Aroop Roy - London based soul boy 'of many dimensions' - has been pretty silent for nearly a year. Perhaps he just went on holiday in some exotic far-flung dimension, but he's back now, all guns blazing. Brazil Breakdown Part 2 features three spicy cuts of feverish retro Latin funk, all boasting irresistible beach party grooves and seductively catchy vocals.
There's much to admire on Todd Osborn's latest release for Gerd Jansen's Running Back Imprint, not least the Michigan-based producer's impressive eclecticism. While the "Frankfurt Mix" of "Put Your Weight On It" has a distinct Motorik bent - admittedly with the addition of some angular acid lines - the alternative "Chicago Mix" turns the same track into a Phuture style jacker. It's after this that Osborn really lets his hair down, though. "Medium" is a wide-eyed blast of shimmering synthesizer goodness - like some E'd-up late '80s/early '90s instrumental synth-pop gem - while "Market" has all the warmth and melodic flourishes of a classic Mood Hut or Future Times release.
In between Marcel Dettmann and Erol Alkan Fabric mixes the London club and institution help Terry Francis, Nathan Coles and Eddie Richards' Wiggle brand celebrate their 20th anniversary. They've done so by putting together a 20-track compilation that includes music from Just Be, (aka Bushwacka), Berkson & What, D'Julz and Jay Tripwire. Just because it's minimal in sound doesn't mean it's minimal by nature and this Wiggle For 20 Years compilation presents 74 minutes of grooving rhythms with material from recent Wiggle guests Alex Arnout, Saytek and Dachshund, as well as some fresh cuts from long running Wiggle affiliates like Gideon Jackson.
Big release for both artist and label here as London-based Australian producer Francis Inferno Orchestra comes through with A New Way Of Living, a debut album on the Voyeurhythm operation, which doubles up as its first full-length project. Having first surfaced in 2010 and dropped numerous 12"s along the way, you feel now is the right time for Griffin James to show what he's capable of over the length of an album and this is a very confident set. The dusty, sample laden house sound Francis Inferno Orchestra is known for is very much in evidence here but there's plenty of diversity shown over the seven cuts to keep you coming back for more. The daisy age goes house vibes of "The More You Like" and the weighty beat down "Rap Beef" are immediate standouts.
It's been a fair few years now since Italian producer Massimiliano Pagliara, famed for his analogue-heavy blends of bright synthesizer melodies, pop hooks, Chicago house grooves and robust acid lines, relocated from Italy to Berlin. It's obviously been a fruitful move, as this second full-length - his first dropped in 2011 - is mostly made up of collaborations with locally based producers. Norwegian exile Telephones lends a hand on the deliciously Balearic "Long Distance Call", with one-time NYC resident Lee Douglas recalling his TBD work with Justin Vandervolgen on the murky acid assault that is "Fall Again". Elsewhere, you'll find a range of moods, ranging from the enveloping power house of "Native Tribes of Jupiter" (a hook-up with Credit 00), to the dreamy synth-pop of "With One Another".
Jennifer Cardini's label has developed an in-house style with its low-slung, rumbling electronic grooves - and Cornetto will only serve to enhance its identity. The work of a new Mexican artist, Cornetto revolves around heavy, pitched down beats, visceral percussion and on the title track, screeching, deranged horns. "LMM" sees Jones veer towards the kind of dark, EBM house that Tiefschwaz used to excel at during the early '00s, but it can't compare to the stand out track, "Slow". Underpinned by a spiky, new wave rhythm, vocalist Mijo contemptuously spits out an incoherent rant over wave upon wave of icy synths.
Danny Tenaglia is a stone cold legend, but his profile has waned significantly over recent years. Given that it's 25 years since the release of his first production, this first contribution to the Balance series - is well timed. Pleasingly, it seems Tengalia still "has it it". Throughout the collection, the veteran NYC DJ maintains a fearsome energy level, mixing things up via a track list that spans chunky tech-house, darkroom tribal, heavily percussive fare (see Michel Cleis' dub of Basement Jaxx's "Mermaid of Salinas") and intelligent techno revivalism (Dax J's brilliant "Dreamscape" and Ho's "Deletion 3"). It is, of course, an impeccable selection, as you'd expect from a man with Tengalia's undoubted pedigree.
