Review: French maestro Shonky is one of the most consistent players in the game, endlessly delivering playful, imaginative 12"s for Apollonia, and more recently Third Ear. Now he's making his debut appearance on Half Baked with some truly individual tracks that point to his continued evolution as a seriously unique producer. "StudioOne" centres around a wonderfully unhinged set of synth wobbles and a skittering beat, while "Brazilienne" takes a more mellow, harmonious tone. "Fido Dido" harks back to the golden age of minimal, all oddball micro tones wriggling around a steadfast beat, which Robin Ordell nudges up into an electro-flecked strutter of the highest order.
Review: There's something brilliantly unfussy and matter-or-fact about Matthew Farrow's latest outing as Kepler, which marks his first appearance on no nonsense Mulen sub-label Hoarder. The four collected cuts are subtly varied and all aimed squarely at the dancefloor, with Farrow striking a near perfect balance between rolling dancefloor hypnotism, funk-fuelled glitch-house and bottom-heavy peak-time intent. We're particularly enjoying the spacey and ultra-deep swing of "Self Hypnosis" and the weighty, stripped-back pump of opener "Few Days' - a track built around little more than fluid sub-bass, crunchy drums and metallic electronic riffs - but the organ-powered, U.S garage-influenced tech-house bump of "French Lessons" is not far behind.
Review: Euphoria Records has a legacy that reaches back to the mid-90s and releases from artists such as Omni A.M. and Mark Ambrose. Now the label is back in action with some killer minimal house fare from emergent Maltese talent Mato. This new single kicks off with the sophisticated swing of "Gozo Carnival", which capitalizes on an economical approach to the arrangement to devastating effect. "Euphoria Jamz" is a busier production with layers of wriggling synths bouncing around another shuffled beat. "Where's The Chutney?" keeps things rubbery and freaky, with the jack level up high and the tweaked out sounds plentiful in the mix, rounding out a distinctive and infectiously fun club 12".
Review: More classy dub techno from Germany's Ornaments with their latest release by Mathimidori: the lesser known alias of Jena-based tech house hero Mathias Kaden who has released two singles on Japan's Mule Musiq where he displayed his new-found love for echo-laden and glacial grooves. The Yosago EP features opening cut "Goya" which receives a terrific rework by label staple Rhauder, whose known style stays within the classic traditions of electronic dub similar to likeminded souls such as Rhythm & Sound or Deadbeat. On the flip, enjoy the personal and introspective deepness of "Sake" followed by the ultra-cavernous minimalism of "Yoto". Tip!
Review: It's fair to say that Mihai Pol is definitely one of Rominimal's most ascendant stars, so it's fitting that he was tapped to take reins for More Than Music's third release. "Phonica Wednesday" follows up impressive releases by fellow countrymen Arapu, caLLy, or Crihan, and sees the Brasov-based producer deliver the same style of smooth, bass-driven and reductionist funk that you've come to know and love from him on the title track, followed by the rolling and ethereal hypnotica of "Hard Decision" that's perfectly timed with Sunwaves season where it will no doubt go down a treat. On the flip, East End Dubs dons the Viceversa alias for a killer remix - providing more journeys into swing like he does so well.
Review: For their second release, London party crew turned label chiefs Butter Side Up have enlisted the services of Midge Thompson, a young producer from Leeds who has been a regular guest at their events in the past. As debut EPs go, "New Destinations" is quietly impressive. He starts confidently via the swinging and bass-heavy UK garage/tech-house/deep house fusion of "Destination 2242" before opting for a deeper, spacier feel on the two-step shuffle of "Delta 9". "Beeston Lights" feels like a warmer update of the classic UK tech-house sound of 2000s Sheffield duo Swag, while Titonton Duvante's killer remix of "Destination 2242" is a spacey, swinging and bass-heavy chunk of intergalactic late night goodness.
Review: With a history that stretches back to the turn-of-the-90s, Ivan Iacobucci is one of the Italian scene's most storied producers. He's released on all manner of acclaimed imprints over the years - UMM, Calypso Records, Holic Trax and Nite Grooves included - and here makes his bow on another, Berlin staple Perlon. There's plenty of subtle variety across the EP, with Iacobucci leisurely strolling between funk-fuelled lo-fi tech-house (the spacey "Logic Solution"), high-tempo, Autechre-inspired IDM-funk ("Platinum Booth"), wonky, Villalobos-style early morning insanity (the bonkers but brilliant "Magic Tribulation") and analogue-rich, off-kilter tech-house ("Android").
Review: Defected once again have the main room at peak time in mind - with these four scorchers aimed squarely at said dancefloors. From current scene favourites Camelphat: the masked crusaders teaming up with the man with the golden voice Ali Love, on the adrenalised "Dopamine Machine" (club mix), Argentinian producer Offaiah rounds up the A side with the deep and sexy bounce of "Work It Out" (club mix). On the flip, Northern tech house hero Josh Butler shows he can do vocal house too on the very Kerri Chandler influenced "Feels Good" (feat Hanlei - extended mix) while Spanish veteran David Penn does for that classic Defected style of funky house on the uplifting "Nobody" (club mix).
Review: British minimal techno hero Digby returns after the tragic loss of his brother Alex, for the next installment on his Flash As A Rat imprint. Expect more of the raw analogue circuitry which permeates throughout his previous productions conjured up via his extensive modular set up. The A side features the deep and reflective reductionism of soulful cut "Briefmacken", while on the flip be hypnotised by the emotive afterhours bliss of "Constantly" which we could imagine him playing somewhere like Club Der Visionaere at some ungodly hour of the morning.
Review: Over the course of her ten-year career, Sanna La Fleur Engdahl has alternated between releasing music on Watergate and her own Power Plant imprint. Here, the Berlin-based Swede returns to her own label for the first time in nearly two years with a two-track missive aimed squarely at peak-time dancefloors. Our pick of the pair is the bounding bounciness of A-side "Hunting Ground", where P-funk style talkbox vocals and foreboding chords ride an attractive synth bassline and restless dancefloor groove. Flipside "Aphelion" is a little less driving but even more melodious, with the fuzzy, lo-fi riffs and colourful construction reminding us a little of some of Orbital's classic mid 1990s works.
Review: The tenth release on Sammy Dee's Ultrastretch label comes from Vendi, titled 'Teyat Prior.' Vendi, a Berlin-based French artist, has previously released on Hoxton London and Bodyparts. As he continues to establish himself as a touring DJ-producer, he cultivates his passion for the arts across a strata of different skills and techniques, including drawing, which has flourished into Vendi becoming a growing tattoo artist, and by playing several acoustic instruments, among them guitar, piano, bass, and drums. He found his way into electronic music in his early 20s by spinning records for his friends at private parties, which moved into mixing at local clubs; he's since settled in the German capital and become influenced by the minimal-centric output of those artists in his orbit. His Black Sketch Records imprint will launch in 2019.