Review: Ludovic Llorca is clearly a man on a mission. Having largely disappeared from view for a couple of years, this is amazingly his third Art of Tones release so far in 2013. Expanding on the approach shown on his Lazy Days and Local Talk releases, this is arguably Llorca's best work yet under the Art of Tones banner. "Take Me Higher" is a soulful, energetic and effortlessly groovy fusion on gospel, classic US deep house and contemporary British bass bottom-end. It's one of those tunes that's nigh on impossible to dislike. "Damped", a foray into fluid, late night deepness, is almost as good. The good news is that there are two Lauer remixes to get stuck into on the flip too, with his deliciously old skool, but lovingly fluid "Bert Remix" being our personal pick.
Review: Given the runaway success of their 2013 anthem "It's You" (licensed by Defected after vinyl copies began changing hands for huge sums online), hopes are naturally high for this belated follow-up from Red D and San Soda's FCL project. "Can We Try" is nowhere near as potent as its predecessor, but is still a fine effort; certainly, plenty of house DJs will enjoy the bright-eyed combination of bleep-heavy electronics, surging analogue bass and Lady Linn's breathy vocal.
Review: After FCL struck gold with "Let's Go" in 2010, the follow up release has a lot to step up to, but Red D and San Soda know their house onions better than most. The vocal mix of "Used To Be" is reminiscent of the best funky house from the mid-nineties, - all the elements work exquisitely - and the following tracks offer the EP some genuine diversity. "Back" fuses crisp beats with smooth, submerged keys, hitting the perfect tone with its employment of proto-garage swing and deep house ambience. Arto Mwambe's remix takes a typically psychedelic, organic angle, as muttering layers of percussion get busy with liberal brushstrokes of synths. Highly recommended.
FCL aka Nick Berlin & Max Erotic - "It Began In Belgium"
Lauer aka LAUGIC System - "Planet Barty"
Locked Groove aka Frank De Wolf - "El Rio Negro"
Innershades aka Fatal Riot - "Massive Overdose"
Review: We Play House's Our Beat Is Still New series has been something of a soar-away success, introducing a new generation of DJs to the distinctive, heavily electronic midtempo pulse of Belgian new beat via a constant stream of tribute tracks from contemporary producers. Predictably, there's more to admire on this fourth and final 12", not least the bass-heavy throb and rubbery electronics of Locked Groove's tribute to Belgian new beat/techno legend Frank De Wulf, "El Rio Negro". Elsewhere, young rave revivalist Innershades drops the moody and intoxicating "Massive Overdose", while Lauer impresses with the winding synths, juddering drums and saucer-eyed pads of "Planet Barty". FCL's stomping "It Began in Belgium" - all cheap electronics and proto-acid tweakery - is also pretty darn good.
DJ Longsleeve - "Ode Aan De Filosofie" (feat ITW) (7:19)
Reggie Dokes - "Earth, Wind & Fire" (6:03)
Luv Jam - "Grarf" (7:12)
Review: On this second 12" celebrating the label's tenth birthday, We Play House boss Red D has assembled a stellar line-up of sought-after and unreleased cuts. The EP begins with a second airing for FCL's Adonis-influenced, retro-futurist gem "More Than Seven" (first released back in 2010), before the previously unheard DJ Longsleeve bathes us in the soapy, relaxing waters of blissful deep house shuffler "Ode Aan De Filosofie". The quality threshold remains refreshingly high on side B, where Reggie Dokes' loose and positive piano house jam "Earth, Wind and Fire" is followed by the intergalactic, acid-fired pulse of Luv Jam's superb "Grarf".
Ralph & Larry Houl - "Day By Day (Dynamodyse Snooze)" (5:26)
San Soda - "Birdies That Fly" (5:10)
San Soda - "Kaizen" (4:57)
Review: For reasons not fully explained, Belgian house sorts We Play House have decided to call a day on a number of their popular vinyl-only series. So, in an attempt to go out with a bang, they've gathered together some of their most in-demand cuts on one celebratory 12". So, there's a chance to get hold of FCL's triumphant "Let's Go" - a deliciously simple, organ-heavy tribute to classic US garage - and an opportunity to once again revel in the piano-heavy house revivalism of Ralph and Harry Houl's cheery "Day By Day (Dynamodyse Snooze)". Flip for two cuts from WPH mainstay San Soda; the bongo-laden grooves and eyes-closed piano flourishes of "Bridies That Fly", and the woozy, soul-flecked deep house jam "Kaizen".
Review: Although Satoshi Fumi has been releasing music since the dawn of the millennium, we're not sure he's ever made a better record than this first EP for We Play House. For proof, check A-side "Toriton", a fresh version of a 2016 cut that brilliantly joins the dots between 1990s Japanese deep house don Mr YT, British intelligent techno and the far-sighted sci-fi techno of fellow Tokyo resident Ken Ishii. If that wasn't enough to set the pulse racing, B-side "Lalalalaland", a Balearic-minded, piano-heavy dance through saucer-eyed dream house territory with added sunrise-friendly synthesizers, is arguably even better. In other words, you need this record in your life.
