Review: Following up the lead single "Under Your Skin" with Kevin Knapp, veteran duo Audiojack of Gruuv Recordings fame finally unveil their full length album on Crosstown Rebels. The Leeds natives James Rial and Richard Burkinshaw last served up an LP back in 2009, so it's another career high for the pair and features a diverse array of moods and grooves across 10 tracks. From the balearic downbeat chill vibe of "Binaural Dreaming", to the funky and bass-driven tech house of "Easy Rider" or similarly the acid laced "Psychoactive" (Part 1) which are more typical of the pair. Not to mention the utterly euphoric second single "Feels Good" featuring vocalist Jem Cooke, its a cohesive effort by these staples of the Ibiza party circuit.
Review: Earlier in the year Audiojack teased their forthcoming second album, Surface Tension - their first full-length excursion for 12 years - with a pleasingly off-kilter and bass-heavy cut featuring an atmospheric vocal from Kevin Knapp. 'Feels Good', which features storied singer Jem Cooke, is also taken from Surface Tension. It's arguably even better than its predecessor, with Cooke's delay-laden vocals riding crunchy drum machine percussion, ghostly chords and a restless, rolling electronic bassline. The accompanying Patrice Baumel remix is simply stunning, too, with twinkling piano motifs and atmospheric stabs rising above a smoother but weightier, kick-drum driven groove. As it progresses, Baumel introduces sparkling synths and richer chords, taking an already excellent track into the stratosphere.
Review: Crosstown Rebels follows up a killer album by drum & bass legend DJ Krust with this new one by Gruuv main men Audiojack, who team up with American expat in Berlin Kevin Knapp. The result is "Under Your Skin", an off-kilter and experimental cut that's quite unlike anything you've heard from the producers before, with its intoxicating and bass-driven vibe that's perfect for the chill-out or warm-up alike. With this in mind, it receives a remix from quite the suitable candidate in the form of Pearson Sound. The UK bass hero taking the track into the more hypnotic realms in pursuit of his typically low end theories.
Review: Audiojack decided to lose themselves in production during lockdown in order to escape from the daily reality of coronavirus, and Introspection is the first release from that period. It sees the UK pair team up with Polarbear, who delivers a fantastic stream of consciousness narrative about uncertainty and self-doubt over a linear rhythm and a bubbling bass. The label has tapped Nick Curly to remix "Introspection" and the German producer does a fine job, adding some airy synths to create a deeper and more atmospheric version. This is the first in a series of Audiojack releases recorded during lockdown - and "Introspection" has set a high bar.
Review: Toolroom is back with the second instalment of the 'House Party' series, with Chicago veteran Gene Farris, the enigmatic Wh0 and ascendant duo Raumakustik closing out the summer in style with their respective mixes. Featuring 80 tracks from leading international names including Carl Cox who goes for a minimal vibe on his remix of Hannah Wants & Kevin Knapp's "Call Me", Hot Since 82 serves up something different than usual on the summertime vibe of "Rise", Saved chief Nic Fanciulli gets some spiritual and life-affirming vibes in effect on "Virgo", Hamburg disco stu Tensnake gives Dombresky & Boston Bun's "Stronger" a neon-lit makeover and label boss Mark Knight impresses with the funky house anthem "Tonight" ft. Chenai and Mr. V.
Review: 8 bit chief Nick Curly has taken two tracks from his back catalogue and tapped Leeds-based heroes Audiojack (Gruuv) to rework his 2016 song "The Voodoo" into a funked-up and rolling thriller aimed squarely at dancefloors on The White Isle. Curly has described the remix as 'perfect' - enough said! If that was not enough, Italian main room techno expert Marco Faraone gets tapped for some remix action too, and he sure does deliver the goods. Curly has known the Tuscan producer since the early days of Cecille and had wanted to reconnect with him for some time. The Uncage main man gets straight down to business on the steely and swing-fuelled remix on "No Takers" which was originally released by Curly in 2018 - and it's a right stomper!
Review: Leeds legends Audiojack return to Josh Butler's ORIGINS RCRDS to deliver some riveting new material, after a slew of top releases for the likes of Crosstown Rebels, Hot Creations and Knee Deep In Sound over recent years - not to mention running their own well respected Gruuv label. They deliver two tracks, with "No More" kicking off proceedings with its soulful Detroit inspired vibe, not limited to an epic and emotive chord progression that has to be heard. This is followed up by the high-octane adrenaliser that is "On The Run". This proves that the duo are still true experts of rocking the main room at peak time - slinky and hypnotic UK tech-house at its best.
