Review: Swiss producer Alci, also known as Shaolin Fantastic, landed with lauded releases on Robsoul before skipping to other labels like Apollonia and Meander. Following last year's excellent "Diversity" double pack, he lands on his own label Seeingsounds with this pitch perfect slice of dreamy minimal house. "Acid Drip" may be a misleading title - it's more of an unending groove draped in gorgeous, shimmering melodic finery. "Hiragana" takes things in a more twitchy direction, while "Apachi" brings another slant on reduced, oddball funk to get the up all night crowd loose and freaky in all the right ways.
Review: While he may have been operating in the underground for some time, Darren Allen's music is only just coming to light through his own Underlying Form label now. There's a range of styles on offer across this EP, kicking off with the subtle pulse of "Feel" before moving on to a distinctly French-flavoured micro house groove on "Inmost Cave" that wouldn't sound out of place on Telegraph Records. On the B side, "Routine Kills Inspiration" switches the mood up with a rougher sound palette, even if the arrangement is still a minimally-minded affair. Then it's left to Vid Vai to drop a complex reworking of "MD Habitat" loaded with intricate textures.
Review: Techno heads with an appreciation of forgotten and almost-lost gems will be happy with this one. Mark Ambrose's 'Dimensions' first saw the light of day on Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic way, way back in 1997, and here is finally remastered for the modern world. And what a treat it is. A shining example of just how compelling, addictive and inescapable tracks can be without needing to be particularly hard, those looking for adjectives will find them in the likes of tough, solid and crisp. The four tracks all follow a similar trajectory, deep but purposeful dancefloor stuff where sub bass rules and alien noises become warbling hooks- not leat on 'Cable Talk'. Those looking to stomp in the dark may find 'Signs 'N' Lights' is the go-to, 'Photo Funk' is pure darkroom mechanical groove and 'Bassoon' a sharp tech builder.
Review: Last spotted on Vakant, Detroit's man of mystery returns to D'Julz' Bass Culture after four years with three more rough, warm Motor City jams. "Castaway" takes off without so much as a compass. Heading towards the light with every added rhythmic element and cascading arpeggio, it drives into the horizon with equal measure of focus and looseness. "Doin It To Ya Baby" takes a subaquatic disco approach - the wide beats are wrapped in subtle slapbass twangs and dubby overlays while "Wara Coco" is a trippier twist into the shadows as raindrop textures trickle over a low and slow groove and incessant humanised loops. Remix-wise Orlando Voorn peppers the lead track with a little analogue funk and mild acid tweaking. After this castaway you'll never want to come home...
Review: After making his debut with the Slum EP on Bucharest-based Te Iubesc Records, Romanian producer Ionu? Arapu has spread his wings with a series of releases across a wedge of European labels such as Dusseldorf's Gua Camole and London crew Moss Co. This Mdmamazing 12" for Michael Peter & Siggi Schulz's Movida label is Arapu's most high profile to date and despite the slightly dubious title will probably land the Romanian some new fans too! The title cut is a powerful minimal dancefloor tool with a supple bassline driven groove and some nicely broken drums, whilst "Chivoice" finds Arapu in more abstract territory.
Review: Arapu is very much one of the key Romanian artists of the moment. Of course, like his revered countrymen, that means techno that is elegant, minimal, and delicately detailed. His own take on the style is often littered with curious little motifs and trippy loops that also characterise this new one on heavyweight vinyl for Liniar. "Over" is a brilliant opener with languid Balearic guitar riffs echoing over supple drum work which will hook you in and encourage your mind to wander, whereas "A Gain" is a more direct, driving minimal techno cut with warped synths peeling off an urgent groove. "I" closes out with a funky undercarriage and dub house overtones that will get any basement popping off.
Review: Bringing that tough-edged Dutch bounce like only he can, Anil Aras returns to Slap Funk with another shipment of forthright deep house righteousness that packs in heads-down techy elements alongside the addictive shuffle of the drums. "Utr" is an unabashed tribute to Aras' hometown of Utrecht that rides high on a killer chord stab, while "Anbush 46" wriggles its way into more minimal territory without losing that hard-grooving spirit. Fellow label regular Malin Genie equally twists up that percussion into a bugging beatdown that harks back to the funkiest threads of the minimal era on his remix before "My Side Of The Street" diverts into sparse 2-step territory.
