This third volume in the celebratory Tsuba Loves series - a way of championing some of their favourite artists - gives virtual hugs and kisses to Huxley, a producer whose stock seems to rise by the month. For those who've not been following his career, this is a great place to start. While largely made up of material previously released on Tsuba (naturally), it does chart his rise from young upstart to in-demand club favourite. Along the way, there's a chance to revisit some of his best material, including the garage-influenced deep house banger "Take No More" (check, too, the thrilling MK remix), the brilliant deep-but-wonky jazz-house cut "Get Your Own" and a string of early collaborations with similarly feted producer Ethyl.
Ten years of Tsuba already? The London-based house imprint run by Kevin Griffiths has presented a fine palette over the years showcasing the many shades of house music; deep, techy or otherwise. On 10 Years Tsuba Essentials he presents a series of greatest hits and near misses; the latter thankfully served up on point this time around. Highlights include the darkly emotive hit Moodymanc - "Black Paint" (Larry Heard's After Dark mix), while the man returns under his famous Mr Fingers guise for the stunning rework of Sebo K's "Ultramarine". There's the sleazy afterhours deepness of Sascha Dive "Jus Groove", and Adelaide enfant terribles The Carter Bros with the funky discofied party starter "Lovin' You Is Easy" among many more.
Tsuba boss Kevin Griffiths has always been good at selecting remixers, as this six-track collection of historic reworks from US-based house producers proves. With MK, Chez Damier, DJ Sneak and Larry Heard all contributing, there's a heavyweight, high-profile feel to proceedings. It's arguably Damier's warm, loose, bumpin' and decidedly epic rework of Sacha Dive's "Jus Groove" that stands out, just edging out Heard's warm and enveloping take on Moodymanc's "Black Paint". Elsewhere, new school US hero Aybee delivers a smooth, bleep-heavy tech-house interpretation of Ethyl and Huxley's "Reflections", while DJ Sneak drops a surprisingly electronic re-interpretation of former Peace Division man Justin Drake's "Gotta Let Me Know".
Kevin Griffiths' Tsuba label arguably had its strongest year to date in 2011, as this handy 12-track round up of highlights shows. Inhabiting the no-man's-land between deep and tech-house, Tsuba's 2011 output ranged from sturdy and acid-flecked (Subb-Ann) to intensely beautiful (Aybee's delicious, Nu Groove-ish rework of Ethyl & Huxley's "Reflexions") via straight-up late night floorfillers (Mic Newman, Spencer Parker & Ian Pooley, a notable remix from Sebo K). This collection also includes a terrific Larry Heard remix of Moodymanc's "Black Paint", which is as well crafted and undulating as you'd expect from the great man.
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