Review: Sasha brings us collection of tracks that have featured in his Spotify playlist series of the same name, which is oriented towards midtempo, contemplative but still beats-driven cuts spanning breaks, ambient and leftfield electronica. While much is being made of this "new direction", a more cynical observer might say it's the first CD of 'Northern Exposure' plus drums; all the same, there's much to enjoy here if you're in a laidback kinda mood, with standouts including MJ Cole's haunting, fractured 'Maestro' and Cortese's 'Circles' with its air of restrained menace. The album also includes two fresh cuts from The Man Like himself, 'Corner Shop' and recent single 'HDNI'.
Review: Four synth-y nu-disco jams make up Helsinki-based Roberto Rodriguez AKA Manolo's new EP for Rare Wiri. 'Amalfi Drive' sets the tone, a druggy, chuggy affair that blends Balearic and Italo influences with a hint of jazz-funk, then tops the lot with a soulful male vocal loop. 'Phobos' and 'Paseo Maritimo' are both in a similar vein but a little more obviously floor-friendly, and would have sounded right at home in Rimini or Ibiza Town circa 1989-90, before closer 'Away (For Too Long)' drops the tempo to a crawl - definitely one for those post-club chillin' sessions.
Review: French label Citizens of Vice welcomes the Canary Islands' very own Sauco to the mix with the Sun Goddess EP featuring sleeper hit "Sun Goddess". With the lead track tripping out on flamenco-like guitars, looped disco-machine grooves and balearic synth, it undergoes a funk and ballroom workout in Lanowa's worthy remix. With Rayko dubbing out the guitars, tuning his synths and pumping up the Roland in his Italo-inspired version of "Soulstice", it's the undeniable vamp, build and crescendo of the original within it mega groove that does the trick on us here.
Review: To celebrate Phil Mison's fourth LP under the Cantoma moniker - an album that took in collaborations with Quinn Lamont Luke, Hush Forever, Suad Khalifa, Apres Midi, David Philips and Luna Asteri - its remixers are equally exciting in Pete Herbert, Ruff Dug and Leo Mas & Fabrice. Ruff Dug simultaneously balances post punk and Italo disco in his melancholic yet wholly uplifting remix, with Pete Herbert heading straight into indie, disco and pop territory that will appeal to fans of a New York City sound. And for something a little deeper house leaning but still loungey, ambient jazz, and groovy - Leo Mas & Fabrice hit the spot!
Review: Mikhail Khvasko's previous album as A Vision of Panorama, a self-t17 set, was described by our sister site Juno Records as a "true soft focus sonic safari", with colourful instrumentation and a notably starry mood. This belated full-length follow-up is equally as warming and sonically kaleidoscopic, with Khvasko cannily combining vibrant melodies, dusty drum machine beats and saucer-eyed chords on tracks that frequently blue the boundaries between hazy deep house, bubbly Balearica, horizontal nu-disco, acid-flecked downtempo grooves, jazz-flecked slo-mo soundscapes and meditative ambient. In other words, it's an another entertaining, ear-catching set that should suit all those who love cultured electronic music and immersive dancefloor workouts.
Review: Statues are the Essex-based trio of Bradley Lucke, Mark Crookes and Grant Carruthers, and their new EP packs two tracks in four mixes. 'Rotunda' is a slo-mo jam that sits somewhere between spangly, Nang-esque nu-disco and shimmering Balearica, whether you opt for the sparse, bass-throbbin' Original or warmer, more sumptuous Gold Suite Remix. It's the accompanying 'Lessons' with its mantra-like vocal that stands out, though: the original comes on like an unlikely but effective cross between the goth-psych whimsy of Love & Rockets and the laidback stoner pop of Freakpower, while Coyote's remix enhances the groove without detracting from its druggy, lazy charms one iota.
