Review: 12 years after making his debut via a 12-inch collaboration with San Soda, Jonathan Pardon - better known by his DJ alias, Just Nathan - is finally ready to make his solo production debut. Impressively, his first lone outing is not a single but an album, and a rather fine one at that. After kicking things off with a gorgeous slab of pulsating, synthesizer-powered ambient warmth, the Ghent-based DJ/producer giddily skips between retro-futurist acid house ('Acid Touch'), spaced-out, electro-not-electro chuggers ('Let's Talk About'), glossy synth-pop/deep house blends ('Pitch Black'), spacey deep electro ('Summer Storm'), sharper, '90s techno influenced warehouse music ('A French') and electro-tinged ambient techno (the decidedly psychedelic 'Stormloop').
Review: Throughout his short but productive career in music, Adham Zahran has flitted between nu-disco and deep house. On this EP for popular Belgian label We Play House, Zahran is focused on house dancefloors, though he does make use of some colourful synth sounds of the sort more often found in disco releases. For proof, check fluid and subtly sun-kissed opener 'Flowing Green', and EP highlight 'Picture of the Tree', whose squelchy synth bass and sprightly, far sighted and intergalactic solos are underpinned with a tactile, off-kilter deep house groove. Elsewhere, 'No Sorrow' is a sublime slab of ocean-deep house music, while the Brian Kage remix of 'Picture of the Tree' sounds like Move D - all undulating acid bass, sumptuous pads and twinkling melodic movements.
Review: A true Detroit head of the underground Brian Kage's music crosses the Atlantic for a safe four-track EP on We Play House! With a release on FXHE and collaborations with Omar S and O B Ignitt worth mentioning too, this Cassette Cuts EP provides Kage with a first solo record for 2020, sending in two originals that dive into that classic Michigan sound. Bringing with it remixes from the venerable Patrice Scott and WPH boss man Red D, dubcats can head straight to "Groove La Tape Machine" with its purring resonators and uplifting vamp. "Werkit" looks to melodic basslines and ago-go percussion, given a subtle dublifting rework by Sir Scott, with Red D, too, opting to rework the same track, werkin' in some subtle electro motif and dropping the vocal upfront.
Review: Belgium house aficionado Red D hooks up with Detroit statesman and Psychostasia Recordings boss Reggie Dokes for an on point collaboration called RD2. The EP interestingly delivers three collaborative productions and the one club piano and jazz jam from Dokes himself. RD2 though shine through most in tracks, "Beyond Borders" and "Sharing Angels", serving up frenetic shuffles of percussive house, funky basslines and chugging 909 rhtyhms alongside slamming ride cymbals, uplifting passages of synths, triangles, claps and cowbells! It displays something of a more relaxed scenario than the acid biting synths lines of a dubbier, and electro-influenced "From D to Shining D". Who's afraid of Detroit?
Review: With a production history that stretches right back to the mid 1990s, Krewcial (real name Pascal Garnier) has long been a reliable source of high quality dancefloor fare. As you'd expect, his latest contribution to We Play House's "TEN" series is full of tightly produced, tried-and-tested material. Our pick of the bunch is ludicrously heavy closing cut "Tadao", where loose additional percussion hits and mind-altering TB-303 acid lines rise above a thumping drum machine rhythm. The quality threshold never dips elsewhere on the EP, though, with hypnotic post-Italo/early house throb-job "Proto" and the bouncy piano house retro-futurism of "Plaster" also hitting home hard.
Review: Without fanfare or fuss, Adham Zahran has quietly been building a rock solid discography over the last few years. While he's barely put a foot wrong, it feels like he's needed a high profile release to push him to the next level. This six-track outing on We Play House could be that release. It sparkles from start to finish, with the Egyptian deep house stalwart flitting between piano-sporting peak-time dreaminess (the chunky, sub-heavy snap of "The Midnight Tower"), deep and spacey goodness ("By The Way"), sample-driven dancefloor fuzziness ("Salon De Rendez-Vous"), beatdown style sensuality ("Gentle Blues"), slo-mo chug ("Nervous Funk") and groovy, horn-heavy cheeriness ("Disco Infinite").
Review: FCL (the Belgian duo of Red D and San Soda) released their Cherry Pie EP on Kai Alce's NDATL label back in 2017 - one of the year's deep house highlights in our humble opinion. Now Alce returns the favour for We Play House, with his remixes for the Ghent based imprint. Here FCL serve up the sensual "The House Music Track" which once again features the amazing Lady Linn delivering some sweet vocals and Filip Vandebril nailing an awesome bassline on this absolute anthem. The Atlanta based Alce's rework goes deeper into late night - with helluva lot of soul to boot!
