Live At Robert Johnson is a German disco, techno and deep house label, known for all things deep, spacey, progressive and melodic. Its name is inspired by the respected Robert Johnson venue in Offenbach and is driven forward by Atanasios Christos Macias aka Ata. Since 2009, it has put out delicious laid-back yet dancefloor-ready anthems by artists including Skatebård, Fort Romeau, Orson Wells, Massimiliano Pagliara, Roman Fluegel, Dixon, Daniel Avery, Lauer and Gerd Jansen. Sub-labels include For Disco Only and Lifesaver Compilation.
Review: Following admired outings on Last Night on Earth, Skint, Shall Not Fade and, most recently, Permanent Vacation, Theo Kottis makes his bow on Live at Robert Johnson. It's an excellent four-tracker all told, with the Edinburgh-based producer serving up colourful, vibrant, sometimes nostalgic workouts that wrap-solid house grooves in attractive synth sounds and the kind of kaleidoscopic melodies often associated with the classier end of the nu-disco spectrum. To our ears, rushing, slightly dubbed-out piano house number 'Slow Times' is probably the pick of the bunch - it's a saucer-eyed, warehouse-ready delight - but others may prefer the sun-soaked, acid-laden, densely layered wonder of 'Wisdom', the deeper but more up-tempo throb of 'Monday Monday', with its 90s synth-organ sounds and swelling chords, or the classic U.S deep house feel of 'Swing'.
Review: Laura BCR, named after the popular now-defunct Berlin record store, Bass Cadet Records, has been making waves in the techno and ambient scene with her immersive DJ sets and managing On Board Music label & party organization. Her own productions were first featured on On Board Music's standout charity compilations in 2020 and later on releases from Semantica, Sublunar, and Paloma. Her debut EP, 'Initial,' was released on SoHaSo last year, and now she has dropped a mesmerizing EP on the prestigious Live at Robert Jonson label. The EP opens with 'Farewell,' a deep, drum-led track that quickly captivates with its minimal icy rhythm. The second track, 'Post Dynamic,' continues the meditative and mindful vibe with its warm solar winds and smooth drum rotations. Follows 'Human Behaviour,' a collaboration with Colombian artist Launaea, and echoes the best of Donato Dozzy's work. The EP concludes with 'Long Wait,' which adds a little edge to the mesmerizing beats. The attention to detail on 'Human Behaviour' is evident in its pensive, minimal composition.
Review: SIRS - or Sounds In Real Stereo, if you prefer - is Berlin-based Daniel Klein, who's been active as a producer since 2014 and launched his own Sirsounds label in 2016. Here, Live At Robert Johnson bring us three new rubs of a cut that first saw the light of day last August, with the Larse Remix an epic, blissed-out, prog-leaning affair, the Freudenthal Remix a far struttier take with an 80s Eurodisco kinda feel and finally Residentes Balearicos, aptly enough, serving up a more chilled rub that's tailor-made for lazy afternoons lounging by Iberican poolsides.
Review: Austria-based Jorkes co-runs the Freeride Millenium label with her partner Paris Boehm. Her Sweet Dreams EP showed the many different sides of her sound; a provocative work centered around issues such as gender, identifying as queer and egalitarian attitudes - and here are the remixes. Alinka (Twirl) provides an acid soaked remix of the title track, ROTCIV always delivers particularly with his euphoric dark disco rework of "You Will Be Mine" and New Hook's lo-slung chug perspective of "Robot Lover" calls to mind Damon Jee's work as Nozz.
Review: Berlin-based Irishman Mano Le Tough has notched up releases on some admirable labels over the last decade - Permanent Vacation, Pampa and Internasjonal included - but this four-tracker marks his first outing on Live at Robert Johnson. It's a fine EP all told, with the experienced producer delivering ultra-immersive, eyes-closed deep house that sounds as good through headphones as it does over a booming club soundsystem. He first serves up hypnotic, bass-heavy grooves and melancholic melodies on 'Weather Master', before reaching for eccentric synthesiser lead lines, crunchy machine drums, jazzy bass, spacey chords and lilting lead vocals on 'Holographic Witness'. Elsewhere, 'Kakooja' is a bouncy and off-kilter fusion of nu-disco and deep house elements, while 'Free Floating By' is an ultra-woozy, sunrise-ready deep house shuffler.
