Review: Strahil Velchev AKA KiNK has successfully done his own thing this year, eschewing the advances of long-established labels in order to release music on the Sofia imprint he co-founded in 2019. Toplo is the third and final instalment in a trilogy of EPs he kicked off with Nagore way back in January. It's a suitably varied, analogue-rich affair, with the long-serving artist flitting between fuzzy, driving heaviness (see the star fall synth sounds and booming, metronomic bass of '101 Reasons'), sub-heavy, post-dubstep seduction (the hard-to-pigeonhole 'Set The M'ood Right'), and angular and atmospheric up-tempo deep house (the startlingly evocative 'Dreamer'). Noted house eccentric Frits Wentink is given the task of remixing 'Dreamer', resulting in a jaunty and quirky re-wire full of oddball sample edits, jumpy stabs and swinging beats.
Review: As the title suggests, this surprise compilation of exclusive material from Gerd Janson's Running Back label was put together in response to the killing of George Floyd, and in order to raise funds for the National Association for the NAACP's Legal Defence Fund. Given his connections, it's perhaps unsurprising that Janson has managed to tease out terrific tracks from the likes of KiNK (the sparkling, synth-laden goodness of 'Machine Funk'), Genius of Time (a fine dub of the dusty, ultra-deep late night hypnotism of 'Network Labyrinth'), Roman Flugel (the snappy analogue heaviness of 'Feel The Heat (String Mix)' and Tiger & Woods (rainbow-coloured deep Italo-disco jam 'Lonely Toad').
Review: A master of the machine and legend of the scene Kink delivers a third release to his newly minted Sofia imprint that he runs out of Bulgaria with label-mate Konstantin Petrov. It follows the Nagore EP they released at the beginning of 2020 and sees Kink showcasing his ability to touch on bleep-era themes between a heavy yet uplifting synth in "Call Nasco (feat Rachel Row)" alongside more dubbed-out, spacious and atmospheric tubular bells in "Kobudai". Rocking the club with '90s-style techno drums and some high voltage lead notes in "Aerotrim", check the dirty phase action set to spin cycle over a raw bassline and cooling deep house pads this EP's title-track "Pista". A master at work, don't sleep on the funked-up rave action on "Chaka Raka" either!
Review: Described by Running Back boss Gerd Janson as an "ode to the miraculous grip a piano still holds over almost any dancefloor", KiNK's latest EP is naturally awash with cuts that will get dancers reaching for the air piano faster than you can say "old school banger". The Bulgarian's banged-out piano motifs naturally come to the fore on heavyweight stomper "RAW", but also play a key role on "To Love You", a rush-inducing chunk of rave era house giddiness that's set to soundtrack a fair few loved-up moments this summer. The vocal version is the killer mix as far as we're concerned, but there are Instrumental and acapella takes, too. We'd also recommend checking the acid-fired, Head High style piano-techno of "I Remember (303 Version)".
Review: Acclaimed live act Strahil Velchev aka KiNK is said to have been a vital ingredient of Cocoon's ecstatic nights on the island over the years. The man from Sofia offers up a recording of one of his explosive performances there, featuring well known tracks and exclusives alike on what the label best described themselves as a 'spontaneous tour de force through the history of electronic dance music.' As always, the Bulgarian hardware maverick takes the best of The Windy City and The Motor City alike, and all the while adding his distinct magic touch. It's a wild ride from start to finish, with peaks coming in at moments like that of "The Russian" with it's massive Detroit style chord progressions, the heads-down and direct techno attack of "Kink In De Kabel" through to last year's thrilling anthem "Perth" and the uplifting "Disco Transition".
Martin Books - "Flitzepulver" (original mix) - (6:35) 128 BPM
Various - "Ibiza 2018 Closing Party" (continuous DJ mix 1) - (1:18:53) 124 BPM
Various - "Ibiza 2018 Closing Party" (continuous DJ mix 2) - (1:19:01) 125 BPM
Review: With the same certainty that the leaves will turn brown and fall from the trees, autumn sees the release of Toolroom's closing party album. It's the label's annual state of the (house) nation address and 2018 is no exception. While this year's edition contains a healthy smattering of feel good house - the most impressive exempts being the vocal grooves of Weiss' "Feel My Needs" and Illyus & Barrientos' "MEA" - there are also more adventurous variants on offer. These include Peggy Gou's tweaked acid take on Shakedown's "At Night", the chord heavy Dusky take on KiNK's "Perth" and the cut-up, abstract "Pale Blue Dot" by rising lo-fi house artist Ross From Friends, which demonstrate that this year, Toolroom is thinking outside the box.
