Robert Hood's second album as Floorplan sees him hone in on disco, gospel and house influences to create a proper big room collection. As the driving, disco-loop heavy "Spin" and the ridiculously catchy "Music" demonstrate, the Detroit producer has stripped Floorplan of its techno influences. However, this does't mean he has simplified his message; accompanying the religious vocals on "The Heavens & The Earth" is a hypnotic organ riff, the slightly less pious "Good Thang" is a riotous siren-heavy jacker in the Reese tradition, and "He Can Save You", with its dense primal rhythm is reminiscent of Green Velvet as his madcap best. Hood may have chosen God, gospel and disco over the minimal nation, but he still knows how to lead his people onto the dancefloor.
Juan Miguel Bassols first pricked our consciousness way back in 2012, when he delivered a fine debut under the JMII moniker on 100% Silk. He's not released all that much since, making this first appearance on Hivern Discs his highest profile EP to date. There's naturally much to admire amongst the three original productions present, from the stripped-back but melodious acid house shuffle of "Thrills", to the wild lead lines and chugging bottom end of the analogue synth-heavy proto-house snap of "Tightbrass". Christian S provides two tasty reworks of that cut, including a dark and seductive "Angry Dub". A woozy, dreamier John Talabot re-edit of "Thrills" completes an excellent package.
For those of you who can't make it, you can still enjoy these very tracks that will be thrashed on San Francisco institution Dirtybird's US tour this summer. This is the third edition of their Summer BBQ compilation titled Secret Sauce and it features an all-star cast. Starting things off in spectacular fashion with Chicago house legend Marshall Jefferson teaming up with L.A's Doorly on the wicked "Neanderthal', there's the wonky, bassbin rattling deepness of label mainstay Christian Martin (with Ardalan) on "Flight of The Pterodactyl" and rising star Justin Jay's pop-inflected epic "Broke The Law" featuring a bit of help from mates Sascha Robotti, Henry Was and vocals by Josh Taylor.
More dreamy deep house for inner city rooftops again courtesy of Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay's always impressive All Day I Dream imprint. At the controls this time is NYC stalwart Lauren Ritter with the Lark EP. The title track has all the hallmarks of an ADID track; mesmerising and crystalline pads, xylophone melodies and emotive strings that distill the best influences of German imprints like Kompakt or Dial into it. So does "Swoon", this is the kind of bittersweet headrush that someone like Michael Mayer would unleash on you mid set. "Murmur" incorporates elements of Romanian style minimal with its big rolling bassline and intricate rhythm arrangements complete with hypnotic elements. Great stuff!
Master magician Lorenz Brunner is back as Recondite on Innervisions serving up three perfectly executed dark journey tracks for maximum dancefloor drama. Starting out with the brooding mystery groove of "Osa" whose sombre yet razor sharp melodics guide you down the abyss, he's then on to "Andever" which is a bit more uplifting with some bass driven deepness and haunting bell melodies reminiscent somewhat of the classic sound of German imprint Dial. Finally "Nick" hammers the message home in esoteric and transcendental fashion with its epic and wandering arpeggio backed by trancey atmosphere engineered for total dancefloor bliss.
Italian electro-pop freaks Crookers are back! They make deep house these days and don't do too badly at it. "Beautiful" features a bossa-jazz flavour over its woozy esoteric beats. "Dub Side 3" is more direct like the name would suggest on this dark and low slung journey track that will appeal to Crosstown Rebels fans. Elsewhere there's a couple more remixes of "Beautiful" which are equally impressive but for our money it's all about Kry Wolf's druggy, party-starting tech house makeover which will get the adrenalin levels peaking with its tough beat, funky bassline and trippy elements all working in harmony.
