Hailing from unlikely new bass capital Denver, Colorado, Ultra Bass have already made quite an impression internationally and to mark their 10th release they have unveiled another label compilation. Boasting '19 monster house and garage tracks straight from underground scenes across the globe', this collection really does perfectly capture the temperature of the scene right now. Highlights include the merciless big bass house steamroller "Feel It", the tropical doom-house tip of "2015 Crew 4 Real" and the bonkers hypo-step of "Magical".
If you've seen Comeme selector Lena Willikens in the dance over the past few months, you will probably have come away wondering what one track in particular is. Reminiscent of a train going full pelt to the sound of a limber xylophone player, the impossibly catchy "Pil Sagol" from Red Axes has been a secret weapon for the Salon Des Amateurs resident for some time, and is finally available for public consumption thanks to Hivern Discs. You should know Dori Sadovnik & Niv Arzi from their work for I'm A Cliche, Highlife Edits, Relish and more but the three tracks here might be their best Red Axes material yet. 12 minute lead track "Todum Todum" is stripped back techno at it's trippiest, especially the mid point deviation into Vangelis territory, whilst "Ma & Abra In Ruanda" presents a breezier, looser side to the Red Axes sound. What else to say about "Pil Sagol" other than it's possibly one of the B sides of the year!
Making their mark on Smalltown Supersound, the nine-piece Norwegian Jaga Jazzist ensemble have earned their place on Ninja Tune by supplying the label with five albums and a clutch EPs over the course of five years. It's clear the collective hold a special over at Ninja Tune which perhaps explains why the label have commissioned a remix from fellow countryman Todd Terje who keeps the original's classical theatrics in tow, while also adding his trademark disco touch in a 10-minute production that traverses many genres - and cosmic galaxies.
An eight-minute slice of celebratory slinky funk, Do What You Feel originally appeared on this veteran DJs Universe Of Love album. Now it's back in remixed form to keep the party going nicely. This time there are three incarnations - JN Revival's deep and punchy vintage handbaggy vibes, Supernova's bassier stoned acid and the warm funky house joy of Steve Mill's rework.
Christian Loffler rarely leaves his home label of Ki Records, but it seems he's been wooed by Ralp Lawson's 20:20 Vision. This York EP provides Loffler with his first release of 2015 and it's a romantically melancholic affair that combines elements of Pantha Du Prince, with Four Tet and German minimalism. "York" is a swoon of breathy hums and blurry pianos, while "Lhotse" is dusky, full of crackle and heart-warming. For something a little dancier check out "Nordkap", which rounds out one of this year's most saccharine three-tracks. Kompakt probably wish they got their hands on this first!
Just in time for the summer: Pant-swinging party vibes courtesy of Max Chekonova's Pashmount. Exploring every bass-fuelled aspect of swing, jazz, big band, brass and pretty much anything pre-1950, highlights include the sopping wet stomp-fiddle combo on Noir York's "Racine", the warped vocals, tight horn hook and tech-like tenacity of the drums on Zenobe & Gaston's "Alors Je Suis Parti" and the straight-up b-boy swagger of Basschimp's "Jiggle". No party should be complete without this.
Moodmusic affiliate Dave DK is no stranger to Kompakt, having featured on several of their compilations over the years and done the odd remix. Their relationship is formalised here with the arrival of Val Maira, the Berlin producer's third album and a concerted attempt to go beyond the impressive production skills previously shown by Dave DK to offer "deeply personal expressiveness and emotional impact". Listening through the eleven tracks on this double LP edition, you'd have to say it's a success; Val Maira is rife with the kind of emotive electronics you expect from a Kompakt LP and is perfectly sequenced to run through a gamut of moods. A fine album from DDK.
wAFF makes a welcomed return to Hot Creations with three original cuts on his mighty 'Fat Gash EP'.
Playfully named after his best friend, title track 'Fat Gash' is a dancefloor monster with highly infectious vocals, while 'Shabby' has powerful keys, sonic builds and rolling percussions. Over on the flip 'Connected' is a high energy hitter with smooth vocals and a serious party vibe. Since releasing his Rainbows EP' on Hot Creations in 2012 and following with a number of successful releases and remixes, wAFF has become a staple part of the crew playing with the likes of Jamie Jones, Lee Foss and Richy Ahmed all over the world and is now entering into his third year as resident at DC10 for Paradise.
It's approaching summer and it's time to give the party people what they want; floating beats, warms synths, holiday vibes and good times. Here, Death On The Balcony delver it all and more across these four-tracks, which is best heard "Soul Searching". Daso adds a funky synth line to their remix, and across the board it's more hi-fi than the original. "Synthetic Senses" is an energetic production made for the peak time, while "Treat Me Right" provides a perfect balance between deep and moody theme, to outright sultriness.
House music tragically lost one of its original pioneers Frankie Knuckles just over a year ago, and this retrospective spans his entire career. With the help from Defected and Elton John's AIDS Foundation, it's a fitting acknowledgement of Frankie's contribution to dance music and beyond. There are 24 tracks in total featuring signature classics like the early Jamie Principle stuff to music made under pseudonyms and remixes for artists like Pet Shop Boys, Hercules & Love Affair and Loose Endz. An essential tribute to the master
Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak have come along way since making their debut on Jalepeno back in 2003 with the cheeky, funk-laden breakbeat busuness of "Money In The Bag". Over recent years, they've been pursuing a far more sophisticated sound, cloaking their disco, funk and soul influences in tactile house rhythms and soulful vocals. "All I Want Is You", featuring the sensual soul vocals of "Keyhole", is a terrific example of this. Basically a blend of electrofunk synths, Chic style disco guitars and rubbery house beats, it somehow manages to be both radio-friendly and primed for dancefloor plays. All we have so far is the excellent three-minute original, but extended dancefloor versions can't be far behind.
