Review: Ibiza-based Antonio Thagma is now established as a staple of the Visionquest label, where he presented his second release for them in the form of the Sferikum EP, which broke a three year gap in production and which now gets a much deserved release on digital. The title track is a low slung and tripped-out minimal house groove, that's perfect for getting weird at the after hours, but the remix up next by the mighty Ricardo Villalobos takes it further into epic and leftfield territory over its 14 glorious minutes - like only this true master can. There is also a second original offering by Thagma in the form of "Everything I Ever Wanted" - venturing into hypnotic 'Rominimal' style vibes.
Review: Detroit based acid techno & house Producers Ataxia are up next on hometown heroes Visionquest. Eric Ricker and Ted Krisko follow up great releases on label co-head Seth Troxler's Play It Say It, Nervous and Culprit here, with two dynamic tech house cuts. First up is the emotive dub techno influence of "VHS" (original mix) which gets properly, deep, cavernous and glacial much in the same vein of revered Motor City acts like Deepchord and Luke Hess. "Kodak Moment" (original mix) on the other hand is more reminiscent of their usual work: this woozy and cerebral cut features some wobbly acid bass action over some steely yet restrained rhythm patterns. It then receives a nice rework by label head honcho's Shaun Reeves & Ryan Crosson, whose moody and introverted edit takes it deeper into the afterhours on an impressive cut that will no doubt receive a rinsing at The Electric Pickle and The Old Miami (on an ill-fated morning) this Summer.
Review: 26 year-old Norwegian producer Terje Bakke is moving up in the world. Having previously dropped a trio of well-regarded but low key EPs on Be Chosen and Soulfood, he's now made the transfer to Visionquest. It's a move that allows him to display his unique sound, a tactile and atmospheric mix of loose, organic drums, late night house hypnotism, subdued melodies and Scandolearic attitude. With its lazy jazz guitars, semi-acoustic shuffle and undulating drums, opener "Jadore" is probably the EP's most startling moment, though the scattergun drums and dreamy deep house melodies of "Claudette" also impress. That said, the tougher drums, hissing cymbals and weary, melancholic vibe of "Nibenay" also stands out.
Review: There's been a growing sense of excitement surrounding the debut release from the Visionquest label set up by Messrs Troxler, Curtiss, Reeves and Crosson that was threatening to render it slightly underwhelming when it finally arrived. Thankfully that is certainly not the case as Benoit & Sergio demonstrate on the three tracks that make up Where The Freaks Have No Name a restrained yet totally sultry take on house music dynamics which is quite infectious. As you'd expect from half of the Ndf duo that brought us the delightfully charming "Since We Last Met" on DFA last year there's as much attention paid to song writing as there is to dance inducing aesthetics here with opening track "Walk & Talk" perhaps being the most striking example, sleepy almost vocodered vocals lamenting a partner's lack of hygiene to a backdrop of crisp handclaps and stifling subaqueous melodies. The title track is naturally a tad freakier, being vaguely reminiscent of Visionquest boss Troxler's vampiric turn on last year's Art Department release before a swift turn into some truly epic synth sweeps that come to characterise the track. "Day Residue" meanwhile is ten minutes of sprawling synth flutters that noodle with a glorious soaring unpredictability over the top of a stripped down house skip and bump aided by the repeated vocal refrain and elastic bassline.
Review: A meeting of two great minds from Greece for the latest release on Visionquest. Hailing from Athens, Bodj is an essential character in the ever burgeoning Greek house music scene, holding down a residency at the illustrious Six Dogs club in Athens and a co-founder/owner of the Audiorama record label and club night. Then there's Roksi: having been classically trained since he was a young man, he has since then mastered his craft studying audio engineering in Athens, London and Amsterdam - where he had access to some of the most renowned music studios. Features the dubby and liquid tech house groove of "Weird Science" which is as slinky as you like, this is followed by the funky and emotive Detroit influence of "Otis" while Tomadachi" goes deep into the afterhours on this minimal and hypnotic bass driven groove.
Review: Upon first glance you'd have fairly good idea of who this is and you're quite right: it is indeed Shaun Reeves, alongside Maher Daniel and Amir Javasoul being the creatures in question. The Visionquest head honcho taking up the reins with the Canadian duo for the label's next release - the former fresh off debuting the Shantu label with Tuccillo recently while the latter are fast picking up support by heavyweights like Ricardo Villalobos, Zip and Rhadoo. Starting off with the bumpy minimalistic shuffle funk of Mind Over Matters, the deep and trippy hypnotism of "Blinj" which is perfect for the afterhours as is "Out Of Orbit" which closes EP out in total 'let's get weird!' kind of style.
Review: Joining forces with producers outside his Visionquest hometown, Ryan Crosson showcases a pair of collaborations that further tap into the sleek and sexy funk of the label he runs. "Angel", penned with the Tale Of Us boys, is an urgent mover with peppy drums and searching dashes of synth clipped into dynamic and ear snagging arrangements. "Head Above Water" reaches for the moody vocal talents of Aquarius Heaven, going for a techy construction that keeps the beat minimal while the melodics come in subtle pulsing tones that create a deeply hypnotic concoction perfect for the blurry end of the night.
