Reviewed this week
Although still best known for delivering high grade reworks and re-edits, Adesse Versions has previously released some killer original productions, too. Predictably, the three sample-heavy house jams included on this debut Delusions of Grandeur experience are pretty darn hot. Check, in particular, the Clavinet-heavy Blaxploitation bounce of "Pulp Fusion", where sampled '70s instrumentation rides a bouncy, filter-flaunting house groove. Or, for that matter, the lolloping, undulating, glassy-eyed sweetness of the sun-kissed, extra percussive "Fade Out", which makes use of elements from a particularly Balearic disco record. Flip to the B-side for "Raw (Live Edit), a bustling, big room friendly jack-track that sounds like a long lost David Morales Red Zone Dub.
Late last year, French imprint Chuwanga launched via a fine compilation exploring the early '80s Britfunk sound (think jazz-funk and electrofunk) in impressive detail. You'll find numerous aural nods to that style on this follow-up, a fine debut single from producer Koji Ono. Check, for example, the sparkling synthesizers, hustling guitars and house-tempo jazz-funk grooves of "So High", the wiggly Clavinet lines, whistling melodies and rubbery bass of "Inner Rhythms" and the luscious, misty-eyed warmth of ear-pleasing mid-tempo instrumental jam "Momoshima". All are exquisite examples of revivalist cuts that boast more than enough freshness and impeccable instrumentation to bear comparison to the records that inspired them.
As Fabric's highly regarded mix series speeds towards its hundredth release, the iconic club's in-house label continues to serve up must-have volumes. Predictably, this volume from globetrotting Life & Death head honchos Tale of Us is pretty darn tasty. Atmospheric, fluid and hazy with a wonderfully undulating ebb and flow, it sees the acclaimed Italian tech-house twosome saunter between trippy, early morning workouts, quietly melodious shufflers, psychedelic techno jack-tracks and the kind of dark, mind-altering fare most often associated with pitch-black Berlin basements and bleary-eyed after-hours events. Typically, the mix contains a slew of exclusive tracks that have never before seen the light of day, including gems from Dennis Hovrat, Fur Coat (the throbbing "Squared Mind") and Efdemin.
Since first popping up on Classic back in 2015, Chicago stalwart Chrissy (once famed for his juke productions as Chrissy Murderbot, but not embracing his house and disco roots) has barely put a foot wrong. "Back in Time", his third single for Derrick Carter and Luke Solomon's label, is another surefire hit; a delightfully celebratory vocal workout blessed with nods towards classic disco, Maurice Fulton's Syclops project (check the meandering analogue synth bassline) and sing-along house. Of the producer's two versions, it's the Extended Mix, with its additional bassline pressure and punchy drum fills, that's the superior choice. Arguably even better is Crackazat's swinging, piano-heavy Extended Remix, which comes on like a long-lost vocal house anthem from the mid '90s.
Italy now boasts some of the world's most talented exponents of next generation electronic jazz-funk. Ad Bourke and Raiders of the Lost Arp are undoubtedly among the top tier, as "Raw" so expertly proves. In its original form, the track is a jazzy, intergalactic treat rich in fizzing, Herbie Hancock synthesizers, rubbery Level 42 style bass, and beats seemingly inspired by fellow Far Out outfit Azymuth. Equally as impressive is the accompanying Ron Trent remix, which sees the legendary Chicagoan producer add a little deep house bump and peak-time energy whilst retaining the percussive and musical fluidity of the Italian combo's inspired original version.
For their latest release, Brooklyn's Let's Play House crew has looked far beyond the Five Boroughs, securing a first label release from Uncanny Valley regular Jacob Korn. The Dresden producer predictably hits his stride immediately, wrapping wonky, bass-heavy acid lines around rock solid kick drums and open cymbals on throbbing opener "Wrong Way". There's an altogether looser, sweeter feel about "Old Man in Love", with Korn successfully employing glistening jazz guitar motifs, jaunty piano riffs and all manner of hazy vocal samples. The "Version" mix of the same track is a more stripped-back and bass-heavy, Dub style revision, while closer "My Business" sounds like futurist Detroit techno pitched down and fused with early Italian dream house, which is no bad thing in our book.
Over the last two decades, Tosca has released almost as many remix albums as studio sets. This reworked version of 2017 album Going Going Going, then, was expected. Even so, it's a thoroughly entertaining collection that contains both club-focused European house interpretations (see Brendan Moeller's evocative, emotion rich tech-house takes of "Amber November" and Stefan Obermaier's hypnotic, trance-inducing revision of "Friday") and deeper, warmer and trickier to pigeonhole reworks. In this category you?ll find the Batacuda-inspired brilliance of Stereotyp's version of "Chinbar" and Steve Cobby's inspired, ten-minute take on "Tommy". This, a kind of groovy downtempo house shuffler mixed with Fila Brazilia style stoner funk instrumentation, more than stands up to repeat plays.
