Review: FunkinEven's Apron label rarely, if ever, puts a foot wrong, whether putting out ragged techno, raw hip hop or whatever in between. It is Molinaro who steps up now after first landing on the label back in December 2017. The NTS host has long been a firm part of the London underground and has a lo-fi, frazzled sound that blurs the lines between a number of different genres. Here he offers spaced out and grizzled drum tracks, unsettling machine-made ambience and rough and ready beatdown that Theo Parrish would admire. It's been a long wait since his last release, but this EP was well worth it.
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Wesley - DJ Spinna Galactic Soul remix) (8:21)
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Weslet - Caserta At Work remix) (7:17)
Review: Sol Power Sound has had a solid 2019 but they aren't done yet: this new one features an all star cast with remixes by legendary DJ Spinna and LA's Joseph Caserta. DC-based vocalist Kenny Wesley is at the heart of the operation and features on "Don't You Let Go", with multi-layered drums and dub weight soaring to the skies. "Number One Station" features Daniel Meinecke and is a golden broken beat with all the hits and scattered percussion that make this such perfect body music. Spinna's remix is pure feel good, good time house music with old school spirituality, while Caserta pays more than a subtle tribute to Masters At Work's famously chunky drums with his "Caserta At Work" remix.
Lenny Fontana, Tension - "A Place Called Heaven" (Joey Negro dub Groove) (6:58)
Jay Denes, Ada Dyer - "You Make Me Whole" (Joey Negro Rhodes dub) (5:17)
Julian Sanza - "To Love" (5:16)
Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie, Andrea Mendez - "Bring Me Love" (Eventual dub) (6:56)
Review: Some serious no-nonsense house grooves for all true-school DJs to cop, dug out from the annals of club music history. Things kick off good and proper with Joey Negro's insanely powerful "Dub Groove" mix of Lenny Fontana's "A Place Called Heaven". Negro's on the buttons once again with the classic, pumping "Rhodes Dub" of "You Make Me Whole" by Jay Denes and Ada Dyer. On the flip, Julian Sanza drops the squelchy boogie inflected "To Love" before the record ends on a serious bang with the dream team of Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie and Andrea Mendez's "Bring Me Love (Eventual Dub)". This is as actual house as actual house can get - the real deal, crystalised in four evergreen gems pressed on one handy record.
Review: For the last couple years, Montreal's Project Pablo has been busing honing his own unique house sound across a wide range of labels. He's prolific, too, with this being his third EP on Verdicchio Music Publishing this year alone. He favours clean, thin harmonic keys and pads that can be either lush and dreamy or more rave-tinged. "Sofware" is a case of the former, with soft drums and mellifluous melodies getting you swaying. The underlapping drums on "Dead Channel" are to die for as yawning pads get you in a dream state, before "Boingo Myth" quickly wakes you up again with its scribbly, icy pads. "Scroll Up" marks a celebratory breaktbeat finale that will pump the party with euphoric cries and pianos to get hands in the air.
Review: Ever-dependable hero of deep house since the good old days, Glenn Underground is back with fresh goodies for his Strictly Jazz Unit imprint, and if you liked what he's done before then there's no doubt you'll like this as well. "Shiloh (A King's Return)" is a steady roller, defined by the synth-sax freestyling over the top of a crisp beat and bluesy chord workout. "We, The Party (Let's Get Down)" is a more soaring affair, with some neat kinks in the drums and a sumptuous spread of Rhodes action all delivered in that quintessentially Blue Note GU flavour.
Review: Clone is one of the oldest active labels in the game, and DJ Fett Burger has been the most singular soundsmiths in the scene for seemingly as long. This coming together of two giants is another successful one with the Sex Tags co-founder flipping Red Scorpions' "Enjoy This Limousine" into a dubbed out techno roller with jittery snares riding on bleeping electronics. Speckgurtel then tackles "Harpo" with an old school rave energy that is muted yet euphoric, before rounding off with his Drumapella version of "Sonnenambiente", which makes an effective early evening house tool.
