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: 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: 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: 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: Finally! Motor City Drum Ensemble aka Danilow Plessow drops the Raw Cuts series into one neat little package. Ubiquitous in 2009, the series showcased the Stuttgart native's ability to combine warm pads and luscious synths to create a house sound with a decidedly classicist tip. On this EP you'll also find two new jams from the Plessow-produced Jayson Brothers and a couple of new MCDE tracks, the highlight being "Prayer".
Review: Seasoned retro-futurists Times Are Ruff present their "TINK! Project", a double EP of U.S garage-inspired grooves for veteran Dutch label Tomorrow Is Now, Kid! It's the outfit's most expansive release yet and, fittingly we'd argue, contains some of their strongest work to date. Over the course of the eight tracks you'll find bouncy, gospel-inspired garage stompers (tasty opener "Wingman"), jazz-funk influenced dancefloor smoothness ("Tree House", "What About Samira"), Chez Damier style swinging chunkiness ("Funky Town"), spacey-but-bumpin' dancefloor deepness ("Seven"), turn-of-the-'90s New Jersey fare ("Behind The Curtain") and more heavily electronic dreaminess ("Nero Verde"). In other words, there's enough subtle variety amongst the on-point cuts to suggest that all eight tracks with stay in your digital crates for some time.
Review: Although Ludovic Llorca has released albums under his other production aliases (the most recent being 2017's jazz-funk set "The Garden" under his longest-running pseudonym, Llorca), "Unbalanced" marks his first full-length outing as Art of Tones - some 13 years after he launched the project on 20:20 Vision. It's naturally a wonderfully warm and positive set, with the veteran French producer making great use of dusty jazz, soul, funk and disco samples throughout. There's plenty of breezy, feel good club tracks to be found dotted throughout - see "Keep On Having Fun", the electric piano-fired drive of "Where One Is", the hypnotic "Grow" and classic gospel deep house of "Grow", for starters - alongside a handful of hazier downtempo cuts that recall the early days of his production career in the mid 1990s.
Review: If your fame is built on delivering rock solid dancefloor cuts, should your subsequent albums stick to the same approach or mix it up a little? It's a conundrum that many artists have struggled with over the years. Smartly, Detroit Swindle has decided to hedge their bets with High Life following 2014's Boxed Out. As full length albums go, it's a bit of a peach, and sees the acclaimed Dutch duo flit between sensuous, home-listening fare, jaunty, instrumental-laden workouts (see the cheery, smoky pop-soul of Tom Misch hook-up "Yes, No, Maybe" and Afro-fired bounce of "Call of the Wild" featuring fellow Dutch combo Jungle By Night) and tried-and-tasty club tracks (Seven Davis Jr collaboration "Flavourism", the driving disco-house of "Freeqy Polly" and "Cut U Loose").
Review: It seems to strange, in 2019, to think that Robert Hood was once best known for dark, pounding techno, such has been the success of his more house- and gospel-inspired Floorplan project in recent years. This third long-player finds the father-and-daughter duo in fine fettle, serving up 10 cuts that marry house and disco's sense of groove and musicality to the dancefloor energy that Hood learned during his Underground Resistance years, with wailing church organs helping to provide the album's standout moments on tracks like 'Dance Floor' and 'His Eye Is On The Sparrow'. An uptempo, genre-defying triumph.
Invisible Skills (feat Emil Abramyan) - (6:34) 126 BPM
Lucent Eyes - (5:04) 122 BPM
The Road In Front Of Me (feat Jenifa Mayanja) - (5:26) 130 BPM
Review: Sometime mystery deep house producer Grant - now revealed to be an alias of Frank & Tony member Anthony Collins -has a track record that many of his peers surely envy. To date, he's barely put a foot wrong and "Fantasy Blues", his first full-length outing on Lobster Theremin, is another superb set. Warm, melodious, musically detailed and far more imaginative than most deep house albums you'll hear this, the set sees Collins slip between oven-hot, jazz-funk influenced electronica ("Ephemeral Chase"), revivalist early '90s NYC deep house ("Mind & Space", "Finite Elements"), loose-and-languid ultra-deep goodness ("Amaranthine Profundity", "Blurred Harmony") and the kind of relaxed, intergalactic fare that sits somewhere between ambient techno and ocean-deep dream house. In other words, it's superb.
