Review: For the first time in 2018, Canadian duo Kenny Glasgow and Jonny White don the Art Department alias and head for peak-time dancefloors. They begin with "Sour Jazz", where drowsy woodwind and brass samples tumble down over fizzing drum machine beats and thrillingly squidgy analogue bass. There's more of a muscular feel to the chunky, boompty-driven bump of "721" - think Derrick Carter via Sound Factory - while closer "Roots Deep", which boasts a preaching spoken word vocal from Roland Clark and contributions from Todd Terry, is a sleazy, acid-flecked late night delight blessed with some especially alien synth lines.
Normalizm (feat Lorenzo Dada - Nitin & Down 2 remix) - (5:58) 122 BPM
Review: Jonny White returns with a track that somehow manages to be minimal in feel yet boast the kind of sumptuous production that only comes from years of production experience. The Live Reversion is a far pacier take made for eyes-down, small-hours dancefloor action, while rerubs from Damian Lazarus and Clive Henry see both producers doing their thing in style, Lazarus taking us down an arty, abstract path while Henry serves up a cavernously deep, dubby pass for the darker rooms. Between the four mixes, it's hard to imagine many DJs that wouldn't be able to find a mix that works for their floors.
Review: In a collision of creative minds, Art Department have seemingly curated this release which sees Martina Topley Bird covering The XX's "Crystalised" with help from past collaborator Mark Lanegan of Screaming Trees fame, as well as some instrumental input from Warpaint. The end result is a raw fusion of loose drums and prominent bass heavy with groove and rich in chemistry between the twin vocals, not to mention pleasantly free from sheen. There's also a sizable wedge of remixes from Frankie Knuckles as Director's Cut, Agoria and Deniz Kurtel, who all fashion the original into varying degrees of safe and sturdy house music.
Review: It's fair to say that melancholic house peddlers Art Department are on a roll right now. So much so in fact, that they have been invited to write the first official theme for the internationally acclaimed Robot Heart parties at Burning Man. Daunted by the task, the guys set about scoring a piece that would truly reflect the party's unique atmosphere. They've come up with an extraordinary eight-minute epic that pumps along under austere vocals by Damian Lazarus, before expanding into a fountain of sinister John Carpenter-esque synth work. If you fancy a sparser version, then BLUD's lean, mean houser is the one for you.
Review: This latest offering from the ever-prolific DJ Sneak is likely to raise a few eyebrows among those of the "if it ain't broke" school of thought, as he brings us a reversioning of Talking Heads' new wave/punk-funk classic. It has to be said this version actually works a treat, though, with Byrne's vocal convincingly pastiched atop a backing of twittering, twinkling percussion and some quite subtle bubblin' acid. Served up in simple Original, Dub and Radio Edit flavours, if you've wanted to play the original but found it too hard to mix/programme, this could be your lucky day.
Review: It's rare for Cisco Ferreira to release music that steers away from his techno/electro work as The Advent, but Broken is a reminder of his less documented house alias, G Flame. Resurfacing last year with the Heaven release, Ferreira now follows up with this fine record. In its original format, "Broken" is a rolling tribal groove, featuring soulful vocal samples and luscious filtered synths. It achieves the rare feat of being soulful but also functional. DJ Sneak, the eternal Chicago house don, delivers a dubbed out, tough take, while the second remix yields a different approach in the form of Mella Dee's break beat-led, stab-heavy take on the track.
Review: It could be argued that Jade was one of the unheralded underground heroes of 2015. The Canadian DJ/producer released a number of notable tracks, including appearances on Dilate Records and No. 19 Music. Here she returns to the latter with another trio of woozy, shuffling, tech-tinged, late night house grooves. There's a surprisingly fluid feel about the pitched-down vocal samples, smooth bass and hypnotic, one-note riff of "Process S", while "Process C" is notably darker and a little more intense (even if it does retain a similarly powdery wooziness). Best of all, though, is "Deep Thoughts", a crackling, shuffling chunk of deep tech-house that benefits greatly from additional percussive hits and druggy melodies.
Review: It's a while since we last heard from sometime Crosstown Rebels and Wolf + Lamb regular Deniz Kurtel. In fact, this two-tracker for Art Department's No. 19 label is her first single for two years. The American is in typically introspective mood on "Deepression", a shuffling, quietly melodic stroll through Visionquest-style tactile house pastures. Pushed forward by an addictive bassline and melancholic sweeps, it's one of her finest productions for some time. She joins forces with Art Department on "Forgot Your Name", a similarly deep, swirling and emotion-rich dream-house journey that benefits greatly from the inclusion of Kurtel's own fragile, heartfelt vocals.
Review: A warm welcome back to Louie Fresco, a producer whose "Autophobia" album was arguably one of the most overlooked deep house releases of 2014. Astonishingly, the "Black Wax EP" is the Mexican's first missive of any sort for almost three years. The epic title track is especially good, offering a locked-in but bouncy trip into late night house territory that sits somewhere between mid-90s Junior Vasquez, the deeper moments of Danny Tenaglia and contemporary basement-bothering deep house. It comes accompanied by the more stripped back, late night shuffle of "Aliens (Black Wax Part 2)" and the garage-influenced jazz-house flex of "Between Boroughs". Of the two accompanying remixes, it's Shaun Reeves spaced-out, ultra-deep tech house take that had us reaching for the lasers.
A Heart That Beats You (Art Department remix) - (7:30) 128 BPM
A Heart That Beats You (Jade remix) - (7:03) 127 BPM
Review: Canadian Maher Daniel has been building his vinyl only label (The Other Side) with a series of slick releases that come after other outings on the likes of Circus, 8Bit and of course No.19 Music. Aside from his production and DJ work, the Barcelona-based producer is a central figure in the industry and has a long standing history with the No.19 crew. His new offering "A Heart That Beats You" is a deep and low slung effort with sensual vocals. This is followed a remix by label boss Jonny White that takes the best of classic NYC house of the 90s with a bit of 303 acid for good measure, while Jade's remix is a slinky and hypnotic tech house rework - showing great promise by this Toronto-based producer/DJ.