Review: Blind Box heads Julien Sandre and Konstress know a thing or two about deep, undulating house grooves, and their continued exploration of immersive cuts for hidden corners of the dance yields further delights on this sixth instalment in the Blind Box series. The first side of this 12" finds the two label bosses twisting out immaculate jams shot through with playful sound design. "Would" locks into a subtle swing and revels in lopsided synth stabs, while "Hedone" plunges into a stunning intricate techno landscape peppered with glitchy tones. On the flip, Julian Alexander follows suit with the crisp, funky "Baku Man" and the more experimental tones of "Casserole".
Review: David Gtronic kicked off the Black Wood label with the Kryptoo 12", and now Javier Carballo swiftly follows up with the immersive tones of Morning Vibe. Carballo's sound is undoubtedly rooted in the minimal house he's turned out for One Records amongst others, but he's got a distinctive edge in his productions that makes them stand out. "Morning Vibe" in particular does so well because it matches airy pads and skittering drums with a measured lick of acid, making something truly trippy in the process. "Back For Good" pairs dubby chord pulses with shuffling hats, and "Chunchuneo" gets locked into an insistent rhythmic chug that it's tough to resist.
Review: Eight years after Teufelswerk, an album in which Hell called up giants like Bryan Ferry and P Diddy for creative adventures, International Deejay Gigolo Hell presents his fifth album Zukunftmusik. A much more personal affair, written and created with Peter Kruder, the album takes a deep dive into Hell's psyche. His inspirations, fears and fascinations all laid bare as we glide and slide from the poignant ballad of "Anywhere Anytime" to sinewy, sinister 6am acid ("Guede") via orchestrated cinematic synthesis ("K House" and "Inferno") to strident slices of evocative and highly narrative house music such as "Wild At Art". Hewn together with shades of experimentation and timeless pop science, Hell's created something incredibly special here.
Review: Moscow's Isaiah Tapes are also the guys behind the great Baptismo Alpinismo and Longlife Python sub labels, which are doing great things at the moment. Next up for the label is Charles Torris aka Le Matin, who after a bunch cassette only releases over the past few years releases his first full length. The LP album's six tracks and accompanying bonus CD traverse the galaxy of lowdown smack electro; reminiscent of Dopplereffekt like on "Ma Voisine La Pute" or "Yeah", wacky modular synth improvisation as heard on the charmingly titled "Cat Vomit" or deeply sublime minimal techno as heard on "M05 Michel Platini". Brilliant album from start to finish. Tip!
Review: Parisian minimal house hero and Aeternum Records boss Lowris is back with more reductionist mini-funk grooves on this neat three tracker; his second release since for 2017 after his impressive appearance on Russia's Nervmusic. On the A side, "Bestyolle" sees him still carrying the flame for classic microhouse sounds, channelling the heyday of seminal imprints such as Force Inc. and Background. With rhythms comprised of found sounds with assorted trippy synthesis: it's heady stuff right here! Next "Setup" is definitely more dancefloor friendly with its dubby groove; albeit particularly lean, but allowing the subtle tape delayed drums and random bass pulses to create lovely trance induction. The backdrop of yet more field recordings add to the mystery. On the flip, Berlin hero Edward (White/Giegling) delivers an upbeat remix of "Bestyolle" using his signature style of dusty broken beat, to carry the odd sample collage of the original into new and adventurous territory.
Review: Amsterdam based house hooligan Maurits Verwoerd aka Nachtbraker returns with more dusted down and funked-up disco house shenanigans for Quartet Series - the imprint he's been running since 2016. Although he's also flaunted his wares for homeboys Heist, Berlin's Dirt Crew and Hudd Traxx in recent times too. "Small Towel People" features a tough rolling rhythm beneath a collage of cheeky loops and samples, and the equally cyclical/MPC-sounding jam "Kippendijen" uses the same approach but with more restraint. On the flip, we've got the rather sleek "Zomaar" which is reminiscent of the French Touch style that came out of Paris in the late '90s - but with a mean broken beat behind it!
Review: Miami deep and tech house label Sports is hitting its third release with the sultry tones of Greek producer Salt, who offers up two original tracks of lean and mean tracks to get pumping to. "Quantum XL" features punchy bass, dubby FX and seductive chords that burrow right into the heart of the night, while "Imago Loop" takes a sharp turn into dreamy broken beat crafted with light, airy drums and woozy pads for the most blissful of listening experiences. On the remix front, Sylphe offer up a re-dub of "Quantum XL" that fattens the bass up further and works more percussive angles into the mix, while Martinez deftly swaps "Imago Loop"s breaks out for a slinky micro house beat.
Review: "Completing a quick fire trio of new EPs, Constant Sound hits release number six with a pair of new tracks from VRSION that come with a dance floor friendly remix from Persuader. VRSION is a German producer who has already made a big impact with his release on Craig Richards' excellent The Nothing Special label. Following up that in fine style is the opener here, 'Torn', which is a hurried and urgent track that sits on the divide between house and techno. It is driven and slick, rubbery and hypnotic but has plenty of nuance and funk in its well programmed drums. Some occult sounds and wordless vocals embellished the whole thing and it really is the sort of track that blows dance floors apart and will stand out in any set. 'Capricorn Meet Leo' then toys with kinked drum patterns, rattling percussion and fathom deep bass that sucks you right into VRSION's world. It's a restless place where harmonies ride up and down the scale, cause claps come at you from odd angles and dark vocals add a sense of paranoia. Remixing this one is Persuader, who does so with a stripped back sense of restrain. he retains the original's weirdness, but layers in serene pads and tripped out atmospherics that really make it ripe for playing at 4am. This is the most adventurous release yet for Constant Sound, and is sure to prove one of its bets as a result."