Review: The latest instalment of Crosstown Rebels' long-running Get Lost series comes from odd German deep house/tech house fusionist Acid Pauli, a man who looks more like a hairy Open University geology lecturer than a top-flight DJ. Reflecting Pauli's own style, the compilation's 41 unmixed tracks touch on shuffling, eyes-closed deepness, tactile techno, dream house and tongue-in-cheek silliness (the brilliant space-pop of "In My Spaceship" by Jan Turkenburg. More impressively, there are a string of previously unseen exclusives, including excellent tracks from Nicolas Jaar, Nu and Acid Pauli himself.
Review: After previous outings on Get Physical and Resonance, Swedish producer Adeline comes to Damian Lazarus's Crosstown Rebels with a three-track, four-mix EP that showcases her unique musical style (sort of techno, sort of house, but not really tech-house) nicely. 'You*re Sick' is a midtempo (bordering on slo-mo) affair sporting an alt-R&B style vocal from Adeline herself, 'Dust To Bone' is a slightly pacier, more eyes-down deep tech cut and the warm-up friendly 'Rite De Passage' has a lighter touch, but arguably the standout here is a predictably classy Dub of the title track from French house legend D'Julz.
Review: Matthias Corsden AKA Ae:ther has flourished since joining Crosstown Rebels early last year. He won particularly praise for his debut album, "Me", which dropped back in November. "We'll Be Together" - a fine slab of sparse, spacey, minimalistic tech-house rich in eyes-closed vocals samples and starry electronics motifs - is the second single to be lifted from that set. It comes backed with fresh flipside "Blu Lagoon", an enjoyable exercise in chunky, deep-tech delight, plus two new remixes of "We'll Be Together". Moscoman hits all the right notes on his picturesque, melodious, analogue-rich revision - all grandiose deep space chords, starburst synths and chunky bass - while Francesco Mami's version is an altogether darker, tougher and more hypnotic take.
Review: Alex Dimou has released on some pretty hot labels over the years, with his previous outing - last autumn's epic "Creep Inside" - being one of Get Physical's most potent missives of recent times. Here the Greek producer builds on that momentum via a label debut on Crosstown Rebels. "What Keeps You There" begins with bold, beat-free piano riffs before ascending towards peak-time dominance via a superb mix of snappy drums, Chicken Lips style synth bass (think "He Not In") and just the right amount of dreamy, eyes-closed female vocals. Cevin Fisher takes the track into deeper and darker tech-house territory on his throbbing remix, while Avidus adds a little druggy and mind-altering flavour on a revision that bounces higher than a rubber ball on speed. Chunky, Tengalia-esque bonus cut "Let It Be Known" is pretty darn tasty too.
Review: A peek at the track titles should be enough to tell you that Afro flavours dominate here, though the two tracks take similar influences and do quite different things with them. 'Zoulou' is a deep, melodic, synth-tinged Afrohouser, complete with chanted vox and 'jungle' sounds, that you can imagine finding favour with the likes of Dennis Ferrer and Black Coffee. On the accompanying 'Bwana', though, Niggemann opts to plough a deep, dark, tribal/prog groove rather than serving up yet another dose of intricate hand percussion - making for a cut that's less 'on trend' musically, perhaps, but all the more distinctive for it.
Review: Bringing one of those vocals that will be nagging in the noggin long after the lights have come up; Ali Love and Kali are in prime pop-picking mode with this new single on Crosstown Rebels. The structure of the track is still in keeping with the label's slick take on house music; while the vocals intone a message of massaged ego that translates smoothly to Waze & Odyssey's more brooding remix. Maceo Plex comes in with a more romantic vision for the track, laying out thick reams of synth in a seductive late night style that can bleed outwards to fill a space large or small.
Review: For those techno fans of a certain age, Dave Angel is a legend, the UK producer who almost single-handedly invented the high-paced 'jazz techno' sound. With the passage of time and age, Angel has lowered his tempo, but not his approach. The title track is an insistent affair led by repetitive stabs and a vocal sample intoning the title. The only new elements are the dubby inflections that lend the arrangement a more reflective feeling than usual. "Guru" is redolent of Angel's late 90s work. Here again the tempo is slower, but the snapping percussion, menacing bass and filtered builds sound inspired by his 39 Flavours of Tech Funk release.
