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: 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: Earlier in the year Audiojack teased their forthcoming second album, Surface Tension - their first full-length excursion for 12 years - with a pleasingly off-kilter and bass-heavy cut featuring an atmospheric vocal from Kevin Knapp. 'Feels Good', which features storied singer Jem Cooke, is also taken from Surface Tension. It's arguably even better than its predecessor, with Cooke's delay-laden vocals riding crunchy drum machine percussion, ghostly chords and a restless, rolling electronic bassline. The accompanying Patrice Baumel remix is simply stunning, too, with twinkling piano motifs and atmospheric stabs rising above a smoother but weightier, kick-drum driven groove. As it progresses, Baumel introduces sparkling synths and richer chords, taking an already excellent track into the stratosphere.
Review: Last time we heard from Emmanuel Satie back in January, he was delivering an epic slab of muscular, percussion-rich peak-time house on Moon Harbour ('One Love'). 'Personal Liberation', the title track from the former Get Physical regular's first Crosstown Rebels outing, is similarly weighty and drum-heavy, with guest vocalist Naghiti speaking echo-laden words over gargantuan sub-bass, dark string sounds, moody chords and a bouncy, percussion-rich Afro-house beat. Elsewhere, 'The Keys To Jupiter' is a more melancholic and bittersweet affair, with mournful piano motifs rising above a more shuffling (but no less rubbery) tech-house beat, while 'Somewhere Else In Time' cheerily joins the dots between classic electro, Inner City's 'Good Life' and symphonic deep house.
Review: By his usually prolific standards, Harry "Choo Choo" Romero has been rather quiet of late, offering up just two missives of note in 2020. Here he pitches up on Damian Lazarus's Crosstown Rebels imprint for the very first time, delivering a dark room throb-job that's arguably far less muscular than many of his productions - even if it does boast a thickset, mind-altering bassline and plenty of layered percussion. Romero provides vocal and instrumental mixes, with the former adding spoken word sections from Jessica Eve to the New York producer's addictive blend of minor key motifs, spacey chords and suitably wonky electronic noises. Rodriguez Jr. provides the other mix, skilfully re-imagining the track as a woozy, soft-touch tech-house number full of shuffling beats, moody chords and undulating lead lines.
Review: This is the first release together for Tuskegee Music co-heads The Martinez Bros and Seth Troxler since "Space & Time" back in 2014. But as far as Crosstown Rebels is concerned, the Bros are making their debut here, and Troxler returning for the first time since 2011 when he collaborated with Art Department on "Living The Life". The result is "Play In The Dark" with its woozy after hours style of boompty business, immersed in swinging rhythms, dirty bass and ethereal chords. Troxler's Freak Mix is more of an introverted and heads down affair, which will hypnotise you into submission in the tradition of DJ Koze's classic "I Want To Sleep".
Review: Damian Lazarus' Crosstown Rebels imprint has been bringing some consistent quality over the last months, with releases by drum & bass legend DJ Krust and most recently Audiojack and Kevin Knapp's "These Days" which came with a killer remix by Pearson Sound. The label is now into the fourth edition in the SPIRITS compilation series, with highlights coming from Radio 1 legend Pete Tong teaming up with Italian tech house producer Alex Kennon on the slinky groove of "Apache", the ever reliable Francesca Lombardo with the mesmerising cosmic dancefloor journey "Freak On Sea" as well as Los Angelno pair Lubelski & Xkylar with the afterhours minimal shuffle of "Passion Fruits" and the Minus affiliated Matador with the lurking bass and moody atmospherics of "Vulture" - plus many more.
Review: Crosstown Rebels follows up a killer album by drum & bass legend DJ Krust with this new one by Gruuv main men Audiojack, who team up with American expat in Berlin Kevin Knapp. The result is "Under Your Skin", an off-kilter and experimental cut that's quite unlike anything you've heard from the producers before, with its intoxicating and bass-driven vibe that's perfect for the chill-out or warm-up alike. With this in mind, it receives a remix from quite the suitable candidate in the form of Pearson Sound. The UK bass hero taking the track into the more hypnotic realms in pursuit of his typically low end theories.
Review: Tunisian twosome first caught the ear of electronic music enthusiasts four years ago via Rey & Kjavik's warm, deep and deceptively slow remix of semi-acoustic North African number 'Smek'. The track's potential for further remixes was spotted by Crosstown Rebels last year, with the result being this three-tracker of 2021 reworks. The headline-grabbing revision comes courtesy of effervescent Chilean Ricardo Villalobos, who adds the pair's attractive vocals and occasional flashes of Tunisian instrumentation to a surprisingly weighty, kickdrum-heavy groove that's way heavier than his usual sparse-but-funky rhythms. Elsewhere, SIS re-imagines the track as a percussion-rich fusion of tech-house and what would once have been called 'world music', while the MoM revision is a lusciously saucer-eyed downtempo excursion tailor made for late nights and early mornings.
