Review: Respected mix engineer, live act and producer Hannes Bieger returns to Poker Flat to follow up 2019's "Chemistry", bringing two stunning new tracks to the surface on The Heart EP. The title track features the unmistakable vocals of Philadelphia-based poet, activist and vocalist Ursula Rucker. Her powerful words at the forefront, supported by a deep and mesmerising arrangement that makes for perfect mood music. Second offering "Santorin" sees Bieger inject more dancefloor dynamics into proceedings on this hypnotic tech house groove. This one is just perfect for those heads down moments in the club on Sunday morning.
Review: It's a fact that Poker Flat is without doubt the hardest working label in the business. Going full steam ahead into 2021, their next release comes from label chief Steve Bug, who teams up with industry veteran (and fellow Berliner) Cle on "Gentle Push". The duo have worked together countless times, both being veterans of the German rave scene going far back to its early days, yet their output remains as fresh as ever. Those early influences are abundant on the track, with its epic Reese bassline roaring throughout its pumping and ecstatic groove, with a strong nod to The Motor City sound. This is followed by the slinky and hypnotic afterhours vibes of "A Pinch Of Space", awash in deep and glacial dub techno aesthetics.
Review: American techno legend John Tejada released the Big City Music EP back in 2006, where "Asanebo" appeared as a B-side track. It has since become a favourite to underground heads over the years, and as a part of Poker Flat's 20 year celebrations, the Hamburg label taps Retreat main man Quarion for a properly low slung and dubby rework. This fine rendition makes perfect tackle for the afterhours, while complimenting the slinky and hypnotic qualities of the original version, which appears for your pleasure also.
Review: Many would regard Anders Trentemoller's 2006 track "Moan" as a true dancefloor classic that will go down in the annals of electronic music history. Alongside Radio Slave's awe-inspiring rework from the same year, the ascendant Tim Englehardt now presents another terrific rendition of the track, 15 years later, as part of the label's 20 year celebrations. A credit to the art of the remix, Poker Flat taps Englehardt to reshape it for modern day dancefloors while not deviating too much from the original, emphasising its sensual and evocative sonic qualities furthermore beneath Ane Trolle's gorgeous vocal.
Review: Berlin's Eva Be has been a staple of the city's underground club culture, going all the way back to the '90s. A highly talented producer and DJ, she returns to Poker Flat to demonstrate her skillful mastery of house music. Her new BElight EP (see what she did there?) features the UK speed garage influence of "Delight" with its swung beats and roaring sub bass. Speaking of the latter element, "Pills" brings on a massive Reese bassline which is central to this powerful expression in Detroit influenced dancefloor drama, while the hypnotic dub of "Breathe" is perfect tackle for the afterhours. A solid effort.
Review: Legendary German imprint Poker Flat continues into 2021 with the latest in their B Sides compilation series. As it says on the tin, Chapter Six presents the best of their back catalogue between releases numbered 126 to 150 - which were around 2012 - 2013. Starting off with label boss Steve Bug's 'Tell Me Why" taken from his album Noir, Alex Niggemann's expressive piece of mood music entitled 'Tangram" (The Deep End) from back in 2013, the sexy late night shuffle of Mihai Popoviciu's "Here", Carlos Sanchez getting deep down and dirty on the afterhours bounce of "Conclution", Hamburg heroes Kollektiv Turmstrasse lending a typically emotive and bittersweet vibe to their rework of Daniel Dexter's "Birds" and who could forget the low slung swagger of "Facebook" by Diynamic chief HOSH.
Review: The Poker Flat filter sifts through its immense catalogue to pull up a fresh new 'best of' chapter. Tracks come Boris Dlugosch, Marco Resmann and Steve Bug to Vince Watson, TJ Kong and Alex Niggemann all deliver the goods, be burning italo basslines, techier dub techno and 80s synth to percussive melodies and other minimal actions. Simon Garcia goes deeper into tripper arpeggio mode with "Cavern" while the words of Theo Parrish feature in the Juno-106 house sounds of "Lectures". Get some extended minimal players from Mihai Popoviciu in "Call Me", with Detroit and Chichagoan sounds further permeating the compilation in "My Side". Dope.
