Review: Ever since their first releases on 20:20 Vision back in 2005, Art Of Tones have steadily grown into purveyors of fine deep house, and you can rest assured that you'll always receive nothing but quality from them. As of late, they've been more closely associated to London's House Of Disco Records, an imprint onto which they return to herein with three smackers, starting with the disco-laced groove that is "Devil The Difference", a soulful house joint with nothing but vibes spilling from every corner. On the flip, "Boogie With Billy" adopts a similar formula to a more electronic rhythm that recalls material from the mighty 80's imprint SAM, while the 'future dub' of "Devil The Difference" twists the original into a deeper, more heady cut for the deep hours...
Review: French legend Ludovic Llorca is back under the Art Of Tones guise for the always impressive Local Talk. Acid soul funk? You bet! Take a listen to I "Just Can't (Get Over It)" and you'll believe there is such a thing. On the flip, the smooth and soulful groove continues on "Dirty Stories" which has an undeniably French touch about it, with good use wonky synths, emotive strings and SP1200 style vocal cut ups. Deepness in the vein of Pepe Braddock or Chateau Flight.
Review: Having not bothered with the Art of Tones alias much over the last few years, Ludowic Llorca has now dropped two singles in the space of two weeks. Following his Murk-influenced "Your Love" for Defected offshoot DFTD, here he delivers some deeper fare for Local Talk. With its righteous vocal, slack snares, rubbery live bass and tumbling Rhodes chords, "The Same Thing" sounds like classic Detroit deep house given the Llorca twist - Piranhahead in Paris, perhaps. It's excellent, as is the accompanying Dub, which beefs up the beats and loops up choice sections of the original vocal. The bonus cuts are pretty tasty, too, with the classic proto house-meets-baggy US garage vibe of "I Don't Think That's Music" catching the ear.
Review: Following a surprise outing on House of Disco, Ludovic Llorca returns to Local Talk for the first time since 2013's much played The Same Thing EP. In its' original form, The Rainbow Song is a near perfect example of Llorca's particular brand of deep house - all stretched-out chords, a bustling bassline, tough but shuffling beats, cute cowbells and bluesy vocal samples. It sounds like an underground summer anthem in waiting. There's more of a funk-flecked urgency about the excellent S3A Broken STL Remix, which introduces further vocal samples and, arguably, an even more addictive groove. Certainly, it feels a little wilder than the original, whilst retaining Llorca's unique deep house perspective.
Review: French producer Ludowic Llorca has been around longer than most, having released his first 12" for F Communications way back in 1995. On this chugging, hip-wigglin' two-tracker for Defected offshoot DFTD, you can tell. Both versions of "My Love" sound like early Murk productions (unsurprising, given the Miami references in the mix titles), with a touch of Twilo-period Tenaglia thrown in for good measure. Llorca clearly has some love for the original sound, as both versions - all fuzzy synths, chugging late night grooves, bold organs, simmering strings and bubbling, rolling bass - sound authentic. They're both also very good, with the Miami Dub standing out.
Review: Paying tribute to house music's most timeless aspects, "Elephants" will find favour with anyone who's much as sniffed a DJ Gregory or John Ciafone record. Positive Balearic fusion with just a touch of emotion in the minor keys, it's an instant pleaser for ravers or chillers. Elsewhere we enjoy a slab of Womack-style soul over cascading strings ("Myself, My Body") and get instantly sedated by the dreamy cosmicity of "The Right Moment". Arty on dudes!
Review: Given Ludovic Llorca's vast experience and hugely impressive track record (not just as Art of Tones, but also under a variety of other aliases), we now expect each successive release to hit the mark. Predictably, this single-track salvo does just that. While rooted in warm, swinging, feel-good 1990s U.S deep house - a sound he has mined extensively in recent years - "Gimme Some More" also includes the kind of jazzy flourishes and toasty instrumentation that was first heard on his first F Communications release, "Can't Take It", way back in 1997. While that particular EP was packed with St Germain style deep jazz-house, "Gimme Some More" is a far more up-front affair, with sampled vocal refrains ratcheting up the track's shoulder-swinging dancefloor intensity.
Review: "Where The One Is", the lead cut from Art of Tones' latest Local Talk release, sounds like a peak-time anthem in the making. Seemingly crafted using a mixture of cut-up Philadelphia soul samples, jammed-out new disco instrumentation and jazzy, ambidextrous house beats, it feels a little like a tooled-up, slightly more low-slung version of Blackjoy classic "Moustache". You'll find more low-slung, disco-fired, Clavinet-sporting heaviness where "Double Wheelin" provides further guaranteed peak-time pressure. As for "Reprise Du Fonk", it appears to be a quick-fire dub of "Where The One Is" featuring even more elastic bass guitar, jazz-wise guitar licks and life-affirming electro piano solos.
Review: Although Ludovic Llorca has released albums under his other production aliases (the most recent being 2017's jazz-funk set "The Garden" under his longest-running pseudonym, Llorca), "Unbalanced" marks his first full-length outing as Art of Tones - some 13 years after he launched the project on 20:20 Vision. It's naturally a wonderfully warm and positive set, with the veteran French producer making great use of dusty jazz, soul, funk and disco samples throughout. There's plenty of breezy, feel good club tracks to be found dotted throughout - see "Keep On Having Fun", the electric piano-fired drive of "Where One Is", the hypnotic "Grow" and classic gospel deep house of "Grow", for starters - alongside a handful of hazier downtempo cuts that recall the early days of his production career in the mid 1990s.
