Review: Having put out their last release on Chez Damier's Balance imprint (the rather fine Tried & Tested EP), 25 Places return to their previous home, Dirt Crew Recordings. As you'd expect, the Party In The Hills EP contains another clutch of floor-friendly deep house explorations. The title track, which successfully blends chopped-up Brazilian vocal samples, sustained note chords, dirty analogue bass and a hustling deep house groove, is undeniably the EP's strongest moment, though the bold and fizzing "Closing Title Song" and chiming, riff-heavy "Backyard Stories" aren't far behind. Those who fancy something a little more ragged should check Laurence Guy's disco-house-meets-acid rework of "Closing Title Song".
Review: While they've been part of the Dirt Crew family since contributing to the Deep Love 3 compilation in 2013, Love More marks Rotterdam duo 25 Place's first 'proper' release for the long-established German label. They've gone all out to make it special, too, delivering five tracks of impeccable deep house. There's the string-laden late night hedonism of "Love More", the ultra-deep pulse of the enveloping "Strange Days" - complete with yearning, bluesy vocal samples - and some more rush-inducing fare in the shape of "Sometimes" and the piano-laden "These Moments". Oh, and a dash of ambient house-inspired goodness that's as fluid and picturesque as the Pacific Ocean (the wonderful "Ecstatic States").
Review: Holland's Ben La Desh has, in just a short amount of time, notched up some serious ammunition on a selection of upmarket labels. Here though, he returns to his beloved Dirt Crew for the appropriately-named Stellar Talk EP - which features four slices of intergalactic tuneage. All display a certain star quality, but especially so on the deep and pad-heavy Chicagoisms of the title track, the totally wasted cosmic Moroder vibes of "Whiplash" and the proggy Balearica of disco-tinged closer, "Call Her".
Review: Irish producer Chymera has always excelled at fixing twinkling melodies to heavy, club friendly grooves, and this EP for Dirt Crew is no exception. Both "Disc" - with its proto-house synths and crystalline arpeggios - and "Isa" follow a similar path. It's the latter, though, that most impresses, working darting synths and beautifully crisp melodies around robotic drums and a bold bassline. While clearly inspired by techno and deep house, it should also appeal to those who enjoy the "scandolearic" sound of Oslo. Mark E remixes the latter, indulging his passion for vintage analogue house while retaining Chymera's tactile melodies.
Review: Debutant Dampe resides in South East London, making tracks that fuse distinctively UK influences - think broken beat, the resurgent British jazz scene, Britfunk and off-kilter bass music - with nods to African music and the comforting sounds and dreamy chords of high quality deep house. You'll find all this and more on this expansive first outing, whose many highlights include the gentle tropical deepness of the Floating Points style brilliance "Zongo Junction, At Night", the beat-less, slowly unfurling bliss of "Move Me" and the drowsy broken house brilliance of "Peach Shuffle". That track is also remixed by Nebraska, who beefs up the beats and adds some jaunty new synths while retaining Dampe's deep and intoxicating vibe.
Review: Perhaps the most impressive thing about Dampe's second outing on Dirt Crew is its subtle eclecticism. Compare and contrast, for example, the soft focus, ultra-deep electronica of superb opener "A Basement, Ten Years Ago", with the track that follows it, the dubbed-out, spaced-out deep house bliss of "727 And Arp Breaks (Original Mix)". It's a pattern that continues throughout the EP, with the Rhodes-laden ambient jazz of "Live Birds" making way for the synth-laden, two-step tech-jazz of "Garden" and the tropical dub shuffle of "France". The EP also boasts a fine remix of "727 And Arp Breaks" by Liverpool techno type ASOK, whose brilliantly re-imagines it as a hot-stepping slab of deep space dancehall.
Review: Toronto resident Dan Only is renowned for the quality of his warm and groovy deep house productions, with the support of German titans Dirt Crew proving his "rising star" status. His latest EP for the long-serving imprint offers a five-track showcase for his trademark sound, where ultra-dreamy chords and dusty samples - think bluesy pianos, jazzy instrumentation and so on - envelop tough but tactile deep house grooves. There's plenty to excite across the five tracks, with highlights including the jaunty synth-bass and lilting Balearic lead lines of "Emulsion", the musically rich deep dancefloor hustle of "Someday (featuring AHKI)" and the sunrise-ready breakbeat/deep house fusion of "Breathe" and "What I Want".
Review: More quality deep house from Toronto's Dan Only on Berlin institution Dirt Crew (his second in only six months) and follows up additional releases on top labels like New Kanada and indie label DETH Records. The Wurly Chronicles features four cuts of the more deep and lush variety, from the sensual late night groove "It's Clear" to the bittersweet and emotive deepness of "Be Major...Believe". We particularly enjoyed the dusty and sunkissed MPC-styled jam "Truffles" which calls to mind the work of Berlin based producers such as Glenn Astro and Max Graef of the Money $ex crew. If any of this is an indication: Dan Only is certainly one to watch in 2018!
