Review: Interesting things appear to be happening at base camp ClekClekBoom on the evidence of recent releases from Jean Nipon, Chaos In The CDB, and those Fred P and Chevel refixes of French Fries. The mutant brand of bass, techno, ghetto flavours and more that has characterised the Paris label seemed to have taken new shape on those records and continues here with this Various Cuts 12". French Fries teams up with NS DOS for the percussive burn of "8 Hours From Nation" which pulls from Chicago House and NYC ballroom but pushes in all new directions. From here CCB regular Aleqs NOTAL provides perhaps the deepest cut to appear on the label with "Mare Imb" whilst there are shades of Kassem Mosse in Jean Nipon's excellent "Cause Of Action". A label newcomer rounds out the 12" in style with Dutch producer Barbara Ford instigating a mesmerizing exploration of ocean deep acid in "Frostbite".
Nothing Is Perfect (Andrew Weatherall remix) (7:46)
Review: Field of Dreams is apparently a new collaborative project from experienced producers Chris Kentish and former D:Ream man Alan Mackenzie. "Nothing Is Perfect" marks their debut and comes in bespoke, hand-finished packaging. It's an interesting track - a breezy, Balearic-minded chunk of synth-pop blessed with tactile, bright and breezy electronics, soft-focus drum machine beats and a rambling, spoken word vocal that recalls the distinctive tones of the Audio Bullys. There are two remixes, too: a deeper, sparkling revision from Mind Fair that makes more of the synth bassline while adding some reggae-influenced synth stabs, and a trippy, saucer-eyed Andrew Weatherall take that includes some seriously mind-altering new acid lines.
Review: Straight back to 94! Jordan Thrillseekers Fields laid down his second EP "Dub International" 23 years ago and it still sounds future to this day. "Pablo's Groove" takes a classic Cuban lick and roughs it up sideways with some awesome riffle kick rolls, "Mood Swing" is a broken house music assault with all the cuts and stutters you can cram into a jam while "Factory Jazz" is a timeless slice of rolling breakbeat funk smashed straight from the heart of a groovebox. "The Swing" finishes this classic remastered reissue with two versions, both via two more of Fields' many aliases: his Thrillseekers version layers distinctly UK-styled rave synths while his Club Orchestra takes a looser, groovier tact that allows the powerful Latin vocal sample to cut through. This is what reissues were invented for.
Review: Here, Descendents of The Deep launches the From Chicago To Detroit series, bringing together a quartet of deep house tracks from Michigan and Illinois-based producers. Jordan Fields kicks things off with the electric piano-laden strut of the surprisingly trippy "Excitement", before Vincent Floyd offers up a masterclass in deep, New Jersey-influenced analogue deepness in the shape of "2gether". Flip for the wonderful blissfulness of Leandre's "Images of Spring" - think starry melodies from Detroit, coupled with the rolling swing of Chicago - and "Detroit Dubz", a killer exercise in spooky beatdown from Norm Talley and Mike Huckaby. With its' heavy, compressed bassline, creepy chords and reverb-laden textures, it sounds like it was tailor-made for Halloween.
Review: 2 B Real: an exciting new venture from Finn and Local Action. A chance for Finn to delve deeper into his influence and hone his raw, loopy physical style, this launch EP is a strong statement of intent. "Late At Night" is a jacking Detroit-minded jam that wouldn't go amiss deep in a DJ Bone selection while "Lightwork" captures Fox in suave Swing Ting mode. His bars rising the dreamy chords cascade, it's a fusion that refuses to be categorised. Do yourself a favour and keep 2 B Real on the radar.
Review: While establishing the Fit Sound imprint affiliated with the Detroit distro outlet of the same name , Aaron 'Fit' Siegel has been careful not to load the imprint with too many of his own productions, choosing instead to deliver material from Marcellus Pittman, Anthony 'Shake' Shakir, MGUN and Dungeon Acid. Here he makes a welcome return with two tracks of melodious, atmospheric, Motor City deepness. "Carmine" is particularly alluring, with twinkling melodies winding their way around yearning pads, bittersweet chords and shuffling, cymbal-heavy percussion. "First Found" is a little more forthright, with off-key pianos and scattergun electronics riding a tougher, locked-in groove.
Living Is Serious Business (Carl Craig remix) (7:05)
Review: Given that he's always approached life with a cheery gusto, there's something rather ironic about Tim 'Love' Lee being involved in making a track called "Living Is Serious Business". Happily, he has man-of-the-moment Aaron 'Fit' Siegel by his side. The duo's original version is something of a trippy, late-night treat, with dubbed-out keys and percussive flourishes riding a dark Detroit bassline and fizzing, Motor City techno groove. It sounds like something that the brothers Fett would release on Sex Tags Mania, which is definitely a bonus in our book. Carl Craig does a sterling job on his flipside remix, retaining some of the original's eccentricity while adding a sweet melodiousness and production polish all of his own.
