Review: With previous releases on Blind Jack's Journey and Tessellate, London via Istanbul's Aleksandir returns with this great new six tracker courtesy of Seb Wildblood's Church imprint. Shades of jazz, soul, broken beat and house linger throughout these lush and dusty downbeat selections. Take for instance the smooth opener "Before, After" with its seductive leads, airy pads and reduced polyrhythms, the late night deepness of "Gone Swimming" (which is so sensual) or the simply evocative mood lighting of "Between Summers" which respectfully recreates the vibe of UK greats such as 4hero or At jazz's classic nu-jazz antics.
Review: 2016 has been an important year for the Beesmunt Soundsystem duo, led by David Va Der Leeuw and Luigi Antonio Jansen and, this new EP for London's Church imprint alongside San Proper is both firmly on-point and exactly the sort of smooth, laid-back house we're vibing on. "Simcha Riddim" gets three versions: There's the slow, balearic OG mix with its cool harmonics and warm glow of vocals, the more kinetic swing of the Percussion dub mix, and a fuller, more beat-heavy remix by Project Pablo. All in all, this makes for a fine slice of house and another stellar addition to the Church catalogue.
Review: Previously spotted on Lowtec's revived Out To Lunch label, James Booth's wayward variety of house music has been largely released through the 100%Silk label. That is certainly not a bad thing - we love the LA-based label - but it's refreshing to see him land on London's own Church imprint. The promoters-turned-label-owners have got a good thing going, and it's equally exciting to see them broadening their reach by landing some more homegrown talent. This four-tracker is deep and effective for floor use: "Silver Blaze" is a placid slice of chord-heavy house, ""Soup" stretches the percussion and lands on a two-step territory, "Vanish" goes all Chicago on us, and "Why Would You Not" goes deeper and murkier than any other track on this fine house excursion.
Review: Church's latest release - a rather tasty, two-track ten-inch single - comes courtesy of South London sorts DJ Malcolm and Dabriel Garius. A-side "Lulo", a jazzy deep house cut smothered in expansive piano solos, dreamy synth chords and sampled female vocals, is particularly potent, with the duo expertly layering up the percussion to give the track a sun-kissed, carnival-friendly feel. Flipside "Guava" displays a similar jazz influence, with the duo trading electric piano and trumpet solos over elastic synth bass and swinging, semi-broken deep house grooves. It's what we imagine a contemporary collaboration between Phil Asher and 2000Black boys Dego and Kaidi Tatham would sound like, which is high praise indeed.
Review: There's a case to say that Folamour has yet to put a foot wrong in 2017. Over the year to date, he's released killer EPs on All City, Moonrise Hill Material and Roots For Bloom, as well as contributing fine tracks to a number of other 12" singles. Predictably, this outing on Church is also hotter than the sun. "Jazz Session For Future People" is a killer chunk of life-affirming jazz-house bounciness that offers a near perfect balance between rolling dancefloor funk and intricate musicality, while "Melophrenia" is a supremely smoky slab of ultra-deep wooziness. Arguably best of all, though, is the hip-hop tempo synthesizer Balearica of "Janvier In Bed", which may well be his most tactile and glassy-eyed cut to date.
My Favourite Merchant (feat Byron The Aquarius) (5:26)
See Me Ride (3:58)
Gem (Hidden Spheres remix) (6:30)
Review: Jesse Futerman's first appearance for Church feels like it was always meant to happen and, in fact, it's as if this artist has always been part of the London label. That's because his rugged house flex is exactly the sort of material that these guys have been pushing over the last few years, and "My Favourite Chant" provides the perfect analog house trip. "See Me Ride", however, is a slower, more placid sort of groove that allows more space for the myriad of gentle melodies emanating from every corner, but the flip-side's "Gem" heads back to the dance floor with utter ease, and makes for the perfect opening set track; Hidden Spheres provides the remix, a subtle modification of the original which focusses heavily on the tribal drums. A wonderful new Church bomb...
Review: Hungarian deep house maestro Gnork has released on some top quality record labels since making his debut in 2013, including Bokhari, Unknown To The Unknown, Crow Castle Cuts and Magicwire. Here he adds another hyped imprint to his impressive discography via a rock solid four-track outing on Church. He begins with the bouncy and saucer-eyed "Golden Hour", where rushing chords and futurist electronics ride a rolling breakbeat house rhythm, before expertly joining the dots between TB-303-driven acid house and electro on "3pm (& Already Happy)". You'll find a dreamier, punchier and more bass-heavy take on electro opening side B ("Space Jam") in collab with Douala, while the EP's closing cut, "Easy MFX", is a lusciously evocative and spine-tingling slab of drifting deep house brilliance.
Review: Loz Goddard, formerly of Outplay, Dirt Crew and Quintessentials, has a new deep house parish: Seb Wildblood's immaculate Church imprint. The Manchester producer's label debut is really rather good, though we didn't expect anything less. He begins with the pulsing space funk synthesizer chords, lilting melodies and dusty drums of "Gluttony Bay" before wrapping fluid harp motifs, eyes-closed electronics and thickset bass around a crunchy rhythm track on "Anomaly". Arguably the best of the bunch, though, is the energetic but dreamy dancefloor bliss that is "Find Me", a track whose inherent jazziness is further explored on Session Victim's superb accompanying remix.
Review: Church has certainly grown into one of London's most dependable house music outlets these past few years across their various interlinked label divisions. The emergence of Laurence Guy is testament to that - last year he debuted on Church with the well-received Kojak EP, and has gone on to prove his worth across a number of 12" releases and V/A contributions. Bamboo sees him back in the Church fold for their ninth White Label release and it's a confident four-track display of measured deep house. From the warbling melodies of the title track to the Smallville stylings of "Knotweed" and "Lotus", Guy is clearly improving with each release!
Review: Over the last 12 months, Tom Harris AKA Hidden Spheres has proved to be one of the most adaptable producers in the deep house scene. He not only delivered plenty of tropical and dreamy fare via his Fruit Merchant imprint, but also got rough, raw and ragged via an acid and electro-influenced EP on Lobster UNDR. "Words Can't Explain" is another deft change of direction, with honey-voiced guest Oscar Jerome offering a superb soul vocal over a warm and woozy backing track rich in broken house drums, toasty synth bass, drowsy Rhodes chords and effortlessly jazzy guitar solos. It's superb, and one of Harris' best tracks to date. Also worth checking is the club-ready revision by Yu Su, which not only utilizes heavy sub bass but also some crunchy drum machine percussion.
Review: This fine outing on Church marks the return of Rai Scott, a woman who knows a thing or two about crafting quality deep house. Despite it being three years since her last EP, Scott has lost none of her production powers. For proof, check the dreamy lo-fi wooziness of "Paradise of Crane", where deep space synthesizer chords seemingly float around a clicking deep house groove, the cinematic bliss of "Lazy Sunshine" - "Deep Burnt" for a new generation, perhaps - and the lilting, enveloping dancefloor melancholia of "Detached Observation". Also worth checking is Valentino Mora's fine remix of "Paradise of Crane", which recasts the track and a slowly shifting chunk of head-in-the-clouds deep house/dub techno fusion.