Review: Seeking to sum up the sound of his burgeoning label, Mario Castillo pulls in a selection of artists to assist him in his Kastil guise. Soul Notes is a label clearly in love with a more vibe-laden kind of deep house, whether it comes in the form of a bumping garage shuffle as in Fulbert's "Untitled", or Kastil's own more aquatic excursion. The unifying atmosphere is a blue note one, coming out of dreamy chords steeped in the legacy of black music that permeate each of the tracks on offer. Look no further than the feel-good roll of Jefferson Belmondo's "Booty Groove" for an exercise in understated funk that knows how to pay its dues.
Review: Italy's Funclab are bursting onto the scene with this terrific introduction to their kinda groove with House Al Dente - their first self-produced release. A collection of producers, DJs, promoters, and electronic music enthusiasts alike, they hail out of Milan and their main three sound designers have produced a track each. First up is Ayce Bio with the funked-up and sexy house of "Jazz Affair", Borbo with the lo-slung and jazzy disco on "Your Ex" and finally Turenne with the dusted-down and smooth deep vibe of "1000" Punti".
Review: Detroit/Houston based Kolour have had some pretty credible names feature on their new 10 inch series this year, such as Eddic C, Napoleon, Frank Booker and Lady Blacktronika. Now it is over to the Belarus based disco DJ Funkyjaws who serves up two irresistible jams on Vol 8 of the series. On the A side, we have the soulful and life affirming African boogie of "Them & Us". We have not heard the original but it sounds pretty seamless to us: a respectful edit indeed. On the flip, we have one seriously mad boogie-down jam in the form of "Peasant Dance" which is a truly exotic affair from god knows where! Accordions, wah-wah guitar and some super string arrangements clash wonderfully. This may sound like an unholy mixture but this is exactly the kind of disco deviance that truly floats our boat! The Grodno based producer last appeared for the label on Kolour LTD 22 a couple of years back, and in the meantime has also appeared for the likes of Shadeleaf Music and Austrian imprint Pusic.
My Favourite Merchant (feat Byron The Aquarius) (5:26)
See Me Ride (3:58)
Gem (Hidden Spheres remix) (6:30)
Review: Jesse Futerman's first appearance for Church feels like it was always meant to happen and, in fact, it's as if this artist has always been part of the London label. That's because his rugged house flex is exactly the sort of material that these guys have been pushing over the last few years, and "My Favourite Chant" provides the perfect analog house trip. "See Me Ride", however, is a slower, more placid sort of groove that allows more space for the myriad of gentle melodies emanating from every corner, but the flip-side's "Gem" heads back to the dance floor with utter ease, and makes for the perfect opening set track; Hidden Spheres provides the remix, a subtle modification of the original which focusses heavily on the tribal drums. A wonderful new Church bomb...
Review: More high-grade material from the Rye Wax associated West Friends label. It sees the return to the imprint of Rhythm Section International sort FYI Chris, who first appeared on West Friends 12 months ago. As usual, the two cuts are wonderfully deep, atmospheric and evocative, balancing the needs of the dancefloor with the producer's passion for crafting fluid, saucer-eyed soundscapes. This is arguably best exemplified by the dub house-inspired shuffle of A-side "Ad", which also boasts some thought-provoking spoken word samples. B-side "Pas" may well be the first deep house tune to ever sample the UK government's infamous, Cold War-era "Protect and Survive" public information films. As a result, the track is undeniably creepy despite its obvious dancefloor credentials.
Review: London-based G Markus' credentials include productions on Soul Clap Records, Exploited, Roots For Bloom, Music For Freaks and Monologues. This will be the sixth edition of his own G-Edits series, where he serves up a familiar stateside groove that has been respectfully respliced on "Red E" - think classic Strictly Rhythm or Catch from the early '90s. On the flip, it's more of a remix on the sexy late-night trip "Cum Thru" that will give y'all a nice fix of deepness with its bouncy bassline and soulful vocals. More surefire grooves from the lesser known alias of Ben Gomori.
Set Your Mind To It (Mr Fingers Jazzy instrumental) (7:13)
Set Your Mind To It (radio vocal) (3:12)
Set Your Mind To It (Gallifre Drums & club) (9:51)
Set Your Mind To It (Winelight instrumental) (3:22)
Review: Quintessential Chicago deep house; Brett Wilcots' last release as Gallifre landed in 1990 and came with a sublime Mr Fingers edit. Reissued for the first time ever, the whole EP surges with soul and feeling as we're treated to versions for every occasion. Fingers gets his jazz on with a hypnotic, slightly dubby take (and an arousing sax solo), Gallifre provides a powerful percussion heavy dancefloor twist and a peppy original that really brings Jimmie Lee's vocals to life while the Winelight mix adds a soft sunset filter for a sensual finale. Timeless.