Review: Argy takes on the challenge to compose this year's summer soundtrack. From South America, to Africa and Persia, the young artist presents us his global music influences through a modern-electronic sound. On the A-side, "La Pasion", clearly presents the artist's passion for house music. Argy achieved to produce a modern but old skool sounding Latin track, which is definitely going to create a unique atmosphere and set dance floors on fire. "Third Night In Lebanon" takes us on a mental trip of oriental overtones. A reduced percussive piece with an intelligent arrangement of organic sounds consists one of Argy's most interesting works to date. The final track treats us to a sweeter, mood changing experience. "The Waves" is structured around a steady groove of airy and wet percussion layered with intriguing, spacey effects. Once again the young Greek combines innovative production with a raw sound full of passion and soul. Something he simplifies as nothing more than "Honest music from the heart".
Review: Jack's House is back with another wedge of crucial cuts from a spread of big hitters, kicking off with Alex Arnout and the tightly wound roller "Hypersomnia." Tuccillo is in a heads down mood on "Another Day," letting the drums and the bassline do the brunt of the work. Terry Francis favours a heavy, smoky sound palette that has a bassline that will do some serious damage on a decent system - "Jua" is easily the strongest track on the record. Killan Vega closes the record with a smart deep house jam peppered with crafty sound design elements that lift the track beyond the average chord-led workout.
Arsy vs The Ferrari Orgy Death Crashs - "Sheep" (5:48)
Review: There is little about this second release from schaukel sublabel Laubenpiepers Finest that doesn't immediately capture your attention. The humorous artist name (Arsy), the odd EP title (I Deleted The Mach Kernel File Completely) and the King Kong riffing art work (if you indulged in LAUF 001 you may be noticing a theme) will separately or collectively draw the inquisitive minds out there to investigate further. If you are one of those, you will be rewarded with some wonderfully warm machine music that changes in tone from calm and relaxed to bouncy and insouciant from track to track. Final track "Sheep", a collaboration between Arsy and The Ferrari Orgy Death Crashs (a superb name) will delight those of a dubbier persuasion.
Gut Man Cometh (Matthew Herberts Feel Right Rub) (6:40)
Destroyer (FOLD Lean Tape version) (6:59)
Review: The master of wacky techno returns. Matthew Dear donned his notorious Audion moniker again for his first album in years under the guise. The Alpha LP featured about a dozen woozy and disorienting dancefloor destroyers and two selections are present here getting the remix treatment by two fellow innovators. The legendary Matthew Herbert remixes "Gut Man Cometh", scaling back the high-octane psychedelia of the original into a driving journey track with interestingly spiced up vocal samples. Aus Music regular FOLD turns "Destroyer" into a tough deep house stomper with emotive pads being supported by some gutsy stomp and shuffle.
Review: The Synthetic Gold story continues to unfold in the most curious nooks and crannies of the minimal techno scene, as this third volume welcomes in tracks selected by Anestie Gomez. Khan is in a looped up, insistent cycle loaded with alien synth tones and a focused rhythmic hiccup of a beat, truly aiming for the psych-out end of the night. Eloi Brunelle makes things a touch funkier on "Neneh", deploying choice splashes of dubbed out colour in between the sharp strut of the drums. Andres Garcia then spreads himself across the B-side with the loping funk of "Invisivel", working all manner of freaky sounds around the scuffed sway of the beats.
Review: Following a strong cast including Myles Serge, John Barera, DJ Skull and Hakim Murphy, Mentha continues its strong run of form with a various artists 12" that broadens the horizons of the high-grade deep house label. Michael Lovatt keeps things groovy and understated on "Tides", while Kareen Ali gets into a slow and trippy mood on "Arnaldo Tamayo Mendez". Anaxander's "Unspoken" brings some neo-soul synth lines to the table, and Michael Zucker turns out a brooding, introspective workout. Each track may have its own traits, but the whole record hangs together as a fine next step for a promising label.
