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: German percussionist Kolja Gerstenberg makes no attempt to hide his love for the drums on this razor sharp drop for Lumberjacks In Hell, building on his previous outings on Suol and Smile For A While. The drums are sizzling hot on "Feel Yo", tastefully overdriven and embellished with some MPC-style sample juggling that should satisfy those who like their house tracks hot as Dante's inferno. "Where They're From" is no slouch either, keeping the pressure up with a liberal dose of soul poured in for good measure. The keys and live bass on "Want You" add to the feverish mood, and then "Get Over" sends things spiraling out on a Latin-spiced cosmic journey.
Review: Here's something to set the pulse racing: a brand new album from sometime Classic Music Co contributor Eli Escobar, a producer who has proved to be one of the most distinctive and consistent in house music over the last few years. "Last Summer" contains a mixture of short interludes and inspired, almost uniformly dancefloor-friendly workouts that bring together a range of complimentary influences. Our picks include the atmospheric and acid-fired deep house warmth of "Flashing Lights", the muscular peak-time Moroder-isms of "(All Night) Rhythm", the melodious, sun-kissed Balearic house brilliance of "Blu" and the woozy warmth of "Last Night".
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: Since first pitching up on Running Back a year or two back, Dec Lennon AKA Krystal Klear has delivered some of his strongest music to date, including a string of peak-time anthems ("Neutron Dance, "Euphoric Dreams" etc). His latest EP for Gerd Janson's label is similarly strong. Check first the trance-influenced, synth-laden throb of "Entre Nous", where big room piano riffs help raise the track to hands-in-the-air anthem status, before admiring the new beat and EBM influenced neo-trance workout "Autobahn". "I'll Be There When You Need Me" is one of Lennon's most saucer-eyed and loved-up tunes to date - all warm waves of synthesizer bliss and decidedly Balearic melodies - while "Gambino" is a cheery skip through 1980s NYC freestyle territory with added Mylo style riffs.
Review: Since joining Toy Tonics last year, the Phenomenal Handclap Band has served up some of their greatest material to date. Predictably, their third outing for the label is another winner. You'll find the band's original mix of "Remain Silent" - a wonderful slab of off-kilter revivalist disco rich in attractive lead vocals, authentic instrumentation and spacey synths - tucked away at the end of the EP. The headline-grabbing remixes once again come from Ray Mang, whose "Extended Mix" and "Instrumental Mix" both offer a slightly tighter, polished-up feel that's arguably more suitable for club spins. The EP also contains rather good "Remix" and "Dub" takes from Superpitcher which subtly strip the track back and give it a more spaced-out dub disco feel.
Review: Next on Sleazy McQueen's ever reliable Lovedancing label is a proper stalwart of the New York City music scene who should need no introduction - the one the only The Juan Maclean. On his new EP The Lone Dancer, get stoned into the groove of the infectious disco house stomper "Body Language Pro" which then receives a worthy rework by label main man McQueen in collaboration with Cole Medina, and followed by the lo slung boogie down antics of "Let Me Come Into Your Life".
Review: Five fine slices of contemporary disco make up this latest EP from Russian producer Alexandr Chebankov, better known as Sunner Soul. 'Feeling Of Spirits' is a midtempo shuffler that slowly breaks out into an intricate jazz-funk keys workout, 'Keep Strangers' is a Chic-y stomper, 'Liquid Disco' has distinctly Candido-esque overtones, 'Lay In Low (MF-SB Version' is a mellower, more lounge-y cut with muted space disco stabs and finally 'Simply Around' rocks a funkier, Blaxploitation-like vibe. With all five highly authentic-sounding and avoiding obvious samples, heavy rotation at the likes of Glitterbox and Horse Meat Disco is pretty much guaranteed.
