Les Mondes Engloutis (Psychemagik main mix) (7:17)
Les Mondes Engloutis (Psychemagik 5am mix) (9:07)
Review: Martin Brodin's MB Disco imprint continues to deliver the good stuff, this time featuring two utterly essential Psychemagik mixes of Alico vs Cagri's "Les Mondes Engloutis". These mixes actually first surfaced on a digital-only release back in 2013, but now they've been buffed up for a full vinyl pressing, and rightly so. A side "Main Mix" is a full bodied, emotional banger with a lead drop to get crowds waving arms and singing along wholeheartedly. Our pick is the "5am Mix" on the flip though, where the synths take on a more shimmering nocturnal tone without losing that bright and bold character that will land this 12" in all manner of record bags this summer.
Review: Some five years after re-launching his Crayon label via a fine EP of vintage "Tracks From The Vault", original 1990s tech-house producer Mark Ambrose serves up more gems from his bulging archives. The quality threshold remains dizzyingly high throughout. Check first the moody, back room dub of "Nightshift (Deeper Mix)", where gentle, alien synth lines and deep space chords tumble down over a heavy analogue bassline and locked-in beats, before turning your attention to "Space Animals", a deliciously dubbed-out affair rich in sub bass and drifting, deep space chords. If that's not enough, flip over and trance out to B side "Seduction" and finally, the slamming techno beats, looped electronics and mind-mangling TB-303 motifs of closer "Dusty Acid".
Review: The hitherto unknown BEFORETHEBEATSBREAK crew step up with a low key drop on Blah Records, a label that has previously hosted the talents of Ronaldo and Crazy Bank. The mood is resolutely fixed on pumping garage house with oodles of swing, from the deeper shuffle of "Closer" to the heavy bump of "I Don't Want U". "Freak Me Out" is a wonderfully frantic workout with all manner of samples and skittish key flex pinging around an uptempo groove, before "Talkin' About" pushes the swing even harder to conjure up a jazzy feeling smattered with sax licks and squelching synth stabs.
Review: Pepe Bradock's recent album "What A Mess!" might have been a cut-and-paste collage of weirdo track fragments, occasional rhythms and spaced-out ambient aesthetics, but the veteran Parisian producer is still capable of crafting killer dancefloor cuts when he feels like it. This weirdo deep house two-tracker proves as much, with A-side "Peeped Booths" offering a near perfect fusion of hypnotic bass, locked-in grooves, ultra-deep riffs, angular electronic noises and strange vocal samples that have been manipulated within an inch of their lives. It's more than a bit good. "Klezmorim Telepathique" sees Bradock raise the tempo and intensity via a bumpin' fusion of panicked electronic motifs, paranoid bass and fizzing synthesizer flashes.
Review: Benjamin Brunn and Dave Wheels are old studio buddies, having worked together on and off since 2006. "2000", though, is their most ambitious joint project yet: a collaborative album for Sushitech that offers up breezy, melodious and cheery fusions of heady dub techno, gentle electronica, chugging sofa-friendly haziness and glitchy late night hypnotism. It's an interesting blend but one that certainly hits the spot. Highlights include the horizontal pulse of "Orainge", the wonderfully hypnotic after-hours throb of "Iratamoto (Version)", the bold and sun-kissed undulations of "In The Club" and the pie-eyed warmth of "Waldeck".
Review: Ever reliable Berlin duo Cab Drivers are back on Cabinet with more boompty minimal house business you've come to expect from the legendary duo. Powered by analogue soul throughout, Daniel Paul and ZKY go deep into the night with the emotive, bass-driven title track before getting freakier and darker on the flip with "Quotes". Well suited for the after-hours, this 12" is packed full of vintage drum machine flair and intoxicating electronics.
Review: Few are held in as higher esteem or instill as much admiration as the Italian deep house legend, Don Carlos. Imogen Recordings continue their stellar release form, locking down the maestro for a blissful two tracker that gives just as much energy, awe and emotion as his early '90s output. 'Alina' is eyes closed business right from the off. Waves of atmospheric synth strings and hazy chords roll in, as blissful pads sway with filtered drum loops. First come the dusky piano twinkles, then the trademark Don Carlos analogue bass tones, proving as prominent as ever behind melt-in-the-mouth sax grooves. Every turn and tweak conjures up memories of carefree elation - its ecstasy inducing dance music without the need for artificial enhancements. Part II is a variation on this masterpiece, progressing through the intro in a speedier fashion for those that need an express ticket to that peak time power. Shakers, claps and congas are brighter in the mix whilst the addition of a springing synth arp, fluctuations to the bassline and a re-sleazed sax line give just enough diversity to make it distinctive. It's hardier than Part I, but with every bit as much finesse and feeling. This is the real deal - no nonsense house music from a heart and head that have seen it all. Alone on a Mediterraneo beach or surround by a packed dancefloor, Alina is one to get lost in from start to finish and a solid statement that Don Carlos certainly still has 'it'.
Review: Following the recent tragic death of founder member Philippe Zdar, this could well be Cassius' final bow. "Dreems" - the long-serving Parisian duo's fifth studio album - would be a fitting swansong. Less concerned with the potential of Ed Banger style power-pop, its' various glassy synth-pop moments (see the Owlie voiced "Don't Let Me Be") are outnumbered by vibrant, funk-fuelled tracks that pay homage to their own "French Touch" house heritage. "Rock Non Stop", for example, is like something from debut album "1999", "Cause oui!" is an exuberant mash-up of synth-pop, hot and heavy house and hip-hop featuring Beastie Boy Mike D and "Calliope" recalls the late night hedonism of Zdar's work with Etienne de Crecy as Motorbass. Rest in peace Philippe.
Review: If you've yet to succumb to the charms of Children of Zeus - and there can't be many out there who haven't - then this "odds and ends" LP offers a neat introduction. Five of the seven tracks have been plucked from the Manchester crew's previous full-length excursions, while the other two - seductively soulful two-step garage reworks of "Vibrations" and "Slow Down" by fellow Manchester resident Zed Bias - have previously been almost impossible to get hold of. Setting aside the club-ready remixes, what "Excess Baggage" proves is that Children of Zeus are one of British music's most essential outfits right now, delivering sensual and life-affirming cuts that brilliantly blend the best aspects of hip-hop, R&B and modern soul.