Review: German house stable Dolly has had many important artists featuring on its catalogue, namely the likes of Steffi and XDB, but they'v also been known to bring through some fresh, young talent. Akin Naim makes his debut here with four buzzing house/techno hybrids, and the opener "Gabirol" is the DJs dream come true thanks to steady beat pattern and percolating swarm of melodies. "45"is a dusty house tool with a mystical set of harmonics, while "Falling Upright" is muddy, wet and deep into the ether; Workshop's Kassem Mosse finishes things off in style with a more banging, penetrative floor version of the track. A must.
Review: Fresh from mixing the latest instalment of Fabric's mix series, Panorama Bar resident Steffi launches a new sub-label, Dolly Deluxe. Many of the tracks that feature on Fabric 94 also appear across the first four EPs on this offshoot. The second Dollydeluxe release boasts an atmospheric feeling, but with a dance floor bias. This is evident on Answer Code Request's stirring break beat opener, "Forking Path" and Voiski's brooding acid stepper, "Sound of Distance". Dexter, one of Steffi's closest peers, opts for a stern, steely electro approach on "66", while 214, fresh from his release on Lunar Disko, moves back towards ethereal sounds with the widescreen synths and ERP-style bass of "Sound Moments".
Review: When Boston pair John Barera and Will Martin first appeared on Steffi's Dolly Tracks label last year, their brand of impeccably produced classicist house music felt right at home. Since that contribution to a split 12", Barera and Martin have become increasingly part of the Dolly family with a full 12" release earlier this year now complemented by Graceless, debut LP for both duo and label. Some eight tracks deep, Graceless comes across as a masterclass in modern, punchy house music filled with soul with plenty of variety in tone and feel shown throughout. A very strong offering from Barera and Martin that is likely to be a record the busier house selectors pull for again and again.
Review: It sounds like Basic Soul Unit is following a decidedly US techno tradition on this outing for Steffii's label. The 'deep' mix of the title track unfolds over break beats and a pumping bass, and the dreamy, atmospheric synths have all the sense of wonder of the early Motor City techno of Kevin Saunderson and Octave One. "Delve Into" follows in a similar vein with tough drums giving way to ghostly, enchanting vocals. BSU channels the tougher E-Dancer sound for the 'Bang' version, with the break beats crashing in over the churning bass, while only "Snow Drifts" has a real contemporary flavour thanks to its churning, relentless filtering.
Review: On the title track, Stuart Li opts for a defined sound, and does a fine job of replicating deep Detroit techno, replete with a swinging, off-beat rhythm underpinning his dreamy pads. Li casts his vision wider on "The Long Way" and "Flying Through The Fog", with heavy drums, reverberating claps and warbling acid lines complementing the dreamy melodies. However, none of these tracks can prepare the listener for Shed's remix of the title track. Like his Wax project jacked up on steroids, the slamming, rock-hard beats have a distorted resonance and the shredded, mangled percussion adds to the intensity. Only the rave-like dreaminess that underscores the remix provides a hint as to the track's origins.
Review: Stuart Li aka Basic Soul Unit has been releasing music on Dolly since 2011, but Wallow is his most dance floor-friendly release for Steffi's label. On the title track, a vocal snippet and soaring synths play out against a backdrop of insistent but understated kicks and crisp claps. "Radiate" is less subtle; it resounds to a bleep-heavy bass and a rough metallic rhythm before it plunges the listener into a sub-aquatic rush of synths and hardcore-sampling vocals. "Joyride" sees the US producer deliver a stripped back groove, underpinned by eerie synth lines, while Voiski turns "Wallow" into a leaner, more linear affair, bolstered by a relentless bass and a pumping rhythm.
Review: Basic Soul Unit aka Stuart Li is a highly talented producer with a catalogue on seminal labels like Still Music, Mule and Steffi's Dolly imprint. Unbound sees him follow up to 2017's Wallow on Dolly with a three-tracker that reminds us why he's one of the underground's real stars. Influences from classic house and techno abound on this release, with Li interpreting them to create unique arrangements; on the title track, he use deep Detroit techno synths against the backdrop of steely drums and raw breakbeats. The apply named "Jitters" features rolling Chicago drums providing the basis for a bleep-laden bass and atmospheric melodies, while on "in Orbit", Li drops a busy drum track underpinned by a Mayday-style bass.
