Review: US skateboarding magazine Jenkem Mag has long hosted DJ mixes in a range of styles on its website, and in 2017 the spin-off Jenkem Records launched with a multi-genre compilation called 'Beginnings'. Now, over two years later (we're clearly operating on 'skater time' here), the label's second release is this four-track EP from Brooklyn duo and recently announced Rinse FM residents AceMoMa, and it's almost as eclectic as its album-length predecessor, taking in off-kilter melodic house ('Ethereal Stepping'), deep tribal techno ('Nothing Crazy') and drum & bass (the retro junglism of 'Lucky Number 12' and the Bukem-esque 'Soul Deep Management').
Review: Saktu is an alias of Sasha Kaktus, boss of the St. Petersburg-based Heisenberg label. He returns for a new EP with buddy Alex Adamov for the first time since 2016's Kacheli EP on Reshape Agency. On the A side we have a rolling and ethereal cut that is the title track - this one is certain to have major crossover appeal from fans of UK tech house to the Rominimal sound. On the flip, you are treated to the equally hypnotic futurist bounce of "Flicker" which will appeal to fans of Sublee or Piktor. It then gets a rework by Berlin-based deep house hero Maik Yells, who takes the track down a trippier and more arcane route.
Review: Mark Ambrose brings his years of expertise in the deeper end of the techno spectrum to bear on this latest joint for Crayon, the label he founded way back in the mid 90s. "Destiny Angel" is a stomping, expansive cut with a cinematic lilt to its sound design and melodic progression - one for people to truly travel on. "Bleeps & Bits" is a more rugged workout that digs deep into intricate rhythm programming and FX processing to create a unique future-tribal flavour. "Just Tonight" keeps the beats dynamic and broken, but with a much hookier punch and some choice vocal snippets that should find favour with all kinds of DJs.
Review: Techno heads with an appreciation of forgotten and almost-lost gems will be happy with this one. Mark Ambrose's 'Dimensions' first saw the light of day on Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic way, way back in 1997, and here is finally remastered for the modern world. And what a treat it is. A shining example of just how compelling, addictive and inescapable tracks can be without needing to be particularly hard, those looking for adjectives will find them in the likes of tough, solid and crisp. The four tracks all follow a similar trajectory, deep but purposeful dancefloor stuff where sub bass rules and alien noises become warbling hooks- not leat on 'Cable Talk'. Those looking to stomp in the dark may find 'Signs 'N' Lights' is the go-to, 'Photo Funk' is pure darkroom mechanical groove and 'Bassoon' a sharp tech builder.
Review: Staggeringly, this tidy tech-house EP from Dan Andrei is not only the Romanian's first release of any sort for four years, but also his first vinyl single since 2011. He begins in confident mood with "SOS", a gentle, undulating affair where pulsing electronics, drowsy chords and fizzing audio glitches clamber atop of a warm, mind-altering bassline and unfussy machine drums. "In The Bass" is a darker and wonkier workout for clubs that like it dark and clandestine, while "Still Unclear" adds warming deep house chords and dusty melodies to a futuristic tech-house groove. To round things off, Andrei offers up a spot of alien tech-house chug where swirling, deep space chords and another ear-catching bassline dominate the sound space.
Review: Priku has really ramped up the output of his Atipic imprint in the last couple of years. While its past output seemed to focus on more experimental stuff by himself (as Adrian Niculae) and Vincentiulian, the last few releases by Vlad Arapasu, Arapu, Faster and Romar sees the label's sound now aimed squarely at main room dancefloors. The latest offering comes from ardb aka Bogdan Ardeleanu. ATIPIC 008 maintains the same level of quality you've come to expect from the label. On the A side we have some sublime minimal house tackle, properly tried out on the dancefloors of Bucharest's acclaimed afterhours scene - no doubt. On the flip, "008.3" is a smooth and sensual deep house groove, followed by the glacial introversion of dub techno influenced journey "008.4".