Review: One of the key Visionquest members delivers an EP full of differing moods and emotions. Is "Haters" the producer's response to internet trolls? It certainly sounds so, with paranoid, shuffling drums and heavy bass licks leading into eerie synth passages. "Freaks" sounds like Curtiss is documenting his experiences of playing in clubs, with sweat-soaked vocals going on about 'I get down like a freak' to a dank, acid-fuelled groove. However, it's "Body Twitch" that impresses most: its building bassline and swinging, shuffling drums play host to one of the rudest lyrics in tehcno: "I'll be working like we're making kids/let me make your pussy twitch." Naughty!
Keep On Dancing (Shaun Reeves remix) - (7:25) 125 BPM
Keep On Dancing (original) - (9:15) 110 BPM
VQ Infinity Dub - (5:31) 133 BPM
Review: Veteran Canadian producer Scott Monteith has been releasing critically acclaimed records since 2000 and has carefully sculpted an idiosyncratic dub-laden sound that is uniquely his own and instantly recognizable. He returns to Visionquest to follow up 2015's Jacks EP. It's another expression in Monteith's singular aesthetic, using a wide array of arsenal within his sonic repertoire here: from the hypnotic tribal trance of "Boom Jack", to more classic expressions in icy and cavernous atmospherics as heard on "Keep On Dancing" which receives a terrific rework by label co-head Shaun Reeves. Monteith then gets back to the program on the raw and mentalist psychedelics of "VQ Infnity Dub".
Review: Dewalta and Mike Shannon's collaborations stretch all the way back to 2011 with releases on Shannon's Cynosure. Now they debut on Visionquest with their distinctive brand of stripped back house. The title track starts the EP with an off-centre groove, hiccuping vocals and reverberating percussion. Meanwhile, "Courtside" sees the pair opt for a somewhat straighter but equally effective track, as eerie, filtered builds unravel over steely percussion and crisp drums. A similar approach is audible on "Playing Field", with the pair dropping mournful synths loops over an understated but robust groove. Rounding off this fine release is the deeper, pulsating "184.108.40.206", which sounds a bit like Pepe Braddock doing minimal.
Review: Visionquest and Dinky? We can't say it's a partnership we were expecting. "Teka" kicks of the Time To Lose It EP with bubbling vocal pockets, tight-tapping drums and a solid house/tech groove. "This Is Your Heart" on the flip is a playground of percussive rhythm and Dinky's expertise shines bright; smooth, punchy, warm yet spiky. "Time To Lose It" is the real killer, however, as it demonstrates something unexpected from both parties. Ethereal double tracked vocals, intricate, ambient electronic touches swaying in the background... it's pure headphone fodder and a surprising (but oh so welcome) addition from party kings Visionquest and Dinky herself, as a well known ambassador of dark, tumbling techno. Recommended.
Review: Last seen on Ostgut Ton back in 2011, the wonderfully monikered Dinky resurfaces on Visionquest with the Fallen Angel EP which precedes the release of Dimension D, her fifth studio album which has been mixed and co-produced by Matthew Styles. Visionquest press notes claim the forthcoming long player sees the Chilean DJ, producer and vocalist evolve into a fully fledged singer-songwriter and performer, which makes Dimension D a perfect fit for the label. As a taste of what's to come, "Fallen Angel" excels, with Iglesias's ethereal vocal the perfect foil for the dark, rippling techy groove. Kudos to Visionquest for the remixes too, with the aforementioned Styles further finessing the original's darker intricacies whilst Pepe Bradock completely rewires proceedings in his own inimitable style.
Review: Uruguayan DJ Ema Remedi has fast made a name for herself on the Berlin minimal house scene, with regular appearances at local institutions such as Club Der Visionaere, Hoppetosse and Golden Gate, in addition to impressive releases on respected labels such as Sketches and the recently born Loosen Up - which she co-runs. This EP will be her debut effort on Visionquest, the Outsiders EP featuring four deep and hypnotic grooves which are perfect for spinning in her new hometown's after hours scene. The lean and subtle groove dynamics on "Even Odds" could have been equally at home on a label like Meander, the disorienting late night boompty-boomp of "Why" calls to mind the work of early Herbert while the arcane hypnotism of "No Sun, No Problem" (feat Sol) would mix well with anything by Melchior Productions Ltd.
Review: Floog aka George Gavanescu makes his debut on Visionquest with this tripped out dance floor EP. The title track is a pulsating house groove that is led by an electronic bass, rolling and grooving seductively as atmospheric elements are introduced. On "Staring at the Sun", the upcoming producer uses a similar approach: the rhythm rolls irresistibly and deep chords are effortlessly looped over the arrangement. "Premiza" is the only track to shift slightly from this approach; its frazzled bass and dense percussion presents a slightly less polished take on Floog's style, but it's just as effortlessly executed as the tracks that came before it.