Review: With just a few EPs under his belt - although one of them was with Szare from Horizontal Ground - it would be easy to overlook Brooks Mosher amid the deluge of new releases appearing every week. But while it takes some artists a lifetime to define their sound, Mosher's music has arrived fully formed and ready. Clearly inspired by the surging power of Drexciya and the raw primitivism of Omar S with a healthy dose of nagging acid, it's the basslines that make this release so strong. It also helps that on "Jupiter Attack" the driving hats sound like they're sparring with the resonating low end or that the title track forges a new middle ground between Detroit house trackiness and the swing of Chicago. It's not all rhythm-based functionality though and both "CIP" and "InterMetro" show that Mosher is capable of turning his attention to musical leanings, with his powerful rhythms providing the backdrop for outer space acid blips and rich, mournful chord progressions. Sounds like there's a new star in town.
Review: If you're looking for Brooks Mosher, you'll find him Here. It's the Cinematic 74 producer's first release under his own name since 2014's Don't Say Goodbye - which was also released by Dolly - and contains four more club-ready cuts. While there's something undeniably forthright and off-kilter about the hard-edged, Italo-style arpeggio lines, creepy synths and snappy drums of "Entrenched', the rest of the E.P is far groovier and hazier. He's something of an expert at crafting analogue-rich deep house tracks that look to Detroit futurism for inspiration, as can be heard on the stellar "Gordito" and sweltering "Airwaves". The more robust and gently sweaty "No Place You'd Rather Be", is also rather fine.
Review: Shout out to Steffi's Dolly label for coaxing some new Compassion Crew cuts out of the less than prolific production unit BDI. First surfacing on the ace UK future jazz label Fluid Ounce a decade ago, BDI has put his/her/their name to a smattering of excellent releases for Rush Hour, Running Back, and Horn Wax in subsequent years. So new music from BDI will always be celebrated here at Juno and this record suggests the creativity levels haven't dimmed in the period since their last release. Up top "VHSS" sounds like a pinball machine has been hooked up to BDI's array of clattering drum machines and Roland gear - there's a real marauding spirit at play here. "Struggle Wood (OhMy mix)" has a similar recorded straight to the board feel to it, whilst Redshape pops up to remix the A-side for the closing gambit. In his hands "VHSS" expertly moves between moments of rush inducing intensity and low set restraint.
Review: Nicolas Olier aka Coni has made an impressive start since first appearing with a trio of EPs for France's lush ClekClekBoom imprint back in 2013. That gave the boy enough credit to merit a release on Will Bankhead's supremely selective The Triloy Tapes, and he's now rightfully landed on one of Berlin's most consistent imprints, Steffi's Dolly label. The title tune, "Caligula" is a deep and wondrous slice of big-room house, punishing in its beats and explorative in its harmonics, whereas "Euroflash" goes for a more minimal, stripped-back sort of bleep-banger. On the B-side, "Medusa" unleashes the dubwise flex, bouncing up and down with an elegant pace and a wonderfully euphoric crescendo of sonics. Quality.
Review: Despite having just a few Eps to his credit, D_Roots shows on Stream of Data that he is a serious talent. Treading a fine line between Detroit techno/electro and European electronic forms, his fluid approach yields the spaced out pads and robust drums of "These Thoughts". Meanwhile, on "Wide Open", he veers somewhat more towards the techno dance floor with a steely rhythm and a warbling bass, while "Error 777" is a continuation of this theme thanks to its shaking percussion and acidic undercurrents. Rounding off one of the most impressive debuts on Dolly in some years is the ominous, bass-led title track.