Filta Freqz may well be the most prolific production outfit in house right now. Last year, they released over 30 digital singles, mostly on their own label, Seventy Four. Here they graduate to the big leagues via a single on Defected offshoot DFTD. Opener "Master Blaster" is something of a bumpin' peak-time treat - a cheery, break-driven hip-house worthy of original, late "80smaestros Fast Eddie and Tyree Cooper. The track's genius lies in its' killer combination of tweaked funk samples, rap vocal snippets, snaking sax motifs and no-nonsense house beats. The turn-of-the-90s vibe continues on "Show Me", where classic vocal snippets ride another bumping, disco-fired groove.
Last year, Joeski popped up on Cajmere's Relief Records imprint with a dash of "Acid Disco". On his second Crosstown Rebels appearance, the long-serving producer explores similar territory, serving up "Acid" and "Disco" variants of the sleazy and enticing "I Want You". It's arguably the former version, with its? piercing TB-303 lines, jacking drums, Hipp-E and Halo style dubbed-out rifss and wonky, spoken word vocals that hits home hardest. It's certainly both big room and peak-time friendly. The "Disco Mix" is still impressive though, featuring as it does looser drums, warmer bass and some choice guitar samples from Cymade's superb "Dove". While certainly evocative, it lacks the feral appeal of the wilder "Acid Mix".
Having spent the last few years championing vinyl-only releases, London-based deep house imprint Slow Down has finally decided to make some of its' releases available on digital download. Fittingly, they've reached for the label's 2014 debut release first, a brilliant four-tracker from long-serving U.S producer Greg Stewart, better known as DJ Aakmael. Each of the four tracks is wonderfully warm, rich and gently life affirming, with Stewart variously making use of bluesy sampled loops, fluid piano motifs, deep-space chords, wild organ solos, tactile New Jersey garage basslines and brilliantly programmed percussion. In other words, it's a collection of top quality deep house tracks from a producer who's been at the top of his game since the 1990s.
Although many would think of The Belleville Three when naming the originators of the Detroit techno sound, Eddie Fowlkes was fundamental in the development of the city's first wave - he released his first record on Juan Atkins? Metroplex Records in 1986 - one of the very first techno tracks ever produced in fact! He also went on to pioneer the city's house sound, alongside Kelli Hand and Alton Miller. Said to have earned his nickname 'Flashin' for his skills behind the decks, Fowlkes has continued to produce pioneering tracks and toured dancefloors around the world. "That's What I Think About" is a deep and bumpin' joint with a cool spoken word vocal, while Culoe De Song's remix up next is a nice modern revision and gives it exactly the kind of hi- tech soul makeover - that would make all the Detroit heads proud. "Something Special E" is more energetic, a bit more techy and perfect to turn up the heat later in the night. These tracks were originally released on Fowlkes' Detroit Wax label.
Given Ludovic Llorca's vast experience and hugely impressive track record (not just as Art of Tones, but also under a variety of other aliases), we now expect each successive release to hit the mark. Predictably, this single-track salvo does just that. While rooted in warm, swinging, feel-good 1990s U.S deep house - a sound he has mined extensively in recent years - "Gimme Some More" also includes the kind of jazzy flourishes and toasty instrumentation that was first heard on his first F Communications release, "Can't Take It", way back in 1997. While that particular EP was packed with St Germain style deep jazz-house, "Gimme Some More" is a far more up-front affair, with sampled vocal refrains ratcheting up the track's shoulder-swinging dancefloor intensity.
Blutch has been quietly going about his business since 2014, delivering sporadic slices of Balearic goodness and, most recently, bespoke deep house warmth. This latest EP could well be his most obviously peak-time focused released yet, with swinging, jazz-flecked opener "Dropin' a Chrome" delivering a weighty and attractive mix of bumpin', boompty-influenced deep house beats, lilting trumpet motifs, hip-hop vocal samples and seriously heavy analogue sub-bass. The disco-fired "Last Dance" - all Loleatta Holloway vocal samples, woozy chords and sturdy beats - explores similar territory, while "Ezra Was Not Right" sounds like a morning-fresh collaboration between "Eple"-era Royksopp and swinging deep houser Mall Grab. There's also a tasty bonus in the shape of Red Rack'em's dreamy and swirling remix of "Dropin' a Chrome", which includes some subtle nods towards Pepe Bradock classic "Deep Burnt".
Those who've kept track with Krystal Klear's career will note that the Irish producer regularly pays tribute to historic aspects of dance music culture. Rarely, though, has he made his intentions quite as clear as this. As the name suggests, Club Studies features cuts that wholeheartedly doff a cap towards the records played at legendary New York clubs. First you'll find two versions of "Just a Little"; a groovy, soulful and sparkling mix inspired by the weekly Sunday Service bashes, and a chunky, hypnotic, percussion-led affair that nails the sound Danny Tenaglia was championing at Twilo in the late 1990s. Then you will get Junior Vasquez style dark garage of "Dedication (Sound Factory Mix)" and the riff-heavy Brooklyn techno throb of the "NASA Mix" of the same track.
