Review: It's fair to say that melancholic house peddlers Art Department are on a roll right now. So much so in fact, that they have been invited to write the first official theme for the internationally acclaimed Robot Heart parties at Burning Man. Daunted by the task, the guys set about scoring a piece that would truly reflect the party's unique atmosphere. They've come up with an extraordinary eight-minute epic that pumps along under austere vocals by Damian Lazarus, before expanding into a fountain of sinister John Carpenter-esque synth work. If you fancy a sparser version, then BLUD's lean, mean houser is the one for you.
Review: Damian Lazarus celebrates the 10th anniversary of his acclaimed 2009 debut album 'Smoke The Monster Out' with a remastered and expanded edition on his famed Crosstown Rebels label. He originally released the opus on the Berlin-based label Get Physical, and it was the first time he had let himself loose in the studio - resulting in a psychedelic collection of 'extremely strange and bizarre songs.' Packed full of his inspirations and influences, and with no consideration for genres, airtime or getting played in the clubs. Lazarus is proud to celebrate this milestone in his career - going on to admit that that the album 'is still as weird as it ever was.' Be sure to check out the Moment In The Dark EP as well, featuring two of the album's original tracks, "Moment "and "Diamond In The Dark" reworked and remixed by Keinemusik resident Adam Port, rising newcomer Tibi Dabo and Dutch talent Satori.
Review: For the moment, Damian Lazarus has dispelled with his Ancient Moons collective. Instead, he's gone back into the studio alone and crafted some tracks tailor made for creating "moments in the dark". Lead cut "Moment" is a curious but undeniably quietly impressive affair, where fragile female vocals and gentle melodic elements weave in and out of relaxed tech-house drums and wobbly sub-bass. In contrast, "Diamond In The Dark" is largely beat-free: a tipsy chunk of psychedelic folk music laden with weird effects and trippy spoken word snippets. The package also contains a trio of tidy remixes, of which the standout is undoubtedly Satori's loose-limbed, broken-house revision of "Moment".
Message From The Other Side (Red Axes remix) - (6:34) 120 BPM
Tangled Web (Acid Pauli remix) - (7:30) 120 BPM
Lovers Eyes (Mehmet Aslan remix) - (10:07) 117 BPM
Review: Damian Lazarus & The Ancient Moons' Message From The Other Side LP was released back in 2015 but is still riding on its resounding success, this time in the form of several tracks receiving some stellar remixes. Obviously there were the ones for the singles "Vermillion" and "Lovers' Eyes (Mohe Pi Ki Najariya)" but now comes Remixes From The Other Side Part I. Lazarus has called in hot Tel Aviv duo Red Axes to makeover the title track and it's as sweet as you can imagine with its combination of punk funk, psych rock and nu-disco. The now legendary Acid Pauli also steps in to remix said track and his rendition is a deep and sexy serving of low slung and bassline driven deep house. Finally Disco Halal main man Mehmet Aslan does over "Lovers Eyes", delving into some sublime and exotic Middle Eastern flavour.
Review: Feedback Loop is the latest single to be taken from Damian Lazarus and the Ancient Moons' recent album Heart of Sky, a set with far more warmth and humanity than its' deliciously trippy predecessor. For this single release, the hazy, humid and mildly druggy original - a bit like Spiritualized brought kicking and screaming into the tech-house era - is accompanied by a quartet of remixes. Serge Devant kicks things off with a shuffling, peak-time tech-house take marked out by a prominent raw, analogue bassline, before Bedouin wraps selected vocal passages, twinkling pianos and alien electronics around a tough but tactile groove. The most revolutionary - and arguably greatest - interpretations come from UK soundsystem legend Mad Professor, who delivers two thrillingly weird, psychedelic and bass-heavy dub interpretations.
