Review: The sleepy seaside town of Sligo, based on Ireland's Atlantic coast, seems an unlikely location to base a deep house label. More remarkably, this debut 12" from Sligo-based Splendor & Squalor comes from two residents of the town: longtime DJ buddies and hip-hop/deep house fusionists Brame and Hamo. It's a strong first outing, with each of the three original cuts coming doused in smooth soul and hip-hop influences. That's means beats that swing, sensual strings, chunky bass and the kind of pads that seem to wrap themselves around your body. The duo's collaborative "Clockwork" - arguably the pick of the bunch - is also remixed by Session Victim (think ultra-deep goodness), while Hamo's sample-heavy "Soul" offers the perfect balance between smiling deep house and classic hip-house.
Review: Spleandor & Squalor founders Brame and Hamo started 2018 in confident fashion, serving up an EP that contained some of their strongest tracks to date ("Club Orange"). There are plenty more fine workouts to be found on this relatively speedy follow-up, from the swirling but driving early morning intoxication of "Parade Rain" - all elongated synthesizer notes, sun-bright melodies and symphonic chords rising above thrusting bass and beats - to the more jacking and spacey "Sports Complex". Arguably even better is the breezy, loved-up and rushing retro-futurism of "Limewire", which joins the dots between Italian dream house and early breakbeat hardcore. This in turn is given a chunkier, 4/4 house tweak by giddy retro-futurists Tuff City Kids, whose version is predictably endorphin-fuelled.
Review: After a busy 2018, Brame & Hamo return to their own label with this storming peak-time release. The title track rides an ominous bass that surges its way over tight percussion to reach a soaring synth break down. It's an epic, fist-pumping affair that recalls turn of the millennium releases on Soma. On "Transist", the duo opts for a tougher approach, with tough, visceral drums underpinning a bruising percussion, while they retain their techno sensibilities intact on "Dial Up"; based on rolling breaks, it features wild, rave sirens and screeching vocals rushing from the speakers to create a wild, vivid finale.
Review: Brame & Hamo rose to prominence in 2015 on the back of inspired EPs for Heist and Dirt Crew Recordings, but have been relatively quiet since. In fact, this three-tracker is the Irish twosome's first release for almost 18 months. They begin with the bustling late night deep house-funk of "Trants", where bleeping synthesizer melodies, woozy vocal samples and sweeping strings cluster around a tactile, synth-heavy groove. Arguably even better is the more up-tempo "Hurt You", a subtly energetic deep house roller full of spacey, cyclical synth riffs, bombastic bottom end, snappy drum machine hits and looped hip-hop vocal samples. Finally, they pay tribute to classic New Jersey deep house jams of old via the snaking synth-sax, bouncy beats and beautiful pianos of EP standout "Clarence (Smooth Mix)".
Review: Following their Pressure EP on their own label, Brame & Hamo now deliver a storming four-tracker for Bicep's imprint. "Waves Reach" is a pulsating slice of electronic disco, supported by vocodered vocals and atmospheric synths. It's also certain to appeal to house and techno DJs thanks to its streamlined groove. "Dust" sees the duo adopt a relatively similar approach, but this time, the central rhythm is tougher, veering into visceral builds, while accompanied by cosmic pipes and breathy vocals. Private Press, who have released on Rekids, deliver a remix of "Dust", where the beats are toughened up and the original samples are filtered in and out of a robust rhythm. The label has also tapped Voiski for a remix, and he turns "Waves Reach" into an epic affair, with ghostly synths shimmering their way over a steely rhythm.
Review: To kick-start 2018, Spleador and Squalour owners and sometime Dirt Crew Recordings artists Brame & Hamo serve up and trio of high-grade deep house treats. They begin with "Roy Keane", a chunky hybrid of tech-tinged deep house heaviness and celebratory orchestral disco that hits home harder than one of the Irish midfielder's two-footed tackles. The track that follows, "Space Dub", brilliantly joins the dots between throbbing Detroit techno futurism and intergalactic deep house bliss, while closer "Club Orange" is a shimmering slice of peak-time deep house complete with sampled party atmos, swirling strings and throbbing analogue bass.
Review: Next up on Maceo Plex's label is a killer release from Brame & Hamo. Known primarily for their work on their own label as well as Eps for Feel My Bicep, the pair bring old-school influences to bear on "It's Time.." The title track revolves around a repetitive male vocal sample and is underpinned by a buzzing bass, coming across like a modern riff on Panash's classic Jack 2 Jack. Ellum has recruited Steffi to rework the track, and she does a fine job; going deeper with swirling synths and irresistible acid lines, she turns it into a esoteric but dance floor-primed gem.
Review: On 2014's The Roundup, Heist Recordings family members remixed leading label releases from the previous 12 months. It was such a success that Detroit Swindle has decided to repeat the exercise, with similarly positive results. Across the five tracks, you'll find a groovy, clavinet-and-Rhodes heavy loop jam (Brame & Hamo's remix of Fouk's "Lefty's Bar"), some boogie-flavoured, soulful deep house haziness (Fouk reworking Brame & Hamo), a dash of broken deep house funk (Detroit Swindle's take on Nachtbraker's "You're Out Of Your Element"), and a wonderful combination of undulating breakbeat-house rhythms and eyes-closed musical touches (Nactbraker re-wiring M Ono's "Delaware State Route"). In other words, it's business as usual from one of deep house's most consistent labels.
Review: One of Ibiza's biggest tickets, Defected throw parties in the same spirit as they release music. With full force and serious knowhow. Here they've curated 40 perfected positioned tacks that don't just represent their vibe, or the spirit of their parties, but also a fitting snapshot of what's going on in house music right now. From Low Steppa to Damian Lazarus, Skream to Claude VonStroke, Josh Butler to The Shapeshifters, the entire tracklist reads (and sounds) like a who's who in house music 2015. Delivered with two mixes and whole host of exclusives, Defected aren't messing around right now.