Review: Dusky's first outing for Running Back, "Life Signs", was arguably one of their most euphoric and uplifting releases to date, so it's little surprise to find that this much-anticipated sequel explores similar sonic territory. The future anthem is undoubtedly "Metropolis", a shimmering retro-futurist number that layers bleeping lead lines and spine-tingling pads atop a weighty analogue bassline and heavy beats. You get vocal and dub mixes, with the former making great use of a loved-up female vocal snippet that adds to the cut's old school credentials. Elsewhere, "Seed Tray" is a rushing, warehouse-ready stomper smothered in rave-era piano stabs, "Mushroom Samba" adds bleeps to a suitably psychedelic, all-action backing track, and "Fridge" is a nostalgic, retro-futurist romp that defies easy categorization.
Review: Given his track record, it's something of a surprise to find that this is Crackazat's first outing on Freerange. It's less of a surprise to discover that it's a superb EP. Lead cut "Valentine" is little less than sublime: a warm and floor-friendly mixture of bumping US garage influenced drums, jaunty jazz-funk bass, spacey synthesizer flourishes and jazzy piano motifs that veer from poignant and heart-aching to celebratory and rush-inducing in the space of five minutes. "Back Of My Heart" is a bleeping skip through bass-heavy deep house while "I Heard You" is a bluesy and jazzy house number straight out of the top drawer. If that's not enough to get you drooling, Patrice Scott's remix of "Back Of My Heart" is a warm, loose and languid intergalactic treat.
Review: As is now traditional, Heist Recordings has kick-started a new year by asking their artists to remix each other. Boss men Detroit Swindle set the tone with a gorgeously positive, synth-heavy remix of Fouk's "Need My Space" before Makez re-imagines Perdu's "Sacramento" as an acid bass-propelled bounce through melodious deep house pastures and Fouk adds a little loose-limbed swing and dirty bass pressure to Demuir's percussive and warming "The 3nity Returneth". Perdu reaches for the psychedelic acid lines and squelchy synth-bass on a Latin-tinged remake of Detroit Swindle's Lorenz Rhode collaboration "Music For Clubs", while Demuir beefs up Makez's breezy and melodious "Random Visits".
Review: French outfit Mangabey team up with New York vocalist Kosmo Kint on two tracks that blur the boundaries between deep house, Balearica and neo-soul. On 'Time No More', Kint's R&B vocal, which recalls the likes of Usher or Shaun Escoffery, tops a languid, west coast-tinged deep house groove, while 'Get Lost' is a more laidback, summery affair with echoes of 80s pop. And if the vocals are a step too far into R&B pastures for you, don't worry, because both tracks also come complete with instrumental mixes, allowing the arps on 'Time No More', in particular, to really shine through.
Review: Having spent 2019 flitting between Chiwax, Super Rhythm Trax and the Nite Owl Diner labels, San Francisco-based rave revivalist and party-focused musical fusionist Chrissy kick starts 2020 by making his bow on Dusky's 17 Steps label. He's in predictably formidable form, too, with opener "In Paradise" delivering a near perfect fusion of energetic, hardcore style breakbeats, booming Jungle-esque sub-bass, swirling synth chords and the kind of wavy female vocal samples that set pulses racing at intoxicated outdoor raves. Ghere's naturally plenty to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP too, from the jacking cheeriness of "New Atlantis" and the stomping ghetto-tech rush of "New Instruments", to the deep breakbeat hardcore warmth of "Composition for Sampler, Flexatone & Vibraslap".
Review: Having forged their reputation via a string of rock solid EPs on Toy Tonics, Rhode & Brown pop up on debutant label RTB with fellow German producer Tilman in tow. "One Grand Jams" consists of four tracks, all of which wrap extensive samples from disco, boogie and jazz-funk records around chunky, bass-heavy and in some cases slamming house grooves. We're particularly enjoying the insatiable electronic piano motifs, looped guitars and energetic synth-bass of "Good Time (Not A Long Time)" and the punchy, Latin-tinged disco-house rush of "Spencer", though the jaunty cheeriness of "She Knows" and the deep disco-house warmth of "Certainly" are similarly impressive.
