Kiko Navarro has dropped his signature style of funky, soulful house on pretty much any label worth releasing on - Nite Grooves, Third Ear and even King Street Sounds to name a few! He returns on Local Talk with two new cuts, both of them ripe and ready for hip-swaying vibes. "Dope High" is an itchy, Kenny Dope kinda tune boasting a totally swung-out percussion and a militant groove for the DJ's. You've also got "Nea Kameni", a gorgeous house number with old-school synth keys, and it's remixed by none other than Chicago house don Glenn Underground who strips it back, jacks it down and transforms it into a funky and laid-back kinda tune. Local Talk delivering the goods!
It's early days for French outfit Vox Low, but it's clear where their influences lie on this first EP for Correspondant. The motorik thrum of kosmische, new wave and a whole lot of sinister synth action feed into a seductive sound world that the duo have captured impeccably on their original tracks. "Something Is Wrong" bristles with a raw, live band energy thanks to the chugging bass and scratchy guitar touches, but it's the arpeggios that shape out the groove underneath dead pan vocals. The Boot & Tax remix takes a more dubby approach with a slinkier beat and some killer atmospherics, while Javi Redondo amps up the funk with a nasty punk-funk bassline. Vox Low's final offering "It's 1940 In This Room" is a more uptempo affair with a surfy lilt to its guitar lines.
Italy's Riva Starr - master of electro - crash lands on Nic Fanciulli's Saved imprint with a bunch of dirty house edits for tool or listening use. Tech house loops and ingenious vocal chops characterise the shape of the EP and Mr. Starr lays his hands on four tracks. The choice cuts being his edit of Luca Morris' s"Play By Play" and Rino Cerrone and Flavio Diaz's "Extraordinary Wiring", two firmly shaped grooves with fiery percussion knots and seductive low-end swells. Effective and utterly deadly on the floor.
Perbec is Mark Broom and Baby Ford. Their last vinyl outing was "Variety Club" for the seminal Ifach imprint in 2001. Here they return with "Chaser" an epic journey into the original principles of house music. Infectious bass, Chicago-style keys and deep, analog synth pads announce that the party is very much in full force. Flip the disc for "Long John" which features stripped rhythms with plenty of swing and energy - equally suited to the main room or afterhours. Mastered at D & M.
With three months already gone on this year's calendar, we were wondering what was taking rising UK producer Onza so long in returning with new material. Well, he's finally resurfaced with "Gonna Be Me", a cast iron commercial anthem full of big room melodies, piano stabs and thumping kicks. Remix-wise Rafterman delivers a large slice of a high-end piano house and Freefall drops an immense, almost apocalyptic, dubstep-tinged rework. A Teflon strength club package if ever there was one.
The classically trained Johannes Brecht is Henrik Schwarz's musical director and a go-to-guy for many house producers. Occasionally he steps out into the limelight too on labels like Poker Flat, Soso and Sunday Music. He's back on the latter with "In My Time Of Dyin'" which comes in two parts. Despite sharing the name, it's not a cover of Led Zeppelin's tune of same name, but it is a delicious, seven-and-a-half minute slow synth odyssey that will have you floating above the clouds. Part 2 meanwhile is an even deeper and slower live jazz take.
Long time partners in prog John Digweed and Nick Muir offer up a new pair of perspectives on Jozif's "Groove Del Verano" in a continuation of their remix series on their home turf of Bedrock. Maher Daniel is also invited into the creative crossover, with the Canadian producer following up on successful turns on 8bit and Rejected by delivering a haunting remix rich in detail and emotion without overcooking the ingredients. Digweed and Muir meanwhile turn out a dynamic version that bursts out of the speakers with its canny blend of measured tension and thrilling twists.
The badboy steppa returns to Glasgow's Squinty Bass with a four-piece of deep dubby bubblers. "Jaro" is the most authentic dub document; slow-and-steady rhythm, rich warm bass and meditative flow ensure its potential to resonate to dubstep, bass and tech playlists. "Keep The Fire Burning" takes us further into tech territory with a mild jack and a slap that leaves the same red mark that Fink left during his Sideshow days. "Rocking & Grooving" is more upbeat again, this time wearing a daring day-glow house t-shirt, all bumpy and shuffly. Finally we hit "Ungaya", a straight slab of tech funk that wouldn't go amiss on the likes of Get Physical or Mobilee. An exceptional spread... No one will go hungry on this.
Ukrainian pair Andrew Vanzhula and Dennis Andriyanov aka Woo York debut on Life & Death with a superb, blissed out release. The title track starts with the sound of bird song at dawn before swinging into a ponderous basslines that is shrouded in a tapestry of liquid percussion. It's a hugely impressive opening track, but the pair maintains the same high standards on "Odyssey" and "Black Soul". Both are coated in resonant acid textures but have a swagger that will keep dance floors interested. Soon enough however, the focus swings back to the esoteric and "Distance" is led by evocative sounds and tranced out melodies, while "He & She" ends the release with eerie synths and bleeding acid lines to the fore.
