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Reviewed this week
Permanent Vacation boss Benjaimin Frohlich is back. The man in Munich now presents the remixes of his fab 2016 release Rude Movements and gets an all-star cast to lend their deft hand at a remix. First up is the imitable Lauer; king of all things neon-lit and retro who delivers the goods (as always) with his rendition of "Amos", while fellow Frankfurter Shan stays true to the classic house aesthetic on his deep late night groove: "Holloway" is injected with spooky analogue synth leads, chunky analogue arpeggios and rusty rhythms with the good ol' clap on the kick for good measure. On the flip, it's all about the sludgy and tape saturated "Spitting Image" reinterpreted Jack Pattern (actually a Swiss trio, would you believe) where their slow motion EBM mutation calls to mind the work of Slugbug or L/F/D/M. Wicked!
The simply titles Art of Tones collection gathers together some of Ludovic Llorca's numerous contributions to the ever-expanding catalogue of Fred Everything and Mike Fresco's Lazy Days Recordings label. It boasts a range of original productions - the old school house bounce of "The Right Moment", the Italian dream house revivalism of "Elephants", the tech-tinged deep house soul of "Unstopped", and so on - plus a cluster of remixes by likeminded producers (a fine rework by The Revenge of "Unstopped", and a sparkling, Balearic deep house rub of "Elephants" by Fred Everything), and even a forgotten remix by Llorca himself (his bumping, string-drenched dub of Tortured Soul's "You Found A Way"). Predictably, it's an accomplished and entertaining selection, full of melodious, club-ready treats.
Since forming the Bermuda band last year, Aussie adventurer Harvey Sutherland has delivered a string of loose, oven-hot singles that effortlessly combine the best of boogie, soul, jazz-funk and Beatdown style deep house. With Bermuda providing live drums, keys, guitar and bass, Expectations sees Sutherland continue this fine run of form. It's a mini album chocked full of sparkling, sun-kissed cuts that defy simple categorization. For example, "Coast 2 Coast" expertly fuses a deep house aesthetic with elements of P-funk and jazz-funk, while the deep and spacey "Expectations" and "Spiders" - the latter also blessed with sublime strings - feel more horizontal and Balearic in tone. The strings return on the Metro Area-ish brilliance of "Saturn's Return", which may well be the set's most beguiling moment.
One of the Stanton Warriors' most iconic and romantic tunes to date: 12 years old and "Still Here" remains one of bass music's finest torch songs. Right now, though, that torch is been amplified into an entire volcano of freshness courtesy of an array of talent artists: Fred V & Grafix add some seriously euphoric D&B theatre, Vanilla Ace updates the original's lingering keys and rolling groove with a thumping house arrangement, Rektchordz get lively on a naughty tech house tip while Mafia Kiss subverts the groove on a deeper twist with various subtle references to the original along the way. Finally the Stantons themselves lay down the previously dubplate-only Shambhala festival version. Can you feel it?
Houle is one of the most quietly prolific techno producers out there and on his latest album for Items & Things sees him push in a deeper direction than before. There are echoes of Houle's minimal past throughout Sinister Mind - and it is most evident on the rickety "Conbular" - but the strength of this work lies in its author's abilities to fuse precise, dissected rhythms with diverse sound pallettes. This results in the Aril Brikha meets Minus deep techno of "Paligama"; the title track, where Dave Gahan-style vocals are merged with evocative chords and the ebm-influenced groove of "Maskatron". Houle even turns his hand to underground electro on "Bassoffific", where bugged out 808s come together with his microscopic percussion to form an unusual, highly distinctive arrangement.
Hamburg house heroes Diynamic are back with Four To The Floor 08 where they serve up some tough main room tech house to get your people moving! First up is the Afro futurist journey that is "Zulu" by Brigado Crew & Crisstiano which will appeal to fans of Innervisions or Yoruba Soul. The harbour city's favourite sons Adana Twins serve up the dark journey track "Uncompromising" which will transfix crowds with its sense of dancefloor drama. Rafael Cerato & Artbat's soulful tech house journey "Uplift" had us reminiscing about the Dennis Ferrer sound of old while finally Definition's "Pretend To Fly" is certainly geared for those hands in the air moments; expect a reaction from the crowd when this one drops. Either when that roaring vintage synth arpeggio comes creeping in or the heartfelt vocals alike.
Since making his name with a string of fine EPs on Electrique Music earlier in the decade, Bufi returned to action last year with a fine album entitled Revelacion. Here, a quartet of likeminded producers takes it in turns to rework tracks from that set. Spanish producer AFFKT steps up first, sneakily turning EBM-influenced chugger "Apocalipstick" into a hard-wired chunk if throbbing, Italo-disco inspired sleaze. Eskimo Recordings regulars Zombies In Miami delivers a sparse, electro-influenced revision of "New Ground", before Max Jones tiptoes the fine line between acid-flecked deep house and psychedelic nu-disco on his re-make of "Interlude". Finally, Damon Jee gives "Peaks" a thorough going over, fixing Nitzer Ebb style electronics to a dark-wave disco groove.
