Review: It would be fair to say that Mr Fingers 2016 is something of an event release, at least for those who love deep house. While Larry Heard has kept busy - largely with remixes and reissues - this marks the first 12" release under his most famous moniker for over a decade. He begins in contemplative mood, fusing tumbling music box melodies, creepy electronics and nagging 303 lines on "Outar Acid", before laying down some typically blissful, atmospheric deep house on the wondrous "Qwazars". Flip for "Nodyahead", an effortless mixture of heavy dub-house bottom end, African-influenced percussion and moody late night refrains, and the ultra-deep, piano-laden bliss of "Aether".
Review: It's early days for Meftah, who you may have spotted remixing Amp Fiddler on Mahogani Music alongside Jahn Cloud, but this low key 12" highlights him as a serious talent to keep tabs on in the Detroit music community. There's no hiding his musical roots and influences, as dusty keys, live bass and loose, expressive percussion intertwine in a mellow, bluesy haze. This is cut from the same cloth as Kenny Dixon Jr, Theo Parrish, Jay Daniel and scores of others, but Meftah has his own mellow mood to impart on these five addictive, seductive trips through deepest jazz-inflected house.
Review: The campaign for real, modern UKG continues unabated over at Instinct, as another crew of like-minded bassbin botherers step up with their own fresh takes on the 2-step sound. Pinder is super speedy and tight as you like with "Forever", while Instinct regular 0113 gets freaky with the subtly tripped out "Hard Lines". Zac Stanton is perhaps the stand out turn on this 12" with the absolutely surefooted and sharply soulful "Stop Tellin Me". Holloway comes in strong on the B2 though, channeling that impeccable Ghost sound for the stripped and spooky "Places To Be". Classy club gear throughout, but especially on that B side.
Review: Jackmate, the king of off-kilter house, makes a welcome addition to Matthew Herbert's Accidental catalogue - matter of fact his style is right at home! The 'Werk' EP is the Philpot co-chief's first release in six years and he's in fine form as always. From the dry and disjointed shuffle of the title track, to the smooth and sensual deepness of B-side cut "Skeletones" - a Moodymann-ish cut which is perfect mood music for the warm-up or afterhours alike. Closing out the EP is something much more offbeat for the Sunday afternoon slot - the boppy summertime groove of "The Clarinettes' which like its namesake has some irresistible wind instrument action to get you on your feet and shaking your behind.
Review: "How To Be" EP is brought by Izhevsk based band, Cetranger. The band's name is a combination of french «c'etrange» and english «stranger». Two deep and emotional songs accompanied by two great remixes. Perfect for understanding yourself and strangers around better, or just some good night drive. The band members themselves call this music "a cinematic electronics", a motion picture about people and their feelings told in sounds.
The opening track sets the scene. Cetranger sound is freezed in the air somewhere over the North Sea, between Britain and Nordic Countries. The unique vocal is travelling by these foggy landscapes build up of the piano harmonies.
The remix by D-pulse turns original version into a laid-back dub version with a bit of a psychedelia, where electrified kraut-rock drumline is mingled with mellow funk elements.
The second track by Cetranger, "Spear-words", shows the true with Cetranger's style and some undeniable potential in slowed-down rhythms. "Spear-words" makes your subwoofer sing along with the track's hypnotic gritty low-end bass sequence.
Alex Neivel's remix gives a track some classy well treated deep house spin. Perfect building block for a late-night set.
