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Reviewed this week
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This is a significant moment in the development of Michael "Huxley" Dodson. Following six years building his reputation via a constant trickle of singles, the London-based producer has finally delivered a debut album. It's a little more expansive and varied than many of his singles, and variously touches on many of his regular inspirations - UK garage, deep house and bumping techno, in particular - as well as some he's not previously explored (see the pitched-down rave breaks of "Give 2 U" and the "Circles"-ish liquid D&B of "MXR"). The result is a polished, floor-friendly set that impressively straddles the line between club tracks and home listening fodder.
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Ultra Bass is a label that has been gaining steady ground with its UKF-flecked bass-house bangers. Here David Eliza adopts the well-rounded soulful tones of vocalist Jael for the synth washed break-step jam "Amazin'" and the deeper, housier "The Ride". Standout remixes here include Rare Candy's sumptuous poolside rerub of the latter and Tommy Mc's deliciously dirty basement garage rework of the former.
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York-based Alfa Flite is slowly building a reputation as a purveyor of fine, soul-flecked edits that tiptoe the fine line between deep house and disco. Here, the mystery combo drops a new edit - a sensual, head-nodding and toe-tapping reinterpretation of what appears to be a classic Sade cut. With rubbery bass, unfussy beats, gentle guitars and emotion-rich vocals, there's plenty to enjoy. With a decent amount of compression on the beats and bassline, as well as a surprisingly distant feel about the vocal, it feels primed and ready for dancefloors that like their grooves toe tapping, head nodding and groovy.
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This release is a sign of how much of a global phenomenon underground electronic music is, as all of the contributors come from Mexico. Thomass Jackson kick-starts the release with "Bad Chat", a malevolent, bass-heavy groove that is propelled over frenetic drum rolls. Eddie Mercury's "Rim Cow Shot" inhabits a similar space, albeit one that is powered by grainy kick drums and razor-sharp percussive volleys. An interest in the darker side of electronic music must be a common theme for Mexican producers because both Mijo's "Working Late" and Inigo Vontier's "Lunatico" are led by eerie, warbling synths and throbbing basslines and Theus Mago's "Ritmo Extraterrestre" is a wild acid extravaganza.
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While Italian producer Nicholas has always been obsessed with classic house - be it the piano-laden release of early '90s Italian productions or the New Jersey bump of later period Nu Groove - he's more than capable of producing deep house laden with soulful intensity. That's what's on offer across these four tracks, beginning with the heavy bass, dreamy chords and sensual vocal (provided by Shaun J Wright) of "Love Someone". The Italian wisely provides a darker, chunkier dub of the same track, before exploring acid and sprawling pianos on the deliciously effective "Message". Finally, "J.U.N.E" features an attractive blend of hazy freestyle vocals and cute Rhodes keys riding a fizzing, late '90s US deep house groove.
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In a bid to celebrate 16 years in business, Mallorca-based Garito Cade Bar has joined forces with the like-minded souls from Sweden's Local Talk imprint. The result is a collection compiled and mixed by resident DJ Nacho Velasco, featuring both well-known and previously unheard gems from Mad Mats and Tooli's well-loved label. While many people will have some of the better known material here - think Fred Everything's excellent "Brothers & Sisters (PM Atlantic)", HNNY's "Fr The Very Forst Time" and Kyodai's "Something Special" - it's the previously unheard selections that make it Music Joined Us worth investigating. Of these new cuts, it's Tommy Rawson's lusciously loose "7 Days" and Jesse Futerman's smouldering "Life Is A Gamble" - smoky soul re-made as Latin-tinged deep house - that stand out.
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It has been four long years since South African producer Culoe De Song last graced Dixon's Innervisions imprint. Happily, this belated return - a year after dropping his impressive Exodus album on Soulistic - sees him at the top of his form. "Y.O.U.D" is, in many ways, what you'd expect - a dense but picturesque blend of thick tribal percussion, fluttering electronics, sampled yelps and eyes-wide-shut melodies. He opts for altogether deeper vibe of "Geyser", layering dreamy chords and hazy melodies atop a hypnotic, shuffling groove blessed with delicious atmosphere. Strong stuff, all told; it's a pity it's been so long between drinks.
