Reviewed this week
Founder of White Rabbit Records and one of the hippest swingers in the Southern reaches of Italy, Giovanni Damico has more than proved himself in the field of boogie infused, disco flavoured house music. Following plentiful appearances on labels like Black Key, Movida, Geography and Bitter Moon, Damico returns to Lumberjacks In Hell with a serious serving of sultry grooves for discerning diggers to get all moist over. "Essential" keeps things hyped up and just a little feverish, with a distinctly funky stew of guitar chops, bugged out flute, Rhodes flares and more besides. "Look At You (Sugar Bomb)" is a deeper affair revolving around a particular looped up lick, and then "Drums & Keys" shifts the focus out into accomplished broken beat territory that confirms Damico's skill and adaptability across a range of styles.
Secondcity aka Rowan Harrington teams up with newcomer George Smeddles for an EP on Sola. "Can You.." is not connected to the Mr Fingers classic of the same name. Instead, on the title track, the pair deliver a rolling, linear house groove. Littered with dissected vocal loops, rolling snares and effective filters, it's an effective, tracky affair. On "Groove is In", they follow a relatively similar path; this time, the drums are slightly tougher and the tempo faster, but the pair's love of vocal samples - this time on the more soulful end - and their adherence to crafting tracky, effective rhythms is indisputable.
Sunderland born DJ/producer Garry Todd has certainly had an interesting journey thus far - fist making his name within Sydney, Australia's music scene several years ago - with his first release on local imprint BEEF, followed by appearances for homeboys Illusion Recordings and Contemporary Scarecrow. Fast forward to a move back to Europe in 2015, a full length on Berlin institution B Pitch Control (Nora Lillian) soon followed, finally setting him up as one of the most exciting stars in tech house. He's next up on top label Knee Deep In Sound, with the tough bounce of "Wait For Me" featuring Jessica Derrick's sensual vocals over a hypnotic chime melody and a rolling groove. There's also two killer renditions to support it - legendary Swedish duo Zoo Brazil going for a more euphoric yet adrenalised trance version (of sorts!), while rising Bristolian star Dubspeeka's deep tribal atmospherica is sure to cause some dancefloor drama.
Kyle by name, Riot by nature: rising up the ranks with a string of self-releases, here the young UK producer makes his debut on Foor's YoSH imprint with this spring-loaded blunderbuss: "Through My Eyes". Slapping with a classic mid 2000s electro bassline, switching from 4/4 to broken drums and laced with a scorching vocal, this is guaranteed to raise hairs.
Vanderkraft is Adrien Penhouet from Picardie, France who for a while ran an eponymous imprint specialising in minimal house, as well as recent release for Parisian imprint De La Groove. This new great one inaugurates new Normandie imprint Planet Gwer and it's hot, trust us! From the sensual, swing-fuelled deepness of "Ce Bon Vieux Jean Lassalle" which is reminiscent of similarly impressive French upstarts of the moment like Flabire or Alva, the jazzed-up and loungey "La Romance" is equally perfect for late night mood lighting. But the impressive young producer certainly saves the best for last on the lush and mesmerising "Kimono Doux" a blissed-out groove with a distinctly French touch.
Defected sub label 4 To The Floor is back with another underground classic for those who know. Originally released in 1996, Francois K's Wave Music presented New York chanteuse Fonda Rae's "Living In Ecstasy" - another amazing Mood II Swing production. John Clafone and Lem Springsteen's garage hit is a zeitgeist for that mid-nineties Stateside sound and nothing sums it up better than these three versions. From the the raw, crunchy shuffle of J.C.'s Ecstasy Dub, the deep and sensual bounce of The Groove Mix (that allows Rae's vocals to really shine though) or the sheer uplifting soul power of the Mood II Swing N.Y. Mix - they just don't make house music like this anymore. Respect!
XOA continues to lay out a formidable interpretation of African-infused dance music for the modern age, following on from lauded appearances on Shake, One House and Soundway. Alongside Contours, he comes to Banana Hill with some next level transcendental head-quaking business that reaches from the roots of Afrobeat right through to contemporary FX dubbing business. "Too Much Talking" is a proper eyes-closed roller for the hazy moment in the dance, and "Express" ramps things up to a strident tempo layered with a barrage of congas and djembes. The hectic pace is offset by swooning melodies, all wistful synth splashes and plucky guitar chops, stirring the soul as much as the feet.
Hannover's Peppermint Jam predicts that 2018 will be a good year for house music - and what better to support this than with the third outing of the mighty Jam Files series. The label's very own Mousse T. starts the journey with a fresh exclusive, featuring the inimitable Peven Everett on the sensual jam "Pleasure" and even a remix of his anthem "Horny" from '96 by Scott Diaz. Elsewhere, there's also a rework of the classic "Never Enough" by Hamburg legend Boris Dlugosch, plus future classics by newbies like Studioheist on their deep and soulful "In Control" featuring the smooth as silk vocals of Andre Espeut. Also, Raw Instinct get their hot track "De La Bass" reworked by Montreal hero Fred Everything. Jam Files III is the perfect offering for every house music fan or 'music connoisseur' according to the label - we'd have to agree!
