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: 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: 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: Valencia's Pepe has built up quite a discography over the last few years, with this fine outing on Church following similarly impressive releases for Let's Play House, Lobster Theremin, Loose Fit and Sprung. The EP's impressive title track is available in two variations: the sparkling, breakbeat powered "Roll Mix" - think hip-house style drums, weighty dub bass and occasional dreamy chords - and a "Bleep Mix" that beefs up the sub-bass while adding some suitably sparse, computer game style electronic melodies. Another clear highlight is "You Must Not Be Me", a fine combination of rush-inducing, sunrise-ready electronics and bustling breaks, while closing cut "Recollection" is a rather lovely drift into opaque ambient territory.
Review: One of the most influential figures in the South American scene, Colombian house stalwart Julio Victoria finally makes his bow on East London label Church with "Astrolabe". There is nothing hurried here, nothing designed to make a big splash, instead the three tracks on offer here send out little but endless ripples that keep you mesmerised from start to finish. The title track is Smallville styled cuddly house, "Evasion" is a little more humid and steamy, like a late night wander in the jungle, then "Tres" shows off smeared cosmic pad work paired with a perfectly dreamy and meandering bassline. Confident stuff.
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: Smallville regular turned Church debutant Julius Steinhoff is having a small gathering in his "Forgotten Garden" - a slightly overgrown but pleasingly becalmed place full of beautiful blooms and fragrant herbs - and he's invited us along for the ride. The title track sets the tone, with evocative spoken word samples, soft-touch pianos and echoing electronics straining to peer over the producer's huggable bassline and beats. "To Your Care" sees Steinhoff smother another great deep house groove in sustained chords and twinkling melodic touches, while "So Very Close" brilliantly joins the dots between dusty deep house, dub and new age bliss. Arguably best of all, though, is "Gonna Be With You", a locked-in voyage through deep house hypnotism rich in crackling samples, intergalactic electronics and bubbly bass.
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.
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.