Review: Legend of the Bristol drum and bass scene - coming up alongside the likes of Roni Size, DJ Zinc and Photek back in the day - sees himself in 2020 working alongside Damian Lazarus label Crosstown Rebels. Having released his The Edge Of Everything album to critical acclaim (his first LP since 2006) on CR, a first remix installment was introduced earlier this year with a sweet double pack from Masters At Work. Bigger yet is this remix scoop featuring local Bristol associate (and Timedance boss) Batu with a darkly, bass-heavy and percussive twist on TEOE's penultimate track "Space Oddity", with Damian Lazurus himself turning an originally downbeat stepper into a wormholing deep house banger with some sweet claps to hold on to through the dark. Adding some sprinkles of light to this EP is Four Tet's interpretation of "Negative Returns" that still hurtles in velocity and sub-bass, with Kieran Hebden revealing upon its release: "this is the first D&B track I've ever made!"
Review: 14 years in the making! Krust's follow up to 'Hidden Knowledge' is every bit as diverse, uncompromising and explorative as you'd hope. Blurring the lines between jungle and techno, your brain and the dancefloor, time and space, across the collection the Bristol pioneer takes us to some strange and singular places; the tension and sci-fi isolation of 'Known Truths', the swaggering space funk of 'Keter The Heavenly', the marching drama and powerful sense of foreboding on 'Negative Returns', the blitzkrieg amen-shattered opener 'Hegel Dialectic', the list goes on. Each cut building and merging to create a truly unique landscape that offers up something new on every investigation, it'll take another 14 years to unravel this album's many mysteries. Essential.
Review: In September 2020, Crosstown Rebels main man Damian Lazarus will release his first solo album in almost a decade. To get us in the mood, he's decided to offer up this teaser single. In its original form, "Mountain" is a drowsy, bass-heavy breakbeat affair in which his own atmospheric spoken word vocals combine with gently pulsing, sunrise-ready chords and short vocal snippets from a much-loved Joanna Law classic ("The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face", a Balearic-era classic whose acapella is much-loved by chill-out DJs). Tornado Wallace delivers a superb remix in which sparkling synth sounds and decidedly Balearic flourishes ride a dark analogue bassline and bongo-boosted breakbeats, while Tbi Dabo re-imagines "Mountain" as a bumpin', peak-time ready tech-house treat.
Review: Alinka last appeared on Crosstown Rebels in 2016 with Shaun J Wright for Face The Truth, and now she returns in solo mode to the label with this diverse two-tracker. "Control Transmission" resounds to tough kicks and a humming bass that underpin out-there vocal samples and humming static sounds. It makes for a fittingly offbeat take on tech-house. "Day Zero" is slightly more conventional: based on a pulsating electronic bass and powered by doubled-up claps, it sees the Chicago producer fuse frequency-shifting tones with mysterious vocal samples to deliver a powerful slice of electronic disco.
Review: Young Berlin-based Spanish producer Max Guardans, AKA Tibi Dabo, returns to his semi-regular home of Crosstown Rebels with a four-track EP that should help keep fans going while they await his rumoured forthcoming debut album. Dabo's work to date has spanned a range of styles, but this EP comes from that nebulous zone where deep and progressive house collide. The title track is a hazy, dreamy affair riding a dubwise rhythm, 'Komorebi' is more your standard issue eyes-wide-shut euphoric workout, while NYC legend David Morales provides two remixes of the latter: a 3am-friendly Red Zone Remix and a more Afro-leaning Diridim Mix.
Review: Russian born and now Berlin-based Yulia Niko can often be found wowing audiences at her residency for the famous local institution Watergate, in addition to releasing for tastemaker labels such as Get Physical, Hottrax, Rebellion and Subliminal. Not to mention her own imprints TochnoTechno and Libe Vibe. Here she makes her debut for Damian Lazarus' esteemed Crosstown Rebels imprint with the deep and mesmerising arcane energy of "Fatima", which is backed up by the equally spiritual and meditative polyrhythms on "Man From Ubud". If that was not enough, there's also a killer remix by Rominimal maestro Priku, who teams up with homeboy Dinu to increase the energy levels on their powerfully melodic rework.
