Review: To round off another rock-solid year, Freerange Records co-founder Jamie 'Jimpster' Odell has decided to offer-up an EP made in collaboration with Matt Masters, a producer who has been on the imprint's staff for many years. The resultant three tracker is as strong as you'd expect, with the two friends first radically re-imagining Evelyn King boogie classic 'Love Come Down' as an ultra-trippy, spaced-out slab of dub house/deep house fusion rich in rubbery bass guitar, delay-laden boogie synths, off and tidy peak-time drums ('Dub Come Down'). 'Area E3' is a warmer, breezier and more colourful fusion of electrofunk synths and deep house nous in the style of Metro Area, while 'No Normal' delivers a glorious mixture of squelchy synth-bass, sparkling chords and Floating Points style synth squiggles.
Review: Freerange Records kick off the first part of their Double Century vinyl edition with four finely honed cuts of prime contemporary deep house that reflect the ever evolving tastes of the label. Boss man Jimpster takes the lead spot with the cyclical and spiritual "Head Spin" while by way of contrast Matt Masters and Pippo Ceretti bring a much more minimal approach to their tribal-flavoured "Xenophilia". Andy Hart has a more classic, smooth deep house approach on "MYLNY" which comes on rousing and romantic with its heartfelt string lines, and then Shur-I-Khan throws down a moody beat track to get you loose and limbered up.
Review: Matt Masters has been part of the Freerange family for a long time, though this is the first time he's released music on the label. The four-tracker is a taster for his imminent debut album, "Never Ending Nights", which sounds like it could be an essential listen for all those who enjoy languid, fluid and distinctive deep house that boasts its' own unique shuffle and swing. Our picks of the bunch are the rubbery, funk-fuelled dustiness of "Memory of Chimes" and the dub-flecked dancefloor bliss that is LP title track "Never Ending Nights". That said, plenty will enjoy the intricately produced brilliance of "Once Again" and "Gonna Make", both of which sound like they were heavily influenced by Floating Points' house tracks.
Review: Many happy returns to Germany's Dirt Crew Recordings imprint, which this year celebrates a decade of deep and tech-house releases. For this celebratory collection, they've decided to take a slightly different approach, eschewing label classics and forgotten gems in favour of new cuts from familiar and lesser-known artists. There's naturally much to admire, from the heavy, Soundstream-do-deep house loopiness of Yosa's "Love Me" and the surging deep house funk of Timothy Blake's "The Town is Quiet", to the woozy, Ame-ish rush of Matt Masters' "6&3 Twos". Tigerskin does his bit for the label's old guard with "Ad Lib Robot", a bouncy, soul-flecked acid jam that's one of the compilation's genuine highlights.