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Reviewed this week
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"Mind Biscuit": Something tasty for your brain to chew on while your feet mulch up the dancefloor. Manchester crew Monkey Boots lay down two jack-slapping originals that dig deep into the true deep house psyche. "Impossible Need" comes with smoky vocal and smouldering bass vibes on the groove while "Yearning For You" slaps with a lighter sensation, all wafty minor key organs and soul-stirring vocals. Remix-wise Reed & Radley subvert "Yearning For You" with a little more space and reverbed magic while The Phantom Flan Flinger gets all reflective and shimmering on the Balearic bomb "Lullaby For Spiderman". Beautiful.
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The London crew who've given us the likes of Rudimental, Clean Bandit, Gorgon City and many other acts, Black Butter have been spreading love for four years now. Judging by this sumptuous set, they're not stopping any time soon. Arguably the darkest collection of the series to date, it ranges from sinewy, waspy bass jackers (DVWLX's - "When I'm Alone") to late night tech funk Berlin-style lazer-fests (BNRY's "Something North") via slinky somnambulant hazy techno (Troy Gunner's "Chain Reaction") and twisted, paranoid UKG hybrid (Jaded's "Gully Creeper"). Each one primed for total dancefloor destruction, Black Butter have delivered a premium package right here.
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This is a special EP because it marks the first results of the recent collaboration between Parisian Afro-beat label, Comet, and Danish deep house imprint, Tartelet. The music reflects this unique fusion by pairing the remarkable vocals of Nigerian-born songwriter Wayne Snow to soulful house. It's a sublime release with the Metro Area-esque soulful punk-funk-disco house of "Red Runner" leading the charge. Remixes come courtesy of Glenn Astro & INMYRMIND (raw, off kilter house) and Session Victim (trance-ish prog euphoria). "Under The Moon", however, is a deep and eerie skewed-funk grind.
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Having built an impressive reputation via releases on Aus Music and Naked Naked, British house duo Dusky have decided to launch their own label, 17 Steps. This first release - from the duo themselves, naturally - suggests the label could be a force to be reckoned with in coming years. There's a thrillingly saucer-eyed feel about "Love Taking Over", which peppers a robust, sub-heavy groove with drifting alien synths, wonky pads and choice vocal samples. "Inta" is more obviously accessible, with classic house pianos and spoken vocal stabs providing the track with bags of energy. "Expectations" sees the duo return to familiar influences, with acid bass and attractive hooks riding a bustling, US garage-influenced groove.
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By diligently releasing quality underground jams, Stockholm's Local Talk continue to prove that the Scandinavians aren't just all about the stadium-filling jock-house of Swedish House Mafia. Here in typically reasonable Scandi style they divide this EP equally between two talented acts. First up Chesus & Timmy P serve up some pretty serious tackle in the form of "Vitamin C" - all New York claps and rolls, diva vocals, retro organ riffs and trippy stereo-panned loops. Zoe Zoe, on the other hand, opts for deep US garage married to relentless hip-hop samples on the slammin' "Bust Them Wifes".
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MAM are heavyweights Miguel Campbell & Matt Hughes who have been creating killer variants of house since Sexy Girl back in '07. Cut to 2014 and they're still nailing it with The Happiness EP on Italy's Nice To Be. Highlights include the almost French touch sheer joy of "Hand In Hand" and the urgent electro-funk of "Foursome". Classy.
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Much has changed for Ali Love since the release of his Love Harder in 2010. For starters, he's fallen in with the Hot Creations camp, scored a massive chart hit ("Benediction", with Hot Natured) and seen his reputation soar. This latest full length - the belated follow-up to Love Harder - shows how far he's come. While the bright electrofunk synths, '80s soul vocals and Italo-influenced rhythms of old remain, P.U.M.P contains far more tactile, wide-eyed deep house moments than we've come to expect. It's a subtle evolution - there are still plenty of near Balearic synth-pop moments - but a successful one. The result is an effortlessly sweet and accessible album that blends throbbing dancefloor moments with baggier, more laidback fare.
