Review: Atalanta's Byron The Aquarius has established himself as one of electronic music's most interesting artists. The super skill musician is a virtuoso on the keys and dab hand with making beats. He's got a wide range of sounds in his arsenal and is a perfect fit for the raw, MPC loving Apron label run by Funkineven, which is where lands now. This fulsome EP takes you on a jazz tinged house trip to the edges of the galaxy with far-sighted chords and reflective moods one minute and noodling, funk laced beat pieces the next. It's as high in quality as it is timeless.
Review: Much loved UK underground stalwart Truly Madly kicks off his new label with a trip to the outer edges of the dancefloor. It's a various artist affair drawing on some of the most interesting producers round right now. It's the much hyped Gene On Earth who kicks off with a cosmic tech workout for mind, body and soul, and Kepler keeps the uplifting vibes alive with his high speed and slick acid cracker. The flip side is taken care of firstly by Jhobei with his deeper, more spacious 'Grande Sultry' which erupts on fanatical sci-fi synths and Noiro cloys out with a gritty head-wrecker.
Review: The inimitable Theo Parrish is in a class of one. His brand of music is impossible to categorise as it draws on so many unique sounds in so many unique ways. This new album is another spellbinding affair that takes scuffed up house rhythms and intertwines them with freeform percussive patterns and off-grid synths that get pulled apart then rebuilt before your very ears. It is experimental music with an improvised jazz mindset that can range from complex and dense tapestries like 'Radar Detector' to the more upbeat and playful 'Hennyweed Buckdance' via fucked up drum sketches like 'All Your Boys Are Biters.'
Review: It's time for a serious slice of dance music history. Roberto Ferrante scored an international hit with 'Come On Closer', a bombastic slice of high energy Italo disco which became a staple on the nascent Chicago house scene before house music itself was defined and produced to a set of standards. Played by hand in lieu of access to a sequencer, there's a loose feel to the groove but the space age synths speak to the waves of electronic dance music that were to come. Now this holy grail of party fuel is given the reissue treatment it deserves, with both the extended mix and dub version given a plush remaster and a loud pressing to alight any dancefloor it has the chance to grace.
Review: Stockholm label Omena raise a glass to celebrate one year of business with this special RSD 7" from the ubiquitous HNNY. Johan Cederberg was responsible for the label's debut release so it seems quite fitting he's back with more sweet HNNY business to usher in the second year of Omena. Up top, "Cheer Up My Brother" finds HNNY in laid back form, adding some subtle downbeat funk touches to the lazy afternoon groove of "Farther Along", transforming the gospel staple into an essential summer sizzler. It's complemented well by the B-side track "There Is No One Else" which ups both the tempo and temperature into something of a French Touch stunner.
Review: The Neroli label is now onto its 51st release and the quality levels remain as high as ever thanks to these four fantastic cuts from Deenamic. 'Out Of My Mind' is scuffed up deep house with dragging kick drums and astro pads pulling in different directions to great effect. 'Sambu' brings Latin drum skips to the fore, with more swirling and celestial pad work, and it is a stunning fusion. The voodooistic 'The Bitter Truth' channels Theo Parrish in its busy arrangement and fizzing synths while last of all, 'Dayride' is a slow paced, jazz tinged workout that encourage you to sit bat and stare at the heavens.
Review: Lee Burridge's All Day I Dream label keeps on taking us away from this weird situation in which we find ourselves with perfectly dreamy and escapist house beats that roll on for days. His A&R skills constantly turn up new names for the label and this time out Pippi Ciez and Idd Aziz link for a worldly new single, 'Riziki.' The drums roll deep and the percussion flutters up top to soothing effect. Key to it all is an impassioned vocal chant that brings afro flavours. A Lost Desert remix is much deeper on the flip, with plaintive pianos added into the most cathartic mix. t.