Review: It appears that contemporary DJs and label owners are finally twigging that BRS made some killer deep house in the early 2000s. Here, Wolf Music serves up a freshly remastered reissue of 2003 EP "Spring Dom", which follows hot on the heels of Situationism's new edition of outstanding 2000 cut "Lovin' Me". It remains a superb collection of cuts, with the bumpin' UK garage-influenced/San Francisco deep house fusion of "Clubtronic" and the more analogue-rich "Miss You" being joined by the wonderful dub house/piano house/boogie fusion of title track "Spring Dom". This time round, there's also a fresh remix of the latter cut, with Wolf Music regular Medlar re-casting it as an all-action chunk of boogie and electro-tinged proto-house goodness.
Review: Hailing from California's Bay Area, Sudi Wachspress AKA Space Ghost should need little introduction to lovers of downtempo beats by now: this is his seventh long-player. More importantly, though, it's an album that's worth checking even if you're NOT normally a big fan of the style, because there's a much stronger dancefloor sensibility in evidence than on previous output. Opener 'Sea Snake Island', for instance, could easily slot into an early-doors deep house set, as could the vaguely melancholic 'Lavender Oil', while the title track has something of jazz fusion air about it. It all adds up to 50 minutes of really very pleasant listening indeed...
Review: Before nu-disco, there was Metro Area. We can't over-emphasize the influence that Morgan Geist and Darshan Jesrani's collaborative project had when it first appeared at the tail end of the 1990s. They were amongst the first to breathe new life into disco, largely by drawing on elements borrowed from extended boogie B-side dubs, analogue deep house and NYC's mid-'80s proto-house movement. Their eponymous debut album, first released in 2002, remains once of dance music's finest full-lengths, as this brilliant 15th anniversary reissue proves. The duo spent a significant amount of time re-mastering each of the 12 tracks from their original parts and stems, so all-time classics such as "Muira", "Pina", "Orange Alert" and "Caught Up" sound better than ever. In other words, you need this in your life.
Review: 13 years after he first appeared on the label, Drumpoet Community regular Yannick Salvo has finally got round to recording his first album as Quarion. So was it worth waiting for? We'd say so. While there are some rather wonderful excursions into ambient territory (see the softly spun, slow-motion bliss of opener "Turquoise ('99 Till Inifity)" and the opaque, underwater wooziness of "Ultramarine") for the most part Salvo uses the album to showcase the subtle variety inherent within his largely melodic and evocative dancefloor-friendly work. For proof, contrast the Orbital style excursion "Carulean", the out-there dub techno pulse of "Teal", the bleeping, early morning techno heaviness of "Cobalt (Plains)" and the bubbly electronics and dreamy pads of enveloping tech-house treat "Indigo (Aries)".
Review: Ninja Tune's relentless release schedule continues apace here with the much anticipated debut album from Romare. Under the name, London producer Archie Fairhurst first made waves with a couple of excellent 12" releases for the Black Acre label which revealed a quite distinct approach to production. Inspired by the collages of noted US artist Romare Bearden, Fairhurst's fascination with African-American culture is explored through his productions which deftly weaved in untold amounts of samples in an illuminating fashion. How Romare applies this approach to the album format is one of the most compelling thoughts you will have when listening to Projections. The resultant 11 tracks suggest Fairhurst has achieved it with aplomb.
Review: Having contributed a stellar track to Gerd Janson's Musik For Autobahns 2 compilation, it's little surprise to see Leon Vynehall pop up on Running Back. Rojus (Designed To Dance) is an expansive eight trackaffair thati s likely to be as popular as 2014's Music For The Uninvited LP for Martyn's 3024 label. It's also predictably varied; contrast, for example, the drowsy ambient chords and twinkling electronics of opener "Beyond This", and the deep-jack-goes-rave sweatiness of "Beau Sovereign". Vynehall also finds space for the Balearic jazz-house swing of "Paradisea", the wall-of-sound Detroit deep house of "Blush", and the African influenced drum workout "...There Is You". In other words, it's a versatile cracker.
