Review: Bumpin' and jackin' house business for unashamed retroverts and by some of the current best of the scene. B.K.R is the techno project of Simon Baker, presenting four dancefloor fillers here on Dusky's 17 Steps. The first track in collaboration with Hot Creations boss Jamie Jones entitled "Bubble & Squeak". Baker then flies solo for the rest of the EP; the man throwing down the soulful and driving tech house of "Fly", the rather Cajmere sounding percolator jack of "Dis" (which is as raw and stripped back as we like it!) and then finally "Das" which not only showcases this Leeds legend's use of vocabulary: but also his dexterity in the studio: this jam joins all the dots between the previous tracks on this slinky, bassline driven cut that is geared for some intense strobing moments.
Review: Having built an impressive reputation via releases on Aus Music and Naked Naked, British house duo Dusky have decided to launch their own label, 17 Steps. This first release - from the duo themselves, naturally - suggests the label could be a force to be reckoned with in coming years. There's a thrillingly saucer-eyed feel about "Love Taking Over", which peppers a robust, sub-heavy groove with drifting alien synths, wonky pads and choice vocal samples. "Inta" is more obviously accessible, with classic house pianos and spoken vocal stabs providing the track with bags of energy. "Expectations" sees the duo return to familiar influences, with acid bass and attractive hooks riding a bustling, US garage-influenced groove.
Review: Dusky has certainly made the most of running the 17 Steps label. Astonishingly, this is the duo's 16th release on the imprint since it launched back in 2014. As usual, there's plenty to admire across the four-track EP, starting with the poignant chord progressions, rubbery synth-bass, "Show Me Love" organ stabs and trippy late night atmospherics of "Cold Heart". Their penchant for hustling low-end and grandiose synthesizer flourishes is explored further on "Psychic Life Coach", while the superb "Bowed" sees them doffing a cap to both John Carpenter and Patrick Cowley. For those seeking fluttering riffs, heavy analogue bass and breezy, summery vibes, closer "Balfour Betty" should be essential listening.
Review: Since this EP dropped on vinyl earlier in the year, the sizeable title track has become one of the most ubiquitous peak-time anthems around. That's not meant as a criticism; few do rush-inducing musical moments quite like Dusky, and "Square Miso" is one of their most euphoric productions to date. It's something of a retro-futurist treat, with colossal piano riffs and dewy-eyed vocal samples riding thunderous drums and a booming, mind-altering bassline. For extra spine-tingling pleasure, check out the beat-free "Reprise" version, which wisely emphasizes the "Strings of Life" style pianos and synthesized strings, and the warehouse-friendly, Inner City style throb of "LF10".
Review: Following up the Cold Heart EP by label bosses Dusky, 17 Steps present a new one by Kiwi: the London producer's debut on the label. Having recently released on labels such as Futureboogie, Correspondant and Optimo Music, his distinctive sound is a mix of Italo, techno and electro. The uplifting epic "Marmora's Theme" is powered by a razor sharp arpeggio and balanced out by those hands in the air style piano loops. We were about to draw comparisons to scene heroes Tuff City Kids, but whaddya know: they're up next on the remix! They work their magic as always with a retro flavoured piece of dancefloor drama: they found it fitting to throw in a gnarly Reese bassline too. Epic!
Review: Issued on Dusky's new label, Leon Vynehall collaborator Christian Piers serves up three futuristic house cuts. "Offf" is the most effective dance floor track, based on a succession of dense, filtered drum loops that roll and shuffle relentlessly to an inevitable climax. "Onn" follows a similar approach, albeit with a dubbier influence, as doubled up claps and a driving rhythm provide the backing for a vocal sample that's tucked away deep in the arrangement. Finally, there's the title track, which operates to a similar approach but which sees Piers add in some bleepy acid to the system-levelling bass and steely drums.
Review: Veteran DnB producer dBridge recently raised eyebrows and ears with a string of dark, deep and sexy house cuts under the newly assumed alias, Velvit. This new direction has led to a new EP for 17 Steps dubbed the Be So Cruel EP. As good as the other stuff was, this new EP is next level stuff - the title track being nearly seven minutes of whack-thump drums, hoover bass and catchy soulful vocals. "No Excuses" sprinkles some vinyl crackles on some deeply warped tropical house and "South Of Your Soul" is an intoxicatingly sleazy after hours grind.