Review: Mark E's burgeoning understanding with keyboardist Nat Woodcock inspires a second release under the Project E banner in the shape of the three track Kinks EP, released on his own Merc imprint once again. Anyone who checked the debut release will know Project E comes imbued with a cosmic wanderlust, and this is most evident here on the soaring synth work that drives "Umbrella Creature". With humming pads, tender arpeggios and effervescent bleeps there's plenty of eyes closed transcendence to be enjoyed with that particular track, while the title number opts for a more seductive late night tone offset by the oddball vocal mantra from quaint English vocalist Greg Bird. "Boy In The Straw Hat" sits more in nagging Detroit house vein, full of roughly hewn drums and blue-note keys that would sit comfortably alongside Omar-S in a more mellow frame of mind.
Review: Having spent the last few years establishing himself as one of the world's most consistent makers of melodious, head-in-the-clouds deep house and blissful electronica, Project Pablo has secured a deal with Ninja Tune offshoot Technocolour. His first outing for the imprint is as colourful, hazy and tuneful as you'd expect, with glistening opener "Is It Dry?" setting the tone. The Montreal-based producer breaks up the beats a little on the cheeky but dreamy analogue funk of "No Sweat", before dropping a fistful of happy pills on the bustling, up-tempo dream house revivalism of "You Know". Finally, he explores his long-held love of breakbeat-driven tracks on the yearning but jaunty brilliance of closer "Oh Fer Sure".
Review: Publicist is longtime producer/performer/musician Sebastian Thomson. His tracks approach house music from a darker angle, adding processed vocals and noise to a raw foundation that also takes cues from New Beat, acid house, and Detroit techno.
When performing live Publicist sequences the synths and not the drums, preferring to play an electronically treated drum kit in the middle of the dance floor. This adds an element of sweat, excitement and virtuosity not found in most electronic producer's live performances.
Sebastian Thomson is also known as a founding member of post rock pioneers Trans Am and as the drummer of heavy metal innovators Baroness.
Living in Brooklyn by way of Buenos Aires, Washington DC and London, Publicist has spent the last four years touring Europe extensively.
Review: With label boss Kevin Griffiths running his Tsuba imprint out of sunny Adelaide down under, it still hasn't stopped him from seeking out the globe's finest house music. He sought out Argentinian producer Fernando Pulichino a few years ago and he's back with more emotive nu-disco business on the deep side. This follows up some great releases on Leng, Futureboogie and Is It Balearic. Starting out with the sexy neon-lit mood lighting of "Serena" that's perfect for the early evening. The lo-slung "Solstice" is perfect for watching a sunset on The White Isle . On the flip, there are two versions of "Sunburst 73" where the groove of the original follows in suit of the A side's style, but the remix by Swiss producer Androo (who had an impressive debut on Music From Memory sublabel Second Circle last year) delivers an impressive dub deconstruction in the vein of Adrian Sherwood.
High (featuring Lisa D - Beatless reprise (vinyl exclusive))
Review: Purple Velvet is Chris James and Lee Dearn, two purveyors of deep and sensuous house music since forming in late 2011. Having gotten to know each other at various late night music sessions, the pair have increasingly honed their own house sound that's as suited to the dark confines of a club as it is the sunnier vibes of an outdoor terrace.
Review: The QNQN crew tends not to say much in public, choosing instead to let DJs make up their own minds about their occasional EPs of "straightforward underground jams, ambiguous edits and unmistakably sexy grooves". Their latest missive only boasts one track, but it's a rather good one. "By The Way" sounds like a sneaky rework of a clandestine, grumpy and occasionally dark tune from someone like (but most likely not) Depeche Mode. It's vocal samples and chords are drowsy and atmospheric, but the accompanying beats and bassline are a far jauntier, floor-friendly proposition, sitting somewhere between choppy electro and hot-stepping UK garage. It's a curious combination but one that works exceedingly well.
