Review: From the label: When trends in music can come and go in the blink of an eye, ten years is a long time to stay relevant, passionate and real on the frontline. From its roots in the Parisian club scene by way of its spiritual home at Fuse in Brussels and so on to the globe-trotting, multi-faceted entity that it is today, Lessizmore is living proof of how to do a decade right. The fundamental heartbeat of this European house and techno institution is the maverick music that its affiliated artists make. Of course what the label sounds like now is not necessarily what the label sounded like back in 2006, but it's telling that some of the original characters are still with the label to this day, while many are long time members of the LIZM family that have joined the ranks over the years. In piecing together this compilation, the idea from label founders Jessica Bossuyt and Pierre Noisiez was simply to represent where their brainchild is at right now, from guests at their events in the early days to more recent collaborators of all kinds. Kicking off the first EP, the finest slithers of percussion and whispers of icy soul weave their way into the sublime, sprawling concoction that Birdsmakingmachine delivers, shifting drum sounds across eleven minutes of delicate yet irresistible groove. Meanwhile on the B-side long time champion of future-minded dub techno Deadbeat creates something of an anthem for the label, turning out an energised workout laden with psychedelic swirls of delay and embellished with a catchy vocoder hook. Recent Lessizmore signing Louis McGuire delves into his lowslung MPC-powered bag of tricks and drops another crucial slab of swinging funk that finds the up and coming artist turning to a moodier sound palette customized for the deepest corners of the night.
Review: Romanian Native Bog has had a great run of releases of late on some of electronic music's most compelling labels, including Crosstown Rebels, Bedrock and Diynamic. He has steadily forged his reputation as one to watch. Following his contribution to Adana Twins' Watergate 25 compilation, he returns to the esteemed Berlin label - this time teaming up with exciting new vocal-led French trio LKF Project (Sapiens/Atlant). "Her Song" is a pop-inflected and evocative deep house anthem for the main room - you can expect to hear this a lot in 2019. This is backed up by the tension and suspense of "Discrete Class" that's sure to fuel those heads down moments under the strobelight.
Review: Just the fact that the Shahr Farag imprint is from Iran is enough to grab our attention. This is both because it feels like a novelty to the scene, but also because that vast majority of arts that come out of the country are always so interesting. This time, label owners Lenta and Ahu are joined by Romanian minimal expert Vlad Caia, who serves an excellent, Eastern-minded quasi-dance rhythm in "Declination", and a purely abstract barrack of drones and low frequencies on "Neptune". Lenta himself drops a fuzzy wash of sounds and disparate beats through "Your Existence", while Ahu's "Blind By The Sun" has something in common with dub-techno, except that here the sounds that flutter up and down are grainy and imperceptible...and wholly wonderful. Tip!
Review: Like many of Saverio Celestri's releases, this return to regular home Slow Life is a collaborative affair, with production duties shared by debutant Late Consequence (in reality an experienced Italian producer operating under a new alias). The duo kicks things off with the spacey bounce of "Consequence", where computer beeps and bleeps rise above heavy analogue bass, locked-in techno drums and flotation tank chords, before offering a subtle nod towards early UK bleep techno on sub-bass heavy workout "The Wheel". Turn to the flip for some deeper, purist tech-house vibes (the deep house influenced warmth of "This Is The Universe") and the sparkling, head-in-the-clouds tech-funk of "Celestial".
Review: Cong Burn continues to exercise one of the most promising instincts for future-minded music on this, their third release. It's surprising they haven't done more previously, considering the maturity of their curation, but either way the quality remains at an all time high here, leading in with some light and liquefied 4/4 sonics from Chekov before pirouetting into one of Duckett's illustrious abstractions around the techno blueprint. Label regular Lack is back on side B with the stern and punchy "Track 3," and then Haddon finishes the record off with "Anabiosis," a densely textured, slow creeping trip of a track.
