Review: Four months after the release of his fine debut album "What It Is", Toy Tonics founder Matthias Modias AKA Kapote offers up fresh versions of two of the set's most potent tracks. Of most interest to many will be the included "big name" remixes of "Jaas Func Haus". Art of Tones does a bang-up job recasting the cut as a dusty chunk of rubbery jazz-house/deep house fusion, while the Sworn Virgins remix is a delay-laden late night analogue-house wiggler from the Ron Hardy school of Chicago sleaze. Best of all, though, is Rahaan's rework, which is a wonky mid-tempo fusion of acid-style electronics and spiraling disco bliss. Elsewhere, there's another chance to enjoy Modias' funk-fuelled disco workout "Delirio Italiano", as well as a stripped back, extra-percussive "Dub" mix.
Review: With "Rhythm & Waves", Russian producer Sunner Soul seems to be daydreaming of sunnier and warmer times. There's certainly something suitably sun-kissed about the title track, which gently beefs up and re-arranges a bouncy, Clavinet-heavy chunk of groovy disco-funk that comes smothered in atmospheric party sounds. The tighter, slap bass-sporting "Universal Disco" explores similar sonic territory, while "Red Hot Disco" sees him layer up the percussion and filter sweeps on a joyful, mid-set workout. Elsewhere, "Let's Somebody Love" is a soaring slice up tooled-up disco-soul and "Get ready With Me" is a fine slab of string-laden boogie brilliance that sounds like it was beamed down from a distant disco planet.
Review: We were rather astonished to discover that "24/7 Love Affair" is Michael Baumann's first album as Soulphiction for 11 years. We were a little less surprised to find that it's superb. In fact, we'd go as far as to say that it could be considered a "best practice" example of the kind of loose, sample-heavy, soul-fired deep house that is all the rage right now. Yet the album's epic length - it comprises no less than 17 tracks - also allows Baumann to mix it up a little too, with a swathe of ocean-deep club jams being joined by search diversions as the morning-fresh broken beat loveliness of "Jus Listen", the stomping disco-funk of "The Mood", the bustling breakbeats of "A Freak" and the blazed instrumental hip-hop of "Good Night Ema".
Review: Since joining Toy Tonics last year, the Phenomenal Handclap Band has served up some of their greatest material to date. Predictably, their third outing for the label is another winner. You'll find the band's original mix of "Remain Silent" - a wonderful slab of off-kilter revivalist disco rich in attractive lead vocals, authentic instrumentation and spacey synths - tucked away at the end of the EP. The headline-grabbing remixes once again come from Ray Mang, whose "Extended Mix" and "Instrumental Mix" both offer a slightly tighter, polished-up feel that's arguably more suitable for club spins. The EP also contains rather good "Remix" and "Dub" takes from Superpitcher which subtly strip the track back and give it a more spaced-out dub disco feel.
Review: Detroit Swindle is amongst the most reliable artists operating in the overgrown no-man's-land between house, disco and boogie. That much is confirmed by "The Life Behind Things", which marks their first outing on Heist since last year's "High Life" LP. Title track "The Life Behind Things" is positive, ear-pleasing and dancefloor friendly, with the experienced pair peppering bouncy beats and thickset synth bass with joyous organ riffs (reminiscent of those found on Timmy Thomas soul classic "Why Can't We Live Together"), wobbly acid lines, jaunty piano stabs and female vocal snippets. Lorenz Rhode collaboration "Music For Clubs" is arguably even more rush inducing in its retro-futurist piano house intent, while Isoul8's remix of the title track is a swirling, soulful and decidedly tactile chunk of deep house brilliance.
