It's the onset of a brave new era for Ostgut Ton as Panorama Bar 06 signals the label's decision to halt the manufacturing of CDs for their much loved series of mixes. Due for free download via the Ostgut site on August 11, the Berlin operation have not forgone the vinyl format with all the exclusives gathered by mix curator Ryan Elliott pressed up across a pair of 12" samplers. And boy did Elliott call in the favours with this first sampler featuring new and unreleased music from Neworldaquarium, Roman Flugel, Terrence Dixon, Tuff City Kids and Borrowed Identity. It is an overall exquisite selection, running from the ambience of NWAQ's contribution to Flugel's big room stomper and the sweeter, more playful sounds of Tuff City Kids and Borrowed Identity.
A second sampler for Ryan Elliott's newly dropped Panorama Bar 06 mix opens with "Take It Slow", a rugged house jam of the finest order from The Oliverwho Factory and proceeds to take in cuts from former label manager Nick Hoppner, Deadbeat, Dettmann and Sushitech mainstay Makam. Individually the standard of these exclusives is remarkably high and it will be interesting to see how Elliott has slotted them all together for the free to download mix. If we had to guess, Deadbeat's superb glistening house burner "Woah" would make an appearance towards the end thanks to his high tempo, whilst Dettmann's swirling layers of ambience on "Light" feel very much like a set opener.
Brooklyn disco-funkers Midnight Magic tore a hole in the scene in late 2013 with their debut album Midnight Creepers. Here we find Permanent Vacation doing what they do best; recruiting some of the game's finest producers to write their own subverted footnotes on an already killer narrative. Highlights include Blase's angular off-beat bleep serenade that eventually develops into a raw emotional meltdown on "Red Rain", the almost human-like heavy breathing synths of Mano Le Tough's take on "Drop Me A Line" and any one of the takes of the band's biggest hit to date "Beam Me Up". As ever with Permanent Vacation, there's some serious magic in the mix right here.
When the hitters are as big as Maceo Plex and Kompakt, there's no need for trite B side distractions and so this single-sided release comes forth with exactly the kind of anthemic, pop-straddling tech house that you would expect from such a combination. There may be edgy arpeggios and chunky drums powering the rhythm of the track, but with the straining emotional vocal and romantic pad sweeps, this is a track to garner appeal across the board, and not at the expense of the impact this will have in a club. It won't take long to learn the words, so before the summer is out you can expect plenty of people to be cooing along dreamily to this bright and bold belter.
Tony Beardsley's unsigned productions caught the ear of a number of well-regarded DJs, including Daniel Avery and Craig Bratley. The latter decided to take a punt on signing the producer, releasing this debut EP on his Magic Feet imprint. "Return of the Oscillator" is quietly impressive; combining post-EBM and new-beat elements with the kind of midtempo chug and nu-Balearic flourishes for which Bratley's label has become so renowned. The Hardway Brothers provide the obligatory remix, delivering a gnarled techno revision with plenty of quietly twisted electronics and just a whisper of acid. "Galactic", which features additional production from Hardway Brothers man Sean Johnston, dips the tempo for additional hazy Balearic flavour.
Having recently dabbled in the artist album format, Comeme turn to matters of a compiled nature with this fine collection of tracks presented under the banner Gasoline. Fans of the label will be pleased to see that Ana Helder contributes the title track, whilst Argentinean selectors Djs Pareja appear twice with one track a collaboration with fellow Comeme mainstay Alejandro Paz. It's also great to see the label introduce a few new names, with the self-styled GlasGoan Auntie Flo a perfect fit for Comeme given his previous output for Huntleys & Palmers, Permanent Vacation, Mule and Kompakt Extra. The presence of Mexican duo Zombies In Miami, Portuguese 'Bachelor House' advocates Voxels and Chileans Vaskular and Valesuchi suggests Comeme's A&R skills for uncovering new talent remains as keen as ever.
In just four releases Brame has managed to land himself solo releases on Morris Audio, Dirt Crew and Drumpoet Community, which speaks volumes for the quality of his deep house wares. It's the latter that he returns to for round two, finding fresh form with the sublime and soothing tones of "Vinyl Cut" and the edgier thrust of "Absent". The standout track on the EP is the title jam, which takes a more progressive route as swirling melodies weave a mystical message around the heads down drum lines, leaving plenty of room for delectable techy stabs to inject some mechanised soul into the tune in its later stages.
