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Permanent Vacation boss Benjaimin Frohlich is back. The man in Munich now presents the remixes of his fab 2016 release Rude Movements and gets an all-star cast to lend their deft hand at a remix. First up is the imitable Lauer; king of all things neon-lit and retro who delivers the goods (as always) with his rendition of "Amos", while fellow Frankfurter Shan stays true to the classic house aesthetic on his deep late night groove: "Holloway" is injected with spooky analogue synth leads, chunky analogue arpeggios and rusty rhythms with the good ol' clap on the kick for good measure. On the flip, it's all about the sludgy and tape saturated "Spitting Image" reinterpreted Jack Pattern (actually a Swiss trio, would you believe) where their slow motion EBM mutation calls to mind the work of Slugbug or L/F/D/M. Wicked!
Houle is one of the most quietly prolific techno producers out there and on his latest album for Items & Things sees him push in a deeper direction than before. There are echoes of Houle's minimal past throughout Sinister Mind - and it is most evident on the rickety "Conbular" - but the strength of this work lies in its author's abilities to fuse precise, dissected rhythms with diverse sound pallettes. This results in the Aril Brikha meets Minus deep techno of "Paligama"; the title track, where Dave Gahan-style vocals are merged with evocative chords and the ebm-influenced groove of "Maskatron". Houle even turns his hand to underground electro on "Bassoffific", where bugged out 808s come together with his microscopic percussion to form an unusual, highly distinctive arrangement.
Hamburg house heroes Diynamic are back with Four To The Floor 08 where they serve up some tough main room tech house to get your people moving! First up is the Afro futurist journey that is "Zulu" by Brigado Crew & Crisstiano which will appeal to fans of Innervisions or Yoruba Soul. The harbour city's favourite sons Adana Twins serve up the dark journey track "Uncompromising" which will transfix crowds with its sense of dancefloor drama. Rafael Cerato & Artbat's soulful tech house journey "Uplift" had us reminiscing about the Dennis Ferrer sound of old while finally Definition's "Pretend To Fly" is certainly geared for those hands in the air moments; expect a reaction from the crowd when this one drops. Either when that roaring vintage synth arpeggio comes creeping in or the heartfelt vocals alike.
Since making his name with a string of fine EPs on Electrique Music earlier in the decade, Bufi returned to action last year with a fine album entitled Revelacion. Here, a quartet of likeminded producers takes it in turns to rework tracks from that set. Spanish producer AFFKT steps up first, sneakily turning EBM-influenced chugger "Apocalipstick" into a hard-wired chunk if throbbing, Italo-disco inspired sleaze. Eskimo Recordings regulars Zombies In Miami delivers a sparse, electro-influenced revision of "New Ground", before Max Jones tiptoes the fine line between acid-flecked deep house and psychedelic nu-disco on his re-make of "Interlude". Finally, Damon Jee gives "Peaks" a thorough going over, fixing Nitzer Ebb style electronics to a dark-wave disco groove.
Brett Johnson was always one of the most innovative house producers and this release for the re-launched Classic shows that he hasn't lost his signature sound. On the OG Demo mix of "Mr Johnson's Talk'n Now", he lays down a gritty, stripped back house groove, replete with lo fi blips and bursts of noise that accompany wired, weird vocal samples. The 'Luke's Video Games Rework' is just as off-beat, with the vocals deeper in the mix and a furious stab taking centre stage, while the 'BJ Revamp' remix swings back towards Johnson's wild, stripped back sound. Only on "Give It To Them" does he opt for a more conventional approach, with a disco stab riding the relentlessly jacking groove.
Berlin duo 2raumwohnung are back! The duo comprised of Inga Humpe, and her life partner, Tommi Eckart made it big in the early noughties with their irresistible electro-pop ditties which got them lumped in with the whole electroclash trend (lest we forget) and of course the inclusion of their anthemic "Ich Und Elaine' on Tiga's legendary DJ Kicks mix in 2002. The master DJ Koze's remix is where the Hamburg hero stays true to the original by retaining most of the elements but injects the track with his trademark knack for deepness, emotion and all things quirky and trippy. If that was not enough, the king of minimal Ricardo Villalobos lends a helping hand and delivers a pumping, rolling and glitchy makeover which could be one of his best remixes in recent times. Finally Thi Chanh knows what he's doing, as he treads a similarly poppy path. He gives the track a dreamy and ethereal rendition that will appeal to fans of the Crosstown Rebels sound.
