Review: The fourth release on Black Rox finds the Africa-loving label looking to a fine pair of suitors to do the business on a fine pair of edits. Soft Rocks is up first, channelling all the sun of the source material into a track called "Date With The Rain". It's a sweet natured jam layered with gorgeous vocals, perfect Afro guitar licks and a bubbling organ line. Roots Unit takes over on the B side with the more tricky-to--pin-down affair that puts snaking percussion at the front of the mix and loops up some mantras and chants for a truly head-spinning end result.
Review: Thus far all we know about Wilson Phoenix is pressed into the previous two records the anonymous operator has released so far in 2018. That should be enough for techno heads with their ears to the ground - this is rough and ready hardware business for those who like it nasty. While not perhaps as willfully unhinged as Neil Landstrumm, it's very much in that sonic ballpark, not least on relentless acidic opener "Between Mars." Things get a little freakier with the pinging electro delights of "Moon Machine" before the rowdy rave beast "Exo Planet" levels the landscape with some brutal synth stabs that would sound at home on an early The Prodigy record.
Review: Commonly found rocking out on Unison Wax, Constant Sound and Pleasure Zone, Diego Krause is a certified mover and shaker in the minimal house scene, and he's on fire with this latest round of missives for Blind Box. "Malice" leads the charge with a plethora of eerie synth textures flexing organically round the sturdy beat, while "Monolith" slips into a slinkier groove while keeping the tripped out tone tweaking at the forefront of our minds. "Return" brings a tougher, fist-pumping rhythm section with a snaking syn-cussion tones trickling throughout, providing Blind Box with plenty of material to sink their gnashers into on the remix.
Review: The Cyclist fires up his Tape Throb label for a sixth instalment of grubby, wayward sonics that pivot around a danceable axis while reaching to a higher plain of musical expression. There are plenty of psyched-out overtones bursting out of "Requite", and there's a rugged groove cutting its way through the dense thicket of ferric noise. "Chime" has a more tender approach in some regards, sporting a tropical lilt and sparser arrangement, but there's still plenty of space for artful distortion. "Brave New Wave" is a brilliant mish mash of peppy electro, early synth pop weirdness and that overall Cyclist sound that only he can conjure up. "Mackabee" goes in on that particular quality to finish the EP off in an evocative ambient lick sending out an SOS across a shoreline of grubby, tidal dub washes.
Review: Super Tuff is a relatively new concern hailing from Brooklyn, committed to presenting a broad range of talent from the more curious corners of the house spectrum. On this third release we're introduced to the delightful sound of DJ Heure, who unfurls wonderful pattering percussion, jazzy notes and a mellow, ambient finish to pull at the heartstrings. There's a slightly more forthright thump to Hot Coffee's "On The Verge", but it's still a dusky twist on the typical deep house formula. Label boss M. Vaughan brings things a little more upfront on "Man 2 Man", and top-drawer German producer Tilman weaves a rich and invigorating tale with his swooning "A Day To Remember".
Review: For their latest vinyl release, the TINK! Music label looks to Lisbon and the enigmatic duo Gatupreto, whose Modo Di Trabadja 12" betrays all manner of influences that seep beyond the realm of house music. In their own words, "the art Gatupreto generates is simple, unpretentious and sincere, it owes to the classic rave vibe as much as to the rawness of hip hop as much to the sunset of Cape Verde as to the sunrise of the Lisbon riverside." This manifests itself in two understandably diverse productions from Gatupreto with the heavily percussive workout of Vahagn's closing remix of "Grandi Loba" of particular note.
Review: Number 7 in Music is Love's sister label MIL arrives and throws the spotlight on rising Irish producer Chris Hanna, last seen impressing for Ejeca's Exploris label. Opening proceedings on Muscle House is "Drone", a rough and distorted track that is narrated by the constant synth buzzing above the heavy groove laid down by Hanna. Complementing this, "The Colonel" maintains a peak time mood with some furiously paced drums cannoning around the mix atop a heavily sequenced bassline. Title track "Muscle House" opens the B-side, offering Hanna the chance to show off his prowess at acid lines, whilst closer "UM9" veers off into epic, emotive territory without losing any of the rugged, rhythmic physicality shown throughout the 12".
