Review: When it comes to celebrating their tenth year in business, no one could accuse Dekmantel of doing it in half measures. For this, the fifth instalment of their 10 Years series, they have recruited well-known faces alongside some surprise appearances. German dub producer Burnt Friedman delivers "Monsun", a high-paced, heavily filtered workout that cruises along at break neck speed. By contrast, "Edge Of", from Detroit producer Ectomorph, is a model of restraint, following a dubby groove that ebbs and flows to the sound of spaced out textures and a lurching bass. Dekmantel regulars Juju & Jordash drop the uptempo, jazzed out house of "Neon Swing", while helping to blow out the birthday candles is Fatima Yamaha, with the sultry keys and synths of "Platforms (Empty Version)".
The End Of The Butterfly King (Poem: Things Comin' Along) - (6:11) 118 BPM
Black Unity - (16:01) 157 BPM
Review: A reissue of a deep spiritual jazz masterpiece, Strut Records brings back into the frame a timeless relic from the not-so distant past. JuJu, a six piece space age, soul-jazz and freeform fusion group outta 1970s San Francisco was spearheaded by the longstanding leadership of Plunky J. Branch and the ensemble's deep African spirit. Chapter Two: Nia, originally released in '74, sees Strut descend on what aficionados would consider the band's most definitive album (alongside A Message From Mozambique) with New Yorkian minimalism colliding with ragtime in "The End Of The Butterfly King (Poem: Things Comin' Along)". Filled with powerful poetry and spoken word in the title track (and aforementioned) to explosive, wandering numbers like "Black Unity", timeless music never sounded so fresh.
Review: It's rare these days that you have a spare 90 minutes to focus on an album, but Techno Primitivism is one of those albums that makes you want to change your lifestyle accordingly. Everything about this new album from Juju & Jordash breathes class, showcasing a blend of music that's fully representative of the Amsterdam based duo's styles and influences. At 15 tracks deep, the full beauty of Techno Primitivism will undoubtedly reveal itself slowly, the cheeky misnomer of the title hinting at Gal & Jordan's often revealed humour. Opening in grand style with the triple suite of "Stoplight Loosejaw", "Diatoms" and "Backwash", the duo set a hazy, atmospheric tone that remains throughout, with brief machine funk interludes such as "Slow Boat To Haifa" and "Rogue Wave" in between longer improvised explorations. Favourites on this album change with every listen, but you can't deny the potency of tracks such as "Powwow" or the Magic Mountain High referencing "Track David Would Play" or the superbly titled "Dr Strangepork". One of the albums of this year, without doubt!
Review: Although Chicago features in the release's title, it's fair to say that each producer delivers an individualistic take on US house music for London label Uzuri. At the deeper end of the spectrum sit Dublin's Slowburn and Chicago Skyway aka Sean Hernandez. The duo's "Meteor" is a raw house jam that ticks a lot of boxes: heavy beats that sail close to discordance? Check. Eerie synhs? Present and correct. Shaking, niggling percussion? "Meteor" has it in spades. Hernandez's "Resolution M" also confirms that he is a producer to watch, as shimmering, utopian synths and heavy claps is the most ethereal contribution to the EP. Indeed, "Resoultion M" provides some welcome respite: K Soul & Muteoscillator's "Take 1" features one of the toughest kick drums in house music underpinning an evil acid jam. However, the plaudit for intensity goes to Amsterdam-based duo Juju & Jordash. "Killing Raul With Acid" marks a departure for the duo, as its out of time percussion, noisy, dense drums and wildly distorted acid bleeps descend at times into a wall of noise. It sounds like the sonic interpretation of a nasty LSD trip, but this is a journey that you have to experience at least once.
Review: Formed in 1970 and fronted by J Plunky Branch, Oneness Of Juju have gone through numerous personnel and name changes over the decades but are still peddling their Afrocentric take on funk and jazz to this day (currently as Plunky & The Oneness). This collection from Strut, though, focuses on their golden years in the 70s - and it's heavy stuff! While one or two tracks would fit nicely into straight-up funk sets, adding a little world flava, others explore model jazz, spoken word, Nyabhingi drumming and other more esoteric musical pastures. Imagine yourself surrounded by righteous dashiki-wearing dudes at a Panthers meeting in 70s Harlem and you'll get the general vibe...
