Review: Climbing his way out of the mists of time and space with a stream of records for The Ransom Note this past decade, Italian producer out of Madrid, Bawrut, becomes the latest addition to Life and Death and Tale Of Us collective. He does so with three slower, long burning club, acid and synth numbers. All three tracks are defined by the slower 120 BPM rhythms with their own variations of pulsating basslines and rawkus electro melodies. "Drum Beat" goes for the trippy exotic approach, with "Rollin'" inhibiting a similar yet more percussive zone, to "Terza" fattening it up to the max.
Review: Brit Joseph Ashworth's sudden rise to the top has been noticed on top labels such as Dirtybird, Pets Recordings and Tessellate (as Firmin) and if this new one for Italian powerhouse Life & Death demonstrates - his time is truly now. The Londoner delivers a glassy-eyed and life-affirming journey on "Trooper", that sits somewhere between modern deep house and shoegaze with its spangling drones. But this is an afterthought compared to Windy City legend Ron Trent's emotive rendition, which will leave you breathless! This is followed by the tunneling tech-house cut "Laminated" which is also full of reliable dancefloor dynamics.
Review: After a series of impressive EPs for Kill the DJ, Hivern and Internasjonal, Margot open their account with Life And Death. Focusing on the tougher, electronic disco sound, on the title track the Italian duo drop a pulsating, hypnotic groove that rolls on to infinity. "Salsce" leans on ebm and even New Beat for inspiration, and the end result is a linear, menacing track coated in acid. The label has also chosen the remixers well: Dauwd, who has worked for Ghostly and Kompakt, ups the title track's intensity thanks to the use of slamming drums, while Kiwi turns "Salsce" into a pared back, drum track.
Review: Italian duo Alessandro Parlatore and Marcello Giordani aka Marvin & Guy appear next for the Life and Death powerhouse for a stellar new EP. These four tracks 'explore parallel worlds through expert synthesizer sequencing and cavernous vocal features.' Esoteric melodies mixed with Athena's stream of consciousness recital guarantees dance floor energy on "Superior Conjunction". "Arpadia" with its hypnotic theme compliments the title track's restrained drama, while the Fantastic Twins' spoken word performance elevates "The Train of Fantastic" to an altered state of being. Fresh off some killer releases this year for Correspondant, Disco Halal and Permanent Vacation, these guys are bringing some top tunes and are truly on fire at the moment.
Review: According to the elaborate press release accompanying this release, "Solar Warriors" is "Marvin and Guy on rocket fuel". There's certainly something suitably cosmic about "Notte", the cut that opens the Italian duo's second outing on Life & Death. Beginning with an inspirational spoken word sample, the track boasts woozy, deep space synths, hissing cymbals, colourful synthesizer lines and breathlessly beautiful piano riffs gently rising above a quietly pulsing groove. It's very good, all told, as is "Idra" where chanteuse Perel adds an atmospheric spoken word vocal (in German) over a slightly darker groove and even more spacey chords and melodies. Further intergalactic bliss is provided via the jaunty synth-bass, skittish beats and supernova synthesizer flourishes of "Stige (9AM Mix)".
Review: Israeli disco eccentric Moscoman makes a surprising appearance on DJ Tennis' Life & Death label, but considering recent appearances for the likes of Diynamic, Sapiens and Armada - it's clear his appeal has broadened to the wider electronic music scene. The Disco Halal boss serves up the spiralling and melodic bliss of "Wave Rave" - an evocative dancefloor journey that is right in line with DJ Tennis' aesthetic. This is in stark contrast to the moody (doom-laden, even!) growl of "Dinner For One" and once again showing the diversity of his sonic repertoire we have the lo-slung balearica of "550" and ending with the delightfully tripped-out nu disco groove of "Space Comfort".
Time Lapse (DJ Tennis Disko Bang Club mix) - (2:58) 128 BPM
Time Lapse (DJ Tennis Disko Bang Club mix - extended) - (7:35) 128 BPM
Review: Swedish enfant terrible Mr Tophat breaks ranks with longtime collaborator (and Karlovak co-head) Art Alfie to fly solo on this new outing which, rather surprisingly, appears for the much lauded Life & Death imprint. The Junk Yard Connections main man presents "Time Lapse" taken from last year's album 'Dusk to Dawn' on Twilight Enterprise. At over 12 minutes long, the track is another Mr. Tophat masterclass in musical tension and narrative, featuring Noomi's seductive vocals throughout. Label boss DJ Tennis also steps up to add his own spin; a respectful rework which doesn't deviate too much from the original, just streamlines its groove for the dancefloor and accentuates all the track's euphoric and bittersweet elements.
Review: By their usual standards, prolific Tel Aviv twosome Red Axes has enjoyed a relatively quiet year. In fact, this four-track EP on Life & Death contains their first original material of 2017. As usual, it's an eccentric collection of tracks. Compare, for example, the cowbell-rich, wonky house hustle of chiming opener "Calacol", which manages to be both funky and weird, and "Vego Gam", where surf guitars and alien synth lines surf an eccentric, post-punk house groove. The dancefloor eclecticism continues with the Italo-disco/dub disco fusion of "Round" makes way for the undulating tropical drums, pots-and-pans melodies and glassy-eyed vocal snippets of "Sami".
Group Meditation, Late Reflections - (1:34) 157 BPM
Drug Dilling - (6:24) 121 BPM
Review: This is simply a stunning album, the opening track 'Put Castle' sets the tone, as the vocal guilds us through the tracks different states and tones, we are keenly aware that this album wants to move out of its box. Moving into a 'Loveboat' we are enter a soft soundscape which washes over you in waves, before dropping into a head bobbing deep house beat and occasionally freaking you out with its creepy Willy Wonker-esque, vocal. At 8.33 'Moon' is the longest track on the LP, basking in white noise, it begins with subtle nods to techno and floats into a more structure house style, layers of shimmers and sparkles add light to what would otherwise be a minimal, ambient track and it's not until 5 minutes we really start to additional melodic elements. 'Fool You' has more upbeat funky kind of vibe, with organic sounding instruments and a gentle vocal. 'Dog Sled' is one of the harder tracks, with sharp, crisp sounds and striking piano. Do yourself a favour and listen to this album.
Review: With further announcements forthcoming with Life and Death later this summer, Drug Dilling offers up the first new material from The/Das on the label since 2013's Outfashioned. Now as a duo, Fabian Fenk and Philipp Koller's latest EP is the result of playful and pure studio sessions, during which they aimed to capture the often-overlooked club-friendly side of their project. Top Vibes' breakbeats come as a welcomed surprise, while Holy Rollers pairs wobbling synth pads with a vocal cameo by DJ Tennis. The standout title-track recalls hazy afterparty moments. Detroit stalwart DJ Bone delivers a focused reinterpretation on the flip, backing expertly-sampled organ takes and flanged vocal lines in an enticing bed of afro-cuban rhythms
Review: Following Eps for 20:20 Vision and Freerange, Whitesquare aka Maurice Uzzan makes his debut for Life And Death. This release draws on a number of sources for inspiration; on the title track, the bass is influenced by early 90s house, while the acid line is redolent of Josh Wink at his finest. The dreamy vocal samples and break beats on "Not Moving" could have come from a San Fran free party, while "Jasmine" is more grounded. Led by an earthy acid line and a stepping rhythm, it's one of the more functional tracks on this release - until DJ Tennis gets his hands on it and turns it into a rumbling, 303-led roller.