Review: From the label: When trends in music can come and go in the blink of an eye, ten years is a long time to stay relevant, passionate and real on the frontline. From its roots in the Parisian club scene by way of its spiritual home at Fuse in Brussels and so on to the globe-trotting, multi-faceted entity that it is today, Lessizmore is living proof of how to do a decade right. The fundamental heartbeat of this European house and techno institution is the maverick music that its affiliated artists make. Of course what the label sounds like now is not necessarily what the label sounded like back in 2006, but it's telling that some of the original characters are still with the label to this day, while many are long time members of the LIZM family that have joined the ranks over the years. In piecing together this compilation, the idea from label founders Jessica Bossuyt and Pierre Noisiez was simply to represent where their brainchild is at right now, from guests at their events in the early days to more recent collaborators of all kinds. Kicking off the first EP, the finest slithers of percussion and whispers of icy soul weave their way into the sublime, sprawling concoction that Birdsmakingmachine delivers, shifting drum sounds across eleven minutes of delicate yet irresistible groove. Meanwhile on the B-side long time champion of future-minded dub techno Deadbeat creates something of an anthem for the label, turning out an energised workout laden with psychedelic swirls of delay and embellished with a catchy vocoder hook. Recent Lessizmore signing Louis McGuire delves into his lowslung MPC-powered bag of tricks and drops another crucial slab of swinging funk that finds the up and coming artist turning to a moodier sound palette customized for the deepest corners of the night.
Review: After a short break in releases, Plastik People are back with the third installment of the Various People. We see label owner Marc Cotterell up first with his slice of 90's house music, incorperating slick grooves and catchy cut up vocals, along side mark on side A, a new addition to the Plastik People family from london, Charles Caliber, who graces the EP with a stunning soulful house groove called Moving On. On the flip side NYC artist Doug Gomez brings us a classic sounding, deep head nodding track which was originally releases on Frole records and we loved it so much that we decided it needed a vinyl releases, to round off the release, we are very pleased to have Mikki Funk back on Plastik People. he delivers us a splendid cut of UK garage, Mikki Funk has also previously released on RM Records and Music IS Love.
Review: A second edition of the Various Artists Backpack EP, from French house label D3 Elements pulls together some key producers; Detroit soulful house star Terrence Parker is back once again, and joined by D-Knox, Dan Curtin and TechElectro. Curtin gets the ball rolling with "House Spirits," a summery, feel good house roller with trilling keys and organic chords all making for a jazzy vibe. Then comes a more synthetic and abstract cut, "Stars That Never Die", from TechElectro aka the fearsome American techno duo of Solid Gold Playaz, who also release as Dark Matrix. On the flip side, D-Knox aka Groove Man offers "Summer Beach Time," a cool as you like track with breezy chords, radiant pads and wooden sounding percussion flapping along next to the drums. Then it is down to Terrence Parker to close with the laid back, deep and soothing "So Beautiful," a sweet as you like house jam with magic chords and plenty of heart warming grooves.
Review: Manchester label Natural Sciences launches its new sub label Dolphin Traxx with a sterling effort by Durham-based D. Futers. As the label best describe themselves it's "a pounding two tracker of aqueous goo, molecular body deposits and corrosive laser stains, pressed up loud + harddd (sic)." On the A side we have "I Care" which is a gorgeous serving of feelgood classic house reminiscent of classic Strictly Rhythm or King Street with its pitched up vocals and uplifting pianos over a soulful groove. There is a bit of a curveball on the B side with the liquid junglist roller "Never Givin' Up" which likewise is brazen in its retroverted style tributes; think early Peshay or Alex Reece.
Review: D'Marc Cantu's 2017 LP The Lodge was a high point for the ever prolific US producer, not to mention a jewel in Altered Moods' many-pronged crown. Now the label are revisiting one of the album highlights, "S.E.G," giving the punchy Chicago house jam another pressing before handing the reins over to a strong cast of remixers. The one and only Larry Heard plunges "S.E.G" into gorgeous, mystical realms of deep house spirituality like only he can, while Altered Moods boss Malcom Moore injects a different kind of spaced out energy to the track. Then Chicago Skyway finishes the package off with a distinctive version that reaches for a light and airy headspace while keeping the drums punchy and effective.