Review: Daniel Klein's ascent under the SIRS alias continues apace, as he returns to Live at Robert with what the label has described as "a utopian (or more likely dystopian) ode to space travel". In its original form (track one), 'Travel To HDF.3YD' is a high-octane, Italo-disco-influenced slab of spiralling space disco perfection rich in clipped, Chic-style guitars, eyes-closed solos, sci-fi synths and driving, arpeggio style sequenced bass. It comes backed by a pair of tasty remixes - a darker, more psychedelic-sounding revision from Budinho and a brilliantly stripped back, Krautrock-tinged peak-time take courtesy of Panthera Krause - and two bonus cuts: a short spoken-word piece ('Intro') and the colourful Italo-disco cheeriness of 'Summer Desire'.
Review: Acclaimed duo Alessandro Parlatore and Marcello Giordani, aka Marvin & Guy, follow up a great run of releases on Permanent Vacation to present their first release for Live At Robert Johnson, on which they collaborate with another dynamic Italian act. The result is three electrifying tracks: it's good old-fashioned Italo vibes all the way on the euphoric "Save Me" (feat. Hard Ton) Disco Mix, and then you're shuffled aboard the acid express for the strobe-lit Club Mix. Finally there's the neon-lit night moves of "Supported By Your Favorite DJ".
Review: Flug 8 is the alias of German producer Daniel Hermann, known for his releases on Disko B, Doxa Records, Ransom Note, and Acid Pauli's Smaul Recordings. His latest offering Enroute was recorded in complete isolation during the lockdown in his studio situated in the outskirts of Frankfurt, near a forest. It his most ambient work to date, featuring a superb selection of dark, droning and atmospheric works, with the addition of some experimental electronics ("Intercontinental"/"Cross Range Capabilities") and Glok's rework of "Bouncing Rays" turning it into an understated piece of minimal techno.
Review: Johannes Albert has long been the kind of producer whose music blurs the boundaries between genres, in his case nu-disco, Italo-disco, proto house and jacking Chicago house. This hybrid, synth-heavy sound is explored in four different ways on Albert's latest outing for Live at Robert Johnson. There's a throbbing, alien-sounding 21st century Italo-disco romp (the well-named title track); a squelchy and melodious chunk of analogue nu-disco cheeriness ('Dorschd'); a bouncy, rubbery and surprisingly aggressive chunk of 8-bit electrofunk/acid house fusion ('Wimbledon'); and a pitched-down chunk of electro-not-electro that comes smothered in glistening electronics and glacial synthesizer lines.
Review: Wir Sind Die Neue Zeit - which roughly translates in English to We Are The New Time - sees Live At Robert Johnson usher in a new anonymous project full of urgency and that killer new wave sound. A real darkwave disco burner to lift the roof that brings to mind DAF inspirations, there's an undeniable post punk quality on offer here with its stomping four-to-the-floor drums, backbeat snares, reverberating claps and ringing, bell-like percussion. Introduce that searing synth, edgy vocals and badass melodies, and you've got yourself an autumnal hit ready for the clubs - straight outta Frankfurt.
Review: Permanent Vacation co-founder Benjamin Frohlich released the 'Club Fantasy' EP back in March, and now here comes the remix package, with the title track and 'Escape' getting two re-rubs apiece. Peter Invasion & Gegor Habicht bring us an Italo-esque take on 'Escape', while Perel's more smoothed-out version could work on disco and progressive/melodic floors alike with its 80s-ish throbbing bassline, synth strings and sweeping pads. Alex Kassian's Inferno Dub of 'Club Fantasy' itself then fuses Balearic, disco and acid influences, before DJ City takes us on a trip straight back to 1988 with a remix for the house floors. Acieed!
Review: Black Spuma are Fabrizio Mammarella & Phillip Lauer - a project that up until now was largely known for three records on International Feel. Having surfaced on Bristol's Futureboogie in 2019, Black Spumareveal themselves again for a four-track Hypercall EP on Live At Robert Johnson. Throwing down some heavy house chords in "Station To Station", get your gnarly acid jack tracks out of "Data Life" and a deep EBM workout in "Miracoli". And of course, there's still the pair's homage to Italo in "Transpork" that given its perfect moment in time will raise the roof.