Review: The team behind the Love International festival has joined forces with Apiento's Test Pressing website to launch a new collaborative EP series, LIXTP. To kick things off they've recruited Melbourne's Fantastic Man, a producer who knows much about atmospheric, retro-futurist house flavours. He begins in confident mood with 'Cloud Manager', where echo-laden piano solos and dreamy chords rise above gnarled analogue bass and off-kilter machine drums, before doffing a cap to the era of 'bleep and breaks' on the shuffling, sub-heavy 'Lounge Wizard'. 'Psychic Monthly' is slow, psychedelic and deliciously odd, while 'Tome Apprentice' brilliantly joins the dots between deep electro, acid and shimmering Balearic house.
Review: Following up the lead single "Under Your Skin" with Kevin Knapp, veteran duo Audiojack of Gruuv Recordings fame finally unveil their full length album on Crosstown Rebels. The Leeds natives James Rial and Richard Burkinshaw last served up an LP back in 2009, so it's another career high for the pair and features a diverse array of moods and grooves across 10 tracks. From the balearic downbeat chill vibe of "Binaural Dreaming", to the funky and bass-driven tech house of "Easy Rider" or similarly the acid laced "Psychoactive" (Part 1) which are more typical of the pair. Not to mention the utterly euphoric second single "Feels Good" featuring vocalist Jem Cooke, its a cohesive effort by these staples of the Ibiza party circuit.
Review: Boite Music once again with some '80s inspired sounds coming out of the Picklejam factory! With three solid numbers to draw upon here, "Therapy" looks to the cowbell and a synth section good enough for any New York city montage, with "Social Intercourse" serving up a cooler slice of breakin '80s new wave, instrumental synth. With a touch of Italo adding to the slo-mo flair of "Belmont" this Picklejam Therapy EP is something like Beverly Hills Cop meeting the closing credits of Top Gun, and a little bit of Baywatch thrown in.
Review: Arriving on Shall Not Fade is new school producer Kilig that hits a hot streak of releases now following previous outings on Soundtracking The Void and Origins Sounds. Deftly fusing subtle touches of trance and new age synth with classic UK dance styles in numbers like "Clocking In" and "Without You" get your more forthright drum and bass / jungle tracks from "I Wanted To Call & Tell You". A highlight production comes through the mellow sounds and relaxing groove of "Closer" with higher tempos and deeper, Burial-like atmospheres coming through "Overthinking" only to be cooled down by subtle strings and distant echoes of R&B vocals.
Review: As the title suggests, this expansive collection from long-running Munich staple Compost Records gathers together gems - mostly previously heard, but with a smattering of unreleased cuts - from the last couple of years. There's much to enjoy throughout, and plenty of variety (the latter a hallmark of the label's output over the last quarter of a century). Our picks of a very strong bunch include a pair of atmospheric Afro-tech club cuts from Pablo Fierro and Raoul K & Rancido, a lusciously deep and squelchy Luke Vibert remix of Felix Laband's 'Righteous Red Berets', a hypnotic tech-house take on Marsmobil courtesy of Ripperton, the slow-motion, Sly & The Family Stone influenced funk-rock haziness of Enzo Elia's 'Desert' and the deep, acid-flecked electro of Godot's 'Phonem'.
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: Introducing an artist that's been on the scene for some three-to-four years now - and picking up plaudits by the release - is Russian funk, disco and soulsmith ScruScru. He arrives on Omena - of course home to the music of HNNY, Seb Wildblood and Mella Dee among others - and does so with the suggestion of a return visit. But first and foremost, South Wind, Clear Sky Part 1 brings the sounds of ScruScru (real name Anton Bogomolov) to a whole new cosmic level - just take one listen to "Maneki-Neko". With the artist's blend of jazz-funk, seductive disco-powered house, topping percussion and warm rhodes, ScruScru's experimental beatmaking goes west!
Review: There's no shortage of Italo- and cosmic-inspired disco around at the mo' and, with 'Italians Do It Better' opening this EP, it's fair to say you know what you're getting here! 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' is probably the pick for the hardcore Italo-philes with its Carpenter-esque synths, 'Blue Monday'-nodding b-line and sci-fi sonic stylings, while the smoother-flowing 'Italians...' probably has slightly broader dancefloor appeal. Competing the package is 'End Titles', a midpaced affair that's essentially a homage to the synth-pop and coldwave of early/mid-80s Europe - one for those whose DJ sets include obscure Falco album cuts n' such.
