Review: Tomorrow Is Now, Kid! are never shy to support exciting new talent, and so it goes on this sublime 12" from breakout producer Poko Poko. The "Petrichor EP" kicks off in bouncy fashion with the sweet and lilting "Hurdy Gurdy" before shifting stance to the sweet boogie inflections of "Iglozub". "Stipperflip" presents a more dusty, rattling strain of deep house that positively quivers with hand-crafted energy, and the title track completes the set with a seriously funky, soul-soaked get down packing one of the coolest basslines we've heard all year.
Review: Plastik People cast their gaze back to a garage house staple and give it a new lease of life on this cool and deadly white label. The original "Blues For You" by Logic is a pinnacle on the Strictly Rhythm catalogue - some might say untouchable - but Danny J Lewis and Marc Cotterell are here to tell you otherwise. Lewis lands on the A side with a version that keeps the structure of the track intact, and speaks those iconic hooks through a different set of instruments that gives the track a new lease of life. Cotterell meanwhile smooths the garage jerk of the original out into a more linear house thrust while working the vocal samples with glee - it's a respectful approach that simply repositions the groove of the original to give it a fresh flavour.
Review: The Finale Sessions Select series finds Michael Zucker steering his label into new, techy pastures with a host of esteemed guests on board. For this fourth round, he's called upon Kai Alce and Reggie Dokes to stand alongside him in demonstrating exactly what's great about contemporary house and techno. Alce is up first with "Scene 2", bringing a bubbly, sleek confection of machine soul to the table. Zucker gets things rolling along steady with the heady trip of "Summer Time", and then Reggie Dokes sends the record drifting off on a wonderfully crooked tip with "Running".
Review: Overthink is a Barcelona based label run by Nicolas Etorena, who taps homeboy Luis Malon here for four cuts of wonky retro rave and techno shenanigans on the "Champions Fantasy EP". The man has appeared on labels like Slow Life and Opia in recent times, so you should already have an idea of what's to come: from the electro-fied alien funk of "Terrify", to straight ahead peak time bangers like "Is TLM" with its savage 303 squelch, nodding to classic Yorkshire sounds. Driving B side cut "Vincha For All" receives a bouncy rework by SUR main man Jorge Gamarra that'll get you staring right down into the vortex.
Review: Since making his debut in 2015, Chris Stussy has released a remarkable amount of music. Yet it's hard to fault any of his 22 previous EPs, which tend towards the chunkier, tech-tinged end of the deep house spectrum. His latest four-tracker is naturally full of top-notch cuts, too. Check first opener "Edge of the Mirror", where wonderfully melodic musical elements wrap themselves around a tough electronic deep house groove, before diving into the bass-heavy early morning hypnotism of "Forever Moving", which sounds like something you'd have heard at Twilo in New York circa 1996. "Synchronicity" is a string-drenched treat blessed with a fantastically rush-inducing breakdown, while "Electro Girl" is a fine fusion of tech-house electronics and oven-hot deep house grooves.
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Wesley - DJ Spinna Galactic Soul remix) (8:21)
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Weslet - Caserta At Work remix) (7:17)
Review: Sol Power Sound has had a solid 2019 but they aren't done yet: this new one features an all star cast with remixes by legendary DJ Spinna and LA's Joseph Caserta. DC-based vocalist Kenny Wesley is at the heart of the operation and features on "Don't You Let Go", with multi-layered drums and dub weight soaring to the skies. "Number One Station" features Daniel Meinecke and is a golden broken beat with all the hits and scattered percussion that make this such perfect body music. Spinna's remix is pure feel good, good time house music with old school spirituality, while Caserta pays more than a subtle tribute to Masters At Work's famously chunky drums with his "Caserta At Work" remix.