Review: Following impressive outings on Gruuv and Knee Deep in Sound, Leeds-based tech-house stalwarts Audiojack return to Crosstown Rebels for the first time since 2017. It's the long-serving production partnership's first release of the year and contains two typically on-point cuts. "Inside My Head" sees the duo doff a cap to fellow Leeds dance music royalty Nightmares on Wax via a heavyweight, bass-heavy peak-time workout that utilizes the same Cuba Gooding vocal sample as the veteran Warp act used on their 1990 cut "I'm For Real". As tribiutes go, it's rather good. There's a little more funk to the swinging tech-house/hip-house fusion of "Behind The Curtain", where rap samples and jammed-out electric piano lines ride a sweaty but rubbery groove.
Review: Here it is, the definitive review of the year that was 2018 by Hot Since 82 & Co. Featuring all the surefire dancefloor weapons that soundtracked one terrific year and that will no doubt burn up dancefloors for many more years to come. Highlights include the epic "Buggin'" by the Knee Deep In Sound head honcho himself, fellow Leeds heroes Audiojack on the funked-up "First Flight", the Hot Creations affiliated Richy Ahmed on the tough rolling tech house of "Technique" (D'julz remix) and Spanish veterans Chus & Ceballos delivering a wickedly deep dub for the back room on "Ain't Nobody" - among many others.
Review: Next up on Hot Since 82's respected Knee Deep In Sound imprint are fellow Northerners and head honchos for an equally revered powerhouse: Gruuv. Audiojack serve up three tough rolling grooves for the main room, guaranteed to rock peak-time dance floors as far and wide as their hometown Leeds to their residency on The White Isle this Summer. From the slinky and atmospheric mood lighting of "First Flight" that's perfect to build the vibe in the main room earlier on, to the classic rave nostalgia of "Warehouse" featuring jacked diva vocals, hardcore style breakbeats and a few good ol' 'Mentasms' for added effect - no one does it quite like Audiojack. This is followed by a tremendous remix by scene heroes Pig & Dan, who give the track a darker, tunnelling and truly 'warehouse' style vibe that has earned them releases on top label Drumcode.
Review: Crosstown Rebels boss Damian Lazarus has described Spirits, the label's new annual compilation series, as "a fresh psychedelic journey into the mind". While that might be over-egging the (Christmas) pudding a bit, there's definitely a deep, humid and occasionally hallucinatory feel to many of the showcased tracks, which mostly sit somewhere between lucid deep house and skewed tech-house wonkiness. Wisely, Lazarus has chosen tracks from new and rising stars of his various labels, with highlights coming from the likes of Magit Cacoon (the bass-heavy, Innervisions-esque "Nonsense"), Raw District (the foreboding last night hypnotism of "Another Way", featuring folksy vocalist Alice Rose) and Nico Stajan and David Mayer, whose brilliant "Killing Your Lover" layers an eyes-closed Jan Blomqvist vocal over dense but groovy tribal drums.
Review: Esteemed British house/disco imprint Tsuba has since moved to the sunny shores of Adelaide in Australia, but it has not diminished founder Kevin Griffiths ear for quality. He recently presented the whopper compilation entitled The Deep House Drop. Now, it's quite fitting that at the peak of Summer they should serve up The Balearic Disco Drop, right? London nu-disco hero Pete Herbert works his magic as always on the slo-mo boogie of Elaborate Hoax's "Happy Valley" (Reverso 68 mix), the acclaimed British producer Fort Romeau delivers a stunning rework of William's "Pinball" that's deeply evocative as ever. Gruuv head honchos Audiojack remixed by the one and only Lauer, you say? You betcha, from back in 2014, actually, and it's pretty darn magical. Magic Feet's Craig Bratley appears here several times, but it's all about Ewan Pearson's darkside/smack electro rework of "Mannequin" that almost reaches the same depths of Carl Finlow.
Review: DJ duo Audiojack return to their Gruuv label with a killer house release. The title track is a classic deep affair; based on a wiry but driving rhythm and rasping percussion, it features sensuous melodies and a ponderous, seductive female vocal. "On The Road" is closer in sound to classic 20/20 Vision, with the pair deploying a detuned riff and an organ sequence over a tough, driving rhythm. Reset Robot turns "Senses" into a deep techno track, with chiming chords and a linear groove underpinning the original version's vocal sample, while on the Dubspeeka version of the same track, a more understated, stripped back approach prevails.