Reviewed this week
Although Ludovic Llorca has released albums under his other production aliases (the most recent being 2017's jazz-funk set "The Garden" under his longest-running pseudonym, Llorca), "Unbalanced" marks his first full-length outing as Art of Tones - some 13 years after he launched the project on 20:20 Vision. It's naturally a wonderfully warm and positive set, with the veteran French producer making great use of dusty jazz, soul, funk and disco samples throughout. There's plenty of breezy, feel good club tracks to be found dotted throughout - see "Keep On Having Fun", the electric piano-fired drive of "Where One Is", the hypnotic "Grow" and classic gospel deep house of "Grow", for starters - alongside a handful of hazier downtempo cuts that recall the early days of his production career in the mid 1990s.
Madrid based Italian Bawrut follows up a run of great tracks on top labels such as Midnight Themes, Ransom Note and Multi Culti with this absolutely kickin' new release for Berlin based PETS Recordings. Across the Jomo EP's four tracks, you get treated to a deep trip aboard the acid express on the woozy "Desert Island", hear the drummer get wicked on the dusty shenanigans of "Piano & Piano" and going deep into the late night on the psychedelic madness of "Your Job Is My Job".
Hamburg heroes Benjamin Busse, Friso Traas aka Adana Twins delivered the 25th installment in Berlin institution Watergate's esteemed mix series. The second EP released here features exclusive tracks from their riveting mix, included here are: Italian (and fellow Diynamic artist) Lehar getting hypnotically melodic on the sonic sorcery of "Blue Wolf", veteran German producer Acid Pauli going deeper in typically eloquent fashion on g"Geeting From Orgonon" and Sicily's Musumeci - fresh off great releases for Innervision and Bedrock - with the electro tinged progressive house of "Invaders" which is just sublime.
If you're a regular buyer of releases on leading disco edit labels of the era - think Hot Digits, Masterworks Music and Spa In Disco - you should already be familiar with Massimo Vanoni. It is, though, Midnight Riot that he's arguably most associated with. There's naturally plenty to set the pulse racing on the Italian producer's latest outing on Yam Who's imprint. We're particularly enjoying metronomic opener "From The Ghetto", where jazzy electric guitar loops dance atop locked-in beats and an undulating, acid style bassline, though the woozier but no less leisurely warmth of "I Need A Rhythm" is almost as good. "Alchemy of Sounds", a slightly brighter and sharper cut influenced by jazz-funk and P-funk, is also pretty tasty.
The second in Mr G's Unreleased series sees the veteran producer take the audience down a diverse but resolutely underground path. "Intro G" is underpinned by his usual solid, skipping beats, but the focus is on the sweeping piano keys and soulful vocal sample. Similarly, on "Rex One Saturday Morn", an uplifting vocal is woven around a woozy synth line, making for a heady groove. "Practice" is more pacy but its rippling bass and nagging percussion also provide the basis for evocative organ keys. On "Kick It", the UK producer shows a darker strain to his sound. While a vocal intones the track title, the bass is so malevolent and brooding, it will level any club where it is dropped.
The Needs imprint, which fundraises for a variety of charities, follows the Peggy Gou / Juju & Jordash EP with another quality split release. First up is Dj Normal 4 aka Tim Schumacher with "Return Of The Hooligans", a slinky break beat house groove laced with acidic belches and eerie electro undercurrents. Next up are Red Axes, who have released on labels like ESP Institute and Dark Entries. "Treacksheni" is a pared back groove that supports Middle Eastern string instruments and organic percussion, making for a heady fusion. Last but by no means least on this altruistic release is Hodge, whose "Signal" is a cavernous drum track, weighed down by dubbed out undercurrents.
Following a fine debut on Pont Neuf earlier in the year, Parisian producer Cosmonection makes his bow on Freerange offshoot Delusions of Grandeur. Like its predecessor, the "Menorca EP" is deliciously deep, spacey and synth-heavy, with the fast-rising producer effortlessly joining the dots between intergalactic electronic soundscapes, glassy-eyed late night house and particularly intergalactic nu-disco. We're particularly enjoying the sustained spacey chords, bubbling melody lines and effortlessly groovy drums of "Menorca", though some may prefer the glitchy, low-slung, garage-influenced swing of "You" and the Balearic-minded, sunrise-ready bliss of "Light". There's also a fine bonus in the shape of Session Victim's hypnotic, floor-focused deep house rub of "You".