Review: After the late nite, neon-red funk of his last release 'The Digital Fantasy' (which picked up support from the likes of Benji B, Alexander Nut & Ross Allen), Quaid returns with a new ep: 'CFE'.AIn contrast to the strung out, hazy eroticism of 'The Digital Fantasy', here the heart rate has elevated and the signals pushed further into the red. 'Nightlyfe' best illustrates this with its rough hats, minor chords and irrepressible rhythm. 'Body Forms' is a nod back to the hydraulic, locked funk of Quaid's previous releases, whilst 'Tango' offers Huerco S style synths under subverted Prince Housequake-era drums.A'99%' weaves around a driving bass algorithm and the insistent vocal refrain supplied by longtime collaborator Dziko.A. There's a change in mood here, the night has passed and sunrise is moments away. Lights on tomorrow's horizon glint endless glass, dust and chrome...
Review: Dallas dudes Dolphin Records have largely impressed since launching at the tail end of 2016, largely by delivering releases that explore the outer reaches of jazz, funk, soul and psychedelia. On this 12", they present a slew of fresh re-edits of tracks from one of their finest LPs to date, Rache's eccentric, free-jazz-with-house-influences set Halepenos. Seven Davis Jr is the man at the controls for much of the EP, first provided a deliciously wonky, slipped P-funk meets-J Dilla-via-Mo Kolours take on "Call This Something" before unfurling a super-dusty, hypnotic deep house version of "Take Tayke". Arguably even better is the lo-fi, sub-heavy deep house soul of Davis's "Plugged Up" interpretation, while Rache member Ben Hixon's re-edit of "Socks Soxxx" is a skewed, mind-altering deep house bumper.
Children Of The E (Kink & Rachel version - DJ GJ edit) (6:45)
Children Of The E (Justin Va Der Volgen remix) (9:14)
Review: Originally released in 2014 on Running Back, Radio Slave's rave anthem "Children Of The E" receives a bunch of remixes here. There were two versions of the original: the "North London Mix" and the "South London Mix". This time around, Bulgarian hardware maverick KiNK works his magic on two versions: the hard hitting yet evocative "Kink SP1200 remix" channels the vibe of early '90s Underground Resistance whilet he breakbeat driven "Kink & Rachel version - DJ GJ edit" is equally as retro leaning: and remixed by label boss Gerd Janson himself. On the flip, former !!! member Justin Van Der Volgen's remix returns to the ravey aesthetics once again and is sure to bang the party!
Review: The free spirited sound of underground Parisian house soul; Neue Grafik, Hybu and EVANS' new label hits release three with a new homegrown concept; "Icone" is a home for the city's kindred spirits to unite and share smoky, soft-focus narratives. The woozy horns of Rafiki's "La Fourche", Monomite's somnambulant soul on "City Life", Neue Grafik's broken-drum cascades on "Moutons Electriques", Lieu Saint's subverted Jersey-scented filtered house on "Sale Paradis" and the iconic drum machine technoid stutters and oceanic washes of Mad Rey's "Travail De Porc". Each cut unrestrained and hugely versatile; Vertv are not to be diverted from.
Cameroon Massif! (live At The Brain 09 mix) (13:01)
Review: Hailing from the mists of the early 90s UK techno scene, Ramjac Corporation's "Cameroon Massif!" epitomises everything great about the anything goes spirit of the scene prior to firm genre boundaries being established. Emotional Rescue have done the right thing and brought the vintage curio back to light, and what a return it is. While it shows its age, it sounds in fine fettle, all rolling breaks, trancey zaps and mysterious vocal hooks that positively draw you into a transcendental rave headspace. Both the "Massive" and "Massing" mixes are essential, but then you also get the added bonus of a live version from a reunion gig back in 2009.
Review: Three years on from his last solo outing, former Innerzone Orchestra member Paul Randolph returns to action with a very special 12" on Moodymann's Mahogani Music imprint. In its original form, "Not Gonna Let" is something of a deep and soulful treat: a head-nodding, dancefloor-friendly modern soul gem full of twinkling piano lines and heart-aching vocals. It's accompanied by two fine remixes. The first, from Charles Webster, begins as a deep, ambient soul cut, before slowly flowering into a shuffling deep house treat. Dez Andres, on the other hand, emphasizes the track's organic instrumentation further, delivering a superb rework that sits somewhere between deep house, hip-hop and modern boogie.
