Review: What a coming together this is: Swedish label Studio Barnhus have always lived on the colourful and curious fringes of the house music world, and New Yorker FaltyDL operates similarly in his approach to rhythm and sound design. While superb A-side cut "Flechazo" is a bright melodic house cut with shimmering chords and grounded percussion, it is more likely that "New Lover" on the flip will get the attention here: bursting with throwback feels with its 90s house drums, big stabs and blissed out chords, it's an all loved up and subtly euphoric cut, so expect plenty of peak time plays.
Review: Those who love classic Afro-Latin music should already know "Lupita", one of the standout tunes from the sole 1971 album by Belgian composer Nico Gomez (real name Joseph van het Groenewoud) and his Afro-Percussion Inc backing band. That album was reissued a few years back by Mr Bongo; here 'Lupita' is given a rare airing on 7" single by Matasuna. This time round, the deliciously percussive mambo workout - all punchy horns, wild organs and vocal breakdowns - comes backed by a fresh remix courtesy of Bosq. This version is arguably even better, with Bosq wisely choosing to focus on the drums, horns, bass and organs for added dancefloor pleasure.
Review: Last year Breakbeat Paradise inaugurated the Toxic Funk series of mash-ups, reworks and party-starting sample jams via a tidy seven-inch single from BadboE and Tom Showtime. Here the series returns with a similarly fiery "45" from Edinburgh-based DJ/producer Gramophone Soul. On side A he smashes together elements from soul classic "Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay", Beastie Boys raps and bombastic, loose-limbed breakbeats. The results are as effective as you'd expect (IE it sounds like a bona fide party-starter). Turn to the flip for "Fire Cracker", a tooled-up, stomping soul affair that stays closer to its soulful source material whilst also re-framing it a little for contemporary dancefloors.
Review: Alan Arbelaez makes his first outing on vinyl, launching the Keepers Of The Wild label with a forthright selection of rave minded goodies pitched at the darker side of the dance. "Ravejavik" revolves around terse breakbeats and uneasy DX7 keys, making for a most intense of club workouts pitched at an even tempo. "Downton Abbey Trax" equally keeps the tempo slow and deadly as a hailstorm of rave tropes meet with emotive string samples, while "Hidden Agenda" explores paranoid house with pan pipe leads flown in over the top. The release rounds off with "Matrix Wave", a more meditative, dubstep flavoured cut showing another side to this emergent artist.
Review: Since debuting in 2015, Yoshinori Hayashi has peddled his wares on a variety of labels, Jheri Tracks, Disco Halal and and Smalltown Supersound included. Here he returns to the latter label with a pleasingly heavy four-tracker. Opener "U" is an intergalactic electro workout laden with nasty, deep bass and glacial electronics, while "Cs" is a wonderfully lo-fi take on acid house that jacks harder than DJ Pierre after 24 cans of Red Bull. Over on the flip he layers ghostly vocal snippets, alien chords and rich bass over another jacking drum track on "I", before dropping some filthy analogue techno science on the sparse, spaced-out pulse of "Sr".
Review: While breakbeats never really go away, they are also as popular now as they have been for decades. Whether curried deep in a dusty techno track, from t and centre in some naughty jungle or dropped into a rave tune for a wave of nostalgia, the appeal of the break never goes away. Hornsey Hardcore know this and here serve up some face melting tools and brain warping tracks on their own label. They are hundred mile an hour affairs with more energy than the sun and cannot fail to blow up your spot. Their first white label sold out quickly and immediately became overpriced on Discogs so don't sleep on this one.
Review: The Incredible Bongo Band were a loose studio collective interpreting classics of the day in their own inimitable percussive fashion .They are of course most famous for their ultimate b-boy classic version of "Apache". This particular 7" however features two Incredible Bongo Band cuts that have not previously featured on any albums. "The Riot" is a frenetic drum workout and has been championed by the likes of the Chemical Brothers. "Ohkey Dokey (Part 2)" takes on a somewhat more subdued hue in comparison, but has some dope funky clavinet in the mix. Well worth checking.
Review: Chat Noir is the official imprint of Paris' Chat Noir Distribution, and will be dedicated to all shades of house music. Their inaugural release "This Is A Story" features Jeff The Fool AKA Antoine Bermann, who has been polishing his house music skills for five years now - and it's paid off! His contribution with The Chaud Records partner Wilt is entitled "All I Need" and it rules the A side. This is exactly the kind of emotive and swing-fuelled deep house that we just adore - think E-Wax or Quality Vibe. On the flip we have some good ol' fashioned liquid drum 'n' bass in the spirit of legends like LTJ Bukem and Alex Reece on the roller "B16P15" by Solar Sound System (Aymeric) and closing it out with yet more diverse sounds is the acidified electro journey "Blind Resistance" by local head Nairless (Flying Structures).
Review: It's been a hot minute since Timothy J. Fairplay slipped on his Junior Fairplay guise, but he's done just that for this bleep-tastic new 12" on (Emotional) Especial. "End Of Love" is unabashed in its embrace of early Yorkshire techno tones, making a fine job of resurrecting the bleep spectre and letting it shake up the dance once more. Roy Of The Ravers is a smart choice of remixer, and he brings an off-kilter acid rub to the table in his idiosyncratic, braindance-inflected style. The B-side is equal laden with purposefully dusty dance grooves transplanted from the late 80s / early 90s, with "Faxes From The Future" hitting a particularly sharp point in its lazy breakbeat roll and the clanging harmonies of the stabs.
