Reviewed this week
Opolopo barely puts a foot wrong, so it's little surprise to find that this collection of Bits N Bobs is really rather good. Highlights include the sparkling, jazz funk-goes-deep house swing of "Put Your Cap On", the P-funk bass and squiggly D-Train synths of "Spray Tan" and the swirling, life-affirming disco-house bump of "Stroke My Disco", where cut-glass string loops and crunchy Clavinet lines ride a relentless groove. Elsewhere, he further enhances his disco/house fusion credentials via the intricately produced, musically expansive warmth of "The Lakedown Stomp", before rounding things off via the bubbly Dam Funk synth solos, Chez Damier chords and snare-heavy drums of jammed-out highlight "Eventide".
At the beginning of June 2017, Session Victim will release their third album, Listen To Your Heart. This taster EP - the first of a series of digital releases containing cuts from the set - offers a tantalizing glimpse of what's to come. Predictably, there's plenty to set the pulse racing, from the cowbells and timbales-laden deep house blues of opener "Bring It Back" to the drowsy, pitched-down dreaminess of closer "The Hatch", a colourful and atmospheric chunk of Balearic electronica. Sandwiched in between you'll find the EP's standout moment, the Afro-house meets synth-disco gem "If We Can Make It Here", and the dusty, head-in-the-clouds deep house shuffler "Moons & Flowers".
SMBD aka Simbad is back on GAMM again after a longer break and said to be planning a few EPs with seasonal themes for the label. The first EP as you might expect delivers three tasteful season influenced reworks and remixes which the label claims will 'be your perfect DJ weapons over the Summer months.' If the Afro broken beat groove of Bootsy's "Rather Be With You" (Alphabets Heaven X SMBD remix) won't do it for you, or the super soulful Colonel Abrams tribute "Table 42" (SMBD Tribute) does not grab your attention, guaranteed that the stunning 4/4 rework with Mike Lowrey of Jazzy Jeff's Summer classic "Summertime" has the potential to be a huge tune in the coming months.
Having spent much of 2016 focusing on the 20th anniversary of his impressive Freerange label, Jamie "Jimpster" Odell returns with his long-awaited sixth full-length, his first album since 2013's much admired Porchlight & Rocking Chairs. As you might expect, Silent Stars is a musically expansive affair, with the producer's usual floor-friendly deep house workouts being accompanied by tracks that pay homage to starry jazz-funk (brilliant opener "Migrations"), synthesizer-heavy new age ambient (the wonderful "Sylvanshine"), loose and languid Balearica (Jinadau collaboration "The Sun Comes Up"), Floating Points Ensemble style jazz ("Tau Tona"), modern soul ("Everytime") and even a touch of Osunlade style tribal bounce ("Silent Stars"). In other words, it's superb.

It was way back in 1992 when Detroiters Raphael Merriweathers Jr. and Niko Marks first joined forces under the Unit 2 alias. "Sunshine", their cheery, piano-laden debut single, has long been one of Gerd Janson's favourite house tracks. Here, the Running Back boss has roped in Kink and Tiger & Woods to put a fresh spin on the stone cold classic. While Kink's version - all fizzing drum machine rhythms, steady bold and explosive piano solos - is top-notch, we prefer the Tiger & Woods rework. Typically loopy and tactile in the Italian duo's distinctive style, their mix is a lesson in the dancefloor potential of bass heavy, saucer-eyed, piano-laden loop funk. We have no doubts that it will become one of the house hits of the summer.
The latest release on Tale of Us' label comes from Patrice Baumel. The German DJ/producer has always focused on a dreamy, tranced out sound - and Glutes is no exception. On the title track, he uses a purring bass to underpin building, minor key melodies, but still manages to maintain an understated, studied feeling and avoids slipping into an over the top cliche. "Engage" is a different matter; it sees Baumel up the pace and drop a pulsing, rolling groove that draws on eerie Detroit synths to create an atmospheric, spaced out arrangement that, like the title track, defies categorisation.
Irish producer Mano Le Tough made his name with deep, melodic house, so "Big Words From The Small Mouth", from the latest release on his Maeve label, marks something of a change. It's stripped back and resounds to minimalist drum patterns, while a wiry, frazzled acid line that weaves its way through the arrangement. The presence of a wobbly, menacing bass throughout adds to the understated sense of menace. The title track is more mellow, featuring warm tonal squiggles cosying up to organic melodies over a fuzzy rhythm. However, like "Small Mouth", it too is somewhat abstract and far removed from the more accessible sounds that Mano Le Tough had been known for.