Review: D'Marc Cantu is a don when it comes to warm, rich synth-laden house and techno, with a sprinkling of electro sprinkled over his approach for good measure. Now he comes to Altered Moods with an album that finds him in a particularly mellow mood, not least on sultry opener "Always On My Mind". There's space for experimentation, as the offbeat snare patter of "Blanket Statement" demonstrates, but by and large this is all about undulating house delights. "Mozaic" is a particular highlight with its captivating synth design and dreamy demeanour, while "SteamFunk" revels in skippy broken beats that flirt with twinkling leads and lashings of delayed bass. Plenty varied but consistent in tone, this is a damn fine album from a seasoned pro.
Review: Just when you think Pepe Bradock can't take us to new plains, along comes a new alias with a new vision. Raw futuristic jazz is the theme (as is often the case with Pepe) as we're eased in nicely with harmonic broken shuffles of "Willplayasong4u" before being plunged into trippy data chirps on "KM Zero" and square-pushing oddities on "@#$*?! Square Tones". We come out the other side learned and woken the jitterbug, sample-heavy psychedelic bump-funk of "Pepe XXX". 24th century business.
Review: DJ Spider, DJ Qu and Joey Anderson collaborator Dakini9 is back on New York's Plan B Recordings with a hot solo EP, and the girl means business. Four tracks of raw, gritty house music from the street: "Find Myself" features Danny Watts on the vocals and a wavey, dubbed-out collection of sounds; "Wali" is similarly contorted and grey-scaled albeit for the lonesome piano keys travelling across the arrangement. Over on the B-side there's the head-nodder that is "Potentiation", a punchy and direct dub-house chugger, and the stumbling groove of "Strawman", the oddest and most daring of the four cuts.
DaM-FunK - "Believer" (Fingers deep funk remix) (8:40)
Nite-Funk - "Can U Read Me?" (3:38)
Review: Damon Garrett Riddick offered a fine addition to the DJ Kicks canon with his 19 track DaM-Funk selection earlier this and in time honoured tradition his exclusive contribution gets a vinyl release backed with a rather special remix. In a nod to his cache and love of classic deep house, Riddick has coaxed a Mr Fingers remix out of Larry Heard resulting in a sublime take on "Believer" that would have gone down a treat at Broken Beat haven Co-Op back in the day. Instead of the original version of "Believer," the flip features another Riddick original from the DJ Kicks mix - his killer Nite Funk collaboration with fellow LA synthesizer enthusiast Nite Jewel.
Giovanni Damico - "No Al Maltrattamento Dei Samples" (5:29)
Pascal Viscardi - "La Ragazza Del Lago" (6:19)
Marcello Napoletano - "Insignami" (6:55)
Lucretio - "I Piu Piccoli" (6:33)
Christian Lisco - "55" (5:02)
Paolo - "Pericolo" (5:20)
Bassa Clan - "Notte Brava" (6:57)
Fede Lng - "La Volpe" (4:58)
Review: According to La Chinerie themselves. after repping their dear home of France on the first volume, they are 'this time enlightening Italy's house scene through an eclectic V/A gathering eight tracks from eight talented macaronis.' Southern Italy represents in the form of Salerno's Giovanni Damico with the funky and dusty soul heaven of "No Al Maltrattamento Dei Samples" while Lecce's finest Marcello Napoletano delivers the goods as always on the gritty house shenanigans of "Insignami". Elsewhere, there's Restoration's Lucretio (via Berlin of course) delivering some muscular, hardware oriented grooves on "I Piu Piccoli" while the north of The Beautiful Country represents too, rest assured, in the from of Bologna's Bassa Clan with the bouncy and swinging NYC circa '94 vibe of "Notte Brava".
Review: As one of the earliest Chez Damier cuts to see the light of day, "I Never Knew Love" is more than welcome to a reissue to reach a fresh set of ears needing schooling in the ways of true deep house. It's an all-star cast here from artists in their youth, from MK's club mix of the star title in all its unmistakable MIDI Sax-ing glory, through to Carl Craig in a breezy piano breakbeat mood that's utterly charming in its simplicity. The real pick though is the "Change Up" mix of "I Never Knew Love" with its stripped back drums and spellbinding chord-led breakdown.