Review: Robert Dietz has released on respected imprints like Cadenza, Running Back and Desolat, and now he appears on the label that's connected to storied Frankfurt club Robert Johnson. "Kirby" kick starts proceedings in esoteric form, with a rumbling bass and lose break beats providing the basis for mournful synths, while this mood continues on "Swallowing Tubes", where Dietz adds plaintive 303s to the mix. In contrast, "Honey Stash" is a more direct, acid-frazzled groove that's tailor made for late-night use, and Dietz shows his deeper credentials on "WAW", a cosmic trip through deep house, with flourishes of trance.
Review: Hailing from Brussels, Diego Cortez Salas has a 10-year release history under his belt, even if he's perhaps better known for his show on Kiosk Radio. This EP for German label Live At Robert Johnson finds him in synth-disco territory as he serves up four all-electronic cuts that sound very much as though they've been jammed out live rather than patched together from loops and samples - though whether that's true or not, we have no way of knowing. The title cut is a particular standout, and could well find its way onto broader-minded techno floors.
Review: After establishing is reputation as a nu-disco artist on the rise via a string of releases on his own Sirsounds imprint, Daniel Klein AKA SIRS has finally been snapped up by a long-established label. His first outing on German stable Live at Robert Johnson marks a new chapter in his career, though the music on offer is just as alluring as anything he's released before. Opener 'Keep Forgetting' sets the tone, with waves of kaleidoscopic synthesizer sounds and picturesque electronics rising above a chunky, mid-tempo nu-disco groove, while 'Junee' sounds like an instrumental take on the Pet Shop Boys' deeper and more loved-up moments from the late 1980s. He flips the script on closing cut 'Call Me', adding warming synth and electric piano sounds to a slipped hip-hop beat.
Review: Dutch producer Perdu is known for his work on Optimo Music, Heist and We Play House, among other labels, and here he comes to Germany's Live At Robert Johnson with a five-tracker that draws heavily on Italo/cosmic disco for inspiration. 'Dystopia' is all driving 4/4s and shimmering synths, 'Retrograde Mercury' has an intense, claustrophobic, tribalistic feel, 'Rise Of F5' is uptempo and energetic, and 'Somehow It's Different Now' is a slightly more contemplative variation on the theme, before the Bells Remix of 'Dystopia' adds a little old skool Chi-town flava in the drums department.
Review: Benjamin Froehlich's musical involvement traces back many years in the cosmic disco and balearic scene, and into the networks of Robert Johnson club. It's fitting then that the Permanent Vacation co-head presents the latest installment in the Offenbach institution's label arm, with the strobe-lit and psyched-out acid house euphoria of "Club Fantasy", which comes with the Fantasy Verison - a stripped-back tool for DJ use. It's then full steam ahead on the heads-down stomper "Escape" which is perfect for those evocative moments, and ending with the intoxicating swirl of "Dream Machine" which will no doubt create some drama on the dancefloor.
Review: Get yourself acquainted with Llewellyn, the production alias of Martin Enke who's solo pursuits and Lake People collaboration can be found already on labels like Uncanny Valley, Kann Records, Permanent Vacation, Mule Musiq - and as Llewellyn on Riotvan. Recapture The Past elevates the project's profile through its release on Live At Robert Johnson that brings a synth saturated, '80s, Moroder-esque and discofied night driving sound to the Frankfurt label. Get your rock snares and arpeggiated basslines outta "The Final Essence" - our highlight - next to some proto-type happy house in "Recapture The Past". "Philly C Inside" offers a melodic and percussion heavy combination of stunts with "Simshit" flirting with computer games sounds and Cruisin' USA soundtracks.
Review: To the Robert Johnson club, Andrew Weatherall was one of the Frankfurt institution's most beloved residents. 'Lifesaver 4' is a compilation dedicated to the memory of the veteran DJ, featuring young talents and seasoned companions that have paid their musical tribute in order to commemorate the club's 21 year anniversary. Highlights not limited to: Perel's psychedelic off-kilter opener "Feuer & Wasser", the low slung sunset sounds of Panorama Bar resident Massimiliano Pagliara on "Before I Let You Go", club mainstay Gerd Janson delivering a typically neon-lit rendition of Portable's "Unity", the surprising addition of nearby Offenbach-based talent Cedric Dekowski on the afterhours minimal funk of "Livius" and Fort Romeau delivering his idiosyncratic style of hypnotic house on "Another Dymention". "Fail we may, sail we must".
