Rob Amboule & Manuel Schatz - "Manz Not Hot" (6:30)
Peter Raw - "Brotherhood" (5:52)
HDV - "Digital Delight" (5:44)
Kosh - "The Mess" (5:08)
Review: Sounds Benefit founder Tom Joyce cast his net far and wide when sniffing out cuts to include on the label's latest multi-artist EP. There's plenty of little-known talent on show across the four tracks that make-up the EP, which come from artists based in Frankfurt, Paris and - most surprisingly - Casablanca. We're particularly enjoying the hybrid electro/spacey tech-house bounce of Peter Raw's wonderfully swinging "Brotherhood", though the deep and melodious electro bounce of Kosh's "The Mess" is also really rather good. Elsewhere, Manuel Schatz and Rob Amboule offer up some bold and snappy Motor City techno/acid house fusion, while HDV's "Digital Delight" is raw, analogue, funky and decidedly alien in tone.
Review: Jack's House is back with another wedge of crucial cuts from a spread of big hitters, kicking off with Alex Arnout and the tightly wound roller "Hypersomnia." Tuccillo is in a heads down mood on "Another Day," letting the drums and the bassline do the brunt of the work. Terry Francis favours a heavy, smoky sound palette that has a bassline that will do some serious damage on a decent system - "Jua" is easily the strongest track on the record. Killan Vega closes the record with a smart deep house jam peppered with crafty sound design elements that lift the track beyond the average chord-led workout.
Review: After making their presence felt with the lavish packaging of their first release, the La Mission crew joins forces again with all the characters present for another well-presented journey through leftfield house and ambient compositions. Beaner's "Maledicta, The Mutiny" is the most direct of the offerings, working a mournful cello line and forlorn piano chords over a crisp tech-house rhythm while alien vocal samples inject the weird factor into the track. Krohm Ju meanwhile ditches beats in favour of a bass-laden experimental piece rich in compositional clout, as layers of arpeggios and lingering chords work to create a stirring piece. Skirtchaser then rounds the proceedings off with a low slung deep house affair with a scuffed beat and evocative found sound that feels like a brisk Sunday afternoon in autumn rolled into gently pulsing rhythm.
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: UK legend Dego and killer keys-man Kaidi Tatham have been in a rich vein of form of late, dropping brilliant EPs on Eglo, Sound Signature and Rush Hour (the latter under their 2000Black alias). Here, they return to Eglo with four more slices of warm, rich, soul-flecked fluidity. As with previous outings, much of the material has a laidback jazz-funk feel, particularly "Orbiting Uhara" and the delicious "The Vault Descends" (think bustling bruk rhythms and darting boogie synths). They also offer up some tougher, synth-laden bruk-funk in the shape of "Man Made", while "Black Is Key" sees them unfurl a head-nodding vocal roller.
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.
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: Seeking to sum up the sound of his burgeoning label, Mario Castillo pulls in a selection of artists to assist him in his Kastil guise. Soul Notes is a label clearly in love with a more vibe-laden kind of deep house, whether it comes in the form of a bumping garage shuffle as in Fulbert's "Untitled", or Kastil's own more aquatic excursion. The unifying atmosphere is a blue note one, coming out of dreamy chords steeped in the legacy of black music that permeate each of the tracks on offer. Look no further than the feel-good roll of Jefferson Belmondo's "Booty Groove" for an exercise in understated funk that knows how to pay its dues.
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.
Review: The Synthetic Gold story continues to unfold in the most curious nooks and crannies of the minimal techno scene, as this third volume welcomes in tracks selected by Anestie Gomez. Khan is in a looped up, insistent cycle loaded with alien synth tones and a focused rhythmic hiccup of a beat, truly aiming for the psych-out end of the night. Eloi Brunelle makes things a touch funkier on "Neneh", deploying choice splashes of dubbed out colour in between the sharp strut of the drums. Andres Garcia then spreads himself across the B-side with the loping funk of "Invisivel", working all manner of freaky sounds around the scuffed sway of the beats.
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)".
Karl Hector & Nicolas Tounga - "Ngunga Yeti Fofa" (The Joaquin Joe Claussell Electric Afrika version) (11:36)
Vito & Druzzi - "Night Masquerade" (7:30)
Kapote - "Besamo Fly" (7:03)
Review: There's much to enjoy on the latest volume in Toy Tonics' ongoing hallucinatory house series, regardless of your psychedelic state of mind. The undoubted standout is Joe Clausell's epic version of Karl Hector and Nicolas Tounga's "Ngunga Yeti Fofa", a feverish, dub-flecked deep house interpretation of a track rich in both African and South American vocals and instrumentation. That said, we're also fans of Vito and Druzzi's "Night Masquerade", where Steve Reich style marimba melodies and fizzing synthesizer solos rise about a jaunty, tropical house groove, while Kapote's "Besamo Fly" is a lolloping, mid-tempo romp full of delay-laden African vocal snippets, jaunty Afro-funk horns and sludgy drumbeats.
Review: Magda, Troy Pierce and Marc Houle's occasional label Items & Things makes a welcome return, featuring four more superlative grooves from Marc Houle, Kasper, Thrill Cosby and Alexi Delano. The label was created as an outlet for the weird, experimental and beautiful sounds the trio often come across on their travels and "Spies & Lies" fits the bill perfectly, containing music that will stimulate, overwhelm and confound in equal measures.
Will Saul & Kommon - "Two For One" (original mix) (5:23)
Will Saul & Kommon - "Two For One" (Appleblim remix) (6:29)
Review: As a follow-up to Will Saul's exclusive-packed - and generally well received - DJ Kicks set, !K7 has decided to reissue two of the most celebrated tracks, with fresh new remixes. On the A-side you'll find Jabru and Joel Culpepper's "Church" - a decidedly organic, soulful chunk of deep house/UK garage fusion - with accompanying Zed Bias rub. The UKG veteran gives it a bouncy, bassy two-step makeover, wisely retaining Culpepper's brilliant vocals. Flip for Will Saul and Komon's spacey "Two For One", where dreamy flourishes rub shoulders with throbbing electronics and delicate house beats. The remix is provided by Appleblim, who adds a new layer of percussive toughness - in a bruk-meets-two-step style - whilst retaining the warmth of the original.
Review: The Eastern India-inspired Khasia Hills label is the brainchild of graphic designer Mornigradient and a quartet of producers, three of which (Jam For Real, Jus Jam and Kerstone) contribute cuts to the imprint's second outing. Up first is the ultra-dreamy but thrillingly bouncy "Maybe You Are" by Jam For Real, which manages to make use of both mind-altering analogue electronics and fluid piano solos. Newcomer Evolve doffs a cap to early Italian dream house on the tactile and groovy "Let's Drop", before Jus Jam delivers the melodious and jaunty deep house richness of "Midnight Special". Not to be outdone, label co-founder Kerstone takes us on a trip into deep space via the intergalactic chords, cascading synthesizer melodies and bubbling dub house beats of "New Season".