Review: HVL has landed on many different labels in recent years, but Rough House Rosie will always be something of a spiritual home for the adventurous deep electro and techno craftsman. Across the Hidden Valley EP he displays a fluid, instinctive approach to composition - "Enslaver" rolls out like a live jam but the detail and control embedded in the track is astounding. "Distom Spook" is charged with nervous acidic energy, while "Lemon Stealer" takes things in a more experimental direction with all manner of snaking synth voices wriggling around a crisp electro beat. "Crow Hill" finishes the EP off with a slow, rolling breakbeat groove and hazy pads for a quintessential B2 wind-down session.
Review: The Shahr Farang label is always an interesting one to check in with, sometimes veering towards fragile ambience as much as intriguing beat constructions. Here, label mainstay Sohrab invites Erik Jahaali to join in on the tough yet atmospheric thrust of "Industriegebiet", before he goes it alone on the moody beatless blanket of sound that is "Fasseleh". Jahaali is back on board for "Skypainter," which pivots around dusty pads and subtle, snaking rhythms in the deepest techno tradition. "Dayi Mohsen" is the surprise of the record, dropping into a Mo Wax style funk that should soothe all manner of chill out room scenarios.
Review: It's been a little while since we last heard from Donnell Knox, but he's back in action finally on his regular haunt Sonic Mind with some of that evergreen US techno tackle that he's forged a long and winding career out of. "No Time" is steeped in the smoky pads of the Motor City, with a rugged rhythm section and errant bleeps thrown in to seal the deal. "Rat Race" takes things in a more housey direction, but there's still a certain mysticism that reaches beyond the average club banger. "Sick Mind" continues the theme, but ties more knots in the programming to make for another essential slice of techno, and then "Repetition" finishes the job with a razor sharp slice of sky-scraping hardware science.
Review: Slow Town's 17th release from Melbournes Luis CL is an ode to analogue jams. The Cran town EP shows what Luis CL (one half of the Zanzibar Chanel duo and co-founder of Ruff Records) is know for: Dirty but groovy drum arrangements, analogue synths and dreamy melodies and his kind of lo-fi and blurry mixdowns with definitely some Detroit influences. The three tracks were recorded in one take during his studio sessions.
Review: Kalbata is a delightfully unpredictable fellow, one minute turning out slick tech house with Guy Gerber and the next starting a dancehall riot with Warrior Queen. His long and varied career continues following a recent spot on Optimo Trax with this first 12" on Brush & Broom, a new label that is housing some particularly straight up 4/4 jams from the prolific producer. "Obskuur" has a clue in the name, plying a trade in the kind of furtive deep techno that ekes tension out of the most ambivalent of crowds with its oh-so-slow but powerful sense of progression. "Rumoured" has a broader palette, letting undulating threads of melodic synth work slither around the subby, minimal percussion.
Review: Having largely operated on an autonomous self-release basis up to this point, Outstrip make a sturdy connection with the Dogmatik empire and serve up some of their crucial minimal house wares for all to behold. "A1" is a shimmering treat of a cut with just the right amount of colour bleeding in between the drums, while "NeproEP" strips things back to a raw, functional core. "Peremay" has an ultra-minimal, ever so slightly dubby vibe to it, while "Rastafara" keeps things as lean as possible as well. This is a record that does a sterling job of demonstrating how less can indeed be more.
Review: David Gtronic kicked off the Black Wood label with the Kryptoo 12", and now Javier Carballo swiftly follows up with the immersive tones of Morning Vibe. Carballo's sound is undoubtedly rooted in the minimal house he's turned out for One Records amongst others, but he's got a distinctive edge in his productions that makes them stand out. "Morning Vibe" in particular does so well because it matches airy pads and skittering drums with a measured lick of acid, making something truly trippy in the process. "Back For Good" pairs dubby chord pulses with shuffling hats, and "Chunchuneo" gets locked into an insistent rhythmic chug that it's tough to resist.
