Review: Second albums are meant to be difficult but you tell that to Survival and Script and they'll laugh in your prudy little face: Scar's follow up to The Orkyd Project is another remarkable body of work. The first of a three album deal the London duo have with Metalheadz (the first ever deal the label have ever offered any artist) High Fives & Devil Eyes is a powerful jolt of timeless D&B that dig deep into every corner of the genre. From the alluring intro of "Circle Of Trust" to the deep, introspection of the finale "Eternal" via the wonky-assed "Pauline", the scuzzy gritty bass of "First Sound" and trippy funk of the album title track, the only difficult thing about this second album is working out which tune you want to play in your sets first. High fives all round!
Review: Oh gosh! Current Value hits us hard with his 11th studio album 'Puer'. Released on Serum's Souped Up, it's a no-holds-barred exploration of the jumpier side to his far-reaching range. Big basslines, wily funk, zero-effs-given rave music, it's the German producer at his most playful. Highlights such as the sizzling harmonics of "Contemplate", the deep drones and savage kicks of "Chariot", the rising grainy riff and KO fills of "Pitting" and the reunion with man-of-the-moment Bou on "Running Your Mouth" are just some of the tracks that will melt your skin right down to your bones. And if that's not enough, he's about to drop album 12 on Methlab too. No one's doing it like Current Value.
Review: Audaz serve up a second set of re-edits by the mysterious Lolita. Whether label boss Alkalino or an anonymous backroom boffin are to thank we couldn't say, but whoever it is they take on an impressive range of source material, from Gene Pitney ('020') to 80s synth-poppers Alphaville ('013') via Talking Heads ('019'), Stargard ('016'), Laura Branigan ('014') and even a cover of Hank Williams' country classic 'Kaw-Liga' by new wave weirdos The Residents ('017') - all of which are given a druggy, chuggy makeover for today's nu-disco floors, with '015' (a take on 1979's 'Marathon Runner' by August Darnell and Bob Blank's Aural Exciters project) a particular standout.
Review: It seems to strange, in 2019, to think that Robert Hood was once best known for dark, pounding techno, such has been the success of his more house- and gospel-inspired Floorplan project in recent years. This third long-player finds the father-and-daughter duo in fine fettle, serving up 10 cuts that marry house and disco's sense of groove and musicality to the dancefloor energy that Hood learned during his Underground Resistance years, with wailing church organs helping to provide the album's standout moments on tracks like 'Dance Floor' and 'His Eye Is On The Sparrow'. An uptempo, genre-defying triumph.
Review: Audaz certainly seem keen to get these 'Lolita' re-edits out there: this third installment follows hot on the heels of Vol 2, which only landed last week! Once again there are 10 tracks to choose from, with the source material once again ranging from vintage funk, soul and disco to 80s pop and beyond. '021' is based on an unknown cover of the Timmy Thomas/Sade classic 'Why Can't We Live Together' and '022' reworks The Floaters' mellow soul classic 'Float On', while '026' (source familiar-sounding but unidentified!) has an EBM/Italo kinda feel and '025' loops up The Detroit Emeralds' 1972 funk/soul gem 'Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)'.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a brand new album from sometime Classic Music Co contributor Eli Escobar, a producer who has proved to be one of the most distinctive and consistent in house music over the last few years. "Last Summer" contains a mixture of short interludes and inspired, almost uniformly dancefloor-friendly workouts that bring together a range of complimentary influences. Our picks include the atmospheric and acid-fired deep house warmth of "Flashing Lights", the muscular peak-time Moroder-isms of "(All Night) Rhythm", the melodious, sun-kissed Balearic house brilliance of "Blu" and the woozy warmth of "Last Night".
Review: The way Audaz has been churning out these Lolita collections lately, you'd think "possession of an unreleased re-edit" had just been made a crime under German law! But the quality standard shows no sign of slipping, so that's hardly cause for complaint. Standouts of this fourth volume include '038', which revisits Kim And Rasa's obscure 1982 Ghanaian funk/rap jam 'Love Me For Real', '035' with its fusion of country rock guitar and sweet female disco vox, and '037', which reworks Brass Construction's 'Changin' from 1975. Dead Or Alive get the Lolita treament, too, on '032'.