Review: Strange happenings are going on down at Scrutton Street, EC1. With release after release cementing the names of those based or working out of the studio bunker, a desire for pushing the boundaries of electronic music is primary with little concern for what's hip. So if anyone can Tim can and here with his newly birthed pseudonym comes Junior Fairplay. With a one-sided release and remix to his name on Crimes Of The Future a glimpse has been offered of what's in store, but How Do You Like Me Now? gives it straight. Pioneering and back to the British techno of early Black Dog, Reload, Stasis and of course, the seminal "Selected Works" clearly inspires, but so too does one of those musical moments where genres clash, tear and stretch as something new is being born. It all starts with the uplifting House anthem of Classic Version, eschewing the oft-tasted horror stylings and aims direct for that 4am MDMA airfild rush, before the EP drops, locks and spins on it's axis, with 3 pure breaks cuts to overload the senses and say, now is the time! A voyage to another side to the mythical lost chord via a moment in time where open filds, abandoned warehouses, the kick of 4/4 house, hip hop breaks and the dub of sound system culture merged but for a short while. Not house, not rave or jungle. A proto sound born of blood, sweat and Rage.
Review: On the next record from Main Drain Studios, Chicago artist K-rAd brings two high-tempo cuts loaded with their distinct blend of bright, nimble production.
The A-side, "174_B7B5" is a total D&B tear-out. Thundering subs carry along waves of arpeggiated synths, while whimsical samples cut the tension of the winding breakbeat flurries.
On the flip side, horns fade in and out of "154_Materials Stardust Memories ", conjuring visions of a metropolis at dusk, with jazzy interludes telling tales while lean, skittering drums & warped bass lines pepper the road along the way.
Review: Back in March, Icelandic techno stalwart Felix Leifur inaugurated Lagaffe Tales' BROT series with a quartet of decidedly punishing cuts that joined the dots between icy electro and bustling, rave-era breakbeat. He's at it again here, opening with bass-heavy hedonism of "Brot 5" - a sweaty fusion of energy-packed breakbeats, dubbed-out chords and weighty sub bass - before brilliantly fusing dub techno and club electro on the deep and spaced-out "Brot 6". Over on the flip, "Brot 7" is a crunchy electro box jam and "Brot 8" is a rolling mixture of locked-in beats, rubbery bass tones, trippy aural textures and mind-mangling electronics.
Review: Last year we heard the first installment of the Brot trilogy by Reykjavik's Felix Leifur on Lagaffe Tales, which reflects the country's unforgiving, barren landscape. Now we come full circle with the final edition of the series, where Leifur continues to push the threshold of UK-influenced dance music. Featuring evocative liquid dnb steppers like "Brot 10" reminiscent of legends like LTJ Bukem and Alex Reece, electro style bass crossing over into classic junglist aesthetics on "Brot 11" and arguably best of all - the dark dystopian techstep of closer "Brot 13" which calls to mind the late '90s sound of London.
Review: Man of many aliases, Patrick Conway makes his debut on Sneaker Social Club with six disarming rave echoes that sound just as much 2091 as they do 1991. All the ingredients are familiar but are cooked so refreshingly in a piping hot dub oven, they sound like something completely fresh. Highlights include the grime-meets-hardcore-meets-double-dragon-scrap vibes of the title track, the ghostly breaks and pressurised pads of "Muzikon 90" and the spacious, almost UK funky style drum work and classic vocal sample of "Signal To Noise". Sneaker Social Club are always well ahead of the curve but this is a whole new venn diagram. Essential.
Review: Bunker and Mantra are bringing the classic Chicago sound back to the dance floor with this incredible mini album full-on old school '88 style acid house tunes entitled 'The Second Age'. Retro drum machine rhythms pump out some infectious acid grooves to go along with repeated vocal edits, classic analogue synths and funky acid basslines.
Review: With some great releases in recent times by Tonnovelle and Robert Dietz aka DJ Disciple, Frankfurt label Osman is back with a serving of retro techno shenanigans by hometown hero Martyne: head of the revered Traffic collective and label out of neighbouring Offenbach am Main. The "EFX/SFX EP" features some solid gear; the tempo of "Loopy Schneider" channels the vibe of late '90s UK breaks by way of electro and acid techno, while the bouncy bleep techno of Berlin's dancefloors can be experienced via "Make My Day" and the neon-lit robot funk of the title track will take you deeper into the afterhours.
Train To Eltanin - "Amino Acid Side Chains" (4:44)
DJ Plant Texture - "Yeah Boy" (4:46)
Nothus - "Konnor 3012" (5:30)
Marco Segato - "Pirate Utopias" (live) (4:37)
Soreab - "AVP" (4:24)
Review: The XCPT Music label continues to establish itself as a go-to outlet for those who like freaky late night sounds. Like previous instalments of the Time Dance series, this various artists affair is a wild collisions of creative styles. There's the restless and kinetic techno malfunctions of "FB2THSN", deep drum patterns of "Amino Acid Side Chains" and footwork made of DJ Plant Texture's "Yeah Boy" on the first side alone. The flip goes hard and dark with the industrial bass of "Konnor 3012", frenzied electro of "Pirate Utopias" and dystopian sound-scaping that is "AVP" .