Review: The first compilation on Koze's Pampa label is a lovingly curated affair. It starts with the left field house of Herbert's take on Lianne La Havas and Ada's r&b-infused "You & Me", as well as DJ Koze's own hymnal take on Roman Flugel's "9 Years". Other Pampa regulars like Axel Boman are well represented and he provides the ultra-mellow "In The Dust of This Planet". Equally though, Koze also provides a platform for newcomers to the fold. There's the utterly bizarre, glitch-hop of Nasrawi and Funskstorung's contributions, and at the other end of the spectrum, wide-eyed deep house from Mount Kimbie and Jamie xx & Kosi Kos' pumping indie-dance "Come We Go".
Review: Sam Shepherd has long been a master of the kind of ultra-deep, rolling, soft focus deep house that raises the spirits and soothes the soul. Even so, there's something incredibly special about "Nuits Sonores", the lead track from this must-have EP. Based around a deep, tactile groove and blessed with rising synth solos, dancing acid lines and his usual fireside Rhodes antics, the track rises magnificently for 12 spellbinding minutes. As it progresses, further elements make their way into the mix, until it reaches the kind of organic deep house climax that makes even the grumpiest souls go weak at the knees. Flip for "Nectarines", the kind of loose-limbed fusion of deep house sassiness, Detroit techno electronics and fluid jazz drumming at which Shepherd has always excelled.
Review: It's been some six years since Hun Choi made his debut on William Burnett's WT Records imprint. In that time, he's proved incredibly hard to pin down. This debut album for Rush Hour seems designed to continue that trend, offering a series of warm, melodious and curiously Balearic cuts that defy easy categorization. Sure, there are dancefloor-focused moments - see the cacophonous, Detroit-influenced hustle of "Error of the Average", the deep acid madness of "Silent Sensations" and the classic deep house bounce of "Desire" - but also a range of downtempo and ambient jams that arguably impress more. Of these, it's "The World" - a humid exercise in tropical drums, twittering flutes and looped vocal samples - and the sublime, string-laden "Bruises" that really stand out.
Review: Amazingly, it's 25 years since George 'E.A.S.E' Evelyn and then production partner Kevin 'Boy Wonder' Harper sat down and recorded "Dextrous", their monstrous, bleep-era classic on Warp. A quarter of a century later, Evelyn is still going strong, though the grooves have mellowed a lot in that time. Here, Warp celebrate the producer's epic career with a much-deserved retrospective. All the familiar favourites are present, from the rush-inducing thrill of early dancefloor smashers "I'm For Real" and "Aftermath", to the sinewy downtempo goodness of the decidedly Balearic "Les Nuits", the blazed hip-hop dub of "195 Llbs" and stoner soul of "70s 80s". This version also includes a number of exclusive remixes, with names like JD Twitch, Special Request, LFO, Morgan Geist and Loco Dice putting their own spin on this classic material.
Review: 10 years on from its initial release, Groove Armada's contribution to the Anotherlatenight series gets a new lease of life. For those searching for deep, downtempo and vaguely Balearic fare, it's well worth a look. While Groove Armada's mix is enjoyable enough, it's the unmixed tracks that are most worthy of attention. Amongst the familiar classics (Kleer's boogie classic "Tonight", Mr Fingers' "Can You Feel It" and Metro Area's "Muira"), you'll find hot curiosities from the likes of Shuggie Otis (the decidedly acid-fried "Strawberry Letter 23"), Loose Ends ("Feel The Vibe"), Good Together (forgotten super-deep house jam "Work It Out") and Don Ray (the heady disco grooves of "Standing In The Rain").
Review: Second time around for Hans-Peter Lindstrom's decidedly Balearic, prog rock-tinged Late Night Tales selection, which first saw the light of day back in 2007. This time round, it's been given a gloss of new paint in the form of a sparkling digital remaster. While this is all well and good, the selling point remains the Norwegian producer's excellent, left-of-centre selections. There's another chance to check his own cover of Vangelis' "Let It Happen", classic Balearica from Fearn Kinney and Carly Simon, acapella action from Todd Lundgren, freestyle ambient jazz-funk from George Duke, a slew of forgotten prog rock faves and a brilliant dub track from Oslo mates Prins Thomas and Todd Terje ("Reinbagan").
