Review: Leonard "Big Strick" Strickland is perhaps best known for his family ties with Omar-S (they're cousins), though his productions are well worthy of praise in their own right. Here, he offers up a sampler 12" featuring cuts from his recent (and excellent) Reservoir Dogs LP. Perhaps the most noteworthy cut is "Family Affair", a lovingly constructed chunk of hypnotic, melodic deepness written with Omar-S. That said, Strick's solo effort "Armed & Dangerous" - a winding chunk of voodoo techno - is arguably better. The mazy techno-funk of Reckless Ron Cook's "Night Moves" is also outstanding.
Review: Miles Sagnia's British bastion of deepness, AER, returns with the LIFE EP, which sees the label foray into fresh territory. Tokyo's Tomi Chair opens proceedings with a sharp piece of deep techno called "Sunstroke" which is as uplifting as it is tough. Si Tappenden appears next under the newly established Ourra alias, contributing the dawn acid driver "Marine Morning" which is an inspired piece of dancefloor poetry. Finally rounding off the Ep is Miles Sagnia's 'Elements'. After years of experience as one of the UK's finest underground DJs, Sagnia is on point once again. A beautifully emotive track, that pulls on the heart strings and exhibits a serene gentility that works alongside the rhythm.
Obsolete Music Technology - "High Top Fade" (6:32)
Specter - "Butters Whipped" (6:02)
Isoke - "Soul Glo" (3:10)
Damon Lamar - "Bermuda Triangle" (7:02)
Chicago Skyway - "Edged Out" (6:04)
Review: Perpetual Rhythms is already well-regarded as a bastion of quality amongst contemporary Chicago house labels, and now they've downright sealed the deal with this mammoth compilation from a stellar cast of local cats. There's too many to all list in detail here, so focusing on the highlights, Dcee leads things in with the tumbling cosmic jazz leanings of "Suavecito," Hakim Murphy teases with a spacious and daring exploration in the liminal zone between ambient and house, and Obsolete Music Technology gets invigorating with the bouncy "High Top Fade." Those tracks alone are enough to deserve your hard earned, but there's reams of other excellent forward-facing Windy City jams to sink your teeth into.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Gravity Graffiti has been doing great things with its series of split 12"s already, but now the Italian label goes one better for its tenth release with this mighty double pack of heavy hitters. First up is the ever-untouchable Yoshinori Hayashi, who gets as straight up as he possibly could with the freaky house burner "Dissociative." Telephones is feeling particularly dubbed out and groovy on "Kalimbalimbo", while DB.Source and Riccardo Schiro take things strung out and textural on "Montevago". Dynamo Dreesen is in rave mode for the pepped up and delightfully weird "Reactivate", leaving the final side to Oyvind Morken & Kaman Leung's chugging "Tunnel Visjon" and the rubbery side swipes of Acidboychair's "The End (At Any Speed)".
Review: Over the last 12 months, Tom Harris AKA Hidden Spheres has proved to be one of the most adaptable producers in the deep house scene. He not only delivered plenty of tropical and dreamy fare via his Fruit Merchant imprint, but also got rough, raw and ragged via an acid and electro-influenced EP on Lobster UNDR. "Words Can't Explain" is another deft change of direction, with honey-voiced guest Oscar Jerome offering a superb soul vocal over a warm and woozy backing track rich in broken house drums, toasty synth bass, drowsy Rhodes chords and effortlessly jazzy guitar solos. It's superb, and one of Harris' best tracks to date. Also worth checking is the club-ready revision by Yu Su, which not only utilizes heavy sub bass but also some crunchy drum machine percussion.
Review: Glasgow's Ooft! continues the FOTO-X series on his label with a sure shot 12" that presents two tracks sure to nestle their way into all manner of on-point record bags for many moons to come. First up is iLO who plays the long game with a yearning and burning slice of deep house that starts out stripped and subtle before blossoming into a fully-fledged vocal delight. Ooft! takes care of the B-side with a boogie-tasting get down entitled "Howard's Way" which will get heads nodding and bodies popping to a bassline that calls to mind Evelyn King's much loved "I'm In Love" low end destroyer.
Review: EYA Records presents a double 12" of plush techno and house spanning styles, giving four producers the chance to showcase the breadth of their sound with two tracks each. Innershades brings emotive 90s swoon and peppy acid to the A side, before Two Phase U slips in a little uptempo robo-disco sauce and a feisty jack track. Otis takes things in the direction of wiggy proto-trance and bleep techno, and then Zots finishes up with freaky synth work dripping with mischievous personality. This is a set of tracks that demands to be noticed - don't sleep.
Manuk & Oli Silva - "Nevermind The Crispies" (5:55)
Eliaz - "Verdico" (7:06)
Meta 4 - "Urnammu" (7:45)
Jorge Gamarra - "Dypac" (5:42)
Review: There's a certain air of buy-on-sight mystique around EYA Records, somewhere between the low-key presentation of the music and the cult artists they're calling on to realise their particular vision of deviant dancefloor business. This is unabashed freaky party tackle, from Manuk & Oli Silva's delirious B-movie jack track "Nevermind The Crispies" to the uneasy electro snarl of "Verdico". Meta 4 has equally nightmarish moods to share on the graveyard acid of "Urnammu" and Jorge Gamarra seals the deal with the schlocky braindance horror of "Dypac". It's the kind of record that you'll be reaching for come Halloween, trust.
Review: Having set out their stall via a fine first collaborative release on Bordello a Parigi a couple of months back, Mytron and Ofofo pitch up on Multi-Culti. As you'd expect from a label with such a strong track record of multi-cultural musical fusion, much of the EP defies easy categorization. Sure, you'll find a chunk of Italo-influenced electro ("Non-Binary Joys on the Venus Holodeck") and a couple of slabs of madcap disco-funk fusion ("Si Jambo" and "2Tac Onana"), but also a heavyweight slab of low-slung punk-funk/post disco ("Czary Mary"). Oh, and the skewed electro-funk-meets-intergalactic synth pop insanity of "Something for Your Mind", which also boasts some notably brain-melting vocoder action. More, please!
Too Late For Nonesense (Omar live Out Of Box tool) (6:25)
Review: Indigenous Electronic's second release the "No Market for Emotion" EP pushes further into organic territory with a hardware driven release. The A side sees two tracks on the dubbier end of the spectrum recorded by Iranian producer Ramtin Niazi, a musician with a background in instrumental music, now with a greater focus on machine orientated electronic music. Niazi's contribution sees him delivering two low slung tracks: "Naked Dub" progressing with Lush emotional pads and "Cash Dub" a moodier counterpart. The B side sees the label's head Omar Jayyusi's debut release, with two entirely out the box jams recorded straight to two track. "Pyramid" has a deep and solid rumbling low end, acid basslines and percussive drums. "Too Late for nonsense", is a sub-bass focused micro house dj tool, punchy and reaching the lower end of the dynamic range.
Limited release of x 200 vinyl only without repress.
Review: In what is surely an unexpected collaboration in the field of house and techno, Mosaic mastermind Steve O'Sullivan teams up with Ricardo Villalobos for a hypnotic trip through minimal landscapes that plays to both of their strengths. The rock-solid rhythm of "Sullric" surely belongs to O'Sullivan while the rich, subtle layers of samples, tones and other such sonic decorations come straight from the Villalobos school of production. The two mixes on this 12" only have minor differences - whichever side you drop things will get considerably deeper than they were previously. Of such ingredients are classy, immersive techno joints made.