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: New York City's Joseph Longo should need no introduction. One of the most important and genre defining artists on the scene, his seminal releases under aliases Earth People, French Touch and most notably Pal Joey, have left their indelible fingerprint on house music to this very day. German label Ornaments have sought out Japanese producer Takeshi Fukushima (GWM, Takecha) to curate this collection of some of Longo's finest moments under the Pal Joey moniker. Picking out a few favourites from the catalogue and adding some personal retouches, he presents the jazzy kinda somethin' of opener "Hot Music", the deep and sensuous bounce of numbers like "Mood 7" and "When I Get Kindness", the off-kilter/low slung boogie down vibe of "Bounce" and four other timeless classics that have all been given a respectful reshape for modern dancefloors. Absolutely essential!
Review: "Dj Sounds presents Captured, a 3 track EP for the house heads. Lazy is a ready-to-go exercice, easy to spin and fresh house track in its most classical yet very personal form, Captured is an intense Detroit oriented synth jam and Dj Beats is a short drum track reminding of the beat of track 1. That 001 is for the Djs who care about a fresh record of House. And those who like to dance."
Review: Ever-dependable hero of deep house since the good old days, Glenn Underground is back with fresh goodies for his Strictly Jazz Unit imprint, and if you liked what he's done before then there's no doubt you'll like this as well. "Shiloh (A King's Return)" is a steady roller, defined by the synth-sax freestyling over the top of a crisp beat and bluesy chord workout. "We, The Party (Let's Get Down)" is a more soaring affair, with some neat kinks in the drums and a sumptuous spread of Rhodes action all delivered in that quintessentially Blue Note GU flavour.
Review: Perpetual Rhythms continue to offer up fresh variations on the deep house formula with this classy new drop from Taelue. Crooked electro experiment "The 4th Dimension" opens the record up to any number of possibilities, before the forthright pump of "Twin Flame" locks things into a haunting workout. "Rage Against Oppression" takes things in an angrier direction, all ragged and snarling production values with an acid-techno leaning. "A Bleak Moment" provides more space for exploration away from the floor, and then "The Sunken Place" sinks into sinister soundwaves driven by a nervy arpeggio. "Reflections" finishes the EP off with a trip into slow, spaced-out, acidic ambience.
Review: The latest Hands Off joint features three artists making waves in intriguing corners of the deep house firmament. Desos opens up the A side with the dreamy groove of "Dubs", before Space Age lays down the classic, Mr Fingers-flavoured haze of "Sunday Rain". Desos returns on the flip with another subtle yet punchy cut, keeping the melodies submerged and sublime on "Jaaa" before Common Mode takes things in a distinctly dubby direction with "Beauty Queens".
Review: J Room steps up with a contribution to the minimal tech house conversation that sees emergent artist Jale making a strong statement with three powerful original tracks and a remix from Cosmjn. Jale's style leans on Detroit string synths for a sense of melancholic grandeur, and densely packed rhythm sections that bump as much as they punch. "Orbital Dream" takes things in a dreamy after hours direction, and "Eclipse" works up some rugged synth trysts that snap around a subtly broken beat. Cosmjn's remix of "Orbital Dream" is not to be slept on either as it subtly adjusts the accent of the groove to make an immersive tech house roller par excellence.
Review: Finale Sessions welcomes Anaxander to join label main man Michael Zucker for another one of those impeccable trips through top shelf deep house. Anaxander gets busy with "Stabs Of Love", a truly ear nagging piece that cuts through the glut of soundalike productions to say something truly special. Meanwhile his "Heart 2 Heart" resides on the B2, presenting a lighter, more playful cut peppered with pattering bongos and sprightly keys. Zucker gets into a slightly off kilter funk on "Greater Is He" before dropping into a perfect bump on "Lost Without You", putting some swing into dub house and making it sound natural.
Hesperia Soul (David Anthony Afrohouse remix) (6:29)
Review: Jovonn's "Hesperia Soul" first landed back in 2018 and instantly became a classic amongst deep house lovers thanks to its enriching violin leads. Now it comes again with various remixes from perfectly picked artists: the first is Kaytronik who dubs things out but doesn't take away from the magic of the violin, then Sean McCabe rebuilds it on more bubbly and rubbery house drums that will work bigger crowds into a lather. Last of all is David Anthony's Afrohouse remix which has chunky drum programming and a darker, more menacing bassline. Those violins still manage to steal the show, though.