Review: Misanthrop is best known for giving a one fingered salute with his brash, wily, almost punky techy drum & bass. Until now... Analog, his second solo album, shows a completely different, much deeper and thoughtful side to the German producer. Coming on strong like a Bodzin or Huntemann record, this is a proper opus that celebrates drum & bass music's deepest and most cosmic aspects. The staccato drama of "Deus", the techno pace and energy of "Heute Nacht", the intense delivery, arrangement and narrative of "Plastik" and "Space Station". The list goes on. We're not messing around here; this is one of the best drum & bass albums of the year, hands down.
Review: KOTR are, in all likelihood, the biggest breakout D&B act of the past two years. It's strange because all three have been producing music for a long time as solo acts, but something about the reputation they've developed as a trio has launched them into the stratosphere and beyond. This is their debut album and it's landing on the biggest label in thew game - Hospital Records. It's 17 tunes long and packed full of the sonics we've come to expect from these three, with less of a focus on the mix and more on just pure, gully vibes. They've certainly accomplished that. Check out 'You Got Me' for an example, with an old-school Original Sin-esque vibe blended with a newer, KOTR trademark sound. Spanking stuff right here.
Review: Germany's Daniel Klein is a scene veteran whose career dates back to the early 90s, and who's DJ'd everywhere from Manumission to Tresor. Latterly, in his SIRS guise, he's been exploring retro disco and funk territory, which is where we find him on this, the project's debut long-player. The album as a whole can safely be filed under the 'nu disco' umbrella but there's enough variety on offer to ensure things never get dull, from soul- and boogie-infused nuggets like 'Night Wind' and 'All Night Long', to a Stee Downes-vocalled electro-disco cover of Tony Di Bart's 90s club fave 'The Real Thing'.
Review: Aries 2018-released debut album Jungle Style just keeps on giving with another badass bounty of versions. Featuring a whole range of skilled breakbeat craftsmen from hyped newcomers and hidden talents to some of the best in the game, highlights hit from all corners including Saxxon's jazz-tinged tear-up on "Sundays", Kreed's dancehall stepper twist of "I & I" and Benny Page's heavily supported version of "Herbsmoke". High grade business.
Review: Integral by label name, integral to the scene full stop: Glenn and Zula's AI partnership has been a prominent and consistent voice since the early 2000s. Since 2010 we've seen them dig deep into the album artform with Stand Alone kicking off a slew of LPs, currently climaxing with The Series. Delivered over four parts - two last year, two this year - the full set spans their full gamut touching deep daydream rollers such as "Savour" to much darker, heavyweight pieces such as "Isolate". Each made for the club but executed with depth and restraint to that lends itself to any scenario, it's a great way to sign out of this decade and prime us for what's to come. Integral by nature.
Review: Wow, what a run it has been for the Night Bass team who hear touch down with their one hundredth official release, celebrating one of the most exceptional catalogues within the entire bass music spectrum. They have pulled together an exquisite line up for this one, featuring a tonne of high end names, including founder AC Slater alongside Chris Lorenzo, Flava D, Shift K3y, Jack Beats and more. For us there are a couple of clear stand outs on this one, the first of which has to be the long awaited release of Taiki Nulight and Dread Mc's bassy roller: 'Kush'. We also love the smooth subby bops of Sinden's 'Work That', along with the incredibly unique drum work of 'Ugly' from Petey Clicks.
Review: Since debuting in the early 2000s, Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak have established themselves as one of Europe's premier purveyors of eclectic, funk-fuelled dancefloor positivity. It's little surprise then to find that their new album "Pleasure Centre" - their sixth studio set in total - is another joyous romp. This time round, they've drawn more influence from West Coast style blue-eyed soul and yacht rock while continuing to offer nods towards boogie, P-funk, synth-pop, '80s soul, jazz-funk and Rotary Connection (see the superb "Twilght", with vocals by rising star FitzRoy). It's a wonderfully warm and attractive blend, with the result being a superb collection of dancefloor cuts and heady downtempo numbers that all adds up to their best album to date.
