Review: As you'd expect, there's plenty of treats to be found on the fifth colour-coded EP in Uncanny Valley's 50th release series. Iron Curtis steps up first with an enveloping and hypnotic chunk of deep house headiness ("Against My Window (Dazed Mix)", which boasts a particularly strong bassline), before Perm peppers a hybrid ghetto-house/electro beat with starry synth chords and pin-sharp TB-303 style acid lines on "VLIW". CVBox tiptoes the fine line between spaced-out deep house, acid and electro on the formidably fuzzy "Cat Cut Claps", while Dispo 5000 crafts a sturdy electro cut out of stabbing acid bass, ethereal new age chords and crunchy machine drums ("Klinkenberg").
Albert Van Abbe - "Bloodhoney Triggerbee" - (7:13) 130 BPM
Perel - "Karlsson" - (7:01) 123 BPM
Jor-El - "Human Matrix" - (7:35) 128 BPM
Karima F - "Flaccid House" - (5:39) 126 BPM
GOTT - "En Blick Ufs Matterhorn" - (6:17) 120 BPM
Break SL - "Bye Bye 627" - (6:05) 122 BPM
Qnete - "In Transit" - (6:06) 125 BPM
Review: As the pleasingly matter-or-fact title makes clear, this compilation gathers together 15 of the standout tracks released by Dresden label Uncanny Valley in 2019. As you'd expect, it offers a tastily off-kilter collection of cuts that variously mix and match elements of deep house, cheery nu-disco, dub disco, acid-fired early morning anthems, saucer-eyed hardcore rave revivalism, superior tech-house and throbbing electro-disco, with the contributions from Credit OO, Jules Etienne, Perel, The Golden Filter, Jor-El and Break SL standing out. That said, all 15 tracks are superb and firmly focused on the dancefloor. In a word: essential.
Review: An enjoyable class of associated names and potential aliases make their way to the Dresden labels wholesome 50th release and brings with it a first sign of music from Break SL since 2014! Known for releases on Philpot before his time at UV, he delivers an uplifting number of pulsating arpeggios and ballroom synths. Credit 00 is on point as always throwing down a Detroit inspired number of laser synths, starry atmospheres and subby, acidic basslines. Qnete, still reeling from his 2018 LP on 777 Recordings, supplies a tripier, deep and subtle house number via "In Transit" while the still unknown Gnista and AGB serve up some traditional Deutsch EBM and dark electro between them both.
Review: GOTT is a new collaboration between Uncanny Valley label owner Sneaker and Scannoir. It is also the German word for 'God'. Indeed on "Total Kommander", it sounds like the almighty has had a hand in the production, as an ominous, robust groove rolls menacingly and bleak, gloomy synths underpin a frazzled vocal sample. More indistinct mutterings are audible on the murky rhythm of "En Blick Ufs Matterhorn", where the pair use lo-fi blips and grainy synths to capture the listener's attention. Meanwhile, "Passion" is redolent of Hague-style mutant disco as the God-like duo deliver a pulsating groove tailored for blacked-out bunkers.
Review: If your all-time favourite music was mostly made by Germans wearing too much blusher and leather jerkins with huge shoulderpads, then the 80s synth-pop/coldwave revivalism of 'Karlsson' will be right up your Strasse - it's even got one of those spoken/whispered German-language vocals, presumably from DNA fave Ms Fiedler herself. But for more contemporary pleasures head for the remixes: the Bloody Mary Cat's On Acid Mix is exactly the 303 bleep 'n' squelch fest you'd expect, while Kim Ann Foxman beefs up the 4/4s and adds some music box-like synth doodles of her own. The torch-y but upbeat 'Monteiro Da Costa', another 80s throwback, rounds out the package.
Review: It's time to dive back into the oldschool ways of breaks on this one as the Uncanny Valley Germany team team up with Credit 00 for a tasty slice of hardcore nostalgia throughout the 'Deep In The Jungle' project. We kick this one off with a look at 'R You Ready 2 Jack', a very crunchy rolling original, driven by its constantly evolving drum sections and hardcore inspired melodies. This is then followed by the moogy basslines of 'True 2 The Gehm (2019 version)', the bubbling arpeggiators of 'The Garden' and the colourful soundscapes of the title track 'Deep In The Jungle', closing off a wicked project with style.
Review: Dresden stable Uncanny Valley has decided to mark a half-century of releases by whacking out a series of celebratory EPs, of which this fabulous four-tracker is the first. Lauer steps up first with the sparkling, synth-driven Balearic house futurism of "Fanta Korn Tanker", before handing on the baton to James Booth and his gleeful, rush-inducing Balearic nu-disco workout "Summer Interlude", which is every bit as sun-kissed and life-affirming as the title suggests. Sandrow M and and Will Dubner join forces for the glassy-eyed synth-pop/nu-disco/deep house fusion of "Disco Schlamboni", while former CockTail D'Amore artist Jules Etienne steals the show via the percussive, deep disco warmth of "Dude's Den".
