Ed Ed & Petja Virikko - "Sundroina" (feat Jinadu - Jimi Jules remix) (7:18)
Review: Zurich based DJ and producer Jimi Jules is one of the most promising upcoming artists within the international underground. With previous releases on top labels like Superfriends, Cocoon and local imprint Zukunft - he tops all that by being picked as selector for esteemed Berlin institution Watergate's 24th mix album. Here we get treated to a few exclusives from the mix on special vinyl format: on the first side we have Jules & Jesaya's +4 BPM Update of Ame's "119 BPM", there's also his collaboration with Domenico Ferrari on the sleazy lo-slung pop of "Parkuhr". On the flip, we soon discover its almost entirely a Jimi Jules affair (naturlich!) with his remix of Swiss/German duo Egopusher's "Flake" (venturing into truly sublime territory) and the dreamy and bittersweet tones of Ed Ed & Petja Virikko's "Sundroina" (feat Jinadu).
Review: Battista, John Swing and EMG's first hook-up under the SPS moniker - the thrillingly hard-to-pigeonhole Sintomi Di Gravita 12" - was arguably one of 2014's most slept-on records. Here they join forces for round two, delivering another two tracks that neatly sidestep the accepted norms of house and techno. A-side "Movimento (Consico Mix)" is a wonky chunk of well-swung, jazz-flecked deep house, smothered in filters and tipsy chords. Flip for the Inconsico Mix of the same track, a brilliantly far-out fusion of odd electronics, glitchy rhythms, shimmering synths and bubbling found sounds. It's hardly dancefloor-centric, but it's certainly really, really good.
Review: You should know by now that Plastik People is the go-to spot for the most upfront garage house done in a classic style, and they're spelling it out good and proper with The Sound Of Garage House. Marc Cotterell leads the way with the jazzy vibes and deliciously liquid chords of "Those Days" before Ed The Spread brings a nagging shuffle and sharp string stabs to hard-stepping bumper "The Bauhaus Movement". Grant Nelson keeps things tuff with the natty piano hooks and diva slices of "Move Close" while Rocket Dubz ups the funk to 11 for hands in the air party starter "Dirty Bath".
Henry Hyde - "Every Day's A Good Day For A Swim" (6:18)
Review: The ever-charitable Needs project continues apace with another stunning cast of characters offering up their dancefloor creations to help a good cause - the environmentally-focused Cool Earth NGO. On this 12", Eris Drew delivers the uplifting breakbeat celebration of "See You In Snow", while Edward takes things deeper with the tripped out minimal house groove of "Mind Loop". D. Tiffany brings a particularly crafty approach to her own drum funk science on "Sun Trip" and Henry Hyde cools things down with the mellow, new age 2 step stylings of "Every Day's A Good Day For A Swim."
Review: Earlier this year, Mark E returned to the re-edit scene in which he made his name with the first E Versions 12". For those who remember his brilliant early work on Jisco Music and Golf Channel - all hypnotic disco loops and slow-house attitude - it was something of a surprise treat. Here he delivers more clandestine reworks in a similar vein, delivering two deliciously hypnotic, drawn-out grooves that transform familiar favourites into wide-eyed Balearic chuggers. "Magazine" is particularly potent since it slows down and smacks out Madonna's "Vogue", in the process turning the track into a creeping endorphin blast of epic proportions. "Xam" ups the tempo slightly, building the action around baggy accordion samples and rising and falling melodies.
Review: Fresh from a fine vinyl debut on Let's Go Swimming, William Earl pops up on freshly minted label Cherub. There's much to admire here, too, not least the fluttering, sunrise-ready melodies, dreamy chords and rolling deep house grooves of opener "Figure of Skate". Doppelate doffs a cap to the Vancouver style of new age deepness on his fine remix of the same track, before Earl serves up a "Stokey Waltz". This hot-stepping concoction packs a punch thanks to its loose and sweaty drum machine programming and some trippy, effects-laden vocal samples. Pepe remixes, craftily combining the futurist sonics and farsighted ethos of Detroit with the drifting melodic warmth of vintage Italian dream house.
Review: Earthen Sea adds to the Kimochi Sound with a soulful examination of indistinct margins, suffused with dusky haze. It's a heady atmosphere and has a palpable heaviness throughout. Starting the record are the concrete reverberations of You Don't Never Know, followed by the murky ebb and flow of Fly. 13 Beat(less) is diffused ambience.
Shielding fittingly closes the record, and weaves Earthen Sea's many textures with intricate syncopation.
Review: Having bossed 2017 thanks to a wealth of top-rated 12" singles, East End Dubs is looking to push on in 2018. He begins the year as he means to go on, showcasing his tech-house wares via a rock solid two-track missive. "Hope" is notable for featuring a thrilling percussive breakdown, where restless drum machine fills increase in intensity before dropping back into the producer's swinging groove and spacey electronic textures. Flipside "Haze" is a little bolder and cheerier in tone, with East End Dubs offering to focus the action around a nagging electronic hook, rumbling sub-bass and the kind of crispy drums that reminded us of late 1990s UK garage.
Review: Having built his reputation via a regular series of self-released 12" singles, East End Dubs is now beginning to make guest appearances on selected labels. Here he pops up on the long established, vinyl-only INFUSE imprint with a trio of club-ready concoctions. On the A-side you'll find "Gradual Steps", a rolling and attractive fusion of bouncy deep house drums, spacey, Motor City chord, thickset bass and glitchy tech-house flourishes. As usual, there's a wonderful swing to his drums and the stretched-out chords are hazy and evocative. You'll find more of these sumptuous pads and chord progressions on similarly-minded flipside cut "Mind Traps", while closer "Enhance" is another deep house/tech-house hybrid blessed with a notably epic breakdown.
