Tsuba's ten year anniversary - that's right, it has been that long already - has been marked with hit after hit from a wide selection of artists from across the house kingdom. In fact, for this 2nd instalment of the festivities, we have White Material frontman Galcher Lustwerk remixed by the inimitable Jimpster, with the latter putting a more starry-eyed mechanic onto the original; For Romeau complete the A-side with a vintage-sounding remix of "Pinball" by Williams. On the flip, Roy Comanchero drops the Chicago bass over a minimal sort of percussion groove on "Hypba". Kevin Griffiths adds a little acid to the jingly 707 beat of "Satori", and completes a stellar EP from the magnetic Tsuba.
On German producer and Aleph label founder Aera's latest release, the coalescing of influences from the past forty years of electronic music is audible. From the early electronic-style noises that warble over the bubbly acid pulse on the title track to the deeper than deep house of "Krystal Close" and the Mathew Jonson-sounding micro-trance melodies of "Keeping the Book", Running Hot is nothing if not adventurous and diverse. Innervisions also deserves praise for its choice of remixer; Steve Rachmad is not the most immediate name one would associate with the German label, but he does a fine job here, turning "Keeping the Book" into a deep, pulsing techno track, accentuating the original version's beautiful spacey-ness.
Back in March, Ondule label boss Joss Moog and Sebastien "Around7" Guertau unveiled their 4th Sign project, launching with a fine collection of soul-flecked deepness. This speedy follow-up is every bit as alluring, with the French duo effortlessly floating between a variety of dancefloor moods and tempos. Contrast, for example, the smoky, mid-tempo jazz-house of "The Movement", the string-drenched, sumptuously soulful bump of "Deep Dip", and the near horizontal, slow house head-nod of closer "Lunatique". For those keen on more energetic dancefloor flavours, they've also included a pair of charged-up disco house smashers ("The Right Color", and "Hot Saussice").
The words 'Chicago' and 'house' come to mind with this new Trax series by Audaz boss Alkalino. There's little trace of his disco influence here as he presents four tracks that could have been made in the windy city in about 1987. "Pull Me Through" begins the EP with some deep, touchy feely, soulful house goodness before the pounding snares and atonal electronics of sweaty basement anthem "Much love" arrive. Next we take a detour with the ABBA-sampling hiNRG jam "Rollercoaster 3000" before "Treat Me Right" wraps things up with some darkly sensual punky funk.
The 23rd release on Daniel Solar's Dikso imprint comes from rising talent Freiboitar. The Cologne-based producer has previously contented himself with making straight-up house, but here showcases his skills with a bunch of disco samples, a set of filters, and some groovy house rhythms. There's plenty to enjoy throughout, from the loved-up positivity of "Harlem Streets", where filtered vocal hooks and horn lines cluster around a sun-kissed disco groove, to the heavyweight, low slung hustle of peak-time scorcher "Dear Mom". Eyes-closed, filter-disco shuffler "Call The Cops" also gets remixed by Chris Caspar and Jean Philips, who cannily emphasize the track's in-built positivity.
For their latest stroll into melodious deep house pastures, Parisian imprint Beat X Changers has recruited two up-and-coming talents: fellow City of Love resident Milan Tell Daudin, and one-time Euro-dance vocalist Clara Moroni, AKA Name. Daudin is first into bat, serving up to wonderfully loose, warm, rich and evocative deep house numbers, full of tactile pads, hazy melodies and shuffling beats. Arguably the stronger of the two cuts, "In The Sky", is given a deep and jazzy broken beat revision by Pulkone Reversherb. As for Moroni, she dishes up an ultra-deep chunk of Motor City house ("Back Together Again"), before reaching for the funk samples and disco basslines on the hustlin' "Untitled". Neu Grafik's IG Culture style rework of "Back Together Again" completes a fine package.
Arguably best known as one half of FCL (alongside San Soda), Red D has been promoting, producing, DJing and running record labels (most notably We Play House) for well over two decades. Chez marks the Belgian's first appearance on Freerange. The title track is little less than a heartfelt tribute to U.S deep house legend Chez Damier, with tactile synth stabs and sunrise melody lines riding a tasty groove. In contrast, "Into Darkness" starts off melodious and Balearic in feel, before smoothly morphing into a Chicago-influenced, late night throbber. Uncanny Valley regular Jakob Korn delivers remixes of both tracks; his pulsating, ultra-deep take on "Chez", in particular, is superb.
