Any new album from deep house pioneer and all-round legend Larry Heard is good news, but especially so when it's credited to his best-known and best-loved alias, Mr Fingers. Around The Sun Pt 1 is Heard's first album under the alias for four years and, unsurprisingly, it's as musically expansive, evocative, and atmospheric as they come. Naturally, it's rooted in the warming, dreamy, subtly jazz-flecked deep house style he's been tweaking and improving over decades, with occasional forays into sun-kissed downtempo grooves ('Touch The Sky'), angular acid tracks, Heard's take on dub house (the deliciously deep, micro-house influenced 'Marrakesh') and summery Balearic house ('Shimmer'). All in all, it's another masterpiece from deep house's most significant pioneer.
Mexican duo Soul of Hex has released some fine EPs over the last few years, with their sporadic outings on Delusion of Grandeur often boasting their most interesting and cosmic-minded cuts. There's plenty to admire on their latest outing for the Freerange Records offshoot, from the warming, peak-time ready haziness of opener 'Mystic'- a fine fusion of effortlessly Balearic guitar solos, warming disco bass, spacey synth motifs and dreamy chords - and the sparkling breeziness of revivalist piano-house/late '80s NYC garage number 'Love is In Control' (where vocalist Steve Lucas delivers a star turn), to the squelchy nu-disco/Italo-house flex of 'Heliocentrico' and the bumpin' electro vibes of 'Sphynx'.
Fresh from offering up the sublime, sun-soaked deep house sounds of the Love Overdose EP on Hustler Trax, rising star Brooklyn Baby (real name Loic Peltier) appears on Frappe for the first time. He begins offering up something 'For The Soul - a classic-sounding chunk of rolling deep house warmth in which tactile organ stabs, eyes-closed diva vocal samples and sampled funk guitar notes rise above chunky beats and a thickset bassline. Peltier dips the tempo a little and reaches for the hip-hop vocal samples on the jazzy, loose and languid deep house number 'Watch What You're Saying', before paying tribute to his favourite U.S city on the bumpin', chunky and bass-heavy deep house retro-futurism of 'NYC'.
La Collectionneuse is David Lieske aka Carsten Jost's third artist album on his Dial imprint, and it sees him continue to map out an understated but distinctive vision. All ten tracks are numbered and named after the release, with "La Collectionneuse 1" and "4" both led by stripped back grooves, and "2" and "3" venturing into deeper, US style house thanks to their shuffling drums and reflective textures. Jost's long-documented affinity with techno's more esoteric side is also audible here - "7" is a slow-building affair punctuated by subtle claps and shimmering melodies - while showing his flexible production skills, on "9", the German producer brings atmospheric sounds to bear on a warbling electro rhythm.
Chris Coupe and Chris Watson's first album as FYI Chris, last year's Earth Scum, was a thrillingly imaginative, impossible to pigeonhole affair that effortlessly blended elements of ambient, hip-hop, bass music, jazz, post-punk, peak-time house, bleeping electro and much more besides. There's a similarly boundary-blurring feel to Unreal Naseau, a follow-up EP packed with high-grade musical treats. Opener 'Things To Do' is a dusty, jazzy and hypnotic twist on dubby deep house that keeps building in intensity throughout, while 'Hair of the Dog' sees the pair wrap ultra-dreamy chords, acid bass and star fall electronics around a sweaty, percussion-laden Latin beat. Elsewhere, 'Orange Wednesday' is a drum-heavy peak-time workout peppered with sharp bleeps and spaced-out samples, and 'Terrarium' blends ambient techno, dubby deep house and glassy-eyed electronica.
Over the last 15 years, few producers have released quite as much high-quality dancefloor fare as Alan Fitzpatrick. Somewhat predictably, his latest EP - a label debut for Bristol-based imprint Shall Not Fade - is another must-check missive. He's scored something of a coup, too, by recruiting Chicago 'ghetto-dance' legend DJ Deeon to add his evocative spoken word vocals to 'Shake That Thing', a deliciously spacey chunk of analogue house brilliance whose evocative chords and restless rhythm track will bring joy to many dancefloors this summer. Rising star DJOKO remixes, doffing a cap to the early 2000s work of UK tech-house stalwarts Swag on a deliciously swinging, loose-limbed rub. Fitzpatrick then delivers a bouncy, life-affirming chunk of disco-house hedonism, 'Learning to Love', which is pure pleasure from start to finish.
About Deep House: Deep house can trace its roots back to Chicago in the mid 1980s, when pioneers such as Larry Heard and Marshall Jefferson began to deviate from the more driving 'jacking' sound of early house music by including more melodious, atmospheric and musicallt advanced elements inspired by a combination of jazz, soul and jazz-funk.