Review: Artists who made club-focused music tend to debut with singles or EPs, so it's something of a surprise to find that Arno's first release is a triple-vinyl album of tasty dancefloor tracks that sit somewhere between hypnotic tech-house, warm deep house and mind-altering electro missives. As debuts go, it's very impressive, with highlights dotted across all three slabs of wax. Our current favourites include the skittishly funky electro skip of "Sacre Bleu", the sparse, bass-heavy minimal techno throb of "Start Making Sense", the ghostly deep space shuffle of "Set Me Free" and the out-there wonder of "Cleopatra Jones", where oddball electronic noises rise above a deep and drowsy bed of hazy ambient chords and densely layered drums.
Review: Fresh from dropping some heat on Leftroom, Alex Arnout continues his productive streak with this sterling return to Jack's House after he last graced the label with its first release back in 2016. "Sync Jam" packs a serious shuffle that hits squarely in the pleasure plexus for any discerning tech house head, while "Calling U" adopts a playfully spooky tone as it wriggles through a plethora of freaky synth squiggles. "Resergen" completes the set with a spirited dash through hooky techno drum programming and a mean chord line that captures a little old-skool optimism in the process.
Cody Currie - "As Of Yet" (feat Joel Holmes) (5:09)
Grant Nelson - "In The Dark" (5:59)
Pontchartrain - "Don't Change It Up" (5:43)
Goddard - "Almasti" (6:11)
Review: With such a star-studded line-up of old and new talent involved, it's little surprise to find that De La Groove's fourth vinyl release is seriously good. It's that good, in fact, that there's no space to go into each and every highlight. Instead, we'll point you in the direction of some of our personal favourites. Check first the breezy and soulful US garage revivalism of Art of Tones' impeccable "So Sweet", before turning your attention to the dreamy, vibraphone-laden deep house sexiness of Cody Currie's "As of Yet (featuring Joel Holmes)". Grant Nelson's "In The Dark" is a fine slab of late '90s style UK garage, while Goddard's "Almasti" sounds like a nu-disco era riff on Pepe Bradock deep house classic "Deep Burnt".
Review: Get your motors running! Hamburg DJ and occasional editor Automart drives off the forecourt with one of his first originals. With its stately tempo and soft harmonics creating a smooth discoid ride, "Discover Me" sets to cruise control in a subtly addictive unhurried speed. Loaded with both vocal and instrumental versions from Tom Noble, there's plenty of mileage in the tank on this one.
Review: Thomas Bangalter's 12"s on Roule remain the most potent examples of the early 90s French Touch sound, and some two decades after their first release the Frenchman is re-releasing some of the prize picks from his formidable oeuvre. Trax On Da Rox Vol 2 follows the reissue of the first volume last month, and for what it's worth we reckon this instalment is even more essential. Tracks like "Club Soda" - perhaps the smoothest example of filter house ever committed to wax - as well as the abrasive ripples of "Extra Dry" and b-boy cut ups of "Shuffle" set a blueprint for a generation of producers who tried (and largely failed) to replicate the pumping, visceral energy displayed here, while Bangalter moved on, donned a mask and took over the world.
Review: Having previously blessed us with "Ocean Side" two years back, Benedek and Tom Noble return to Superior Elevation with two more Balearic gems. One for the night time, one for sunrise; "World Gruuv" hits the boogie spot with spiralling keys wandering freely up and down a tight shimmering synth-bass led groove. Meanwhile "Profesora" on the B brings us back into reality softly with its addictive percussive hook, aquatic backing and totally tropical taste. Imagine Art Of Noise on Claremont 56 and you're on the right route.
Review: Pascal Benjamin is next up on Constant Black, following strong prior bouts from Michael James and Daniel Akbar. The Dutch producer has been dropping bombs on SlapFunk, Botanic Minds and many more in recent years, and he's sounding taut and toned on this slab of after-hours goodness. "Rascale" is one of those snaking tech house joints where the devil is in the details, crying out for a crisp soundsystem to bring the subtleties of sound design to life. "5th Snooze" is a more tightly wound affair with a subtle jazziness rubbed into its joints, while "Full Colour" brings the kind of funky bump and trippy mood you used to find on the Trapez label. "Liez" completes the set with a sharp approach that wriggles its way under the skin.
