Review: Following this year's release of Pacific Coliseum's third LP, How's Life, Slim Steve's label debut with the I Do It EP and two Westcoast Goddess titles, Let's Play House caps of a fine year for the empty dancefloors out there with Jacque'd Toolbox - a super combi between 'the' Gerd Janson and New York's Jacques Renault! Throwing into the mix all matter of edits and cutting techniques to disco, pop, electro and house music, the pair throw down hard when giving the free world a dose of what the really want; be it the stringed, pumping heaviness of a piano-ladened "Never Saw Never" or the rave-infused happy house of "Movin' Kinda Screwy". Find some '80s breakbeat electro in the shoulder pad pop of "One More Slice" next to the space pongs and filter loop tropics of "One More Slam" and percussive disco banger of "Jus Wanna Party". Disco, check!
Review: As the title suggests, this wonderful EP from COEO pays tribute to the glory days of early '90s piano house. If you've been struggling through the current global pandemic, we guarantee that all four tracks will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Our pick of a very strong bunch is 'Hyperactive', where bold piano stabs, style synth-sax motifs, New Jersey garage style organ chords and a rubbery, all-action bassline ride a sweaty and chunky, hip-house style rhythm. There is of course much to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP, from the deliciously deep, loved-up and glassy-eyed wonder that is 'I Can Never Be Yours', to the acid-fired bustle of breakbeat-driven closing cut 'Bliss'.
Review: Siberia's Alexandr Chebankov, AKA Sunner Soul, covers quite a range of contemporary disco ground across a mere five tracks here. The first two, 'Carefully Crafted' and 'Get Your Boogie', come from the more funk-fuelled end of the nu-disco spectrum, with phat-ass b-lines and, on the latter, chanted vox and wukka-wukking geetars. 'No One Can Like I Do' then takes us into Hed Kandi-esque disco-house territory, whlle 'Sweet Stuff Memories' and 'Softly Infusion' itself (the latter credited to The Sunshine Disco Club) are slightly deeper cuts that'll go down well wherever soulful house and broken beat/nu-jazz are played.
Review: Mexican producer Alex Aguayo comes to Spanish label Golden Soul with an EP that packs two tracks in a total of five mixes. In its original form, 'Time Travel' itself is a hazy, pulsing affair that blends influences from nu-disco and progressive house and simply oozes sunshine, while Cosmic Sumo boss Andrea Rucci turns in an even more euphoric remix. 'Wake', meanwhile, is an energetic, Italo-inspired, trance-tinged cut that's available in techy, throbbing Original, hi-octane Alberto Melloni Remix or slowed-down 'n' sleazed-out JB Dizzy Remix flavours, with the latter rub the EP standout for this reviewer.
Review: Presumably DJ Kaos spent much of lockdown crafting fresh re-edits of trippy little-known tunes, because his latest four-track selection of heady reworks is arguably his strongest release for some time. We're particularly enjoying the urgent, vocoder-loving disco-funk madness of 'Tapping The Source', a wild and wonderful rearrangement of a thoroughly obscure cover version of Pink Floyd's 'Another Brick In The Wall', though the more cosmic, hypnotic headiness of piano-sporting Italo-disco number 'Crystal Voyager' is similarly addictive. Elsewhere, 'Spiral Jetty' is an extra-druggy, Italo-disco style re-make of a familiar nu-disco classic, while 'Region Centrale' is a delay-laden take on what sounds like an early Chicago house jam (with added 'Buffalo Gals' acapella snippets).
Review: Deetron follows last year's Body Electric release on Running Back with a fine dance floor-based EP inspired by his formidable DJing. "Ego Rave B" is a seductive, bubbling electronic groove that supports woozy, cosmic synths, while on "Ego Rave D" and its "D1" variant, he goes down a tracky route, with dense drums and snappy percussion providing the basis for old school techno bleeps. There are also remnants of the Swiss DJ's more peak time selections: "Ego Rave A", sees Deetron fuse tranced out hooks with gentle piano keys, while "Ego Rave C" is a wide-eyed, good time electro-techno track.
Review: What an incredible link up this one is as the king of crunch, known to the world as Bonobo, links up with T.E.E.D for a delightful two track experiment, doused in euphoric energy and production class throughout. We begin with 'Heartbreak', a summer-time breakbeat epic, perfect for the late-night BBQ setting as big room vocal leads sit atop of pulsating chord lines and super groovy breaks for a proper party-starting vibe. On the flip, '6000' alongside Outlier takes a slightly slower path, focussing primarily on acidic filtration and classy 4x4 drum beats, adding some real contrast to the A-side. This is a top quality link up to say the least and we can't wait to hear more from the two outfits in unison!
