Review: St Petersburg's Alexander Chebankov, better known as Sunner Soul, returns with an EP on his own Vintage Music label that packs in five lively, authentically late 70s-sounding disco jams. 'I Can Feel It' gets the ball rolling, centring around a funk bass loop that's augmented by crowd noise and snatches of sampled dialogue. The title track is a more smooth-rollin' affair with warm, lounge-y keys front and centre and 'Secret Agent' has a kitschy, almost Deee-Lite-ish feel, before we're played out by a brace of near-instrumental summer groovers, 'Got 2 B U' and 'Super Ice Cream'.
Review: Given that John Devecchis AKA The Owl decided to call his long-promised debut album Concrete Funk, you'd probably expect something heavy, grey and angular. Yet the music contained within - a mixture of loopy, gently beefed-up revisions and straight re-edits of killer funk, soul, disco and boogie jams - is anything but grey and dull. It's every bit as colourful as his previous EPs, with the many highlights including the bumpin' 'Solar Funk', the squelchy brilliance of Steve Monite re-rub 'Only You Baby', the synth-heavy, Italo-style throb-job 'The Truth', and the soaring, string-drenched disco release of 'Knuckles'. With 12 killer cuts, it's a value-for-money collection that contains more high-grade edits than you can shake a proverbial stick at.
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: Almost 12 months after the vinyl version hit stores, the second volume in Jim Baron AKA Ron Basejam's Ron's Reworks series finally lands on digital download. The real killer here is 'Your Brain On Music', a slightly beefed-up and tooled up version of an Italo-disco-era chugger rich in driving bass, spacey synthesizer lines, proto-acid sounds and almost symphonic electronic chords. Elsewhere, 'Be Bizarre' is a tight, mostly instrumental revision of an electrofunk era big studio rock number - all squelchy synth bass, glistening guitar riffs and heavily edited, effects-laden drum machine beats - while 'Call Me' is a fine scalpel edit of a sparkling boogie jam. If high-grade, club-ready re-edits are your thing, you need this EP in your life.
Review: Almost three years after it first appeared on wax, Juan Maclean's Razor 'N' Tape Reserve debut has finally landed on digital download. It's an excellent collection of club-focused, often sample-heavy cuts, no doubt drawn from his personal stash of cuts created for his DJ sets. There's plenty to set the pulse racing from start to finish. Check first the percussive pump of peak-time disco loop-jam 'Fine Time', before getting your ears around the classic boogie-meets-NYC house fusion of 'Don't Stop For Nothing', which offers sly nods towards a number of classic cuts including Toney Lee's 'Reach Up'. Elsewhere, 'Everybody Clap' is a dustier, looser and hazier deep house excursion, while 'Panic In Fort Greene Park' sees MacLean smother a trippy and hypnotic groove in spacey motifs and acid-style electronics.
Review: Berlin native Oliver Koletzki has cited his hometown as a main point of reference and inspiration throughout his career. His last two albums are said to be 'wholehearted tributes' to the German capital and its importance in the current climate of electronic music. The label's aesthetic - right down to the cover art is testament to this - featuring photos of local landmarks and graffiti adorning his fair city. There are little to no corners in the city that haven't brought a spark of inspiration into the mix and the eighth instalment of the Schneeweiss (English translation 'white snow') compilation series, is said to be a tribute to the many aspects or 'particles' consolidated as a series of carefully curated tracks. There's so many highlights on here and we're only going to name a few, but they're not limited to: hometown hero and one time Terranova member Rampa's brooding dance floor drama on "Fluke", Frankey & Sandrino bridging the gap between tech-house and nu-disco ever so gracefully again on "Solaris", Cologne's finest Andhim lend their deft hand on a remix of Leipzig figurehead Matthias Tanzmann's "Coffee Clouds" and the man from Mannheim Ray Okpara who's still going: his track "Satin Curtain" getting a smooth remix by the legendary Kevin Yost.