Newcastle in New South Wales is perhaps not the Australian paradise most would assume. In actuality, it's a mining town north of Sydney that's far from the most picturesque of places. This general grimness may explain why Mall Grab, the town's most famous musical export, is so fond of deep house daydreaming. He's at it again on this latest Hot Haus excursion, inviting us round for a Pool Party. Title track "Pool Party Music" is clearly where it's at, with the Aussie adventurer clustering manipulated synthesizer horn stabs around a pounding, no-holds-barred rhythm track. Elsewhere, he combines chopped and screwed hip-hop vocal samples, sweet loops and bumping beats on "BFODAAS", before placing a bustling rhythm track with twinkling melodies on closer "Catching Feelings".
Having spent the last few years delivering pleasingly melodious, far-sighted singles on Argot, Skylax, Deepblak and Running Back, Maya Bouldry-Morrison has joined the Honey Soundsystem family. Where Are We Going Is the Brooklyn-based artist's first album since 2013, when she was regarded as one of 100% Silk's most talented producers. As full-length adventures go, it's undeniably enjoyable, with Bouldry-Morrison delivering warm, retro-futurist cuts that cannily combine elements of vintage Chicago deep house and Italian dream house tropes with the breakbeat-driven shuffle of rave-era British dance records and occasional Motor City style flourishes. While there's naturally plenty of club-ready material throughout, it's also the sort of album that you can comfortably listen to in the comfort of your own home.
Without attracting much hype, Das Komplex was responsible for some of the most enjoyable, dub-fuelled disco and Balearic releases of 2016. He's started 2017 in pretty confident fashion, too, delivering more fine fare via Father & Son Records & Tapes, People Must Jam and, now, Love On The Rocks. Interesting, this outing is a little bolder, woozier and weirder than some outings, though his love of reverb and delay remains a constant. "Szlugi" is an eccentric fusion of clattering drum machine percussion, trippy synthesizer motifs and lo-fi electronics, while "Polenz" effortlessly joins the dots between cosmic disco, jazz-funk and sample-heavy deep house. Best of all, though, is epic flipside "Flauta", a musically rich, Clavinet-heavy dub disco affair that rises and falls for 13 spellbinding minutes.
Local Talk has pulled off something of a coup here, somehow persuading legendary Detroit house producer Terrence Parker to contribute a predictably hot two-tracker. "Gratiot Avenue Piano" is a thrillingly celebratory workout, all told, with Parker layering bold, hammered-out piano riffs and rich gospel organs atop a punchy, cymbal-heavy drum machine groove. It feels like the kind of track that will inspire spontaneous acts of clothes removal - tops off, boys - when dropped at the right time. Parker continues the stab-heavy approach on slightly deeper, groovier B-side "Unconditional", which wouldn't have sounded out of place on a Strictly Rhythm 12" from 1993.
Brett Johnson was always one of the most innovative house producers and this release for the re-launched Classic shows that he hasn't lost his signature sound. On the OG Demo mix of "Mr Johnson's Talk'n Now", he lays down a gritty, stripped back house groove, replete with lo fi blips and bursts of noise that accompany wired, weird vocal samples. The 'Luke's Video Games Rework' is just as off-beat, with the vocals deeper in the mix and a furious stab taking centre stage, while the 'BJ Revamp' remix swings back towards Johnson's wild, stripped back sound. Only on "Give It To Them" does he opt for a more conventional approach, with a disco stab riding the relentlessly jacking groove.
San Francisco deep house don Miguel Migs is still at it; but he never stopped really. The man synonymous with popularising a distinct sound at the turn of the millennium as a regular staple on the now legendary Naked Music imprint (alongside such other acts as Aquanote, Blue Six and Lisa Shaw), Migs also presented other variations on the deeper shades of music under such aliases as Petalpusher. Running his own Salted Music imprint since 2004, he's presented works by Julius Papp, Soul Drifter and Lisa Shaw, not to mention his own productions. It's business as usual on "Broken Barriers", a deep disco-tinged and soulful affair for lovers on the dancefloor. Another sultry groove comes in the form of the sexy and slinky tech house energiser "Backdrop" (Classic Club Rub) with its hypnotic chords, tough enough rhythms and razor sharp bassline geared for some late night sweat.
While he may have moved on musically in recent years, Tom Trago still can't escape his 2010 anthem "Use Me Again". To be fair, it is a stone cold killer - a stomping, peak-time friendly disco-house masterpiece that makes great use of elements borrowed from a particularly potent, singalong disco classic. Should you not have it in your collection - and, let's face it, you should - then this timely digital reissue is just the ticket. As it was all those years ago, the track comes accompanied by 2009's "Lost In The Streets Of NYC", a thrilling chunk of cut-up deep house heaviness complete with melancholic piano flourishes, rubbery electrofunk bass, fuzzy chords and driving beats.