Review: Davis Genuino follows up last year's Ordinary Sleep release on LARJ with this expansive affair. The title track is shaped by atmospheric synths and bleeding acid lines, with these elements unravelling over rolling, steely drums. "Avesso" follows a similar rhythmic trajectory, with off kilter kicks fused with a splurging bass to create a more stripped back track. In contrast, on "Fissura Na Neblina", Davis ventures down a mysterious path, with horror soundtrack-style synths melded with a pulsating bass. "Fugaz" meanwhile, is the most dance floor-friendly track, thanks to the use of a snaking bass and dreamy synths.
Review: Hesse native Victor Shan is next on local institution Live At Robert Johnson and if there's ever been a more poignant tribute to the clubbing institution and label - this is it right here. Taking his inspirations from disparate influences such as house, synthpop and balearic, Shan's LARJ debut 'Nordring 131' is named after the club's address in Offenbach. From the hypnotic classic house vibe of the title track which is awash in icy FM synthesis, the sublime ambient journey of "Meta", to the glassy-eyed and bittersweet Italo magic of "M1 Dreams". Finally, we hear him taking inspiration from the second Summer Of Love on the evocative "I Am For Real".
Review: Daniel Avery and Roman Flugel are Noun! Initially recorded some years ago at Flugel's former Frankfurt studio, the pair's collaboration descends deep into dubby, minimal and warehouse techno territory. Taking the best of Flugel's musical prowess with Avery's drum machine signatures, "Team Silent" embraces elements of '90s blueprint dub techno while "Meeting Of The Minds" leans more towards a sound you could expect to hear in Berghain; deep, cosmic, booming and sci-fi. An exciting new project on the books Live At Robert Johnson!
Review: Frankfurt institution Live At Robert Johnson present Diego Cortez Salas, a skilled talent of Peruvian origins who hails from Brussels and has had some impressive run of releases of late on tastemaker labels like Eclair Fifi's River Rapid, Correspondant and Biologic Records - which he's run with Abstraxion since 2014. Salas delves into classic house and disco aesthetics on 'The Complicated Art of Dreaming' EP: from the glistening FM synth tones of the smashing "Keep Them Closer" complete with signature 303 squelch, to the bass-driven peak time roar of "Guessing" and the emotive late night mood music of "Trustful" - all in all its one seriously neon-lit affair.
Review: Dusty, slammed down disco-house cosmiq. Whatever you wanna call it; space western discoteque pop from the techno future is still fun too. With dub trailing atmospheres streaking across the face of tracks like "The Light", all three here surf the skywaves of Detroit techno and Chicago house, lifting key notes and aquatic stabs from somewhere deeper in between too. Ripping key-tars and twangs bring the funk in "Volpi Polari" with "Fluto" going to Eiffel tower heights of Jean Michelle Jarre trance and '90s warehouse beats to lift you high.
Review: You can always count on British producer Mike Green aka Fort Romeau to provide epic and majestic and dancefloor drama, material that's been been heard on Permanent Vacation, Running back and Correspondant in recent times. He returns to Live At Robert Johnson to follow up 2016's Secrets & Lies with two brand new tracks here. Featuring the mesmerising dancefloor drama of "Dweller On The Threshold" awash in a dazzling array of rich melodic synth tapestries, while the moody and heads-down hypnotism of "Kontra Punkte" will entrance you deep into submission with its intoxicating bell textures - reaching near moments of sonar transmission.
Review: The veteran London duo Giles Smith and James Priestley aka Secretsundaze debut on Live At Robert Johnson with pure deep house vibes. Here they serve up something with a bit more old school flair on "Gigantic Impossibly Large", which sees them channel a classic sound, particularly on the NYC dub which calls to mind that timeless aesthetic of early Statside house. The brooding tension and drama of OG's version sounds more reminiscent of today's dancefloor dynamics, while downbeat reductions exist in the form of the exotic and arcane 10 AM version and the slow burning boogie down antics of the B2 jam make a worthy addition also.
Review: During the day, Jacques Bon can be found behind the counter at the Smallville record store in Paris, while by night, he focuses his attention on the kind of deep, sensuous house that he sells. The title track here is a stripped back, fragile groove that resounds to chimes and evocative tones, all realised against a 120 bpm tempo. On "Hey Matt", he ups the ante slightly to drop a chord-heavy groove that has a slightly woozier feel. The release also features two remixes of "Fractals" by Lauer. The first, the 'Frankfurt Beat' version, is a pulsating electronic affair, while on the 808 version, Lauer drops an irresistible, rolling take, laden down with acidic tones and evocative riffs.