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Given the "contemporary classic" status of Danilo Plessow's Raw Cuts series - arguably a string of 12" singles that helped redefine deep house for a new generation - the announcement of a surprise remix release is enough to make even the most level-headed DJs go weak at the knees. Pleasingly, said remixers more than live up to the hype. Marcellus Pittman's version - smooth and deep, but with enough raw disco cut-ups and wonky Detroit swing to impress those who like it raw - is particularly good, though Mike Huckaby's locked-in deep house groover is not far behind. There's also a superb version from Recloose, whose crackly, shuffling beats, sweeping pads and soulful vocal samples recall his earliest productions for Planet E.
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Having developed a sterling reputation for sudden splashes of one-track attitude, Berry returns with his most extensive EP since last year's Swing It EP. The party ignites with the glitch-swing jazz jam "Grandiose". Built up around a well excavated '30s vocal sample with big walls of slippery bass, it sets the tone for the entire EP. Further on "Twitch" takes the vibe up several BPM with a festival-ready piano-slapping vocal jacker, "Heart" averts full focus to the horn section with cinematic glee, "Showtime" jives and swings with Cab Calloway-style cheek and charm and "NFY" brings the show to a full-flavoured, bass-burping pumping finale. Consistent, extensive and exciting, this is Berry's finest release to date.
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Keiran Hebden knows his way around a good remix, be it the 200 odd official remixes done as Four Tet (not to mention a raft of illicit ones) or the many superb remixes he's commissioned from other artists (with the classic Joy Orbison remix of "Love Cry" from 2010 our favourite) Winding down proceedings on his Beautiful Rewind album from last year, Hebden here assembles a fine cast of rising production talent to put their own spin on tracks from the album. Any release that features production input from Detroit prodigy Jay Daniel, gritty funkateer Seven Davis Jr. and London-based producer PhOtOmachine is worth some time investigating and it's the gooey take on "Buchla" by Mr Davis Jr. that has proved to be the Juno office favourite this week.
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Freshly Squeezed have long proved themselves king of the swingers, but just in case you've somehow missed them here's a little reminder. Blue Cover Series Vol 1 collects highlights from the label's 1940s big band releases - all of which feature blue-tinted sleeves (unsurprisingly) and hellzapoppin' swing madness from the likes of DJ Dunya, Cristal Distortion & Got KDS and Le Jockey.
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Brazilian duo Digitaria are back in action on Hot Creations following their label debut earlier this year with Night Falls Again Daniela Caldellas and Daniel Albinati's third long player. As you'd expect there is plenty of hook laden electro pop and minimally minded house music to be found amidst the 12-track album as Digitaria effortlessly weave through moments of introspection ("End Of Line" makes for an icily atmospheric opener) to more outright dancefloor-focused tracks ("Golden Leaves", "Plastic Population" and the wonderfully named "Shopping Centre Soundtrack" are highlights) . The vocals from Daniela Caldellas throughout the album lend proceedings a compelling degree of moodiness too.
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Kris Klayton aka Karizma may be known as a house DJ, but as this release shows, his sound reaches farther and wider than that limiting title. The Kaytronik dub of "Tech This Out" is a driving affair that features deep, filtered chords as its centrepiece, stretched out over doubled-up beats. "Bounce B+" is a drummy jam, full of rattling, shaking percussion, hisses and whirrs and underpinned by a searing, jungle-like bassline. Even on the most garage-oriented track, "K To The P", Karizma adds some sub-sonic bleeps, lo-fi toy town melodies and ghostly vocals to his trademark choppy drums.
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Romero's stone-cold 2001 Latin-flavoured classic gets a well-deserved revisitation from Toolroom. Riva Starr's treatment stays respectfully close the original while flexing much bolder drum muscles and some really cool chops and stutters as the track develops. Purple Disco Machine, meanwhile, shed 10 BPM from the original to create a more immersive, cosmic sensation that's heavy with cowbell clarity. Filterheadz, meanwhile, provide the most turbo-charged version that slaps and jacks unrelentingly and comes with a cool filter-heavy reference to another classic from the era that had Subliminal stamped all over it.
