Review: OK EG appears from out of nowhere in a haze of the mellowest ambient techno and downtempo delights for your mind to melt into. "Creek" is a smooth but strident route in, the tidal lilt of the pads dissected by a finely paced beat loop that should find a comfortable home amongst deepest house heads. "Colours" does away with the drums and uses a plaintive sprinkling of keys and delays to create an evocative backdrop for fragile females vocals. "Reef I & II" is the clubbier cut, rolling out over the B side with a looming monosynth bassline and some dub techno inflections making it a smart choice for warm up scenarios especially.
Review: It's not often that you get to see Alan Oldham stepping out under his own name. The legendary Detroit artist is more commonly spotted as DJ T-1000 (or designing iconic artwork for techno labels) but this time around he's sharing some more house-minded delights for Finale Sessions. "Don't Take Me" is a haunting, mystical slice of deep house that fits into the Finale narrative perfectly, while "Wild" too offers up a distinctive approach that manages to be both refined and yet imbued with that Detroit roughness. "Breathe" may well be the best jam on the record, dealing in subtle threads of melody that conjure up the perfect dubby 4/4 confection.
Review: No one knows who One Day is. No one knows what the title of this EP is called. No one knows what the tracks are called. But we know that this is Office... And everything Baaz's Berlin-based label puts out has a great deal of detail invested in it and always requires attention. This is no exception as the mysterious vibe maestro takes us from warm, jazz-tinged chugging deep house to cascading aquatic ambience that bubbles and pops dreamily via fuzzy, springy downtempo. Who knows who's behind this masterpiece? Maybe One Day we'll find out...
Review: French producer Ortella is a staple of the Lyon based Mad Records and is also known for releasing on Rennes based imprint Rutilance. There's more dusty and reduced deep house here on the Believe EP. The A side features two sexy and swinging cuts such as "It's Good To Be Lost" (with its bouncy Juno bassline) and the rather Derrick Carter styled boompty business of "Attitude". On the flip, the funky disco loops of the title track are a bit of an afterthought when compared to the next track "Ass-ID" - undeniably the EP's highlight. This euphoric 303 acid journey jacks good and proper and will take you back to the days at The Warehouse circa '86 - when the likes of DJ Pierre and Adonis reigned supreme.
Review: It would be fair to say that Claque Musique, a freshly minted outlet for tactile tech-house, skewed deep house and otherworldly techno, has hit the ground running. Their debut release is something of an epic, featuring eight tried-and-tested cuts stretched across two slabs of wax. There's plenty of subtle variety on show throughout - compare, for example, the hissing percussion, jaunty synth bass and trippy spoken word vocals of Carola Pisaturo's "Ganzirri" and the jazzy, dub-flecked deep house shuffle of "Cenere" by Calma - plus a swathe of notable highlights. This include the spacey machine funk of Analog Inside's wonderful "Deep Time '88" and the psychedelic acid madness of Iuly B's "Alien Acid", whose delay-laden percussion hits are particularly wonky.
Review: Having largely operated on an autonomous self-release basis up to this point, Outstrip make a sturdy connection with the Dogmatik empire and serve up some of their crucial minimal house wares for all to behold. "A1" is a shimmering treat of a cut with just the right amount of colour bleeding in between the drums, while "NeproEP" strips things back to a raw, functional core. "Peremay" has an ultra-minimal, ever so slightly dubby vibe to it, while "Rastafara" keeps things as lean as possible as well. This is a record that does a sterling job of demonstrating how less can indeed be more.
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: Halle's Monaberry imprint receives nowhere near the amount of praise that it should. In all honesty, this has been one of the most consistent imprints to grace the tech-house sphere, with artists like Super Flu bringing some innovation and cutting-edge to that particular dance formula. Here, we have the label's seventh edition of the Herberts Best series, with a whole selection of new artists being given the chance to shine - including the ever-present Super Flu, of course. Stand-out tracks include "Gattara" by Bebetta, a tribalesque deep house joint with mounds of hypnotics; Jobe's "Maasai" makes for a supremely dubbed-out ocean of sonics; Sobek's "Handmade Desire" adds some industrial waves to what is a relatively 'housey' EP; "Arpo33" by Douglas Greed ends with a painfully on-point tech groove that dancers will find impossible not to shake to.