Berlin based italians Hell Yeah return with new terrible Russian kids on the block: Uninc & Kolomensky aka Dany Kole (Clandestino,) who serve up more vodka influenced acid-house. As best described by the label themselves, they melt chunky beatdown from outer space, Kingston vibes, west-coast house sensibilities all under one roof. The funky acid cum balearica of "AiAiAi" has an almost early '90s style Madchester vibe about it on this delay drenched dub epic. Also featured is the low slung, slo-mo house of "Muffin" which also features yet more TB-303 glide, sandwiched between ragga vocals, live drums and rich vintage synth action.
Stefano Miele aka Riva Starr's new sublabel Brock Wild brings some truly funky jams on the old-school tip here. From the trippy 303 acid of "Let Yourself Go" (original mix) to the neon-lit, first wave Chicago antics of "Tonight "(original mix) that will take you all the way back to '86. The rolling and slamming "Move" seems to be one of Starr's classic hits recently unveiled from the vaults, but will have the new kids going frantic to its jacking, swing fuelled antics and that very familiar vocal hook. If that was not enough, the remix up next by Bulgarian hardware maverick KiNK is a modern anthem that first set dancefloors alight over seven years ago - and it still has the same impact now as it did back then!
Following up great releases on Get Twisted, London's Nathan Fostell returns, this time on 7Wallace - the imprint run by actor Idris Elba of The Wire and Luther fame. Fostell teams up with local chanteuse Natalie Wood (Anjunadeep/Salted Music) who lends her sultry vocal talents to "Circles", a sleek funky house cut on the deeper and more emotive tip. Boss man Elba steps up to deliver a wicked remix up next, that takes its cues from the UK funky/bassline sound and is perfect to take things up a gear or two on the dancefloor tonight.
Aussie house hero Sonny Fodera teams up with London based duo Mant on the tough rolling tech house of "Moving Up". This one is a right stomper that's going to be rinsed a lot on The White Isle this Summer because it ticks all the right boxes - deep 303 bassline, swing fuelled riddims, ragga vocals and one absolutely massive drop! Mant have released previously on the likes of Circus, Sola and SubSoul, while Fodera continues on with his winning streak - this year alone he's continued to push his new Aarival imprint, had another release on the legendary Relief Records as well as handing in a stellar remix for tech house kings Lee Curtis and Lee Foss' "Drifting" on the latter's Repopulate Mars imprint.
Following up some fantastic releases by the likes of Lord Leopard, Andres Campo and Mele, Eats Everything's label returns with its next installment. Here, legendary British deep house duo Luke Solomon (Classic) & Justin Harris (Music For Freaks) aka Freaks return, teaming up here with Windy City legend Diz Washington AKA 012 (Vizual Records) for the deep and boompty late night jam "Mr Computer Man". Philadelphian legend and Ovum Records boss Josh Wink steps into deliver an exhilarating remix. His rendition forgoes the raw and dusty aesthetic, for something more high-tech on this strobe-lit 303 acid epic.
Ganbatte Records are a nu-disco / funk / re-edits label. Next up for the London based imprint is Argentinian act Ultratango, with a tremendous full length which explores the many shades of jazz music - both modern and classic using variety of musical approaches whether it be with skillful live execution or electronically alla Italo disco style. Beginning with the jazzy broken beat balearica of "Ojos Claros" (extended remix), the sexy samba derived aesthetic of "Tertulia" (extended remix) to the liquid drum & bass of "Hiphope" and the even the new jack swing influenced "Piccadilly". This fine chill-out opus will surely appeal to fans of top labels at the moment like Music For Dreams or Balearic.
NRTHRN XPRSS is run by label heads DJ Ricky Stone (Bangkok) and Jonathan M Waller - both long time respected music industry figures - a DJ & producer and label manager respectively. As their name may suggest, mysterious act Harkonnen has an unhealthy fascination with the David Lynch epic Dune - which this very track is dedicated to, complete with samples from the film itself. If this is the future of funky house then we're excited! The These Machines remix is a euphoric epic, assisted by 303 acid and a subtle electro house influence throughout. This is followed by a fierce tech house adrenaliser by London's Bakerloo on his rendition of the track.
VANDERKRAFT - Au-dela Des Mers (Planet Gwer)
DANIEL STEINBERG - The Black Note (Arms & Legs Germany)
VARIOUS/MOUSSE T - The Jam Files Vol 3 (Peppermint Jam Germany)
FREAKS feat 012 - Mr Computer Man (Edible)
YUKI TOSAYA - Atmospheric Texture (Nightnoise) - exclusive 16-03-2018
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