Toy Tonics boss man Kapote is in fine form on Yeah Pass It, the Berlin-based producer's first EP of 2018. There's much to admire from start to finish. He hits the ground running with the title track, a loose and ear-pleasing deep house roller full of jazzy keys, vintage analogue bass, snappy machine drums and jazz style freestyle vocals. The bluesy, low-slung hip-house shuffler "Want No More" follows, before Kapote gets busy with rubbery bass guitar, lolloping deep house drums and mazy jazz-funk synth solos on the warm and tasty "Steal The Fuzz". To complete a rather good passage, Mangabey serves up a fresh revision of "Yeah Pass It" that wraps new vibraphone and Latin style piano motifs around a bolder, busier rhythm track.
Tel Aviv's Red Axes duo have been snapped up by !K7 Records, and this is no surprise to us given the quantity - and quality - of material that they have released to date...names like ESP Institute, Dark Entries and Permanent Vacation coming to mind. This new EP focusses on tribal aesthetics from the first moments, with "Abidjan" rolling out a gorgeous groove of poly-rhythms and tropical sounds, with "Addis" heading further East thanks to mystical flutes interlocked with locked percussion groove, and "Musica Electronique" getting down with a much grittier bass attitude. Some ethereal business, right here...
Fresh from inspired outings on Smokin' Beat, Chopshop and About Disco, Oscar Levantine makes his bow on Daniel Solar and Andi De Luxe's ace Dikso imprint. Turn first to "Chorus", a filter-sporting mid-tempo disco-house jam whose heady grooves and mind-altering samples continue to rise, fall, build and rise again throughout the track's seductive six minutes. The Mexican producer ups the tempo considerably on "Fairground", a bolder and more percussively energetic affair rich in bounding, bouncy house drums, looped piano refrains, swirling chords and the kind of sweet, dewy-eyed female vocal samples that make you want to hug complete strangers while a hundred percent sober.
DJ, radio host and producer Stephen King made his production bow on KAT last year, serving up some tasty dancefloor morsels under the Virgo Type alias. A year on, he transfers to Midnight Riot with the brilliantly named Free Refills For The Broken Hearted, which also marks his first EP under his given name. The title track, a wonderfully loose, percussive and groovy affair rich in meandering saxophone lines, deep chords and glistening jazz guitar solos, is undoubtedly the EP's greatest moment, though there's plenty to enjoy elsewhere, too. Check, in particular, the bustling disco-funk punch of "Hold On To You", and closer "Blue Bawler", where blissful, undulating electronics dance atop a soft-focus house beat.
Following well-supported singles on Simma Black, Madtech, DFTD and Toolroom, tech-house stalwart Made By Pete makes his bow on powder house megalith Crosstown Rebels. In its original form, "So Long" is something of a humid and intoxicating treat, with Jem Cooke's ethereal vocals seemingly drifting above a humid, feverish backing track rich in shuffling, tribal-influenced drums and a booming bassline reminiscent of Jaydee classic "Plastic Dreams". Solomun steps up to remix first, giving the track a more obviously electronic feel and intoxicating tech-house vibe, before Audiojack makes it bigger, bolder and brassier. Bonus cut "Modify Saturn", a deep Afro-tech cut blessed with dense percussion, nagging electronics and suitably stretched-out breakdowns, is also impressive.
Denver, Colorado-based label This Never Happened has been nurturing the talents of Anderholm for some time, frequently placing his productions on compilations and collaborative EPs. Now they've offered him the chance to go solo with Flight of the Sparrow, an expansive debut mini-album packed with deep house treats. There's naturally much to enjoy throughout, from the gentle pastoral instrumentation and undulating beats of opener "Secrets" and dewy-eyed early morning positivity of "Timecode", to the grandiose orchestration and low-slung beats of "Symphonie Des Fleurs". Elsewhere, "Orphee" fuses hazy, lo-fi beats with mournful piano motifs, "Flight of the Sparrow" is poignant and melancholic, and closer "Room 89" is dense and off-kilter in the best possible way.