Review: Originally released back in 2012 on Croatian imprint Burek, "Leko" by Bulgarian hardware maverick KiNK returns to the label with some fantastic remixes for today's dancefloors. While his sound might be more on the techno tip these days, there's no doubt that his penchant for catchy melodies and amazing chord progressions were something he had a true knack for even back then. He hands in a couple more perspectives here: from the gritty and harder hitting Kink's Bass Shake version, though to the mellow and dreamy Kink version featuring the angelic vocals of Rachel Row. Finally the Berlin-Hamburg alliance known as Session Victim step in for an always welcome appearance: their exploration further into the deep is evocative and life-affirming.
Review: As the matter-of-fact title makes clear, this tasty four-tracker delivers fresh re-rubs of tracks from KiNK's superb 2017 album Playground. First in to bat is Dusky, who re-casts "Perth" as a saucer-eyed chunk of rush-inducing, big room-friendly heaviness rich in darting synth stabs, held-note synth-strings, bustling beats, celebratory piano riffs and heady old school vocal samples. In typical fashion, Radio Slave man Matt Edwards turns "Teo Techno" into a dark, sleazy and mind-altering early morning thumper, while Josh Wink re-imagines "Five" as a restless, undeniably psychedelic throb-job. Arguably the best remix, though, comes from Matthew Herbert, whose "Funnel Dub" of "Yom Thorke" gleefully joins the dots between his glitchy, micro-house past, swinging Afro-tech and otherworldly alien funk.
Review: Global Underground's Nubreed series has a huge amount of kudos, having brought respected DJs like Lee Burridge, Steve Lawler and Danny Howells to attention during the early 00s with a series of iconic mixes. Although it was on hold for much of the second decade of this millennium, it has been successfully resurrected and now gives the same platform to Theo Kottis. In keeping with its usual format, this instalment sees the Beautiful Strangers boss explore a range of styles and sound across two mixes. Accordingly, his selection ranges from Gigi Masin's melodic piano composition, "Maja", to the Mountain People's sensuous deep house "La Onda", taking in some underground classics like DJ Assassin's garage/house hybrid "Face in the Crowd" as well as left of centre oddities like The Horn's "Villager". It's a fitting testament to the Nubreed aesthetic.
Review: The latest Glitterbox compilation is something of an epic, featuring two all action DJ mixes from bossman Simon Dunmore, and 40-odd unmixed, DJ-friendly tracks. Naturally, the emphasis is on celebratory, feel-good workouts, with Dunmore's superb selections taking in classic disco and boogie (Change, Shirley Lites, the Originals), contemporary disco-fired workouts (Purple Disco Machine, BB Boogie's soul-fired "Sweating and Shaking"), cheery disco-house anthems (95 North, Reverendos of Soul) and all-out peak-time house gems (see the contributions from Eli Escobar, KiNK and Dj Chus and the Groove Foundation). Highlights are plentiful throughout, though it's hard to beat Louie Vega's 12-minute rework of Sylvester disco classic "Dance".
Review: Bloody Mary's label brings 2017 to a raucous end with this split release. On "Throwing Elbows", it sounds like KiNK is channeling the spirit and sound of Hardfloor as he lays down a furious acid line. The only difference is that his beats are clipped and hollowed out, unlike the frenetic pace that the German duo are fond of. There are no such niceties on Mary's own "Chemical Jam". Distorted kicks, wild 303s and trashing snares prevail as the Berlin-based producer throws down an intense jam. By comparison, techno veteran Thomas P Heckmann's contribution sounds relatively civilised, but its searing acid, Chicago drums and rolling snares are still sure to have the desired effect.