Review: It's been a long time since DJ Kolt linked up with his brother DJ Noronha and DJ Peligroso for a Blacksea Nao Maya session - five years to be precise. But the wait has arguably been worth it... Taking their distinctive Lisbon kuduro brew to deeper, darker places, there's a strong theme of trippy timewarping as the trio push, squeeze and cajole us through eight new instrumentals. From the slo-mo tension and ominous weight of opener 'Terror' to the more hopefully, bubbly afrobeat finale 'Africanalidade' by way of stirring mid-point adventures like the woozy, Vangelis-facing 'Horizonte' and the curmudgeonly offbeat kuduro drums of '7even', it's another truly singular set from the Principe collective.
Review: Four years after they blasted into the disco ether with their debut album Bodies, Canadian duo return with their second album and build on the hooky, big-groove signature they've been carefully developing. While their debut was a wide-cast net that showcased a rich, broad palette, Made Me Feel is a much finer focus on their penchant for disco and house. Warm, jacking and full of the good-time bubbles we're all craving in 2020, cuts like the filtered sample-slapper "It's Coming Down" nod to NY dons like Joeski, "Love Was Real" chows down on the seminal French touch sound from the late 90s while "Flame" is pure, unabashed Dave Lee level funky house. Concluding the O'Neal-style 80s soul of "Ready For Me", it's another impressive body of work from the hardworking duo.
Review: After a blazing series of sounds across the likes of Idle Hands and his own co-run label Wisdom Teeth, London-based K Lone reveals even more of his musical depths with his debut album Cape Circa. Beautifully subdued, warm and hypnotic, K Lone carefully crafts a whole narrative using minimal instruments and textures throughout. Vibrating with a timeless style that nods to dub techno and the deeper side of Detroit, highlights include the sweet harmonics of tracks like "Honey" and "Cocoa" to the dreamy lullaby-like charm of cuts such as "Bluefin" and the delicate, trembling finale "Happened". A perfect, ultimately calming soundtrack to these strange, turbulent times.
Review: The brilliantly dark world of breakbeats and stripped back techno that Illian Tape call their own gets that bit richer with this new EP from Pessimist. It kicks off with some rugged jungle rides that are coloured by bird calls, wood block hits and booming bass before 'The Crawlers' is a flurry of snares and hi hats that tie your mind and body in knots. The excellent 'Ridge Racer Revolution' is a hardcore track that never lets up, with flailing hits and hundred mile and hour breaks all demanding you dance. The closer is a dystopian cut of unresolved loops ad frazzled bass that lurches back and forth and traps you right where it wants you. Thrilling stuff.
Review: Munich-based mystery man, Skee Mask, remains at the top of our Ilian Tape favourites. While we love the work of brothers Dario and Marco Zenker, the two label founders, we think that this guy's sound is the creme de la creme of contemporary, dub-filtered techno. Serum and Junt were both absolute killer EPs, and the Shred album was also on our list of the best releases of 2016, so we're pretty psyched about this new single, the curiously named 2012. The opening "Kordman Return (Swing mix)" is Skee Mask up to his naughty break sampling and techno wizardry, all broken and loose, whereas "Palo Alto" sees the producer in a surprisingly sturdy, head-first mood driven by solid bursts of 4/4 and wondrous synths. Over on the B-side, "Fjorward Flex Dub" swings its mighty swarms of drums over a minimal flurry of melodies, in what feels like a sublime reinterpretation of heavy, 90s power-house; "Glass Museum" closes with a real twist thanks to an abstract, wide-eyed landscape of dissolving, jazzed-out percussion and moody ambience. Excellent material, as per usual.
Review: Last year Skee Mask put the Ilian Skee Series on hold in order to release the brilliant "Compro" album on parent label Ilian Tape. Here he presents the second undeniably dancefloor-focused ISS EP of the year - a robust and forthright floor-tracker full of what the Munich-based composer calls "unstoppable fruity brain benders". It's certainly a vibrant collection of cuts capable of setting the pulse racing, with highlights including the mind-mangling analogue electro/techno/breakbeat fusion of opener "Juug", the deep two-step techno skip of "RZZ", and the IDM influenced shuffle of "Slow Music". Arguably best of all though is the teak-tough analogue electro wonkiness of "Play Ha".
Review: Whiskey Disco associate Will Buck links up with fellow Lovedancing alumni Felipe Gordon on this heart swelling and fun filled 15th EP from the label. It's a release that deals in big and loopy sounds that are designed purely for dance floor destruction. 'NY Hustlin' is the low slung opener with its rolling bass riffs and funky samples. 'Don't Wear It Out' sinks into a chugging train-track groove that gets you steaming and then 'Can't Hold Me Back' cuts loose with super funky bass riffs and big diva vocals. Last of all, Felipe Gordon ups the ante with a more slamming but just as sensuous remix of 'NY Hustlin'' that brings more heat to the floor. s.
Review: A new enigmatic duo from London named Two Shell present Livity Sounds' next installment. Their debut "Access EP" draws influence from the South London underground of the late '90s and early 00's, with a nod to more contemporary Bristol sounds across these four wicked tracks. From the off-kilter stepper that is "Heart Piece', through to the glacial and deconstructed dub techno of "Contactless" and the rolling bass-driven entrancer "SYNC-2020" - they have forged an EP of warm but stripped-down, deft UK style grooves to mark an anthemic debut. More groundbreaking future sounds from the ever reliable Bristol label.
Review: Back on the buff stuff! Rising UKG act Y U QT return to Warehouse Rave who they released their debut with this time last year, with another sassy five track session. All garage styles covered from the sweet sunshine vibes ('Can I Say', 'Sundae Gelato') to the twisted rave jumps and stutters ('I Believe') to the headsy hip-twisters that have a jazzy mind of their own ('Liquid Magma') Cute.