Review: It has been exactly a year since Iranian DJ/producer Ardalan Noghre-Kar dropped his massive 'Mr Good' LP on the always reliable Dirtybird label. Now Claude Vonstroke & Co. serve up a series of remixes from the San Francisco-based artist's debut album, with highlights coming from: Bostonians Soul Clap who get deep down and dirty on "I Can't Wait", Dirtybird alumnus Kyle Watson with a suitably wonky rendition of "Osci", Brazilian upstart Cour.T with a tough rolling and druggy perspective of "Zombie Village" and Seattle scene veteran Pezzner handing in a mesmerising version of "Orange Dreams". The album was widely admired by critics, DJs, fans and industry alike, and these remixes chase up its success perfectly.
Review: Running since 2016, London's Strictly Flava imprint describe their musical remit simply as "underground house and garage". That description sounds almost quaint as 2021 looms, but it's also a good clue as the trad-style vibes served up herein by the mysterious Blo. 'Clouds' is a late-night deep house groover par excellence, all warm bass and lingering pads with occasional cheeky, voicebox-like synth doodles on top, while the equally sumptuous 'Groovin' leans more towards classic deep New Jersey garage - in fact, we'd go so far as to say that if you'd spun this at +6 at the Frog & Nightgown, no-one would have batted an eyelid!
Review: Following up his debut album which was released earlier this year, Warsaw-based producer Bartoz Kruczynski - better known as Earth Trax - presents his second album titled, naturally, 'LP2' on Shall Not Fade. The 15 tracks served up here are warmer and more soothing than on his last outing, but at the same time more dance oriented. From the evocative Motor City style tones of ambient house epic "After The Rain", the life-affirming slo-mo acid of "The Complete Trance Induction" and going out all guns blazing onb the end with the thunderous old school techno of "Dark River" calling to mind classic Laurent Garnier. Featured on this digital edition are four bonus remixes for you to enjoy.
Review: Wisdom Teeth label head Oscar Henson, better known as Facta, rounds off the year with a two part ode to the dancefloor here on the label's 17th release, pitting house and 2-step beats against warping synths in the tradition of Errorsmith and Mark Fell. The Bristol-based producer is on-point here as always: from the reduced and hypnotic swing of "Doves" which will have massive crossover appeal, and is perfect for getting weird during the morning hours. This is followed by the off-kilter, FM tonal bliss of "MPH" which is even more introspective but keeps you locked into its groove with some massive bass pulsations.
Review: Up next on Nick Curly & Gorge's 8 Bit imprint is another killer three tracker by the ever impressive Dutchman Franky Rizardo, hot off the success of the 'X Marks The Spot' and 'Glow' EPs released over the last 12 months to much fanfare. While most of the world's nightclubs remain closed for the foreseeable future, there is no doubt that "Dusty Mornings" will go down a treat on makeshift living room dancefloors with its deep and sensual groove. But come next year when we hope for a return of normality, the B side stompers "Gritty Fuze" and "Spirit Walk" respectively are sure to bang the party with their slick UK tech house influenced style.
Hot Since 82 & Temple - "Nightfall" - (8:06) 123 BPM
Eye Of The Storm (feat Liz Cass) - (4:10) 120 BPM
Naboo (feat Miss Kittin) - (5:13) 121 BPM
Rules - (6:46) 123 BPM
Body Control (feat Jamie Jones & Boy George) - (3:40) 124 BPM
Hide - (6:06) 123 BPM
Loverdose (feat Liz Cass) - (4:53) 118 BPM
Hot Since 82 & Rudimental - "Be Strong" - (5:55) 125 BPM
Sinnerman (feat Ed Graves) - (4:33) 120 BPM
Barefoot - (6:59) 124 BPM
Mesmerize - (7:02) 123 BPM
Want You - (6:10) 126 BPM
Black & White (feat Temple) - (5:28) 123 BPM
Nightfall (dub) - (7:48) 123 BPM
Review: While dancefloors have largely stood still throughout 2020, it hasn't made much of a dent in Knee Deep In Sound's musical output this year. Label head Hot Since 82 - better known as Daley Padley - takes care of their latest sonic dispatch on his sophomore long player. While last year's '8-Track' was dedicated to the passing of a close friend, the recording of 'Recovery' was a similarly cathartic process, with Padley describing the process as a therapeutic experience that enabled a more positive headspace. From the deep and slinky mood music of "Eye Of The Storm" featuring the sensual vocals of Liz Cass, to some surprisingly wonderful collaborations: "Body Control" features fellow UK tech house royalty Jamie Jones and the legendary Boy George on the mic reminiscing on the scene's good ol' days, while acclaimed outfit Rudimental support Padley on the aci-washed deepness of "Be Strong".
Review: The ninth edition in Diynamic's Picture series comes from Munich-based producer Innellea, who follows up some impressive releases for Innervisions, TAU and Afterlife. Featuring some fine melodic house incorporating various cinematic and post-apocalyptic soundscapes (with his own voice) as heard on the breathtaking opener "Forced To Bend" and the particular moody "Electricity", to the glassy-eyed and bittersweet breaks of "Sorrow and a moment on the exotic fringes of dark disco as heard on low slung epic "Catanacean". Altogether this is what the label best described themselves as 'an intimate listening experience, that hovers somewhere between isolation and the longing for contact.'
