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This week at Juno

First of all, Happy New Year from everyone here at Juno – we hope you brought 2011 in with style.

However, as our man Kirk Degiorgio posted on his Twitter page this week: “Techno stops for no man!” The same evidently applies for all forms of good music, as the tasty releases have continued to trickle in over the festive period.

The release that best supports Degiorgio’s statement came in the form of the stunning debut long player from UK-US collective Sandwell District. Feed-Forward, sadly, has now sold out and entered into the realm of ‘collector’s item’, however those who missed out can console themselves with a live ‘test session’ sampler or a new EP from Sandwell man Function.

Elsewhere two of the UK’s biggest techno gurus – Mark Broom and James Ruskin – teamed up for three slices of no-nonsense, perfectly produced club tackle. The intriguingly titled “Erotic Misery”opens proceedings, with a granite hard techno thump complimented by frenetic hi-hats which perpetually build and build, while piercing synths arise slowly from deep inside the track’s bowels. Flip over for the improbably deep “The Future That Was” and the raw, snappy “Black Lines”. Fans of serious, heads down techno in the vein of Surgeon, Horizontal Ground, Ben Klock and Regis will be all over this.

On a discoid tip were a brace of newbies from New York dwelling Brit DJ Nature. A founding member of key 80s Bristol crew The Wild Bunch, the producer – real name Milo Johnson – was already responsible for some of our favourite music last year with releases on Golf Channel and Jazzy Sport. Check out Volume 1 here and Volume 2 here – you won’t be disappointed. Equally impressive was the disco-noir of Chicago duo Gatekeeper on Merok Records – check out the 12″ here and the sublime artwork above.

Another favourite at Juno HQ came courtesy of Clone Classic Cuts, who once again brought the vintage dancefloor fire with an oft overlooked NYC vocal house gem from gospel crooner Joe Church. Produced by Yvonne Turner and Tommy Musto at Underworld Records in 1987, “Don’t You Wanna Be Mine” is dripping with the soul and raw emotion that characterised all the best New York house from this era.

Over at Juno Download, the headlines this week screamed hysterically: “Stilove4music enter the digital realm!” The Chicago label, which boasts releases from label boss Jerome Derradji, Rahaan, Andy Ash, Nick Chacona and more, will slowly trickle out its back catalogue over the coming weeks and months. Excitement!

Meanwhile it was second time around for Tom Trago’s “Use Me”, one of the stand out cuts from the Dutch producer’s excellent Voyage Direct album. Here, Trago gave it a total reboot, abandoning the heavily filtered sound of the original in favour of something altogether longer, sharper and bigger. It’s a good look – check it out here.

As always, happy hunting.