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Reviewed this week
Last year's Youth Stand Up! album, created through collaboration between leading lights of Glasgow's leftfield club scene and youth music projects in Ghana and Belize, was one of the most interesting and vibrant cultural fusions of our time. This follow-up release contains fresh reworks of tracks from that set. First, Optimo man JD Twitch delivers a bewitching, sub-heavy take on "Come With Me", before Auntie Flo turns "Beat The Drum" into a sweaty, stretched-out chunk of analogue/tropical fusion. Midland delivers a fantastically percussive, off-beat acid-meets-Afro-techno rendition of "Tsoma", whilst General Ludd turn in a sparse, Afro-acid re-make of "Tuteme Meets Tafo Antome At 58 Ft".
The man Wolfgang Voight provided some inventive and pioneering techno under his Wassermann guise, one of many. "W.I.R." was released in 2000 and was a driving serving of pop-inflected techno. Frankfurt techno legend Sven Vath also stepped in, assisted by Roman Flugel, to deliver a grinding industrial techno remix that these days could easily be compared to the work of Ancient Methods. Kompakt Records alumni Tobias Thomas and Michael Mayer's remix however is by far the best and encapsulated the label's timeless aesthetic on this wonderful excursion through emotive and ethereal house sounds.
Following on from releases from cosmic disco legend Danielle Baldelli, the latest EP on Nein comes from its owner, Tronik Youth. The title track is an infectious electronic disco groove with hints of muffled new wave vocals and an industrial rigidity to it. "Never Said, I Never Said" is slower and more pared back, as a droning groove and soaring synths crackle with electric energy. Nein has commissioned two producers to remix its boss; the first sees Cabaret Nocturne re-imagine "Never Said, I Never Said" as a sinister, stepping disco groove, while Jonathan Kusuma turns the title track into a hypnotic, sleek techno pulse.
It's hard to believe that this is DJ Deep's debut on Rekids as the French spinner has been such an integral part of that grey area where house and techno coalesce for a number of decades. In any event, it sounds like he is making up for lost time; working together with Traumer, the owner of the Gettraum label, he delivers the monumental title track. In its La Deep version, the stepping rhythm supports a screeching diva vocal, while the La Slave version strips the arrangement back to focus in jittery drums and rolling percussion. Finally, there's straighter La Spicy take, which has a straight groove and the dense, tracts of percussion that one has come to expect from Rekids.
Marc Romboy's esteemed tech house imprint has reached its 77th release? You bet! And it goes out all guns blazing this time around with a massive compilation with some great tracks, new and old, by the likes of Robert Babicz, Guy Mantzur, Wehbba and Stephan Bodzin. There are some pretty kick ass remixes on offer too by the likes of Adam Port, Adriatique, Nick Curly and Petar Dundov. Highlights? Head honcho Romboy's rendition of OCH's "Time Tourism", Ibadan boss Jerome Sydenham's ecstatic "Systematic Dub" and Technasia's druggy and tunnelling odyssey "Hold Me".
Moderat should need no introduction should they? Riding on the success of their third album, the lead single "Running" has had a succession of absolutely brilliant remixes by the likes of Ostgut Ton maverick Shed, Bulgarian hardware freak KiNK and now it's the turn of Innervisions head honchos Ame who give the track a makeover that is effective in all its subtlety and restraint but has all the euphoric and soulful hallmarks of their signature sound.
Catz 'N Dogz Pets Recordings are really on a roll at the moment and for their next release they have Mathias Kaden, the tech house hero from Jena is back with more high-octane dancefloor energy with "Polyphonic" which rises and rises in suspense with its tightly programmed groove. "NoKick" does exactly what it says on the tin on this beatless, dark acid house jam which will make an effective DJ tool for the more adventurous DJs or be perfect as an opening track.
Alan Abrahams delivers more splendid and spacey deep house from the future on "Say It's Going To Change" featuring his now trademark haunting vocals. Swiss high tech soul merchant Deetron gets on board for the remix which keeps on with the deep house side of things but gives it an equally advanced and futuristic aesthetic, using a completely insane processing of space delay that twists up your mind before the drop!
