Review: Soul Central responsible for the anthemic house version of 'Strings of Life' needs no introduction. Their latest Pimp Life EP is a limited edition four-track vinyl that fluidly introduces the Electric Shrine imprint. The EP features a mix of gritty, jazzy, soulful and funk-filled cuts that are interplayed with raw interviews from behind bars. Soul Central keeps it deep and sleazy whilst delivering the real deal. 'Late Night Cruising' chronicles the journey of a Bluesman, departing with the funkiest of grooves and solid sub-bass becoming the final destination.
'Just A Man' embeds the confessions from a convicted pimp dispersed with classic keys and dripped in Soul. Turning in a modern take on the deeper side of Disco. 'Bring It Home' is haze fuelled & reminiscent of the early US House scene. 'Chicago Lights' fuses 4/4, low slung Funk driven by a deeper dub vehicle.
Review: Rhythm Plate are absolute powerhouses when it comes to delivering top-notch tech house, and they're back once again on Pressed For Time with this sizable payload of classy joints. There's a timeless quality to this stuff, whether it's the late-night swirl of "Sacrement" or the choppy, quirked-up groove of "Every Kind Of People With Any Kind Of Soul". Out of time and out of mind, the Plate just bring the kind of satisfaction to club music that could launch a thousand sessions. For the late night crew, for the mid-morning rollers and the sophisticated toe-tappers in between, sink your ear-teeth into this generous serving but whatever you do, don't call it an album.
Review: Ilija Rudman and Antonio Zuza's consistently classy label is back with a standout 12" from Californian producer Michoacan, who's previously been spotted on DFA, Eskimo and many other highly regarded labels. "Knights Are Cold" is a vibrant, original and delightfully kinked slab of sunshine with a subtle pitch-bent oddness and an innate funkiness. It's smart in its reference points, but certainly not trying to be a simple 80s disco pastiche. "Be Side Me" is a slower, moodier affair but the same melodic sensibilities shine through to make this a rich selection for DJs wanting grooves with personality and attitude to spare.
Review: The insatiable rise of Felipe Gordon continues apace. The Colombian has been in a rich vein of form over the last 18 months, chalking up must-check EPs on Quintessentials, Toy Tonics, Lost Palms, and Razor 'N' Tape Reserve. Here he adds another label to his discography: celebrated Swedish house outlet Local Talk. Title track "For A Bright & Acid Future" hits the spot from the word go, with Gordon wrapping twisted, rough-neck acid lines around a bustling backing track rich in fuzzy synth stabs, jazzy bass guitar and crunchy beats. Over on the flip Kear lends a hand on the sun-kissed, soft focus brilliance of jazz-funk/Jazz/deep Latin house fusion of "Son Esquivias", a slab of breezy, percussion-rich goodness that could well be Gordon's most musically expansive track to date.
Review: Sam Shepherd has long been a master of the kind of ultra-deep, rolling, soft focus deep house that raises the spirits and soothes the soul. Even so, there's something incredibly special about "Nuits Sonores", the lead track from this must-have EP. Based around a deep, tactile groove and blessed with rising synth solos, dancing acid lines and his usual fireside Rhodes antics, the track rises magnificently for 12 spellbinding minutes. As it progresses, further elements make their way into the mix, until it reaches the kind of organic deep house climax that makes even the grumpiest souls go weak at the knees. Flip for "Nectarines", the kind of loose-limbed fusion of deep house sassiness, Detroit techno electronics and fluid jazz drumming at which Shepherd has always excelled.
Review: Italian scene veteran DJ Soch has been serving up classy, mature and musically rich house music for longer than many of us have been alive, so it's great to see him showcase his wares on Lobster Theremin offshoot Distant Hawaii. There's naturally plenty to set the pulse racing amongst the five tracks on show, from the effortless warmth of title track "The Power of Poetry" - a glorious fusion of Nu Groove era Burrell Brothers style deep house and sun-kissed Italian dreaminess - to the chunky, bass-heavy bounce of New Jersey garage-influenced closing cut "Magic Flute". Other highlights include "Underground Night", where slick, vibraphone style solos and twinkling pianos ride another thickset late '80s deep house groove, and the luscious Italian dream house revivalism of "Round The World".
Review: Butch has been turning out essential club sounds for many years. He has a wide range of styles in his arsenal and always manages to come up with original ideas despite being so prolific for so long. "Joe Le Taxi" is a mad acid cut that has off-grid claps, drunken kicks and a female vocal lost in it all. It's the sort of unhinged tune to drop at the peak of the night and watch the reaction from afar. On the flip is an Acid Tool version that is even more wonky and unhinged, with the squirrelling acid line doing even more work.
Review: Bolla's Afrikan Basement debuted with a warm welcome in 2008 as a limited 7" and is one of the many essential projects Joe Clasusell has been involved with over the years. Now it gets revisited on this tasty 7". The a-side is a special edit of "Makkusa", a steamy, spiritual, deeply layered and emotional house track that is lead by a standout sax line. Joaquin's Sacred Rhythm dub is just that on the flip-side, a punchy rework with groaning vocals and a tribal feel, marching drums and plenty of the steam and sweat that makes his music so unique and powerful.
Review: Whether they're operating on Toy Tonics, Freerange, Madhouse or NeoVinyl, Black Loops rarely fail to deliver the deep house goods. Predictably, the Italian duo's Shall Not Fade label debut is another quality collection of cuts. Our pick of a very strong bunch is probably "Badmanthing", a quirky chunk of rubbery deep house-funk built around a bold, memorable bassline, eccentric electronics and tipsy chords, though the skipping drums, meaty bass and tweaked New Jersey garage motifs of "Plastikhaus" are also hugely alluring. Elsewhere, "No Fear" is a notable fusion of bounding house beats, darting jazz-funk synth sounds and simmering synth-strings, while EP opener "I Know You" is a more classic-sounding slab of deep house cheeriness.
Review: A 20th anniversary reissue of Sasu Ripatti's classic from the turn of the millennium. 'Vocalcity' is a milestone release which is unlike his more experimental works as Vladislav Delay, saw Ripatti capture the innovation of the 'micro' sound of the time (popularised by the likes of issuing label Force Tracks and scape) while incorporating elements of dub techno and deep house - with evocative female vocals a constant throughout. From the groovy glitch-funk of "Synkro" to the sexy sophistication of underground classic "Tessio'' or the smooth and sensual slow-burner "She-Center" - it hasn't aged one bit! Hailed by many critics as one of the most seminal and important releases to have come out of the '00s, this is a welcome and much needed repress of a right classic, courtesy of Ripatti's eponymous imprint that has been faithfully remastered.
Review: Few people have done as much to shape house music as Grammy winner Louie Vega. His next project finds him on an executive producer role as he assembles a crack team of world class musicians under the Elements of Life banner. With a sound inspired by greats like Stevie Wonder and Cymande, this fantastic record brims with musicality, joy and soul from front to back. The tracks are live sounding, richly percussive, sprinkled with Latin spice and various moods, grooves and tempos. For big hearted DJs and dancers, this is pure gold. Of course guests like Anane, Blaze and Lisa Fischer all help add their own special colour to the picture.