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Reviewed this week
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Following impressive collaborative outings on Dirt Crew and their own Splendor & Squalor label, Brame and Hamo once again join forces, this time for Detroit Swindle's Heist Recordings. Predictably, there's genuine warmth throughout, as the duo showcases more tactile deep house compositions. Opener "Parish Rumours" sets the tone, lacing filter-clad female vocal samples and twinkling melodies over a compressed, cymbal-heavy groove. The filters once again come to the fore on the sweet, soul-sampling "Ghetto For You", while "Hotshot" delivers the kind of loose, hazy and jazz-flecked deep house jam - think hazy horns, tumbling chords, held-note strings and bluesy vocal cut-ups - that evokes images of humid days reclining on Adriatic terraces and Mediterranean cliff-tops.
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For the first Magic Feet single of 2015, label boss Craig Bratley has decided to showcase the work of two relatively little-known producers; Correspondant contributor Paresse, and Clouded Vision associate Markus Gibb. The former kicks things off with "Nada", a stylish Italo chugger that makes great use of reverb, delay, foreboding electronics and sparkling synthesizers. The Swedish producer also offers up "Little Wanderer", a surprisingly grandiose chunk of fluttering Balearic disco. Gibb flips the script a little on "Prey", a slightly dark, post-punk influenced chugger blessed with fuzzy, atmospheric guitars, before rounding things off with the moody, mid-tempo rave revivalism-meets-new wave throb of "Whistler" (which, incidentally, does feature whistling).
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Soul Rebels is the alias Soul Revolution Records boss, Mike Millrain. Here his recent sleek future-garage jam, Being With You, gets the remix treatment. First up is Millrain himself, who takes the track into lush and deep soulful UKF. Next Martin Depp keeps it deep too, adding vintage New York garage vibes for good measure before Large Joints go all out spacey 2-step for an EP highlight.
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The masterful Lazy Flow has cooked up a rather special compilation for France's Folistar, showcasing the French capital's best and brightest house music stars. Although you get a mixed and continuous version of this comp, you can also cop the singles. All centred around the 4/4 continuum and the Chicago dynasty, it's up to you to hear what you require for your weekend evening sets...bumping, deep, hard and dubby, its all in here. Comprehensive to say the least!
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By now, we should all know exactly what to expect from Unknown To The Unknown founder DJ Haus, namely strobe-lit, floor-friendly smashers that doff a cap to the best bits of early '90s rave culture. This expansive EP for Rinse sees him touching on many of his usual themes, from Chicago acid ("Another Place"), ghetto-house and basement-friendly US house ("Make It Hot"), to breakbeat-driven summer-of-88 smashers ("High Voltage Houz"), and ragged, sub-heavy Yorkshire bleep and bass ("Bleep Phreak", "Crystal Houz"). As usual, each of the tracks - little more than superb DJ tools, really - is immaculately produced and thoroughly dancefloor-focused. In other words, he's delivered yet again.
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It's no surprise to see Amsterdam man Fritz Wentink issuing his debut album through Wolf Music, as the London label have been staunch supporters of his work with two 12" contributions over the past two years. The wonderfully named Rarely Pure, Never Simple adds to Wolf Music's growing artist album profile following long players from main men Medlar and Greymatter and further develops the all encompassing production style Wentink has displayed so eloquently for Detroit Swindle's Heist Recordings and others. He seems most impressive on the more downbeat tracks done in collaboration with Loes Jongerling who possesses a quite astounding vocal delivery, though those craving some proper house will totally dig on cuts like "The Excitement Happens At Page 320".
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Scotland's productive Alex Smoke finally to touches down on Optimo's sublime Optimo Trax for a four-track kick to the chest. The dude, or should we say the don, has released countless EPs, all of them on excellent households such as R&S, Soma and even Vakant so it's no real surprise that he'd be landing on yet another quality platform. Four cuts: deep, off-the-wall four-to-the-floor jackers packed with plenty of deranged sonics and atmospheric goodness. To be played loud on a system or on your headphones for a bit of meditative electronic yoga.
