Review: Following albums in 2020 for Axis and Tresor, Terrence Dixon now drops a long player for Rush Hour. He released the superb Theater of a Confused Mind as Population One back in 2014 on the Dutch label, and Detroit makes for a worthy follow up. Like Theater, it is dense and swampy, less focused on the pointillist sound design that punctuated some of Dixon's work under his own name. "8th Chance" even inhabits the kind of jazzed out style as Rob Hood's Nighttime World, while "Dexter And Joy At Night" sees Dixon take a more atmospheric techno approach. That said, there is no shortage of stripped back, forward looking dance floor grooves with the title track and "Music Box" sounding particularly impressive.
Review: It may have taken eight years, but finally one of Hun Choi's most memorable singles has made it to digital download. Originally released via a limited-edition, double A-side 12", the two-track affair remains one of Hunee's heaviest and most club-ready releases. Check first opener 'Tide', where tough, chopped-up drum machine beats, tribal-tinged percussion and wayward, acid-style motifs provide sturdy support for swirling chords and lo-fi electronic lead lines. The Rush Hour regular continues in a similarly chopped-up, analogue-rich and drum-heavy vein on the slightly funkier but no less raw and weighty 'Minnoch', whose low-slung, lo-fi bassline is particularly addictive.
Review: Recognised as the world beating archivists that Rush Hour are, this compilation presents a series of wayfaring synth tracks released at different times over the last 40 years. With the earliest cut committed to tape in 1978 and the most recent in 2018, Artificial Dancers - Waves Of Synth lifts rare and previously unheard music from the late Stephan Huss of Psyche, to Californian band Batang Frisco, to Matthias Schuster's Im Namen Des Volkes project with a previously unreleased 2014 track called "Alles Ist Gewinn". Alongside the Human League too, you will find a Chris and Cosey number called "Hybrid C" that was plucked from their CD-only album Skimble Skamble. A whole new constellation to explore.
Review: Rush Hour might not be the first label you think of when it comes to contemporary funk, disco and soul, but they've certainly delivered the goods on this latest single from New York's Tom Noble, who heads up Superior Elevation Records. In its original form, 'Flashlight' is an instrumental disco excursion centred around a fat walking bassline that vaguely recalls Candido, sweeping strings and wukka-wukking guitar... all very 1979, but the Masalo Remix propels us forward in time to somewhere around 1983 with its harder, faster beats (complete with a cheeky nod to 'Blue Monday') and throbbing Italo bassline.
Review: Swiss DJ Sassy J now curates the second compilation in the Patchwork series, for Dutch imprint Rush Hour. For the past 14 years, she has run a night of the same name in her hometown Bern, and another in London. Showcasing music by many of the artists that have joined her throughout the years in clubs, on the radio and at home, this release is made up of new and unreleased tracks, capturing a sound that has continued to evolve in its restless search for new musical directions. From the deep, soulful and emotive tones of Warm's "Blue Sunrise" or 2000Black's "Plastic Jam", to Afro influenced spiritual life music as heard by the lady herself (with Alex Attias) on "Jelly Bubble Rise", through to RH label staple Aardvark's hi-tech soul deconstruction "Aap Noot" and Mr Fingers stone cold classic "Survivor" - Sassy J takes you on an evocative sonic journey from start to finish.
Review: If you like your beats downtempo and your soundscapes crafted from an eclectic variety of sounds then you're in the right place with this two-track EP from Rush Hour. Underpinned by steady, unhurried drums and a throbbing synth bassline, 'Part 1' of 'Demedim Mi' draws largely from the boxes marked 'Indian' and 'sub-aquatic' for its sound set, with the product of all this coming on like the aural equivalent of bumbling into an ashram tripping at 5am. 'Part 2' tones down the subcontinental vibes just slightly, and ends up leaning a little more towards the moody and cinematic side as a result.
Review: Originally only available as a 12" single that was only sold in Rush Hour's legendary Amsterdam store, Masalo's 2018 debut single has finally made it to digital download. Both tracks doff a cap towards the spacey and intergalactic end of the Italo-disco spectrum, with Masalo opting for unfussy drum machine rhythms and throbbing, arpeggio style basslines Opener "New Dance" is the more obviously disco-centric of the two tracks, with jaunty riffs, lilting synth-pop melodies and ricocheting, proto-house style drum fills rising above a suitably druggy groove. "Cycles", meanwhile, is a little deeper and even more intergalactic in tone, an effect emphasized via trippy vocal chants and crystalline lead lines that appear to drift across the universe.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a much-needed reissue of Klein and MBO's Ron Hardy and Larry Levan favourite "The MBO Theme". What makes this release rather special, though, is not the presence of the killer original version - an instrumental prototype for their later classic "Dirtytalk" - but rather the addition of a ridiculously obscure South African re-make by Warrior that one of Rush Hour's resident crate-diggers stumbled across last year. It's arguably even better than the original. Not only does it operate at a slightly slower tempo, but it also includes some fine fretless bass and wonderfully spacey synthesizer re-recordings of the track's famous lead lines. It makes the package simply essential in our eyes.
