Review: Those who've followed Alex Attias' career over the last two decades will tell you that he's always been capable of crafting the kind of jazzy, soulful, life-affirming fare more readily associated with UK broken beat producers. He's at it again on "I Wanna Know", a deliciously warm and sultry slab of dancefloor soul rich in samba-fired house beats, fluid piano lines (provided, we think, by Kid K), drowsy chords and a killer lead vocal from Georgia Anne Muldrow. Over on side B, Attias strips out most of Muldrow's vocal on a Dub Mix that rightly layers up the beats, emphasizes the track's jazzy horns and virtually bathes in the liquidity of its jazz-funk synths.
Review: For the latest volume in their Foundations series on BBE, Kai Alce and DJ Spinna have decided to reissue one of the finest records from the earliest days of Chicago house, Chip-E's spellbinding 1985 anthem "Like This". This seven-inch edition features a fresh edit of Chip-E's original cub mix on the A-side. This version is essential largely because of the quality of K-Joy's impeccable vocal, though the re-mastered sound also makes Chip-E's crunchy Roland drum machine hits, bold synth-bass and spacey lead lines sound better than ever. Turn to the flip for the heavy and stripped-back "DDD Dub" version, which makes more use of the short "Like This" vocal, which was originally provided by the Godfather of House himself, Frankie Knuckles.
Review: Following a sterling first drop from Nick Holder, Selections return in fine style with this EP from Tobi Danton. This is proper deep house in the modern mode - crisp beats and silky smooth synth lines shot through with a spaced-out attitude. Just tune in to "That's Right" and find yourself transported to the dancefloor of your dreams. "1988" is equally light and limber, with a classy vocal sample heralding the Chicago roots of the music, while "Last Dance" takes on a more anthemic tone with its strong melodic core and uplifting bump. Kevin Over comes on board for a remix of "Last Dance" that treats the original with care, edging some 90s motifs, dubby flourishes and a tougher jack into the mix without losing that hazy mood.
Review: We're used to seeing DJ Rocca in collaborative mode; since making his debut in 2005, he's worked alongside everyone from Dimitri From Paris and Hard Ton to Fred Ventura, Rodion and In Flagranti. His latest collaborator is label-hopping London producer Alex Warren AKA Kiwi. A-side "Bronze" is warm and breezy, with the pair wrapping heavy analogue tones, dream house style chords and cosmic synthesizer flourishes around a sturdy, suitably bass-heavy groove. "I Got A Toy" is arguably even more fluid and colourful, with the combination of melodic positivity, bubbly bass and crunchy machine drums making a suitably Balearic impression despite its obvious house credentials.
Paxton Fettel - "I'd Like To Know You Better" (5:50)
Kristy Harper - "Uncle Jungle" (5:27)
Manakinz - "Robopubez (Rust In Peace)" (6:59)
Maxime Alexander - "BSA Freestyle #1" (feat $hakes) (5:01)
Review: London-based Ben Gomori is back with the fourth installment of "Dialogues" on his Monologues imprint. It's another various artists affair featuring four choice cuts that pursue all things deep, emotive and sensual. Copenhagen's Paxton Fettel kicks off proceedings with some boompty and disco-fied vocal business on the loopy "I'd Like To Know You Better", followed by the smoky late night groove by Kristy Harper's "Uncle Jungle" featuring some infectious roaring diva vocals. On the flip, go deeper into the night on the sweltering and hypnotic vibes of Manakinz' "Robopubez (Rust In Peace)" where Sub Club resident Harri collaborate with his bud Max, and finally Maxime Alexander reps South Africa on the sultry mood music of "BSA Freestyle #1" with $hakes on the mic.
Review: A fair few DJs will go weak at the knees when they spot this collaboration between Workshop overlord Kassem Mosse and Fit Sound supremo Fit Siegel. The three tracks showcased on the EP were actually recorded in Detroit back in 2016, though Siegel only got round to completing finished versions last year. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the snappy, slightly wayward machine drums, slowly shifting TB-303 acid lines and subtle Detroit electronics of "Saboten", to the dubby late night hypnotism of closing cut "Cycle Blue", where woozy intergalactic chords, blissful piano motifs and vaguely threatening electronic pulses cluster around fizzing drums and a suitably bubbly bassline.
Review: The high grade, leftfield approach to house music Lyssna have set out as their MO continues in fine style on this new Colours series, starting with the Yellow EP and a strong cast of characters from the outer reaches. Riciar Ghir opens up proceedings with the tumbling deep house of "Cargo", making the keys dance with distinction and injection a subby rumble where it counts. Minimal Afrika follow that up with a percussive tryst entitled "Drakma Queen" that blossoms into a sumptuous ambient excursion. Robotalco takes a very different approach with some classically pumping sample-powered house music to shake feel-good fists to, and then Klubbhuset finishes up with an impassioned romp through peak time disco licks for the peak of the night.