Review: There is lots to love about this one, from the tongue-in-cheek BBC moniker assumed by Bovell Brown and Cobby, to the unapologetic title, and of course on to the music. "Quality Weed" is a deep cut, heavy rolling rhythm with pitched down vocals that perfectly match the stoner mood. A noodling top line invites you to follow it to a higher state of consciousness and the warmth of the bass is truly irresistible. The remix on the flip is more upbeat and funkier thanks to the tight bass riff that rumbles away under the more house leaning drums.
Poisoned Words (Ricardo Villalobos remix 1) (6:35)
Poisoned Words (Ricardo Villalobos remix 2) (13:39)
Review: The Mandar dream team of Lazare Hoche, Malin Genie and S.A.M revisit "Poisoned Words" with a double dose of remixes from none other than Ricardo Villalobos. The minimal overlord lives up to expectations on both flips of the original track, needling into the tiniest sonic details and holding down an insistent groove that will sit beautifully in the mix. The A side features a simmering version that revels in wriggling sound design with ample space to flex and mutate, while the B side stretches out into a quintessential Villalobos wormhole of a remix. Unmissable sonics from one of the scene's true legends.
Don't Want This To Be Over (feat Satchmode) (5:16)
Sommeron (feat Imugi) (4:39)
Twilight (feat Izo FitzRoy) (5:47)
Echo Park (2:33)
Same Blood (feat The Palms) (4:54)
Say The Word (feat Nic Hanson) (5:44)
24 Hr Fling (feat Wolfgang Valbrun) (3:48)
Sweet Time (feat Izo FitzRoy) (3:29)
Guilty Discomforts (feat Wolfgang Valbrun) (4:39)
Out In The Daylight (feat Gavin Turek) (3:14)
I Think (feat Berenice Van Leer) (3:01)
Naked (feat IVAR & Berenice Van Leer) (5:26)
Review: Since debuting in the early 2000s, Dutch trio Kraak & Smaak have established themselves as one of Europe's premier purveyors of eclectic, funk-fuelled dancefloor positivity. It's little surprise then to find that their new album "Pleasure Centre" - their sixth studio set in total - is another joyous romp. This time round, they've drawn more influence from West Coast style blue-eyed soul and yacht rock while continuing to offer nods towards boogie, P-funk, synth-pop, '80s soul, jazz-funk and Rotary Connection (see the superb "Twilght", with vocals by rising star Izo FitzRoy). It's a wonderfully warm and attractive blend, with the result being a superb collection of dancefloor cuts and heady downtempo numbers that all adds up to their best album to date.
Review: Natural Midi has been one of the primary homes to Scott Grooves' tunes, easily the most underrated producer from the Detroit area, and he's back on his own label with four new beauties. Grooves has been churning out exquisite deep house bangers since the 90's, a very specific brand of dance music that incorporates everything from jazz, to disco and funk; his basslines are always warm and soothing, while his percussion is dusty and the synth lines musical. In an age where 'outsider' house rules, his grounded approach is always a breath of fresh air to us. The opener "Finished" is a funky house swinger choc-a-bloc with gorgeous claps and stuttering toms, and "Inspiration Sound" scratches the 4/4 off for a bit of broken trip-hop - a certified winner. On side B, "The Sauce" is moody, spaced-out and offers subtle keys, while "Nitty Gritty" slams out a dicing little percussion with a lo-fi feel. Absolutely terrific.
Review: Rory "Hammer" Hamilton has released on numerous labels since making his debut in 2015 - Optimo Music and Sulta Selects Secret Service included - but it seems like he reserves his best work for the imprint he's most associated with, Feel My Bicep. His latest EP for the Northern Irish outlet is certainly strong, with A-side "Parabola" offering an attractive, ear catching mixture of undulating neo-trance riffs, sustained sub-bass notes, relaxed machine beats and suitably psychedelic electronic effects. The same balance of rush-inducing melodic bliss, tactile synth bass and crispy drums comes to the fore on B-side opener "Panoptic", while closing cut "Entropy" is a slightly more psychedelic but no less melodic jaunt through big synth riffs, emotive chords and bustling drums.
