Review: Kink, real name Strahil Velchev, has always been known to deliver a high dosage of disco-filtered funk in his records and this latest instalment on Holland's Rush Hour is no exception. The main mix of "Hand Made" dives head first into a fast-paced beat which points directly to peak time play. Once the bouncing groove has been given space to establish itself, Velchev introduces the soulful vocals of Rachel Row to play over the beat with frankly epic effect. The dub mix emphasises the disco-house vibes created on the main mix but injects sharper concoctions of high-hats and rimshots for more DJ-friendly uses. "Express" takes a darker approach to things and keeps on building until we're left with a nasty electro groove for the small hours.
Review: DGTL Festival mainstay KiNK produced "Neutrino" at the event's Amsterdam festival last year. The Bulgarian hardware maverick delivers high tech soul as always with his signature techno sound that utilises hands in the air chord progressions, powerful and immaculate rhythms and razor sharp synth leads. "Dynamo" has adrenalised tension and sheer dancefloor drama with its furious and reverberated kick supporting some Jeff Mills style chime melodies and sonar bleeps supported by eerie strings. In its five years DGTL has carved its style and sound worldwide as one of Amsterdam's staple dance music institutions. This year the organisation is deepening its operations and their new label arm is a fine example thus far.
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: 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".
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: Hot on the heels of his debut EP for Clone Royal Oak - the jaunty, swinging deep house shuffler that is "Valentine's Groove" - KiNK returns to the Dutch imprint. It sees label mainstays Serge and Alden Tyrell join forces to deliver a scorching rework of the previously unheard "Beats". As you might expect from the basement-loving duo, it packs a serious punch, thanks in no small part to their surging drum machine rhythms and expert use of build-and-release arrangement. The experienced pair are masters of creating and retaining energy, and their percussion sounds are always as jacking as they come. In other words, it's another club slammer.
Review: Kolour Recordings are understandably proud of their association with Bulgarian produced KiNK, and here ram home the point with an EP of vintage tracks from the label's back catalogue. There's predictably much to enjoy, from the shuffling voodoo drums, razor-sharp strings and simple electric piano melodies of "Tropic", to the slap bass-sampling deep house funk of hustlin' fave "At Night". There's some extra-dreamy deepness in the shape of the luscious "Fish Feeling" and, arguably best of all, the paranoid jazzwise pulse and loose, rave-era breakbeats of "Trevoga". Despite being four years old, it still sounds impeccably fresh.
Review: Strahil "Kink" Velchev may well be the hardest-working man in dance music. Each new-year brings a succession of fine singles, with little in the way of fluff or filler. Even so, the vast Playground is only his second album to date (his first, "Under Destruction", appeared in 2014). It is arguably his strongest collection of tracks to date, though. Over the course of the 12 tracks, he brilliantly demonstrates the depth and variety of his influences, variously turning his hand to cinematic downtempo beats ("Samodiva", "The Universe in Her Eyes"), warehouse-friendly peak-time anthems (stab-heavy smasher "Russian"), DJ Sneak/Dj Duke-style big room house ("Perth", 'Organ"), mind-altering experimental dub ("Peter Piet Pete"), Industrial ("Tate of Metal") and, of course, angular analogue techno ("Five", "Teo Techno").
Review: KiNK's taster for his up and coming album on Running Back is here. We don't know if the title is inspired by the Scottish town that techno larrikins Clouds are from, or the sleepy mining town in Western Australia: it's anyone's guess! The Bulgarian hardware maverick brings us some funked up disco loops, reminiscent of DJ Sneak's Sneaky Trax imprint back in the day. "Perth" is a prime example of his unstoppable knack for good times. Taken from the new Playground LP, the three versions here are dripping with grease. Split between the original, a chord mix (which is brooding and epic) and a funky beat version full of sultry latin percussion: it's all you ever wanted from a single. Perfect house music for techno DJs and techno music for disco DJs.
Review: While his live appearances are placing him on the radar of ever more enlightened house heads the world over, Kink is showing no signs of slacking on the production front either. The clue is in his name, and as ever there are plenty of subtly shimmying tricks in the Bulgarian mastermind's grooves to keep the stiffest of dancers shaking on the off-beat. "Valentine's Groove" is a masterclass in jazz-inflected deep house, all fuzzy chord stabs and badass bass for the funkiest shape flingers. "Strings" meanwhile reaches for a more emotive feeling, lashing on the Detroit romanticism to a wonderfully bombastic end.
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: Here's a quick tip, free of charge: be careful when googling The Kink Collection. Aside from being a three-track collection of previously unreleased jams from deep house producer Kink, it's also the name of a range of rather racy G-strings. Musically, there's one or two racy moments on this Kink Collection - most notably the fluid lead cut "Psychefunk" - but also some pounding, acid-laden deep house funk. This comes in the form of Kink's excellent remix of Aki Bergen's "Shine", which is every bit as fuzzy, distorted and addictive as you'd expect. The smoother "Mood" is worth a listen too, if only for the cut-up stabs of woozy riffs.
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.
Review: Melodymathics label boss Melodymann has pulled off something of a coup here, persuading Bulgarian hero KiNK and Belgian techno stalwart Fabrice Lig to join forces. The fine "Charleroi DC" is available in both "House" and "Techno" mix variants; both make great use of sparkling, Detroit style futurist synth motifs, dreamy pads and fizzing drum machine percussion. The expansive package also includes a trio of remixes from other like-minded producers. Detroit Swindle steps up first with a wonderful late night interpretation that boasts tougher drums, dustier grooves and some fine new musical touches, before Melodymann reinvents the track as a rich, jammed-out deep house roller. Finally, techno survivor Ian O'Brien delivers an impeccable trip into mid '90s tech-house territory that's shot through with classic machine soul.
Review: A masterful return to the Hour House Is Your Rush imprint for Messrs Watson and KiNK, their fourth to date and this time featuring the excellent vocal talents of Hercules Love & Affair's bundle of energy Kim Ann Foxman. Naturally with the addition of vocals, "A Saturday In November" is a less heavyweight assault on your senses than previous releases on the label from this duo, though all of their signature studio flourishes such as raw basslines, emotive chord washes and slick drum programming remain. The accompanying dub version burns hard and will find favour amongst the more discerning dancefloors!
Review: This year marks two decades since Jamie 'Jimpster' Odell founded Freerange Records. To celebrate 20 years in the game, Odell has put together a five-disc vinyl boxset of previously unheard material, which is also being released on a number of digital EPs. There's much to admire on this first volume, from the hazy deep house chug of KiNK's "Roads", and the glitchy, broken-house thrills of Odell's Jimpster remix of Tim Toh & Ranavalona's "All I See", to the loose, jazzy deepness of The New Tower Generation's "Eyes Can See". Best of all, though, is "We Play Pads", a wonderfully deep, melodious, hazy and evocative chunk of boogie-influenced deep house from Luv Jam & Jimpster.