The second instalment in the Tale of Tales series brings with it four more reasons to be cheerful. Dirt Crew regular Felix Leifur steps up first with "Eitt", a lovably loose, dusty and occasionally wonky trip into blazed jazz-house territory. The jazzy mood continues on Toy Tronics duo COEO's rolling deep houser "Clouds", before Moony Me peppers a bustling, organic-sounding groove with sparkling synth refrains and drowsy chords on the thrillingly hazy "Soul Mirage". Sune opts for a far more bustling, chunkier beat pattern on skewed disco-house caper "I'll Be Right Back", which features some superbly cut-up and rearranged vibraphone solos alongside punchy horn samples and a brilliant post-breakdown drop.
Remarkably, it's been 24 years since Fish Go Deep released their debut single. They've released on countless labels since then, becoming one of the most reliable production outfits in deep house. Here, the Cork duo adds another label to their bulging CV: legendary New York stable NiteGroves. The groove underpinning "Song For Repaired Piano" is a little moodier and basement-friendly than some of their output, though the musical elements that rise above this - think rising string loops, jazzy electric piano solos and warm chords - conform to the pair's usual deep and dreamy standards. Naturally, the accompanying Repaired Piano Dub is sparser and heavier in tone, with additional electronics and delay-laden vocal samples to emphasize the heads-down, peak-time mood.
Tunnelvisions twosome Raynor de Groot and Emiel van den Dungen impressed with last year's debut album, Midnight Voyage, a set of decidedly organic club tracks inspired by various rivers and deserts. Here, they present new versions of two of that set's standout cuts, "Guava" and "Kahana". Luca Musto's interpretation of the latter, a mid-tempo Balearic deep house shuffler rich in steel drum style melodies and drowsy, elongated synthesizer chords, is clearly one of the EP's standout moments alongside Area's thrillingly heavy and druggy acid house take on "Guava", which boasts some seriously wild TB-303 lines. Check also de Groot and van den Dungen's superb Night Mix of the same track, which makes great use of Rio Carnival style drums (similar in style to SheBoom's contributions to Paul Simon's "The Obvious Child").
Spanish hi-tech soul maestro Eduardo De La Calle on the true home of it: Planet E - and it's about friggin' time if we do say so! Over the last several years, the Madrid native has respectfully borrowed from the traditions of first and second wave Motor City sounds, but he undeniably carved his own path via his respected Analog Solutions imprint. The Icosahedrite EP features three life affirming explorations in techno-soul. From the the galaxian Jupiter jazz, through to the classic funked up futurism that pays homage to greats like Transmat and Metroplex like on "Mr Dewey D". There is also the more powerful and straight ahead functionalism of "Rhythmic Soundscapes" which is just as heads down and DJ ergonomic as his aforementioned AS material. This follows up some great releases by him in 2017, on the likes of Anemone, Forbidden Colors and Monogram Systems.
Here, BBE gets something of a scoop from two of stalwarts of the Chicago deep house scene: all round legend Ron Trent and the lesser known, but no less storied, Lono Brazil. "Manchild (In The Promised Land)" is a rare collaboration between the pair and centres around Brazil?s evocative, spoken word version, which sits somewhere between Gil Scott-Heron and Roland Clark. It naturally takes pride of place on Trent?s immaculate "Full Vocal Version", whose fluttering synths, dreamy backing vocals and seductive synth strings are joined by the Prescrition co-founder's usual blissful musical touches. Hotly tipped Japanese husband-and-wife duo Dazzle Drums step up to provide the accompanying remix, serving up deliciously percussive Afro-deep version that's every bit as impressive as Trent's mix.
Throughout the label?s lengthy (if on-off) existence, Beatservice has consistently championed the work of artists based in and around its' traditional home of Tromso, the sleepy city in northern Norway that was the unlikely birthplace of the country's homegrown dance music scene way back in the late 1980s. Third Attempt, AKA 20 year-old producer Torje Spilde, was not even born when all that was happening, though his elegant, loose and organic take on deep house - warm, drowsy and full of subtle nods towards disco - has echoes of many vintage Norwegian releases by the likes of Tromso originators Bjorn Torske and Rune Lindbaek. The two tracks here are both superb, though its opener "Shoreline" that just edges out the electric piano solo-heavy "Open Spaces" in the "best track" stakes.
LUVLESS/LONG ISLAND SOUND/TOMMY VICARI JNR/MARA LAKOUR - Super Tuff 002 (Super Tuff) - exclusive 05-03-2019
WOLF + LAMB feat RUSSOUL - Love You Still (Wolf & Lamb US)
SOUNDERSONS - Headhunters (Paper Recordings)
FELIX LEIFUR/COEO/MOONY ME/SUNE - Tale Of Tales: Chapter 2 (Lagaffe Tales)
THIRD ATTEMPT - Shoreline (Beatservice Norway)- exclusive 03-03-2018
ZIGAN ALDI - Peregrine Falcon (Underyourskin)
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