Gbagada, Gbagada, Gbogodo, Gbogodo (feat Francis Mbappe) (8:58)
G-Force (feat EOL Soul Brothers) (4:52)
Aquilas Coisas Todas (8:35)
Play For Me (feat EOL Soul Brothers) (5:03)
Review: For his next album project, the Master at Work that is Louie Vega links with Luisito Quintero, a veteran percussionist who has played with La India and others in the New York scene. He is as creative and original as they come and fuses afro-Latin rhythms and bossa nova sounds into fresh new forms and now serves up Part One of his Percussion Madness album. It ranges from seductive deep house to swaggering Stevie Wonder style funk via irresistible afro beats. Luisito has shared the stage with Robert Plant, Lauryn Hill, Alicia Keys and more, but deserves just as many plaudits for his own solo work.
Review: Gerd Janson's Running Back has rarely made a missteps in its many years of business. Whether serving up camp disco, rugged techno or the sweetest of deep house, you can always be assured of quality music from quality artists. This time out the boss looks to reissue the 1990 Love Club single 'Das Rote Jaar.' It's a mournful piece with a closely mined, whispering male vocal that makes for an intimate vibe, with the deep and dusty drums are for sensuous late night dancing. The dub is a subtle one that removes the vocal and lets the drums roll, and the instrumental is that bit more upbeat, though the mood remains pensive and alluring.
Review: Deep house might not be getting the headlines it did a few years ago, but that actually means those who jumped on the hype train have all alighted once again and now only those truly devoted to the form remain. That means we get high quality EPs like this one from Visions Inc. Aleqs Notal takes us on a spiritual trip littered with toms and jazz-chords to kick things off before Meftah gets more experimental with a broken beat, tripped out keys and rubbery bass all sinking you into a state of trance. For those who like it more straight up, Taelue obliges, and as with all Afrikan Sciences tunes, the closer is a masterfully deep concoction.
Review: Before the pandemic struck, Versatile Records veteran Nicolas Chaix was working on a new improvised I:Cube live show to be taken on the road this summer. Sadly, events put paid to the long-serving producer's plans, so instead he sat down with the same hardware set-up and recorded some improvised workouts. It's those - or at least some of them, a second volume may appear in future - that form the backbone of Cubo Live Sessions. In typical fashion, 14-minute A-side 'Session 1' is formidably psychedelic, with Chaix peppering a jacking hardware groove with echoing, alien-sounding riffs, brooding pads and hallucinatory TB-303 motifs. He gets extra aggressive on fiendishly trippy and growling B-side opener 'Session 2', while 'Session 3' is a creepy, slow motion acid delight.
Felipe Gordon & Will Buck - "Back Into Time" (5:49)
Will Buck - "I Think It's Too Late" (6:31)
Will Buck - "I'll B Right There" (6:11)
Review: Off Track's second EP is a masterclass in tough and ready house that is jam packed with musicality. The kicks of Felipe Gordon's 'We All Got The Time' are scuffed up and heart felt, and the noodling keys are pure joy. 'Back Into Time' then brings even more jazz-funk vibes to a languid beat perfect for sundown and Will Buck then goes solo after that collab with a soul drenched tune Moodymann would be proud of. The vibe is totally switched up for 'I'll B Right There,' which pairs the classic sample with sustained pads and hardcore house drums designed purely to make you sweat.
Review: Much loved and always impassioned vocalist and producer Norma Jean Bell is a firm favourite with greats like Moodymann, and for good reason. here she lands on Pandamonium with a new EP that utilises the voice of soul herself, Miss Aretha Franklin. "Got Me A Mann" is a gossip tinged, chord laced house track that will make you shuffle on the spot as you rejoice your sins. "Libre Comme Un Oiseau (Free As A Bird)" is another roller, this time with more free flowing vocals that ring out above the chunky, organic drums and busted bass. Excellent stuff.
