Review: Blood, Sweat & Tears marks the first outing of 2017 for one of UK deep house's most prolific producers. Predictably, the Cardiff-based studio don is in fine form throughout, peppering a bouncy and bass-heavy groove with razor-sharp rave riffs (see "Magic Box"), before indulging his jazz and jazz-funk influences on the rich and fluid "Citrus Strategy". The producer's love of mind-altering peak-time workouts is explored further on "The Grinder", where simple TB-303 stabs ride a stomping, percussion-heavy rhythm, track, while closer "Priceless Vibes" sits somewhere between the fluttering bliss of vintage Larry Heard and the loose-limbed swing of UK garage.
Review: Since the tail end of the noughties, Alex Agore has sporadically used The Shake Up Connection alias to deliver deliciously hazy deep house cuts built around original disco, soul and boogie samples. Live At The Basement was originally released back in 2009, and here gets a deserved reissue on 4 Lux Black. There's naturally much to admire, from the cheery, horn-wielding disco-house positivity of "I Know", and vibraphone-laden deep house bounce of "Righteous Men", to the sun-kissed warmth of "Shake Up Theme", and drowsy, boogie-driven "Uh La La". He also delivers some tasty jazz-house in the shape of "Jazz 4 Ya", and goes all Gospel on album closer "You".
Review: Having spent much of the last half-decade developing his brand of stripped-back acid house revivalism, Arttu Sellman has decided to switch things up. For this release on 4 Lux Black, he's donned the alternative Lump alias - last seen in 2010 - and moved further towards musically rich and densely layered deep house. Both "Rain" and "A Promise" blend traditional deep house tropes with more organic musical samples - think electric guitars, bluesy vocal samples, and such - and throbbing synthesizer basslines inspired by '80s electrofunk. He goes even further on the EP's standout moment, "U Talkin", which expertly combines killer blues, funk-rock and disco samples to create a throbbing deep house pumper.
Review: You Got Me marks the 4 Lux Black debut of The Shake Up Connection, an Alex Agore alias that pops up sporadically, last appearing on vinyl only imprint Vakum. It's a predictably assured and entertaining collection, with Agore delivering four fine, club-ready house cuts. Both "Shake Up Theme" and "You Got Me" draw heavily on disco and boogie for inspiration, whilst retaining the warmth and low-end pressure of quality deep house. "Untitled" is a thickset, jazz-flecked bumper, rich in Rhodes riffs, rolling bongos and simmering soul samples, while "Righteous Men" is a Detroit style, groovy deep house number complete with all manner of tasty, jazzy flourishes.
Review: Since 2008, Kazuki 'Kez YM' Yamaguchi has been a reliable source of club-ready deep house, delivering regular releases for the likes of Yore, City Fly and Faces. Here, he returns to his roots, appearing on Gerd's 4Lux label for the first time since unveiling his quietly impressive debut EP, Sweetly Confused. Highlights include the conga-laden, Theo Parrish-ish shuffle of "Turns Me Off", and opener "Force Carrier", whose mighty percussion track layers loose, African drumming over a formidable kick-drum pattern. Arguably best of all, though, is the snappy-but-deep warmth of "Repair My Head", which sounds like a long lost Chez Damier jam.
Review: The second release in the same week from Arttu sees him draw again on classic house and techno influences. The title track draws on the reduced end of Chicago house, with frequency-shifting acid tones unraveling over pared back kettle-drums. "Wiggle Eyez" marks a change of tact and is similar to the release on Jack for Daze, with the Berlin artist drawing heavily on the raw sound of 90s techno to craft a relentless, grinding analogue workout. Closing track "X Ray Shit" is like an amalgamation of these two sounds; based on rattling drums and acid-soaked bleeps, it proves that Arttu is one of the most skillful modern interpreters of timeless music.