Review: For the debut of New York's anticipated Purple Trax label, a new formation of key players in Brooklyn's underground debuts with an EP sure to entrance fans of L.I.E.S., White Material, and other established NYC labels. Composed of Terekke, local DJ/producer Jan Woo, and Erez Avissar, label head and founder of the respected Weird Magic parties, Wabi Sabi's dusky and diverse sound comes from its origin in loft jams, but tracks like the closing 'Rx' with its powerful dub techno framework show the work of seasoned talents. Patricia's cameo on 'Casper' is the record's strangest sound, a propulsive house groove with explosions of crackling texture and a bassline deeply buried in fog, while 'Babi' stutters along between the drum pulse and its disappearances into deep wells of delayed vocal samples and gentle melodies. Vibes are saved for the opener 'Moon River Membrane', where Terreke's characteristic cosmic haze comes out more heavily, complemented by the genre-bending psychedelic tendencies of Avissar's programming and Woo's weighty low-end.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Marcel Vogel has decided to celebrate the first five years of his edit-heavy Lumberjacks In Hell imprint in the only way he knows how: by putting together a sumptuous double-pack stuffed with fresh new material. In keeping with the way the label has developed in recent times, the eight tracks blend the boundaries between original productions, illicit remixes and straight re-edits. There's a celebratory, life-affirming feel throughout, from the rubbery bass, D-Train synths and rolling house grooves of Giovanni Damico's "The Break Down", to the bluesy deep house brilliance of Borrowed Identity's "Queens Bridge". Highlights are plentiful elsewhere, too, from the hustlin' electrofunk-meets-disco of Vogel's own "Come On", to the killer synth solos and fuzzy bits of Tim Jules' thrilling "Slap Beat".
Blood Moon (Dawl & Sween Tone DropOut remix) (7:17)
Blood Moon (Violet remix) (5:56)
Review: Kim Ann Foxman takes a break from her own Self:Timer label to pop up on [Emotional] Especial. Her track "Blood Moon" hinges around rolling breaks and a globular monosynth bassline, but it's Foxman's vocals that give the track an electric, mystical energy that will cast a spell over the dance. Roza Terenzi takes the original and jacks it up, sharpening the focus of the rhythm section without losing the crunchy breaks. Dawl and Sween channel some bleeps n' breaks vibes of their own with a version that keeps things darkside and wiggy for the old-skool crew. Rounding things off, Violet's remix emphasises the acid as it plunges into the depths of the dungeon in a hooky, hard-edged style.
Review: Hold tight for more absolutely essential garage fodder from the Plastik People camp. This sharp and snappy two-tracker kicks off with Highrise, aka Darlington-based producer Dinn Warde who's been making increasingly large splashes with his jungle productions as Dwarde and more recently his on-point garage productions. His mix of "Want You Back" is a tightly wound, bumping slice of 4x4 with cool and deadly organ stabs. By contrast, label boss Marc Cotterell brings a more outwardly soulful flavour to his original version, leaning on uplifting chord sequences and putting the vocal front and centre. Depending on the mood you're looking to set, this record has you covered in two distinct and supremely classy ways.
Review: Last year Local Talk offered up Soulphiction's latest album (his first for almost ten years) over three separate slabs of wax. Here they complete the package via a "VIP Edition" 12" single featuring a brand new cut and a previously unheard revision of album highlight "Feelin' Good". The simply titled "Version" mix of that on the flip is delicious, with the Philpot founder layering expansive piano motifs and dizzying solos over skippy, U.S garage-influenced beats and a warm, toasty bassline. Arguably even better though is the fresh cut, "Niederbeat Gospel (Dub)". Living up to its title, the track is a thickset chunk of bluesy gospel house dustiness built around swinging beats, beefy bass and layered vocal samples from a crackly old gospel recording.
Review: Lee Burridge's All Day I Dream label continues to roll out the most dreamy and escapist house grooves around. Always tinged with beauty and melancholy in equal measure, this latest offering comes from Argentinian Valdovinos. There is a new age ambiance and yawning architecture to these tunes that takes you out into wide open, sun drenched spaces. There is a real cosmic majestic to "C Moon" that makes it more suited for the after dark hours while "Night Whispers" also gets a little darker and freakier for the trippier moments of a set.
Review: The inexorable rise of Purple Disco Machine continues, as his wholehearted tribute to machine disco originators Hot Streak, Patrick Cowley and Giorgio Moroder - the throbbing, anthem-like "Body Funk" - is given a deserved single release. The producer's own "Extended Mix" is quickly followed on side A by a punchy Claptone remix that places the original's sampled vocals over a suitably massive backing track high on piano stabs and big room house grooves. Over on side B, the mighty Carl Cox re-imagines the cut as a cowbell-driven chunk of techno/electrofunk fusion, while Dom Dolla douses it in mind-bending electronics, thrusting analogue bass and glitchy, hard-wired house beats.
