Review: The team behind the Love International festival has joined forces with Apiento's Test Pressing website to launch a new collaborative EP series, LIXTP. To kick things off they've recruited Melbourne's Fantastic Man, a producer who knows much about atmospheric, retro-futurist house flavours. He begins in confident mood with 'Cloud Manager', where echo-laden piano solos and dreamy chords rise above gnarled analogue bass and off-kilter machine drums, before doffing a cap to the era of 'bleep and breaks' on the shuffling, sub-heavy 'Lounge Wizard'. 'Psychic Monthly' is slow, psychedelic and deliciously odd, while 'Tome Apprentice' brilliantly joins the dots between deep electro, acid and shimmering Balearic house.
Review: The wonderful, left of centre Fantastic Man project returns to Kitjen with spaced out release. "Solar Surfing" resounds to a lopsided groove, muffled, stream of consciousness vocals and deeply layered textures. It's a superbly executed, tripped out arrangement. On "Native Power", Fantastic Man rolls out the 303, with gurgling acid lines provide the backdrop for a ponderous male vocal - like an update of classic house by Photon Inc. Shifting approach once again, he delivers "Avocado Conception". Slower and less dance floor friendly than the two other tracks, its woozy approach and lost-it sensibility closes out another cosmic electronic journey.
Review: If a week is a long time in politics, then a decade is the equivalent of a lifetime in dance music terms. It's for this reason that so many labels are keen to mark their tenth birthday with a special release, just as Wolf Music - one of the UK's most reliable deep house imprints of recent times - has done here. Instead of opting for all new material, the imprint has decided to gather together some of their favourite "Wolf slammers" - cuts that have always done the business on the dancefloor. There's naturally plenty to set the pulse racing throughout, from the loopy R&B/disco/deep house fusion of Fantastic Man's "Look This Way" and the fabulously analogue Chicago retro-futurism of KRL's "Nothing You Can Teach Me", to the sample-heavy, riff-happy bounce of Red Rack'em's "Do Or Die" and the bass-heavy stomp of K98's warehouse-ready revision of Thrilogy's "Heaven".
Review: 1990s sitcom fan turned lo-fi deep house royalty DJ Seinfeld is the latest selector to contribute to K7's long-running DJ Kicks series. This digital download edition naturally contains his mix - a hugely entertaining musical voyage rich in dreamy chords, bustling breakbeats, groovy deep house workouts, skewed techno and post-IDM curiosities - as well as all 21 tracks in unmixed, full-length, DJ-friendly form. Highlights are plentiful and include the downtempo bliss of the producer's own "I See You", the bass-heavy breakbeat/deep house fusion of Rudolf C's "Deep C Survivor", the quirky electronics and low-slung grooves of Falty DL's "Freak Acid" and the loved-up wonder that is Project Pablo's "Who's It For?"
Review: Even by his usual high standards, this EP from Melbourne producer Fantastic Man is pretty darn special. It begins with the tactile, loved-up brilliance of "Galactic Ecstasy", where glistening, intergalactic synthesizer lines and chiming melodies tumble down over restless acid lines and a hustling rhythm track. "Acid Martin" boasts a little more jacking intent, whilst retaining the new age influenced melodies and humid textures more associated with Young Marco's work. He closes proceedings with the superb "Legoman", where winding, intelligent techno style melodies rub shoulders with lusciously deep chords and Project Pablo style deep house breakbeats.
Review: A decade has passed since Tom Bioly and Benjamin Frohlich launched their Permanent Vacation label with a compilation of the same name. This fourth instalment sticks to the same formula as its' predecessors, serving up evocative, emotion-rich music that's tickled the fancy of Bioly and Frohlich over the last two years. Predictably, there's much to enjoy throughout, from the hammock-fresh laziness of Carrot Green's dreamy "Vodou", and the instrumental, Balearic synth-pop of Fantastic Man's "Seaside Special", to the tribal drums, jazz bass and ghostly chords of Benedikt Frey's "Lucid Dream". They predictably finish with a flourish, following Mapache's hallucinatory deep house shuffler "Let Me Sleep", with the dubby Balearic beauty of Suzanne Kraft's blissful "Tiles".
Review: Having made his name making decent deep house, Fantastic Man appears to be following in the footsteps of fellow Melbourne export Tornado Wallace and pursuing a far more Balearic, kaleidoscopic sound. Certainly, Dream Machine is arguably his strongest EP to date, delivering a trio of cuts that expertly fuse Italo, Scandolearic and new age influences. There's naturally much to admire, from the lilting melodies, tactile proto-house rhythms, Italo attitude and bubbling synth bass of "Fountain Gate", to the marimba-clad breeziness and chiming tunefulness of "St Elmo's (Theme)". The title track, a study in early deep house melodiousness, is also pretty impressive.
Review: Melbourne-based deep house stalwart Mic Newman has enjoyed a relatively quiet year under his Fantastic Man alias, with just the odd release to keep fans happy. He's clearly been saving his best till last, though, because this EP for Let's Play House (his second for the Brooklyn-based imprint) is top drawer. It's hard to pick highlights, with all four tracks delivering a delicious blend of evocative melodies, tumbling grooves and sympathetic chords. The decidedly melancholic Serotonin-release of "Zero" is probably the pick, though lead track "Heartbreaker" - as emotion-rich and vulnerable as the title suggests - being close behind. The deeper, spookier "Keep Out" - think Larry Heard meets Young Marco - is excellent, too, as is Suzanne Kraft's spacier, dubbier, analogue-heavy remix.
Review: Having rightly made a name for themselves as purveyors of high-grade goodness, House of Disco continues to churn out the hits. Following hot on the heels of their collaborative compilation with Dikso Records comes another hook-up, this time with Kolour Recordings. Given the similarity of both labels' output, it's little surprise that House of Kolour is a bit of a winner. Musically, it's jam-packed with warm, groove-laden cuts that straddle the line where deep house, disco and re-edits meet. Highlights are, naturally, plentiful, from the shimmering beauty of Debonair's Fantastic Man rework and the funtime bounce of Hystereo's "Choral Twist", to the loopy-but-swinging soul of Sleazy McQueen's "Pretty Baby", and the hustling deep house goodness of Medlar's previously unheard rework of Noodleman's ace "Starlight".
Review: Victoria's finest come together to launch the Melbourne Deepcast imprint, proving that there's much more to the city than great coffee. Up first is Lewie Day - perhaps better known to the record buying public as Tornado Wallace - who drops the immensely pleasing soulful mid tempo bump of "Some Kind Of Man", a sample-heavy house jam that has been receiving a lot of love on the Juno office turntable. This is followed by "Devoted", an effort from MD head honcho Andy Hart that shimmers with Motor City soul - watch out for those keys! Up next there's some eagerly anticipated new tackle from Fantastic Man, with the deep groove/low slung riffage of "From Start To Finish" sounding like a snug fit for the 6th Borough Project back cat, while Weekend Express's "Deeper" bristles with vintage Chicago vibes. An auspicious debut.