Review: There's much to admire on long-serving Japanese producer Satoshi Fumi's first EP for We Play House, not least a thrilling new version of 2016 cut "Toriton" that joins the dots between 1990s intelligent techno, sci-fi inspired deep house and the work of veteran Japanese techno producer Ken Ishii. Fittingly, Ishii is on hand to deliver two remixes of "Toriton": the blissful "Oceanic Mix", which flits between bass-heavy grooves and majestic ambient breakdowns, and the echoing bleeps of the rolling "Islanded Remix". If you're looking for tactile, loved-up fare, the EP's other two original Fumi productions - and in particular the piano-heavy warmth of "Lalalalaland" - certainly fit the bill.
Review: These two tracks originally slipped out on 10" earlier this year, marking the third installment in We Play House's ongoing WPH-10 series. Both come from long-running studio collaborators TJ Kong and Modular K. Opener "Let It Go" is something of a sparkling, glassy-eyed treat, with Gustaph's heady vocals weaving in and out of a mix that fixes the spacey positivity of vintage Motor City techno, to the rhythmic shuffle of classic acid house, with a little Balearic sunshine thrown in for good measure. Veteran French producer Ludovic Llorca (AKA Art of Tones) lends a hand on "The Dream Is Always The Same", a seductive slab of warm and groovy deep house blessed with sublime string parts.
Review: Despite debuting way back in 2007, Wanderlust marks the full-length debut of Belgian analogue enthusiast Metrobox (AKA producer Berten De Beukelaer). The album format offers him an opportunity to showcase his wide palette of influences, from drowsy, blue-eyed synth-soul (opener "At Night (When I See The Light)", the electro-tinged "Messing About"), revivalist new beat ("Bounce Bounce Baby"), and melodious Italian deep house ("Ten Thousand Thundering Typhoons"), to krautrock ("Wanderlust"), vintage Chicago jack ("F (Want You To)"), and acid-influenced late night darkness (the undulating throb of "Erotic Psychotic Hypnotic Freak"). Given his classically trained history, it's perhaps unsurprising that the album is also immaculately produced.
Review: Last year, Belgian imprint We Play House announced plans to release ten singles on 10" vinyl, each of which would subsequently be released digitally. Here, they present the download version of the second installment of TEN, with Mathias Schmitt delivering tracks under two different aliases. First he dons the Dynamodyse guise for "Sincerely Truly Yours", a warm, clean and polished deep house/tech-house fusion that makes excellent use of long, drawn-out electric pianos chords and bubbly electronics. "Rose Of Jericho II" is credited to Schmitt's lesser-known SRF Inc. pseudonym, and sees him move further towards a classic, warehouse-friendly sound. While still pleasingly loose and vibrant, its' rolling riffs and electronic stabs recall the halcyon days of hypnotic house.
The Right Side (Locked Groove & Red D Exotische edit - Mackenzie Fast Fix mix) - (7:47) 124 BPM
No Promises (Lauer Cover version) - (6:37) 119 BPM
Review: "No Promises" was originally a 1990 B-side by The MacKenzie, a long forgotten outfit who would later go on to define the sound of Belgian trance. Back then, their sound was harder to define, and while "No Promises" features some melodious, hypnotic, trance-like elements, these sit alongside choral vocals (similar, in style, to those used on Orbital's "Belfast"), a smattering of Chicago house influences and an undeniably Balearic vibe. Here, the original version is joined by two new interpretations from Lauer; a rougher, more jackin', Chicago-meets-Ghent "remix", and a breezy "cover" that's more Balearic than being carried out of Pacha in a face-chewing daze. As if that wasn't enough to get the juices flowing, there's also a tasty edit of proto-trance-meets-deep-house cut "The Right Side" from Locked Groove and Red D.
Review: Straight out of Leuven in Belgium, Dektro comes correct on this first fully-fledged release for We Play House, following on from a low-key digital offering on MUFF in 2008. The melodies fall out in twirling balletic forms on lead track "De Flattekat", which keeps the groove gentle to allow more room for the expressive piano lines to roam unhindered and it makes for a joyously sunny end result. "Langhors" brings a little more bite to the table with a punchy square wave bassline and a more distinct kick, but still the keys are king here as jazzy, Floating Points-esque moods come tumbling down over the stout drums with classically trained poise.
Review: Wales-based deep house stalwart Andrew 'Luv Jam' Cole rarely puts a foot wrong. Predictably, this EP for the equally reliable We Play House label is as strong as ever. While it's the deep shuffle and bold house pianos of "Californian Freestyler" that immediately catch the ear, it's the EP's more intriguing offerings that really impress. "Panta Relics", a melodious chunk of xylophone-heavy Balearic deep house featuring extensive samples from a vintage John Lennon interview, is particularly good, though the analogue synth jam "BMX Bandito" pushes it close. Uncanny Valley man Jacob Korn delivers the obligatory remixes, offering a fuzzy, late night piano house interpretation (the "Vinyl Mix"), and a synth-and-acid styled feelgood chugger (the "Digital Mix").
