The first compilation on Koze's Pampa label is a lovingly curated affair. It starts with the left field house of Herbert's take on Lianne La Havas and Ada's r&b-infused "You & Me", as well as DJ Koze's own hymnal take on Roman Flugel's "9 Years". Other Pampa regulars like Axel Boman are well represented and he provides the ultra-mellow "In The Dust of This Planet". Equally though, Koze also provides a platform for newcomers to the fold. There's the utterly bizarre, glitch-hop of Nasrawi and Funskstorung's contributions, and at the other end of the spectrum, wide-eyed deep house from Mount Kimbie and Jamie xx & Kosi Kos' pumping indie-dance "Come We Go".
Random contact through Soundcloud saw Phantasy owner Erol Alkan sign Ghost Culture and now, seven EPs and one album later, this almost accidental hook-up has paid off in spades. "Safe" is a fine modern techno track; a dark, moody bass lashes and flashes like a live power line, while industrial strength acid ploughs its way over Ghost Culture's pumping groove. On the flip side, "Multiply" represents a different side to his sound. It is deeper and more melodic; tranced out chords and melodic hooks of almost crystal fragility play out over a warbling bass and dry percussive ticks. Both tracks consolidate Ghost Culture's reputation as a fine modern day techno artist.
Gerd Janson's Running back taps into some local talent courtesy of Stuttgart DJ / producer Konstantin Sibold. The title track is a classic slice of German techno; it has shades of early Force Inc thanks to its tranced out chords and pace - cruising along just below 130bpm for its ten-minute duration - and the raw energy of Tresor in the shape of its gnarly acid line. The musical elements sound much more pronounced on the beatless version, with the chords assuming a slightly menacing edge. However, this is really all about the original version, a tripped out, hypnotic that digs deep into the German electronic music psyche.
Bad boy bass man Phrixus is back with mighty fury on Sounds Of Sumo, and he's open for business as usual, rolling out the punches and the low-frequency weight. This seven-tracker has everything you'd possibly want from a UK bass release, with the majority of the tunes dipping and diving in and out of pseudo grime sways, peaks of house and even a little wobble step in the low-end. Remixes come from Kiri, Croft and Fritz Carlton.
Riva Starr's back everyone: look out! Our favourite Italian tech house prankster appears again on Jamie Jones and Lee Foss' esteemed Hot Creations imprint and it's tech house that's as punchy and as funky as you like it. "Dippina Side" is the kind of rolling main room groove for hedonists that'd make a Gruuv or Saved record pale in comparison. The remix by Neapolitan techno hero Joseph Capriati isn't as ferocious as you'd think, but definitely tougher with some big druggy breakdowns. Finally "Owls & Toucans (feat Haiku 575)" features some sexy and exotic Latin flair with those steel drums but then that adrenalised bump and shuffle comes rushing in complete with wacky synth lead and pitch shifted vocals; all the good stuff!
After a string of high-profile releases for Richie Hawtin's Minus, Gavin Lynch aka Matador delivers a new album for Ruckus. It sounds like the Irish producer has matured as a producer. At times, Ructions seethes with an understated menace. This is evident on "Drifting", a drawn out groove with menacing bass pulsing underneath. "Back 2 Bass" follows a similar trajectory, augmented by a repetitive vocal sample and sirens firing off into the ether. There is still a lot of big-room style tracks - just check the ominous "Inceptions" and the heads-down pulses "Klout & Bones" - but this album works best when Lynch explores unexpected directions, like the subtle, sub-aquatic house of "Harcourt Street".
Deep and slinky tech house by Spanish favourite Hector Couto and it finds a fitting home on Ralph Lawson's esteemed Leeds institution that is still going strong. The title track as well as the very funky "Music Please" are the kind of rolling peak time grooves that have seen him have several releases on the likes of Mihalis Safras' Material Series; so no coincidence really! "Raw Fixation" or "House Bounce" dive deeper with their NYC style swing and shuffle and infectious basslines; no wonder he's released on Hot Creations too! There's an undeniable nod to Kerri Chandler on both tracks, which we loved.