Review: On his latest release, it sounds like Dan Curtin has gone back to his roots. "Flight Lush" is loose and jazzy, channeling the beatsy, cosmic feeling of his "Blue Apple Funk Drops" - one of the highlights of the 1994 Silicon Dawn long player. Meanwhile, on "It's What You Wanted", Curtin takes inspiration from the breezy but repetitive house of his Purveyors of Fine Funk project, while the more pacey "Perfume & Cigarettes", with its warbling acid bass and out there jazz undercurrents, could easily have come from his Art & Science album. Rounding off this fine EP of many hues and styles is the break beat-led "The Fundamental Mind".
Review: Dolly deliver their first 'various artists' collection and it's a four-track thing of underground wonder. Dexter opens with a crisp, spiky acid lick and a funky, almost tribal groove. Third Side weave a little jazz in the rich 303 tapestry while John Barera and Will Martin throw down tight layers of percussive funk. Finally the label boss Steffi steals the show with an acid and radar-ravaged analogue brew that's comes with a haze so think you genuinely can't tell if its 1990 or 2013....
Review: ES-Q is Oliver Ledger, a DJ-Producer and co-owner of Parallax Unknown. He is back with his new EP called Enter The System he strikes hard, again four straight up dancefloor fillers for all the ravers and dedicated to his legendary hometown sound - bleep! Get into some of that old school public energy on the title track (original mix) followed by the 303 infused retake next (Forge mix) which will get you aboard the acid express, as will "Wintage Gear" but in deeper fashion. Fit for fans of Ability II and LFO.
Review: Former Galaxy 2 Galaxy member Esteban Adame has released on some of modern techno's finest imprints - including Epm and Motech - but he now opts for a more house-based approach for this release on Steffi's label. The title track combines snappy drums, rolling snares and jazzy keys with a snaking bass, making for a classic deep house track. On "Throwing Signs", Adame fuses techy stabs with dreamy synth sequences, while on "Where's The Map Point", the US producer uses disco filters and a rolling groove as a back drop for sweet, symphonic strings. It's only on the Los Hermanos take on the title track that he and his colleagues return to the tough but soulful sound of Detroit techno.
Review: Steffi's Dolly label continues to impress and surprise on their fifteenth release, turning to Irish producer Leonid for a three track exposition of his deep analogue style. If you've checked Leonid's prior output for Sistrum and Photic Fields you'll know Dubliner Paul Smith uses the project to draw on a sound that is warm, subtle and contains faint echoes of Motor City Soul, something very much evident on the Radar EP. Perhaps less suited to the peak time than some of Dolly's recent issues, the three tracks here will instead appeal to those looking to set the mood; Smith's inherent musicality and understanding of his craft really shines through, especially on the slow burning, glowering brilliance of "Fall Out".
Review: The latest release on the Dolly sub-label comes from the Late Night Approach (LNA) duo. More gritty than the sleek deep house and techno that is synonymous with the mothership, "Maseo Flex (Agna Mix)" is a pumping, acid-drenched track, powered by a rough rhythm, while on the "Broken" mix of the same track, the groove is more swung and the percussion chatters incessantly. "Metapontum Riviera" meanwhile is a busy break beat track that supports niggling, UR-style bleeps and ghostly synths, while on "Pedro De Bilbao", LNA give further vent to their Detroit obsession, with breathy melodies unravelling over tight, rolling drums.
Review: Aroy Dee has long been one of the main European purveyors of deep, Detroit influenced techno - and on Lost Digits, he again reminds the listener why he has earned that distinction. Rather than set trends, Dee is an adept curator, keeping the torch lit for introspective, emotive techno music. The title track is a classic case in point; Dee conjures up hushed chords over reverberated claps and hovering in the background is the kind of reversed vocal sample that featured heavily on tracks for the early Network compilations or slightly later on the A13 label. But Dee isn't content to consign his music to a head-nodding context and perhaps his other most significant contribution is his joining up of techno soul with a raw reading on Chicago house. It's audible on both "Belfast" and "Insolence", where eerie sytnhs and widescreen soundscapes get cosy with rasping hats, plunging, grainy basslines and doubled-up claps. Of the two tracks, "Insolence" will shade it for DJs thanks to its spacious rhythm, but "Belfast" is more out there by dint of its dense groove and liquid, morphing arrangement. Marcel Fengler also gets into the old school spirit for his version of the title track. Instead of stern industrial rhythms, the listener is presented with a rolling, filtered groove and building, layered synths - like vintage Stacey Pullen imagined through a streamlined European vision. At this rate they should just hand over the techno museum's keys to Dee, its chief curator.
