Review: Not content with two conceptual sub labels to keep themselves occupied inbetween releases on main operation Don't Be Afraid, Semtek and co launch another theme specific offshoot in the shape of DBA Special Editions. Described as "a series of classic dancefloor cuts from the most sought after producers on the underground house circuit" the Special Editions label has been primed as an outlet for label boss Semtek to release dancefloor specific one-off releases from artists not so closely tied to the DBA roster and the upcoming debut release from Disco Nihilist sets a high standard. Four tracks deep, Journey To The End Of The Night sees the Maine-based producer continue to plunder his raw take on house music made using analogue sequencers and hardware, all recorded straight to tape with the slightly deranged jackbeat of "Midnight To St. John" a particular highlight.
Macky Gee - "Bangers N Mash" (feat MC Skibadee) - (3:46) 175 BPM
Gino - "Hunger Pains" - (4:27) 175 BPM
Spaow - "Don't Stop" - (5:30) 175 BPM
Macky Gee - "Moments" - (3:47) 175 BPM
Review: Down 2 Earth Musik is Macky Gee's label and for the end of the year he's coming at you with a fat compilation of tunes that fit in with the sound he's pioneered this year and the last. Not many artists have been as break out a success as Macky this year and it shows on this release, things kicking off with the fiery VIP of 'Calm Before The Storm', an appriopriate title for the first tune of an album that goes on to include tracks like Rawtee's 'Alligator' and Matzet's 'Roller Coaster'. Arguably the highlight comes from Macky himself though when he's joined by MC Skibadee on Bangers N Mash, a proper skank out with one of the most legendary MCs in the game.
Review: Throughout his long career, Swedish producer Andreas Saag has flitted between deep house and nu-jazz, crafting a melodic, musically rich and soul-flecked trademark sound. He's a good choice, then, to compile and mix a collection of Z Records' deeper moments. There's much to admire on this unmixed version (Saag's mix is included as a bonus cut), from the flowing keys and fluid grooves of the Swede's own remix of The Sunburst Band v Atjazz's "When The Lights Meet The Sky", to the string-laden beauty of Andre Lodeman's rework of Akabu's "Another World". Highlights come thick and fast, with further notable selections from JD73 (remixed brilliantly by Tornado Wallace), Jupiter Beyond, The Sunburst Band (reworked by Recloose) and, of course, Joey Negro.
Review: UK label Bacci Brothers has been bringing you quality house and garage releases since the mid '90s and are still committed to bringing you the freshest material, even branching out in recent times. On their latest compilation, it does exactly what it says on the tin: 'Tech Minimal' indeed features some of the most cutting edge minimal and tech house tunes that you need to rock the party. Highlights are not limited to: the spiritual Afro vibe of Paolo Madzone Zampetti's remix of "Savannah Cat" which goes for that Innervisons kind of vibe, followed by his moody rework of Barbara Tucker's "You Want Me Back", elsewhere Tomas Bert's "Pan Pow" harks back to the golden sounds of the mid '00s when labels like m_nus and Tuning Spork reigned supreme, Eddy Kruger's druggy "Save Your Soul" will appeal to fans of the Little Helpers sound, and the very slick "Change Your Mind" by Baxx & Graur Bros. closes this fine release out in style.
Review: Given the success of Faze Action's first trawl through the more sun-kissed sections of their vast back catalogue, it's little surprise to see the Lee brothers deliver a second volume. As with its predecessor, To The Sunset & Beyond shuffles around stylistically, taking in lilting Brazilian flavours (1999 single "Samba", the folksy "Struck"), Afro-influenced electrofunk (recent Zeke Manyika collaborations "Got To Find A Way" and "To Love Is To Grow"), dub disco (the Boogie Central mix of "Danae's Journey"), and, of course, plenty of cello-laden treats (a rare alternative version of "Moving Cities", the wonderful, Arthur Russell-ish "Venus & Mars"). In other words, it's a deliciously summery collection of tried-and-tested tracks. Recommended.
