sei A with his driving yet lowdown "Hyper Venom", Hotflush boss Scuba turns to the progressive end of things on "Glacial", and he's followed by his own signee Locked Groove in the form of "Eleven", a chilling escapade into the most cavernous of house moods. Berlin resident and Dystopian member Alex Do offers a classic German capital techno number with "Rising" to tie things off in style. A complete package, that's for sure.
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Golf Clap pair Bryan Jones and Hugh Cleal man the controls for the fifth volume of the Sinna Black series, compiling a hefty 21 tracks of peak hour deep house featuring the likes of Ben Mono, Low Steppa and more. Dave Fogg's "Taking Me Over" and Maur's "Dossa" both channel a very late nineties UK garage, sitting nicely alongside the contribution of the legend that is Matt "Jam" Lamont whose collaboration Scott Diaz on "The Theme" is not so garage, more on the Hot Creations tip. Tracks like Newbie Nerdz "Speechless" unashamedly present their dubstep influence while DJ Capsa & Mike Millrain's "Free Your Mind" reeks of Todd Edwards.
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Music label, artist agency and DJ collective MN2S celebrates 20 years of existence with this new compilation, a sixteen track showdown featuring some of its best work from the past two decades. Among the stand-outs, you got Todd Terry and Sound Design's "Bounce To The Beat", Robert Owens' "I'll Be Your Friend", Mark Knight and MTV's early single "A New Reality", and even Subb An's remix of "Get Away" by Maya Jane Coles. A big 'un!
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You know it's a god week when Germany's mythical Kompakt label signs a new artist to their roster, not to mention one that has never released anything before. With their ability to suss out new talent on the digital circuits, the imprint have given us countless new artists which have made a name for themselves over the years, and Lazaros looks set to follow in those footsteps. "Trigono" kicks the two-tracker off with a steady kick and subtle swarms of pseudo acid before transforming into a deep, molecular techno cut for the night time. "Tetragono" is even lower down in the depths of space, bringing forth a minimal sonic drift for the tool users. Simple yet effective.
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The second part in the Hudd Traxx 10th Anniversary 'Now & Then' compilation sees tracks from Luna City Express, Sek, Iz & Diz and Rick Wade. Berlin duo Luna City Express serve up a lush deep house groove that builds throughout the track, and will bring a smile to the faces of those who follow them on their beloved Moon Habour Recordings. Sek uses slick beats, trippy leads, a driving bassline and some 'Thug life' vocals to ensure this one has 'future classic' written all over it. Go back in time (to 2006 to be precise) on the 'Then' side to find Iz & Diz's 'Happy'. The words 'epic' & 'journey' are often misused in music but both can be mentioned about this track. It had devastating effect on first release and is set to do the same again nearly 10 years later. Rick Wade closes things out in fine style to fly the Detroit flag on an all Chicago / Detroit side.
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Having previously released gems from Lerosa, Move D, Pittsburgh Track Authority and Vakula, amongst others, it would be fair to say that Uzuri Recordings knows a thing or two about quality deep house. Happily, the quality threshold remains high throughout this single from Italian production unit Stump Valley who have already scored fine releases for Off Minor and Rush Hour No 'Label'. While the opening track, "Searching (MTRPLS British Hustle Mix)", impressively joins the dots between analogue deep house, jazz and two-step, the majority of the EP is dedicated to the sort of melodious, hazy deep house that sounds like it was recorded in the midst of a foggy forest. That's not a criticism, though; in fact, this atmospheric approach merely emphasizes the quality of Stump Valley's musicianship.
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It's emotive house time with the Monkey Safari contingent as they return to their own label following on from time spent connecting with imprints such as Sweat It Out! There is a great crossover potential in the Caribou-esque melodics and heart-stirring vocals of the original version of "Walls", justifying the increasing profile of the German duo, and then there are more functional remixes bundled in for those who want things a bit chunkier. Guy Gerber in particular brings a solid, heads-down heat to proceedings with throbbing bass and minimal house drums keeping on a straight and narrow path, while Josh Wink takes pleasure in rinsing a lengthy breakdown before nipping back into a light acid refrain. Moby then steps up to complete the all star cast with a sprinkling of piano and a prominent house beat that works even more bombast into the original version.
Exclusives
GOLF CLAP/VARIOUS - Simma Black Volume Five (Simma Black)
TERRANOVA - Restless Remixe 1 (Kompakt Germany)
MAXIMONO - Jack It (This Ain't Bristol)
Exclusives
ISHIVU - Gryning (Trunkfunk) - exclusive 07-09-2015
STUMP VALLEY - Recorded At Summer Forest Camp (Uzuri Recordings)
FERRECK DAWN - Heaven Sent (3 Beat)
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