Review: Since making his debut on Peetah Music in 2001, Demuir has built up a rock solid catalogue of club-ready deep house jams. Here the Toronto-based producer follows up recent outings on Robsoul, Hot Creations and Desolat with a first appearance on Heist Recordings. He hits the ground running with a muscular deep house loop jam weighty enough for peak-time plays ("Werq Feel Gruv Love"), before layering up spacey synths, heady string samples and rubbery house beats on "The 3nity Returneth (Dub Mix)"."Philippine Sunrise" is arguably the best of a strong bunch: a melodious, warm and intoxicating deep house workout full of intricate musical detail and colourful electronics. That comes back by a tasty revision by Lady Blaktronika that sounds like it was designed for locked-in, late night dancefloors.
Review: The way Audaz has been churning out these Lolita collections lately, you'd think "possession of an unreleased re-edit" had just been made a crime under German law! But the quality standard shows no sign of slipping, so that's hardly cause for complaint. Standouts of this fourth volume include '038', which revisits Kim And Rasa's obscure 1982 Ghanaian funk/rap jam 'Love Me For Real', '035' with its fusion of country rock guitar and sweet female disco vox, and '037', which reworks Brass Construction's 'Changin' from 1975. Dead Or Alive get the Lolita treament, too, on '032'.
Review: Israeli and Berlin-based DJ/producer Dasco has put out a fair number of singles over the last few years, but none are anywhere near as good as "African Power", their first outing on Local Talk. The title track is superb: a wonderfully jaunty, atmospheric, evocative and positive fusion of Afro-house, jazz, deep house and calypso that boasts layered percussion, a brilliant bassline and some lusciously lilting trumpet solos. "Keep Moving", meanwhile, is a heavily percussive deep house workout full of spacey synths and heavy South American drums. Trinidadian Deep does a fine job making "African Power" deeper, dreamier and even more melodic, while Anthony Nicholson joins the dots between Latin house and deep nu-disco on a suitably Balearic revision of "Keep Moving".
Review: Drew Lustman has been relatively quiet by his standards this year, though he's still found time to offer up a couple of quality singles on Blueberry Records and Unknown To The Unknown. Here he makes his first appearance on Studio Barnhus with an EP that showcases two distinctly different sides to his multi-faceted musical persona. Title track "Flechazo" is a veritable drizzle of melodic positivity, with eyes-closed synthesizer motifs, sun-bright electronics and dreamy chords cloaking a crunchy, off-kilter deep house rhythm and suitably heavy bassline. In contrast, "New Lover" is a fair more warehouse-ready affair, with Lustman reaching for the mid-90s U.S garage riffs (think "Show Me Love"), bustling breakbeats, booming bass, sweaty female vocal samples and twinkling melodies.
Review: Nick Curly and Gorge are certainly glad to have the legendary British player Danny Howells back on 8bit Records. Proper house music in all its styles and variations here, much in the vein of last year's celebrated appearance for the label - the amazing Whiterock EP. Features the low slung yet emotive percussive house thriller "Players", in addition to the sweltering disco inflected funk attack of "Retreat", right through to the slinky and hypnotic tech house journey of "Mayfeels" harking back to his glory days as a tastemaker on the progressive house scene at the turn of the millenium. That being said, this industry veteran is now displaying some of his most exhilarating output yet.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a brand new album from sometime Classic Music Co contributor Eli Escobar, a producer who has proved to be one of the most distinctive and consistent in house music over the last few years. "Last Summer" contains a mixture of short interludes and inspired, almost uniformly dancefloor-friendly workouts that bring together a range of complimentary influences. Our picks include the atmospheric and acid-fired deep house warmth of "Flashing Lights", the muscular peak-time Moroder-isms of "(All Night) Rhythm", the melodious, sun-kissed Balearic house brilliance of "Blu" and the woozy warmth of "Last Night".
Review: German percussionist Kolja Gerstenberg makes no attempt to hide his love for the drums on this razor sharp drop for Lumberjacks In Hell, building on his previous outings on Suol and Smile For A While. The drums are sizzling hot on "Feel Yo", tastefully overdriven and embellished with some MPC-style sample juggling that should satisfy those who like their house tracks hot as Dante's inferno. "Where They're From" is no slouch either, keeping the pressure up with a liberal dose of soul poured in for good measure. The keys and live bass on "Want You" add to the feverish mood, and then "Get Over" sends things spiraling out on a Latin-spiced cosmic journey.