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Croatian newcomer Teleskop stares deep into the spatial abyss and translates the milky cosmos into a sonic language we can all understand. "Entropolis" kickstarts the star-gazing affair at a stately mid-tempo pace, with a 2020 Soundsystem style arpeggiated bass and an ultimately warm and inviting groove. We then hit the deep dreams of "WMAP", a cut fuelled on Underground Resistance echoes and motifs that's remixed by Magnesii (twinkling slo-mo) and Kask (gradual galloping techno). With a lush, super-steppy, synth-soaked, juicy-bass Joy-O-style remix of "Entropolis" thrown in for good measure, LSR live up to their Legendary status once again.
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Of the many Surgeon classics there are, there's one that arguably can't be topped for cheers and whistles once its synth arrives, and that's "Syllable". This is the third release from Surgeon's SRX label which is remastering Surgeon's loved and previously unreleased DAT tape to suite the sound systems of the present. Take one listen to the bassy pulses of "Cable" and you'll be scrambling for your next/first gig on a Funktion-One rig. "Wire" and "Wave" are opposites in that the former is beat down and in your face, while the latter is deep and moody - both, however, are extremely danceable. Furthermore, "Particle" shows signs of Autechre influence while "Optic" is a production very much made by someone inspired by Jeff Mills.
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Oh my, it's Sandy Barber making a return to the unstoppable BBE with his best from a recent release handsomely remixed by none other than Opolopo, an artist who has released on the likes of Local Talk. "I Think I'll Do Some Stepping (On My Own)" is reworked into a soulful mood house cut with awesome back atmospherics and a certified 70s flavour. A right head-nodder on the floor!
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Berlin/Milan based Italian twosome Riccardo Paffetti and Gabriele Micheli have previously impressed with their chunky blends of bass-heavy deep house, classic Italian house and basement-friendly Berlin techno. Here they once again the Black Loops alias for their first single on Toy Tonics since 2013. They begin with the classic bump of "No Questions" - all warm chords, heavyweight sub, US house shuffle and Todd Edwards style vocal cut-ups. One-time Dirtybird regular Ardalan provides the obligatory remix, roughening up the edges via murkier basslines, wild electronics and rolling, post-fidget grooves. Finally, the duo offers up something altogether deeper and more melodious in the shape of "Suki", a picturesque roller blessed with a particularly spellbinding breakdown.
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Scott 'Robot 84' Ferguson has previously worked with Yam Who man Andy Williams, but has apparently gone solo on this first single since 2013. Dedicated to the more electronic side of disco - with clear house and Balearic influences, of course - Ferguson drops a trio of floor-friendly gems for Paper Disco. The title track is the real killer, with appealing synth melodies and woozy, near Balearic chords riding a hard-wired, Italo style arpeggio. "Automatic" is a bouncy nu-disco number with clear deep house influences and more analogue-sounding synthesizers, while "Ego" sees him explore the world of classic dub house via ricocheting
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Ed Butler and Robbie Lamond aka Billon have finally managed to release some music after a handsome set of DJ mixes and compilations, and it's on none other than London's Rinse. "Nothing" is a funky and stepping house number with blue-eyed soul vocals and a rather special remix/collaboration rework by garage legend Todd Edwards, who transforms the original into a straighter kind of lick. "Dive In" is the floor ticket thanks to that swelling Chicago bassline, and you have drum and bass maverick Nu:Tone to stir things up into an unexpected dusty house swing.
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Ruede Hagelstein has already released on the mythical Watergate series but only with an EP, which is something of a minicule accomplishment compared to this new full-lengther for the Berlin nightlife trend-setter. Apophenia is an LP of many colours, ten tracks which glide from moments of docile euphoria to more penetrating shades of grey-scaled quasi electro. It's a bit more heady and spaced out than Ruede's previous releases for the likes of Upon You, and less dancefloor-focussed than most of her material but it's a truly adventurous journey into synth-heavy deep house and electronica.
