Review: Frankfurt's Rajko Muller has been responsible for some timeless dancefloor moments as Isolee since his emergence on the iconic Playhouse in 1996, chief among them the iconic "Beau Mot Plage". Having resurfaced earlier this year with that 3 track drop for Koze's Pampa label, Isolee delivers another contemporary contender for his canon of personal classics with this release for Ripperton's Tamed Musiq. "Dennis" is filled with all the warmth and production intricacies one comes to expect from an Isolee production and is complemented by tweaks from Ripperton himself and Berlin artist Baikal.. The former's self styled 'Eight Wheels dub' adds a lot more percussive groove to the mix whilst Baikal opts for a hypnotic rework that's all about the labyrinthine bassline.
Review: Amazingly, it's 15 years since Isolee first tickled our fancy with the deliciously hypnotic and pleasingly melodic micro-house anthem "Beau Mot Plage". He's tried many things in the years since, from stripped-back minimalism to semi-organic loop techno. "Allowance" his first full solo EP for nearly three years, has echoes of his glory days. The darting, fluid "Wobble", for example, employs similar synth stabs of shuffling grooves, while "You Could Do Your Memories" is as heart aching and emotion-rich as any of his Playhouse-era classics. Best of all, though, is "Allowance", a sparse but beautifully appointed slice of deep-tronica underpinned by a loose but sturdy groove.
Review: Here's something of a treat for fans of hypnotic, left-of-centre house music: a now rare outing from pioneering German producer Rajko Muller under his now familiar Isolee alias. Floripa is his first release of any sort since 2013, and is as atmospheric and undulating as you would expect. Like much of his work, the title track seems to unfurl in stages, with fluid melodies and spacey riffs slowly rising to prominence over a glitchy, intricately programmed groove. There's a slightly more tropical deep house flavour to "Favouride", with humid percussion hits and a liquid bassline underpinning sticky pads and sparkling melodies. It's a slice of picturesque, unfettered positivity produced with Muller's usual deft touch.
Review: Frankfurt innovator Rajko Muller returns as Isolee, working his magic this time for The Drifter's rather impressive Maeve imprint; which in recent times has brought us fantastic work by Ed Davenport, Baikal and Ripperton. "Pisco" is a slow burning groove with phased marimbas that cause a hypnotic dream state, while "L5 Syndrome" dives deeper: this smooth and introverted trip is definitely suited to the early night as it is for the afterhours and reminds us of his seminal, earlier works in the nineties for imprints like Playhouse. Finally, the title track is where Muller saves the best for last; this dubby, lo-slung groove is drenched in delayed and reverberated aesthetics. More great work by one of electronic music's true innovators.
Review: Hamburg based label Dial Records shot to fame in the second half of the 00s with their high brow approach to deep, minimal house and techno. Founded in 2000, they now celebrate their tenth birthday with a new compilation featuring all their usual suspects, aptly titled 2010.
Set up at the turn of the millennium by Carsten Jost and Peter M, better known as Lawrence, Dial remained largely unnoticed at first. It was only the last five or so years that the imprint famed for its sophisticated and emotionally evocative style of deep and minimal house came to the wider attention. Releases such as Efdemin's "Bergwein" EP and Pantha Du Prince This Bliss have garnered them the most attention leading up to today's celebratory compilation. But rather than just collecting the finest moments from those ten years, such is Dial's ethos, that they celebrate with entirely new material, including previously unreleased tracks from the likes of Rndm, Pigon and John Roberts.
Opening the compilation in typically refined style, Phantom Ghost embark on a fittingly theatrical ode to the pleasures of the highlife with the twilight keys of "My Secret Europe." Cultivated 4/4s then take over, starting with John Roberts who brings a classical element into the mix on "Lines." Efdemin explores sensuously deep tribalism on "Time," whereas Kassian Troyer uses layers of sub bass on "Tourist" to get into the groove. Isolee makes a rare appearance with some trippier house moments on "Black Lodge" before Pigon take it unfeasibly deep on "Koto." One of the label's starlets, Pantha Du Prince adds one of the highlights of the release with the enveloping masterpiece of "Fountain Drive."
Dial celebrate their tenth year, and twentieth release, the only way they know how - with a selection of tracks that look unreservedly forward, proving their need to do more than simply sit back on their previous successes. I'm just looking forward to their 2020 compilation.
Review: The first compilation on Koze's Pampa label is a lovingly curated affair. It starts with the left field house of Herbert's take on Lianne La Havas and Ada's r&b-infused "You & Me", as well as DJ Koze's own hymnal take on Roman Flugel's "9 Years". Other Pampa regulars like Axel Boman are well represented and he provides the ultra-mellow "In The Dust of This Planet". Equally though, Koze also provides a platform for newcomers to the fold. There's the utterly bizarre, glitch-hop of Nasrawi and Funskstorung's contributions, and at the other end of the spectrum, wide-eyed deep house from Mount Kimbie and Jamie xx & Kosi Kos' pumping indie-dance "Come We Go".
Review: Hamburg Elektronisch is the ultimate ode to the German harbour city's rich musical scene and heritage. A massive compilation comprised of a whopping thirty tracks by the city's legends (Boris Dlugosch, Lawrence, DJ Koze) and young guns (Tilman Tausendfreund, Joney, RSS Disco) alike. There's just so much great music on here but for our money, our picks are Christopher Rau with his sensual and ultra deep "RG En El Casa", Dial affiliate RVDS with the sexy late night groove of "Catwalk", local heroes Smallpeople on "Cricket Orchestra" (ultra deep, this one!) and the undisputed master of the dark journey track Oliver Huntemann with his comeback track "Kiez" that shows us that long before Tale Of Us or Mind Against: it was all about this guy!