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: After debuting them on vinyl a couple of years ago, Crazy P man Jim Baron AKA Ron Basejam has finally decided to make his popular Ron's Reworks re-edits available on digital download. That's a very good thing indeed, because there's some genuine gold amongst the three tracks on show. For peak-time play, the pick of the bunch is probably lead cut 'Flight of the Eisenberg', a rolling, house-ready revision of a swelling, orchestrated, easy listening-goes-jazz funk affair onto which Baron has added subtle electronic flourishes and plenty of excitement-building percussion. Elsewhere, 'Heads' is a fine revision of a piano-laden Bob James jazz-funk jam, while 'The Jubes' adds subtle, house-style drums to a lilting, heart-aching gospel-soul number from the Supreme Jubilees.
Review: They might hail from Israel, but much of Rabo & Snob's music is not influenced by Middle Eastern musical culture, but rather the rhythms, vocals and instrumentation of the African continent. The pair continue this approach on their first Razor 'N' Tape outing, with opener 'Yom Yom' cannily combining squelchy synth bass, fizzing electronics and slick Afro-synth drums with Ghanaian vocals and distinctively West African melodic phrasing. Later in the EP you'll also find a more hypnotic, percussion-rich Dub Mix of the same track that's also well worth checking. Elsewhere, 'Have You Seen My Lady' is darker and sleazier, with low-slung bass, creepy chords and warehouse-ready stabs, while the similarly weighty and locked-in 'Adjinu' makes great use of Acid Arab style electronics and a very 'LFO'-esque analogue bassline.
Review: This six-tracker from Lis Sarroca opens with the classic Peech Boys "come with me, tonight's the night" vocal sample that Altern-8 used on 'Activ-8', making clear from the outset the strong appreciation of dance music history that's evidenced throughout the Barcelonian producer's canon. Tracks here range from the discofied 'Hi Montana' to the fierce, driving acid of 'La Neta', via the dreamy small-hours deepness of 'AX' and the more accessible, peaktime vibes of 'Round & Round', but whatever house style Ms Sarroca turns her hand to, the production's always polished and Da Funk is always in full effect.
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: Fittingly, the first musical missive of 2021 from the In Dust We Trust label showcases the album's co-founders, Chaos in the CBD (New Zealand-born brothers Ben and Louis Helliker-Hales) and Jon Sable. The trio offer up two collaborative cuts, both of which give different spins on the fusion of dub techno and hypnotic deep house. There's opener 'Mahia Madness', a thickset, late-night number that's as dubby and hazy as any Deepchord record, and the gently picturesque, Sprinkles-esque 'To Puke Thunder'. The EP also boasts a solo track apiece, with Chaos in the CBD opting for non-stop, energy-packed deep techno hypnotism ('Coral Castle'), and Sable reaching for dreamy deep house chords and rubbery broken beats ('Ascension Island').
Review: The fact that the previously vinyl-only Ron's Reworks edit series has finally landed on digital download is a very good thing indeed, especially since the man behind the project - nu-disco don Ron Basejam AKA Jim Baron of Crazy P - has been responsible for some fine re-edits over the years. There's plenty to get the blood pumping on this third instalment, starting with 'Revelation' - a sparkling rearrangement of a life-affirming, piano-laden number that sits somewhere between jazz-funk, Latin jazz, spiritual jazz and disco. 'Games You Playing' [sic] is a synth-sporting slab of disco-funk heaviness rich in punchy horns, mazy sax solos and thickset grooves, while 'Bada Bongo' is a percussive, break-driven, drum-heavu workout guaranteed to get limbs moving on the dancefloor.
Review: Leipzig's Bondage Music returns with a massive compilation featuring 20 tracks, all in the label's distinct style of deep and sensual tech house. If that was not enough, the label bosses Sven & Sven aka Pornbugs deliver a continous mix, working those selections to perfection on each of their journeys. Highlights are not limited to: Mihai Popoviciu and NTFO delivering some rolling and hypnotic 'Rominimal' vibes on "Gazoo" and "Key Part" respectively, London's James Dexter delivering a typically emotive afterhours minimal groove on "Come In" while Pornbugs themselves serve up the slinky "Precocious Life" before the return of Swiss scene stalwart Dachshund on "Instant".
