Review: Enigmatic Berlin-based producer Hyenah has established himself as a passionate proponent of Afro house in his local scene. Spearheaded by the successful RISE monthly club night and associated music imprint, as well as being one of the most exciting newer acts associated with Watergate. His latest contribution to the label is 'The Message' EP, which keeps on with the same high standard of production. The deep and spiritual vibe of the title track features former Bonobo collaborator Bajka on vocals, followed by a remix from Innervisions staple Henrik Schwarz where he creates a life affirming rendition. Teaming up with Cape Town's Floyd Lavine next on the hi-tech soul of "Soul Rise" and closing it out with the self-reflection of "Not Enough" featuring Lazarusman's powerful and important message.
Hyenah & Pablo Fierro - "Panoramica" - (6:49) 123 BPM
Hyenah & Pablo Fierro - "Panoramica" (Hyenah's Raw Beat edit) - (4:58) 123 BPM
The Golden Cage Of Yesterday - (7:08) 122 BPM
The Golden Cage Of Yesterday (Da Capo remix) - (8:59) 122 BPM
Review: Meet Hyenah, one of the main residents at Berlin clubbing institution Watergate's quickly growing Afro House focused event RISE. It was long overdue to see him land his debut EP on their label. The mysterious, masked crusader delivers a stellar package of percussion heavy, hypnotic and permanently growing cuts that will surely set any dancefloor on fire. Beginning in collaboration with Pablo Fierro on the passionately evocative rhythms of "Panoramica", and followed by the hi-tech afro soul "The Golden Cage Of Yesterday" which is sure to get those mysterious vibes in effect on the dancefloor.
You Made Me Who I Am (Enoo Napa remix) - (7:43) 122 BPM
You Made Me Who I Am (Eltonnick remix) - (8:29) 122 BPM
The Ritual (Jonathan Kaspar remix) - (7:57) 121 BPM
Review: Berlin based label Rise Music specialises in African house music, and are no doubt taking this particular style seriously by releasing tracks by current rising star Hyenah. Following up last year's terrific The Ritual EP, it now gets an awesome remix package. Durban's Enoo Napa will take you deep into the exotic with his rendition of "You Made Me Who I Am", while Johannesburg's Eltonnick also delivers a rework that equally impresses by use of its entrancing polyrhythms and emotive strings. Finally, we are treated to "The Ritual" remixed by Cologne's Jonathan Kaspar (Crosstown Rebels/Objektivity) who delivers some properly esoteric dancefloor drama on his superb version.
Review: Cayman Islands-based man (or woman) of mystery Hyenah is back on Freerange, some 18 months after his (or her) last outing for the long-serving London imprint. As with previous releases, "Usutu" sees him combine the Afro-centric rhythm approach of Joe Clausell with the winding, tech-house style electronics of the Innervisions imprint. It's very good, of course, with B'utiza's evocative vocal adding an extra layer of 21st century Afro-house authenticity. Like-minded producer and occasional Innervisions artist Mr Raoul K arguably improves the track further on his wonderful remix, which builds wonderfully towards an Afro-tech conclusion following a spellbinding ambient intro. Meanwhile, Nonku lends a hand on the tactile deep house warmth of bonus track "Phases".
Review: Hyenah's previous EPs for Freerange, both released back in 2014, portrayed him as the natural heir to both Joe Clausell and Osunlade. "The Idea", featuring fellow deep, Afro-influenced house explorer Lazarusman, only emphasizes this first impression, with a spiritual, spoken word vocal riding a slowly evolving, Innervisions-style deep and techy groove. Frankey & Sandrino push the latter elements to the foreground on their intoxicating, late night interpretation - all spine-tingling breakdowns, swirling electronics and tech-tinged rhythms - before Hyenah delivers the impeccable solo cut "Rise", whose African percussion hits and synthesized marimba melodies perfectly compliment his rolling, soft-touch beats.
Review: Hyenah's debut single, The Wish, was arguably one of Freerange's strongest singles of 2014. This follow-up is, if anything, even better. The Cayman Islands-based producer is clearly a devoted follow of both Joe Clausell and Franck Roger, because the original version of "Tale From The Dirt" sounds like an effortless fusion of their styles - a humid deep house shuffler full of rolling African-influenced percussion and warm, enveloping chords. The original's tasty afro-house grooves are explored further on Rampa's superb, stripped-back, tech-tinged remix. Virtual flipside "The Chase" continues on a similar theme, though it's the "Beastrumental" version - a superb drum dub with just the right amount of heavy bass - that really stands out.
Review: Jimpster's Freerange label has always been good at spotting and developing new talent. Here, they give a debut to little-known producer Hyenah. He impresses with "The Wish (Dub)", an undulating chunk of atmospheric late night deep house in the label's trademark style - think ricocheting percussive hits, rolling chords, rising chords and fluid electronics. It's the sort of hypnotic, ethno-tinged fare you'd expect to hear on Innervisions, which is praise in itself. There's more Joe Claussell style African drum hits on the deeper but no less intoxicating "King Kobra", while Manoo impresses with a pair of uptempo, techno-tempo remixes. It's the 10-minute "Manoo Likes Apfelschorle Remix" that stands out, though the surging future voodoo of his "Darkside Remix" is also pretty formidable. Impressive stuff all round.
