Review: Connaisseur is celebrating a decade in the business and certainly doing it with style. This time around there's some great collaborations; check these out. Melodic, soulful and absolutely emotive vibes courtesy of Swedish legend Aril Brikha teaming up with Ireland's Chymera on "Nihari". Next, The Element teams up label head honcho Alex Flitsch on the deep, tunnelling and atmospheric progressive house of "Puma" which really has the label's classic sound in mind. Finally the mighty trio Of Norway, Linnea Dale & Preben Olram serve up the blissful deep house cover of Pornos For Pyros hit from 1993 "Pets" and what a fantastic tribute it is!
Review: Don't worry if you weren't able to get to hear veteran DJ and Bedrock co-founder John Digweed's recent set at Treehouse in Miami's South Beach, because its all here for you to enjoy. There are a whopping 41 tracks included, spread over three mixes and also provided in their individual form including such gems as Agoria's moody synth-drenched reworking of Damian Lazarus' "Vermillion", the fuzzy Fairlight fancy of Solaris Heights's "Nightfall" and Digitaria's Art Of Noise-style electro jam "Little Boy".
Review: Originally released on Of Norway's 2014 album Accretion, Connaisseur has commissioned two quite different versions of the Norwegian act's "Spirit Lights". The first remix, from Swiss act Adriatique, is the most musical and stays closest to the original version. It features gentle acoustic guitar strumming and Linnea Dale's enchanted vocals rising up over an understated groove and lush strings and woodwind. Lehar, who debuted last year on Conaisseur, delivers a more streamlined, functional version. Reminiscent of Kompakt's trance-techno, his version focuses on a pulsing bass, tough claps and spiraling trance melodies that provide quite a different backdrop for Dale's vocals.
Review: It's obvious that Norwegian duo Lil'Wolf and Chris Lynch aka Of Norway come from a DJing background. "Thirst" is a tripped out release that veers seamlessly between styles, and some of the tracks are extended to over 12 minutes. The title track reflects their approach, a pulsing, low-slung groove populated by heavy claps and a soaring bassline. "The Bleeding" is informed by a similar aesthetic, but this time the focus is on gurgling acid as woozy chords and atmospheric keys appear and disappear again throughout the extended groove. The dub edit is more direct, with its marching drums tempering the wobbly, unpredictable acid.
Blackened Fez (Bloody Mary remix) - (6:09) 126 BPM
Black Desert Disco Cult - (8:20) 123 BPM
Blackened Fez (House Of Black Lanterns remix) - (6:56) 123 BPM
Review: Of Norway are, well...of Norway! Oslo to be exact. After greta releases previously on the likes of Connoisseur and My Favourite Robot, they're back on Darkroom Dubs with Black Desert Disco Club. On "Blackened Fez" a trippy melody and sleek tech house beats merge with exotic instrumentation, a track perfect to be played out at Burning Man. The Bloody Mary remix of said track is pretty killer too; a bumpy, high octane tech house stomper. The bumpy and grinding "Black Desert Disco Club" soon gives way to some uplifting melodics and pads, it's a brilliant pre peak time journey track. Finally the artist formerly known as King Cannibal; House Of Black Lanterns, delivers a killer dub techno remix that's so smoky and glacial it'd that would make Deepchord or Steve Hitchell stand up and notice.
Review: This Norwegian duo has put out Eps on a number of respected underground labels like Conaisseur and Afro Art, but now they take a step into the dance music mainstream with the release of Running Lights on Skint. "Running Lights 2" is a wonderfully balmy deep house affair, its melodic hooks unfolding over a hypnotic, prowling bass. On "Running Lights IV", the pair opt for a tougher approach. While a similar, heads-down groove is at the heart of the arrangement, a squelchy, tripped out acid line gradually unravels, turning Of Norway's dreamy vision of deep house into a dystopian nightmare.
The Life & Death Of Italian Mantrance - (5:52) 124 BPM
Review: Norse twosome Of Norway will soon release a new album on Connaisseur, the Oslo combo's on-off musical home for the last half decade. "Parallel Lines Meet At Inifity" is the first single to be taken from that soon come set, and sees them giddily skipping of into Scandolearic deep house pastures. The track is wonderfully bubbly and melodious, with sparkling melody lines, glistening motifs and head-in-the-clouds chords clustering around an elastic house groove. It's accompanied by single-only bonus cut "The Life & Death of Italian Mantrance", a wonderfully atmospheric, stretched-out ambient number that joins the dots between vintage Pete Namlook, the sample-heavy ambient house of The Orb, and the psychedelic electronics of early '90s ambient techno.
