Review: Given the growing eccentricity of his Superpitcher project, it would be fair to say that Aksel Schaufler is a neat fit with the similarly inclined Studio Barnhus label. Certainly, the former minimal techno producer has delivered the goods on 'Lonely Lover', his first release of any sort for two years. The title track is simply gorgeous: an epic slab of slow building, soft-focus deep house that creates heads-down dancefloor gold out of little more than brilliant percussion programming, effects-laden drum hits, swelling (and often filtered) chords, and some deliciously misty-eyed samples from a dreamy old French chanson record. Also impressive is the similarly framed virtual flipside 'Smile It's a New Day', a clicking, string-laden shuffle through sunrise-ready deep house minimalism that's worth every second of its ten-minute duration.
Review: Lisa Milberg and Jon Bergstrom are Miljon! The Swedish duo made a ripples in 2018 when their link up with Axel Bowman and their "Forgot About You" single was picked up for the odd compilation (and BoyBoy release it first appeared on). Given some time to subside back into the studio, the pair now fully emerge with the release of their debut album, Don't They Know. Keeping in line with a lineage of great Swedish indie music, Miljon opt for a lo-fi and disco-tinged sound, described by some as flaskpost-disko or message-in-a-bottle-disco which the band acknowledge but redefine themselves as "something faded, worn, sun-bleached and ocean-sprayed but all the same carefully written, perhaps romantic or a touch dramatic".
Review: Finish artists Jimi Tenor and Freestyle Man may seem unlikely bedfellows, but both have a reputation for bending musical boundaries and - to coin a clich? of the business world - thinking outside the box. Their previous collaborations for Studio Barnhus were all excellent, and their latest outing, 'Forgotten Planet Awakens', is another gem. A kind of imaginary theme to a future sci-fi B-movie, it layers gentle flute solos, easy listening choral vocals, jaunty TB-303 lines and foreboding orchestration atop a squelchy nu-disco bassline and rolling house drums. On paper it shouldn't work, but it's genuinely great. Ricardo Villalobos remixes, delivering a typically bass-heavy but surprisingly chunky version that makes much of the Finnish duo's interesting musical details.
Review: If it's experimental, forward-thinking music from deep house's outer fringes you're after, you'll find it in abundance on this four-tracker from Sweden's Studio Barnhus, released to mark the label's 10th anniversary. Label bosses Kornel Kovacs and Axel Boman bring us a track each, with Kovac's 'Zero Feel' a laidback, shuffle-y groover while Boman's 'Radionova' fuses deep, prog and Balearic influences and is probably the closest thing to a straight-up 'deep house' cut anywhere on the EP. Elsewhere, Studio Barnhus's 'Sverige' is a wonked-out downtempo/chill-out piece, while Pedrodollar's 'Gazzoo' comes on like '91-style hardcore as heard through a post-PC Music filter, chipmunk'd vocal and all.
Review: Off The Meds is not the new artistic alias of a certain deranged American President, but rather a freewheeling, hard-to-pigeonhole collaboration between South African photographer-turned-vocalist Kamohelo Khoaripe and Swedish scene stalwarts Adrian Lux, Carli Lof and Mans Glaeser. The quartet's debut album is little less than brilliant, offering up a swathe of tracks that add Khoaripe's distinctive improvised raps to distinctive, imaginative and unusual backing tracks that regularly blur the boundaries between hip-house, electro, deep house, skewed synth-pop, kwaito, SA 'Bacardi house', dancehall and twisted, sub-heavy bass music mutations. It's genuinely hard to pigeonhole, but that only adds to the album's immense allure.
Review: Next up from the Studio Barnhus Sweden crew we see them welcome back the wonderful Bella Boo, this time reworking a number of previous releases into vibrant remix creations, kicking off with the trippy melodic swirls and punchy bass slaps that emit from Off The Meds' rethink of 'She's Back. Next, Karima F gives 'Can't Leave You' a potent tribal rethink, Shy One delivers a spacey roller revamp of 'Tuesday' and Kornel Kovacs sends 'Stars' to the breakbeat manipulation machine for a sombre lick of paint. Finally, Matthew Styles provides us with a stripped back 4x4 overhaul of 'Sin Sin' rounding off a fantastic selection of fabulous recreations.
Review: We were rather surprised to learn that "Eyes of My Mind" is Axel Boman's first solo single on Studio Barnhus, the label he co-founded, since 2013. It's also his first EP of any sort since 2017 (though 2019 did see the release of his fine "Le New Life" LP on Mule Musiq). The track is little less than a loved-up aural hug; a slow building, deliciously glassy-eyed affair in which dreamy chords, quirky vocal samples, droning bass tones and bubbly electronic motifs ride a bustling, loose-limbed drum track that sits somewhere between regular deep house, Max D's Dolo Percussion project and good old-fashioned breakbeat. Boman calms things down dramatically on "Echoes of My Mind", a swelling, wall-of-sound ambient revision of the A-side that's as comforting and meditative as they come.