Review: Italian duo Rufus and Mass_prod are back once again as Nightdrivers, shoring up to Holic Trax with more of their infectious club-ready material. Beyond the functionality of their drums, where the Nightdrivers excel is in their choice of samples and textures to add a psychoactive twist to their craft. "A Funny Thang" is a delightfully unhinged workout, while "Stressedout" does a fine job of digging into a heads down, RnB inflected groove. "Rising" switches things up with a broken beat groove that loads up sunkissed soul samples to great effect, and then the record rounds out with a dub mix of "A Funny Thang".
Review: Belarus' Iner launches a new label with a strong cast of international names all pushing a deep and distinguished strain of house music for those who want soul and invention in equal measure. Tilman is up first with 'Sweet Dreamer', a mellow, looped up roller. Sune's 'Flutes' takes a breezier approach shaped out by fluttering jazz funk motifs. Yann Polewka celebrates the sweetest Philly strings and some classic vocal licks for a disco-infused burner you can't help but love. Iner himself keeps things loose and organic on the wonderful 'Respectfull Kind Music', while Scruscru goes for a sleek approach to chopped up funky house. That leaves it to Buzz Compass to get heady and hazy with the bass-leaning cuts coursing through 'That Nighter'.
Review: The first release on Kamarads pulls together a solid mix of established tech house figureheads for a classy, versatile set of club tracks. Politics Of Dancing goes up first with 'Ote', a deep and rugged groover geared towards hypnotism and total immersion. Djebali follows up with an equally stealthy roller that will appeal to those who like it stripped back. Terence: Terry takes things in a swirling, trippy direction with the afters-ready 'Eastern Boy' and Stephan Bazbaz finishes up with a gorgeous, lilting deep house lullaby to soothe the weary raver's soul.
Review: The mystery of the Botanic Minds Sunset Series continues to unfold with another bout of surreal and sensual club tracks that balance tweaked minimalism with a warm and hazy atmosphere. "Track001A" is packed with intricate rhythmic interplay, but it's the fluttering guitar licks and displaced vocals that give the piece its unique vibe. "Track002A" is a remix credited to Eastenderz regular Lizz, and it's a particularly spellbinding jam shaped out with lingering chords and a wistful mood. "Track001B" hunkers down around a low, throbbing bassline, but there's some sweet keys hovering up top to keep things from getting too dark. Barut is on hand with a remix for "Track002B", where trancey undercurrents meet with expansive piano and ethereal ambient swells, all strapped to a sturdy minimal house groove.
Bishop Jeff Banks & The Revival Temple Mass Choir - "Jerusalem" (album version) (6:10)
Bishop Jeff Banks & The Revival Temple Mass Choir - "Jerusalem" (JC edits & Overdubs) (14:16)
The Gospelaires Of Dayton, O - "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves" (Edits & Overdubs main) (11:05)
The Gospelaires Of Dayton, O - "God Helps Those Who Help Themselves" (JC edits & Overdubs instrumental) (6:49)
Review: While it initially started as a compilation and DJ mix series, Joe Claussell's gospel-focused Praise project has now spawned a string of EPs featuring rare tracks and new 'edits and overdubs' reworks by the Sacred Rhythm founder. The latest instalment begins with a wickedly percussive, predictably righteous live recording of a gospel slammer by Bishop Jeff Banks and the Revival Temple Mass Choir, which Claussell then turns into a 14-minute epic. He builds from a sparse, twinkling, piano-heavy start, before introducing weighty house drums and wild organ solos as the track progresses. Over on the flip it's all about 'God Helps Those Who Help Themselves', a turn-of-the-80s gospel disco slammer which Claussell successfully extends (the 'Edits and Overdubs Main' mix) and then dubs out (the accompanying instrumental).
Review: Fresh from fine outings on Port Neuf and Carpets & Snares, Fabian Appolaire dons the Saudade moniker once more for a first outing on Negonthropy's new sister imprint, Thisisnegonthropy.com (try saying that after a few too many light ales). There's much to admire across the EP's four formidable tracks, from the off-kilter Afro-Latin polyrhythms, tight stabs, wonky vocal snippets and deep bass of title track 'Choices', to the undulating tech-house glitch-funk of 'Implications' and the deep, sub-heavy early morning hypnotism of 'Liquid Fluid'. Arguably best of all though is A2 cut 'Con Amore, Como Diz', a fine fusion of densely layered Brazilian drums, fluttering and spacey synthesizer riffs, and jumpy, body-popping tech-house electronics.