Review: Toy Tonics regular Black Loops (real name Riccardo Paffetti) comes to Catz N' Dogz' label Pets Recordings with a four-tracker operating in that band of the musical spectrum where deep house and garage collide. The opening title cut is a sparse affair, essentially deep house in nature but with steppy, garage-y beats and vocal bites that sound suspiciously MC Neat-ish. 'Unity' is more heads-down with slamming, almost techno-style kicks and otherworldly synths, 'Keep A Secret' has the bumpin' feel of classic west coast deepness and finally 'Born In The 80s' is a pacier cut with more of those freaky-deeky synth sounds.
Review: For the best part of a decade, Nicholas Lammatteo has offered up warm and atmospheric deep house that draws inspiration from great European and American dancefloor records of the 1990s. He's at it again on his second outing for Shall Not Fade. Much of the EP is informed by the glassy-eyed, sunrise-ready wonder of turn-of-the-90s Italian dream house, particularly the Key-Tronic Ensemble style closer "Meditation" and the utterly gorgeous and dreamy "Rainforest", which is so authentic some dancers might believe it was released on DFC in 1990. Equally impressive are "Message From The East", a bass-heavy workout that layers typically dreamy synthesizer chords and gentle, eyes-closed melodies atop rolling breakbeats and tactile bass, and the flute-sampling, acid-bass-sporting breakbeat house shuffle of "Meridian Dream".
Review: Mexican imprint Duro may have walked steadfast down the left hand path of late, with their knack for moody industrial influenced music, but the first installment in their new 'Muy' compilation series sees them celebrate their 4th birthday in fine fashion - with the label and its cohorts returning to their nu-disco roots in delightful fashion. Kubebe delves deep into lo-slung territory on the mesmerizing groove of "Lagomar", Lithuanian Roe Deers offers up some cut-up classic house shenanigans on "Florida", Wolfstram does deep into the exotic (Disco Halal style) on "Ritual Of Nothing" and Hanzo & Yaman deliver the neon-lit body music of "Supergeil".
Review: First unleashed on vinyl this time last year, Flight Mode and Joel Brittain's first collaborative EP has finally made it to digital download. This is undoubtedly a good thing, because "Burn This" is superb. In its' original form, the track is a near perfect fusion of dub disco heaviness - chunky bass guitar, delay-laden horn snuppets, crunchy drums - and the kind of electronic instrumentation and mood-enhancing chords more often found in straight-up deep house cuts. There are two tidy accompanying remixes: a sparkling, synth-heavy Balearic house revision by Medlar and a suitably trippy, spaced out Flight Mode dub that's arguably even more driving and floor-friendly than the original mix.
Special Request - "Codename Turbo Nutter" - (5:38) 85 BPM
Source Direct - "Vigilante" - (7:23) 113 BPM
J. Majik - "The Lost Tribe" - (5:14) 162 BPM
Shackleton - "Drawn And Quartered" - (8:09) 136 BPM
Pinch & Trim - "That Wasn't It" - (2:43) 128 BPM
Daniel Avery - "Whilst We've Got Metal In Our Blood" - (4:00) 144 BPM
Mantra - "Embers" - (5:22) 127 BPM
B.Traits - "Mameya" - (6:06) 126 BPM
Groove Armada - "Wesley Nightshade" - (6:09) 118 BPM
UNKLE - "Catch Me When I Fall" (Fabric Club mix) - (10:46) 115 BPM
Review: Take a look down the tracklist of Fabric 20th anniversary release and you'll be met with a generation of artists that have helped shape the institution in all manner of ways, be it legendary DJ sets or residencies to previous releases to the FabricLive mix compilations and so on. Inside you'll find a who's who of genre influencers, be they Margaret Dygas and Marcel Dettmann with their European minimal and techno connection, to the more left field and UK-centralised club sounds from Pinch & Trim, Call Super and Special Request. Classics have been leafed from Source Direct, UNKLE and Shackleton, with B.Traits, Maya Jane Coles and Daniel Avery rankable alongside Sascha, Nina Kraviz and Groove Armada in filling a most influential time capsule of club music and DJ culture history.