Review: Mark Evetts is nowhere near as prolific as he once was, but the Birmingham-based producer is still capable of crafting must-have releases. He's at it again here on his first outing for eccentric Swedish label Studio Barnhus. Opener "Nova Blur" sees Evetts' add warm chords and skewed electronic lead lines to his usual hypnotic deep house template, while closing cut "Outdoor Pursuit" is a surprisingly fuzzy, lo-fi and distorted stomp through dense drums and echoing percussion sounds. Perhaps most ear catching of all is the faintly foreboding "Find A Way", where echoing chords, creepy melodies and looped Irish fiddles attempt to smother a sturdy, locked-in groove, though the fuzzy, proto-house influenced "Block Out" is also rather fine.
Review: Berlin-based producer Sofia Kourtesis joined Swedish imprint Studio Barnhus last year, offering up an assured debut EP that took a left of centre approach to deep house/tech-house fusion. If anything, this follow-up is even better, with the Peruvian expertly showcasing her impressive grasp of drum programming and inventive production techniques. Our pick of an impressive bunch is title track "Sarita Colonia", a throbbing affair that builds to a righteous, life-affirming conclusion (all cut-up string samples, booming bass and glassy-eyed vocal snippets) after a deep and drowsy start. There's much to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP, including the sub-heavy, melody-rich wonkiness of "Akariku" and the sunny deep house warmth of "Hollywood".
Review: Drew Lustman has been relatively quiet by his standards this year, though he's still found time to offer up a couple of quality singles on Blueberry Records and Unknown To The Unknown. Here he makes his first appearance on Studio Barnhus with an EP that showcases two distinctly different sides to his multi-faceted musical persona. Title track "Flechazo" is a veritable drizzle of melodic positivity, with eyes-closed synthesizer motifs, sun-bright electronics and dreamy chords cloaking a crunchy, off-kilter deep house rhythm and suitably heavy bassline. In contrast, "New Lover" is a fair more warehouse-ready affair, with Lustman reaching for the mid-90s U.S garage riffs (think "Show Me Love"), bustling breakbeats, booming bass, sweaty female vocal samples and twinkling melodies.
Review: Since signing with Studio Barnhus in 2018, Bella Boo (real name Gabriella Borbely) has released a couple of quirky, off-kilter EPs in the Swedish label's trademark hard-to-pigeonhole style. Here the Los Angeles based delivers her debut album, an expansive nine-track affair that shifts shape at regular intervals. After beginning with the lightly Afro-tinged vocal deep house pulse of "Can't Leave You Like This", she breaks up the beats on rolling workout "She's Back", offers up some downtempo nu-jazz on "Tuesday", squelches her way through contemporary deep hip-house number "Hotel Europa", goes on an ambient diversion via "Stars", and doffs a cap to Floating Points' early works on the jazzy but acid-fired wonder that is Axel Boman hook-up "Do The Right Thing".
Review: Sweden's Gabriella Borbely, AKA Bella Boo, trails her soon-come debut album 'Once Upon A Passion' with this two-track release. The handful of EPs she's put out to date have consisted mostly of wonky, midtempo deep house, but this one finds her exploring more leftfield, downtempo territory: some gently tapping wood block percussion aside, 'Tuesday' is a near-ambient piece made up of piano chords, fragments of at least three different vocal parts (one male, two female) and a mournful sax line, while 'Can't Leave You Like This' is a slow-building Balearic cut that's tailor-made for warm-up sets.
Review: Sweden's Axel Boman is the man at the controls here. Working as Man Tear (usually with fellow countryman Petter Nordvkist, here with vocalist Johan Jonason) he's put out a handful of tracks over the past half-decade on DFA, Needwant, Future Disco and Studio Barnhus, and now he returns to the latter with two cuts that look to the late 70s for inspiration. 'Kill Me' would be a fairly typical disco-house workout were it not for the single male vocal line, which loops throughout and has a new wave/powerpop kinda feel: it might take a listen or two to sink in, but it's a proper earworm once it does. 'Black Park', meanwhile, comes on like Talking Heads given a nu-disco makeover.