JD Twitch's Autonomous Africa series is something of a rarity. Each annual EP, which features modern electronic music influenced by African rhythms, sounds and styles, is used to raise money for a different African charity. Proceeds from this third in the series are destined for Tanzania's Mtandika Mission, a charity run by Midland's parents. It seems fitting, then, that he kicks things off with "Safi", a heavyweight slice of future voodoo that expertly blends analogue electronics and bombastic African rhythms. General Ludd go deep, psychedelic and off-kilter with their brilliant "Burning Mack", while Auntie Flo delivers a stripped-back vocal cut with echoes of his recent material on Permanent Vacation. Finally, Twitch steps up to deliver "Maya", which sounds like LFO's "LFO" re-made by African musicians.
Hot Natured band member Luca Cazal (AKA Luca C) makes a belated solo debut for Crosstown Rebels, predictably delivering an EP jam-packed with atmospheric, shuffling tech-house gems. The groove underpinning lead cut "Mariri" swells impressively, offering ample room for Cazal's low-register bassline, restless cowbells and unusual vocal sample to take effect. Detroit techno legend Stacey Pullen remixes, delivering a version with a touch more energy and plenty of sci-fi inspired electronic touches. Elsewhere, Cazal joins forces with Mark Jenkyns on the bouncy, rave-goes-deep chugger "The Bullfrog", while all-star hook-up "Memory Man" is formidably wide-eyed, centering the action around dreamy vocals, bubbling electronics and deliciously tactile chords.
Kompakt's Total compilation series - an annual round up of gems from the imprint's tightly packed release schedule - must be one of the longest-running in dance music. Amazingly, this latest installment is the 14th volume in the series. For those who enjoy Kompakt's generally positive approach to electronic music - think tactile techno, ambient pop and skewed, synth-laden house from the likes of Michael Mayer, Thomas Fehlmann, Partial Arts and Gui Boratto - there's much to admire, including a slew of previously unreleased cuts. These include Superpitcher's "Delta", a sublime chunk of hypnotic e-tronica that's almost too melodic for its own good. Arguably even better is Weval's live recording of "Something", which is near perfect in its wide-eyed pop simplicity.
Forging a link with Bristol disco-house bastion Futureboogie, Lithuanian production team Downtown Party Network are in fine fettle with this EP of appropriately groovesome jams. The title track unfurls steadily around a hooky bass line and a crisp set of drums, taking an uncompromising approach to club dynamics without losing sight of the soul. "Keep On Running" works a cheeky funk into the proceedings thanks to a bouncy bassline, while the keys play out in delicate touches to accentuate the rhythm and the peaks dissipate with a restrained cool. "No Drama Afterhours" rounds the EP with a fluffier turn rich in warm melodic lines and a woozy atmosphere for the end of the night.
Following killer transmissions for Unthank and Dopeness Galore, our favourite Australian funkateer Inkswel opened 2013 with a bang and a bump in the shape of Hot Shot Records, a label the Melbourne based producer founded with like minded soul Freekwency. Both artists contribute to the debut release, a two-tracker now available digitally that is bursting with unrestricted soulful drum machine music. Inkswel calls shotgun, teaming up with vocalist Reggie B for the glorious MPC fonk of "So Over It" whilst Voyeurhythm artist Freekwency also collaborates with a singer Molly D on the resplendent drum machine glisten of "Just For Two". It's only begun for Hot Shots - keep an eye on this label!
For the third release on his label, the Berghain resident has tapped fellow Berlin dweller Thomas Hessler. The similarities don't end there and Perception shares many of the same qualities as Fengler's own productions. "Stratosphere" evolves from lithe break beats into a dark and grungy bass that eventually morphs into a squealing morass. "Consequence" is dance floor based but understated, with a pulsing bass and an intricate web of percussion throughout, while the title track pushes in the opposite direction. Underscored by concrete block beats and rickety percussion, it features a spiraling acid line. Finally, as is also Fengler's wont, Hessler delivers "Distance", a dramatic, sensuous ambient piece of mood music.