Review: We tend to think of All Day I Dream's particular brand of melodious and atmospheric house music as being summery and sun-kissed, but as this second "Winter Sampler" proves, many of the label's tracks that sound just as good on crystal clear winter mornings. Musically, much of the material tiptoes the fine line between tech-house, deep house and what would once have been classic progressive house, with highlights provided by Zone+ (the drowsy and glacial dancefloor hypnotism of "The Muse"), Makebo & Anomita (the simmering bliss of "Symphonic Fantasy"), Katrinka (the deep, chunky Afro-house of "Mila") and Tim Green (the bubbly, snow-flecked electronics and Innervisions-esque grooves of "Sowa").
Review: This latest installment in Audaz's re-edit series gets off to a flying start, with '101' reworking King's 1984 pop smash 'Love And Pride' into a Brit-funk workout that'd be worthy of contemporaneous acts like Cymande or Central Line. Buy the EP for that track alone and you'll be getting your money's worth, because it really is a killer - in which case the other nine high-quality reimaginings of Gwen McCrae's 'Funky Sensation' ('117'), The Escorts' 1981 boogie jam 'Make Me Over' ('115') and assorted unidentified boogie, funk and Afro cuts are merely a bonus!
Review: Fresh from fine outings on Editorial, Spa In Disco and Midnight Riot, Frank Virgilio pops up on Hot Digits with a quartet of warm and seductive workouts. He kicks things off via the sun down beauty and woozy grooves of "Your Whisper", before joining the dots between beatdown, Italo-disco and dancefloor Balearica on the bubbly and hypnotic "Get Now!" Title track "Donde Estas" is an impressively warm and groovy shuffle through pitched-down samba disco territory, while closing cut "Beautiful Sister" is a slightly bolder (but no less deep) mixture of drifting melodies, head-nodding house beats, groovy bass, select vocal snippets and enveloping chords.
Review: Now in its third year, Crosstown Rebels' annual "Spirits" compilation does a great job of championing floor-friendly fare from a mixture of up-and-coming and established artists. As you'd expect volume three boasts some suitably sizable cuts, all of which have been extensively road-tested by CR boss Damian Lazarus. We're particularly enjoying the smoky Afro-tech shuffle of Dennis Cruz's "Mother Earth", the bongo-laden percussive bounce of Piem's "Freak Out, the bass-heavy throb of Harry Romero's similarly drum-laden "It's You" and the druggy early morning tech-house hypnotism of Lazarus's "Ergot", though there's plenty more must-check gems scattered throughout the compilation.
Review: After a collaboration with label staple (and all round German legend) Mousse T recently, Sebastian Doering aka Lovebirds decided to come back to Peppermint Jam with another EP. The Hamburg based producer (and Teardrop label boss) presents the charmingly titled 'New Shit Has Come To Light' which serves up three expressions in timeless deep house - and are as sexy and emotive as you like it! From the sensual late night mood music of "Glove", to the evocative breaks-driven vocal charmer "Da Sixty" and the funky sun-kissed soul power of "Disco Train" closing out this fine EP.
Review: Second time around for South Sudanese musician and political activist Emmanual Jal's "Kuar" single, which first landed on Innervisions a decade ago. That time, there was a lot of heat around Henrik Schwarz's headline-grabbing remix, which re-imagined Jal's traditional Sudanese track as a tech-tinged chunk of Afro-house brilliance rich in bold bass, trippy electronics, layered percussion and rave-ready late night riffs. That fine rework is given another airing here alongside a previously unheard Schwarz mix subtitled "Don't Let Your Vote Be Fake Newsed". This revision strips out much of Jal's vocal, instead offering a pumped up, riff-heavy variation on Schwarz's original remix.
Review: This latest installment in Audaz's 'Lolita' re-edit series opens with the Soul II Soul-biting '101', and also reworks cuts from reggae legend Little Roy (his take on Nirvana's 'Come As You Are' provides the basis for '107'), electro pioneers Freestyle (1985's 'Don't Stop The Rock' becomes '108') and 70s soul outfit The Moments ('110' revisits 1974 jam 'Girls'). The source material for most of the rest of the EP has us beat, but this time out it's mostly actual soul, funk and disco tracks that have come in for re-editing (rather than rock or pop classics), which means that while that fuzzy warm feeling that comes with the familiar may be in short supply, dancefloor appeal certainly isn't!