Review: Surely one of the finest record labels operating out of Russia right now, Udacha welcomes Gamayun back for a second time to admirably dive into the particular spirit that surrounds the label. Somewhere between loose-fit soulful house grooves you might hear on Downbeat and a more mystical, far-out spirit, this mysterious producer is a dab hand at weaving a particularly enchanting spell. The jazzy fluidity of "C-Music" could easily sit alongside some of Vakula's more wayward works, while "Aerial Dance" pirouettes off into an abstract rhythmic space that truly stimulates even as it confuses. Records this fresh-sounding don't roll around every day.
Review: Diego Gamez is a US-based house producer who has previously appeared on big man Jus-Ed's Underground Quality stable. That, in our opinion, deserves an applause in itself and instantly turned our attention to his new EP for his very own Deependance label. The mood is similar to his last outing but there's something more molecular about these tracks and it feels like Gamez has added a slightly darker edge to his sound design. "No Depen-dance", for example, is a deep and dubby house tune with an interstellar sensibility, and the same goes for "Travelling Through Phases", a beautifully spacey jam with plenty of funk twists. Over on the flip, "New Horizon" is bumpier but nonetheless cinematic, and "Psych" squelches and morphs its way across desolate and starry landscapes. Deeper than deep space.
Review: Garage Shelter AKA Signal St returns to Wax Classic with four raw, grainy ageless house cuts. "Gas" lights the fire with shimmering dubby pads and a chugging, unrelenting warehouse jack pumping unfailingly beneath the atmospheres, "4 My Peepz" continues the oceanic chords and robust beats but with an edge that owes as much to Paris as it does Chicago and "Dance Division" strips things right back to a lavish electroid synth bass that fluctuates and rises with powerful Black Strobe-style allure. Finally we're sent off packing with a beautiful deep dream chugger "That's Coming" where Claussellian chords sooth but the rolling drums persistently strut.
Review: Manchester's Garth Be is up next on esteemed London based imprint Wolf Music. This is his latest release since last year's Law Of Fives EP on Ruf Kutz. Much like fellow homeboy and elder statesman Trus'Me, he channels the dusty, soulful and emotive sounds of the Motor City like that of Kenny Dixon Jr and Theo Parrish et al and even sneaks in a few cheeky disco edits like on the intro "Feelin To Be". On the evocative "Pashun" we have a right wicked jam packed full of tight and dusty rhythms, neon-lit synths and emotive chord progressions. The late night deepness of "Allens" is another worthy addition to this collection of fine tunes, as is the off-kilter minimal electro of "Jodisho" and the absolutely saturated lo-fi/slo-mo bliss of "Jonse".
Review: Simone Gatto has been working tirelessly to build up his catalogue of deep, thoughtfully crafted techno expressions - with albums on Out-Er, Pregnant Void and Sheik N' Beik, not to mention plenty of singles and EPs too, he's done a fine job of establishing himself as a singular voice in the techno thoroughfare. This latest 12" comes courtesy of Finale Sessions, who coax out some of the deeper material in Gatto's arsenal. There's heads down dubbiness to immerse yourself in on "Melodies From The Hearth," craftily filtered house abstractions on "Foot Tapping Mix" and the very Finale-esque smooth out of "How Can I Get To Sleep."
Review: This year, Theo Parrish seems to be doing his best to breathe new life into the careers of broken beat-era producers and musicians. Having previously released an excellent EP from Dego and Kaidi Tatham on Sound Signature, his latest missive comes from one-time conscious hip-hop producer Ge ology and one-time go-to jazz keys-man Mark De Clive-Lowe. The latter's brilliant synthesizer and piano work is arguably the highlight of both tracks here. On the spacey, P-funk influenced space-house swing of "Moon Circuitry" he does his best impression of Herbie Hancock, while "Escape On The Lodge Freeway" boasts intricate jazz solos atop a slightly tougher, chunkier deep house groove. Both tracks are, of course, impeccable.
Review: Mehmet Aslan and Miajica represent some of the finest operators in Basel, and their Fleeting Wax label is on hand to represent what's good in the Swiss scene and beyond. On this latest release they turn to Eva Geist, who has previously been spotted on Macadam Mambo and Elestial Sound with her beautiful mix of synths and vocals, striking a chord between noirish synth pop and heads down club music. "Blumareciano" is a wonderfully seductive, slightly spooky stew of a track which San Proper then injects with his usual freaky energy to make for a more uptempo party version. Then Geist's "Begum" stretches over the B-side in a bubbling blend of delayed voices, tribal percussion and general outernational surrealism.
