Review: Detroit bad man OB IGNITT returns to our charts with a two-tracker for his own OBONIT imprint, and the producer is joined by fellow Detroit producer Brian Kage - a man who has been churning out badness on the low-key since about 2004, and who has already appeared alongside Omar-S on FXHE. The newly formed duo kick off with "On The Run", a light and bumpy house attack with plenty of samples, blazing melodies, and an altogether 'upper tone' approach. On the flip, Ignitt comes through solo with "All We Do", a piano-led house charmer with a hefty level of kicks and bass, Detroit styleee!
Review: It's been a hot minute since we heard something new from Och, but he's back on Autoreply with a double 12" of high-grade, stripped back tech house shot through with oodles of imagination. "Panamax" is the consummate dubby house track, a true immersion chamber of a track, while "The Sadness" brings a shuffling groove and some peppy key stabs to the table. "The Healer" is a more overtly minimal affair that would sound at home on PAL SL, while "Linear Response Function" keeps things tight and focused with a sturdy rhythmic framework and some spartan piano notes. "Incompressible Flow" has a submerged jazzy undercurrent to it, and "Lovers Roll" gets into that freaky house bounce heard on "The Sadness". Overall, it's another sterling grip of refined tracks from a seasoned pro.
Review: Fred Everything's Lazy Days label is always one for summery sounds, and they've got that in abundance from Parages label regular OJPB. The vibe on "Lucy's Stomp" is insanely upbeat, all cheery funk licks with a little French psychedelia draped over the top. "Mis A Part Et Fini" has a more dreamy outlook with its sky-reaching lead synths and hazy strings. Fred Everything dives in on "Bridgetown's Pyramid" and makes it into a sizzling bongo-powered groover, bringing out the warm ingredients in OJPB's original and matching it with his instinct for a sustained dancefloor atmosphere.
Review: OK EG appears from out of nowhere in a haze of the mellowest ambient techno and downtempo delights for your mind to melt into. "Creek" is a smooth but strident route in, the tidal lilt of the pads dissected by a finely paced beat loop that should find a comfortable home amongst deepest house heads. "Colours" does away with the drums and uses a plaintive sprinkling of keys and delays to create an evocative backdrop for fragile females vocals. "Reef I & II" is the clubbier cut, rolling out over the B side with a looming monosynth bassline and some dub techno inflections making it a smart choice for warm up scenarios especially.
Review: A collection of dance tracks inspired by some well-known / lesser known songs from various music eras of the past - ranging from American soul to UK jazz-funk and early rave scene. Guess what, these are not re-edits. These are more than just reworks. The tracks can be considered stand-alone new versions or remixes that were never out. Just put the needle on the record and try to guess... Guess What!
Review: It's not often that you get to see Alan Oldham stepping out under his own name. The legendary Detroit artist is more commonly spotted as DJ T-1000 (or designing iconic artwork for techno labels) but this time around he's sharing some more house-minded delights for Finale Sessions. "Don't Take Me" is a haunting, mystical slice of deep house that fits into the Finale narrative perfectly, while "Wild" too offers up a distinctive approach that manages to be both refined and yet imbued with that Detroit roughness. "Breathe" may well be the best jam on the record, dealing in subtle threads of melody that conjure up the perfect dubby 4/4 confection.
Review: The late nite stepper, the strut in the stuff that leaves you wanting more. That goodnight kiss, that early morning mist. Mystery producer Olmos steps to the plate for his debut 12" on Hot Shot Sounds, boogie funk vibes paired with modern nods to house- stomping OG mix backed with remixes from label boss Inkswel and Faces & McDE maestro Pablo Valentino.
Review: We're so used to Omar-S pursuing a very particular form of Detroit deep house, that when the legendary producer tries something different, it takes us by surprise. Sidetrakx Volume #3 is full of surprises. Take "Uluu", for example; while still a deep house track, its' undulating dub bassline, spaced-out soul vocal and sparse beats are pleasingly different to his traditionally rolling fare. It's mighty impressive, all told, while flipside "Another One 2 Love" almost eschews deep house completely. Instead, Alex Smith delivers a sweet, almost cute soul song built around head-nodding post hip-hop beats and sweet melodies. It, too, is hugely enjoyable, and once again proves his mastery of multiple genres.
Review: With a title like Annoying Mumbling Alkaholik, you'd expect this three-tracker from the mighty Alex "Omar" Smith to be full of pent-up anger and bitter frustration. Sure, there's a raging rawness about the third track - an undulating trip into spiraling acid territory - but for the most part the EP is a beacon of simple beauty. The opening track is particularly picturesque, with beautiful, new-age influenced melodies and immersive pads riding a cymbal-heavy Detroit deep house groove. There's more Mood Hut/Future Times style synth work on the Tangerine Dream influenced "Track 2", which contrasts deep, sun-kissed melodic loops with a fuzzy drum machine groove.
