Review: Last year, East End Dubs ended his Social series after releasing 10 sought-after EPs in just under three years. "Social Part 2" is the second boxed retrospective of this work; while the first edition gathered together EPs one to five, this sequel boasts numbers six to ten. The 15 included tracks are all up to the prolific producer's high standards, offering an attractive late night blend of swinging tech-house rhythms, rich bass, spacey pads, intergalactic melodies and atmospheric aural textures. There's little filler or fluff, just quality peak-time grooves, occasional warm-up workouts and a sprinkling of loved-up anthems-in-waiting (see the delicious "Track 6" and glassy-eyed "Track 8").
Review: Artists who made club-focused music tend to debut with singles or EPs, so it's something of a surprise to find that Arno's first release is a triple-vinyl album of tasty dancefloor tracks that sit somewhere between hypnotic tech-house, warm deep house and mind-altering electro missives. As debuts go, it's very impressive, with highlights dotted across all three slabs of wax. Our current favourites include the skittishly funky electro skip of "Sacre Bleu", the sparse, bass-heavy minimal techno throb of "Start Making Sense", the ghostly deep space shuffle of "Set Me Free" and the out-there wonder of "Cleopatra Jones", where oddball electronic noises rise above a deep and drowsy bed of hazy ambient chords and densely layered drums.
Review: By his usual prolific standards, Romanian producer Barac Nicolae has been rather quiet this year. "The Real You Is Not You", a double-pack of varied dancefloor cuts in his trademark minimal style, is only his second outing of the year. It's rather good, though, with sparse but groovy rhythm tracks providing the backing for all manner of ear-pleasing musical touches and mind-altering electronic effects. Our picks of the bunch are the funky, dreamy and sun-kissed hypnotism of "A Story Behind Everything" and the tipsy wonkiness of the title track, where trippy vocal samples and blissful synth riffs rise above an undulating, off-kilter groove.
Review: Astonishingly, 23 years have passed since Glenn Underground and Boo Williams established the Strictly Jaz Unit project, a fluid collective of underground Chicago deep house producers. These days, SJU mainly operates as a duo, and it was this stripped-back line-up that produced "The Tempest", a rare album-length outing bristling with quality cuts. As a whole, the album is far more intergalactic, electronic and sci-fi sounding than either man's solo productions, with just a few hints of the luscious instrumentation and swinging grooves associated with their previous work. There's no dip in quality, though, with the dubbed-out deep house hypnotism of "Heard Syndrome", the Patrick Cowley/Giorgio Moroder influenced "The Struggle", the Chicago-goes-Yorkshire bleep flex of "Time of Speed, Not Day" and acid-fired gorgeousness of "The Flat (London Projects)" standing out.
Review: While he's continued to offer up occasional singles, Bonn-based producer Dominik Eulberg has not released an album for eight years. It's for this reason that "Mannigfaltig", the former Traum Schallplatten regular's new set, is big news. Interestingly, it's nowhere near as club-focused as you'd perhaps expect, with Eulberg combining his usual glitchy, tech-house influenced beats and sounds with a range of intricate electronic motifs, sumptuous melodies and atmospheric aural textures. There are one or two club cuts, of course, but majority of the tracks bob along at a more sedate pace, with Eulberg offering up cuts that draw influence from IDM and hazy electronica. As a result, it may well be his most coherent and "listenable" album to date.
Review: Holden's 2006 debut album was an astonishing one that gets a timely reissue on double crystal-clear splatter vinyl. A high watermark for proudly synthetic and computer made music, it was the bold arrival of an artist who endures as an innovator to this day. "The Idiots Are Winning" is a masterclass in unhinged grooves, glitchy electronic sounds and mutant sounds that set a new benchmark in experimental textures, sound design and dance floor clout. "Idiot" is the standout banger, "Lump" is more trippy and heat workout, and "10101" is the twitchy and mesmeric workout you cannot escape. Music as idiosyncratic as this doesn't come along too often, and even 13 years left it still sounds fresh.
Review: The new incarnation of the famous fabric mix series serves up a big one here with Ibiza kingpins and US house torchbearers The Martinez Brothers laying down a fulsome 23 track mix. It brims with the sort of energy that they always have themselves in the booth and takes you on a contemporary trip through the bendy minimal of Cabanne, Frak's percussive workout and some tropical curveballs from The Bayara Citizens. The Brothers also impress with two of their own tracks - "Jam Joint" and "Mistakes" - full of wonky synth work and shuffling drums, and it marks another highpoint in their longstanding career.