Marcel Vogel & Tim Jules - "Just Because (feat Javonntte)" (5:22)
Detroit Swindle - "Time" (5:49)
The Message - "Feel The Love" (7:44)
PBR Streetgang - "Madame Z" (6:18)
James Curd - "Lets Get Get Get It" (7:21)
Review: Lumberjacks In Hell draft in a sublime cast of sympathetic operators for a second volume of From Hell With Love, providing you with eight perfectly formed tracks that straddle the divide between cosy, home-friendly house and dancefloor delectation. Laville's moody vocal turn kicks the record off in style on Austin Ato's 'Control', while Waajeed works his broken beat magic on 'What You Know'. Elsewhere Detroit Swindle bring a tougher slant on soul-rooted house music to the table, while PBR Streetgang aim straight for your pleasure centre with the soaring 'Madame Z'. And that's just the half of it.
Review: Planisphere is exactly the kind of cult deep house and techno producer that For Those That Knoe are all over. David Swatten's last release was 20 years ago, and that one now fetches sky-high prices online, but fortunately the good ship Knoe has taken charge of the situation and commissioned this full-length release of sumptuous electronics. As you would expect for the label, the vibe is primarily classic ambient techno with a spread of different energies from heads down club grooves to blissful back room excursions, all expressed through vintage synth tones. Consistently brilliant throughout, this is the kind of album you could happily melt into from start to finish, as well as having plenty for the mix-minded to get busy with.
Review: Running Back's Super Sound Singles hits fantastic number five with another steamy power dance offering that looks back to go forwards. Enzo Elia is an Italian edit maestro who offers three different take son a stomping disco cut with stark synth sounds and a vocal that brings the attitude. The vocal version is a real stomping gem, the dub is all about cutting your body loose and the bonus beats is pure filth. Label boss Gerd Janson serves up two of his own bristling, speaker busting mixes to round out a package of real dance floor dynamite.
Review: For some reason, Alton Miller never seems to quite get the headlines of many of his Chicago peers. Maybe this expressive new album on the Music Institute label will go some way to correct that. It's as lush and musical as house gets, with bumping vocal tunes that are laced with golden chords to percussive workouts like 'Long Time Comin' sure to work floors into a lather. There are even slow jams like the seductive 'Time Is On Your Side' showing off another side to Miller's sound. Whatever he does, there is s sense of spirituality and inescapable emotion that makes every cut here a thing of beauty.
Review: Marcel Vogel's Lumberjacks In Hell label shows no signs of slowing as it ramps up a killer new salvo from debutant artist C Scott. "Climb On" is an uptempo workout to capture the absolute peak of the party in the funkiest of ways, while "Hands Free" provides an apt alternative with its slow, organ-led whimsy. Disco remains the backbone of the sound here, whatever tempo the track rolls at and wherever it may head. "Stuttering" demonstrates this perfectly with its heavily treated, head-spinning FX still capturing that classic good-time mood, while "At Ease" finishes on a life-affirming canter of Rhodes led celebration.
Review: The SHAG Edits hits Volume 4 welcoming David Glass, Timmy P and Two's Tones to the Roots For Bloom roster. David brings a big hitter with Tape Deck with its MC sampled vocal, Timmy's is drenched in sunshine for all the day parties this is sure to go off at and Two's Tones takes things on a jazz twist, with clever sampling but always that underlying groove that the Roots For Bloom label is known for. Fans of the previous releases wont be dissapointed.
