Reviewed this week
Toolroom boss Mark Knight teams up with BBC 1's Danny Howard for one of the biggest house releases of the year. The title track rides a rolling, tech-house rhythm that is full of vocal samples and propelled by effective snare rolls. It's infectious, fun and really catchy. "Playing With My Heart" opts for a somewhat different approach. Reminiscent of early 90s New York house, its insistent, slightly menacing bass provides the back drop against which Knight and Howard add in repetitive vocal samples. Factor in some insistent filters and the pair give "Heart" the requisite push towards the big room.
Clea Herlofsson is a Swedish DJ and 'dancing queen', who has made a name for herself playing out and about on Stockholm's club scene. She makes her debut here on Hot Haus Recs, following up an impressive debut on local start-up imprint Study Records. Here's an EP of 'South African inspired Scandinavian house cuts', with her track "Fantasy" receiving a totally trippin' and neon-lit rework by Aussie retrovert Bell Towers, followed by some dreamy and dusty deepness in the form of "Crazy Cato" and the absolutely emotive "Don't Ask".
Emirati DJ/producer Raxon is back after impressing recently on Ellum, Truesoul and Senso Sound - and this new one for Hamburg heroes Diynamic is further evidence that this guy really is one of the leading lights to emerge from the Middle East. The Destiny EP features all the hallmarks of the Hanseatic label's sound, and this A.M. expert's unique perspective on melodic big room techno. From the moody and all-consuming tunnel vision of terrific opener "Future Past" to the slinky and hypnotic journey "Enter Galactic" which we are sure you've all been hearing as lot this year - it's unmistakable!
Tale Of Us' revered imprint now serves up another thriller courtesy of southern fellow countrymen Agents Of Time. The Obscura Music head honchos deliver some big room melodic tech-house, that is equally as big on the sonic narratives as it is the dancefloor drama. Having previously contributed to the Realm Of Consciousness compilation, they now present their Forest Of Lies EP. The thundering tension and suspense of "Floating Time" sets the scene well, right into the hypnotic journey of "Dream Vision" or when they venture over to the darkside superbly on the nefarious acid of "Vapor Floor".
Already road-tested at his Ibiza residency during the summer, Syrossian says that "Danzer" was made in response to his frustration at modern house and techno. Certainly, its stream of consciousness vocal sample, shimmering chords and massive, filtered disco riff will endear it to any one who has grown sick of by the numbers gloomy techno. On the 'Techno Tool' take, the chords are deeper and more intense, while the bass booms powerfully. The other interpretation, offered by Adesse Versions, is markedly different. It see him lower the tempo, add in steely drums and drop a wiry acid line that niggles and nags like a Mediterranean matriarch.
The second in Mr G's Unreleased series sees the veteran producer take the audience down a diverse but resolutely underground path. "Intro G" is underpinned by his usual solid, skipping beats, but the focus is on the sweeping piano keys and soulful vocal sample. Similarly, on "Rex One Saturday Morn", an uplifting vocal is woven around a woozy synth line, making for a heady groove. "Practice" is more pacy but its rippling bass and nagging percussion also provide the basis for evocative organ keys. On "Kick It", the UK producer shows a darker strain to his sound. While a vocal intones the track title, the bass is so malevolent and brooding, it will level any club where it is dropped.
Known for his work on Crosstown Rebels, MadTech and Simma Black, among others, James Edwards AKA Made By Pete comes to the mighty Gruuv with a track that, in its original form, ain't nothing but a groove, centred around a cavernous, throbbing bassline, shakers and odd electronic parps, and topped with Penny F1's earnest, breathy vocal. Dave DK supplies a remix that takes us into deeper, tribal territory and that comes complete with a matching instrumental, while bonus cut 'Justify Your Move' completes the EP with a nod to late 80s Chicago.