Review: Industry veteran Steve 'Bug' Bruegesch has been more productive than ever in recent years. The Poker Flat chief returns to his beloved imprint for his eighth full length, which was produced during months of enforced isolation during 2020's coronavirus pandemic. As Bruegesch obviously didn't have to tour during this time, he could instead focus completely on producing without having the dancefloor as a constant influence. With that in mind, there certainly is a wide variety of moods and grooves explored on Never Ending Winding Roads: from the slinky and hypnotic minimalism of "Ludic Loops", to the sci-fi electro beats of "A Conscious Machine", the sensual and dub-laden mood music of "The Awakening" (calling to mind the sound of his sister imprint Dessous) or the knackered downbeat experience of "Raindance 101" - contemplation and reflection is more evident in his work than ever here.
Review: Poker Flat Recordings are back with another collaboration between label boss Steve Bug and industry veteran Cle (Martini Bros), with the addition of the legendary Robert Owens who brings his deeply soulful voice to the track "Not In Vain". The Windy City icon's unmistakeable, smooth- as-silk vocals will captivate you, against a perfect backdrop of slinky and hypnotic dub techno. The dub version does not omit the vocals, rather the mesmerising chords of the original to create a sensual and emotive deep house number - which is perfect mood music for the warm-up or afterhours alike.
Review: There is no doubt that Steve Bug is one of house and techno's most respected artists, and the second volume of this compilation demonstrates why he is such an essential part of the underground. It contains Bug standards like the seductive melodies of "Chordwalk Empire" and the deeper than deep house of "Different in Detroit", which sit alongside more tripped out tracks like the 303-soaked, moody bass of "Tweaky Blinders" and the low-slung jacking house of his Traffic Signs project, represented here with the vocal-led "Cookie Jar". It's a fitting tribute to one of electronic music's most talented producers.
Review: Poker Flat celebrates its twentieth anniversary by releasing the remixes that won the contest to reinterpret label owner Steve Bug's "Chordwalk Empire". Theobald Ringer's take on Bug's 2018 track is a heady dance floor affair, with dramatic strings and sweeping chords calling to mind the kind of deep techno that Slam made during the 90s. Next up is Facundo Sosa, whose version focuses on a slower groove while utilising a brooding low end that supports dubbed out chords. The third winning version comes from Esteban Howell El Bicho. Drawing on Detroit influences, beautiful electronic melodies unravel over a lean, wiry rhythm that calls to mind a mellow version of Los Hermanos.
Review: Hanseatic heroes Poker Flat delve back into their extensive back catalogue here, particularly between 2009 and 2012. Highlights come from Kiwi veteran Simon Flower on the dubby tribal psychedelia of "Late Night", label boss Steve Bug on the classic "Swallowed Too Much Bass" featuring Paris The Black Fu of Detroit Grand Pubahs, Irish deep techno legend Donnacha Costello's "It's What We Do" getting a nice retrofit by KiNK & Neville Watson, label staple Martin Landsky getting deep and sensual on "V2U" and whatever happened to James What? The prolific British producer's 2011 underground hit "It Feels Wrong" appears here, remixed by Visionquest's Lee Curtis.
Review: It's been a sweet three years for New York artist Joeski outta Queens, New York, with a hot streak of music making its way to labels like Dirtybird, Crosstown Rebels and Defected. Joeski returns to Pokerflat following his 2017 Lessons In Dub EP, which he continues here via the dub techno tipped "Drift Within". A super stripped-back and minimal vocal track to offset the alien frequencies and deep vibes of bassline hit "Wordplay", popping with percussion, skatty vocals to boot, and techy house rhythms.
Review: German power duo Steve Bug and Max 'Langenberg' Heesen collaborate again for the former's esteemed Poker Flat imprint, following up such modern classics like "NGC 6240", "Chord Cluster" and 2018's magnificent full length 'Paradise Sold'. Be prepared for some big time trance induction on the spellbinding "Emphasizer" - this is one of the most euphoric sonic journeys we have heard thus far in 2020. This is followed by good vibes and sonic positivity on the punchy tech house groove of "Thierry Moogler" - at once a dedication to the synth in its melodic bassline and, of sorts, to the French legend of high fashion.
Review: A stone cold tech house classic, Steve Bug's 'Loverboy' was first released on his Hamburg-based Poker Flat label back in 1999. Coincidentally, it was their first ever release too. Exclusive reworks have been few and far between, with legends such as Josh Wink and Guido Schneider only having the privilege thus far. Now as part of the label's 20 year celebrations, more names are added to that remix list that are equally worthy of your attention. First up, esteemed Polish duo Catz 'n Dogz give the track a tough bounce for the main room, complete with exotic steel drum sounds for added measure. This is followed by Berlin veteran Acid Pauli's Retouch, which goes for a trippy, minimalist and psychedelic journey that will sound a treat under the strobelights and the smoke machine.
