Review: We were rather astonished to discover that "24/7 Love Affair" is Michael Baumann's first album as Soulphiction for 11 years. We were a little less surprised to find that it's superb. In fact, we'd go as far as to say that it could be considered a "best practice" example of the kind of loose, sample-heavy, soul-fired deep house that is all the rage right now. Yet the album's epic length - it comprises no less than 17 tracks - also allows Baumann to mix it up a little too, with a swathe of ocean-deep club jams being joined by search diversions as the morning-fresh broken beat loveliness of "Jus Listen", the stomping disco-funk of "The Mood", the bustling breakbeats of "A Freak" and the blazed instrumental hip-hop of "Good Night Ema".
Review: Almost three years have passed since Philadelphia duo Superprince debuted on Razor 'N' Tape with a vinyl-only EP of rather good re-edits. Here that four-tracker finally makes it to digital download. It's worth picking up, if only for the flute-laden, horn-heavy bounciness of down-low disco-funk rework "Strong Feeling" (a fine revision of Morning, Noon & Night's "Feelin' Strong"). The highlights down end there, either, with "Down On Bitter End" providing a chunky, peak-time-ready revision of a Vicki Sue Robinson disco anthem, "Start Again" offering a breezy new spin on a lesser celebrated One Way cut and "Up Up To The Sky" turning Silver Convention's "Fly Robin Fly" into a hypnotic chunk of mid-tempo disco hedonism.
Review: It has been quite a year for the Toolroom institution. Celebrating their 15th birthday last year, they weren't ones to rest on their laurels, instead going full steam ahead with a bunch of genre defining compilations this year. But most importantly they have been instrumental in the comeback of funky house after a 20 year dormancy, with killer releases by the likes of Weiss, Cashio and boss man Mark Knight himself. Add to that one banging party at Chicago Social Club for Amsterdam Dance Event and it's evident that these guys are proper 24 hour party people. With a glorious year sadly coming to an end, celebrate a wonderful one that was on Best Of Toolroom 2019 with highlights not limited to: the rework of the Cevin Fisher classic "Freaks Come Out" by Jack Back, Hannah Wants & Kevin Knapp's deep down and dirty "Call Me" (extended mix), UK heroes Alan Fitzpatrick & Wheats delivering the certified banger "M27" and New York legend Todd Terry teaming up with Tuff London on "Psychodrama" featuring Jasmien Nanhekhan. If that was not enough, ascendant producer Maxinne delivers two mixes compiling all the tracks: one smooth House mix followed by a thumping Tech House mix.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a brand new album from sometime Classic Music Co contributor Eli Escobar, a producer who has proved to be one of the most distinctive and consistent in house music over the last few years. "Last Summer" contains a mixture of short interludes and inspired, almost uniformly dancefloor-friendly workouts that bring together a range of complimentary influences. Our picks include the atmospheric and acid-fired deep house warmth of "Flashing Lights", the muscular peak-time Moroder-isms of "(All Night) Rhythm", the melodious, sun-kissed Balearic house brilliance of "Blu" and the woozy warmth of "Last Night".
Review: The way Audaz has been churning out these Lolita collections lately, you'd think "possession of an unreleased re-edit" had just been made a crime under German law! But the quality standard shows no sign of slipping, so that's hardly cause for complaint. Standouts of this fourth volume include '038', which revisits Kim And Rasa's obscure 1982 Ghanaian funk/rap jam 'Love Me For Real', '035' with its fusion of country rock guitar and sweet female disco vox, and '037', which reworks Brass Construction's 'Changin' from 1975. Dead Or Alive get the Lolita treament, too, on '032'.
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: There's much to admire about Kamaal Williams' contribution to the long running DJ Kicks series, not least the producer, DJ and keyboardist's blend of self-made exclusives (both under his name and his alternative Henry Wu alias) and largely overlooked gems. Highlights in the former category include a stunning live version of "Snitches Brew", the jazzy Latin house of "Projections" (a Henry Wu hook-up with Earl Jeffers) and "Lowrider", a jazz guitar-propelled cut from his collaborative Yusuf Kamaal project. In the latter category, we'd suggest wrapping your ears around Awanto 3's dusty and ultra-deep "Pregnant", the deep jazz-funk bliss of Diggs Duke's "Cause I Love You", the up-tempo dancefloor soul of Peven Everett's "Stuck" and the slow motion wonder that is Steve Spacek's "Hey There".