Review: Crosstown Rebels chief Damian Lazarus is back with The Ancient Moons on their sophomore effort, which follows up 2015's Message From The Other Side which was co-produced by James Ford (Simian Mobile Disco, Arctic Monkeys, Florence & The Machine). It features a wide assortment of vocalists and collaborators from around the world. Heart Of Sky combines his cosmic world influences with '80s soul and funk. With Lazarus' background very much in these vintage genres, he found a way to connect that heart and soul to a positive, trippy, psychedelic sound. From the the emotive and life-affirming power of "All I Need To Get High", drifting and esoteric pop-house indicative of his Crosstown sound on "All I Need To Get High" and even some sexy nu-disco deepness on "Help Me Find A Way"
All I Need To Get High (BUTCH remix) - (6:49) 120 BPM
All I Need To Get High (Ae:ther Dreaming dub remix) - (8:28) 125 BPM
Review: Crosstown Rebels head honcho Damian Lazarus and his live project The Ancient Moons released his third studio album titled Heart Of Sky around this time last year. The album's opening cut "All I Need To Get High" now receives two new renditions by two recent label signees who provide their own take on the track. The original version's arcane and evocative sense of soul gets reworked into a sublime and hypnotic daydream fantasy by the Watergate/Cocoon affiliated producer Butch - you could imagine the likes of Lee Burridge playing this one on a rooftop party somewhere this summer. This is followed by Berlin-based Italian Ae:ther's darkly hypnotic dub - which is perfect for those heads down moments under the strobelight.
Review: Don't worry if you weren't able to get to hear veteran DJ and Bedrock co-founder John Digweed's recent set at Treehouse in Miami's South Beach, because its all here for you to enjoy. There are a whopping 41 tracks included, spread over three mixes and also provided in their individual form including such gems as Agoria's moody synth-drenched reworking of Damian Lazarus' "Vermillion", the fuzzy Fairlight fancy of Solaris Heights's "Nightfall" and Digitaria's Art Of Noise-style electro jam "Little Boy".
Review: Crosstown Rebels head honcho, Damien Lazarus, has taken it upon himself (and his crew) to mark the "cosmically significant" date of December 21 with a 24-hour megaparty in Mexico. For those of us unable to attend in person, this accompanying compilation is the next best thing. Beginning with Pier Bucci's fittingly titled, and deliciously trippy, "Mayans", we get the exotic and trancey "The Prophecy" by Quenum, Matthew Jonson's sinister tech-houser "In Search Of A New Planet With Oxygen", the sublime "Cosmic Dancer" by Francesca Lombardo, the urgent menace of "Greed Insanity" by Fur Coat and the haunting, end-of-the-world vibes of "2012" by Jay Haze.
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.
Review: The German label is 12 this year, but as it faces into its teenage life, it retains the same hunger for new music. Get Physical owner DJ T delivers one of the compilation's highlights, a stab-heavy techy take on John Tejada's "Timebomb". Like a slowed down take of Dave Clarke's "Red 2" infused with disco riffs, it sets a high watermark. Nonetheless, T faces stiff opposition from The Martinez Brothers, whose "Issshhh" is all tough percussive volleys and insistent chords, like a tough take on Levon Vincent. Elsewhere, new acts like Siopis and Gorge impress with drum-heavy tools, while old hands Tiefschwarz deliver a spaced out, bleep-heavy version of John Monkman's "Follow Me".
Review: The boss is back! The legendary UK pioneer and Bedrock head honcho gives us a live set from Canada's second city, complete with crowd noise. Digweed's knack for sniffing out the most cutting edge progressive and tech house grooves is second to none and you can bet that this set is chock block full of narrative, innovative grooves: one journey you'll never forget! Featuring contributions from Germany's Recondite ("Tame"/"Baro"), Glasgow's Sei A ("You Can Bring"), Berlin's Smash TV ("Cascadia"/"God Key") and Los Angeles' Eagles & Butterflies amongst a host of other big names. Also comes as six continuous mixes for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!
Review: More than any other dance label, Damian Lazarus's Crosstown Rebels has a knack of signing timeless house music. It's evident on this, the second Rebel Rave instalment, with Guti & Dubshape's "Every Cow Has a Bird" offering a classic sound, as a disco groove unfolds to reveal rolling bongos and jazzy piano keys, or on Subb-an's "Misleading", a glorious deep house arrangement with a garage groove. However, there are also some excellent reinventions of the house style; Jamie Jones's "Summertime" reveals a darker side to deep house as a menacing bass surges to the fore; Quenum's "Woman Talk About Woman" features a crazy vocal freestyle over a jazzy groove and best of all, Art Department's "Without You" sounds like a dislocated, paranoid update on Nu Groove's bassy tracks.