Review: Icelandic imprint Lagaffe Tales are back after another awesome instalment, following up a great one by label chief Jonbjorn. Their latest is the debut of one Kerr Wilson. A good friend from back in Reykjavik, he's been based out of Berlin for the past few years and is slowly building a name for himself with his ecstatic DJ performances around the city. On the 'Kids' EP he brings forth three dynamic cuts, starting out with the sensual and dusty deep house of the title track, a poignant tribute to his new home on the mesmerising electro beat of "Berlin Took My Breath Away" and closing it out with the evocative stepper "The Right Left".
Review: Detroit Techno Funk Association was set up by Underground Resistance stalwart Mark Flash, with the incentive to represent a new branch of sound with deep roots in the tree of Detroit Soul - and in a new era of dance music. Hors D'oeuvres is a new digital series that Flash describes as 'DJ food' - something quick and delicious for the crowd to devour. He certainly delivers on this inaugural release, as heard on the uplifting house energy of "Precious" which you could imagine hometown hero Terrence Parker playing out to a pumping crowd. There's also the driving hi-tech soul of "Heat Signature" and the funked-up futurism of "Spirit Messenger" rounding out this killer EP.
LEFTI - "Toolroom House Party Vol 4" (Mixed By LEFTI) - (1:17:37) 125 BPM
Piero Pirupa - "Toolroom House Party Vol 4" (Mixed By Piero Pirupa) - (1:16:06) 126 BPM
Maxinne - "Toolroom House Party Vol 4" (Mixed By Maxinne) - (1:20:15) 125 BPM
Review: An outlet for both unreleased and exclusive music from the label's family members alongside rising talents, this is the fourth instalment of Toolroom's popular 'House Party' series. Featuring standout releases from Mark Knight's label plus the scene's biggest imprints, with highlights coming from: industry heavyweights Nic Fanciulli & Andrea Oliva on the slinky "Medium Rare", the inimitable Yousef with the pounding acid of "Save Me" (feat. Molly Green), legend Todd Terry with TCTS on the boompty bounce of "Get Freaky" and UK tech house hero Seb Zito delivering the peak time stomper "Don't Stop". As if that was not enough, there are also three continuous mixes by scene stalwarts such as Lefti, Piero Pirupa and label staple Maxinne.
Review: Boogeyman is a new sub label from The Martinez Brothers' legendary Cuttin' Headz, run by Miami's Jesse Calosso - who also takes the lead with A&R. It kicks off with a fantastic compilation showcasing the sound and talent the label will deal in. Features Bristol's Aaran D (Disorder) with the deep mood music of "Planet Mars", veterans Matt Tolfrey & Alex Arnout getting slinky and hypnotic on "The Walk", Fabric resident Jaden Thompson delivering the sexy roller that is "Closer" and Amsterdam's Joey Daniel nails that perfect minimal tech house sound on "Wireless High" in addition to material from Calosso and The Martinez Brothers themselves.
Vivian Koch - "Find Your Way Out" - (8:07) 135 BPM
Luciano Esse - "Lost" - (6:28) 126 BPM
Review: Celebrating ten years of his Life And Death label, DJ Tennis delivers a diverse compilation. Schwarzmann's "Octave Two" is a groovy, stripped back track that resounds to a bubbling groove and dayglo bleeps, while on "Agua", Prins Thomas delivers a searing, 303-led disco track. In stark contrast are Byetone and Gera Akate's electro breakers, while Red Axes veers into punk-funk territory with the wiry guitars and dubbed out FX of "Rasss". There really is something for every tate here, and the slamming techno of Fango's "Trattore", followed by the cosmic Italo of Vivian Koch's"Find Your Way Out" shows that Life And Death is a truly eclectic label.
Charterhouse - "Into The Basement" (Boys Be Kko remix) - (5:57) 120 BPM
Alex Kork - "Terok Nor" - (6:03) 126 BPM
Tuco Perez - "Dancing For Me" - (5:59) 128 BPM
Rod Riot - "Apocalyptica Dancerl" - (5:17) 130 BPM
Sicamset - "Swiggle" - (5:58) 122 BPM
Martin Schulte - "Travels To The Stars" - (6:17) 127 BPM
Basti MNML - "Try Minimal" - (5:30) 128 BPM
Review: Le Bien Et Le Mal is a long running label based out of Stuttgart, Germany that has brought you such impressive compilations such as 'Good Old Days', 'Techno Substance', 'Access Techno', and who could forget 'After Work House Vol. 2'. Their latest addition to the series is 'Minimal Light', featuring two dozen promising artists all delivering their take on tech house of the more deeper, leaner and subtle spectrum. Highlights not limited to: Ixipe's tunneling and hypnotic "Go Down", the bleepy bounce in Shosho's remix of Monsieur Pluspetit's "Waking Dream", Themetique's sensual mood music heard on "Moments" and the soulful Motor City influences heard on Gerwin Van Engelenburg's "Moving Time".