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: Max Guardans aka Tibi Dabo follows up last year's Her Moon release on Crosstown Rebels with this subtle, tripped out affair. The title track is redolent of the kind of tranced out, euphoric shapes that Mathew Jonson used to conjure up, with electronic melodies unfolding over a wiry groove. It's an ethereal but alluring track. On "Hire The Birds", he opts for a more house-based groove, albeit one that is covered in atmospheric synth washes and tone-shifting bleeps. Dj Balduin's take on "Birds" is faster and more jittery, and its shuffling groove will appeal to those who prefer a slightly less esoteric approach.
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: Dennis Cruz's musical journey has seen him receive accolades for his output, with a number of awards and nominations including Best Producer in 2017's DJ Awards and releasing on influential imprints like Solid Grooves, Moon Harbour and Hot Creations. For his new one on Damian Lazarus' Crosstown Rebels imprint entitled "Uhuru", he teams up with fellow Spaniards Delmar and Alvaro aka aka Los Suruba for some deeply meditative and trance-inducing deepness - perfect for a shamanic ritual. He then flies solo on the hypnotic afterhours tech house of "Los Libros" which features some sweltering polyrhythms with truly scintillating Latin vocals. Closing it out is the dirty, tough rolling jacker "Loco" which proves this top producer can rock the main room too!
Review: Label regular Emanuel Satie returns to Crosstown Rebels with an EP featuring two quite contrasting melodic housers. 'Rivers' is a driving, heads-down kinda cut with energy to spare, and is based around a hypnotic rhythm that borders on the tribal, on top of which are layered subtly head-frying synths and snatches of chant-like female vocal. The accompanying 'Tokyo ASMR' is more contemplative, drifty affair with Middle Eastern-sounding strings, more strange cut-up female vocal snippets and a hazy, druggy atmosphere overall. If modular synth chords alone don't cut it for you, this is the melodic house you're looking for!
Review: Now in its third year, Crosstown Rebels' annual "Spirits" compilation does a great job of championing floor-friendly fare from a mixture of up-and-coming and established artists. As you'd expect volume three boasts some suitably sizable cuts, all of which have been extensively road-tested by CR boss Damian Lazarus. We're particularly enjoying the smoky Afro-tech shuffle of Dennis Cruz's "Mother Earth", the bongo-laden percussive bounce of Piem's "Freak Out, the bass-heavy throb of Harry Romero's similarly drum-laden "It's You" and the druggy early morning tech-house hypnotism of Lazarus's "Ergot", though there's plenty more must-check gems scattered throughout the compilation.
Review: Yulia Niko comes to Crosstown Rebels with a four-tracker that blends deep, tech, prog and minimal elements to great effect. 'Paradise' is an understated, shuffle-y number with lots of subtle filtering, while 'Es Vedra' ups the dancefloor ante with pounding drums, snatches of spoken male vocal and a tiny hint of acid, making for a cut that'd work equally well in the warm-up or during the wee smalls. But the standout is the surging, pulsing 'Caminando', which features Chilean vocalist Sil Romero and comes with a more minimal-leaning refix from Cioz. Quality, hard-to-pigeonhole stuff from this Berlin-based Russian producer.
Review: Damian Lazarus celebrates the 10th anniversary of his acclaimed 2009 debut album 'Smoke The Monster Out' with a remastered and expanded edition on his famed Crosstown Rebels label. He originally released the opus on the Berlin-based label Get Physical, and it was the first time he had let himself loose in the studio - resulting in a psychedelic collection of 'extremely strange and bizarre songs.' Packed full of his inspirations and influences, and with no consideration for genres, airtime or getting played in the clubs. Lazarus is proud to celebrate this milestone in his career - going on to admit that that the album 'is still as weird as it ever was.' Be sure to check out the Moment In The Dark EP as well, featuring two of the album's original tracks, "Moment "and "Diamond In The Dark" reworked and remixed by Keinemusik resident Adam Port, rising newcomer Tibi Dabo and Dutch talent Satori.
Review: For the moment, Damian Lazarus has dispelled with his Ancient Moons collective. Instead, he's gone back into the studio alone and crafted some tracks tailor made for creating "moments in the dark". Lead cut "Moment" is a curious but undeniably quietly impressive affair, where fragile female vocals and gentle melodic elements weave in and out of relaxed tech-house drums and wobbly sub-bass. In contrast, "Diamond In The Dark" is largely beat-free: a tipsy chunk of psychedelic folk music laden with weird effects and trippy spoken word snippets. The package also contains a trio of tidy remixes, of which the standout is undoubtedly Satori's loose-limbed, broken-house revision of "Moment".
