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DJ Best British Award 2009

More than a few deep house DJs will be getting a little over-excited at the prospect of this Andres 12" on La Vida. It's the hyped Detroit producer's first outing since last year's tasty Believin' EP, and is as jazzy, positive and floor-friendly as you'd expect. The title track is the epitome of summer deep house, with th Read more...

Globetrotting producer Mark Barrott has been creatively reinvigorated since moving from Uruguay to Ibiza a few years back. Here, the exiled Sheffielder serves up a second helping of Sketches From An Island, once again proving that his Balearic instincts are as sharp as ever. As with the first volume, Barrott focuses on su Read more...
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Andrés - Mighty Tribe (La Vida)

New records on the La Vida label run by Andrés are always headline news thanks to the timeless quality Humberto Hernández imbues in his productions. The label will forever be associated with the year-defining “New For U” from debut 12”, and some producer’s might be weighed down by the expectations of attempting to match or better such a track. Andrés evidently doesn’t belong in that category, as subsequent releases have proved and this Mighty Tribe 12” makes for a fine addition to the La Vida canon. As ever there is a smile-inducing vibrancy to his productions, not least on the title track where canny sampling, insistent piano hooks and rattling drums make for yet another Andrés anthem. There are always some B-side gems tucked away on a La Vida 12” and the two cuts on this one prove as satisfying as “Mighty Tribe”. The JBs-style snap and groove to “Chevy Status” is a particularly slinky affair.

Omar S – Desert Eagle (FXHE)

As Omar S suggested on his recent album, the FXHE boss is The Best. He’s also scarily prolific with this Desert Eagle 12” arriving less than a month after that superb long player was released. Whereas The Best showed off his range as a producer – as well as suggesting Omar S is a man with a deep, deep contacts list – this 12” falls in line with the grand FXHE tradition of two-track singles that will prove very, very averse to leaving your record bag. The title track is classic Alex O Smith, supple keys and earworm-worthy melodies gliding over a stripped back array of drum machine patterns. Oh and wait for that final rise skywards that the run out groove hones into view. Sublime stuff! The smoothness of the A-side is countered by “Cry Me A River”, which is not an AOS cover of Justin Timberlake but rather a red-lining drum workout featuring a killer soul hook wedged well and truly deep into the mix.

Lemme Kno – Unthank 9 (UNTHANK)

For some reason, the 10” is much-maligned among collectors and selectors, but Firecracker’s UNTHANK division is surely one of the best to approach the format. Launched back in late 2010 with the Dancemania abstractions of Estonian Bakey USTL (where is that fella now?) UNTHANK has proved as alluring on the eyes as it has on the hips with some superb editions from Inskwel, Vakula, Lord Of The Isles and Lnrdcroy. Their latest release might well be our favourite yet, no surprise when you consider Lemme Kno is made up of Future Times captain Max Dunbar and Morgan 'DJ Isle O' Man' Buckley. It’s not been made clear how the pair recorded these Lemme Kno cuts, but they are clearly on the same wavelength musically speaking – further demonstrated by the limited seven inch Unthank put out of studio offcuts from this session. A mutual appreciation of Kenny Dope, Coldcut and generally goofing around is clearly discernible here with the constantly shifting “1234567” a real highlight. We can’t get enough of either of these producer’s at the moment and Lemme Kno is a fine addition to their respective discographies.

Luke Eargoggle/The Hacker/Marco Bernardi/Rutherford/Das Muster – Blurred Angles (Brokntoys)

You can always count on Brokntoys to bring the heat when it comes to contemporary electro. The British label moves with the underground heft of a Den Haag staple, and yet it still has its own unique taste in artists which is demonstrated on this batch of Luke Eargoggle collaborations perfectly. The Swedish producer has been pitted against some regular Brokntoys fixtures and the results make for a steady balance between variation and consistency. You can’t miss The Hacker’s involvement on “Body”, a real slow stalking creep of a track, while Bernardi’s turn results in a hi-octane burner dripping with finest Drexciyaisms. Fellow Swede Rutherford brings a distinctly dystopian flavour to the table, and Das Muster reins things in with Dopplereffekt looming in the wings. Eargoggle provides the glue that binds all these electro protagonists together into an essential slab of future funk on wax.