Review: The latest drop on Mr KS & Friends comes from Sylan 101, an artist making a truly accomplished debut brimming with musicality and fresh beat constructions compatible with, but not beholden to a deep house vibe. "Nostalgia (Healing Of Time)" is a smoky broken beat groove with gentle piano chords and muted trumpet, while "Brief Encounters" draws on subtle guitar licks and harmonious pads for decoration over snaking drums. "Been There Once" heads in a more mysterious direction, throwing some spoken word refrains into the mix and keeping the instrumentation more subtle and atmospheric.
Review: What more can be said about the output of Alex 'Omar' Smith? The Detroiter's releases have perhaps been a little more varied of late than we've come to expect, but the quality nevertheless remains dizzyingly high. This white label excursion is full of floor-friendly gems, with Smith's use of classic house samples and familiar vocal samples also making it one of his most party-hearted releases for a while. Check, for example, "Catch Ya", where a much-loved turn-of-the-'90s acapella rises above bouncy New Jersey organs and snappy machine drums. "Better Believe It Baby" brilliantly wraps a chiming synth loop and R&B style vocal snippets around a chunky, disco-fired deep house beat, while "Cheat" and "Pull Ovaa" are deliciously dusty, bass-heavy deep house workouts with just the right amount of hypnotic late night charm.
Review: If you enjoyed Yu Su's brilliant EP on Second Circle earlier in the year - and, let's face it, who didn't? - there's a rather high chance that you'll enjoy her first outing on Ninja Tune offshoot Technicolour. "Watermelon Woman" is a superb chunk of bass-heavy house music positive - an inventive and hugely enjoyable fusion of unfussy drum machine rhythms, sampled tribal drums, toasty bass, dubbed-out effects, stargazing electronics, fluttering flutes and jazzy motifs that have just the right amount of breezy Latin flavour. The original version comes backed with a hazy and laidback Dub rework and a boisterous, off-kilter remix by Francis Inferno Orchestra that layers rubbery sounds and heady vocal samples above a skewed tribal house beat.
Review: Arvid Whetman has plenty going for him at the moment. As Sexazoid he's dropping all kinds of off-kilter machine beats on excellent labels like Born Free, while as Your Planet Is Next he builds on appearances on Junk Yard Connections, Waving Hands, Opal Tapes, Studio Barnhus and Klasse to deliver this chirpy four-tracker to Acid Waxa. From the twee vocals to the playful synths and straight up drums, this is club music crafted for an immediate hit. Whetman makes this approach work magnificently though, liberally applying his musical personality to lo-fi deep house and roughshod acid, with "Heartbreaker" being a firm favourite thanks to its fulsome 303 bassline and hooky vocal mantras.
Review: London's Sugarhouse crew have already made some waves with their first two releases, and now the gang are back with round three of their soul-drenched deep house adventures. This time it's Maurice Jnr and Seb Miguel teaming up for three crucial jams, each with something different to say. "Deebo's Quest" is rich with aqueous pad tones and a slick set of drums that shuffle just the way you want it, while "Science Of Life" takes a distinctly Detroit-influenced approach that wouldn't sound out of place on Mahogani Music. That leaves it to "Lovin' U" to round the EP out with a warm, upbeat roller for those who like their house loaded with passion.
Review: Two years on from their last outing of note - the deliciously melodic and atmospheric "Elephants EP" - PHCK returns to All Day I Dream with a surprise debut album. The German trio is in fine form throughout "More Than A Machine", effortlessly moving between the hazy, slow burn dreaminess of glassy-eyed opener "Heaven's Gate", the deep Afro-house shuffle of "Whiteout", the tech-tinged ambient house hypnotism of "A Flock", the chiming melodies and hushed grooves of "Harps" and the hard-to-pigeonhole flex of "Essential Return", where a metronomic drumbeat is overlaid with metallic Indonesian instrumentation and woozy freestyle vocals.
