Review: Second time around for Apes Go Bananas' "Kerri On", a heartfelt tribute to U.S deep house don Kerri Chandler that first appeared on wax back in 2015. This time round, the Steve Bug and Cle produced original mix - a suitably bumpin' U.S house style roller rich in jammed-out organ riffs, spacey synths and warm, undulating bass - comes backed by two fresh 2019 remixes. First James Dexter offers a deeper and woozier interpretation build around even heavier bass, spacey riffs and chunkier drums, before Langenberg wraps the duo's headline-grabbing organ stabs around a dubby bassline and stripped-back drums.
Review: Steve Bug may be influenced by the sounds of classic house, but on this EP the Poker Flat owner shows that he and Cle have their own vision. Therefore, while the title tack revolves around a predatory bass, a succession of techy stabs pushes it into a breakdown, while the icy chords have an unquestionable spine-tingling effect. Similarly on "Monkey Shoulder", the duo borrow the driving, crashing snare drums from Chicago and the evocative pads sound like pre-disco Morgan Geist. Ironically, although it forgoes using Chicago's jacking past, "Shadows" is most in keeping with the city's past. In particular, the prowling bass and almost dainty, delicate melodies are reminiscent of classic Larry Heard.
Review: Despite its perception as a minimal label, Poker Flat has always pushed Chicago-influenced elements, so the 'back' part of the release's title is a little misleading. More importantly though is the artists' ability to mould their own take on this timeless sound. Steve Bug does this by using a stuttering 'j-j-j-j-jack' vocal sample and tougher than usual beats on the title track, while on "V2U" Martin Landsky dispenses with the ominous sound of "1000 Miles" in favour of a more understated but equally menacing bass, fused with rasping percussion. Best of all though is Cle's "Reaching Out", which combines a "Washing Machine"-style churning bassline with eerie synth lines.
Review: The Local Talk bandwagon keeps on rolling. While others have begun inching away from the classic garage/deep house revival, Mad Mats and Tooli are sticking to their guns. Given that they do it better than anyone else - there's a heartfelt authenticity to the label's releases - you can't blame them. Cle's "The Jam" is another beauty. Building constantly with bold pianos and 'Nights of The Jaguar'-ish synth-strings, its simultaneously pleasingly uncluttered (check the loose, bongo-laden groove) and surprisingly big. Dirtytwo's remix gives it a little more of a Mood II Swing-ish twist, whilst retaining some of the original's attractive looseness.
Review: Knee Deep In Sound have tapped two of Germany's true veterans of tech house for a killer collaboration here. Poker Flat head honcho Steve Bug teams up with Berlin staple Cle of Martini Bros fame, for the moody dancefloor drama of "Voodoo" which is perfect late night mood lighting. With its pounding drums, hypnotic chime melody and druggy vocals: this one has the main room at pre-peak time in mind! On a deeper and more sensual tip, we have the lush progressive house atmospherics of "Rise & Shine" which is perfect to create some more spiritual and introspective moments on the dancefloor - earlier in the evening or before the lights come on in the morning. Finally we get some heavy artillery for when the tough gets going courtesy of Drumcode's Reset Robot, who turns in an absolutely roaring rendition of "Voodoo" complete with doom laden dub chords and steely rhythms galore: this will have you surrendering to the void via a long trail of reverb.
Review: There is no doubt that Steve Bug is one of house and techno's most respected artists, and the second volume of this compilation demonstrates why he is such an essential part of the underground. It contains Bug standards like the seductive melodies of "Chordwalk Empire" and the deeper than deep house of "Different in Detroit", which sit alongside more tripped out tracks like the 303-soaked, moody bass of "Tweaky Blinders" and the low-slung jacking house of his Traffic Signs project, represented here with the vocal-led "Cookie Jar". It's a fitting tribute to one of electronic music's most talented producers.
Review: Poker Flat boss Steve Bug and one half of Martini Bros. DJ Cle go way back. As friends, DJs, co-producers and label mates: the pair have enjoyed a close bond for nearly 20 years. Their debut on Joris Voorn's label sees them stepping back into the studio On "Together" they serve up some kickin' new school acid. This is the kind of afterhours tech house that just reeks of mischief. The "Alternative mix" up next works the suspense of that reverb drenched 303 and the druggy vocals to maximum effect and sure to create a headrush or two before that powerful drop arrives. It's a more classic Chicago acid affair on "All Right" with the trademark shuffle bump and hiss of another beloved classic: well the good ol' Roland Tr-808 of course, complete with some sweet diva vocal samples to boot.
Review: Hanseatic heroes Poker Flat delve back into their extensive back catalogue here, particularly between 2009 and 2012. Highlights come from Kiwi veteran Simon Flower on the dubby tribal psychedelia of "Late Night", label boss Steve Bug on the classic "Swallowed Too Much Bass" featuring Paris The Black Fu of Detroit Grand Pubahs, Irish deep techno legend Donnacha Costello's "It's What We Do" getting a nice retrofit by KiNK & Neville Watson, label staple Martin Landsky getting deep and sensual on "V2U" and whatever happened to James What? The prolific British producer's 2011 underground hit "It Feels Wrong" appears here, remixed by Visionquest's Lee Curtis.
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.