Review: Australia's Balance Music is known for its quality mixes by the very finest in the underground music circuit. With previous compilations by the likes of New York's Danny Tenaglia, Deetron and Funk D'Void, among others, this is as close to a Fabric mix as you can get without those shiny tin cases. Ex-minimal legend turned all-out techno queen Magda steps up for number 27 in the series, and it's nothing but vibes on this one. Amalgamating shreds of stripped back techno - Marcel Dettmann, DVS1, Samuli Kemppi - together with newer, more underground sounds from some of the most cutting-edge labels around - Marco Bernardi's Sandman project, TTT's Minor Science, XDB and Shackleton - the Minus legend shows why she's still one of the best in the game and a true expert at evolving her aesthetic. A great mix, dig in.
Review: Having impressed with a few sultry slo-mo re-edits and the odd well-received remix, Nicholas pops up on Gerd's 4Lux label with a five-track EP of head-nodding house grooves. While fans of his loopy, disco-centric vibe will still find plenty to entertain (not least the pleasingly snug "All I Need"), All Night Long should appeal to anyone who likes their house bumpin' and groovesome. The title track itself is arguably Nicholas's best yet, a kind of fusion of classic US garage and 90s New York deep house - all hip-wigglin' bass, expansive piano solos and bluesy vocal snippets. Label boss Gerd remixes, dusting down the 808s and 909s for a vintage jack attack.
Review: Hometaping Is Killing Music, the Scottish imprint devoted to the underground, is back this time with Italian young gun Nicholas on the Bonus Beats 1 EP. Things kick off with "Hot Nights" which offers as deadly a sample usage of Minnie Ripperton as the Linkwood classic "R.I.P.". Also on the A side is "Atmo" featuring Paul Cut; more deep and soulful funk grooves for fans of KDJ style jams. On the flip we've got the pumping percussive DJ tool "Together (Beats)" which is a welcome addition to any serious DJs arsenal and finally "Something To Believe" which gets back on the soul train in delightful '70s retrovert fashion.
Review: Since he reworked big chunks of the Nu Groove catalogue for Needwant last year, Nicholas has shown signs of wanting to make his own intoxicating deep house influenced by the early '90s sound of New York. "Life Goes On" very much fits this remit, offering a heady blend of tactile deepness featuring samples from some familiar disco and soul favourites ("Rock Creek Park" being the most obvious source). "All I Can Give" sounds like a vintage New York-Chicago soundclash - all heavy analogue bass, trad garage chords and late night vocal snippets - while "Messed Up Generation" flits between spoken word iciness and Big Apple grooviness.
Review: Analogue-loving deep house sort Nicholas Lammatteo re-ignites his working relationship with Gerd's 4 Lux label, a year on from the well regarded Love Someone 12". Like that track, the original version of "Catch The Sun" - featuring the evocative vocals of Madaffi Pierre - is warm, breezy, quietly soulful and hugely influenced by classic US garage. The alternate Deep Mix, though, sounds more like vintage Larry Heard - all ultra-deep pads, analogue bass and woozy electronics. Elsewhere, there's more bluesy deepness in the shape of "Stop (Playing With My Heart)", a dash of party-hearty, classic NYC goodness ("The Loft Party"), and a fabulous fusion of twinkling keys, sleazy sax samples and cymbal-heavy rhythms ("Blacker").
Review: Stepping up to Home Taping Is Killing Music, the increasingly impressive Italian producer Nicholas drops this slinky groover with all the classic elements a house head could wish for. Diva vocal snippets? Check. Bouncing hats? Present. Vibing keys? All there. Grooving bassline? Relentless. If "Love Message" doesn't get into the majority of record bags it will be very surprising indeed. "From The Roots" is a more streamlined affair, with punchy drums and a serious disposition for the fist-pumpers out there. Clearly well versed in the language of house music, Nicholas is turning into a very eloquent artist indeed.
