Reviewed this week
Young Marco and A Good Christian draw the curtain down on their brilliant Italian dream house retrospective series, Welcome To Paradise, with a third and final instalment that's every bit as good as its predecessors. After opening with the previously unreleased brilliance of Jacy's "Resounding Seashell" - the kind of cut that deserves to be played at languid, laidback afternoon pool parties - the Dutch duo variously serves-up sought-after gems (Leo Anibaldi's Larry Heard-esque "Universal"), humid and intoxicating early morning anthems (the tribal chants, kaleidoscopic chords and New Jersey organs of Green Baize's "Tramp Heart"), early ambient house anthems (Deep Blue's "Deep Blue (The Inner Part of Me)") and stone cold classics (Don Carlos's "Overture").
Suol's weekly open-air parties at IPSE, Hallo Montag, have become a summer fixture in Berlin over the past few years. Like the parties, the accompanying series of EPs showcase "sunny tracks" from the label's roster of artists and like-minded guests. This second part of the 2018 edition contains some suitably bright and breezy cuts, with Jimpster's "Lightshine" - a carnival-ready chunk of deep house dancefloor bliss rich in dreamy chords and Latin percussion hits - standing out. There's plenty to gently warm the soul elsewhere across the EP, though, from the snappy, low-slung grooves, toasty chords and CeCe Rogers vocals of Atjazz's remix of Chopstick and JohnJon's "What Is House Music", to the sparkling, life-affirming goodness of Zepherin Saint's "Take You There (featuring Divinity)".
The reach of not-for-profit label Needs continues to impress as they link up with Peggy Gou and Juju & Jordash in a collaboration with UN Women for an expertly curated EP of interstellar sonics strapped to a 4/4 beat. Gou is on typically strident form on "Shero," presenting her keen instinct for 90s house and more fluttering, psychotropic tones distilled into dancefloor manna as intriguing as it is easy on the ears. Juju & Jordash meanwhile channel their own learned approach to live jam improvisation into a true trance-out of strafing arpeggios and spongy FX for the trip-out crew to get lost in.
There's no doubt that Sophie Lloyd and Dames Brown's "Calling Out" - a gospel-disco stomper built around bold piano riffs, killer grooves and a strong, sing-along chorus - is fast becoming one of the anthems of 2018. This package doesn't boast the spine-tingling original, but rather some alternate takes from Floorplan (AKA Detroit techno legend Rob Hood and daughter Lyric Hood) and scalpel maestro Danny Krivit. The two Floorplan revisions naturally drag the track further towards storming gospel-house territory, with the fantastic Revival Mix - all crunchy Chi-Town drums, wild organs, jaunty pianos and relentless chorus - hitting home especially hard. Krivit, meanwhile, does a terrific job of teasing out the track before brilliantly alternating between Brown's jangling pianos solos and the killer chorus. Basically, Krivit's ten-minute take is arguably the definitive version.
Former Large Music and Nite Grooves man Chris Stussy returns to Robsoul Recordings for a third time, bringing with him a quartet of tried and tested box jams for deep house floors that like it funky and chunky. He eases us in gently with "Boogie Trippin", a swinging, breakbeat-driven cut rich in tasty hip-hop vocal samples and sparkling riffs, before dialing into eyes-closed disco-house territory via the head-in-the-clouds bump of "Flow Distinction". "Next To You" is a more hypnotic, locked-in and bass-heavy roller, while EP closer "Selfless State" wraps snippets of hazy modern soul vocals and elongated organ chords around another rolling, loose-limbed deep house groove.
Millionhands head honcho Tom Mangan is back as Tee Mango on Aus Music - this would be his third appearance on the label in less than a year - which speaks volumes really. EP#2 features the lo-slung sexiness of "Make It Last Forever" featuring that awesome Inner Life sample throughout. First, we have something a bit more energetic and harder hitting exists in the form of "Prototypical". A soulful and emotive house journey featuring gritty rhythms, a tough bouncy bassline and trippy stabs that's perfect to take crowd into the later hours. To finish, we have the funky deep-disco bounce of "Wazoo" that's perfect mood lighting for the early evening!
Originally released on the God O'Mighty EP in 1994 on New Jersey's Deep Groove Records, this much sought-after digger's delight by gets a much needed reissue on digital - so you're not held hostage by the scalpers anymore! "Illusions" 12" (Version) is a true zeitgeist of early '90s stateside house if we've ever heard such a thing, with those hands in the air pianos, classic pan-pipe presents and church organs all above some seriously swingin' rhythms. There is a brilliant remix by Dutch house veteran Gerd up next, whose NY Stomp Extended Tribute Mix is a truly respectful rendition that doesn't try to deviate from the original much at all. He just gives it a decent reshape adapted to modern dancefloors and properly harnesses the energy and emotions of the original.
