Review: Having lent a couple of the label's finest moments previously such as the Sipoor and Sound Test EPs, not to mention a killer self-titled full length last year, esteemed Israeli duo Red Axes return to Phantasy with another bunch of leftfield club tracks on the Some Lights EP. Features the tunnelling, acid house-inspired stomp of the title track, which leads into the transcendental and psychedelic dark disco journey of "Skulls" and proving there's plenty in the duo's sonic repertoire, they close it out on a low slung tip with the deep down and dirty "Professor Grasstov".
Review: No single-track salvo from Eli Escobar this time round, but rather a two-track missive packed to the rafters with peak-time potential. Leading the charge is 'Just Work', a stomping but hypnotic affair in which sampled handclaps and blues vocal snippets work (sorry) together with looped stabs, cymbal-heavy machine drums and twinkling piano solos to create a heady late-night mood. 'Typical Sax Song' is a touch more laid-back but still energetic enough to get people going on the dancefloor, with Escobar adding woozy synths and hazy sax solos to a loose-limbed house beat and rubbery, delay-laden electronic bassline.
Review: If your brain works like ours then you probably also sometimes think that it's perpetually the year 2020 also. To help us escape that wormhole is Tic Taci's 2020++ compilation that sends in 10 new and deeply cosmic electronic numbers that touch on disco, dub and the odd industrial post-wave session. This includes Jack Butters' remix of "Gone & Forgotten" next to a spaced out Balearic version of Field Of Dreams by Hardway Bros. Bossmann Duncan Grey delivers his own edit to Fjordfunk with its devilish vamp alongside some abstract acid by Martin Eve in "Small Time Hero". A trippy jam for the next time you gas it through the New Jersey turnpike with a cigar hanging out your mouth like Tony Soprano.
Review: Diynamic Music's ongoing, compilation style Four To The Floor EP series has long been a reliable source of club-ready fodder. This 21st edition is no different. Josh Gigante steps up first with 'Attention Seeker', a thrillingly sleazy peak-time concoction in which nagging electronic motifs ride a surging, arpeggio-driven bassline and crunchy drums, before Jepe joins the dots between warehouse-ready heaviness and locked-in European tech-house on the dark and unsettling 'Tanzwerk'. AIKON's 'Folk' is a more curious - but no less impressive - concoction, with classic electro melodies and 80s goth-rock guitar sounds riding a snappy drum track, while Spada's 'Music is the Way' is a gorgeous, sunrise-ready deep house number full of progressive house melodies, emotive chords and bubbly electronics.
Review: UK tech house hero Rich NxT continues with his prolific output of late. The next release from the Fuse London staple (and Seven Dials main man) comes courtesy of Hot Creations in the form of the Vibewise EP. Having featured as remixer on the label previously, this is his debut; a killer three track release. Starting with the tough main room bounce of "Roll On", there's more swing for your satisfaction on the infectious hypnotism of "Papermill" and getting into moodier territory on the heads down groove of the title track.
Review: With the pandemic forcing the Berlin clubbing institution Berghain to close temporarily, the collaborative nature of Funfzehn + 1 provided the Ostgut Ton artist roster to cope with themes of isolation and conjure up 'memories of music and space that had been inaccessible'. Originally slated for release in 2020, the compilation finally sees the light of day with the selected contributors working together in pairs to make music dedicated to the former power plant's five different floors. Club residents such as Ben Klock and Etapp Kyle appear with the deep sonar transmissions of "A Friend Of A Friend" and Marcel Dettmann & Norman Nodge team up on the muscular body music of "The Call", while Panorama Bar regulars Tama Sumo and Lakuti offer up the low slung disco vibe of "An Ode To Audre" and Avalon Emerson and Roi Perez impress with the snaking polyrhythms of "Champu Princess".
Review: After a succession of stellar releases on imprints such as Rebellion, Sapiens and Disco Halal, Tel Aviv-based producer and DJ Adam Ten arrives on Hamburg's Diynamic with the Rollercoaster TLV EP. It does exactly what it says on the tin, by taking the listener on a journey full of dramatic build-ups followed by intense drops - all the while intertwined with musical surprises. First track "Lego" with Amit Aagami aka Mita Gami (Sunrise Kingdom) is a serving of dirty late night electro sleaze with a seriously buzzing bassline, this is followed by the slinky and hypnotic deep house of "Grab A Room' in collaboration with Yamagucci, and closing it out with the hypnotic peak time track "The Beat Machine" which is another joint effort with Mita Gami.
