Review: Given his impressive track record and rising star status, it was probably only a matter of time before Cosmin Nastasa AKA Cosmjn popped up on East Enderz. This time round, the Romanian producer seems to be in a particularly positive mood. Certainly, A-side "Effected" - a jaunty affair built around a bold, attention-grabbing bassline, punchy drums and drowsy, sun-kissed synthesizer chords - is amongst the cheeriest tracks he's released to date. On the flip, "Sunset Soul" is a little closer to his trademark tech-house fare, with spacey pads and fizzing electronics wrapping themselves around a pleasingly rubbery groove.
Review: For his label's tenth edition, Switzerland's Baaz serves up a fine release by German deep house purveyor Iron Curtis on the Maple EP. Starting off with the raw, minimal and cyclical techno jack of the title track (wicked!), it's a bit of a change of pace from the label's usual preference for ultra deep or dubby aesthetics: but equally subterranean and hypnotic all the same. Speaking of which, "Collision" indeed gets with the program on this absolutely lush downtime journey, while on the flip we've got two short but sweet offerings: "Entago Entery" and the blissful "Reset Me" providing the mandatory ambient track that has been known to close out the label's recent offerings. More quality from undoubtedly one of the top labels in deep house of the moment.
Review: Swiss master of all things deep, Bastian Volker is back for the eighth release on his always impressive Office imprint. Not just content with creating some lush music under the Baaz alias or redefining the dub techno sound as Eric Miller (like on his recent album Silhouettes for Sushitech this year), could he be delving into the world of hypnotic techno now also? Brilliant opener "Kraut House" starts the EP off in great form and is reminiscent of the tribal trance sounds of Refracted or Tozzy. On the flip, "Modual" is more like the Baaz we know; deep, dubby and emotive with a bumping baseline, smoky drum patterns and pitch shifted druggy vocals for added effect. Finally "Simple E" adds yet more variety to the release with this dusty and bittersweet slow burner that's perfect for drifting.
Review: A man who knows a thing or two about getting deep, Christopher Rau gives Office their third release and he's got plenty of soul-enriched goodies to impart from up-for-it club tackle to strung-out mellow explorations. "Mehris Groove" is centred around a gentle chord hook and a rolling tumble of percussion with an organic lilt to it. It's simple and effective like all the best Rau tracks are. "Broke" is more downtempo yet still marches forth with a danceable purpose, despite the best efforts of the plaintive Rhodes notes to quell the kinesis of the track. "Im Sumpf" heads off into experimental territory with an intricate arrangement of distant sound and melody as warm and inviting as it is out-there.
Review: Josh Brent's Schatrax imprint is responsible for some of the most seminal techno and house from the nineties and we're glad to see that the new generation now appreciates his stuff too; about time! He re-issues some legendary tracks from his back catalogue for the heads. "Restless (dub)" is some nefarious dancefloor drama in the vein of Detroit legend Suburban Night's earlier stuff. The gorgeous ambient house excursion "Mists Of Time" delves into the exotic wonderfully while "Aliena's Journey" (originally released on the self titled 1998 album)" is a serving of soulful and emotive deep house that's as good as anything Fresh 'N Low were going at the time as well.
Review: Building on the momentum of the strong reissue programme undertaken at Thule Records HQ, Thor returns to the fray with some new productions that add a new chapter to the story of Icelandic techno. This limited run of Decay appropriately comes on marbled grey vinyl. Of course, the unique atmosphere the label carved out in the 90s has been left intact - the dubby processing and icy melodies abound throughout, creating utterly immersive techno and house variations in the process. "Insanity Dub" has a live feel to its drum set which injects a curious disco energy into the mix, while "Rusty Flashback" takes things in a subtle tech house direction. "Garden Of Corrosion" stands apart with its slender sound palette, placing the emphasis on groove and swing, while "Pepper Jones" ramps the dub techno exploration up to 11. If you love the sound of Thule, you're going to love this.
Review: Russian producer Swoy has been spotted alongside Djebali in the past, so you know this cat means business when it comes to minimal house. Recent releases on EWax and OGE have set the scene perfectly for this latest trip into the undergrowth on Aesthetic. "Sunrise" is a heads down groover with subtle threads of melody scattered throughout, while "Imagine" ups the wriggling sound design and threads a lighter mood through the middle distance of the track. "Voltage" drops things back to a loopy, techy sound, and then "Time" drifts into dreamier headspace without sacrificing the crafty little production flairs that make Swoy a standout artist.
Review: AntiDEEPressant is a new label that kicks off with a strong cast of contenders exploring interesting facets of the deep house tradition, starting off with the sultry wonder of Lola Allen's "Karma". There's mystery woven in between the African percussion that shapes out her track, and it's a pleasure to get lost in. Millie & Hirsch take a tender approach to Roland D Clark's classic "I Get Deep", while Mateo & Matos push the tempo back up with the jazz-tinged "Idris Rises." Vincent Inc is last on the list, and he cruises in with the slow and strange tones of "Tears Of God".
Review: Santa Cruz de Tenerife based Pablo Fierro is up next for Compost Black label, following up top releases on the likes of Atjazz, Suol and Innervisions. Speaking of the latter label, the title track here on the The Timanfaya EP features the same kind of Afro influenced hi-tech soul you've come to know him for, while "Baobab" features the same kind of emotions and hypnotic polyrhythms you'd similarly expect of Toto Chiavetta. Finally on the flip, we have the ethereal dancefloor drama of "Kalaa" which steadily builds the elements of tension and suspense over its duration, employing mesmerising melodies, entrancing bell tones and subtle rhythms to marvellous effect.