Review: Amsterdam based producer Jordan 'GCZ' Czmanski wears many hats, whether as part of Juju & Jordash, Magic Mountain High or as part of Mullholland Free Clinic with David Moufang. He now makes his solo debut on Rush Hour with this awesome EP of neon treasures. From the funky old school techno vibe of "Pinball Lizzard" with its wayward melodies and cracking rhythms - on what the label best described themselves as - a multi-ball dancefloor battle against the Grand Lizard.
Review: Since the turn of the decade, Jungle By Night have not only established themselves as Holland's premier Afro-funk fusionists, but also won hearty praise from legendary Fela Kuti drummer Tony Allen. "Livingstone", their fifth full-length excursion, is every bit as essential as its' predecessors. It sees the tight nine-piece speed between South African influenced dancefloor jazz-funk ("Pompette"), spacey downtempo workouts ("Ja Precis"), romping dancefloor workouts (the sublime "Love Boat"), deep tropical shufflers ("Stormvodel", the Giallo-influenced "Hum in Bell"), reggae-fired epics (the two-part brilliance of "Spectacles") and organ-heavy, boogie-rich rubs ("Spending Week"). Throughout, the band's composition, playing and production is close to perfect, making "Livingstone" another must-have instrumental set.
Review: This five-track single provides a taster for s/t, the debut album from Traxx, Beau Wanzer and Steve Summers aka Mutant Beat Dance. Produced in the trio's signature grainy style, it features the baby samples and moody, repetitive bass-led "Toy Story" as well as a possible cross over track in the shape of the jittery punk-funk and scratchy guitars of "Feed The Enemy", a collaboration with Pat Mahoney of LCD Soundsystem. Despite this fleeting flirtation with fame, this release also shows that Mutant Beat Dance haven't forgotten their past: "Funk Groove" is a swampy piece of electro-funk and "Revival 80s" mines a path through the basement moods and dusty drum machines of 80s proto-house.
Review: Rush Hour presents a remix of Skymark's "Find A Place In This Crazy World" by none other than Ron Trent. The Chicago deep house maestro delivers truly emotive and bittersweet perspective like only he can - it's purposely engineered for some divine moments of truth on the dancefloor. The original track, next up, was featured on Marc Friedli's 2015 release 'Wave From The Nucleus - a beautiful and sun-kissed nu-jazz jam from the Swiss producer who resided in Rio de Janeiro for many years, and now in Barcelona. Friedli runs the Modern Suns Records imprint and has released on quality labels like Nsyde and Neroli over the years as well.
Review: You'd expect a compilation curated by open-minded DJ/producer Hunee to be eclectic in nature, and Hunchin' All Night is just that and more. Marketed simply as "a collection of his favourite dancefloor cuts from the '70s until modern time", the compilation set is packed with obscure and inspired jams in a variety of styles. Compare, for example, the gentle but tribal rhythms and new age synthesizers of Carlos Maria and Nuno Canavarro's "Blue Terra" with the glistening, mid-80s Balearic jazz-funk brilliance of Stanislas Tohon's "Owhaaou" (as re-edited by French digger Raphael Top-Secret), or even the Clavinet-heavy Highlife brilliance of Pat Thomas's "Yesu San Bra Disco Hi Life". And that's before we get to the acid-flecked techno madness of Villa Abo and Hunee's wonderfully dreamy and dubbed-out pulse of Mappa Mundi's "Trance Fusion".
Review: When it appeared back in 1995, no one could have predicted that a track from Terrence Dixon's Hippnotic Culture release as Population One would have provided the name for one of European dance music's most respected hubs. As its recognition grew, the people behind Rush Hour went back to the source of their name and started to release new material by the Detroit producer, including the excellent Theater Of A Confused Mind album in 2014. Now the Dutch label is further recognising its roots with this exemplary remix package of tracks from Hippnotic Culture. Veering in sound from the jazzed out, loose percussion of "Lost In Space" to the stripped back, atmospheric techno of "Lovechild" and the rolling snares and wild howling filters of "Rush Hour" itself, this is a fitting tribute both to the label and to Dixon himself.
