Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a fresh set of remixes of tracks from Iron Curtis and Johannes Albert's recent collaborative album, the synth-heavy, far-sighted goodness that was Moon I. The headline attraction is undoubtedly Versatile Records veteran I:Cube's stellar rework of 'Hunting', which the Parisian successfully re-imagines as a gloriously tuneful, immersive and mood-enhancing fusion of analogue deep house and deep, intergalactic synth-pop. He's also delivered a deliciously delay-laden, drum heavy\Bonus Beat' dub mix for those who love to play around with percussion. The EP's other revision comes courtesy of Permanent Vacation co-founder Benjamin Frohlich. His excellent take on 'Nektar' wraps reverb-heavy female vocals and nagging acid lines around a rubbery synth bassline and boogie-era proto-house drums.
Review: To celebrate notching up 50 releases, Uncanny Valley offered up a septet of colour-coded EPs featuring never-heard-before cuts from its growing roster of artists. With that campaign finished, they've now collected together all of those tracks on one suitably epic compilation, All Colors Are Beautiful. It's a pleasingly positive, life-affirming and kaleidoscopic collection all told, with the likes of Lauer, Jules Etienne, Johannes Albert, Cuthead and Basic Soul Unit taking it in turns to deliver cheery, synth-heavy cuts that variously join the dots between deep house, nu-disco, synth-pop, proto-house, jacking acid, crunchy electro, Motor City techno, ghetto-tech and glassy-eyed late-night sleaze. The results are uniformly excellent, making this one of the most essential compilations of 2020.
Review: To the Robert Johnson club, Andrew Weatherall was one of the Frankfurt institution's most beloved residents. 'Lifesaver 4' is a compilation dedicated to the memory of the veteran DJ, featuring young talents and seasoned companions that have paid their musical tribute in order to commemorate the club's 21 year anniversary. Highlights not limited to: Perel's psychedelic off-kilter opener "Feuer & Wasser", the low slung sunset sounds of Panorama Bar resident Massimiliano Pagliara on "Before I Let You Go", club mainstay Gerd Janson delivering a typically neon-lit rendition of Portable's "Unity", the surprising addition of nearby Offenbach-based talent Cedric Dekowski on the afterhours minimal funk of "Livius" and Fort Romeau delivering his idiosyncratic style of hypnotic house on "Another Dymention". "Fail we may, sail we must".
Review: Frank Music legend, recent Iron Curtis collaborator and Renate Schallplatten singing Johannes Albert sends in a curio of a release if it's not only for the tranquil brain massage that is "Sindersbach". Spessart sees Albert at his minimal, new age best with neo-90s numbers like "Schanrain" with its twinkling keys and heavy chords. Taste the fruits of ambient and exotica vibes in the tropicana of "Kuhruh" to the spacier, UFO-in-the-desert-themed "Mariabuchen". Continue with the loungey oasis ballad "Beilstein" or the percussive "Beilstein" with some touches of dramatic krautrock. Music for Montages.
Review: Uncanny Valley hits the magic 50 mark with this diverse four-tracker. It starts with Chino's "Forbidden Voices", a tough analogue banger, replete with spiralling acid and bruising metallic riffs. Johannes Albert's "Vision Utopia" also draws on steely sounds, but on this occasion, the focus is on staccato percussion and brooding synth lines. Lake People, who has released on labels like Permanent Vacation, also drops an electro-style jam, "Roaming The Streets", but it's deeper and more reflective than Albert's contribution. RVDS rounds off the split release with "Moon Operator", a slinky, stepping workout that spirals off to the cosmos with some gloriously trippy 303 lines.
Review: Think of Renate Schallplatten and "piano house" probably isn't the first phrase that springs to mind, but that's exactly what you get on aptly-titled lead cut '1-800-PIANO' here - see the Original for straight-up 90s hands-in-the-air podium vibes, or the Panther Krause Remix for a more contemporary-sounding electro/Italo twist. Elswhere, there are more retro house thrills on 'More Action Please!', with its familiar female "give a little more... action" vocal, while 'Contra Pein' comes on like a Kraftwerk-inspired take on melodic house. It all adds up to an EP that could find favour with househeads of many persuasions.
Review: There's some serious blurring of genre boundaries going on here. This EP from W?rzburg native Johannes Albert, coming on his own Frank Music label, may be sitting in our disco section - as befits the Italo-esque throb of opener 'Wing House' (as remixed by Shan) - but its four tracks could also slide neatly into house and even techno sets. Map-ache's remix of 'Cell' will suit the prog/melodic jocks, Iron Curtis's remix of 'Wing House' has both melodic and tech elements, while the standout Sebastian Voigt remix 'Milieu', with its dark, rumbling bass and clattering breakbeat, harks back to the rave era and as such should have broad, poly-dancefloor appeal.
Review: 2019 marks a decade since the Needwant label first sprung into life. Those ten years have been action packed to say the least, as this epic anniversary compilation proves. What's on offer is a mixture of label highlights from Needwant's bulging back catalogue, a handful of previously unheard tracks and the odd exclusive remix. There's much to admire throughout, from the spacey deep house goodness of Kim Ann Foxman's "Return It" and the delay-laden late night retro-futurism of Tuff City Kids' acid-fired rework of VIMES' "Minds", to the throbbing, Italo-influenced brilliance of Res Mo's "Train To Kyoto", Octa Octa's atmospheric early morning tweak of Few Nolder's "Porcelain" and the Revenge's slo-mo, glassy eyed cover of SOS Band classic "Just Be Good To Me".
