Review: Talk about the power of pure rhythms. 'Yek 166-3', to reference just one of four iterations here, is as propellant as anything you're likely to hear in a club, but if heard mid-party would be one of the most challenging curveballs you could ask for. Comprised entirely of tribal-like top end percussive structures set at breakneck pace, it's a great place to start with this release overall - a package that's as much about artistically accomplished complete tracks as it is providing workable elements for use in something larger. A DJ's delight, this isn't to say all four arrangements don't deserve to be heard individually. '134-17' growls and shimmers in a way that's subtly complex, ideal for headphone or big rig play. '128-10' is more about poised dark tech atmosphere, while '127-17' exists within looser frameworks, leading to more serene and relaxed results.
Review: Is East End Dubz the hardest working producer in the 21st century tech-house scene? He's certainly prolific, as his sprawling discography attests, but what's more impressive is the consistent quality of his releases. He's hit the mark yet again on this EP for his self-titled imprint. A-side "Wobble" is particularly potent, featuring as it does a fizzing fusion of insatiably funky bass, surging acid lines and shoulder-swinging beats. "Slammin" is closer in tone and style to the producer's trademark tech-house glitchiness - all mangled electronic motifs, straightened-out Villalobos drums and deep bass - while "Izit" is a tidy, acid-flecked box jam that increases in weight and intensity as the track progresses.
Review: The most surprising release this week comes from Thomas Melchior's newly inaugurated My King Is Light label, presenting its sophomore release courtesy of veteran U.S. producer Amir Alexander. The Vanguard Sound main man isn't usually known for his minimal house exploits, but sure proves his talent for it here on the 'Wisdom' EP. A side "Catacombs2" treads along a ghostly trail similar to Melchior's own work, with all its deep and hypnotic elements aimed squarely at the afterhours dancefloor. On the flip, we have the lean and subtle groove of "Globus" which continues with the arcane and 'magickal' vibes; its bouncy melodic bass works your feet, while the warped/operatic vocal tones flip your mind!
Review: Jackmate, the king of off-kilter house, makes a welcome addition to Matthew Herbert's Accidental catalogue - matter of fact his style is right at home! The 'Werk' EP is the Philpot co-chief's first release in six years and he's in fine form as always. From the dry and disjointed shuffle of the title track, to the smooth and sensual deepness of B-side cut "Skeletones" - a Moodymann-ish cut which is perfect mood music for the warm-up or afterhours alike. Closing out the EP is something much more offbeat for the Sunday afternoon slot - the boppy summertime groove of "The Clarinettes' which like its namesake has some irresistible wind instrument action to get you on your feet and shaking your behind.
Review: Times have changed since Jake Williams first donned the Rex The Dog alias for Kompakt in 2004, but his ability to deliver ear-pleasing, synth-heavy dancefloor cuts has never faltered. "Vortex", the lead cut from the producer's first EP on 2019, is a particular potent example of his art, with Williams building and releasing tension via sparse, spacey lead lines, new wave style synth chords, matter-or-fact techno beats, trance-inducing motifs and some suitably mind-altering breakdowns. It's arguably his strongest club cut for years and certainly the most alluring. Over on side B, "Elektromekanik" sees Williams brilliantly alternate between moments of loved-up, rush-inducing dreaminess and thrillingly angular, hard-wired modular electronics.
Jared Wilson - "Lynnwood2 Northgate Transit Center" (6:39)
Sohrab - "Sinking" (6:42)
KCLF - "Reloaded 9615" (4:17)
Review: Undersound Recordings hit release number 15 with a various artist EP that packs four vital techno punches. Audio Quest's "The Mental Screen" kicks off with some old school techno that recalls the sound of legendary Dutch label Djax-Up. It's filled with metallic snare sounds and deep space bleeps. Jared Wilson of course brings the acid that has defined his output for years, and Sohrab get busy with a kicking number and some busy melody patterns. KCLF closes out with twisted bass and shiny chords that look back to go forwards with "Reloaded 9615".
Review: Ukranian tech house hero Andrew Guyvoronsky aka Tripmastaz is back, with more boompty and swing-fuelled business after the label's two year hiatus - and it's his most personal one yet. On the A side of '06', we have the groovy heads-down stomper that is "My B Is Better Than Your B" and while that may be a subjective thing, broadly speaking - we can sure give him the benefit of the doubt there. This one will mix in well with any of your Cab Drivers records for sure! On the flip, we have the smooth deep house of "Grime-O-Licious' and it's proper mood music if we've ever heard it. This chilled and dubby jam is perfect tackle for the afterhours.
Review: Since making his debut in 2012, tech-house/deep house fusionist Jose Vizcaino has released a handful of rock-solid EPs as digital downloads, but for one reason or another has never seen his music pressed to vinyl. Happily, Seven Villas has finally given him the opportunity to own a physical product dedicated to his ear-pleasing productions. There's much to admire across the EP, from the dreamy, bleep-sporting two-step/tech-house deepness of "Graffiti" and the similarly spacey, deliciously drifting "Road Trip", to the effortlessly warm and groovy "Transitions" (all delay-laden electric piano snippets, echoing chords and tactile grooves), and the chunkier tech-house roll of opener "Atras".