Review: Since 2013, D-Ribeiro has delivered a range of chunky, undeniably fuzzy blends of techno and deep house for labels such as Midlight, SD and Finale Sessions. Here, the Rotterdam producer makes his debut on Gerd's 4 Lux Black imprint. There's a glitchy, hissing, bass-heavy feel throughout, with Ribeiro showcasing his love of dancefloor-friendly loop-funk, modern soul samples and woozy chords. While the standard remains high throughout, there are notable highlights. Opener "What's Up Girl", built around chopped-and-looped R&B vocal samples, starry electronics and an undeniably bumpy groove, is particularly strong, while the similarly soulful, wayward boogie-house thumper "Donut Breakin" sounds like it would cause commotion on the right dancefloors.
Review: Analogue-loving deep house sort Nicholas Lammatteo re-ignites his working relationship with Gerd's 4 Lux label, a year on from the well regarded Love Someone 12". Like that track, the original version of "Catch The Sun" - featuring the evocative vocals of Madaffi Pierre - is warm, breezy, quietly soulful and hugely influenced by classic US garage. The alternate Deep Mix, though, sounds more like vintage Larry Heard - all ultra-deep pads, analogue bass and woozy electronics. Elsewhere, there's more bluesy deepness in the shape of "Stop (Playing With My Heart)", a dash of party-hearty, classic NYC goodness ("The Loft Party"), and a fabulous fusion of twinkling keys, sleazy sax samples and cymbal-heavy rhythms ("Blacker").
Review: While Italian producer Nicholas has always been obsessed with classic house - be it the piano-laden release of early '90s Italian productions or the New Jersey bump of later period Nu Groove - he's more than capable of producing deep house laden with soulful intensity. That's what's on offer across these four tracks, beginning with the heavy bass, dreamy chords and sensual vocal (provided by Shaun J Wright) of "Love Someone". The Italian wisely provides a darker, chunkier dub of the same track, before exploring acid and sprawling pianos on the deliciously effective "Message". Finally, "J.U.N.E" features an attractive blend of hazy freestyle vocals and cute Rhodes keys riding a fizzing, late '90s US deep house groove.
Review: Chesus seems to be in a happy place right now. Certainly, there's a confident and outgoing feel about his second outing for 4Lux under the Earl Jeffers alias. All four tracks feel like the product of enjoyable studio sessions, and almost bristle with celebratory release. "Jump", which recalls the disco-inspired bump of early '90s New York house whilst adding sturdier bottom end, leads the way. Following close behind is "Elevation", a carnival-friendly fusion of pounding percussion, snaking synths and booming bass. "Intergalactic Jam" is a warm and rich exercise in stargazing deep house, while the curious "Bootsy's Nightmare" is hard to pin down. Listen carefully, and you can hear influences from UK funky, UKG, kuduro and ultra-deep house.
Review: Man of many monikers Gerd returns to the NY Stomp alias he last used in 2012. "I Feel It Comin' On", featuring Matthew Kirkwood, is a sparkling chunk of revivalist US house, with pianos and cut-up soul vocals riding a classic bassline and stomping, basement-friendly beats. There's a couple of more UKG-friendly revisions in the shape of the Bass'N'Dirt Remix and Dub, while Ovis gives the original a thunderous makeover - all raw drum machine beats, powerful sub and cut-up, hands-in-the-air vocals. There's also a solid bonus cut, "Beatattak", in which Gerd laces chopped-up freestyle vocals and dreamy chords over a skipping, US garage style rhythm.
Review: Dutch producer De Sluwe Vos hasn't released that much to date, but his previous releases on Soulfood and Extended Play (both released last year) were pretty good. Here he drops his first EP of 2014, this time for Gerd's 4 Lux Black imprint, and there's much to admire. "Broken Snare" - a heavy, left-of-centre analogue drum jam that sounds like a marching band wigging out to early Phuture - is particularly potent, but there's plenty more reasons to be cheerful throughout the EP. The twinkling melodies and bumpin, in-your-face grooves of "Poltergeist", for example, or the Belgian '90s techno-influenced house wonkiness of "The Bullet". Far-sighted Beaumont Livingstone collaboration "The Feeling" is pretty darn tasty, too.