Review: German artist Ben Rau has been amassing a fine back catalogue on two of his own labels, Inkal and Meta, since first debut on Fuse in 2011. Seth Troxler and The Black Madonna have been dropping plenty of his material in recent times and this firmly club focused new 12" is another useful weapon. "Out There" in particular is a big house track with propulsive drum programming and busy bass that will get large crowds bumping. "What Is Love" on the flip is a deeper but driving cut with spaced out pads that will be perfect for later in the night when things get more cosmic and introspective.
Review: New label Nuances de Nuit kick off in fine style with a various artists 12" that draws on some emergent names to lay out a vision of cross-style dance music that favours the deeper end of the pool. Things get going with an organ-rich house bumper from DJ Steaw that pumps in all the right places, before Armless Kid switches things up with an untitled slice of dynamic, richly layered electro. T. Jacques thumps out a crafty, swinging cut with techy inclinations and oodles of groove, and E. Wan takes things in a more linear, deep techno direction laden with gorgeous synth work and plenty of artful effects processing.
Review: Munich duo Rhode & Brown have been bringing the good stuff to Toy Tonics for some time now, and they're sounding especially vibrant on this new joint. "Nine To Shine" is a sweet and soulful, 90s flavoured deep house jam with catchy vocals and a bittersweet mood to help you throw off the baggage of the working life once the weekend rolls around. "Honeymoon Affair" piles on uplifting piano chords and smooth acid bass for a full-fat house burner, while "Sumthin" chops up some serious funk samples for a massive dose of feel-good. "Your Beauty Is A Spoiler" completes the set with a wistful mood centered on an impeccably edited soul hook, making this a house 12" with plenty of mileage for a multitude of situations.
Review: Trinidadian Deep is a master of long, winding, enchanting house grooves that are deep but also spiritual and laced with afro percussion. Shelter acquires his latest two efforts and the glorious "Native Culture" opens things in subtly uplifting fashion. Trilling organ chords rise through the mix to give life to the jumbled drums and sustained pads in the background which keep things deep and ensure maximum hypnosis. "Eggun" has a more bubbling sense of rhythm, with vocal coos and surging chords peppering the track and bringing motion. Powerful stuff.
Review: Fresh from delving into his ambient side on the pastorally-enhanced "Loom Dream" album for Whities, Leif revives his self-manned Tio Series with another double-shot of delicate but impactful cuts outside the conventional slipstream of modern techno. The rhythms fall crooked, the synths trickle, bubble and cascade around the groove and the atmosphere remains humid and heady, especially on ear-snagging B-side "Rumex". "Montpelier" sports more explicit dubby flourishes and a spread of sonic flora and fauna in the middle distance that truly brings the track to life.
Review: Valencia's Pepe has built up quite a discography over the last few years, with this fine outing on Church following similarly impressive releases for Let's Play House, Lobster Theremin, Loose Fit and Sprung. The EP's impressive title track is available in two variations: the sparkling, breakbeat powered "Roll Mix" - think hip-house style drums, weighty dub bass and occasional dreamy chords - and a "Bleep Mix" that beefs up the sub-bass while adding some suitably sparse, computer game style electronic melodies. Another clear highlight is "You Must Not Be Me", a fine combination of rush-inducing, sunrise-ready electronics and bustling breaks, while closing cut "Recollection" is a rather lovely drift into opaque ambient territory.