Review: Hospital co-founder London Elektricity drops his seventh studio album and it's one of his most exciting, alluring and experimental bodies of work to date. The clues were clear when he dropped the first single, the soprano-led, Morricone-esque "Final View From The Rooftops". A statement with a narrative and a vibe of its own, it doesn't play by any established rules bar that of his own and has set the tone and vibe of the album perfectly. Other highlights include the immense jazz fusion of "I Wish You Could See It Too" (with Urbandawn), the immense goosebump-inducing funk euphoria of "The Prescription Is Love", the smouldering dark soul of "She Slowly Caught Fire" (with Bulgarian Goddess) the return of Elsa Esmerelda on the evocative 'Lonely Sirens' and the Whiney-featured gully bumper "Empty Seat At The Table". These are just a handful of highlights from truly thoughtful and hugely creative album.
Review: While he's not confirmed it either way, we're pretty sure that Lolita is a new re-edit alias of Audaz boss Alkalino - a producer who has been offering up tidy, scalpel style reworks since we were in short trousers. There's much to admire amongst the numbered, untitled tracks, from the gently housed-up soul bounce of "001" and the delightfully over-the-top disco pomposity of "003", to the throbbing disco-house cheeriness of "005", the deep house/soul fusion of "006" and the heavily percussive world music-meets-disco goodness of "009". Best of all, though, is the gritty disco-funk stomp of "008", a superb revision of a reggae disco-tinged cover of Donna Summer classic "I Feel Love".
Review: It's been a long wait but like an epic trilogy we thought we were never going to get, Andy Stott delivers a third record related to the ground breaking Passed Me By and We Stay Together EPs. Nothing stops the rolling onward lurch of "Versi" with "Take" a sort of houseir counterpart in rhythm that's given huge bassline pulse of Intelecto reminiscence. Epic Modern Love Sounds. Jus like in 2011, all reference points of genres heard here are contorted, abstracted and blown up to a full scale of subsonic fidelity. Tracks like "0L9" transmute house to a whole new degree of sunken deepness, while amid light footwork numbers and the harmonics in "Promises" and throughout "It Should Be Us", the record is a huge hello for dub music, club culture, tempos and convention.
Review: His last album Salvation seems like it landed only yesterday - it's actually been exactly two years. And during this time he's been neck deep in collaborations for this remarkable follow-up. Each track a creation with a kindred spirits. Key Hospital faces include Degs, Bop, Urbandawn, Whiney, S.P.Y, fellow souls on other label orbits such as Pola & Bryson, Technimatic, DJ Marky and old friends (Danny Wheeler, MC Conrad) The result brings out the best of all Makoto's sides and styles from hazy disco ("Miles Ahead" with Marky) dreamy cosmic funk ("Dive" with Polaris) and total soul bliss ("Merchant Blessing" with Conrad) And that's just the tip of the iceberg.
Review: Permanent Vacation co-head Tom Bioly's musical output has hit a new high in recent times, with the Munich based artist having gone solo after previous collaborations with partner Benjamin Froelich. He released a series of wonderful remixes of last year's "Night Heat" single and of course 2017's electro-noir opus Heartbreak Hotel. Bioly returns with another fabulous full length here entitled A Call For Romance, where acid drops, string distortions, lushed melody bits, hushed robo vox and washed space guitars are layered and sprinkled over machine beats and disco drums.
Review: Some six years ago we met Mr. 8040. It was 2357 A.D. and our hero was in the throes of hazardous journey back to his home planet. This premise was set up with Welcome To Mikrosector-50 LP in 2013, a debut Space Dimension Controller album for R&S. Love Beyond The Intersect, it is told, sees Mr 8040 again exploring "the unknown world in the hope of finding help." With Space Dimension Controller at the controls, this return represents a deeper touch to the story, with Moodymann levels of deep house depth reached in "Alone In An Unknown Sector" alongside the equally ambient and evoking sounds of "Sundown On Memory Point". A new level of maturity and minimalism shines through on the album with the power of subtleness is on display here. Cue ambient swells of cosmic atmospheres dusted up by the soft pitter-patter of luscious drums and sweet shining synths. Godspeed Mr. 8040!
