Review: In Scuba's ever-deepening commitment to emotive tech house, Hotflush score a big coup in teaming up with Agoria for this EP of expansive big room beasts that know just as much about subtlety as brashness. The title track holds back in all the right places to create a palpable tension that simply builds throughout the track, without losing any of that all important presence, while "Make It Real" finds the French producer throwing down chunky chords for everyone to instantly latch on to. ESS delivers a remix of the latter that adds some crafty drum hooks into the mix and a little additional emotive synth work for an equally sizable dancefloor cut.
Review: Mystery man Auden drops his second EP on Scuba's Hotflush Recordings, a label now worthy of legendary status in the UK house-bass game, and as expected, it's another four cuts of supreme dancefloor delight and 909-driven goodness. "Lock In" takes a rawer-than-raw percussion and chucks a rather splendid collection of dubbed-out chords over it, whereas "Utopian" breaks the groove down into a half-step head-nodder for the corner dwellers. "Perished" heads back to a 4/4 structure backed with another fine dose of dubby, atmospheric trickery, but it's "Xirox" which receives all the brownie points - imagine an Ed Rush and Optical tune circa '97'that's been slowed-down and reinterpreted for the deep house and techno speed. Ultra slick, ultra sick.
Review: Scuba's Hotflush label introduce Auden, a producer described simply as "A fresh voice in UK techno" by the label and whose self titled debut EP fits in snugly alongside recent releases from South London Ordnance and Scuba himself. Proceedings commence with "Trip To Fade" a broken yet beatless track that will lend itself to anyone requiring an atmospheric opener for their DJ mixes, whilst "Flex" is the first chance we get to see Auden flex (sorry) his percussive muscles on a dynamic techno production that has some neat delayed effects. The acid dipped "Whispers" showcases Auden's talent for developing a sense of subtle sonic tension, something that is explored further on the mammoth eleven minute closer "Tension".
Review: The mysterious Auden drops his third EP for Scuba's label. The title track has a commercial appeal thanks to its 'give in to hunger' vocal sample, but the backing track is strictly underground, with dreamy chords and acidic pulses prevailing. On "Simmer Down", there are no vocals, and instead a dense, rolling groove and acid-soaked licks gradually move to the surface. Alan Fitzpatrick's version of "Hunger" is pure dance floor abandon as tough, grainy kicks underpin the vocal sample. Auden has another side to his musical palette however and "Sewer System" sees deep chords unravelling over a wispy, abstract rhythm.
Review: Blursome first appeared on Locus Recordings, before dropping the track "Night" for Scuba's recent Fabriclive showdown, number 90 in the historic series. It was only natural that the label head would ask the young producer to fire of an EP for his label, and it's clear that Blursome has saved her best for it. Hands down. "A Little" kicks this six-tracker into motion with a rolling punch of hazy vocals, watery sonics, and a supremely tribalistic percussion, a mystic flow that is watered down beautifully on the considerably weirder "Let's Take Off My Hair". This EP certainly marks a change in style from the Hotflush bandwagon, further proved by the ominous, Burial-like movements of "Time", and the more techno-minded "Me". "Dream" wonders off into a blurry nightmare vision of what dubstep could be, while "Sleep" breaks out the power electronics, a move rarely seen before from Hotflush, but one that we're very much in tune with. An Excellent return to form.
Review: Four years on from his last outing under the alias, sometime Sepalcure member Praveen Sharma has finally delivered a new Braille EP. Astonishingly, it marks his first appearance on Hotflush since 2011. Perhaps the most striking thing about EP opener "Stand Still" is how deep, dreamy and picturesque it is, with Sharma peppering a snappy rhythm track with drowsy vocal samples, woozy chords and a wonderfully warm bassline. "Igloo" is, if anything, even sunnier - a tactile sample patchwork that sounds like Sepalcure after an afternoon on the beers at a Croatian festival. Elsewhere, "Needs" is a sweet and piano-heavy chunk of glassy-eyed, leftfield house brilliance, while closing cut "IOU" alternates between skittish breaks, booming sub-bass, twinkling pianos and mangled vocal samples. Like the rest of the EP, it's brilliant.
Review: Last year saw Dense & Pika make Hotflush their home after Alex Jones and Christopher Spero's project first surfaced via a select few white label releases. Aside from a remix of the Woolford classic "Erotic Discourse", Dense & Pika have been notably quiet on the release front so this new four-track slab for Scuba's label will be most welcome. Already in possession of a warehouse-ready style of techno, the Klank EP suggests it's been further honed in their time away from the spotlight with the title cut a particularly weighty production that has a low end that growls like a dragon. From here the pair enter submerged depths on "Wandering Hands" before the B-side signals a return to more chaotic fare with "Slowhand" and "Slacker".
Review: Featuring tracks from their Colt release as well as remixes and some extra material, Update serves as a reminder of why UK duo Alex Jones and Chris Spero aka Dense & Pika are one of the most vital acts in crossover techno. The pair's "Bad Ink" is a tough, bleep-heavy roller that bristles with nervous energy, "Lack of Light" trips the light fantastic with its wild rave stabs and "Crispy Duck" veers towards bass with its stepping rhythm and gut-wrenching subs. Hotflush mainstay George Fitzgerald delivers a breathy but nonetheless driving take on "Colt", while Grain drops a heads-down, banging tribal interpretation of "Airless".
