Review: Dokta has been seen lurking around 20:20 Vision with a curious take on that label's particular brand of house. That step to the left becomes more pronounced on this record, where Dokta gets to call on a wealth of live instrumentation to animate his sound. On "London Nights" he interweaves vocal, ambling keys and crooked basslines into a curious and utterly inspired cocktail of cool-headed pressure, which Jason Heath then simmers down to a purely instrumental refrain. Burnski goes to the other extreme and beefs the track up for a firm and functional ride, while Ralph Lawson dubs the track out and gives it a low slung swagger.
Review: 20/20 Vision welcome Nathan Jonson to the label to deliver some of his esteemed beats - he was previously known as Hrdvision, and as a member of Midnight Operator alongside his infamous brother Mathew. It is in fact MJ who gets the run of the A side with a bouncing, bubbly remix of "Business" that calls to mind some of the most wriggly threads in that unmistakable Jonson sound. "Let Your Body" strikes a different tone on the B-side, conjuring up some rave ghosts and decanting them into a thoroughly modern club burner heavy on the dramatic arrangement and sure to create wild responses on the dancefloor. "Business" in its original form is a loose and funky-as-hell electro jam with live, glutinous monosynth flex and Detroit-tinted pads to die for.
Review: Ted Krisko and Eric Rickers hail from Detroit, and their distinctive brand of snappy, playful electro and techno has already landed them releases on KMS, Visionquest and others. Now they land on 20/20 Vision with the devilishly fun "One LFO," an unremitting acid jam shot through with crafty drum programming and enough robotic lubricant to get the rustiest joints greased up and moving. Fellow Detroit champs Luke Hess and Delano Smith shore up on the flip with classy remixes, Hess waving his dubby strains over the original in inimitable form and Smith taking things deep, smooth and just a little spooky.
Mollono Bass & Ava Asante - "Afrodisia" (Rene Bourgeois remix)
Monolink & Acid Pauli - "New Morning" (Green Lake Project remix)
Herrhausen & Treindl - "Alamba" (The Micronaut remix)
The Micronaut - "What Else" (The Glitz Nothing Matter remix)
Review: Two decades have passed since the people behind the 3000grad label launched their SOS party. Given that the club is still going strong 20 years later, they've decided to mark the occasion with a celebratory collection of "remixes for friends, by friends". Largely rooted in deep house and tech-house but with a myriad of influences on show - from Balkan beats and electroclash, to soul, indie-rock and big room techno - the compilation contains a wealth of floor-friendly material. Highlights include a jaunty Be Svendson remix of Acid Pauli's "Requiem For a Loop", the atmospheric, melodious tech-house voodoo of Pophop's version of Zigan Aldi's "Blue Hill" and the rolling peak-time throb of Mollono Bass's tweak of Dole and Kom's "Phara Oh".
Review: Adam Monti aka ADMNTi heads up 4Plae Records out of London and joins Casey Spillman (who just debuted on Infuse) for his label's fifth release. Monti opens with the hypnotic, bass-driven and swing-fuelled loops of "0207", a sublime groove reminiscent of iO (Mulen) or Jack Wickham, while Spillman's contribution comes in the form of the very UK influenced bounce of "Juice Appeal". This takes the best of 2-step and garage (and even the mandatory "rewind") to create a sexy serving of late night mood music. On the flip they flip the script, with both artists remixing each other's track and for what it's worth we reckon it's all about Spillman's remix of Monti's - tough rolling and functional tech house that's aimed squarely at the main room at peak time!
Review: You have to admire Laurent Garnier's continued desire to push boundaries and confound critics. His plan to devote 2014 to releasing five EPs on five different labels, whilst mixing up the styles, is undoubtedly bold. This three-tracker for the ever-intriguing 50Weapons imprint is particularly impressive. "MILF" bristles with stuttering analogue rhythms, foreboding chords and attractive bleep melodies, coming on like an unlikely jam session between Sweet Exorcist and Orbital. "DSK" sees the French veteran moving further towards his techno roots, while "He" sounds like an homage to darkwave with techno overtones and more than a hint of stripped-back early Chicago acid. Bravo Monsieur Garnier, bravo!
