Review: Having built their reputation through 12" singles for the likes of Crosstown Rebels and Poker Flat, Dan Berkson and James What deliver their debut album, on their freshly minted imprint Modelmaker. Interestingly, Keep Up Appearances is an altogether warmer, melodious and more evocative set than you'd perhaps expect, with a smattering of rich downtempo cuts joining a solid selection of dancefloor-friendly deep house. You can hear a classic dub techno influence in cuts such as "Keep Up Appearances" and "Shadow Theory", while the acid-flecked, soul-soaked "Make It True" sounds like classic Osunlade. Best of all, though, are the more forthright efforts, with the ragged "Seraphim" standing out.
Review: Gottingen-based producer Ben Bohmer has released a wealth of material since first coming to our attention earlier in the decade, yet "Breathing" still marks his first foray into the full-length format. Wisely, the German has chosen to mix things up a little, offering up a range of songs and instrumentals that are far less wedded to the dancefloor than his 12" singles. Of course, there are still a number of throbbing, peak-time numbers present - see the moody, warehouse-ready tech-house rumble of "Wall Of Strings" and the soaring progressive house rush of "Maelstrom" - but these generally sit between deeper cuts with extended ambient intros and outros, as well as more downtempo explorations of his warm, melodious and ear-catching trademark sound.
Review: Throughout their career as purveyors of tech-house and club-ready electronica, Booka Shade has always boasted a softer, more contemplative side. Most of their albums boast a sprinkling of downtenpo tunes, and they also released a digital-only ambient album, Cinematic Shades (The Slow Songs), in 2008. Galvany Street, their latest full-length, continues this trend, subtly moving away from the dancefloor towards home listening pastures. Of course, there are nods to house and (more surprisingly) dub disco, but the meat of the album is a range of evocative synth-pop, downtempo and electro-soul songs featuring a variety of guest vocalists. While this may still surprise a few, it's arguably one of the duo's strongest albums to date. This "deluxe" edition boasts an additional CD packed with alternative versions of selected tracks.