Mexican label Duro is run out of Mexico for the last 10 years, founded by Theus Mago, Moisees Ramirez Olvera and Mateo Gonzaalez - aka Bufi. He returns with the third single from his Mexico 70 album which is due to be released soon after releases on labels like Discotexas and Electrique Music. He delivers the woozy punk-funk of "Brujerias" and the psychedelic (almost acid techno) vibe of "Africa Latina" venturing into the same territory as indie dance heroes like Red Axes and Moscoman have also done of late. Remixes come from Richard Rossa - who brings the goods on the moody noir antics of his remix of "Africa Latina" as does Maya Danon on her druggy minimal tech house rework.
Since making his debut a few years back, Maurice "Whitesquare" Uzzan has notched up appearances on such highly regarded labels as Culprit, DFTD, Toy Tonics, 20:20 Vision and, most recently, Jimpster's Freerange Recordings. Here he returns to the latter with three more atmospheric and polished chunks of European deep house. The real peak-time beast is "Ligai", a typically woozy and slowly building affair that layers alien synth-bass, foreboding chords and metallic electronic riffs atop a percussively powerful tech-house groove. The EP's other two cuts are deeper, breezier and more delicately layered, with the South African inspired goodness of "Stina" being followed by the blissful and melodious electronic deep house warmth of "Sand".
Party-starting Sydney duo Black Angus and Connie Mitchell have a hit on their hands. Like many of the most memorable club hits, "Can't Help The Way That I Feel" is devilishly simple, with a two-note melody and attractive vocal snippets (a re-recorded vocal phrase from Evelyn Champagne King classic "Love Come Down") rising above a chunky, funk-fuelled house groove. Alongside the duo's ace "Extended Mix", this epic package contains no less than 11 similarly peak-time-focused reworks. We're particularly enjoying the bumpin' beats and disco samples of the Ben Renna Extended Remix and the bright and breezy nu-disco bliss of Casual Connection's extended revision, though DJs who like it tougher will no doubt gravitate towards David Penn's muscular, rave horn-sporting "Iberican" tribal house revision.
To celebrate their 22nd anniversary, Palette Recordings presents its first release in two years from label chief John Tejada. Live Rytm Trax was recently conceived as his new live PA, focusing on just one machine (the Elektron Analog Rytm) and making the most out of its limitations. He performed and captured this wonderful selection of tracks in fellow Los Angeleno Kenny Larkin's studio, which provided the perfect opportunity to add a special sound signature to the songs. Here he relied less on modern computer sequencing methods to capture the spontaneity of the pieces live. The result is a real time and organic experience, with Tejada performing the tracks live with no overdubs or editing.
Hamburg heroes Benjamin Busse, Friso Traas aka Adana Twins delivered the 25th installment in Berlin institution Watergate's esteemed mix series. The second EP released here features exclusive tracks from their riveting mix, included here are: Italian (and fellow Diynamic artist) Lehar getting hypnotically melodic on the sonic sorcery of "Blue Wolf", veteran German producer Acid Pauli going deeper in typically eloquent fashion on g"Geeting From Orgonon" and Sicily's Musumeci - fresh off great releases for Innervision and Bedrock - with the electro tinged progressive house of "Invaders" which is just sublime.
Just This has a long history of cultivating underground artists, and for its latest EP hthe label as tapped Abstract Division for some material. The title track is not what fans of the Dutch act might expect, with tranced out synths playing out over subtle back beats. "Isolated" is straighter and more dance floor-focused, but again the mood is understated, as the pair drop subtle drums and melancholic melodies that swirl through the ether. The label has tapped VRIL and Peter Van Hoesen for remixes and neither disappoints: the former's take on "Isolated" is subtle but effective, adding lithe drums to the mix, while the Van Hoesen take on the same track dives into a faster, tribal approach.
Canadian producer Nathan Micay follows up releases on Whities, 17 Steps and several editions of his own Schvitz Edits series with this energetic pair of tracks for Los Angeles based ESP institute. The Berlin by way of Toronto artist (formerly known as Bwana) further explores aesthetics of '90s trance music on the hypnotic and elevating acid express that is "Never Rhythm Game" followed by a deep, moody and introspective electro number in the form of "Team Player".