Review: Sweating profusely and clutching his favourite dusty old bits of music-making kit, a shirtless Johannes Albert gestures us towards the dancefloor and asks us to dance the "Credit Jive". There's no fancy footwork required, just a desire to lose your inhibitions to a thrusting, all-action Italo-disco workout rich in relentless, arpeggio-style bass, thumping kickdrums, ricocheting percussion hits, jacking drum machine fills and a handful of spacey electronic motifs. Albert can see we need a quick breather, so he offers up "Linn Dreams", a fabulously colourful, Linn Drum-driven bounce through hybrid nu-disco/instrumental synth-pop pastures. It's little less than a rush-inducing palette cleanser.
Review: Not content with serving up regular doses of ear-pleasing nu-disco, the Future Disco crew has decided to start sound-tracking days spent lounging on the beach. Somewhat predictably, this second Beach Life selection is packed with seriously steamy, sun-kissed grooves. While this epic digital package does contain two (un-credited) DJ mixes, the real joy is the expansive - not to mention eclectic - selection of DJ-friendly, unmixed tracks. Check, for example, the sun-down, jazz-funk influenced bliss of Folamour's "L'homme Loup", the head-nodding lounge warmth of Snacks' "Daydream", the gentle Balearic nu-disco of Sirs, the lo-fi deep house haziness of DJ Boring and COEO, and the sand-in-the-shoes shuffle of Eli Escobar's delicious remix of Kraak and Smaak's "U R Freak". Throw in a swathe of tasty, laidback but floor-friendly deep house jams and you have a solid collection of serious summer jams.
Review: Wurzburg's Johannes Albert heads up Frank Music, where for several years he's delivered some top-shelf deep house jams by the likes of Smallpeople, Achterbahn D'Amour, Monosoul and of course a heap of his own jams from his now Berlin based studio. His new Plus 1 EP refers to the collaborations featured and includes the track "Turbo Basmati". While in its original form it is an uplifting and neon-lit Italo disco tribute, Iron Curtis' Thermo mix is a powerful, breaks-driven classic house jam, just like the following "Karen's Piano" which features Mr. Fonk on this old school Strictly Rhythm tribute. Albert proves he's just as able to do deep and emotive house too, as displayed on the sexy mood lighting of "Floating Dub" featuring D.Y.A.
Review: German DJ Johannes Albert heads up the Frank Music imprint and Fine with Tillman. He's been praised by the likes BICEP, Gerd Janson, Lauer and the Keinemusik crew - and he's only just getting started. His new one here for London's Needwant follows up some terrific releases of late by the label, such as Akasha System and Luces. The Berlin based producer serves up The Dancing Plague EP here, featuring the neon-lit dark disco aesthetic of "TPTS", the lo-slung boogie-down action of "Gravy Train" and the sombre balearic bliss of "Rainbow Pan" closing out this very impressive EP.
Review: Scene veteran Sean Brosnan is the selector behind Future Disco's latest all-action collection of nu-disco and disco-inspired house cuts, which is here presented in DJ-friendly, unmixed form. As usual, you'll find a clutch of recent peak-time club hits - see Louie Vega's fantastic rework of Sylvester's "Dance", the brilliant E-Live Remix of Saucy Lady's boogie-powered "Together" and Danny Krvit's simultaneously stomping and spacey Extended Vocal Dub Edit of Emilie Nana's "I Rise" - alongside previously unheard Future Disco edits and lesser-celebrated gems (see Amp Fiddler's "Steppin", Kraak and Smaak's collaboration with Luxxury, and Greg Wilson's exclusive tweak of Sweet Tooth T's cover of Chemise's boogie classic "She Can't Love You").
DJ Swagger - "21st Century Slow Jam" - (5:42) 126 BPM
Bobby Pleasure - "Cloudspotting" - (7:35) 120 BPM
Review: Needs (not-for-profit) is a new label that aims to raise awareness about different issues within society with each release. Their first offering highlights the importance of mental wellbeing, with all profits being donated to mental health charity Mind, and calls upon a strong cast of deep house producers to impart the kind of Smallville-friendly sounds that discerning heads should snap up in a heartbeat. Hubie Davison's "I Know" is a melancholic affair with heart-nagging strings, while Johannes Albert injects a little spice into proceedings with a choice breakbeat and some excellent bird song on "Vigilia". DJ Swagger's "21st Century Slow Jam" is a peppy little shuffler with warm acidic bass and a kick ass swing in the beat, and then Bobby Pleasure finishes the record off with the wistful but tech-edged "Cloudspotting".
Review: Fresh from a tech-house influenced EP on new label Corp, Johannes Albert pops up on Frank Music with an altogether different proposition. "Giovanni Frizzante" is something of a life-affirming, lose-your-shit peak-time treat, with the German producer brilliantly joining the dots between sleazy Italo-disco (represented by a chugging arpeggio bassline) and cheery Italian house (a range of brilliant piano solos and accompanying positive electronic elements). The track's anthem-like elements are pushed to the fore on Prins Thomas's dizzyingly good remix, which craftily replaces the original's arpeggio lines with rubbery synth-bass and a full tablet's worth of loved-up vibes. The bubbly nu-disco bounce of bonus cut "D-Trainse (No Cure Mix)" is also worth a listen.