This collaboration between fast-rising producer Kaytranada and similarly up-and-coming vocalist Shay Lia - the former's first for XL - has received plenty of hype since Benji B gave it a debut on his 6 Music show. It's not hard to see why. "Leave Me Alone" has all the ingredients for success. Built around shuffling, Osunlade-ish, African-influenced house rhythms, it boasts some spellbinding pianos and a killer, sub-bothering bassline. Throw in Lia's seductively soulful vocal, and you have a track that seemingly slithers between the speakers like a snake smothered in baby oil. It's a superb cross-genre fusion that should please anyone who likes their deep house soulful and left-of-centre.
Brazilian duo Digitaria follow-up their recent Night Falls Again full-length with a deserved single release of "Favourite Addiction", one of that set's strongest moments. The original version - produced alongside Turbo and Hot Creations regular Clarian - is typically atmospheric, with dreamy, touchy-feely vocals and spitting electronics riding a shuffling, saucer-eyed deep house groove. Fast-rising star Jey Kurmis offers up a tougher, darker and altogether more energetic remake, where the original vocals ride a wave of pumping percussion and off-key electronic noises. Finally, '90s survivors Groove Armada provide the standout version, a swinging, nine-minute epic that adds a little vintage late night hustle - via sparse pianos, chunky bass and delay-laden vocal samples - to the original's key-wielding powder house bounce.
Jerome C, born and raised at Haifa City Port in Israel, is a declared fan of vintage gear; always looking to explore the special analog sound. He creates music with a sumptuous mixture of house, disco, funk, and hip-hop. Most house fans will know Jerome for his production partnership with Double Hill that saw them grace Soul Clap's Double Standard label with the excellent I Need Love EP a few years back. The Wind finds Mr C surface on Spanish label Apersonal Music with a trio of productions characterized by the analog raw gear sounds. "The Wind", "Keeping Funk Alive" and "You Better Think" are all deep house gems that roll over warm sonic waves and melodic bassline beats. Remixes come from Quarion and Toby Tobias, with the former adding some uplifting, melodic vibes to the title track, whilst the latter flushes "Keeping Funk Alive" with darker hues.
Here the high priest of disco, Nile Rodgers, sees his "Do What You Wanna Do" track snapped up (in a charity auction no less) by Cr2 to mark their 10th anniversary. Having a track by the man behind Chic is one hell of a way to celebrate and they're extending the moment by commissioning a whole string of remixes. This set features eight commercial house versions, the highlight of which include Moon Boots' retro garage mix, Eats Everything's tough electro-houser and Rob Da Banks' smooth and blissy electro-disco re-rub. Good Times!
This Avocado release by French producer Alexkid may well be the best thing he's released yet, which is quite the praise seeing as Alexis Mauri has been putting out records since 1997. Avacado also provides him with a debut on Josh Wink's Ovum, and what a debut it is. "The Dope" is deep, squiggly and atmospheric with pulses of bass tones bleeping in and out of sync like a modular system gone mad, while the future Chicago house of "For Josh" will indeed be a hit, if it isn't one already, for Wink's DJ sets, whether it be in Ibiza or the basement venues of NYC.
The SHAG Edits hits Volume 4 welcoming David Glass, Timmy P and Two's Tones to the Roots For Bloom roster. David brings a big hitter with Tape Deck with its MC sampled vocal, Timmy's is drenched in sunshine for all the day parties this is sure to go off at and Two's Tones takes things on a jazz twist, with clever sampling but always that underlying groove that the Roots For Bloom label is known for. Fans of the previous releases wont be dissapointed.
Huxley's come a long way since his formative releases on labels like Cecille Numbers, Tsuba and Kolour Recordings. In recent times he's delivered the goods to Rinse, Hypercolour and Defected with last year's impressive Chatsworth Sound collaboration with Shenoda. His second EP for Will Saul's Aus Music is a varied affair with something to please everyone with a taste for UK flavoured house. It's a certainty the bassline of "Callin" will make this track a summer smash - festival dancers watch out - while the grittier low end frequencies of "Machina" are more suited to a underground club vibe. Huxley goes deeper into the minimal end of tribalish house music on "Tendered Mess" while "Oil Spill" is a signature of Huxley's trademark bassline style.