Review: Almost 18 years on from its debut release, Kompakt Extra is just months away from notching up a century of releases. For EP number 98, Kompakt's club-focused offshoot has snapped up a pair of heads-down, late night delights. Danny Daze and Shokh join forces, laying down a pulsating chunk of trance-like dancefloor hypnotism whose power derives not from thunderous percussion (though the drum hits are solid enough), but rather restless arpeggio lines, spacey electronics and some mind-altering melodies. Then it is Patrice Baumel taking an altogether different approach, slamming down a formidably heavy chunk of bass-heavy techno wonkiness smothered in the sticky humidity of an unlikely jungle rave.
Slums Of Grand Central (original mix) - (7:50) 98 BPM
Slums Of Grand Central (Tornhawked) - (6:16) 115 BPM
Slums Of Grand Central (Rusted By Decor) - (6:38) 130 BPM
Review: Daze makes a first appearance on Torn Hawk's Valcron Video label with a distinctive trio of adventurous jams hovering on the fringes of the dance. "Slums Of Grand Central" is certainly crafted with the party in mind, but it's a more introspective kind of get down for those who like popping at a slower tempo. Torn Hawk then takes the track to task with a tense revision that comes on like uneasy 90s electronica before Decor lays waste to the surroundings with a slamming remix that pushes into hard techno territory while retaining the wistful tones of the original.
Review: The inlay art on this release says it all. Featuring a female face peeking through clouds and a blissed out heavenly body floating above her, it mimics the early utopian states imagined on early 90s dance music covers. The accompanying music also wears its influences openly. Daze, an Australian producer, previously released a trio of records for Lobster Theremin, but for this outing ditches much of the gritty tape noise that he had shrouded his previous work in. The title track is all wide-eyed synths and hyper-speed jungle breaks while on "Centuries Later" he slows down the pace to emulate Nexus 21 and Detroit techno. However, the main narrative on this release is the pre-jungle period and as "Xx" shows, Daze manages to capture the mixture of musical depth and high-speed rhythms that defined that period.
Review: It's fair to say Mr Danny Daze is enjoying a fine 2014 with this debut on Kompakt's Speicher series arriving in the aftermath of two superb releases for Jimmy Edgar's Ultramajic and Maceo Plex's Ellum Audio. There's a sense of prestige that comes with a Speicher release and the two powerful productions from the Miami-based Daze hint he's fully worthy of his placement in the Kompakt extra annals of fame. Lead track "Freeze (Frozen Mix)" sees Daze focus on detail, keeping the drum programming to a minimum so an accompaniment of synth washes, machine noise and muted horns can have full effect. Those wanting something a bit more marauding will be all over "Speaker Language" which pairs a powerful snare rattling groove with some treated vocals.
Review: Since launching early last year, Jaymo and Andy George's Moda Black imprint has forged a reputation for delivering the sort of fluid, action-packed deep house that takes as much influence from synth-laden nu-disco as tech house, '90s garage and Visionquest-ish slickness. Here, the two bossmen curate a second label compilation featuring a mix of unreleased gems and recent hits. There's plenty to enjoy, from the classic late night wooziness of Eats Everything's "Jazz Hands" and Huxley's rolling, UKG-influenced "Diesel", to the Hot Creations-ish flex of Danny Daze/Maxxi Soundsystem collaboration "Karoline" and Medlar & Pedestrian's '90s US garage groover "TR Wilson".
Review: Compilation mixer Mar-T, Ramon Tapia and a host of others deliver a fair share of toolish, tribal house on Amnesia Ibiza Electronica - but that's only part of the story. The compilation also features the deranged, woozy horn sound of Betook's "Rusty Trombone"; the aggro, abrasive house of Danny Daz's "Ghetto Fab" and the excellent, shuffling 808 drums and resonating bass of Audiofly's "No Props". Techno is also catered for, with Antonio del Prete dropping a spine-tingling big room groove and Kabale Und Liebe & Lauhaus dropping a stripped back take on Alexis Carbrera's "Wherever", while the rumbling bass and detached vocals of DJ T's edit of Tensnake's "Around The House" sounds like an alternative summer anthem.
Review: Over the last 14 years, UK techno-funk stalwart Colin McBean has released a vast amount of music under his Mr G alias, for a wide variety of labels; according to Discogs, he's dropped an astonishing 70 12" singles in that time. This two-disc collection of his favourite moments, simply titled Retrospective, is arguably much needed. For the newcomers it offers a neat summary of his particular brand of no-nonsense, sample-heavy techno, where cut-up jazz, disco and soul loops ride thunderous techno rhythms and robust, late night grooves. For the diehards, there's a smattering of new cuts, while occasional fans should revel in the opportunity to savour some of his most hard-to-get jams.
Review: Whatever you think about Hot Creations - and opinions are, of course, divided - you can't deny that Jamie Jones and Lee Foss's label has been a game-changer. Their combination of contemporary house grooves with classic house, disco, boogie and garage influences now dominates dancefloors the world over. This label retrospective tells the story of their runaway success between 2011 and 2012, offering up three hours of unmixed floorfillers from the likes of Waifs & Strays, Miguel Campbell, Burnski, PBR Streetgang, Jamie Jones and Lee Foss, plus a smattering of lesser-known gems. For those who missed the label's formative years, there's also a tasty bonus mix of early material from Russ Yallop.