Review: Since launching last year, New York's Let's Play House imprint has delivered a string of nigh on essential releases. Given the background of those involved (Jacques Renault, Nik Mercer, James Friedman), it's perhaps little surprise that LPH releases tend to span a range of styles. They're at it again on this excellent EP. There's a delightfully melancholic, out-there chunk of tear-jerking disco/house from Dead Rose Music Company, live leftfield disco from the brilliant Midnight Magic, a thrilling fusion of Balearic nu-disco and acid house from Pixelife, and a decidedly E'd-up tribute to "Your Love" from Bicep. As ever, the quality threshold is high throughout.
Review: FINALLY! We've been scheming for Eglo to drop Phoneline since the dapper hat wearing Funkineven dropped in the midst of his Boiler Room set late last year! Our favourite Eglozoid and Fatima are no studio strangers, each sharing credits on the others previous Eglo releases but this is without doubt their best work together to date. Eglo could have just dropped "Phoneline" as a one track 12" and we'd be singing it's praises to anyone that can hear, so kudos to all involved for complementing the track with further examples of Funkineven and Fatima's obvious studio chemistry. "90s" echoes the satin dipped RnB antics of TLC at their most sultry, whilst it's complemented by that killer swinging boom bap arrangement from Funks, whilst "East To West" crosses LA boogie vibes with some off the scale rhythmic subtleties that would do Maurice Fulton proud, with Fatima showing the breadth of their vocal range over the elastic groove. This 12" is dominated by the brilliance of "Phoneline" however, with Fatima and Funkineven indulging in flirtatious chatter over demented yet slick as f*ck MPC manipulation. It's one of those tracks that tops the charts for months to come in the bizarro world we'd rather live in - I guess we'll have to make do with jamming this in every dancehall possible.
Review: Delsin's House series continues it's Europe wide rampage, touching down in Finland for a hefty three track edition from Helsinki's Trevor Deep Jnr. Whilst he may be less celebrated than either of the previous Delsin House contributors Gerry Read or Steve Pickton, there will be little doubt Deep Jnr is worthy company as soon as the hollow, rolling groove of opening track "Keep On" shifts into focus, whilst the heart wrenching vocal sample crammed deep in the mix hints at that early Chicago house period when emotive vocals were used with devastating effect. Proceedings change up on the flip, with "Still Raw" occupying the lower recesses - all muddy drums and subaqueous synth waves - whilst "Back To Jersey" is dominated by that grubby bass line and trademark East Coast drum programming.
Review: As collaborations go, this is an interesting one. It sees keys-totin' veteran Boyd Jarvis - a maker of slick US garage since the late 1980s - team up with drum machine revivalist Nick Anthony Simoncino for a spot of cross-generation pollination. The resulting track, offering in Club and Dub flavours, mixes all manner of live keys, organs, electric pianos and percussion with the sort of stark, stripped-back machine rhythms that marks out Simoncino's productions. It's an odd but alluring fusion; spacious and out-there while being dubby and floor-friendly, it sounds like a long lost outtake of a recording session from 1985. Which, we guess, is probably the idea.
Review: Bicep's ascent from a blog collective with obvious taste and passion for all forms of dance music into a fully fledged brand continues apace with the foundation of Feel My Bicep, a new label named in honour of their blog which promises to showcase their own growing production nous. Vision Of Love will probably go down as one of this year's most ubiquitous releases, given the advance clamour for its release and it's not hard to see why. Yes the three tracks here contain an obvious nod to the 90s New Jersey sound Bicep clearly adore, but there's a clear craft to their execution and the title track is massively infectious.
Review: Founded by Alex Agore and James Johnston last year, No Matter What Recordings has proved to be a potent outlet for the duo's inimitable take on crisp rolling house sounds in the label's short life to date and this fourth release maintains those standards. After two solo EPs from the respective label heads, the deftly titled A2J2 EP mimics the label debut with a pair of productions from both, with Berlin resident Alex Agore calling shotgun. Muddy vocals and old school piano lines soar through the shamelessly vibing pump of "Come On" while "Take Me" has Agore in a deeper frame of mind, unfurling the various melodic textures with aplomb over a crashing beat. Not to be outdone, JJ opts for a rawer swinging approach with "Stand Up & Jump" utilising a similar cut up vocal sound which gets increasingly submerged amidst the thick, twisting groove. "Not So Easy" might just be the pick of the bunch however, swamping the intricate drum programming in a rich melange of Motor City Soul that sucks you right in.