Review: It's the onset of a brave new era for Ostgut Ton as Panorama Bar 06 signals the label's decision to halt the manufacturing of CDs for their much loved series of mixes. Due for free download via the Ostgut site on August 11, the Berlin operation have not forgone the vinyl format with all the exclusives gathered by mix curator Ryan Elliott pressed up across a pair of 12" samplers. And boy did Elliott call in the favours with this first sampler featuring new and unreleased music from Neworldaquarium, Roman Flugel, Terrence Dixon, Tuff City Kids and Borrowed Identity. It is an overall exquisite selection, running from the ambience of NWAQ's contribution to Flugel's big room stomper and the sweeter, more playful sounds of Tuff City Kids and Borrowed Identity.
Review: Starting out as a digital-only label before blossoming into the distinguished operation it is today, Audiojack's Gruuv label has been host to high-end work from names both familiar and unfamiliar over the years. In celebrating five years of sterling operation, the imprint hits volume three of its festivities with another killer selection of artists on offer. Oxia and Yannick Baudino team up for the plush, steady-rolling tech house funk of "Simple Life", while A1 Bassline brings a bouncy, tom-infused swinger to bear with the addictive "Hold". Tuff City Kids have their unabashed old skool hat on for the hooky chord stabs and breakbeat chops of "Taddler", and Kyodai mixes things up with a broken beat twist on euphoric deep house music.
Review: Having started out as a remix-orientated project, the Tuff City Kids pairing of Gerd Janson and Phillip Lauer are increasingly being regarded as producers of original club ready material. Since debuting in high profile fashion with a EP for Ostgut sub-label Unterton last year, the hirsute pairing have grace both Live At Robert Johnson and Sven Vath's Cocoon with original material. A debut on Delsin's house focused series seems right in line with the Tuff City Kids trajectory and their talents for hard-edged yet melodic house productions are on full display with the Roby Tease EP. Lead track "HFS" sets the tone perfectly with blissful textural touches that feel like a Lauer trademark lent a sense of subtle brutishness by the rise and tide of the rhythmic elements, while "Wendy (Girlfriend 43 Piano Mix)" is a contrast of 90s piano house and more steely contemporary techno. Janson and Lauer's production versatility is further demonstrated with final cut "Reeze" that operates at a slower tempo that showcases the well-defined drums and snares, ramshackle percussive flourishes and juddery bass.
Review: Gerd and Phil land their first set of original Tuff City Kids tracks in style, taking the controls for the second release on Unterton, the newly established offshoot of Ost Gut Ton. The Bobby Tacker EP has Janson and Lauer crafting three tracks of beefcake house with one clear purpose in mind, and executed with the skills they've honed over countless excellent remixes under the Tuff City Kids banner over the years. Lead track "SFS" wastes no time in playing its trump card; a glossy, thick synth line that pulses all the way through the track while the bottom end comes on all rugged and antsy. Meanwhile "Bias" exercises an air of restraint, letting a simple beat unfold while a tense string edges in from the side hinting at the fearsome techno line that growls in the lower register, imbued with the DNA of dub but twisted to a malevolent intent. Finally "Begger" kicks off on some booming Chicago drums slowed down to a modern cruise, but once again it's a powerful lead synth that rules the day.
Review: When it comes to delivering retro-futurist analogue house jams, few can touch Phillip Lauer and Gerd Janson's Tuff City Kids outfit. Underground House Research Vol 2 is stuffed with the stuff, and should send shivers down the spine of all DJs of a certain vintage. "Potion No. 4" and "TRUTHS" both tip a wink to early Chicago house, and include various sly audio references to early TRAX bombs from Virgo Four, Jamie Principle and Larry Heard. They move closer towards Italian piano house - whilst retaining a core Chicago shuffle - on the hands-in-the-air stomp of "RUTHS", while "Carden Eden" fuses a variety of rave-era house influences with predictable success.
Review: Last summer, Gerd Janson and Philip Lauer brought their giddily retro-futurist Tuff City Kids project to Suol for the very first time via an acid-fired single-track salvo. Here they continue their relationship with the long-running German house imprint through "Beau Tan", a typically glassy-eyed, colourful and attractive chunk of Balearic house liss full of catchy analogue bass, sustained strings, dreamy chords and jumpy synth stabs. The Ruff Stuff remix brilliantly twists the track into wilder new shapes (check the punchy beats and psychedelic acid lines), while the Intr0beatz rework is a slick chunk of heartwarming deep house haziness.
Review: Lauer and Gerd Janson's Tuff City Kids project has been revered for their signature sound that has made them the current toast of the house music scene - neon-lit classic analogue sounds that are evocative enough to be featured on a John Hughes movie soundtrack - if they could go back in a time machine. On the face of it, you'd be surprised by their remix choices: for example Marcel Dettmann? Rest assured they're in good hands here with the Berghain resident - whose recent exploits have also been invested in the early industrial sounds of the '80s recently and that's really evident on his rendition of "Scared". Likewise, fellow Berghain regular and Hotflush boss Scuba dons his more nefarious SCB guise on a perspective of "Nordo", creating a seething and mental warehouse techno jam to lead in to the peak time. Elsewhere, Roman Fluegel impresses as always with his slinky and hypnotic rework of "R-Mancer" while Permanent Vacation boss Benjamin Froelich delivers not one but two remixes of "Tell Me" featuring Hot Chip's Joe Goddard.