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: Although he's been offering up dancefloor hits for decades, Nic Fanciulli has not previously featured on Crosstown Rebels. He's saved something rather special for his belated bow, offering up a pleasingly melodic, slowly-building blend of smooth tech-house beats, glassy-eyed deep house melodies, clattering layered percussion, dreamy pads and vintage vocal samples borrowed from a turn-of-the-90s dance classic. It's good, but Paul Woolford's accompanying "Endless Bassline Remix" is arguably even better. Inspired by the stuttering, delay-laden dubs of NYC proto-house records and the piano-sporting cheeriness of late '80s "garage-house", the Yorkshire producer's revision is a stunning retro-futurist workout that clocks in at nearly 12 minutes. You'll be hearing it a lot this summer.
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.
Tied (feat Danielle Moore - Gabriel Sordo (Mex) remix) - (7:34) 127 BPM
Review: Waifs & Strays man Amos Nelson has been getting crazy props for this new EP, which unusually features two different vocalists. Rising indie-electronica starlet (and RADA-trained actress) Oli Gosh voices the very radio-friendly 'Don't Hesitate', which comes accompanied by a more percussive Dub for club play. Meanwhile, Crazy P's Danielle Moore lends her tonsils to chunky-but-slinky house groover 'Tired', which comes complete with tougher, techier Vocal and Dub passes from PBR Streetgang, and a deeper, percussion- and vox-led remix from Gabriel Sordo. Expect to be hearing this one a lot this summer, especially on a certain Mediterranean island...
Review: Tibi Dabo is the name of a mountain that overlooks Spanish producer Max Guardans' hometown in Barcelona. Following up a great debut on Sasha's Last Night On Earth a couple of years back, he returns under Damian Lazarus' guidance - following up last year's offering "La Dorada" which was picked up by his Rebellion imprint. This new EP showcases Guardans' ability to create evocative music, with a musical maturity beyond his years. Features the uplifting and sunkissed summertime groove of "Her Moon" and its riveting chord progression, the deep and darkly hypnotic "It's All Behind" geared for some real moments of tunnel vision on the dancefloor, and finally, the glacial and cavernous dub techno textures of "Nowhere Beach" taking you further down the spiral.
Review: As the title suggests, this epic collection gathers together a bumper selection of remixes of tracks from Damian Lazarus and the Ancient Moons' sophomore set, "Heart of Sky". There's naturally plenty of floor-focused fare throughout, with highlights including Emanual Satie's moody, rumbling revisions of "All I Need To Get High", Butch's shuffling tech-house versions of the same track, Serge Devant's analogue bass-propelled peak-time take of "Feedback Loop" and La Fleur's urgent, faintly foreboding and wonderfully percussive Dub of "Five Moons". There are further high quality "big name" revisions courtesy of Black Coffee, Jamie Jones and Luciano, while Mad Professor's ludicrously heavy dub reggae re-makes of "Feedback Loop" offer intriguing, sofa friendly diversions.
All I Need To Get High (BUTCH remix) - (6:49) 120 BPM
All I Need To Get High (Ae:ther Dreaming dub remix) - (8:28) 125 BPM
Review: Crosstown Rebels head honcho Damian Lazarus and his live project The Ancient Moons released his third studio album titled Heart Of Sky around this time last year. The album's opening cut "All I Need To Get High" now receives two new renditions by two recent label signees who provide their own take on the track. The original version's arcane and evocative sense of soul gets reworked into a sublime and hypnotic daydream fantasy by the Watergate/Cocoon affiliated producer Butch - you could imagine the likes of Lee Burridge playing this one on a rooftop party somewhere this summer. This is followed by Berlin-based Italian Ae:ther's darkly hypnotic dub - which is perfect for those heads down moments under the strobelight.
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: Some all-Belgian antics here, as new school heroes Raw District join forces with storied techno veteran Fabrice Lig for a peak-time workout on Crosstown Rebels. In its' original form, "Lay Your Weapons Down" is alien and intoxicating, with Just Her's seductive vocal rising above warped electronic bass, unfussy drums, foreboding riffs and, as the track progresses, ecclesiastical organ motifs. Alex Kennon provides a bolder, heavier and more mind-altering interpretation that sits somewhere between driving tech-house and razor-sharp techno. To complete the package, Raw District joins forces with DkA on the hazy and at times densely percussive European tech-house shuffle of "Dans Tres Bras".
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.