Review: Belfast's Kristian Conor may be a relative newcomer, but this debut EP for Gerd's 4Lux Black imprint bristles with confidence. His style - bold, bassy and jacking, with a decent amount of analogue dustiness to the production - is engaging and floor-friendly, with little kowtowing to contemporary trends. The three tracks here variously reference vintage dub house (the pleasingly becalmed and hypnotic "Shu"), early '90s bleep and Chicago jack tracks ("Lima"), and early Belgian techno and late night deep house (the heavyweight "Slaned"). All are excellent, and suggest that Conor could be a producer to watch in 2014.
Review: Ah yes, another blistering clusterbomb from our favourite Dutch label, Gerd's infamous 4 Lux! Lavonte's Groove steps into the limelight with a jittering, shuffling house work for peak time. It's one of those that'll grab your jaw and lock it into paralysis before you can say "tune!". This one is sure to be a certified burner on the floor in the coming months...
Review: Chesus rounds off a solid year, in which he impressed with a 12" on Local Talk, by dropping another quartet of bumpin' revivalist US garage jams with his usual UK twist. Lead cut "Decisions" bases the action around a killer jazz vocal sample, working up a sweaty groove with the addition of heavy beats and pulsating sub-bass. "Monster", featuring Kofi Tarris, is a little different, offering a near perfect blend of Soundstream style heavy disco loopiness and bumpin' New Jersey bottom end. "Beyond Corruption" is sparse, groovy and bass heavy, and arguably nearer to his work for local talk. Finally, pal The Organ Grinder lends a hand on "Thunder & Lightening", a deeper, more atmospheric take on the classic Mood II Swing sound.
Stronger (Quell A Little Rougher remix) - (6:23) 123 BPM
Stronger (alternative vocal mix) - (6:32) 123 BPM
Review: To put it bluntly there's two types of deep house - the boring, safe linear stuff and the stuff made by Nicholas. This young Italian has been reversing the negative image of his hometown Perugia for quite a few years now and it's all down to the deep but edgy productions that he comes up with. All three versions of "Stronger" are awesome: the original with its caressing dreamlike vintage New York vibes, the electro-bass bounce of the alternate vocal mix, the pumping muscle mary-isms of the Quell remix and our favourite, the seductively doomy dark dub. An essential release.
Review: It would be fair to describe Italian producer Enrico Mantini as a "veteran", given that he put out his first 12" way back in 1992. In fact, one of the highlights of that EP - "What You Like" - is featured here, alongside another superb chunk of Italian deep house/garage fusion, "I'll Be There", from 1993. Both tracks have stood the test of time well, and their original '90s flex is the perfect antidote to today's retro-futurist house culture. The undisputed quality of these tracks is put into sharp focus by the EP's two new Mantini cuts, which while solid and playable don't quite have the same unpolished appeal as his original '90s work.
Review: Italian producer Nicholas has a well established working relationships with Gerd's 4Lux imprint, gracing them with numerous 12"s and his Still Playing House LP in recent times. His return to the label sees a development in production, forgoing the reliance on vocal samples that have been a staple of his rise to prominence in favour of working with a vocalist. Stee Downes, said vocalist, will be familiar to anyone who keeps abreast of contemporary house, having worked with Lovebirds and MCDE previously. Both the original and NYC Club versions of their collaboration "Things Of The Past" are superbly crafted deep house movers, with the latter Jersey style bumper one for the Bicep fans. Check "Forever Feel It" too for some sublime funk sampling.
Review: Catapault Records' regular The Organ Grinder brings his particular brand of hustlin' garage revivalism to Gerd's 4Lux Black label. In many ways, it's a bit of a curveball from Gerd; The Organ Grinder's fuzzy, funtime jams are a far cry from the considered deepness usually found on the imprint. It could be a masterstroke, though; certainly, the bold chords, vocal cut-ups and booming low-end pressure of "Smiley Face" suggests so. There's some deeper revivalist US garage business in the shape of the sinewy "Project", while "Universe" is thrillingly rush-inducing - all big riffs, acid bass and bumpin' beats. "Heaven", meanwhile, gets just the right balance of distorted grooves, MDMA builds and seductive vocal hooks.