Review: When it came to commissioning remixes of tracks from his superb sophomore album "Stockholm Marathon", Kornel Kovacs reportedly rang his favourite producers - or at least those he knew would provide "characteristic" revisions that took his tunes to new sonic spaces. It would be fair to say that the plan worked. The "Paradise Alley" version of "Marathon" is a wonderfully sparse, jacking and mind-altering acid house interpretation rich in bold bass and Dream 2 Science style chords, while Robert Dietz's "Bling Bling" mix of Rocks brilliantly joins the dots between rushing synth-pop, deep breakbeat house and hazy electro. Elsewhere, D Tiffany steals the show with a chiming, out-there deep house tweak of "Purple Skies" and Butch re-casts "Baltzar" as a beautifully languid mixture of glassy-eyed Balearic house and pitched-down deep synth-pop.
Review: Here's something to savour: a fresh set of collaborations between old Finnish friends Freestyle Man (AKA Klas-Henrik Linblad, otherwise known as Sasse) and Jimi Tenor, who first worked together in 1997. It's the pair's second joint effort for Studio Barnhus following 2017's unsurprisingly eccentric "Sleepover". First up is "Journey", a deep, off-kilter chunk of groovy house-pop fusion where Tenor reprises his once familiar role as a sleazy, late 20th century lounge singer. It's superb, as is the twinkling, boogie flavoured deep house bliss of "Jori's House" featuring both keys and flute solos from Tenor, while "Smoke & Alcohol" is a sun-kissed, party-friendly chunk of vocal broken beat jazziness. Arguably best of all, though, is the sub-heavy house mysticism of clonk-fired closing cut "Are We It?"
Review: Hailing from the north of Sweden, MLIR ('Modern Life Is Rubbish') are a three-piece collective specialising in dancefloor grooves inspired by world music. Here, they serve up two tracks on their own Studio Barnhus label. Despite the Spanish title, the energetic 'El Baile De Los Muertos' ('Dance Of The Dead') is actually an African-sounding affair, with chant-style vox and a fluttering riff played some unknown stringed instrument, with some sci-fi synths sounds thrown in for good measure. 'Mania', which operates at a slightly lower tempo, has a more Arabic/Middle Eastern feel and comes topped with random spoken, English-language vocal samples.
Review: Five years on from the release of their staggeringly good debut EP, "Astr Travelling Through Life", Mount Liberation Unlimited is finally ready to unleash their first full-length excursion. It's a typically loose, off-kilter and musically rich affair, with the Swedish duo layering all manner of electric and electronic instrumentation (glistening jazz guitars, toast bass guitar, analogue synthesizers and so on) over a range of live and programmed rhythms. Stylistically, it's wonderfully hard to pigeonhole, with the pair's eccentric fusions - some dancefloor-focused, others more suited to pie-eyed home listening - variously mixing and matching elements of disco, house, Balearica, acid, Italo-disco, IDM, proto-house, synth-pop, ambient and jazz-funk.
Review: In need of both "friends and inspiration", last year Kornel Kovacs moved back to his "beautiful, boring" home city of Stockholm. Once again residing in his old apartment and surrounded by collaborators (primarily Matt Karmil, jazz musician Niclas Skagstedt and female vocal duo Rebecca and Fiona), the Studio Barnhus co-founder set about recording his follow-up to lauded 2016 debut album "The Bells". The resultant set is predictably impressive, with Kovacs offering up a range of ear-catching vocal and instrumental tracks that brilliantly fuse elements of spacey deep house, mutant R&B, leftfield synth-pop, lo-fi electro, tech-jazz and glassy-eyed electronica. More often than not the collaborations with Rebecca & Fiona hit the mark (see "Club Notes", "Purple Skies" and "Marathon"), but there are plenty of other highlights elsewhere on the album.
Review: A three-tracker here from Stockholm's Gabriella Borb?ly, coming on her own Studio Barnhus label. A refreshingly wide-ranging offering it is, too: all three tracks can safely be classed as 'deep house', but each takes quite a different approach. Kicking things off is 'The Hours', which marries deep, tribal beats to luxuriant piano chords, mournful sax and sweeping strings in a melancholy, midtempo kinda way. Sporting heavily effected male/female vox and strange, toy keyboard-like sounds, 'Alom' operates in blissed-out slo-mo territory, while if uptempo, floor-friendly jazz-house is more your bag then 'Barak' should suit your needs nicely, Daddio!
Review: It's been almost a year since we last heard from Church, Cin Cin and Outplay regular Laurence Guy. Last time out, he delivered a tasty trio of jazz-fired deep house cuts for Mule Musiq; this time round, the talented producer is showcasing his versatility with predictably picturesque results. Highlights come thick and fast from the off, where "Wildlife" introduces us to Guy's sound world via bustling, hardcore style breakbeats, Aphex Twin style acid lines and bold, life-affirming chords. Club-ready cuts include the dreamy deep house-meets-ambient techno bustle of "Missing In Reaction" and the hot-stepping, stab-happy and bass-heavy rush of "My Brain Is a Scrambled Egg", while the included forays into ambient and IDM - most notably "Are You Fine" and the "Electric Counterpoint"-inspired "It's Good To Try" - are uniformly superb.