Review: Sao Paulo deep house producer Xique-Xique's Xaxoeira EP was originally released in 2014 but now sees a deserved vinyl release. Starting out with the very All Day I Dream-ish "1542" which is complete with lush xylophone melodies, woozy synths and smooth beats, he's then into the slow burning title track, which comes complete with cosmic atmosphere and sultry French vocals; just perfect for drifting. Ecuador's Nicola Cruz delivers a fine remix, staying on the same Lee Burridge style vibe of the first track and is perfect for an open air rooftop party near you next Summer.
Review: This triple-album collection is something of a treat for Prins Thomas fans. Released as an accompaniment to his epic, three-disc Paradise Goulash mix, it's entirely made up of previously unreleased re-edits from the Norwegian maestro. Musically, it's as cosmic and varied as you'd expect, variously touching on ambient (Claude Speed), Balearic jazz (Gabor Szabo), Middle Eastern oddness (Cat Trance), synth-samba (Richard Schneider Jnr), modern classical (a Johanna Billings cover of Arthur Russell's "This Is How We Walk On The Moon"), and all manner of hazy, sun-kissed grooves. There's little slamming dancefloor fare, but plenty of unique versions of overlooked, little known or forgotten musical gems. For that alone, it should be an essential purchase.
Review: In recent times, Krystal Klear's EPs have wholeheartedly paid tribute to a variety of (mostly New York-based) historic clubs, artists and dance music sub-genres. While he's officially broken the spell with The Division EP - his first outing on Running Back - for the most part it's still a heart-warming, retro-futurist treat. He kicks things off with the cheery, Italo-disco revivalism of "Neutron Dance", where throbbing synthesizer arpeggio lines and mid-80s melodies are underpinned by a bustling mid-tempo house groove, before slowing things down via the Balearic synth-pop shuffle of "Division Ave". Then you'll find more muscular, freestyle-meets-acid house fun (wild and mind-altering peak-time highlight "Shockzoid") as well as the baggy, glassy-eyed Balearic house rush of closer "Moonshake Mike".
Review: Luca Trevisi is LTJ Xperience, an Italian producer who began his career in the 1980s. As resident DJ at two of the most famous Italian clubs of the time: Kinky in Bologna and Cap Creus in Imola, he was one of the first Italian jocks to spin house and to reintroduce black music, jazz and latin-bossa classics from the '70s. These are the kind of tracks that gave birth to the acid jazz and rare groove movements. The Beggar Groove LP is his new album, the fourth dedicated to the 'research' of disco/funk, from its origins to today's rhythms feelings on the dancefloor. The smooth acid jazz of the opening track "Way Down" would make even Ludovic Navarre stand up and notice, while soulful and compelling deep funk of "Fooling You" can equally impress. According to the label, the title track of the album is the most demand track by the artist and never released digitally until now.
Review: Numbering musicians from LA, Copenhagen and Auckland amongst their ranks, Parallel Dance Ensemble perhaps epitomise the far reaching remit of Permanent Vacation. Debuting on the Munich label with the digital-only Possessions & Obsessions last March, the band now return in typically well curated remix EP form. Any record that puts the likes of Max D and Maxxi Soundsystem alongside a rarely used collaboration moniker between Studio Barnhus' Boman and Petter (Salax Peep Show) and the Perm Vac mainstays Spectacle is going to get the disco whiskers twitching and your intrigue will be well rewarded here. It's rare that a production from Future Times boss man Max D gets trumped in our affections but the moment the bass line drops on the Maxxi Soundsystem remix of "Shopping Cart" is a real joy to behold!