African Head Charge - "Hold Some Version" - (3:33) 51 BPM
Dub Syndicate - "Early Mafia" - (4:41) 68 BPM
Review: This second instalment of Adrian Sherwood At The Controls is as highly anticipated as the first chapter, and perhaps boasting even more quality across its 16 masterful re-edits of 80s and 90s dub-infused classics. The texture is Sherwood through and through, with the producer bringing that inimitable On-U Sound flair to each and every production he touches. Here, we have mainly material from the 1980s, a fine blend of post-punk and dub that makes total sense together; the highlights and must-haves include Pankow's "Boys & Girls" from 1987, "Music & Science Madness" by the great Lee Scratch Perry from the same year, and 1990's "Hold Some Version" originally from African Head Charge. To be fair, though, you should just hit the old ALL button when opting for download.
Review: It's been five years since Manchester's Ryan Hunn made his debut under the now familiar Illum Sphere alias. This debut album for scene titans Ninja Tune has been a long time coming. So, is it any good? First and foremost, it's a lot smoother and melodic than his wonkier early work. While there are off-kilter rhythms paired with futuristic electronics (see "It'll Be Over Soon" and string-laden "Ghosts of Then & Now"), these moments largely play second fiddle to woozy, James Blake-ish soundscapes and tactile downtempo moments. It's a curious move, perhaps, but one that suits the album format. Certainly, when he really nails it - such as the distinctly Balearic "One Letter From Death" - it's nothing less than sublime.
Review: The Oracle LP is the first output of a German jazz supergroup. They simply wanted to follow their passion and record a spiritual jazz album which revelled in the seventies (think Strata East, Black Jazz, etc). So they invented a fictitious band and released an 'unpublished album from well-known and inspiring guys from the '70s.' But then you could never have given live concerts, not to mention interviews, either, right?. In short, it would have been difficult to keep this all a secret, so Compost decided to reveal their identities. So here we have it folks, introducing Web Web: Roberto Di Gioia (piano, synth, percussion), Tony Lakatos (tenor and soprano saxophone), Christian von Kaphengst (upright bass) and Peter Gall (drums).
Review: Night Noise Music has decided to start a compilation series. Enitled "Night Noises" (we see what they did there), each volume will offer up previously unheard cuts from label stalwarts and guest artists they admire. There's plenty to set the pulse racing on this launch edition, from the gently bubbling acid lines and glistening guitar riffs of Tuiloxi's chugging dub disco opener ("Winter Afro Acid") and the druggy Italo-disco/proto-house flex of "Quirked" by Aimes, to the weighty and exotic disco pump of Jack Carel's Bollywood-inspired "Eastern Journey" and the throbbing cosmic disco psychedelia of Roe Deers' dark and pulsating "Prince". Superb stuff all told.
Review: As per usual, the UK's Toolroom imprint has put together the definitive summer collection when it comes to tech-house and anything minimal. As you can see - and hear - there are 67 tracks on here, all from the very best and most coveted talent in the scene; Mark Knight features prominently, of course, alongside established house entities like Erick Morillo, Format: B, Sascha Funke, Nic Fanciulli, and many others. But, don't stop there, as there is plenty of new talent to discover in artists like SecondCity, GotSome, Marcellus Wallace, ANOTR, and many more. There are three continuous mixes available, also, one for each summer setting. This is BIG!
Review: We always look forward to a new installment in the School Yard Breaks series, and with 25 more vintage gems on here, they haven't let us down. It's the same drill - obscure original tunes that provided famous samples - but with new thrills. Highlights include Bobby Byrd's raunchy groover "I Need Help I Can't Do It Alone" (best known for its "I know you got soul!" line), the '70s cop show grit of "E Colition Alpha" and Rabbit & Carrott's classic "Express Yourself" (famously reworked by N.W.A.).