Review: In recent years, Lady Blacktronica has moved further away from her Beatdown roots, whilst retaining the impeccable sense of atmosphere associated with the Motor City deep house sub-genre. Here, the Berlin-based Detroiter returns to You're A Friend for the first time in three years. Typically, the four tracks are deep, spacey and groovy, with minor key chords, fluttering soulful vocal samples, bustling basslines, and rolling rhythms all catching the ear. Highlights wise, choose between the chiming melodies, deep space vocal snippets and tactile feel of "Blood Loss", and the sludgy, Andres-influenced warmth of closer "Gimme A Break". Really, though, all four tracks hit the spot.
Review: Lady Blacktronika has come a long way since breaking through as a beatdown artist - thanks, in part, to the support of scene stalwart Mike Huckaby - back in 2007. Here, the Berlin-based Californian delivers her third album. Predictably, it's a deep and tasty treat that effortlessly wanders between the head-nodding chug of beatdown, and a jazzier, smokier take on deep house. With 15 tracks to choose from, it's a bit of a beast, but happily highlights are plentiful. Check, for example, the gospel-influenced wooziness of "Happy Sad", the cut-up vocals, jaunty bass and classic Chicago rhythms of "I'm Legendary...You're Not", and the Chez Damier style warmth and swing of "Berghain High" (which, ironically, you probably wouldn't hear at the notorious techno club).
Review: This debut album from self-styled first lady of Beatdown, Lady Blacktronika, is full of the sort of atmospheric, strangely intoxicating compositions for which Detroitian deep house is famous. While she herself is not a Motor City resident, Akua Grant's music bears all the hallmarks of original Detroit beatdown. Think bumpin' late nights and smoking afterhours productions forged from FX-laden basslines, tactile chords and emotion-rich bouts of vocal freestyling. It's by far and away Grant's best work yet, and holds together remarkably well as a "proper album". If you dig effortlessly groovy deep house with a Motor City twist, check it - especially the jazzual epic "Desperately Seeking Theo".
Review: San Jose-based Akua Grant famously got her break in 2007, after Mike Huckaby spotted her beatdown-inspired productions on MySpace. Since then she's gone on to bigger and better things, but her love of beatdown and Detroit deep house remains. There's plenty of Motor City deepness to be found on this pleasingly varied remix set, not least the wonderfully trippy Beatdownbient and Lettin My Egun Dance versions of "Never Everything". The smoky Dark Bassline Dub of "Love My Life" is probably the pick, though, alongside a slammin' Joshua Iz version of "Summertime In The City". It's all pretty good, though, and should appeal to deep house heads with a sophisticated musical palette.
Review: Lady Blacktronika, who has been in prolific form for about 12 months now, pops up on the Italian imprint Kinda Soul, which has built a sturdy reputation by releasing raw and deep house from the likes of Scott Ferguson, Jus-Ed and Kassem Mosse. The opening track title made us blush, but all childish thoughts went out the window once we heard the slinky rhythm Blacktronicka built up. It's hard to decide which one of the following two offerings impressed us most - the 45 rpm vocals layered on 33 rpm beats on "Be Free" or the ethereal synth patterns of "The Shadows" - so we'll just say we love them both equally.
Lady Blacktronika - "Ringo Oiwaka Heaven" - (5:39) 109 BPM
Miruga - "White Moon" - (7:17) 119 BPM
Seal Bient - "Slavery" - (6:42) 125 BPM
Review: Rough House Rosie is back with another selection of sublime tones in the adventurous corner of the deep house playground. The Silent Movie Sounds series never fails to present a fascinating array of producers, and so it is on the fourth volume as Nemanja Krstic seduces with the melodic delights of "Bass Odyssey" and Lady Blaktronika heads into blissed-out territory with the spiritual wonder of "Ringo Oiwaka Heaven". Miruga's "White Moon" is a mysterious, dubbed out affair and Seal Bient heads even further out with the scuffed and muffled flutter of "Slavery". As ever, the vitality of the tracks on this EP can't be ignored for open-minded diggers looking for original, contemporary deep house.
Crimea X - "Yev" (Prins Thomas Diskomiks remix) - (6:01) 122 BPM
Crimea X - "Dream Is Gone" (Prins Thomas Diskomiks remix) - (6:26) 122 BPM
Jagwar Ma - "Four" - (6:33) 129 BPM
Sandrien - "Haters" - (9:37) 126 BPM
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from both the Balance series and Danny Howells, namely slick, atmospheric, spine-tingling electronic music of both an uptempo and downbeat bent. This bumper digital version of his latest double CD mix features some exceptionally good tracks, from the exotic, psychedelic techno of Will Saul and October's rework of Michael Mayer's "Mantasy" and the evocative Balearic deep house of Joakim's "Another Light", to the dreamy fluidity of Matthias Voigt's remix of Ian Pooley's "I Got You", and the crystalline electronics and wide-eyed beauty of Maricopa's ambient delight "Neon Shoals". It is, then, a sizzling hot collection of evocative electronic music for dancers and dreamers. Don't sleep.