Review: Amsterdam-based duo Kees van 't Klooster and Jan-Willem Mulder aka Makez present The Holy Sun EP on local label Heist, the follow up to their amazing debut album City Of All. This is jazzy house music in its most exciting form, featuring the balmy UK broken beat feels of the title track featuring Ava Lava's lovely vocals, followed by a groovy and sunkissed remix by the ascendant Retromigration. Elsewhere, there's the low-slung, late night mood music of "Lifted" and the absolutely spiritual deep house of "Inwards" that's perfect for those heads down moments on the dancefloor.
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from Heist Recordings' annual Round-Up EPs, namely label regulars and selected guests remixing each other. JKriv and Peter Matson do a terrific job in turning Fouk's 'Money' into a squelchy, TB-303-fired slab of nu-disco/retro-futurist house fusion, before Makez re-imagines Mariana Trench's 'Wake Up' as a jazz-funk flavoured broken beat number and Fouk re-frames a Lore of the Samurai track as a gorgeous slab of house-not-house sunshine. Elsewhere, Mariana Trench gives Felipe Gordon's 'Highly Corrosive Acid' a driving, riff-heavy deep house spin, Felipe Gordon opts for a drowsy and eccentric mid-tempo house sound on his version of JKriv and Peter Matson's 'New Friend', and Lore of the Samurai's rework of Makez's 'City of All' is a hypnotic, tech-tinged treat.
Review: Last year, London DJ crew and party promotion outfit SlothBoogie delivered one of the compilations of the year, a wonderfully eclectic and on-point set entitled Dancing With Friends. According to the crew, they spent even more time carefully curating this welcome sequel. You can tell, too. Kicking off with the tactile, slow-burn deep house yearning of Soul Won's '96 to Albert Park', the 21-track collection ambles, strides and jogs between soul-flecked deep house (see Kemback's brilliant 'I Know What You're Thinking'), driving nu-disco (Jesse Bru), swirling deep jackers (Erik Ellmann's 'Private Talk'), loopy disc-house haziness (the always excellent Felipe Gordon), jazz-flecked acid squelch-alongs (Pablot), deep space sample house (Sam Irl) and high-octane, peak-time insanity (The Revenge). Simply brilliant.
Review: Here's something of a rarity: a full-length excursion on Dam Swindle's usually EP-focused Heist Recordings imprint. It comes courtesy of talented twosome Makez, who last featured on the Dutch label two years ago. There's much to enjoy from start to finish, with the pair blending loose-limbed house rhythms, head-nodding hip-hop rhythms, and sumptuous downtempo grooves with subtle disco instrumentation, colourful electrofunk synth sounds, layered percussion, squelchy analogue bass, and occasional vocal snippets. The results are uniformly vibrant, atmospheric and musically rich, without ever becoming overly fussy or self-indulgent. There's plenty of floor-friendly material for DJs to savour and champion, but the album sounds just as good when listened to at home. Stellar stuff all told.
Review: Back in February, Makez made the move from Heist Recordings to Let's Play House, bringing with him the Elevation EP, which we dubbed his "strongest EP to date". This timely follow-up for the Brooklyn-based imprint is equally strong. He begins by combining gently tropical drums, kaleidoscopic synths and languid melodic refrains on mid-tempo number 'Blue Island', before upping the tempo and reaching for rubbery disco bass on the equally picturesque 'Red Island'. Title track 'Levitation' is a glorious chunk of Afro-funk/deep house fusion, 'More Vision' is a dense and hallucinatory slab of feverish house hypnotism, and 'If We Were Children (Makez Rework)' is a bouncy disco-house number full of cut-glass strings and jammed-out electric piano riffs.
Review: Having previously operated exclusively on Heist Recordings, Makez has decided to mix things up. "Elevation" marks the producer's first outing on long-running Brooklyn imprint Let's Play House; what's more, it could well be his strongest EP to date. He begins in confident fashion via the starry but bumpin' deep house positivity of "Melting" - all sustained electric piano chords, slap-bass, glassy-eyed pads and whispered vocal samples - before exploring even more melodic and dreamy territory on "Elevation". The headline attraction though is probably Tone Adjustment collaboration "Merlot", which is available in two distinctive forms. The original mix sees the pair smother swinging jazz-house beats and squelchy jazz-funk bass in excitable piano solos, while the accompanying "Basement Dub" is a piano-laden exercise in muscular late night bump.
Review: As is now traditional, Heist Recordings has kick-started a new year by asking their artists to remix each other. Boss men Detroit Swindle set the tone with a gorgeously positive, synth-heavy remix of Fouk's "Need My Space" before Makez re-imagines Perdu's "Sacramento" as an acid bass-propelled bounce through melodious deep house pastures and Fouk adds a little loose-limbed swing and dirty bass pressure to Demuir's percussive and warming "The 3nity Returneth". Perdu reaches for the psychedelic acid lines and squelchy synth-bass on a Latin-tinged remake of Detroit Swindle's Lorenz Rhode collaboration "Music For Clubs", while Demuir beefs up Makez's breezy and melodious "Random Visits".
Review: Heist Recordings latest offering is a significant one, not just because it's rather good, but also due to the duo who made it: confident debutants Makez. The pair proves their mettle from the off, enveloping a low-slung disco house groove in rich deep house chords, dreamy pads and Latin style vocal chants on superb opener "Different Planets". Bobby Analog delivers an ear-pleasing, funk-fuelled classic house rework of that cut before the pair returns with the sparkling synth melodies, chunky disco bass and rolling drums of "Random Visits". Arguably best of all, though, is the drifting intergalactic warmth of "Cosmic Symphony", a loose and swinging deep house affair whose sustained chords seem to stretch out into infinity (and beyond).