Review: Age is a Box is the latest artistic alias of Noam Helfer, an experienced producer from Tel Aviv who's earned a reputation for being one of Israel's up-and-coming underground artists. According to Hefler, the project, which is focused around a forthcoming concept album, offers "a blend of abstract ambience, indie electronics, pop songs and an emotional tornado" which can be "a party or soundtrack". These versions of album cut "Rush" tend towards the former, with the opening Sobek Remix layering fragile, emotion-rich vocals and ambient electronics atop a shuffling tech-house groove rich in hypnotic TB-303 acid lines and tough but tactile drums. The accompanying Dub is arguably even better, with some suitably psychedelic electronics weaving in and out of a locked-in early morning rhythm.
Review: All can star cast across a wide variety of genres provide some wicked remixes here for Israeli upstart Noam Helfer (aka Age Is a Box) and his new single "One By One" - taken from his latest album on Needwant. Future Disco main man Sean Brosnan get some sexy nu-disco boogie down business happening on his rework of "Our Religion Is Truth, and the extended dub remix by Berlin-based New Yorker Curses (Ombra International) is a bass-driven and neon-lit epic that's optimsed for maximum dancefloor potential. Finally, the ever impressive Ian Blevins creates a slinky and hypnotic extension of "Endeavours".
Review: Kim Brown are rising Berlin-based producers Ji0Hun Kim & Julian Braun. Having already released on the likes of Permanent Vacation, they are now back with the gloriously mellow and seductive late night house vibes of Batteries Not Included. There's three stunning tracks to choose from - the tender Moodmusic/Metro Area-esque "Other People's Spaces", which is all soft chords, gentle percussion and mesmerising basslines, the deep and beguiling jack of "Snow Measurement" and sheer bliss of crystalline after hours synth odyssey, "Bladenhorst" - but we'd recommend them all!
Review: "Your Ghost" was one of the standout cuts from Chrissy's surging, rave-tastic 2019 album "Resillience". Here the revivalist, turn-of-the-90s style piano house vocal number gets the remix treatment via Needwant. Chrissy steps up first, offering up a chunkier, weightier and arguably even more potent "Club Edit" rich in echoing drum machine hits, addictive synth-bass, hammered-out piano riffs and rush-inducing vocals courtesy of Maria Amor. Brooklyn-based X-Coast takes the track in a totally different direction on his sweaty and throbbing remix, cunningly re-casting it as a piano-heavy slice of mid-90s "hardbag" (think muscular, trance-influenced house grooves, rave style piano motifs and addictive vocal snippets). 21st century ravers will love it.
Review: If you like your deep house from the dreamy/abstract/downtempo end of the spectrum, then the Original Mix of this latest despatch from London's Needwant stable will be for you, with its long, beatless piano intro, langorous strings and overall late 80s Balearic feel. Alternatively, if it's more trad-style deep house bizniss you're after, then head for the 12 Tree Remix, which injects some dancefloor strut while maintaining the overall laidback air (so probably one for the warm-up). And if you don't like house music at all, or are looking for longer-set fodder, then there's an Ambient Mix supplied, too!
Review: Canadian producer Howie returns to the UK's Needwant label, his semi-regular home, with a single-track release that could sit just as easily in the downtempo/Balearic section as on the deep house page. 'Insides' is a mid-paced, shuffling affair that's vaguely reminiscent of the likes of Bent or Lemon Jelly with its understated drums and indecipherable snatches of sampled vocal, underpinned by a single (possibly reversed?) chord sound that chimes away like a bell throughout. It's one for the warm-up or post-club listening rather than peaktime play, but a pleasant and engaging listen all the same.
Review: German DJ Johannes Albert heads up the Frank Music imprint and Fine with Tillman. He's been praised by the likes BICEP, Gerd Janson, Lauer and the Keinemusik crew - and he's only just getting started. His new one here for London's Needwant follows up some terrific releases of late by the label, such as Akasha System and Luces. The Berlin based producer serves up The Dancing Plague EP here, featuring the neon-lit dark disco aesthetic of "TPTS", the lo-slung boogie-down action of "Gravy Train" and the sombre balearic bliss of "Rainbow Pan" closing out this very impressive EP.
Review: Two contrasting but complimentary cuts make up this EP from Joseph Ashworth, a London-based producer who seems to spread his musical wings wider with every release. 'Dima' operates in more or less straight-up deep house territory, albeit with a distinctive electro edge to the bassline, and sports the kind of languid piano line that Ibiza sunsets were made for... if only anyone could actually get there this summer! 'Revolver' is a beefier, pacier affair that's dripping in early 80s flavour - there are echoes of the mid-00s electroclash era here, but it'd still work on the more broadminded house floors.
Review: Although Geoff Wright AKA Kemback has an impressive track record - see his fine EPs on Omena and DBA Dubs for proof - none of his previous releases were quite as good as this expansive outing on Needwant. For proof, check the string-laden majesty of opener "I Need You", where sumptuous violins and dreamy vocal samples tumble down over a bustling house groove, the melancholic, slowly-shifting deep house bliss of "Moving Through Clouds" and the loved-up, bass-heavy hustle of "Steppin Back", a gorgeous fusion of "Pacific State" style dreaminess, early New Jersey deep house and more forthright breakbeat-house bottom-end. Also worth checking is Soulphiction's subtly acid-flecked but similarly sumptuous revision of "I Need You".
Review: Alex "Kiwi" Warren has barely put a foot wrong in recent times, with a superb DJ Rocca collaboration and some fine EPs on Disco Halal, Cin Cin and Paradise Palms. Here he adds another record label to the CV via a second outing on Needwant. In its original form, "Kiya" is a baggy, sunrise-ready house cut drive forwards by low-slung bass, chiming melodies, layered percussion, twinkling pianos and choice snatches of vocal apparently borrowed from an old African record. The "Rave Mix" is a more driving excursion smothered in intergalactic motifs and trance-like synth sounds, while the Brian Ring revision is looser, sparser and altogether more glassy-eyed. Warren rounds things off via the "Dreamscape Mix", a stunning ambient interpretation for those who like their sounds swirling and beat free.
Koelle & Elli - "All You Got" (Richard Seaborne dub) - (5:56) 124 BPM
Koelle & Elli - "All You Got" (Joshua James remix) - (7:35) 123 BPM
Review: Smooth pop inflected house with immaculate production courtesy of Freiburg's Chris Koelle on London's Needwant imprint. Featuring the gorgeous vocals of Elli and that absolutely epic bassline, the original verison of "All You Got" is bound to be a hit. "Place In Mind" and "Mountains Of Dewa" get on the darker and more progressive tip that fans of Life & Death will appreciate. There's also a couple of sweet remixes; the Richard Seaborne dub is a driving tech house remix with a razor sharp bassline, check it out. The Joshua James remix balances reliable pre peak time dynamics with the dreamy vibe of the original just perfectly.
Review: With a heavily London-accented female rap vocal and a lolloping main synth riff from the electro-house school of thought, all underpinned by a heavyweight bass throb, here we have a cut that's aimed fair and square at today's younger, more mainstream floors - think Denis Sulta bootlegging Lady Leshurr and you'd be somewhere in the right general area. So the Sworn Virgins Extended Remix, with a sound palette inspired by early Chi-town house and the vocal downtuned to a "male" pitch, may be the one with broader dancefloor appeal - even if the lyric doesn't really make any sense sung by a man.