Review: Ace Belgian label We Play House reaches release number 14 with Jeremy Glenn at the helm of this four track EP. Title track "Surrender" opens proceedings, as vintage late night house keys shimmer beneath busy percussive elements and a rather anthemic male vocal lead. This is followed by the slow burning, Italo-tinged "Nothing Feels Like Music", before "When I Met You" drops on B1 - it's our pick of the bunch because the beat smacks hard, the bassline is killer and the cowbells just work (dance music doesn't have to be overly complicated folks). Finally, "Driving At Night" rounds off the 12", with the chugging arpeggio, epic strings and ascending chimes an ideal soundtrack for a balmy evening spent cruising L.A.'s backstreets.
Review: We Play House continue their limited edition coloured vinyl series with three slabs of Humandrome magic spread across two side of very bright yellow vinyl. Mutant house jam "Rude Low" features the kind of wigged out instrumentation that brings to mind DJ Koze at his eccentric best, with a bit of an 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach, but thanks to some deft arrangement the track never gets too cluttered. The keys in particular are hugely pleasing! Sharing the A Side is the James Teej remix of the same track which takes things down the deeper, more stripped back path. Flip over for two more original cuts from the Japanese producer, with the rubber band acid twang of "Babylon" just shading the heads down beats and trancey synths of "Northern Roader".
Bug Name UK House Guy & Friend aka Anonymous Are DJ Ironfist - "Frog March"
JD Twitch aka TC & The Maxx Paxx - "Just Like That"
Metrobox aka Prins Albert - "Dies Ist Belgien"
Review: The clamour for a full blown New Beat revival that's been brewing via the South London endeavours of World Unknown sees We Play House add some native voice to the campaign with the first in a series of Our Beat Is Still New 12" releases. Over four planned 12"s the Belgian label will release music inspired by the much maligned proto-house genre from a selection of celebrated peers and contemporaries - all of whom appear under amusing New Beat style aliases. The debut release (or 'take' as they are being termed) features quite the high profile cast in Juju & Jordash, JD Twitch, WPH member Metrobox and, most intriguingly, a "big name UK house producer who wishes to remain anonymous". Amsterdam duo Juju & Jordash excel as Azab & Crybaby J, dropping a deep chugging acid meat grinder in "Agent Orange" whilst the aforementioned big name artist appears with a friend as DJ Ironfist, somehow referencing both New Beat and the crunchy techno of contemporary UK artists - watch out for that piano hook though! On the flip JD Twitch goes all out on "Just Like That" fully indulging his knowledge of New Beat with gleeful abandon for the highlight of this first EP in the series.
Review: Belgian imprint We Play House follow up the rather quite excellent Son Soda album with this three tracker of chunky deep house on splendid red vinyl. Maxim Lany's "Cuncambias" is marked by a shimmering synth melody punctuated by beefy club drums and Middle Eastern vocal snatches. Flip over for Lemakuhlar's "Liser", a late night minimal house chugger, with nuances and subtleties that are best brought out on a perfectly tweaked soundsystem. Talented up-and-comer James Teej closes out with the moody chiming atmospherics of "Dreaming Of A Grey Door".
Review: With the release of San Soda's brilliantly diverse debut album nearly upon us, We Play House team up with sister imprint Lany Recordings for some last minute hype building on this summer sampler. The Belgian youngster delivers two tracks across the WPH side that delver further evidence of a talent that belies someone so young. "Birdies" is the most instantly rewarding track, driven by clever usage of a Motown classic, the distinct piano lines driving this slice of classic sounding house. "Voor De Sfeer" runs at a slower pace but burns deeper and bursts with energy when vintage rave melodies and vocal stutters are introduced. Lany honcho Maxim Lany oversees proceedings on the flip with "The Owgee" a straight up club cut. A tough compressed tech house groove is the backdrop to a harmonious vocal led melody that gets shifted above and below the mix with aplomb.
Review: Having first made his name on Hotflush and subsequently released for Turbo, it's about time Belgian producer Locked Groove made an appearance on his home country's finest house emporium We Play House. Making his debut on WPH coloured white label series, Locked Groove's two track 12" is accompanied by the following question from Red D, "Can the ugliness of the colour be more in contrast with the beauty of the tracks as is the case on WPH Brown?" Listening to lead track "Aquarius" the answer would have to be yes, as Locked Groove wrenches all manner of melodic emotion out of his cadre of machinery - wait for the piano drop! B side track "Latency (Sunrise mix)" could feasibly have been titled in honour of the breakout French label of the same name as it possesses a similar brand of star gazing house found on Latency releases from Joey Anderson and Innerspace Halflife.
Review: It's the House music equivalent of Gareth Bale versus Mario Goetze on the 19th We Play House transmission (not including the limited colour prints) as Welsh wonder Luv Jam pairs off with rising German talent Dynamodyse, appearing here as SRF Inc. The appropriately titled Wales vs Germany: 2-2 12" sees both producers contribute two tracks and it marks a welcome return for Luv Jam whose rise has been fully justified since he first surfaced on LPH almost three years ago. Both his A-Side productions are stamped with that unique Luv Jam style; the way "We Play Mouse" woozily sways between obscure and classicist moments is particularly delightful. German Wunderkind Dynamodyse continues his work under the SRF Inc banner with two equally unique house tools, with the bassline to "How To Eat Music" truly hard to resist.