Already road-tested at his Ibiza residency during the summer, Syrossian says that "Danzer" was made in response to his frustration at modern house and techno. Certainly, its stream of consciousness vocal sample, shimmering chords and massive, filtered disco riff will endear it to any one who has grown sick of by the numbers gloomy techno. On the 'Techno Tool' take, the chords are deeper and more intense, while the bass booms powerfully. The other interpretation, offered by Adesse Versions, is markedly different. It see him lower the tempo, add in steely drums and drop a wiry acid line that niggles and nags like a Mediterranean matriarch.
Clea Herlofsson is a Swedish DJ and 'dancing queen', who has made a name for herself playing out and about on Stockholm's club scene. She makes her debut here on Hot Haus Recs, following up an impressive debut on local start-up imprint Study Records. Here's an EP of 'South African inspired Scandinavian house cuts', with her track "Fantasy" receiving a totally trippin' and neon-lit rework by Aussie retrovert Bell Towers, followed by some dreamy and dusty deepness in the form of "Crazy Cato" and the absolutely emotive "Don't Ask".
An EP here from Germany's Tartelet that'll suit those who like their house finely crafted and unafraid of taking risks. 'Minor Forms' itself is an Afro-house cut that stands out from the pack via its use of some familiar James Brown-via-rave samples and a surprisingly meaty bassline, 'Destino Tikal (Cuerpo Pulsante Remix) blends African, Latin and jazz influences and would work a treat on summer terrraces, 'D.R.M' applies standard deep house production values but at a pacey 132bpm, while finally 'Quasimidi (Explored)' is another Afro/tribal affair with an intense, dark feel that's almost redolent of very early jungle/D&B.
Isaac Delongchamp's last North Lake outing on Phonica five years was rather good, so hopes are naturally high for this belated follow-up. He begins in suitably subdued mode on the deep and dreamy "Hearing Voices", where twinkling music box style melodies relax over dusty drums and a chunky bassline reminiscent of the early Chicago house greats. Having shaken out his limbs, Delongchamp opts for more rubbery drums and elastic boogie bass on the similarly deep and picturesque "Vibing To Your Ride", before doffing a cap to the restless electronic hypnotism of German deep house on "Magic Ride". Perhaps best of all, though, is closing cut "Teenage Heartbreak", whose lilting, alien-sounding synth lines attractively wrap around a shuffling but energy-packed deep house rhythm.
Toytonics' latest offering is a four-track EP from the South London duo of Chris Watson ad Chris Coupe. Opener 'Encounters' has something of an early Madhouse feel to its warping organ lines and strange, spoken male vocal, while 'Flat Psych' takes us into tripped-out Afro pastures. 'B Glaser' is a real hotch-potch of influences - it starts out with chanted vox and African percussion, and ends up sounding like an early 90s bleep/dub fusion - and then finally there's 'Just Atmosphere', five minutes of near-instrumental chuggery topped with distorted, spoken vox. An EP for those who like their house on the leftfield side.
Jad Lee aka Jad & The follows last year's EPs on Centre Source and his own Beats Of No Nation imprint with this fine melodic record for Fina. Inspired by US deep house, Lee skilfully navigates a path between raw Moodymann disco and Kai Alce depth on the swoon-some "2 Getha (4 Eva Mix)", while on "Twist Club", the Australian artist opts for a deeper path, fusing subtle Chicago drums with jazzy keys. Although "Disco Hold Down" is rougher, with Lee focusing on scatty drums and a live funk bass, the underlying style on Twist Club is deeply melodic and deliciously cosmic.
13 months after wowing us with a Multi-Culti style druggy disco debut on Disque-Discos, Daniel Aristidez finally delivers his second salvo via another fast-rising Mexican label, Calypso. He begins in similar fashion, wrapping breathy female vocalizations around a chugging, tribal-tinged groove on the atmospheric and ear-pleasing "Nada Nada (Original Mix)", before layering up the drum machine hits, tribal vocals and Latin hand percussion on EP highlight "Reyerta (Original Mix)". Aristidez navigates a course through feverish Amazonian rhythms, raw analogue bass and psychedelic electronics on the superb "Ecoca", while Simple Symmetry brilliantly re-imagine "Nada Nada" as a bustling and percussive chunk of Middle Eastern disco delight.
