Reviewed this week
Stephan Bodzin hasn't put out any solo material in a few years, and Strand serves as a reminder as to why he is so well respected. Issued on Tale Of Us' Afterlife label, it sees the German producer strike a fine balance between pristine trance melodies and subtle, club-friendly grooves. The title track is vintage Bodzin; featuring a powerful, purring bass and hypnotic synth riffs, it ebbs and flows like the evening tide. "Catamaran" is more understated. It sees Bodzin take influence from Italo and even early German electronic music to create an unforgettable piece of moving, melancholic dance music - its melodies swirling over a dubbed out backing.
It sounds like Hot Creations regular Patrick Topping has been listening to a lot of classic soul. On the title track of his latest release for the label, he fuses a sultry female vocal - similar to Aretha Franklin - over a bass-heavy, walking groove and incessant, hypnotic horns. It's the type of infectious, upbeat tune that'll be championed by big room DJs. "Track Change" marks a different approach: the UK producer opts for a more reduced, stripped back groove, and even though he uses a vocal sample, its robotic and repetitive, and fits perfectly with the tough rhythm, acid belches and metallic percussion that support it.
Fresh from the success of his recent vinyl-only collaboration with Marcel Vogel on Lumberjacks in Hell, Karizma drops his first solo single for some two years. For impeccable dancefloor thrills, check superb opener "The Power", where fluid, Frankie Knuckles style piano solos rise above woozy chords and typically bouncy beats. Fellow veteran Atjazz serves up a tasty alternative Dub of the same track, giving the beats a jazzier swing whilst adding a heavy electronic bassline. Elsewhere, "The Sea" is a jazz-funk influenced slab of soulful deep house, while "K II S" sees the former DJ Spen collaborator wrapping lilting chords and eyes-closed melodies around a broken, Kenny Dope groove and booming, sub-heavy bassline.
New York's Son Of Sound returns to Delusions of Grandeur with two floor-friendly originals plus a remix. To say this guy has history is something of an understatement: as far back as the early 90's this guy was a key figure, involved in seminal releases on Strictly Rhythm, Maxi Records and MAW Records. "New York Iz All I Know" is classic soulful house east side style with neon-lit elements while the funkier "Tight Drop" has that dusty MPC style swing all over it. Aroop Roy steps up for a groovy, sexy and seriously lo-slung remix following a run of fine edits and originals on the likes of Freestyle, Basic Fingers and House Of Disco. More recently Son Of Sound has created magic for Jus Ed's Underground Quality, Classic, Razor n Tape and Local Talk as well as establishing his own District30 imprint. Yet more of Henry Maldonado's sleek and thoughtful style on offer here.
It all started way back in 1989 for Nightmares On Wax, in parallel with the first house music boom in Europe - typically dubbed the 'summer of love'. Yes, George Evelyn and Robin Taylor-Firth have been around the scene for almost three decades now, and they are literally the longest serving members of the equally mythical Warp imprint, out of London. "Citizen Kane" is the duo's latest single, a magnetic swarm of broken beats and neo-jazz strumming, kicking off with the 'Rap' version, the sort of gear that would appeal to the Dego purists out there. Chicago house legend Ron Trent is called up for the remix duties, and his 'Night Dubbin' remix is as deep and sensual as you'd imagine from an artist of his experience and calibre, and the tune is backed by an even sexier vocal version. If all that wasn't enough, the EP also contains an original mix, which will be showcased on the legends' upcoming album. Essential.
It seems that Trevor Jackson's vault of unheard Playgroup recordings is even more sizeable than previously thought. Here the veteran DJ/producer delivers a second two-disc compendium of unreleased archival gems, presenting a range of cuts that variously touch on post-punk disco, electro, new wave, P-funk (the brilliant "Don't Stop (Dub)"), experimental dub disco, lo-fi deep house, deep boogie, skewed dub and delay-laden, proto-house style workouts. Jackson even turns his hand to wonky digi-dub ("In Riddim") and intense, distortion-rich techno ("No Lube") with predictably impressive results. That the quality threshold remains impressively high throughout is testament to Jackson's production skills.
After a series of impressive EPs for Kill the DJ, Hivern and Internasjonal, Margot open their account with Life And Death. Focusing on the tougher, electronic disco sound, on the title track the Italian duo drop a pulsating, hypnotic groove that rolls on to infinity. "Salsce" leans on ebm and even New Beat for inspiration, and the end result is a linear, menacing track coated in acid. The label has also chosen the remixers well: Dauwd, who has worked for Ghostly and Kompakt, ups the title track's intensity thanks to the use of slamming drums, while Kiwi turns "Salsce" into a pared back, drum track.
Beraber is a new alias of underground Amsterdam beat-maker Baris Akardere, a producer arguably best known for his blazed, hip-hop influenced work as Sotu the Traveller. For his first outing on hometown imprint La Freund, he unfurls a wonderfully evocative and life-affirming range of melodious deep house jams. There's a classic Ben Cormac feel to warm and starry opener "Sun Ritual", while "Ugly" wraps woozy, twinkling synth chords around a chunkier, analogue-rich groove. Check also the subtle electro rhythms and cascading synth melodies of "Introspect", the deep and jazzy shuffle of "Forest Rain" (a thing of rare beauty) and the first light rush of yearning closer "Sea Feels". Arguably best of all, though, is the dub-tinged breeziness and lilting positivity of Vincent Floyd's remix of "Sun Ritual".