Prime Numbers (Parlez Vous Francais 2015 rework) (7:19)
Review: Parisian 'emotional house' producer Flabiare is a stalwart of local imprint D.K.O where he's thrown down several fine releases of the deeper and dusty house music variety. Now for South Street out of the UK who have previously brought us great EPs by Yaki Incipient and Urulu. Kerri Chandler vibes abound for energetic opener "Midsummer Blues" while "Tell Me About It" finishes out the A side in style too with its evocative early '90s NYC style likewise. On the flip "Prime Numbers" (Parlez Vous Francais 2015 rework) serves up some rusty and dusted down deepness; its off kilter rhythm programming a fine touch and "Ecoude" closing out this fine EP in style with those neon lit synths and pitched down groove working a treat.
Review: This is a new re-edit series of mysterious origin, said by the shadowy figures behind it to be "just made for fun". So what's in store? Well, the A-side contains a tasty, chopped-up and leisurely overdubbed version of an old Marvin Gaye recording (from the Motown legend's disco period) that was previously bitten by the Instruments of Rapture crew back in the mid 2000s. Arguably even better is the sensual B-side, which somehow manages to make a deliciously seductive Sade track even deeper and more loved-up. While some may argue that the world doesn't need any more Sade re-edits, this is undoubtedly one of the strongest and most alluring we've heard to date.
Review: Having co-founded the now mythical Eglo Records, Sam Shepherd aka Floating Points has, more recently, begun to release his music through his own Pluto label, an imprint with a clear vision from the music to the artwork. Moreover, the label also gives Shepherd room to explore outside of his more traditional housey framework, and the majority of the releases on Pluto have consisted of wild and diverse shreds of broken beat and nu jazz. "Kuiper" is his latest excursion and it's a psychedelic journey through high-powered percussion and airy synth experimentations all wrapped up in a suave jazz coating. "For Mamish (part 2)" is something altogether sparser and less concrete, but there is still plenty of movement amid Shepherd's crystal sounds and Balearic riffs in what sounds like the perfect new age sort of amalgamation. Excellent.
Review: Since debuting in 2013, the occasional "Florence" series of sneaky house remixes and re-makes has delivered some high quality revisions. This is the hush-hush series' second release of the year and, like its predecessor, boasts two club-friendly tweaks. The first sees our mysterious hero work his or her magic on a dewy-eyed, harp-laden sliver of soft-focus downtempo soul, underpinning elements of the familiar original track with jazzy percussive flourishes and a smooth, tech-tinged deep house beat. "Bobby", meanwhile, is a lolloping mid-tempo affair, brilliantly combining sections from a yearning version of "California Dreaming" with rolling hip-hop style breakbeats. Both cuts are sympathetic to their source material whilst adding the right amount of dancefloor weightiness.
Review: Original Chicago deep house producer Vincent Floyd has enjoyed something of a career renaissance since the release of Moonlight Fantasy, a collection of previously unheard 1990s productions, on Rush Hour in 2014. Here the Dutch label dips into his vaults again and unearths another gem from the late 1990s. "Hard to Love" is every bit as warm, rich and loved-up as you'd expect, with Floyd providing a yearning, soul-fired vocal to accompany his rich Windy City grooves and cascading synthesizer melodies. On the flip you'll find a fabulous instrumental version that closely mirrors the vocal take. That it stands up on its own without the headline vocal is testament to Floyd's impeccable composition and production skills.
Review: Almost 12 months after brilliantly joining the dots between house, techno and tech-house on the Exit Strategy released "No Limit EP", former Hypercolour and Hot Creations artist Tom Flynn makes his first appearance on Planet E. Of the three tracks, it's opener "Packard" - whose title doffs a cap to historic parties held at a former Detroit power plant - that makes the greatest impression. A thing of simple beauty, it sees jazz pianist Joshua Praiz unfurl stunningly heartfelt, slow-motion solos over hypnotic beats and crackly, looped vocal samples. "Anna" takes a similar approach, with a cut-up speech about fashion journalism stretching out over a smooth tech-house beat and fluid piano motifs, while "Marx" subtly doffs a cap to both Isolee and the deepest tech-house around.
Review: There's a case to say that Folamour has yet to put a foot wrong in 2017. Over the year to date, he's released killer EPs on All City, Moonrise Hill Material and Roots For Bloom, as well as contributing fine tracks to a number of other 12" singles. Predictably, this outing on Church is also hotter than the sun. "Jazz Session For Future People" is a killer chunk of life-affirming jazz-house bounciness that offers a near perfect balance between rolling dancefloor funk and intricate musicality, while "Melophrenia" is a supremely smoky slab of ultra-deep wooziness. Arguably best of all, though, is the hip-hop tempo synthesizer Balearica of "Janvier In Bed", which may well be his most tactile and glassy-eyed cut to date.