Review: Verona-based Patrick "Twice" Gibin is making a habit of collaborating with nu-jazz and broken beat veterans. Having previously joined forces with one-time Sonar Kollektiv regular Clara Hill, this E.P sees him acquire the services of killer keys-man Kaidi Tatham of Bugz In The Attic fame. The latter's smart, jazz-funk influenced riffs are all over the sweet, gently soulful and wonderfully positive deep house A-side "Lights Out", but can also be heard on the woozy, broken beat-goes-boogie flex of "High Flames". "Flash Burn", another musically rich, organic house groover - this time complete with what sound like eyes-closed guitar solos - completes an excellent package.
Greymatter - "Give Up (Never Gonna)" (feat Sophie Brown)
KRL - "Burn" (feat Sarah Blake)
Homeboy - "Spacelift"
Ishmael - "Lumo"
Review: The lupine London lot known simply as Wolf Music keep up the end of year pressure, issuing a 22nd edition of the split artists 12"s that have helped establish them as one of the capital's most trusted house music outlets. Wolf Music regulars Greymatter, KRL and Ishmael are present and correct and there's space for a label debut in the shape of Zagreb based producer Homeboy. Greymatter pulls rank and leads off with a wonderfully chunky production in the shape of "Give Up" which features some killer keylines and a manipulated vocal from Sophie Brown with the end result sounding as memorable as MJ Cole's "Sincere". Not to be outdone, KRL teams up with a female vocalist too on "The Game" which features some shamelessly euphoric piano samples. Face down and Homeboy provides the peak time moment with "Spacelift" whilst Ishmael is in Mark E style beatdown mode on "Lumo" - those pads!
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Gravity Graffiti has been doing great things with its series of split 12"s already, but now the Italian label goes one better for its tenth release with this mighty double pack of heavy hitters. First up is the ever-untouchable Yoshinori Hayashi, who gets as straight up as he possibly could with the freaky house burner "Dissociative." Telephones is feeling particularly dubbed out and groovy on "Kalimbalimbo", while DB.Source and Riccardo Schiro take things strung out and textural on "Montevago". Dynamo Dreesen is in rave mode for the pepped up and delightfully weird "Reactivate", leaving the final side to Oyvind Morken & Kaman Leung's chugging "Tunnel Visjon" and the rubbery side swipes of Acidboychair's "The End (At Any Speed)".
Review: Rough House Rosie regular, HVL presents his alter ego - Kiyadama. The 10th release of the label coincides with its 3 year anniversary. The A side of the Cosmic Hum EP starts with two pieces of mesmerizing acid tracks and finishes with a smooth analog ambience. The B side offers even stronger acid cut 'Machine Terror' and 'There Will Be No Salvation', separated by a refreshing juke track - 'Slammbeat'.
You Stepped Right Into My Life (K Hand re-edit) (6:56)
Review: Detroit techno veteran Kelli Hand returns to action with her first EP of original productions since 2015. More impressively, it's the first volume in her Project series since the tail end of the 1990s (though, as nerds will point out, Project 5 was reissued in 2014). A-side "Boiler Room Teaser" feels like a product of the late 1990s, combining as it does no-nonsense Motor City techno drums and growling, razor-sharp riffs. There's a similarly dark, booming, warehouse-friendly feel to "K.Hand Live", a house/techno hybrid full of weighty kick drums and sparkling, spacey electronics. Curiously, the EP's other track - "You Stepped Right (K.Hand Re-Edit)" - is a pitched up, slightly beefed up rework of Melba Moore disco classic "You Stepped Into My Life".
Review: Having previously only appeared on WotNot Music in the past couple of years, K15 now slides over to Wild Oats to deliver a wholly appropriate slab of fluttering house romanticism rich in Detroit dreams and Chicago cheekiness, wherever the music might have been conceived. The cheekiness is no doubt most noticeable on "GWRH" with its homage to "Gypsy Woman", turning it into a fluttering Latino house jam, but before that comes the plush bump n rub of "The Story Of Her Life". "Insecurities" gets into a sexier kind of deep house funk, which "Gratitude" dutifully carries on until "Yellow" can round the record out with some largely beatless piano business.
Review: Long celebrated as a hub for new producers to showcase their talents, CDR return to the releasing game in partnership with Dimensions Festival. Up and coming house heads K15 and FYI Chris reportedly invited Lismore and Ben Houghton to take part in this collaborative release, resulting in four tracks that wouldn't sound out of place soundtracking a balmy afternoon dance on the Adriatic Sea. Oozing quality and soul throughout, there's a distinctly laid back flavour to the house on offer across this release, although FYI Chris add a touch more bite with their grubby lo-fi synth lines on "Sugar".
Review: Last time round for Finale, it was label boss Michael Zucker offering some rare insight into his prowess behind the buttons. Here Zucker adopts the more familiar curatorial role, easing the Finale focus towards the new generation of Parisian artists prospering in the French capital. Ka One & St-Sene oversee the prospering Flyance Records and arrive on Finale with the French Connection 12" after a recent turn out on London's Ornate Music. The four tracks suggest Ka One & St Sene are developing into a truly diverse production unit, with the crisp Motor City Utopia of "Smokin' Joint" a particular highlight.