Review: Keys of Lynx is a Swiss pair who are both skilled musicians. Here they serve up a suite of lush and musical cuts that fuse boogie, synth, jazz, funk and deep house into irresistible new dance floor forms. Depending on the context these could be early warm ups to get the floor going, or peak time workouts to send people into overdrive. "Galactic Love" echoes elements of Omar S's raw 80s production style as it rides on rickety drums and glows with synth brightness, while "Kissed By The Sun" rough rides on more ramshackle drums as sci-fi keys glisten and glow up top. Add in a bassline of which Dam Funk would be proud, and a more house leaning version of "Galactic Love" and you have a very assured 12".
Review: Consistently on form house master DJ Steaw is back with more of his essential nuggets. "Freee" (House mix) has something of a classicist feel, with its straight up drums and star gazing synth lines disappearing off into the cosmos. A sweet and tender vocal finishes it in style. "Freee" in original form is a perfect bit of late 80s jazz funk, disco and boogie fusion that rides low while making your temperature rise. "Walk In Broadway" closes out with more peak time grooves, pounding kicks and an old school bassline that nags down low throughout.
Review: Pal Joey is a legendary New York house producer. Whatever alias he assumes - and there are many - you can be sure of real quality, and this 7" features two of his best: As Soho he offers the jazzy keys and funked up house loops of "Hot Music" which samples Wynton Marsalis's "Skain's Domain". On the flip, he becomes Earth People and serves up pure house joy on "Dance" with its ebullient vocal yelps, party starting sax lines and timeless chords. It's the sort of celebratory, end of the night weapon that will send people home in absolute raptures.
Review: Late last year, French imprint Chuwanag launched via a fine compilation exploring the early '80s Britfunk sound (think jazz-funk and electrofunk) in impressive detail. You'll find numerous aural nods to that style on this follow-up, a fine debut single from producer Koji Ono. Check, for example, the sparkling synthesizers, hustling guitars and house-tempo jazz-funk grooves of "So High", the wiggly Clavinet lines, whistling melodies and rubbery bass of "Inner Rhythms" and the luscious, misty-eyed warmth of ear-pleasing mid-tempo instrumental jam "Momoshima". All are exquisite examples of revivalist cuts that boast more than enough freshness and impeccable instrumentation to bear comparison to the records that inspired them.
Descanse/ADMSDP/Juntos/Mmmm (feat LA Warman) (22:10)
Review: DJ Python's hypnotic take on dembow is second to none. The New York DJ and producer can send you wild with the slowest of tempos and does that again here on his second superb album on Incienso. His tactile drum programming weaves and wanders beneath the most bendy and gooey of synth lines. The tension between those percolating drums and the star gazing keys and pads up top is what makes his music so enthralling - life is slowed to a crawl and everything seems to take on more beauty and resonance as a result. Tracks here are variously coloured with eerie vocal samples, field recordings or deconstructed jungle percussion, and every single one snakes its way into your mind, body and soul. "Mas Amable" may just be one of the albums of the year.
Review: Having recently impressed with a deliciously off-kilter - and hugely impressive - debut album on Studio Barnhus (last year's must-check "Once Upon A Passion"), Stockholm's Bella Boo dons the alternative BB alias and offers up a cheeky, acid-laden future anthem. In its original A-side form, "Hey Ladies" sees the rising star top a sweaty, all-action house beat with dreamy chords, layered R&B/soul vocals, deliciously dirty bass and waves of angular, mind-altering acid lines. It's a brilliant combination of elements all told, with Boo's smart production and on-point arrangement making it a genuine peak-time banger for underground DJs. The accompanying vocal-free Dub Mix is superb, too, with the Swede replacing sampled R&B snippets with bubbly electronic motifs and even wilder acid lines.