For their latest release, Pan-Pot have commissioned some of the biggest names in techno to rework their Weltlinie release from earlier this year. In its original format, the EP moved from the dreamy, driving title track and the menacing tribal techno of "Startphase" into the rattling rhythms of "Exzentrisch" and the rave-friendly builds of "Zeit". In Gregor Tresher's hands, the title track turns into a surprisingly understated house groove, while by contrast Gary Beck re-imagines "Startphase" as a pounding, peak time techno beast. Shlomi Aber's version of "Exzentrisch" is more nuanced than the original, thanks mainly to its skeletal groove, while Deas strips "Zeit" down and creates a pounding, loopy workout.
Next up on Polish imprint Exotic Refreshment LTD is a South Korean producer: Yeong Kyoon Byeon aka Downpour with the Samsara EP. He gets super deep on this superb five tracker: from the seductive slow-motion drifter that is the title track, deep melodic tech house for solitary dancers on "Marionette" (original mix) and the hypnotic journey "Karma" (original mix) which is pure elevation. On the remix we have Armando Letico (Talavera/Souq Records) taking "Samsara" into tribal rain dance territory and SAAND (Sol Selectas) delivering an evocative rework of "Karma" to close out this fine release.
Released on Belgian institution R&S Records back in 2016, Alex Smoke's album Love Over Will signalled a new phase of deep artistry for the stalwart Scottish producer. Two years on we get treated to a couple more special remixes (a first volume was released a couple of years ago) courtesy of Dixon & Ame's Innervisions out of Berlin. Italian power duo Tale Of Us deliver another awe-inspiring expression of dancefloor drama with their spellbinding rendition of "Fall Out", while similarly Maeve co-head Mano Le Tough brings on the sonic theatrics and narratives with his rendition of "Dust" - a deep and druggy techno journey into the later hours.
Next up on Riva Starr's ever reliable Snatch! imprint is American legend Junior Sanchez, who follows up a terrific run of releases on top labels recently such as Robsoul, Relief and Armada Subjekt. The man from New York City throws down a deep down and dirty expression in funky house that's more suited to heads down moments in the back room on the dubby "Looking Back" while second offering "Magnificent" is equally on the stripped back, bass driven and DJ oriented groove business. His one is reminiscent of Subliminal and Defected B sides from the turn of the millenium - capturing the zeitgeist of a golden era of house music that this veteran certainly was part of.
The Needs imprint, which fundraises for a variety of charities, follows the Peggy Gou / Juju & Jordash EP with another quality split release. First up is Dj Normal 4 aka Tim Schumacher with "Return Of The Hooligans", a slinky break beat house groove laced with acidic belches and eerie electro undercurrents. Next up are Red Axes, who have released on labels like ESP Institute and Dark Entries. "Treacksheni" is a pared back groove that supports Middle Eastern string instruments and organic percussion, making for a heady fusion. Last but by no means least on this altruistic release is Hodge, whose "Signal" is a cavernous drum track, weighed down by dubbed out undercurrents.
Founded by the producer duo Boot Slap, Perplex is inspired by countless club nights and aims to connect contemporary and traditional deep house music. Here comes the fourth release of the label by ascendant Mexican DJ/producer Naza, featuring the polyrhythmic and melodic deep house of "Dimba" supported by the spiritual Afro house vibe "Ayo". The release is supported by two killer remixes of "Dimba" by the Lossless boss Mathias Schober: the Euphoria mix builds on the emotive energy of the original, while the Stripped mix is a reliable tool for blending or just enjoying the minimal vibe.
MARK KNIGHT & DANNY HOWARD - You Can Do It Baby EP (Toolroom)
DARIUS SYROSSIAN - Danzer (Hot Creations)
UONE & OUT OF SORTS - You Are Not Sleeping (feat DJ PQM) (Balance Music)
BUCHER & KESSIDIS - Taka (Plastic City Germany)
TIMEWARP - Minimal Trippin' (Kraak Greece) - exclusive 14-12-2018
EX-TERRESTRIAL - Euphorbia (Magicwire)
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