Review: There's a great deal of illicit late night funk in "O'Clock", the latest hip-wigglin' hustler from Tsuba regular Okain. The percussion is almost breathtakingly heavy, while the woozy chords and vocal stabs combine to propel the track relentless forwards towards a lush, string-drenched climax. Arguably, it's probably his best to date. The deeper, melody-heavy "Alone In The Dark" is rather nice, too - a kind of "We All Feel Better In The Dark" for the deep house generation. There are a couple of notable remixes. Gerd fluctuates between Orbital-ish electronica and chunky deep house on his Deep Mix, before Okain himself delivers a driving No String Dub
Review: Constant Sound continues to press ahead as one of the most productive entities in the minimal scene, and they're sounding as on-point as ever with this collaborative EP from Per Hammar and Okain. These two stripped back tech house champs bounce off each other perfectly, creating the kind of limber workouts that will sink under the skin of the after hours crowd with ease. Look out for closing track "Double Brew", which folds some gorgeous dub techno inflections into the mix with stunning results.
Review: Kevin Griffiths' Tsuba imprint came back with a bang in 2012, as this digital-only round up of label highlights proves. There are plenty of hot producers present - Sascha Dive, Huxley, Moodtrap, Mike Newman etc - as well as remixes by the likes of Gerd and Matthew Styles. Musically, it takes a broad approach to house and tech-house, flitting between groovesome late night moods (Hector's "Hide", Dive's formidably murky "Deja vu"), jaunty deepness (Moodtrap's excellent "Out of Time") and balls-out roughness (the jackin' sweatiness of Tazz and Bacanito's "Workin It"). Throw in a few pleasing surprises (6th Borough Project's heady rework of "Workin It") and you've got yourself a formidable collection.
Review: Steve Lawler's label unleashes the second installment of its Warriors series. While the UK DJ is synonymous with his tribal house sound, there is enough variety on this compilation to keep the listener interested. Sante's "That Girl" revolves around heavy drums and a tripped out break down, while Davide Squillace & Guti's "The Other Side Of Hustler" pushes further in that direction, with spooky chants unfolding over a driving groove. Vocals also prevail on the compilation's other highlights: Philip Bader's "Crazy" sees pitched down vocals introduced over deep chords, while Bimas' excellent "Never Say Goodbye" fuses icy synths and a moody male vocal to create a sombre dance floor cut.