Review: There's only been one other release to date on the aptly titled Night Sea Journey, whose M.O. is, "focused on simplicity." The Chicago label started life with label heads Garrett David and Colin Johnson, and now Adam Rowe has come to join in with his own take on simple approaches in ambient and deep house. "9_27 (edit 1)" may have a lovely sub bass propelling it, but the languorous quality of the keys makes it feel almost static in the best possible way. "8_27 (edit 1)" welcomes some needlepoint drum machine rhythms into the mix, preferring a broken beat over anything too straight. "Nite Houss" has a similar mysterious charm you might hear on a Real Soon record, while "Hanging Lake" swerve into more ambient territory again, with spectacular results.
Review: Emotional Rescue and Malka Tuti serve up another round of top shelf remixes and revisions of John Rees Lewis' mid-late 80s project C Cat Trance, following in the wake of the Screaming Ghosts compilation. First up to bat are Red Axes, who bring a seductive line in loose and limber drumming to "Shake The Mind" that should suit the Fourth World dancefloor massive just fine. Jamie Paton brings a tough, clamouring intensity to "Take Me To The Beach," while Prins Thomas takes a truly spiritual approach when weaving the intricate arpeggios and percussion of "Sudaniyya." Khidja and Borusiade team up on "Simple Helen," presenting a dense and hazy trip into exotic territory with sinister undertones.
Review: Alexander Kowalski has been immersed in techno for a long time, and his sound is massively representative of the reduced, late night Berlin sound. As d_func. he's contributed many times to Marcel Heese's Finitude label, and now he's back to pay tribute to UK free party techno legends Spiral Tribe. Kowalski's own interpretation may be more minimal and hypnotic than the wild, raucous energy Spiral Tribe was best known for, but his trancey approach comes on like a nostalgic vision into the early 90s, while also aligning with the modern masters such as Donato Dozzy and Peter Van Hoesen.
Review: Argy's These Days label is an occasional treat in the world of stripped down tech house, and it makes its first appearance for 2016 with a selection of club-ready remixes from the label boss, tackling various productions from German techno mainstay Paul Brtschitsch. The "Floor Adaptation" of "Green" heads into subterranean pastures, albeit with a powerful beat propelling it, and "Eternal Aspects" maintains that underground mood with a warmer synth repertoire. On the more flamboyant B-side, "Squeezed" takes on a wild old-skool quality perfect for more fiery moments on the floor before "Subbass" continues the jacking theme in fine style.
Review: Doing things properly and building up a DIY phenomenon from their base in Zurich, the Les Points crew have brought a fresh, daring originality to the house and techno scene with their gritty outboard approach and a wide range of stylistic tendencies. Taking a break from releasing on their own label, Audino, Barbir, Louh and Nicola Kazimir have been invited to the evergreen Trelik to broach their music to a wider audience. From the blissful space techno groove of "Anubis" to the tightly wound beats of "Housepacer" and on to the cranky acid funk of "Ripstyle", this is yet another distinctive transmission from the plucky Swiss crew.
Prince Dred & Bunny Sigler - "Freak Like Me" (DJ Dan mix) (7:06)
DJ Homewrecker - "New World In My View" (Saison remix) (6:06)
DJ Mes - "90s Groove" (6:18)
Rescue - "Here & Now" (6:49)
Review: Of the many threads to the excellent Oakland-based deep house stable Guesthouse, the Super Secret Squirrel Trax series is one of the surefire highlights. Loaded with choice operators locked into some serious West Coast funk, things kick off in fine style with the infectious party starting antics of Prince Dred and Bunny Sigler, who get the remix treatment from DJ Dan on "Freak Like Me". Saison takes a more mainline approach when reworking DJ Homewrecker, while DJ Mes is in heads down mode on the tracky but addictive "90s Groove". Rescue's "Here & Now" serves up a cheeky R&B re-rub for the peak time crowd.