Review: Detroit's Jay Daniel can no longer be referred to as a protegee. The Watusi High boss is very much a talent unto his own after forming a small but superb discography in the last few years. His latest outing is another exquisite mixture of his very real drum playing skills and an ability to coax real feeling out of his lush synths. After the ambiance of 'Muse,' 'Solo' sinks into a late night vibe with glowing pads and wooden hits making for a perfectly reflective mood. 'Dew' cuts more loose into ticketing drum work that is raw and off-grid, but again soften but those gaze-inducing pads, and 'Cherry' closes out with crunchy, dance floor ready grooves.
Robert Glasper - "Enoch's House" (DJ Kemit remix) (7:03)
Guy - "Groove Me" (KZRekchampma club mix - part 1 & 2) (8:55)
Review: There's been little information released about this three-track EP, though we do known that it's the work of "a classic US label going incognito". Whatever the source, what counts is the quality of the music; happily, the EP is impeccable. Leading the charge is Karizma, whose remix of Flacko's "Lonely Town" is a breezy, soft-focus chunk of modern soul/broken house fusion smothered in hazy synthesizer chords and slowly strummed Latin guitar breakdowns. DJ Kemit dances towards peak-time floors with a wonderfully emotion-rich house version of jazz pianist Robert Glasper's "Enoch's House" built around similarly tropical drums, while KZRekchampma's glorious flipside club revision of Guy's "Groove Me" sits somewhere between bass-heavy UK house, soul-powered New Jersey garage and revivalist synth-boogie.
Cage & Aviary - "Lean On Me" (Felix Dickinson Foolish dub)
Posthuman - "Make More Man"
Review: Just as the new football season settles into it's groove, the fourth edition of the highly collectable Rothmans arrives sporting some high profile signings! Leading the way on The Claudio Gentile Release is a Foolish Felix dub of Cage & Aviary's "Lean On Me" whose deranged acid gurglings provide a nice contrast to the thrusting Escape From East London stylings of Posthuman's "Make More Men". On the flip Ali Renault returns for Rothmans duty with the Weatherall worthy "The Black Heart" whilst Iron Blu is loaned from Flight Recorder for the synthy swamp of orchestral drama that is "Oiche Shamhna"
Review: Having impressed with his drop on Aesthetic earlier this year, rising minimal house talent Nolga returns to the label with another batch of sprightly, springy bumpers to fire up your limbs and feed your brain. 'Motion To Delay' matches cascading melodic threads with a crisp, lightly swung rhythm section, while 'Conspiracy' follows a similar thread of wiggy lead lines and curvy bass. 'Fez' takes the template of the first two tracks and tips the balance towards a sumptuous palette of synth tones flitting around the sharp but snaking groove. If you need some smart but playful club tracks in your bag, look no further.
You're Leaving But I'll Still Love You (Saine remix) (6:05)
Review: Honey Butter is back with another slab of was as sweet and seductive as the name suggests. Cassettes For Kids takes care of this one with more than one eye on a golden period of mid nineties house and tech. The grooves on the opener are quick but deep, the train-track percussion locking you in while lush, heart melting chords are draped over the top. 'Growing Frustration' is a more peak time cut that never lets up and the first mix of 'You're Leaving But I'll Still Love You' is built on big break beats and a fat, tumbling bassline. Saine remixes with a more playful mood to send you home with a big old smile on your face.
Review: Ian Ash - a resident DJ of the World-famous Montreux Jazz Festival - is also known as "H" and Sunny G and he is a new singing to the Boogie Butt Records label. For his first outing he delivers a massive boogie house track with filtered vibes, lush synths and live sounding drums. His mix of 'So What U Want' really is a thing of joy, with camp vocals from R&B singer Djemaili that work their way into your affections and noodling riffs that will have you miming along. The flip side is a Lord Funk remix that brings dance floor busting electro funk vibes and is sure to work in any setting from the beach to the pool to the club.