Review: More dusty yet sun-drenched happy house from Stockholm's Studio Barnhus, presenting their first ever label compilation. Volym 1 is curated by label bosses Axel Boman, Kornel Kovacs and Petter Nordkvist - who serve up some deep and joyous cuts from some label staples and newcomers alike. Or, in the words of the label: a mix of "Stockholm newcomers and superstar friends." Highlights on this fine collection of pop-inflected hybrids not limited to: wunderkind Baba Stiltz's lo-slung weirdo-pop displayed on "L.O.V.E.", co-chief Kovacs' emotive journey into the deep "On Roofs", Hamburg veteran DJ Koze with his inimitable style displayed yet again on "Hawaiian Souldier" and Catalan hero John Talabot doing what he does oh so well on the balearic house epic "The Change".
Review: Young Swedish producer Bella Boo earned lavish praise for her 2017 debut EP on Third Try Records, so hopes are high for this follow-up on Axel Boman, Kornel Kovacs and Petter Nordvist's admirable Studio Barnhus label. Predictably, it's something of a treat, with Bella Boo eschewing house music conventions in favour of a trademark style that puts imaginative eccentricities front and centre. Check, for example, the razor sharp, acid-style motifs, delay-laden bells and skewed drum machine work of "Is It Rude To Wear My Shades", the ultra-deep headiness of EP standout "Magnolia" and the picturesque early morning shuffle of "Homesick, Where's Home". She also displays a keen grasp of eyes-closed left-field pop on fluid opener "LA Confidential". Impressive stuff, all told.
Review: Three years on from his first appearance on Studio Barnhus, multi-talented Matt Karmil returns to the eccentric Swedish imprint. He's in a surprisingly positive mood on opener "All Together", a chunky slab of skewed loop-house brilliance whose slipped 4/4 drums come laden with sweet, saucer-eyed samples and jaunty stabs. The celebratory mood is enhanced further by the DJ Sneak style bounce of "Meg", before he serves up the polyrhythmic madness of "UG", where synthesized bells, loved-up chords and bombastic sub-bass take centre stage. There's also a horizontal bonus in the shape of delicate but trippy, soul-fired loop jam "Tell Me Why". In other words, it's another must-have from the former Idle Hands, PNN and Beats in Space man.
Review: More from eccentric Swede Arvid Svetman AKA Your Planet is Next, a producer who delivered top notch EPs for Klasse Wrecks and Acid Waxa in 2017. This second outing on home city imprint Studio Barnhus is predictably impressive, too. Check, in particular, the sprightly peak-time bounce of opener "Laid Back", which sounds like a more acid-influenced take on similarly quirky Noze cut "Remember Love", and the TB-303-sporting, breakbeat driven, Chicago hip-house style craziness of "Youngman". Elsewhere, "Some Sounds" is a deep, slow, woozy and occasiuonally melancholic saunter through Tevo Howard style deep synth-pop territory, while "High Fidelity" is a quirky and bass-heavy chunk of skewed breakbeat silliness.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a surprise joint EP from experienced Finnish producers Jimi Tenor (still best-known for his eccentric lounge-jazz escapades on Warp) and Klas-Henrik Lindblad (AKA Sasse and, here, Freestyle Man). Tenor's drowsy and distinctive vocals - as well as his fuzzy old synthesizer melodies - come to the fore on the first two tracks, with dusty deep house opener "Power of Love" impressing slightly more than the tongue-in-cheek "Pyjama Party" (which, incidentally, reminded us of Tenor's late '90s material). Elsewhere, Lindblad's love of Metro Area style nu-disco is explored on "Turku Airport", while "Temple of Music" sees jazz-man Tenor layering solos over a slick and sumptuous deep house groove.
Review: Alongside pal and fellow Karlovac Recordings founder Mr Tophat, Art Alfie has produced some of the most interesting and respected house music of recent years. Remarkably, Reveries Of is not only his debut album, but also his first solo outing of any kind. It's a sprawling but hugely enjoyable set, full of spaced-out, lo-fi deep house cuts that are rich in evocative melodies and mood enhancing musical elements, but low on slick production polish. Highlights include the Detroit influenced melancholia of "LLamada 911", the jazz-fuelled Balearic house pump of "Klubbensborg", the dub-wise, ska-sampling madness of "Greg's Island", and the epic, techno-tempo stomp of closer "East Village Trip".