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: Audaz certainly seem keen to get these 'Lolita' re-edits out there: this third installment follows hot on the heels of Vol 2, which only landed last week! Once again there are 10 tracks to choose from, with the source material once again ranging from vintage funk, soul and disco to 80s pop and beyond. '021' is based on an unknown cover of the Timmy Thomas/Sade classic 'Why Can't We Live Together' and '022' reworks The Floaters' mellow soul classic 'Float On', while '026' (source familiar-sounding but unidentified!) has an EBM/Italo kinda feel and '025' loops up The Detroit Emeralds' 1972 funk/soul gem 'Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)'.
Review: Israeli and Berlin-based DJ/producer Dasco has put out a fair number of singles over the last few years, but none are anywhere near as good as "African Power", their first outing on Local Talk. The title track is superb: a wonderfully jaunty, atmospheric, evocative and positive fusion of Afro-house, jazz, deep house and calypso that boasts layered percussion, a brilliant bassline and some lusciously lilting trumpet solos. "Keep Moving", meanwhile, is a heavily percussive deep house workout full of spacey synths and heavy South American drums. Trinidadian Deep does a fine job making "African Power" deeper, dreamier and even more melodic, while Anthony Nicholson joins the dots between Latin house and deep nu-disco on a suitably Balearic revision of "Keep Moving".
Review: Wow, what a run it has been for the Night Bass team who hear touch down with their one hundredth official release, celebrating one of the most exceptional catalogues within the entire bass music spectrum. They have pulled together an exquisite line up for this one, featuring a tonne of high end names, including founder AC Slater alongside Chris Lorenzo, Flava D, Shift K3y, Jack Beats and more. For us there are a couple of clear stand outs on this one, the first of which has to be the long awaited release of Taiki Nulight and Dread Mc's bassy roller: 'Kush'. We also love the smooth subby bops of Sinden's 'Work That', along with the incredibly unique drum work of 'Ugly' from Petey Clicks.
Review: Going by the volume of tracks on show, it would be fair to say that Masterworks Music's "Bag of Tricks" is not a little handbag, but more like a Mary Poppins style bottomless carpetbag. The label's latest rummage through its seemingly endless contents has been a successful one, with the 20 showcased cuts including a wealth of fine fusions of disco, house, boogie, electro and 80s soul. It's uniformly dancefloor-focused, with highlights including the Afro-house/disco-tech fusion of JB Dizzy, the driving, spaced-out disco-house grooves of Mike Woods, the loose-limbed, off-the-wall edits of Chewy Rubs, the sweet disco-soul bounce of RocknRolla Soundsystem, the delay-laden synth sing-along styles of Rayko and the hot-to-trot brilliance of Downunder Disco.
Review: A cross-border collaboration here as Austin, Texas-based nu disco producer The Silver Rider joins forces with his Mexican counterpart Fernando Mendoza, AKA The Funk District, for a split EP on Whiskey Disco. The Silver Rider brings us 'Woman', a pacey, looping funk groove with a neat line in rasping bass and spoken, Euro-style vox, and 'Hustle Up', which comes on like a Blaxploitation funk jam. Then it's over to The Funk Rider for 'Imaki Ra Reo', a lively, Latin-leaning affair with a hefty bottom end and some truly wild sax blasts, and 'The Root Of Evil', which like 'Hustle Up' has an understated, soundtrack-y feel.
Review: Detroit Swindle is amongst the most reliable artists operating in the overgrown no-man's-land between house, disco and boogie. That much is confirmed by "The Life Behind Things", which marks their first outing on Heist since last year's "High Life" LP. Title track "The Life Behind Things" is positive, ear-pleasing and dancefloor friendly, with the experienced pair peppering bouncy beats and thickset synth bass with joyous organ riffs (reminiscent of those found on Timmy Thomas soul classic "Why Can't We Live Together"), wobbly acid lines, jaunty piano stabs and female vocal snippets. Lorenz Rhode collaboration "Music For Clubs" is arguably even more rush inducing in its retro-futurist piano house intent, while Isoul8's remix of the title track is a swirling, soulful and decidedly tactile chunk of deep house brilliance.