Review: The peeps behind the People Of Earth label claim that Rick Wade is on top form on their latest release. While that's undoubtedly true, the Detroiter has incredibly high standards and rarely puts out anything mediocre. The four tracks here are all deliciously deep and fluid, with the Fender Rhodes solos, meandering organ lines, warm bass and chunky beats of "Never Give Up" delivering just the right blend of instrumental goodness and dancefloor-ready weightiness. "Seen At Night" is an even deeper and hazier treat, while "Forever Alone" sees Wade wrap bongo-laden beats and eyes-closed electric piano chords around a ludicrously warm and heavy bassline. Solo-laden closing cut "Rooftop" is also superb - a proper sundown selection of the highest calibre.
Review: FunkinEven's Apron label rarely, if ever, puts a foot wrong, whether putting out ragged techno, raw hip hop or whatever in between. It is Molinaro who steps up now after first landing on the label back in December 2017. The NTS host has long been a firm part of the London underground and has a lo-fi, frazzled sound that blurs the lines between a number of different genres. Here he offers spaced out and grizzled drum tracks, unsettling machine-made ambience and rough and ready beatdown that Theo Parrish would admire. It's been a long wait since his last release, but this EP was well worth it.
Review: Kamaal Williams has described The Return, his now reissued debut solo album, as "a natural evolution from the Yussef Kamaal project". Yet while that was made in collaboration with drummer Yussef Kamaal and played around with jazz in its myriad forms, The Return sees the man sometimes known as Henry Wu stamp his own mark on proceedings. So while "visionary jazz" (as the press release puts it) is his aim, this manifests itself in a range of ways. Contrast, for example, the leisurely jazz-funk flex and stoned feel of opener "Salaam" with the more groove-driven, dancefloor vibes of "High Roller", where sinewy strings tumble down over hip-hop influenced live house beats, meandering Herbie Hancock style synths and a superb bassline.
Review: Trinidadian Deep is a master of long, winding, enchanting house grooves that are deep but also spiritual and laced with afro percussion. Shelter acquires his latest two efforts and the glorious "Native Culture" opens things in subtly uplifting fashion. Trilling organ chords rise through the mix to give life to the jumbled drums and sustained pads in the background which keep things deep and ensure maximum hypnosis. "Eggun" has a more bubbling sense of rhythm, with vocal coos and surging chords peppering the track and bringing motion. Powerful stuff.
Review: Having previously impressed on Argot and Home Taping Is Killing Music with her blends of evocative deep house and floor-friendly Chicago rhythms, The Black Madonna tries a different approach on this debut for the recently launched Night Owl Diner label. You could certainly describe both tracks as "Balearic", and there's a real air of wide-eyed positivity about the tumbling melodies, swirling synth-strings and mid-80s pop production of head-nodding deep house cut "Stay". It's pretty darn tasty, all told. Almost as good is "Requiem", which appears to be built around a loop lifted from Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neal's "Saturday Love" (with, of course, additional synths and tuneful electronics).
Review: Detroit producer Scott Grooves returns to his Modified Suede imprint with Bitter Sweet, following on from the jazz-driven Motor City funk of "The Journey". This 12" sees the underappreciated Grooves on typically excellent form; the title track offers a piece of dusty, subtle Detroit house, where fuzzy Rhodes piano are joined by jazzy string melodies and a mechanical groove in a similar manner to Kevin Reynolds' similarly slow burning "Liaisons", while "C Track" offers a sublime piece of rolling house whose urgent yet gentle piano chords are caught in a swell of bottom heavy bass and rattling hi-hats.
Review: The new incarnation of the famous fabric mix series serves up a big one here with Ibiza kingpins and US house torchbearers The Martinez Brothers laying down a fulsome 23 track mix. It brims with the sort of energy that they always have themselves in the booth and takes you on a contemporary trip through the bendy minimal of Cabanne, Frak's percussive workout and some tropical curveballs from The Bayara Citizens. The Brothers also impress with two of their own tracks - "Jam Joint" and "Mistakes" - full of wonky synth work and shuffling drums, and it marks another highpoint in their longstanding career.
