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: LSB and DRS: combos don't come any stronger than this! We already know this from incredible tracks like "The View" and "New Day" but The Blue Hour is a whole other level of their soulful prowess. Jazzy, smoky, thoughtful and blues to its very core, there's a musicality and spirit to this album that transcends any genre thanks to both Del's disarming lyrics and barbed charm and Luke's natural soulmanship and sense of groove. From the smoke-stacked horn-based dream "Umbrellas" to stunning cosmic risers like "Keep The Time" and "Could Be" and to every other planet that orbits in between, this is one of the best albums in the D&B sphere this year. We will look back on this as a timeless classic. Essential.
Review: Now many have guessed that this one has been in the works for a while, but that makes us no less excited to unveil this tasty new album projct from J:Kenzo, who returns to his home imprint of Artikal Music for 'Taygeta Code'. From start to finish, the album is a true exploration into electronic music, primarily of course focussed around 140BPM. It's got bass pressure on 'Desired State', it's got acidic originality on 'Hoodwinked', it's even got a weighty guest vocal from the legendary Flowdan who returns on Kenzo's Darkside VIP mix of 'Like A Hawk'. This is an excellent showcasing of J:Kenzo's ability within a crowded dubstep scene.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Cru-Cast is the music platform that has rapidly expanded into the world of events, with a focus on raucous basslines across bassline, D&B and more, it's been shelling venues up and down the UK for a couple of years now. The label side is part of the same offensive and Bru-C is the soldier in command today, a grime MC who can flip between genres easier than more, a skill he shows off here on his debut LP Original Sounds. 'Snakes & Ladders' featuring Bou and Ella Knight is a highlight for sure, as the potent Bou maintains his usual prowess but this time on a lighter tip, Ella's vocals coming into play in a sick way and Bru-C's bars tying the whole thing together a flourish. Skepsis makes an appearance, as do Jamie Duggan, Chromatic, Simula and more.
Review: We have been very much enjoying the run that Four40 have been on of late, constantly putting together top notch releases from some of the most exciting faces in the UK bass and garage scenes. This latest offering from Tuff Culture is a perfect example of that as he unveils 'Elements V: Boron', a wicked compilation, kicking off with the old school delights of the title track 'Boron'. Next, we engage with some wicked 2-step chord combos in 'Cosmos' before the more futuristic spacey layout of 'Explanations' arrives on the scene. We finish up with another two crackers, the nostalgic drum work and smooth vocal work of 'Laws Of Attraction' landing first before we round off with subtle organ melodies and punchy percussive layouts of 'Senses'.
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Amsterdam Dance Event holds a special place in the electronic music community's calendar, and it just wouldn't be the same without the Toolroom family putting on a very special showcase for the industry and punters alike. The Dutch capital's clubbing culture is one of the best in Europe and there's only one place to be this October. They join the fun once again this year and this are kicking off the week at Chicago Social Club for an opening to ADE like no other. In celebration, Mark Knight & Co. anticipate the event with this solid collection of sonic arsenal with highlights not limited to: label staple Weiss serving up classic vocal funky house on "Let Me Love You" (extended Club mix), legends Dirty Vegas getting remixed by CamelPhat on the extended remix of "Days Go By" (which reaches near acid moments), the ever impressive Alan Fitzpatrick providing austere peak time tackle on banger "The Approach" and rising stars like Jacky (with Example) on the wonky tech house of "Another 24" and label newcomer Maxinne dropping the riveting main room thriller "The Message" amongst many more. Comes with two continuous mixes: the first by Romanian upstarts Sllash & Doppe and the second by Swiss scene hero Mendo (Clarisse).
Review: More Time and R&S linking up is always going to lead to something fantastic, and this latest four track selection is just that, as we firstly kick off the project with some incredibly vibrant drum work and percussive brilliance from Ahadadream on 'Melty'. Next, Bala Bala Boyz rise to the occasion with more high energy drum chops and vocal lines on 'Sieta' before Bryte brings the grooves with the irresistible switch ups of 'Ice Cream'. Finally, 'Bleep Test' lands from SNOW, putting a final touch of rhythmic bliss onto what we can safely say is an excellent body of work.
Review: We have been delivered a real treat with this one as Club Asylum link up with Jeremy Sylvester and Kayleigh Gibson and Onyx Stone for what we can safely call a "proper bit of UKG'. Urban Dubz have struck gold here as the combine crunchy, original garage grooves with Jeremy's smoothly toasted vocals and Kayleigh's dance floor-ready harmonies for some classic flavours, certain to bring out the raver in anyone. This one comes complete with a high energy C.A.P 2-step mix as well as the throwback-ready Back 2 90's Vibe mix. This whole package comes ready for the dance!