Review: Shara music emerges with a concept that glitters by love for a very special woman named Sara. The producer of Barcelona Owen Ezard presents his new record label, Shara Music, and it starts nothing more , nothing less with this great piece of EP signed by the mexico-Italian couple Mijo & Rodion. A futuristic sound ep charged with hints Techno Latin and classical Italo influence also with the remixes included of "Chapo Guzman" and our great Damon Jee. Exceptional beginning for this label and where in addition They have prepared for us a lot of amazing references that will see the light as the year progresses. First reference Shara Music... SHM001 is coming up
Review: Having recently revived his Utopia Project alias for a surprise new 12" on Running Back, legendary New York deep house producer Rheji Burrell returns to Gerd Janson's label with an EP credited to another one of his Nu Groove era pseudonyms, NY Housin' Authority. "Out Of Body Experience" boasts seven tracks, all of which explore similar sonic pastures to the project's classic, late '80s/early '90s material. That means tactile synthesizer basslines, ear-catching melodies, classic house synth sounds and drum machine beats rich in Burrell's usual infectious swing. Highlights include the breezy and life-affirming jazziness of "3rd Time", the bass-heavy, intergalactic thump of "5th Time" (a cut that would neatly fit into Bleep techno-influenced sets) and the summery warmth of "2nd Time".
A Toast To Momma Rose (Crowd Claps Jacked By Norm Talley)
That's Lil'Boy (feat Ian Finkelstein)
Second Life (feat John FM)
The Sound Of Neptune
Don't Get In My Way
This Love Is 4 Real
Hear Me Out (feat John FM)
Ambiance (feat John Cloud & L'Renee)
Coming Home Hum
Review: Those who've been paying close attention will know that Alex 'Omar' Smith has been mixing things up musically of late, veering away from the deep Detroit house he's famed for in order to explore a wider range of influences. New album "You Want" doesn't exactly reverse this trend, but it is far more rooted in his particular brand of seductive, off-kilter deepness and techno-tinged hypnotism than recent singles. That's undeniably a good thing, because nobody does crunchy, machine driven club jams better than the Motor City producer. There are nods towards Italian style piano house, disco, broken beat, jazz funk, Masters at Work and - more surprisingly - industrial techno (see the filthy closing cut) - but the resultant cuts don't sound like anything other than tried-and-tested Omar-S club jams.
Review: Here comes something fresh for your ears on Lazare Hoche. The Parisian minimal house bastion is experiementing on this release, as Alex Font collaborates with Nils Weimann for a record that explores the synergy between classical minimalism and contemporary dancefloor reductionism. "Ballets" is a striking track that gets creative with violin strikes falling in polyrhythmic patterns to create something truly bewildering for the dancefloor - after all, that experimental sphere is where the magic happens. "Kefta" takes a more traditional approach to minimal tech house, executed in a classy, understated fashion. On the flip, Lizz comes on board for a remix of "Ballets" that places the emphasis back on the beats.
Want You In My Soul (Summer In London edit) (4:51)
Review: Stee Downes is one of contemporary house music's most prominent vocalists and here he lends his silky tones to Freerange, Defected and OM Records associate, Lovebirds for this new one on South Street. "Want You In My Soul" is a mix of old and new, where disco percussion and cosmic synths nestle alongside a mid tempo house groove with plenty of warmth. Downes' vocals are the loved up icing on the romantic groove cake. Flip over for the "Summer In London Edit" - a more stripped back and direct version, perfect for outdoor stages as the sun beats down.
Review: Russian producer Kirill Sergeev has been setting light to the likes of Hell Yeah, Bordello A Parigi and Bahnsteig 23 in the past under his Kito Jempere alias, and now it's the turn of Pleasure Unit to get his unique treatment. "House Track" may seem like an innocuous title but don't be fooled, it's far from a conventional house jam. Loose, 80s tinted production vibes abound across the record, not least with the party heaters on the A side. "Never Been To Ibiza Beaches 1997" is a more laid back jam, but still sizzling with inventive energy, and "Jungle Mantra" explores tribal percussion with a fresh slant that will call out to the tropical spinners.
