Obsolete Music Technology - "High Top Fade" (6:32)
Specter - "Butters Whipped" (6:02)
Isoke - "Soul Glo" (3:10)
Damon Lamar - "Bermuda Triangle" (7:02)
Chicago Skyway - "Edged Out" (6:04)
Review: Perpetual Rhythms is already well-regarded as a bastion of quality amongst contemporary Chicago house labels, and now they've downright sealed the deal with this mammoth compilation from a stellar cast of local cats. There's too many to all list in detail here, so focusing on the highlights, Dcee leads things in with the tumbling cosmic jazz leanings of "Suavecito," Hakim Murphy teases with a spacious and daring exploration in the liminal zone between ambient and house, and Obsolete Music Technology gets invigorating with the bouncy "High Top Fade." Those tracks alone are enough to deserve your hard earned, but there's reams of other excellent forward-facing Windy City jams to sink your teeth into.
Review: Not An Animal Records was formed in 2015 out of the ashes of the London-based party Bad Passion, and has thus far welcomed the likes of Man Power, Ess O Ess and Eric Duncan to release on the label. Now they turn to James Hadfield, a relatively new producer previously spotted on To Rack & Ruin and Me Me Me. On this four-tracker he deals in brooding synthwave tones mixed with classic jack track rhythms. "Literate" is just the kind of taut, sinister club creeper we can't get enough of, while "Buried Answers" takes a skippier but no less moody approach. On the remix front, Jamie Blanco takes the prize, turning "Buried Answers" into a bombastic slice of driving synth pop.
Francis Harris - "Archive Fever" (Adamo Golan remix) (5:00)
Hamatsuki - "Kandzaia" (8:42)
Hamatsuki - "Picnic Attack" (7:17)
Review: Tbilisi's infamous Bassiani spot already has its own label, but now the queer-centric Horoom space within the club is launching an imprint of its own. Opening up the A side of this split 12", Francis Harris is a great choice for the first drop on the label with his smoky take on deep house sinking under the skin and leaving a chill in the air. Adamo Golan takes this seductively spooky mood and injects it with uptempo but equally submerged broken beats via his remix of "Archive Fever". Hamatsuki presents two original tracks on the B side, and while very different "Kandzaia" and "Picnic Attack" both project a more mellow side-room ambience that's a joy to sink into.
Review: Melbourne's Andy Hart is known for heading up the Voyage imprint, which over the last few years has pursued the many shades of deep house with releases by the likes of Harvey Sutherland, Urulu and Youandewan. Here he inaugurates his new Voyager sublabel, which sees a noticeable change of tune. On "Neutron Capture" he delivers a slow burning deep space transmission aboard the acid express, while the functional B side cut "Lftrr" is a dubby and hypnotic techno jam suited to heads-down moments in dank warehouse spaces. If this is a sign of things to come for Hart's new outlet, expect a string of club ready and dancefloor orientated cuts.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Gravity Graffiti has been doing great things with its series of split 12"s already, but now the Italian label goes one better for its tenth release with this mighty double pack of heavy hitters. First up is the ever-untouchable Yoshinori Hayashi, who gets as straight up as he possibly could with the freaky house burner "Dissociative." Telephones is feeling particularly dubbed out and groovy on "Kalimbalimbo", while DB.Source and Riccardo Schiro take things strung out and textural on "Montevago". Dynamo Dreesen is in rave mode for the pepped up and delightfully weird "Reactivate", leaving the final side to Oyvind Morken & Kaman Leung's chugging "Tunnel Visjon" and the rubbery side swipes of Acidboychair's "The End (At Any Speed)".