Review: The US' Aphorhead has been churning out house and techno missiles since the mid 90's, hopping from label to label and consistently offering quality output in the process. He returns to action, however on Europe's Crosstown Rebels, an imprint which he has visited before and by now a pillar of contemporary house music that has seen releases by everyone from Cosmin TRG to Art Department and Damian Lazarus - not a bad list of names, if we may say so! His comeback in is the shape of an LP - or extended EP depending on the way you like to see it - and the title track "Resurrection" is itself a spacey, driving house number with subtle Detroit influences amid its chords and pads. The rest of the tunes range from more contemporary, commercially-minded house such as "Klymaxxx", to deep, jazzy house on "Come To Me", and funky minimal techno as seen on "Let's Prance". A diverse and playful dancefloor album for both the tool and non-tool users.
Review: Chicago legend Felix Stallings aka Felix Da Housecat is back under his revived Aphrohead moniker for the first time in 14 years since "Thee Underground Made Me Do It". Originally released in 2014, it now sees a digital release on Damien Lazarus' Crosstown Rebels. Like much of the other material under this alias, it's rather tracky house on the tougher tip and "Grown Man Cryy" is no exception. Stallings repeats the very phrase repeatedly over a skipping melody, hissing high hats and an absolutely furious beat. Planet E head honcho Carl Craig gets on the remix giving it his typical midas touch: all soaring synth leads, buzzing bassline and white noise.
Review: Given his track record and impressive credentials, we were rather surprised to discover that the "Worthless EP" marks Argy's Crosstown Rebels label debut. The title is, of course, tongue-in-cheek, because there's nothing worthless about the killer cuts on show. In fact, the title track is one of Argy's most instantly ear-catching workouts for a while, with the action focused on a crunchy, distorted drum track, rubbery bass guitar, whispered spoken word samples ("I feel worthless... I'm living on the edge") and just the right amount of dystopian noises. Elsewhere, "La Vida" is a crusty chunk of lo-fi jacking funk, while "Get Ready" is a low-slung early morning Warehouse roller.
Review: Canadian duo Art Department have all the ingredients of success at their disposal: experience, reputation and, most importantly, hype. With the latter in full effect right now, it's safe to say that The Drawing Board, their debut full length, is one of the most anticipated house sets of 2011. So is it any good? Certainly, those who've already fallen in love with their touchy-feely, melancholy take on house will enjoy it immensely. Like the work of guest Seth Troxler's Visionquest (and, to some extent, Benoit & Sergio), there's a distinct melodic warmth to Art Department's shuffling beats, woozy electronics and half-whispered vocals. It's this, more than anything, which makes The Drawing Board worthwhile listening.
Review: The legendary American DJ and producer Arthur Baker helps Crosstown Rebels celebrate 15 years and an impressive 200 releases. Here, Baker - who is known for his work with hip-hop artists like Afrika Bambaataa, New Order and Pet Shop Boys reunites with Rockers Revenge for the first time in 30 years. You're in good hands with these veterans, as they deliver a euphoric and life affirming dancefloor bomb which reaches near spiritual moments - with its evocative qualities. Tough polyrhythms, soulful vocals and many a classic synth sound that Baker and Co. programmed over many seminal productions over the years. Remixes come courtesy of Francois K delivering s funky tribal rain dance rendition, while Kompakt main man Michael Mayer delivers reliable dancefloor drama - as he always does so well.
Review: Following impressive outings on Gruuv and Knee Deep in Sound, Leeds-based tech-house stalwarts Audiojack return to Crosstown Rebels for the first time since 2017. It's the long-serving production partnership's first release of the year and contains two typically on-point cuts. "Inside My Head" sees the duo doff a cap to fellow Leeds dance music royalty Nightmares on Wax via a heavyweight, bass-heavy peak-time workout that utilizes the same Cuba Gooding vocal sample as the veteran Warp act used on their 1990 cut "I'm For Real". As tribiutes go, it's rather good. There's a little more funk to the swinging tech-house/hip-house fusion of "Behind The Curtain", where rap samples and jammed-out electric piano lines ride a sweaty but rubbery groove.
