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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Shadow Child aka Simon Neale returns with a bang to Hot Creations. The title track is a wild techy banger, peppered with the type of high-pitched squelches that Timo Maas used to specialise in during the early 90s. Underpinned by a tough but bouncy bass, it makes for a superb piece of party techno. On "Get Busy", Neale delivers a stripped back but equally effective track; powered by rolling snares and featuring an insistent vocal sample at its heart, once again, the use of surging bass is sure to keep dance floors busy. Mark Broom also weighs in with a remix of "DBG", turning it into a rolling, filter-heavy techno track that is infused with incessant disco stabs.
Review: Nick Curly and Gorge are certainly glad to have the legendary British player Danny Howells back on 8bit Records. Proper house music in all its styles and variations here, much in the vein of last year's celebrated appearance for the label - the amazing Whiterock EP. Features the low slung yet emotive percussive house thriller "Players", in addition to the sweltering disco inflected funk attack of "Retreat", right through to the slinky and hypnotic tech house journey of "Mayfeels" harking back to his glory days as a tastemaker on the progressive house scene at the turn of the millenium. That being said, this industry veteran is now displaying some of his most exhilarating output yet.
Review: Bostonian Steve Darko has fast become a staple of west coast bass house institution Dirtybird in recent times. From his his viral hit "Fried or Fertilized" to his latest collab with VNSSA on "Wavy". He's back again with a new EP, featuring the much anticipated "That's Hot" - a boompty, bass driven and quirked out party starter featuring Oonagi and Big J. This is followed by the druggy minimal tech house groove of "I Miss Your Face" which is perfect tackle for the warm-up or afterhours alike.
Review: Permanent Vacation co-head Tom Bioly's musical output has hit a new high in recent times, with the Munich based artist having gone solo after previous collaborations with partner Benjamin Froelich. He released a series of wonderful remixes of last year's "Night Heat" single and of course 2017's electro-noir opus Heartbreak Hotel. Bioly returns with another fabulous full length here entitled A Call For Romance, where acid drops, string distortions, lushed melody bits, hushed robo vox and washed space guitars are layered and sprinkled over machine beats and disco drums.
Review: A marked difference from his most recent Scuba originals, 'Expectations' signals a contrasting path for sonic exploration by the Hotflush chief - covering house, garage and rave sounds. He references classic Stateside house of the early '90s on the title track to stunning effect, before heading down an introspective route on the evocative acid epic "Voices" (including Rose's own vocals) and going deeper on the glassy-eyed and melancholic vibe of "Burn Out" - calling to mind his earlier output several years ago under the SCB alias. It also features recordings of live acoustic riffs by the artist. Cover art by Lando (Decadence Comics).
Review: It's been almost a year since Swiss duo Adriatique presented their much lauded full length effort 'Nude', and this fresh collection of reworks ensure they still get to live on in the (mind the pun!) - Afterlife. While household names such as label bosses Tale of Us (with Mathame), Keinemusik's Rampa and Solumun appear, it's definitely worth mentioning the more underground artists that they reeled in. Berghain resident Kobosil's barrelling and austere rework of "Tachykardia" keeps the sensual vocals of the original, but is absolutely geared for the peak time period of his acclaimed DJ sets at the Berlin institution. Italian trio Agents Of Time (Obscura) deliver a typically epic and entrancing journey into the deeper realms of dancefloor dynamics, and probably most surprising of all is the addition of Frankfurt minimal house legend Isolee who injects "Mystery" with his idiosyncratic style of emotive and glitching minimal funk.
Review: Let's Play House have not said much about Eluize, the artist behind their latest EP, but we can confirm that the mysterious producer has hit the spot. Opener "She Only Counts To Eight" is addictive an intoxicating - an undulating, synthesizer-heavy affair that sits somewhere between druggy deep house and the kind of psychedelic, Middle Eastern-inspired chugging nu-disco more associated with the Disco Halal imprint. The more tech-tinged and melodious "Be Easy" is similarly inclined and "Apart" is a feverish, acid-fired affair. "Illuminated" comes in two different forms: an original mix that updates Italian dream house for a new era and a 39 second spoken word DJ tool. There are two takes on "Morning", too: a hybrid Italo-disco/piano-sporting deep house club cut and a beat free "Lonely Melody" mix.
Review: Knee Deep In Sound chief Hot Since 82 is still riding on the success of his wicked '8-Track' LP, and not content to rest on his laurels, he's back in action with a single taken from the album - the dancefloor thriller "Tilted". A euphoric and mesmerising cut with progressive house influences, this one is sure to work the floor into a higher state of consciousness with its razor sharp bassline, neon-lit melody and altogether powerful groove. If that was not enough, Egyptian producer Raxon gets onboard with a riveting remix, taking the track down a slightly moodier and definitely adrenalised route with added dancefloor dynamics - it's a sure shot to drop right before the peak time.
