Review: A Poker Flat compilation to rule them all? 20 Years Of Poker Flat (Remixes) is a contender to say the least. With a bunch of sleeper hits by Steve Bug, Trentemoller, Argy and John Tejeda getting remix treatments from producers like Quarion, Butch, Guti and Acid Pauli - to name a few - Mihai Popoviciu's remix kicks off a tip with his sultry deep house makeover of "A Night Like This". Taking it back to 2007 is Greg Gow bringing a tougher sound to the fore once again in his remix to "Seven Hills", while delving deeper into the history books even more is Acid Pauli's 303 techno remake of Steve Bug's "Lover Boy" - and killer Queen sample - from 1999. From the same era is Mathias Kaden's 'Biox Ultra' remix of Martini Bros "Babyhaze" and Trentemoller's legendary "Moan" makes the cut of course in a reserved, tension-filled Tim Engelhardt version. Poker Flat at full tilt.
Review: UK tech house hero Archie Hamilton celebrates a decade in the business for his beloved Moscow imprint. To celebrate this milestone, he's releasing a compilation featuring some of his favourite tracks from the last decade, where he looks through the back catalogue to bring you this timeless mix. Hamilton's own work is obviously pervasive, with highlights including the Inxec remix of "Two Time" that just so happened to be one of the imprint's very first releases, in addition to his collaboration with label staple Noha on "Lip Service" which gets an infectious rework by Romanian power duo SIT, and the ever reliable Samuel Andre Madsen giving "Informer" a typically swing-fuelled Reshape. Elsewhere, scene legends like Argy ("Siesta''), Shaun Reeves & Tuccillo ("Fill Calings") and GummiHz appear - the latter with his stellar remix of Keinton's "Strip Poker".
Review: Given his track record and impressive credentials, we were rather surprised to discover that the "Worthless EP" marks Argy's Crosstown Rebels label debut. The title is, of course, tongue-in-cheek, because there's nothing worthless about the killer cuts on show. In fact, the title track is one of Argy's most instantly ear-catching workouts for a while, with the action focused on a crunchy, distorted drum track, rubbery bass guitar, whispered spoken word samples ("I feel worthless... I'm living on the edge") and just the right amount of dystopian noises. Elsewhere, "La Vida" is a crusty chunk of lo-fi jacking funk, while "Get Ready" is a low-slung early morning Warehouse roller.
Review: Argy originally rose to prominence during the mid-00s minimal boom, but as this release demonstrates, his focus has since shifted to deeper house. "Let's Play" features the soulful vocals of Blue Jay, coupled with a steely percussive rhythm and subtle acid builds. It's haunting and distinctive, an effective and impressive modern take on Chicago and New York house. The ever popular Butch has been tapped for a remix, and he turns the original into a churning chord-heavy reshape, bristling with insistent high hats. Rebirth has also asked Echonomist to provide an interpretation and the Greek producer obliges with a chugging, dub-heavy take, led by cavernous conga drums and woozy filters.
Move Like A Panther (feat Elbee Bad) - (5:36) 127 BPM
Review: Argy has released on well-known labels like Bedrock, BPitch and Ibadan, and now makes his debut on Seth Troxler's label. Like the rest of his output, Kings is a distinctive affair; the title track revolves around an eerie bass, middle eastern motifs and strangely robotic percussion, but Argy brings these elements together to make a definite clubby sound. On "Los Animales", he opts for a less immediate approach, with mysterious vocals and recycled rave stabs unfolding over stepping beats. Meanwhile he teams up with US house legend Elbee Bad for "Move Like a Panther"; working with his collaborator's ponderous vocals, Argy lays down a moody, bass-heavy groove that has echoes of vintage Blake Baxter.