Review: Steve Bug founded Poker Flat two decades ago and while much has changed since, the quality of the music has remained a constant. From established artists to upstarts alike, the Hanseatic powerhouse has introduced discerning house and techno to dancefloors far and wide - from Berlin to L.A. and everywhere in between. The label marked its 20th anniversary this year: a huge achievement and one of which everyone involved with the imprint is proud of. Fans will not just consider this just a celebratory compilation then, but certainly as a commemorative one as well. Highlights not limited to: boss man Bug's new slinky and hypnotic collaboration with Spain's UNER titled "Mantis On The Moon", the ever reliable Francesca Lombardo delivering some moody dancefloor drama on "Flumen" and acclaimed German sound engineer Hannes Bieger proving he's capable of even more sonic mastery on the other side of the desk - as heard on his collaboration with Sailor & I "Chemistry" (Dub). Elsewhere, label staple Mihai Popoviciu appears with two tracks, we particularly enjoyed the sensual, late-night boompty jam "Sleepwalking" and legend Ian Pooley's sublime rework of Eva Be's "Delight".
Review: With Johannes Brecht's home labels clearly cut out for him, it's pretty safe to assume what does arrive from now on will be a slice of life. This fresh two-track for Pokerflat follows up previous drops for Steve Bug between 2013-15, and a fresh four years later he delivers two grand piano numbers whittled down in dub and decadence thanks to the framework of minimal techno and approaches to contemporary classic music. "Endangered Audio Research" takes the high road with resonating house atmospheres, deeper rhythms and and progressive builds of melodrama, while "State Of Consciousness" pitches the live playing of chords and pianos riffs with the synthesized percussion and analogue basslines of machines. Bonafide.
Review: Berlin minimal/deep house heroes Cle and Mike Vamp celebrate two decades in the game on Hamburg's Poker Flat - their home stable throughout a large extent of their career. For those who don't know, these guys were big in the early 2000s and that shows in the guests that they asked for remixes as well. They've got Kompakt's Michael Mayer delivering a rework of "Big And Dirty", Mainz house hooligan Butch giving "Flash" a new lease of life and Jena legend Mathias Kaden taking "Babyhaze" into exciting new territory.
Review: Eva Be has been a key figure in the development of Berlin underground club culture, as half of DJ and producer duo LoYoTo with Cle (Martini Bros) and in solo mode - with a welcomed release on Poker Flat earlier in the year. Here are some remixes of "Delight" taken from her BElight EP, which was originally a vinyl only release, but it became a huge underground hit which showcased the Berliner's love of classic '90s house - connecting the dots between Berlin and Chicago in a natural and very funky way. New York City legend Joeski delivers a stomping, swing-fuelled and dubbed-out rendition of the track, while the legendary Ian Pooley delivers his midas touch as always on his utterly sublime exploration of deepness which doesn't deviate too much from the vibe of the original.
Review: The Italian-born, classically trained DJ and producer Francesca Lombardo makes her first appearance on Poker Flat with the amazing "Flumen" - a mesmerising sonic experience with its hypnotising aesthetic. Prepare to enter freefall down the rabbit hole on this one. This is followed by the slinky and up-tempo groove of "Psycho" which is jam packed full of reliable dancefloor dynamics. In addition to appearances on top labels such as Crosstown Rebels, Bedrock and Bar 25, Lombardo demonstrates her mastery at the controls here, with two tracks that riff on the theme of water, and how rivers move through time and space.
Review: One half of acclaimed German duo Frankey & Sandrino goes solo for Hanseatic powerhouse Poker Flat here with the Dream EP. Frank Beckers aka Frankey is a veteran producer and DJ from Essen that has been releasing music since the late '80s. His last solo outing was remixing Florian Kruse & Lazarusman's "Breathe" last year. The title track is a slinky and entrancing sonic journey that's perfect for dreamy rooftop parties this summer and perfect for DJs to interweave with their sonic narratives. Second offering "Rotary" is a more boppy and upbeat affair, again featuring rich rhythmic structures but more vibrant and hypnotic melodies - and charming chord progressions too!
Review: Berlin-based producer Tim Toh has been making deep house grooves on respected underground imprints such as Ornaments, Mild Pitch and Philpot, and after slowing down on his output the last few years - he's back with a vengeance if this riveting new release for Hanseatic heroes Poker Flat is anything to go by. Featuring vocals by Lisa Toh, the absolutely sensual and downright slinky late night groove of "Voyager" could have been equally at home on sister imprint Dessous. This is followed by a swirling and hypnotic rework of "Traveller" by Full Pupp/Internasjonal main man Prins Thomas, in addition to the sultry and emotive deepness of glorious closer "Excursions".