Review: New Aural Discourse holds four fresh, futuristic and far-sighted British takes on Detroit techno by arguably one of electronic music's best-kept secrets. This is N.A.D.'s comeback release after over 25 years and it's a proud salute to the classic sounds of the Motor City. Starting off with the hi-tech soul of "Ontologic", they're then into some UR style intergalactic transmissions on "A Sense Of Finitude". The flip features what we thought was a highlight in the form of "Transmatting" with its complex drum programming, funky bassline and evocative strings: it sounds like an old Transmat (hey, hang on!) style jam. Initially, the duo of Tony Thorpe and Mustafa Ali released one album entitled The Dawn Of A New Age, which was on sale for little more than a week before it vanished from record store shelves. Decades after it was created, their forgotten debut album became something of a 'must-have' for electronic music collectors.
Review: Story has it that Chicago disco legend Sadar Bahar discovered Ben (aka Cosmic Force of Clone/Creme Organization fame) Spaander's Utrecht based studio, and it's said to be housing around 60 synths. Electro fiend Spaander 'was charmed by the electronic elements in Sadar's funk and Sadar loved Ben's ideas.' They claim that nothing was sampled on these two tracks. There's undoubtedly an old school flavour to "We Are Righteous People" with its funky bass, sleazy guitar licks and bongo drums galore over spacy synths. Next up "Bouncing Atoms" gets the party started in fine form with dusty/live sounding drums, more frenetic guitar work and the mandatory cowbells going off all over the place!
Review: The Abstract Eye is Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker, a producer who releases music mainly using the monikers GB, The Reflektor, Frankie Reyes and Julian Abelar. Five prolific, soulful/melodic tracks originally released in 2011 on Valentine Connexion, are now available again courtesy of Amsterdam's always reliable Rush Hour. The extraordinarily gifted Los Angeleno creates striking electronic songs here, which integrate the technological with the spiritual and ancestral. There's respectful nods on here to Motor City greats like Japanese Telecom ("Cool Warm Divine") and John Beltran ("Nobody Else"). Might we also mention "Nobody Else Pt. 2" which channels the cyclical/minimal soul of Internal Empire era Robert Hood: absolutely sublime!
Review: During the 1990s, Chez Damier and Ron Trent's Prescription Records did more than any other label to define the sound of Chicago deep house. The label's reputation is such that it's still talked about in hushed tones, with lesser-known back catalogue nuggets remaining in-demand items with DJs and record collectors. This superb, double-disc compilation from Rush Hour tells the story of the label, gathering together both much-played underground anthems (Trent and Damier's "Morning Factory" and "The Choice", the proto-boompty-via-St Germain jazz-house of Angora's "Enchantment", and so on) and sought-after selections. Thrillingly, the collection also boasts a trio of previously unreleased Ron Trent cuts, all of which are superb.
Review: Two radically different remixers get to grips with tracks from Hunee's 2015 Hunch Music album. In Mick Wills' hands, "Hiding the Moon" becomes a dark, drawn out ebm affair, its pulsing bass and nocturnal synth line leading the Korean producer's sound down a dark, eerie path. In stark contrast is DJ Fett Burger's 'Boss Brain Computer' version of "Crossroads". Crisp, resonant break beats underpin the arrangement, and are bookended by prolonged ambient drops that are full of half-heard vocals and mysterious samples. Even for a producer who specialises in left of centre music this remix is one of Fett Burger's most unusual creations.
Review: Next up is another archival release from Rush Hour. There's little known about Rodap. Hailing from Martinique, in the French West Indies, he began producing more than 30 years ago in a context where many French Caribbean musicians were searching for their own style and fusing traditional heritage (Gwo-Ka, Bel Air, Biguine) with synthetic music. The Beletronic EP features three productions that the label describes as "otherworldly Caribbean electronic dance floor cuts." Rodap recorded them in the '90s and in 2000 but this is the debut on vinyl and digital formats. "Hiwa" is an emotive and epic synth disco journey with razor sharp arpeggios and soothing pan pipes. "Paco" rocks out harder; some razor-sharp synth riffs and euphoric pads soar over some furious drums; this one was wicked! Finally "Zouklove" has more of a loose and lo-slung balearic vibe about it and is perfect for summertime drifting.
Review: Given his reputation for pioneering techno in the Netherlands in the '90s, it is no surprise a broad range of labels are looking to work with Steve Rachmad. Not soon after the man known as Sterac contributed a pair of remixes to an Aera 12" on the mighty Innervisions, Rachmad's earlier material is the subject of a reissue 12" on home turf titans Rush Hour. It's his mid-'90s work for Dutch techno label 100% Pure that is the focus of the Amsterdam operation's attentions here, specifically the cuts "Osirion" and "Primus." Issued together on a '96 12" on 100% Pure, both these tracks are not as widely feted as Sterac classics from the same era like "Sitting On Clouds" but they do demonstrate Rachmad's innate mastery of the Motor City sound. Remastered for 2016, they sound just as fresh some 20 years on!!