Review: Earlier in the year DJ Seinfeld returned to action with the "Galazy EP", a wonderfully spacey, breakbeat-driven affair that arguably contained some of his most mature and developed productions yet. There's more of the same on the "Lilium EP". The title track boasts serious percussive weight - a result of the producer's layering of bongos and congas above a sturdy kick drum pattern - with a trance-inducing synth bassline, fluid electric piano lines and flowery chords providing the loved-up musical accompaniment. He doffs a cap towards both mid 1980s NYC freestyle and Italo-disco on the Bobby Orlando-influenced brilliance of "Lovejoy", whose drums and synth sounds are impressively authentic in their style and execution, while "Exterrestial" is a pleasingly fluid fusion of breakbeat-driven deep house and late '90s style NYC "dark garage".
Review: Rory "Hammer" Hamilton has released on numerous labels since making his debut in 2015 - Optimo Music and Sulta Selects Secret Service included - but it seems like he reserves his best work for the imprint he's most associated with, Feel My Bicep. His latest EP for the Northern Irish outlet is certainly strong, with A-side "Parabola" offering an attractive, ear catching mixture of undulating neo-trance riffs, sustained sub-bass notes, relaxed machine beats and suitably psychedelic electronic effects. The same balance of rush-inducing melodic bliss, tactile synth bass and crispy drums comes to the fore on B-side opener "Panoptic", while closing cut "Entropy" is a slightly more psychedelic but no less melodic jaunt through big synth riffs, emotive chords and bustling drums.
Review: Eliphino continues to explore his emotionally charged, modern sound with this new mini LP for Secretsundaze. Following the trend laid out by his previous turns on Hypercolour, The Love Below and Meda Fury, he unfurls a richly harmonic sound that places emphasis on melodic progression to tell a particularly personal story, ranging from the emotive "Studio Time" to the crooked break-flecked "Old Lemons". "Second Sunday" flirts with electro and "Breaking Up Is Hard" veers towards jungle, but throughout Eliphino's personality binds the record together in fine style. Thoroughly contemporary and unbounded by genre restrictions, this is the sound of someone making the record they want to make.
Review: AntiDEEPressant is here to bring some positivity to your life by way of subliminal house music from the outer reaches. Vincent Inc is just the ticket to help deliver the good news, and his Abstract Life EP is loaded with soul-enriching vibes to get you through times of hardship. "Panic In Cosmos" is a fluttering, meditative melter that will coat your ears in honey on the way down, while "Rayskoye Mesto" takes an equally submerged approach that drifts further away from conventional beats into a beautifully executed, heavy-lidded excursion. "Mechta" sports a few more conventional house tropes, but keeps things varied and interesting just the same, and then "Jazz Night" rounds the EP off with some cracked piano lilt and soul infusions to cradle you on the way to the run out groove.
Cody Currie - "As Of Yet" (feat Joel Holmes) (5:09)
Grant Nelson - "In The Dark" (5:59)
Pontchartrain - "Don't Change It Up" (5:43)
Goddard - "Almasti" (6:11)
Review: With such a star-studded line-up of old and new talent involved, it's little surprise to find that De La Groove's fourth vinyl release is seriously good. It's that good, in fact, that there's no space to go into each and every highlight. Instead, we'll point you in the direction of some of our personal favourites. Check first the breezy and soulful US garage revivalism of Art of Tones' impeccable "So Sweet", before turning your attention to the dreamy, vibraphone-laden deep house sexiness of Cody Currie's "As of Yet (featuring Joel Holmes)". Grant Nelson's "In The Dark" is a fine slab of late '90s style UK garage, while Goddard's "Almasti" sounds like a nu-disco era riff on Pepe Bradock deep house classic "Deep Burnt".
Review: Originally prolific in the late 90s and back with a renewed sense of vigour in the past few years, Dan Piu's classic, widescreen vision of hardware techno captures the verve of the original Detroit blueprint while bringing a fresh, welcome energy to the genre. This drop on Common Dreams brims with the same head-swirling magic, especially on vividly rendered lead track "Halo City". "Falling Framework" has a more mellow veneer, but there's still so much playful detail bringing the track to life. "Akira 2171" has an old-skool sci fi quality balanced out by its linear sense of progression, and "Ilipsyon" takes things deeper into a wistful jack reminiscent of the spookiest Trax output.