Review: DXC is a new signing to Scuba's label. Irrespective of who is behind it, they certainly know how to craft sleek underground house. The title track fuses an acid-soaked bass with a jacking, insistent rhythm, tight claps and hypnotic synths to create an irresistibly tracky affair. "Sau Sac" leans towards that grey area where tech-house and deeper elements merged during the late 90s, as a rolling groove, atmospheric synths and a yelping bass combine to re-live vintage Terry Francis. There is a darker side to this producer's sound and on "Lang Thang", a tougher, tribal rhythm and dark, detuned riffs collide to create a groove that is more techno than tech-house.
Review: For a producer who has released on a label like Drumcode and who is synonymous with big-room, white noise-saturated techno, Falling Down comes as a surprise. It shows a far deeper side to the amiable Fitzpatrick's canon, and it also suggests that he's just as adept as making melodic dance floor grooves. The title track starts off with stuttering, rattling percussion before trailing off into an evocative, melodic build-up. "Vanishing" is even more impressive; over sweet strings and chords, Fitzpatrick drops the kind of dreamy vocal snatch that you might expect to hear in one of Legowelt's more mellow tracks. Auden's remix of the same track is slower and heavier, but doesn't sacrifice Fitzpatrick's melodies.
Review: UK house hero George Fitzgerald burst onto the scene several years ago and before his ManMakeMusic imprint made a splash: his success was in a large part attributed to appearances on Scuba's Hotflush. His first release: 2010's The Let Down / Weakness EP appears here as part of another instalment in the label's Update series, where core artists are placed under the spotlight with an impressive body of work. 2011's excellent Shackled EP is represented, featuring all three tracks (including the rather lush "Friends In High Places"), as well as 2013's Thinking Of You EP. If that was not enough, you also get treated to his stellar remix of label mates Dense & Pika's dancefloor weapon "Colt" for added value.
Review: Brothers in techno the Brockelmanns aka Glaskin return to Hotflush after last year's debut, Debris Disk. The pair kicks start Grey Lines with the militaristic swagger of "Objects", where spiky riffs and straight, marching drums give off an austere, cold sensibility. "Paralysis" sees the pair opt for a different approach, but it still retains a menacing undercurrent thanks to the severe, metallic percussion and brooding chord builds. The tempo and mood mellow somewhat on the title track, as robust break beats support chilling strings, but soon enough the German duo return to intense form with the pounding kicks of "Heliosphere" and the accompanying tranced out riffs.
Review: This is the first in a series of two mini-compilations on Hotflush and is dedicated to Trevino, who died earlier this year. First up are German pair Glaskin, who drop the techy, stepping "Cosmic Dance Interlude", followed by Or:la with the deep but jacking "B.W.U.W". Ambivalent makes his Hotflush debut under his LA-4A guise to drop the jacking "How I Feel", with Terr's "Find A Way" occupying a relatively similar space. Label boss Scuba unleashes the noisy, primal techno of " Boulahrouz" under his SCB alias and Israeli producer Yotam Avni rounds off the first volume with the stripped back, minimal groove of "Baduk". This first instalment is a fitting tribute to the UK producer.
Review: Isaac Reuben's music has already graced Hotflush owner Scuba's Fabric mix and now he gets a full release on the label. The fast rising producer shows his diversity and smart programming skills across NRO; the title track is a solid tribal banger, underpinned by tough kicks and sharp percussion. Meanwhile on "Rouz", he opts for a more stripped back approach, with a lean rhythm, subtle, dubbed out effects and rickety hi-hats combining to create a deep dance floor track. Last but not least is "Pastel Trax", a sample-heavy looped banger that calls to mind 90s techno projects like User.
Review: Fresh off some terrific remixes of label boss Scuba's Caibu LP, Hotflush presents some emotive tech-house from some London based multi-instrumentalists: the classically trained Lawrence Hart (aka Duncan Tootill) and Algebra Records boss Casually Here. The incredibly evocative "Wanderlust" carries similarities to Hart's work with long time collaborator George Fitzgerald with its rich tapestry of sparkly synth textures and skippy drums. "Chimes" on the other hand is a bit tougher and has more bounce to it - its title refers to its hypnotic and resonating melody between interludes of sublime and heady ambience.
Review: Following two admired single-track salvos on Hotflush, George Fitzgerald collaborator Lawrence Hart (AKA Duncan Tottill) and Algebra Records boss Nic Neill AKA Casually Here join forces for their most expansive release to date. Predictably, they begin in confident mood, wrapping woozy vocal samples, simmering strings and hazy, sun-kissed electronics around a crunchy, off-kilter rhythm on the rushing bliss of "Innocent". The pair moves effortlessly towards techno territory on "Swimming Up (Extended)", where fluid ambient electronics smother a chunky dancefloor groove, before Model Man delivers a fuzzy, piano-sporting rework of previous single "Ochre" that benefits greatly from intergalactic electronics, jazzy samples and distorted bass.