Review: A White Bear's Heaven... Is A Black Bear's Hell is something of a departure from the smooth, deep and undulating sound we've come to expect from Omar-S's FXHE label. It signals experienced producer Brian Kage's first outing for four years. While that release for Beretta Red paid tribute to atmospheric techno, this outing is far more inspired by late '80s Chicago house and acid. The standout is undoubtedly "Shut Your Eyes", a co-production with Omar-S that wraps James Garcia's soulful, heartfelt vocals around classic synth-strings, tactile stabs and pared-down, '80s style drum machine hits. He switches off the lights and signals more of a heads-down mood on the First Choice-sampling "It's Not Over" - a thrillingly tactile, synth-laden jacker - while "Bear Gonna Getcha" sounds like a warehouse anthem in waiting.
Review: Following strong turns from Kasra V last year, this Love Fever spin-off label returns to call upon Al Kassian to drop some electro-pop enchantment on unsuspecting ears. With just one recently released record to his name, Al has positively encouraged the intrigue that emanates from Artificial Emotion. "Roboluv" is a sublime slice of house balladry shot through with a curious line in wobbly electro synths, which then really come to the fore on slower B1 jam "Default". With the heavily vocodered vocals pealing out through the mix, it's quite an arresting end result that culminates with the wonderful curio "Broken Embraces".
Review: Prince of eclectic boogie Kasra V will release his sophomore EP 'Atlantis' through vinylonly house imprint LIPS this September 28th. Tehran-born Kasra has already built a solid reputation as a selector across London's underground circuit, with his bi-weekly 'Paradise' show on NTS Radio, plus various residencies and 22Tracks playlists. Flipping his focus onto production, his newest creations are a fusion of his own killer tastes with experimental techniques; the result being an intelligent melding of purist house, funky Balearic rhythms and synth heavy disco, all with a distinct middle-Eastern edge.
Review: 2011 saw the launch of Frankie and long-time production partner Eric Kupper's 'Director's Cut' project, aiming to reproduce classic cuts from the godfather of house music's back catalogue to fit with the modern and evolving dancefloor. On his undisputed 1987 anthem " Baby Wants To Ride", Knuckles and Kupper have extended the intro and outro plus given it a crisper, more detailed feel to the overall production - while providing a subtle vibrancy to Jamie Principle's saucy vocals. On the flip, Detroit wunderkind Jimmy Edgar delivers a stomping re-edit of the track, which was originally a tribute release after Frankie's passing in 2014. The Frankie Knuckles Foundation will receive 50% of the profits from this project.
Review: Until recently, it was rare to see early Chicago house anthems on seven-inch single. Get Down Records is on a mission to change this and has been pumping out dinky TRAX reissues at a furious rate. Here they serve up a fresh pressing of Frankie Knuckles' most celebrated single: 1987's double A-side "Baby Wants To Ride/Your Love". Really, you should know both by now - they're amongst the most played and written-about house tracks of all time - but if not, check the sound clips. Remarkably, both the sleazy "Baby Wants To Ride" and luscious, rush-inducing house-soul of "Your Love" sound as fresh and inspiring now as they did 31 years ago.
Review: French artist Kool Vibe is back on his own Paris-based label KV Records with a new 4 track EP. True to the mission assigned to the label, this release brings us back to the early 90s through basics sounds and elements which have defined deep house since then : fat syncopated rhythms, heavy and groovy basslines, warm chopped vocals. There is something raw and genuine about this record. 'Basics' and 'Back To The RealA' definitely emphasize the minimal and raw side of deep house. 'Tribute' is humbly dedicated to the legendary Todd Terry, whose ultimate knowledge of the art of sampling contributed to shape house music in the early days . At last,'Sleazy Joint (Touch It, Suck it') closes the record with a nasty and sexy touch . Anyway, the whole EP is meant for the dancefloor and the simple pleasure of partying. So forget about the pressure and enjoy !
Review: The legacy of Vibraphone's second wave continues to represent the best of classic Italian house, as long-time producer Joy Kitikonti joins up with Vibraphone main man Stefano Di Carlo to present this EP of impeccable grooves made the good old fashioned way. "Beautiful Eyes" takes the romantic, Ibizan approach to trancey house with its hands-aloft lead lines, while "Drink For Peace" brings a bit more jacking attitude to the table. "Devotion D" perhaps speaks to the more classic Vibraphone sound with its heads down chords and throbbing bassline, capturing that 90s vibe in fine style.
Review: Purism leaps into action once more, this time welcoming a strong cast of lesser known characters that fit right into the adventurous approach to house and techno that the label has forged its reputation on. All these producers make their first appearances here, but you wouldn't know it listening to the quality of the tracks on offer. Rafael Kasma's "Static Rope" is a quintessential grooving house jam with some killer filtered chords, while Munir Nadir brings the twitchy minimalism vibes on "Milagro". Jackie is on a sultry, jazzy deep house tip with "Lune" and Mag0 rounds things off with the cheeky, quirky funk of "Spectrum".
Review: Kapote is the enigmatic staple of Berlin's Toy Tonics label, and he's back with another serving of wicked house on "Brasiliko" which takes its cues from classics like the West London sound of Archive Records/Seji, while the wonderful remix by Byron The Aquarius goes for the original NYC jazz house sound from Kenny Dope and Joe Claussell. Finally, "Salva Tion" takes it even deeper into this territory (think 4hero).