Kerri Chandler - "Peace Of Mind" (D'Julz remix) (6:46)
Lafayette - "Better Late Than Never" (Kettama Garage remix) (5:00)
Jiletta Riley - "The Way It Was" (Marquis Hawkes Classic club vocal) (6:57)
Review: There's little better, house-wise at least, than vintage Kerri Chandler productions, though these fresh remixes of tracks by the New York maestro would certainly run them close. German producer Henrik Schwarz steps up first to re-imagine Chandler and Jerome Sydenham's "Powder" as a fluid but hypnotic chunk of building, synthesizer-heavy house in his usual melodic, tech-tinged style, before D'Julz turns in a wonderfully warm, locked-in revision of "Peace of Mind" full of drum machine handclaps, woozy chords and fizzing electronics. Over on side B you'll find a superb Kettama Garage mix of Lafayette's Chandler-produced classic "Better Late Than Never" - think late '90s UK speed garage and you're close - as well as a partoculalry reverential take on Jiletta Riley jam "The Way It Was" by Marquis Hawkes.
Review: Roberto Surace's "Joys" was undoubtedly one of the unofficial summer anthems out in Ibiza this year. It's the tune you could hear bleeding from bars, car windows and clubs from May until September and was a firm favourite in the sets of White Isle kingpin Marco Carola as well as the likes of wAFF and Andrea Oliva. Its earworm vocal is what wins you over from the off - a soulful voice that melts into crisp boom bap drums with a rattling conga adding a sense of summer craziness. After much demand, Defected has finally put it out for all to enjoy.
Review: Having previously only appeared on WotNot Music in the past couple of years, K15 now slides over to Wild Oats to deliver a wholly appropriate slab of fluttering house romanticism rich in Detroit dreams and Chicago cheekiness, wherever the music might have been conceived. The cheekiness is no doubt most noticeable on "GWRH" with its homage to "Gypsy Woman", turning it into a fluttering Latino house jam, but before that comes the plush bump n rub of "The Story Of Her Life". "Insecurities" gets into a sexier kind of deep house funk, which "Gratitude" dutifully carries on until "Yellow" can round the record out with some largely beatless piano business.
Hesperia Soul (David Anthony Afrohouse remix) (6:29)
Review: Jovonn's "Hesperia Soul" first landed back in 2018 and instantly became a classic amongst deep house lovers thanks to its enriching violin leads. Now it comes again with various remixes from perfectly picked artists: the first is Kaytronik who dubs things out but doesn't take away from the magic of the violin, then Sean McCabe rebuilds it on more bubbly and rubbery house drums that will work bigger crowds into a lather. Last of all is David Anthony's Afrohouse remix which has chunky drum programming and a darker, more menacing bassline. Those violins still manage to steal the show, though.
Review: Joe has been behind some of the most inventive rhythms and hard hitting club tunes of the past decade. Always happy to veer off-piste while drawing on bass, dubstep, techno, 140bpm workouts and everything in between. Here the Londoner makes a break from home label Hessle Audio to land on the equally cutting edge Comeme. "Rio Lea" is the pick: it's a loose rhythm coloured with samba skip, soul drenched strings and Latin flair that transports you directly to South America. The others aren't bad either to be fair, with "Line To Earth" exploring a slower, dubbed out groove, and "Get Centred" working the dance floor into a frenzy with its mad xylophone melodies, tight, percolating drums and tense chord stabs.
Review: Christopher Rau is a true stalwart of the German deep house scene, with releases on a who's who such as Smallville, Office, Mule Musiq and Die Orakel over the years. FME Hustle is the Hamburg native's new one, where he can count Berlin urban house heroes Money $ex to his list of credentials. Expect the same soulful and dusty deepness from the man, as he's been consistently pumping out for close to a decade from his new home in the capital. From the broken emotive groove of "Jetlag Alter", the neon-lit lo-fi hiss of "Uebelst Bekorbt House Mix" or the textured/dub-laden tech house of "Drama - Chamber" Rau further demonstrates exactly why he's still one of the most highly respected producers within the genre.