Review: 500, 12" 180g, hand stamped, individually numbered records, single press only. Tusk says "I wanted to go back to the way the label started for the 20th release, so I've put together a VA which captures the way the label has moved in the past couple of years and will continue to shift"
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: In their offshoot label's formative years, San Francisco sorts Honey Soundsystem largely stuck to offering up fairly experimental albums and cassette compilations. The recent release of Bezier's excellent "Mina (Everyone)" 12" seems to have signaled a newfound desire to release more obviously dancefloor-friendly material, albeit with obviously vintage influences. Jackie House's "Skydive" certainly fits into this category, offering a spacey, synth-wave influenced take on early Chicago house. It swings, jacks and pumps in all the right places, with the action focused around a killer bassline. Matrixxman delivers the flipside remix, turning the loose and cheery original into a dark storm of thunderous kick drums, woozy chords and late night techno intent.
Review: "HYDRAFUNK is an exciting Detroit Techno inspired collaboration between Immigrant Records owner and label manager Robin Porter and US analogue synth guru Mike Carr. The duo first collaborated back in 2002 releasing the 'Mental Stealth EP' on Immigrant, featuring the bassline and synth heavy 'Fathernature', a track that found it's way on 'Evil' Eddie Richard's Fabric 16 mix CD. Their debut three track EP, Beasts From Below, fuses the analogue aptitude of Mike Carr and Robin Porter's attention to sound frequency, arrangement detail and understanding of the dance floor, delivering an intoxicating peak time package of delight. "Underworld" is a deep journey of melodic synth work and chugging groove that travels into dark territories, complimented by uplifting percussion that builds into a peak time beast from the deep. On the flip, "Immortal Melody" delves even further into moody territory delivering a tantalising array of dreamy synths and jackin' old school percussion, that submerges into an abyss of texture before rising up into a dance floor banger. Closer "Hydra's Dance" is definitely not a token bonus track and is the most dance floor friendly cut; featuring Robin's knack for creating powerful basslines, unique vocals and Mike's ability to create depth and texture with his analogue synth programming."
Hakim Murphy & Christopher Rau - "Floorz Hop" (6:14)
Hakim Murphy & Christopher Rau - "Again Agin" (6:48)
NC 17 - "Gasoline Or Dettol" (6:46)
Mezigue & Christopher Rau - "Honk For Peace" (3:08)
Review: In support of the joys of teamwork, Smallville regular Christopher Rau has launched Totally Together, a new label committed to releasing collaborations between producers. He handles the first 12" himself, joining forces with a succession of artists across four fine tracks. The A-side boasts two hook-ups with Chicago's Hakim Murphy; the sweaty, jackin' drum machine beats and wayward electronics of "Floorz Hop", and the bass-heavy deep house wooziness of "Again Agin" [sic]. On the flip, Rau joins forces with Nathan Jonson as NC 17, delivering the ghetto-house influenced Chi-town bump of "Gasoline or Dettol" (think winding synth horns, crunchy drum machine handclaps and throbbing sub-bass), before laying down the ultra-deep, ultra-melodious "Carrier" alongside Mezigue.
Review: There's a certain mysticism that hovers around Piramide Registrazioni, with its occult symbolism, mysterious artists and fuzzy, vintage sound. Label protagonist Xinner has been previously spotted alongside S. Moreira on Phonica Records, but here is sharing valuable wax space on Piramide 2 with Autre and Hawaiian Chips. Autre's version of old-skool deep house has an interesting urgency about it, and Hawaiian Chips turns out shimmering electro of the highest order. It's Xinner's tracks that stand out the most though, with synths straining under the weight of their own wobblyness and beats that punch out in clouds of reverb fog.
Review: Despite being born and raised in Detroit, Luke Hess is rarely mentioned in the same breath as his Motor City peers. Then again, his brand and dub-infused techno doesn't fit neatly into the futurist narrative. This latest full-length flips the script slightly. While it has plenty of dub-flecked moments (see "Overcome" and "Humility"), there's a greater reliance on melody over mood. While this could be a reflection of the involvement of collaborator Omar-S, it's more likely an indication of Hess's development as a producer. Moving from hypnotic deep house to robust techno via beatless interludes, Keep On is Hess's most accessible set to date.