Reviewed this week
The second volume in Toy Tonics' occasional Jockey Jams series is something of a gift to DJs. Although naturally rooted in deep house, each of the showcased tracks offers something distinctively different. So, while Felipe Gordon's "Rinogal" is an funk-fuelled house bumper built around an elastic, acid-fired synth bassline and trippy late night effects, Metropolitan Soul Museum's "Saab" is a delicate, warm-up friendly fusion of lilting synths, bubbly electronics and the kind of twinkling pianos frequently found on vintage Italian dream house records. The eclecticism continues elsewhere, too, from the Adonis-via-Rimini thrills of Jacky Mingo's wonderfully positive "Brothers Cup", to the jazzy warmth of Black Loops and analogue house bleeps of Jad's "Overpriced Kaiser Chips".
Sometimes, two-minute sound clips don't do a track justice. That's certainly the case for Liquid Phonk's original version of "In The End There Is A Smile", a slow-burning delight that builds magnificently over 11 mesmerizing minutes. Beginning as a breezy chunk of rolling Afro-jazz deepness, it slowly morphs into a piano-heavy chunk of blissful deep house positivity midway through, before breaking down to a minute of dexterous drums at the end. Honestly, it's breathlessly brilliant. Lovebirds provides the headline remixes, turning in both a deep Afro-house shuffler and a brilliant, nine-minute drum dub for those who like to play around with percussion. The final rework comes from old pals Rainer Truby and Corrado Bucci, whose glistening, Balearic house interpretation may be the EP's most rush-inducing moment.
Hot Since 82 (aka Yorkshire's Daley Padley) has been a hot ticket since he first appeared on the DJ scene about 5 years ago. A cult hit for him has been deep tech-house roller "I Like You" which first surfaced on Mark Knight's Toolroom Goes Deep compilation about three years ago. Now Germany's Get Physical is releasing it alongside a mix by Paris Green. Where the original brandishes a contemporary swagger, this new mix highlights the current (cough) vogue for revisiting 90s house sounds. As a result the tune is taken on a long proggy journey that's reminiscent of Leftfield's iconic Song Of Life.
What can be said about this Italian trance anthem that has not been stated before? The 1990 hit is a true zeitgeist of early dance music that had a wide crossover appeal back in the day, being played by everyone from Paul Van Dyk to Richie Hawtin, in addition to a slew of remixes by big names at the time such as Jam & Spoon and Emmanuel Top. This revised version gets a makeover by Diynamic main man Solomun. The Hamburg native provides a fitting reshape for modern dancefloors, that retains all the evocative and euphoric qualities of the original. Renaissance have stated that the track helped shape the sound of its earlier years and this rework helps the label celebrate its 25th anniversary. It is also inaugurates their new ReMix Collection, which 'aims to give new life to classic tunes from the past two and a half decades.'
British DJ Kiwi has been steadily refining his skills as a producer since the mid noughties, releasing on labels such as Optimo, Disco Halal and Futureboogie. His style encompasses a wide array of influences, with elements of disco, techno and electronica always present. Moreover, the likes of Erol Alkan, Andrew Weatherall and DJ Harvey can be counted as fans. Now, making his debut on Moda Black, Kiwi delivers a banging track in the form of "Rabbit Hole" (feat Cactus Sauna), a sleazy indie dance gem that will appeal to fans of the Correspondant or I'm A Cliche sound. It is perfectly backed up by remixes from cult favourites Lord of the Isles (who delivers an absolutely 'kosmische' rendition) and NYC's Willie Burns: who delivers a pitched down EBM mutation which was right up our alley!
Producer Paul Withey and regular muse Sarah Lazenby pitch up on ISM with their highest profile release to date. Disco Fantasy is little less than a sparkling, thrill-a-minute showcase for their unique brand of boogie-influenced disco hedonism. There are three original tracks to enjoy: the Sure Thing-goes-P-Funk warmth of "Disco Fantasy", a cheery electrofunk-goes-'80s soul sing-along entitled "Make Believe" and the slick and groovy boogie soulfulness of "Lose Control". While all three standalone as dancefloor-friendly workouts, the accompanying remixes from Yam Who and Don Dayglow are arguably even stronger. The latter's swirling nu-disco-soul revision of "Lose Control" is warm and loved-up, while the former steals the show with a rework of "Make Believe" that turns it into an breezy, boogie-soul anthem.
Colin McBean was way ahead of the curve when he was releasing EPs on his Phoenix G imprint back in the late 90s. Now some of those seminal tech-house records get a re-release and unsurprisingly, they still sound fresh. "Gladesmen" is a tough affair, led by niggling acid lines, but McBean really impresses on "Pepsi!" The distinctive, layered drums rumble in, there is a woozy synth line and the arrangement sounds even tripper thanks to a slurred vocal loop intoning the title. "The Day After B" is also impressive, with McBean dropping a filtered loop and those unmistakable, steely drums.