Review: Coming at you on vibrant pink vinyl, Better Listen's First Class EP more than lives up to its' title. Check, for example, the screaming sax lines, life-affirming orchestral disco loops and bumping bottom end of Folamour's brilliant opener, "Oneness", and the bouncy disco-house positivity of Ari Bald's edit-not-edit "First Class", which is guaranteed to put smiles on faces on out on the dancefloor. Dorsi Plantar successfully tries the same trick on to woozy, ultra-soulful bliss of swirling sunshine shuffler "Boogie Sunrise", while Ethyene's undulating "Watching You" brilliantly wraps eyes-closed synthesizer lines and glistening disco guitars around a leisurely mid-tempo house groove.
Review: Anonymous Toulouse collective Folklore elevate their third missive to wax and it's sounding all the fatter for it. Freerange system focused jams we're treated to the full spectrum; the ricochet riddim and dreamy twinkles of the eastern jungle stepper "165 Jazz", the Claussell spiritual uplift of jacking gem "Kominike", the skank happy hot shuffle UK of "21' Speakers" and the deep oceanic submersion of the title track "Jungle Strut". Some lores were made to be broken...
Review: The latest missive on Justin Van Der Volgen's My Rules imprint sees the Brooklyn producer rework a lesser-known, previously digital-only track from storied Japanese producer Yukihiro Fukutomi under the familiar Foog alias. On side A Van Der Volgen gives the track the melodious, heavily electronic deep house shuffler the edit treatment, wisely making more of the original's squeezable synthesizer bassline and Fukitomi's bobbing waves of melody. For those who fancy a bit of sleaze, the flipside Dub, in which Van Der Volgen focuses on the chunky groove underpinning the Tokyo stalwart's undulating electronic motifs, is as throbbing, groovy and percussive as you'd expect.
Review: London soulful house label Makin' Moves (brought to you by Matt Langrish-Smith & DJ Jamesey) bring the heat once again with these awesome remixes of The Foreign Exchange: an internet-spawned collaboration between Dutch producer Nicolay and US rapper/singer Phonte Coleman from Little Brother. "Body" is taken from their recent album Tales From The Land Of Milk & Honey and it is a wonderful slice of modern soul that calls to mind the work of Kaidi Tatham or Vikter Duplaix. The remixes on here work that extra bit of magic though and who better than NYC's finest DJ Spinna to deliver the goods on his deep and emotive remix. His second offering, the "Ride It Out dub" dives even deeper and does exactly what it says on the tin on this version, aimed squarely at late night dancefloors.
Review: The Only One imprint returns with their sixth instalment of the series after a bunch of absolute winners by the likes of Ron Trent and Stasis, among others. For this latest outing they've invited Orlando Voorn down with his Format project, which means deep house beats and sci-fi-leaning melodies. The winner on here has to be "Destination", where gorgeous pads unwind beneath swinging slabs of percussion and a militant, heads-down beat structure. This is Voorn at his best and we love to see the man putting out some proper house music alongside his more usual techno shade.
Review: It can be hard to predict what Fort Romeau will do next. While he's always excelled at making evocative, melancholic blends of vintage deep house, instrumental synth-pop and glistening electronica, he's prone to frequent stylistic shifts, as his eccentric 2015 outings on Cin Cin and Running Back neatly demonstrated. For this EP on Live At Robert Johnson, he's back to his deep and emotion-rich best, laying down a trio of tracks that emphasise mood, melody and simple beauty over the demands of the dancefloor. "Facing The Sea" is the most obvious club-friendly of the three - think chugging, hissing rhythms, winding melodies and Behaviour-era Pet Shop Boys chords - though it's the intensely beautiful "Seventyfour" that really stands out.
Review: Destination Denmark as OEN REC invite fellow countryman to follow up his remarkable Techne tape from last year with this four-track wax odyssey. Beat and atmospheric variation are themes as he draws us into an alluring, world of mysticism: "Indu" is a slo-mo swathe through a misty jungle maze, "Night Bay" shuffles up the kicks beneath a wave of rippling synths while "Dancer" looks to the west coast for springy synth uplift. Finally "Untamed" takes us back down the long road home, through more arresting mist and atmospheric fog. Beautiful.
Review: Fountain Of Chaos kicks off the Inextinguishable Fire label in style, purportedly transmitting from an undisclosed woodland location with a mission to bring you transcendental neo-pagan ritual music for the 21st century. "Primitive Megalopolis" definitely takes its cues from the likes of Jon Hassell with its rich, detailed sound bed of delicate pattering percussion, occasional flute breaths and slow, meditative rhythmic lurch. "Amaniyak Tree" flips the script with a fiery run of percussion that feels more like a Latin carnival throwdown, all tumbling ethnic instrumentation strapped to a discoid propulsion. It's a record of two very excellent, very different halves.