Review: Sushitech toast 15 years with a plush new edition of one of the label's classic albums. Delano Smith hit a high watermark with An Odyssey when he first dropped it in 2012, and it still sounds utterly flawless as a shining example of Detroit house. From the slinky funk of 'Survival' to the minimalist dub inflections of 'Trust In Someone', this is the positively classy end of the club music spectrum. At all times a sturdy rhythm section carries the tune, whether it be the shuffling hats of 'Midnight Hours' or the shimmering jack of 'No Turning Back', but the real prize here is the seductive mood Smith weaves throughout all 11 tracks. Looped up and hypnotic, but with each piece telling its own unique story, this is a masterclass in deepest house music.
Review: After an extended, pandemic-related break, Brawther has decided to re-activate his highly regarded Negentropy label via a second EP on the imprint from former L.B Produce artist Ron Obvious. He begins in trademark style via EP highlight 'Builded Mind', a tech-tinged blend of skipping, UK garage style drums, jaunty sub bass, spacey electronics and deliciously tactile deep house motifs. He continues to fix loose-limbed and weighty garage grooves to deep and intergalactic house sounds on side two opener 'Nearly Forever', before pushing dub style bass to the fore on hypnotic late-night deep house number 'Foreground'.
Review: Of those labels who exist at the intersection of deep house, tech-house and what would have once been called progressive house, few are quite as consistent as Lee Burridge and Matthew Dekay's All Day I Dream. The label's latest release is another doozy. It comes from returning twosome Double Touch, who've joined forces with vocalist Reignan to deliver a pair of sumptuous tracks that combine tech-tinged dancefloor grooves with simmering strings, warming chords and twinkling piano motifs. The star attraction is undoubtedly gorgeous title track 'Greatest Day', which is also given a slightly darker, deeper and even more atmospheric treatment by label regulars Lost Desert. The EP's other cut, 'All I Want', is a melancholic affair notable for its use of what sounds like a string quartet.
Review: The second release on Opia sub-label Euphoric State offers up highlights from the extensive catalogue of Swiss veteran Dan Piu, a producer who has been serving-up quality house and techno since the late 1990s. There's much to admire across the five tracks, from the sleazy, Yorkshire bleep-goes-to-New York heaviness of opener 'Bleepy at 5Am' and the sumptuous, sunrise-ready, early '90s deep house positivity of 'El Viento De La Noche', to the similarly warming and melodic 'Mimic Human Form' and the impeccable, hip-hop influenced downtempo beats of 'QH 1999'. Best of all though is sleazy, sub-heavy deep tech-house number 'Angry Giant Machine', a cut that's near faultless in every way.
Review: Amadou et Mariam is a Malian duo made up of Mariam Doumbia (vocals) and Amadou Bagayoko (guitar and vocals). They are a couple and both are blind musicians who met at Mali's Institute for the Young Blind. They came together through a shared love of music and have put out no fewer than 15 albums. 'Baara' from 2009 on Sacred Rhythm proved one of their biggest hits and now fetches high sums on Discogs. This reissue is a welcome one featuring the title track - a joyous mix of live afro drumming, vocal chants and freewheeling melodies, and the touching 'Ja Pense A Toi,' with its pained male leads, desert blues and aching guitar solos. Lovely stuff.
Review: Belarus' Iner launches a new label with a strong cast of international names all pushing a deep and distinguished strain of house music for those who want soul and invention in equal measure. Tilman is up first with 'Sweet Dreamer', a mellow, looped up roller. Sune's 'Flutes' takes a breezier approach shaped out by fluttering jazz funk motifs. Yann Polewka celebrates the sweetest Philly strings and some classic vocal licks for a disco-infused burner you can't help but love. Iner himself keeps things loose and organic on the wonderful 'Respectfull Kind Music', while Scruscru goes for a sleek approach to chopped up funky house. That leaves it to Buzz Compass to get heady and hazy with the bass-leaning cuts coursing through 'That Nighter'.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: 'Something From Nothing' is a four tracker that fuses techno sensibility with house swagger, a voice calling to Detroit's Second Wave while a hand beckons the shadowy waters of house.
Hearts Of Darkness are immersed in late nights and smoke-filled basements, with past form seeing them play Fabric and Bugged Out!. An unhealthy loyalty to vintage hardware and long forgotten code means their music is analogue, not for fashion, but because it feels right.
On the A, 'Sequential Circus' is purest machine funk as a driving bass bubbles into self-oscillation. Next, 'Just On For The Ride' bounces to a millennial deep house swing. Flip it for a dense future dub workout in 'Charlie Don't Surf,' then 'Hotshot' closes with a pad soaked vibe for the discerning warm up. A melting pot EP with all the right ingredients.
'Something From Nothing' opens the door to Hearts Of Darkness. Step inside.