Review: Ruffneck Ting have been too kind to us this week, as instead of amore standard single or four-track release, they've dropped an eight-track album of sorts, a collaborative effort by Erbman and Flat T which rolls out in absolute style. The percussive construction is a highlight of this release and 'Hit It' demonstrates this best, with a flurry of beats flying all over the shop and underpinned by a wobbling, movement-filled expression of low frequency oscillation. 'Late Night Blues' is our other favourite, with some gorgeous reggae sampling injecting a bit of funk and another excellent bassline providing the final heat. Wicked stuff.
Review: Murdock is no stranger to releasing music, but this is his first full long player and boy, he's done a good job of it. Rolling out on Viper Recordings, Stronger is an incredibly diverse bit of work that shimmers from jungle, into dancefloor and over into liquid with relative ease, an impressive feat for any producer. 'Breathe' feautirng Goldi Phone Home is a gorgeous roller that packs an equally sweet bouncing, bubbly bassline, one that flows and moves underneath the skipping drums and lovely vocal work. There's wicked jungle on 'Different Way', big synthy sounds on 'All Day All Night' and a bunch more. What a release!
Review: It's been almost a year since Swiss duo Adriatique presented their much lauded full length effort 'Nude', and this fresh collection of reworks ensure they still get to live on in the (mind the pun!) - Afterlife. While household names such as label bosses Tale of Us (with Mathame), Keinemusik's Rampa and Solumun appear, it's definitely worth mentioning the more underground artists that they reeled in. Berghain resident Kobosil's barrelling and austere rework of "Tachykardia" keeps the sensual vocals of the original, but is absolutely geared for the peak time period of his acclaimed DJ sets at the Berlin institution. Italian trio Agents Of Time (Obscura) deliver a typically epic and entrancing journey into the deeper realms of dancefloor dynamics, and probably most surprising of all is the addition of Frankfurt minimal house legend Isolee who injects "Mystery" with his idiosyncratic style of emotive and glitching minimal funk.
Review: Oh Serum and Voltage, what are we going to do? As if your single output throughout 2017 wasn't enough, you've ended the year with an entire album that's chock-fuller than Santa's sack! An insane cherry on the top of a gully crumpet, this is a romper roadblock with eyes fully-fixed on the dance... The eerie sci-fi samples and early Zinc style bassline Q&A on "Snakes Alive" Seriously, there are too many highlights here, the soul-bowling club fave "Cricket Bat", the venomous pingball bassline fire of "White Widow", the list of immaculate party hurters on here is near criminal. Sleep on this and Serum and Voltage will strike you!
Review: Level 2 and DJ Chap need no introduction. Right at the front of Sao Paulo's new wave of D&B talent, their Alibi project has been damaging dancefloors (and hogging our playlists) for several years now. Enough years, in fact, to hone their stripped back dark soul signature to an album level. And here it is... Said & Done is a powerful document that cements the duo's skills and position in the game. Ranging from the subtle piano laced opener "Debris" to solid sure fire stinkers like "Through The City" (with Serum & T.R.A.C) via sci fi junglised steppers like the gently fluctuating "Recycle", this Level 2 and DJ Chap at their most widescreen; leaping from delicate ("Grace" with vocalist OG Cleveland Watkiss) to deadly (the venomous creeper "Said & Done" with MC king DRS) this is a seriously on point debut album. That moment when Said & Done is all...
Review: For a seventh time, Perth-based scalpel fiddler Dr Packer opens his surgery doors and invites us inside. As usual, his cheery, floor-friendly reworks strike the right balance between contemporary dancefloor chops (beefed-up bottom end, well-placed filters, and so on), and treating the source material with due reverence. Happily, there's not a duffer in sight, and even his reworks of stone cold classics (see Oliver Cheetham tweak "Friday's Enemy", First Choice revision "Love Doctor" and housed-up Evelyn 'Champagne' King stomper "Shame (VIP)") are different enough to be worthwhile additions to your collection. Highlights are plentiful, but check - in particular - the string-laden disco chug of "Ecstasy" and "Nightlife", a thickset '80s boogie rub full of sparkling synthesizers and heavy bass.