Essential Paradise (feat Slikk Tim - Fred P Reshape) (6:57)
Mystery Of Fantasy (reprise) (2:34)
Mystery Of Fantasy (G Fantasy mix) (8:06)
120 Black Key Experiment (Continuation interlude) (2:48)
Review: Having decided to retire his long-serving Soul People Music label, Fred P has immediately replaced it with Perpetual Sound, an imprint he says will serve up a far more eclectic range of records. To mark the label's debut, the acclaimed deep house and techno producer has decided to reignite his Black Jazz Consortium project after a five-year hiatus. Up first is "Essential Paradise", delicious fusion of jazzy deep house and tech-soul whose spacey pads, bustling beats and Herbie Hancock synths come accompanied by some wild, unchained solos from keys player Slikk Tim. Elsewhere, attention will naturally fall on Mr G's sleazy, heavy and low-slung techno take on "Mystery of Fantasy", which is also available as a tasty, ambient style "Reprise" (all synthesized orchestral sweeps, warm bass and glassy-eyed electronics).
Review: The latest drop on Mr KS & Friends comes from Sylan 101, an artist making a truly accomplished debut brimming with musicality and fresh beat constructions compatible with, but not beholden to a deep house vibe. "Nostalgia (Healing Of Time)" is a smoky broken beat groove with gentle piano chords and muted trumpet, while "Brief Encounters" draws on subtle guitar licks and harmonious pads for decoration over snaking drums. "Been There Once" heads in a more mysterious direction, throwing some spoken word refrains into the mix and keeping the instrumentation more subtle and atmospheric.
Review: The Dessert Island Discs series continues with yet more arch remixes from across the disco and boogie spectrum. Bubbles The Pimp kicks off the A side with a tasteful treatment of Gil Scott Heron's "Winter In America," which gets rustled up into a sweet and sassy house number with a cheeky acid b-line underneath. Nelly Wilson whips up a storm on the tightly clipped, peak time-oriented "Trapped & Confused". Pierre Pressure's "Love & Beyond" takes it easy on the B side with plenty of fluttering synth wobbles to offset the choppy funk of the guitar - it's a cosmically enhanced floor burner to get you all astral under the collar.
Review: DJ Slyngshot's resurgent Yappin label is back with a second sizzling EP of 2019 after lying dormant from 2014 to 2017. We couldn't be happier about its return when it is unearthing the mind behind deep house like this latest one from Deesigner. Unsettling opener "Bringin The Funk" is a spaced-out late night rhythm with hints of jungle, and "Too Many LFOs" is a lumpy dub cut with muted, woolly synths sending you all gooey inside. "CY-39" cloys things out with some deft drum work and percolating rhythms that are clean, crisp and weirdly pleasing.
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (album edit) (6:45)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (club mix) (5:47)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (Slow) (7:29)
Review: House and techno badboys Paranoid London are proceeding the release of their second album with a bunch of singles from it. First up is "Cult Hero" featuring Simon Topping - one of many guest vocalists on the full length. It's a bristling acid house cut with tight, corrugated drums and relentless 303 mania ripping up the groove. Topping's deadpan vocals are layered over the top and bring to mind the more anthemic work of Depeche Mode. "Club Mix" is even more caustic and kinetic, while closer "Slow Mix" strips back everything but for the lunching drums and demonic vocals of Topping.
Review: Luca Murgia is Two Thou - an alias which has seen him land intriguing releases on Burek, Fields & Forests and his own Gifted Culture label. Now he's been snapped up by Uzuri with some star-gazing cuts that straddle broken beat, deep house and something more altogether cosmic. "Clavinet Discourse" is the consummate lead track, a true showstopper with astral synth flex and a sharp, snappy beat. "Talking Song" has a more pronounced deep house bump and leads that wouldn't sound out of place on Strictly Jaz Unit - the dub version does away with the leads if you want something subtler. "Thousands Of Chimes Together" completes the set with a spiritual throwdown to invigorate any open-minded dancefloor.
Review: Pretty much anything Call Super has touched in recent years has turned to gold. This new collaboration with Parris is no different: it is a self-released project with a fictional backstory involving an ageing writer called Mortise Koshimitsu who lived in a small apartment. The music itself is uptempo but deep, with shimmering wooden hits gliding on elastic drums as ambient synth beauty bleeds into the spaces left behind. "Majenta" is a more cavernous and dreamier track that is as good for home listening as it does for tasteful dancing.