Review: Given the runaway success of their 2013 anthem "It's You" (licensed by Defected after vinyl copies began changing hands for huge sums online), hopes are naturally high for this belated follow-up from Red D and San Soda's FCL project. "Can We Try" is nowhere near as potent as its predecessor, but is still a decent effort; certainly, plenty of house DJs will enjoy the bright-eyed combination of bleep-heavy electronics, surging analogue bass and Lady Linn's breathy vocal. Deetron provides the obligatory remixes, going all saucer-eyed and Balearic with the help of some spine-tingling pianos. His Dub, which strips away Linn's vocal, is particularly potent.
Review: Creating stripped-back analogue acid house tracks with soul is notoriously difficult. Congratulations then, to Spain's Nacho Marco, who has successfully nailed the "acid soul" sound with "Open", a kind of basement-friendly take on Deetron blessed with a superb vocal from Aqeel and just the right amount of dark 303 tweakery. Nacho Marco himself provides a couple of notable reworks, with the raw and occasionally brutal Acidub standing out. Elsewhere, there's a brilliantly saucer-eyed, piano-sporting remix from Kiani & His Legion, and a stonking, rave-friendly Basement Tool from the same producer. The latter, all Belgian rave stabs and Chicago jack builds, is arguably the highlight of an excellent EP.
Review: Here's something rather novel (and, arguably, timely): a tribute to Belgium's greatest contribution to electronic music, new beat, with contemporary artists delivering tracks inspired by the woozy, late night chug of the mid-to-late '80s sound. All involved step up to the mark, delivering druggy, twisted, wonky and on occasions near anthemic cuts. Picking out highlights is tough, but check the ragged electronic pulse of Red D's "I Only Wanna", JD Twitch's tough "Just Like That", Aril Brikha's chugging, melodic "Nineveh By Night" and, most impressively, the intoxicating percussion abuse of the Uncanny Valley crew's "Drum Abuse". Superb stuff.
Review: Ludovic Llorca is clearly a man on a mission. Having largely disappeared from view for a couple of years, this is amazingly his third Art of Tones release in as many weeks. It's also arguably the strongest of the trio. "Take Me Higher" is a soulful, energetic and effortlessly groovy fusion on gospel, classic US deep house and contemporary British bass bottom-end. It's one of those tunes that's nigh on impossible to dislike. "Damped", a foray into fluid, late night deepness, is almost as good. The good news is that there are tons of Dubs and remixes to get stuck into, too, with Lauer's deliciously old skool, but lovingly fluid "Bert Remix" being the best of the bunch.
Review: The last time We Play House put out a "V.I.P" was the limited-edition vinyl release, FCL's now infamous cover of E.S.P's "It's You". It ended up becoming one of the most in-demand records on Discogs, and was subsequently snapped-up for a digital release by Defected. This time round, the Belgian label have decided to do things differently, giving away 250 vinyl copies of Kiani & His Legion's warm, melodic and quietly anthemic "Records & Culture", and handling digital themselves. While nowhere near as "big" as its predecessor, there's a pleasing simplicity to Genk boy Thomas Neyens' effort, which unfurls gloriously chiming melodies across eight smile-inducing minutes.
Review: It's the House music equivalent of Gareth Bale versus Mario Goetze on the 19th We Play House transmission (not including the limited colour prints) as Welsh wonder Luv Jam pairs off with rising German talent Dynamodyse, appearing here as SRF Inc. The appropriately titled Wales vs Germany: 2-2 EP sees both producers contribute two tracks, and it marks a welcome return for Luv Jam whose rise has been fully justified since he first surfaced on LPH almost three years ago. Both his productions are stamped with that unique Luv Jam style; the way "We Play Mouse" woozily sways between obscure and classicist moments is particularly delightful. German Wunderkind Dynamodyse continues his work under the SRF Inc banner with two equally unique house tools, with the bassline to "How To Eat Music" truly hard to resist.
Review: Having collaborated with Red D on a previous We Play House release, Antwerp native Berten De Beukelaer - better known as Metrobox - gets a chance to deliver an EP all of his own for the Belgian imprint. Stroom Spanning & Weeerstand is typical of his work, which invariably mixes bold melodies and tactile electronics with rubbery house grooves. The nu-disco influenced "Juno 11" sets the tone, layering crystalline melodies over a tasty retro-futurist groove. "Ode Aan WPH" offers a more Germanic take on deep house, whilst retaining the nu-disco influence, with flute solos intermingling with De Beaukelaer's own vocals. "Live The Dream" takes a similar approach, while beefing up the bottom end, whilst "Soul Princepessa" shuffles along impressively.