Review: Tom Noble's Superior Elevation label started life as a home for reissues of obscure disco and boogie material, but has since widened its remit to include original productions. Here, Noble welcomes fellow Brooklyn resident Willie Burns to the label for a spot of sweaty, basement-bothering house business. Intriguingly, Burns original - nestled on the flipside - is the looser of the two, with dexterous percussion hits accompanying restless drum machine hits and a killer, New Jersey influenced bassline. Noble chooses not to emphasize these disco elements, instead delivering a wild, low-slung, dub style reinterpretation that turns it into a surging, late night house stomper.
Review: Mulen's latest must-check release is a collaborative affair from experienced producer Alexis Cabrera (Raummusik, Salty Nuts, Yaji) and Jorge Saveretti (Esperanza, Visionquest, Cadenza). Given their collective history, you'll be unsurprised to learn that the "Some EP" is really rather good. They set their stall out via an impressive title track that wraps spacey but funky riffs, deep space pads and undulating acid lines around a memorable bassline and typically swinging tech-house beats). "KInda" tips a wink to the glitchy, bass-heavy sound of Romanian minimal techno and the swinging intergalactic tech-house funk of Paris's YYY label, while "Science" is a deep, woozy and wonky affair full of minor key bleeps, jazzy motifs and locked-in beats.
Review: Just four releases into its life, London imprint Counterfeit Soul has managed to draft in some serious pedigree for this one, with bossman Frazer Campbell leading the charge via the gloriously heady heights of 'Cloud 909'. Shades of soulful Detroit more than a little audible, it's a warm and uplifting opening number. Logically, given its name, 'Doom Dub' from Jorge Zamacona is a stark contrast in terms of vibe. Less delicate, much more direct and relentless- barely letting up- it's an ever-growing and more than likely ever-green slice of what deep techiness should sound like from the legendary producer. Those looking for more of a Windy City tip can find plenty of Chicago influences on Jorge Caiado's 'Drifting With Aliens', while Ste Roberts goes raw, unpolished and compulsively danceable for 'Last Saturday Day!'
Review: Joe Corti has had a breakthrough 12 months, with releases landing on Better Listen and his own China White. Bringing more of that sweet, disco tinged house music to the second volume on his label, Corti strikes a heady mood on "Move Your Seat" with a mixture of swirling Philly string samples and looped up elements that should set the dancefloor alight in that most tender of ways. "Think Twice" is on a similar tip, albeit with a choice run of dreamy trumpet coursing through the track. "Just You" has a slightly techier edge, but it's embellished with the kind of keys that will appeal to fans of Glenn Underground. Classy stuff from a rising talent.
Review: Last time we heard from Julion De'Angelo, the Detroit-based producer was sharing vinyl space with Thomas Xu on Sound Signature. This, then, is his debut solo EP, and rather good it is too. Deep and drowsy with loose, jazz-flecked house drums and skewed, hard-to-pigeonhole rhythms (see the bass-heavy shuffle of "Sizzlelean"), it should appeal to all those who dig the unique dancefloor visions of Kenny Dixon Jr and Theo Parrish. The standout is arguably A-side "Stand On Your Square (Part 1)", a hypnotic and decidedly dusty sounding workout rich in marimba style melodies and fusty drum machine beats. The broken, jazzy and ultra-deep "Stand On Your Square (Part 2 - Bird)" is also worth a listen, if only for the quality of the drowsy liquid bass and heady ambient chords.
Review: Originally active around the turn of the century, Difusion are back in action with a mission to champion real songwriting in the deep house scene. "Playin' With Fire" rides a funky disco groove and works around some seriously catchy vocals, while Daniel Maunick dubs the track out and rides the filter to deadly effect. "Shining" rounds the EP off with a sweet, sensitive jam that strikes the kind of melancholic tone that wistful dancefloor memories are made of. Once again the vocals lift to the track to another stratosphere of heartfelt expression - this is sure to go down a storm with the late summer crowd.