Review: Plantae is Luke Slater's seventh artist album as Planetary Assault Systems and his fourth for Ostgut. If you're looking for forward-looking club techno, you've come to the right place. The album opens with the indistinct tones of "Red", before "Whip it Good" takes up the mantle and sees Slater deliver a tougher take on this sound, powered by hissing percussion and tough kicks. Meanwhile "Kamani" is a deeper, more understated take on this style. "Spell A" is a more stripped back affair, resounding to tight percussion and a rolling groove, while "Mugwort" calls to mind Slater's 90s work under this guise, with a hypnotic rhythm underscoring a cacophony of atmospheric sounds.
Review: Dekmantel up in this bizz with a new release from the freshly emblazoned Neon Chambers, a collaboration between Sigha & Kangding Ray. Both artists come from different but adjacent backgrounds of techno and here they combine with snapping raster effects and IDM philosophies to create and sound and rhythm that's made to fit an industrial, colourful and contemporary club context. Strands of Roly Porter epicness can be felt in "Cascade" that are underpinned by the heavy weight clak of nail gun kicks, with "Helles" and "Apollo" crafting wild rhythms and melodies from vox. Some deconstructed UK vibes in "What It Takes" too that might even turn the head of Soundman Chronicles 'headhoncho' Parris.
Review: Some six years ago we met Mr. 8040. It was 2357 A.D. and our hero was in the throes of hazardous journey back to his home planet. This premise was set up with Welcome To Mikrosector-50 LP in 2013, a debut Space Dimension Controller album for R&S. Love Beyond The Intersect, it is told, sees Mr 8040 again exploring "the unknown world in the hope of finding help." With Space Dimension Controller at the controls, this return represents a deeper touch to the story, with Moodymann levels of deep house depth reached in "Alone In An Unknown Sector" alongside the equally ambient and evoking sounds of "Sundown On Memory Point". A new level of maturity and minimalism shines through on the album with the power of subtleness is on display here. Cue ambient swells of cosmic atmospheres dusted up by the soft pitter-patter of luscious drums and sweet shining synths. Godspeed Mr. 8040!
Review: Oderbruch is Rene Pawlowitz's fifth artist album as Shed, and the title refers to the place in east Germany he comes from. It's no surprise then that this long player is a deeply personal affair. "Die Oder", named after the river in that region, flows serenely thanks to a slip-slide rhythm and gentle pads. "Menschen & Mauern" is the polar opposite, with Pawlowitz dropping high-speed break beats and evocative organ playing. A similarly introspective mood plays out on the dusky sound scapes of "Sterbende Alleen", where Pawlowitz's sense of disillusionment is palpable. However, like any personalised work, the mood swings, with the dreamy "Nacht, Fluss, Grille, Auto, Frosch, Eule, Mucke" restoring a sense of calm with its bucolic tones.
Review: While Emilio Acevdeo hasn't put out many releases as Lesser Drakar alias, he's no musical newcomer and has even worked with Gary Numan and Egyptian Lover in the past. Given this history, it's unsurprising that "Piramide 1" - a collection of madcap electronic tunes that he made for his DJ sets over a decade ago - is really rather good. Musically, it joins the dots between New York electro, cheeky 80 synth-pop, freestyle and new wave, adding a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek humour. There are tons of fine original cuts that include sneaky references to video game soundtracks, but it's his zany electro cover of Queen and David Bowie's "Another One Bites The Dust" that really set our pulses racing.
Review: We have said it before and we will say it again, there is simply no stopping the Strictly Flava rampage this year as they continue to collect and amass some of the strongest UKG releases on the map. This latest project sees them return for the second edition of the Strictly Flava Allstars, featuring tasty pieces from Sampladelic, Thief In The Night and GE to name a few. Our favourites have to be MPH's incredible texture building throughout the well layered harmonies of 'Feel It', along with the stripped back, pulsating sub tones of 'On Sight' from On1.
Review: Drunken Kong and Teenage Mutants team up for this fine release on Christian Smith's label. "Mainz" is a highly distinctive affair; boasting synth melodies that sit somewhere between new beat/ebm and trance, the arrangement's rhythm is grinding and intense, while the collaborators also deliver tough kicks. Add in a foreboding vocal sample and it makes for an unforgettable track. "Tokyo" is based on a similar approach, but is slightly more pared back in the rhythm section, which puts a greater focus on the tranced out melodies. Heerhorst, who recently featured on Tronic, delivers a remix of "Mainz", turning it into a tougher, leaner affair that is destined for peak time use.
Review: Ah, what fantastic news it is to find My Nu Leng returning to their home imprint of Maraki as they lay everything on the table for their brand new five track project, taking the name 'Alter'. We begin with a look at the hardcore inspired chord stutters and well timed vocal samples of MC GQ on 'Spaced', followed in similar fashion by the gritty sub shivers of 'Echoes', which also features additional work from Takura. The more house influenced vibes continue as we dip into the rave-ready melodies of 'City Lights', before DRS joins the party for a grittier original in 'Sinking Sand'. We round off with the ballad-like structure of 'Signal', which rounds up a very mature selection from the Bristol based duo.