Review: Four tracks here that will appeal to the more adventurous deep house jocks as well as fans of more experimental sounds. The title cut is a breakbeat-led affair topped with lingering synth chords and augmented by a little 303 bass squelch, while 'Maybe It Won't Be' rides a stuttering bruk rhythm with more of those languid chords and what sounds like a Theremin. The EP's first straight-up 4/4s can be found on the faster-paced 'Doozy Of A Day', which sits somewhere between Heard/Damier-style US deepness and Detroit techno, and as such is probably the go-to for deep house floors, while more stuttering beats, warm chords and Spanish guitar frills make up closer 'Crepuscular'.
Review: Uncanny Valley ends the year with a 13-track retrospective that sums up why it is such an idiosyncratic label. 13 Tracks moves in style from the bizarre acid beats of "Macho Man" by Mr Incognito and Amrint Keen's vaguely epic electro track "Believe" into more dance floor friendly tracks. These include the moody, atmospheric techno of Qnete's "Alone Together" and Chino's acid-heavy "Kolaps". In between these ends of the spectrum there are once-heard, never forgotten moments such as the vocal electro of Credit 00's amazing "Hammer Jack Voices Wall" and Serial Error's tribal house meets new beat track "Drum Abuse (Vocal)" - which both underline again what an idiosyncratic label that Uncanny Valley is.
Review: Herzel aka Aleksandar Grozdanovski has released before on labels like Hivern and Charlois, and now brings his expansive sound to Uncanny Valley. The title track is a filtered, stepper that rides hollowed out drums and a powerful wave of bass to create a gloomy mood. On "Glide", the mood is even darker and more tranced out, as the Macedonian producer lets fly with a pumping groove and epic synth hooks. Changing direction again, "Glowworms" revolves around a house groove and searing acid lines, while "TWO" sees Herzel strip away melodies to deliver a raw, gritty techno track that has echoes of Gesloten Cirkel.
Review: Following a fine outing on Local Talk late last year, sample-digging beat-maker turned deep house don Cuthead returns to home city imprint Uncanny Valley. Can't You See sits somewhere between an expansive EP and a perfectly formed mini-album, offering up an octet of cuts that neatly summarizes his hybrid approach to music-making. That means a solid mixture of dusty, warm and rolling deep house shufflers (see the vibraphone-sporting "Mount Platti", Andres style jazziness of "Sweet" and rock solid "Can't You See") and blazed hip-hop instrumentals ("Kimono", "Tranquility Base", "Too Dark To See Tomorrow"), with the odd surprise thrown in (bass music-influenced opener "Lunar Lander" and the punk-funk-influenced 130BPM stomp of "Schlagzeug Fallt Die Treppe Runter").
Review: Confirmed label-hopper Iron Curtis last popped up on Uncanny Valley in 2015, contributing a fine cut to the Dresden imprint's fifth anniversary compilation. Here he finally unleashes his first EP for the imprint, serving up a predictably impressive four-track missive. He begins with the Larry Heard style deep, jacking grooves and ethereal synthesizer melodies of "Sweet Romancer", before upping the intensity of the beats on the drowsy pump of "Nixdorf Danse". Those looking for life-affirming release should check the rush-inducing dancefloor bliss of "Triroom", while closer "Take Me Home" is an altogether woozier, dreamier and more Balearic affair, with jangling guitars and cut-up vocal samples sashaying from the speakers.
Review: Leipzig based producer Robert Panthera Krause follows up some great releases in 2017 on labels such as Riotvan, Step and Lobster Theremin with his second outing on local imprint Uncanny Valley - which follows up his well received Umami EP in 2016. All My Circuits Part I features four sunny, dusty and irresistable excursions into the deep. Starting out with the sun-kissed and uplifting jam "Heppy" featuring some flamenco- ish guitars, dusty broken rhythms and lush hypnotic pads - this one ticks all the right boxes. Next up "Stomping Ground" goes for a more straight-up lo-fi deep house vibe, where vintage drum computers go face to face with a chunky acidic bassline and jacking vocals on this right party starter. Elsewhere, "Le Phoque" saves the best for last on this pumping deep house number featuring a hypnotic marimba melody and a stomping swing fuelled beat.
Review: For the first time in 2017, Martin Enke has decided to don the now familiar Lake People alias. Having built his reputation via a series of releases on Permanent Vacation - including 2015's solid full-length, Purposely Uncertain Field - Break The Pattern sees him transfer to Uncanny Valley. As you'd expect, there's much to enjoy throughout, from the rising and falling synths, shuffling drum machine beats and undulating acid lines of "September Futuristic", to the broken New Jersey house/Chicago acid fusion of "Chords In Chorus" and deep space shuffle of "Pull Off". Arguably best of all, though, is opener "Level Msk", a loose but floor-friendly workout full of restless organ riffs and early Orbital electronics.
