Review: Aeon's streak arrives at its 50th release which Alex Niggemann's label decides to represent with a new compilimentary series - Versus. Taking in seven collaborations from a select core of artists, the mini-album of sorts sees Bawrut & Benjamin Frohlich meet with waves of synths in "Kirmes" next to a dubbed-out terror vault of electronic antics in Panthera Krause & Peter Invasion's "Fiesta Hunuku". Power synths combine with UK pop and Euro dance leanings in Darlyn Vlys & Amarcord's "Talking Modern" with Biesmans & Jepe flying the Italo flag proudly through "Fashionably Late". And for your touch of industrial new wave: Kimshies & Futuristant.
Review: Dresden label Uncanny Valley's big name supporters include the likes of Jimpster, Steve Bug, Scuba and Ripperton, which gives you an idea of the kind of leftfield-leaning deep house and techno to expect from this 10th birthday compilation. Big names may be in short supply but quality certainly isn't, with the album's 18 full-length tracks ranging from RJ's floaty, dreamy opener 'Nie' to the acid throb of Iron Curtis's 'Ensuite', and from the jazzy bruk beat-isms of Lake People's 'Roaming The Streets' to the psychedelic small hours deepness of Charlotte Bendiks' 'Pasco', with a DJ mix from Conrad Kaden tying the whole collection together nicely.
Review: To celebrate notching up 50 releases, Uncanny Valley offered up a septet of colour-coded EPs featuring never-heard-before cuts from its growing roster of artists. With that campaign finished, they've now collected together all of those tracks on one suitably epic compilation, All Colors Are Beautiful. It's a pleasingly positive, life-affirming and kaleidoscopic collection all told, with the likes of Lauer, Jules Etienne, Johannes Albert, Cuthead and Basic Soul Unit taking it in turns to deliver cheery, synth-heavy cuts that variously join the dots between deep house, nu-disco, synth-pop, proto-house, jacking acid, crunchy electro, Motor City techno, ghetto-tech and glassy-eyed late-night sleaze. The results are uniformly excellent, making this one of the most essential compilations of 2020.
Review: 12 months on from its release, Panthera Krause is fine debut album It's a Business Doing Pleasure With You has been given the remix treatment. The line-up and variety of remixers on show is impressive, so it's no surprise to find that the resultant reworks are extremely strong. Check first Robedello's deliciously trippy take on 'Road to Arcadia', which sounds like a 21st century update of Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love', before basking in the ethereal pads, rushing melodies and throbbing grooves of Theo Kottis's revision of 'Birthday Club'. Elsewhere, Shubostar delivers a crunchy, proto-house-meets-boogie revision of 'J'ai Envie De Toi', Fargo reimagines 'Redo Rdid' as a sharp, squelchy roller, and Peter Invasion and Gregor Habicht prioritise lengthy breakdowns and warped electronics on an excellent remix of 'Sledge Hammer'.
Review: To the Robert Johnson club, Andrew Weatherall was one of the Frankfurt institution's most beloved residents. 'Lifesaver 4' is a compilation dedicated to the memory of the veteran DJ, featuring young talents and seasoned companions that have paid their musical tribute in order to commemorate the club's 21 year anniversary. Highlights not limited to: Perel's psychedelic off-kilter opener "Feuer & Wasser", the low slung sunset sounds of Panorama Bar resident Massimiliano Pagliara on "Before I Let You Go", club mainstay Gerd Janson delivering a typically neon-lit rendition of Portable's "Unity", the surprising addition of nearby Offenbach-based talent Cedric Dekowski on the afterhours minimal funk of "Livius" and Fort Romeau delivering his idiosyncratic style of hypnotic house on "Another Dymention". "Fail we may, sail we must".
Review: As you'd expect, the sixth colour-coded EP in Uncanny Valley's 50th release series boasts an impressive line-up of artists, all of whom have pulled out the stops to make their contribution count. For proof, check the rushing, riff-sporting, rave-era revivalism of Cuthead's acid-flecked opener, "Party Chords", the warm and woozy, Rhodes-laden head-nodding beats of Dererstuben's "Iwesu Yewisu", and the wild organ riffs and chunky grooves of Pantera Krause's bustling house jam "The Naked Now". Or, for that matter, the sample-laden, jazz-tinged deep house roll of Daniela La Cruz's "When You Go All In And Wait", and the body-popping Balearic nu-disco warmth of Massimiliano Pagliano's luscious "Sunset Funk". As the old clich? goes, this is genuinely all killer, no filler.
Review: Since 2006 Permanent Vacation has earned its reputation for releasing some of the best in contemporary house, electro, disco and leftfield music, showcased and celebrated most with their various artist compilations. As lockdown in some parts of the world begins to ease, maybe a sixth Permanent Vacation is in order, which this time introduces a fresh cast to the series with our ears drawn to the abstract dub, drum and rhythm tracks of Bawrut, and Cornelius Doctor & Tushen Rae in the tripped out "The Bukit Have Eyes". Smallville's main man in Paris Jacques Bon turns in a stair-sailing synth number of breezy, uplifting house in "Reverse Flight", with techier drums and club tracks coming from DJ Kuesse ("Tropicana Girl") and the au courant electro sounds of Eliott Litrowski's "Spray", and Sedef's Adasi's "Tender Trip" a highlight too.