Review: Israeli and Berlin-based DJ/producer Dasco has put out a fair number of singles over the last few years, but none are anywhere near as good as "African Power", their first outing on Local Talk. The title track is superb: a wonderfully jaunty, atmospheric, evocative and positive fusion of Afro-house, jazz, deep house and calypso that boasts layered percussion, a brilliant bassline and some lusciously lilting trumpet solos. "Keep Moving", meanwhile, is a heavily percussive deep house workout full of spacey synths and heavy South American drums. Trinidadian Deep does a fine job making "African Power" deeper, dreamier and even more melodic, while Anthony Nicholson joins the dots between Latin house and deep nu-disco on a suitably Balearic revision of "Keep Moving".
Review: With "Rhythm & Waves", Russian producer Sunner Soul seems to be daydreaming of sunnier and warmer times. There's certainly something suitably sun-kissed about the title track, which gently beefs up and re-arranges a bouncy, Clavinet-heavy chunk of groovy disco-funk that comes smothered in atmospheric party sounds. The tighter, slap bass-sporting "Universal Disco" explores similar sonic territory, while "Red Hot Disco" sees him layer up the percussion and filter sweeps on a joyful, mid-set workout. Elsewhere, "Let's Somebody Love" is a soaring slice up tooled-up disco-soul and "Get ready With Me" is a fine slab of string-laden boogie brilliance that sounds like it was beamed down from a distant disco planet.
Review: Detroit Swindle is amongst the most reliable artists operating in the overgrown no-man's-land between house, disco and boogie. That much is confirmed by "The Life Behind Things", which marks their first outing on Heist since last year's "High Life" LP. Title track "The Life Behind Things" is positive, ear-pleasing and dancefloor friendly, with the experienced pair peppering bouncy beats and thickset synth bass with joyous organ riffs (reminiscent of those found on Timmy Thomas soul classic "Why Can't We Live Together"), wobbly acid lines, jaunty piano stabs and female vocal snippets. Lorenz Rhode collaboration "Music For Clubs" is arguably even more rush inducing in its retro-futurist piano house intent, while Isoul8's remix of the title track is a swirling, soulful and decidedly tactile chunk of deep house brilliance.
Review: Fresh from their fine collaborative single on Running Back - the rather heavy "Desire" - Butch and C.Vogt join forces once more for an outing on another admirable house imprint, long-running London label Freerange. In its original form, "Vogue" is undulating and gently mind-altering, with the pair wrapping angular electronic motifs, soft-touch chords and dreamy synth sweeps around crunchy, drum machine style percussion. Label co-founder Jimpster provides the headline remix, opting for deeper bass, warmer chords and oodles of layered tribal percussion, which Butch provides a "Bonus Edit" that seems even dreamier than the original mix. The EP includes another tasty bonus in the shape of Vogt's edit of saucer-eyed retro-futurism gem "Windeck".
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: Under the Ponty Mython alias, experienced producer Alexander Pletnev can usually be relied upon to hit the spot. Happily, we can confirm that his latest EP - his second for Bristol's Futureboogie Recordings - is another strong effort. He begins by wrapping some alien sounding synthesizer lead lines and quirky electronic ticks around a swinging, breakbeat influenced groove on "Speak For Yourself", before repeating the trick on the more bass-heavy and tropical tinged "Barocco". EP highlight "Jealous Lover" is a wonderfully bleeping, analogue-rich chunk of intergalactic deep house, while Jonny Rock's remix of the same track is a sweaty, out-of-this-world party jam laden with dub delay, analogue dub bass and trippy effects.
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: Back from Fancy Footwork the almighty Theo Parrish is still blazing a trail into instrumental house and live jazz workouts or be they listening sessions. Flipped up alongside the recent What You Gonna Ask For EP, This Is For Your projects the beauty of live elements at play within house music. Whether they be machines or human beings, everything is alive in these two tracks; snappy snare shine through on the instrumental version alongside free keys that shimmy on top analogue kicks done in Detroit. Maurissa Rose gives voice to a fuller mix on the original for something warmer over a charming instrumental workout.