Vincenzo & Language - "Merry Go Round" - (7:15) 108 BPM
Review: It's not giving much away to state that Dessous' latest compilation, a third instalment in their occasional We Like The Deep series, is piled high with house music that combines tried-and-tested dancefloor grooves with melody-rich musical elements that tend towards the warm and atmospheric. Because of this, each and every one of the collection's 11 tracks sound just as good at home as they do on a meaty club soundsystem. Our picks of the multitude of highlights include the hypnotic, locked-in haziness of James Dexter's 'Get To This', the afternoon-fresh jazziness of Mihai Popoviciu's 'Left Hand Thought', the ultra-deep shuffle of 'Soul Alive' by Chocky, and the opaque deep house soul of Langenberg's Blakkat hook-up, 'Shadows'.
Review: For the latest volume in Planet E's long-running Detroit Love compilation, label boss Carl Craig has handed over to DJ Holographic (real name Ariel Corley), a rising star of the Motor City scene. It's a hugely entertaining collection told, with Corley doing her best to showcase artists on the up - from both Detroit and elsewhere - as well as established stars of the underground. Musically, it's as diverse and mixed-up as you'd expect, kicking off with revivalist Afrobeat (Underground System), slick deep house (Pontchartrain with Javontte) and revivalist '80s soul (Shri Schwartz), before taking in everything from broken house and nu-disco, to sci-fi techno, sleazy warehouse jams, sleazy acid, percussion-rich Latin house and much more besides.
Review: Six re-edits from five different artists make up this latest missive from the WE MEAN DISCO!! camp. Kid Paris mines late-period Michael Jackson, Philly Vanilli loops up Lamont Dozier's original 1977 version of 'Going Back To My Roots' before taking a turn for the Latin on 'Los Cubanos', RoofTopDisco look to Geman-language new wave/disco of the early 80s and Phil Potts bites Gwen Guthrie's Levan-produced 1982 gem 'It Should Have Been You', but it's closer 'Your Brother' by Mister Larry that's the killer - not sure of the source but it'll be a proper treat for lovers of trad-style US garage.
Review: Earlier in the year, the team behind the popular Outplay label decided to launch a new imprint, 24 Carrot, in order to release, "the bits that don't necessarily fit on a regular Outplay EP". To prove their point, the imprint's first EP from Foul and Junktion danced between cut-up disco-house pumpers and wild, wonky house. There's a similar to feel to this follow-up from the same artists. Fouk kicks things off with two scorching workouts: a quirky house number whose numerous attractive musical elements include Turkish psych-funk style organ motifs and tons of sweaty additional percussion ('Winter Warmer'), and a spacey, synth-laden deep house stomper ('Chicken Dinner'). Junktion continues the percussive theme on the tough-but-rubbery, disco-funk-meets-house number 'Mustard', and the slightly deep disco-house flex of 'Smokes'.
Review: Shockingly, 11 years has passed since Dave Lee released his sole album under the disco-powered Doug Willis alias, "Doug's Disco Brain". The two CD set featured versions of cuts he'd released under the pseudonym over the previous 15 years. Here it comes to digital download in newly expanded form, with the original set - a mixture of tidy instrumental re-edits, sample-fired disco-house cuts and typically boisterous peak-time groovers - being accompanied by various new, rare and forgotten remixes. With 32 high quality tracks to wade through, picking highlights is tough, though our favourites include the percussion and horn-heavy "You Should Be Dubbing", the soaring disco-house brilliance of "Doug's Place", the silly-but-sensational "Disco Owl" and the Clavinet-happy brilliance of the Re-Tide & Moon Rocket Remix of "Crystal Lover".
