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: 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: 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: 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: Bambooman (real name Kirk Barley) is a London based producer who presents his fourth release on Matthew Herbert's Accidental imprint - which follows up last year's terrific long player, Whispers. His new offering is the trippy minimal techno kicker "Ricochet", with its sparse arrangement revolving around a stuttering bassline and nasty chord stabs awash in plate reverb. On the flip, the man himself Herbert steps up to deliver a wacky and glitched out remix in his own truly idiosyncratic style once again.
Review: Rominimal veteran Barac Nicolae returns, and this time on Felipe Venegas' esteemed imprint Drumma with a pair of tight, infectious minimal tech house productions. The rolling and hypnotic main room grooves that he's built his reputation on can be heard loud and clear on the powerful "The Mirror Of Spirit", while the flipside houses a deeper, after-hours vibe via "909". Despite its name, the beats produced by the trusty Roland drum machine aren't the main attraction. We think "303" might be more well suited for this acid entrancer!
Review: By his usual prolific standards, Romanian producer Barac Nicolae has been rather quiet this year. "The Real You Is Not You", a double-pack of varied dancefloor cuts in his trademark minimal style, is only his second outing of the year. It's rather good, though, with sparse but groovy rhythm tracks providing the backing for all manner of ear-pleasing musical touches and mind-altering electronic effects. Our picks of the bunch are the funky, dreamy and sun-kissed hypnotism of "A Story Behind Everything" and the tipsy wonkiness of the title track, where trippy vocal samples and blissful synth riffs rise above an undulating, off-kilter groove.
Review: Pascal Benjamin is next up on Constant Black, following strong prior bouts from Michael James and Daniel Akbar. The Dutch producer has been dropping bombs on SlapFunk, Botanic Minds and many more in recent years, and he's sounding taut and toned on this slab of after-hours goodness. "Rascale" is one of those snaking tech house joints where the devil is in the details, crying out for a crisp soundsystem to bring the subtleties of sound design to life. "5th Snooze" is a more tightly wound affair with a subtle jazziness rubbed into its joints, while "Full Colour" brings the kind of funky bump and trippy mood you used to find on the Trapez label. "Liez" completes the set with a sharp approach that wriggles its way under the skin.