Loco Dice's recent third album, Love Letters, was packed with typically tough dancefloor grooves and, more surprisingly, a string of high-profile collaborations. "Out of Reach", made alongside fast-rising Dutch producer William Djoko, was amongst the finest of these. For this single release, the duo has served up two similarly inclined takes. First up is the strobe-friendly original version; a skewed and trippy chunk of sleazy early morning funk that places Djoko's half-sung, half-spoken vocal above a backing track overflowing with mind-altering sub-ass, trippy riffs, mangled electronics, swirling samples, vintage Fairlight stabs and bustling beats. The bizarre but brilliant intricacy of the backing track can be heard in all its wonky, funk-fuelled glory on the accompanying vocal-free Instrumental mix.
Lepizig crew A Friend In Need regular serve up compilation style EPs featuring tasty tracks from a select group of like-minded local and international producers. Here they go further, delivering an expansive, 11-track collection that could well be the imprint's strongest release to date. After beginning with a chunk of sparkling ambient brilliance by Afinns, the set flits between deliciously dreamy, groovy and tactile mid-tempo fare (mostly courtesy of slo-mo specialists such as Heion, loop-master 78 Edits, MermaidS, La Tumerie and Buzz Compass) and more peak-time-friendly tackle that similarly fuses elements of swirling deep house, rubbery disco and glassy-eyed boogie. These cuts are particularly potent, with the contributions by Mono & Luvless, Lootbeg and Quadrakey standing out.
Cardiff producer Harrison BDP has been on fine form this year, releasing impressive EPs on Piff, Enclave and Lost Palms. Here he returns to the latter with four more reasons to be cheerful. He begins with the spine-tingling late night brilliance of "Brute", where blissful, saucer-eyed breakdowns make way for bouncy, retro-futurist grooves, before re-imagining classic dream house via the picturesque shuffle of "Be Like Water". Elsewhere, the Welsh producer makes merry with psychedelic acid lines, dreamy chords and rubbery beats on "Easy Does It", while closer "Implosion" is a techno tempo surge of melodious positivity that's near impossible to dislike.
Something a little bit different from London deep house/nu-disco specialists Wolf Music here. Portuguese producer Pedro teams up with Washington DC based vocalist Jenna Camille. Featuring influences from jazz though to soul, R'n'B and broken beat: as heard on the sexy late night mood lighting of "Float" which you can imagine hearing in the basement of a smoky jazz club, the super sultry "Keep It H 2000" or the funky beat beneath the smooth groove of "Future Dance" (It'll Be Ok). It might be from Porto by way of the American capital, but this really nails that UK kind of vibe in the vein of Kaidi Tatham, Mark De Clive Lowe or Atjazz.
Following his well-received EP comeback "Analog Love" last year comes another sterling composition from Detroit veteran Alton Miller with the honeyed dulcets of singer Ree who comes on a strong like a young Amp Fiddler over Miller's restrained smooth chords. Then for an immense immersive Reedub where the vocals become sweet textures in a more freeform organ-led jam before fellow Detroiter Patrice Scott closes the show with a deep and dreamy refix. All the little things are adding up right here.
London's Loft Records are back with Bristol DJ/producer Crawford. His new killer "We Go Back" is an evocative tech house number that calls to mind the life-affirming vibes of classic Kompakt Records. It also receives a couple of decent remixes: first by rising British producer Kiwi and Irishmen Brame & Hamo of Splendour & Squalor fame. The latter's rendition is the true winner. A Detroit style hi-tech soul stomper, in the vein of Kevin Saunderson or Aril Brikha. Second original offering "Techno Rhumba" uses some hypnotic acoustic guitar melodies during the drop - which soon gives way to a woozy, slo-mo and heads down groove.
For its fourth release, RTCT makes an inspired choice. Crisco and Chupacabra may come from opposing ends of Italy, but both are united when it comes to their love of deep house, techno and even a side-serving of garage. On "Exodia" and "Turf", the pair tap into the atmospheric end of 90s UK techno and the gentler end of 2-step to create bubbling, evocative grooves. "Motrola" follows in a similarly widescreen vein, but in this instance, the aesthetic is underpinned by a warm Detroit techno rhythm. While "Endless Summer Dream (Asleep)" sees the pair up the ante thanks to some squelchy acid, their focus remains on dreamy, melodic dance music, audible on the breathless break beats of "Endless Summer Dream (Awake)".