Review: Moldova-based Resonanz are back with their third edition of minimal oddball house grooves. Considering its close proximity to Romania; we're definitely interested in hearing what this bunch is up to. Starting out with the hypnotic low-slung tribalism of Andrey Djackonda's "Calida Noche", we then get treated to Dimitri Monev's "Makaulu" a druggy broken beat experiment in maximalism reminiscent of Barac or Suciu; it's pretty wicked! On the flip the loopy and dusty deepness of Leparente's "Leflor" will definitely get good vibes happening at the after-hours while Maarka's "Reveranz" is exactly the kind of tunnelling trance inducing groove that we like, kind of like when Cristi Cons or Vid are on point, if you get what we mean?
Ways Of The Sun (Peter Kruder Into The Black Hole remix) (7:22)
Ways Of The Sun (Manuel Fischer remix) (8:38)
Ways Of The Sun (Armitage remix) (6:43)
Review: Second time round for the much-loved "Ways Of The Sun", Frankey and Sandrino's 2015 collaboration with vocalist La Oberg. This time, there's no original mix to admire, but rather a quartet of fresh remixes. Jimi Jules steps up first, wrapping dubbed-out synth splashes and La Oberg's evocative vocal around a loose and languid dub disco-meets-deep house groove, before Peter Kruder re-imagines the track as an acid bass-propelled chunk of analogue deep house goodness. Over on side B, Manuel Fischer dishes up a sunrise-ready organic tech-house take while Armitage slams down a loopy and hypnotic peak-time revision that subtly builds throughout.
Review: The Drifted Flow label made an early move in 2015 with a release from Tommy Vicari Jnr, but now returns with an entirely different premise - an eight-track double pack of fresh, invigorating minimal house jams from lesser-known and adventurous producers. Henry Hyde gets the collection off to a strong start with the wobbly funk of "Perchin," all dirty bass wobble and loose swinging rhythms. Elsewhere Martinez flirts with the crooked thump of electro, Alicia Hush wriggles through an abstraction of garage and Bilal channels a little of the Boogizm magic you might expect from S-Max or Fym. Overall, it's a release loaded with personality and flair for minimal spinners wanting some spicier ingredients for their mix.
Review: Over the course of her ten-year career, Sanna La Fleur Engdahl has alternated between releasing music on Watergate and her own Power Plant imprint. Here, the Berlin-based Swede returns to her own label for the first time in nearly two years with a two-track missive aimed squarely at peak-time dancefloors. Our pick of the pair is the bounding bounciness of A-side "Hunting Ground", where P-funk style talkbox vocals and foreboding chords ride an attractive synth bassline and restless dancefloor groove. Flipside "Aphelion" is a little less driving but even more melodious, with the fuzzy, lo-fi riffs and colourful construction reminding us a little of some of Orbital's classic mid 1990s works.
Review: Since breaking out back in 2010, Sanna La Fleur Engdahl has switched between her own label, Power Plant, and home city imprint Watergate. Here she makes her first appearance on the Berlin imprint for two years. A-side "Devil Sigh", where delay-laden, dub-wise vocal snippets ricochet around aggressive, end-of-days stabs, alien electronics and a driving rhythm track, is our pick of the bunch, though the woozier and more positive - nay, impressively glassy-eyed - title track (B2) is also rather good. Rush-inducing, shirt-removing thrills are provided by Tuff City Kids, whose piano-laden, hands-in-the-air rub of "Devil Sigh" sounds like a future anthem.
Review: Swedish DJ and producer based in Berlin La Fleur is resident at local superclub Watergate, so sure knows what it takes to rock a dancefloor. "Flowerhead" was originally released in 2010 on her own Power Plant imprint and now gets a reprise by an all star cast. Starting off with another one of the city's leading stars; Panorama Bar resident Cassy, who provides a high octane rendition fuelled by some powerful arpeggios. The city's reigning queen of rolling house grooves Dana Ruh provides a very functional version, aimed for for DJ use as always. Finally, La Fleur herself delivers a a "2016 rework" to commemorate 10 years since the track's release: a true milestone in a very successful career thus far.