Review: Hailing from Kiel, German duo Fritz and Marc aka Avidus have forged a strong partnership over the years. Fritz began producing music in the late 90s, making hip-hop and pop music before moving on to house. During his early years, Marc produced backing tracks for hardcore bands before DJing at raves. Their diverse musical tastes and influences are apparent in their music, and the duo launched their own imprint Empore Music in 2014 - that has charted releases from Johannes Albert amongst others. Features the majestic "XII", the ethereal tech-house epic "Psalm" and the moody journey into the deep that is "Revenge Of The Whale".
Review: Quenum and Cesare (of Cesare vs Disorder fame) team up for this outing as Azimute. The title track is a rolling, clubby rhythm, supported by a dark bass and led by hypnotic vocal chants. There is a similar approach on "Where Is The Magic", but on this occasion, the pair veer closer to the leaden percussion and steppy grooves of Martyn. While both of these tracks show that the pair is adept at making dance floor bombs, "Always" shows that they can go further. Over a shimmering dub groove they introduce an operatic vocal that will resonate with even the most cynical soul.
Review: It sounds like Damian Lazarus' label has got another anthem in waiting on its hands with "Tango". Based on organic drums, it's looser and less rigid compared to the typical tool house track, yet its combination of double bass and dubby shanty riffs ensures it has a subtle yet effective dance floor clout. However, it's Bachetti's use of mournful, plaintive keys that ensure "Tango" is destined to become a classic for those who like dreamy, expansive house. Eduardo Castilo provides a suitably atmospheric version for those DJs who like it even deeper. Apart from its universal appeal "Tango" shows that it's still possible to tease new shapes out of the nouveau tribal house approach. Recommended!
Review: Sebastian "Basti" Grub is no newcomer to the house and techno scene, having begun his DJ/producer journey in the first decade of the century. His epic discography includes single releases on some suitably notable labels (Desolat, Mobilee and Hot Creations to name just three), though this two-tracker is his first for Crosstown Rebels. Singer Patrick Kitchens lends a hand on lead cut "Destiny", an ear-catching fusion of groovy, swinging house drums, frenetic layered percussion, a headline-grabbing bassline and eyes-closed vocals. Grub takes a different path on "Drugs", where Julian Smith invites us to "get high tonight" over a trippy tech-house beats, familiar bleeping melodies and sub-bass that might liquidise the contents of your guts.
Review: Bedouin are the Brooklyn based nomads Rami Abousabe and Tamer Malki. Bringing their unique spell of melodies and rhythms to Damian Lazarus' imprint, they deliver a cover version of the famous Pink Floyd classic "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun". With diverse influences owing to their Middle Eastern heritage, Western upbringing and world travels; here Bedouin deliver some of their best productions to date. They even had the chance to play the track to Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason in person, and he's said to have really appreciated it. Second offering fittingly titled "Guacamole" is an original track conceived in Mexico and made for the dancefloor. Israeli tech house hero Guy Gerber also steps in; the Rumors boss delivering a deeply mystical dance floor remix.
Review: Brooklyn-based "nomads" Bedouin have a penchant for combining a myriad of intriguing global influences, with their previous Crosstown Rebels appearance - 2017's cover of Pink Floyd's "Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun" - giddily fusing tech-house grooves, spooky orchestration and Middle Eastern instrumentation. "Wastelands", the track that opens the duo's latest missive, treads a similar path, layering bubbly electronics, soft-touch male vocals and simmering orchestration atop a hypnotic, organic-sounding tech-house beat. "Flamma" is a little faster and more energetic, with Arabic and Israeli instrumentation winding its way in and out of cosmic chords, jangling acoustic guitars and another locked-in, late night beat. It feels a little foreboding and creepy, as if the duo was going through a bout of psychedelic paranoia during the recording.