Review: Last year, Kapote joined forces with regular home Toy Tonics to release Teutonik Disaster, a compilation of his own re-edits of late '70s and early '80s, "German new wave funk". 12 months on he returns to the same label with a new collection, Mushroom House, which boasts a mixture of Balearic, Afro and cosmic-influenced cuts from the imprint's vaults. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the rubbery, dubbed-out Afro-house bounce of Ponty Mython's 'Slippin' Into Darkness' and the dusty Afro-disco haziness of Munk's 'Nigerian Jam', to the intergalactic electro trip of the Asphodells' killer remix of 'The Circular Path' by the Deadstock 33s, and the deep space Italo-disco chug of Baldelli's sparkling 'Phobos (2020 Version)'.
Review: It seems as if 15 years have just flown by since Berlin institution Watergate first opened their doors at the base of the famous Oberbaumbrucke, overlooking the River Spree and where long queues run down the street every weekend to get into one of the best clubs in the world. To celebrate their journey over the last decade and a half, they have put together a special anniversary release of 25 new, exclusive and formerly unreleased tracks. Residents of the superclub all appear, such as Hamburg native Matthias Meyer who teams up with Ryan Davis on the evocative "Hope", famed local duo Tiefschwarz deliver the slow burning and moody tech house of "Control", Sweden's La Fleur (of Power Plant fame) delivers the acidic bump and shuffle of "Femton" and former Stattbad resident and Beste Modus boss Cinthie gets deep on the classic house sound of "Hatschi Hatschi" which has a whole heap of swing to it!
Review: Jamie Odell aka Jimpster's London based label Freerange returns with a new compilation series entitled Almanac which showcases this highly regarded deep house imprint's current extended roster and believe us right now when we tell you: there's a who who on offer here! Featuring Aussie Andy Hart, Dutch duo Detroit Swindle and Hamburg's Kollektiv Turmstrasse to name but a few. Our favourites, again, if only we could pick a few, are as follows: We Play House main man from Belgium Red D with the sultry and emotive deepness of "Chez", Montreal's undisputed king of latin-microhouse Guillaume Coutu Dumont with the summery disco sleaze of "You Lost It" and Pittsburgh Track Authority with the dusty MPC jack of "Gold Trim". Oh and one more? It'd have to be Chicago's Chrissy with the sexy late night EBM noir crossover of "Presidential Astrologer" which will also appeal to fans of the Comeme or Correspondant sound of late.
Review: According to those behind the label, Toy Tonics' Mushroom House compilation was inspired by "the new wave of weirdo house" that's inspired by "ethno, Afro and psychedelic music". The collection's 15 tracks include a swathe of new or previously unheard cuts from the likes of Auntie Flo, Daniel Avery & Justin Robertson, Daniel Haaksman, Hyenah and Drrrtyhaze. With such a strong line-up, it's no surprise that the music is uniformly excellent. Highlights include, but are not limited to, DJ Koze's superb Hudson River Dub of WhoMadeWho's eccentric "Keep Me In My Plane", the epic build-ups and trippy, dubbed-out riffs of Munk and Rebolledo's "Surf Smurf", and the psychedelic acid attack of Massimiliano Pagliara's remix of Barotti's "She Once Knew".
Review: Man (or woman) of mystery Hyenah is the latest DJ to contribute to the digital only Focus on Freerange compilation series. Like previous volumes, this features a selection of unmixed personal favourites from the Freerange Records catalogue, plus a continuous DJ mix. While the mix is entertaining, it's the quality of the unmixed cuts that make this an essential purchase. There's a smattering of deliciously soulful, bleary-eyed deep house treats (Andreas Saag, Swell Session vs Mark De Clive-Lowe), a swathe of chugging, late night tech-house treats (Dixon remixing Jimpster, Manoo remixing compiler Hyenah), and one of the most overlooked reworks of recent times (Genius of Time's fantastic rub of Kyodai's "Mi Rumba").
Review: Toolroom Live 01 is a behemoth. At 61 tracks large, inclusive of three continues DJ mixes, this new concept by Toolroom, as they say, is to highlight key artists, present new tracks, and give their fans a taste of the live experience. On here there's music from Harvey Mckay, Gary Beck and Maison Sky, to Bat For Lashes, Hot Since 82 and label owner Mark Knight, and if you're looking to grasp the Toolroom Live concept (and other oddities you might not expect), while getting some bang from your buck, this release is a well informed start.
Review: The second volume in Toy Tonics' ongoing Mushroom House series gathers together more Afro-influenced dancefloor jams from an impressive selection of producers. Zut and Kapote kick things off with the bouncy house rhythms, chanted African vocals and heavy dub disco bass of "Afro Rico", before Gomma regular Munk pays tribute to Afrobeat on the excellent "Nigerian Jam". Elsewhere, Freerange and Objektivity regular Hyenah throws down a typically tactile chunk of atmospheric, Afro-tinged tech-house ("Fire"), and Glaswegian genre-bender Auntie Flo layers up indigenous instrumentation and hand-held percussion on the standout "Kampala Boda Boda Ride".