Review: We've come accustomed to the Helliker-Hales brothers delivering dusty, musically intricate deep house that tends towards the jazzier and more dub-flecked end of the spectrum. It's therefore something of a surprise to find that their latest two-tracker is an altogether bolder and more warehouse-ready affair. Title track "Come Together" features distinctive, alien-sounding lead lines, trance-like female vocal snippets and stabbing, warehouse-ready riffs rising over forthright drums and a chunky, retro-futurist bassline. If anything, "Digital Sound" is even heavier, with dub-wise vocal snippets, bleeping electronics and foreboding chords dancing around heavy tribal drums and the kind of muscular riffs that were once a hallmark of Junior Vasquez and Danny Tenaglia's mid-90s productions. In other words, it's a suitably sizable "big room" record.
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: Andrew Edward Brown has been around for a while, though his discography is a little thin. Given the quality of this single on Codek, that's something of a surprise. His version is available in both vocal and instrumental flavours, and it's the former that really stands out. Brown is a great songwriter and vocalist, and his lead vocal works perfectly with the warm and woozy backing track - a heady blend of deep house grooves, rich chords, squelchy nu-disco synth bass and a few nods towards '80s boogie. Label bosses In Flagranti handle remix duties, turning in vocal and instrumental takes that brilliantly re-imagine the track as a flash-fried chunk of guitar-laden dub disco goodness tailor made for peak-time dancefloors.
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".
Harry Griffiths - "Since We're Here" - (5:57) 120 BPM
Big Miz - "Sun" - (5:50) 128 BPM
LK - "Unified Love Machine" - (5:57) 123 BPM
Black Loops & Ruff Stuff - "La Progressive" - (7:03) 128 BPM
Harrison BDP - "Interference" - (8:14) 126 BPM
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: Four months after the release of his fine debut album "What It Is", Toy Tonics founder Matthias Modias AKA Kapote offers up fresh versions of two of the set's most potent tracks. Of most interest to many will be the included "big name" remixes of "Jaas Func Haus". Art of Tones does a bang-up job recasting the cut as a dusty chunk of rubbery jazz-house/deep house fusion, while the Sworn Virgins remix is a delay-laden late night analogue-house wiggler from the Ron Hardy school of Chicago sleaze. Best of all, though, is Rahaan's rework, which is a wonky mid-tempo fusion of acid-style electronics and spiraling disco bliss. Elsewhere, there's another chance to enjoy Modias' funk-fuelled disco workout "Delirio Italiano", as well as a stripped back, extra-percussive "Dub" mix.
Review: Drew Lustman has been relatively quiet by his standards this year, though he's still found time to offer up a couple of quality singles on Blueberry Records and Unknown To The Unknown. Here he makes his first appearance on Studio Barnhus with an EP that showcases two distinctly different sides to his multi-faceted musical persona. Title track "Flechazo" is a veritable drizzle of melodic positivity, with eyes-closed synthesizer motifs, sun-bright electronics and dreamy chords cloaking a crunchy, off-kilter deep house rhythm and suitably heavy bassline. In contrast, "New Lover" is a fair more warehouse-ready affair, with Lustman reaching for the mid-90s U.S garage riffs (think "Show Me Love"), bustling breakbeats, booming bass, sweaty female vocal samples and twinkling melodies.
Review: Goshawk is the latest solo alias of Rhythm Plate man Matt Hunt and over the last few years he's offered up some suitably solid fare for labels including Boogie Caf?, Hudd Traxx and Pressed For Time. Here he debuts on Quintessentials with four cuts of "Strictly Bungalow" - deep house that keeps the party on the ground floor. Begin by checking the bluesy bump of "Never Let Me Go", where twinkling pianos and hazy female vocal samples ride snappy beats and a chunky synth bassline, before admiring the spacey synths, dubbed-out vocal snippets and head-nodding house beats of "Why I Sing". "All I Have To Give" is an odd and trippy late night affair, while "Time Is Just A Loop" is a classic slab of quirky, bass-heavy goodness.
Review: David Ducaruge, Douglas Pisterman and Henning Specht, collectively known as Mount Kismet, have released just two singles, both in the last 18 months or so and both on Disco Halal, and now they return with two new remixes of the second one, 'Teenage Fantasy'. Both feature the same bubbling 303 bass and haughty, coldwave-style spoken female vocal, but Whitesquare's rub is more angular and attitude-y and likely to find favour with the indie-dance crowd, while Kino Todo's rub has a hazier, more 'epic' feel that means it'd make for a good set-builder in progressive/melodic sets. Look out for their album 'Warmer Lanes', which is coming next month.
