Wolf Music doesn't release many albums, but when they do, the resulting set is invariably superb. Familiar Circles, Casino Times' long awaited first full length, is certainly quietly confident, with the British house duo delivering a range of hazy, evocative cuts shot through with a hazy sense of loved-up positivity. While breezy, Balearic deep house is their go-to sound - and there's much of that evident throughout - the album also includes nods to "Belfast"-era Orbital (the shuffling electro/deep house hybrid "Oddity"), early Funkineven (the jumpy, modern boogie bliss of "What (Miracle Beat)"), drowsy ambience ("Transit"), and early '90s style intelligent techno (the psychedelic electronics, ambient house melodies and fleeting acid lines of closer "Foundations (End)").
Graham 'Greymatter' Luckhurst has always been tricky to pin down. Initially inspired by soul, hip-hop and broken beat, his 2010 debut album Mind Over Matter joined the dots between those genres, garage and left-of-centre house. Having spent the last few years dropping quirky deep house floor fillers for Wolf Music, he returns to the London imprint with his sophomore set. Visions is an intriguing and entertaining set that's typically hard to categorize. While it has analogue deep house at its' core (as displayed via collaborations with Sophie Brown, Medlar and KRL), there are distinct nods to jazz, wonky downtempo electronica, and twisted, out-there acid.
KRL's latest release - his first since 2013, coincidentally - is not so much an EP as a mini-album. Featuring a trio of hazy, quick fix interludes and a quartet of dancefloor-friendly house jams, WOLFEP032 sees the Wolf Music regular in fine form. "Manchester Beat" is a loose, oven-fresh groover built around looped, warehouse-friendly riffs, Lone style electronics and cut-up hip-hop vocal samples, while "You Roll Me" continues the late night, old skool vibe by way of gospel vocal snatches, bold chords and Balearic synthesizer flourishes. KRL joins forces with vocalist Janine Small on the tactile, groovy and luscious "So Far", but it's the retro-futurist pianos and classic US garage bump of "Tell Me Why" that really steals the show.
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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