Review: It was certainly a big year for DJ Steaw, having released on Traxx Underground and Local Talk amongst others but "Rhubarbe" was probably his most infectious collection of house tunes. "Holing On" is one of those classic beat tracks that just takes you on a journey, with those bumping kick drums accompanied by the seductive female vocals and its smooth, Chicago-filtered bass lines. "Got To Be" is similarly addictive, bringing you Steaw's crunchy percussion and dreamy synths but "Dirty Karma" was our favourite here at Juno HQ - that muffled bass drum scorching its way through lo-fi melodies and chopped vocals is just too awesome.
Review: Bringing a no-nonsense approach to solid modern house music, John Jastszebski continues his tenure at Phonogramme with this sublime mixture of crisp drum programming and immersive chord deployment for a refined and innately usable excursion into premium house music. The original version of "Jim In Paris" has everything you need for a deep floor rocker, while the "Drum Version" drops the sultry chords and focuses on that impeccable beat. Zadig is on remix duties on the flip with two equally functional but damn funky versions that switch the chord up a touch and add plenty of swing, but to be honest whichever track you drop the needle on this record is going to work in your favour.
Review: Once you make music, once you do an artform, well it's no longer yours. It belongs to whoever puts their hands on it... If you can find a more evocative, poignant spoken word sample we'd like to hear it. Especially as it's laid so gracefully over velvet breathing pads and melodic flurries as soul-stirring as these. The remaining tracks on the EP are just as emotional as the languid swoons of "Duckface" and the grittier, bumping funk and surging pads of "Apologies" are joined by a sultry deep tech twist from fellow OG Patrice Scott. Stunning.
Review: Following a spotless run of releases on the likes of ClekClekBoom, Finale Sessions and Sistrum, Aleqs Notal makes his debut on Phonogramme with a four-track cross-continental odyssey that fuses, explores and provokes kindred sonic themes between his home city and the home of afrofunk. "This Place" eases us in with interlocked percussion and big Booker T level organ blasts while "Our Streets" takes us down more shadowy lanes where the synths hover like fog and ooze slowly like a jungle record played at half speed and "Infinite Bliss" eases us into something more comfortable with slinky bongo rolls and lingering, hazy keys in a way that could be compared to Joe Claussell. Finally Aleqs provides deep mix pleasure with an alluring percussive instrumental "The Search". Hypnosis mode: enabled.
Review: After debuting the Professor Inc project with that refined four track release on the consistently good Boe Recordings, Parisian house mainstay Frederic Poix expands his discography with a record for the recently established label Phonogramme. Under The Bunker is the Paris label's fourth release, and sees Poix collaborate with MB aka sound engineer Mathieu Berthet across three tracks that are described quite succinctly by the label as "using a drum machine and a keyboard on a sequencer with enlightenment". The drum machine is the most prominent element of the title track, as the combination of thick kicks and tinny hits provide the requisite forward momentum upon which the duo squeeze out some foggy freeform keys - it all bounces along like a slightly less saturated Restoration jam. On the flip "I Teach You" appears in both original and "hardcore remix" form, with the former's strident rhythmic base allowing Poix and Brechet the space to playfully embrace the melodic aspect fully, drawing on rich layers of sound that spiral brilliantly (watch out for the unannounced classic house vocal that arrives midway through). The latter version implements the vocal from the off, making it a great set opener, while the key lines have an almost Larkin-esque luminescence to them.
Review: It may only be February, but S3A releases his second EP for the Programme imprint. Volume 2 (Forward) features three funky loops of processed acoustics and overdubbed drums, similar to what you could expect from an early Revenge record. Bass licks and guitar twangs frequent in and out of a closed hat dominated groove in "Forward (part 1)" while subtle vocals and disco strings are added in "Forward (part2 - The Anthem Version).Sharing the B-side is "Deep Mood" held together by thick claps, glitter keys and swooning horns.