Something tells us that this compilation isn't about smoking mere tobacco. Perhaps it's the green-eyed bad boy on the cover brandishing a suspiciously plump 'roll up'. Or maybe it's simply because of the hazy, lazy and groovy 70s vibes contained within. Robsoul Essential has managed to overcome the munchies, get off the couch and actually find nine expert reworks of old disco joints. Highlights include the bleary eyed, organic hip-hop beats of "This Is What It Is" by Homequest, the deep, heady loops of "Six Flags" by Chris Carrier and the bonged-out neo-soul of "Mondae".
France's deep house scene seems to be in rude health right now. Bordeaux-based Leon Revol may not be the highiest profile of Gallic producers, but his track record is nonetheless impressive. Here he returns to the home comforts of Monologues following a recent outing on Future Disco. He begins with the sun-kissed, bossa-tinged jazz-house loveliness of "Pink Coffee" - all Pat Metheny guitar flourishes, gentle Afro chants and Nicola Conte-goes-house drums - before wrapping spine-tingling piano motifs around a rolling groove on the delicious "Embers". "Sun is the Place" sees him saunter into the sunlight in the company of woozy synths and yearning deep house drums, while "Birds" effortlessly joins the dots between contemporary French deepness and the '90s Italian dream house movement.
With Tel Aviv duo Red Axes' ode to the sun still running strong; one and a half years after its release: here comes the heavyweight remix package. German wunderkind Konstantin Sibold takes the original into afro rave territory with voodoo percussion and a haunting bassline that will be hard to escape from. Fango from the Italian label Degustibis continues his string of strong remixes as he turns the original into a rough beat version: just drop the melody in the break for maximum dancefloor mayhem. And last but not least the Axes themselves come up with a tropical house version that works any time any place. And thus the sun continues to shine.
Since diving headlong into the world of music production earlier in the decade, Sebb Junior has been unstoppable. Remarkably, his latest outing on Large Music (his sixth for the long-serving Chicagoan imprint) is his seventh EP of 2017 to date. As usual, there's much to enjoy, from the bouncy deep house/disco house fusion goodness of "We Bring The Party" - where choice guitar and vocal samples weave in and out of a boogie-tinged peak-time groove - to the tension-extending builds, booming bass and swirling strings of French Touch style closer "Make Love Every Night". The track sandwiched in between, piano-heavy old school deep house rub "Feel The Same", is also rather impressive.
As the matter-or-fact title suggests, this expansive set gathers together a swathe of previously unheard remixes of tracks by Phil Mison's Balearic-minded Cantoma project, plus a handful of never-before-released bonus cuts. There's naturally much to set the pulse racing from the word go, when Test Pressing sort Apiento blends Padilla-style flamenco guitars, jaunty Afro-funk flourishes and early '90s Balearic breakbeats on an inspired rework of "Talva Lumi". Elsewhere, Mison goes all dubby and lucid on "Echo (Instrumental)", joins forces with old pal Pete Herbert as Reverso 68 for a synth-heavy, Balearic nu-disco interpretation of "Just Landed" and encourages Whatever/Whatever to reach for the acid lines in a sublime, floor-friendly remix of "Tabarin" that's worth the admission price on its own.
Greek tech house hero Mihalis Safras has sure had quite the rise to the top. Starting out modestly with releases on Trapez, Great Stuff and Saved while pumping out the goods on his now esteemed institution Material Series: he's now one of the biggest names in the scene. A consistent headliner at The White Isle's biggest parties and recipient of numerous industry awards. The now London based producer serves up a smashing release for fellow London big wigs Hot Creations. "Raygun Rave" sees Jamie Jones & Lee Foss' label venture further from pop inflected house sounds into more hard hitting dancefloor artillery. With its rolling bassline, swing fuelled rhythm and druggy elements: this absolutely has the peak time in mind. "One Stop To Babel" is more more funky and summery: a versatile weapon to play day or night but the remix up next by Vakant boss Mathias Kaden is much more powerful and moody.
Some 19 years on front the release of their debut single - on, of course, Drop Music - Inland Knights are still going strong. First up on the prolific duo's second single of 2017 is "Say Watt", a formidable peak-time workout built around rubbery disco bass, jazzy keys and their usual no-nonsense, East Midlands deep house beats. Interestingly, "Walk On" sees them depart from their trademark style, instead delivering a shuffling electro/deep house/acid hybrid featuring the kind of wayward vocal that was once all the rage in quirky Japanese pop songs. Crucially, when they allow the beats and acid lines room to breathe, it's something of a heavyweight jam.