Review: Barely a month has passed since Dan Corco's Robsoul debut, "Dance Therapy", hit download stores, but already the long-serving - if frustratingly little-known - producer has delivered a sequel. Like its predecessor, there's much to enjoy, from the supple, loose-limbed shuffle of "U Can Try Tonight" - all electrofunk synthesizer flashes, soulful male vocal samples and chunky deep house grooves - to the hypnotic disco-house loops and bass breakdowns of closing cut "Tchoz". Sandwiched in between you'll find the bombastic peak-time bounce of boompty style workout "On The Bit" and the fluttering, synth-laden filtered disco-house excitement of "Phasys".
Review: Hamburg's PUSH Communications are back with another whopper of a compilation. The third edition of My Melodic Tech House features an all star cast, presenting many brilliant artists from all over the world who join who forces on for a collection of 20 emotional dancefloor bangers. The combination of heavy synths, techy beats and melancholic melodies is dedicated to the eyes closed dancing moments of the night. Highlights not limited to: German heroes like Frankey (sans Sandrino) who kicks things off with the evocative "Dream", likewise Mainz-based Butch reworks Berlin legends Martini Bros on a deep, down, and well, dirty version of "Big & Dirty", the ever reliable Francesca Lombardo delivers the slinky and hypnotic "Flumen", while man of the moment Tim Englehardt delivers a refreshed sonic perspective of the Berkson & What classic "Keep On" (featuring legend Robert Owens) and Mihai Popoviciu gets low slung and funky on "Sleepwalking".
Review: Having spent the last couple of months offering up weekly compilations from mystery re-editor "Lolita", Audaz boss Alkalino has decided the time is right for him to return to the long-running imprint. The four tracks are all original productions, too, with the Portuguese producer fusing a few choice samples with tech-tinged house grooves, darkroom rhythms and evocative electronics. Our picks of the bunch are hypnotic closer "I Can Tell You", where opaque, echo-laden stabs rise above a locked-in groove, the warm and trippy goodness of "Straight On & On" and "Somewhere", a deliciously sleazy late night workout rich in bouncy beats, stabbing analogue bass and - more surprisingly - a classic vocal sample from the KLF's "Chill Out" album.
Review: Deep and techier sounds out of Berlin's Watergate club brings two local producers to its ranks in Frank Beckers & Sandrino Tittel, a duo known for a slew of records on Innervisions, Mule Musiq and Drumpoet over the last decade. Bringing with them a Tiefschwarz remix to their stand out melodic and progressive number "Chimes" the EP hinges itself on an impressive display of lively, pulsating trance paired with subtle beats, abstract percussions and touches of acid in "Nova", with "Black Hole" taking the record down a spirale of bleeps, moody 90s-era synths and minimalistic electronica.
Review: German producer Lorenz Brunner returns to Ghostly International for the first time since 2016's Corvus EP, with his sixth long player entitled 'Dwell', where windswept, moody and melodic moments linger with emotional resonance. When discussing the album title, Brunner described it as an experience 'when you're on a hike and you stop and look at the scenery; you may know which path you want to go next, but right now you are dwelling'. From the eerie yet evocative trance induction of the title track, or the seductive late night groove of "Mirror Games" to the cinematic tension and suspense of "Wire Threat" and the emotive deepness of digital bonus track "Equal", it is evident that Brunner's production style has certainly evolved to another level - a truly sublime effort.
Review: With this surprise outing on Delusions of Grandeur, former rising star Andy Ash - a Liverpool-based producer with releases on Saft, Scenery, Dessous and People Must Jam to his name - returns with his first EP for five years. Lead cut "Bottleneck" is impressively wayward and off-kilter, with Ash expertly combining lo-fi synthesizer riffs and sleazy analogue bass with thumping drum machine kick-drums and layered percussion. The "wayward hardware" vibe continues on "Hump", where cascading, sun-bright synthesizer motifs contrast with jacking drums and wild acid lines, while "Actual Price" is a bumping, warm and melodious slab of peak-time deep house pleasantness. As comeback singles go, this is a beauty.
John Tareugram - "Glorieux Passe" - (5:10) 125 BPM
John Tareugram - "Laiton Sphere" - (5:07) 123 BPM
John Tareugram - "Paul & Dave" - (4:48) 133 BPM
Review: At six tracks deep, the latest volume in Columbian label Nomada's "White" EP series is an expansive affair. The first three tracks come from Phuture Shock Musik regular Karmasound, who first delivers some Rhodes and sub-bass heavy deep broken beat action ("Atrapado") before riffing on deep, Latin-tinged broken deep house ("Raices") and jazz-funk/broken beat fusion (the superb "Chichen Itza"). Lesser-known producer John Tareugram then takes over, confidently striding between drowsy, sample-rich deep house (the wonderfully groovy "Glorieux Passe"), insanely bass-heavy cut-up house heaven (stab-happy standout "Laiton Sphere") and skipping jazz-house pressure ("Paul & Dave").
