Review: Huntleys & Palmers commitment to showcasing new producers from around the World is admirable. Here, they give a debut "proper" to Family Affairs resident Mehmet Aslan, who previously impressed with a string of reworks on the imprint's Highlife Edits offshoot. Lead track "Mechanical Turk" - a rework of a little-known 2011 cut from Romanian artist Karpov Not Kasparov - is pretty impressive, with Aslan peppering an exotic, off-kilter house groove with spiralling Byzantine scales, heavy Arabic percussion and lashings of vintage synthesizers. "Hidden" flips the script, delivering a woozy, atmospheric, analogue-sounding house track, while "New Africanism" is a little more fragile and poignant than the title suggests, with bittersweet chords and mid-range synth melodies riding a delay-laden, extra-percussive groove.
Review: When discussing his new album, Auntie Flo producer Brian D'Souza has promised that it would be a far more expansive, complex and densely layered set than its' predecessor. With Theory Of Flo, he's made good on that promise. Produced with regular collaborator Esa, it features an impressive cast-list of vocalists and musicians from around the World, including Red Snapper drummer Rich Thair, Ghanaian singer Anbuley, Noisettes' Shingai Shoniwa, and a swathe of Cuban players recorded during a trip to the country last year. Musically, it's similarly rich and expansive, blending D'Souza's usual global influences - primarily from Africa and South America - with a smooth, attractive and melodious take on house music.
Review: Recorded during summer trips in Buenos Aires and spending autumn in Tromso, Norway between 2006 - 2010, Maximo Graesse Bondino and Dissmentado aka Ismael Pinkler from Carisma met several times during that period and used friends houses and studios to produce a long list of material, selecting later the best of it for this compilation. Featuring moments of oddball balearica like "Ritmo Color", guttural punk-funk on "Transando" and the lo-slung/utterly tripped-out cosmic business of "Waiting For The Wind".
Review: This release is big room house with a dark twist from Argentinean act DJs Pareja. The title track sounds like an update of the menacing sound that Armand Van Helden pioneered during the early '90s before he embarked on his pop remixing career. Over tight, staccato drums and rolling snares, they unleashe urgent female vocals and a brooding bassline. "La Risa" sees them go farther down this route; thunder claps are fused with stomping drums to create a basis for insane, shrieking laughter and a wild siren riff that keeps climaxing. The Chicago kettle drums and punishing bassline of Carisma's remix almost sounds tame by comparison.
Review: If you're interested in finding out where underground house has evolved to, you could do worse than checking the latest release from DrumTalk. By turns bouncy and funky, abstract and extreme, it moves through many moods and tones, often in the course of the same track. "Halo" starts off with shuffling drums and a stepping rhythm before veering into icy chords and acidic licks. "Euphonia" channels chiming house bells and fuses them with a storming techno rhythm, while "Everything" balances the belligerent sub-bass with a cut-up rhythm. Best of all though is "Ishtar", a soupy combination of glitchy percussion, broken down beats and a molten lava bassline.
Review: 12 months on from the fizzing analogue intensity of his debut 10", Tumble, Welsh percussionist/producer duo Petwo Evans return to Huntleys and Palmers. There's a slightly different feel this time round, as they ditch the growling techno, snarling acid and thunderous beats in favour of a quintet of notably melodious compositions. Of course, the imaginative rhythms and dense percussion are still present - most obviously on the brilliant "Xox Part 1", wonkier "Xox Part 2" and Comeme style techno weird-out "St Clear" - but are often dispensed with altogether on the EP's most dazzling moments. Of these, it's the marimba-laced beauty of "Ribbon" and chant-laden sweetness of "LOA" that stand out.
Review: Andrew Thomson and Auntie Flo's Huntleys & Palmers imprint has always been good at uncovering fresh talent. Here, they offer up a debut EP from Glasgow-based producers Hi & Saberhagen, whose take on deep house is variously influenced by bass music, tech-house, tropical melodies, global futurism and, of course, the music of Africa. Each of the four tracks is hard to pin down. Contrast, for example, the late night sludge and yearning Balearic touches of "Clan of Sisterhood", with the loose percussive hits, eyes-closed chords, throbbing sub-bass and fluid South American melodies of "Lonely Friends". It all adds up to an impressive, left-of-centre debut.
Review: This year, Huntleys & Palmers plan to release a number of split 7" singles, which will also be released digitally. This is the first, featuring tracks from Luna and Alejandro Paz, and Comeme types Carisma. As usual, the standard is high, with Luna and Paz, in particular, impressing with with the wonky, up-tempo synth-pop hustle of "Breathe". It's beats fizz and rattle, the electronics ebb and flow, and the vocals - which, interestingly, first appear halfway through the track - add a distinctively European sense of style. Carisma's "A Las Quince La Manana" is almost as good, with dreamy chords, twinkling melodies and weirdo samples (pitched down vocals, a random cockerel etc) riding a chugging, slo-mo synth groove.
Review: Having previously impressed with her guest appearance on Auntie Flo's Future Rhythm Machine album back in 2012, vocalist Mamacita strikes out on her own for the first time. "No Eres Tu" is an attractive proposition; a breezy, Chilean take on touchy-feely '80s Chicago house that seemingly channels the spirit of "Sueno Latino", Balearic nu-disco and tactile early Latino house. Mamatica's vocals seemingly tumble over woozy chords and an almost huggable synth bass-heavy house groove. Argentine producer Ana Helder remixes, delivering a version that sounds like Inner City after a particularly memorable night out in Buenos Aires - all cut-up vocals, cascading synth strings and that incredible bassline.
Review: Salon des Amateurs resident Lena Willikens has remixed a track from Huntleys & Palmers previous two chapters: namely rRoxymore from Chapter 1 and Oklo Gabon from Chapter 2. The mysterious Okoo Gabon's original version of "City Gym" was an infectious serving of EBM in the first place, but Willikens remix injects much more adrenaline and tension into this retro futurist thriller: this one's absolutely epic! Likewise, her remix of rRoxymore's "Ministry Of Silly Talks" slows down the original version a bit and peppers the track with some nice sound effects and suspense building drum arrangements.
Review: If the first instalment of Huntleys and Palmers' Chapter series of split EPs was all about showcasing up-coming talent, this second volume has been designed as a tribute to those who've influenced them. It's a neat twist, with typically formidable results. There's much to admire throughout, from the surging machine disco of oklo Gabon's "City Gym" and the undulating alien funk of Comeme man Sano's "Duraco", to the Ket-addled wonkiness of Golden Teacher's trippy "What Time Is It". While Uslo's spacey, piano-laden, percussively loose "Galaxy" is also inspired, it's beaten in the "best track" stakes by Balearic man Wolf Moller's "Rudeltanz", a decidedly cosmic chunk of live dub-disco with tumbling synth melodies and baked, low-slung synths for days.