Review: Illyus & Barrientos are the rising Scottish tech-house duo that are staples of top labels DFTD and Glasgow Underground, and who had a breakthrough year in 2018. They kick start this year with a future anthem on the label they now call home: Toolroom. There is a couple of worthy new bangers here: from the exhilarating funky house explosion of "The One" and its infectious disco loops, to the fierce tech-house stomp of "Shout" named after the pitched-up diva vocals throughout - that will no doubt whip the crowd into a frenzy. This in combination with a tough rolling, bass-driven groove that is aimed squarely at peak time dancefloors in the main room and it's a hit prediction right here! Expect to be hearing it a lot in 2019 for sure.
Review: Man of many names and even more styles, Daniel Maunik follows up his "A Vicious Circle" EP with three more beguiling outernational adventures. Already a member of the Far Out family through the Far Out Disco Monster Orchestra, these singles represent a heavier, more intense mood as Daniel whips up dancefloor storms in the best unconventional ways. "Dirty Trix" sets the scene with a classic French filtered feel before the juiciest of basslines takes the lead, "Until The End" is pure jazz in its jittering key hook while the title track "Sombra Do Dragao" brings the EP to a fizzy percussive frenzy. Perfect summer business.
Review: One of the world's premier DJ Duo's, Chus & Ceballos are well known for their uniquely energetic sets that feature hard hitting techno influences but still retain an essential connection to pure American house Music. Their music shines particularly bright in the summer, when their driving percussions impact even bigger during outdoor festivals and in the European summer clubbing markets. For their new release on Nervous, they have found a song initially released by DJ Michael Flume in 2001 called Agolele. While the release had limited exposure in its initial release, Chus & Ceballos were inspired by the authentic tribal flavor and inspired instrumentation, and saw a vision of how they could turn this into a 2019 summer club anthem. The result is out now exclusively on a Nervous Records vinyl release.
Review: The ever-consistent Rutilance returns with old friend and fellow Frenchman Vincent G. Previously appearing on their last V/A collection with "Control Freak" here he takes control of our every sense with four sublime grooves. Each one coated in a dreamy haze the trip ignites with evocative, early DJ Gregory style "Lust" and comes to an end with the thunder-thigh kicks and warehouse dynamic of "Sub Experience". In between we have more deep dream escapades with "Nite Rider" and classic 93-style New York feels on "Aeterna". Ageless!
Review: Australian producer Andrew Wilson (House of Dad / Wilson Tanner) dons the Andras Fox alias once again for his latest outing for Munich's Public Possession crew, who describe the Boom Boom EP as a 'reprogramming of world music influenced dance music .. subtle and unwired'. From the Afro house influenced bounce of "Jingo" or "Rubber", moving from said aesthetics in to classic house on the upbeat "Conch" or the quite euphoric trance reduction of "Ipx 7" - this record is bound to be a major festival hit this season and guaranteed to sound good on any listening device you choose!
Review: Since 2015, Jacob Chenaux has been serving up singles made in collaboration with fellow Offenbach resident Martyne. Here he goes solo for the very first time with a four-track outing on Traffic. He eases us in gently via the crunchy techno-funk of "Frostnach" - all bouncy drum machine beats, rumbling bass and minor key organ melodies - before heading to deep space via the sci-fi bleeps, supersonic noises and robust drums of "Challenjour". Flip to the B-side for the wayward early morning techno throb of "Jericho" and the rubbery goodness of "Wrath", where Motor City style chords and chiming melodies rise above unfussy machine beats and a squelchy analogue bassline.
Review: Having demonstrated the breadth of his artistic vision with the excellent One Against Time album last year, John Dimas returns to Half Baked with a focused 12" of dancefloor heaters that keep the vibe varied but the beats ever-present. "5putn1k" is a cheeky, boxy workout with plenty of swing and some wriggling bassline flex. "@L5d" takes a trippier route through spaced out synth lines and a subliminal rhythm section for maximum lock-in, and then "5p@c3 T@lk" heads skywards with a gorgeous tapestry of melodious expression strapped to a rock-solid groove. "@rkyn" completes the set with a snagging 2-step funk and plenty of the space in the mix for the meditative crew to get all eyes-closed to.