Systematic owner Marc Romboy turns over some of his biggest tracks from last year to a select group of remixers. In Dosem's hands, "Elgur" is turned into a sinister, pulsing techno track, breaking down into menacing synth scapes. By contrast, Audiojack's take on "Byglia" is compact and controlled, its square drums and snappy percussion telescoping Romboy's synths into a tight arrangement. Alex Niggemann's take on "Nasa" is in a similar vein, with slick acid underpinning the offbeat drums. Finally, there's the Agents of Time take on "Simi". Reverting to the approach favoured by Dosem, it ends up sounding leaner, meaner and more dance floor focused thanks to its heads-down linear rhythm and relentless bass.
Krankbrother: Brothers, DJ's, promoters and if that wasn't enough: promoters and producers out of London. Just modern day supermen really.. and all in a day's work for this mighty duo. This time appearing on Yousef's esteemed Circus Recordings out of Liverpool, "Circular Thing" is a rolling and booming tech house cut that has the right amount of suspense and perfect to lead into the peak time shift with its early Detroit techno style melody. It also gets a bunch of seriously kick -ass remixes, such as by Knee Deep In Sound main man Hot Since '82, whose explosive peak time slammer of a makeover would make even Carlo Lio stand up and notice. German hero Kiki also serves up a version which is more restrained, darker and deeper with its humming sub bassline and overall druggy aesthetic. Dresden duo Raumakustik throw in a rendition which is more percussive and funky, not bad either!
Originally hailing from Newcastle and now based in Berlin after a stint in Mexico, the man known as Man Power is back, lending some class to the Voyeurhythm label. The title track buzzes and grinds away in ferocious 303 acid fashion; you could really imagine them all losing their heads to this one! Next up "Wither" is a dark journey track much like some of his previous work on Correspondant with some more sick acid included for your enjoyment (and those horns that come in later are a nice touch too we must say). Finally he closes things out with Koncret Cutz killer remix of "Ruthven" which has some deep electro/acid house crossover on this soulful and emotive rendition by this Anglo-French duo.
Paris imprint Meant have treated us to some great releases recently by German trio Rework and label boss Remain's Lost It EP last year, on which he teamed up with Maxime. This time around it is the turn of Vosper, who appeared on the label previously in 2013 back, with a bit of help from Ponsolo. The Montreal based duo serve up the deep and minimal techno groove of "Cats & Dogs" which is so reminiscent of legends Run Stop Restore or anything on legendary imprint m_nus. Fun fact: Vosper's last release had a remix by Marc Houle! "I Wish" continues on in further reductionist fashion with more pitch shifted vocals boldly declaring "I wish you were a freak, just like me". Finally "Whatever" appears in its original version plus a wicked remix by Mexico's Superstudio which delves into a cosmic/exotic deep house journey track style that has seen him release on the likes of Correspondant.
Kurt Baggaley? Yes that's him; the artist formerly known as Scape One not to mention several other aliases which were equally as seminal in electro and techno's recent past. Under his own name he's been making house music over the last few years, and this stuff is great also. On "Winterland" Baggaley throws down a soulful and emotive deep house journey, rich with vintage synth flair as always. The remix by Hamburg producer Patlac is a funky and adrenalised tech house remix that is perfect for peaking Berlin dancefloors. Croatian legend Petar Dundov's remix is business as usual: most inspiring in high fidelity, hi-tech soul!
The latest release on Hot Since 82's label comes from German duo Booka Shade. On this occasion, the pioneers of the 'trance house' sound turn the controls over to the remixers - with excellent results. French producer Olivier Mateu, aka Rodriguez Jr is best known for his releases on Mobilee and follows a similar approach to that work here. A pulsing, hypnotic groove and crisp drums provide the backdrop for a velvety vocal that rises like plumes of smoke over the arrangement. At the other end of the spectrum is the Denneyas ERD remix. More steely and driving, it still features evocative vocal lines like 'I tremble, you falter', but these breathy niceties are aligned to detuned but catchy hooks that recall Booka Shade's own sound.
Danish up and coming producer Denis Horvat is back again on Berlin tech house hero Alex Niggemann's Aeon Audio. First track "Exit" is a tunnelling dark techno journey with rusty and syncopated rhythms while "Transparent" and "Moerna" are dark journey tracks with wonky and catchy synth leads plus haunting atmospheres that'll appeal to Life & Death fans. The remix of "Exit" by rising Italian duo Marvin & Guy is super infectious and has a groove that sits somewhere between nu-disco and progressive house and is equally surefire on the dancefloor.
