Review: Bizarrely, Running Back boss Gerd Janson describes this multi-artist EP as "a sampler for a hypothetical mixtape". Perhaps he should make that imaginary mix a reality, because all four cuts are quality. Check first the throbbing and pulsating brilliance of Storken's "Lille Vals", which sounds like an Italo-disco obsessive's take on Bobby Orlando's mid-1980s work (with a little NYC freestyle thrown in) before donning your extra-special dancing shoes to shuffle along to Alan Dixon's new dancefloor "Drums Mix" of his synthesizer soundscape "Ambient Braindisk". Zombies In Miami predictably deliver the goods on bleeping, synth-laden nu-disco throb-job "Panoramica", while Hokaiido's "Talisman" offers the perfect combination of delay-laden proto-house drums on steroids, bold freestyle bass and cheery synthesizer melodies.
Review: Belgian techno heroine Charlotte de Witte presents the first of a new double EP here. On the subject of the release, De Witte says that this duality is essential to explore her interests, both as a producer and DJ, and it was only natural to release them simultaneously for release on her ever reliable KNTXT imprint. The Selected EP features three stark and austere expressions in main room, peak time techno such as "Form" and "Time" - all featuring the signature grunt of the Roland TB-303 throughout, while final cut "Amar" is a sublime and soothing ambient cut that's perfect to close the EP out.
Review: In sporting terms, statistics tell us that teams do better on "home turf". It seems a fitting title then for House of Disco's latest multi-artist extravaganza, which is the musical equivalent of a thumping 5-0 home win with free beers and hugs at full time. The standard is uniformly high throughout, from the bounding bounciness of LPM's rap-sampling disco-house cut "Get With It", to the impeccably warm and sun-kissed jazz-house vibes of Purple Ice's "Adeus". In between you'll find the rolling, synth-heavy warmth of Mix & Fairbanks' deliciously loved-up "Shergar's Revenge" and "Me, You, Us", a chunky sample-house number by Shee full of swirling strings, looped guitar riffs, hazy chords and righteous spoken word samples.
Review: This is the first release from Mr Sunshine, a new duo comprised of Luke Campion and fast-rising broken beat/bass music fusionist Jon Danvers-McCabe (AKA CoOp Selectors Assemble crew member Danvers). As you might expect, the resultant music is wonderfully sweaty and sub-heavy. Check first "U Don't Know", a 21st century take on speed garage that combines insanely weighty sub and wobble bass with heady female vocal samples and dark room sounds, before moving on to the intergalactic garage goodness of "My Knife", which is arguably even weightier. Elsewhere, "God Chord" is a strutting, sweat-soaked attack on the senses full of dancehall vocal snippets and gut-punching bass tones, while Justin Cudmore's "Vocal Dub" of "U Don't Know" sits somewhere between Todd Edwards and extra-percussive big room house.
Review: DJ Seinfeld has really upped his productivity since launching the Young Ethics label earlier this year. "Parallax" marks the Swedish producer's third outing on the imprint and as expected he's served up another strong collection of cuts. Opener "Please Slow Down" is another ear-catching affair, with dreamy, reverb-laden female vocal snippets and vibrant, trance style synthesizer lead lines jauntily dancing above a crunchy two-step beat. "Xoul" sees him wrapping more slightly psychedelic, ambient techno influenced musical elements atop an Armand Van Helden style "dark garage" groove, while "Parallax" is a deliciously warm and loved-up chunk of breakbeat retro-futurism in his now familiar style. To round things off, the Swede offers up the EP's warmest and deepest moment, the rather delicious, "Right, What Time Do U Wanna Meet?"