Review: Harry Wolfman seems to save some of his best material for Dirt Crew Recordings, a label he first joined four years ago. There's certainly plenty to savour on his fourth EP for the long-serving German imprint, with the sometime House of Disco Records and Toy Tonics man sashaying between sparkling, sample-heavy deep house headiness (the sun-kissed treat that is 'Walk With Me', piano-and-strings-laden ambient bliss ('Phlosto Paradise' and Mona Vale collaboration 'Courage'), bass-heavy breakbeat house dreaminess ('Sly Contrast'), jazzy and loose-limbed downtempo beats (the Indonesian folk music-goes trip-hop flex of 'Workit Shep') and the pretty much impossible-to-pigeonhole immersive warmth of 'A21z'). An excellent EP all told.
Review: Maurice Fulton has made plenty of awesome records over the years, including a string of superb full-length sets as Boof. Here he returns with his first album under the alias for five years, and as you'd expect it's a belter. In line with its predecessors, Fulton delivers a swathe of ear-pleasing numbers laden with colourful synthesizer sounds, jazzy electric piano stabs, opaque chords and rubbery bass guitar. There are of course interesting and oddball diversions amongst the more straightforward house jams that are tricky to accurately describe - see "Ana's F Is Chillin", the intoxicating and exotic "Japanese Indian Shrimp Curry" and the kaleidoscopic space jazz that is the brilliant title track - and a handful of ultra-percussive peak-time beasts (see "Luam Has Found Her Z").
Review: Originally released on legendary outsider label Staalplaat smack-bang in the middle of the '90s, sounds of the post industrial & ambient duo O Yuki Conjugate have been recalled once again, this time by Optimo Music. Until now the original Staalplaat 12" was a near impossible record to find, with Optimo giving its 2021 reissue a slightly reconfigured version. Cherry picking "Bismuth", "Carbon" and an original album version of "Sunchemical" itself, the album dusts off a time capsule of exotica, percussion and hand drumming music amid a stream evolving textures, subtle drones and other new age instrumentation. Bonus to this comes a timeless remix from Sheffield and Peacefrog producer Charles Webster!
Review: Ame and Ry Cuming are back with their Howling project except this time the woofers have brought with them an album on the ever-excellent Monkeytown / Counter affiliation. Sacred Ground, however, is more of compilation of their work up to the present day, an anthology of their own unique take on house. Tracks such as "Stole The Night", "Signs" and "Howling" have already appeared on previous EPs and have also been remixed by various electronic luminaries for the same label. The rest of the work contains yet more of their poppy dance music, a cross between Nicolas Jaar's work and something that Hot Chip would vibe to in one of their DJ sets. House music for indie rock lovers.
Review: A most intrepid selection for the next instalment of the Late Night Tales series come from an equally beguiling soundtrack by multi-instrumentalist Jordan Rakei. Known for lending his vocals to the music of Disclosure to releasing with Blue Note and on Ninja Tune, the New Zealand born artist introduces himself to Late Night Tales with something neoclassical. Taking on folk, jazz & free jazz to spoken word, warm instrumentals and ambient dualities, the spaces between are filled with percussive electronics, solo acoustic numbers and walls of instrumental noise, culminating in two exclusives; Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's poetic closer, "Imagination", and Jordan Rakei's very own cover of Jeff Buckley's "Lover, You Should've Come Over".
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: 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.
What Does It Take (album version) - (5:13) 104 BPM
Review: Lisa Milberg and Jon Bergstrom are Miljon! The Swedish duo made a ripples in 2018 when their link up with Axel Bowman and their "Forgot About You" single was picked up for the odd compilation (and BoyBoy release it first appeared on). Given some time to subside back into the studio, the pair now fully emerge with the release of their debut album, Don't They Know. Keeping in line with a lineage of great Swedish indie music, Miljon opt for a lo-fi and disco-tinged sound, described by some as flaskpost-disko or message-in-a-bottle-disco which the band acknowledge but redefine themselves as "something faded, worn, sun-bleached and ocean-sprayed but all the same carefully written, perhaps romantic or a touch dramatic".