Review: Of Norway have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Conaisseur and Loneliest Man is the pair's third album for the label. As usual, it combines the Norwegian pair's quirky humour with their wide ranging sound palette. Gentle ambient sound tracks like "The Soothing" and "Don't Break The Silence" sit next to the tight electro of "Separation Failure" and the acid-soaked disco of "Bootes Void". On the chilling synths of the John Carpenter meets Goblin "The Life & Death Of Italian Mantrance", Of Norway's ability to replicate distinct styles as well as their wry humour is most obvious, while the dreamy house of "Favourite Mistake", which features Linnea Dale on vocals, shows that they are not afraid of mainstream sounds. It's an accomplished, assured release.
Review: Frankfurt purveyors of slinky Tech House Connoisseur have been at it for 10 years and they're showing no signs of slowing down. This time around it's Of Norway; no guesses where these producers are from! And moreover; no surprises for what's in store here; two slices of deep and punchy, slow burning grooves for the after-hours. Eric Volta's 10-minute mix builds the mood with sombre acoustic guitar chords before the killer drop gives way to mass force, complete with the sort of tripped out vibes the Highgrade guys would be fond of. On the digi-flip, The Drifter's version works more of the vocal, setting the scene for a relaxed dancefloor anticipating another a Berlin sunrise.
Review: If you're looking for an esoteric take on modern house, you've come to the right place. "Libertine" is an epic slice of stoner dance music, its dubby drums laying down a loose rhythmic marker. But it's the dreamy sound scapes, effortlessly disjointed vocals and chiming effects that make the original version sound like a cross between Nick Curly and Howard Marx. Losoul tries to make sense of the soupy original and does a fine job. Logical and angular but also including jazzy stabs and melodic riffs, his remix demonstrates why he's still one of the most distinctive voices in house music.
Review: Frankfurt-based label Connaisseur Recordings precede their third instalment of their Grand Cru compilation, due out at the end of this month, with a three track taster courtesy of Of Norway, DJ Assassin and Martin Beume. Of Norway's "Skogen Kaller" opens the release will a skippy jaunt through contented minimal, tech house. Its hook is the strange melody parts that play out above the simple yet feet-tapping beat. DJ Assassin's "Deep Riddim" is a deep and dubby swagger amongst walls of bass and Martin Beume delves into to some tingling atmospherics on "Mainspring."
Review: Silicone Soul's Darkroom Dubs build on the foundations laid 30 years ago during that Second Summer Of Love - and they rewind back to that zeitgeist in '88/'89 by way of current artists and some legends alike: the heady haze of two culture-accelerating summers. The veteran UK DJ Justin Robertson fires up his Deadstock 33 alias once again on this blissed-out electro groove of "Infinite Interchange", Scandinavian tech-house heroes Of Norway (Connaisseur/My Favorite Robot) deliver the dubby and evocative mood lighting of "She Never Lost A Passenger" and label mainstays Skinnerbox get properly moody on the atmospheric "Nyeusi" (Original Mix).
Review: Frankfurt-based imprint Connaisseur drop the third annual Grand Cru compilation, bulging with goodies from the deeper end of tech and minimal house. Grand Cru - a term no doubt already known to the wine drinkers among you - refers to an elegant bottle or vineyard. And 2010 is proving to be a fine vintage; from the glitchy beat and ethereal vocals on Tom Demac's "Sky Swatches", to the meandering bassline of Franklin De Costa's "Futureboy" and "Jericho Horns" by label stalwart Afrilounge, which sounds like a wonderfully dirty afterhours version of Jesse Rose's "Touch My Horn". And be sure to check out "Black Martin", a rare foray into house music for drum & bass producer Dee Pulse.
Review: The boss is back! The legendary UK pioneer and Bedrock head honcho gives us a live set from Canada's second city, complete with crowd noise. Digweed's knack for sniffing out the most cutting edge progressive and tech house grooves is second to none and you can bet that this set is chock block full of narrative, innovative grooves: one journey you'll never forget! Featuring contributions from Germany's Recondite ("Tame"/"Baro"), Glasgow's Sei A ("You Can Bring"), Berlin's Smash TV ("Cascadia"/"God Key") and Los Angeles' Eagles & Butterflies amongst a host of other big names. Also comes as six continuous mixes for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!
Review: The fifth installment in this series sees German label Connaisseur compile some of the finest deep house in circulation. Thankfully, nothing here has that mushy sameness that has become so pervasive; instead artists like Timelapse, Distortion and Musumeci bring fragile, floaty melodies and chiming chords to their reduced rhythms and dubby grooves. Few Nolder and Lehar up the ante somewhat and the booming bass and cacophony of chilling strings on the latter's "Sarga" is a thing of wonder. Overall though, it's the reflective approach that impresses most; Sam K's "Elido", with its dreamy pattern of chords and vocal that swoons "I will build a castle with a tower high" is worth the price of this compilation alone