Review: In September 2020, Crosstown Rebels main man Damian Lazarus will release his first solo album in almost a decade. To get us in the mood, he's decided to offer up this teaser single. In its original form, "Mountain" is a drowsy, bass-heavy breakbeat affair in which his own atmospheric spoken word vocals combine with gently pulsing, sunrise-ready chords and short vocal snippets from a much-loved Joanna Law classic ("The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", a Balearic-era classic whose acapella is much-loved by chill-out DJs). Tornado Wallace delivers a superb remix in which sparkling synth sounds and decidedly Balearic flourishes ride a dark analogue bassline and bongo-boosted breakbeats, while Tbi Dabo re-imagines "Mountain" as a bumpin', peak-time ready tech-house treat.
Review: The enigmatic Hyenah is a renowned tastemaker, who is passionate about sounds from across the house spectrum. For his edition of the Watergate mix series, the RISE resident selects an inspiring range of artists, while highlighting emerging African and Afro-German talent such as: Berlin-based JAMIIE teaming up with the Stil Vor Talent affiliated Niko Schwind on "Suwedi", talented singer Nanghiti Aviankoi's amazing vocal range is accompanied perfectly by Emanuel Satie's production on "Forever More" and veteran of the Johannesburg house music scene Da Capo appears with the powerful dancefloor drama of "Dark Knight".
Review: Strahil Velchev AKA KiNK has successfully done his own thing this year, eschewing the advances of long-established labels in order to release music on the Sofia imprint he co-founded in 2019. Toplo is the third and final instalment in a trilogy of EPs he kicked off with Nagore way back in January. It's a suitably varied, analogue-rich affair, with the long-serving artist flitting between fuzzy, driving heaviness (see the star fall synth sounds and booming, metronomic bass of '101 Reasons'), sub-heavy, post-dubstep seduction (the hard-to-pigeonhole 'Set The M'ood Right'), and angular and atmospheric up-tempo deep house (the startlingly evocative 'Dreamer'). Noted house eccentric Frits Wentink is given the task of remixing 'Dreamer', resulting in a jaunty and quirky re-wire full of oddball sample edits, jumpy stabs and swinging beats.
Review: Although he's served up a string of inspired EPs over the last few years, Jesse Bru has actively steered clear of the album format. Here the Vancouver-based producer finally relents, delivering an expansive full-length excursion that deftly showcases the breadth and diversity of his now-established trademark sound. Opening and closing with deliciously loved-up blasts of humid ambient bliss, The Coast sees Bru flit between sturdy, almost techno-tempo deep house warmers, loose-limbed breakbeat dreaminess, sample-heavy mutations of breakbeat hardcore and boogie (see 'Life's Alright'), saucer-eyed soundscape electro (the immaculate 'Summer Rain'), dream house, more bumpin' club excursions and, perhaps most surprisingly, smooth and jazzy drum & bass ('Cmwtme'). The result is a highly entertaining set capable of raising more than a few smiles in this most difficult of years.
Review: For their eight studio album, Danish three-piece Whomadewho have decided to call on the production and mixing talents of an impressive array of friends and like-minded contemporaries. As a result, Sychronicity is a pleasingly eclectic affair full to bursting with tracks that blend their usual punk-funk and jazz-influenced sounds with the trademark styles of their invited collaborators. This results in some genuinely inspired and ear-catching cuts, including Mano Le Tough hook-up 'Oblivion' (think Radiohead meets Italo-influenced synth-pop and tech-tinged deep house), some low-slung disco-punk mayhem made alongside the Adana Twins ('Shadow of Doubt'), an unsurprisingly quirky hoe-down with Axel Boman ('Anywhere in the World'), the Kraftwerk-influenced 'Hamstring' with Michael Mayer, and a dash of tactile tech-house dreaminess crafted in cahoots with Robag Wruhme ('If You Leave').
Review: Last year, Kapote joined forces with regular home Toy Tonics to release Teutonik Disaster, a compilation of his own re-edits of late '70s and early '80s, "German new wave funk". 12 months on he returns to the same label with a new collection, Mushroom House, which boasts a mixture of Balearic, Afro and cosmic-influenced cuts from the imprint's vaults. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, from the rubbery, dubbed-out Afro-house bounce of Ponty Mython's 'Slippin' Into Darkness' and the dusty Afro-disco haziness of Munk's 'Nigerian Jam', to the intergalactic electro trip of the Asphodells' killer remix of 'The Circular Path' by the Deadstock 33s, and the deep space Italo-disco chug of Baldelli's sparkling 'Phobos (2020 Version)'.
