Review: Buzzin' Fly compilations always take on a retrospective feel, looking back at what the label has achieved with a proud (and wholly justified) sense of achievement. They are much like family Christmas cards that fondly round up the year's activities for friends and relatives. As part of their 50th single celebrations this spring, they deliver a compilation of Buzzin' Fly classics as the next instalment of the Focus On series. Penned by Chris Woodward, an integral part of the imprint?s close knit family, this release serves as the audio family newsletter created to celebrate reaching this impressive milestone. All the big moments are there and each family member features, from Ben Watt to Spencer Parker, Justin Martin, Mlle Caro and Franck Garcia.
Like Buzzin Fly: 5 Years in the Wilderness, (and all four Volumes in the Buzzin' Fly series) this compilation digs into the imprint?s revered back catalogue to commemorate its particular achievement. The former was applauding reaching five years whilst the latter celebrates reaching their 50th release. Over seventy-five minutes, Chris Woodward picks out some of Buzzin' Fly's flagship tracks such as label boss Ben Watt?s "Guinea Pig," Spencer Parker's "The Beginning" and Justin Martin?s "The Fugative." As Woodward hones into some deep, intricate, house action, he delves into Buzzin' Fly's trademark mix of deep house, melodic techno and electronic disco. We see cuts like Jay Shepheard?s remix of Glimpse and Martin Eyrir's "Southern Soul" standing shoulder to shoulder with Darkmountaingroup's "Lose Control." Woodward also adheres to the Buzzin' Fly tradition of house that is both sonically ornate and driving in all the right places by including moments like Mlle Caro & Franck Garcia?s beautiful "Dead Souls" and Ame's club fuelled remix of "Insomnia".
Buzzin' Fly specialises in deep and beautiful house music. Their long standing resident has done the admirable job of paying homage to that sound and all the producers that help shape it, in one retrospective compilation that proves just what a force Buzzin? Fly has become over those 50 releases.
Review: After a hot string of releases this year on labels such as Ovum, CR2 and Azuli, one of Britain's best talents Spencer Parker is back with fresh material for Rekids. "I Think I Love You" reeks of Spencer's years of experience as it delves immediately into first class territory. Tightly produced, the off beat claps, closed hats and bass current are subtle, charismatic and addictive. Up next, Reboot takes the deep chugging record up a notch or two and into the tech house realm. Tinny cow bells and percussive rhythms are added with breezy aplomb by the German.
Review: Kevin Griffiths' Tsuba label arguably had its strongest year to date in 2011, as this handy 12-track round up of highlights shows. Inhabiting the no-man's-land between deep and tech-house, Tsuba's 2011 output ranged from sturdy and acid-flecked (Subb-Ann) to intensely beautiful (Aybee's delicious, Nu Groove-ish rework of Ethyl & Huxley's "Reflexions") via straight-up late night floorfillers (Mic Newman, Spencer Parker & Ian Pooley, a notable remix from Sebo K). This collection also includes a terrific Larry Heard remix of Moodymanc's "Black Paint", which is as well crafted and undulating as you'd expect from the great man.
Review: Spencer Parker is one of the unsung heroes of UK house music, but on this occasion, he hands over the controls to French talent. Rex resident Molly is behind the edit of "The Improvised Minotaur" and she does a fine job, teasing out the flowing piano line to the backdrop of a loose, rolling groove and eerie synth sounds. Fellow countryman DJulz's take on "Romantic" is more direct and less ethereal; the dense drums shuffle in a similar style to Martyn's recent output and are propelled forward with hissing percussion, while the organ riff at its heart lends it a somewhat menacing edge.
Review: Here we have a meeting of house minds courtesy of John Wink's Ovum records. Like a musical Blind Date if you will, with the former dreaded one playing Cilla. "Lerchen Und Eulen" has a jazzy, live feel like that of a 1950s Brazilian hip cat trio, only it's married to house hats and 80s-style claps. "In My Head" is more conventional, throbbing and deep house nouveau. Finally Radio Slave steps in to deliver a whopping 11 minute version of the lead track which is extremely sparse and is fuelled by an incessantly swinging rhythm.
Review: Kevin Griffiths is a wag. Having previously decided to press up just 100 copies of his latest Tsuba Limited compilation, he then had the masterstroke of calling it One Per Customer. Now it's available digitally the joke is slightly less amusing, but it's still a bit of a belter. Made up of previously vinyl-only jams (Italo Johnson's rather fine remix of Spencer Parker's "Show Him You're The One" being the most obvious example) and a smattering of new cuts (including a bassy chunk of low-slung basement house from Milton Jackson and a near Balearic rush of eyes-shut goodness from Rio Padice) this compilation comes highly recommended.
Review: Following news that Ben Watt no longer intends to put out new music on Buzzin' Fly, the compiling and re-releasing of some of the highlights from the label's back catalogue is timely. This third volume focuses on the high point of the label's output, the golden period from 2007 to 2008. The dominant sound here is trancey and melodic, with synth sweeps combined with sensuous strings and woodwind samples. Manoo & Francois A embody this approach on the windswept "Magnetic", where epic, acid-led hooks build over dubbed out drums, while Pedro Madeira's "Long Shadows" moves from lush strings into an epic break down. Despite this approach, there is still space for classic US house, as the dubby drums of Dennis Ferrer & Steve Martinez' version of Ben Watt's "Lone Cat (Holding On)" demonstrates.