Any chef will tell you that tasty dishes can be made from offal, so it's little surprise to find that the quartet of "Off Cuts" served up on this Ooft! EP tend towards the delicious. Check, for example, the loved-up, riff-heavy house bliss of "High Hopes", where a marrow-rich chord sauce is lightly drizzled over a sparse and unfussy machine groove, or the retro-futurist sweetbread that is low-slung late night throb-job "Inner Space". Arguably even better is the sugary-sweet slo-mo bliss of tropical dream house shuffler "Choogles", while standout opener "Erotic Ashtray" layers saucer-eyed spoken word samples over an intensely blissful and dreamy deep house groove. It sounds like a long-lost Dream II Science track, which is no bad thing in our book.
Crosstown Rebels boss Damian Lazarus has described Spirits, the label's new annual compilation series, as "a fresh psychedelic journey into the mind". While that might be over-egging the (Christmas) pudding a bit, there's definitely a deep, humid and occasionally hallucinatory feel to many of the showcased tracks, which mostly sit somewhere between lucid deep house and skewed tech-house wonkiness. Wisely, Lazarus has chosen tracks from new and rising stars of his various labels, with highlights coming from the likes of Magit Cacoon (the bass-heavy, Innervisions-esque "Nonsense"), Raw District (the foreboding last night hypnotism of "Another Way", featuring folksy vocalist Alice Rose) and Nico Stajan and David Mayer, whose brilliant "Killing Your Lover" layers an eyes-closed Jan Blomqvist vocal over dense but groovy tribal drums.
Colm K has been delivering occasional chunks of soul-fired dance music since the dawn of the decade, variously touching on deep house, hip-hop, soul, dub and jazz. That deep-rooted eclecticism is naturally at the heart of the Heights EP, which marks his first appearance on All City. Opener "Seeing" is a jaunty peak-time delight, with twinkling electronics and jazzy chords riding a tough-but-bouncy tropical deep house groove, while water is a hazy and fragrant stroll through Jazzmatazz style instrumental hip-hop territory with added electrofunk synth solos. He doffs a cap towards the masters of deep, jazzy and soulful deep house on bass-heavy shuffler "Affinity" before booking a one-way trip to somewhere hot and sunny via the languid downtempo delight that is closer "Summary".
Jamie Russell's Sneaker Social Club is one of those labels that just don't give a damn. We love them for that. Across its catalogue, you'll find an array of releases spanning from Bass Clef to Neil Landstrumm, and all sorts of continuous newcomers, such as this latest EP from the unknown Dream Cycle. It ain't really house and it ain't really tech, but somewhere in between, peppered and smoked with just the right amount of UK bass sensitivity. To give you a taster, "Dream 93" is a resurrection of the jungle and breakcore movement, stripped-back and repurposed for the 2017 mentality, while "Start Like It's Hot" takes some lessons from peeps like Leo Anibaldi - pure deep house magic! "Paradise State" is another magnetic jungle reinterpretation, and Them & Us' remix of "Absolutely" floats the waves drone and ambient with a touch of class rarely heard these days. Most importantly, Dream Cycle seems to be all about movement and progression. Two winning tactics.



Private Agenda are a Berlin-based crew of smooth cruising Balearic sailors that have previously shored up on International Feel. This new record for Nunorthen Soul leads in with the mellow, reflective "Dusk", a jam bursting with musicality from every bar. "Dawn" places the piano at the forefront of the mix, curling out a beatless ballad loaded with Mediterranean romance which Faze Action dutifully scoop up and spread over a steady pulse of laconic house music. Ron Basejam takes the track and creates a funkier beatdown for it, while Ian Blevins creates the most club-minded version on the record, without sacrificing the dreamy tone of the original.
The clubs and DJs of Glasgow inspired this label, and so they asked their favourite producers from the city if they would make a track that was specifically designed for their crowd. They are said to be are really happy with the results. Features tracks from the likes of Jasper James, JD Twitch, Illyus & Barrientos, Dalfie and (the Sub Club's) and Domenic Cappello alongside some brilliant producers that you might not have heard of. Most of all, you can really hear what Glasgow Underground, and the city itself, is all about right now. Highlights include Hammer's late night, strobe-lit tunnel vision on "Rails", label head honcho Kevin McKay's tough swing-fuelled bounce on "You Got Me Down" and Idamos rework of the legendary US duo Mateo & Matos on "The Real Thing". Honourable mentions also to Huntleys + Palmers main man Auntie Flo on the deeply sublime balearica of "Desert Island". So there you have it: 15 tracks from house to hip-hop, techno to deep house, all made in Glasgow.