Review: Having earned his corn in the back office of Rush Hour's Amsterdam HQ, Olf Van Elden is now making his mark as a producer. Previously, he's released fizzing, far-sighted techno and house on Voyage Direct and Tape Records Amsterdam. Here, he delivers his most expansive - and arguably strongest - 12" to date for former employers Rush Hour. There's much to admire, from the pulsing analogue motifs and clanking drum machine percussion of "Cable 54" and semi-ambient gorgeousness of "Poly Evolver #1", to the thumping, industrial-influenced modular throb of "Poly Evolver #2". Arguably best of all, though, are his two hook-ups with Jeroen. Choose between the flitting electronic melodies, snappy beats and dreamy chords of "Prototype", and the drowsy, EBM-goes-Detroit brilliance of "Ama Driver".
Review: Leon Vynehall's "Midnight On Rainbow Road" was one of the undoubted highlights of last year's Musik For Autobahns 2 compilation, so it's no surprise to see it getting a deserved single release. The original version, which sat somewhere between the guitar-laden ambient textures of early System 7 releases and the hypnotic pulse of Detroit beatdown, is here joined by an all new "Beat Edit", designed with club play in mind. Vynehall has done a terrific job with the rework, all told, which underpins his glistening melodic refrains and dreamy chords with a rolling, pitched-down rhythm that makes great use of live-sounding drums. The result is a beatdown/ambient house hybrid that recalls the glory days of the early '90s chill-out room.
Goon (feat Trish Van Eynde/Entire Kickless) - (5:19) 130 BPM
Anti Political - (5:16) 136 BPM
At Last - (8:06) 126 BPM
Chicago By Night - (6:17) 122 BPM
Predator's Cave - (5:35) 138 BPM
The Swamp - (7:08) 136 BPM
In My World - (6:06) 130 BPM
Review: Dutch techno legend Orlando Voorn is back! The man behind such seminal aisses as Fix, Designer Loops and Basic Bastard presents a varied palette of grooves on this album, from the smack electro of opener "Turn Left Right Here" and the fierce "Predators Cave" to the high tech soul of "Lead Me The Right Way" or "Anti Political" (which could have been on Transmat it's so soulful). There's some straight up dancefloor gold too of course, such as on "Chicago By Night" and "In My World" but still carry on with some serious injections of futuristic blues! Highly recommended.
Review: No less than two years after The Light Fantastic came out, tracks from Tom Trago's third album are still getting a second look by regular cats from the extended Rush Hour community. Young Marco gets to grips with "Avenido" first, and delivers a patient sermon that glides on featherweight pad lines with snowflake chimes sprinkled on top for good measure. There's still a purposeful beat kicking away underneath the melodic niceties mind you. Awanto 3 meanwhile brings a peak time urgency to "The Elite", dropping some chunky synth stabs over a nagging bassline with a lick of disco exuberance thrown in for good measure.
Review: It's been some six years since Hun Choi made his debut on William Burnett's WT Records imprint. In that time, he's proved incredibly hard to pin down. This debut album for Rush Hour seems designed to continue that trend, offering a series of warm, melodious and curiously Balearic cuts that defy easy categorization. Sure, there are dancefloor-focused moments - see the cacophonous, Detroit-influenced hustle of "Error of the Average", the deep acid madness of "Silent Sensations" and the classic deep house bounce of "Desire" - but also a range of downtempo and ambient jams that arguably impress more. Of these, it's "The World" - a humid exercise in tropical drums, twittering flutes and looped vocal samples - and the sublime, string-laden "Bruises" that really stand out.
Review: Having previously released a mini-album's worth of Vincent Floyd's unreleased early '90s recordings, Rush Hour has decided to re-release one of his most notable original EPs - 1991's Dance Mania released I Dream You. Happily, all four tracks have aged well, with the title track sounding like a near perfect blend of vintage Larry Heard, early Bobby Konders, and the more new age-inclined offerings of the Burrell Brothers. There's a bit more of a New Jersey shuffle to the superb "Get Up" (check out the wonderfully tactile organs and pads), while "Cactus Juice" sees Floyd in Chicago Jack-meets-Detroit techno mode - all alien electronics, clattering machine drums and raw energy.