Review: Hirsute producers Lars Dale and Maarten Smeets have enjoyed a great 2012, dropping well thought of singles on Freerange, Dirt Crew and Murmur. Here they round off a productive 12 months with another missive for Dirt Crew. Built around a soaring, emotionally rich bluesy vocal sample, "Guess What" sounds like a more energetic take on jazz-flecked Detroit deep house, with just the right amount of old US garage flavour. "John Doe" takes a similar approach, but moves further towards strobelight-flecked late night groovery - all cut-up vocal hits, relentless organs and swinging drums. A solid package is completed by Leftside Wobble's remake of "Guess What", a deliciously deep and swirling version that demonstrates his continued development as a producer.
Review: Dutch duo Detroit Swindle are set to release their hotly-anticipated debut album, Boxed Out, on Dirt Crew this March. This EP gives a taste of what's to come, offering three album tracks and a booming Laszlo Dancehall rework of the title track (think '90s Sound Factory-era NYC tribal stomp). There's naturally plenty to enjoy, from the retro-futurist garage keys and bumpin' grooves of "The Fat Rat", and the midtempo Balearic house sweetness of "Monkey Wrench" (think warm keys and swooshing electronics), to the hands-in-the-air, vests-off throb of "Huh, What!", the EP's most rush-inducing moment.
Review: Detroit Swindle's debut album, Boxed Out, confirmed Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets' position as one of the most talented deep house duos of recent years. Here, they take a back seat, as tracks from that album are handed over to a quartet of remixers. Perhaps the most ear-catching rub is MRSK's DJ Sneak style loop funk rub of "He's Just The Guy, You Know?", a whirlwind of tough, bumpin' drums and "Red Alert"-esque slap bass. There's plenty to enjoy elsewhere, too, from the warm chords and chunky grooves of Cuthead's take on "Me, Myself & You", to the soulful fluidity of Jimpster's immersive remix of "B.Y.O".
Review: Detroit Swindle have been showing distinct signs of musical development in recent times, filling their debut album Boxed Out with sensual but floor-friendly deep house shot through with classic American influences. 64 Ways, featuring the delicious vocals of Stones Throw-affiliated blue-eyed soul boy Mayer Hawthorne, is a perfect example. Here, the slinky original is joined by a slew of new remixes. The undoubted highlight is Kerri Chandler's vocal take, which ekes even more soul out of Hawthorne's vocal before charging off on a tough, chunky percussive tip. Elsewhere, the Amsterdam duo delivers a tasty piano-heavy late night Dub, before fellow Dutch producers Kraak & Smaak weigh in with a stab-happy retro-futurist late '80s Belgian house take.
Review: Alex Kruger has been releasing electronic music for the past 20 years, and his experience and skills shine through on his latest album. Caves & Cages, his first long player since 2012, moves from the smoky beats of "Ghost Button" into the lush deep house of "King's Cave" and the dubbed out minimalism of "In Air". Kr?ger then moves up the tempo with the deep but angular techno of "Helix" and "Nervana", but it turns out to be only a temporary shift. "Future History" typifies the rich deep house sound that the Dub Taylor project has become synonymous with, and which makes Caves & Cages such a rewarding listen.
Review: Icelandic producer Felix Leifur made a big impression with his first EP for Dirt Crew, last year's The Sunday Club. This action-packed follow-up is, if anything, even more impressive. Over the course of six dusty, head-in-the-clouds cuts, you'll find skewed, effects-laden drums (think Theo Parrish crossed with Chaos In The CBD), alien chords, punchy jazz samples, J Dilla influences, sweaty percussive build-ups, fluid jazz-funk instrumentation, twisted R&B vocal cut-ups, and a serious amount of tape hiss. The result is a collection of tracks that shimmies between loose and groovy deep house, instrumental hip-hop goodness, and club-ready jazz-house heaviness. In other words, it's pretty darn tasty.
Review: Reykjavik's Felix Leifur has appeared previously for local homeboys Lagaffe Tales but really hits the big time now with his second release on Berlin's Dirt Crew with The Sunday Club EP; five delicious servings of dusty deep house goodness! The title track and "Berg Toppur" are the kind of lo-fi, hip-hop influenced house grooves that would make even Glenn Astro stand up and notice. Equally suited to a stoned Sunday afternoon stroll through Mauerpark is "Giving" however the sampled up soul/disco vibes makes for something more funky and sultry. There's a pretty sweet remix of "Berg Toppur" too by Hidden Spheres which goes for a more straight up and polished production with added dancefloor dynamic.
Review: While he's also released on Bobby Donny and LaGaffe Tales, Felix Leifur's best material has often been reserved for Dirt Crew, a label he debuted on back in 2016. His latest missive for the German imprint is, as expected, pretty darn strong. Highlights include the alien chords, organic-sounding beats and woozy atmosphere of ultra-deep chugger "Hamburg 3011", the jazzy, early morning dancefloor sleepiness of loose-limbed broken beat number "Modern Soul Classics" and the horizontal drowsiness of blissful closing cut "Merlot 1988". Arguably best of all, though, is the chunky dancefloor pressure of jazzy deep house opener "Between Us", which reminded us a little of fellow German producer Soulphiction.