Review: The FUSE London crew are back everyone, look out! Bringing the sound of their legendary daytime raves to us again and getting straight down to business on Enzo Siragusa's third edition of 5 are label mainstays Rich NxT (with the rolling and adrenalised "Badass") and the always impressive OdD aka Damian Daley & Danny Dixon joined by newcomer Rossko (making his production debut) on the rolling hypnotism of "Jabba The Hut". On the flip is Moscow Records boss Archie Hamilton (another mainstay of the label) with the woozy and tripped out after hours deepness of "Cirrus" and the Deep End Soundsystem affiliated Sam Bellis with the gutsy acid driven "Solstrole".
Review: Back in 2008, noted experimentalist Alva Noto began a sporadic series of albums that were far more focused on dancefloor-inspired rhythms than his usual eccentric and inspiring fare. Unieqav is the third and, we're told, final part of the series. The album is apparently meant to be a sonic representation of an underwater dive, a conceptual theme which manifests itself through the storied producer's use of deep and atmospheric chords, fluid and occasionally glistening electronics, and rhythms that evoke images of ever-deeper dives into the dark, cold depths. Rhytmically, there are nods to electro, IDM, dub techno and Autechre, though the mood remains laidback and intoxicated throughout.
Review: Innervisions bosses Frank Wiedemann and Kristian Beyer return as Ame, and present their first full length entitled Dream House - described as a home listening styled journey. The German duo spent three years working on the LP and it features collaborations with legends of German electronic music such as Roedelius and Gudrun Gut, as well as Bolivian singer David Lemaitre and Jens Kuross - who was a member of Wiedemann's other venture The Howling, with Ry Cuming. Highlights include their dramatic collaboration with Matthew Herbert "The Line", the upbeat disco number "Blind Eye" (featuring Planningtorock), the chill balearica of "Positivland" and the evocative/melodic dreamscape of "No War".
Losoul - "Love Supreme" (Its All In There mix) (9:57)
The Moul - "Love Supreme" (Drum mix) (4:40)
Metaboman - "Love Supreme" (Metabomix) (5:57)
Dave Aju - "Love Supreme" (A Dub Supreme mix) (8:10)
Ark Pit Spector - "Love Supreme" (A Rush Supreme) (6:14)
Ark - "Love Supreme" (Free mix) (7:06)
Review: Parisian oddball house legend Ark teams up again with fellow local and Prospector head honcho Pit Spector to inaugurate Ark Records. A longtime in the making no doubt but worth the wait. Love Supreme LP as the title suggests is a tribute to the legendary John Coltrane and the pair have drafted a who's who of deep house and minimal to lend some hands and ears. Highlights include The Mole's "Molemix"; a sublime serving on reductionist bounce, Frankfurt genius Lo Soul who is as brilliant as ever on the sublime and hypnotic "It's All In There Mix" and Ark himself with his "Free Mix" which is as dusted down and as funked up as we all like it!
Review: Having given keen listeners a healthy preview in his Fabric live mix last year, the artist formerly known as Stopmakingme delivers his full-length album for Erol Alkan's Phantasy Sound. It's a limber brew that channels a strong dose of analogue trickery through smart and snappy beat constructions, all bubbling, aquatic synths and troubled delays propelled by unfussy drum patterns so that the melodies can do the talking. Primarily this is a dancefloor album, moving from peppy breakbeat driven numbers to gently bumping house, but always the playful, ineffably warm synth work sets the tone, from "Naive Response"s robotic charm to "Drone Logic"s soaring grind. It's an album brimming in confidence and nailed with precision, and it's packed full of incredibly usable floor rockers to boot.
Review: Since 2014, Spain's Park & Ride label have been offering a truly outstanding selection of collaborative releases from the finest talents of the deeper side of contemporary tech-house. This time, they return with the Paris compilation, driven by the sounds of some of Europe's finest. Among our favourites on here, we have the opener, Saverio Celestri's majestic "Interstellar", a hybrid trip between house and industrial electro that sounds as if it were cut straight from the machines through which it was conceived; "Rob In The Hood" by Seuil is another sublime slice of grainy, stripped-back dance music with a clear ode to the coldwave scene, and Alex Picone's "Sunday" provides a charming, graceful analogue house cut with a broken rhythm and some glorious background sonic manipulation. Yes.