Review: The reach of not-for-profit label Needs continues to impress as they link up with Peggy Gou and Juju & Jordash in a collaboration with UN Women for an expertly curated EP of interstellar sonics strapped to a 4/4 beat. Gou is on typically strident form on "Shero," presenting her keen instinct for 90s house and more fluttering, psychotropic tones distilled into dancefloor manna as intriguing as it is easy on the ears. Juju & Jordash meanwhile channel their own learned approach to live jam improvisation into a true trance-out of strafing arpeggios and spongy FX for the trip-out crew to get lost in.
Review: Hailing from Koln, Germany, anonymous producer Robot Orchestra makes 'beats with a clear emphasis on drums'. Quite what other kind of beats there might be is still a mystery to us, but here he tries to enlighten the listener over the course of 11 hazy, lazy and woozy jazz infused grooves. Also included is RO's remix of Juju Rogers' "Dreams". Fans of atmospheric chill-hop will find all of their Christmases have come at once!
Review: Arguably the most recognisable of Panorama Bar's resident DJs, Steffi follows Cassy, Tama Sumo, Prosumer and Nick Hoppner in cooking up the fifth batch of tracks to make the Panorama Bar mix series. Exclusive material comes from Big Strick, Fred P, Dexter, Juju & Jordash and Steffi herself, while other house cuts come from former drum and bass staples Endian (Commix) and Trevino (Marcus Intalex). Other veterans to feature in the mix include DJ Skull with his original '93 pressing "Don't Stop The Beat", while Steven Tang's Obsolete Music Technology chips in with "Latency". Newer sounds come from Fear Of Flying's BLM, US-based deep house producer Chris Mitchell, DJ Fett Burger and Will Martin collaboration with John Barera; one half of Boston outfit B-Tracks.
Review: Here's something rather novel (and, arguably, timely): a tribute to Belgium's greatest contribution to electronic music, new beat, with contemporary artists delivering tracks inspired by the woozy, late night chug of the mid-to-late '80s sound. All involved step up to the mark, delivering druggy, twisted, wonky and on occasions near anthemic cuts. Picking out highlights is tough, but check the ragged electronic pulse of Red D's "I Only Wanna", JD Twitch's tough "Just Like That", Aril Brikha's chugging, melodic "Nineveh By Night" and, most impressively, the intoxicating percussion abuse of the Uncanny Valley crew's "Drum Abuse". Superb stuff.
Review: The Dutch house and techno scene is arguably stronger than it's ever been, thanks in no small part to the efforts of Amsterdam institution Rush Hour. Here, the record store turned stable of labels salutes a new wave of (mostly) homegrown Dutch heroes with a superb compilation of previously unreleased material from both established producers (Dexter, Neworldaquarium, Tom Trago) and exciting newcomers (Melon, Awanto5, Maxi Mill). In truth, it's hard to do justice to Amsterdam All-Stars' many highlights, tempo shifts and stylistic variations (think slo-mo house to aggressive analogue acid via classic deep techno and touchy-feely retro-futurism). Suffice to say, it should be essential listening for anyone who loves quality house and techno.
Grape - "Up The Dubs" (feat The Wino Boys) - (5:25) 84 BPM
Raica - "Makmba" - (3:54) 82 BPM
Beautiful Swimmers - "Primo" - (5:44) 99 BPM
Edy Alta - "First Sign Of Artifice" - (6:17) 136 BPM
Protect-U - "Krums" - (6:00) 132 BPM
Jeremy Hyman - "Machine Stops" - (5:37) 132 BPM
Shanti Celeste - "Strung Up" - (5:43) 129 BPM
Dawit & Dolo - "Knowledge Body" - (6:37) 133 BPM
Steve Summers - "Shimmer" - (1:56) 81 BPM
DSR.MR - "Crystal Jungle" - (6:19) 128 BPM
C'est Life - "New Years Day 2013" - (4:43) 120 BPM
Review: Originally released in 2015 on wax but now finally available on digital, Future Times expanded the sound and vision of the label with part three in their compilation series. It's an all star cast on here, with the compilation opening with the dynamic killer "Junk Funk" by DC newcomer OV then Israel's finest Juju & Jordash with "Soggy Bottom" next where they get their hypnotic piano throb on. Label boss Max D's "Octopus" follows with an improvised, kinetic bang. Elsewhere label stalwarts Beautiful Swimmers serve up "Primo", a thick chunk of industrial pop for the freaks and of course BRSTL boss Shanti Celeste and her monster cut "Strung Up", a savage tune for the deejays that mixes a bit of her home town with classic electro.