Review: Honey Dijon's first outing of 2021, 'Downtown', sounds like a summer 2021 anthem in the making. A retro-futurist house workout featuring vocals from Annette Bowen and Nikki O (whose lyrics celebrate the joys of dancing to underground music), the edited and extended versions of the track are powered forwards by a heavy and hooky synth bassline and warm electric piano stabs. Honey Dijon's versions come backed with an equally inspired suite of remixes from Masters at Work man Louie Vega. There's a sersiously sunny, glassy-eyed nu-disco-meets-happy house revision (the 'Frisco Disco Dance') and a Mood II Swing style 'Raw Dub Mix' - both of which are available in edited and extended forms. A near perfect package: don't sleep!
Review: Heist regulars Fouk (AKA Daniel Leseman and Hans Peeman) had a relative quiet 2020, releasing just one EP and a single-track salvo, 'Need My Space'. Here they're back to their distinctive best, belatedly kick-starting their 2021 release campaign via a rock-solid four-tracker. Rebiere lends a hand on title track 'Blue Steel', a (drum machine) handclap-heavy house stomper marked out by deep, sub-heavy bass, jaunty synth stabs and waves of energy-packed saxophone solos. Girls of the Internet provide the obligatory remix, opting for a long, dreamy, pared-back intro before unleashing the Dutch duo's killer bassline and winding sax motifs. Elsewhere, 'Don't You Want To Boogie' is a high-octane disco-house number full of swirling filter effects, while 'Money' is a squelchy chunk of nu-disco/peak-time house fusion.
Ahora Todo Va (Gorgon City remix) - (8:00) 124 BPM
Review: Something of a meeting of minds here, as long-established Spanish producer Dennis Cruz (Stereo Productions, Hot Creations, Moon Harbour Recordings) joins forces with fellow deep house/tech-house fusionist Josh Butler (Madtech, Defected, Rejected), for a joyous bounce through carnival-ready Latin house. 'Ahora Tado Ba' sneakily uses portions from what sounds like an old Latin jazz record, brilliantly weaving them around a bouncy, drum-heavy samba-house groove. It's an insanely infectious cut and one that we're fully expecting to hear tons over the summer. It comes backed by a drawn-out, loved-up tech-house take from Gorgon City that's arguably far more emotive than Cruz and Butler's original, if a little less urgent, energetic and funky.
Review: hedZup label head WLAD is pleased to present his debut album Call Lab. Developed over the course of 12 months, the Parisian producer serves up 10 tracks in collaboration with the creme de la creme of the European tech house scene at present. From the boompty swing-fuelled futurism of opener "Moulin Rouge" in collaboration with Sake Records' Oden & Fatzo, to the moody and tripped-out afterhours vibe explored on "Sparkling Water" with local hero Mancini, the dubby, emotive and looped-up style of "Lova Droppa" with British duo The Willers Brothers (nailing that Cabinet Records vibe of old) and the stripped back minimal funk of "Odyssey" with the Avotre and Toolroom affiliated Sante. It's what the label described as 'a broad and brilliant collection of tasteful and club ready house cuts' - and that's spot on!
Review: Following the release of Cease & Desist's bleep & bass retrospective, Join The Future, in the spring of 2020, there's been a notable increase in labels reissuing similar material from that period. The latest archival imprint to get in on the action is Mint Condition, who have prepared a fresh, expanded edition of Peter Duggal's 1990 EP as Doggy, 'Psyche'. The title track - a much sought-after fusion of squelchy acid bass, bleeps, TR-808 cowbells and post-electro UK house beats, comes accompanied on this release by sparse, Unique 3 influenced bleep number 'Haze', original B-side 'Dog Food' - a more layered and starry-eyed exploration - and two previously unheard early versions of the EP's headline attractions. In a word: essential.
