Review: Fresh from fine outings on Shall Not Fade, Berg Audio and Outright, Djoko pitches up on Up The Stuss with another rock-solid EP of club-ready cuts. The German rising star hits the ground running with 'My bad Your Fault', a fizzing fusion of crunchy tech-house beats, shuffling UKG swing, spacey chords and low-register organ stabs, riffs reminiscent ofJaydee classic 'Plastic Dreams'. He opts for a slightly tougher and wilder late-night tech-house sound on 'My Dog Never Barks, where bursts of melodious electronics leap above a locked-in groove, before joining the dots between hazy deep house and hypnotic tech-house on 'Uknown Territory'. To round off a fine EP he dons his alternative alias, KOLTER, and serves up some jazzy, tuneful and funky two-step business.
Review: Fresh from delivering his first full EP for Shall Not Fade, the typically impressive Ventura, deep house rising star Johannes Kolter AKA DJOKO delivers a fine sequel to 2020's Berg Audio-released Endless Explorations EP. There's much to enjoy throughout, including a deep, chunky, spacey and hypnotic hook-up with Chris Stussy ('Constant Time') and a funk-fuelled intergalactic techno roller that Detroit legend Delano Smith later transforms into a wonderfully hypnotic, locked in late-night treat ('Light Way'). Elsewhere, 'Little Mice' is a sparkly and driving slab of Motor City sci-fi techno, 'Late For Dinner' is a melodic, analogue-rich number and 'Always Wondered' is tactile, rubbery and deliciously dreamy. In a word: superb!
Review: We've lost count of the number of EPs that Shall Not Fade has put out this year, but the Bristol-based label has genuinely yet to put a foot wrong in 2021. Predictably, the imprint's latest missive - a first label outing from German rising star DJOKO - is another must-check collection of cuts. He begins with the dreamy and bouncy brilliance of feelgood '90s deep house number 'Morning Wonders', before drawing further influence from shuffling US garage and glassy-eyed turn-of-the-90s Larry Heard productions on 'Ventura'. 'Sylvestre Alone' is disco-tinged sample house of the highest order, while 'Don't Compare Yourself' joins the dots between early UK progressive house and bumpin' US deep house. Also worth a listen is Leo Pol's bustling, UK garage-influenced interpretation of 'Morning Wonders'.
Review: While it may have been designed to reflect the evolving nature of the label's sound over the last half-decade, Shall Not Fade's fifth anniversary compilation is nevertheless packed to the rafters with previously unheard treats. It begins with a techno-tempo blast of garage-influenced deep house warmth from DJOKO and ends with the dark, squelching and ghostly bounce of Dart's 'Transformations'; in between, you'll find 19 more reasons to be cheerful with plenty of serious dancefloor chops. Undisputed highlights include the crunchy, head-nodding pleasure of GVRL's instrumental hip-hop jam 'Love Game', the angular and acid spiked tech-breaks of Harrison BDP's 'The Powerful Play', the drowsy deep house dreaminess of Mutual Attraction's 'MPC Live Track 1' and the rushing rave revivalism of Baltra's killer re-fix of Earth Boys' 'I'm Not Afraid'.
Review: Many congratulations to PIV, a well-regarded house label that has now been offering up a diverse blend of classy cuts - many inspired by, in their words, "the classic era of US house" - for five years. To celebrate this landmark, the label's Dutch and Indonesian founders have scoured the archives and put together a 15-track selection of highlights so far. There's much to enjoy throughout, with highlights including the rolling, tech-tinged deep house warmth of Prunk's 'Dreams', the squelchy bass and starry chords of Djoko's early morning favourite 'Planet Groove', the Swag style, loose-limbed tech-house-funk of Toman's 'Surfin', and the ultra-melodious, mid-90s New Jersey garage-influenced deep-tech loveliness of 'Bolt' by Ruze.
Review: Djoko's name on anything will always prick up this reviewer's ears but the German producer - not to be confused with the Netherlands' William Djoko - has excelled himself here! The EP opens with 'Holding On Now', an uptempo old-skool (deep) houser that makes surprisingly effective use of the vocal from Motiv-8's 90s Euro cheese-fest 'Rockin' For Myself'. 'Daylight' keeps up the pace as it marries dreamy, Orb-like synths to fluid, jazzy Rhodes and a phat garage bassline, while 'Step Han' is contemporary-style "garage house" at its most funkified and bumpin', and 'Lesson' takes us into the 3am jackin' zone. Pure dancefloor vibes from start to finish.
Review: If trad-style deep house and US garage are what floats your boat then you need to pick up this EP from Djoko immediately, because lead track 'Hooked On You' is the absolute BOMB and, marrying New Jersey keys and male soul vox to an uptempo driving rhythm, is surely destined to be huge on soulful floors this summer. Elsewhere on the EP, there are more garage-y overtones on 'Facettes' while 'Bad To The Bone' and 'Jode Lade' operate in more straight-up deep house territory (but still in classic US-style mode), and the quality standard is impeccable throughout. Superb stuff.
Review: Parisian label hedZup follows up some great releases recently by British tech house heroes such as Tijn and Mehlor, with this new one by Cologne-based Djoko. The 'Ride On' EP sees this ascendant producer and DJ tick all the right boxes: from the slinky and hypnotic late night bounce of the title track, to the tough and funked-up peak time roller "Wrecked" which calls to mind the work of Djebali or iO (Mulen) and demonstrates that the guy sure has talent. On the remix we have label co-chief Mancini taking the track "Tunnel" down a deeper route (pardon the pun) and it is perfect mood music for the warm-up or the afterhours alike - so groovy!
Review: Four quality deep housers from Germany's Djoko here. 'Extensions Of The Mind' itself is a tightly controlled lil' hip-wiggler with crisp beats and fluttering synths that lend it an air of urgency, despite the fact that it's actually fairly laidback, tempo-wise. Elsewhere, 'Orbit' is an eyes-down 3am groover of the kind that could have been made any time in the past 25 years or so, 'Stoccado' is pacier and struttier with bubblin' acidic sounds and an extended breakdown in the middle, and 'Atomic Pulse' is more uptempo again, a bass-led chugger topped with dreamy synths.