Review: Fresh from a high-profile release on Diplo's Higher Ground imprint, Carlita returns to her original musical home, Life & Death, with a predictably strong single. There are two fresh productions on offer (both presented in edited and extended form): title track 'Bon Trip', a sparkling slab of morning-fresh, sun-splashed brilliance in which glistening piano riffs and tactile synth-sounds rise above a chugging, arpeggio-driven bassline and unfussy, house-tempo drums, and 'Run Run Run', a more muscular, throbbing and driving chunk of immersive soundscape house. Krystal Klear delivers a terrifically energetic, loved-up and kaleidoscopic take on 'Bon Trip' full of his usual vibrant synth sounds and rushing breakdowns, before Red Axes give 'Run Run Run' a decidedly hallucinatory, acid-flecked revision that makes the most of Duddha's atmospheric vocal and Carlita's glassy-eyed chords.
Review: After three years away, Maurice Uzzan has returned to the Life & Death label with a two-part EP that cannily showcases the growing depth, variety and complexity of his dancefloor-focused productions. 'Discreet Moment Thing', the title track of the dual EP, kicks off this second volume, offering an attractively pulsating, occasionally foreboding workout that boasts distinctive nods towards both EBM and new beat - all stabbing, sequenced synth-bass, stuttering (and decidedly hallucinatory) vocal samples, sweaty drums and jacking intent. He moves further back in time for inspiration on 'Lady Cherry', whose warming chords, squelchy synth bass, twinkling keys, unfussy machine drums and pleasingly 1980s-sounding lead lines sound like they were inspired by Pet Shop Boys' first two albums.
Review: Under the now familiar Whitesquare alias, Maurice Uzzan has spent the last seven years bouncing between high profile and well-regarded labels such as Toy Tonics, Culprit, Freerange Records, DFTD and Life & Death. Here he returns to the latter label for the first time since 2019, delivering the first helping of a two-part release that tends towards the summery and celebratory. Opener 'Carte Blanche' is a driving, throbbing treat, with the Rome-based producer adding crunchy cowbells, spinetingling synth-pop chords, breakbeat bursts and mutilated male vocal samples to a druggy, intergalactic groove that reminded us of the most inspired 'space disco' moments of Hans-Peter Lindstron and Todd Terje. 'Lux Interior' meanwhile joins the dots between piano-laden Italian house, sweaty Italian house and glassy-eyed nu-disco.
Review: Having given rise to artists like Ashee, Kino Todo, Bawrut and the legendary Mr. Tophat in 2020, Life And Death now reveal a new project from Stefano Serafini aka Sebra Cruz. Debuting with a Siebel, Serafini's Cruz project sails the astralplane with the light, airy and melodic techno number "Hydroshima" that subtly touches on trance as it does a baerlic vibe. Turning in something more minimally inspired in the title-track, pianos and keys play a huge role in its emotive content which opens up to searing strings and pumping percussion without ever going overboard. Class.
Review: Celebrating ten years of his Life And Death label, DJ Tennis delivers a diverse compilation. Schwarzmann's "Octave Two" is a groovy, stripped back track that resounds to a bubbling groove and dayglo bleeps, while on "Agua", Prins Thomas delivers a searing, 303-led disco track. In stark contrast are Byetone and Gera Akate's electro breakers, while Red Axes veers into punk-funk territory with the wiry guitars and dubbed out FX of "Rasss". There really is something for every tate here, and the slamming techno of Fango's "Trattore", followed by the cosmic Italo of Vivian Koch's"Find Your Way Out" shows that Life And Death is a truly eclectic label.
Review: Israeli artist Kino Todo is up next on DJ Tennis's Life And Death imprint. Todo's multicultural sounds on Blue Shadow, as well as on Moscoman's Disco Halal have made him one of the most promising new artists in the scene. These are complex and characterful tracks that draw on a wide range of cultural references and reimagine them as dancefloor dynamite. Much like the EP's namesake, "Goa Kids" takes trance music motifs to create a slinky and hypnotic journey through sound, while the acid washed "Boom Shaki Boom" features fellow countrymen Red Axes. Finally, the low slung psychedelia of "Vocus Pocus" is perfect for Sunday afternoon drifting on the dancefloor.
Review: A straight 12 months since Italian producer Whitesquare debuted on Life And Death with the Visual Distortion Of Reality EP, Maurice Uzzan returns with Seventy Days Of Deja Vu. An '80s synth inspired mini-LP at large - made during a 70 day lockdown period - Whitesquare introduces a new kind of renegade funk to his sound, with tracks like "Roma Deserta" good enough for any action movie montage. Deeper tones, uplifting melodies and trance influences steal the show in "I've Been Here Before", with electronic basslines and touches of jazz instrumentation and percussion supporting the new age vibe of "Memories Of Tomorrow". Find ever-cascading chords, electro pan-pipes, pianos and some heavy Phil Collins-esque drum fills plotted between the slow motion Italo groove of "Same Day, Different Day" with a surprise section of jungle and breakbeat madness is "Fase Due".
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: 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: 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.
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".
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: 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: 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: 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: 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.