Review: For the uninitiated, Joel Holmes is a GRAMMY Awards-nominated American jazz pianist. It's somewhat of a surprise, then, to see him collaborating with deep house rising star Cody Currie on Toy Tonics. We're glad the collaboration has happened, though, because the resulting EP is exceptionally good. Check, for example, "Beyond The Stars", a wonderfully warm, loose and organic deep house cut rich in improvised scat vocals, hot-to-trot electric piano solos and heady jazz-funk bass, and the ambidextrous broken beat bustle of "A New Chapter", which is every bit as inspired as anything made by Kaidi Tatham or Dego. Elsewhere, "Blue TV Screen" is a deliciously jazzy deep house bumper and "Theme One" is an even deeper and warmer dancefloor excursion with tons of great solos from the effervescent Holmes.
Review: Earlier in the year Fahrland self-released his debut album "Oneness", an "electrified soul hybrid mixed with peaks of beats, hints of beats, interwoven in cloudy spaces". The Pachanga Boys certainly enjoyed it, because they decided to commission and release a swathe of dancefloor-focused remixes. Cherokee collaboration "All That I Need" is first to undergo a makeover, with Dave DK brilliantly joining the dots between languid tropical soul, lazy Balearic disco and shuffling deep house, before Fahrland re-imagines "In Oneness" as a jangling, sun-bright slab of glistening loop-house. Superpitcher delivers similar sounding "Magic Mix" and instrumental versions of "Spanish Castle Magic", underpinning Fahrland's glassy-eyed tropical guitar motifs and chiming synthesizer melodies with a slow motion dub disco groove.
Review: During the 1990s, Chez Damier and Ron Trent's Prescription Records did more than any other label to define the sound of Chicago deep house. The label's reputation is such that it's still talked about in hushed tones, with lesser-known back catalogue nuggets remaining in-demand items with DJs and record collectors. This superb, double-disc compilation from Rush Hour tells the story of the label, gathering together both much-played underground anthems (Trent and Damier's "Morning Factory" and "The Choice", the proto-boompty-via-St Germain jazz-house of Angora's "Enchantment", and so on) and sought-after selections. Thrillingly, the collection also boasts a trio of previously unreleased Ron Trent cuts, all of which are superb.
Review: Five fine slices of contemporary disco make up this latest EP from Russian producer Alexandr Chebankov, better known as Sunner Soul. 'Feeling Of Spirits' is a midtempo shuffler that slowly breaks out into an intricate jazz-funk keys workout, 'Keep Strangers' is a Chic-y stomper, 'Liquid Disco' has distinctly Candido-esque overtones, 'Lay In Low (MF-SB Version' is a mellower, more lounge-y cut with muted space disco stabs and finally 'Simply Around' rocks a funkier, Blaxploitation-like vibe. With all five highly authentic-sounding and avoiding obvious samples, heavy rotation at the likes of Glitterbox and Horse Meat Disco is pretty much guaranteed.
BTs Happiness (dub - feat Tina B) - (6:17) 120 BPM
Review: US legend Baker teams up with Cuban producer Casanova for a three-track, five-mix EP that operates largely in tribal/Afro territory. Opener 'Makossa' rides an insistent, stuttering tribal rhythm, topped with a chanted male vocal: as the track progresses, horns are added and the backbeat gets ever more electronic-sounding as they ramp up the FX. 'Dale!' is another tribal jam served with or without another male vocal chant, which leaves just 'BT's Happiness' to flip the script, being a full-phat disco-houser that borrows a snatch of vocal from Cuba Gooding classic 'Happiness Is Just Around The Bend', and that's available in vocal or dub form as you see fit.