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"Reach Out", a swinging, shuffling, bruk-influenced soulful house gem featuring the sumptuous vocals of Hannah Khemoh, is the latest single to be taken from Bristol-based Welshman Sean McCabe's excellent debut album, It's Time. Alongside McCabe's extended version, there's a headline rework from Atjazz and an all-new edit from the original producer. The Atjazz version will get most of the attention, featuring as it does the perfect blend of European style tech-house chords, insatiable vocal loops and percussion that's suitably sturdy whilst retaining an element of swing. McCabe's Paradise Edit is excellent, too, with key vocal phrases being paired with melodious keys, dreamy chords and beats that shuffle majestically.
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Not to be confused with Bon Jovi's drummer, the mysterious Tico Torres steps up to Alkalino's Audaz brand with five hugely contrasting (but all equally stunning) cuts. There's the paranoid, warped techno of "Volume One", we then hit heavy horn samples of "Silvia" and the Derrick Carter-style "Sexy Mad Sax" before dropping back into the darkness with Brett Johnson-style glitches and jitters of "Share". Finally we get "Lost", fusing the iciness of the tech tracks and jazzy warmth of the house cuts with garage style bass bubbles, it joins the seemingly disparate dots found elsewhere on the EP. Dead in a second, alive for a lifetime.
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Germany's Dirt Crew have always put out top quality house and techno over the years, with the likes of Adultnapper and Ricardo Villalobos sprouting up on their catalogue from time to time. However, they're also experts in delivering music by new and interesting talent out there in the field such as this latest collaborative EP by Urulu and Steve Huerta, who between them have seen an impressive run of form over the last few years. If you're into swinging, percussive-fuelled dub house the this is the ticket for you, and these guys mean business when it comes to the dancefloor. We're particularly find of Urulu's "Laura Don't Touch That", a discofried house bomb that just keeps on givin'.
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On the basis of this latest Studio Barnhus slab, it feels like Kornel Kovacs is becoming a more accomplished producer with every release. Kovacs first committed some music to the label he runs with Axel Boman and Petter Nordkvist back in 2010 - one track on a split release - and he's gradually used the label to explore his sound in greater detail. Nincs is his most comprehensive statement yet, featuring some four tracks filled with that trademark Barnhus charm and personality. See the strange vocal ticks, samples and manipulations that populate the cheeky house bump of "Nordic Rave 4" or the more glacial breeze to "Utopia, Ohio". Best of all is "So So Solid" which discards with any rhythmic concern completely so Kovacs can focus wholly on manipulating and processing a vocal harmony.
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Permanent Vacation co-founder Tom Bioly first served notice of his production talents with a contribution to Hivern Disc's highly prized Hiverned series, with the Twin Peaks theme riffing "Invitation to Love" a mainstay in the record boxes of Optimo and ND Baumecker. Fast forward a few years and Bioly is back as TB with his first full release, issued on home turf and every bit as potent as that Hiverned cut. Across the four tracks on City Girl, Bioly reveals a real diversity to his production palette with the dreamy title cut complemented well by the more stripped back minimalist thrust of "Nothing Is" and the fluffy "Domino".
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Prog legend Warren and momentum-blazing Israeli trooper Mantzur collide to create an ultimately euphoric groove that swoons with big, breathy chord changes that wouldn't have gone amiss in the late 90s. With well-oiled drums "Sad Robot" chugs into the never-never with breezy abandon. For a slipperier, more linear twist head for Musumeci's remix where the chords remain but are delivered with leaner dynamics. Electrifying enough to jolt any sad robot out of depression, you'll be hearing this a lot throughout the summer.
Exclusives
DJ HAUS - Make It Hot (Rinse)
TIMES ARE RUFF - Times Are Ruff (Tomorrow Is Now, Kid!) - exclusive 22-04-2015
FRITZ & LANG - Lick Your Fingers EP (Canal Auditif) - exclusive 24-04-2015
Exclusives
LAZY FLOW/VARIOUS - Paris' House Finest (Folistar) - exclusive 20-04-2015
McCABE, Sean/HANNAH KHEMOH - Reach Out (Z Records)
TELESKOP - Entropolis (Legendary Sound research) - exclusive 20-04-2015
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Tom Trago DJ Chart
Bred For Pleasure DJ Chart
James Teej DJ Chart
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