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Following a recent dalliance with Brooklyn-based Razor 'N' Tape Reserve, COEO returns to the loving arms of Toy Tonics with another solid four-track excursion. Happily, they hit the ground running with the rushing positivity of "Mydonna", a bumpin' chunk of peak-time house goodness built around some superb disco samples and a bustling groove. The accompanying, "alternate cut" smartly emphasizes some of the original instrumentation, whilst adding some subtle swing to the disco-house drums. On the flip, you'll find the deep, smooth and sensual "Torrow", and the breezy, atmospheric, piano-laden shuffle of "Coast To Coast".
As the rather functional title suggests, this EP gathers together some fresh remixes of tracks from Soul Clap's superb 2016 full-length, the similarly imaginatively titled Soul Clap. Deep house veterans Doc Martin and Blakkat step up first, laying down a chunky but trippy re-make of "Funk Bomb" that sounds a little like a classic track by The Beloved. The Jolly Mare version of "Future 4 Love" is an attractive fusion of rubbery dub disco grooves and thrusting Italo-disco influences, while Obas Nenor does a terrific job in re-casting Wolf+Lamb collaboration "Dirty Leslie" as a quirky chunk of Mungolian Jet Set style nu-disco eccentricity. If you're after something a little more slick and soulful, David Marston and Myles Karp's gentle, trumpet-laden version of "Numb" more than fits the bill.
For the latest release on his prolific Midnight Riot label, Yam Who has parachuted in special scalpel agents Disco Troopers. The all-action All Night Long EP is a perfect showcase of their style, which blends big disco samples and even larger beats with original electronic elements inspired by acid house and Italo-disco. The EP's headline attraction is undoubtedly opener "All Night Long", which underpins surging orchestral disco samples with heavy analogue bass and crunchy house beats. The strangely familiar "Eleven" sees them expertly blended druggy TB-303 motifs with spacey chords and Italo-disco style arpeggio lines, while "Howlin" is a fuzzy, cosmic disco vocal cut for dancefloors that like their grooves wavy and psychedelic.
For the latest EP on his fast-rising Sprechen imprint, Chris Massey has joined forces with Spanish producer James Rodriguez. As the title makes clear, the two original productions showcased here were inspired by the druggy, off-kilter world of early '80s mutant disco. They begin with "Take Me Higher", where effects-laden vocal samples and disco string stabs rise above a trippy, Italo-disco style arpeggio, before dipping the tempo on the spaced-out, proto-techno era electronic shuffle of "Spanglish". Gina Breeze provides a chunkier, heavier, dubbed-out interpretation of "Take Me Higher", before Rave-Enka turns "Spanglish" into a new beat-meets-early UK rave smasher.
German duo Frankey & Sandrino are back again on Innervisions their third release for Dixon and Ame's label thus far. On "Wega" it's a deep and spacey tech house affair, with exotic choral chants reminiscent of Villalobos' "Enfants" used sparingly over a tunneling and entrancing groove. Next offering "Pollux" is the real winner on here though. This darkly minimal house experiment builds gradually into a chill and glitchy house jam with sparse rhythm arrangements and buzzy melodies.
When Bas Bron agreed to re-release his track "What's A Girl To Do?' on Dekmantel in 2015, he could not have imagined the success and acclaim it would go on to enjoy. Then the Dutch producer faced a fresh dilemma - how to make a suitable follow-up. He seems to have overcome this hurdle with Arava. While the title track's soaring bass and sun-kissed melodies are tailored made for festivals and big rooms, the real Fatima Yamaha sound is audible on the laid-back electro funk of "Piayes Beach Bar And Grill", while another slow-burning classic is audible on the easy-listening electronics of "Romantic Bureaucracy".
For his latest audio adventure, Footjob founder Phonk D has joined forces with old pal Le Rubrique for a joint foray into the world of quirky disco-house. Opener "Flying Circus" is something of a cheeky dancefloor treat, and features the duo melding cut-up elements from a familiar, disco-era anthem with swinging house beats and a seriously chunk bassline. Borrowed Identity provides a smoother but still eccentric deep house revision of that tune, before Phonk and Rubrique wrap spacey, stretched-out synth chords over a snappy house groove on the quietly impressive "Latenight Flight". A tasty package is completed by the wonky, Syclops-style electronics, slipped Italo-disco arpeggio lines and hazy disco samples of "In The Air".
