Review: London based DJ Alexis Raphael has released on Madtech, Hot Creations, Moda Black, Jackathon Get Physical, Nervous, Lower East and Leftroom: if these aren't proper credentials then we don't know what is! This time he appears on Of Unsound Mind with some groovy, funky deep house aimed squarely at the dance floor. "Wickedness" has a seriously funky bassline no doubt honed by his experience on Hot Creations with the bump and shuffle of a fierce rhythm section and house key stabs. Secondly "Spinach & Lamb" is more tech house with some exotic percussion being introduced alongside some druggy vocal snippets; this is more for the after-hours perhaps?
Review: Moda Black is back with a new EP from hot contemporary house talent Alexis Raphael, who went from the pirate radio scene of the late '90s and early '00s to securing a release on Jamie Jones and Lee Foss' Hot Waves imprint back in 2011. Shutdown is his debut single on Moda Black, featuring a title track which takes the form of a full-blooded main room house tune with razor sharp hi hats, inviting bass that drops in and out at pleasing intervals and plenty of other stylistic flourish from classic Loon bird calls to reverse synth stabs and ravey vocals. It's beefy, chunky and demands to be danced to. "Exclusive" meanwhile is a little more heads down, a deeper cut with rolling drums, chilly, ticking percussion and curious bassline that nimbly works its way in and out of the arrangement.
Review: Whatever you think about Hot Creations - and opinions are, of course, divided - you can't deny that Jamie Jones and Lee Foss's label has been a game-changer. Their combination of contemporary house grooves with classic house, disco, boogie and garage influences now dominates dancefloors the world over. This label retrospective tells the story of their runaway success between 2011 and 2012, offering up three hours of unmixed floorfillers from the likes of Waifs & Strays, Miguel Campbell, Burnski, PBR Streetgang, Jamie Jones and Lee Foss, plus a smattering of lesser-known gems. For those who missed the label's formative years, there's also a tasty bonus mix of early material from Russ Yallop.
Review: As a response to the deluge of high-quality demos it receives, Lower East has put together Inner Circles. Lee Brinx's "She's Pretty" is a sexually-charged, somewhat sleazy jacking affair - its narrative describes in depth why a particular woman is so attractive - while Gav Memnos and Dexter Kane's "Dirty Cash" is a more stripped back jacker, and Cozzy D and Dodha's "White Lightning" is based on lithe percussion and heavy drums. Best of all though is Alexis Raphael's "Skalamoosh". Featuring the pitter-patter shuffle of garage drums, a jittery vocal sample and a slinky, 90s prog house bassline, it shows that modern deep house can be evocative and soulful in equal measures.
Review: As per usual, the UK's Toolroom imprint has put together the definitive summer collection when it comes to tech-house and anything minimal. As you can see - and hear - there are 67 tracks on here, all from the very best and most coveted talent in the scene; Mark Knight features prominently, of course, alongside established house entities like Erick Morillo, Format: B, Sascha Funke, Nic Fanciulli, and many others. But, don't stop there, as there is plenty of new talent to discover in artists like SecondCity, GotSome, Marcellus Wallace, ANOTR, and many more. There are three continuous mixes available, also, one for each summer setting. This is BIG!
Martin Books - "Flitzepulver" (original mix) - (6:35) 128 BPM
Various - "Ibiza 2018 Closing Party" (continuous DJ mix 1) - (1:18:53) 124 BPM
Various - "Ibiza 2018 Closing Party" (continuous DJ mix 2) - (1:19:01) 125 BPM
Review: With the same certainty that the leaves will turn brown and fall from the trees, autumn sees the release of Toolroom's closing party album. It's the label's annual state of the (house) nation address and 2018 is no exception. While this year's edition contains a healthy smattering of feel good house - the most impressive exempts being the vocal grooves of Weiss' "Feel My Needs" and Illyus & Barrientos' "MEA" - there are also more adventurous variants on offer. These include Peggy Gou's tweaked acid take on Shakedown's "At Night", the chord heavy Dusky take on KiNK's "Perth" and the cut-up, abstract "Pale Blue Dot" by rising lo-fi house artist Ross From Friends, which demonstrate that this year, Toolroom is thinking outside the box.