Review: You'd expect a compilation curated by open-minded DJ/producer Hunee to be eclectic in nature, and Hunchin' All Night is just that and more. Marketed simply as "a collection of his favourite dancefloor cuts from the '70s until modern time", the compilation set is packed with obscure and inspired jams in a variety of styles. Compare, for example, the gentle but tribal rhythms and new age synthesizers of Carlos Maria and Nuno Canavarro's "Blue Terra" with the glistening, mid-80s Balearic jazz-funk brilliance of Stanislas Tohon's "Owhaaou" (as re-edited by French digger Raphael Top-Secret), or even the Clavinet-heavy Highlife brilliance of Pat Thomas's "Yesu San Bra Disco Hi Life". And that's before we get to the acid-flecked techno madness of Villa Abo and Hunee's wonderfully dreamy and dubbed-out pulse of Mappa Mundi's "Trance Fusion".
Review: Although they've delivered plenty of fine singles over the years, it's invariably Session Victim's albums that get us hot under the collar. This is primarily because it gives them a chance to showcase a wider range of grooves, tempos and instrumentations amongst the ear-pleasing dancefloor workouts. Their sunny disposition, noted sample-spotting ability and varied inspirations are all in evidence on the German duo's third full-length excursion. It's a deliciously evocative, enjoyable and mood enhancing affair that smilingly meanders between dreamy jazz-house bliss, Bossa-Balearic fusion, disco-sampling cheeriness, glistening slow jams, Afro-tinged deep house warmth and humid dub riddims (the impeccable "Castle For Sale"). In other words, it's another hugely enjoyable romp packed full of winning moments.
Review: Famously, George Evelyn's Nightmares on Wax project is the only surviving link to Warp's early days as a bastion of Yorkshire house and techno. Of course, the Leeds native left that style behind years ago - though, interestingly, two tracks on this belated seventh album ("Eye (Can See)" and "Tapestry") touch on soul-sampling house - instead turning his attention to slinky downtempo grooves. For the most part, Feelin' Good sticks to the plan, offering up slow, laidback, summery fusions of soul, dub, funk, instrumental hip-hop and string-drenched Balearic moods. It's something of a return to form after a string of so-so sets, recalling Evelyn's two greatest moments, 1990s' downtempo classics Smokers Delight and Carboot Soul.
Review: Three years on from his first Talamanca System collaboration with Tuff City Kids duo Gerd Janson and Phillip Lauer, Mark Barrott gets the gang back together for an album of typically loved-up excursions. International Feel's eccentric press release describes it as "a sunburned imagination of a day and night spent on Ibiza during a moment in time that probably never was". Given the album's repeated nods to baggy, piano-laden Italian house, the saucer-eyed, sunrise-friendly brilliance of 808 State's "Pacific State", sun-kissed post Italo-disco chuggers, percussion-laden tropical workouts and head-in-the-clouds ambience, it's actually rather an apt description. It's shamelessly Balearic from start to finish, but pulls it off with an authenticity that others could only dream of.
Review: Aussie adventurer Tornado Wallace seems to be getting better with age. Over recent years, he's delivered a string of brilliantly evocative, sun-kissed releases for the likes of ESP Institute, Beats In Space and Second Circle. Lonely Planet is his debut album, and it could well be his strongest release to date. The seven tracks are dreamy, trippy and atmospheric - we'd expect nothing less - and draw on a far wider palette of Balearic influences than we've heard on previous experiences. Coupled with a new-found desire to include more live instrumentation (particularly glistening, Peter Green style guitar passages, drums and exotic flutes), the result is an album that's as evocative, dreamy and humid as anything he's produced to date. In other words, it's a great album and comes highly recommended.
Review: Brazilian beat fetishists, Beatnik City, are back proudly presenting a long player from Rio De Janeiro's best kept secret, Dr. K. They claim he's literally the city's best-kept secret - having tirelessly produced sizzling hot bossa nova infused beats for almost 15 years! this new album should change all that, boasting 17 fresh jams that fuse samba rhythms, a pinch of big beat goodness, a smidgeon of brass and lashings of carnival-friendly retro Latin vibes.