Review: Ahead of a forthcoming new album for Brainfeeder, Martyn drops this killer induction into Steffi's recently established Dolly Dubs imprint. The offshoot launched in relatively low key fashion late last year, with Swedish producer Staffan Lindberg at the helm. The addition of Steffi's compatriot Martyn is however big news, with the three track Newspeak EP the Dutchman's first proper release since Hello Darkness, the single that bookended his album for Brainfeeder in March of last year. Long term devotees of the 3024 boss's output should be familiar with the sub heavy snap of the title track which featured on his Essential Mix for Radio 1 last Spring, whilst lead track "Oceania" is a rolling, broken treat.
Review: Releases on Dolly offshoot Dolly Dubs are infuriatingly infrequent, but when they do appear they're invariably excellent. This latest offering - the first for 12 months - is predictably impressive. It's Martyn's second contribution to the series, and his first EP of 2015. There's naturally much to set the senses tingling, from the wobbly analogue bass, dreamy pads and loose, rave-era house breakbeats of flipside "Don't Block The Box", to the pitched-down jungle rhythms, bittersweet chords and notable bass of opener "Done Away". The swinging, spooky and downright chilling "EF40" is pretty darn tasty, too.
Review: Given his previously prolific work rate, Martyn has been surprisingly quiet of late, with last year's digital-only GL Outtakes mini-album being his only release of note since 2015. This first outing on Dolly Dubs, then, is big news. Happily, his grasp of dancefloor dynamics remains in tact, with all three tracks sounding like peak-time smashers in waiting. He predictably hits the ground running with "41w", a mutant roller rich in mind-altering sub-bass, hybrid electro/post dubstep rhythms and dub-wise electronics. Then you will find the slack-tuned breakbeats, rumbling (not to mentioned relentless) bass and creepy IDM electronics of "Body Music", not to mention the crunchy, surprisingly bouncy and melodious metallic techno of "Angels".
Review: The man from Detroit known as Brooks Mosher reports for duty on Dolly for a third time, brandishing a quartet of signature cuts! As with output on Steffi's label as a whole, there is little extra that needs saying about Don't Say Goodbye, with Mosher perfectly calibrating each of the four productions for optimum usage by any self respecting house DJ. The barrage of percussion and wonderfully uplifting pads that characterise lead track "Phoenix" sets the tone nicely, and is a considered highlight of the release along with the dark and sweaty vibes of "Falling". Another one for the box from Dolly!
Review: Mosher delivers another killer EP for Steffi's label. Like Mosher's previous material for Dolly, In The Air graciously straddles the grey area between deep house and techno. "Refraction" sets the tone for the release as synths swirl in over a warm, bleeding bassline and intricate hats hiss away in the background. "Nimbus" is somewhat darker, with a detuned synth riff at its centre and shaking percussion supporting it. But overall the mood and sound is evocative rather than jarring or visceral, which "CS-137" highlights. Unfolding over brittle rhythms, its ghostly melodies capture the essence of US dance music more succinctly than a shed load of deep house by numbers releases.
Review: If you're looking for evidence of Chicago's enduring appeal, then your search is over. Ironically though, Steve Tang, the new generation producer who hails from the city, has most in common with Aroy Dee, the Dutch producer who runs and releases on M
Review: The majority of Obsolete Music Technology output from Chicago's Steven Tang has come through his own Emphasis Recordings label since he first started producing under the name back in 2007. He did however break with tradition by contributing an Obsolete Music Technology slab to Dolly in 2012, and Tang now returns with a second offering for Steffi's label. Across the three tracks, Tang's mastery of his craft is more than evident, displaying a rawness that is often craved but not always achieved these days. It's hard to pick out a favourite here, with the title track's classic Chicago vibe complemented by the more intense racing "Voltage Player" and the cascading rhythmic hits of "High Strung". Class always tells, and this Love Passenger 12" has it by the bucketload.