Techno pioneer Carl Craig's new album features eight tracks from his back catalogue re-composed in collaboration with classical musicians such as Francesco Tristano and the Les Siecles orchestra conducted by Francois-Xavier Roth. Originally released on the 2004 EP Just Another Day, this revised version of the anthemic "Sandstorms" will be featured on the new album entitled Versus. "Sandstorms" (VCO Update) is a nice modern revision of the track for modern dancefloors in all its seductive and slow burning glory.
Edible head honcho and all round tech house superstar Eats Everything teams up with Cornwall's Lord Leopard here for some bumpin' and slinky grooves aimed squarely at the dancefloor. The Murk style tribal drums on "Song For" merge with diva vocals but soon give way to a bleepy bass driven jackathon. "War Rhythm" continues on with the bouncy sensibilities with its low end swagger that reminds you that these guys really are about a Bristol kind of sound.
Russian tech house star in New York City Serge Devant is back, this time on Hot Since 82's Knee Deep In Sound for some tough and rolling tech house shenanigans. Hot off releases recently for Crosstown Rebels and Circus Recordings, the Confidence EP lives up to its name on these three very assertive exercises in dancefloor dynamics. The title track's humming sub bass is pure adrenaline, complimented by tough drums, Kevin Saunderson style synth leads and rushy laser zaps. It gets a bit deeper, sexier and funky on the stripped back DJ tool "Life Trap" which is perfect sonic artillery for the late night while "Frenzy" hammers the message home in true style with its booming bassline, swing fuelled percussion and heady synth sounds signalling the start of peak time; all after the massive drop of course.
Houle is one of the most quietly prolific techno producers out there and on his latest album for Items & Things sees him push in a deeper direction than before. There are echoes of Houle's minimal past throughout Sinister Mind - and it is most evident on the rickety "Conbular" - but the strength of this work lies in its author's abilities to fuse precise, dissected rhythms with diverse sound pallettes. This results in the Aril Brikha meets Minus deep techno of "Paligama"; the title track, where Dave Gahan-style vocals are merged with evocative chords and the ebm-influenced groove of "Maskatron". Houle even turns his hand to underground electro on "Bassoffific", where bugged out 808s come together with his microscopic percussion to form an unusual, highly distinctive arrangement.
Having impressed with a string of bass-heavy house cuts on his Take Control label, Sooney has earned a big money transfer to Hot Creations. "Back To The Music" is a bombastic, club-ready affair, with the London producer expertly joining the dots between the mind-altering sub-bass and skittish beats of UK garage, the saucer-eyed positivity of early UK hardcore, and the melodious warmth of big room tech-house. Fellow UK producer Route 94 weighs in with a slightly deeper but no less bass-heavy remix, before Sooney fixes his booming UK bass influences to the muscular drums of Twilo-era Danny Tenaglia on the thrusting "Afraid of the Dark". All three tracks are undeniably large, suggesting that we're going to hear a lot more from Sooney when UK festival season rolls around.
Kompakt Extra also known as Speicher, is a sub-label of Kompakt Records dedicated to more DJ friendly techno than its parent label. For the 94th edition, it's over to one of the imprint's main artists in the form of mighty Reinhard Voigt. Starting off with his his brooding and steely remix of Berlin's Terranova on "Labrador" with its razor sharp and buzzy synths leading the charge, Terranova repay the favour with their remix of Voigt's "Husky" a dark journey track with trippy delay drenched drums and brooding hoover style synths creating some very dramatic mood lighting indeed. Finally Voigt goes out all guns blazing on the darkly energised peak time techno of "Wan Wan" which just goes to show why this guy, despite being not quite as famous as his brother Wolfgang: is still one of the stalwarts of the Cologne techno scene.
British power duo Waze & Odyssey take a break from their always reliable W&O Street Tracks for an appearance on Edible; the Bristol based imprint by Eats Everything and Nick Harris and follows up great releases by Steve Mac and Robert Bruce aka Rhythm Masters and Merseyside's Mele.We've first got the bouncy and funked up tech house of "Down With Tha" where that very vocal loop is chopped up to perfection. Then we have got the deep and sexy tribal house groove of "Seizure" which will take you back to the turn of the millennium on this west coast style groove, that calls to mind the heyday of Hipp-E & Halo or Tyler Stadius.
