Review: Given their track record, it's no surprise that Black Loops' first outing on Shall Not Fade delivers the deep house goods. Our pick of a very strong bunch is "Badmanthing", a quirky chunk of rubbery deep house-funk built around a bold, memorable bassline, though the skipping drums, meaty bass and tweaked New Jersey garage motifs of "Plastikhaus" are also hugely alluring. Elsewhere, "No Fear" is a notable fusion of bounding house beats, darting jazz-funk synth sounds and simmering synth-strings, while EP opener "I Know You" is a more classic-sounding slab of deep house cheeriness. This expanded digital edition also contains two collaborations with Ruff Stuff: the thickset, acid-fired bounce of "Rock and Roll", and the colourful deep house/electrofunk fusion of "Is Electro Still A Thing".
Review: The second volume in Toy Tonics' occasional Jockey Jams series is something of a gift to DJs. Although naturally rooted in deep house, each of the showcased tracks offers something distinctively different. So, while Felipe Gordon's "Rinogal" is an funk-fuelled house bumper built around an elastic, acid-fired synth bassline and trippy late night effects, Metropolitan Soul Museum's "Saab" is a delicate, warm-up friendly fusion of lilting synths, bubbly electronics and the kind of twinkling pianos frequently found on vintage Italian dream house records. The eclecticism continues elsewhere, too, from the Adonis-via-Rimini thrills of Jacky Mingo's wonderfully positive "Brothers Cup", to the jazzy warmth of Black Loops and analogue house bleeps of Jad's "Overpriced Kaiser Chips".
Review: Berlin's Toy Tonics latest trick is Jockey Jams, the first in an 'irregular series of various artist EPs'. They've rustled up an interesting mix too, starting with the warm mid-paced throb of "Sex' by Black Loops, which features the voice of Scarlett Johansen (from the movie Her). Elsewhere "Waterfalls" by Moritz Butschek, which has that sleazy DJ Hell sound, Portugal's Pixel82 sees his diva house jam Going On given a choppy, hypnotic rework by Australian surfer dude Jad & The Ladyboy. Lastly New York's Doug Gomez wraps things up nicely with the clavinet-driven old school funk joint "Make Your Body Move".
Review: Predictably, Suol has gathered together tracks from an impressive list of deep house producers for this expansive first volume in the Hallo Montag 2018 series. German veteran Ian Pooley sets the tone with the jacking, acid-tinged deep house bounce of "Time", before M Ono shows off his synthesizer soloing skills via the glassy-eyed Balearic house brilliance of "Waffelhaus". Iron Curtis's contribution, "The Further You Look", sounds simultaneously low-slung and gently dreamy (it's a fine combination), while Black Loops doff a cap to the greats of disco-house via the funk-fuelled, sample-heavy stomp of "Is This A Banger?" If you're in the mood for something a bit more bumping, the boompty-inspired stomp that is Carlo's "Lluvia" should be right up your alley.
Review: The third in U&A's series of EPs to celebrate five years of existence sees four more exclusive originals and remixes hit the shelf. The Loops of Fury keep going from strength to strength, and new tune "Don't Stop" is hardcore electro madness at its best. London's Zodiac Cartel drops the jazz-jack of "Madtown" here for the first time too, while Rektchordz takes Elite Force and Meat Katie's huge single "Believe" into an even bigger dimension whilst retaining the original's commanding preacher vocals in tact.
Review: From a label that specialises in thrillingly blurring the lines between breaks and electro, U&A's fourth collection is a true standout. Peo De Pitte's "Grey Tape" has a wicked line in sub-punishing bass anchored to a smart set of beats, while Hedflux's mix of Elite Force's "No Turning Back" is a straight-line builder of the highest order. Dylan Rhymes sets a match underneath Loops of Fury's "SOAP" while Rektchordz uses breaks sounds in club-pumping patterns on "Speaker Bump".
Review: While it may have been designed to reflect the evolving nature of the label's sound over the last half-decade, Shall Not Fade's fifth anniversary compilation is nevertheless packed to the rafters with previously unheard treats. It begins with a techno-tempo blast of garage-influenced deep house warmth from DJOKO and ends with the dark, squelching and ghostly bounce of Dart's 'Transformations'; in between, you'll find 19 more reasons to be cheerful with plenty of serious dancefloor chops. Undisputed highlights include the crunchy, head-nodding pleasure of GVRL's instrumental hip-hop jam 'Love Game', the angular and acid spiked tech-breaks of Harrison BDP's 'The Powerful Play', the drowsy deep house dreaminess of Mutual Attraction's 'MPC Live Track 1' and the rushing rave revivalism of Baltra's killer re-fix of Earth Boys' 'I'm Not Afraid'.