Review: Fresh from reworking Remake's 1992 progressive house cover of Vangelis' "Blade Runner" theme, Maceo Plex returns to the Ellum Audio family he co-founded with Alta in 2011. This time round, he's got company, too, with veteran Texas outfit Paradigm Shift (whose "Requisition" was featured on Plex's recent Fabric mix CD) lending a hand on title track "Mutant Pulse". It's a typically atmospheric, peak-time-friendly affair, with trippy female spoken world vocals weaving in and out of an alien techno groove and spine-tingling pads reminiscent of the Moby classic "Go". "Mutant Radio" is an altogether darker and more hypnotic interpretation, with spaced-out stabs and ghostly chords accompanying Plex's fuzzy, on-point grooves.
Review: Having made his name with a decidedly fluorescent blend of retro-futurist house revivalism, the logical next step for Maceo Plex was always going to be working with his heroes. Here, he joins forces with former Hacienda resident and '90s remixer of choice Jon DaSilva for a cut based on the latter's unreleased remix of a Jones Girls cover. It's pretty much what you'd expect from both parties rolled into one; the booming synth-bass and cyber-synths of Plex, versus the '90s vocal stylings and bumpin' disco-house beats of DaSilva. Plex himself delivers a thunderous, techno-flavoured Dub, while solo bonus cut "Futre Musik", a tribute to German tech-housers Closer Musik, rises and falls for 10 gorgeous minutes.
Review: Six years have passed since Maceo gave the world his debut album Life Index. In that time he's solidified his status as one of techno's most untouchable soul men who's unapologetically ungoverned by tempos or boxes or any type of formula. He's also become a father, which is what this (and last year's "Journey To Solar") are all about. Rich in sentiment, hope and fear, each cut reveals a deeper layer of Maceo: the star-gazing optimism of "Kepler's Journey", the Bristolesque industrial dub soul of "Indigo", the careful countering of vulnerable emotion and roboticism on "Was Away My Tears", the list goes on. This is Maceo at his most heartfelt and arresting.
Review: American producer Eric Estornel must barely find time to sleep: when not returning to his Detroit roots when curating his wonderful Lone Romantic imprint, making electro as Mariel Ito, tech-house as Maetrik or running his long standing Ellum Audio imprint - he's recorded some of the most infectious and pop-inflected techno under his most well known alias: Maceo Plex. He has also become a key artist for Afterlife Recordings in recent times, playing a great number of shows at their Ibiza residency alongside label heads Tale Of Us. Dramatic strings announce you to surrender to the void (right before the massive drop) of "Lonely Tribe" - tunnelling and hypnotic techno number featuring an infectious looped vocal refrain. There's also a remix by the ever impressive Italian Fango which takes the track ionto oddball exotica territory.
Review: Produced in the early part of this year, "Destination Mars" marks Maceo Plex's terrific return to Drumcode for the first time since 2014. The track is a powerful main room thriller: steely and barrelling with equal parts tension and suspense, plus featuring vocals by the legendary Josh Wink of Ovum Recordings. On the remix front, we have label staple Raxon delivering a slinky and adrenalised rework which sees the Emirati producer at the top his production game, while the hypnotic perspective by Argentina's Shall Ocin is perfect for those heads down moments - and will draw you further down into the vortex.
Review: Each edition of the Four To The Floor series always presents four tracks that are some of the strongest secret weapons from the sets of label co-head Solomun. Now in its 16th installment, be captivated by Lone Romantic Maceo Plex on the epic dancefloor drama of "Mutant Magic" and its killer vocal, Canadian veteran Fairmont is in fine form and serves up the moody tunnel vision of "Plastic Head TV" while Nico Garreaud's "Louisville Lip" (Abaze edit) is aimed squarely at the main room at peak time and The Vinyl Depreciation Society provide more sonic narratives - best heard under the strobelight - on "Princept".
Review: When the hitters are as big as Maceo Plex and Kompakt, there's no need for trite B side distractions and so this single-sided release comes forth with exactly the kind of anthemic, pop-straddling tech house that you would expect from such a combination. There may be edgy arpeggios and chunky drums powering the rhythm of the track, but with the straining emotional vocal and romantic pad sweeps, this is a track to garner appeal across the board, and not at the expense of the impact this will have in a club. It won't take long to learn the words, so before the summer is out you can expect plenty of people to be cooing along dreamily to this bright and bold belter.
Review: Well-traveled Spaniard Maceo Plex is a snug fit with Crosstown Rebels. The trio of tracks on this quietly impressive EP sound unequivocally current, yet none neatly fit into prescribed genre pigeonholes. "Can't Leave You", for example, sounds like some lost Seth Troxler/Benoit & Sergio hoedown (especially the Tale Of Us remix), but with the addition of extra disco drums, gut-busting sub-bass and classic analogue house touches. It has "Ibiza" written all over it. "Stop Your Hate" treads similar ground, but also includes a heavy dose of mutant electrofunk. It's kinda deep, but also kinda funky. Either way, it's a lot of fun.