Review: Uncanny Valley ends the year with a 13-track retrospective that sums up why it is such an idiosyncratic label. 13 Tracks moves in style from the bizarre acid beats of "Macho Man" by Mr Incognito and Amrint Keen's vaguely epic electro track "Believe" into more dance floor friendly tracks. These include the moody, atmospheric techno of Qnete's "Alone Together" and Chino's acid-heavy "Kolaps". In between these ends of the spectrum there are once-heard, never forgotten moments such as the vocal electro of Credit 00's amazing "Hammer Jack Voices Wall" and Serial Error's tribal house meets new beat track "Drum Abuse (Vocal)" - which both underline again what an idiosyncratic label that Uncanny Valley is.
Review: Leipzig based producer Robert Panthera Krause follows up some great releases in 2017 on labels such as Riotvan, Step and Lobster Theremin with his second outing on local imprint Uncanny Valley - which follows up his well received Umami EP in 2016. All My Circuits Part I features four sunny, dusty and irresistable excursions into the deep. Starting out with the sun-kissed and uplifting jam "Heppy" featuring some flamenco- ish guitars, dusty broken rhythms and lush hypnotic pads - this one ticks all the right boxes. Next up "Stomping Ground" goes for a more straight-up lo-fi deep house vibe, where vintage drum computers go face to face with a chunky acidic bassline and jacking vocals on this right party starter. Elsewhere, "Le Phoque" saves the best for last on this pumping deep house number featuring a hypnotic marimba melody and a stomping swing fuelled beat.
Review: The Munich based deep house and nu disco institution returns for their fourth safari and it is quite the trip if we do say so ourselves. The landscapes.. the wildlife.. be prepared for an epic journey! Highlights on here include the gutsy analogue punk of Drvg Cvulture's "Night Time Is The Right Time", prog house don Henry Saiz teaming up with sometime John Talabot cohort Pional on the dreamy "Uruboros" and Sweden's always reliable Axel Boman with the dreamily hypnotic "Die Die Die!" which despite its title is summery and lush: a potential anthem of Summer 2017. Hidden treasures, lost classics and exclusive tracks through the deepest house valleys and the highest disco mountains of the label's catalog.
Review: As befits a producer who has previously delivered fine EPs for both Lobster Theremin and Uncanny Valley, the music of Robert Panthera Krause is always brimming with good ideas. Happily, he's let his imagination run wild on the Stonith EP, his first release on Leipzig-based Riotvan for nearly three years. "Twerk It" is a leisurely, loved-up stroll through mildly Balearic broken house pastures, where chiming melodies, heavy sub-bass and dreamy chords add extra interest on route. The impressive "Take Me" sees him mould beatbox electro in fuzzy new deep house shapes, while "Stonith" is a cowbell-laden romp through skewed house and eccentric electro territory. In other words, it's business as usual.
Review: It's some two years since Panthera Krause impressed with fine releases on Riotvan and Lobster Theremin. This time round, he's been tempted out of the wilderness by Dresden house misfits Uncanny Valley. In order to fit in with the label's anything-goes approach, the Leipzig-based producer has delivered a quartet of tracks that eccentrically blend a whirlwind of contrasting influences. There's the wonky, ultra-deep jazz-house drowsiness of "The Space Between Us", the punk-funk/dub disco/African thrills of "Howling For July", and the sweaty tech-jazz goes breakbeat madness of the superb "Z-Cuts". As for opener "Umami", it's a loose, rolling and deliciously positive slab of sublime deep house weirdness that benefits greatly for some heavy low-end pressure.
Review: When it came to celebrating their first five years, Uncanny Valley decided to do things differently. So, alongside a retrospective (Five Years On Parole - What Happened), they've delivered an EP of previously unheard material from the archives (Five Years On Parole - Gems From The Vaults), and this selection of brand new cuts. There's naturally much to enjoy, with Chinaski and Panthera Krause both delivering wonderfully deep and dreamy analogue house workouts. There's something particularly impressive about Derive's krautrock, Kraftwerk and proto-techno inspired contribution - think modular synthesizers and pulsing drum machine rhythms - while Iron Curtis' "En Suite" is a clandestine acid jacker build around ragged 303 lines, metronomic percussion and trippy synthesizer motifs.
Review: After recently notching up three years in the business, HFN Music offshoot Hafendisko is in a suitably celebratory mood. So much so, in fact, that they've put together this first compilation, featuring a mix of previously released cuts (see Ewan Pearson's epic, Italo-influenced electro-disco remix of Kaspar Bjorke's "Apart") and brand new jams. Highlights are pleasingly plentiful, and include the moody, low-slung deep house jazz of Simon Hinter's "Easyweezy", the picturesque beauty of Yannick Labbe's immaculate "Sugar Coated Insult", and the bouncy, beatbox electro-with-a-twist brilliance of Jimmy Edgar's synth-laden rework of Tiger Fingers' "Little Drummer Girl".