Generation Next - "Like Father, Like Son" (feat Big Strick)
Review: Like Father, Like Son sees Big Strick and his prodigious son Generation Next team up for a split 12" showcasing this pair of criminally underappreciated Detroit producers. "Rain Dance" sees the elder of the two deliver a deep techno journey filled with abstracted textures and organic chimes that sound, while the young Generation Next shows a remarkable maturity beyond his years on "And You Too", where sparse, subtle chords and the simplest of melodies drift by on a light rhythm. On "Like Father, Like Son" the two pair up for the most gently uplifting of deep piano jams. Just like pretty much everything on 7 Days Entertainment, this is some nigh on essential material.
Review: The brilliantly monikered Big Strick - familial elder to Omar S and responsible for the odd killer release on his younger cousin's FXHE imprint - belatedly sates the appetite of record collectors keen to indulge in his recent album Detroit Heat with a six track selection of the choicest cuts spread across this twelve inch. Seemingly drawing influence from a myriad of Motor City influences, Detroit Heat impressively flits between murky deep house, tracky techno and hypnotic jack-tracks. Like many of his contemporaries, Strick is a sucker for 'cement mixer' production - that distinctly Detroitian sound where every beat, groove or bassline sounds like the master tapes have been marinated in grit. That trademark sound, alongside a solid selection of floor-friendly grooves, makes Detroit Heat an excellent addition to the Motor City house canon. The rubbery spinal atmospherics of "Under Tone" and the Tony Coates vocally assisted jack of "Maybe 1 Day" are particular highlights!
Review: Although Amsterdam's Daniel Sanchez has appeared regularly on classic tech-house labels like Area Remote or Bla Bla Records since the late 00s, he had yet to make an appearance on Mannheim's ever-impressive 8bit Records. Home to peeps like Nick Curly, Alex Niggemann, Audiofly, and even Steve Lawler, they are the masters of the modern Balearic dance. Sanchez's "Thang" obviously slides into the roster with utter ease, the groove smashing out intricate waves of glitch and heavy kicks, while "We Are Puppets" strays from the formula to drop a faster, more techno-minded rhythm for the peak time, and "Mapuche" slides its liquid-like drums along a cavernous string of voices and phased-out sonics. Effective.
Review: The enduring UK tech house legend Danny Howells returns, surprisingly, on underground Mannheim imprint 8bit run by Nick Curly and Gorge. It must be quite the honour to host new material by the man long considered a 'DJ's DJ' by many over the years. These days Howell's keeps his releases to a minimum, aside from recent alliances with Rejected and Selador, for instance. It's all in all a fairly impressive EP we must say: from the euphoric, trance-induced energy of "Whiterock" to the deeply hypnotic tech house of "Seabirds" which is as slinky as you like it. On the flip, wait for the drop on the monster that is "Isolar" which will have you reeling in suspense - until that riser ends and that funky filtered house groove starts banging!
Review: Todd Sines has been on an incredibly productive roll of late, and now he's been invited to lay down some of his incendiary machine jams for Nail's 89:Ghost label. The Internal Dialogue EP kicks off with the creepy, metallic tones of "Pacifist", matching Sines' trademark jerking grooves with almost industrial textures. "Throat" takes things in an equally curious direction, pinging deep house dynamics into a weird zone where discord and sound processing subtly infect the blueprint with stunning results. "Plink" is remarkably upfront in comparison, not least thanks to the huge monosynth lead blurting out at the front of the mix. "Settle" finishes the record off with a brilliantly crooked deconstruction built around off-kilter drum hits and wonky key stabs that could only come from Sines' distinctive sound palette.
Review: The unstoppable house machine Nail is back once more on his 89:Ghost label with a grip of killer drops previously only available online. His advice is to "spark up a zug and chew on these meaty badboys", and we'd be inclined to agree. There's a heady, trippy quality to "Happen Dub" that suits all heavy lidded situations, while "Ese Dub" channels a few rugged bleep traits that hark back Nail's roots in DIY Discs and the free party scene. "Feets Dub" channels some sublime funk sampling that would sound right at home amongst the Detroit house grandmasters, and "Be Dub 2" takes things interstellar with some swirling, churning dub techno chords of the highest calibre.
Review: House music legend Satoshi Tomiie pushes his all hardware jam sessions forward, this time teaming up with Tokyo's modular synth master Rintaro on his Abstract Architecture label. The Insomniaque EP featuring improvised tracks recorded in one shot, using only physical hardware instruments such as the Eurorack modular system, drum machines, samplers and synthesizers. Features the groovy minimal funk of "Gil", the dark hypnotic afterhours tackle of the title track, to the barely there DJ tool "FRZ", we look forward to the second part on Parisien Yoyaku's YoY.