Review: LA looks towards mainland Europe for its next fresh talent excursion as Czech and Slovakian artists Dephzac and Smote take up a track each on this soul-rolling doublet. Dephzac takes us back to early 2000s Creative Source material with his one-strike piano hook, subtle soul vocal texture and texturally elastic bassline. Smote backs up previous Good Looking and Secret Ops backing with a delightfully emotional string sweep and chord structure that swoons with natural ease of the tight rolling shaker-sprinkled break. Stunning.
Review: Smote delivers the goods here with a delectable EP on the Celsius imprint. All shimmering, laid back fervor with lashings of piano keys and drifting percussion, this is top notch. Aptly named "Biorhythms" gets things started with cooing vocal, tinkling piano and punchy drums. Organic rhythms enhance the sense that it could be music for a nature programme, while instrumental flourishes add further drama. "Another Place", on the other hand, goes in deeper with a stripped back soundscape, humming bass and deftly placed beats.
I Believe You Do (feat Flautistar) - (6:15) 174 BPM
Review: Celsius step up with the "Star City EP" from Smote and what an EP it is. Think lush, uplifting sounds from start to finish. Opener "Express Your Self" is full of aspirational piano keys, warm instrumentals and gently rolling breaks. Fill yourself with dreams of greatness as we continue into the title track "Star City" which features humming bass, sparkling SFX and dreamy atmospherics. Then finally "I Believe You Do (feat. Flautistar)" rounds things off with a feel good finale.
Review: Smote's musical is a little more interesting than most. As the frontman of a punk band in his more country of Slovakia during the '80s and '90s, he's been obsessed with electronic music ever since. A long-time friend of the Celsius team, this release brings them together again, offering up some of the finest jazz-influences rollers this side of Calibre's external hard drive. Sticking fast to his preferred suite of hard rolling percussion and beautifully arranged melodies, there's a lightness to his production that makes it easy to get lost inside each track. Equally at home on the dancefloor as the living room, this is a collection of four liquid tunes deserving of a more interesting genre description than that. Pick it up, you won't regret it.
Review: Following his recent outings on Liquicity, Smote returns to Fokuz with this charming four-tracker. Tailored for those cosy nights in and the long dark journeys we find ourselves having this time of year, each cut hits with the right levels of emotion, poignancy and soul. Highlights include the darker rumbles, pitched down vocal and ethereal feel of "Blu September" and the total vibrancy of "Made By Soul" which the sonic equivalent of sharing a sunrise while holding hands with a new best mate.
Critical Event & Askel - "So In Love With You" - (4:27) 174 BPM
ALB - "Using Minds" - (5:29) 174 BPM
Calculon & Dave Owen - "Ben Carlos" (feat Christina Tamayo - Zero T remix) - (5:11) 58 BPM
Smote - "Just Come Back" - (5:20) 174 BPM
Joakuim - "8am Roller" - (4:30) 172 BPM
Drumcatcher - "Feelings" - (4:35) 172 BPM
Brainwork & Mnml - "Embrace" - (5:18) 172 BPM
Review: Fokuz Recordings consistently release some of the best compilation albums around. Their pool of artists is so diverse and so top quality that an assortment of their work is always going to be special, especially when they bring in outside talent like Break and Zero T. Collaborations 2 is what is says on the tin: remixes and other collaborative projects and blimey, it's good stuff. Joakuim's '8am Roller' is the perfect example, a deft piece of piano-based smoothness that rolls out to your heart's content with sultry results, an instant classic of liquid-sized proportions. The Break remix is a welcome addition, as is the steppy yet soulful Zero T remix of Ben Carlos. Another very, very good selection of cuts from the always sublime Fokuz crew.
Review: A collection of gems from the deeper and liquid side of D&B here from the likes of Command Strange, Bachelors of Science and Scott Allen. Quadrant's "Expanse" gets the album started with crisp, metallic breaks, sweeping instrumentals and a warm, fuzzy bassline. We are taken through such moments as Gerwin's super slick, vocal-led cut "Floods (featuring Suree)", the bittersweet "A World Full Of Lies" from Smote & SoundNBeats and the hip-hop influenced swagger of Bachelors Of Science "Bounce". An excellent long listener, take this on a car journey with you and discover something new today.