Review: After their last release under the labels Ornate Music (UK) and Finale Sessions (US), Ka One & St-Sene are back with a special Flyance Records release. REWORK: the action of redoing, correcting or rebuilding"; that is the spirit they put in this Ep with those four House music anthems of those consider today as the father figures of this music. Without sampling, replaying all the keyboards and arpeggio, they turned thoses anthems into modern acid and techno vibe. From 1989 to 2015 Ka One & St-Sene give great tribute at Lil Louis, Mr Fingers, Kerri Chandler and Laurent Garnier.
Review: Reno Ka first appeared alongside the Prince of Chicago house, Terrence Parker, on the mighty Planet E back in 2013 and, although we only heard her vocal talents on the particular EP, we knew that we'd somehow see her soon again. Here she is on the sixth outing from Music and Power with "Where Is The Love?", a smooth and silky house warmer that hangs in the balance between soulful and classic Chicago beatdown; it's one of those for the lovers, and a track that can be appreciated by both DJs and straight-up Saturday evening dancers. There's a dub version on the flipside where, of course, the vocals are stripped back to give more room to the sonics, a gentle sway of cooling synths and echoing flurries of harmonics. A wonderful EP that sits just right with us.
Review: It would be fair to say that Kaffe Creme is a producer on the rise. There was rightly much hype around his 2016 debuyt on Moonrise Hill Material and it's likely that this belated follow-up on Vertv will be equally well received. He hits the ground running by wrapping muted blues trumpet around a crunchy MPC-house groove on "I <3 U", before brilliantly alternating between woozy sample manipulation and dusty deep house beats on the odd-but-ace "Jonny Hartman". On the flipside, he first charged off towards 140 BPM territory on the stop-start dancefloor insanity of "Umusa", before proving his Pepe Bradock style deep disco-house credentials on the sublime "Passacaille", which rounds off a fine EP in stunning fashion.
Review: A White Bear's Heaven... Is A Black Bear's Hell is something of a departure from the smooth, deep and undulating sound we've come to expect from Omar-S's FXHE label. It signals experienced producer Brian Kage's first outing for four years. While that release for Beretta Red paid tribute to atmospheric techno, this outing is far more inspired by late '80s Chicago house and acid. The standout is undoubtedly "Shut Your Eyes", a co-production with Omar-S that wraps James Garcia's soulful, heartfelt vocals around classic synth-strings, tactile stabs and pared-down, '80s style drum machine hits. He switches off the lights and signals more of a heads-down mood on the First Choice-sampling "It's Not Over" - a thrillingly tactile, synth-laden jacker - while "Bear Gonna Getcha" sounds like a warehouse anthem in waiting.
Oceans Of My Mind (Simina Grigoriu & Moe Danger) (7:19)
Review: House Music With Love makes a welcome return to the fray with a fresh new 12" from Kaldera and Lazarusman, who team up to present the swirling, thought-provoking "Oceans Of My Mind." Between Kaldera's brooding production and Lazarusman's off-centre poetry, it's the kind of track that will suit a lot of different environments and always stand out. As well as the original, there's a strong run of remixes on offer here, from Urmet K's softer, smoother deep house approach to SURAJ's infectiously funky version, wrapping up with the more epic peak time thrust of Simina Grigoriu & Moe Danger's take on the distinctive source material.
Review: Dave Aju, Alland Byallo, Kenneth Scott and Marc Smith joined together as KAMM, resulting in a mini-album called Kick Drunk Love for marcel Vogel's Amsterdam based label Intimate Friends.iDescribed in a press release as being influenced by the artists' "love of early '90s MoWax era laid-back beats," it features Barrite on lead vocals (with Byallo and Scott also contributing vocals), Smith on guitar, Byallo on trumpet and Scott on Moog synth. There's a couple guest appearances as well: Damian Schwartz plays some bass on "Sidewalks" and Eureka provides "a hell of a [vacuum] rev" on "Stage Left."
Do You Love Me Too (Barry Helafonte Love You Too mix) (5:09)
Review: Following his last hoorah on E-Beamz, Ray Kandinski makes his debut on the evergreen jam house Arcane with two hazy, loose-limbed slabs of house music. "Faking Love" places the slapping drums right in the centre and lets the soulful chords and yearning vocals flutter and fall around the edges. "Do You Love Me Too" tips more towards a Detroitian palette but once again with a sedated, dreamy sheen. Finally fellow E-Beamer Barry Helafonte jumps in on the rub for an even slower, lucid and sensual take on "Do You Love Me Too". Lovely.
Review: Back to 2006: Chris Clayton's mid-noughties lesson in deep house class still hits home with precision. Subtle, jazzy but heavy and insistent, it now comes complete with fresh updates from Atjazz and Yoruba Soul. The former adds more atmospheric layers and percussion that compounds the sense of hypnosis while the latter takes us right back to the NYC 1990 with a lavish 10+ min, subtly dubbed excursion. Tech no imitations.