After two years of blood, sweat and tears, Spanish re-edit producer Fernando "Nelue" Gomez is finally in a position to present to us his debut LP, "Both Sides". The first thing to notice about the record is that (in his own words) it's "100% original disco/funk/Balearic/soulful/house". There are 11 tracks in all, featuring guest appearances from the likes of Max Essa, Cavaliers Of Fun, Ribal Rayees, Angie Cervantes and Ryan Peel. Highlights include the sizzling electro-house of "Right Through You", the portentous space-disco of "Tired Of Your Lack Of Empathy" and the low key synthy Balearica of "John & Mary".
Marco Dionigi tends to give buyers a lot of bang for their buck. That's certainly the case here, with seven decidedly cosmic disco jams to choose from. The title track - a chugging, exotic chunk of atmospheric dub disco with lashings of Indian style instrumentation - is available in three different flavours. Of these, it's a toss up between the Dub and the Original Mix for us, with the former just shading it. Elsewhere, "Roccia Antica" layers backwards effects and pianos over a spiraling, wall-of-sound groove, while "Malinconia" is slow, dubby and pleasingly out-there. "Onde", a hazy ambient excursion featuring more droning sitars and "Tomorrow Never Knows" style backwards loops, is also worth a listen.
Toolroom Live 01 is a behemoth. At 61 tracks large, inclusive of three continues DJ mixes, this new concept by Toolroom, as they say, is to highlight key artists, present new tracks, and give their fans a taste of the live experience. On here there's music from Harvey Mckay, Gary Beck and Maison Sky, to Bat For Lashes, Hot Since 82 and label owner Mark Knight, and if you're looking to grasp the Toolroom Live concept (and other oddities you might not expect), while getting some bang from your buck, this release is a well informed start.
Too Dramatic is glassy-eyed dance-pop combo No Regular Play's first new material for longtime home Wolf + Lamb for two years. The title track sets the tone, lacing droning vocals, occasional stabs, subdued electric pianos and woozy electronic noises over a shuffling, tech-tinged groove. Former Rong Music man Woolfy provides the obligatory remix, utilizing classic disco beats and bouncy melodies to give the original a much more energetic feel. Elsewhere, "Swim On" is a fine chunk of fluorescent synth-funk with a slightly blazed feel, while "Fire Alright" fixes smooth pianos and hazy vocals to skittering Chicago house handclaps and 808 electro rhythms.
The development of Aussie Tornado Wallace from a promising deep house producer to a masterful maker of Balearic beats has been a joy to behold. Since first hooking up with Beats In Space and the similarly inclined ESP Institute last year, he's begun to develop a trademark sound that's warm, humid and musically rich. He's still capable of laying down chunky dancefloor rhythms, though, as the hypnotic new age house bumper "Soft Light" - the flipside of this second outing for Lovefingers' acclaimed imprint - so deftly proves. Really, though, it's when he gets more adventurous - such as on the wonderfully evocative Jonny Nash collaboration "Time of Nectar" and decidedly tropical lead cut "Circadia" - that he really comes into his own. Highly recommended.
Given the combined talents of Brighton-based powder house stars Maxxi Soundsystem and Bristol-dwelling house veteran Lee 'Thrilogy' Pattison, you'd expect "300 Vows" to be a bit of a killer. It's certainly rather good, with easy listening vocal samples riding a lolloping, tech-tinged Balearic house groove. It sounds like the sort of thing you'd expect to soundtrack sweltering Adriatic sunsets. Wolf + Lamb affiliates No Regular Play provide the headline remix, playing on the original's Balearic elements by way of hazy trumpets and spine-tingling chords. Elsewhere, there's a chunkier Dub for those who dislike the vocal sample, and a bass-driven, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Bells & Whistles remix.
