Review: Up next for Defected's In The House series is the UK's DJ Haus, 'a decidedly untraditional DJ, producer, originator and DIY label innovator.' The Unknown To The Unknown and Hot Haus Recs boss has received big props from the underground house community and in Defected's opinion: he's an ambassador for the future of house music. Quite a compliment there! Serving up a a wicked collection of raw and jacking sounds that encompass electro, Chicago house, disco, techno and UK garage: and all very much on the lo-fi tip. The supporting cast on DJ Haus In The Haus is quite a remarkable one and musical highlights are not limited to: NYC hero X-Coast (who is fresh off a killer release on Underthesea) with last year's sleeper hit "Mango Bay", Aussie larrikin and Steel City Dance Discs boss Mall Grab with the wicked "Pool Party" through to stateside jams by Justin Cudmore - who gives us a taste of the acid life on "Forget It" and so does the master Matrixxman on the epic "The Spell" (Original Mix).
Review: Chicago legend Robert Armani's influence lives on to this day, in house and techno alike and is certainly underrated. To his fans from way back, we'd be preaching to the choir but for younger heads: listen up! Here's an important history lesson, get up to speed on Lumberjack Disco Traxx. The release features a bunch of wicked re-issues such as the sleazy ghetto house of 1994's "Let Me Hit That" (which was recorded under the Traxman guise with Robert Johnson) while "Scoreboard" channels the Windy City hard house vibes of late nineties Relief Records and was previously only available on the 'Chicago Sound' cassette from 1997. Finally the fierce, attitude driven techno stomper "Up" is the kind of groove reminiscent of his timeless works on Djax Up Beats or ACV.
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.