Review: Man (or woman) of mystery Hyenah is the latest DJ to contribute to the digital only Focus on Freerange compilation series. Like previous volumes, this features a selection of unmixed personal favourites from the Freerange Records catalogue, plus a continuous DJ mix. While the mix is entertaining, it's the quality of the unmixed cuts that make this an essential purchase. There's a smattering of deliciously soulful, bleary-eyed deep house treats (Andreas Saag, Swell Session vs Mark De Clive-Lowe), a swathe of chugging, late night tech-house treats (Dixon remixing Jimpster, Manoo remixing compiler Hyenah), and one of the most overlooked reworks of recent times (Genius of Time's fantastic rub of Kyodai's "Mi Rumba").
Review: The latest release from Swedish jazz-techno producer Andreas Saag sounds like he has opened up a connection to the past. That's meant in the most positive manner possible. The title track is redolent of the best bits of late 90s/early 00s San Fran house. Over a loose and lazy dub groove a wide-eyed Rastafarian invokes the spirit of Haile Selassi, while the dub version puts the focus on the rolling rhythm and massive reverb. That's not to suggest that Saag is copying a formula, and "Call of Yacuma" features more distorted dub beats but also some I:Cube-styled jazzy licks. If the past is another country, it sounds like Saag is a proud resident.
Review: For those who lack the time and willpower to keep track of Local Talk's frenetic release schedule, the popular deep house label's Talking House series is something of a lifesaver. Like its' predecessors, this fourth installment was compiled by label bosses Mad Mats and Tooli, and gathers together 13 more highlights from their rapidly-expanding catalogue. Naturally, highlights come thick and fast, from the hip-hop meets classic deep house flex of Zoe Zoe's "Bust Them Wifes" and the classic Balearic house revivalism of Luke Solomon's "Lost Channels (Live Piano Version)", to the hustling percussion hits and constantly-rising electronics of Kyodai's "Konbanwa" and the delicious jazz-house bounce of Moodymanc's "Morning".
Review: Throughout his long career, Swedish producer Andreas Saag has flitted between deep house and nu-jazz, crafting a melodic, musically rich and soul-flecked trademark sound. He's a good choice, then, to compile and mix a collection of Z Records' deeper moments. There's much to admire on this unmixed version (Saag's mix is included as a bonus cut), from the flowing keys and fluid grooves of the Swede's own remix of The Sunburst Band v Atjazz's "When The Lights Meet The Sky", to the string-laden beauty of Andre Lodeman's rework of Akabu's "Another World". Highlights come thick and fast, with further notable selections from JD73 (remixed brilliantly by Tornado Wallace), Jupiter Beyond, The Sunburst Band (reworked by Recloose) and, of course, Joey Negro.
Review: Given the runaway success of Mad Mats and Tooli's Local Talk imprint - one of the first labels to go all-out on the '90s garage revival tip - it was probably inevitable that a compilation would appear at some point. Talking House Volume One presents a pleasing selection of label favourites (HNNY's "For The Very First Time", Will Maddams' "Stand In For Love", Gerd's remix of Mateo & Matos' "Maw Basics") and lesser-known gems (Fulbert's brilliantly uplifting "First Time House", Dirtytwo's Mood II Swing tribute "Moody", Andreas Saag's jazzy, string-laden "Back To Life"), with the odd unheard cut thrown in. Taken in context, it's excellent, and touches on many more vintage house and garage strands, whilst remaining current, than many similar releases.
Review: German label Compost excel with their Future Sounds of Jazz compilations and this latest instalment is no exception - ranging from the dubby, almost Dilla-inspired swing of Der Dritte Raum's "Swing Bob" to the cut 'n' paste psychedelics of Letherette's "In July Focus", via Sepalcure's mighty "Fleur". With names like The Glimmer Twins, Scrimshire, Timo Garcia and Eden all attached, quality is most definitely assured throughout.