Review: Omar S adopts a new style for his new Side Trakx project. Detroit house meets sample based hip hop... and it really works. Possibly inspired by the passing of the late Jay Dilla, this music is perfect for relaxing and kicking back, or even warming up the early hours of the club. While Detroit hip-hop producers already proved that there's a mutual creative interaction between the cities house, techno and hip-hop scenes, it's now one of the cities hottest house producers laying down some smoked out, next level instrumentals in the vein of the late genius Jay Dilla, Madlib or Underground Resistance's Hipnotech sublabel.
Review: Bless up Omar S! The FXHE man is always happy to repress and reissue some of his earlier records for those that missed out at the time and here he offers a welcome chance to dig into a veritable slab of label history. AOS002 is where it all began for Omar S, first released way back in 2003 as a four track 12" of tunnelling techno and deftly sampled Detroit house. It's been repressed several times over the years with more recent editions featuring a bonus untitled track deep into the B side. The limited 2015 edition now comes in three different colours; orange, red, or brown. Whichever you chose this should be considered an essential addition to your FXHE collection.
Hit It Bubba (I Want My Dadda's Rekids!!!!) (5:42)
Party Marty (5:47)
Review: The Detroit badman always delivers the goods, but he'd recently focussed on his more house-centric style thanks to a series of sleek, soulful releases. This time, he's come out all guns blazing with this new four-part killer, led by the absolutely nutty groove that is "Sink Holes" - a proper slice of Omar S acid, delivered in fine style and with his inimitable rawness. "HELL ON EARTH" is a moodier, funkier house tip with a jazzy side, while the flipside's "Hit It Bubba (I Want My Dadda's Rekids!!!!)" is a fast, upbeat house bomb with a crazy little disco sample that floats amid the grainy bass drums. "Party Marty" is a no nonsense kind of lick, pouncing away with a steady, yet unmistakably Omar S-style percussion, and a heavy bass blow. This is one hell of a way to make an appearance this early in the year - highly recommended!!
Review: The more Omar S material we get onto our shelves, the better off we all are. We love him, as you probably well know. The Detroit misfit has this knack for making simple house and techno sound rich and full of soul. That's not to say that he can't lay down some roughness and, in fact, that's exactly what we love about him. This EP, in particular, is one we've been wanting for a while' it's Alex O Smith at his damn best the whole way through, providing the dirt and the shine simultaneously. "Blown Valvetrane" is an absolute beat of an EP, a classic Detroit killer with an FX-drenched percussion, a simple drum machine groove and a whole heap of supreme nastiness - an absolute winner! "Busaru Beats" is a murky, distorted monster that lays in the shadows of its more aggressive A-side sibling, and "Deep Valve Cover" provides that classic Omar S hit; a joint that'll blow your mind with its utter simplicity and shady demeanour. SICK and BACK IN.
Review: Hot on the heels of the boastfully-titled full-length The Best comes Desert Eagle, Alex Omar Smith's first 12" of 2016. The title track is as bold and brassy as you'd expect from the Detroit producer, with swirling, minor key melodies and woozy chords complimenting swinging machine drums and a deliciously bouncy, suitably tactile synth-bass line. Arguably better is "Cry Me A River", where soulful vocal samples and wonderfully positive melody lines are expertly combined with bumpin', distorted deep house drums. Throw in some sustained note strings and a bustling bassline, and you have another guaranteed floor-filler from the FXHE boss.
Review: Despite having already released a 16 track album this year, Detroit's finest, Omar S, proves that there is quite simply nothing stopping him as he issues the four track Nelson County. "Don't Let Dis Be HapNin! Comes on like the classic "Psychotic Photosynthesis" at witnessed through a haze of smoked glass, while "U Heard What Da Man Said Muthafukka!!" is something much more driving, like taking a spin on Detroit's streets after dark in a souped up Dodge Charger, before "Nelson County" sees the tough house-focused denouement take place in a dingy backstreet club. As always with Omar S, this stuff doesn't mess about....
Review: For his latest trick, Alex "Omar" Smith has crafted a killer new tune out of a distinctive gospel soul sample that he first used on much-played 2004 single "Day". Pedants will point out that "That's Me" actually uses a wider variety of sampled loops from the same source track, rather than one specific repetitive section, but either way the results are fantastic. Bumping, distorted, bass-heavy and soulful with more grunt than your average blue movie, the track is a perfect example of how highly effective, life-affirming house music can be made out of the simplest of elements suitably arranged and tweaked. Basically, it's a jazz-flecked, hands-aloft bumper that will get played at a lot of festivals this summer.