Review: Very few labels within Romania's storied techno scene can match the wonderful curation of Vlad Caia & Cristi Cons' Amphia Records. The Bucharest-based imprint now presents a full length by NYC-based sonic sorcerer Kamran Sadeghi - considered by many to have one of the most singular takes on the minimal techno sound at present. His most bold and stylistic expressions await you on Ritual Signal and highlights are aplenty: from the ethereal alien transmissions of "More Than Tomorrow", exotic creatures of the deep ("Today"), afterhours reductionism ("Who New") to more leftfield groove expressions, best exemplified by the majestic micro-funk of "May Day" and the splintered/echo-laden hypnotism of EP closer "Decay".
Review: Fresh from the success of two top notch EPs on iile, Leo Pol unveils his most ambitious release to date. All I Got In Me is something of a beast, with seven tracks stretched across two slabs of wax. It's a rather pleasingly varied affair, all told, with the experienced producer flitting between Detroit style techno futurism ("BH2"), warm, chunky and occasionally tough deep house ("All I Got In Me", "Live Concrete"), spacey beatbox electro ("Live Love") and the kind of tech-house cuts that look to both the Motor City and Chicago for inspiration. As a bonus, he's also included a collaborative cut under the St Ouen Connection moniker, the deep and hazy, techno-tempo positivity of "Masile".
Review: After a two-year absence, Aline Brooklyn - New York's surprise home of Romanian style minimal techno adventures - has returned with a bang in 2019. They've launched the "Original Series", with March's debut release from Mihai Pol being followed by this eight-track album from Nico Laa and Juan Cristiani. The pair begins in confident mood via the melodious tech-house funk of "Drastic", before wrapping chiming lead lines and spacey electronics around a low-slung groove of "Mars". More warm, deep house style motifs can be heard on "Good Morning Brooklyn" and the bumpin' goodness of "New York", while "Loop People" is a hazy, minimalist jack-track. Elsewhere, "La Rose" is woozy, dreamy and quietly picturesque (despite locked-in tech-house beats) and "Senor Lopez" is snappy and funky in the best possible way.
Review: It's hard to believe that Enzo Siragusa's Fuse label has now been carving out its own niche in the tech house world for a full decade. To mark the occasion, the label boss has pulled together more key tracks for his second volume of "A Decade of Rave". This compilation is another treasure trove of club cuts that feature the main man alongside some of his key associates, Rich NxT, Rossko, Archie Hamilton and Seb Zito. The tracks are unwaveringly dubbed out and driving, with weighted bottom ends that will get any moody dancer moving. From warms up to peak time to afterparties, these are hugely versatile tracks.
Review: It's been a long time between drinks for Chris Korda, a transgender artist and activist whose last releases of note came on famed electroclash label International Deejay Gigolo way back in 2004. New album "Akoko Ajeji" is very much a surprise return to action, though its melodious, ear-pleasing and accessible blend of house and techno drums, digital synthesizer sounds and cheery post synth-pop refrains is both striking and hugely addictive. Korda's compositions offer subtle nods towards various vintage house and techno styles - particularly turn-of-the-90s deep house and early Chicago jack - but never sound anything less than thrillingly DIY productions giddily made in back rooms and bedrooms over the last decade and a half.
Review: Benjamin Brunn and Dave Wheels are old studio buddies, having worked together on and off since 2006. "2000", though, is their most ambitious joint project yet: a collaborative album for Sushitech that offers up breezy, melodious and cheery fusions of heady dub techno, gentle electronica, chugging sofa-friendly haziness and glitchy late night hypnotism. It's an interesting blend but one that certainly hits the spot. Highlights include the horizontal pulse of "Orainge", the wonderfully hypnotic after-hours throb of "Iratamoto (Version)", the bold and sun-kissed undulations of "In The Club" and the pie-eyed warmth of "Waldeck".
Review: Earthen Sea adds to the Kimochi Sound with a soulful examination of indistinct margins, suffused with dusky haze. It's a heady atmosphere and has a palpable heaviness throughout. Starting the record are the concrete reverberations of You Don't Never Know, followed by the murky ebb and flow of Fly. 13 Beat(less) is diffused ambience.
Shielding fittingly closes the record, and weaves Earthen Sea's many textures with intricate syncopation.