Following releases on Be As One and Eduard de la Calle's Analog Solutions, Orbe drops this superb six-tracker for John Talabot's label. "Somebody Bring Me Here" is a deep, broken beat affair with a breathy voice asking "when did you first hear acid?". "Visceral Terror" is preceded by an abstract, noisy intro before it moves into a wigged out, pulsing minimal groove. The mood shifts back to the reflective on the title track's jazzy guitars and off centre beats, before making a dance floor detour for "Unexpected Dream's Rave". Underpinned by the kind of rough beats and rhythm that Lone makes, Orbe then drops layers of dreamy synths, making for a blissed out but clubby track.
As a rule of thumb, if Theo Parrish chooses to promote a producer, you can bet your bottom dollar that they're doing something right. That's certainly the case with Julion De'Angelo and Thomas Xu, who each contribute two fine tracks to this inspired Sound Signature EP. De'Angelo gets things going with the hazy, spaced-out goodness of "Chase The Summer" - all locked-in synth bass, rising and falling melody lines and skewed, jazz-tinged deep house percussion - before returning later with the gently distorted, two-step garage-goes-deep house wooziness of "Pocketfull". As for Xu, he somehow joins the dots between krautrock, wonky analogue house chug and distorted jazz on "Alottochewon", before mellowing things out on "Acceptance", a jazz-funk driven slice of fireside positivity that may be the EP's standout moment.
As Summer peaks, Berlin clubbing institution Watergate brings you the brand new series where standout tracks from their discography are remixed by some of their favourite artists. Kicking off the first instalment we have Matthias Meyer and Jimi Jules stepping up to deliver their twist on two big tunes from heavy-hitters Butch and Henrik Schwarz. First up is Meyer's remix of Butch's "Shahrzad", where he dishes out a truly timeless piece of dancefloor euphoria. With his trademark organic groove and swirling pads, Meyer guides you through a heavenly journey into the distant reaches of sonic elation. On the flip, Jimi Jules brings his A-game with a revision of Henrik Schwarz' classic "Words In Return" and in the process demonstrates an incredibly mature restraint, with precise and calculated efforts which results in an enchanting trip.
Fresh from a rock solid outing on Midnight Riot, Australia-based American James Curd returns to longtime home Classic. This time round, he has Shaun J Wright in tow, whose effortlessly soulful vocals - frequently chopped up and manipulated by boompty survivor Curd - rise above stretched-out pads, bubbly synthesizer melodies and energetic-but-unfussy drums on the duo's brilliant original version. Curd's loved-up synthesizer motifs and the bouncy groove are naturally given greater prominence on the accompanying Dubstramental version, which also includes even more cut-up snippets of Wright's brilliant vocal. While Curd rarely disappoints, "Now I Believe" is undoubtedly his strongest single for some time.
Futureboogie's annual multi-artist EP has become as big a part of our summer as tedious festival queues, soggy outdoor parties and complaining about the British weather. Label stalwart Christophe kicks off this sixth edition via the clattering machine drums, glistening Balearic flourishes and thrillingly psychedelic acid lines of "West Side Critters", before Zombies in Miami go all Eastern on the sitar-sporting house exotica of "The Legends of the Hidden Temple". There's more of a sun-warmed Balearic feel to the shuffling beats, tumbling chords and jangling pianos of Forriner's tasty "Spero", while Yuki Tosaya steals the show with "Acid Dawn Breaks", which is the kind of saucer-eyed, sunrise thriller that was all the range back at the turn of the '90s.
Oliver Huntemann's label continues to build its reputation with this split four track EP. Alex Luhr kick starts the release in mysterious mode on "Atlante", where sound track horror synths unfold over the label's trademark bass-heavy sound. Shaded's "Sip Trip" is just as moody, with pitch-bent vocals intoning its title, while Maksim Dark also makes use of ominous vocals to accompany his menacing, sub-bass heavy arrangement, "Addendum". The only real deviation from the Senso signature style comes from label regular Andre Winter. Featuring detuned riffs and a pumping minimal techno backing, it's the most upfront arrangement in this high-quality release.
TAPE_HISS - Cognitive Dissonance (Love Notes From Brooklyn) - exclusive 28-08-2017
RED AXES - Sun My Sweet Sun Remix (Permanent Vacation Germany)
HUXLEY - Careo EP (Moon Harbour)
VARIOUS - Summer Tales 2017 (Lazy Days US)
JAMES CURD feat SHAUN J WRIGHT - Now I Believe (Classic)
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