Review: For deep house diggers, Soichi Terada has long been a source of inspiration. While he's still active, it's the early '90s material he released on the Far East Recordings label - an imprint he founded soon after his graduation in 1990 - that most excites. Following the 2014 re-release of his sublime hook-up with Nami Shimada, "Sunshower", Rush Hour has decided to put together this excellent retrospective. Compiled by self-confessed fan Hunee, Sounds From The Far East contains a mixture of hard-to-find Terada originals, collaborations, and tracks by fellow Far East Recordings artist Shinichiro Yokota, all in the label's trademark melody-rich, evocative deep house style.
Review: Earlier this year, Rush Hour announced the focus of their archival attentions would fall on Vincent Floyd, a producer with a small clutch of releases in the mid-90s for Dance Mania, Relief and Gherkin Records offshoot Resound Records. Having reissued Floyd's 1990 Dance Mania release Your Eyes back in February, Amsterdam outpost Rush Hour return to the Chicago artist's canon of work with Moonlight Fantasy, a six track missive filled with unreleased material. Sourced from Floyd's personal DAT tapes, Moonlight Fantasy focuses on his earliest productions and a time when his sumptuous sound was very much in the classic deep house mould of Larry Heard. House music historians will find this a most compelling document!
Review: Terrence Dixon's announcement of plans to retire from techno with immediate effect earlier this year have typically gone without any further explanation, though it's been heartening to see his final round of projects surface over the course of 2014. Having already committed a killer Population One 12" to Metroplex, Dixon delivers another fitting parting shot in this LP for Rush Hour, who took their name from his classic Pop One production "Rush Hour". Theater Of A Confused Mind is a powerful statement from Dixon, expanding on the sci-fi themes of previous Population One material and posing several cryptic questions. Dixon's own voice introduces the album on "Out Of Control" and as matters progress those trademark queasy lines of melody begin to take control - "Inner City Circus" being a stand out of this set.
Review: Having previously built up a solid relationship with legendary New York deep house producer Ben 'Cozmo D' Cenac via their 2012 reissue of his Dream II Science 12" from 1990, Rush Hour once again mine his back catalogue with impressive effect. Bang The Drums, his first and only album under the Push/Pull alias, has long been regarded as something of a slept-on deep house classic. It's similar in style to the Dream II Science material, but with greater use of African rhythms and instrumentation. Given when it was made, there are also nods to hip-house (check the groove and stabs on "Africa", as well as the title track) and, perhaps most interestingly, classic New Jersey garage ("Zanzibar", seemingly a tribute to Tony Humphries' club of the same name).
Review: Vibes New & Rare Music 2 reaches its conclusion here as Rush Hour drop the second and final helping of the Rick Wilhite-curated compilation with a suitably high profile cast of contributors involved. If you checked Part One which dropped earlier this year, you'll know Wilhite has expanded the remit to include producers from Chicago and New York - and if you didn't check it what's wrong with you! Any compilation that starts with an exclusive cut from Moodymann is gonna be good, and the dusty, disjointed "Momma" sets the tone quality wise for what follows. The Godson himself delivers a thunderous, stripped back take on "A Matter of Honour" by Sean Tate and this dukes it out with the apocalyptic electro of DJ Stingray and the rugged beatdown of Orlando Voorn as our favourites from this great collection.
Review: Will this be the year that Tom Trago finally becomes a household mainstream name? Listening to "The Elite", it sounds like his time is about to come. It sees the Amsterdam-based producer draw on funk, electro and hip-hop and the 'single edit' version is a near-perfect summertime tune, something that has lot to do with the street party samples on the intro and the combination of squalling sax and colourful keyboard flourishes. In its original format, "The Elite" is tailored for DJ usage. The street sounds are still there and the uplifting vibes haven't gone away, but they are underscored by tight electro beats and thumb clicking percussion. Expect to hear it everywhere this summer.
Review: Yes, The Godson is back doing his thing for Rush Hour! Detroit legend Rick Wilhite first put his compiling skills to play for the Amsterdam empire back in 2010 with the excellent Vibes New & Rare Music, an 11-track release that celebrated the role the esteemed selector and producer played in moulding local Detroit tastes as the head of the Vibes New & Rare Music record store. Theo Parrish, Glenn Underground and Marcellus Pittman all contributed, whilst the compilation also worked as a platform to introduce newer names such as Kyle Hall and Ricardo Miranda. A second volume is most welcome and expands Wilhite's remit to include music by producers from Detroit, Chicago and New York. The first of two double editions kicks off with a sublime production from Blaze's Josh Milan and doesn't let up on the heat, with Jovonn, K Alexi and a collaborative cut from Wilhite and Norm Talley amongst the highlights.