Berlin duo 2raumwohnung are back! The duo comprised of Inga Humpe, and her life partner, Tommi Eckart made it big in the early noughties with their irresistible electro-pop ditties which got them lumped in with the whole electroclash trend (lest we forget) and of course the inclusion of their anthemic "Ich Und Elaine' on Tiga's legendary DJ Kicks mix in 2002. The master DJ Koze's remix is where the Hamburg hero stays true to the original by retaining most of the elements but injects the track with his trademark knack for deepness, emotion and all things quirky and trippy. If that was not enough, the king of minimal Ricardo Villalobos lends a helping hand and delivers a pumping, rolling and glitchy makeover which could be one of his best remixes in recent times. Finally Thi Chanh knows what he's doing, as he treads a similarly poppy path. He gives the track a dreamy and ethereal rendition that will appeal to fans of the Crosstown Rebels sound.
Toy Tonics' Mushroom House series has so far sparkled, delivering a series of "weirdo house" inspired EPs full of tracks that look to "ethno, Afro and psychedelic" music for inspiration. Each of the producers involved in this third installment predictably hit the mark, with Ponty Mython's trippy opener - think rolling tropical deep house with hallucinatory flourishes - expertly setting the tone. Fast-rising producer Kiwi steals the show with a low-slung fusion of dub disco and smacked out Afro-house, while the Barking Dogs join forces with Tom Trago for a seductive trip into cosmic deep house territory. Red Axes also do a terrific job turning Munk's "The Bolero Brunel" into a hazy chunk of nu-disco psychedelia.
Matt Benyayer and Tom Edwards are the London based production duo Dark Sky. Having met at secondary school, Dark Sky formed out of a mutual love for the ever evolving London electronic music scene; a love that the duo have always explored through not only their DJ sets but also their productions. The new single "Kilter" is a dark journey track engineered for maximum dancefloor drama. Yes it has the mandatory wonky synth lead happening, but it's a wicked one, bearing the true grit of analogue and backed by some rusty rhythm patterns that work a treat. Second offering "Acacia" is more deep and gentle to an extent, with its sublime pads and hypnotic bleep melody backed by some sultry vocal samples and dusty barely there rhythms.
Reviewed is Suol's new digital-only compilation series, and has apparently been designed to showcase the tracks and remixes of some of the label's most productive artists. This first volume focuses on the prolific Chopstick & Johnjon, gathering together 14 career highlights and a non-stop DJ mix of the same material. Predictably, there's much to enjoy, from the darting Latin pianos, soulful vocals, slab bass and jumpy beats of the duo's "rediscovered" remix of Siri Svegler's "Silent Viewer", to the trippy, bass-heavy hypnotism of "A New Dub", a fine collaboration with old pal Fritz Kalkbrenner. Other highlights include the stomping blues-house voodoo of "Listen", the woozy, late night deep house dreaminess of "Birds", and the melodious, riff-heavy hustle of "Rebound".
The Dikso crew is rather enthusiastic about its latest signing, Italian Carmine Giuliano. In the sales notes accompanying this debut EP, they describe the Campania-based deep house producer as a "seriously talented guy". That praise is more than justified, with "Future" offering a near perfect balance of life-affirming chord progressions, filtered vocal samples and bustling, club-ready beats. "Never Again" sees the Italian producer tweak the same basic blueprint with similarly impressive results, as fluid piano lines, dreamy chords and cut-up vocal samples envelop a slightly jazzier deep house groove. Dikso label boss Daniel Solar provides the obligatory remix, delivering a wonderfully synth-heavy interpretation of "Future" that bristles with Balearic disco intent.
Norse twosome Of Norway will soon release a new album on Connaisseur, the Oslo combo's on-off musical home for the last half decade. "Parallel Lines Meet At Inifity" is the first single to be taken from that soon come set, and sees them giddily skipping of into Scandolearic deep house pastures. The track is wonderfully bubbly and melodious, with sparkling melody lines, glistening motifs and head-in-the-clouds chords clustering around an elastic house groove. It's accompanied by single-only bonus cut "The Life & Death of Italian Mantrance", a wonderfully atmospheric, stretched-out ambient number that joins the dots between vintage Pete Namlook, the sample-heavy ambient house of The Orb, and the psychedelic electronics of early '90s ambient techno.
Exclusives
TIMO MAAS/JAMES TEEJ - Cuba EP (Rockets & Ponies)
VIMES - Rudal (Reprise & Remix) (Needwant)
DUKWA - Shattered In A Thousand Pieces (Numbers)
Exclusives
BRIGADO CREW/CRISSTIANO/ADANA TWINS/RAFAEL CERATO/ARTBAT/DEFINITION - Four To The Floor 08 (Diynamic Music)
DORSIA - Fm Dreams (Sprechen) - exclusive 13-03-2017
GAISER - On The Way (Minus)
Jay Tronik DJ Chart
Lempo DJ Chart
Tik & Borrow DJ Chart
Roe Deers DJ Chart
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