Carlos "Carlo" Alvarez returns to Good Ratio Music for the first time since 2015, and this time he's got company. All three tracks on Intermission were co-produced by Black Loops, a Berlin-based Italian who has previously released solo material on Toy Tronics and Gruuv. All three cuts here are rich, loose and funk-fuelled, with the duo doing their best to combine carefully chosen disco and jazz-funk samples with their own beats and basslines. The real killer is arguably "Venerdi", in which swirling strings and clipped guitars ride a loose-but-bumpin' disco-house groove. If you're after something altogether deeper, check the clicking drum machine percussion, gentle chords and bubbly electronics of closer "Domenica".
This debut from Dutch imprint Le Freund, produced by sometime Rhythm Section International producer Duke Hugh, won heaps of praise when it was recently released on vinyl. Thrillingly, this expanded digital download edition boasts four additional tracks. There's plenty to set the pulse racing throughout, from the fireside-warm broken house/space boogie fusion of "Movin' On" and analogue deep house melodiousness of "Poly Valence", to the ultra-deep hypnotism of "I Got" and the poignant melancholy of "Awake Again". Awanto 3's epic remix of "Movin On" - a feast of delay-laden percussion hits, jaunty synth bass and loved-up chords - is also pretty darn hot.
2017 marks two decades since the release of Richard Dorfmeister and Rupert Huber's first album under the Tosca alias, the undeniably baked Opera. Given their length of service, it's heartening to see that their desire to create evocative, dubbed-out music remains undimmed. There's plenty to enjoy on Going Going Going, their first studio set for three years. Check, for example, the swirling, late night stroll through Istanbul that is "Amber November", the dub-meets-jazz warmth of "Friday", the flowery piano lines and jangling acoustic guitars of "Supersunday", and the thrillingly trippy, krautrock-influenced ambient dub of "Olympia". It would be churlish to say that it's a return to form - they've always been reliable, after all - but it's certainly one of their more impressive full-length outings.
There were slim pickings in 2016 for fans of Steve Huerta. After a prolific few years, the Los Angeles-based producer seemed to take a step back, releasing just one 12" single in 12 months. Happily, LK Tapes - his first outing on Brooklyn's Let's Play House - was worth the wait. Rich, melodious, woozy and analogue-rich, its' four loved-up tracks are amongst the producer's best work to date. Highlights are plentiful, from the woozy, sunset-friendly chords, glistening melodies and Larry Heard bottom-end of "LK Tape Track" and hazy, toaster-warm shuffle of "Lindos", to the fuzzy analogue beats, tactile chords and dream house sensibilities of sublime opener "Umbanda".
Here's an unusual release; Italian house duo Hunter/Game have teamed up with Icelandic band Kura, and now their collaborations get remixed by some of techno's biggest names. Robert Hood conjures up a moody spectre with his version of "Signs of Change", with a tearing electronic riff cutting through an insistent metallic rhythm. In stark contrast is Etapp Kyle's remix; dissected vocals float over dreamy, floaty synths and a laid back, dub groove. The direction shifts again when Bambounou gets to reshape the same track; the French producer's first take is a sprawling, spaced out take, while his dub version descends into a complex, abstract workout, led by percussive hiss and tape noise.
After years slaving away at house music's coalface, Red Rack'em is now big news. Given the runaway success of "Wonky Bassline Disco Banger", now seems an opportune moment for Danny Berman to release his second full-length under the alias. Predictably, Self Portrait is an assured, confident and hugely enjoyable set, effortlessly slipping between hazy house (check Rick Wade hook-up "The Music"), analogue-rich deep tech-house jams, loose, jazz-flecked workouts (the ace "Mad House"), disco-tinged fare ("Kos Mich"), and hard-to-describe weird-outs ("Sel", "You Used To Make Me Feel"). Naturally, it also includes fine versions of his 2016 anthem, and killer recent single "Tomato Pope".
With his 2015 debut EP for Breaker Breaker, London-based deep house misfit Ross From Friends made a seriously big impression. Much was made of his dusty, fidgety, lo-fi sound, and his penchant for jamming out tunes using outboard hardware. This belated follow-up for Lobster Theremin offshoot Distant Hawaii takes a similar approach, kicking off with the loved-up chord progressions, clattering drum machine percussion, redlined tape hiss and heart-aching vocal samples of "Talk To Me You'll Understand". "Gettin' It Done" is an altogether more positive and Balearic-minded trip into dusty deep house territory, while "Bootman" makes merry with mutilated '80s soul samples, hazy chords and fuzzy drums.