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Self-professed "90s MTV addict, vinyl supporter, and Akai lover" Marco Zanin is usually seen alongside Steve Murphy as Die Roh or indeed Steve Murphy & Co. Lately the Italian has been spreading his production tendrils as DJ Octopus with appearances on Chiwax, Muscle Records and Enlightened Wax. The Cycling EP sees Zanin bring his cephalopod house styles to the ever impressive Hot Haus operation overseen by DJ Haus and the four tracks see the Italian combine what people love about the Analogue Cops with bassline house techniques of artists like Huxley, with dirty Chicago fare thrown in. Four different shades of contemporary house music to make the one killer EP.
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Remix compilations can be a little hit-and-miss, but this one - gathering together five years of eccentric and often inspired reinterpretations from German veteran DJ Koze - is anything but. Koze often saves his best work for the remix domain, delivering imaginative reworks that take the original material into surprising new places. So, Herbert's "If Only" is turned into a sparse chunk of atmosphere-rich late night deep house, Caribou's "Found Out" is blessed with a new sense of wonky, left-of-centre purpose, and Zwanie Johnson's "Golden Song" is given a decidedly Balearic, beatless makeover. Highlights are plentiful, with Koze's dubby, low-slung afro-jazz reinterpretation of Soap & Skin's "Marche Funebre" standing out.
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Pomelo has been releasing music since 1994, with tracks in the early days coming from DJ Hell, Punk Anderson and Hi-Lo, while in more recent years the label has been a platform for Alex Cortex, DJ Stingray, Brendon Moeller and Tin Man. This second 20 Yrs various artists EP adds to Pomelo's milestone celebrations by featuring tracks from Tin Man, who delivers an archetypical acid techno production called "Detroit", while Macro associates Elektro Guzzi provide a vamping "Radicale" which is forever peaking. It's Digilog who pulls out the wild card though with a cavernous, 303-fuelled "Mind Gap".
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Redshape's last outing on Running Back, Bonuz Beatz Vol 1, was something of a stripped-back affair, offering a quartet of forthright DJ tools. Here, the masked techno producer returns to his usual full-throttle best. The original version of "Leaves" is decidedly robust, with clipped acid lines, electronic squeaks and a rumbling bassline riding a locked-in groove. The "Rotated Mix" offers a little more space for the groove to breathe, with Redshape getting busy with drum machine handclaps, hissing cymbals and classic rave-era stabs. The "Stripped 2 Clip & 303" version, meanwhile, pushes the nagging acid lines to the four, stretching them out over a tweaked, cowbell-laden groove.
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Here's a deliciously simple idea from Matias Aguayo's Comeme label: DJ friendly re-edits of tracks from Russian producer Philipp Gorbachev's decidedly off-kilter Silver Album. Aguayo shows the way, turning the loose and eccentric "Distance" into a heads-down chunk of no-wave house complete with military drum rolls and a whisper of acid freakery. Elsewhere, look out for an inspired EBM style reinterpretation of "Arrest Me" from Optimo man JD Twitch - arguably our pick of the bunch - and a brilliant, slo-mo blend of "New Sound" and "Silver Symphony" from Ana Helder. Oh, and a no-nonsense reinterpretation of "What Do You Need" from fast-rising, former Hot Creations man Danny Daze.
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Parisian producer Rhythm&Soul has been bubbling away on the deep house underground for some time, having released his first 12" back in 2011. Here, he pops up on occasional collaborator Jef K's long running Silver Network imprint. "1998" is in many ways typical of his output, with subtle disco licks, dreamy chords and looped, filtered vocal samples riding a swinging, Chez Damier style groove. The original is joined by a trio of remixes, with Claap and One Records regular John Dimas particularly impressing with his chunky, bass-heavy and pleasingly percussive rub. Elsewhere, Djebali weighs in with two versions: a lush, dreamy, Circulation style Remix, and a deeper, bass-heavy Dub. Both are deliciously warm and melodic.
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Detroit Swindle's debut album, Boxed Out, confirmed Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets' position as one of the most talented deep house duos of recent years. Here, they take a back seat, as tracks from that album are handed over to a quartet of remixers. Perhaps the most ear-catching rub is MRSK's DJ Sneak style loop funk rub of "He's Just The Guy, You Know?", a whirlwind of tough, bumpin' drums and "Red Alert"-esque slap bass. There's plenty to enjoy elsewhere, too, from the warm chords and chunky grooves of Cuthead's take on "Me, Myself & You", to the soulful fluidity of Jimpster's immersive remix of "B.Y.O".
