Review: To celebrate the 12th birthday of their Compost Disco sub-label, Compost Records has offered up two compilations packed to the rafters with previously unheard treats and much-loved gems from the vaults. Volume one (available separately) is excellent and this second instalment is every bit as alluring. It begins with the bubbly, synth-laden nu-disco cheeriness of Moodrama's remix of Ed Lee and vocalist Alison David's 'I Am Someone' and ends with the loose-limbed krautrock/swamp funk/organic house fusion of Kalabrese's rework of 'Go Back' by Thomasz Guiddo and Nirosta Steel. Highlights sandwiched in between include the woozy, analogue-rich haze of Mark E's 'I'm Your Eversion', the late-night disco/proto-house hypnotism of 'Disco (Ah Ha)' by Chocolate Garage Productions and the Balearic boogie sunniness of Clavis's 'Aviaco'.
Review: Two contrasting but complementary cuts in a total of four mixes make up this EP from the mighty Compost. 'Colline' itself is a Balearically-inspired affair, built on a bed of shimmering Spanish guitars and topped with a dreamy, wispy female vocal sung in (we think) French, which sports hints of broken beat around the edges that are brought further to the fore on the mellower remix from Mark E. The more uptempo and insistent 'Colline Au Zenith', meanwhile, pushes us a little closer to jazz-dance territory, sports some very fine keyboard licks and is available in vocal or dub passes.
Review: Mark Evetts is nowhere near as prolific as he once was, but the Birmingham-based producer is still capable of crafting must-have releases. He's at it again here on his first outing for eccentric Swedish label Studio Barnhus. Opener "Nova Blur" sees Evetts' add warm chords and skewed electronic lead lines to his usual hypnotic deep house template, while closing cut "Outdoor Pursuit" is a surprisingly fuzzy, lo-fi and distorted stomp through dense drums and echoing percussion sounds. Perhaps most ear catching of all is the faintly foreboding "Find A Way", where echoing chords, creepy melodies and looped Irish fiddles attempt to smother a sturdy, locked-in groove, though the fuzzy, proto-house influenced "Block Out" is also rather fine.
Review: After some great tracks by the man on top labels Tief, Compost and his own Merc, here's some proper straight up deepness by the British producer Mark E on the 20th release by Public Release. Titled the Shelter EP, the West Midlands-based artist made his debut on the label back in 2016 with the Sky Horn EP, and has since been a frequent remixer for the Northern Californian label. Features the smoky late night dancefloor mystery of "Shake", the Theo Parrish/Three Chairs vibe of soulful slo-mo jam "M-54" and the lo-slung moody boogie-down drama of "Shinkansen".
Review: Mark E has spent the last few years re-tracing his loopy edit roots with the E Versions project, while exploring Balearic pastures with brother-in-law Nat Woodcock as Project E. Those who've always enjoyed his more peak-time productions will love this new two-tracker for Futureboogie, as it sees him applying his love of loop jams to suit darker, sweatier dancefloors. "Basement Trax 1" sets the tone, looping vintage, Twilo-era organ motifs over a tactile but chugging, nine-minute groove. "Basement Trax 2" is a little more musically expansive, with dreamy chords and similarly ear-catching organ motifs slowly building over a punchy house rhythm and undulating synth bassline.
Review: In recent times, Mark E seems to have been returning to his disco and Balearic roots, albeit whilst retaining the stretched-out deep house vibe with which he's most famous for. It's little surprise, then, to see him blending the sun-ripened goodness of the Mediterranean with his usual attention to groove on this double A-side delight for Lovefingers' formidable ESP Institute imprint. "Laurentian Abyss" is particularly enchanting, with muted steel drums and a touch of accordion offering a focal point for a jaunty, Latin-influenced house groove and dreamy pads. "Emergency" continues the rush-inducing feel of the A, with chiming melodies and starburst chords riding a thickset, synthesizer-heavy deep house rhythm.
Review: Way back in April, Young Adults put out House Slippers, a mix album whose sunkissed disco-house vibes went on to soundtrack our glorious summer. Well the summer is sadly no longer with us, but the music is and to prove it, they've released a series of remixes of some of the tracks featured on the mix. Cosmic Kids turn "Mr Everything" into party poppin' electro-house, SONNS goes all electro-pop on "Just Wear It", "Into The Murk" gets even more acidified by OOFT! and Cottam goes mental with an 808 all over "Fake Bitches".
Review: With their new-ish label Young Adults, Leeor Brown and David Fisher's aim is to source the best underground house and nu-disco being made across the globe. This has led them to releasing a new mini mix, entitled House Slippers, and here are the eight tracks featured in the their full, unmixed glory. It's an impressive selection that covers such territory as the Michael McDonald fronting Junior Boys-isms of "Only This Moment", the cloud nine electro-house of "Maybe Snakes (Permanent Vacation remix)", the retro French Touch loops of "Fake Bitches" and the synth-laden proto-acid of "Just Wear It".
Review: Mark E has been in fine form of late, remixing everyone from Boys Noize to Mic Newman and returning to last year's excellent debut album Stone Breaker to rework one of its highlights. His Space Dub of "Oranges" works as a neat prelude to the sounds explored here on the ninth release on his own Merc imprint; the same sort of piston-heavy rhythms at play there are driving "Snow Walker" on this EP. Sounding as if Evetts has compressed a forgotten soul classic beneath the weight of the rhythmic textures that lay thick at the core, this is an excellent example of highly pressurised slow techno that still has soul. Up next, a computerised female vocal adds only a vague hint of humanity to "Environment", a lolloping hunk of industrial machine funk with rusted textures scraping away at a desolate soundscape with worrying rhythmic aplomb. Listening to this makes "RnB Junkie" seem like an all too distant memory.
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: 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.