Casio Social Club's Mullet label is one of the most prolific in disco, with digital-only singles, EPs and - occasionally - albums dropping nearly every week. If you've not been keeping up, worry not, as All Aboard The Mulletship Volume 4 has you covered. Compiled by the label owner (who else), it features label gems past and present, with synth-laden blends of nu-disco, boogie and house from the likes of Fishing Vest, Spirit Catcher, Joeblack, Muddyloop and Timmy Vegas. While the dominance of radio edits over full club versions is a little frustrating, it's only a minor criticism; the vast majority of the 25 tracks are top notch, after all.
Fred Everything, who has appeared on the very best of house labels including 20:20 Vision and Drumpoet Community, teams up with the rising Fred Iveson for a split EP on the US' Lazy Days imprint. Everything's "Gentle As The Sun" is a bouncy and docile house gem for the early morning, a tune which cleansed the soul. Iveson's "Leave Me Here" is similarly placid and soothing but with a more stripped back approach recalling the sorts of percussion sounds heard in many darker minimal tracks.
Noted Icelandic composer olafur Arnalds may be best known to many for soundtracking mournful British murder dramas, but his work on Erasing Tapes is as accomplished as that of Nils Frahm, both working solo and as one half of Kiasmos. After last years self-titled debut LP, Arnalds is back with Janus Rasmussen to dive deeper into the plaintive, gossamer-light house territory they so comfortably dwell in. "Looped" swells up in wondrous configurations of Nordic elegance, all lingering piano chords and emotive synth tones to sweep you of your feet. For the remix, Dauwd take a delicate approach that gets plenty of choppy edit processes into the mix without interrupting the stately qualities of the source material, while Lubomyr Melnyk creates an engrossing solo piano reworking of Kiasmos' "Burnt".
Back in the late '80s and early '90s David Morales first earned a name for himself as resident at New York's Red Zone, pumping out a signature of deep house. Here he revisits those heady days with more tracks riffing off that original sound. There are eight in total, with raw and nasty opener "Rocking Music" almost certainly an authentic staple of his early sets, with the rest being modern jams. Highlights include the sleek, late night Latin-house jaunt "Brooklyn Friends Groove", the brash rave-funk of "Chicago" and the deep sleaze of "Bass Zone".
As one of Phantasy Sound's more recent recruits, James Greenwood has already managed to shape out quite an identity as Ghost Culture with a stack of singles and an ensuing album that all speak to the seedy electro leanings of Erol Alkan's label. Following on from his self-titled album, this remix single finds Running Back boss man Gerd Janson pairing up with one of his label regulars Victor Shan to drop two warm and grooving versions that come on in similarly machine driven tones with slightly different levels of intensity. The "808 Culture Dub" is a smooth and bubbling affair while the "Acid Mix" packs a lot more peak time punch perfect for those more heated situations.
After two debut releases last year for Chasing Unicorns and Love & Other respectively, Howson's Groove is back in 2015 with yet more sleek and punchy house music; this time for Fat! The title track "Stand Up" is a classic Ibiza kinda joint boasting the occasional break for good UK measure, whereas "Turn Me" is a funky Detroit house groove surrounded by swamped vocal chops and a swinging percussion flex. Smart tools for the soulful DJ.
Berlin's hub for contemporary house music, Watergate, drops a new artist on the block and it's been a while since the German capital's club has released a new EP by a new producer. Sideways' "Retracted" is a deep and progressive 4-4 number with luscious synths and a cinematic backdrop of pads. "Minor Difference" is the same in character - sci-fi sonics all around - but it's "PJ's Groove" which heads deeper and deeper into the abyss thanks to its militant groove and dubby structure. Top class deep house works for your Saturday nights.
The Azuli label requires no introduction because after all, they've only just been putting out some of the most played house music on the radio! Pumping away with that Inbizian framework, their compilations have always been the best ways to discover sub pockets of house music. This time it's another leviathan compilation focussing on "Bass House Anthems" and although that isn't a genre per se, we know exactly what they mean. From CJ Bolland to Reboot and FCL, there's everything you need in here to satisfy your banging house needs. Nothing too deep, nothing too abstract, just a whole load of body-shaking DANCE MUSIC.
Rene Pawlowitz has worked under so many different names and guises that it can be hard to keep track of his movements, but one unifying theme is his love of 90s dance music. As Shed, Wax and EQd, a passion for Detroit house and techno is audible, while WK7 is a platform for him to articulate his love of break beat. Confusingly, this third release comes with a twist; "More Music" sounds more like a garage/house hybrid, with Pawlowitz laying down a repetitive 'music' vocal sample over a jittery rhythm. Even the title track isn't business as usual and the break beats are more understated, the stabs more subtle and the vocals garbled and mushy. It sounds like there is change afoot for WK7: watch this space.