Reviewed this week
South Korean DJ and producer Peggy Gou is everywhere right now. What's more: she has faced down misogyny, won over her traditional family and become one of the best-loved stars in dance music. For someone who's only broken through over the last few years, she's a highly-regarded, fresher than fresh producer who's just dropped a stellar EP via Ninja Tune and on top labels like Rekids, Technicolour and Phonica. Anyone who's seen Gou in action knows that she's not a DJ who's bound by genre, style or tempo - and her mix for Mixmag is no different. From her own cuts such as the funky groove of "Shero" or the soulful broken beat of "Han Jan", lose yourself further in the acidified tunnel vision of Matrixxman's "Sexual Frustration", UK legend Aubrey's funky "Aqua Warrior" or legends of the new school from Italy Hiver - on the emotive electro bounce of "One More Snooze".
Berlin legend Dietrich Bergmann aka Terranova has sure found his comfort zone on the Kompakt imprint, where he's presented three albums and nearly a dozen EPs over the last several years. All of these tracks on the Singularity EP are inspired by a current fascination with artificial intelligence and robotic technology and features three collaborations as well as two originals. From the moody dancefloor drama of "Let It Fail", the beatless ambient adventure of "Powergrid" or the slinky and melodic tech house of "Escape Ism" that builds with tension and suspense - it's another brilliant release by the artist formerly known as Fetisch.
Fresh from reworking Remake's 1992 progressive house cover of Vangelis' "Blade Runner" theme, Maceo Plex returns to the Ellum Audio family he co-founded with Alta in 2011. This time round, he's got company, too, with veteran Texas outfit Paradigm Shift (whose "Requisition" was featured on Plex's recent Fabric mix CD) lending a hand on title track "Mutant Pulse". It's a typically atmospheric, peak-time-friendly affair, with trippy female spoken world vocals weaving in and out of an alien techno groove and spine-tingling pads reminiscent of the Moby classic "Go". "Mutant Radio" is an altogether darker and more hypnotic interpretation, with spaced-out stabs and ghostly chords accompanying Plex's fuzzy, on-point grooves.
Reptile Dysfunction boss Martin Doorly reckons that he has 'put his balls on the line' with this release - but we're pretty certain it will appease the label's most devoted fans and new ones alike. Teaming up with the mysterious Tan Dem on the Nismo's Groove EP for the lo-slung funk groove of "Mummas A Bean", he then goes solo for the remainder - where he serves up the neon-lit Italo influenced anthems 'Drop The Needle" and the electrifying "On The Upside. The sun kissed boogie-down jam "Cafe Mambo Disco Pumper" was on-point also. The now Los Angeles based Doorly has recently made the move back to Europe, where he nailed these killer grooves in his brand new studio in Ibiza.
As per usual, the UK's Toolroom imprint has put together the definitive summer collection when it comes to tech-house and anything minimal. As you can see - and hear - there are 67 tracks on here, all from the very best and most coveted talent in the scene; Mark Knight features prominently, of course, alongside established house entities like Erick Morillo, Format: B, Sascha Funke, Nic Fanciulli, and many others. But, don't stop there, as there is plenty of new talent to discover in artists like SecondCity, GotSome, Marcellus Wallace, ANOTR, and many more. There are three continuous mixes available, also, one for each summer setting. This is BIG!
American producer Reed Kackley aka Baile is up next on Sasha's Last Night On Earth label. The original version of "Amae" is a pop-inflected, mellow and sensual listening experience for those chill-out moments led by Felicia Douglass' gorgeous vocal performance. It receives two remixes by label chief Sasha: the first "Sasha Fabric1999 mix" was used on his recent Fabric mix and indeed - like its name suggests - channels the vibe of pre-millennium tension. The "Sasha Fabric2099" mix is more typical of Christopher Coe ,on this absolutely evocative progressive house anthem engineered by one of the true masters of the style.
Nick Curly and Gorge's 8 bit imprint is still running strong out of Germany's proud city of industry: Mannheim. Following up a terrific release by progressive house elegant Danny Howells, it is over to current hero of the British tech-house sound Darius Syrossian. The Leeds based DJ follows up releases on top labels like Hot Creations, VIVa Music and Sankey's Music with the Fixation EP - featuring four house slammers, right in time for the Ibiza season. From the thunderous "Kapan", the funky main room energy of the title track and the tough rolling functionality of "Curzon" that is just perfect to lead-in to the peak time.
In recent times, Shiba San has garnered a lot of positive attention from every corner, with one foot in his hip-hop past and the other embracing the future of house - he has found a comfortable collision of the two in bass heavy ghetto funk. Following up Planet Floor and Up & Down, he's back with his third release on Claude Vonstroke's west coast bass institution Dirtybird. The Frenchman throws down the tough rolling bounce of "Don't Talk" that's is heavy on the low end as always. Next up is "Moskito" is a bombastic thriller featuring a saw wave bassline that will slice your speakers to smithereens!
Wurzburg's Johannes Albert heads up Frank Music, where for several years he's delivered some top-shelf deep house jams by the likes of Smallpeople, Achterbahn D'Amour, Monosoul and of course a heap of his own jams from his now Berlin based studio. His new Plus 1 EP refers to the collaborations featured and includes the track "Turbo Basmati". While in its original form it is an uplifting and neon-lit Italo disco tribute, Iron Curtis' Thermo mix is a powerful, breaks-driven classic house jam, just like the following "Karen's Piano" which features Mr. Fonk on this old school Strictly Rhythm tribute. Albert proves he's just as able to do deep and emotive house too, as displayed on the sexy mood lighting of "Floating Dub" featuring D.Y.A.
