Review: Over the course of the last decade, long-serving German producer Philipp Lauer has become associated with a colourful, wide-eyed style of electronic music that seems to draw just as much influence from glossy 1980s synth-pop as turn-of-the-90s Italian dream house. His latest album, Answers 2 Trouble, largely explores similar sonic territory, though there are far more nods towards 1980s new wave and Bobby Orlando style synth-pop than vintage deep house. For proof, check the Bobby O-meets-Spandau Ballet flex of 'Ghost (featuring Jesnau)', the Pet Shop Boys-with-extra-acid vibes of 'Switec' and the mid-80s Euro-pop goodness of 'Make It Stay'. Elsewhere across the album, highlights include Italo-meets-Balearic house gem 'SNNO', throbbing Fabrizio Mammarella hook-up 'Atalenati' and the early Human League style synth-clang of 'Fait Accompli'.
Review: Dresden label Uncanny Valley's big name supporters include the likes of Jimpster, Steve Bug, Scuba and Ripperton, which gives you an idea of the kind of leftfield-leaning deep house and techno to expect from this 10th birthday compilation. Big names may be in short supply but quality certainly isn't, with the album's 18 full-length tracks ranging from RJ's floaty, dreamy opener 'Nie' to the acid throb of Iron Curtis's 'Ensuite', and from the jazzy bruk beat-isms of Lake People's 'Roaming The Streets' to the psychedelic small hours deepness of Charlotte Bendiks' 'Pasco', with a DJ mix from Conrad Kaden tying the whole collection together nicely.
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: Dusty, slammed down disco-house cosmiq. Whatever you wanna call it; space western discoteque pop from the techno future is still fun too. With dub trailing atmospheres streaking across the face of tracks like "The Light", all three here surf the skywaves of Detroit techno and Chicago house, lifting key notes and aquatic stabs from somewhere deeper in between too. Ripping key-tars and twangs bring the funk in "Volpi Polari" with "Fluto" going to Eiffel tower heights of Jean Michelle Jarre trance and '90s warehouse beats to lift you high.
Review: Philip Lauer's long-running relationship with Permanent Vacation continues with a release that deftly mines 80s influences. The title track sees the storied producer marry cascading Chicago drums and a pulsating bassline with synth pop melodies that come together to create an infectious dance floor track. On "You Know", a similar approach is audible, this time with epic melodies accompanying soaring vocals. In contrast, "Body Chck" is a low-slung electro roller, featuring high pitched vocal samples. But it's only a temporary divergence and on "Ctron E", he moves back towards the dance floor with uplifting melodies and a high-tempo electronic disco groove.
Review: Dresden stable Uncanny Valley has decided to mark a half-century of releases by whacking out a series of celebratory EPs, of which this fabulous four-tracker is the first. Lauer steps up first with the sparkling, synth-driven Balearic house futurism of "Fanta Korn Tanker", before handing on the baton to James Booth and his gleeful, rush-inducing Balearic nu-disco workout "Summer Interlude", which is every bit as sun-kissed and life-affirming as the title suggests. Sandrow M and and Will Dubner join forces for the glassy-eyed synth-pop/nu-disco/deep house fusion of "Disco Schlamboni", while former CockTail D'Amore artist Jules Etienne steals the show via the percussive, deep disco warmth of "Dude's Den".
Review: While he's been keeping himself in the spotlight via some suitably glassy-eyed and loved-up remixes and collaborations, Phillip Lauer has not released much solo music in 2018. Now we know why: he was putting the finishing touches to "Power", his latest full-length for Gerd Janson's consistent Running Back label. As you might expect, all nine tracks ripple with giddy audio references to vintage dance styles of the '80s and '90s, from the synth-heavy Italo-disco revivalism of "Phaser7" and "Mirrors", to the rush-inducing electro positivity of "Direction" and the almost overwhelmingly sun-kissed pulse of Balearic-minded ambient opener "Blissos". While his inspirations are overwhelmingly old-fashioned, the resultant tracks are rarely less than brilliant, with the instrumental synth-pop rush of "Realistic" and muscular, Bobby Orlando-esque sing-along "Power" amongst the many sparkling highlights.
Review: Hot Chip's Joe Goddard stated that before Tuff City Kids were due to play at London's XOYO one night, he suggested that they swing by his studio around the corner - and make tunes for a few hours. The track that resulted from this special evening is the neon-lit bounce of "Reach Out". Gerd Janson did the drums on an 808, Lauer played the lead part on an OBXa and Goddard nailed the bass on a trusty CS 80 - plus added the vocals a couple of weeks later. On the remix, Phantasy sound's Erol Alkan gives the track an early '00s electro styled makeover, while Detroit's Todd Osborn delivers an emotive and soulful rendition straight out of the Motor City.
Review: Gerd Janson and Philip Lauer are equally respected artists in their own right, but then they teamed up as Tuff City Kids they really conjured up a distinct style of magic between them. From plundering the vaults of classic house and disco sounds, through to their current fascination with old school techno and '90s rave aesthetics - even more styles gets thrown into the mix here. All courtesy of some of their favorite artists, getting the chance to rework some of the pair's recent tracks from the Adolescent LP - on the third and final series of remixes. Bulgarian hardware maverick KiNK delivers a furiously epic rendition of "Tell Me" (featuring Joe Goddard), Berlin legend Sascha Funke presents a spookily lo-slung perspective of "Wake People" and Norwegian disco hero Prins Thomas works his magic as always on an electrifying balearic rendition of the same track.
