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07 Sep 12
Review: A killer remix EP from Tsuba here, as three of the label's biggest names get retreated by some of the deep house scene's biggest hitters on this EP showcasing the deeper side of the imprint. First up, Aural Distortion's "Overlap" gets remixed by AN 2, turning in a cosmic mix of upwardly tumbling bass and warm chords, while Jay Shepheard reworks Kevin Griffiths' "Revolver" into a slowly intensifying piece of melodic electronica which twists itself into various contortions over its six minutes. The best however is undoubtedly the mighty Mark E's dub of Mic Newman's "Knickerbocker", a low-slung, sleazy jam full of out of focus vocals and thick warm bass slabs.
13 Aug 12
Played by: DJ Assassin (Recode Recordings)
Review: Ever alert for the call to action, Tsuba boss Kevin Griffiths has decided to embark on a bit of a retro-futurist mission with a little help from Burnski, Moodtrap and JMX. Each of the three producers delivers a fresh new cut, each of which takes great inspiration from great house music of the past. Burnski's "Got You" wraps some late '90s NYC riffs and eyes-wide-shut melodies around a sturdy, woodblock-heavy groove, while Moodtrap's "Grey Area" peppers a hypnotic bumper with heady vocal samples and fluid synths. JMX's "The Bronx", meanwhile, sounds like something Rollo would have made sometime around 1993, complete with classic vocal yelps and hissing jazz cymbals.
25 Apr 11
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20 Aug 12
Review: Having earned his stripes a while back with releases on Mobilee, Phonica and 2020 Vision, Hector Murillo is firmly established as a name to watch in the deep house scene. This two-tracker for Tsuba features one of his strongest cuts to date, "Hide". While it sticks to the deep house template, there are a multitude of touches that remind us not only of vintage Detroit techno (check the pads and liquid bassline), but also early R&S Records releases (the electric keys evoke memories of Jaydee's "Plastic Dreams"). The looser "Follow The Leader" treads a similar path, while "Diano" goes darker and dubbier in pursuit of devious afterhours fun.
10 Dec 12
20 Aug 10
01 Apr 13
Played by: Hermanez
Review: This third volume in the celebratory Tsuba Loves series - a way of championing some of their favourite artists - gives virtual hugs and kisses to Huxley, a producer whose stock seems to rise by the month. For those who've not been following his career, this is a great place to start. While largely made up of material previously released on Tsuba (naturally), it does chart his rise from young upstart to in-demand club favourite. Along the way, there's a chance to revisit some of his best material, including the garage-influenced deep house banger "Take No More" (check, too, the thrilling MK remix), the brilliant deep-but-wonky jazz-house cut "Get Your Own" and a string of early collaborations with similarly feted producer Ethyl.
21 Jan 10
Played by: Joachim Spieth (Affin)
05 Aug 11
Review: For a DJ and label owner who has served his time, it comes as no real surprise that Griffiths' latest release is so heavily steeped in classic house and techno influences. For example, "Revolver" shakes and jacks to the sound of Chicago house kettle drums and the tribal "Lucky Three" is underpinned by the kind of squelchy acid that Phuture 303 pioneered. The real surprise here however, is that Griffiths, in a fashion similar to Lone, has managed to articulate the woozy abandon and liquid melodies of 90s hardcore so faithfully. In particular, the glorious, sub-tropical hooks of "Thirsty Camel" sounds like a lost track from 808 State's debut album - and may prove to be as timeless.
26 Mar 10
21 Jan 13
Review: Having masterminded Tsuba's renaissance in recent years, it's nice to see that label boss Kevin Griffiths has found some space in the schedule for his own productions. This EP typifies his approach to house and techno. Lead cut "Twenty Mids" stands out, layering vocal samples, marimba melodies and head-nodding electronics over a bongo-laden tech-house groove. There's not much going on, but it's expertly arranged to guarantee maximum dancefloor thrills. "Acid Splash" is altogether deeper and more melodic than the title suggests, and is built around some particularly cosmic chords. The Breaking Bad-referencing "Los Pollos Hermanos", meanwhile, delivers a smooth take on '90s deep house - all child-like garage melodies and alien electronics.
19 Jan 10
29 Apr 13
Played by: Jimpster
Review: Following impressive outings on We Play House, Throne Of Blood and Phonica White, Luv Jam pops up on Tsuba with a typically sparse and atmospheric collection of cuts. There's something almost Balearic about the vintage electronic drums, tumbling pianos and old-fashion, Nu Groove-ish chords of lead cut "Stop Frame Animate". There's something curiously innocent, too, about the cute melodies, hissing drum machine rhythms and vintage synths of "Animattic", while the ambient interlude "Moon Mountain" recalls Pal Joey's early remix of the Orb's "Little Fluffy Clouds". Best of all, though, is the title track, which skips, clatters and pulses its way through a decidedly wonky seven minutes and sounds like a more subdued, techno-savvy take on vintage Daniel Wang.
04 Feb 11
12 Oct 12
Review: This is the third EP from Tsuba's resident "men of mystery", Mood Trap. Supposedly the "old skool house influenced" side project of "two famous producers", the Mood Trap releases to date have joined the dots between drowsy big room tech-house and '90s revivalism. The lead cut here, "Athina", continues this theme, sounding like a furiously over-polished modern take on Tenaglia-ish '90s New York deepness. "Old Days in Chicago" is a little more engaging, basing the darkroom tech around a sublime blues vocal sample and some retro-futurist bottom end. "Bel Canto (Dub)", meanwhile, does actually sound like a late '90s US deep house cut - all silly synth-sax and vintage organs.
30 Jan 12
Played by: Digitalworkx
Review: It sounds like London duo Moodtrap spent a lot of time listening to classic deep house from both sides of the Atlantic. The title track features hissing percussion and pitch-bent vocals providing the basis for lush, building chords. "Movement" follows a similar trajectory, but in this instance the male vocal is ponderous and the groove more rolling. "Let You Go" also effectively deploys a sassy rolling rhythm and insistent vocal samples, but the standout track here is "Route 66". Deeper and more textured than the other contributions, it even sees the duo use a similar sample to the warbling bird noises that appear on "Sueno Latino".