Review: Following on from an appearance on Tresor's recent 30-year anniversary compilation, Donato Dozzy delivers a full release for the label. Underpinned by the storied producer's ability to tease hypnotic shapes from his machines, this EP is a mesmerising experience from start to finish. "Messy Kafka World" revolves around organic drums and percussion, with Dozzy conjuring up hypnotic synth lines in the background. Changing tact, "Synthi Chase" sees him piecing together layer upon layer of droning tones, while on "Wooden Dolls Don't Cry", he draws up a dense percussive framework as a backdrop for his subtle tones. The wobbling, woozy rhythm of "Cassiopeia 36" closes out this exemplary release.
Review: For the 13th time, Dixon has delved into the "unreleased gems" folder on his USB stick and chosen some Secret Weapons to share with Innervisions' fanatical followers. It's a bumper selection this time round too, with no less than 13 previously unheard club workouts to enjoy. The plentiful highlights include, but are no way limited to, the bleeping, electro-clash-goes-tech-house throb of 'Heart Transplant' by David Kochs, the warming wonder that is Woo York's 'Bohemia' (which sounds like Moby's classic remix of Pet Shop Boys 'Miserablism' re-imagined for the Innervisions generation), the hushed late-night sleaze of 'Ruby' by Jonathan Kaspar, and the trance-inducing, big-room ready bustle of Dominik Markz's 'Object in the Mirror'
Review: Previously, the reborn Vibraphone label has concentrated on delivering digital reissues of many of the melodious deep house gems the Italian imprint released in the 1990s. Here they flip the script, serving up a selection of previously unheard 21st century gems from up-and-coming producers. Tai Davis kicks things off with a quartet of cuts that variously touch on vintage Chicagoan jack-tracks ('That Acid'), classic deep house ('Crazy F', 'Watching the Clouds', and intergalactic acid ('Fusion'), before Daisuke Kondo delivers the wonderfully druggy 'Mental Crack' (a tipsy, off-kilter, late-night delight) and slick 'Telepathy'. Elsewhere, Shatalov's 'Its Not Exist' [sic] is a crackling trip through spacey deep house and Tade Kop's 'The Rhythm' is a glitchy, Isolee style minimal house delight.
Review: Roots is a 10 track LP which draws inspiration from Dennis Cruz's life experiences, incorporating the many disparate influences that have resulted in his success as a DJ and producer to this day. A Spanish theme is central to the release, a nod to the country and culture that Cruz calls home and collaborations are aplenty throughout. Highlights come in the form of the deeply hypnotic locomotive chug of "Good Old Days" featuring the mighty Ion Ludwig, while the tough rolling tech house of "What You Doing" ft. Leo Wood is aimed squarely at the main room dancefloor. Elsewhere, the polyrhythmic minimal funk of "Go Down" features the legendary Lee Scratch Perry and on the sultry Latin vibe of "Ahora Todo Va" (Dub) Cruz teams up with scene hero Josh Butler.
Review: Man of the moment Michael Janson's is back on Knee Deep In Sound to follow up the anthemic "Go" in collaboration with Cecille's Nick Curly earlier this year. "Evolver" is a serving of tough rolling funky house with chunky percussive elements that is aimed squarely at the main room dancefloor. Equally peak time minded is second offering "Soul Shaker" which ventures into hypnotic tribal territory and is perfect for those heads-down moments. For the remix they have reeled in the ascendant Hungarian Capeesh Society (Alliwant/Politics Of Dancing) who takes the title track into deeper and more melodic territory.
Review: Next up on Flash Recordings is an impressive collection of label owner Florian Mendl's work. While it is called minimal, this does not tell the whole story: "Desert Times", remixed here and featuring Ricardo Phillips' ponderous tones, is a spacious, dubbed out affair, while Stephan Bodzin's version of "The Beginning" is a dreamy but still effective slice of trancey techno. There are more stripped back tracks included, such as the rickety drums and repetitive samples of "Desire" and the metallic rhythms of "Natural Juice", but this compilation contains enough individualism and diversity - audible on the throbbing bass of "The Theorem" and the jacking "The Journey" to ensure it never veers into one-dimensional minimalism.
