Review: Unsurprisingly, Above Smoke has long been closely associated with his brother Dubbyman's Deep Explorer label, and so it figures that the Spanish artist is releasing his debut album close to home. For those unfamiliar with the sound of Deep Explorer, think of the warmest, soul-inflected deep house rich with natural instrumentation as much as electronic elements and you should have an idea. On the album format Above Smoke has space to branch out into some refined neo soul excursions such as "Don't Stop (Till The Morning)" featuring Kikone's stirring vocal, but as ever it's the exemplary house music that truly defines this album.
Two Thou - "Group Technology" (with Alberto Collodel)
Autre - "Cosmic Roots"
Two Thou - "SOL"
Autre - "Futura"
Review: The Fields & Forest label has so far aligned itself with the stellar Russian label Udacha, featuring Dices, A5 and Cuisine Dub, but things are taking a turn into new territory with the inclusion of Autre and Two Thou with two tracks a piece on this new slab of wax. Two Thou's "Group Technology" is a snappily shaped, 80s influenced groover with some interesting timbres falling into a dynamic groove, while "SOL" shows another side to the artist with a snaking slice of jazz funk infused experimental techno. Autre's "Cosmic Roots" is a more esoteric, new age gilded slice of ambient house while "Futura" ramps up the saucy synths for a silk-tongued charmer of a warm-up jam.
Review: Known most for his TC Studio work alongside Matei Tulbure, Traian Chereches has latterly taken to working in a solo capacity and demonstrated an equal degree of aplomb for unique rhythms and joyful sensations. Fans of the Romanian's work will delight in this double pack on his and Tulbure's prospering TC Studio label with the six tracks on Lobster Club really showing Chereches' full production range. Proceedings begin on an abstract note with "Wald 1975" memorable for some bold vocal sampling, though tracks such as the tumbling "A New Beat" and "Orchestra Rehearsal" will provide more than enough dancefloor satisfaction.
DJ Longsleeve - "Ode Aan De Filosofie" (feat ITW) (7:19)
Reggie Dokes - "Earth, Wind & Fire" (6:03)
Luv Jam - "Grarf" (7:12)
Review: On this second 12" celebrating the label's tenth birthday, We Play House boss Red D has assembled a stellar line-up of sought-after and unreleased cuts. The EP begins with a second airing for FCL's Adonis-influenced, retro-futurist gem "More Than Seven" (first released back in 2010), before the previously unheard DJ Longsleeve bathes us in the soapy, relaxing waters of blissful deep house shuffler "Ode Aan De Filosofie". The quality threshold remains refreshingly high on side B, where Reggie Dokes' loose and positive piano house jam "Earth, Wind and Fire" is followed by the intergalactic, acid-fired pulse of Luv Jam's superb "Grarf".
Review: The career of the legendary and near mythical Spencer Kincy is celebrated on this extensive compilation, featuring some of his greatest hits. He released over 200 tracks over a prolific period between from the mid to late nineties, then as many of you may know by now, suddenly disappeared - at the peak of his career. Rumours have been bandied about, regarding what happened and his whereabouts now, but we're assured he is alive and well. As like other reissues on Anotherday, this compilation has been licensed directly from the man himself and royalties will go directly to him. From the tough bounce of "U know How I Feel" or the sensual lo-slung funk of "Imagine A Nation", the bulk of these tracks were originally released on local powerhouse Relief Records between 1994 - 1995 and are classic Kincy. Timeless stuff right here from the annals of Chicago house history.
Review: "In music, phrygian mode is dissonant, dark, depressive and gloomy. Its use was even forbidden in classical Greece for centuries because it was considered pagan. The sound of phrygian mode is rather exotic..."
Following the excellent Lost Series (Part 1) and (Part 2), Frigio label founder Juanpablo is back, this time with a full five track mini-LP: Darkness gathers above the needle's edge as the Colombian artist delivers the shadow strewn The Hideout. Abstraction is balanced against dancefloor clout across this quintet of underworld electronics. Rhythms curve and bend, scattering into the blackened chasms of "Chrome Light" and "Shadow's Color," before resurfacing into the light of "Indumorg." The title piece burns with a slow intensity. Sinister coils of Acid drip, skies bruise and ash rains before "They Watching You" closes. Juanpablo's builds on his past releasing, melting the lines of Techno, House and Electro and remoulding genres and blurring styles. Eclipsed sounds from the centre of Spain.
Review: Arno E Mathieu has been a part of the enlarged house movement since 2005. Yes, that's 12 years in service, which means that he's kind of a veteran by now. This, however, is no surprise; the producer's work is carefully crafted and, whether he's making progressive or tech, he has a clear ability to catch the dancer's attention with some pretty seductive grooves. He's back on his favoured Clima label after a few years dipping and diving into other imprints, but it's like he's never been away. "Circumstances Of Chaos" is a wide-eyed, big-room kind of tune that stabs its large drums to a raucous tempo, while "7 Janvier 2015" breaks the predictable 4/4 groove into a sparse nu-jazz sort of lick for the deeper ends of the DJ set, and "Together?" ties the EP off to a close with the help of a steely house structure accompanied by warm waves of dubbiness . A magnetic outing from this reliable producer.
