Review: While Moomin may have been one of Smallville's most consistent artists, he's not released that much for the Hamburg imprint in recent times. A Minor Thought is his second full-length, and first since acclaimed 2011 debut The Story About You. Fans of that album will be pleased to discover A Minor Thought picks up where it's predecessor left off, with the producer laying down a series of opaque deep house jams rich with live instrumentation, jazzy samples, delicious musical touches and interesting ideas. Highlights are plentiful, from the loose-limbed grooves, dreamy pads and snaking clarinet lines of "Morning Groove" and effortlessly whimsical "Alone", to the tech-tinged loveliness of "Chemistry" and jazz-flecked bliss of "You Neva Know".
Review: Smallville present a deliciously hypnotic taste of what to expect from the forthcoming Moomin album, further showcasing the Berlin based producer's penchant for deeply driving house sounds. It's pretty difficult not to get swept up by the tender melodic sound at the core of "Sweet Sweet" which swings in and out of focus amidst some subtly effective drum rhythms. Flipside, the track is squeezed into what begins as a minimal shuffle by Oskar Offermann, before gradually unfurling into something jacking and euphoric. "The Game" is a swampy, pensive finale, with woozy deep lying melodies gently cascading around loose limbed syncopation.
Review: Hamburg deep house cognoscenti Julius Steinhoff and Dione return for their second full length as Smallpeople, following up 2012's much lauded Salty Days and some sporadic EPs on their Smallville and Fuck Reality imprints respectively. "Afterglow" is a solid effort that continues with their fascination of classic U.S. deep house derivatives, all reinterpreted through a vibrant modern lens. From the sunny and dusted down urban blues of opener "Magic Interference", the emotive Chicago influence on late night grooves like "Hearts At Whole" or "All States Of Dawn" (particularly the latter with its irresistible jacked vocals), through to the hypnotic Latin-tinged flavour of "Beyond" or the sublime deep dub of the title track - there's nothing to fault on this fine effort.
Review: Smallville Records/Smallpeople co-founder Julius Steinhoff returns after a great collaboration with Moomin on the Closer imprint last year, a surprising non-electronic album with his band project Tonight Will Be Fine (together with Abdeslam Hammouda) on Japanese label Mule Musiq and some great remixes for Spain's Saft label. The Hamburg native strikes out with some real proper deep stuff here, like on the soulful and emotive acid express of "Along The Coast", or the energetic hi-tech soul workout that is "Moondowner" and finally draws on the bloodlines of classic techno and electro (in a modern context) on the trippy and minimalist "Be Myself". A solid effort from one of Germany's most underrated producers.