Review: The Anglo-German duo who made a splash with the funky, percussive 'Rolling Jazz' earlier this year return with a two-tracker on the Manchester-based label Sprechen. 'One Two One' is another deep funker, centring around a hefty, lolloping bassline that's paired with brass fanfares, disco strings and a filtered female "let's get onto a one-to-one situation" vocal, while the accompanying 'Got To Have Your Dub' is a livelier affair with saxophone and trumpets much in evidence, a funk guitar squiggle that loops throughout and a "baby, got to have your love" male vocal snip. The latter nudges towards disco-house, but in pleasingly non-cheesy fashion.
Review: We've come accustomed to the Helliker-Hales brothers delivering dusty, musically intricate deep house that tends towards the jazzier and more dub-flecked end of the spectrum. It's therefore something of a surprise to find that their latest two-tracker is an altogether bolder and more warehouse-ready affair. Title track "Come Together" features distinctive, alien-sounding lead lines, trance-like female vocal snippets and stabbing, warehouse-ready riffs rising over forthright drums and a chunky, retro-futurist bassline. If anything, "Digital Sound" is even heavier, with dub-wise vocal snippets, bleeping electronics and foreboding chords dancing around heavy tribal drums and the kind of muscular riffs that were once a hallmark of Junior Vasquez and Danny Tenaglia's mid-90s productions. In other words, it's a suitably sizable "big room" record.
Review: Since first pitching up on Running Back a year or two back, Dec Lennon AKA Krystal Klear has delivered some of his strongest music to date, including a string of peak-time anthems ("Neutron Dance, "Euphoric Dreams" etc). His latest EP for Gerd Janson's label is similarly strong. Check first the trance-influenced, synth-laden throb of "Entre Nous", where big room piano riffs help raise the track to hands-in-the-air anthem status, before admiring the new beat and EBM influenced neo-trance workout "Autobahn". "I'll Be There When You Need Me" is one of Lennon's most saucer-eyed and loved-up tunes to date - all warm waves of synthesizer bliss and decidedly Balearic melodies - while "Gambino" is a cheery skip through 1980s NYC freestyle territory with added Mylo style riffs.
Review: Next on Sleazy McQueen's ever reliable Lovedancing label is a proper stalwart of the New York City music scene who should need no introduction - the one the only The Juan Maclean. On his new EP The Lone Dancer, get stoned into the groove of the infectious disco house stomper "Body Language Pro" which then receives a worthy rework by label main man McQueen in collaboration with Cole Medina, and followed by the lo slung boogie down antics of "Let Me Come Into Your Life".
Review: First unleashed on vinyl this time last year, Flight Mode and Joel Brittain's first collaborative EP has finally made it to digital download. This is undoubtedly a good thing, because "Burn This" is superb. In its' original form, the track is a near perfect fusion of dub disco heaviness - chunky bass guitar, delay-laden horn snuppets, crunchy drums - and the kind of electronic instrumentation and mood-enhancing chords more often found in straight-up deep house cuts. There are two tidy accompanying remixes: a sparkling, synth-heavy Balearic house revision by Medlar and a suitably trippy, spaced out Flight Mode dub that's arguably even more driving and floor-friendly than the original mix.
Review: Truncate debuts on Pets Recordings with a fine jacking release. "Pressure" sees the US producer divert somewhat from his chosen script, dropping a raw, analogue track. Built on a skeletal rhythm and pile-driving percussive, these elements support a pitch-bent vocal. The title track marks a return to the type of sound that Truncate is more commonly known for. However, in part, the aesthetic of "Pressure" remains, thanks to the use of insistent percussion and intense siren riffs unravelling over one of Truncate's typical rolling groove. DJ Haus is tasked with reworking "Pressure" and turns in an excellent version that focuses on fusing the vocal sample with a grinding bass.
Review: German percussionist Kolja Gerstenberg makes no attempt to hide his love for the drums on this razor sharp drop for Lumberjacks In Hell, building on his previous outings on Suol and Smile For A While. The drums are sizzling hot on "Feel Yo", tastefully overdriven and embellished with some MPC-style sample juggling that should satisfy those who like their house tracks hot as Dante's inferno. "Where They're From" is no slouch either, keeping the pressure up with a liberal dose of soul poured in for good measure. The keys and live bass on "Want You" add to the feverish mood, and then "Get Over" sends things spiraling out on a Latin-spiced cosmic journey.
