Review: Smallville rarely disappoints, so it's little surprise to find that the label's latest multi-artist excursion is packed with high-grade deep house treats. Frantzvaag kicks things off with "Fredens", a quirky, off-kilter number that wraps a lo-fi electronic melody and sreamy chords around clicking machine drums and a dub style bassline, before Nightseajourney ups the tempo via the sun-bright peak-time warmth of Rhodes-sporting EP highlight "Lonnie's Condition". You'll find more bleeping melodies and enveloping chords on the jazz-fired deep house bump of Margaux's "Water on Mars", while Qnete's "A New Beginning Ending" is an alien-sounding shuffle into early morning deep house territory.
Review: Smallville Records/Smallpeople co-founder Julius Steinhoff returns after a great collaboration with Moomin on the Closer imprint last year, a surprising non-electronic album with his band project Tonight Will Be Fine (together with Abdeslam Hammouda) on Japanese label Mule Musiq and some great remixes for Spain's Saft label. The Hamburg native strikes out with some real proper deep stuff here, like on the soulful and emotive acid express of "Along The Coast", or the energetic hi-tech soul workout that is "Moondowner" and finally draws on the bloodlines of classic techno and electro (in a modern context) on the trippy and minimalist "Be Myself". A solid effort from one of Germany's most underrated producers.
Review: Hamburg purveyors of the deep Smallville are back with the debut of L'amour Fou, The Dujuan EP is the work of David Moufang aka Move D with Benoit Bouquin and Taipei based Marco Wollenberg. While opening cut "Sunday Haze" may sound like more generic fare, with its emotive house organs and all; the trio really find their sound when they dive into the deep and abstract with "Dujan" and "The Last Call". The evocative title track for instance, with its razor sharp and wandering arpeggio which is backed by a wonderfully hypnotic arrangement. Final offering "The Last Call" incorporates live instrumentation (mainly that sombre fingerpicked guitar riff), over ambient textures and reverb drenched field recordings with dusty rhythm patterns. Like most anything involving Moufang you really can't go wrong: and this one's no exception!
Review: In the sales notes sent to record stores, Smalleville has described this multi-artist affair as "a club night from start to finish". Certainly, the four tracks are pleasingly varied, moving from the 109 BPM bliss of Makybee Diva's untitled dream-house shuffler, to the energetic acid house/deep house fusion of "Monkeys On My Roof" by L'Amour Fou, a collaborative project whose members include the legendary David 'Move D' Moufang. Elsewhere, Arnaldo delivers a near perfect chunk of Detroit techno inspired deep house hypnotism ("Screaming With A Blocked Nose"), and Chicagoan producer Snad combines sweaty, bumpin' grooves and becalmed synthesizer motifs on the excellent "Excerptz".
Review: While Moomin may have been one of Smallville's most consistent artists, he's not released that much for the Hamburg imprint in recent times. A Minor Thought is his second full-length, and first since acclaimed 2011 debut The Story About You. Fans of that album will be pleased to discover A Minor Thought picks up where it's predecessor left off, with the producer laying down a series of opaque deep house jams rich with live instrumentation, jazzy samples, delicious musical touches and interesting ideas. Highlights are plentiful, from the loose-limbed grooves, dreamy pads and snaking clarinet lines of "Morning Groove" and effortlessly whimsical "Alone", to the tech-tinged loveliness of "Chemistry" and jazz-flecked bliss of "You Neva Know".
Review: Lovers of Move D & Benjamin Brunn will know it's been a long time coming since we've heard new material for the ambient house loving duo - no that we expected it! In this poetic display for Smallville it brings back haze, smells and memories from a time when we associated the label Smallville with STL's At Disconnected Moments and Songs From The Beehive, the duo's incredible second album. The pair's concept pushes even further into ambient pastures this time and you can expect baths of warm, think and heavy floating basslines being graced by waving pads, soft arpeggios and the pitter patter of spaced out, glitchy pops of percussion. Ambient house at its finest.
Review: Smallville has clearly been paying attention to the output of Cosmic Rhythm, the Bari-based imprint renowned for its' futurist infusions of vintage Italian dream house sounds, tropical melodies and the far-sighted ethos of Detroit techno. Here, they've served up an EP from one of the label's rising stars, Rhythm of Paradise, who particularly impresses with the skittish Motor City percussion and swirling deep house aesthetics of "Dreams". Elsewhere, "Into Your Eyes" doffs a cap to Calypso Records on the chunky but loved-up "Into Your Eyes" and wonderfully wavy, sunset-friendly warmth of "U". Fittingly, Cosmic Rhythm boss Cosmic Garden steps up to remix "Dreams", delivering a deliciously glassy-eyed take that sits somewhere between early Italian ambient house and the analogue-rich swing of classic Larry Heard productions.
Review: While seven years have passed since Smallpeople's last album length excursion, it would be fair to say that "Afterglow", their much-anticipated sophomore set, was worth the wait. While rooted in their trademark twist on atmospheric, musically rich deep house, there's enough subtle variations across the eight tracks to suggest that the long-serving duo has delivered something that works both at home and on peak-time dancefloors. The high quality threshold throughout makes picking highlights tough, but we're particularly enjoying the bumping, early '90s NYC house-meets-Motor City deepness of "All States of Dawn", the jazzy house breeze of "Beyond", the piano-driven rush of "Sonic Winds", the dub-house warmth of "Magic Interference" and the ultra-deep pulse of "Afterglow".
Review: Having recently contributed the delicious "Cricket Orchestra" to Smallville's impressive 10th anniversary collection, Smallville Ways, Julius Steinhoff and Just von Ahlefeld deliver their first EP for the Hamburg label in 12 months. They begin with the throbbing, low-slung bounce of "Crystal Fandango", where ghostly electronics and rubbery riffs wrap themselves around a stomping, bass-heavy groove. "Move" features similarly woozy chords and melody lines, but a more glassy-eyed, Chicago-influenced drum track, while "Fever" is percussively dense and acid influenced whilst retaining their usual hazy deep house feel. It's all impeccably produced, as usual, and each of the three tracks brings something a little different to the table.
Review: Under the now familiar STL alias, Stephan Laubner has made all manner of aural treats, flitting between labels that suit his various sonic voyages into dub techno and deep house. Here he presents his first EP on Smallville for two years, kicking off with the trippy organ lines, clandestine audio textures and woodblock-fired deep house beats of "Thing In The Mirraw". He makes merry with manipulated vocal samples, angular drum machine hits and intergalactic electronics on the spacey curio that is "Fade In The Sun", before channeling the spirits of Pepe Bradock and Ricardo Villalobos on the wonky deep house hypnotism "PsiFy Robot".