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.
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: J Room steps up with a contribution to the minimal tech house conversation that sees emergent artist Jale making a strong statement with three powerful original tracks and a remix from Cosmjn. Jale's style leans on Detroit string synths for a sense of melancholic grandeur, and densely packed rhythm sections that bump as much as they punch. "Orbital Dream" takes things in a dreamy after hours direction, and "Eclipse" works up some rugged synth trysts that snap around a subtly broken beat. Cosmjn's remix of "Orbital Dream" is not to be slept on either as it subtly adjusts the accent of the groove to make an immersive tech house roller par excellence.
Review: Cheeky upstart label Club Of Jacks follows up on a strong opening statement with this boisterous bout of house workouts geared towards the peak time. "Follow Me" is on a serious garage flex, with rude bass, hooky sax leads and some naughty breaks chops all feeding into the melting pot. "Bring It Back" is a more soulful jam with some great vocal licks and sweet piano leads, while "Need Your Loving" keeps the heartfelt heat up with another powerful diva vocal and a buttery smooth bassline. "Don't Know You" takes things deeper without losing that powerful vocal presence, providing a perfect balance to this solid, all-rounder house 12".
M&M Vs Andrei Swipe - "Analog Express" (Don Carlos remix) (7:29)
Review: There's an undeniable air of quality that lingers over the 12"s emerging on 14th Level Of Paradise, the mysterious label presenting originals, edits and repressed tracks for true house devotees. First up is a little known track from Sasha Makin and Suntetic, given a shimmering polish by Don Carlos and Steven Perri to become a heavy funking masterpiece, before Joe Claussell drops in a percussive dub delight on Monday Michiru's "Higher". On the flip, Vincent Inc and LA get things pumping with the slow but chunky, jazz-licked "Red Room", before Carlos returns for another deep house reverie as he remixes M&M and Andrei Swipe's "Analog Express".
Yoshiko Okabe - "Tree 4" (Yamuraka club mix) (6:54)
Review: House Running are back with another of their signature compilation 12"s, calling on a host of talented producers keeping the house dream alive. Paris-based producer Colkin is bringing nothing but good vibes on piano chopping, lately bass-ing burner "Central 13". He also gets a second look in with "Gonna Be", which features none other than Detroit breakthrough star Javonntte on impossibly powerful vocals. On the flip, Meemo is on hand with the spaced out funk of "Untitled" while Yoshiko Okabe's "Tree 4" gets a 90s-style, club-ready re-rub from Yamuraka. If you're looking for high grade deep house music, look no further.
Catch Me If You Can (Jorge Savoretti Ethereal dub) (7:08)
Review: Michael James' "Winds Of Change" EP was a big look for Constant Black, and now the eminent minimal house label draws on a hit list of sharp shooters to deliver some deadly remixes. Huerta is up first with an angular but rolling dub twist on "Catch Me If You Can", before Nick Beringer pings things in a wonderfully hazy direction with his "7am Dub" of "Stormy Skies". Pascal Benjamin gets into a tight, focused funk on his version of "Reservoir", and then Jorge Savoretti flies in an "Ethereal Dub" of "Catch Me If You Can".
Review: It's been a while since we last heard from the Mellophonia label and its star attraction, A Vision Of Panorama, but now the producer known as Mikhail Khvasko is back with a new record that expands on the soft and silky Balearic house sound he established himself with across some wonderful EPs and 2016's "Aquafusion" album. The sun is still very much shining down on this new record, which leads in with the fittingly titled "Delicious Saw". Khvasko's whole sound is geared towards celebration of gorgeous synth tones, and so it goes here thanks to that seriously tasty sawtooth wave. "Lum" cools down the boogie bump of its predecessor for something more reflective, while "Euphoria" gets into an oh-so-sweet house funk that would sound at home on Strictly Jaz Unit. "Fourth" finishes the EP off with a seriously sticky bassline squelch and some effervescent piano lines - another melodic marvel on a record full of them.