Review: You can always count on British producer Mike Green aka Fort Romeau to provide epic and majestic and dancefloor drama, material that's been been heard on Permanent Vacation, Running back and Correspondant in recent times. He returns to Live At Robert Johnson to follow up 2016's Secrets & Lies with two brand new tracks here. Featuring the mesmerising dancefloor drama of "Dweller On The Threshold" awash in a dazzling array of rich melodic synth tapestries, while the moody and heads-down hypnotism of "Kontra Punkte" will entrance you deep into submission with its intoxicating bell textures - reaching near moments of sonar transmission.
Review: Yulia Niko comes to Crosstown Rebels with a four-tracker that blends deep, tech, prog and minimal elements to great effect. 'Paradise' is an understated, shuffle-y number with lots of subtle filtering, while 'Es Vedra' ups the dancefloor ante with pounding drums, snatches of spoken male vocal and a tiny hint of acid, making for a cut that'd work equally well in the warm-up or during the wee smalls. But the standout is the surging, pulsing 'Caminando', which features Chilean vocalist Sil Romero and comes with a more minimal-leaning refix from Cioz. Quality, hard-to-pigeonhole stuff from this Berlin-based Russian producer.
Review: Long may be the days of seeing Sascha play to small rooms of Nottingham legend, the spirit and soul of such a perspective can perhaps be best felt in its very essence here. With trance ala mode right now more than some genres, its popularity goes in hand with Sascha and his work defining the genre as his own. It's here then that Sascha's music continues its course by venturing into a vocal decay of up tempo rhythms, melo-phoria and sunsetting synths and deemed special enough to close out fabric's 20th anniversary mix.
Review: Fresh off releases for Diynamic and Sasha's Last Night On Earth, German duo Gheist are back with a riveting outing on their local institution Watergate - and if this doesn't mean they've now hit the big time then we don't know what does! The Zukunft EP is a fitting name for its futurist house excursions, for example the euphoric and tough rolling tech house anthem by the name of "Disclose Yours" with its hands in the air piano melody which will really get in your head, followed by the title track with its moody electro breaks that is sure to get dome drama happening on the dancefloor.
Review: Since its inception in 2015, Jeremy Olander's label and event series, Vivrant, has become a home to new and established artists such as Khen, Finnebassen, Henry Saiz and more - all presenting their unique take on melodic house and techno. Now it is releasing its first ever mix album for Melbourne's Balance Music - and also happens to be the first in Olander's career thus far. With this long overdue project, he is bringing two discs of exclusive music from himself (under his darker techno alias Dhillon), and friends such as La Fleur, Ejeca, Locked Groove, Marino Canal and Tim Engelhardt, in addition to newcomers like A Friend Of Marcus and Carl Dern. Olander stated that the mix 'encompasses what the label sounds like in 2019 and beyond.. a true manifestation of our style, and what it's grown to become in the four years since we started.'
Review: Brazilian born, Sydney-based DJ and producer Hoten started his music career at the age of 16 years old, when he was first introduced to clubbing and started playing at venues around town. He now presents his debut two tracker "Mind Games" on the British imprint Knee Deep In Sound. Although it's his debut for the label, boss man Hot Since 82 has been playing his tracks all around the world, as well as many other heavyweights in the industry. The title track is hypnotic, slinky and downright sensual and sure to cause drama on whatever dancefloor it's played on - with its come hither vocal. Hoten picks up the energy levels on next offering "Maps Of The Future" which takes an energetic deep house direction, full of captivating melodies and powerful drum programming.
Review: The Lost Scripts project returns to follow up 2016's Hiverned #4 EP. Hivern Discs chief John Talabot and the ever reliable Pional now restart a series of releases featuring some of the jams they have been recording during these past years between Barcelona, Madrid and Giske (Norway). Speaking of the latter, the slow motion groove of "Giske" is an utterly hypnotic and mesmerising minimal techno journey deep underwater, while "Mozart" is more upbeat, featuring an abundance of dancefloor dynamics on this evocative and majestic deep house journey - equal parts tension and suspense throughout.
Review: Constant Sound continues to press ahead as one of the most productive entities in the minimal scene, and they're sounding as on-point as ever with this collaborative EP from Per Hammar and Okain. These two stripped back tech house champs bounce off each other perfectly, creating the kind of limber workouts that will sink under the skin of the after hours crowd with ease. Look out for closing track "Double Brew", which folds some gorgeous dub techno inflections into the mix with stunning results.