Review: The London-based duo of Danvers and Warren Xclnce, better known as Kassian, return to Phonica White, who put out their 2018 sophomore EP Faux Polynesia, with three brand new house/garage slammers. 'Shufflin' Words' itself tops what are indeed shufflin' drums with a spoken male vocal snip, warping keys and a horn-like synth stab, while 'Ex-Culture' rides a muted 4/4 kick with reversed-sounding keys and all manner of micro-sounds, the dubby bassline not arriving till nearly five minutes in. The sparser 'U Make Me', with its Bobien/Stingily/Dajae-like vocal, then completes an EP whose stripped, off-kilter thump all round suggests there might be quite a lot of early Madhouse records in Kassian's collections...
Review: Cologne cronies ANDHIM add some bells and whistles to a vinyl only release they did last year on top of some new touches to their Buenos Aires EP. Pitched down monotonous rave tones spring to life in an acid tripping remix to "Duno" - getting all UK hardcore on your ass - with Polish duo Catz n Dogz building their drum machines, percussion layovers and white noise build ups to dramatic effect that extend themselves into tearing basslines and tropical crescendos. Benjamin Frohlich also chooses an exotic route in his remix to "Aires", with a spiralling arpeggiator and fluctuating keys pumping in sweet unison and melody.
Review: Experienced producer Shur-I-Kan (Tom Szirtes to his nearest and dearest) tends to develop long relationships with labels. In the early days of his career it was Freerange Records, but for the last seven years he's operated on Fred Everything's Lazy Days Recordings imprint. He returns to that stable with "This Situation", a three-track EP that confidently moves between warm, percussive dreaminess (the locked-in grooves, jazzy bass guitar, warm chords and echoing vocal samples of opener "Freakin"), bright-and-breezy nu-disco/deep house fusion (tasty title track "This Situation") and the more off-kilter, locked-in loop-funk of jazzy stomper "Taking The A-Train". The latter's rhythm genuinely sounds like a train rumbling along a track, which is quite impressive.
Review: Symptoms of Love is Detroit pair Ryan Spencer of Freakish Pleasures, and Ben Christensen from Sector 7G, and this EP was written over the space of a couple of years. It mixes plenty of live instrumentation with analogue studio trickery and a welsh of synths and drum machines. As such it is a timeless collection of house tunes that is awash with post-rave pads and retro vocoders. "Foam" (Seaside mix) is perfect slow motion dream house, and the ''Foam'' (Streetside Mix) is a broken beat rework. "Nightwatch" then reworks disco through a squelchy boogie filter and "Freshwater People" is cosmic downtempo brilliance before the tropical tribalism of "Sunset Years" rounds out a hugely original EP.
Review: Permanent Vacation label staple Florian Peter aka Bostro Pesopeo is back. He returned after a long hiatus late last year to remix label boss TB aka Tom Bioly's "This Is Just A Modern Love Song" on his RMXD EP, but the 'Meti' EP is Peter's first release proper since the 'Cheer Up' EP - back in 2013. From the evocative and bittersweet deep house of the title track, to the moody and hypnotic nu-disco journey "Baal" or the downright doom and gloom of "Orias" which is sure to cause some late night dancefloor drama wherever it's played - our favourite label from Munich is really kicking off 2020 in an interesting way!
Review: Out of Australia Andy Hart's Voyage label has been drawing up a new picture of exotic new age and electronic sounds since 2014 with a highlight of releases from Uluru, Albrecht La'Brooy, and most recently Rings Around Saturn. The label now introduces the sweet, sublime and subtle ambient sounds of newcomer Huerta in what could be considered a crowning release of the label so far. This superb debut album presents a swathe of sweet, twinkling synths and mellow undertones of warms pads and smooth leads that dive into an unknown world of wildlife flitted with sketches of house, breakbeats, percussion and tribalistic dub. Take a trip into the undergrowth a new age future music.