You can always rely on Hamburg heroes Dessous for sexy and slinky deep house that's perfect mood lighting for the late night. This time the groove comes courtesy of one Chocky - the name comes from the John Wyndham novel of the same name, in which an alien utilises frequencies and sounds to communicate to the world. The UK producer appears for the label a second time this year, in addition to releases on Ears Have Eyes and Big Bait Recordings. "Double Dip" is tough yet smoove east coast house in the tradition of Karizma or Mr. V. "Organism" is the kind of hypnotic and dubby deepness you'd expect to hear on sister label Poker Flat - but it's equally at home here, if we do say ourselves! "Soul Alive" with its mesmerising chord progressions would make even Jimpster stand up and notice and the funked up and dusted down disco loops of "Playtime Dub" will appeal to all Robsoul and I'm A House Gangster fans.
It's some 17 years since Ian Pooley released Since Then, his third and arguably finest full-length excursion. As this first reissue proves, the set has lost none of its' warm and sunny attractiveness in the years since. While cuts such as "Coracao Tambor" and "900 Degrees" got plenty of club plays at the time, it's the German producer's versatility that shines through loud and clear. Amongst the sunny house treats, you'll find cuts that doff a cap to disco, hip-hop, samba, jazz-funk and the then popular San Francisco style of blazed deep house. For this edition, Pooley has also gathered together some of the best remixes of album tracks released in that period, including strong rubs from Faze Action, Tom Middleton, Sheffield survivors Swag and Mood 2 Swing man John Ciafone.
Gabriel Ananda is back. The German tech house legend was most popular in the mid noughties with his trippy blend of minimal groove, made most popular by the anthem "Suessholz" which went to the top of the German DJ charts. It was followed by another hit in 2005 titled '"hre Persoenliche Gluecksmelodie" and of course the totally mental "Doppelwhipper" in 2006. In 2008, Gabriel founded his own record label, Basmati. Here he can add another milestone to a so far successful career, in the form of a release for UK powerhouse Bedrock. He teams up with label head honcho John Digweed (and his right hand man Nick Muir) on "Tachyon Dream", a buzzy and bustling progressive house journey featuring a truly epic use of melody that will hypnotise you into submission. The rework on the flip sees the trio deliver a more powerful and straight-ahead version, with more powerful rhythm arrangements and a faster tempo.
Smallville has clearly been paying attention to the output of Cosmic Rhythm, the Bari-based imprint renowned for its' futurist infusions of vintage Italian dream house sounds, tropical melodies and the far-sighted ethos of Detroit techno. Here, they've served up an EP from one of the label's rising stars, Rhythm of Paradise, who particularly impresses with the skittish Motor City percussion and swirling deep house aesthetics of "Dreams". Elsewhere, "Into Your Eyes" doffs a cap to Calypso Records on the chunky but loved-up "Into Your Eyes" and wonderfully wavy, sunset-friendly warmth of "U". Fittingly, Cosmic Rhythm boss Cosmic Garden steps up to remix "Dreams", delivering a deliciously glassy-eyed take that sits somewhere between early Italian ambient house and the analogue-rich swing of classic Larry Heard productions.
Given that their discography stretches back to 2004, deep house lovers should know what to expect from Suol regulars Chopstick and Johnjon. Famed for avoiding scene fads and doing their own thing, the duo's cuts are rarely less than solid and club-ready. Further proof of their reliability is provided by the four tracks showcased here, not least the gentle looped stabs, glassy-eyed chords and inspirational spoken word vocal of "What is House Music". Elsewhere, "Salvation" is an ultra-deep excursion blessed with dreamy chords and snappy drum machine handclaps, "O-Negative" is a slightly more upbeat jog through intergalactic deep house territory, and "Catalisa" is a subtle and seductive tribute to New Jersey producers such as Ben Cormac and Nathaniel X.
Italian group Hard Ton's second remix EP on Luv Shack Records comes packed with five more exclusive reworks. It features Parisian producer/rapper Kiddy Smile, fellow Luv Shackers Lee Stevens and Audio Red and Kelton Prima. Our highlights were "Never Give Up" getting the ROTCIV treatment: the Brazilian producer gives the track a classic mid '80s Chicago styled makeover. The other highlight was the Tomasz Guiddo Remix of "The Way You Rock" which similarly goes stateside, but with more of an early '90s sound: reminiscent of the legendary MK's style of dubs. Released earlier in 2017, Party Hard Ton was about the uniting aspects of electronic music and celebrating the concept of partying. The styles featured on the album were as diverse as the artists involved such as Moralez & Sames, Johnny Woo, Snuff Crew and Spiller. For those that missed it, we'd highly recommend it!
Exclusives
IAN BLEVINS - Round Trip (Futureboogie Recordings)
BERABER - Sun Ritual EP (La Freund Recordings) - exclusive 14-12-2017
PATRICK TOPPING - Be Sharp Say Nowt (Hot Creations)
Exclusives
DREAM CYCLE - Part One (Sneaker Social Club)
STEPHAN BODZIN - Strand (Afterlife)
NINETOES - Deli Kadir (Avotre)
Top Labels
Strictly Rhythm
Hed Kandi
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