Review: Detroit mainstay Waajeed is back on the case with another heavyweight slab for his Dirt Tech Reck label. "Heavy" pulls no punches - this track is peak time soul music turned up to 11 not least thanks to Wu-Tang songstress Blue Raspberry under alias Candi Lindsey's staggering diva vocal. The track also comes in instrumental form, but trust us and reach for the vocal to send a crowd into rapture. Lindsey returns on "Deeper Into Blue", another sprightly house cut with melancholy and hope in equal measure. "Too Black" rounds the EP off with a twitching broken beat groove that speaks to Waajeed's accomplished history in the truly soulful end of contemporary club music.
Review: Nebraska's Friends & Relations series continues to serve up the finest disco-sprinkled house delights, following on from the previous installment of Disco Dubs with another on point reduction of dusty grooves through the mixing desk. These jams are stripped back and oh so heavy, with FX flaring in all the right places to give an eerie, trippy tint to the jams. It's like walking into the deep end of the session where Walter Gibbons jams with King Tubby uptown, and you'd be right in thinking that's a match made in far-out disco heaven.
Review: Four years deep into its disco, beatdown and edit adventures, Smokecloud's status is nigh-on impeccable. Here we find them uniting four of their most creative craftsmen for four straight-up dancefloor pacifiers. Highlights include the sludgy slo-mo Edwin Starr on acid flavoured "Caught Up" and the Diana Ross homage that is the sun-skanked reggae party jam "CC Tribute" by VinylAddicted & SMQ. Instant smiles.
Review: Having previously blessed us with "Ocean Side" two years back, Benedek and Tom Noble return to Superior Elevation with two more Balearic gems. One for the night time, one for sunrise; "World Gruuv" hits the boogie spot with spiralling keys wandering freely up and down a tight shimmering synth-bass led groove. Meanwhile "Profesora" on the B brings us back into reality softly with its addictive percussive hook, aquatic backing and totally tropical taste. Imagine Art Of Noise on Claremont 56 and you're on the right route.
Review: The 1 Life crew had a strong start with the likes of Kerri Chandler, DJ Spen & Karizma and Joey Negro contributing to a disco-fied house sound. Volume two on the label is no slouch either, ranging from Vincent Inc & LA's smoky "Cafe Tropical" before launching into Rico De Almenda's sassy, joyous take on "Watermelon Man". Venus Attack Project get into a deeper, percussive mood on the incendiary "Grass Culture" before Vincent Floyd completes the set with the heartfelt acid bubble of "Trail Of Tears". From organic sounds to box jams, these tracks speak directly to the foundations on which house music was built.
Review: Fresh from dropping some heat on Leftroom, Alex Arnout continues his productive streak with this sterling return to Jack's House after he last graced the label with its first release back in 2016. "Sync Jam" packs a serious shuffle that hits squarely in the pleasure plexus for any discerning tech house head, while "Calling U" adopts a playfully spooky tone as it wriggles through a plethora of freaky synth squiggles. "Resergen" completes the set with a spirited dash through hooky techno drum programming and a mean chord line that captures a little old-skool optimism in the process.
Review: Manchester-based DJ/producer Yadava hasn't been releasing music all that long, but what he has put out has been superb. Here he makes his first appearance on Omena with a mini-album every bit as inspired as his 2018 debut album on Church, "It Rains Here". As with previous outings, the showcased tracks are imaginative and evocative, with Yadava blending dreamy electronics and jazzy instrumentation with grooves that variously doff a cap to dusty deep house, West African and South American rhythms, jazz-funk and broken beat. Highlights are plentiful throughout, with the richly percussive "Earth Tones", bustling "Message From Poets", jazzy "Ixelles '42" and super-sweet "Good Mourning" standing out.
Review: Get your motors running! Hamburg DJ and occasional editor Automart drives off the forecourt with one of his first originals. With its stately tempo and soft harmonics creating a smooth discoid ride, "Discover Me" sets to cruise control in a subtly addictive unhurried speed. Loaded with both vocal and instrumental versions from Tom Noble, there's plenty of mileage in the tank on this one.
Review: The SlapFunk crew have another new recruit for their mission to match minimal dance aesthetics with tough old-skool punch. Danish producer Martinez has plenty of experience having released everywhere from Guidance to Moon Harbour and Minibar, and he sounds right at home freaking the funk for the Dutch contingent. There's a straight up strut to the jacking drums on opener "Inter Species Relations", while "Aspired Commotion" slips into the kind of wriggling shuffle you'd expect from a SlapFunk release. "No Data" adopts a skippy 2-step stance with some eerie textures on top, and then "Shanty Town" finishes the record off with more swinging business peppered with delightful keys.
Review: Representing Californian house music culture with its heart on its sleeve, 12 Inches Deep return for a second volume of "West Coast Dance Traxx" that features four up and comers from the underground. Ricky Tinez captures a perfect hazy summer mood on the dub mix of "That Day" - a true product of his environment. Akumen brings a sweatier vibe to "Inner Life (All Of Music)" which captures a little Chi-town pressure and then blows it wide open with some choice organ licks. Le Smoove is on a serious garage tip with "G Groovez" and Urbanite reaches skywards with the utterly infectious "Triple Filtered", spilling good vibes out from every angle.
Review: Tom Noble's Superior Elevation label started life as a home for reissues of obscure disco and boogie material, but has since widened its remit to include original productions. Here, Noble welcomes fellow Brooklyn resident Willie Burns to the label for a spot of sweaty, basement-bothering house business. Intriguingly, Burns original - nestled on the flipside - is the looser of the two, with dexterous percussion hits accompanying restless drum machine hits and a killer, New Jersey influenced bassline. Noble chooses not to emphasize these disco elements, instead delivering a wild, low-slung, dub style reinterpretation that turns it into a surging, late night house stomper.
Review: Remarkably, 18 years has past since Red Ember Records offered up the first installment in their "Deepsounds" series of multi-artist EPs. Volume five kicks off with "Relax", a warm and fuzzy chunk of head-nodding deep house hypnotism by Sauco and Prakash that boasts some raw analogue bass and oven-hot stabs. Erell Ranson goes even jazzier, deeper and more melodious on the superb "Beauty Of Sadness", while Frankie Soukal's "Polaroid" wraps spacey, dubbed-out and delay laden chords around a chunky groove. Arguably best of all though is Tominori Hosoya's luscious "2 Years Later", an ultra-deep, dreamy and positive cut that's twice as tactile as Play-Dough and infinitely tastier.