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A special DJ double pack from Emotional Rescue brings together a collection of Razormaid remixes, plus unreleased originals, of two projects from Georg Kajanus, the founder of 70s pop group, Sailor and 80s synth poppers, DATA. With a career spanning late 60s psychedelic folk-rock in Eclection, through to chart success as a member of 70s pop group, Sailor, before embracing the synthesised sound of early 80s new wave and synth pop via the excellent DATA, Georg Kajunas music has covered a lot of ground. This collection features previously released remixes of his Fatima and The Mamluks outfits together with the unheard originals, making this a compilation not to miss.
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Kalabrese is an intriguing character; his 2013 album, Independent Dancer, delivered a brilliantly loose, eccentric blend of live grooves, disco influences, deep house sounds and curious leftfield pop. Here, tracks from that set get the remix treatment. Matthew Herbert goes fuzzy and discordant on his decidedly left-of-centre, stomping outsider house version of "Desperate Man", while hirsute German producer Acid Pauli turns "Wanzka" into an ultra-deep chunk of glitchy but atmospheric late night house. There's more organic-electronic fusion to be found on Ame man Frank Wiedemann's atmospheric re-imaging of "Shoes on Your Back", while the Ray of Hope remix of "Desperate Man" sounds like an unlikely studio hook-up between Metro Area, Axel Boman and Michael Mayer.
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Given that he usually releases rambling but charming ambient with Marcus Henriksson under the Minilogue guise, it comes as no surprise that Mullaert's solo work doesn't favour brevity. Clocking in at over 16 minutes, the title track is a pulsing, acidic affair that moves form eerie chants to warbling jazzy keys and into a gloriously tripped out, acid-soaked climax. By contrast, "Recapturing The Radical Self" clocks in at a modest ten and a half minutes and favours a more direct approach. Thumb-clicking percussion and clattering claps prevail as grinding riffs and spiralling 303 lines lead the listener to another denouement - this time it's an atmospheric synth outro.
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Clocking in at 50 tracks, Tour shows that the German label isn't just about naive trance melodies and rickety, minimal beats. It starts with the deep ambience of Tominic's "Shine", which over the course of nine minutes moves into bleepy, minimal pulses. In contrast, there's the dubby house of Paul Bart's "Call It Anything You Want" and David Heckhausen's "Hang Zur Sonne Paul", a clicky, mid-tempo groove covered in organic textures. Despite this, trance fans won't be left disappointed; there's the buzzsaw bass and organic textures of Theo Meier's "Eichhorn", the gentle, spiralling melodies of Peet's seductive "Timers" and best of all, the brittle rhythm and day-glo hooks on Reinier Zonneveld's "Gevorderd Spelers".
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It sounds like Norwegian producer Jon-Eirik Boska is channelling a range of techno sources for Interiors. While the title sounds like the name of a design magazine, the musical interior is quite different "Aspartam" starts it off in relatively sedate mode, the shiny dewdrop melodies combined with a stepping rhythm, while "Caves" is far more abrasive. Over a frazzled rhythm and hammering minimal beats, he drops throbbing bass licks as the track drops and then climaxes in quick succession. "Safehouses" is more understated and stripped back, but carries with it a sense of menace thanks to the bleepy bass. Finally, Boska drops "Ferns", which sees a return of sorts to the territory occupied by "Aspartam" - the only difference is that this time, the rhythm is more jittery than Shane McGowan with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
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It's fair to say that when a record has the word 'clouds' in the title, you can have a pretty good idea of how it's going to sound. "Clouds" - by Lithuanaian producer Few Nolder - doesn't exactly buck this particular trend, but with its seductive floaty synth bounce (think the Williams version of "Love On A Fast Train"), who cares! The vaporised vibes continue on the proggy light trance of "Chall" but also on the trippy "Chesnut" and the disco-ish "Woody".
Exclusives
SNOW, Wayne - Red Runner EP (Tartelet) - exclusive 21-07-2014
LAY FAR - It's On (City Fly)
DIGITARIA - Night Falls Again (Hot Creations)
Exclusives
VARIOUS - The Co-Op EP (Local Talk) - exclusive 25-07-2014
LORD OF THE ISLES - Greane (Phonica)
MEGA JAWNS - Joy (BBE)
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Brett Johnson DJ Chart
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