Review: Canadian duo Footprintz have begun to establish themselves as one of Visionquest's more interesting acts. Their unflinchingly contemporary take on synth pop often has a greater emotional resonance than other material on Seth Troxler's imprint. "Utopia" is another blissful tearjerker, delivering the sort of E'd-up pop gorgeousness that sounds like a cross between New Order, Behaviour era Pet Shop Boys and, of course, contemporary deep house. The remix package is strong, too, offering contrasting versions from Jimmy Edgar and Tiga. The former slows the pace and adds a dash of analogue dirt to the original's synth-pop template, while the latter thrillingly flits between darkroom boogie and '90s piano house.
Review: Rumours have been circulating on the Internet that Montreal duo Footprintz have gone their separate ways. If these are to be believed (and they certainly seem to be true), this debut full-length for Visionquest could also be their swansong. If it is, then it's a fine way to go out. Assisted on production duties by the ever-reliable Ewan Pearson, the Canadian pair has delivered a tactile, touchy-feely collection of dream-pop (think Holy Ghost or Benoit & Sergio meets '89 shoegaze) that gleefully breaks free from the shackles of Visionquest's impersonal trademark sound. Woozy, warm and inviting, it should appeal to those who enjoy the work of fellow Canadian synth-poppers the Junior Boys.
Review: More from Visionquest regulars and rising stars Footprintz, whose decidedly touchy-feely approach epitomises the label's vision. "Uncertain Change" actually sounds like a Benoit & Sergio track, all woozy vocals, atmospheric pads, new wave-influenced grooves and casual synth-pop charm. Maceo Plex provides the first remix, upping the energy levels thanks to some bolder beats, big builds and lovingly played chords. The real standout, though, is the Audio rework - Matthew Dear's first under the guise for sometime. Wonky, strange, atmospheric and eerie, it turns the shuffling original into a stunning chunk of afterparty oddness.
Review: On one hand, it's quite a surprise to see one-time prog houser Guy Gerber throw his lot in with Seth Troxler's achingly hip Visionquest label. On the other, it makes perfect sense. Visionquest has long been obsessed with soft focus melodies and dreamy compositions, and "The Mirror Game" - a loose deep houser blessed with cascading melodies and progressive atmospherics - ticks all those boxes. "One Day In May" opts for a more old skool house approach, mixing shuffling, West Coast deep house percussion with woozy chords and heady vocal samples. Gerber rounds off the EP by dropping that most prog house of selections - a beatless ambient version of the comfy title track.
Review: Visionquest going deeper and deeper by the week, welcoming Gianluca Pegoina to the house via The Fifth Room. This particular drop sees the label dive into headsy after-hours territory that should appeal to the cats out there. Percussion, phasers and vocals are off the hook in "The Room", which Hubble submerges in junk yard atmospheres, a hunk of booming bass and rattling percussion. Pegoina's alternative "The Key'' sizzles with acid-tipped reverb and a double downed groove, with the slightest tinges eastern themed motifs added for full effect.
Review: The heads out there will know to check this release as it comes off the back of Jarua's debut record for the vinyl-only, DJ-centric and dancefloor-focused Pleasure Zone! With a second release for the One Records label since, the emerging Jarau finds himself in tune with Visionquest, turning in a quality four-track EP highlighting his pension for skittering percussion, juicy club drums and a sleekness for those after hour vibes where it's straight up sunny. All tracks here are rhythm focused with any melodies touched up by dub, like the flecks of synth in "Hypnotize" to micro-house after-effects in "Dubhe". Bottomed out drums and exotic vocals are cause for a trip in the spiralling "Le Voyage" with a straight up percussion mix in "Adrienne". Club's gotta open for this.
Review: Given his history of creating tough, Chicago-influenced boompty and jackin' tech-house, it's interesting to see Brett Johnson popping up on Visionquest. Typically, there's a lot more going on in the 'instant energy' stakes than you'd find in your average Visionquest release. "Move Power" does include some pleasant chords and melodies (not to mention a strange, woozy vocal), but they largely play second fiddle to a tough, loose analogue groove and fuzzy bass pulses. This gets more room to breathe on the excellent, stab-heavy Dub. Best of all, though, is bonus cut "Furtherer", which sounds much more like the balls-out Brett Johnson of old.
Review: Argentinian tech house veteran Jorge Savoretti is back, taking time out from his beloved Savor label to present this impressive outing on Visionquest. The label is on fire at the moment after some impressive releases by the likes of Triptease and Ema Remedi - and you can certainly add this one to the list. The Soulvor EP features exactly the kid of rolling and hypnotic minimalism that you've come to expect from Savoretti: from the slinky and hypnotic mood music of "Hypsi", to the dubby and bass-driven groove expression of "Meoul" and the understated afterhours reflections of "Cape" - which is perfect for Sunday mornings chilling-out at Club Der Visionaere.