Review: There's deep, and then there's the work of Bastian "Baaz" Volker. The German producer's work is rarely less than ultra-deep, and this return to Slices of Life - a label he last blessed four years ago - is predictably hazy and hypnotic. Title track "The Reason" is typical of his style, with becalmed, head-in-the-clouds chords and chopped-up vocal samples reclining over a crispy tech-house groove. Flipside "Ancestors Groove" is a little livelier, both rhythmically and structurally, with chiming blasts of melody and suitably soulful vocal samples riding a backing track rich in bustling bass, bumping beats and drowsy pads.
Review: Swiss master of all things deep, Bastian Volker is back for the eighth release on his always impressive Office imprint. Not just content with creating some lush music under the Baaz alias or redefining the dub techno sound as Eric Miller (like on his recent album Silhouettes for Sushitech this year), could he be delving into the world of hypnotic techno now also? Brilliant opener "Kraut House" starts the EP off in great form and is reminiscent of the tribal trance sounds of Refracted or Tozzy. On the flip, "Modual" is more like the Baaz we know; deep, dubby and emotive with a bumping baseline, smoky drum patterns and pitch shifted druggy vocals for added effect. Finally "Simple E" adds yet more variety to the release with this dusty and bittersweet slow burner that's perfect for drifting.
Review: Barbarella is proud to announce these new mixes of "Star" by Rob Acid. The track is taken from Rob's "Star EP" on Censored Records and now it appears on the hot new Barbarella label. The new remixes come from two of the top producers of the UK underground scene who both deliver very different interpretations of Rob's original track. On the info sides is Scott Edwards aka Avus, in the past he has recorded for Border Community, Klang Elektronik and Perc Trax. His mix is a classic slice of modern minimalism, dubbing out the track with his trademark glitchy effects. Turn it over and Perc Trax label owner Ali Wells aka Perc, gives us a deep, bassline-driven remix pushed along by a warped drum track. Recent fans of Perc's music include Michael Meyer, James Holden, Slam and Laurent Garnier.
Review: Up next on Slovenian legend Valentino Kanzyani's label is a fairly tight various artists EP showcasing some sleek minimal and tech house sounds. Beginning with the mysterious Bad Boys and their deep and dirty afterhours jam "Muse" while Cruise On The Valkan (again, whoever they are!) serve up the chugging early morning hypnotica of "Cruising No 3" and the tough rolling funk of "Cruising No 1" respectively - which will no doubt appeal to fans of similarly reduced sounds coming out of Romania at present. On the flip, the charmingly titled Vito Kalimari serves up a taste for the acid life of "Jupyfirsttry" which has the signature womp and wobble of the infamous silver Roland box all throughout it - this one was sick! Running since 2005, Jesus Loved You has presented some big names over the years, long before they got big too. Dan Andrei, SIT and Vinyl Speed Adjust are just a few we can mention.
Review: After launching into Memory Box with aplomb on the deadly Acid Stomp 12", Robin Ball steps up on the London-based imprint once again with the saucy tones of his latest four track EP. "Drop It Down Low" and its accompanying dub mix are classy twists on the tech house formula that lean towards old-skool methods while keeping the sleaze factor ramped up high. "Remember" takes a more tripped out tribal approach, with the "Vibes mix" providing a more subtle twist to the warm, melodic undulations of the full fat version. It's an EP loaded with personality and flair for sophisticated dancefloors.
Review: Robin Ball has been on a roll of late, flaunting his wares on the Memory Box label amongst others. He makes a second outing on Groovepressure with four tracks of dynamic, inventive machine jams touching on synthwave influences and a healthy dose of electro. There's atmosphere loaded into each of these forthright, roughly hewn workouts, not least on the eerie, trancey synth strings on "Mr Mumble". The B side features the steadiest material in the shape of two versions of "Satin" that tap into the housier end of Ball's output.
Review: Romanian minimal hero Barac Nicolae is back, so get excited! This hero of Bucharest's new guard follows up the tremendous Theory EP (with Vincentiulian) last year which inaugurated his own Theory imprint but this time he appears for Frankfurt's Rawax for the fourth instalment of their Aira series. On the first side "Echoes" is dubby and atmospheric featuring Nicolae's always immaculate production standards with cerebral and hypnotic elements. On the flip "Surrounding Desert" is more intense but still ploughs away in reductionist fashion with some completely mindbending and tripped out sound design on top of his tightly crafted groove.
Review: Hailing from Romania and Spain, Barac and Baltazar are two producers with a particular ear for dread-out percussion. Both of them have released different sorts of tunes, with the former being part of NoiDoi, but this new collaboration to launch Romanian imprint, Shamandrum, sees them push their skills even further. For starters, Barac's "Povestea Lui Teofan" is one of the deepest, darkest examples of tribalism that we've heard this year, with the tune's deranged vocal samples blending ever so well into the sparse collection of drums beneath. Baltazar's effort, "Viento En Popa", is much more straight-edged and teched-out, surely with the power to appeal to minimal heads across the globe, and more than a few fans of imprints like Slow Life. This is minimal drumming at its finest!
Review: After five years spent drifting between labels, James Barnsley finally found a regular home in 2015. Ever since, he's periodically released EPs on Vessel, with each successive EP being more impressive than the last. Predictably, his latest EP for the label is another winner. There are two Barnsley originals to choose from: "Time", where spacey but dubbed-out synth motifs cluster around a nagging bassline and gently pulsating peak-time tech-house groove, and the jazzy and more expansive deep house warmth of "Forgiveness". Cab Drivers turns in a delicious dub house rework of the latter, while tech-house veteran D'Julz serves up a far more driving and mind-altering take on "Time".
Review: The main tune uses the kind of chords we all love since Inner City's "Big Fun" has been released. In addition, the track has a sonic density which is considered as a trademark of the label. Backed by a powerful 909 groove, this is one of the ultimate club anthems a DJ can't fail with.
Review: Originally released back in 2009, Amsterdam scene stalwart Patrice Baumel's anthem "Roar" now gets a - pardon the pun - roaring main room rework (featuring one massive drop!) by Hamburg's favourite sons Adana Twins - hot off their latest Watergate Mix. This is the first EP stemming from the mix itself, and could easily be the standout track off the compilation. On the flip is the adrenalised and mesmerising dancefloor drama of "Aufstand Der Massen" which has already been in constant rotation with heavy hitters like Solomun and Tale Of Us.