If you are a fan of 2020 Vision with a keen understanding of the online electronic music community you will probably be content with the content that's preceded the release of Content, the label's 20th anniversary compilation. Yet how does the multi-format release shape up against the pre-release hype? Well this second sampler features a brand new cut from Simian Mobile Disco as well as fresh remixes of 2020 classics from Matthew Herbert and Cassy, which says it all really! SMD lead the way with "Parson's Nose" which is Jas and James at their most melodically languid and involving, whilst Cassy adds some notable chunkiness to "Get On Down," David Duriez's 2002 release on Ralph Lawson's label. The idea alone of Herbert remixing Maya Jane Coles is filled with intrigue and his resultant take on "Senseless" is resolutely strange without losing any dancefloor impact.
Following a recent spate of singles compilations, Spain's A2C is now delivering a new selection of UK-influenced sizzlers. The You House EP is the latest and, although boasting only two tracks, is packed with the solid quality production that he's known for. Both tracks have a UKF bounce but the title track adds some raw fuzz to the sparse 4/4 beats and doomy synths. "The Hole" on the other hand, is livelier with skippy pumping garage vibes, snippets of MC vocals and some big hands-in-the-air swooshes.
There's always been something a little Balearic about the toasty, picturesque works of Glasgow-based deep house duo MermaidS. Even so, Welcome to Sunset seems to be a conscious attempt to enhance those Balearic credentials. While the EP does include some particularly warm and hazy deep house - see "Some Daze" and the loopy, electrofunk-influenced sunshine surge of "Hearts & Oceans" - the two most impressive tracks here are a little harder to pigeonhole. Opener "Two Moons Rising" - all enveloping chords, alien electronics, chugging, Italo-influenced bottom end and woozy melodies - sounds a little like Seahawks or some of Chris Carter's more atmospheric 1980s work, while "I Wish You Didn't Dub Me So Much" has all the wide-eyed charm of an obscure 1980s European synth-pop B-side.
The man from Detroit known as Brooks Mosher reports for duty on Dolly for a third time, brandishing a quartet of signature cuts! As with output on Steffi's label as a whole, there is little extra that needs saying about Don't Say Goodbye, with Mosher perfectly calibrating each of the four productions for optimum usage by any self respecting house DJ. The barrage of percussion and wonderfully uplifting pads that characterise lead track "Phoenix" sets the tone nicely, and is a considered highlight of the release along with the dark and sweaty vibes of "Falling". Another one for the box from Dolly!
It's fair to say Mr Danny Daze is enjoying a fine 2014 with this debut on Kompakt's Speicher series arriving in the aftermath of two superb releases for Jimmy Edgar's Ultramajic and Maceo Plex's Ellum Audio. There's a sense of prestige that comes with a Speicher release and the two powerful productions from the Miami-based Daze hint he's fully worthy of his placement in the Kompakt extra annals of fame. Lead track "Freeze (Frozen Mix)" sees Daze focus on detail, keeping the drum programming to a minimum so an accompaniment of synth washes, machine noise and muted horns can have full effect. Those wanting something a bit more marauding will be all over "Speaker Language" which pairs a powerful snare rattling groove with some treated vocals.
MOS Deep travel into the uncharted waters of Glasgow on their latest release, securing The Haggis Trap from rising production talent Stephen Lopkin. Some four tracks deep, this EP sees an approach seems perfectly in line with Aroy Dee's label. Take for example "The Haggis Trap" which fluctuates superbly between moments of calm and acid drenched chaos or the superb hi tech jazz stylings of "Catherine's Track". Meanwhile, the superbly titled "Let's All Talk About Me" shows Lopkin can lay down dusty kicks with the best of them whilst "Mugs Alley" expertly demonstrates his talent for melody.
Foto continues with its 2014 release schedule with 3 tracks from label boss OOFT! Dub 4 Daze gets the delay units set to long to create a trippy house number, whilst on the flip Enter The Dragon is a more direct jam targeted at the floor with plenty of stabs and hihats. Rounding things off Father Father pitches things down for the erection section.