Review: Is It Balearic? welcome the mellow charms of Chris Coco and Camillo Miranda to lay down an unusual paean to a prehistoric love with the truly breezy drifter "Dinosaur Baby." While the tale might be a quirky one, the music is the real deal, all tumbling percussion locked into a slow, head-nodding groove, and this comes through even stronger on the "12" Dub". On the flip, Rune Lindbaek delivers a remix that fleshes the original out with laconic disco flourihes, and then Luke Solomon's version injects a little housey energy into the make up with his usual flair for off-kilter party fuel.
Review: Imogen have stumbled across a rare gem here, presenting some previously unheard liquid funk jams from the lesser known Chicago pioneer James Perri. Some of his jams as Jimi Polo are perennial classics, while his time spent in Soul II Soul and elsewhere are testament to his gifts, but this particular set of recordings from the 90s have lain in wait for their time to shine. You can hear his skills as a session musician and arranger coming through in abundance on this warm, grooving, acid jazz inflected EP. "70s Theme" is a sparse, moody jazz funk cut, while "Brother Beware" is a smooth, sultry slice of message soul. "Express Yourself" is the truly uplifting slice of the pie, and it will chime just fine with any lovers of that classic Soul II Soul sound.
Review: Following on from the impressive opening statement from Modern Manners, the second installment from the hitherto unknown outfit sees the sonic remit reaching out to other influences while retaining that poised lounge attitude that made the first record so instantly endearing. "Research" is a dub track in essence, sporting ample space in the mix, the odd conga roll and sparse chords calling out into a field of reverb and delay. "Can Maneras" is a more shuffling kind of smooth jazz that aligns with the classy licks of St Germain and the like. "Serate Cosmiche" finishes the EP off on a melancholic tip that puts the synths at the front of the mix for the first time.
Review: Norwegian producer Wasserfall makes his way to Chicago/Los Angeles based Hesperian Sound after several releases for Greta Cottage Workshop, offering a highly organic affair. The EP opens with "Stiv Heks" which evokes a lush natural landscape, both dreamlike and quirky. The remix from young Chicago newcomer, Daniel Chavez, strips down the original for a simplified yet feverish dancefloor edit. The B Side returns to Wasserfall's signature laid-back jazzy deep house sound with "Twilight" and "Gravlaks", which flex the producer's knack for working in samples into his grooves. A consistent warm psychedelia flavors these four functional tracks with looseness and reverie.
Review: Following an appearance last year on Cabrera, Santiago Naura is back on his own label to expound his vision of modernist techno even further. "Dust (Mix 1)" is a pumped up workout, all muscular drums and bold, chiseled synth hooks shimmering around the rhythmic core. "Dust (Mix 2)" is a more heads-down affair that locks into a cyclical groove for the late night crowd to lose themselves to. "Element" presides over the B side with a deeper approach that makes great use of interplay between different textures and tones to create energy and momentum while keeping the drums on the straight and narrow.
Review: The promise of Cooly G's releases for Hyperdub et al turns into maddening anticipation as the first taste of her forthcoming album sneaks out months ahead of the game! First up it's "Landscapes", co-produced with Simbad, and utterly devastating in its use of simple elements for maximum effect. A broken beat ticks steadily away under glossy, undulating streams of pads while Cooly herself enchants with her Neneh Cherry style vocal delivery. "It's Serious" on the flipside sees Cooly linking up with certified house legend Karizma for a more chunky, beat-driven offering that will slay floors in the same way that Altered Natives' "Rass Out" did some years back.
Review: deepArtSounds may be a sublabel of Moto Music, but it's achieved so much on its own terms over the past decade. Now Joe Lewis is joining the esteemed ranks of the label with even more experience behind him - he was recording for the likes of Relief Records and Peacefrog way back when. It's no secret when you listen to his jams on Back 2 Live, where rugged and raw synth lines sit atop tough machine beats. "Love Mystery" is plenty tender where it counts, but "9 Lives" and "Confused House" head towards a rougher end goal for the nastier kind of party.