Review: Deep house badboy Joe Drive makes his debut on Gerd's, 4Lux Records. We're so happy to see him release on such a prolific imprint and these four tracks are nothing short of amazing..."Rain Dance" is a slow-moving house bomb riddled with short, chopped-up vocal samples and a seriously twisted melody riding beneath its crispy percussion elements. The title track, "Junopolis" is a classic Chicago number, where luscious Juno chords bounce proudly amid that classic fist-pumping beat style, but Alden Tyrell's remix of "Tefnut" is some serious business. A gnarly bass line is torn inside out and left to growl uncontrollably next to a menacing snare which cuts straight through the core of the track. The original of "Tefnut" is comparatively milder; soft bongos meet with outrageously addictive chords, but Drive never loses that darker edge that make his tracks so enticing. Big release!
Review: Aussie producer Johnny Herring brings his Sellouts project to 4Lux Black. As with previous excursions, Second Game ripples with deep, midtempo disco intent - all hypnotic grooves, barely-audible vocal samples, warm cords and touchy-feely soul samples. It's a relatively common sound - think early Nicholas or Ooft's edit-inclined work - but one that Herring does better than most. Opener "Still Standing"- all head-nodding disco-soul grooves and filtered vocal loops - is probably the standout, though the far deeper title track and near-Balearic bliss of "She Knows" are almost as good.
Review: Second time around for Gerd's "House", a track originally recorded many years back with Nu Groove legend Lamont "Elbee Bad" Booker (a compilation of whose classic moments is imminent on Rush Hour). This is in many ways an accompaniment to last year's release, and features instrumental versions of the excellent reworks by Attu and Jacob Korn. The latter's woozy deep house take arguably works better without Booker's rambling vocal, sounding like a future underground house classic. Best of all, though, is Gerd's own New Vox Mix, which is so raw, analogue and uncompromising that the mix actually distorts on several occasions. Proper house music, and no mistake.
Review: There are echoes of classic Parisian deep house moments in this bluesy EP from current Paris resident S3A (Sampling as an Art). "Holdin' On", for example, evokes memories of both loopy filter house and, more pertinently, the early works of St Germain (circa Boulevard). "Homage", particularly in its "Ravy Bonus Beat" guise, goes further towards classic French disco-house territory, sounding not unlike a grown up take on early Casius or Stardust. Meanwhile, "For The Girlz" expertly loops up some disco-funk grooves and soulful scat vocals, throwing in some additional percussion and classic US garage stabs to keep the party moving.
Review: A new series from Gerd's usually reliable 4 Lux imprint opens with three tracks of claustrophobic deepness from Club Lonely man and sometime Kolour Recordings artist Quell. All three tracks are typical not just of his productions, but also the warm, late night fare promoted by 4 Lux. Opener "Glengoyne" sets the tone, delivering a hypnotic shuffler built around sweaty percussion and a notably dubby bassline. "Disregard" goes deeper still, carefully working an intoxicating dub house groove and melancholic pads for seven spellbinding minutes. "Self Proclaimed", meanwhile, is like a ray of sunshine on a cloudy day - all lazy slo-mo beats, sweet chords, occasional electrofunk synths and deliriously Balearic riffs.
Review: Since he reworked big chunks of the Nu Groove catalogue for Needwant last year, Nicholas has shown signs of wanting to make his own intoxicating deep house influenced by the early '90s sound of New York. "Life Goes On" very much fits this remit, offering a heady blend of tactile deepness featuring samples from some familiar disco and soul favourites ("Rock Creek Park" being the most obvious source). "All I Can Give" sounds like a vintage New York-Chicago soundclash - all heavy analogue bass, trad garage chords and late night vocal snippets - while "Messed Up Generation" flits between spoken word iciness and Big Apple grooviness.
Review: Given 4Lux's early history as a home for deep, soulful broken beat and jazzier flavours, this EP from Low Line Relay could be seen as something of a blast from the past. Sure, the production style is decidedly contemporary (check the crackly wooziness throughout), and there's an atmospheric trip into deep house territory (see the sunrise vibes of "Crooked Sun"), but for the most part it sounds like a cross between classic "bruk", wonk-hop and Moodymann-ish jazziness. For proof, check the Mr Beatnick-ish "In The Gutter", or the Rhodes-laden deepness of "Over". "Super Love" doffs a cap to classic house, but its cosy shuffle and muted rave sirens tell a different story.