Review: Berlin scene veteran Diego Krause serves up the seventh release on his Unison Wax imprint and doing what he does best: deep and dubby tech house that's best served at the afterhours. Kicking off with the lo-slung tribal groove of the title track, Krause goes deeper into the morning hours next with the swirling and hypnotic minimalism of "Phenomena". On the flip, things get off to a bouncy start with the tripped-out and swing-fuelled house shenanigans of "The Company You Keep" followed by "Lost Tribe" which will draw you in with its entrancing and infectious bass-driven attitude.
Review: The unstoppable Vogel machine is back on Lumberjacks with another serving of soul-soaked house goodness to warm the cockles as we step into Spring. This time around he's called on one of the great house vocalists of our times, Khalil Anthony, to lay down a vocal on "Brown Curls" that melts over Vogel's peppy, organic production. Nebraska bring a deeper, chunkier flavour to the track with their remix, and the results are just as captivating. Anthony's also on hand to croon over "You Are A Star", an equally simmering jam with more of that dusty house pressure from the deep end of the pool, while "Those Moments" finishes the record off on a funky, instrumental tip.
David Tapfuma - "Magamba" (Esa Zimtronix Direct mix) (5:19)
Review: This compilation style outing from Southern African music enthusiasts Nyami Nyami is billed as "an ode to the music of Zimbabwe past and future". Side A boasts cuts from two Bulawayo-based "Kwela" outfits: a terrific, heavily percussive future dub interpretation of Bulawayo Kwela's "Mysterious Africa" by The Comet Is Coming producer Danalogue, and the sparse, sun-kissed acoustic bliss of Elliot Phiri's "Nomalanga". Turn to the flip for two versions of Hararre-based David Tapfuma's beautiful "Magumba". There's the original version, where Tapfuma sings over a solo mbira melody, and a superbly glassy-eyed, synth-heavy 21st century club version by Auntie Flo collaborator (and hugely talented producer) Esa Williams. As good as the rest of the EP is, his version is worth the admission price on its own.
Review: Wojciech Taranczuk made his debut as Ketiov this time last year, serving up an expansive EP of dusty deep house treats and interesting interludes. This follow-up continues in a similar vein, opening with a pitched-down, reverb-laden blast of beat-less ambient goodness that sounds like a Balearic re-imagining of Crowded House's "Don't Dream It's Over" (the extended version of which is pretty darn dreamy. There's plenty of rock solid, club-ready fare to be found across the EP, though, including the rush-inducing piano house of "Friends", the cut-up disco-house bounce of "Semi OK", the rubbery, low-slung DJ tool "Special Treat" and the organ-heavy chug of sweaty peak-time throb-job "Workout". In other words, it's an impressively versatile EP that should suit working DJs down to the ground.
Can See Thru You (Sean McCabe Broken Mind remix) (6:24)
Can See Thru You (Sean McCabe 909 dub) (6:53)
Another Way (6:04)
Review: Barcelona newcomer Karmasound continues to wriggle and writhe his way up the ranks with a second release on Josiah Hartley's Phuture Shock. Building on the heat and soul of his debut release "Probabilidades" last year, "Can See Thru You" is another dreamy loose-drummed neo soul house gem that sparkles more every time you play it. Sitting somewhere between Amp Fiddler and Phil Asher, it's got summer stamped all over it. Remix-wise Sean McCabe adds two different floor-focused twists with the heavier Broken Mind mix and the heads down 909 dub. Finally Karmasound ups the tempo and takes us deep into bruk territory with the staccato soul and jazzy switches and cool 140 rhythm of "Another Way". There's no other way right now.
Review: Long celebrated as a hub for new producers to showcase their talents, CDR return to the releasing game in partnership with Dimensions Festival. Up and coming house heads K15 and FYI Chris reportedly invited Lismore and Ben Houghton to take part in this collaborative release, resulting in four tracks that wouldn't sound out of place soundtracking a balmy afternoon dance on the Adriatic Sea. Oozing quality and soul throughout, there's a distinctly laid back flavour to the house on offer across this release, although FYI Chris add a touch more bite with their grubby lo-fi synth lines on "Sugar".
Will Saul & Kommon - "Two For One" (original mix) (5:23)
Will Saul & Kommon - "Two For One" (Appleblim remix) (6:29)
Review: As a follow-up to Will Saul's exclusive-packed - and generally well received - DJ Kicks set, !K7 has decided to reissue two of the most celebrated tracks, with fresh new remixes. On the A-side you'll find Jabru and Joel Culpepper's "Church" - a decidedly organic, soulful chunk of deep house/UK garage fusion - with accompanying Zed Bias rub. The UKG veteran gives it a bouncy, bassy two-step makeover, wisely retaining Culpepper's brilliant vocals. Flip for Will Saul and Komon's spacey "Two For One", where dreamy flourishes rub shoulders with throbbing electronics and delicate house beats. The remix is provided by Appleblim, who adds a new layer of percussive toughness - in a bruk-meets-two-step style - whilst retaining the warmth of the original.