Review: Astonishingly, this is the 229th single release on Robsoul Recordings, a label that has now been releasing music for bang on 20 years. Fittingly it comes from a producer who has been a big part of the Parisian imprint's story since 209, prolific Frenchman Joss Moog. His "Raw Funk Files" folder contains three tracks, starting with the addictive thrust of "Turn The Music On" - a glorious fusion of crispy house beats, rubbery but heavy synth-bass and savagely cut-up hip-hop vocal samples. Moog explores similar sonic territory on the bumpin' hip-house/funk-fuelled deep house fusion of "They Took The Funk" - DJ Sneak and Derrick Carter would undoubtedly approve - while "So Good So Fresh" is a pitched up peak-time thruster full of restless cymbals, beefy drums, sub-heavy bass and short rap samples.
Review: Lumberjacks In Hell welcome Croatian producer Andrej Laseech to the table following his promising early outings on Be Yourself and Sound Exhibitions. On this release, Laseech has reached out to the mighty, eternally prolific Javonntte for a little vocal magic, resulting in the utterly sexy deep house burner "More Than Friends". It's a track that Marcel Vogel & Tim Jules clearly dig, judging by the light touch they applied to their own remix of the track. "Take You Away" on the flip is another sweet and sultry warm-up or backroom jam that gets lifted even higher by Javonntte's stellar vocals.
Review: As Fabric resident Anna Walls and Fina Records debutant Corbi emerge in tandem of each other the pair have come together for a record on BufoBufo and Corporeal Face's Ritual Poison. It presents Wall's fourth split/collaborative record since 2014 and a second outing from Juan Corbi of FINA Records. Filled with deeper bassline vibes, two stepping drums and sweeter house and garage sentimentalities it brings with it remixes from Chiwax and Smart Bar resident Chrissy alongside Ritual Poison's in-house remix team Escape Earth. Everything you could want from the deeper shades of London's house, garage and club techno spheres, with a bit of Chicago thrown in.
Review: The ever-busy Nick Beringer makes his first appearance of 2020 with this sure shot on Constant Black, bringing just the kind of funking and bumping minimal tech house the label has staked its reputation on. "Epsilon" leads the charge with a snappy drum framework as a vessel for deep sonar blips and swooping pads, before the vibe switches for something markedly cheekier on the delightfully freaky "Noseblunt". "Turning Point (Club Mix)" keeps things tight and functional for the dance, taking Beringer's sound in a more overtly techno direction, while the subsequent "Deep Mix" of the track keeps the vibe similar but works a richer spread of synth shapes into the mix.
Review: 2019 was a busy year for 84bit, a producer who released a mixture of deep house and nu-disco jams on a variety of largely digital-only labels. "Mamma Jamma" is his debut for Disco Fruit and features a number of notable cuts. Chief amongst these is the title track, a bustling, bass-heavy chunk of booming disco-house that's subsequently taken in a funkier direction by the ubiquitous Dr Packer, Hotmood and Tonbe, whose fine revision is looser, warmer and baggier. The EP also boasts two versions of "HN": an electric piano-laden original mix that expertly joins the dots between elecro, funk breaks and disco-funk, and a bubbly nu-disco revision by label regular Mitko.
Review: Two years on from his last album-length outing under the Lane 8 alias, tech house/progressive house fusionist Daniel Goldstein returns with an action-packed set featuring a mixture of songs and instrumentals. "Brightest Lights" is melodious, imaginative and musically intricate, with Goldstein effortlessly jogging between sun-baked mid-tempo workouts, icy synth-pop influenced goodness, cheery dancefloor workouts and the kind of glistening electronic goodness that sounds as good on the radio as it does in the club. At a notably dull and depressing time of the year, this kind of celebratory musical positivity is more than welcome.
Review: Fresh from fine outings on Get Physical and Mobilee, Squire returns to Earthly Delights with a new set of remixes of tracks from his 2018 EP "Breaking Points". Sometime Dantze artist Raw Main steps up first with a loose, languid, melodious and subtly sun-kissed revision of "Reaching The Fairway" that wraps Innervisions style electronics, ricocheting synth riffs and dusty female vocal samples around a suitably shuffling and tactile groove. Kieran Fowkes collaboration "Hiding With You" is then offered up in two new variations: an ultra-deep, woozy and emotion-rich interpretation by El Mundo, and an Atalaia take that layers psychedelic electronics, marimba style melodies, booming bass, twinkling piano touches and additional percussion hits over a stomping beat.