Review: While he's barely put a foot wrong in his career to date, there's an argument to say that Birmingham producer Mark E has recently lost some of the quietly soulful sparkle that made his early productions so essential. It's pleasing to report, then, that "Being Hiding", his belated return to Spectral Sound, is a definite blast from the past. Operating at a headnodding, toe-tapping 115 BPM, "Being Hiding" laces an effortlessly soulful vocal over a warm, tactile, analogue-rich groove, with just the right amount of sweet pads and subtle synth melodies to keep things fresh. It is, of course, deliciously deep, but there's a pleasing warmth and bubbly feel to the production that's extremely engaging. Good work, Mr E.
Review: Founded by the Roots Unit duo of Piers "Soft Rocks" Harrison and Chris Galloway with the mission statement of formulating another way to lose money alongside their vinyl and alcohol habits, the inaugural Vibrations release will prove very successful in doing anything but that. Formed of two heavily pressurised dancefloor moments from Mark E and an additional remix from Roots Unit themselves, this twelve proves to be an auspicious debut indeed. "Escape" throbs with a compressed menace that the Merc impresario hinted at on his EP for Running Back. Ethereal vocal harmonies are slowly teased through the viscous mist of bassline frequencies before a heavy duty disco sample locks in and rides the groove out towards an shimmering finale. "Midnight Fares" flips the sonic script for a more spinal techno beatdown washed with phased vocal swirls and scattergun percussion that would make Four Tet jealous. Roots Unit end this fine release with their refix of "Escape" which turns the steam down via plenty of Basic Channel style dub technoisms.
Review: "Oranges" remains one of the most enduring tracks to feature on Stone Breaker, Mark E's debut album released on Spectral Sound last year, finding favour with a broad spectrum of DJs and even being complemented by a deft Jacques Renault edit. In order to satisfy those rueing their decision to invest in an "Orange"-less vinyl edition of the album, Spectral have given it a deserved single release, with a complementary "Space Dub" from Mr Evetts himself. This release provides a welcome chance to re-familiarise yourself with what is a sumptuous example of house music at its most simplistically effective, those warm synth tones proving just as delightful to your senses all these months on. In essence, the "Space Dub" is a pretty apt title - launching in the manner of a rocket skywards through a cosmically charged array of fizzing machine textures and piston heavy rhythms, sounding like a completely different track until Evetts slowly teases through those familiar melodic elements.
Review: FINALLY! The inaugural release on Merc gets a digital release after limited vinyl runs last September - and a chance for those allergic to black plastic discs to own "Get Yourself Together". This track had Mark E obsessives frothing after he debuted it in his RA mix - ten minutes of slow burning acid tinged house that contains the typically hypnotic groove. Added bonus comes in the shape of "You", the Midlander's smart boogified reworking of Diana Ross' 1978 track "You Were The One" which places the emphasis on the soaring string arrangements and contains a real bumpy groove. Enough to keep you entertained until Mark E's forthcoming Works 2005-2009 Vol. 2 drops later this summer.