Review: Mihigh hails from the ever-productive Romanian minimal scene, having first appeared alongside Arapu back in 2013 before releasing a few solo EPs that cemented his presence amongst the big hitters from Eastern Europe. Now appearing on Trapped Ldn, he kicks off his Dark Fader EP with the appropriately murky tones of "Corridors". It's a brooding piece shaped out by clanging delay and reverb tones that echo into infinity, creating a perfectly trippy and evocative atmosphere. "Mutual Contemplation" is a quirkier affair that gets all kind of lopsided, pitch bending antics going on, with a sturdy beat carrying the experimental tones in the direction of the dancefloor.
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: Lush deep house with a dash of balearica on the label arm of Switzerland's respected Zukunft Club, following up some great releases by Jimi Jules and Look Like. The grooves this time come courtesy of Pacifica. Comprised of Balint Dobozi and Domenico Ferrari, they follow up a couple of great releases on local imprint Drumpoet Community - and this further refines their trademark sound. "Heaven Machine" is made up of all the right elements: steady beats, heavy bass lines, polyrhythmic synth arpeggios as well as some vocal and electric guitar additions. From the pop-inflected island dream of the title track that features some smooth vocals by one Arvild J Baud, the hypnotic and ethereal groove excursion of "Lochergut" right through to the melancholic yet bittersweet ambient bliss of "Father" - this is a fine release indeed
Review: Amid whispers of a new album from Unirhythm boss and Three Chairs stalwart Marcellus Pittman, two tracks from his excellent debut LP Pieces finally get committed to wax. It's a shame Pieces never got a vinyl release, but the chance to grip "Sneak Attack" and "Random Acts Of Insanity" on 12" should not be passed up. This 12" was actually released in 'blink and you'll miss it' white label format in 2014, but finally gets a proper issue! For those that don't have the LP, "Sneak Attack" is a curious concoction, with Syclops style electronics occasionally flowering over deep, dusty, intricately programmed rhythms. "Random Acts Of Insanity" feels a little bolder in approach, though its' rich chords and odd, off-kilter rhythm track are contrasted with some notably bonkers electronic touches.
Review: After the late nite, neon-red funk of his last release 'The Digital Fantasy' (which picked up support from the likes of Benji B, Alexander Nut & Ross Allen), Quaid returns with a new ep: 'CFE'.AIn contrast to the strung out, hazy eroticism of 'The Digital Fantasy', here the heart rate has elevated and the signals pushed further into the red. 'Nightlyfe' best illustrates this with its rough hats, minor chords and irrepressible rhythm. 'Body Forms' is a nod back to the hydraulic, locked funk of Quaid's previous releases, whilst 'Tango' offers Huerco S style synths under subverted Prince Housequake-era drums.A'99%' weaves around a driving bass algorithm and the insistent vocal refrain supplied by longtime collaborator Dziko.A. There's a change in mood here, the night has passed and sunrise is moments away. Lights on tomorrow's horizon glint endless glass, dust and chrome...
Review: Birmingham's Quitter teams up with Sheffield's Tommy Vicari Jr on LTD01 for new imprint Les Temps Difficiles. "Just Like It Is" sees them throw down a cyclical and functional groove with just the right amount of thump while "Serious Doubts" gets a lot funkier with its onslaught of modular blips and blurbs creating oddly hypnotic aesthetic. Finally Vicari Jnr goes solo on "Levels" and rough and ready analogue house jam covered in just the right amounts of dust and rust and getting some real soul out of the machines.
Review: Spanish deep tech label Future Reactions are beginning to pick up serious pace. Now on their third release, it's a fully international affair with three superb constructions. First up is Madrid's Jose Rico with a relentless, progressive bed of atmospheres that majestically opens up with vibrant synths when you least expect it. Jose also appears with Leonid as Cygnuss whose "Journey To Outertape" adds roomy space between the star-gazing pad to fully hypnotic affect. "Restless Ride" flies us 6000 miles due south west to Buenos Aires for a classic Trax-style synth jam with just the right edge of sinewy acid. Powerful.
Review: Since debuting back in 2013, Ringard (AKA Rennes-based producer Baptiste Leterte) has never strayed beyond the confines of his Dance Around 88 label. Until now, that is. Here, he pitches up on Parisian imprint Les Yeux Orange with a wonderfully deep and spaced-out EP. Interestingly, each of the four tracks comes blessed with oodles of intergalactic atmosphere, with drifting chords, pads and gentle melodies seemingly floating above incessant drum machine rhythms. This fusion is best regarded on opener "Lacrima Rossa", though the dreamier and more distorted "MSH" is almost as impressive. Also worth checking is slo-mo closer "Les Balearak", a pitched-down deep house number inspired by the White Isle that's more heart-breaking than Balearic.