Motor City veteran and longtime friend Amp Fiddler is the latest artist to join forces with Theo Parrish for the latter's ongoing Gentrified Love series of collaborative EPs. Virtual A-side "Trust (SS Translation)", which also features soul vocalist Ideeyah, offers a perfect fusion of the two producers' work; think dusty, organic modern soul underpinned by typically loose and wayward deep house beats. Arguably even better is near 12-minute virtual flipside "My Soul", a drowsy, woozy and stretched out trip through jaunty, broken house rhythms, Fiddler's impeccable keys work, and the kind of starry synthesizer motifs that were once the hallmark of Detroit techno.
Dutch party crew/ label Dekmantel has achieved more in the past decade than most labels, and that they are able to call on such a heavyweight line-up for the third installment of their celebratory series is evidence of this fact. The release starts with the steely drums and mournful, rainy day pianos of Levon Vincent's "UK Spring Vibes" - which is a rare contribution from the US artist outside of his Novel Sound label - and continues with the fist-punching acidic sweeps of Legowelt's "Blue Austral Techno". Shifting the focus back to the other side of the Atlantic, Joey Anderson weighs in with the spooky, swirling synths and understated "Opened Gate", while Danish artist Central rounds off the EP with the jazzy abstractions of "Six Five Two".
Looped up and funky disco house shenanigans courtesy of Glasgow's Sub Club resident and son of Harri: Jasper James with the "Dirty Wrong" on Seth Troxler's always reliable Play It Say It. This is his third release following up some impressive outings on Optimo Trax and Leftroom in recent years. The London based deep house legend Rob Mello hands in a brilliant rendition on another one of his wicked No Ears remixes and there's a handy dub version included for DJ use only!
If you're looking for an eclectic bunch of 4/4 floorfillers, this goodtime four-tracker from the mysterious Martin Ruppert camp should fit the bill. Check, for example, the heavy, relentless bass guitar loops, bouncy disco-house drums and cut-up vocal and orchestral samples driving Phonk D's party-starting "Gonzo", and the low-slung, psychedelic drug-chug that is Le Rebrique's hypnotic, filter-heavy "Keep The Flow". Elsewhere, Jacob Stoy and Le Rubrique join forces on the beach-warm, picturesque deep house flutter of "Cafe KOZ", while Dan Bay tiptoes the fine line between sub-heavy dub pressure and lo-fi deep house on the spaced-out goodness of "Kurdistan Dada".
The Munich based deep house and nu disco institution returns for their fourth safari and it is quite the trip if we do say so ourselves. The landscapes.. the wildlife.. be prepared for an epic journey! Highlights on here include the gutsy analogue punk of Drvg Cvulture's "Night Time Is The Right Time", prog house don Henry Saiz teaming up with sometime John Talabot cohort Pional on the dreamy "Uruboros" and Sweden's always reliable Axel Boman with the dreamily hypnotic "Die Die Die!" which despite its title is summery and lush: a potential anthem of Summer 2017. Hidden treasures, lost classics and exclusive tracks through the deepest house valleys and the highest disco mountains of the label's catalog.
Big Miz left the cherished bosom of the Dixon Avenue Basement Jams crew to guest on friend Wheelman's new Stereotone label. Here he returns to DABJ with his second solo single. Title track "The Bomb" is something of a killer, with Miz lacing a bouncy, funk-fuelled drum machine rhythm with wild but jazzy synth lines, warehouse-friendly stabs and bleep style electronics. Elsewhere, "Sponk 900" is a breathless, ghetto-house inspired slammer, while "You Lose" is a raw and wonky fusion of noisy but funky electronics and thrusting machine drums. "Break The Law", a more hypnotic but no less guttural jack-track reminiscent of early 2000s Chicago tech-house, completes a fine package.
Hard Ton are a decadent Italian duo who were 'fused...from the musical loins of DJ Wawashi and heavy metal singer Max' nearly a decade ago. They make electronic dance music that is both sleazy and camp and have had releases on labels like Gigolo, Permanent Vacation and Bordello A Paragi. Here they release a 13-track album, Party Hard Ton, on Austria's Luv Shack label and it's a belter. Highlights include their floaty Ibiza-disco Spiller collaboration "Right Now", the otherwordly synth ballad "Be My Spell" (featuring Adriano Canzian) and the nasty jackin' narrative of "Stumblin'" (which features London's own Johnny Woo). Essential party material.