Review: While dancefloors have largely stood still throughout 2020, it hasn't made much of a dent in Knee Deep In Sound's musical output this year. Label head Hot Since 82 - better known as Daley Padley - takes care of their latest sonic dispatch on his sophomore long player. While last year's '8-Track' was dedicated to the passing of a close friend, the recording of 'Recovery' was a similarly cathartic process, with Padley describing the process as a therapeutic experience that enabled a more positive headspace. From the deep and slinky mood music of "Eye Of The Storm" featuring the sensual vocals of Liz Cass, to some surprisingly wonderful collaborations: "Body Control" features fellow UK tech house royalty Jamie Jones and the legendary Boy George on the mic reminiscing on the scene's good ol' days, while acclaimed outfit Rudimental support Padley on the aci-washed deepness of "Be Strong".
Lubelski, Randy Ry - "Feeling A Vibe" - (6:18) 127 BPM
The James Brown Track - (6:33) 127 BPM
Lubelski - "Anxiety" - (6:21) 126 BPM
Review: With sampled, dusty drums and male soul vox, the title track here sounds like something Osunlade or Opolopo might come up with for Classic, while 'Anxiety' adopts an even more wonky, cut-up approach and will appeal to fans of, say, Chicken Lips or Headman. The EP's other two tracks are a tad more accessible/commercial: any veterans of the mid-90s handbag wars will smile upon hearing 'Feeling A Vibe', as Chrissy Ward's 'Right And Exact' vocal gets chopped 'n' looped in rambunctious disco-tech fashion then spiked with a little punk-funk attitude, while as for 'The James Brown Track' - well, you can guess who that one samples, can't you?!
Review: Fittingly, Szilveszter Horvath's long-awaited debut album as Route 8 was directly inspired by the Hungarian highway after which his artistic alias is named. It's one he has travelled many times over the years, hence his desire to create an album of "cruising music" that would sound good on journeys down the motorway. In practice, that means a fine musical excursion that blends warming deep house and futuristic Motor City techno sounds with elements of blissful ambient techno (see inspired opener 'Departure' and 'Arrival'), deep acid electro ('Nowhere', snappy closing cut 'This Far'), Pete Namlook style weightless ambient ('Interlude'), two-step ('4th Journey') and near horizontal synth-pop ('Tomorrow Comes Today'). The results are certainly ear-pleasing and rarely less than superb.
Review: With a 30-plus-year career, Rick Wade's name is spoken in reverent tones in deep house circles, thanks mostly to the output of his Harmonie Park label. For the past decade or so, he's found a regular home at Japanese label Unknown Season, and this 'best of' is really an omnibus that brings together the various EPs he's made for them, rather than a definitive, career-spanning anthology. There's still much to enjoy, though, from the fluttery, uplifting Latin-jazz-soul of 'Shinjuku Strut' to the eyes-wide-shut 4am dancefloor throb of 'Angry Orchestra', the soulful house shuffle of 'Gotta Have Jazz' and the lounge-y 70s funk nostalgia of 'After Dark'.
Review: Given the recent upsurge in interest in the back catalogue of seminal Chicago label Dance Mania - particularly the ghetto booty side of their output - it seems fitting that Strut have finally given the label the retrospective treatment it so richly deserves. The whole story is here, from the early jack tracks of Hercules, The Housemaster Boyz and Victor Romero, to the stomping rhythms of DJ Funk, Dj Deeon and Robert Armani (whose ghetto-meets-acid jam "Ambulance" is a riotous highlight). Along the way, there are classics aplenty, alongside lesser-known gems from the vaults (see Parris Mitchell Project's ace "Ghetto Shout Out (feat Wax Master)" and Paul Johnson's thrilling "Feel My MF Bass"). Whether you're a Chicago house connoisseur or not, this should be essential listening.
Review: Otherwise known as "F*ck Resident Advisor", Alex "Omar" Smith's latest album includes some of his most potent, colourful and musically inventive material of recent years. This five-track EP, which includes (uncredited) contributions from a number of fellow Detroit artists, gathers together some of the many undoubted highlights. The FXHE founder begins with the sleazy, bassline-driven peak-time deep house thrust of "Simply", before celebrating the unbridled joy of old school piano house (and disco guitar samples) on the arguably even better "Gonna Luv You". Spacey synths and lo-fi late-night house grooves are provided via "Bread Over Red", while "Mell'ike Bom Bom In'dair" sits somewhere between electro, early Inner City and mutant dancehall. There's a triumphant conclusion, too: the sparkling vocal deep house positivity of John FM hook-up "In My City".