Review: Compiled by head of programming Vidmantas "B" Cepkauskas, Opium of the People is the first compilation from Lithuania's infamous Opium Club. It's a druggy, off-kilter and decidedly trippy affair, with Cepkuskas wisely choosing to showcase cuts from artists who in some way have helped shape the sound of the label. Expect to hear tracks that touch on EBM, new wave, new beat, bleep techno-influenced deep house, mutant disco, mind-altering techno and skewed acid house, with highlights - and there are certainly plenty scattered throughout the compilation - coming from the likes of Sharif Laffrey, Kris Baha, Lauer, V and Von Party.
Review: Lauer and Gerd Janson's Tuff City Kids project has been revered for their signature sound that has made them the current toast of the house music scene - neon-lit classic analogue sounds that are evocative enough to be featured on a John Hughes movie soundtrack - if they could go back in a time machine. On the face of it, you'd be surprised by their remix choices: for example Marcel Dettmann? Rest assured they're in good hands here with the Berghain resident - whose recent exploits have also been invested in the early industrial sounds of the '80s recently and that's really evident on his rendition of "Scared". Likewise, fellow Berghain regular and Hotflush boss Scuba dons his more nefarious SCB guise on a perspective of "Nordo", creating a seething and mental warehouse techno jam to lead in to the peak time. Elsewhere, Roman Fluegel impresses as always with his slinky and hypnotic rework of "R-Mancer" while Permanent Vacation boss Benjamin Froelich delivers not one but two remixes of "Tell Me" featuring Hot Chip's Joe Goddard.
Review: Having first graced Futureboogie Recordings late last year with the brilliant Brisk EP, Phillip Lauer returns to the Bristol-based imprint for a second sortie into loved-up, retro-futurist house territory. While you'll find a fine example of his usual glassy-eyed, Balearic-minded deep house sound (the wavy riffs, melodious bass, cowbells and tuneful electronics of "Tyco"), it's the trippy and gently psychedelic moments elsewhere on the EP that most impress. "Clipper", a kind of saucer-eyed synth-pop-meets-house number smothered in cascading synthesizer melodies and Italo-disco, is very enjoyable, while darker, acid-flecked opener "Pile" - think moody Detroit techno at a house tempo with flashes of EBM-era dancefloor sleaze - is arguably even better.
Review: German house label Running Back has featured the likes of Radio Slave and Boris Dlugosch in its schedules. Now its time for cult hero Philipp Lauer to join the party and he's marked the occasion with the Phlipper EP, possibly his most Italo disco-influenced release yet. Basically the whole record is the sound of summer holiday fun - the title track is breathy retro Eurotrance, (think the Rhythm Of The Night) all stonewashed synths and hands-in-the-open-night-air melodies. "Muscle" meanwhile is more your 80s Outrun-style arpeggio disco and "Lauer Vizzi" is pure late 80s Italo house joy think Rimini via the Hacienda.
Review: The Munich based deep house and nu disco institution returns for their fourth safari and it is quite the trip if we do say so ourselves. The landscapes.. the wildlife.. be prepared for an epic journey! Highlights on here include the gutsy analogue punk of Drvg Cvulture's "Night Time Is The Right Time", prog house don Henry Saiz teaming up with sometime John Talabot cohort Pional on the dreamy "Uruboros" and Sweden's always reliable Axel Boman with the dreamily hypnotic "Die Die Die!" which despite its title is summery and lush: a potential anthem of Summer 2017. Hidden treasures, lost classics and exclusive tracks through the deepest house valleys and the highest disco mountains of the label's catalog.
Review: People often forget that the widely-praised Robert Johnson club is actually from Offenbach and not Frankurt, a small town situated about 10 miles out of the city centre. Over the last few years, there's been a resurgence of talent emanating from the town, such as DJ Slynsgshot and his Yappin collective and associated artists like the Vincent Feit who opens the clubs thurd instalment of the Lifesaver series with a naughty little house melter called "X04". Across the comp, other RJ casuals appear, such as Massimigliano Pagliara with "Forever What", an aptly tropical house excursion, or Philip Lauer, Fort Romeau and the lesser known Felix Strahd. All in all, this is about the best house/techno compilation we've received all year and, like everything else the club does, it is an excellent addition to their catalogue. 10/10.
Review: Lauer and Gerd Janson aka Tuff City kids emerged with "Tell Me" featuring Hot Chip's Joe Goddard on vocals back in late 2016 on Permanent Vacation, but now it's time for the remixes and they're pretty sweet on this EP; if we do say so ourselves. Hamburg's finest Tensnake is in fine form as always with his rendtion: a tropical nu-disco explosion! Joe Goddard himself chips in too with a makeover of the track; his one getting some emotive Kompakt vibes going on full of rich and life affirming synths leads happening. After all, he has recently collaboarated with Michael Mayer. Finally they save the best for last with the mighty Roman Fluegel delivering the "Happy Gerdy remix" which very uplifting indeed.