Review: hedZup label head WLAD is pleased to present his debut album Call Lab. Developed over the course of 12 months, the Parisian producer serves up 10 tracks in collaboration with the creme de la creme of the European tech house scene at present. From the boompty swing-fuelled futurism of opener "Moulin Rouge" in collaboration with Sake Records' Oden & Fatzo, to the moody and tripped-out afterhours vibe explored on "Sparkling Water" with local hero Mancini, the dubby, emotive and looped-up style of "Lova Droppa" with British duo The Willers Brothers (nailing that Cabinet Records vibe of old) and the stripped back minimal funk of "Odyssey" with the Avotre and Toolroom affiliated Sante. It's what the label described as 'a broad and brilliant collection of tasteful and club ready house cuts' - and that's spot on!
Review: It's been a while since Roman Flugel last delivered an album, and that was the all-ambient Themes I-XIII in 2018. Eating Darkness, the German veteran's fifth solo full-length, is therefore well overdue. It's a quietly confident and undeniably entertaining affair, with the former Alter Ego man smartly sashaying between evocative IDM ('Magic Briefcase', 'The Best is Yet To Come', the Autechre-ish 'Eating Darkness'), druggy slo-mo fare ('Chemicals'), raw new wave throb-jobs ('Wow'), acid-flecked jack-tracks ('Jocks & Freaks'), hypnotic late night minimal techno ('Cluttered Homes'), drowsy downtempo cheeriness ('Locked'), beautiful ambient synth-scapes ('Charles') and revivalist Euro-disco pump ('D.I.S.C.O'). Throughout, Flugel reaches for vintage analogue and modular synthesizer sounds, giving the album a distinctively timeless feel.
Review: As part of the 20th anniversary celebrations of Hamburg's Dial Records, they present the second album release of this year by Goettingen's XDB. Kosta Athanassiadis has been extensively involved in the constantly changing world of dance music, and a much valued companion to Lawrence and Carsten Jost's label for some time. A revered DJ who can be regularly seen at such institutions as Panorama Bar or Freerotation, and an esteemed producer having released for the likes of Sistrum, Dolly, Echocord and of course his own Metrolux Music. From soulful and sublime explorations of deep house as heard on "Moveya" or "Transitions", to the arcane techno stylings of "Endo" and "Dial Funk" or Motor City inspired electronics as best exemplified on "Desert Night" - 'Inspiron' is testament to three decades of musical dedication.
Review: Since 2018, Lee Mortimer has delivered a string of typically crunchy, ear-catching singles and EPs for Toolroom that fuse tactile tech-house and deep house sounds with classic house influences and big room-ready production. Hope, his debut album under the moniker, builds on this, offering up the odd previously released single (see the surging, acid bass-propelled late-night sleaze of 'For You') amongst a sea of fresh, mood-enhancing workouts that tend towards the celebratory. Highlights are plentiful, from the synth-powered colour of 'Metro', the 'Pacific' style vintage UK deep house bliss of 'Holding On' and bustling, DJ Sneak-influenced 'UR Everything', to the carnival house explosion of 'Colombia', the piano-heavy Latin house rush of 'Triceratops', and the post Daft Punk disco-house funkiness of 'Touch The Sky'.
Review: Iceland may be known primarily these days for its air travel-disrupting volcanic ash and for being the first European country to officially go bankrupt, but that hasn't stopped Gus Gus from making one of their most diverse albums yet. There is no shortage of slickly produced, trance-pop - like the string-soaked "Within You" and the eminently hummable "Over" - but Arabian Horse also shows that they aren't afraid to flirt with other sounds. "Deep Inside" is a bizarre combination of late period Celtic rock Simple Minds mixed with soaring trance chords; "Selfloss" moves from deep synth passages into gradually sped up, drunken accordion playing and best of all, "Be With Me Now" is a symphonic slow motion beatsy anthem.
Review: Like Petar Dundov, John Tejada is one of the few techno producers capable of making trancey music that never sounds cheesy. However, The Predicting Machine starts with a surprise, namely the pared back, acid-soaked minimalism of "Orbiter", before it launches into the irresistible melodies and lithe break beats of "A Familiar Mood" and the sugar-sweet hooks of "An Ounce of Perception". It's not all upbeat melodies though and both "Winter Skies" and the beatless "Radio Channel" are decidedly melancholic, in particular the gloomy textures on the latter track. Despite this, it is impossible to avoid his intuitive sense of melody and both "Glaringly Happy" and "When All Around is Madness" are classic Tejada tracks, albeit ones that pass through a filter that includes Plaid and 90s intelligent techno at its sweetest.
Review: Kompakt staple Rune Reilly Kolsch is charting new terrain on his fourth long player for the imprint titled 'Now Here No Where'. The Danish producer presents an album about life in the year 2020: 'a time defined by confusion, misinformation and environmental challenges.. [in addition to] emotional interpretation of personal and mental challenges, observations and personal growth... (but) most of all, it is an album about hope.' Featuring various mood and grooves to accentuate the album's theme and narrative: from the rolling dancefloor drama of "Shoulder Of Giants", his sonic trademark of razor sharp synth textures as heard on "Sleeper Must Awaken" and the glassy-eyed and bittersweet vocal anthem "Time" through to the slinky and hypnotic futurism of "Romtech User Manual" - Kolsch turns in yet another awe-inspiring opus with this one.