Review: Having recently made his bow on one hugely respected deep house label, Freerange, Simon Hinter is now ready to debut on another: Quintessentials. The headline attraction of a highly impressive EP is arguably 'Alright!', a chunky, bass-heavy club jam built around chopped-up vocal samples, funk-fuelled guitar riffs, deliciously weighty bass, addictive string sweeps and crunchy drums. KRL remixes, successfully transforming the track into a wonky chunk of Red Rack'em style deep house eccentricity that's as bold as it is ear-catching. Elsewhere, 'Wanna Make Love' combines a bass-heavy house groove and cheery synthesizer melodies with dusty old disco and jazz-funk samples, while 'Club Friday' is a pleasingly positive slab of warming, old school US deep house revivalism.
Review: Here Z Records boss Joey Negro presents his own take on the everlasting 90s revival. Just like on all his other projects he's dug deeper to present gems the label say may have until now slipped under the garage doors (i.e. haven't yet been granted digital immortality). Highlights of these 26 rarities include Robert Owens' smooth n' sultry synth jam "Gotta Work", the bitchy disco of "Unique" by Danube Dance & Kim Cooper and the raw attitude of Mike Delgado's "The Murder Track". With this fine release, who needs a time machine?
Review: Toy Tonics' annual 'best of' compilation series reaches its eighth installment. While the label's best known for disco and disco-house, there's a little more variety on offer here than you might expect: Cody Currie & Joel Holmes' opener 'Beyond The Stars', for instance, is a Latin- and jazz-tinged cut aimed straight at soulful house floors while Mangabey & Kosmo Kint's 'Time No More' veers towards pop/R&B territory. Nu-skool disco and boogie are still what Toy Tonics do best, though, and this compilation packs some fine examples, including Kapote's irresistible 'Jaas Funk Haus', Kapote's sugar-sweet 'Happiness Juice', COEO's so-80s-it-hurts 'What's Going On' and two contributions from the mighty Phenomenal Handclap Band.
Review: When they first appeared on Heist Recordings in 2018, Kassian were considered raw but promising talents. Since then, the Hackney-based duo has gone on to release a string of fine EPs for the likes of Groovence and Phonica White. There's plenty to set the pulse racing on their return to Detroit Swindle's label too, starting with the 'walking' disco bass, sparkling synth sounds, tactile chords and bustling grooves of lead cut "Apollo" - a track that's later given a classic-sounding deep house makeover by Leo Pol (check the jazzy solos and Afro-tinged beats). Elsewhere, "8th Movement" is a bounding chunk of U.S style deep house that sounds like it could have been recorded sometime in the late '90s, while closing cut "Brass Hammer" is a slightly more muscular chunk of peak-time deep house.
Review: Lumberjacks In Hell draft in a sublime cast of sympathetic operators for a second volume of From Hell With Love, providing you with eight perfectly formed tracks that straddle the divide between cosy, home-friendly house and dancefloor delectation. Laville's moody vocal turn kicks the record off in style on Austin Ato's 'Control', while Waajeed works his broken beat magic on 'What You Know'. Elsewhere Detroit Swindle bring a tougher slant on soul-rooted house music to the table, while PBR Streetgang aim straight for your pleasure centre with the soaring 'Madame Z'. And that's just the half of it...
Review: If you're on the hunt for some unusual, off-kilter house with swing, weight and tons of fuzzy analogue sounds, we'd recommend checking this Clone Royal Oak outing from Frits Wentink. It opens with one of the most sub-heavy tracks we've heard in a while, the two-step garage-meets-leftfield-deep house insanity of 'Trouble Man'. While it derives its power from an incessantly stabbing bass motif and loose-limbed drums, the track also boasts plenty of madcap melodic motifs and oddball electronic flourishes. In comparison, bass-and-piano-heavy peak-time workout 'Friends' is positively straightforward, though those who follow Wentink's career will know it's anything but. As for closing cut 'Double Man', it's as dusty, percussion rich and weighty as they come, with the Dutchman's heavy sub-bass offset by sparkling synths.
Review: While much of Huxley's material over the last few years has been bold, tech-tinged and druggy, this first appearance on Shall Not Fade is pleasingly celebratory and rooted in classic US house. For proof, check bouncy, bass-heavy opener 'Takeaway', where spine-tingling piano riffs, synth-sax and old school vocal samples catch the ear, and the rushing piano-house largeness of future hands-in-the-air anthem 'Patsy'. In between, he offers up a mix of dark, muscular house (see the Tenaglia-at-Twilo era pump of 'Nothing Works', which features some suitably mind-mangling acid lines) and druggy, early morning intensity ('A Hard Fall Up To The Middle', 'Anxiety').