Review: Alex "Omar" Smith is certainly "One of a Kind". Like fellow Detroiters Kenny Dixon Jr and Theo Parrish, he has achieved cult status amongst serious deep house heads primarily by following his own path and sticking a solitary digit towards convention. That and being seriously good at what he does, of course. He begins this latest EP in confident mood, joining the dots between vintage New Jersey garage and bouncy deep house on "Less Pain", before wrapping slipped '80s synth-pop chords around a killer (machine) percussion track. Best of all, though, is title track "One of a Kind", a luscious chunk of slowly unfurling deep house positivity rich in ear-pleasing synthesizer motifs, surging chords and rush-inducing musicality.
Review: Omar S is clearly having fun this year - the subtle euphoria of "Here's Your Trance Now Dance" was followed by a new studio album, released recently with about six days notice - and now he's popped up with a new 12" featuring Colonel Abrams on FXHE. The legendary urban crooner turns in a typically soulful vocal turn on "Who Wrote The Rules Of Love", which comes in three versions: two R&B mixes (short and long) and a remix from Shadow Ray. It's the Shadow Ray tweak that will turn on the house heads, with a beefy acid line and chopped up vocals forming the backbone of the arrangement. Those who get in quick can grab the lovely coloured vinyl version!
Confess To U (The Three Stooges Of Hamtramck mix) (5:30)
Review: Alex "Omar" Smith has something he wants to get off his chest. The much-lauded Detroit producer has teamed up with re-born Italians Do It Better sorts Nite Jewel for "Confess To You", which comes in two distinctive variations. The A-side "Mix" revolves around a tactile, boogie-era synth bassline, late night AM radio synthesizer chords, drifting sax solos and a crunchy, deep house-influenced rhythm track. Arguably even better is the flipside vocal version, which naturally sees Smith, Romana Gonzalez and company deliver a near perfect chunk of '80s soul/deep house fusion. It sounds like a softly spun summer anthem in waiting. Don't take our word for it, though; check out the clips and revel in the track's breezy brilliance.
Review: Omar-S introduces Detroit's newest diva on the scene, Simon Black with an X-Rated 12" for the real freaky types. In line with some of the definitive vogue house tracks of the past, "I'll Do It Again" will become future ballroom staple. On the flipside, "Freaky Type" Black slows it down and steams it up with some nasty vox over a beat produced by FIT Siegel. High kicks and hand snaps all around!
Review: Such is the prolific nature of FXHE at the moment, which ever pressing plant Omar S uses must be pretty happy with their contract. Following swiftly from Omar S's ode to the Axel F sound comes the debut missive from Aaron "Fit" Siegel. Named so thanks to his work at the helm of Fit Distribution, Siegel is a key figure in ensuring the ongoing healthy output of Detroit's house and techno militia and "Tonite" proves to be an auspicious debut. Featuring the vocal talents of L'Renne, the track is one of those eminently soulful house tracks with a sparse approach to production, all the elements sounding so crisp and distinct in the mix but judged perfectly. Such a track and the tougher B Side Detroit Mix just demonstrate how on top of their game FXHE are right now - big tip!
Review: SEX (remixes) makes for another triumphant 12" from the uber prolific FXHE stable and further smears the edges of expectation when it comes to the singular Omar S. Once again utilising the silky vocal delivery of singer L Renee, the four tracks here take divergent stylistic routes but each is magnificent. Keen listeners of Benji B's Radio 1 show will have heard the Conant Garden Posse version on a recent Big Strick guest mix, a devilishly dirty riposte to the Ghetto House aesthetic which has L Renee's vocals gliding over a snapping, raw house beat. Alongside this are two variants done in collaboration between Omar S and Aaron Fit Siegel which sound like they've been particularly inspired by soundtrack to Drive. Check the final Mack & Bewick remix for some detuned analogue nightmare set to a rippling electro beat.
Review: No one knows who One Day is. No one knows what the title of this EP is called. No one knows what the tracks are called. But we know that this is Office... And everything Baaz's Berlin-based label puts out has a great deal of detail invested in it and always requires attention. This is no exception as the mysterious vibe maestro takes us from warm, jazz-tinged chugging deep house to cascading aquatic ambience that bubbles and pops dreamily via fuzzy, springy downtempo. Who knows who's behind this masterpiece? Maybe One Day we'll find out...
Review: Late last year, French imprint Chuwanag launched via a fine compilation exploring the early '80s Britfunk sound (think jazz-funk and electrofunk) in impressive detail. You'll find numerous aural nods to that style on this follow-up, a fine debut single from producer Koji Ono. Check, for example, the sparkling synthesizers, hustling guitars and house-tempo jazz-funk grooves of "So High", the wiggly Clavinet lines, whistling melodies and rubbery bass of "Inner Rhythms" and the luscious, misty-eyed warmth of ear-pleasing mid-tempo instrumental jam "Momoshima". All are exquisite examples of revivalist cuts that boast more than enough freshness and impeccable instrumentation to bear comparison to the records that inspired them.