Review: Fresh from delivering an album's worth of Nu Groove remixes, Italian producer Nicholas pops up on Gerd's 4Lux Black imprint. The title track sets the tone for what follows, delivering a cockle-warming mix of old skool NYC house riffage, Italian house ambience and skippy, New Jersey garage percussion. If it was any more "classic", it would actually have been made 20 years ago. "Down To Nothing" and "Familiar Path" tread similar ground, offering wide-eyed, early 90s house for the permanently nostalgic. Hunee's remix of "Free To Be" offers a rougher, chunkier, late night take on the slick original, offering a delicious combination of rave riffage, acid bass and clattering 808 percussion.
Review: Storied producer Nicholas, whose bulging discography boasts both slo-mo disco-house chuggers and Nu Groove inspired treats, seems like a neat fit for the hyped Church label. Interestingly, the six tracks on offer are closer to the usual Church sound - think dusty, hazy, sample-heavy deep house with clear jazz influences - tha the producer's previous work. They're all rather good, though, with the bustling and bluesy "The Answer" and jaunty, bongo-laden dancefloor warmth of "Dahlia" immediately catching the ear. Killer keys-man Paul Cut provides headline-grabbing solos on two of the EP's best moments ("Black Juniper" and the jazz-house opus "Resolution"), while "Lonnie's Reprise" is similar in tone and vibe to fellow Church contributors FYI Chris and Chaos in the CBD.
Review: We've previously described Nicholas as a purveyor of 'touchy-feely' deep house-influenced productions and edits. Here though he's exploring Italo-disco territory and the results depend on how you feel about Italo-disco really. Originally by The Funky Family, "Funky Is On" is a super-rare 1984 Italo masterpiece with arpeggiated basslines and a tremendous chorus that brims with palm tree ennui. Nicolas has decided to lose the chorus and expand the electro riffs instead so if you fancy a retro head-nodder and nothing more then this is for you. Bonus track "Slick Groove" is a less 80s, more organic disco jam.
Review: While Italian producer Nicholas has always been obsessed with classic house - be it the piano-laden release of early '90s Italian productions or the New Jersey bump of later period Nu Groove - he's more than capable of producing deep house laden with soulful intensity. That's what's on offer across these four tracks, beginning with the heavy bass, dreamy chords and sensual vocal (provided by Shaun J Wright) of "Love Someone". The Italian wisely provides a darker, chunkier dub of the same track, before exploring acid and sprawling pianos on the deliciously effective "Message". Finally, "J.U.N.E" features an attractive blend of hazy freestyle vocals and cute Rhodes keys riding a fizzing, late '90s US deep house groove.
Review: By now, we should all be used to Italian producer Nicholas' particular brand of tactile retro-futurism. Pleasingly, this EP for 20:20 Vision flips the script a little, whilst retaining his usual vintage house influences. "Pressure", for example, replaces his usual piano stabs and early Nu Groove references with foreboding riffs and a little basement-bothering low-end boom. The woozy "Break Thru" layers drifting synths over clattering 909 percussion, while "Body Drum" is a sweaty throwback to Vasquez-era Sound Factory. "I Believe", meanwhile, stirs memories of early Danny Tenaglia productions - all long, sharp strings, delay-laden vocal samples, heavy bass and thumping drums.
Review: Nicholas Lammatteo's last outing on Home Taping is Killing Music, "Love Message", was arguably one of the label's strongest releases to date. This expansive EP picks up where that one left off, delivering his trademark blend of wide-eyed revivalism, smoky late night atmospherics and tracky, heads-down rhythms. "The Music Lives", with its strong chords, dense percussion and acid bassline, is probably the pick, and comes backed with two excellent beats tracks tailor-made for inventive DJs. The deeper, more obviously US garage influenced "Work This Out" delivers cute, unfussy thrills, while the delightful "Running Into Time" throws some vintage disco samples and jazz-funk keys into the mix for added feelgood factor.