Review: American label Beyond The Speaker made an impression with their first release "Angels Against Dust" two years ago, a tasty 12" split between Legowelt & Willie Burns. For the latest outing, Canadian mastermind Michael Silver aka CFCF (RVNG, Ghostly, 1080p) celebrates the soul and grooves of house, electro, and techno. Three tracks that balance dancefloor hustle, intricate detail and flourishing melodies. Lead track "Head Up" is a poignant call to the dancefloor, a peak hour house cut with an emergent vocal sample that rallies all for a blissful groove excursion. The B-side is a moodier affair, with "Mossy Wall" submerging the listener with potent rhythms as ominous bass intersects with a waking metropolis of melody. And the classic techno sound of "Sea of Love" deftly lulls us with gentle vocals and a looping guitar phrase.
Review: Adam Feingold once again dons the Ex Terrestrial alias, this time for an outing on box fresh Canadian imprint NAFF. He's in a typically melodious and glassy-eyed mood on the A-side, where "Portal Living (Kali)" and "Portal Living (Plain)" provide two contrasting takes on the producer's warm and wavy interpretation of early Italian dream house. "Vanilight (Re-Zoned)" sounds like his tactile take on obscure bleep pioneers DJ Martin and DJ Homes' brilliant (but little-known) bass-heavy remixes of Man Machine's "Animal", while closer "2DS" is a kaleidoscopic slice of deep musical bliss that sits somewhere between original New Jersey deep house and the turn-of-the-'90s Soul II Soul sound.
Review: 'Wanna Dance' is the new jam by deep house heavyweight Sean McCabe (Good Vibrations) and Last Forever chief Turbojazz. Said to be conceived during the lockdown period, the track recalls the energy of classic Detroit deep house and even features one of the city's favourite voices in the form of Javonntte. On the flip, the spiritual vibe of Moondance's rework calls to mind the work of Motor City legend Alton Miller, while EVM128 aka Evermean Beats really soaks up the vibe of his new hometown - London - on his nu-jazz broken beat perspective that would make even Kaidi Tatham stand up and notice.
Review: Flumo and ANMA Records link forces for this one, a collaborative project between UK-based Contours and Yadava. The music comes from various jam sessions and melds live percussion and floating keys with lush synth arpeggios. Add in drum machine, synthesizers and field recordings and you have a live and dynamic record. The whole thing flows smoothly and takes in beat driven jams that go deep with more scoring, emotionally charged tracks. Elements of the rich UK jazz scene, house, funk and more besides make this a fantastic exercise in musical warmth and soul.
Review: Bush is a new project from a wandering musical mind and it all kicks off with a seriously deep and otherworldly house EP that ditches the usual tired tropes and fawning fads, and instead fully submerges listeners in an uncompromisingly serene and seductive world miles below the surface.
Opening up label's account is 'Peckings,' initially a deep and spacious bit of beatless atmospheric sound that eventually turns into a propulsive house jam with icy hi hats, swathes of reverb and oodles of late night mysticism. 'OG18' is another devilishly deep and spiritual bit of house with luxurious amounts of open space in which various pads float and drift about. It's seductive and spaced out stuff before 'Legome' toys with raw claps, swelling chords and undulating drums in louche fashion. There's a restraint and musicality to this track that betrays a real production mastery and, lastly, 'Lockdown' is again a hugely subterranean affair with snaking pads, watery textures and muffled drums all coalescing into a nocturnal dreamscape that gets subtle driven along by rubbery kick drums.
This is seriously deep, classy music that is richly atmospheric and effortlessly cerebral, and the EP overall marks a fine way to inaugurate a new label.
Review: French label Daydream takes you out of yourself with a various artists affair that packs in plenty of useful tackle for DJs and dancers alike. Mbius brings coy funk and spaced-out vibes on the sleek opener, then Nick Beringer brings his superb sound design and stripped back, bass driven house sound on 'Eos', which his another gem. 'Dimsumthing' is an abstract minimal roller with shuffling drum work to loosen those limbs and Jerome C closes out this most useful of records with 'Balance,' which is fluid electronic funk of the highest order. When tech house is as good as it is on this 12", there can be no complaints.