Review: While albums have never been the focus of most techno producers' careers, it's still surprising to find that Satellite is Sam Paganini's first full length. Given that veteran Italian producer released his first 12" back in 1994, it's been a long time coming. Happily, Paganini has decided to stick to what he does best, filling Satellite with the kind of throbbing, floor-friendly tackle with which he's becoming accustomed. Of course, there's plenty of variety within that, from the rave-inclined pump of the Dubfire-ish "Down" and smooth, deep house-influenced sweetness of "Silver Panorama", to the cacophonous jazz fills and thunderouds bottom end of "Lotus" and deliciously melodious "Sunflower".
Review: Album #2 here from Ausberg, Germany-based slo-mo house/nu-disco producer Daniel Bortz. If you've checked for previous releases on Suol, Pastamusik and Permanent Vacation you'll have a good idea what to expect already - what's most notable is that the 11 tracks featured are a little pacier than much of his previous output, operating mostly in the 125-130bpm region (albeit three clock in at a mere 80). If you haven't, then laidback, heavily electronic grooves with a leftfield twist are the order of the day, with standouts including 'On A Boat', which sports a very familiar "sensemillia... marijuana" reggae vocal whose source escapes me right now, and 'Isolation', which fuses Italo-style synths with, surprisingly, fierce rave/jungle breakbeats.
Review: Damian Lazarus celebrates the 10th anniversary of his acclaimed 2009 debut album 'Smoke The Monster Out' with a remastered and expanded edition on his famed Crosstown Rebels label. He originally released the opus on the Berlin-based label Get Physical, and it was the first time he had let himself loose in the studio - resulting in a psychedelic collection of 'extremely strange and bizarre songs.' Packed full of his inspirations and influences, and with no consideration for genres, airtime or getting played in the clubs. Lazarus is proud to celebrate this milestone in his career - going on to admit that that the album 'is still as weird as it ever was.' Be sure to check out the Moment In The Dark EP as well, featuring two of the album's original tracks, "Moment "and "Diamond In The Dark" reworked and remixed by Keinemusik resident Adam Port, rising newcomer Tibi Dabo and Dutch talent Satori.
Review: It seems to strange, in 2019, to think that Robert Hood was once best known for dark, pounding techno, such has been the success of his more house- and gospel-inspired Floorplan project in recent years. This third long-player finds the father-and-daughter duo in fine fettle, serving up 10 cuts that marry house and disco's sense of groove and musicality to the dancefloor energy that Hood learned during his Underground Resistance years, with wailing church organs helping to provide the album's standout moments on tracks like 'Dance Floor' and 'His Eye Is On The Sparrow'. An uptempo, genre-defying triumph.
Review: Newcastle Upon Tyne's fast rising star Christoph returns with nine tracks of sheer power for Hot Since 82's powerhouse Knee Deep In Sound. Starting out with the slinky and seductive progressive house of "Closer", featuring Jinadu's soaring and elegant vocal work. Lead single "Alone" gets really adrenalised with its powerful arpeggio fuelling this pre-peak time weapon and yet again featuring some great vocals. Other highlights include the moody atmospherics of "Absent Mentor", which is perfect for the late night and label head honcho himself Daley Padley turning in a typically explosive rendition of "Closer" like he only can!
Review: Brazilian duo Flow & Zeo present their latest LP titled Spacekraft, courtesy of Berlin's Katermukke. Taking in their extensive musical journey thus far, it's the inspiration for a new awakening; one that incorporates subliminal messages, specific frequencies and binaural mixing - making for an altogether immersive sonic journey. Highlights include: the saucer eyed sunrise deep house of "InfinityZ" with its classical influences, the jazzy and swing-fuelled tech house of "Terra" with its come hither vocal and razor sharp bassline, as well as the throbbing groove of "Saturn" which is perfect for transitioning into the peak time - an aesthetic similarly heard on the pounding and strobe-lit euphoria of "Uranus".
Review: Halle, Germany's Hommage imprint is fast making a name for itself with its tech and deep house grooves. Home to Monkey Safari, Karl Friedrich and local legends Super flu, this time they've signed up Berlin based duo Kotelett and Zadak for a full length release. Starting things off with the slo-mo groove of "Arpeggio Dreams" which is reminiscent of Max Essa, they then launch into "La Lune" a sexy deep house track with a bouncy bassline and sultry French vocals by Gabriela Lindlova. There's some variety on here that's for sure. "And & And" is energised and percussive tech house, as is the dark and mysterious "Light". Lindlova's seductive vocals appear again on the bubbly pop inflected number "Milla" and things end in fun loving fashion with folk/country inspired "Take Me Back".