French compilation label Nova's output has ranged from reggae to jazz to world music, and this club-oriented collection ploughs a similarly eclectic furrough. There's a strong African flavour to much of the album (check Onipa's 'Open My Eyes', in particular, for some fine contemporary Afrobeat), but there's plenty of variety on offer too: Polymod's 'No Other' comes on like an early Orbital off-cut, Folamour's 'Can't Live Without You' is a dusty slice of 70s-style soulful disco, Zerolex's 'Paradise', Puzupuzu's 'Treo' combines Afro-house beats with some fine acid squiggles, and on it goes. Dive in and explore!
Festive fun and frolics from prolific scalpel fiends We Mean Disco, as leading lights Philly Vanilla head to the dinner table with a steaming bowl of hearty "X-mash" (geddit?). It's a veritable feast of floor-focused party vibes, with the cheekily named twosome flitting between organ-powered disco-house (nine-minute workout "The Human Kind"), vibraphone-laced, delay-laden and suitably tooled up disco ("Heavy Vibes"), smile-inducing '80s soul/boogie-pop cheeriness ("Givin You All My Love") and disco-era Michael Jackson in dub ("Chilly Bean"). Since making this "X-Mash" was a collaborative effort, we also get to savour the woozy and dreamy old school house flex of Kid Paris ("There's No Hype Without Adelis (Wave Techdown Remix)") and the We Mean Disco crew (the party-hearty, pumped-up disco-funk goodness of "Ich Liebe Zu Tanzen!".
Just This has a long history of cultivating underground artists, and for its latest EP hthe label as tapped Abstract Division for some material. The title track is not what fans of the Dutch act might expect, with tranced out synths playing out over subtle back beats. "Isolated" is straighter and more dance floor-focused, but again the mood is understated, as the pair drop subtle drums and melancholic melodies that swirl through the ether. The label has tapped VRIL and Peter Van Hoesen for remixes and neither disappoints: the former's take on "Isolated" is subtle but effective, adding lithe drums to the mix, while the Van Hoesen take on the same track dives into a faster, tribal approach.
Italian imprint Boutade Musique is rightly proud of its track record of showcasing new talent. Here, they offer up a debut to an artist still taking his first steps in the industry, Higloo. He starts in confident fashion with the bumping, low-slung beats and phased vocal samples of the Brazilian funk-fuelled disco-house cut "Over Now", before exploring deeper and more soulful house pastures on the similarly loopy and sample-rich "Sunshower". Elsewhere, "My Mind" is a deliciously warm and breezy mid-set house shuffler complete with UK garage style R&B vocal samples, "Dance With You" sounds like it was designed to invoke glassy-eyed "moments" out on the dancefloor and both "Bump" and "Party At" flit between filtered vocal samples and chunky house grooves.
Founded by the producer duo Boot Slap, Perplex is inspired by countless club nights and aims to connect contemporary and traditional deep house music. Here comes the fourth release of the label by ascendant Mexican DJ/producer Naza, featuring the polyrhythmic and melodic deep house of "Dimba" supported by the spiritual Afro house vibe "Ayo". The release is supported by two killer remixes of "Dimba" by the Lossless boss Mathias Schober: the Euphoria mix builds on the emotive energy of the original, while the Stripped mix is a reliable tool for blending or just enjoying the minimal vibe.
After impressing via a tasty two-tracker on Monoside earlier in the year, Cohen makes his bow on Danny Worrall's Masterworks Music imprint. In terms of the headline attraction, it's a close run thing between the slamming, full-throttle disco-house celebration of "Sit Up" - all bumping, bass-heavy beats, rising horns and looped vocal samples - and the filter-heavy, slightly tooled-up '80s electrofunk revision "See". You'll also find a slightly slower chunk of '80s soul bliss at the end of the EP ("Baby Boy"), while "Love On The Beach" is an endearingly hazy fusion of woozy deep house and turn-of-the-'80s disco-boogie.
Exclusives
LUCIANO - Sequentia Vol 2 (Cadenza Switzerland)
URULU - Minor Forms EP (Tartelet Germany)
MALONE - Way Back In Time EP (Milk & Sugar Germany)
Exclusives
KRL - Third (Quintessentials Germany)
SYSTEM2 - Coffee Daddy (Hottrax)
LEHAR/SBTH/ACID PAULI/STEREOCALPYSE - Watergate 25 EP #1 (Watergate)
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