One seriously moody and emotive progressive house offering courtesy of Berlin's Florian Kruse and featuring the velvety voice of Hendrik Burkhard on "The Ground". The remix by Joris Voorn gets even deeper, darker and tripped out for some real early evening dancefloor drama. Second original track "Going Against The Grain" is one perfectly executed journey track of the darker persuasion (wonky melodies assured) whose bittersweet tendencies will pull at the heartstrings as much as it'll move your feet.
Ruede Hagelstein's "Footprints" was an instant hit when it hit our charts earlier this year, but we would never expect anything less from both this exciting newcomer and Berlin's mythical Watergate label. This time, however, he's joined by a number of different producers for a remix frenzy of his popular tune, and it starts with The Drifter's summery, dubbed-out version that is simply magnetic. Hagelstein drops a remix of his own tune, too, and it's an all-out hypnotic affair with full steam ahead on the minimalism, whereas Can Love Be Synth drop a beautiful glow of romanticism and '80s flair on their version. The dub, as you'd expect, takes the original to a moodier, more beat-heavy terrain.
Pooledmusic presents label boss Ian Pooley's first serving of original material since 2013's What I Do LP. "Turakina" is hypnotic and textured tech house executed wonderfully by a true master. Those swelling and evolving pads that join in the mix later are pure magic. Things get more uptempo and mysterious on the dancefloor drama of "Mudou" with some immaculately programmed rhythms facing off with doomy and epic synth leads. There's also a dub version which takes the track into smoother, and yes, dubbier deep house territory.
Of all the artists on its roster, Martin Landsky has had the longest relationship with Poker Flat. Listening to this three-tracker, it's no surprise why the label continues to release his music. "Echo in my Head" stays true to Landsky's reinvention of classic house; led by one of his trademark grinding basslines, it provides a backdrop for powerful filters and tripped out vocal samples. "Weird Night" is more contemporary sounding as a lone bleep is looped over a chattering minimal rhythm. However, Landsky can't help delving back into house music's past and revisits the eerie Nu Groove sound on the moody, rolling "That Organ".
Norwegian duo Kohib and Kahuun are back with EP2. The 'two beardy and nice chaps' from Bergen and Tromso respectively join forces on four excursions through the deeper shades of house and nu-disco. There's "Sangefjell" with its infectious arpeggio and tight rhythm, but the remix of it by Kohib gets more on the disco vibe and works a treat! "Pittsburgh" by Kohib is definitely the standout; this is one seriously dark journey track; epically wonky melody in tow and will create some serious dancefloor drama. Kahuun returns the favour, lending a deft hand on the remix which delves into exotic drum and bass flavour of the liquid kind.
Connaisseur is celebrating a decade in the business and certainly doing it with style. This time around there's some great collaborations; check these out. Melodic, soulful and absolutely emotive vibes courtesy of Swedish legend Aril Brikha teaming up with Ireland's Chymera on "Nihari". Next, The Element teams up label head honcho Alex Flitsch on the deep, tunnelling and atmospheric progressive house of "Puma" which really has the label's classic sound in mind. Finally the mighty trio Of Norway, Linnea Dale & Preben Olram serve up the blissful deep house cover of Pornos For Pyros hit from 1993 "Pets" and what a fantastic tribute it is!
To mark the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of his label, James Ruskin has put together this massive compilation. It includes long-term friends and associates of the label - like Oliver Ho, Regis and Luke Slater - as well as newer additions to the roster, including Lakker and Rommek. Apart from uniting artists from different generations, the compilation also showcases the label's various hues; from the broken beats and intricate rhythms of Ruskin and Regis' O/V/R project and the hypnotic soundscapes of Lakker's "Orange" to the trace stabs and 10 tonne kicks of Regis' "Party Spoiler Too" and the chaotic industrial rhythms on Truss' "Wanastow", this compilation offers to newcomers an invaluable introduction to Blueprint, or to long-standing fans an indispensable reminder of why the label is unique.