Review: The Aesthetic label is steadily growing as yet another strong side to the Constant Sound empire, and they're sounding fit as a fiddle with this latest drop from Niko Maxen. "Aesthetic 04" leads in with "Calibans Dance", a swirling, dubbed out affair with intriguing percussive tones to add an intriguing edge to the stripped back house groove. "Lessons" has a heads down, twitchy demeanour it's impossible to resist, and then "Twelvty" summons up some elegant synth strokes that hover in between the shuffling beats. The latter provides more than enough inspiration for Kepler to deliver an astounding remix that plays around with bouncy arps and pointed house rhythms in his inimitable style.
Review: Return to 2001: Swiss brothers Shakedown drop an iconic house anthem that debunked the standard XXL funk du jour with a much spacier, synth-based 80s boogie sound. Still relevant and heavily played, Defected have commissioned three on-point artists for the 2018 contemporisations: Peggy Gou gets her acid tweaks on, Tiger & Woods pitch down the vocal and dust off the Street Sounds electroid feel and Purple Disco Machine cooks up an unapologetic funked up house jam that wouldn't have gone amiss on Classic back in the day. For good measure Shakedown return with their own signature Galactic Boogie version that pumps with strong Moroder tendencies. Good night.
Review: The unstoppable Cromby lets rip on Unknown To The Unknown. His first release on DJ Haus's U2TU motherlabel, he's gone in all rave guns blazing. "Cruising" is a thumping Detroit-edge acid meteor shower. Wave after wave of 303s and rising big-blast pads, there's some serious momentum in this track; just mix it in and watch it demolish. "Gigolo" shakes its money maker with a little more uplift as chords climb and chime throughout the mix, constantly reaching higher and higher. A little like Cromby's profile right now.
Paxton Fettel - "I'd Like To Know You Better" (5:50)
Kristy Harper - "Uncle Jungle" (5:27)
Manakinz - "Robopubez (Rust In Peace)" (6:59)
Maxime Alexander - "BSA Freestyle #1" (feat $hakes) (5:01)
Review: London-based Ben Gomori is back with the fourth installment of "Dialogues" on his Monologues imprint. It's another various artists affair featuring four choice cuts that pursue all things deep, emotive and sensual. Copenhagen's Paxton Fettel kicks off proceedings with some boompty and disco-fied vocal business on the loopy "I'd Like To Know You Better", followed by the smoky late night groove by Kristy Harper's "Uncle Jungle" featuring some infectious roaring diva vocals. On the flip, go deeper into the night on the sweltering and hypnotic vibes of Manakinz' "Robopubez (Rust In Peace)" where Sub Club resident Harri collaborate with his bud Max, and finally Maxime Alexander reps South Africa on the sultry mood music of "BSA Freestyle #1" with $hakes on the mic.
Review: For their fifth release, Japanese label Eureka! presents Pablo Valentino: founder of Faces Records (with Motor City Drum Ensemble) for the "Space Tribe" EP. Kicking off proceedings is Berlin-based Kazuki Yamaguchi on the Detroit Beatdown influenced "Bananas" on which you'll hear the pair emanate plenty of soul and emotion, followed by the blunted urban blues of "Inspiracao" where Valentino goes into a wonderful downbeat hip-hop state of mind. On the flip is the EP's most poignant moment brought by the evocative and bittersweet mood music of the title track featuring British producer Simbad - this one goes ultra deep and we love every minute of it!
Review: Originally a white label promo, Mark Knight and Co. are finally letting this one out of the bag. A seriously classy and infectious record from the new UK duo Cashio, "Dancing (With Me)" is a record that's had everyone talking, including some of the worlds top DJs like Annie Mac and Danny Howard to name but a few. A proper, disco-fied funky house anthem (with infectious vocals) that harks back to the glory days of the late '90s popularised by Def Mix, Subliminal and Soulfuric et al - is this a comeback? With the Toolroom crew heading to ADE at the end of the month, we're sure this one will bang the party there, until the later part of 2019 and beyond!