"Lattice" is taken from Petar Dundov's fourth artist album, At The Turn Of Equilibrium, and it in some ways it is indicative of his sound. The Croatian's penchant for catchy, tranced out melodies are present, but the overall mood is subdued and even the synths have a less melancholic sound than usual, replaced by a somewhat frosty sensibility. It's left up to remixer Frank Wiedemann to raise the mood. The German producer, who is one half of Ame has considerable experience in this area - who can forget Rej? - and he combines powerful bass pulses with euphoric trance riffs to create a memorable, bubbling remix.
German house duo Hendrik Burkhard and Florian Kruse have become commonplace in Steve Bug's Poker Flat catalogue, and this seems to be firmly on-point given their deep and expansive brand of dance music. "Moments" sits somewhere between house and techno but it's more of a song with a beginning, middle and end, rather than a mere club jacker; "Black Moose", on the other hand, is darker and more punchy in its delivery and, by comparison, "Sirens" is the house pumper that can be mixed with pretty much anything you want. Effective and party-centric, as per usual.
The latest release on Compost's offshoot imprint sees Dini make a return visit with two unusual house tracks. Produced in conjunction with Michael Reinboth and Beanfield, both compositions follow a distinct path. "Pouran" is more understated and less direct, as Dini teases out an off-beat rhythm punctuated by chimes and wooden percussion. In contrast, "Gohar" is sure to get all the DJ attention. Underpinned by a pulsing groove and powerful, purring bass, its veers unexpectedly into dramatic string sequences that makes the listener feel like they are being chased by a hit man down a dark alley. The fact that Dini doesn't miss a beat while all of this is happening makes it all the more impressive.
Mak & Pasteman now have quite the collection of labels under their belt, and previous releases for imprints like Lobster Boy, Sounds Of Sumo and Unknown To The Unknown have elevated their level onto a new category of quality. This new EP is the sixth instalment of the Materials label, which they inaugurated with the 001, and we're not surprised to hear that "It's Dis" is a slick and aggressive techno banger with a familiar, and bass-centric, UK edge. "Creep", on the other hand, offers something odder, more tribalistic and very much in line with the sort of material that is heard across the more experimental of dancefloors nationwide.
Somewhat remarkably, it's been two years since the last single from former Get Physical and Crosstown Rebels producer Just Be. Here he re-emerges on Kerri Chandler's tech-house focused Kaoz Theory imprint. "Snakes In The Bed" is an excellent example of the London producer's work. Tiptoeing the fine line between European darkness, Visionquest style powder house and the sort of stretched-out moodiness that was once Danny Tenaglia's trademark, the track quietly rises and falls in all the right places. The accompanying remix comes from Magda, who retains the shuffling percussion while adding a killer, acid-inspired sub-bass line.
The Ibiza/Rome/Berlin connection that is Thallulah, William Medagli & Jose Maria Ramon team up again for the deep dark and dirty progressive house anthem "Calling Your Name" featuring emotive elements, acidic synth leads and angelic vocals. Rodrigo Ferrari's reduced and minimal remix takes it to its bare bones but still packs a wicked groove. Second original track "Misano" goes for more of an eighties synthpop crossing into hi-NRG kind of vibe while "Gianicolense" finishes things off with a dark journey track complete with a wonky synth lead which will fit in the with current status quo just nicely.
Roska's Kicks & Snares label branches out more and more every time we hear a new release form the label, but this new EP by the young Harry Judda is a stroke of masterclass. "War Bonnet" is a magnetic tech-house banger, the sort of tune you see people lining up to ask the DJ what it is and where it's from; there's nothing complicated to it, it's just a deeply effective slice of four-to-the-floor. The Roska remix deviates away from house but the tune itself is a pounding killer of a bass tune, boasting one of the best baselines we've heard from the man. What an EP - highly recommended!
Exclusives
VARIOUS - Systematic 77 (Systematic Recordings)
TRONIK YOUTH - Death Rattle (Nein)
HENDRIK BURKHARD/FLORIAN KRUSE - Sirens EP (Poker Flat Germany)
Exclusives
MODERAT - Running (Ame Remix) (Monkeytown Germany)
CHRISTIAN HORNBOSTEL - Zeitgeist EP (Kling Klong Germany)
NANOPLEX - OFL (Iboga Denmark)
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