Review: Since 2015 Reedale Rise's refined strand of electro and techno has quickly established him as one of the most inventive artists operating in the current crop of machine manipulators coming out of the UK underground. Liverpool-based producer Simon Keat has released a prolific body of work under the alias in a short space of time, notching up appearances on crucial labels such as Frustrated Funk, Hizou, Where We Met and many more besides. With a sound indebted to the early wave of UK techno artists like B12, the electro experimentation of Silicon Scally as well as Detroit forefathers such as Drexciya and Model 500, it's not hard to see why Reedale Rise makes perfect sense on Ornate. Technically astounding and emotionally charged, across all three tracks ORN027 marries shimmering, hi-def synth lines with crisp rhythms spanning 2-step shuffle, broken beats and understated techno propulsion.
Review: Manchester artist Hypho hooks up with fellow UK compatriot Boime for a double drop of heavy dubstepping vibes for Manuka. The record itself sounds like it comes from the deep, dark and cold confines of a disused powerplant, with the lead track fizzing with alien synths, atonal keys and kick drums replete with an uncanny assortment of distorted atmospheres to boot. Tribal atmospheres make their way into "Deform", a deadly alternative for the more serious and industrial ends of the night. Not to be missed alongside Hypho's most recent Round Ere three-track for Loefah's Swamp81 imprint. Serious shit.
Review: Following his release on DJ Koze's Pampa label earlier this year, Robag Wruhme delivers a hypnotic dance floor EP for Kompakt. The title track revolves around a resonating bass, ticking steely percussion and a rolling groove. It's more ominous-sounding than Wruhme's usual style and has echoes of early 90s UK techno. While "Blymon" is also an effective, driving affair, its is more in keeping with Wruhme's stripped back minimal releases and this approach is audible in the pitch-bent drops and skeletal percussive loops. "Cassave" is the most abstract of all cuts, with a cacophony of tonal blips and murky stabs driving the arrangement.
Review: Delivering his first piece of solo produced music for more than a decade, Hot Creations welcome the legendary Danny Tenaglia with "Don't Turn Your Back" - a sweltering and hypnotic tribal tech house workout that calls to mind the seminal sounds he was responsible for at the turn of the millennium. On remix duties are some equally legendary figures of electronic music: Harry "Choo Choo" Romero of Subliminal fame injects some latin flair into the track, while the larger than life Carl Cox delivers not one but two renditions - the tough and functional main remix with dub techno inflections, and a slinky rolling groove on his "ASW" remix.
Review: Call us old school (or show offs) but we can remember the edition of Sven Vath in the mix back in 2002, where the German techno icon went back to back with legend Richie Hawtin. for an epic mix that's still talked about. The man from Frankfurt is still going with the series and once again carefully curating the very best in contemporary techno flavors - and mixing it altogether with his distinct Midas touch as always. Highlights not limited to: Life & Death affiliate Joseph Ashworth on the epic dancefloor drama of "Trooper", the ever reliable Swede Dorisburg doing his idiosyncratic style of deep tribal trance on "Internet Tension" and the surprising addition of Salon des Amateurs resident Charlotte Bendiks who goes into sublime mesmerizing territory on "Pasco". On the harder end of the spectrum, there are top shelf bangers from the likes of ROD ("Cambodia"), Inigo Kennedy ("2c3d2") and Detroit legend Robert Hood with "Reflector".
Review: Four months after the release of his fine debut album "What It Is", Toy Tonics founder Matthias Modias AKA Kapote offers up fresh versions of two of the set's most potent tracks. Of most interest to many will be the included "big name" remixes of "Jaas Func Haus". Art of Tones does a bang-up job recasting the cut as a dusty chunk of rubbery jazz-house/deep house fusion, while the Sworn Virgins remix is a delay-laden late night analogue-house wiggler from the Ron Hardy school of Chicago sleaze. Best of all, though, is Rahaan's rework, which is a wonky mid-tempo fusion of acid-style electronics and spiraling disco bliss. Elsewhere, there's another chance to enjoy Modias' funk-fuelled disco workout "Delirio Italiano", as well as a stripped back, extra-percussive "Dub" mix.