Review: Juliche Hernandez is the young Canarian owner of Downhill Music, with releases on ViVA Music, PIV, Decay and MadTech. His very deep and dark style of sound is right at home on Brooklyn Bridge Music Company, who present his 'Tormento Bridge' EP of last year which has been recently repressed due to high demand. Tough rolling and dubby tech house for the main room can be heard on the title track, while the bouncy funk of "Como Los Triuleros" calls to mind the sounds of iO Mulen or Djebali. On the flip, you have the mental groove of "Old Birds" and its sexy vocal which is perfect mood music for Sunday morning boat parties.
Review: With wind in his sails following a surprise outing on Djebali, Nik Prunk returns to the good ship PIV Limited and sets a course for peak-time tech-house dancefloors. It's plain sailing from the off, with ear-catching opener "Office Gossip" cannily joining the dots between warm, bass-heavy West Coast dub house and the kind of future-focused tech-house hedonism that was once all the rage at pioneering UK club Wiggle. The attractively toasty retro-futurism continues on "Through The Walls", a soul-flecked vocal number that adds a little percussive crunch to a San Francisco style deep house cut. Scene stalwart JT Donaldson delivers a superb remix of that cut focused on jazz-funk bass, spacey chords and pitched-up drums, while "Femme" is the kind of groovy, bumpin' and Rhodes-laden deep house jam that Dubtribe Soundsystem used to knock out in their sleep. In a word: essential.
Review: Colin McGraw's MDA Analog project continues to enjoy a renaissance after more than 20 years of silence, serving up the third instalment of vintage techno with a house-spirited warmth. "Lost But Not Broken" capitalises on some particularly soaring synths to create a uniquely uplifting flavour, while "A Theory Of Everything" takes things deeper with dubby pulses underneath an ear-snagging set of keys. "Mimico Creek" has a particularly playful arrangement marked out by nimble arps and bleeps, and "Scavenger Hunt" completes the set with a punchy rhythm section and yet more plush layers of harmonic interplay.
Review: One Records' past decade in the business is celebrated with this second installment curated by label chief Subb-An. On 'Ten Years Of One Part 2', we have got cuts on the A side by the aforementioned Subb-An who teams up with veteran producer Mathew Jonson for a surprising collaboration titled "Red" - an infectious tech house thumper in the proper UK tradition, followed by French label staples Yamen & Eda who get deep down and dirty on the swinging and bass-driven "Mister Proper". On the flip, British up and comers Thomas Bulwer & Anna Wall deliver the infectious "Cap Clap" and the ever reliable Jack Wickham is as hypnotic as always on the handy groove tool "Yin".
Review: Following a sterling first drop from Nick Holder, Selections return in fine style with this EP from Tobi Danton. This is proper deep house in the modern mode - crisp beats and silky smooth synth lines shot through with a spaced-out attitude. Just tune in to "That's Right" and find yourself transported to the dancefloor of your dreams. "1988" is equally light and limber, with a classy vocal sample heralding the Chicago roots of the music, while "Last Dance" takes on a more anthemic tone with its strong melodic core and uplifting bump. Kevin Over comes on board for a remix of "Last Dance" that treats the original with care, edging some 90s motifs, dubby flourishes and a tougher jack into the mix without losing that hazy mood.
Review: Cassy has largely been focusing on her own Kwench label in the past few years, exploring the crossover between pop sensibilities and underground dance music culture. She's carrying that through to her appearance on Pressure Traxx, while clearly nodding to her roots in the minimal scene with the elegant, spellbinding "Strong Sense", all underpinned by her subdued vocal. Tobias steps up for a remix on the B side which takes the track in a shivering techno direction that provides the perfect urgent foil to the cosy house demeanour of the original.
Review: Despite his truly idiosyncratic sound, Zefzeed has long been one of the most underrated talents within Romania's prolific minimal techno scene. Having a consistent output over the years on mainly smaller imprints, it's nice to see him getting the recognition he deserves on an established label here - returning to Cluj-Napoca's Midi Records. The 'Strip Tease' EP features two typically arcane and complex tracks in the style you've come to expect from the Timisoara-based producer and DJ. On the A side, we have the mesmerising and otherworldly bounce of "Sloppy From Two Fingers" which is perfect tackle for getting weird at the after hours. On the flip, "Stripped To The Bones" is a similarly subdued affair and bordering on near psychedelic moments, complete with the huge bassline, clipped drum programming and woozy sound design that will intensify the effects of sleep deprivation and paranoia. Tip!
Review: Andalucian imprint Rationalism is back with its first EP for 2020, featuring straight-up club beats from two young and prominent electronic music producers. Homeboy Cajal (Madtech) takes care of the A side with the groovy and swingin' minimal funk of "Housy Beat" which reminds us of that classic Minibar vibe, while second offering "Morning" is classic deep house for the afterhours - just like the name suggests. On the flip, we have Argentinian Juzel (Frost Plates) who delivers the Todd Terry influenced tool that is "Esouh" followed by the lean and trippy boompty-boomp of "Tetris In The Club". Basically, more great tunes from Martin Bellomo's respected label.