Next up on Scuba's esteemed Hotflush imprint is Brazilian newcomer Daniela Caldellas aka Terr with the driving and hypnotic techno journey entitled "Misantropicalia", which follows up last years awesome Burn The Past EP. The title track is awash in layers of razor sharp arpeggios; it's quite reminiscent of Croatian legend Petar Dundov in a away, and that's a compliment. On "OutRun" she throws down some griity electro-funk which is no doubt informed by a healthy love of legends such as Dopplereffekt or Drexciya, while "Don't Look Around" goes for something different again on this spacey, neon-lit electro house cruiser.
Few artists are quite as good as S3A at turning dusty, obscure samples into soulful deep house gold. Here, the French producer makes his first appearance on Quintessentials with four more sample-heavy dancefloor workouts. There's naturally plenty to get excited about, from the dirt-encrusted, disco-sampling deep house grooves of "Dick Jones Track" and warm, loved-up piano house vibes of "Feels Like Garage" (of the U.S variety, of course), to the brilliantly bombastic, hip-hop style quick-fix "Massive Horns (Interlude)". Arguably most impressive, though, is the hard-boiled, boogie-era disco-meets-21st century house bump of "Rush". It sounds like a guaranteed party-starting, peak-time smasher.
Dutch duo Weval's eponymous debut album was arguably one of the most underrated records of 2016. Here, tracks from that hard-to-define set - think minimal wave-inspired synth-pop fused with ambient and elements of Detroit futurism - are given the remix treatment. Italian twosome Margot steps up first, delivering a version of "Ways To Go" that smothers a wonky, off-kilter drum pattern with woozy, stretched-out cathedral chords, tactile hand percussion, and atmospheric vocal snippets. Red Axes drag the same track towards the dancefloor via relentless bass, skittish drum machine percussion and delay-laden handclaps, before Kaspar Bjorke steals the show with a dewy-eyed, early morning Balearic house re-make of "You Are Mine".
The Annual Fundraiser courtesy of Scottish imprint Craigie Knowles is back! They've recruited another bunch of heavy hitters to light up the clubs, with a cause to lighten the burden of war that's placed on the shoulders of children. Kiwi duo Chaos In The CBD throw down the Afro influenced, spiritual life music of "Natural Taboo", BRSTL's finest Shanti Celeste gives us the booming electro-funk of "Dolphin Chant" and Den Haag's legend Legowelt gives us the shimmering analogue soul of "At Delphi". Elsewhere, UK hardware maverick Neville Watson throws down the rather first wave Detroit sounding "Hazing" while the Going Good and Lovers Rock affiliated Yoshinori Hayashi serves us a wonderful, Erased Tapes style classical ambient journey titled "Pogado Tower"
Berlin's Studio Kreuzberg are back with a brilliant release by local legends Tiefscharz who team up with Yawk on "Calling home" a driving and dark tech house cut that is aimed squarely at peak time dancefloors with its razor sharp bassline, druggy vocals, and woozy melody, all accompanying seriously a tight groove. There's some awesome remixes too: courtesy of Aussie in Berlin Eluize and a label regular: the Kansas kid Nick Galemore. His remix in particular takes it down an even more sinister route and will appeal to fans of the Innervisions or Exit Strategy sound.
Icelandic producer Felix Leifur made a big impression with his first EP for Dirt Crew, last year's The Sunday Club. This action-packed follow-up is, if anything, even more impressive. Over the course of six dusty, head-in-the-clouds cuts, you'll find skewed, effects-laden drums (think Theo Parrish crossed with Chaos In The CBD), alien chords, punchy jazz samples, J Dilla influences, sweaty percussive build-ups, fluid jazz-funk instrumentation, twisted R&B vocal cut-ups, and a serious amount of tape hiss. The result is a collection of tracks that shimmies between loose and groovy deep house, instrumental hip-hop goodness, and club-ready jazz-house heaviness. In other words, it's pretty darn tasty.
FATIMA YAMAHA - Araya (Dekmantel Holland)
DUKE HUGH - Poly Valence EP (La Freund Recordings) - exclusive 17-02-2017
V - Faux Pas EP (Nautilus Rising) - exclusive 17-02-2017
VARIOUS - !Kollections 02: Classics (K7)
DAVE AJU - 10101 (Circus Company France)
RAMPA - The Touch (Keinemusik)
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