Review: Ludovic Llorca is clearly a man on a mission. Having largely disappeared from view for a couple of years, this is amazingly his third Art of Tones release in as many weeks. It's also arguably the strongest of the trio. "Take Me Higher" is a soulful, energetic and effortlessly groovy fusion on gospel, classic US deep house and contemporary British bass bottom-end. It's one of those tunes that's nigh on impossible to dislike. "Damped", a foray into fluid, late night deepness, is almost as good. The good news is that there are tons of Dubs and remixes to get stuck into, too, with Lauer's deliciously old skool, but lovingly fluid "Bert Remix" being the best of the bunch.
Review: The unstoppable Lazy Days imprint shoots to kill with this latest nugget from two of its regular sharp-shooters, Art Of Tones and Lay Far. The former, Ludowic Llorca has made appearances on everything from Local Talk to Belgium's We Play House label so it's safe to say that he knows a thing or two about house music! "Koniokola" is a chord-heavy pipebomb with beautiful swirls of delay and balearic charm, a truly effective piece for DJ action. Lay Far, who has also appeared on Local Talk and other quality outlets such as 4 Lux, delivers the perfectly dusty and cowbell-heavy "Coming Back". True house beauties with a magic touch.
Review: Fred Everything's Lazy Days label is a veritable institution by this stage in the game, and it's no surprise to see a label of such stature reaching out to an artist as highly regarded as Atjazz. Martin Iveson, as he's also known, ditches the alias here but the mood is consistent with his reputation. "Leave Me Here" is a jazz-soaked beauty in its original form and when Jimpster takes the controls for a remix. On the flip comes Art Of Tones, whose "Koniokola" gets not one but two versions from Fred Everything. Both the remix and "re dub" deal in masterful tech house from a true champion of the genre.
Review: There's a notable inclusion in the list of producers contributing to Editorial's latest red-hot collection of floor-friendly reworks. Vastly experienced house producer Art of Tones turns re-editor on "Bootyshaker", a sublime, loose-limbed interpretation of a Red Greg-championed disco-soul favourite that benefits greatly from just the right amount of low-end house pressure. Similar accolades could be placed on the gently bouncy disco-funk shuffle of Matt Hughes' electric piano and jazz guitar-laden "Walk The Chalk", or for that matter the deep, spacey and radiator-warm electrofunk bliss of Special Q's talkbox-sporting "Lost in You". Elsewhere, Sellouts goes all "boom-bap" on the freshly baked instrumental hip-hop head-nodder "Ain't No Thang", while Barry Closer gets tactile and glassy-eyed on the Balearic boogie of "Closer".
Review: With such a star-studded line-up of old and new talent involved, it's little surprise to find that De La Groove's latest multi-artist EP is seriously good. Check first the breezy and soulful US garage revivalism of Art of Tones' impeccable "So Sweet", before turning to the slightly more UK garage influenced "A Quiet Love" by Scott Diaz, a track that somehow manages to be both deliciously bouncy and seductively soulful. Elsewhere, Cody Currie's "As of Yet (featuring Joel Holmes)" is a vibraphone and Rhodes-heavy chunk of deep house dreaminess, Pontchartrain's "Don't Change Up" is a loopy slab of bespoke disco-house and Goddard's "Almasti" sounds like a nu-disco era riff on Pepe Bradock deep house classic "Deep Burnt".
Review: This two-tracker from Local Talk - originally released in limited numbers on vinyl - appears to be the result of some smart thinking on behalf of the Swedish label. It sees ordained minister and all-round Detroit house and techno legend Terrence Parker put his slant on two of the most gospel-influenced cuts in the imprint's sizeable back catalogue. Parker first works his magic on Jamie 326 and Masalo's "Testify", serving up a bouncy, all-action peak-time house rub full of crunchy Clavinet lines, bold piano riffs, heavy organ stabs and inspiring gospel vocal snippets. Arguably even better is the Detroiter's interpretation of Art of Tones' "I Just", which looks to classic piano house for inspiration with predictably fine results.
Review: Bristol's Futureboogie return with some sure fire nu-disco grooves to get any party started. London's Jay Shepheard is on board with "Henry's Theme" sporting an early nineties house vibe. Next up is PBR Streetgang from Leeds doing their thing with a nice journey via a progressive house sound on "Suel Baril". There's also local Bristolian Lukas doing more of his low slung slo mo disco business and Phil Gerus with "Never Coming Back".
Review: Should the dark days and cold nights of winter be dragging you down, you should listen to this 10-track collection from Fred Everything and Mike Fresco's Lazy Days Recordings. It was, apparently, designed to "keep you warm on cold winter nights". Certainly, there's something rather toasty about Fred Everything's deliciously fluid and quietly soulful "Street Luv", while you'll struggle to find a smoother, sexier deep house track than San Francisco man Lace DeSardi's "Expressions" (though Lay-Far's string-laden, disco-influenced "New Day, New Light" pushes it close). Wisely, they've also included a few chunkier, tougher and stripped-back cuts (see the Satoshi Tomiie and Matthias Voigt hook-up, for starters), but the album's real standout - Shur I Kan's "Blue Giraffe" - is also its most musically expansive moment. Seriously, it's one of his best tracks to date, and a real "feelgood" treat.
Review: It's a sign of the ludicrously prolific nature of Mad Mats and Tooli's Local Talk imprint that this is their third compilation of label highlights this year. That the quality threshold remains impressively high is credit to their A&R skills. Encompassing revivalist US garage, twinkle-eyed deep house and enveloping groovery, Talking House Volume 3 is packed full of distinctive dancefloor highlights. Check, for example, the fearsome acid tweakery of Anaxander's breathless "My Aniseed Lollipop", the wide-eyed, piano-laden rush of Deep Space Orchestra's brilliant remix of The True Rebels' "Bitter Love", and the baggy, organ-heavy samba-house warmth of Tommy Rawson's "Don't Lose It". And that's just for starters. In a word: essential.