Review: Since first pitching up on Running Back a year or two back, Dec Lennon AKA Krystal Klear has delivered some of his strongest music to date, including a string of peak-time anthems ("Neutron Dance, "Euphoric Dreams" etc). His latest EP for Gerd Janson's label is similarly strong. Check first the trance-influenced, synth-laden throb of "Entre Nous", where big room piano riffs help raise the track to hands-in-the-air anthem status, before admiring the new beat and EBM influenced neo-trance workout "Autobahn". "I'll Be There When You Need Me" is one of Lennon's most saucer-eyed and loved-up tunes to date - all warm waves of synthesizer bliss and decidedly Balearic melodies - while "Gambino" is a cheery skip through 1980s NYC freestyle territory with added Mylo style riffs.
Review: David Ducaruge, Douglas Pisterman and Henning Specht, collectively known as Mount Kismet, have released just two singles, both in the last 18 months or so and both on Disco Halal, and now they return with two new remixes of the second one, 'Teenage Fantasy'. Both feature the same bubbling 303 bass and haughty, coldwave-style spoken female vocal, but Whitesquare's rub is more angular and attitude-y and likely to find favour with the indie-dance crowd, while Kino Todo's rub has a hazier, more 'epic' feel that means it'd make for a good set-builder in progressive/melodic sets. Look out for their album 'Warmer Lanes', which is coming next month.
Review: Andrew Edward Brown has been around for a while, though his discography is a little thin. Given the quality of this single on Codek, that's something of a surprise. His version is available in both vocal and instrumental flavours, and it's the former that really stands out. Brown is a great songwriter and vocalist, and his lead vocal works perfectly with the warm and woozy backing track - a heady blend of deep house grooves, rich chords, squelchy nu-disco synth bass and a few nods towards '80s boogie. Label bosses In Flagranti handle remix duties, turning in vocal and instrumental takes that brilliantly re-imagine the track as a flash-fried chunk of guitar-laden dub disco goodness tailor made for peak-time dancefloors.
Review: Five years on from the first outing on Running Back, Genius of Time twosome Alexander Berg and Nils Krogh return to Gerd Janson's imprint with their first single in two years. Predictably, the Swedish duo is in fine form, delivering a trio of contrasting cuts that really deserve your attention. First up is the pots-and-pans drumming, scat vocals, booming bass and spacey chords of "Peace Bird", a driving deep house cut that's as atmospheric as they come. "Smiling Into Eternity" is even deeper and more intergalactic, with the pair peppering a chunky groove with swirling electronics and jazzy electric piano solos. Arguably best of all, though, is the rubbery synth-bass, electro-influenced drums and space disco flourishes of closing cut "Rymd01".
Review: There's much to admire about Kamaal Williams' contribution to the long running DJ Kicks series, not least the producer, DJ and keyboardist's blend of self-made exclusives (both under his name and his alternative Henry Wu alias) and largely overlooked gems. Highlights in the former category include a stunning live version of "Snitches Brew", the jazzy Latin house of "Projections" (a Henry Wu hook-up with Earl Jeffers) and "Lowrider", a jazz guitar-propelled cut from his collaborative Yusuf Kamaal project. In the latter category, we'd suggest wrapping your ears around Awanto 3's dusty and ultra-deep "Pregnant", the deep jazz-funk bliss of Diggs Duke's "Cause I Love You", the up-tempo dancefloor soul of Peven Everett's "Stuck" and the slow motion wonder that is Steve Spacek's "Hey There".
Review: Earthboogie is currently on a break, so it's likely that this fine single is the last we'll hear from them for a year or two. First up is "Creepy Steve", a previously unheard workout that wraps lashings of Latin style percussion, spacey synthesizer noises, fuzzy guitar solos and African style vocals around a mid-tempo dub disco influenced groove. Arguably even better is Joel Harrison's remix of the title track from the band's superb debut album "Human Call". He retains some of the Afro-centric elements and live instrumentation but also adds dreamy, Larry Heard style chords, thrusting drums and some suitably wide-eyed musical touches. The result is a spacey deep house gem that's as warm and comforting as it is dancefloor friendly.