Review: Mihai Pol is undoubtedly the current favourite of Romania's storied minimal techno scene at present, and continues with his consistent output with a new one for Berlin by way of Frankfurt's Subtil here - after some thrilling outings on Telum, Synaesthesia and Ibiza's More Than Music. Pol's signature groove is bouncy and uplifting as heard on the reduced funk of opener "Lost Ark" which was no doubt tested thoroughly on Bucharest's afterhours scene. On the flip, two more cuts await: the tough bass-driven entancer that is the title track ("Making Waves") which could be used to easily lead in to the peak time, or the heady and infectious tool that follows - fittingly titled "Mentalist"
Review: Robin Ball's Memory Box dips once more into the acid-laced honey pot and comes up with the lysergic maestro Luke Vibert, who delivers a crucial gurgler in "X To C" that ranks amongst his most incisive 303 workouts in recent memory. A snappy 808 drum line and quintessential vocal chops make this an all-round masterful jam for heads down moments in the dance. Robin Ball himself steps up on the B side with two equally proficient cuts, from the big and bold peak time propulsion of "Gripper" to the punchy tech-noir of "The Edge".
Review: Trustworthy techno outpost Chronicle are the kind of label you can still get behind when they drop an unnamed artist. Whoever's behind Cycle De Motifs, the bar remains reassuringly high for those wanting fresh firepower in the serious techno game. "GPS" is a fist-shaking piledriver, but it's not without its cerebral nuances between the surging low end. Who needs a kick when you can have a relentless sub to carry you through the night? "C-Signature" darts out into equally intriguing territory with a creeping, insectoid array of sound design working around a minimal beat. "Gateway To Infinity" piles the eerie, looping figures on and continues spiraling outwards, and "Nepthys" plies an old-skool drum machine jack in the finest Plastikman tradition.
Review: The Micronesia label has always impressed with its various artists releases, although they're never in a hurry to get another record together. Finally volume three is here, and it features another intriguing cast of characters. Rudolf C brings some crisp and crackling deep house bedded down with hazy pads and sprinkled on top with curious cosmic trills. LK is back on the label with a mellow roller, while Leonid gets things hot and sticky for the clamoring throb of "Cosmic Origin". Alpha Crucis pings off into super-deep backroom quarters with the gorgeous "About U", and DX2OV keeps things chilled but funky on the dust-caked "Cone".
Review: Petr Serkin has been delivering classy funky house variations to Freedom Sessions and elsewhere for some time now, and after a three year break his dependable touch does the business once again on this new missive. "City Worms" is a gorgeous house track that draws on classic instrumentation - slinky live bass, gossamer Rhodes chords, brushed drums and wah wah guitar chops - to create an immersive groove. "Remember That Summer" takes things deeper, using similar ingredients but spelling out a smokier mood. "Water Planet" takes on a light and breezy disco funk veneer as viewed through a misted out lens, and "Jazz Drummer" takes a mellow trip into some seriously swinging drum cuts.
Review: Having slipped out a few choice drops on tape and vinyl for No Bad Days and Fruit Merchant in the past year, Native Cruise charts a course for Paesaggi Records to deliver the label's second release. The music has a humid quality that it's oh so easy to get stuck into, from the laconic house roll of "Late Nights" to the moody sundowner "Desert Theory". Things get even dreamier on the flip as "Bermuda Clouds" unfurls a dazzling polyphonic cascade of digi-synth work before low-slung closer "Whispers" brings the ship into dock in oh-so smooth style.
Review: Miami-based label Fake Society return with their third release, this time a various artist EP featuring four servings of sublime minimal tech house - all rolling, ethereal and as hypnotic as you like! They haven't been shy either, tapping some of the scene's biggest names at present such as Romanian heroes like Lizz (who provides the mesmerising Sunday afternoon bliss of "Destruct") or Bucharest wunderkind Sublee - sounding a bit different than usual on the breakbeat driven "Found Jazz". In between is label boss Camelia on the bass-driven groove of "Protostar". On the flip, ascendant producer Los Bastoneros delivers the blissed-out dub of "La Joaca".
Review: The thinking behind this impressive, deliciously loved-up and glassy-eyed EP from Chicago producer Aguila seems devilishly simple. The New York-born artist clearly decided to fuse three key musical ingredients: the rush-inducing electronic bliss of the best vintage trance, chords and sounds from turn-of-the-90s Italian and New Jersey deep house, and the shuffling breakbeats more readily associated with rave-era UK house. We're loving the kaleidoscopic electronics, rushing synthesizer melodies and fireside-warm grooves of "Trance Atlantic", not to mention the sunrise-ready rush of "El Sol Rojo", which is as breathtaking in its colourful melodiousness and life-affirming potential as 808 State's peerless "Pacific State". The rest of the EP is just as revelatory and spine tingling, making this one of the most inspired label debuts we've heard for a while.