Review: It sounds like Andrade was weaned on some of the late 90s and early 00s tackle! "All In" boasts the jarring discordance of electro house before it became a hipster soundtrack and "Lies" is an acid-tinged rolling groove with a vocal narrative about loneliness. However, it's the title track that stands out here: as it progresses, the niggling riff sounds like the modern version of the one that drives Josh Wink's "Don't Laugh", but it's the bad ass bassline, a booming sub that could have been spawned after years spent listening to London tech-house and 2-step, that really captures the imagination.
Review: German producer Roland Appel's "Dark Solder" was one of the most played house records of recent years, and it sounds like "Fleurs Du Mal" may emulate it. Appel's productions are straightforward yet full of feeling and the chord-heavy title track is a case in point, building to the sound of spooky vocal samples and filtered bass stabs. The end result is an eerie, utterly distinctive tech-house track. "Rosario" is a crisper drum track that also features building chord sequences, but it's "Black Leather" that steals the glory. Based on a relatively similar framework, its chiming bells are enchanting and, coupled with a wailing banshee, makes for the spookiest, tranciest (with a small 't') house this side of David Alvarado.
Review: Steve Bug's Poker Flat Recordings imprint hit the ripe old age of 15 this year - an eternity in house music terms - and has been celebrating with the superb Four Jacks series of EPs. This third instalment delivers more thrills in the shape of two previously unheard remixes of label classics, and two brand new jams. Audiofly's remix of Argy's 2005 debut "Love Dose" gets the right balance between locked-in tech-house grooves and gnarled acid jack, while Joeski's dub of Martin Landsky's "Reject" is a throbbing jacker peppered with woozy synths and urgent vocal samples. Berlin-based Brit Mark Henning impresses with the foreboding chords and classic Chicago drums of "Mad Half Hour", before Dario D'Attis steals the show with the hard-wired acid funk of "96000".
Review: Veteran German house producer Dlugosch shows the new guard that he still has the magic touch. The title track is a forceful but feisty club groove, its warbling synths set to a backdrop of gurgling acid and crashing cymbals as an unknown vocalist promises sweet nothings. "Sweet Talk" is even more seductive; this time an old school ooh ooh vocal snippet is fused with swirling filters and a limber low-end rhythm. Admittedly, the remixes are of a high quality; Show B drops a deeper version of "Knalldrang", Nico Lahs swathes the arrangement in tranced out melodic layers that sweep in across his stepping rhythm and In Flagranti drops a version that pulses and jacks in all the right places.
Review: It comes as no surprise that Brecht is a close affiliate of Henrik Schwarz, as his music shares the same roots and sense of drama. "Nuages" and "Fetes" are by-products of the post-minimal landscape. Although their drums and percussion click and tick repetitively, both still sound less mechanical and, thanks to the glorious melodies that prevail on both, much more human than most iterations of that sound. The standout track here is "Sirens"; more up-tempo and groovy than the other tracks, its dramatic, string-soaked builds and subsequent drops are reminiscent of fellow German producers Ame at the height of their powers.
Review: Long before techno producers decided to revert to anonymity, there was the Traffic Signs project. Inspired by jacking Chicago house rather than the grainy minimalism of the hand-stamped vinyl brigade, the only clue that the series was European lay in the dry vocal samples on some of the tracks. By now everyone knows that the project was the work of Steve Bug, but it is worth hearing the series again to understand how the Poker Flat boss was so ahead of both the anonymity and jacking house curves. "VCM Nation" with its ponderous vocal and subtle snare builds over a menacing bass, is every bit as menacing as Joey Beltram's house records for Nu Groove, the scuzzy bleeps of "Noize Alarm" blew the electro house sound out of the water, while the androgynous vocal and dense drums of "Infiltrate" remains an irresistible combination.