The first release in the Dekmantel 10 Year Anniversary releases sees Venetian ambient don Gigi Masin make his debut for the label with the totally sublime and drifting jazz deconstruction heard on "Maja", while Ukrainian wunderkind Vakula keeps on with his recent deviations into techno and other forms of underground electronics on "Fuck The Robot System" which as the name may suggest is quite an electro tinged and futuristic groove full of snappy 808 beats, vocoded vocals and rusty vintage arpeggios. Finally, the man from Frankfurt Roman Flugel works his magic as always on the stripped and minimal deep house journey "Mice On A Stick" which is full of soothing bell textures, dusty drum patterns and dreamy melodies all working together great on this dramatic slow burner.
OK one more time: he's back! Brighton's favourite son Norman Cook (The Housemartins/Pizzaman) dons the Fatboy Slim alias once again for his new hit single "Where U Iz" on his esteemed Southern Fried imprint. Its release earlier back in 2017 came with some handy (not to mention nifty) remixes but here's one more to tide you over: courtesy of London's KDA (KDA Music/Ministry Of Sound) who injects the track with some sexy and entrancing latin drums, while working the dirty funky loops of the original into the mix rather nicely indeed.
Kommune Amsterdam curator Nathan Surreal is up next on Biologic: a record-label based between Marseille and Brussels, established and run by Abstraxion and DC Salas. It's an emotive hi-tech soul affair on the hypnotic beauty of "Star Dust", while the remix of it up next by Manchester's always impressive Adesse Version delivers as always. Less hi-tech than the original, his version is more deep and dusty with its tough breaks and shimmering arpeggios getting a nice and slinky groove happening. "Human Music" gets those life affirming vibes happening again in full effect with some elevating strings and funky dubbed out synth stabs riding atop some seriously tight rhythms.
The Happy Pink Pills massive has sprouted out of nowhere, but they're already kicking down doors with an absurdly ferocious level of house and tech beats for the big room dances! On paper, Valsa is a newcomer to the scene but it sounds like the producer's been at it for years; much like the talents of John Digweed or Sasha, these progressive house beats sounds well-polished and perfectly constructed. "Happy Pink Pills" is itself a stellar example of the sort of dance music that has the power to attract even the most skeptical of music aficionados, and it definitely enters the realm of the sort of pop-filtered house that was big in the 90s and 2000s. There's a Marek Hemmann remix, a more beat-centric cut which feels more adapted to the later sets, and the seductive flavours of "Fall From Grace", another gentle, vocal-driven house nugget for the radio playback...
Loco Dice's label has always been supportive of underground artists and the release of The Watcher is no exception. The work of the mysterious Chuckie, the title track was supposedly recorded back in 2009 and appears to have been signed by Desolat back in 2015. This makes it even more impressive, as it sees Chuckie conjure up a rolling, hypnotic dance floor track that touches on the rolling dynamism of techno, the steely precision of minimalism and electro house at its bass-heavy grittiest. "Watcher" swings and grooves its way through a series of filtered break downs - no wonder then that it has been a secret DJ weapon for Loco Dice.
Deep sexy and slinky tech house for the early hours courtesy of LIverpool's finest and Circus resident Yousef on "Pleasure Defined" with its tribal sensibilities taking you back to the turn of the millennium when Danny Tenaglia and Steve Lawler reigned supreme. It also gets some wicked remixes: W&O Street Tracks head honchos Waze & Odyssey give the track a grinding and bumping house makeover that retains Erica Thompson's sultry vocals, but throws in a jacking beat and buzzy sub synths beneath. Also the unstoppable London duo Krankbrother deliver as always with their remix, channelling that deep and emotive Kompakt vibe like they've been doing so well of late.
Manchester's Karma Kid is back with a bit of help from Fono on "Allison" a bangin' jam that merges UK bass and house in fine form and will appeal to fans of Dirtybird or the This Ain't Bristol sound. Featuring some familiar lyrics from a certain early noughties punk anthem over its glimmering synths, tough/dirty rhythms and low-end power, expect to be hearing this one around a lot in 2017. Comes with a handy radio edit. Method White delivers the goods once again and follows up great releases by Eats Everything, MJ Cole and Hamburg's Monte.
Exclusives
PIRUPA - Solo EP (Monaberry)
REINHARD VOIGT - Speicher 94 (Kompakt Extra Germany)
MAX COOPER - Organa (Patrice Baumel remix) (Mesh)
Exclusives
DOUGLAS GREED - Enemy (Freude Am Tanzen Germany)
NATHAN SURREAL - Star Dust EP (Biologic)
GIGI MASIN/VAKULA/ROMAN FLUGEL - Dekmantel 10 Years 01 (Dekmantel Holland)
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