Hyenah's previous EPs for Freerange, both released back in 2014, portrayed him as the natural heir to both Joe Clausell and Osunlade. "The Idea", featuring fellow deep, Afro-influenced house explorer Lazarusman, only emphasizes this first impression, with a spiritual, spoken word vocal riding a slowly evolving, Innervisions-style deep and techy groove. Frankey & Sandrino push the latter elements to the foreground on their intoxicating, late night interpretation - all spine-tingling breakdowns, swirling electronics and tech-tinged rhythms - before Hyenah delivers the impeccable solo cut "Rise", whose African percussion hits and synthesized marimba melodies perfectly compliment his rolling, soft-touch beats.
Wolf Music doesn't release many albums, but when they do, the resulting set is invariably superb. Familiar Circles, Casino Times' long awaited first full length, is certainly quietly confident, with the British house duo delivering a range of hazy, evocative cuts shot through with a hazy sense of loved-up positivity. While breezy, Balearic deep house is their go-to sound - and there's much of that evident throughout - the album also includes nods to "Belfast"-era Orbital (the shuffling electro/deep house hybrid "Oddity"), early Funkineven (the jumpy, modern boogie bliss of "What (Miracle Beat)"), drowsy ambience ("Transit"), and early '90s style intelligent techno (the psychedelic electronics, ambient house melodies and fleeting acid lines of closer "Foundations (End)").
David 'Trus'Me' Wolstencroft's fourth album marks a sea-change in direction for a UK producer best known for soulful house and techno. This shift is audible from opening track "1979", where a caller to a late night radio show describes seeing aliens at an unnamed facility. The outer space-fixation continues on the eerie soundscapes of "The Unexplained", before he eventually hits the dance floor on "Dark Flow". Here too though the mood favours the otherworldly as ghostly vocals and resonating piano keys unfold over muted kicks. "Ring Round Heart" ventures back towards the hypnotic house sound that Trus'Me is known for, but it's a relatively short divergence and both 'Red Sun' and 'Our Future' see the UK producer push techno into the most far-flung end of our galaxy.
Turbojazz man Tommy Garofolo is well known to Local Talk co-founder Mad Mats, having previously released an EP of Latin jazz reworks for the Swedish veteran's G.A.M.M imprint. This time round, he's showcasing his original production talents, delivering a couple of loose, jazzy and sumptuous deep house gems. He begins with Motor City soul shuffler "Unbreakable", where the slick vocals of guest David Blank spar with heady synth lines and fluid Rhodes chords over an MPC style house groove, before doffing a cap to the liquid jazz-funk of Herbie Hancock on the sparkling deep house shuffler "Unicorn Rising". Finally, EVM128 serves up a jazzy and sensual broken beat/nu-jazz rework of "Please U".
Kauf is one of the few out in the LA county making good old house music with a nice tech-step. Munich's Permanent Vacation has clocked onto this, and have decided to feature the young gun-slinger on their catalogue. For the time being, Kauf appears only as the originator if "Through The Yard", a tune that is remixed here twice by the great Fort Romeau: the first version is a classic, big-room house anthem with plenty of late-night vocals that make it perfect for radio playback, while the instrumental version is clearly the winner at 2AM on a sweaty Ibizian dance floor.
With a name like Jack Jenson he was sure to be in the spotlight somehow! The Salon zur Wilde Renate regular now appears for fellow Berlin institution Kater Mukke for the Full Of Acid EP in collaboration with the tech house hero Tigerskin and it's pretty good! The title track gets its 303 wobble on in good and sleazy fashion after the creepy sampled movie dialogue and white noise washed drop. "Stable Dance" goes for more of a restrained and hypnotic vive with its whirling arpeggio and tight rhythm supported by odd violin improvisation. Finally "Make It Work" rocks one of those Derrick May style synth-funk melodies over a rolling bass driven groove for some impressive dancefloor dynamic.