Review: Not all types of techno suits the album format, though that's not an accusation you could level at Derek Carr's particular brand of melodic, sci-fi-fired retro-futurism. "Pursuit Part 1" (a second volume will drop shortly) proves this point, delivering a suite of mostly club-ready cuts that can easily be listened to from start to finish in the comfort of your own home. It's full to bursting with warm, melodious, bass-heavy tackle, much of which combines his usual starry synths and deep space electronics with grooves which are far more influenced by dub techno than much of Carr's output. Highlights include the two-part "Not Tonight", the TB-303 powered "Acid Bath", and the glistening ambient/IDM lusciousness of "Nightfall".
Review: An absolute future classic album of the incredible Derek Carr on Sushitech's sub label - Pariter.
A long journey of 15 tracks that starts with some deep and dubby chords, acidic grooves and ends up with lush string based ambients.
For the fans of Convextion, Schatrax and of course Derek himself! Huge release!
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Smart Bar resident and Chicago champion Garrett David has been rolling out sumptuous deep house with a techno edge for many years, via his own Stripped & Chewed label as well as the likes of Distant Hawaii and Residual. Now he lands on Spanish label Mate, following in the footsteps of Javonntte, Gari Romalis, Reggie Dokes and many others. The EP opens up with the frankly gorgeous tones of "On The Bridge Of Boscobel" before nudging up in intensity for the pattering jack of "Mike Experiment". "Sassy Lead & A Familiar Bark" is a smooth and serene floor cut furnished with gorgeous sweeps of melody, while "Whatever, Whatever" takes things deeper into a nocturnal state of mind with smouldering keys and a heads down rhythm section.
Review: The EYA Records crew continues their trip into a new musical direction with the Lonewolf series, this time offering up a split 12" between two distinctive techno producers. Bladymore Galaxy, otherwise known as Riccardo Buccirossi, brings some effervescent synthscapes to bear on his side of the record. There's an old-skool sensibility to the production - all uptempo drums and layer upon layer of sparkling sci-fi melodics - but there's equally a welcome fresh energy and emotional honesty embedded in Buccirossi's style that makes it so joyous to listen to. Belgian producer Innershades brings a punchier style informed by electro and trance - the perfect sound to lose yourself to as the dry ice creeps around and the sun starts rising over the dancefloor.
Review: Since 2013 the Florence series of shadowy 12" singles from unknown artists has provided a steady string of contemporary reworks of notable - and in some cases, lesser-known - songs. This time round, the mystery producer involved has set his sights on New Order classic "Blue Monday", with A-side cut "New" delivering a pitched-down, beefed-up revision of the dancefloor classic that comes complete with fresh Clavinet notes and acid style motifs. Over on side B, "Jungle" is a wonderfully sweaty, bass-heavy affair in which the Jungle Brothers Todd Terry-produced hip-house anthem "I'll House You" is turned into a bustling, big room-friendly chunk of arms-aloft messiness.
Review: Of all DJ duos currently operating in British dance music, Belfast boys Bicep might be the hardest to pin down (Optimo aside, of course). Certainly, this debut album is not easy to pigeonhole, though it is an enjoyably cohesive listen. This is largely down to two factors; the frequent use of deliciously colorful and loved-up synthesizer parts, and the duo's innate ability to utilize beats tailor-made for dancefloor devastation. So while keen dancefloor historians may notice sly (and not so subtle) nods to '89 rave, U.S house and garage, Italo-disco, late '90s progressive house, jungle and early British hardcore, the album never sounds anything less than a fine set of Bicep tracks. Expect it to be one of the biggest albums of the year.
Review: SEX (remixes) makes for another triumphant 12" from the uber prolific FXHE stable and further smears the edges of expectation when it comes to the singular Omar S. Once again utilising the silky vocal delivery of singer L Renee, the four tracks here take divergent stylistic routes but each is magnificent. Keen listeners of Benji B's Radio 1 show will have heard the Conant Garden Posse version on a recent Big Strick guest mix, a devilishly dirty riposte to the Ghetto House aesthetic which has L Renee's vocals gliding over a snapping, raw house beat. Alongside this are two variants done in collaboration between Omar S and Aaron Fit Siegel which sound like they've been particularly inspired by soundtrack to Drive. Check the final Mack & Bewick remix for some detuned analogue nightmare set to a rippling electro beat.