Review: It would be fair to say that Morgan Geist's Megaprojects series is an attempt to go "back to basics". Not only are the tracks created using - in his words - "cheap drum machines and vintage synths", but also pay tribute to some of his earliest inspirations. In practice, that means doffing a cap to fluid and ear-pleasing early deep house on the glistening "Manic Cinq", pitched-down Italo-disco and bass-heavy early British techno ("Fuzzy Detail") and tactile, breakbeat-driven late '80s house (the rather wonderful "Buy Freedom"). Arguably best of all, though, is closer "OCGC", whose psychedelic acid lines, tactile synth bass and cheery synth melodies make the track sound like a cross between vintage Metro Area and Orbital's "Halcyon".
Review: Ensuring they keep things pushing forwards while also celebrating their past, Vibraphone call upon rising talent Gemil to deliver an EP that is purely fresh material. "Forces & Gravity" is perfectly honed to get the maximum response from the dance with its muscular production and catchy vocal sample, but if you want an even more focused affair the remix strips things down to the bare necessities and works just as effectively. On the B side "Horizon" gets a touch more playful in its synth work with interplaying riffs creating a dazzling whole, and then "Solar Storm" brings the heads-down, hard-swinging heaviness into the mix in a devastating finishing blow.
Review: Pure Cajual gold as Another Day release Spencer Kincy's one of four Gemini EPs on Relief. As with most of these early EPs (and his legendary sets) Kincy kicks off with a warm, deep number (the Nina Simone sampling beauty "U Know How I Feel") before feeding us to the Chicago lions... "Festival" is a relentless loopy jacker laced with carnival vocals, "Your Place Or Mine" plays tempo tricks with the mind before "For Love" closes with a hypnotic stomp that pays homage to the icy futurist charms of electro but with added concrete drums. Grab this before they all disappear!
Review: More seminal material by the legendary Spencer Kincy aka Gemini up for grabs once again courtesy of the newly created Another Day imprint out of London. As before, this release has been licensed directly from the man himself, so unlike some other reissues out there, the money made from its exploitation will go directly to him. Originally released in 1995 on Curtis Jones' Cajual Recordings, this one has been a favorite among those in the know for sometime. Starting off with the woozy Afro house of "Untitled I", the wicked jack of "Untitled II" is probably more familiar to most others as the Gemini sound. On the flip, "Untitled III" is a raw and stripped back drum track/DJ tool.
Review: The sorely missed talent of Spencer Kincy left many an overlooked gem in his wake, most of which has been slowly getting re-released over time since he left the music business. This EP previously appeared on Classic shortly before he stepped out of the fray and its not hard to hear the signs in the playful lyrics of the title track, but throughout the EP is the evidence of what a gifted house artist he really was. From the playful, bubbly bounce of the lead track to the heads down low end trip "A Taste", this is as strong a selection of house cuts as you're likely to hear all year.
Review: Spencer Kincy takes us back to 94 as part of his four EP series that documents the first run of Gemini EPs on Green Velvet's seminal Relief Records imprint. Still as ahead of their time as they were almost 25 years ago, "The Beginning" is wildly off grid, loose and insanely funky while the rest of the EP gradually morphs into breath taking technoid experiments "Floating" takes a high NRG feel with its looping insistency "Klonopin" and its edited sibling "Klonopinless" offer a full physical sensation with their brazen hypnotic loopiness. Watch out for the other remaining three...
Review: Having already released more material in the past year than producers manage in five, it seems appropriate to remove the "rising" tag from the Detroit-based teenager Generation Next's description, especially when confronted by the quality of the productions on Medication. Adopting a tougher stance than on the deeper sounds of his previous issues on 7 Days Entertainment, the EP explores a number of acidic permutations; "Sum Light" sees a finely tuned 303 line hopping amidst crisp drum machine rhythms, while "Acid Alcohol" sees a livelier variation on the same theme augmented by brisk 808s. However, it's "Generic Current" that offers the most impressive cut, a heady combination of droning bass and sci-fi lead that sounds like it should be soundtracking a malevolent cyborg stalking the streets of Detroit.
Review: Big Stick's 7 Days Entertainment delivers more of the same quality house music from the Motor City that it has fast become renowned for. The Strickmaster's latest release comes from none other than his own offspring, the supremely talented Generation Next, whose Ender 12" will definitely appeal to anyone that checked last year's Like Father, Like Son. Lead cut "Ender" is uplifting and soulful with its tough beat, mesmerising pianos and that bassline! "Dream States" is all dreamy keys and cowbells; what more you want? (its equally as funky!). Closing out proceeding is "Joni" taking things deeper but that 808 beat is absolutely tight!