Kings of Leeds and The White Isle alike are back on their notorious Gruuv imprint (where else?) and throwing down some of the most well executed and surefire tech house you'll ever hear. Starting out with the very sleek and dark slow burner "Manipulate" it then gets a remix by Systematic head honcho Marc Romboy, whose "Devilfish Attack" remix does exactly what it says on the tin: truly gutsy 303 business for freaks on this one. "Bonafide" is more for the daytime, this one is funky, summery and sexy and expect to be hearing a lot of this one too. The remix by Sante goes more for the classic 90's U.S. house vibe and a nice touch in all its dusty and shuffling glory.
Alexandre Paounov aka French producer Popof is probably more known for his releases on imprint Heretik (which he runs) not to mention appearing on a who's who of labels from Hot Creations and Turbo to Cocoon. He now appears on Kerri Chandler's newly formed Kaoz Theory with the One Chance In Three EP. First up is the title track which gets straight down to business on this tribal house journey reminiscent of classic west coast tech house of the late nineties. "Summer Passion" or "Record In" (which is particularly sexy/funky) are more classic NYC deep house jams reminiscent of label boss himself Chandler or the legendary Mr V, with some very cool and inspirational lyrics.
Texas-bred, San Francisco-schooled producer, DJ and vocalist Kevin Knapp teams up with fellow Californian ex-pat in Berlin Sascha Robotti on the Stay With It EP for Kody & Leftwing's LOST. The title track is funky and rolling minimal tech house that is druggy and bounced just the right amount by 'that' kind of bassline. After all, Knapp has appeared previously on Hot Creations and this is perfect for the afterhours. The remix by UK duo Toucan is funky, uplifting and dare we say 'Summery', utilising Knapp's vocals and that squeaky clean synth lead so well. "The Hip" is pretty killer too; this dirty, bass driven groove assault will certainly appeal to fans of the Dirtybird sound. The remix of it by Dale Howard is absolutely stomping too in all its 90's NYC house style, reminiscent of Kerri Chandler or Jovonn.
Hannover's Mario Aureo has appeared previously on Bondage, Soulfooled and Moodmusic and rolls tight with fellow local Daniel Solar. On the Final Gloaming EP for Berlin institution Ritter Butzke, he throws down some mesmerising deep house grooves such on "Final Call" or "Gloaming" which bring to mind classic Freerange or Buzzin' Fly from the late noughties. He teams up with comrade Manuel Moreno on "Collapse" for more of the same, but it is the remix by man of the moment Markus Homm which gives the track a smooth and slinky yet adrenalised progressive house makeover for the peak time.
Colombian Julio Victoria has appeared previously for Berlin imprint Get Physical with "Some Sense" on Get Physical Trax Vol. 3 back in 2013 but now presents his own EP. It appears his star is on the rise and after shows in Berlin and on Boiler Room Colombia: watch this space! Taken from Francesco Tristano's brilliant Body Language Vol. XVI, "Impermanence" appears as it did on the mix in all its deep, funky and summery glory as well as the original mix which is quite similar and there's more emphasis on that wicked bassline. But it's the remix by Seattle hero Pezzner which we really liked on here, taking the summery vibes of the original into darker territory with its sombre atmospherics and nefarious new bassline; this one's for the night creatures!
UK legend Justin Robertson released his second album under the Deadstock 33s alias last year on Skint entitled Everything Is Turbulence and was well received. Now we get some stellar remixes from the album, namely the tracks "Metal Taste", which gets made-over by Gerd Janson, twice! But it's the "Gerd Jason Chrome II Dub" which really shines on this deep, bumpin' and sexy late-night groove. Berghain regular, Falkplatz main man and all round Berlin hero Oliver Deutschmann also turns in a couple of sweet versions too; they're both pretty sweet but for our money it's the absolutely ferocious "Oliver Deutschmann Acid Strip" which really blows the doors off and exactly the sort of thing you'd expect to hear at his acclaimed residency. We must say also that the tunnelling late night extended mix featuring DJs Parera is wicked too.