Review: Toolroom gets straight back down to business with Club Rave Dance, featuring 50 club essentials plus continuous mixes by scene heroes Flashmob and Volkoder - marking a return to clubland after a long break. Highlights come from label chief Mark Knight on the uplifting and soulful vocal house of "You Saw Me" (feat Damon Trueitt - GUZ extended mix), the slinky and hypnotic rhythm of dream team Danny Howard & Gene Farris' "How Do We Feel?" as well as Leftwing : Kody serving up the sexy and emotive "If You Wanna". Elsewhere, Baltra & Darius Syrossian drop the year's biggest bassline on "I Want You", the mighty Siege gets back to the disco on "Reach Out" and Tuff London deliver their best Kevin Saunderson impression on the Motor City vibes of "Heart Beat".
Maxinne & DJ Rae - "How Many Times" - (5:27) 124 BPM
Review: Toolroom Records staple Maxinne presents her much anticipated debut album Red Alert, which showcases her diverse and unique sound as an artist. Named after her empowering and uplifting music, it is the culmination of Maxinne's career thus far. She colllaborates with other artists, producers and singers who she has built great relationships with over the years, such as Lauren L'aimant on the classic deep house groove of "Take It Anymore", then with Hayla providing her pop vocal to contrast the steely dub techno of "See Right Before My Eyes" and similarly with legend Gene Farris on the main room techno slam of ""Our House". Label boss Mark Knight also steps in as special guest, on the slinky peak time tech house of "That Soul" (feat MC Flipside).
Review: An established presence in his home city of Dublin, the ascendant Lukey has previously impressed release wise with appearances on Play Groove, IWANT and Lisbon's Carpet & Snares this year. His latest comes courtesy of Hot Creations, which he says is a dream come true as it's a label he has been a fan of since he was a teenager. "Less Is More" takes the best motifs of classic Stateside house and throws them all into one fine mix, led by its shimmering chord progression underpinned by an infectious breakbeat. This is followed by the tough rolling tech house of "Quick One" and the early '90s vibe of "We Will Never Hear".
Review: Next up on Diynamic Music is Buenos Aires-based producer, DJ and street artist Apste, who some of you may know from his tracks on Netherlands' Lups Records in recent times. The Universal Language EP features four hot dancefloor tracks featuring '80s and '90s elements and a lo-fi edge throughout. Beginning with the slinky neon-lit bounce of "Ix", things soon get low slung on the late night dark disco of "Empty Inside" and closing it out with the glassy-eyed and bittersweet deep house of "Prisma" that's awash in a rich tapestry of sublime melodies.
Review: Hot Creations chief Jamie Jones is back with a killer new tune in the form of "Handy Work". Said to have come about at the end of a studio session after working on other tracks, he rediscovered a classic diva sample originally used on a Junior Vasquez production from back in 1994. Completed in about an hour, Jones played it out in the club shortly after where the crowd reaction was intense - he knew he was onto something massive. Jones also serves up the deep, down and dirty afterhours bounce of "Mind Meld With Spock" as well as the deep and sensual mood music of "Sunday In Paris" with its sexy saxophone melody.
Review: Each edition of the Four To The Floor series always presents four tracks that are some of the strongest secret weapons from the sets of label co-head Solomun. Now in its 16th installment, be captivated by Lone Romantic Maceo Plex on the epic dancefloor drama of "Mutant Magic" and its killer vocal, Canadian veteran Fairmont is in fine form and serves up the moody tunnel vision of "Plastic Head TV" while Nico Garreaud's "Louisville Lip" (Abaze edit) is aimed squarely at the main room at peak time and The Vinyl Depreciation Society provide more sonic narratives - best heard under the strobelight - on "Princept".
Review: Back once again on the NO ART label are the sounds of Toman, an artist that since 2016 has been making a groovy, minimal and stripped back name for himself thanks to drops on EastEnderz, We_r House and his own Toman Music. With tracks like "Am I Conscious" delivering deep Berlin vibes with that trippy Claude Von Stroke vocal tip, get your trippier and dubbed out tracks from "Contigo". Shake your booty to some tribal New Yorkian touches in "Sabelo" and the stripped back "Everywhere I Go I'm Haunted By Jazz" with it's classical, hip hop sampling tip, with "Automatic" going deep and rhodesy in some Ibiza channelling class. Tech spirit, house vibes!