Review: 2011 was a great year for Arttu Snellman, with acclaimed releases dropping on both Royal Oak and Philpot. Here he starts 2012 with another couple of impressive tracks, this time for Gerd's 4Lux imprint. "Attic House" (chuckle) has a suitably retro feel, with treacle-thick bass, beats and synth motifs sparring with hissing, Detroit-influenced hi-hats and a classic vocal sample. "Soul Stream" is arguably even more impressive, a kind of tooled-up version of classic Mr Fingers with the addition of Burrell Brothers strings and melodies. Remix wise, Gerd's stripped-down version of "Attic House" is solid enough, but it's the two suitably old skool basement bumpers from Snuff Crew that most impress; the dub, in particular, is decidedly raw.
Review: Fresh from delivering an album's worth of Nu Groove remixes, Italian producer Nicholas pops up on Gerd's 4Lux Black imprint. The title track sets the tone for what follows, delivering a cockle-warming mix of old skool NYC house riffage, Italian house ambience and skippy, New Jersey garage percussion. If it was any more "classic", it would actually have been made 20 years ago. "Down To Nothing" and "Familiar Path" tread similar ground, offering wide-eyed, early 90s house for the permanently nostalgic. Hunee's remix of "Free To Be" offers a rougher, chunkier, late night take on the slick original, offering a delicious combination of rave riffage, acid bass and clattering 808 percussion.
Review: Johan Brandes' most recent EP for Gerd's 4Lux Black imprint, American Studies, was something of a slow-burning deep house delight. While this EP hasn't quite got the same instant impact, it may have greater longevity. Certainly, there's something distinctly classic about the drifting, emotion-rich deepness on offer here. Tracks like "St Johns" - with its spoken word samples and glassy-eyed glaze - and "Landing Lights" are perfectly pitched, offering both head-nodding grooves and heart-stopping musicality. "Gloomy Stacks", meanwhile, sounds like a lost track from the glory days of Naked Music. Such a soft-focus approach to deep house rarely works, but Landing Lights is a treat.
Review: Having impressed with a few sultry slo-mo re-edits and the odd well-received remix, Nicholas pops up on Gerd's 4Lux label with a five-track EP of head-nodding house grooves. While fans of his loopy, disco-centric vibe will still find plenty to entertain (not least the pleasingly snug "All I Need"), All Night Long should appeal to anyone who likes their house bumpin' and groovesome. The title track itself is arguably Nicholas's best yet, a kind of fusion of classic US garage and 90s New York deep house - all hip-wigglin' bass, expansive piano solos and bluesy vocal snippets. Label boss Gerd remixes, dusting down the 808s and 909s for a vintage jack attack.
Review: There are numerous approaches to deep house around, but few are quite as spellbinding as that offered by Gerd's 4 Lux Black label. Since setting up a couple of years back, the Dutch label has quietly set its stall out as a 'must check' imprint for those who like their music deep, subtle and oozing with unfussy emotion. So far, the label's clear stand out release has to be Erdbeerschnitzel's brilliant Suave EP, but this new three-tracker from label stalwart Johan Brandes - aka Native Rush - pushes it mighty close. It's a concept EP of sorts, with the 'American Studies' title referring to the various spoken word and vocal samples - all from vintage US sources - that litter the release. These are invariably well chosen and add an extra dimension - a cinematic sweep, perhaps - to Brandes deep and meaningful compositions. This is perhaps most obvious on "Cigarbox", which slowly bobs and weaves for eight timeless minutes. The grooves are wearily sub-aquatic, the melodies chilly and otherworldly. When the poetic, extended vocal sample kicks in, it adds another dimension to an already impressive composition. Then there's "My Obsession", a rolling, low-end heavy groove that pits well-chosen spoken word samples ("America, I refuse to give up my obsession") against relentless organ riffs, bowel-bothering bass and a classic US house finish. It's a fittingly American-centric ending to an EP that delights and entertains in equal measure.