Review: Andy Cato and Tom Findlay aka Groove Armada are back with "House With Me", a deep down and dirty jacker optimised for maximum dancefloor sleaze just the way we like it. Second offering "U Can" gets more on the soulful tip with emotive, Mr Fingers style chords and detuned diva vocals over a bumpin' groove for added dancefloor drama; this one's very nice if we do say so ourselves! Finally Italian prankster Riva Starr gets onboard for a thrilling edit of their major hit "Superstylin'" from back in 2001. This version rolls deep and with serious attitude to get even those peak time Ibiza crowds having frantically.
Review: Over the course of numerous albums and Eps, Laurel Halo has made a name with her experimental, uncompromising take on electronic music - can she do the same with her DJing? Listening to this, the 68th instalment of DJ-Kicks, the answer is a resounding 'yes'. It moves from the abstract chimes of her own "Public Art" to the bruising rhythms of Stallone the Reducer and Red Axes' low-slung electro into the next-wave Detroit techno of Fit Siegel and the bleary European sound of Dario Zenker, representing here with "Koraimer Bro". However, Halo is also aware that to understand where electronic music is going to, you must first understand its past - and the inclusion of tracks from Jeff Mills' Final Cut band and Blake Baxter's catalogue showcases her deep knowledge and passion.
Review: What a fantastic selection we have for you here as we witness four of the most creative producers working within the underground dance music scene come together for a top notch project, courtesy of the 3024 team! We kick off course with the stunning yet minimal production stylings of Martyn, with his memorable original 'Frozen Bread Snaps', which is followed in hot pursuit by Sin/Grezlins & Jesta's tasty junglist roller: 'Door Of Guf'. Next up, Noire dives into the driver's seat for a helping of original funky with some delicious percussive power and chiming leads, followed up by Parris and the super delicate 'Dusty Glass Bubbles', a fantastic way to round this one up!
Review: With the likes of Batu drawing so much attention for his new bend on techno, how about a little appreciation for what Parris is doing. For an idea of what Parris has done with a 808 bass drum check out his Idle Hands debut then revert back to this 12"s woofing "Skeletal". With some light percussion added over the top, this track demands a proper dub soundsystem. It's a similar situation on "Bloom" too, only the bass has been turned down to allow for something a little more subtle... a little. Meanwhile "South East Of The Mountain" provides an alternative rhythm track with atmospheric marimbas and other African percussion giving the production as much an exotic flavour as it does an urban touch.
Review: After an uncompromising set of EPs for the justifiably hyped Ancient Monarchy label, which helped to take the imprint out of the deep underground and into the mainstream, Soundman Chronicles' DJ Parris lands on London's mighty Hemlock to deliver yet more of his impressionistic take on house and techno. What we love about this guy is that we never know what we're gonna get from him, and these three tunes are a perfect example of that: "Your Kiss Is Sour" is made up of rotating synth echoes that flutter in and out of heavy bass pulses whereas, on the flip, "Flowering In Threes" adds a little house sensitivity to a similarly aqueous range of atmospherics, while "My Beautiful Fantasy" offers the oddball of the lot, or rather, the one tune that will surely get the heads nodding their head up and down thanks to that dub-leaning bass riding in its underbelly. Yes, Parris. And yes to Ancient Monarchy for stepping into the digital zone.
South East Of The Mountain (Sam Kidel remix) - (4:40) 118 BPM
Skeletal (O$VMV$M remix) - (3:26) 142 BPM
Bloom (Helm remix) - (6:42) 128 BPM
Review: Berceuse Heroique's Ancient Monarchy adds to the Parris story with three beautiful remixes that add and enhance the mysterious London artist's unique vibe all the more. Sam Kidel condenses the vast spacious valleys on "South Side Of The Mountain" with more of a rolling, hardened feel to the drums. Osvmvsm, meanwhile, pays respect to the kick-free "Skeletal" but turbo charges the glock melody with much more of a militant focus and energy. Finally Helm strips "Bloom" right back to its key atmosphere then rebuilds with an ambient, heavily textured and sensory experience.
Review: Bristol label Idle Hands maintain the high standards set by last year's array of releases with a killer 12" from Soundman Chronicles boss Parris. It's fair to say that Parris was not a predictable reach for Idle Hands, although label boss Chris Farrell explains that their connection reaches back to when Soundman Chronicles first started, and Parris came into the shop with copies of J. Robinson's The Maasai / Misread 12" to sell. Any regular visitors to the label's bricks and mortar location will have undoubtedly found Farrell pumping grime mixtapes with a passionate intent at some point, and on the Burr / Blue single Parris has ably nailed the crossover between alien bass transmissions and low-end tilted 4/4 in a sparse and captivating way.
Review: Given the recent upsurge in interest in the back catalogue of seminal Chicago label Dance Mania - particularly the ghetto booty side of their output - it seems fitting that Strut have finally given the label the retrospective treatment it so richly deserves. The whole story is here, from the early jack tracks of Hercules, The Housemaster Boyz and Victor Romero, to the stomping rhythms of DJ Funk, Dj Deeon and Robert Armani (whose ghetto-meets-acid jam "Ambulance" is a riotous highlight). Along the way, there are classics aplenty, alongside lesser-known gems from the vaults (see Parris Mitchell Project's ace "Ghetto Shout Out (feat Wax Master)" and Paul Johnson's thrilling "Feel My MF Bass"). Whether you're a Chicago house connoisseur or not, this should be essential listening.
Review: Given the rise in popularity of Dance Mania-inspired ghetto-house and ghetto-tech releases over the last couple of years, it was perhaps inevitable that someone would put together a compilation celebrating the label's greatest moments. That it was Strut that did it with Dance Mania Hardcore Traxx: Dance Mania Records 1986-1997 was something of a comfort; Quinton Scott's crate-digging imprint does these kind of history-driven compilations so well. Dance Mania: Ghetto Madness is a second trawl through the archives of the label and features some fifteen cuts of little-known or hard-to-find tracks from the likes of DJ Funk, Paul Johnson, DJ Rush, Jammin' Gerald and Wax Master Maurice (whose bizarre but brilliant "Bounce That Body" is a highlight).