German imprint Quintessentials' mission statement is to keep underground house music on the map. It claims to hold a candle to those old house records: they love that raw yet soulful vibe. For their 56th (!) release they have tapped Mexican producer 4004, who has had releases also of late on FACES, Poetry In Motion and Late Night Jackin'. Smoky late night groove "No Dreams" gets things off to a good start with its smooth Rhodes, bumpy bassline and hypnotic bongo action. We particularly enjoyed the pumping NYC basement vibe of "Fanta Club" while "Black Alley Shuffle" gets back to the program in sexy and dusky fashion complete with some dusty rhythms, diva vocals and further mood lighting with the impressive use of filter sweeps.
Andhim aka Simon Haehnel and Tobias Muller have been releasing their heady mixture of house and techno for the past seven years, but Huso is one of their most original records yet. The title track is an expansive affair, built on loose drums and rolling percussion, and also featuring vocodered vocals and Middle Eastern motifs. It's one of 2017's most distinctive and strangely infectious house tracks. "Amene" is another unusual affair; while it draws on a familiar-sounding chord build, it features a strangely hypnotic vocal sample - possibly from North Africa - playing out and building over an out-of-kilter rhythm. It makes for an unusual, exotic release.