Review: China's house scene is still in its infancy, but it's good to see new label Guangzhou Underground promising to represent it worldwide. This debut release, though, comes from experienced European producer Alex Agore. Aside from the deliciously melodious closer, "Mistakes" - a trip into '80s instrumental slow jam territory - Agore goes straight for the jugular, delivering a series of bumpin' cuts that take much influence from vintage US house. "Do It" is positive and smile inducing, with heavy organs and sampled horns combining well with driving beats. There's more of a DJ Duke-meets-UKG feel about the booming "Tygah Style", while "I Miss Your Luv" sounds like a classic Night Grooves release dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century.
Review: Following the success of the Consumer EP by fellow label owner James Johnston comes the Praise EP by Alex Agore, and it's a true return to form for him on No Matter What. The record opens with the title track "Praise" - an inspired tribute to gospel music, keeping all the soul but reimagining it into something more infectious. Uplifting keys combine with vocals that will have you trying your best to sing-a-long, over a bass groove that holds it all together. "Falling" is a slower affair, with its dream-like chords, airy synthwork, cowbell hits and seamless hats. A perfect track to start a night or to end one. The package is completed with two undeniable house jams. You will soon realise how much you like "There's No Love" when its skippy vocal is stuck in your head, hours after hearing it for the first time. "I Can Feel You" closes out the EP on a deeper note which will have you thinking of moments when the sun is about to rise, yet the night is far from over.
Review: The Deep Down Slam label has Alex Agore supply some Rhodesy house for their third release. Swooning organs and various clatters of hats and percussion rattle "Show U Love" while stretched out synths lay spread over a syncopated bassline and cut vocals in "Get Dub". "No Name 3" sees more luscious Rhodes and chimey organs play out a dancey house melody, while "We Can't Talk" adds more chordal riffage to an EP which screams house music.
Review: For their second release, new label DaBit welcomes perennial deep house workhorse Alex Agore to the stable. By now, we should all know what to expect from Agore, namely good quality, floor-friendly deep house with the required amount of swing and touches of old skool flavour. "Reach For Me" itself features drums, organs and vocal samples heavily inspired by '90s US garage, but it's far closer to contemporary deep house than that. "Tall & Handsome" manages to sound both deep and funky, contrasting long, dreamy chords with a jumpy bassline and classic vocal samples. Closer "He Will Always Be There" chops up the beats for added swing, adding flowing pianos and positive melodies.
Review: Both Alex Agore and Say Ahh! had impressive calendar years in 2012, and following several remix commissions for the breakout label run by the brotherly duo of MK and Scottie Deep, Agore makes his full label debut in impressive fashion. Agore's classicist house style is a perfect fit for Say Ahh!, and the thick, bassy drums of the title track lay down a bumping groove whilst a filtered vocal sample and glorious piano line hook you right in. "Becuzz Of You" adopts a noticeably deeper tone with a glossy sheen coating Agore's trademark percussion, whilst "Unbelievable" wraps the titular vocal hook endlessly around a driving, searching, stripped back groove. "X" meanwhile looks to a Salsoul gem for vocal inspiration and swamps the sample in a meaty groove, while the finger snapping, soulful slam of "Ice Crystals" round the EP out alongside the immediately infectious piano house business of "Everyday (U Lift Me Up)".
Review: Kolour Recordings' Undertones offshoot has impressed to date with outings from heavyweight producers such as Delano Smith, KiNK, Red Rack'em and Moodymanc. To celebrate the milestone tenth release, East Berliner Alex Agore is called upon to grace Undertones with his classy brand of deepness. No stranger to the Detroit label having provided one of their best releases in last year's Promised You Love, Agore is in fine form again as demonstrated on the EP title track. Filled with languid keys, "Love Confusion" is a subtle excursion into simmering house tension made notable by the crafty layers of drums and percussion. Complementing this, the orchestral flourishes of "Protect Me" are underpinned by a delightfully gloopy bassline and skittering drums which lay down the foundations for an excellent vocal hook. "Don't Need No One" meanwhile has summer time written all over it!
Review: Alex Agore returns to 4Lux following the success of his "I Remember House" on the imprint at the end of last year. With "Victory", the German delivers an EP of four super deep, groove-led house tracks that touch on disco, dub, tech, jazz and the jacking sound of Detroit. The title track begins in a reggae influenced mood but switches to twinkling house. "The Dayz of Wayback" is slow, liquid disco infused house and "Skyraider" is vintage soul with a pumping house twist. "Jazz Thing", a continually building jazz-house jam completes a release that is sure to further enhance Agore's fast rising rep.
Review: This second split EP from deep housers Alex Agore and James Johnston has already proved popular on vinyl, and it's not hard to see why. Both producers have brought their "A" game, delivering strong cuts that bristle with dancefloor intent. Dutch studio don Agore steps up first, delivering two tracks dripping with classic US house flavour; "Take Me", in particular, sounds like a cross between MK and classic Morales. Johnston continues this revivalist theme with "Stand Up & Jump", a bumpin' groover built around a deliciously wicked classic house riff. "Not So Easy" is deeper and woozier, making great use of chopped up party atmospherics and bluesy vocal samples.
Review: This four-tracker from up-and-coming producers Alex Agore and James Johnston signals a promising start for new deep house imprint No Matter What. Agore's "Improper Change" is an intoxicating take on Detroit deep house - all drawn-out one-key chords, bumping low-end bounce and slick vocal snippets. The included Lady Blacktronica remix takes things up a notch thanks to some subtle acid tweakery, Beatdown chords and decidedly snappier beats. James Johnston's "I Know It's Not Time", meanwhile, is arguably his best production yet - a flowing jazz-house builder with a sweet, bluesy edge. The package is completed by a chunkier Rick Wade remix, which cleverly injects some thick, bassline-driven bounce.
Review: Having previously impressed on No Matter What with some suitably comfy deepness, Alex Agore pops up on MLR with an altogether more upbeat production. With its sturdy beats, classic pads, nagging bassline and old skool vocal, "Free Yourself" is a delicious throwback to the world of 1990s US house. Throw in some MK-ish organ stabs and you've got a New York style bumper that should get 'em going out on the dancefloor. Jon Brooks and Cecil handle the (virtual) flip, dropping something no less old skool but a whole lot deeper. Called "Vintage Crackle", it quietly bumps along on a wave of Rhodes keys and smoky atmospherics.
The Melodymann - "Beat The Drums" - (5:56) 125 BPM
Review: The Melodymathics imprint launches with four tracks of deep and dreamy, wide-eyed goodness from the combined talents of Alex Agore and label boss The Melodymann. Agore's "No Name 4" is a liquid delight - a fluid, emotion-rich, enveloping take on classic US house, all breathy vocal samples, sensual melodies and warm, late night hustle. Belgian producer Melodymann drops two gems. The first, "I Want It", is unsashamedly warm and sexy, all comfy chords, twinkling electronics and enveloping pads. "Beat The Drums", the EP's standout moment, is a little rougher and tougher, charging off on a sweaty percussion workout with the simple addition of a relentless bassline and a few choice vocal samples.