Review: Marcel Vogel's Lumberjacks In Hell label shows no signs of slowing as it ramps up a killer new salvo from debutant artist C Scott. "Climb On" is an uptempo workout to capture the absolute peak of the party in the funkiest of ways, while "Hands Free" provides an apt alternative with its slow, organ-led whimsy. Disco remains the backbone of the sound here, whatever tempo the track rolls at and wherever it may head. "Stuttering" demonstrates this perfectly with its heavily treated, head-spinning FX still capturing that classic good-time mood, while "At Ease" finishes on a life-affirming canter of Rhodes led celebration.
Bishop Jeff Banks & The Revival Temple Mass Choir - "Jerusalem" (album version) (6:09)
Bishop Jeff Banks & The Revival Temple Mass Choir - "Jerusalem" (JC edits & Overdubs) (14:15)
The Gospelaires Of Dayton, O - "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves" (Edits & Overdubs main) (11:06)
The Gospelaires Of Dayton, O - "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves" (JC edits & Overdubs instrumental) (6:49)
Review: No one works a mixing board quite like Joe Clasusell, and his latest project is another high water mark in a career full of them: his Claussell Edits & Overdubs version of Crowns of Glory's 'Lord Look at Your People' is getting put out on a series of 12"s, with this third one being another winner. Bishop Jeff Banks & The Revival Temple Mass Choir offer up two versions of 'Jerusalem' on the a-side, and the reverse is 'God Helps Those Who Help Themselves' by The Gospelaires Of Dayton, O. Both are intense, emotive, life affirming affairs to bring joy to any dance floor.
Review: All proceeds and profits from this new drop on Selections will be donated to Black Lives Matter charities, making it an even more appealing offer beyond the sheer quality of the house heads gathered together here. The mighty Kai Alce leads the charge with the sweet and bumping 'Hear The Waves', which is followed up by the punchy but warm 'Furacao Dento' by Demuir. Nick Holder opens the B side up with a killer slice of broken beat house, all crooked percussion locked into a deep, rolling groove. 83 West finishes the record off with a teasing, slow-release heater that keeps the energy simmering throughout - a masterfully executed cut to hold the dancefloor under a spell.
Review: The Sushitech festivities continue unabated with this bittersweet repress of an all-time classic from the much-missed Detroit figurehead Mike Huckaby. 'Baseline '87' ranks amongst his most fabled works, riding as it does around an irresistibly catchy square wave bass hook and one of those no-nonsense beats that the legendary producer did so well. For the sound of Huckaby in full flight though, 'Musik For The Dancefloor' on the flip soars thanks to the interplay between the pads and chords while retaining that steadfast focus. In memory of a true dance music hero, why not revisit a classic that should be comfortably sat in every record bag?
Review: Last year Caserta and friends had their wicked way with a classic Luther Vandross acapella, brilliant re-framing the soul maestro in a late 1980s NYC club style. A year on they're at it again on 'Luther 2', which naturally repurposes another superb performance from the legendary vocalist. On the A-side, Vandross's vocal rides a smooth revivalist disco groove created by an all-star cast including Serge Gamesbourg (bass) and Natasha Diggs (piano, Fender Rhodes). It's a genuinely impressive revision that sounds like it could have been recorded sometime in the early 1980s (despite being made during lockdown). Diggs plays an even bigger role on the flip, a hazy and groovy deep house version in which she adds her own sassy spoken word vocals in reaction to the Vandross acapella.
Review: Angie Stone's 'Wish I Didn't Miss You' is a gold standard R&B and neo-soul gem from the genres' heyday. It's actually an interpolated composition that draws on The O'Jays's 1972 tune 'Back Stabbers' and was, quite famously, the last ever record played by Carl Cox at the last ever party at Ibiza super club Space when it closed at the end of summer 2016. The aching vocal is perfect, the yearning bass and the tumbling, woody drums irresistible, the whole thing a stone cold classic. The flip of this reissue features a raw and steamy house mix from Hex Hector.
Review: NDTAL is the label Kai Alce runs out of Atlanta and is one of the finest deep house imprints out there. Roebrta keeps the reputation in tact with a rich six track journey into deep and smoky late night moods and grooves. 'Reachin Out' has a gospel sounding vocal that is made more driving on version 2, while 'Dat Thang' layers up lush Rhodes chords with real jazz fluidity. 'Gotta Have Love' is a more danceable party tune and a final version of 'Reaching Out' brings the dub. Most of these 12"s sell out quick sharp, so don't sleep.
Review: Almost two decades have passed since Charles Webster's last solo album, the largely overlooked collection of hushed deep house and downtempo soul gems, Born on the 24th July. Soon he'll finally release a follow up, Decision Time, but first he's treating us to a teaser single, 'The Spell'. Webster's vocal and dub mixes - the former featuring the seductive spoken word vocals of poet Ingrid Chavez - are typically immersive, ultra-deep house affairs that combine analogue electronic instrumentation with hazy, crackling aural textures that come courtesy of surprise collaborator Burial, who cites Webster's sound design as a major influence. Arguably the most striking mix though comes from that man Burial, whose A-side interpretation is drowsy, deep, crackly and irresistibly opaque: an artistic marriage made in heaven and then some.