Having tickled our fancy last year with their first Secretsundaze production, "Motorway Jam", Gilles Smith and James Priestley return with their debut single proper. In its original form, "Still Hope", featuring distinctive spoken word vocals from Anthony Anaxagorou, is a sweeping deep house treat, with atmospheric orchestration rising above a chunky but shuffling rhythm track. Smith and Priestley deliver their own driving, bassline-driven peak-time revision (the "Poems In The Heart Floor Version") before handing over the parts to Detroit veteran Wajeed. Surprisingly, he revisits the tail end of the '80s on his warehouse-bothering, riff-dominated Hardcore Dub, before utilizing the duo's electronic orchestration to the full of the more musically intricate Motor City deep house vibes of the Searching Dub.
Versatile's main man (alongside Monsieur Gilb'R) returns to the fray, with a hotly anticipated set of tracks on the label's 120th release. I:Cube has been busy, and he's keen to share the fruits of his labour with us. Delve deep into the exotic on the sublime "Flutes Souterraines" or "La Nuit Des Rats"- the latter featuring some truly hypnotic polyrhythms. There's also some wicked throwback sounds, like on the acid house stormer "Troglo Dance" and some emotive/ethereal deepness that the man always does so well: as heard on "Bifurque" and the truly evocative "Fractal P".
With label boss Kevin Griffiths running his Tsuba imprint out of sunny Adelaide down under, it still hasn't stopped him from seeking out the globe's finest house music. He sought out Argentinian producer Fernando Pulichino a few years ago and he's back with more emotive nu-disco business on the deep side. This follows up some great releases on Leng, Futureboogie and Is It Balearic. Starting out with the sexy neon-lit mood lighting of "Serena" that's perfect for the early evening. The lo-slung "Solstice" is perfect for watching a sunset on The White Isle . Then there are two versions of "Sunburst 73" where the groove of the original follows, but the remix by Swiss producer Androo (who had an impressive debut on Music From Memory sublabel Second Circle last year) delivers an impressive dub deconstruction in the vein of Adrian Sherwood.
Spleandor & Squalor founders Brame and Hamo started 2018 in confident fashion, serving up an EP that contained some of their strongest tracks to date ("Club Orange"). There are plenty more fine workouts to be found on this relatively speedy follow-up, from the swirling but driving early morning intoxication of "Parade Rain" - all elongated synthesizer notes, sun-bright melodies and symphonic chords rising above thrusting bass and beats - to the more jacking and spacey "Sports Complex". Arguably even better is the breezy, loved-up and rushing retro-futurism of "Limewire", which joins the dots between Italian dream house and early breakbeat hardcore. This in turn is given a chunkier, 4/4 house tweak by giddy retro-futurists Tuff City Kids, whose version is predictably endorphin-fuelled.
Following fine early outings on Cin Cin and Warm, psychedelic-minded house fusionist Elliott Lion pops up on Bristol's Futurebogie Recordings with more energetic, otherworldly club tracks. Title track "Ecstasy" is a typically swirling, densely layered and intoxicating affair, with spiraling electronics, "Tomorrow Never Knows" style exotic audio textures, feverish effects and dewy-eyed vocals rising above a loose-but-booming rhythm track. Rom Flugel runs with the "just necked a tab and I'm starting to hallucinate" vibe on his accompanying remix, in the process making the track even more trippy and mind-altering. To round off the EP, Lion serves up a more hypnotic bonus cut that sits somewhere between Isolee, Hardway Brothers and Futureboogie regular Christophe.
We promised Norwegian veteran Marius Circus that we'd not describe his latest EP as being "Scandolearic" in tone, though it does tick all the right cosmic boxes. Check, for example, the deliciously colourful synthesizer motifs and dreamy chords that come to the fore on "Have No Clue", a life-affirming blast of deep and cosmic house/space-disco fusion. Or, for that matter, the baggy, saucer-eyed Norse disco pulse of head-in-the-clouds bonus cut "Tyst", which is wonderfully atmospheric and spacey in tone. Anton Klint provides a druggy and psychedelic dancefloor interpretation of that track, while sometime PAN and Idle Hands man Matt Karmil does a terrific job in turning "Have No Clue" into a hypnotic chunk of deep space dub techno.
Rampa, Adam Port and &Me have gone a little remix-crazy of late, commissioning all and sundry to interpret tracks by their Keinemusik-released collaborative project. Last month, Gerd Janson and Solomun served up their interpretations; here, three more talented artists get their mitts on tracks from the trio's You Are Safe album. Chicagoan star Honey Dijon steals the show with a wonderfully heavy, throbbing revision of "Operator" full of breathy stabs, Afro-tech percussion and sleazy analogue bass. Elsewhere, Johannes Albert turns "Guilt Trip" into a twisted, arpeggio-fired fusion of mind-altering acid lines and dreamy, ethereal chords, while the All Work No Play remix of "Bumper" is a sparse but heavy, acid-fired slab of early morning dirt.