Black 8 is not limited by one subgenera of house or techno and, instead, he likes to dabble in a bit of minimal or indulge in some progressive as he pleases. This new beast of an EP for Hope Recordings lies on the more stripped-down end of the spectrum, serving up to terrific dancefloor swingers that will slip in pretty much any set without much effort - the tools of tools! Both "Before The Rising Dawn" and "Euphoria" are powerful juggernauts to conquer pretty much any floor out there, dusting their logical percussion patterns rigidly among solitary melodic patterns. Strong, no-nonsense remixes come from Dmitry Molosh, Interlaxxis, and Dimitri Nakov.
Pete Oak is back on Stil Vor Talent with a three darkly emotive and mysterious tracks with serious dancefloor dynamic. On "Yama" Oak creates the perfect journey track which gradually builds in chapters, building the mood and drama. With its slow grinding arpeggio, doomy strings and wonky melody working its magic: this one is tight! "Celsius" is definitely the most energetic offering with razor sharp and evolving melodics over nefariously adrenalised elements. Finally, Oak teams up with Notize on "Noctua" which goes for the jugular; this one's definitely made for leading into the peak time slot with its humming and grinding bassline, restrained arpeggios and mood-lighting pads all working together to create the perfect storm.
UK's D-Malice is back, this time on the esteemed Atjazz imprint; which can always be relied upon to deliver the real proper deep stuff! Starting out with "#87" which slowly builds the mood in restrained but cleverly executed fashion; this emotive groove is tight! The title track "Phases" goes for a more percussive, textured and tribal vibe which soon builds in layers and atmosphere: all building up to a nice crescendo. Finally "Phases (Expressive Dub)" is definitely the most straight ahead offering; a moody and brooding journey track which will mix in well with the current status quo of epically deep tech house music, guaranteed.
Swiss minimal maestro Mirko Loco is back, this time on Visionquest with the Alba Mons EP. Lead track "Evolyon" is the kind of reduced and experimental yet intricate journey that has earned him releases on the likes of Cadenza previously. It's the remix of by Romanian heroes Livio & Roby though which really does it for us! Stripped back, bumping and downright weird; this one was no doubt perfected at Bucharest's finest afterhour shindigs! Finally "The Hutchinson Effect" closes the EP out in wonderfully hypnotic and melodic fashion.
Bizzeea! Is the alter ego of Moscow based Vadim Ruadinskiy and is next up on London/Berlin tech house hotbed Nein Records. The Un-Tape EP features four sharp cuts, starting out with the grinding, slow burning bounce of "L/L Lichnoe/Lirischnoe" (whatever that's referring to!), the minimal acid techno stomp of "ROOFF (Room Of Fuckin Fuckers)" and speaking of minimal; Flamingo Dance"sounds like early Robert Hood in all its vintage bleepy cyclicalism. Finally "Awake In Me" gets some adrenalised tech house happening that will appeal to fans of the Clouded Vision sound.
Berlin hero Phon.o is back! After a horde of releases on 50Weapons and most recently Bristol institution Tectonic with the Afterglow EP, Carsten Aermes turns up on B Pitch Control. First offering "Run" gallops away aggressively with its fierce bass pulsations and booming beat supported by Middle Eastern string samples. "Brooklyn Shuffle" starts off smooth, with a pop inflected vibe until the four to the floor beat comes rushing in beneath that funky house keyboard melody. It creates such a wonderful contradiction. Finally "Fractions" is straight up house with its dusty swing fuelled beat keeping pace with a killer breakbeat plus pop vocals and of course, no compromise on the bass!
UK/Germany joint venture This Ain't Bristol are back with Birmingham's Lo Steppa who enlists a little help from buddy Bot (formerly of Italian enfant terribles Crookers) for some bouncing bass heavy jams such as "This Is" with its hands in the air house organs, grinding low frequencies and dusty rhythm shuffle: this is gangsta! Also on offer is "Vibe With Me" which is less dramatic and more uplifting with its bumping, swim fuelled and cut up hip-hop samples giving the tracks its grit.