Review: Deep House doesn't get deeper than Deep Explorer, Dubbyman's evergreen label transmitting out of Spain. On this latest 12", Allstarr Motomusic makes a welcome return after the first volume of Beauty & Simplicty back in 2015. This time they're working in collaboration with vocalist Sarignia Bonfa and the results are stunning. "Burning (In My Soul)" is a gorgeous, dubbed out slice of deep house with a true Midwest flavour, while "El Sonido Deepex" takes things into even more sultry territory. There's also space for downtempo reflection on "Space Of Life", but also watch out for the deadly remix of "The Whole Hood In My House" by CVO.
Review: Jaunt Records' 10 year celebrations are spanning a series of 12"s that feature a broad spectrum of artists searching for the ultimate deep techno fix. The four contenders that occupy this Sea release all have their own agenda, but they sit together perfectly. Hiver weaves illustrious pads in between nimble electro drums and bubbling acid bass, while Artefakt creates eerie, fractured acid meanderings to send a shiver down your spine. Hinode does some deft break choppage to create a dreamy trip for the up all night crew, and then Region rolls the record out on an emotive tip while keeping the rhythm section pumped up for the floor.
Review: Owen Jay and Melchior Sultana are frequently found working in tandem on their particular brand of contemporary deep house, and this is the second time they've been snapped up by Contrast Wax following The Aftermath EP back in 2014. The mood is smooth and sultry on the title track for this new 12", with a sensual sax lead taking centre stage over the kind of gentle bump that would sit comfortably on Guidance Recordings. "Bubbles Floating In The Sky", as the title would suggest, is an equally mellow mover, while B-side lounger "Saturn" heads into even calmer waters with its hushed pad tones and technoid synth pulses.
Review: Alex Font has many strings to his bow, not least running the excellent Acme label, and here he is on one of his other ventures, Third Stream. With improvisation placed at the forefront of the creative process, Font turns out functional club tracks with curious kinks and moments of intrigue worked into the structure. "Onda Tropical" is definitely DJ friendly with its insistent percussive framework, but there are interesting diversions, fills and edits peppered throughout. "Musica Moderna (CDS Tribute)" meanwhile rolls on a more consistent groove, with a more organic set of drums pitched right at the heart of a long and winding DJ set.
Review: Burgeoning Melbourne-based label Local Traffic returns with its second release, calling on the talents of lesser-known producer James IV. While this may be the chap's first time stepping out, his sound is already highly developed. Massive dub techno chords collide with fractured rhythms and exotic vocal intonations on the excellent "Scotland Yard", while "Tadao" leans on hand-drummed percussion and stripped down deep house of a truly refined nature. "M Island" is a lead-heavy, subliminal stomper with plenty of low-end presence, and then "The Light Without Love" throws something of a curveball at the end with its comparatively uptempo machine rhythms and subtly euphoric nature.
Review: Lemmy Ashton made quite a splash with his first outing on his own TNC label last year, and now he's back to follow up with another salvo of premium heaters geared towards disco-friendly dancers. There's a chunky, looped up quality to "Silver Suitcase" with its insistent bass lick and slamming drums, but there's equal space for soul thanks to the string-loaded sample hook. By way of contrast "Lunaire" fires up the acid flare and heads straight into a babbling brook of 303-related goodness. "Amsterdam" rounds the EP off on a stomp, whipping up the kind of bombastic disco drama that would get Studio 54 moving were it in action today.
Intellect's Intuitive Waste (Garrett David remix) (6:47)
Intellect's Intuitive Waste (6:15)
Limited Trance (4:14)
Review: Love Notes turns its affections towards the Windy City with this exemplary 12" from Chicago producer Shmoo, who is no slouch in the energy department when rolling out the pumped up deep house delights of "Sidehacker". "Intellect's Intuitive Waste" is no slouch either, taking a brighter sunshine approach compared to "Sidehacker"s nocturnal veneer, and "Limited Trance" keeps the jack up while letting the additional tones and textures take things deeper. Garrett David gets busy with "Intellect's Intuitive Waste", creating a crafty remix steeped in intriguing percussion without losing that housey focus that defines the Love Notes approach.
