Review: Connaisseur is celebrating a decade in the business and certainly doing it with style. This time around there's some great collaborations; check these out. Melodic, soulful and absolutely emotive vibes courtesy of Swedish legend Aril Brikha teaming up with Ireland's Chymera on "Nihari". Next, The Element teams up label head honcho Alex Flitsch on the deep, tunnelling and atmospheric progressive house of "Puma" which really has the label's classic sound in mind. Finally the mighty trio Of Norway, Linnea Dale & Preben Olram serve up the blissful deep house cover of Pornos For Pyros hit from 1993 "Pets" and what a fantastic tribute it is!
Review: The king of sultry afterhours tech grooves, Patrick Chardronnet is starting to age like a fine wine (see what we did there?). Here his "All I Got" tune becomes a mulled brew with added ingredients from some key remixers. Audiofly is up first with his deep, abstract-jack "Hook mix", Musumeci delivers a trippy Miami Vice style digital synther and Schlepp Geist goes all dark electro-house. There?s even a haunted minimal mix of Random Beauty by Anthony Middleton & Dance Spirit Gravity thrown in too!
Review: Patrick Chardronnet returns to Connoisseur with some more deep tech house grooves guaranteed to light up any dancefloor. "All I Got" kicks off with a menacing vocal sample of a preacher, whose vocals are soon consumed by a nagging synth melody and weighty rhythms; "Aura Dub" is much fuller in sound, swathing its steamroller-like mechanics in curtains of reverb. "Random Beauty" finishes things off on a gentler tip, with light beats and airy chords a far cry from the darker moods of the other tracks.
Review: This German label may have made its name with melodic trance house releases, but BT5 shows that the mood has darkened somewhat in the interim. Schlepp Geist's "Tura" sets the scene for the release, as a lone vocal, dissected and alienated, floats over a pulsing, throbbing bass. There's a similar feeling on Ataxia's "Visa V", where dramatic woodwind sweeps in over rickety percussion and a malevolent backing track. This menacing approach reaches its zenith on Jon Charnis & Hands Free's "Leviathan", a bass-heavy, sleek and menacing affair with the technical precision and power of a high-end Porsche. The only concession to Connaisseur's more carefree sound is the mellow, tranced out breaks of Moosefly's "The Space Between".
Review: This second raft of remixes that interpret Brendan Gregoriy's original material as Chymera prove to be just as inventive as the first. Connaisseur have commissioned Jacob Korn and Orlando Voorn to remake "An Island In Space" and deliver equally idiosyncratic takes. Korn's version is based on a surging, rippling bass and a snaking groove. When the track breaks down into a spacey, Moog solo, it seems almost at odds with the prevailing mood, but Korn is a master arranger and it all makes sense. The second version from Orlando Voorn is longer and more epic; over a rolling rhythm the juxtaposition of summery keys and booming bassline sounds strangely compatible.
Review: Brendan Gregoriy has an intuitive knack for melodies, and on "Threads" he brings this skill to the fore. Over brittle percussion and a techy, somewhat metallic rhythm, he unleashes a glorious, full-blooded melodic flourish, all minor keys and no bombast. It's testament to Gregoriy's abilities that he has managed to attract two highly-respected producers to remix his work. Philly veteran King Britt turns "Trapped in Amber" into a dubby groove, its booming bass underpinning an angelic vocal covered in swathes of acid textures. Meanwhile, Steve Moore drops a version of "Swim Away", which focuses on a spacey, spaced out synth line and a lumbering bass.
Review: Irish producer Bren Gregoriy aka Chymera has released a series of melodic techno records, but his latest album sees him enter a new realm. "The Drop", with its rich strings and sensuous woodwind, explores beatless ambient, while "Who Bends First" is like a halfway house between Ian O'Brien and alt rock, with live drums crashing and flailing to the backdrop of warm Rhodes keys. "Strange Things Are Afoot" makes reference to Chymera's deep techno sound, but the greatest achievement of Misadventure is that it gives vent to Gregoriy's pop leanings. It is audible on the dreamy, vocal-led "Drowning", but is expressed most articulately on "The Chase", where dead paced beats and playful, infectious vocals make for a real FM pop tune.
Review: Daso Franke never released an album during his lifetime. He finalized this now posthumous set just weeks before he passed away from cancer last year, and Connaisseur is releasing it "to complete his legacy" at the request of the prolific producer's parents. It would be fair to say that "Daso" is a fitting tribute and includes some of the German's most potent work. As you'd expect, it's a poignant, drowsy and at times melancholic affair, with Franke supplementing his usual dusty deep house and hypnotic, locked-in tech-house cuts with unusual but inspired forays into ambient, ultra-deep electronic pop (see Anouk Visee collaboration "Cotton"), deep and dreamy breakbeat and weightless, intergalactic electronica (the impeccable, heart-aching "My Pony" and "Ecotranse").
Review: Davis and Zopelar are the two figureheads of Sao Paulo's vital electronic music scene. Heading up the In Their Feelings label, as well as being residents of the ODD collective: a very popular off-location event series. It's perfect timing then, to drop their debut EP on Offenbach's Connaisseur and we are certain that this release will cause some major waves. Three tunes for three different occasions. Starting off with the ethereal and evocative "Limba" with its breathtaking chord progressions that are sure to create a headrush or two. There's also "Kapur": a slow burning acid odyssey reminiscent of Richie Hawtin's Plastikman days, way back. Finally "Metallum" bridges the gap between the two aforementioned tracks and goes out all guns blazing, with its rapid fire rhythms and soaring arpeggio madness taking it all the way home.
Review: Lithuania isn't the first place you would associate with deep house, but it's where Few Nolder comes from and it's true that the Vilnius-based producer makes a compelling take on this established form. Like his other releases, the tracks on Moli have a fragility to them, like they are about to fall apart at every bar. Thankfully none of them do, and the listener is able to enjoy the slurred vocals and nagging percussion on "Twin" and the warm melodies of "Sonar". Few Nolder leaves the best to last though, and the title track's epic synth crescendos and played on the fly groove make for the perfect soundtrack to a midsummer's Baltic party.
Review: Next up on Offenbach institution Connaisseur is Perugia, Italy's Francesco Chiocci with "Black Sunrise" which gets a stellar bunch of remixes this time around. Olderic's remix really nails the label's sound perfectly on this deep and slinky progressive house rendition. Next up is Venice's Lehar whose makeover retains the wonderful vocals from the original and crafts this into one of those epic dark journey tracks that are all the rage at the moment. Musumeci also appears here; his version also walks the darker, left hand path but has more adrenalin and bounce to it; but just wait for that Life & Death style melody to come rushing in. Finally Cologne's Peter Pardeike provides the most uplifting version here with his slinky tech-infused groove creating something that you can really drift too.