Review: There was much excitement surrounding Granit Records' recent reissue of Claude Rodap's sole album, 1982's synthesizer-heavy fusion of traditional Martinique styles and (then) contemporary electronic music, Syn-Ka. Now Rush Hour is getting in on the act, issuing three more obscure Rodap productions - this time made around the turn of the Millennium - on vinyl for the first time. There's naturally plenty to enjoy, from the rainforest melodies, spacey synth-bass and gentle tropical rhythms of "Hiwa", to the glistening, guitar-laden Caribbean Balerica of closer "Zouklove". The track that sits in between, the denser, jazzier, solo heavy "Paco", is also superb.
Review: Rush Hour have released some killer reissues in their time, and this mini-album from Ben Cenac of Newcleus fame, released under the Dream 2 Science moniker in 1990 is no exception, sounding like a conscious response to the warm, soul-flecked offerings of contemporaries Bobby Konders, the Burrell Brothers and Lamont Booker. Amazingly, Dream 2 Science still sounds remarkably fresh, 22 years on. The production, in particular, is terrific. While many house records of the period sound clumsy and dated, there's a timeless quality to the intricately programmed drum machine rhythms, the drifting chords, warm analogue basslines and cute vibraphone melodies.
Review: Original Chicago deep house producer Vincent Floyd has enjoyed something of a career renaissance since the release of Moonlight Fantasy, a collection of previously unheard 1990s productions, on Rush Hour in 2014. Here the Dutch label dips into his vaults again and unearths another gem from the late 1990s. "Hard to Love" is every bit as warm, rich and loved-up as you'd expect, with Floyd providing a yearning, soul-fired vocal to accompany his rich Windy City grooves and cascading synthesizer melodies. On the flip you'll find a fabulous instrumental version that closely mirrors the vocal take. That it stands up on its own without the headline vocal is testament to Floyd's impeccable composition and production skills.
Review: Unbeknownst to most techno heads, 1995's Hippnotic Culture is majorly responsible for the modern rise in minimalistic dance music, especially the strains adopted by labels like Minus or Perlon a decade later. Released on the ambiguous Utensil Records, this was top-shelf material from Terrence Dixon aka Population 1, who has grown and evolved both of those monikers to this day. Holland's Rush Hour, always a source of inspirational dance aesthetics, is responsible for this re-visioning of the now much coveted original issue. "Rush Hour", to which the Amsterdam store owe their name, the wayward "Warped", "Cosmic Drill", "Lovechild", and the dreary-eyed "Lost In Space" all receive a fine remixing tweak, adding to their inherent hypnotism with another fine layer of Detroit dust. Transparent vinyl.
Goon (Entire Kickless) (feat Trish Van Eynde) (5:19)
Anti Political (5:14)
The Swamp (7:11)
Predator's Cave (5:42)
Chicago By Night (6:20)
Turn Left Right Here (9:10)
Review: Since releasing his first album for 14 years in 2013, Dutch techno veteran Orlando Voorn has been almost unstoppable. This is his third album in as many years, and may well be his strongest set to date. From the start, it's a blindingly colourful, vibrant and melodious affair, with distinct tropical, jazz, new age and heavy electro influences adding extra depth and interest to his Motor City techno template. Highlights are pleasingly plentiful, from the spacey, bittersweet depth of "Chicago By Night" and hip-hop influenced IDM bounce of "In My World", to the spine-tingling beauty of "Anti Political", and warehouse-friendly carnival warmth of "Goon Entire Kickless".
Review: Leon Vynehall's stunningly picturesque "Midnight On Rainbow Road" was one of the undoubted highlights of Gerd Jansen's second Musik For Autobahns compilation, which was released in the autumn of 2015 by Rush Hour. Here, it gets a deserved single release, with the original - a hypnotic, driving-inspired blend of fluid electronic melodies, a wispy percussion and Jonny Nash style glistening guitar lines - being complimented by a brand new "Beat Edit". This adds a slowly unfurling, head-nodding rhythm that takes the track further towards Detroit Beatdown territory. In essence, though, it sounds like an early '90s ambient house jam. That's no bad thing, given that Vynehall seems to have emphasised the sun-kissed beauty of the original in the process.