Sea Monster, the 2017 sophomore set from St Petersburg's Kito Jempere (real name Krill Sergeev), was something of a gentle Balearic treat. As you'd expect, this package of remixes of album highlights is a little more club-centric, though every bit as warm, glassy-eyed and loved up. Check, for example, the wonderfully tactile and gently breezy versions from Max Essa. These are rich-in gently pulsing drum machine hits, swirling chords and fluttering synthesizer melodies. Of the two, it's the more low-slung Dub, which sounds like a mid '80s Simple Minds instrumental B-side, which really resonates. Elsewhere, Finnish veteran Jimi Tenor provides a fuzzy, lo-fi version of "Puzzled" that sits somewhere between Balearic jazz and electro-lounge, and Miskotom pops a happy pill and gets all loved up with "Ampa".
Following outings on Running Back and his own Good Timin' imprint (the latter as one half of Conga Radio), Jex Opolis was arguably one of the underground success stories of 2015. He's at his best when focusing on vintage drum machines and synthesizers, knocking out cuts that sit somewhere between proto-house, early Chicago deep house and melodious, AM radio-friendly boogie. He touches on all of those influences for Good Timin', variously impressing with the sun-kissed beauty of "That's My Beach", the Moon B on anti-depressants brilliance of "Stay Cold", and the synth-heavy, house-flavoured dancefloor goodness of "Circle of Drums" and "Echo Harp".
More punchy classic house perspectives from Serbian-born, Brooklyn-based musician Bojan Cizmic. Following up that awesome Mango Bay EP and appearances on Steel City Discs, Lost Palms and UNDERTHESEA, now are these two scorching-hot jams (plus a sweltering Kornel Kovacs remix) on the XTC EP for Unknown To The Unknown diffusion imprint Hot Haus Recs. From the loved-up and emotive Euro-house antics of "IV" taking you all the way back to '93, "XTC II" where he gets super sexy and delves deeper into the acid/house bleep era, and our personal favourite "Soft Touch" that gets those sublime FM synth textures in full effect plus pan-pipes, jacked vocals and classic house stabs.
Kitjen is already the home to deep house artists like Suzanne Kraft and Fantastic Man, and now welcomes newcomer Stijn Sadae to the fold. Affetto is a laid back, languid affair; it starts with the title track's warbling groove, pulsing bass and lush melodies, before giving way to "Ikebana". There, Sadae lays down a bleepy bass and loose, tingling percussion to achieve the same type of balmy aesthetic, On "Nacht", the style is more conventional, as acid lines gurgle and squelch against a melodic backdrop, while Gerd Jansen's remix of the title track sees the Running Back boss deploy an uptempo rhythm, light melodies and even some warbling tropical birds to create an atmospheric climax.
Throughout his career to date, Jozef K has been a serial collaborator, releasing a string of well-received EPs in cahoots with regular studio buddy Winter Son. It's notable then, that this first outing for Tensnake's True Romance label sees him on a solo mission. It's a rather fine EP, all told, with opener "Sunshine Music (featuring Lauraell)" brilliantly wrapping swirling, filtered instrumentation and drowsy vocal samples around a tough but atmospheric rhythm track laden in well-placed delay and reverb effects. Elsewhere, "Within My Soul" sees the producer brilliantly build energy via fizzing, effects-laden string stabs and jacking drum fills, "Paris NYC" is a fluttering deep house/French touch fusion and "You Should Have Said Goodbye" is a warm and hypnotic trip into classic U.S deep house territory.
Since parting company with longtime Moloko partner Mark Brydon in 2003, Roisin Murphy has worked with some of the most inspired producers around, including Matthew Herbert, Toddla T, Seiji, Sheffield veteran DJ Parrot and now Maurice Fulton. This EP is the second of four singles produced for the Irish songstress by the Steel City-based Chicagoan and, somewhat predictably, it's rather good. "Plaything" begins with almost a minute of trippy, beat-free vocal bliss, before Fulton unleashes some seriously sleazy, hot-to-trot house grooves and all manner of life-affirming, Clavinet-driven disco instrumentation. Murphy is at her quirky and distinctive best on "Like", where her trademark multi-tracked, half-whispered vocal passages ride a mid-tempo chunk of throbbing alien funk that gets wilder by the minute. There are, of course, plenty of typical bonkers Fulton touches throughout.
FRED EVERYTHING - Long Way Home (Lazy Days US)
AL ZANDERS - Guidance EP (Undaground Therapy Muzik)
RADIO SLAVE - Feel The Reverse (DJ Koze Edits) (Rekids)
RAVE-ENKA - Full Fres (Paper Recordings)
PEZNT - Down Under (DFTD)
GUYDEEBLACK LENIN/DARRAN P/MUTENOISE - Lying On The Back (Minor Notes Recordings)
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