Review: The Masaala label are laying claim to a unique curio from the '90s here, unearthing the forgotten sounds of Cutmaster Singh from Leicester. This unsung DJ legend was amongst those trying to fuse acid house and bhangra, and on this 12" we're treated to a selection of edits that do a mighty fine job of crossing the cultural divide to bring the infectious energy of Indian music into a dancefloor context. First up is a dubplate from 1994 titled 'Acid Agah', which rides a bubbling 303 and resplendent strings to create a jaw-dropping showpiece. 'Rani' is steeped in bashy '80s drums and more of that lysergic throbbing, offset by a stunning female vocal, while 'Nachdi Drums' unsurprisingly leans in hard on percussion to whip up a frenetic energy that is as much techno as it is bhangra. 'Balle Shava' takes things back to a kind of new beat freakiness which will appeal to old-skool diggers looking for something spicy in their sets.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: relik returns with a repackaged edition of one of the catalogue's most treasured releases. "Overcome" and "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)" need little introduction, and now come sporting the new TR11:11 matrix number. Written and produced by Thomas Melchior and Baby Ford aka Soul Capsule, these tracks came from one of the many sessions recorded at the West London Ifach Studio in 1999. On the A Side "Overcome" is stripped back and energetic, driven by rolling and shuffling garage style beats, tight bubbling bass and atmospheric synth pads. The intermittent vocal samples and the release's signature organ set you up for the flip, "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)". Possibly one of house music's most emotive pieces, the track builds slowly with the introduction of each part building a story of soulful optimism based around a sparse palette of deep synths, uplifting keys and warm analogue bass. The understated beauty of the main vocal riff never seems to grow old or tired with the track lending itself perfectly to either main room, peak-time play or after-hours sessions alike. Remastered by Rashad at D & M.
Review: On this surprise 7" edition of Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell's unofficial Edits & Overdubs series of releases, the long-serving New York producer turns his attention to Exuma's 'The Obeah Man', a heavily percussive, Afro-fired slab of rhythm and blues/folk-rock fusion that was once an anthem at David Mancuso's Loft parties. Claussell's 'Part One' rework somehow seems even more urgent, percussive and life-affirming than Exuma's original version, and the 'Part 2' version - an unashamedly sweaty, drum-heavy interpretation - most certainly is. Possibly best of all - for plays in house sets, at least - is the 'Obeah Man Rhythm' version, which is a loopy, percussive beast. You may need to go for a little lie down after playing it - we did!
Review: Nebraska's Friends & Relations label continues to yield the finest club tackle for those who need the real deal in their DJ sets. 'Deep Tune' casts its net as low as the Mariana Trench while riding a sweet disco loop, setting the scene for a teasing, dramatic drum throwdown with nimble synth flourishes on 'Drum Track 01'. 'Shift' takes things on a more interstellar trajectory with a heady beat elevated by star-strafing lead lines, and then 'Drum Track 02' whips up another killer percussive workout that keeps the organic intensity of the beat intact while still making it totally workable for the floor.
Review: Earlier this month Louie Vega reissued his 2006 full-length collaboration with Luisito Quintero, a veteran percussionist who has long been part of New York's vibrant Latin fusion scene. Here he delivers 'Part Two' of the same project, a shorter but no less essential collection of percussion-rich Latin dance music gems. Opener 'Acid' is a high-quality traditional salsa gem, while 'Four Beat Mambo' does exactly what it says on the tin, with a killer double bassline rising and falling beneath Quintero's killer percussion. 'Son Montuno' adds a little deep jazz-funk flavour to the percussionist's infectious rhythms, while 'EOL Intro (Clap Your Hands)' is an up-tempo fusion of deep house and salsa that has long been a staple in the sets of Vega's Elements of Life band.
Vincent Floyd - "Meditation" (Deep88 remix) (6:55)
Brad P - "Time Machine" (6:35)
Brad P - "Time Machine" (Derek Carr remix) (6:59)
Review: Chubby's third volume of split EP goodness welcomes two seasoned veterans of the deep to spin some yarns, with a couple of equally sagely remixers on board too. Vincent Floyd takes up the A side with the beautifully lilting house haze of "Meditation". Deep88 takes the original and gives it a more forthright set of drums - a more visceral jack for those who love the mellow moods but want some bite for the floor. Brad P's "Time Machine" is a typically refined trip into the undergrowth with gorgeous techno synth lines flitting around a warm and easygoing groove made all the sweeter by a little broken beat kink.
Review: Although this is Tornado Wallace's Mule Musiq debut, the music contained on it is not brand new - though it is pretty much on known. 'We Are Where We Are' first appeared in 2018 on a Japan-only promo CD. Back then, it was presented as one continuous, 32-minute track. For its' vinyl debut, the decidedly Balearic and psychedelic offering has been split into two parts. Each is hugely atmospheric and evocative, with the Berlin-based Australian offering non-stop, ambient house style suites that layer evocative instrumentation - twinkling pianos, pulsing electronic noises, jazzy guitars, delay-laden synth sounds and so on - and crackling field recordings atop sparse, lo-fi drum machine beats and dubbed-out basslines.