Review: Despite infiltrating the radar of wider acceptance with appearances on Rush Hour, Planet E and Bosconi, The Oliverwho Factory remain a resolutely underground operation who refuse to sacrifice the sonic principles of their early material on their own Madd Chaise Inc label. That's probably why the Detroit duo appealed to the Dolly imprint, with Before a booming induction into this trusty 12" label. The distinct grit and relentless energy that's a trademark of The Oliverwho Factory is present and correct on both versions of "Before" with the A Side "original mix" almost crumbling under the weight of the booming bassline. Shonie C's vocal provides some nice contrasting light here, while the "deep mix" uses it more sparingly as release from the heavily pressurised jack hammer drum programming.
Dexter & Virginia - "Off The Beat" - (4:41) 135 BPM
Afik Naim - "Saturniidae" - (5:07) 140 BPM
Mesak - "Elekieli" - (5:34) 138 BPM
Review: Fresh from mixing the latest instalment of Fabric's mix series, Panorama Bar resident Steffi launches a new sub-label, Dolly Deluxe. Many of the tracks that feature on Fabric 94 also appear across the first four EPs on this offshoot. The fourth Dollydeluxe is (more or less) a family affair; Privacy integrates wiry electro funk with ghetto style vocals on "Broke", while "Off The Beat" is the result of a collaboration from Dexter and Virginia, two of Steffi's closest peers. Featuring Virginia's seductive chants and Klakson co-founder Dexter's out there, psychedelic electro shapes, it's one of the most unusual cuts over the four Dollydeluxe records. Affix Naim put out his debut record on Dolly last year and returns here with "Saturniidae", which mixes splurging bass with deep, atmospheric synth lines. Closing out the fourth volume is Finnish producer Mesas, with the mechanical whirrs and ticks of "Elekieli" underpinning crystalline melodies.
Review: These days Steffi Doms doesn't release that much music, though what she does put out tends to be top-notch. Her first outing of 2020 is indeed a belter, with the three showcased cuts offering a polished, atmospheric and gently intergalactic take on deep house that's as cultured as it is club ready. Regular collaborator Virginia guests on fine opener "Reasons", adding effortlessly evocative vocals to an attractive bed of unfussy house beats, bold analogue bass, sustained chords and spacey synth stabs. "Fallin" is a dreamier and brighter affair rich in skittish machine drums, whistling chords, tactile pads and gentle piano motifs, while closing cut "November" is an ultra-deep chunk of poignant sci-fi house that's as warm and comforting as a much-needed late night hug.
Review: The next release on Dolly finds Panorama Bar staple Steffi joining forces with her fellow Klakson captain Dexter for a salvo of forthright jams with plenty of electro attitude rubbed into their muscles. The pad notes in "Rosser" in particular shimmer with the vibrancy of classic Drexciya while the bottom end is no slouch in the funk department either. "We're Not Alone" takes on a lighter, optimistic tone with its soaring melodic refrain reaching skywards with the euphoria of a set closer at sunrise. It's left to the title track to finish the EP off with similar sonic characteristics channelled into a deeper house persuasion, although there's no holding back on the rich and snaking synth lines that run through the centre of the tune.
Doms & Deykers - "No Life On The Surface" (12 Inch version) - (6:39) 83 BPM
Unbalance - "Freedom" - (6:06) 85 BPM
Review: Fresh from mixing the latest instalment of Fabric's mix series, Panorama Bar resident Steffi launches a new sub-label, Dolly Deluxe. Many of the tracks that feature on Fabric 94 also appear across the first four EPs on this offshoot. STFSHD is a new collaborative effort between the label owner and Shed and the fractured break beats and atmospheric textures of "1.0" and "1.5" kick start the new sub-label's first edition, Dollydeluxe1.