Review: Maceo's label Ellum Audio is really beginning to find its place in the tech scene; lavishing listeners with a salubrious, rolling funk, it's been just as much of a breath of fresh air as Maceo's productions themselves. Put the two together and you're onto a purebred winner... "Filthy Mama" twists and turns with the sonic toxicity of 2020 Soundsystem record performed live while "Stimulation" is more prog-inclined with heaps of beautiful emotion laced throughout.
Review: Eric Estornel rose to fame a few years ago, from what seemed like out of nowhere. But unbeknownst to many was churning out sleek electro for a long time before as Mariel Ito. But it was with Maceo Plex that he really found his groove with anthems such as "Your Style" and Sleazy Rider". Fast forward to 2015 he's still at the top of his game as a DJ (check the polls) and as a producer as heard striking out on his own imprint Ellum Audio. It sees him temporarily return to his old ways with a chill electro number that ticks all the boxes; vocoder, soaring analogue strings and warm chunky arpeggiated bassline. If that wasn't enough, he flips the script on us again in the form of right techno banger "Solar Detroit" sounding like something on Oscar Mulero's Pole Group. Nice one!
Review: Few house producers have enjoyed quite as rapid a rise in 2011 than Maceo Plex. Here he jumps ship from Crosstown Rebels to launch his own label, offering two typically emotional chunks of Visionquest-ish synth-house. While the epic "Aint No Love" opts for a sci-fi tinged approach, it's A-side builder "Stay High Baby" that really impresses. Working with many of his usual elements - those touchy-feely vocals, a snatch of disco guitar, emotion-rich chords, snappy beats, big breakdowns, echo-laden pianos and a dash of acid tweakery - he carefully builds a naggingly hooky concoction that bueatifully ebbs and flows throughout.
Review: Having enjoyed the sort of 2011 that most producers dream of, hip Spaniard Maceo Plex returns to Crosstown Rebels with another two-track dose of touchy-feely nu school deep house. "Frisky" is typical of Plex's previous work, melding tactile synth bass, stirring strings and half sung, half-spoken vocals to a shuffling, nu-school house groove. It perhaps lacks the sheer power of previous releases, but there's a subtlety and sweetness that's addictive. "Sex Appeal" ditches the strings for bubbling acid lines, but otherwise the formula remains the same - shuffling, soft focus house music tailor-made for dewy-eyed moments of late night revelry.
Review: Tech house titan Maceo Plex makes the move to Kompakt once again after storming the German institution with the Conjure Superstar release last year. This time around he has some assistance in the shape of Car, and between them they shape out the seductive, moody tones of "Mirror Me". The track comes in two forms, with Car dropping some unsettling robotic vocal turns on the "Extended Original" version in a perfect channeling of electro clash posturing, while Maceo's own "Dark Dub" strips back the bulbous melodics and pushes the techno intensity up. Whichever mix tickles your fancy more, there's no doubt the Plex machine has once again delivered the goods for the big room experience.
Review: How does a label follow up a surprise summer smash? In the case of Ellum Audio and the excellent New York Is Alright from TV Baby, founder Maceo Plex returns with his first original material for the label in nearly a year, teaming up with Odd Parent's Maars on Going Back. A simple two tracker aimed at the dancefloors, the lead original mix takes the vocals of Florence Bird and weaves them deep into the groove of a dark, sonically hypnotic arrangement with all the usual Plex nuances like crisp drums, gloopily foreboding bassline and clipped strings. The dub version naturally discards with Bird's contribution yet retains the intensity.
Review: Kompakt's Total compilation series - an annual round up of gems from the imprint's tightly packed release schedule - must be one of the longest-running in dance music. Amazingly, this latest installment is the 14th volume in the series. For those who enjoy Kompakt's generally positive approach to electronic music - think tactile techno, ambient pop and skewed, synth-laden house from the likes of Michael Mayer, Thomas Fehlmann, Partial Arts and Gui Boratto - there's much to admire, including a slew of previously unreleased cuts. These include Superpitcher's "Delta", a sublime chunk of hypnotic e-tronica that's almost too melodic for its own good. Arguably even better is Weval's live recording of "Something", which is near perfect in its wide-eyed pop simplicity.
Review: More than any other dance label, Damian Lazarus's Crosstown Rebels has a knack of signing timeless house music. It's evident on this, the second Rebel Rave instalment, with Guti & Dubshape's "Every Cow Has a Bird" offering a classic sound, as a disco groove unfolds to reveal rolling bongos and jazzy piano keys, or on Subb-an's "Misleading", a glorious deep house arrangement with a garage groove. However, there are also some excellent reinventions of the house style; Jamie Jones's "Summertime" reveals a darker side to deep house as a menacing bass surges to the fore; Quenum's "Woman Talk About Woman" features a crazy vocal freestyle over a jazzy groove and best of all, Art Department's "Without You" sounds like a dislocated, paranoid update on Nu Groove's bassy tracks.