Review: Having set his stall out via a string of quietly impressive singles over the last two years, deep house producer Laurence Guy is ready to unleash his debut album. Saw You For The First Time is a typically rich and hazy affair, with the Church regular making use of various dusty, jazz-flecked samples and analogue-sounding electronic instruments across a ten-track set that mixes rolling, club-ready fare with occasional bouts of downtempo introspection (see "Claudi", "Into" and the deliciously saucer-eyed "Orchard Road"). Guy makes great use of guest vocalist Steve Spacek on the sumptuous space jazz warmth of "Drum is a Woman", while Ishmael makes his presence felt on "Anchor", where twinkling pianos and dreamy chords ride a fluid, floor-friendly deep house groove.
Review: Three years on from their last full-length excursion - the fine Borough 2 Borough on Delusions of Grandeur - Craig Smith and The Revenge return with their third 6th Borough Project album. Predictably, it's a fine set, with the duo tweaking their now familiar blueprint - think sample heavy, Balearic-minded deep house built around killer grooves and impeccable production - to guarantee a slightly more eclectic listening experience. So, while there are moments of locked-in dancefloor hypnotism - see "The Weight" and acid-gospel thump of "Tainted Dub" - they're accompanied by trips into wide-eyed, loved-up two-step territory (brilliant closer "Back Where It All Began"), seductive, synth-heavy dreaminess (Paul Joseph hook-up "Find Your Rhythm"), intoxicating downtempo chuggers ("Someday"), and much more besides.
Review: Given his impressive track record, hopes are naturally high for Bonobo's sixth album, Migration, which is his first full-length since 2013. Happily, it's a majestic affair, with the producer delivering another sumptuous set of tracks. It was partly inspired by an extended period musing on the nature of personal identity, and the role that nationality plays in that. This concept is translated via thoughtful lyrics, and songs that draw musical influence from the four corners of the globe. It's not a big stylistic leap, of course - his bread and butter remains yearning, emotion-rich downtempo music built around gently jazzy grooves and impeccable live instrumentation - but given that few artists do it better than Bonobo, we'll forgive him for that.
Review: More midtempo yet still eminently danceable grooves here from DJ Supermarket's Too Slow To Disco camp, this time coming courtesy of Italian-Australian producer Dave Mathmos. He turns his hand to re-editing two dancefloor classics from the 70s, with the lazy, laidback and Balearic 'Your Love (Contemporary Soul Mix)' biting the vocal from Ben E King's 1975 disco hit 'Supernatural Thing', while Rose Royce's 'Love Don't Live Here Any More' forms the basis of 'You Abandoned Me (Dave Mathmos Interpretation)', with a single line of the vocal looped up over house-y pianos and a slo-mo electro bassline.
Review: The Late Night Tales crew are certified specialists when it comes to compilations and the label have quite the catalogue behind them, featuring mixes by the likes of Bonobo, Belle & Sebastian and even Fatboy Slim. This time the compiling credits are anonymous, meaning that the label have taken it up to themselves to compile this After Dark Nocturne release. The tracks are unmixed, as is usually the case, so you can pick and mix as many as you like, or simply go for the whole lot! There's plenty of gold in here and the compilation spans quite a diverse set of music from the shady house of Tornado Wallace to the Italian pop of Adriano Celentano on "L'unica Chance". There's also some more minimal numbers by the likes of Alex Metric, gnarly electro beats by Hotel Motel and plenty more. Dive in, it's a guaranteed party bomb.
Review: As sure as night follows day, every year Kompakt releases an installment of the Total series. Now at its sixteenth volume, the compilation still manages to bring together the best bits from the Cologne label's catalogue. From the dreamy textures and spiky off rhythms of Kaytlin Aurelia Smith's take on The Field's "Reflecting Lights" to the woozy vocals and pitter pattering break beats on Weval's "I Donat Need It" to the stripped back but evocative house of Patrice Baumel's take on Blond:ish's "Endless Games" and the throbbing techno reshape of Coma's "Lora", the full range of the Kompakt emotional spectrum is audible here.