Review: As the title suggests, this wonderful EP from COEO pays tribute to the glory days of early '90s piano house. If you've been struggling through the current global pandemic, we guarantee that all four tracks will put a smile on your face and a spring in your step. Our pick of a very strong bunch is 'Hyperactive', where bold piano stabs, style synth-sax motifs, New Jersey garage style organ chords and a rubbery, all-action bassline ride a sweaty and chunky, hip-house style rhythm. There is of course much to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP, from the deliciously deep, loved-up and glassy-eyed wonder that is 'I Can Never Be Yours', to the acid-fired bustle of breakbeat-driven closing cut 'Bliss'.
Review: Jonathan Kaspar, the resident of Cologne's Gewoelbe Club, has fast become a staple of hometown imprint Kompakt where he's brought an evocative style of dancefloor drama across several EPs. Much like his previous outing (the Kante EP) this latest release by Kaspar is right in line with the label's sound, faithfully recreating snapshots of their many phases over the years. The mesmerising "Muster" with its minimal acid chug, harks back to the label's output at the turn of the millenium, while the brooding atmosphere of "Alle" makes for perfect mood music during those heads down moments in the club - in typical Kompakt fashion. There are also two featured versions of "Beton"; the main one is a bouncy yet subtle tech house groove underpinned with clipped rhythm programming - the latter aspect playing centre stage on the Strip Down version.
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from Heist Recordings' annual Round Up releases - label artists remixing each other, basically - so we'll crack on and talk about the music on offer. Highlights come thick and fast throughout, with our picks including Alma Negra's deliciously percussive and groovy take on Scan 7's gospel-tinged Motor City gem 'All For Me', Scan 7's breezy, Latin-tinged Detroit house revision of Crackazat's 'Class One', Crackazat's Ethio-jazz-goes-sunshine house rework of Alma Negra's 'Dakar Disco', and Kassian's driving, warehouse-ready remix of Nebraska's 'Dip & Flip', which makes great use of thumping beats, undulating electronics and a seriously dirty analogue bassline. As the old saying goes, this seventh volume in The Round Up series really is "all killer, no filler".
Review: 'Here (Now)' first appeared as the B-side of the 2020 Vision released 'Over You' single way back in 2003. The deep house stalwart decided to revisit it last year and here presents the results alongside the still delicious original - an ultra-deep, locked-in late-night affair full of drowsy chords, arpeggio-driven synth bass and spacey keys that still sounds as good as it did all those years ago. The Canadian's own '2020: A Space Disco Odyssey' revision undoubtedly takes it up a notch, focusing more on the arpeggio-driven bassline while adding starry electronic flourishes, melancholic strings and deep, intergalactic chords. Equally as impressive is Prins Thomas's epic 'Discomiks', a ten-minute workout that sees the Norwegian layer Fred Everything's keys, chords and samples atop his own live-sounding drums and dub disco bass.
Review: Supported by industry heavyweights such as Jamie Jones, Eli Brown, Sirus Hood and Josh Butler, the mysterious Eighteen Keys delivers the fifth installment of his eponymous imprint here titled "Light It Up". This is a deep and sensual tech house cut that provides perfect mood music for the warm up or afterhours alike. It's backed by second offering "You Know" a deep down and dirty expression in minimal house, packed with druggy, bumpy bass and clipped rhythm programming which would also go down a treat on Sunday morning.
Review: Chicago house legend Paris Brightledge has been rather quiet of late, with his last solo single, Forgive You (a collaboration with Marlopn Hoffstadt) appearing way back in 2017. 'Deep In My Soul', then, is a comeback of sorts - and a predictably fine one at that. Old pal Marshall Jefferson provides the EP-opening remix, adding Brightledge's trademark vocals - soulful and emotion-rich as ever - atop a spacey deep house track rich in swirling chords, crunchy drums and bubbly TB-303 acid lines. Brightledge's own 'Ascension Mix' is percussively bolder and chunkier but similarly spacey with added cybersonic synth-bass goodness, while the Eric Kupper remix is bright, breezy and laden with smile-inducing organ riffs. Finally, Hula Malone reworks K'Alexei Shelby hook-up 'I See Your Face', delivering a mix that's bouncy, percussive and hypnotic.