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: Lee Burridge's All Day I Dream bring us this four-tracker from Russian duo Volen Sentir, known previously for their work on the Shanti Radio Moscow label. Deep house from the progressive end of the spectrum is the order of the day generally, with the contemplative 'C.a.m' kicking things off, 'Sonoman' a warm-up friendly headnodder, 'Kailas' daring to break out the pan pipes (and getting away with it!) and 'Sirun' bringing the EP to a close on a suitably laidback, blissed-out note. We might be heading into the depths of winter, but you can get yourself a dose of summer sunshine right here!
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: 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.
Invisible Skills (feat Emil Abramyan) - (6:34) 126 BPM
Lucent Eyes - (5:04) 122 BPM
The Road In Front Of Me (feat Jenifa Mayanja) - (5:26) 130 BPM
Review: Sometime mystery deep house producer Grant - now revealed to be an alias of Frank & Tony member Anthony Collins -has a track record that many of his peers surely envy. To date, he's barely put a foot wrong and "Fantasy Blues", his first full-length outing on Lobster Theremin, is another superb set. Warm, melodious, musically detailed and far more imaginative than most deep house albums you'll hear this, the set sees Collins slip between oven-hot, jazz-funk influenced electronica ("Ephemeral Chase"), revivalist early '90s NYC deep house ("Mind & Space", "Finite Elements"), loose-and-languid ultra-deep goodness ("Amaranthine Profundity", "Blurred Harmony") and the kind of relaxed, intergalactic fare that sits somewhere between ambient techno and ocean-deep dream house. In other words, it's superb.
Special Request - "Codename Turbo Nutter" - (5:38) 85 BPM
Source Direct - "Vigilante" - (7:23) 113 BPM
J. Majik - "The Lost Tribe" - (5:14) 162 BPM
Shackleton - "Drawn And Quartered" - (8:09) 136 BPM
Pinch & Trim - "That Wasn't It" - (2:43) 128 BPM
Daniel Avery - "Whilst We've Got Metal In Our Blood" - (4:00) 144 BPM
Mantra - "Embers" - (5:22) 127 BPM
B.Traits - "Mameya" - (6:06) 126 BPM
Groove Armada - "Wesley Nightshade" - (6:09) 118 BPM
UNKLE - "Catch Me When I Fall" (Fabric Club mix) - (10:46) 115 BPM
Review: Take a look down the tracklist of Fabric 20th anniversary release and you'll be met with a generation of artists that have helped shape the institution in all manner of ways, be it legendary DJ sets or residencies to previous releases to the FabricLive mix compilations and so on. Inside you'll find a who's who of genre influencers, be they Margaret Dygas and Marcel Dettmann with their European minimal and techno connection, to the more left field and UK-centralised club sounds from Pinch & Trim, Call Super and Special Request. Classics have been leafed from Source Direct, UNKLE and Shackleton, with B.Traits, Maya Jane Coles and Daniel Avery rankable alongside Sascha, Nina Kraviz and Groove Armada in filling a most influential time capsule of club music and DJ culture history.
Review: For the best part of a decade, Nicholas Lammatteo has offered up warm and atmospheric deep house that draws inspiration from great European and American dancefloor records of the 1990s. He's at it again on his second outing for Shall Not Fade. Much of the EP is informed by the glassy-eyed, sunrise-ready wonder of turn-of-the-90s Italian dream house, particularly the Key-Tronic Ensemble style closer "Meditation" and the utterly gorgeous and dreamy "Rainforest", which is so authentic some dancers might believe it was released on DFC in 1990. Equally impressive are "Message From The East", a bass-heavy workout that layers typically dreamy synthesizer chords and gentle, eyes-closed melodies atop rolling breakbeats and tactile bass, and the flute-sampling, acid-bass-sporting breakbeat house shuffle of "Meridian Dream".