The deadly pair that is Walker & Royce touch down on Moda Black with some of their signature house licks after releases on Crosstown Rebels and Glasgow Underground, among other choice stables. "My Dream" is a mid-tempo licker boasting a minimalistic framework thanks to its bleeps and clicks, intricate vocal chops and rickety percussion. "Fur" is also fervently stripped and diced but the beat is bumpier, a touch more jacking and primely cut for peak time body jerking. Little killers, the pair.
Originally released on Of Norway's 2014 album Accretion, Connaisseur has commissioned two quite different versions of the Norwegian act's "Spirit Lights". The first remix, from Swiss act Adriatique, is the most musical and stays closest to the original version. It features gentle acoustic guitar strumming and Linnea Dale's enchanted vocals rising up over an understated groove and lush strings and woodwind. Lehar, who debuted last year on Conaisseur, delivers a more streamlined, functional version. Reminiscent of Kompakt's trance-techno, his version focuses on a pulsing bass, tough claps and spiraling trance melodies that provide quite a different backdrop for Dale's vocals.
The title track kick starts this release in tough form, its tight claps and acidic soaked rhythm reaching a crescendo to the sound of dramatic, screeching sirens. "Leiseweise" is based on a similar rhythmic backdrop, but the progression is deeper and less full-on, with shimmering chords building over tough drums and ferocious claps. There are three remixes available here and all range in sound, from the stepping, dubbed out Moog Conspiracy take on "Neptun" to the predatory bass and jittery percussion on Schlepp Geist's version of the same track. The best remix however is the Exercise One interpretation of "Leiseweise", where the Berlin-based artist pushes the track down into a pulsing, chord-heavy techno groove.
As per usual, Clouded Judgment comes through with a shimmering, party-ready bag of floor burners and this time he's in total London mode with his shuffling and swinged-out take on house music. Although "Journey" is a total winner and probably rather deadly at 2am on a sweaty dancefloor, we're particularly fond of "Loose Control", a tune which uses 4/4 as a base and yet manages to incorporate all the wobbly goodness of the UK's broken beat obsession. If you're into the likes of DMZ but also have a passion for house and techno then this is for you!
To mark the release of the 100th record on his label, Luciano has reverted to a stage name he has not used for five years. The Lucien-N-Luciano project was also the name that the Swiss-Chilean released his finest work under - the 2004 album, Blind Behaviour - and Art is every bit as complex. "Rickson Trephala" sees him retrace his steps back to mid-00s minimalism, albeit with tougher rhythms and filtered percussive bursts, but this release is all about the title track. Clocking in at over 13 minutes, it sees Luciano layer a wealth of elements, including a disorientated vocal, summery trumpet and techy stabs over a throbbing, bass-heavy groove.
This dormant label marks its reappearance with a classy house release from newcomer Jonno Brien. "Hymn" is an unpretentious, big room affair, its upfront rhythm featuring an infectious hum-along hook, deft filtering and what could be a male vocal sample saying 'she might, she might'. However, it's the flip side track, "Stiletto", that really marks the label's return in style. Reminiscent of tough, late 90s New York house, its pounding tribal beats play host to an irresistible filter and an insistent vocal sample. Managing that rare feat of sounding familiar yet distinctive, "Stiletto" is a great way for MUM to mark its comeback.
The ever-reliable and super-prolific Manchester Underground Music imprint look back over the last year of jacking and floor-slapping house with this muscular 20 track compendium... A great opportunity to pick up on cuts you may have missed over the years. Kicking off with Harry Romero's timeless jacker "Get Down", it's business from the off as we rifle, roll and romp through all shades of house from deep dubby bubblers ("You're Mine", "Tizana"), thundering dark room tech ("It Owns You", Scalar East") carnival-style percussion jams ("The Comeback", "Drum Control") and emotional lazer-blazers ("Runway", "Something", "Feel Inside"). Each cut primed for floor-focussed assualtage, MUM is - and always has been - the word.
Baltimore-based Life on Planets has slowly been building their reputation over a couple of years, showcasing their blends of art-rock, deep house and Balearica on a wide range of labels. Here, their most recent single, Fata Morgana, gets the remix treatment. There's pleasingly much to admire, from the exotic, trippy, string-laden, Visionquest-ish re-rub from N'Dinga Gaba and Jubilee's dubby, late night take, to the deep techno hypnotism of Strange People's standout take. Elsewhere, David Marston breaks up the beats and makes great use of the duo's live instrumentation, while Phonogenic delivers a bubbling, tech-tinged deep house dub.
For some of the more surreal, free and improvisation electro-acoustic jazz kicking about these days check out Claudio Puntin, Samuel Rohrer and Max Loderbauer's Ambiq LP. That 11-track album fused interstellar themes associable with the music of Sun Ra with left of field sounds you'd expect to hear on a label like Type. Arjunamusic founder Samuel Rohrer has suitably commissioned remixes by minimal legend Ricardo Villalobos and Ostgut Ton pillar Tobias, and both provide distinctly different and, to say the least, fascinating results. Villalobos's scatter-junk remix of "Tund" is enough to make you feel as though you're stuck in a tiny crawl space of dirt, driftwood and broken wind chimes, while Tobias's trademark techno percussion lightly rests below the humming bassline, cinematic atmospheres and shuffling field recordings of "Toxic Underground". House and techno and its most avant garde.