Review: Let's get one thing straight: Ravanelli Disco Club is exquisitely named. The output has proven just as tasty, too, and with Eben Rees at the buttons of this latest EP, you'll want to tuck in once more. He serves up a brace of breezy disco house tunes: opener "Bongo Boulevard" is a funk licked and perfectly carefree sort of tune you'd drop at sundown to hint at the fun to come, while "Dyfal Donc" gets more upbeat with an eco system of cosmic leads and pads dancing above well swung drums. Freerange man Jimpster provides a remix laden with wet claps and funk riffs, and Tech Support's rugged disco arps will make any floor take flight.
Review: Plastik People cast their gaze back to a garage house staple and give it a new lease of life on this cool and deadly white label. The original "Blues For You" by Logic is a pinnacle on the Strictly Rhythm catalogue - some might say untouchable - but Danny J Lewis and Marc Cotterell are here to tell you otherwise. Lewis lands on the A side with a version that keeps the structure of the track intact, and speaks those iconic hooks through a different set of instruments that gives the track a new lease of life. Cotterell meanwhile smooths the garage jerk of the original out into a more linear house thrust while working the vocal samples with glee - it's a respectful approach that simply repositions the groove of the original to give it a fresh flavour.
Review: Detroit producer Scott Grooves returns to his Modified Suede imprint with Bitter Sweet, following on from the jazz-driven Motor City funk of "The Journey". This 12" sees the underappreciated Grooves on typically excellent form; the title track offers a piece of dusty, subtle Detroit house, where fuzzy Rhodes piano are joined by jazzy string melodies and a mechanical groove in a similar manner to Kevin Reynolds' similarly slow burning "Liaisons", while "C Track" offers a sublime piece of rolling house whose urgent yet gentle piano chords are caught in a swell of bottom heavy bass and rattling hi-hats.
Review: Originally prolific in the late 90s and back with a renewed sense of vigour in the past few years, Dan Piu's classic, widescreen vision of hardware techno captures the verve of the original Detroit blueprint while bringing a fresh, welcome energy to the genre. This drop on Common Dreams brims with the same head-swirling magic, especially on vividly rendered lead track "Halo City". "Falling Framework" has a more mellow veneer, but there's still so much playful detail bringing the track to life. "Akira 2171" has an old-skool sci fi quality balanced out by its linear sense of progression, and "Ilipsyon" takes things deeper into a wistful jack reminiscent of the spookiest Trax output.
Review: Butter Sessions latest must-check release comes courtesy of Melbourne-based rising star Furious Frank, whose recent EP on Paper-Cuts was particularly impressive. "Ahora Si" is similarly inspired, with the young Australian producer placing Ivy Barkakati's "Sueno Latino" style whispered vocal over a bold, alluring blend of jangling dream house pianos, rugged acid lines, sunrise-ready chords and loose-limbed analogue beats. He provides his own dream house style interpretation (the brilliant "Frank's Sunrise Mix") before inviting Ivan to give his take on the track. He adds some tribal percussion whilst retaining the cut's inherent dreaminess before Canadian producer D. Tiffany re-imagines "Ahora Si" as a bass-heavy chunk of UKG/breakbeat house fusion.
Review: In 2009, two years after the original version appeared on Somi's debut album "Red Soil In My Eyes", Joaquin "Joe" Claussell and Brian Bacchus joined forces as Soul Feast to remix Fela Kuti cover "African Lady". A decade on, Claussell has decided to reissue the package's most potent and percussive moment, the layered "Drum Dub" on a tasty seven-inch single. While there are key elements of Somi's original version present - the killer bassline, some delay-laden horns and fleeting glimpses of guitar - the mix is dominated by layered Afro-house percussion. This time round, the mix comes backed with an "Acapella EFXS" version, which contains all of Somi's superb vocal and is closer in tone to the duo's 2009 club mix. Like the A-side, it's superb.