Review: Hot on the heels of EPs from Andrea Oliva, Luke Solomon and the Martinez Brothers, Argy is the latest artist to release on the New York label Cuttin' Headz. It's the Greek producer's first EP in some time, and for this record, takes influence from US house. The title track is a rumbling, jacking affair, led by a raw bass and a countdown vocal sample. "Tutti Frutti" meanwhile, takes its cues from ghetto, as a call and response vocal and orgasmic moans unravel over a slinky rhythm track. The label has also tapped some impressive remixers: DJ Skull turns "The Numbers" into a limber acid affair, while Christian Burkhardt's version of the same track is an insistent tribal interpretation that is reminiscent of Argy's usual approach.
Christian Burkhardt - "Karambolage" - (7:14) 127 BPM
Argy - "How Late It Was, How Late" - (5:12) 125 BPM
Markus Fix - "Baroon" - (7:27) 128 BPM
Jimi Jules - "Euphrasia" - (8:30) 124 BPM
Review: This fine EP gathers together four previously unreleased exclusives from the latest edition of Cocoon's Dots & Pearls series, which was mixed by Markus Fix. His contribution to the EP, "Baroon" - a kind of contemporary re-imagining of the original 1988 version of The KLF's "What Time Is Love" with extra TB303 acid lines - is undoubtedly one of the highlights, alongside the ethereal melodies and early morning fuzz of Argy's intoxicating "How Late It Was, How Late". Elsewhere, Christian Burkhardt peppers a rolling house groove with boisterous but blissful stabs on "Karambolage", and Jimi Jules serves up a loose and languid take on the foreboding, stretched-out Innervisions tech-house sound ("Euphrasia").
Review: After releasing on labels like Poker Flat (who can forget "Love Dose"?) Bpitch Control and Cadenza, Greek techno sensation Argy is welcomed to the Bedrock stable. This two-tracker sounds like he was always destined to release on Jon Digweed's label and is his most musical release to date. On "Belen", gushing, expansive chords and insistent filtering unravel over a system-levelling bass pulse, while a similar approach is audible on "Alfredo". There, the bass purrs powerfully and dramatic chords shimmer and gradually climax in a dramatic crescendo. It's not hard to imagine either track causing serious damage on Ibizan dance floors.
Review: Permanent Vacation's Safari series has previously done a great job in mixing overlooked gems and forgotten highlights from the label's expansive back catalogue, with previously unreleased material. Two years on from the release of the second volume, the Munich-based imprint revives the (successful) formula for a third selection. With a rather grandiose 29 tracks to choose from, there's plenty to enjoy, with Permanent Vacation's usual dancefloor-minded eclecticism providing all manner of stylistic shifts throughout. Standout tracks include Kool DJ Dust's brilliant 808-electro workout, "Platonic Lover", the Balearic wooziness of Candyblasta's "The Ocean", a suitably big and bouncy rework of House of Wallenburg by Marcos Cabral, and a stunning chunk of vintage Chicago house revivalism from Beautiful Swimmers (the excellent "Excited").
Review: Steve Bug's Poker Flat Recordings imprint hit the ripe old age of 15 this year - an eternity in house music terms - and has been celebrating with the superb Four Jacks series of EPs. This third instalment delivers more thrills in the shape of two previously unheard remixes of label classics, and two brand new jams. Audiofly's remix of Argy's 2005 debut "Love Dose" gets the right balance between locked-in tech-house grooves and gnarled acid jack, while Joeski's dub of Martin Landsky's "Reject" is a throbbing jacker peppered with woozy synths and urgent vocal samples. Berlin-based Brit Mark Henning impresses with the foreboding chords and classic Chicago drums of "Mad Half Hour", before Dario D'Attis steals the show with the hard-wired acid funk of "96000".
Review: The latest collection on Loco Dice's label is its most wide-ranging release yet. It veers from the minimal/tribal fusion of Shlomi Aber's "Mind Tribus" and the drum-heavy workout of San Francisco veteran Joeski's "Beware of the Drum" to the deep, bleepy techno of Anthea's "Booty Call". It's true that Desolat's main focus is European house and techno, but this compilation embraces US influences. Robert Dietz's "You're So Hood" fuses sleazy p-funk bass with the primal stomp of Cajmere, while Detroit producer Eddie Fowlkes provides the raw back beats and muffled vocal samples of the sublime "I'm Telling You".