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Oslo boys Trulz and Robin are hardly newcomers, having released their first EP way back in 2000. Even so, Sol marks their debut on one of Norway's most influential labels, Prins Thomas's Full Pupp imprint. The title track seems tailor-made for the label, with sun-kissed synthesizer melodies and attractive, Scandolearic style electronics wrapped around a chunky, Italo-influenced groove. Like so many releases on Full Pupp, it sounds distinctly Norwegian - the kind of record you'd expect from Blackbelt Anderson, Magnus International or Telephones. Thomas remixes, delivering a wonderfully saucer-eyed ambient interpretation that could soundtrack a thousand sunsets. Finally, "Froskelar" sees them saunter off in a different direction, attractively fusing Norwegian disco and dub house in the grooviest of ways.
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Damian Lazarus is usually good at spotting musical trends, then reinterpreting them in his own occasional singles. The globally focused Ancient Moons project, which sees him working alongside Simian Mobile Disco's James Ford and various musicians and vocalists from around the world - is a perfect example. Here, the tech-house-meets-world-music jam "Lovers Eyes (Mohe Pi Ki Majariya)" is remixed by Mendo and Dixon. Both producers make extensive use of the traditional qawwali vocals, with Mendo layering them over a thrusting, Panorama Bar-friendly darkroom rhythm. Dixon, meanwhile, goes deeper still, delivering a chugging, Innervisions style groover that makes great use of the original's traditional Asian percussion.
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Given the abundance of krautrock influences and cosmic synthesizer sounds on the Vermont debut album (simply titled Vermont), Prins Thomas was the natural choice to provide remixes. Here, he puts his typically cosmic, space-leaning stamp on three tracks from Dani Plessow and Marcus Worgull's much-hyped set. First, the Full Pupp boss delivers a chugging, hypnotic version of "Dynamik" full of rising and falling electronics and fizzing techno percussion. A slower, more Scandolearic take on "Elektron" follows, before Thomas memorably turns "Macchina" into a head-nodding chunk of woozy ambient dub. It's this, more than the EP's other dancefloor-focused moments, which really impresses.
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For those who had assumed that Butch was a tool house producer and not much else, this release will come as surprise. Favouring a more experimental approach than usual, "LFO" is led by weird, freaky frequencies and a bleep bassline. "Delusion" sees him go down a deep, dubby route, the robust bass leading into a sweeping, dramatic climax. Butch keeps the focus on more reflective sounds with the weeping synths and tough claps of "Sphere", while he returns to the experimental path of "LFO" for the denouement. Both "Tone 2.0" and "Busy B" are reduced tracks, with the former based on subsonic blips and bleeps and the latter boasting a stuttering groove bolstered by a Hoover bass.
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Following well-regarded outings on Unterton and Delsin, Gerd Janson and Philip Lauer bring their Tuff City Kids project to Prins Thomas' Internasjonal imprint. Predictably, there's much to admire about the Parallel Forest EP, not least the wide-eyed electronics, disarming effects and analogue deep house shuffle of "PF01". There's more vintage electronics and ear-pleasing melodies to be found on the acid-influenced goodness of "PF02", while "PF03" sounds like a long-lost demo for a late '80s deep house/synth-pop crossover (minus the vocals, of course). If you're after something a little more gritty, head for "PF04", whose sparse but intense arpeggios, analogue beats and intoxicating electronics recall the more experimental end of early Chicago house.
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Following the success of EDMX's Wicked Drummer EP, Skufix turn their attention back to house music by granting Aashton a debut release. It's the first solo outing for the producer after appearing on a Sccucci Manucci various artists EP earlier in the year. The EP's house music highlight is the summery tones and bassline grooves of "Clocked It", while the EP's opener "4 Real" is skippy, upbeat with plodding splashes of grimey tones. Cosmo Lopez, an artist who released on Ninja Tine back in 2012, remixes the title track, delivering a production focused on progression designed to fuel a full dancefloor.
Exclusives
BLANCO, Jamie feat SAM MENSAH/BINTUS/ALPHONSE/FACADE - LHT003 (London Housing Trust) - exclusive 31-12-2030
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DETROIT SWINDLE - Boxed Out Remixes (Dirt Crew Germany)
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DJ OCTOPUS - Cycling EP (Hot Haus Recs)
EYERER, Martin/STEPHAN HINZ/CLINT STEWART - Watergate 17 (Watergate)
KIASMOS - Kiasmos	(Erased Tapes)
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