Review: On this fine EP, Alan Abrahams - best known for his releases as Portable and Bodycode - dons a new alias, Ranger, to explore his South African roots. In practice, that means fusing contributions from a range of guest musicians - township acapella vocal group Korus, Cameroonian bassist Stan, Parisian saxophonist Chisnea and plenty more besides - with warm and toasty rhythms that variously touch on Soutrh African house, jazz-funk, boogie and modern soul. It's a formula that results in a string of fine workouts, from the ethereal disco-soul warmth of "Normalizo" and organic deep house bliss of "Reset", to the rubbery broken beat brilliance of "Vessel" and sublime, saucer-eyed opener "Bazonkonwaba".
Review: Kalahari Oyster Cult have been thumbing through their back catalogue and return to a past gem for some renewed attention. 2017 saw the release of Erell Ranson's Hand in Hand, a quintet of beautifully crafted machine music. Two tracks have been chosen from the EP and remixed with stunning results.
First up is Dj Normal 4's "Sealife Safari MixX" of "If We Never Try." The sweet, shimmering melody of the original, the bubbling bass and subtle notes, are transformed in this remake. Silvery chords morph into bold and daring new forms under the tutelage of Tim Schumacher, neon streaked patterns coalescing with broken and cracked percussion for a superbly uplifting piece.
Pariah follows with his rework of "Hand in Hand." A deep dreamscape intricately woven with heady notes, birdsong and endless possibilities.
The final odyssey comes care of SW (Stefan Wust) of SUED fame. The Berlin based musician delivers his reimagined idea of "If We Never Try" with Ranson's version being washed over by lapping lines and gentle currents to create a smooth rounded finale. A trio of unique perspectives from three true talents of electronic music.
Hakim Murphy & Christopher Rau - "Floorz Hop" (6:14)
Hakim Murphy & Christopher Rau - "Again Agin" (6:48)
NC 17 - "Gasoline Or Dettol" (6:46)
Mezigue & Christopher Rau - "Honk For Peace" (3:08)
Review: In support of the joys of teamwork, Smallville regular Christopher Rau has launched Totally Together, a new label committed to releasing collaborations between producers. He handles the first 12" himself, joining forces with a succession of artists across four fine tracks. The A-side boasts two hook-ups with Chicago's Hakim Murphy; the sweaty, jackin' drum machine beats and wayward electronics of "Floorz Hop", and the bass-heavy deep house wooziness of "Again Agin" [sic]. On the flip, Rau joins forces with Nathan Jonson as NC 17, delivering the ghetto-house influenced Chi-town bump of "Gasoline or Dettol" (think winding synth horns, crunchy drum machine handclaps and throbbing sub-bass), before laying down the ultra-deep, ultra-melodious "Carrier" alongside Mezigue.
Review: There's something especially magical about "Besakih's Dragon's Clouds", the gentle, melodious and chiming lead cut from Giorgio Bacchin's latest outing under the Raw M.T alias. More akin to Steve Reich's "Music For 18 Musicians" after a night mainlining loved-up narcotics than a throbbing dancefloor banger, it brilliantly sets the tone for what follows. "Banjar Hot Springs" is a breezy, melodious and tactile chunk of dreamy deep house cheeriness, "Ulluwatu's God" a melodically intricate but rhythmically hypnotic chugger, and "Broken Sea" a stylistically accurate tribute to the wavy days of Italian ambient house (albeit with a few nods towards likeminded Japanese producers from the same period).
Review: David Cabanne (no, another one!) is based in Bordeaux, France. The young producer has released for Waxtefacts Records and Khasia Hills Records previously but now for Brighton based house heroes Wolf Music. On the A side, we have the dusty and disco-fied deepness of "Here I Am" and "Freshly Squeezed" respectively which utilise rusty and skittering old drumcomputer patterns with tastefully borrowed diva vocal samples to stunning effect. On the flip, the solemn and emotive "Flip The Script" closes out this fine little EP out in style.