Review: Romanian tech house hero Mihai Popoviciu is back on Poker Flat, after all, he has become quite the stalwart of the label in recent times. This would mark his fifth release for Steve Bug & Co. in recent times, in addition to releases for Moan, Bedrock and Bondage Music. His new Understand EP features the sexy and slinky title track which is absolutely deep and is perfect to the set mood in the early evening with its lush chords supported by its smooth and groovy rhythm. But this actually comes after the more harder hitting track on here that is "Inside Me" - a moody and hypnotic serving of tech house that is sure to get those dancefloor drama vibes in full effect.
Thales Boutroumlis & Tantum - "Aether" - (6:49) 123 BPM
Review: Although Thales Boutroumlis was born around the same time that tech-house was first emerging from London warehouse parties, the young producer's work contains many of the nuances that made the sound so special. On the title track, that takes the form of spaced out synths and a groove that unravels in an irresistibly tripped out fashion. On "Aether", the young German artist gets together with Tantum for a murkier inter-pretation of tech-house. Over a raw, frazzled rhythm, the pair deliver the kind of sub-sonic bleeps and dramatic synth sweeps that haven't lost their power, despite the passage of almost 20 years.
Review: Moses Mehdi has only a handful of releases to his credit, but as Bushwick demonstrates, he has developed a distinctive approach. "Take It In" is a tripped out techno track, led by a resonating bass, tweaked acid lines and laced with soulful vocal samples. It's an unusual mixture that marks out Mehdi as a vital new voice in techno. "The Seek Note" is another idiosyncratic arrangement: underpinned by a menacing bass, it builds gradually and seductively. It's in stark contrast to closing track "Mad Science"; deeper and more hypnotic, its shuffling, creaky drums and spaced out melodies mean that Mehdi's reputation will continue to grow in underground circles.
Review: Renowned German mastering engineer Hannes Bieger makes a welcome return to production on this new EP for Poker Flat, but he is no stranger to the esteemed Hanseatic label. Bieger has previously presented both the Strato and Tephra EPs for them in recent times. Now he presents the brilliant new EP titled Chemistry. The title track is a deep sonar transmission, featuring hypnotic rhythms on a track beautifully realised with a vocal performance from Alexander Sjodin of Swedish act Sailor & I. Second offering "El Fuego" is more direct and full of dancefloor dynamics, on this moody and cerebral journey which is perfect for trancing-out under the strobe.
Review: Hamburg heroes Poker Flat make it abundantly clear on their new various artists EP that they still like it raw - and don't we all? They're preaching to the choir on this one, where the hottest names in tech house at present fully represent. Highlights coming courtesy of Pavel Iudin (Quality Vibe/Raro) on the deep 'n' sexy late night swing of "Waxology", London's James Dexter also returns to the label after appearances on sister imprint Dessous with the smoky afterhours vibe of "Area 51" and hero of the Parisian underground 'Monsieur' Julien Sandre teams up with Mennie for the dirty back room dub of "Partitions". Indeed like the name suggests, this is on a much more underground vibe that what we're used to from the label - quality stuff!
Review: First teaming up on the terrific "Chord Cluster" last year, Poker flat chief Steve Bug teamed up with Max Heesen aka Langenberg (Drumpoet Community/Ovum/Dessous) once more on this year's long player Paradise Sold - a masterclass in house music production that came to life as a true collaborative work. Keeping the music from the album fresh in your memory (all these months later) are these brilliant remixes. As part of the package, featured are German duo Frankey & Sandrino who deliver their idiosyncratic style of dancefloor drama on their version of "Senior Elfo", while the always reliable Cassy - she of the newly launched Kwench imprint - serves up the moody and hypnotic backroom vibe on her Cassy Full On Dub. Closing up is Panorama Bar resident Virginia going for an evocative and bittersweet electro vibe on her rework of "A Touch Of Detroit".
Review: Poker Flat chief Steve Bug steps up here to deliver the longstanding imprint's next release, following up impressive offerings by the likes of Josh Butler, Simone Vitullo and Animal Trainer. He delivers the slinky and hypnotic tech house cut " Solid Maybe " fuelled by minimal arrangement and a moody atmosphere. Second offering "Chordwalk Empire" likes its name suggests is powered by some terrific chord progressions that exemplifies a wonderful expression in melodic techno - that would hold its own alongside stuff by other masters of the craft such as Aril Brikha or John Tejada.