Black Loops & Ruff Stuff - "La Progressive" - (7:03) 128 BPM
Harrison BDP - "Interference" - (8:14) 126 BPM
Review: Dub techno progressions, digital techy beats and minimal makes a comeback on Shall Not Fade's 4 Years Of Service, with this various artist comp bringing in new names and label members alike. Biz Miz throws in a huge glowing number with a deep progressive flow in "Sun", while a bangin' combo of chords and beats rain down furthermore in KETTAMA's "Sundance". Deeper still there's the melliflow of Harrison BDP's "Interfearance", while more abstract numbers come from Harry Griffiths alongside a touch of ironical candy cane in 1-800 Girls' "My Speedos". Bring in some bleep, electro Italo from LK's "Unified Love Machine" and we're saying more like 4 Years of Class.
Review: Originally conceived by Adam Beyer as a platform to release music that he couldn't fit into Drumcode's regular schedule, the A-Sides series has reached its eighth volume. Comprising a vast array of styles and sounds, this 25-track compilation puts a spotlight on new and established artists. These include label regular Layton Giordani with the moody, tranced out "Chrome", newcomer Juliet Fox, who delivers the rolling, grainy drums of the Berghain-primed "Was Beautiful" alongside veteran artists like Secret Cinema - representing here with SAMA on the driving, dubbed out "Diviner" - and Joey Beltram, with the dreamy, old school groove and vocal sample-heavy "Can You Feel It".
Review: As ever with the fantastic 2TUF4U imprint, we have been gifted with a slice of UKG magnificence, with the illustrious Karl Brown Of Tuff Jam joining us for a super experimental three track piece. From start to finish, this EP really draws off a nostalgic use of dynamics, with tracks having numerous volume switch ups all the way through, beginning with the super choppy drum thumps of 'Intro Special'. Next, we surge into the Klub edit mix of 'So Good', again using crunchy grooves and organ chords to bring a classic garage vibe, before we land on the warm, fuzzy arrangement of 'Get Up'. Following this we dive into the two additions from Dub Jamz , who provides more old school tastings in high tempo drum grooves of 'Unity Theme', before rounding off the project on the chord-heavy progressions of 'I Don't Know.
Review: Nu Bass be all back up in the club with "Rave Dragon", an obscene monster that dates back to the days of fidget house and colder urban sounds being in the rave arena. Hats are snapping horns blaring phat. With Dread MC, "Bankroll" sets it up with a heavyweight dollar-dollar bill of hand-throwing synths and face tweaking rhythms. Full of snares rolls and sub-heavy drops of atomic weight, it sets a gauntlett for a deep trip through low end frequencies and ghoulish atmospheres.
Review: Toy Tonics regular Black Loops (real name Riccardo Paffetti) comes to Catz N' Dogz' label Pets Recordings with a four-tracker operating in that band of the musical spectrum where deep house and garage collide. The opening title cut is a sparse affair, essentially deep house in nature but with steppy, garage-y beats and vocal bites that sound suspiciously MC Neat-ish. 'Unity' is more heads-down with slamming, almost techno-style kicks and otherworldly synths, 'Keep A Secret' has the bumpin' feel of classic west coast deepness and finally 'Born In The 80s' is a pacier cut with more of those freaky-deeky synth sounds.
Review: Usually, De:tuned puts out reissues, so Communion marks something of a departure for the label. It's Kirk Degiorgio's first studio album in 15 years under the As One project, and as befits its heritage, it's a gloriously widescreen affair. There's the dreamy ambience of "Absorption Spectra" and both "Downburst" and "Irimias" fuse similar sound scapes with brittle electro back beats. "The Ladder" sees Degiorgio push farther in the Detroit techno direction, guided on the way by out space blips, while the serene "Aimpoint" is redolent of the deeper than deep ambient-techno sound he explored on the classic As One album, Reflections. It's a timeless work.
Review: Acid Man! In a way similarly done by DJ Sotofett back in the Sex Tags days, Acid Man turns in a banging, cut up and funky drummer amen break loving antic to house music. With this number slightly spiffed up in a sleek and industrial club sheen, it makes for a new and club tempo variation to a classic house sound that's not lo-fi but...Acid Man!