Missing Link is only the second release so far on Stripped Down, but it's just as essential as the debut EP from Claudio Ricci. In its original format, the title track features brooding woodwind, chilling piano keys and a plaintive, haunting vocal. A stellar group of remixers have been lined up to provide remixes: first up Sasse turns the track into a clicky, minimal house that breaks down into Munimuni & Seelenwald's orchestral woodwind. Kollektiv Turmstrasse, who are best known for their work on Diynamic, align with the original track's sensibilities. However, they don't eschew the dance floor and drop a frazzled bass that is sure to have the requisite effect. Lastly, Tiefschwarz deliver a version that strips back the melodies and focuses on a rolling, percussive rhythm that is populated by bursts of filtered percussion.
Ki Creighton's Under No Illusion is back with Illusionists Vol 3, where the Annan based label boss (and Uber Carlisle resident) teams up with Makanan on the tough rolling main-room people mover "Countdown", the always reliable Huxley delivers the evocative dancefloor drama of "Half Moon" and Brett Gould & Majesty team up with what seemed like only White Isle hedonism purely in mind: on the terrific "Get Low". Following up some terrific releases by Yost Koen, Cloonee and Jay De Lys - it is further proof that this label is on fire at the moment.
Stuttgart's Ninetoes released his hit "Finder" back in 2013 on Kling Klong. With its sample of Ralph MacDonald's "The Path", this funked-up afro house jam gets some commemorative reworks by some top stars. The mighty Carl Cox steps up to the challenge first for a rare remix - and indeed the don of dance music does not fail to deliver the goods. His moody and atmospheric rework is purposely engineered for main room dancefloor drama. Next up is former m_nus affiliate and now Rukus main man Matador; the Irishman delivers a groovy, acid inflected tech house rendition which isn't as dark as some of his more recent efforts - it's even refreshing.
Some of you probably know about Riva Starr's past as a breakbeat producer under the name of Madox. Well, at the time, one of the dirtiest tracks ever produced came in the form of "Pop Ya Cork" by London's Stanton Warriors. The Snatch! Records boss thought it was about time to bring it back to life with Technasia main man Charles Siegling on the remix job. The Frenchman's main remix is a funky and tough rolling tech house tool for the main room, while the dub remix is more stripped back and bass driven for functional use.
Chicola, the Israeli veteran producer, unleashed over two decades of music production experience on the excellent 'Could Heaven Be' LP in late 2017. Now with these remixes we hear a different groove among all the familiar elements on tracks such as "Could Heaven Be" (Ruede Hagelstein remix) which sees the Berlin veteran deliver an adrenalised exploration in dancefloor drama, the Johannes Brecht remix of "If He Thought You Ever Changed Your Mind" takes the track into deeper and more contemplative territory and Karmon's hi-tech rendition of "Velvet Afternoon" goes for that Innervisions/Exit Strategy kind of sound.
Eli Brown has rapidly established himself as an artist of real distinction in the house world, with Of Unsound Mind, ViVA, Toolroom and more all recognising his worth. The Bristolian serves up the riveting peak time stomp of "Wait No More" here, which is another release on Lee Foss' Repopulate Mars which is sure to tear up dancefloors on The White Isle this summer. Second thriller "Misbehave" channels the spirit of early '90s Eurohouse with its huge synth melodies and cheeky rap vocals.
London's Loft Records are back with Bristol DJ/producer Crawford. His new killer "We Go Back" is an evocative tech house number that calls to mind the life-affirming vibes of classic Kompakt Records. It also receives a couple of decent remixes: first by rising British producer Kiwi and Irishmen Brame & Hamo of Splendour & Squalor fame. The latter's rendition is the true winner. A Detroit style hi-tech soul stomper, in the vein of Kevin Saunderson or Aril Brikha. Second original offering "Techno Rhumba" uses some hypnotic acoustic guitar melodies during the drop - which soon gives way to a woozy, slo-mo and heads down groove.
Appleblim teams up with the Middle Eastern label Boogie Box once more for some hybridized explorations on the cutting edge of soundsystem music. "Vurstep" is a wildly psychedelic banger that keeps the rhythms broken while the sound design levels tap into the same delirious vein as his ALSO work with Second Storey. "Dream Wisdom" takes things in a smoother direction, riding on laid back breaks and plush threads of melody in a vintage ambient techno style. Shed steps up to remix "Vurstep" and delivers one of his pointed masterclasses in stripped, UK-leaning techno, and then Forest Drive West trips the whole thing out with a heavily dubbed meditation.
Danny Serrano has an impressive catalogue that includes releases on labels like Truesoul, Relief and Terminal M. For his latest EP, he teams up again with DJ Chus' Stereo Productions. "Bassmore" features a soulful female vocal - not entirely dissimilar from the ones on vintage Inner City - unravelling over a layered, percussive house arrangement that resounds to snare rolls and loose hi-hats. Factor in a pulsating bass and the overall effect is devastating. Clarisse Records boss Mendo is tasked with the remix and he rises to the occasion in style. The Swiss producer makes the arrangement leaner and more linear and puts the vocals through a filter, but without losing the original version's dynamic sound
Exclusives
TERRANOVA - Singularity EP (Kompakt Germany)
TUFF LONDON feat MISS B - Kill 'Em With Da Boom (Toolroom Trax)
HUXLEY/HARRY ROMERO/SECONDCITY/KI CREIGHTON & MAKANAN/BRETT GOULD & MAJESTY/REBUKE - Illusionists Vol 3 (Under No Illusion)
Exclusives
ALEX DIMOU feat AQUARIUS HEAVEN - Swimming Pool (Hottrax)
CHICOLA - Could Heaven Be (Remixes) (Lost & Found)
VARIOUS - Mixmag Presents Peggy Gou (Mixmag)
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