Review: The headspace Area's Kimochi Sound label inhabits is very much compatible with that of Rough House Rosie, and both labels have similar legacies of championing unsung talents. Now Area appears on Rough House Rosie with some of his beguiling abstractions on the deep, smoked out techno blueprint, and it's a match made in heaven. "Sweated" courses through a mysterious landscape of blown out low end riffs and distant textures, while "Still Moving Away" locks into a steadfast techno roll that complements the lingering notes hovering overhead. "Vicious Like A Koala" is a minimal workout based around an unusual drum set and a looming one-note bassline, and "Tessellated Rhubarb" finishes the EP off with some haunting ambient musings.
Review: The Untold Stories shine a light on another lesser known practitioner from the field of adventurous minimal techno. Sebastian Eduardo has been previously spotted on Crosiere Musique and Kommuna Tapes, so you can be assured of his quality, but this EP makes the perfect opportunity to hear just how rich his sound is. "Twelve D Soul Connection" shimmers with deft synth interplay and a dense fabric of crooked percussion. "UI Enhancement" channels the spirit of old-skool micro house to great effect, and then "Lyhne's Death (But The Flowers Are Laughing)" brings a tougher techno undercurrent to the trippy pings and wavy pads that dart around the top of the mix. The whole record is a richly detailed trip well worth your attention.
Review: Veteran maverick Elbee Bad pops up in ever-unpredictable places, but somehow he sounds just right on Thema. His fearless, deeply rooted take on house music defies imitation, and so it goes across this full-fat EP. "Request Monster" is a lazy groove embellished with strings protesting the culture of requests in the club, while "A Lot Of Jazz As A Child" doffs its cap to Sun Ra in a subtle way that manages to be both mechanical and free-flowing. "If EYE Was From The D" is a more overtly electronic production that sits somewhere in between acid, techno and deep house. "Crossing Dimensions" is an uplifting workout with a sweet vocal turn from an unknown source, and then "Jami Jam Dubb'd" finishes the record off with a primal set of ingredients working round a stout kick.
Review: Tolga Fidan is seemingly on a roll of late, but in truth he's always remained committed to his process as a refined minimal maestro. His move to Finale Sessions may seem to be a step outside his usual stomping grounds, and the sound on the EP reflects this. Whether the title Lost Tapes means this material is old or not is unclear, but there's certainly a rougher, hardware-sounding approach on this record compared to the stripped down clicks he built his name on. "SJ SX - Tape 01" is still reduced in all the right places, but it comes on like a live jam of deepest psych-out techno rather than anything overtly minimal. With warmth and personality pouring out of every bar, this is a wonderful insight into another side of a long serving and much loved producer.
Review: Torino label We Play The Music We Love has already made a strong start with some immersive turns by Trevor Deep Jr and Rills, and now they provide a platform for Italian duo Luminer. "Indaco" is a charged up dub techno excursion with crisp percussion to propel the classic chord shimmer that course through the centre of the track. "Canadian" takes a deeper direction with a crafty tapestry of synth flares and a more understated rhythm section. Hiver's reconstruction of "Indaco" opts for a crooked electro foundation, nimble acid line and a shapeless swell of pad tones as the key ingredients, and then Icelandic techno champ Thor whips up a sharp-strutting dub techno variation of "Canadian" that sits comfortably with the Luminer tracks.
Review: The WineLambs is a new project on Troubled Kids from label founder Jesus Gonsev and Dan Piu. It's an assured trip into buttery smooth deep house for those who likes things sensual, starting off with the plush tones of "Falling In Your Arms" featuring the soulful vox of Shareen. "A Genuine World" is another hazy gem of a track, setting adrift on a bed of harmonious chords and achingly understated bass. "Poti Poti" is a spicier affair that pushes the beat to the foreground and gets a little choppier with the chords. Grant Focus turns in a remix of "A Genuine World" that strides confidently into rock solid deep house territory once more, extending the scope of this EP while maintaining the consistent vibe.