Review: Guidance remain in full control this year as yet another powerful EP from Ulterior Motive's label lands. This time it's from Was A Be, no longer signed to Shogun and now just a solo act, it's another bold statement. "Passive Aggressive" takes the lead with, ironically, no passivity whatsoever. Subverting a ravey riff over a real growler of a bassline, it's another certy stinker from Italian stallion. It's back by three more gully blunderbusses: "Mirrored" (with Visages) strips things back and drags us down the bassline sewer with one of the grumpiest basslines you'll hear all season, "Shell" follows suit with more low-end toxicity and a sweet roll to the drums while "Double Tap" takes the Was A Be to some pretty cosmic, warped places. Last but not least we have the dramatic "Blue Roots" where more of a techno influence can be felt in the pulsating bassline. Immense.
Tenderlonious - "Song For My Father" - (6:03) 113 BPM
Yussef Kamaal - "Lowrider" - (4:28) 126 BPM
Steven Julien - "XL" - (6:25) 120 BPM
Kamaal Williams - "Shinjuku" (DJ-Kicks) - (2:12) 149 BPM
Henry Wu - "Wivout U" - (6:22) 125 BPM
Dego - "Nuts" - (4:25) 118 BPM
K15 - "Time Humbles Us All" - (2:19) 154 BPM
Kamaal Williams - "Strings (ATL)" - (5:41) 132 BPM
Various - "DJ-Kicks" (Kamaal Williams continuous DJ mix) - (1:16:47) 123 BPM
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: Under the DJ Laurel alias, Lavr Berzhanin has proved to be one of Katakana Edits' most reliable re-editors of recent times. We've lost count of the number of EPs he's delivered for the prolific imprint, but they're all rather good - as is his latest expansive effort. There's much to get the blood pumping across the six-track salvo, with our favourites including the rubbery, bouncy and glassy-eyed disco bliss of "All I've Got", the soaring, horn-heavy soundscape disco-soul shuffle of "Battend Ships" [sic], the blue-eyed soul goes drum and bass bounce of "Cookie" and the wah-wah guitar sporting two-step soul goodness of closing cut "Annie Mae". In other words, it's another rock solid collection of tried and tested reworks.
Review: Grid Recordings have been on an absolute tear the past year or so, with everything that comes through their doors sounding slick and firmly on the pulse of D&B in 2019. This time around it's a compilation featuring some of their most reliable producers, who, characteristically, have come through in a big way. Jayline & Macpherson's 'Look & Listen' is a spacious, atmospheric creeper than packs a serious punch, one that emerges through a soundscape of celestial tones. Nick The Lot definitely has one of the standout tunes with 'This Planet', keeping up the space theme and also keeping up the trend of twisting, expansive basslines that ripple with energy - proper roller this. KY's 'Dreams' is in the same vein and even more futuristic and techy, which shows that Grid can do things in all styles. Head Nodders indeed.
Review: For the last five years, Mikhail Khvasko has been offering up warm, woozy and sun-kissed music as A Vision of Panorama. The producer's latest missive - his fourth release for Mellophonia - is every bit as melodious, life affirming and listenable as its predecessors. He first joins the dots between bubbly synth-funk and sun-kissed Balearica on "Delicious Saw", before layering more vintage-sounding synthesizer lead lines, jazz-funk bass and an ultra-warm groove on the equally attractive "Lum". "Euphoria" is, if anything, even more positive in its dreamy, synth-sporting approach to musical pleasure, while "Fourth" is jazz and squelchy in the best possible way. Attractive, grown up synthesizer music for lazy afternoons and sweltering evenings.
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: These days, C Da Afro seems to be pushing the likes of Rayko, Sunner Soul and Mitiko hard for the coveted title of "most prolific remixer and re-editor". The Greek producer is once again in fine form on this Furious Mandrill outing, offering up a quartet of cuts that are funkier than a gurning gibbon after a night out with the Goodies. Our pick of a very strong bunch is sturdy, filter-sporting disco-highlife revision "Highlight Groove", though sweet, string-laden opener "Coconuts" and the colourful, synth-laden tropical disco number "Tropical Boogie" push it close. Kwaito/Afro-boogie number "Zooming", which closes the EP in fine style, is also worth a listen.