Man of many pseudonyms Natal Zaks brings his Central project to Dekmantel, with the first of a series of EPs entitled Political Dance. It's an expansive affair, with the Danish producer delivering a quintet of tracks that meld distinctive Detroit techno, early US deep house, broken beat and deep space ambient influences into attractive new shapes. Highlights abound, from the rolling, loved-up grooves of the starry "Keep Love On Me", and Motor City deep house shuffle of "Body Issue", to the horizontal bliss of "Longest Way Between Two Points", and tech-jazz swing of standout "This Is Hand". Impressive stuff, all told.
We always thought of Unknown To The Unknown as a multi-faceted and exploratory label when it came to sussing out new talent, but we didn't see this one coming. Mak & Pasteman, recently of Lobster Boy, are a duo who are more often than not categorised under the dreaded 'bass' banner, but what they have here are actually a couple of stone-cold house cuts with a Dance Mania kinda flavour. "Percwerc" is a gritty, jittery 4/4 bomb with vintage drop that'll have your jaw wrapped around your head in no time, while "T2000" is just as raw and filthy except that the mood is funkier, deeper and little more musical. Both heavy, both recommended.
Does exactly what it says on the tin really: No Killer No Filler comes in again for the third volume courtesy of Oliver Koletzki's long running Berlin tech house institution. Experience the soundtrack to a misspent youth in Berlin this summer, coming at you courtesy of label head honcho Koletzki himself with the moody and tunnelling journey of "This Heartless", the tripped out minimal madness of Asem Shama's "Magic's Gonna Happen" which reminds us of classic Audion or Marc Houle, Bjorn Storig delivers some smooth and slinky progressive house vibes on "Babylon Angels" while Ferdinand Dreyssig ventures further into the void on the moody industrial-edged stomper "Amnesia".
Spaniard German Brigante is on a roll right now. Let's do the label roll call again shall we: Saved, OFF, Defected and of course Get Physical: who released last year's brilliant full length Bipolar. He now appears for Claude Von Stroke's' revered west coast institution Dirtybird for something a bit different. "Noose" has an almost early noughties tribal house groove about it with some druggy synth melodies for added sass. He's by now aware of his own success with the imaginatively titled "The Brigante Chronicles", a dark journey track sure to cause some serious dancefloor drama with its wonky synth leads, mysterious pads and emotional vocals. Finally "Samoa" is definitely the most Dirtybird sounding track here with its emphasis on the bass, big, trippy headrush sounds and some druggy vocal dialogues for added mischief.
A master at work with or without partner Kenny Gonzales, Louie Vega is back with "A New Day", his latest solo effort. Of course he always gets a strong vocalist involved and this single is no different, with the mighty Caron 'Soul II Soul' Wheeler drafted in to hit those notes. The original is a smooth slice of warm and soulful house and there are more remixes than you could ever wish for too. Highlights include Jazzie B's stunningly evocative and hauntingly tribal rework, Ron Trent's sparse and percussive remix and Shelter's positive Latin house rejig. A classy release indeed!
Belgium's Hermanez is back on Lapsus (out of Florence Italy) with some warm and emotive tech house that packs a punch at the same time. The funky and hypnotic "Most Likely" rolls along nicely supported by tribal drums and a killer drop towards the end! "Pocket Groove" gets even tougher on you with its dark and trippy sound design drowned in the right amount of reverb on this finely tuned groove. Finally "9 O'clock" features Davy Dee on this deep and atmospheric tribal house cut with booming toms and throbbing bass which is perfect to get things weird at the afterhours.
The Soul Designer is back everyone! Belgian techno legend Fabrice Lig is still at it and boy are we impressed, as always. He never went away really; he just kept doing his thing: Motor City inspired techno-soul of the highest calibre, as displayed on his fabulous last single "No Judgement" (featuring Ann Saunderson) on Planet E. This time he teams up with Midwest legend Titonton Duvante for the Sensual EP. "Even Deeper" is the kind of track that you could imagine Derrick May or Laurent Garnier dropping mid set for one seriously ecstatic moment, with its funky SH 101 bassline (a Lig trademark) and some emotional chords/ keys. "In The Hood" gets a bit more tough and energetic for us with its darkly executed futuristic blues of the funkiest kind.