Review: For those who've been buying house music since the '90s, "Sixth Sense" may be familiar. It was first released as a single way back in 1997 and saw Josh Wink joining forces with beat poet/spoken word artist Ursula Rucker on a typical deep and dark house workout. These are entirely fresh remixes, with Schlomi Aber and Louie Vega delivering decidedly 21st century revisions. Vega's vocal, dub and instrumental versions are surprisingly moody by his standards, wrapping Wink's acid-style stabs and mind-altering aural textures around a bouncy, cowbell-driven rhythm track rich in live percussion. Aber takes the track into ultra-deep, sub-heavy techno pastures on his clandestine and alluring "Remix", before stripping back the beats and pushing up the bass on the arguably even more intoxicating "Hidden In The Dark Mix".
Review: Next on Sleazy McQueen's ever reliable Lovedancing label is a proper stalwart of the New York City music scene who should need no introduction - the one the only The Juan Maclean. On his new EP The Lone Dancer, get stoned into the groove of the infectious disco house stomper "Body Language Pro" which then receives a worthy rework by label main man McQueen in collaboration with Cole Medina, and followed by the lo slung boogie down antics of "Let Me Come Into Your Life".
Review: Back from Fancy Footwork the almighty Theo Parrish is still blazing a trail into instrumental house and live jazz workouts or be they listening sessions. Flipped up alongside the recent What You Gonna Ask For EP, This Is For Your projects the beauty of live elements at play within house music. Whether they be machines or human beings, everything is alive in these two tracks; snappy snare shine through on the instrumental version alongside free keys that shimmy on top analogue kicks done in Detroit. Maurissa Rose gives voice to a fuller mix on the original for something warmer over a charming instrumental workout.
Review: Next up on Lost Palms is 1-800 Girls aka Jake Stewart. Dancing is an atmospheric affair that is sure to appeal to fans of more esoteric techno. "3am Central Line" opens the release with a gentle, stepping groove and squelchy acid lines, while in a similar style is "Latin Tongue": the 303s have been replaced with breathy, billowing synths, but the punchy drums remain. On "Don't Wanna Stop", Stewart ups the tempo to deliver rolling break beats, but they deliver jazzy keys, while the EP concludes with "Minds Nature", an evocative piece of music that has echoes of 90s ambient.
Review: With such a star-studded line-up of old and new talent involved, it's little surprise to find that De La Groove's latest multi-artist EP is seriously good. Check first the breezy and soulful US garage revivalism of Art of Tones' impeccable "So Sweet", before turning to the slightly more UK garage influenced "A Quiet Love" by Scott Diaz, a track that somehow manages to be both deliciously bouncy and seductively soulful. Elsewhere, Cody Currie's "As of Yet (featuring Joel Holmes)" is a vibraphone and Rhodes-heavy chunk of deep house dreaminess, Pontchartrain's "Don't Change Up" is a loopy slab of bespoke disco-house and Goddard's "Almasti" sounds like a nu-disco era riff on Pepe Bradock deep house classic "Deep Burnt".
Review: Via his Vintage Music imprint, Sunner Soul man Alexandr Chebankov keeps serving up the hits. Here he gathers together another bumper selection of seductive sunshine slow jams and dancefloor-ready goodtime grooves to soundtrack your summer. Naturally, there are plenty of his warm, sample-heavy productions and re-edits present (our favourites include the jazzy disco rush of "Summertime", his gentle and groovy rework of much-loved Letta Mbulu Balearic fave "Normalizo" and the bumpin', bass-heavy disco house bustle of "Disco Orchestra"), alongside similarly impressive outings from Kid Goodman (the sublime '80s house revision "Nice and Slow"), Lolita Knox (a tooled-up flip of a Cheryl Lynn anthem) and the Sunshine Disco Club (the Balearic dancefloor breeze of "Morning Exercise").