Review: The Balearic scene of the mid '80s is an ever-popular genre, there's just something forever cool about its laissez faire attitude where anything interesting with a groove got thrown in the mix no matter how weird the choice might be. Leo Mas was there, alongside Alfredo, spinning at Amnesia, and now he begins to tell the tale via this new compilation series. The 12 tracks here range from flute driven hippy jams ("Gil") to sleazy Italian EBM/disco ("Satan In Love") and Melody FM balladry ("l'Ultima Notte") via droney Goth ("Clouds Over Thin Paper"). Bonkers, just the way it should be.
Review: Yorkshire's Ewan Ewan (drum roll!) has relocated to Europe's new capital of electronic music; Berlin, like most ambitious young producers do these days. Despite being on a roll previous to his relocation, there's no doubt that the vibes and sounds of the German capital have rubbed off on him, as clearly heard on his new LP entitled There Is No Right Time. The dusty and lo-fi sounds of hip-hop inspired/disco-fied Berlin deep house are aplenty on this fine EP which covers a wide variety of moods and grooves. Highlights not limited to: the emotive deepness of "10405", the rusty and vintage lo-tech soul of "Waiting For L" or "Left On Lucy" (featuring fellow expat Steve Huerta) and the wonderful "Earnest Kelly" which you could imagine playing during a car chase in an '80s action film.
Review: York might not be the disco capital of the world, but the way the gang at Alpaca Edits carry on it might just as well be! They've been trotting out world class soul, disco and funk edits for a good while now, and here they deliver the second instalment of their compilation in aid of testicular cancer support. There are 15 quality scalpel jobs this time around, with highlights including the rumbling, evening poolside boogie of "I Need A Drink" by Hotmood, the punchy electro-disco of "Head Lights' by Stephen Richards and the white-hot 70s disco rock of "I'm A Man" Pontchartrain.
Review: Escape From New York's 1984 cut "Fire In My Heart" has long been considered something of a Balearic classic. Original copies of the Rollerball Records release 12" are hard to come by, though, so this digital version is more than welcome. The original version - all slo-mo electro drums, rubbery dub bass, exotic melodies and intoxicating vocals - is joined by the now infamous Instrumental Dub version, which has been a staple in Balearic DJs' sets for more than 30 years. If that wasn't enough, there's also a chance to savour to woozy, dub-influenced synth-pop of original bonus cut "Won't Be Your Fool".
Review: The genius of Baba Stiltz productions - aside from their consistent high quality, of course - has always been their eccentric unpredictability. His latest EP for Studio Barnhus - his first for the Swedish label since the tail end of 2015 - sticks to this script. Across the five tracks, you'll hear tactile and dreamy deep house bliss ("Snowwhite"), future R&B-informed vocal synth-pop ("Baby"), bubbly, sun-kissed synthesizer Balearica ("Freeeze"), and hypnotic, loved-up tech-house brilliance (the superb "Are You Mad? Cause I'm Not Mad"). Arguably most impressive of all, though, is the humid "XXX200003", which gently rises on waves of marimba melodies, African-influenced percussion, and fireside-hot chords.
Review: Having sold out on vinyl at the tail end of 2016, it's heartening to see Pyschemagik's epic Ritual Chants compilation series finally appear on digital download. As the title suggests, Beach is the most laidback, loved-up and Balearic of the three collections, and contains all manner of weird, wonderful and evocative fare - most of which is suitably obscure and hard-to-find. Highlights are naturally plentiful, from the reggae-goes-cosmic trip of Tony Wilson's "Hangin' Out In Space", and fuzzy, calypso-rock bounce of Adrian Gurvitz's "New World", to the eccentric Balearic disco shuffle of Amini's "Habibi" and quirky electro-boogie silliness of Danny Boy's "Discomix", a 1983 Dutch release that's guaranteed to put smiles on the faces of even the grumpiest dancers.