Review: Panorama vibes in the house! Honey Dijon touches down again on Classic with a stripped back ballroom session of hollow club drums, diva vocal sketches, detuned spoken word and sample cutting techniques that burst with housed-up chords, playful tones and back breaking grooves! A R&B inspired club hit to begin that's backed up by some extra club muscle in KDA 'Legacy' remix while Kink (& Kei) turn in a starry synth shooting extended remix of "La Femme Fantastique" that pumps and turns with classic Chicago and Detroit ideologies. Big number for the clubs.
Review: More ominous and dreamy deep house by Fort Romeau. The Berlin-based Brit debuted for Permanent Vacation last year with the terrificHeaven & Earth EP and is fast becoming a staple of Munich-based imprint, going onto remixes for artists such as Lauer and Kauf. His new offering "The Mirror" is an evocative and sensual piece of mood music that's quite reflective of the strange time we are currently living in. "A Far Reaching Light'' takes on another style of dancefloor drama on this slinky and hypnotic journey, and lastly he takes you further down the spiral on the chugging, textured sonic tapestry of "The Wind As It Took Her". Like his Dada EP on Correspondant last year, this is 'paranoid music for paranoid times' yet again by Michael Greene.
Review: Italy's Iva Vagli, better known as Ivo del Prado, comes to Spain's Rare Wiri label with four tracks that sit right on the cusp of contemporary disco and deep/melodic house. 'Fat Track' is a laidback little groove, 'The Blues Grows On' is a hypnotic chugger topped with the vocal from Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson's 'Bicentennial Blues', 'Summer Piano' sounds a little like Underworld trying their hand at piano house and 'Pm 04/04' finds us back in deeper house/disco pastures and sports some killer M1 action towards the end; all four come topped with big trance-y, euphoric synth leads that should help ensure maximum peaktime impact.
Review: Featuring three originals from Satori himself and six other re-imagined cuts from the Sol Selectas back catalogue, Re:Imagined as an idea was conceived during a 10-hour set Satori plays in his hometown every year. With the music on display here dipping into a cultural melting pot of exotic sounds and diversity that's put through a filter of progressive, jazzed-laced and acoustic house, enjoy eastern-themed motifs in "Stone Flower", balearic guitars in "Tiniri" to the watery tabla rhythms and chant music of "Deep In The Mountains". Alternatively find poppier vocal numbers in "Obatala" to the summery, folky waltzes of "Heliocentrist" to the post-sunset vibes of "Marimbora". World music for the Ibiza dreamers.
Review: Acid house evangelists Posthuman rarely put a foot wrong, so it's no surprise to find that their latest EP is full to bursting with high quality. Interestingly, there's no sign of their trademark TB-303 acid lines on lead cut 'You're Mine'; instead, they've opted to pepper a sturdy drum pattern with retro-futurist organ stabs, glassy-eyed vocal samples and, as the track progresses, gargantuan sub-bass and sweaty breakbeats. The accompanying remix is package is strong too, with Luke Vibert predictably stealing the show with a tooled-up, rave-igniting take smothered in a variety of familiar old school vocal samples. We'd also suggest checking dense and chunky bonus cut '(Find Me) On The Edge of Town', a sweaty slab of future acid jack with oodles of energy.
Review: Greek duo Lagasta are up next on James Fucking Friedman's ever reliable Throne Of Blood label, following up that terrific 'Late Summer Compilation Vol.10' (Part II) they self-released just last month. The hazy downbeat balearica of "Steve" is exactly the kind of glassy-eyed and bittersweet music that the late Jose Padilla could have played at Cafe del Mar. It receives some brilliant remixes as part of the package. Mexican duo Zombies In Miami deliver a typically neon-lit rendition, while the mighty Philip Lauer delivers not one but two reworks: the first 'Sanguisuga' version was well on the money, and another fine example of the prolific German producer's idiosyncratic sound.
Review: Funkwise is the studio alias of Bali-dwelling British DJ/producer Adam Wise. With over a decade's experience behind the decks, he made the move into production in 2019, and here he returns with a three-tracker for the Cheeks label. Up first is 'Late', a funk-fuelled deep houser with a big, fat squelchy bassline at its heart. That's followed by 'Danger Danger', another mid-paced affair which blends funk, disco and house influences, and which sports a jaunty, jazzy lil' keys riff and some fine space disco stabs. Completing the EP is the Jive Talk Remix of 'Late', which takes us into full-on early 80s electrofunk nostalgia mode.