LL/DJ – Ombu (Bushes)

Not so well known at this moment in time, Aiwo rec. co-founder Kevin 'LL/DJ' Lukacs comes stumbling into view with this record to display as a mission statement of sorts. Ombu is the first release on the fresh-faced label from London collective Bushes and displays the kind of confidence that demands it be taken seriously. Coming from the same culture lab that finds the likes of Wolf Müller and Sotofett splicing the musical DNA of Africa with that of Germany, LL/DJ is displaying a real affinity for tumbling percussion and understated disco groove in that time-slipping classic / modernist approach that is coming on leaps and bounds right now. The “Disco Mix” of “Ombu” looks set to be the freaks choice, all odd synth squiggles atop tribal roll, while the “Break Mix” sports a chunky house backbone to work in bigger situations. The “Zoto Mix” ups the intensity further, spreading out over eight minutes of peppy, drum-tastic finery for the long mixing spinners.

DJ Qu – Conjure (Strength Music)

Always a magician whether he’s whipping up a techno firestorm or simmering some otherworldly house spells, DJ Qu steps up with his second album some five years after the excellent Gymnastics. Conjure features everything you could wish for from a Qu record, opening on the beautiful, mysterious soul tones of “Lotus” featuring the haunting vocal tones of Charlotte Carter Allen. Meanwhile “Feed Off Of” brings the party heat, working some serious drum science around the mix in that curious way that only Qu can do. Each track feels like a standalone piece of art, both perfectly buffed for public consumption while retaining the subtlety and intimacy for private listening, whether the material is mellow or floor-focused. There hasn’t been a dull moment in Qu’s discography to date so far, and Conjure simply continues the trend in a nine-track blast of techno wizardry.

Chaos In The CBD – Global Erosion (YAM)

Hailing from Peckham’s creative hub hovering around Holdron’s Arcade, Kiwis-turned-Londoners Chaos In The CBD contribute the first release to the new label from promising record store You And Music, and they capture the mood of deep house developments perfectly in the process. “Global Erosion” is a full bodied, summer-centric cruiser with a cheeky stomp to the drums but a laconic, breezy island mood lingering on top thanks to some dusky trumpet work. This duality ensures it should be getting spins in all kinds of situations, as it certainly has enough weight in stock to kick it with tougher jams while intoning its sultry mood. On the flip, “Background Explorer” takes things in a much headier direction, letting the drums dart around in a more nimble fashion while trippy delays of flute drift out into the mix, crying out for some eyes closed body shaking mysticism to take hold out front.

Spacetravel – Dancing Therapy (Perlon)

There has been a discernible buzz lingering around the Berlin-centric minimal house scene at the mention of hot new talent Spacetravel, and debut appearances don’t come much more endorsed than with an LP on Perlon. Admittedly there had been two EPs dropped previously, but this feels like the official arrival of an artist who has somehow caught that mythical wave of positive energy right into every relevant fans’ consciousness. Fortunately, it’s not without good reason as the tracks on Dancing Therapy ably demonstrate, with second track “Collective Change” leaving an especially good impression with its swinging, darkside momentum. There’s a rough, old-skool feel to the drums on the album which sits at odds with the de rigeur minimal house sound palette, and perhaps that’s where the appeal for this album comes from. Fizzing and popping with imagination like the best in the Perlon vaults, this is a welcome fresh injection for the Berlin institution.

Montezumas Rache / Dominik Von Senger – EP (Emotional Response)

Originally found delivering the oh-so-hot Wu Du Wu 12” to Second Circle, the pairing of Montezumas Rache now meet up with legendary Cologne luminary Dominik Von Senger for a three track EP coming out jointly on Golf Channel and Emotional Response. Considering that this record pits Christian Pannenborg and Jan Schulte (Wolf Müller) against a former member of Dunkelziffer and Phantom Band, you should be able to get a feel for where the music is headed. Tripped out live band fusions that keep the groove locked down and the sonics thoroughly cosmic, accented by Von Senger’s guitar and dripping with effects-tweaking finery, this is a wonderful document of throwback psych musicianship that makes no attempt to be hip, but in the creative process comes off as cool as hell.