Francesco De Bellis is best known for his electronic disco output as Mr Cisco, but as L.u.c.a., he drops the lush ambience of "Echo 1", which is also the opening salvo on the Fabric mix. Working with long-term friend Martyn, Steffi drops the Artificial Intelligence-influenced "No Life on the Surface", while Unbalance closes out the first release with the jittery beats of "Freedom".
Late Night Approach - "Poison Valley" - (5:18) 134 BPM
Duplex - "Voidfiller" - (5:09) 131 BPM
Mesak - "Commonaukko" - (5:38) 125 BPM
Review: Fresh from mixing the latest instalment of Fabric's mix series, Panorama Bar resident Steffi launches a new sub-label, Dolly Deluxe. Many of the tracks that feature on Fabric 94 also appear across the first four EPs on this offshoot. On the third Dollydeluxe release, the mood darkens temporarily. This is thanks to newcomer UAS dropping a lithe, acidic electro stepper in the shape of "World Gets Crazy". Nothus then revisits the evocative, atmospheric mood that shaped the preceding releases. Working as Late Night Approach, "Poison Valley" resounds to rolling 808s, widescreen synths and spacey bleeps. It makes for futuristic electro with a capital 'F'. Dutch veteran Duplex mixes steely funk with dreamy melodies on his contribution, "Voidfiller", while Mesak, who released before on Steffi's other label, Klakson, brings the third instalment to a close with the jittery "Commonaukko".
Review: French sonic maverick Voiski is back on Dolly, having already appeared on the Dutch imprint's Deluxe series - which later resulted in an addition to label co-head Steffi's fabric 94 mix back in 2017. The Bat Who Wanted To See The Sun EP features four majestic tracks which are ever typical of the artist's idiosyncratic style: from the blissed-out tunnel vision of opener "Taking Flight" which will draw you into the vortex by way of its adrenalised arpeggios and grainy analogue pad textures. A direct execution for the dancefloor is catered for on the darkly hypnotic bounce of "The Parrot's Excuse" which is perfect for trancing-out under the strobe light, while the dystopian electro bass epic "Simorgh In Persia's Sky" closes out this fine EP.
Review: Steffi's label delivers once again, albeit with a harder release from Volk. The title track is built on titanium-plated drums, as a malevolent acid line swarms to the foreground, building and building, aided and abetted by a reverberated filter. "Kinetic Friction" sees Volk take the intensity down a few notches, its psychedelic synths and cinematic strings inhabiting rickety, metallic drums, but it's only a temporary reprieve: as its title suggests, "Inferno" burns brighter than most releases this month. In part it's due to the rolling kettle drums, but it's mainly down to the epic synth line, that sits somewhere between that of Slam's "Positive Education" and Literon's "Machines".
Review: The same week as Answer Code Request's new album on Ostgut Ton gets announced, the regular Berghain DJ turns up on XDB's new one for Dolly, of course run by Panorama Bar regular Steffi. ACR owns with a remix to the EP's title track, with the German seemingly plucking out his favourite loop-section of the original and pumping it full of a solid sounding techno low-end like only the Germans know how. XDB's version is long-winding, groovy and noticeably lighter in comparison, while Detroit techno and Chicago house influences are abound elsewhere, most notably in "Tonik", while "Liberty" is a stomping and very funky house classic.
Review: Recago is another master class from a producer who effortlessly crosses the divide between house and techno. The title track is fuelled by a slamming rhythm, but disco riffs and loose bongo drums offset its dense, acidic undercurrents. A similar approach is audible on "Ontak", where XDB lays down an upfront groove and a rumbling, menacing bass, but on this occasion warm synth riffs temper his techno leanings. "Sunda" is more delicate, its subtle piano lines unfolding over a stop-start bassy groove, but Brooks Mosher's remix of the same track brings the release to classic techno-house territories. Trance stabs and doubled-up claps are powered by a surging bass, and the arrangement allows Mosher to use the kind of evocative vocal sample last heard on Kevin Saunderson's classic "Forces" as Essa.