Review: Translated into English, the title of this album is 'this is how it is in the pine forest'. Maybe Uncanny Valley artist CVBox is referring to his physical surroundings in rural Germany, or he could be describing the recording process behind his debut album. If we assume he means the latter, then the title is a smart if somewhat obtuse explanation. Tracks like "Oberla 8" and "707 Dubbing" start with powerful, dub bass before introducing a hail of acid bleeps, while on "Iv Box", there are no beats, but a frosty ambient cloak lifts to reveal hypnosis-inducing electronic tones. "CV Cat" sees the German producer move towards the detuned trance of Mathew Jonson, but even here the approach is like being in the middle of a pine forest - covered from floor to sky by layer upon layer of multi-coloured textures.
Review: Dresden native Jacob Korn has clearly decided that quality is preferable to quantity. Since 2014, he's really cut back on the number of EPs he's put out, with this simply titled four-tracker being his first release of any description for 18 months. Predictably, he barely puts a foot wrong, moving from the chunky grooves, alien melodies, dusty musical touches and pulsing loops of "The Happening", to the low-slung, disco-flecked mid-tempo deep house bump of "Thru The Eye". Along the way, pay close attention to the choppy, post-Soundstream edit-house swing of "Holiday", and the soaring, near-symphonic disco-house heaviness of "Goodbye", which is arguably the EP's most bombastic moment.
Review: With tongue firmly in cheek, Dresden's Robert "Cuthead" Arnold delivers his fifth album, Return Of The Sample Jesus. Like his other full-length outings for hometown label Uncanny Valley, the set joins the dots between his hip-hop beat-making past - he's long been known as a wizard with an MPC - and the hazy, swinging, off-kilter deep house sound he's been exploring over recent years. Able to spot killer samples and work them into fine tracks, Arnold is equally as adept to dropping Dilla-ish beat-scapes, Madlib style jazz workouts, and Moodymann inspired 4/4 grooves. Throw in a sprinkling of smoother, dreamier, bass-heavy cuts, and you've got an entertaining and absorbing LP.
Review: The title of Alexander 'Credit 00' Dorn's latest release does him something of a disservice. While there is no doubt that the Uncanny Valley boss knows how to craft intoxicating rhythms, there is a lot more to his capabilities. "TRM" sees snappy drums and a tracky rhythm underpin swooning deep house synths, while on "Curse of the Medusa", an unnamed woman claims 'I gave you my heart' over hypnotic 90s techno filters. "Voodoo Soup", with its insistent kettle drums and dubbed out percussion, pushes the release towards the tool-style functionality, but as the bleep-heavy "Snake Charmer" demonstrates, it is clear that there is far more to this German producer than linear dance floor rhythms.
Review: Over the past 12 months, Stefan "Chinaski" Haag has really hit his stride. First, there was a superb EP of rich, melodious, synthesizer-heavy compositions for Live At Robert Johnson, followed by a fine contribution to Uncanny Valley's fifth anniversary releases. Here he returns to the latter label with arguably his strongest collection to date. As usual, he fuses a variety of vintage influences - most obviously Italo-disco, early Chicago house, dreamy instrumental synth-pop and Detroit techno - to deliver hypnotic, life-affirming pieces with bristle with melodious intent. Highlights are plentiful, from the head-in-the-clouds bliss of pulsating opener "Disaster", and the John Carpenter creepiness of "Lifetime", to the Behaviour-era Pet Shop Boys melancholy of "Street" and "Never Look Back".
Review: It's some two years since Panthera Krause impressed with fine releases on Riotvan and Lobster Theremin. This time round, he's been tempted out of the wilderness by Dresden house misfits Uncanny Valley. In order to fit in with the label's anything-goes approach, the Leipzig-based producer has delivered a quartet of tracks that eccentrically blend a whirlwind of contrasting influences. There's the wonky, ultra-deep jazz-house drowsiness of "The Space Between Us", the punk-funk/dub disco/African thrills of "Howling For July", and the sweaty tech-jazz goes breakbeat madness of the superb "Z-Cuts". As for opener "Umami", it's a loose, rolling and deliciously positive slab of sublime deep house weirdness that benefits greatly for some heavy low-end pressure.
Review: Sweden's Joel Alter went solo from studio partner Henrik Jonsson and released the brilliant album entitled "Heart" earlier in 2015 and it now gets the remix treatment. Fellow Swede Jesper Dahlback aka The Persuader gives "22 Hours" a deep and tripping remix, but still keeps Luvinsky Atche's powerful vocals intact. More of Alter's homeboys represent, with Genius Of Time's Dorisburg delivering a dark and acidic remix of "Everlasting". An original version from the album appears; "Mecca" is a techno epic reminiscent of Carl Craig with its dark dramatic melody supported by thumping tom drums and suspenseful strings.