Dawn is French DJ/producer Chloe's first release in almost five years. Formerly associated with the Kill the DJ collective, she has now set up her own label, Lumiere Noire. "The Dawn" is a taster for her new album and is part poem, part ode to her Djing. Over the course of ten minutes, it moves from a spoken word narrative into a pulsing, minimal groove that builds gradually and eventually to epic proportions.

The massively popular Dixon is charged with the remix, and he does a fine job; sirens build up to crescendo levels, synths swirl dramatically and all the while, the Innervisions boss mainatians a steady, driving groove

Here's something to get the blood pumping: a fresh Ron Trent remix of the title track from legendary Brazilian jazz-funk outfit Azymuth's most recent album, 2016's "Fenix". The original version is, of course, rather tidy - think darting synths and vocoder lines, dexterous slap-bass and rich, life-affirming chords - but Trent still manages to serve up a seriously good alternative version. He appears to have utilized every bit of individual instrumentation found on the master tapes, offering a subtle deep house/jazz-funk fusion cut full of loose-limbed drumming, intertwined solos and chords that pulse with sun-kissed positivity. It's not a particularly revolutionary remix, but when the musicianship is this good, why change it?
Little to nothing is known about Mind The Gap besides this: they're making some deliciously dark fusions right now. "A1" features the commanding tones of My Nu Leng's mic-man of choice Dread MC and stomps with a smouldering techno-inspired groove while "Like A Soldier" reveals a much more sensual side with big breeze pads, dreamy arpeggios and an elastic two-step drop that's so darned sexual it could make DJ EZ blush. Big up Mind The Gap...Whoever you are!
Dirtybird is having a BBQ and we're all invited. Hirsute selector Will Clarke is the man tending to the grill, liberally spreading around his "secret ingredients" for other DJs to taste. There's plenty of juicy, char-grilled goodness to be found throughout, from the warehouse-friendly hip-house revivalism of DJ Glen's "Move Your Bone" and sub-heavy, Afro-tinged tech-house tribalism of Seamus Norv's "Wuuvulu", to the mind bending electronics, wonky vocals and TB-303 driven madness of Tekla's "Shake" and Sam Swindle's throbbing, bleep-laden closer "Disco Slut". If that's not enough to get you drooling like a dog at dinnertime, Dirtybird has also included a killer DJ mix from Clarke.
Following recent outings on Robsoul and Scenario, Sebo K delivers his first EP for D'Julz's Bass Culture imprint. It's a strong set of rock solid club tracks, with opener "Brock Wild" doing a great job of fusing the producer's usual crunchy tech-house style with the heavy bass and sonic aesthetics of dub. "Aftershock" sees him successfully explore tactile, melodious, spacey deep house territory - check the jaunty bassline, string-laden chords and bumping, Chez Damier style beats - while the super-smooth "Foliage Patterns" successfully joins the dots between slick, analogue-rich deep house and crispier tech-house flavours.
Having previously set out their stall via a series of well regarded multi-artist EPs, Quartet Series has decided to offer regular contributors a chance to release solo singles. The first comes from Parisian producer Tell. He begins with the driving, bass-heavy grooves and undulating synth loops of "Faster Than Light", before tipping a wink to Behaviour-era Pet Shop Boys and vintage Italian house on the wonderful "Y'all Feel That Honey (Paradise Mix)". "What Can You Do For Me" is a superb slice of jazzy, US garage-influenced deep house bliss that makes use of a much-loved boogie-era vocal, while "Vamos a la Playa" is a fluid dancefloor treat smothered in jazzy guitars, rich chords and soft-focus sax lines.
LOURE - Westside Movements (Delicieuse) - exclusive 02-06-2017
THEO PARRISH feat AMP FIDDLER - Gentrified Love Part 3 (Sound Signature US)
SJAMSOEDIN - Orion EP (La Freund Recordings) - exclusive 02-06-2017
THE FITNESS - Freak Out (Wolf & Lamb US)
GEMINI BROTHERS - Travel Inside/Nights With Lorelai (Eskimo Belgium)
JAMES CURD - Freak Of Nature (Madhouse)
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