Review: Rush Hour serve up this collection of rare gems from Rick Wilhite, one of Detroit's most respected purveyors of all things underground. The Godson & Soul Edge compilation showcases the material Wilhite released on Kenny Dixon Jr aka Moodymann's KDJ Records in the 90s. Although he has never been as lauded as his 3 Chairs cohorts Theo Parrish and Dixon Jr (partly due to a comparative paucity in solo work), Wilhite is nonetheless an important piece in the Detroit electronic music puzzle, thanks to both his productions and his work as a record buyer and dealer. There are three versions of the inimitable "What Do You See", which samples a line from Carolyn Crawford's 1978 burner "Coming On Strong" and builds a track around it with a killer drum roll and analogue blat. There are also three different versions of "Drum Patterns & Memories" - one from Rick himself and two from Moodymann. Theo Parrish's 'late' dub of "Get On Up" is perhaps the highlight here, and anyone who has heard this on a decent soundsystem will know how good those chunky old school kick drums sound when given a workout.
Open Sky (Stefan Obermaier version) - (6:14) 123 BPM
Have Some Fun (FaltyDL remix) - (4:20) 120 BPM
Have Some Fun (Urbs Big City mix) - (5:49) 120 BPM
Swimswimswim (Mato version) - (4:15) 122 BPM
Have Some Fun (Speak + Spell version) - (5:23) 124 BPM
Kickin It Down (Ogris Debris version) - (6:39) 120 BPM
Put It On (Headman & Robi Insinna version) - (5:02) 123 BPM
Happy Hour (Demus dub version) - (4:25) 120 BPM
Fly Away - (0:34) 129 BPM
Crazy Love (Tom Demac remix) - (5:39) 122 BPM
Review: It's long been something of a tradition for Tosca's albums to be followed, within a year, by a set of remixes and alternative versions. Shopsca: The Outta Here Versions maintains this trend, delivering all-new reworks of the Viennese duo's 2014 full length, Outta Here. While there's a thread of blazed dub running throughout, the variety of the reworks is actually rather impressive. FaltyDL's version of "Have Some Fun" - all bittersweet horns and fizzing future-jazz electronics - is particularly inspired, while the Ogris Debris version of "Kickin' It Down" is a wild, electrofunk-meets-glitch-house gem. Throw in some dub disco style reworks and a woozy house re-fix of "Crazy Love" from Tom Demac, and you have a rather strong set.
Review: The wonderful Honey Dijon returns to UK institution Classic with some top remixes from last year's LP The Best Of Both Worlds that she completed with Chicago veteran Tim K (Home & Garden) and guests Nomi Ruiz and Matrixxman. Here on Xtra, Keinemusik main man Rampa delivers some sultry and emotive dancefloor drama with his perspective of "Thunda", her homeboy - none other than legend Derrick Carter - brings the super boompty business (like only he can!) with his Black Catcher Extended Vocal remix of "Catch The Beat" and New York's finest Harry 'Choo Choo' Romero delivers an Extended Remix "Personal Slave"- a proper darkroom dub that gets deep-down and devilishly dirty.
Review: Canadian tech house hero Nathan Barato is up next on Hot Creations, stepping away from his usual tough rolling tech-house sound for this full length. One half of duo The Roaches (with fellow Torontonian Carlo Lio), Barato has also released for the likes of Rekids, Cajual, Saved Records, Snatch and his very own Roots And Wings Music. He brings with him an old-school, energetic bounce throughout Past Forward, inviting some top names to join him for the ride. Kicking off with the early Chicago vibe of "Over You" featuring Montrealer Wayne Tenant, the freaky "She's A Rockstar" featuring Room 303, through to some hyper-boompty antics with Keith Rafael Perez, better known as Kid Enigma on "In Ya Soul" and even moments of super sexy deepness - as heard on "Don't Say It" featuring Mikey V.
Review: It's three years since Craig Smith and Graeme Clark impressed with One Night In The Borough, a landmark album that epitomized all that was good about the cut-and-paste, disco-sampling deep house scene of the time. This sophomore set offers more of the same, delivering tracks that ride a range of tempos in their trademark deep, loopy, hypnotic and pleasingly baggy style. While there are plenty of surprisingly supple, heavily electronic uptempo cuts on offer (see "Feel", the disco rush of "In Your Arms" and the classic, Frankie Knuckles-ish US house of "Read My Mind"), they're still at their best when operating at a slower tempo, as the deliciously jazzy "Walk Away" and sensual throb of "Through The Night" neatly prove.