Review: For the first Musik For Autobahns compilation, released back in 2012, Gerd Janson asked some of his favourite producers to create tracks inspired by the relentless, seemingly never-ending experience of motorway driving. Three years on, he's revisited the concept with similarly pleasing results. Subtitled "ambient race car music", Musik For Autobahns 2 offers up a largely magical blend of hyponitic, Balearic-tinged downtempo grooves (see Leon Vynehall's brilliant opener), shuffling hypnotism (Joy Orbison), obligatory nods to Kraftwerk (Fort Romeau), quirky synth-pop (AKSK), Detroit influences (Disco Nihilist), trippy Balearic boogie (Conga Radio), and sublime compositions (Orlando Voorn). More importantly, it contains some wonderfully evocative and entertaining music.
Review: Through the work of Awesome Tapes From Africa and others, we now know more than ever about South Africa's electronic music scene in the 1980s. Here, Rush Hour attempts to fill in the gaps in our education via a fine exploration of South African dance music produced at the tail end of the decade. It's an interesting and hugely enjoyable set full of tracks that fuse elements of local styles such as bubblegum (that's SA synth-pop, effectively) with sounds and grooves more often found in contemporaneous house music from New York, Chicago and Italy. It's a blueprint that resulted in music that was variously deep, dreamy, bubbly, warm, synth-heavy and loved-up, but never less than clearly African in origin. Pantsula, then, is a superb history lesson packed full of positive, sun-ripe gems.
Review: Amsterdam based producer Jordan 'GCZ' Czamanski wears many hats, whether as part of Juju & Jordash, Magic Mountain High or as part of Mulholland Free Clinic with David Moufang. He now makes his solo debut on Rush Hour with this awesome EP of neon treasures. From the funky old school techno vibe of "Pinball Lizzard" with its wayward melodies and cracking rhythms (on what the label best described themselves as 'a multi-ball dancefloor battle against the Grand Lizard') to the smooth neon-lit deepness of "Minor 7 Resin" - it's another terrific effort from a true hero of the underground.
Review: Rush Hour revisit Resurrection, the raft of supreme unreleased material from Virgo Four, for a streamlined double vinyl version of the five slab box set that is now out of print. By now you should know the story behind Resurrection - the tracks rescued from obscurity, with DAT tapes filled with what are now rightly considered long lost house classics that Eric Lewis and Merwyn Saunders worked on during what was clearly a very productive period between 1986 and 1990. Twelve tracks that veer between early deep house, slinky vocal numbers, next-level acid experimentation and raw, midtempo dreamscapes are slapped three to a side across the 48 inches of wax.
Review: For deep house diggers, Soichi Terada has long been a source of inspiration. While he's still active, it's the early '90s material he released on the Far East Recordings label - an imprint he founded soon after his graduation in 1990 - that most excites. Following the 2014 re-release of his sublime hook-up with Nami Shimada, "Sunshower", Rush Hour has decided to put together this excellent retrospective. Compiled by self-confessed fan Hunee, Sounds From The Far East contains a mixture of hard-to-find Terada originals, collaborations, and tracks by fellow Far East Recordings artist Shinichiro Yokota, all in the label's trademark melody-rich, evocative deep house style.
Review: During a record digging trip to South Africa a year or two back, Rush Hour co-founder Antal stumbled on an obscure local cover of Klein & MBO's Ron Hardy and Larry Levan favourite, "The MBO Theme". The Warrior version, which was recorded at some point in the early '80s, is a little slower and breezier than Klein and MBO's original, with even finer fretless bass flavours and the track's famous melodies re-played on some particularly spacey synthesizers. Helpfully, the Klein & MBO version is on the A-side, so you can easily compare the two: Warriors' little known cover is definitely our pick of the pair.
Review: Last year, Sadar Bahar made a visit to the Utrecht studio of veteran electro producer and analogue synthesizer collector Ben Spaander (AKA Cosmic Force). Having got on incredibly well, they decided to record tracks together under the Ben & Sadar's alias. This debut 12" is something of a treat: a two-track, sample-free romp through heavyweight disco-funk fusion. They begin with killer boogie jam "We Are Righteous People", where jammed-out guitar riffs, wavy saxophone lines and rubbery slap bass lines wrap themselves around an all-action drum machine groove. Flip for the guitar-wielding madness of "Bouncing Atoms", whose Cream style riffs and bluesy solos ride a cowbell-heavy disco groove.