Review: When it came to celebrating their first five years, Uncanny Valley decided to do things differently. So, alongside a retrospective (Five Years On Parole - What Happened), they've delivered an EP of previously unheard material from the archives (Five Years On Parole - Gems From The Vaults), and this selection of brand new cuts. There's naturally much to enjoy, with Chinaski and Panthera Krause both delivering wonderfully deep and dreamy analogue house workouts. There's something particularly impressive about Derive's krautrock, Kraftwerk and proto-techno inspired contribution - think modular synthesizers and pulsing drum machine rhythms - while Iron Curtis' "En Suite" is a clandestine acid jacker build around ragged 303 lines, metronomic percussion and trippy synthesizer motifs.
Review: Uncanny Valley's split, multi-artist EPs are usually amongst their strongest releases, and Give N Take is no exception. Put together by Cuthead, it features tracks from three of his favourite producers, plus two of his own. Max Graef kicks things off with the sleepy deep house jazz of "Tittenkuschler", while Parisian S3A impresses with the rising disco samples, sturdy grooves and minor key flourishes of "Theuz Hamtaak". Moony Me's contribution, the flashing Chicago bass, woozy chords and choppy disco samples of "Magergarten", is also rather good. As for Cuthead's contributions, they're predictably strong, with the samba-goes-boompty shuffle of "Braziliance" just edging out the deep-off-kilter downtempo MPC jam "Oef Oef" in the "best track" stakes.
Review: CVBox teams up with likeminded producer Micha Freier for a gorgeously seductive deep house release. Favouring an introspective sound, the duo conjure up the kind of fantastically melodic, intricate tracks that are usually the preserve of Detroit producers like Patrice Scott or Keith Worthy. "Blinking Lights" sets the tone wonderfully with its swirling chords and understated drums, while "Bad Gate Way" is underscored with a pulsing electronic bass. It's the most dance floor-focused moment on the release and soon enough, the pair are navigating their way back to more refined sounds courtesy of the subtle percussive ticks of "Playwatch" and the immersive icy ambience of "XOXO".
Review: Jacob Stoy's 2012 debut, Redenswart, marked him out as a producer to watch - a maker of atmospheric, off-kilter deep house music that eschewed genre staples in favour of far more intriguing and left-of-centre sounds. This belated follow-up is similarly impressive, delivering six varied cuts to move the head and the feet. There's much to admire, from the woozy synths, cute melodies and soft focus beats of "HIM" and wonky, lo-fi electronica of "HHM", to the intoxicated, Stereolab-goes-deep house swing of "CCFM" and decidedly creepy "OGM". The latter is impressively melancholic, with long, bittersweet chords and relentless cymbals riding rolling kick-drums and winding electronics.
Review: Recently signed up to the Uncanny Valley roster with the Jardin Du Midi EP, Dresden-based Scherbe fits right in with the skew-whiff styles of that curious corner of German house music, and so it continues unabated with this latest offering. "Poison Hillz" is a twitchy construction full of clanking found-sound percussion and errant synth lines, while "Long Time No Sea" hops and skips its way around a lean beat that opens up to allow wistful soul licks in without dropping the weird stick. "Mosquito Beach" does a fine job of working repetitive mantras into a loose-fit whole, and then "Specimen" rounds things off with a neat juxtaposition of grainy sample matter and slender rhythmic refinement.
Review: There's something pleasingly calming about this EP from Philpot regular turned Uncanny Valley contributor Sebastian Lohse. While the EP's most impressive moment is arguably the sparse but deliciously melodic "Malstroem" - think starburst electronics, woozy chords and tactile analogue grooves - for the most part Atlantic Ocean is a warm and immersive affair. There's something suitably glassy-eyed about the near Balearic chords and breezy melodies of "Atlantic Ocean Road", while "FM For Life" pairs jaunty, Detroit-influenced bass and rolling rhythms with picturesque melodies. As for the guitar-flecked "Trocadero", you'd be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful deep house track this year.
Review: Uncanny Valley's resident beatsmith Cuthead delves even further into his love of low slung grooves with this fulsome album of soulful vignettes that make the perfect hip hop paced partner to the more housey output known on the label. It's not all slow-mo business as "Maputo Jam" attests with its peppy chops and swinging New Jersey funk, and in terms of sample-rich house loaded with imagination it's hard to picture anything sounding quite as heartfelt and captivating as this, but in the slower musings Cuthead shows off his breadth as a producer and comes up smelling of particularly addictive roses. Try listening to the title track and not feeling an immense sense of satisfaction, romance and groove all in one.