Review: Damn! The Toch Al De Vijfde EP makes for a long overdue return to the solo release game for We Play House main man San Soda! We're not quite sure what the title means as we skipped Flemish A Level at school (Yet already the fifth?) but San Soda is truly on form here, dropping four fully fledged deep house gems - one of which features a certain Dresden dynamo called Jacob Korn! As soon as those oven warm keys spiral out in tandem with a classic house harmony on "You Hear Me" we expect this release will be on your want list but do check "See More Days" which features the aforementioned Korn as well as Hercules & Love Affair singer Gustaph, who belts out some Red D penned lyrics over the Korn Soda production with the sort of aplomb that obviously impressed Andy Butler.
Review: Belgian duo Red D and San Soda resurrect their stand out 2010 house throwback "Vocals For Everyone" with this revisit, complete with a huge new remix from Arto Mwambe. "Used To Be" shines immediately thanks to a mercifully un-effected vocal and a winning mix of soft stabs, hi pitch mod-wheel rocking squalls and deep 808 beats. Also included is the instrumental version of deep Detroit delight "Back" - with the full vocal version being kept back for FCL's debut album due out later in the year. However Frankfurt funk fiends Arto Mwambe step up with a gloriously vivid and ethno-imbued remix that uses reed leads and some gloriously dubby delays over everything to create a truly standout groove.
Review: We Play House social secretary Red D presents the first in what we hope is a long series of collaborative EPs which features the production talents of Lemakuhlar, Social Disco Club and Metrobox. No prizes for guessing the sounds that will roll out your speaker cones, but this is still some truly classy house music. Red D shares the first two tracks with compatriots Lemakuhlar, serving up a slice of vintage Chicago bump on "Is Limited" laying out an infectious piano hook before an almighty wave of Midwest emotive textures arise and take hold! Alongside it "Is Essit" presents a rawer, dusted sound with rough jacking pads splayed underneath a freaked out vocal hook - the left turn into sumptuous strings provides the wow factor. Up next, the Portugal vs Belgium dust up gets off to a great start with an exposition on the state of jacking house that is "We Made This Jack" which sees Metrobox's European tones ride the heavy jacking rhythms with aplomb. "Need You" is a more broken affair, with sparse percussion allowing the subby rhythmic thrust the space to dominate.
Review: Parisian veteran DJ Yellow returns to deep house pastures with an evocative EP for Belgium's We Play House. The three original tracks here take much inspiration from the expansive electronic sweeps of progressive house, adding a shuffling deep house sensibility for contemporary dancefloors. This blend works best on the hypnotic, late night head-nodder "Je T'M", but can also be seen on the vocal opener "Night In Tranzylvania". There's also an epic ambient/spoken word excursion, "Angel Part" - which brings back memories of old Billie Ray Martin releases on Apollo - and a low-slung Russ Gabriel remake of "Night In Tranzylvania". Excellent.
Review: With We Play House now firmly established as one of our favourite labels here at Juno Download HQ, it's safe to say each new arrival on the imprint is met with an unrestrained squeal of delight. The 13th release from the WPH crew comes from label newcomer Sebastien San, with a sumptuous four track offering that comes with a remix from golden boy San Soda. "Great Cities" (Ad Lib) opens proceedings in a smoky, jazzed out manner, with twinkling keys working beneath a gently undulating synth line. This leads into the gentle understated glee of "Pulsation", before San Soda breathes some life into the title track with his downtempo version (which ironically is considerably more uptempo than the original). "Theories" by comparison is the most dancefloor driven of the four, a heads down roller with pumping chords making it perfect early night warehouse party tackle.
Review: More crisp adventures into weird melodic deep house on Belgian imprint We Play House Recordings courtesy of Welsh producer Luv Jam. Known to familials as Andy Cole, Luv Jam is right at home on WPH with The Pitch Black EP. "Black Moon" rides a deep organ groove with synth lines intermittently soaring through the ether of a growling bassline barely touched by soft pads. WPH mainstay San Soda takes the track into deeper yet more danceable territory, sculpting a real hypnotic groove from the stems. Lush Detroit atmospherics abound on "Black Panther" where future abstract syncopation is complemented by Blade Runner-esque synth washes and flushed piano stabs. Four tracks of excellent future retro house that have already garnered support from the likes of Simbad and Jimpster.
Review: Following hot on the heels of his killer vocal house EP with We Play House boss Red D (under their new FCL moniker), San Soda returns to the Belgian imprint with this solo effort. Here we see the euphoric house of FCL replaced by more restrained yet equally danceable tunes, kicking off with "Bright Piano," which brings to mind Session Victim's recent hit, "The Keyboarder". "Ode Aan De Verkeersdrempel," which some light internet sleuthing revealed is Dutch for "Ode To The Traffic Threshold" (surely something lost in translation there), is another shimmering house jam. The EP winds down with the more restrained vibe of "Hypocrisy" and the delectable jazzy keys of "Middelmatig In 1993". Great little release from an up and coming producer.