Something For The Dancers (Kerri Chandler Dark mix) (8:33)
Review: On the one-to-watch list for those in the know, Lea Lisa has released on Mona Musique, Memories and Chez Damier's Inner Balance Recordings, alongside her role within the InnerDisc record store family. Presenting "The Legacy EP" for the ever-reliable Wolf Music here, she showcases her unquestionable talent across the two opening cuts. The soulful, emotive and near spiritual vibes of opener "Something For The Dancers" reaches near Ron Trent like moments with its weighty synth lines, dream-like pads and powerful bass tones, and the sensual late night deepness of "From Garage" which combines sultry vocals, analogue keys and thumping percussion doffs a cap to Chicago and Detroit deep house classics. Arguably best of all though, is the remix on the flip by the one and only Kerri Chandler - the Kaoz Theory chief serves up a heavenly slice of house with his "Dark Mix"; a shuffling garage house beat blending beneath sustained string synths and signature stabs. Classic Kerri style.
Review: Detroit stalwart Scott Grooves has been churning out 12" singles since the early '90s, yet the quality barely seems to drop. This second - and, according to the producer's own sales notes, "likely last" - installment in the Parts Manager series contains five more top notch workouts. As ever, there's plenty of variety across the EP. Contrast, for example, the flowing, ear-catching musicality of classic deep house opener "Gravitas", the body popping drum machine hits and rubbery P-funk bass of "Deneb", and the deep nu-jazz shuffle of "Monowaltz". The pleasing eclecticism continues elsewhere, via the fluid electric piano workout "Bittersweet Live", and the Chez Damier style basement smoothness of hypnotic closer "?".
Review: Alphonse has already dropped a pair of 12"s on Especial in the past, but he's on especially excellent form this time around. A veteran of the halcyon rave days of the 90s, he's got a lot to draw on to conjure his particular kind of machine jams. "Moan Up" is a truly dazzling track, all twinkling synth lines interweaving around a crisp old school groove. As well as the loved up peaks of the original, there's also a beatless mix of the track that lets the melodies shine on their own. "White Pepper" takes things moodier and lets some sultry sax wail over the top, while retaining some of that boxy drum machine energy. There's even space for some tasteful guitar wailing - excellent.
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: 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: Tomoki Tamura and Tuccillo are back together once again as Doublet, with both seasoned tech house champs having fun in the studio jamming out the kind of stripped back, heads down grooves you'd expect to hear them play out. "Tee's 8" is a cheeky A side jam with the kind of acid line that goes down easy and then works you from the inside out. "Three Thousand Men" has a slight dubby thread to it which sits comfortably amongst the sturdy groove of the drums, and then "Tentation" switches gears for a bright and melodic creation that skips around in funky syncopation without even needing to worry about a kick drum.
True To Myself (Karizma Kaytronik Truth dub) (6:57)
Review: New label LDF clearly understands the need to make a big first impression, because this soul-flecked single from Angel-A and producer Rahaan - one of Chicago's true underground heroes - is a very impressive debut. Rahaan's A-side "Original Mix" is rhythmically tough and crunchy - think weighty drum machine kicks and snares - but also warm and woozy, with Angel-A's superb vocal rising above rich electric piano chords and jazzy synthesizer flourishes. Over on side B Karizma takes over, offering up a "Kaytronik Truth Dub" that wraps hypnotic, mangled electric piano notes, analogue bass and tech-tinged flourishes around a wonderfully locked-in but percussively lively rhythm track. It's very different to the original but exceptionally deep and floor-friendly.
Review: Katie Campbell AKA Roza Terenzi has been in fine form over the last couple of years, offering up must-check EPs on Dekmantel, Kalahari Oyster Cult, Butter Sessions and Bizarro. Here the Australian producer makes her first appearance on Klasse Wrecks, offering up the delightfully clanking, funk-fuelled analogue bounce of "Metal Glo"- a wonderful combination of Syclops style electronic refrains, loose-limbed machine drums and attractive melodies - and the even wilder and sleazier, acid-fuelled peak-time wonkiness of "Allstarz", whose dreamy chords offer a neat counterpoint to the ragged antics underpinning them. There are two tidy "Metal Glo" remixes, too: a deliciously glassy eyed, bleeping revision from label bosses Luca Lozano and Mr Ho, and a Morgan Wright and RP Remix that turns the track into a sweaty, off-beat treat.