Review: Japan's disco don Matthew Bruce aka Max Essa is back with a three part track, namely Themes From The Hood, The Cad & The Lovely. Recording for a decade, this prolific producer has big hits like "Panorama Suite/Uptown Vibration" that have long been in Hell Yeah boss Marco Peedoo's record bag. The story goes that Essa first approached the label with a bunch of tracks until a good correspondence alchemy ensued and together the artist and label decided to put out the most timeless EP possible. This is music that will calm busy minds now and forever.
Review: UK producer Max Essa first made his name in the late 00s with a string of shimmering nu-disco releases on Nang and Bear Funk. These days, though, he's based in Japan and, for this latest long-player at least, concentrating his energies on ambient productions. Across nine tracks with mysterious titles like 'Breakfast In Yutenji' and 'Beautiful Western River', gently tinking minor-key ivories, Carpenter-esque synth sweeps, found sounds and occasional, ultra-languid drum beats create slow-moving soundscapes built for post-club comedown sessions and lazy Sunday mornings alike, while 'Twenty Types Of Dusk' nods back to his earlier days.
Review: Last year, the crew behind Brazil's well-loved Mareh festival decided to launch their own label. Like their 2014 debut EP, which boasted cuts from Eric Duncan and Pete Herbert & Dicky Trisco, Mareh Drops is another all-star affair. The Revenge kicks things off with the sparse, string-laden tech-house bump of "Strings of Fife", before Berlin-based Canadian Eddie C delivers the quietly impressive "Take Me Or Leave Me", a delay-laden deep house shuffler with sun-kissed disco influences. Pete Herbert goes solo on the deliciously bright, breezy and sun-drenched Balearic disco groover "El Bigotes", before Max Essa goes deeper into Balearic territory with the sweet synthesizer arpeggios, bubbling beats and dreamy pads of "Night Measure".
Review: While there's always been something definitively matter-of-fact about the title of the Balearic compilation series, the music they showcase is rarely less than magical. That's certainly the case on this fourth annual instalment. Naturally, the selections touch on a variety of Balearic staples, including Vangelis-influenced instrumental bliss (Max Essa's sublime opener), hypnotic, slow motion grooves (see Simon Peter's wonderful, jazz guitar-flecked "Ottimismo"), flamenco guitar-laden haziness (a killer On-U-Sound version of Los Twangueros's "Entre Dos Aguas"), swirling synth-pop/nu-disco fusion (Faze Action remixing Private Agenda), loved-up blue-eyed soul (Quinn Luke) and deep space electronics (Fabrizio Mammarella's enveloping Ambient Mix of Gallo's "Faron").