Review: Prolific producer and sometime Eastenderz label chief East End Dubs is back with two more top-notch tools for discerning tech-house DJs. A-side "Spells" is a bouncy roller: a smooth, groove-based excursion where deep and spacey chords and riffs wrap themselves around a restless, locked-in, early morning rhythm track. Flipside "Ruby" is altogether moodier, crunchier and low-slung in feel, with creeper electronic loops, pulsing chords and crackling textures rising above a snappier, Parisian-style tech-house rhythm track. While a little bolder percussively, it's just as hypnotic and gently mind-altering as its predecessor. If you're looking for some sturdy, mid-set material, this EP is well worth checking.
Review: Debuts all round as young Swiss producer Ecar makes his bow on the freshly minted Royalties Rates Recordings label. It's an EP that not only shows great promise, but also contains a string of club-ready jams. He's in re-edit mode on the A-side, putting a house rocket underneath and woozy, synth-laden disco jam ("Diana", whose cascading synth solos are sublime), before delivering a throbbing, pitched-up version of a Quincy Jones produced electrofunk slammer. On the flip, you'll find more bustling, synth-heavy peak-time fare in the shape of acid-flecked stomper "Untitled Wave" and a wide-eyed, piano-sporting anthem seemingly inspired by rave-era warehouse jams.
Review: Red Motorbike rider Eddie C takes off his highway code approved helmet and dons his much heavier headgear for a trip into outer space: "Solaris" is a twinkling odyssey that, if you didn't know who was behind it, you'd bet your house was of Norwegian origin. "Flying Blue" retains the cosmic vibe but more in a spiritual sense as flutes flutter over percussive congas and more disco-influenced bass/kick combo. Finally Move D adds a deep, chuggy tech twist of Eddie's 2013 album track "La Palette" for added 3am dynamics.
Sleazy McQueen & Vinyl Addicted - "Hot To Trot" (5:41)
Patchworks - "Batracien" (5:08)
Le Blanc - "We Can Fly" (4:40)
Review: Detroit/Houston joint venture Kolour are back with another instalment in the Tale Of Two Cities series - and this is one serious all star cast if we've ever seen it! The creme de la creme of nu-disco appears here, starting with crazy Canadian Eddie C kicking off the A side with the sunny slo-mo antics of "All Time Freak", followed by the one and only Napoleon! Simon Mills throws down some more of his usual sexy and lo-slung grooves on "Over & Done". On the flip, current scene favourite - the Whiskey Disco boss Sleazy McQueen teams up with Vinyl Addicted on a seriously hot edit of an underground classic (to those that know) on "Hot To Trot" while Lyon's Patchworks hands in another similarly 'respectful edit' on the sultry late night blues of "Batracien". Finally they head down under (to Adelaide, Australia that is!) for Le Blanc's funked up disco house jam "We Can Fly".
Review: The Untold Stories shine a light on another lesser known practitioner from the field of adventurous minimal techno. Sebastian Eduardo has been previously spotted on Crosiere Musique and Kommuna Tapes, so you can be assured of his quality, but this EP makes the perfect opportunity to hear just how rich his sound is. "Twelve D Soul Connection" shimmers with deft synth interplay and a dense fabric of crooked percussion. "UI Enhancement" channels the spirit of old-skool micro house to great effect, and then "Lyhne's Death (But The Flowers Are Laughing)" brings a tougher techno undercurrent to the trippy pings and wavy pads that dart around the top of the mix. The whole record is a richly detailed trip well worth your attention.
Review: Edward's graceful take on modern house and techno is a perfect fit for Trelik, and the German producer sounds comfortable as he unfurls swooning threads of otherworldly music for the tripped out dancefloor. The "Ogermania Mx" of "Mikko" is a hazy, string soaked affair pitched somewhere warm and dreamlike, but there's plenty of energy churning away in the lower register. "Lottery" is a more twitchy affair for darker times, all moody bass bounce and looming drones around a shuffling set of percussion. "Groaning Ghosts" is the techiest of the bunch, and there's a whole lot of freaked out sound design swirling around in the mix as well. This is simply stunning, highly advanced dance music from a modern day maestro.
Review: We have seen some pretty inventive remixes and mashups on the new EEE imprint, but this could well be the most exciting yet. Once again it's another hand stamped one-sided vinyl on offer, featuring a groovy minimal/tech-house arrangement with vocal samples of one certain pop princess - namely one of her very famous hits of yesteryear. The artist behind it, as always, is being kept under wraps but there's no hiding the fact that this is some seriously heavyweight club ready business.
Review: More from single-sided specialists EEE, a shadowy crew that specializes in sneaky contemporary club reworks of well-known tracks (many of which are, in their original form, about as dancefloor focused as your average miserable indie band or veteran cabaret crooner). What's on offer this time round is a heavily electronic tech-house groove - all Romanian style beats and bubbling, mind-altering synth notes - onto which is laid cut-up snippets from a famous old blues cut that's previously been sampled on a club cut to great effect. While the vocal does sit slightly awkwardly at times, there's no denying the heaviness or effectiveness of EEE's track. In other words, it's another winner from tech-house's most shadowy crew.