Earthboogie's debut album, Human Call has rightly earned praise upon its release earlier in the year, with listeners responding positively to its sticky and humid dancefloor fusions of African and South American rhythms, chunky dub disco, retro-futurist house, spacey analogue electronics and sun-kissed Balearica. Hot on the heels of that release, Leng Records has sourced new remixes of two album highlights. The remix of "High Minded Man" from Running Back label boss Gerd Janson is an electrifying classic house rendition with an Afro influence that's just as neon-lit as you'd expect. Next, synthesizer-wielding Balearic stalwart Pete Herbert gives "Silken Moon" the late night boogie-down vibe that this veteran of nu-disco always does so well.
Two years on from the release of his debut EP on D.KO, Pascal Pamme AKA Paso has finally got round to readying a follow-up. He begins with the meandering, sample-rich goodness of "Idocracy", where hazy Fender Rhodes chords, held-note organ chords and buzzing synth-brass stretch out across a jazzy deep house rhythm, before showcasing his MPC beat-making skills on the house-not-house deepness of "Fuzy" [sic]. Over on the virtual flipside, title track "Limited Perception" swings and struts in all the right places, peppering a head-nodding, hybrid hip-hop/house groove with jaunty jazz-funk bass and warm, butter-rich chords. To conclude, Pamme delivers a slightly more driving mid-tempo number that benefits greatly from a warm and funky bassline.
Here we see the release of Nayfer's futuristic masterpiece: 'Paradise', courtesy of the Blacksoul Music imprint. As a recording, the original track is a slower synthy roller, bringing together shimmering arpeggiators, subtle vocal leads and progressive synth textures. This release however comes complete with two full official remixes, the first of which comes from PachangaStorm & Oliver Deuerling, who strip the original back a tad, bringing a more potent sense of drum movement to the composition. To finish up, PEZNT 1991 arrives for his rework, bringing potent moogy bass stabs to the table in a fiery UKG overhaul.
Philpot co-founder Soulphiction has been MIA for a while now, making it an utter pleasure to have him back on our charts with some effective new house swingers. He's landed on Local Talk, one of the very best in its class, and "Bizzness" kicks off with a funky-ass bassline and some freaky vocal chops, while "Cart People" lingers at a steadier sort of tempo, filtered through mounds of dubbed-out haze. "Slow Glow" is an experiment in percussion, also meandering its wavy synths on an off-kilter mode, and "Sweet Dreams" works the drum-machine in and out of the groove, ending up with another off-balance house experiment for the deeper minds out there on the floor!
Sub Urban label chief Guri takes time out from delivering killer material on his own imprint to serve up some serious heat on Spanish imprint Poetry in Motion. The Mallorcan producer showcases his soulful side on "Devotion", a deliciously jazzy and smooth number where disco style vocals and guitar flourishes rise above a bouncy, bass-heavy groove. French producer Phonk D steps up to remix the title track, wrapping choice elements of Guri's original around a squeezable synth bassline and mind-melting cowbells, before seductive bonus cut "Fool For You" impresses via languid beats, breezy vibraphone motifs and soft-focus jazz-funk bass. In a word: impressive.
Since debuting in 2002, Satoshi Fumi has amassed a bulging discography that includes well-regarded releases on such notable labels as Apollo, We Play House, YoshiToshi and Detone. Here he returns to regular home Unknown Season with a rather fine single-track salvo. Opening with a deliciously epic dose of synthesized orchestration, starry electronic motifs and breath-taking futurist flourishes, "Pleiades" is little less than an ultra-positive blast of otherworldly brilliance that fixes saucer-eyed Motor City techno sounds to a lolloping, groovy deep house groove. The track's genius lies not only in its expansive musicality, but also in the tactile, hip-swinging brilliance of its rubbery, loose-limbed rhythm.
Jayson Wynters is best known for his recent work on Don't Be Afraid, but the Birmingham resident has also been spotted on Mr G's Phoenix G label and elsewhere. Now he brings his smooth, undulating style of deep house to Ornate, fitting right in alongside the likes of Sota, Gauss and Faune with the immersive pulse and swooping pads of "Ancient Tones." "Jet Lagged" is a true trip-out affair with a bassline to sink into and chord washes that reach skywards, and then Caldera comes on board for a remix of "Ancient Tones" that works some crafty broken beats into the mix for a distinctive, wholly different outcome to the original.