Review: Gerd Janson and Philip Lauer are equally respected artists in their own right, but then they teamed up as Tuff City Kids they really conjured up a distinct style of magic between them. From plundering the vaults of classic house and disco sounds, through to their current fascination with old school techno and '90s rave aesthetics - even more styles gets thrown into the mix here. All courtesy of some of their favorite artists, getting the chance to rework some of the pair's recent tracks from the Adolescent LP - on the third and final series of remixes. Bulgarian hardware maverick KiNK delivers a furiously epic rendition of "Tell Me" (featuring Joe Goddard), Berlin legend Sascha Funke presents a spookily lo-slung perspective of "Wake People" and Norwegian disco hero Prins Thomas works his magic as always on an electrifying balearic rendition of the same track.
Review: Lauer and Gerd Janson aka Tuff City kids emerged with "Tell Me" featuring Hot Chip's Joe Goddard on vocals back in late 2016 on Permanent Vacation, but now it's time for the remixes and they're pretty sweet on this EP; if we do say so ourselves. Hamburg's finest Tensnake is in fine form as always with his rendtion: a tropical nu-disco explosion! Joe Goddard himself chips in too with a makeover of the track; his one getting some emotive Kompakt vibes going on full of rich and life affirming synths leads happening. After all, he has recently collaboarated with Michael Mayer. Finally they save the best for last with the mighty Roman Fluegel delivering the "Happy Gerdy remix" which very uplifting indeed.
Review: As Tuff City Kids, Lauer and Gerd Janson are masters at delivering raw-as-sandpaper jackin' house-pop (just the way we like it). Here though with the help of Norwegian popette Annie they indulge their hidden campy side on the monumentally fun "Labyrinth". With a classic mid-80s arpeggiated energy, the track perfectly straddles the fine line between Italo Disco and early Jamie Principle (think Bad Boy) with a hint of the Smalltown Boys. Their own TCK rework steers things more towards the Ron Hardy side of town, and there's also some tasty reworks by Morgan Geist and DJ Oyster too.
Review: Hot Chip's Joe Goddard stated that before Tuff City Kids were due to play at London's XOYO one night, he suggested that they swing by his studio around the corner - and make tunes for a few hours. The track that resulted from this special evening is the neon-lit bounce of "Reach Out". Gerd Janson did the drums on an 808, Lauer played the lead part on an OBXa and Goddard nailed the bass on a trusty CS 80 - plus added the vocals a couple of weeks later. On the remix, Phantasy sound's Erol Alkan gives the track an early '00s electro styled makeover, while Detroit's Todd Osborn delivers an emotive and soulful rendition straight out of the Motor City.
Review: Here's something to write home about: a surprise debut album from on-point retro-futurists Tuff City Kids, AKA Running Back boss Gerd Janson and old pal Phillip Lauer. Given the opportunities for expression offered by the album format, it's perhaps unsurprising to find that they've decided against packing it entirely with hustling, warehouse-ready old skool house jams. Instead, their usual vintage synth stabs and drum machine rhythms are put to work on tracks that variously doff a cap to skewed synth-pop (Joe Goddard collaboration "Tell Me", Annie hook-up "Labyrinth"), cello-laden late night house (Kelley Polar hook-up "Aska"), acid-flecked electro ("Boilered"), early Human League tributes ("Scared"), and blissfully positive electronica ("Farewell House").
Review: Frankfurt institution Robert Johnson have truly succeeded in creating an in-house label that stands strong on its own without needing to lean on the club that birthed it. Phillip Lauer has been a part of that success story since the early days of the label, appearing as part of Art Mwambe, as himself, and many of his other collaborative ventures. As such it makes sense that this addendum to the recent Lifesaver Compilation 2 release features two such projects, with Tuff City Kids up first. As ever from Gerd Janson and Lauer the vibe is brightly coloured and immediately grabbing, dealing in thoughtful house constructions without compromising on impact, while elsewhere Hotel Lauer features Phillip's brother Jacob getting involved for a more dubby excursion with a pleasing old-skool finish.
Review: Munich's Permanent Vacation churns out releases at a rapid rate, making it annoyingly easy to miss out on great material. Lucky, their sporadic Selected Label Works compilation series can help fill in the gaps. Volume Five contains a wealth of tasty treats, from the wonky late night throb of Dolkraut's mesmerizing "Fire", and progressive house influenced dancefloor bliss of TB's "City Girl", to the Orbital style intelligent techno of Daniel Bortz and Sacha Sibler, via the bass-heavy wonkiness of Lake People. There's also another chance to savour Session Victim's loose, warm and groovy rework of Midnight Magic, and a tops-off-friendly chunk of Sound Factory era pump from Tuff City Kids.
Review: Supposedly recorded to mark Permanent Vacation's 10th anniversary party, Raketenmix is full of surprises. Certainly the tripped out electronic disco of DMX Krew's "Disco Theme" is not what one might expect from the German label, while a similar, albeit more glossy-sounding approach is audible on Tensnake's remix of Sally Shapiro's "I'll Be By Your Side". There are plenty of feel good house tracks here as well; for example, the mix revisits Holy Ghost's 2008 disco reshape of indie rockers Panthers' "Goblin City" and the 'Rave Dub' version of John Talabot's "Destiny" is an excellent low-slung groove. It all comes together to create the ultimate party mix for a Munich keller.
Review: Like a long and blurry session at the storied Robert Johnson club, Time Travel brings the listener on a real musical journey. It moves from the low-slung disco of Massimiliano Pagliara's "Sometimes at Night" into the deep, ponderous house of Portable and Maximillion Dunbar, moving into more dance floor focused grooves thanks to Benedikt Frey and Orson Wells before Frankfurt DJ Roman Flugel drops the brilliant wide screen electro of "Girls With Status". While Time Travel does largely document music emanating from the German city, it also goes back to the 80s to include the eternal Italo classic, "Flucht" by Zwischenfall.
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.