Review: The second part of Omar S' You For Letting Me Be Myself album in vinyl form sees another 8 tracks across four sides of wax; aside from the '80s inflected sounds of the album's title track, the 303 workout of "Ready My Black Asz" finds itself with the dubbed out loops of "Messier Sixty Eight". As a bonus for those who already have the album, this part contains two vinyl exclusive tracks; the soothing deepness of "She's Sah Hero Nik" and the delayed organ weirdness of "Broken Bamalance Horn" - both more than worth the price of admission alone.
Review: Bless up Omar S! The FXHE man is always happy to repress and reissue some of his earlier records for those that missed out at the time and here he offers a welcome chance to dig into a veritable slab of label history. AOS002 is where it all began for Omar S, first released way back in 2003 as a four track 12" of tunnelling techno and deftly sampled Detroit house. It's been repressed several times over the years with more recent editions featuring a bonus untitled track deep into the B side. The limited 2015 edition now comes in three different colours; orange, red, or brown. Whichever you chose this should be considered an essential addition to your FXHE collection.
Review: FXHE remain in outer orbit following that stellar Triangulum Australe 12" from Omar S, presenting their final transmission of a superb year in the shape of Oh Jabba, two tracks of stargazing house music from O B Ignitt. Last seen collaborating with Omar S on the dedication to Eddie Murphy's finest acting role, the impression that Ignitt likes his cinema is only strengthened here on the Star Wars referencing lead track with some deliciously lo fi art work of that slug like character on the inner label dispelling any possible doubt. The track itself is a wonderfully simple yet melodic house track, crunchy drum machine rhythms rippling away feverishly beneath a calming array of swooping Rhodes and Moog flourishes. Complementing this, "Space Age Stepping" is a more searching affair, relying more on the rugged drums and gurgling analogue bassline to achieve lift off.
Review: Despite some FXHE releases containing playful artistic references to the films that undoubtedly referenced the titles, this Romancing The Stone double pack from Omar S is sadly lacking in any MS Paint renditions of the Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner 90s vehicle of the same name. It does however contain four more fine examples of the fact no one does it quite like Omar S. Lead track "Leave" sets the tone, as ripples of percussion emerge from a pool of simmering sonic emotion and embarks on a masterclass in slow build dancefloor revelation at breakneck pace. "Romancing The Stone" pulls from the same palette of anthemic Omar S productions as "Here's Your Trance, Now Dance" and "Psychotic Photosynthesis" as a lead array of synths, keys and chords weave with supple grace over crunchy drums - watch out for the track finishing abruptly. On the second 12", "Frogs" dovetails from a simple disco guitar loop into fucked up abstract acid techno territory with little prior warning whilst "Surpass" finds AOS ending with some anthemic maximal piano house.
Review: Despite being born and raised in Detroit, Luke Hess is rarely mentioned in the same breath as his Motor City peers. Then again, his brand and dub-infused techno doesn't fit neatly into the futurist narrative. This latest full-length flips the script slightly. While it has plenty of dub-flecked moments (see "Overcome" and "Humility"), there's a greater reliance on melody over mood. While this could be a reflection of the involvement of collaborator Omar-S, it's more likely an indication of Hess's development as a producer. Moving from hypnotic deep house to robust techno via beatless interludes, Keep On is Hess's most accessible set to date.
Review: FXHE has been brimming with activity in recent times, with a steadfast flurry of singles refusing to let the quality drop, and now the big bossman delivers another two slices of finely cured business in his inimitable style. The lead track is an arresting piece with just a kick to drive proceedings, leaving ample room for a haunting array of bleeps and a 'speak & spell' vocal until the track slowly ramps up with some more prominent drum programming. "Mayall II" on the flip is a less tense affair, with a cheery string refrain and old school jack-in-the-box beats disseminated in a plain and simple fashion.
Review: FXHE return with the master of the mysterious OB Ignitt! Arriving roughly a year on from the last slab of Ignitt goodness, Mysterious finds OB on imperious form, once more showing off his penchant for excellent track titles and singular slant on bumping Detroit business. The title track is a veritable epic of unquantifiable emotive stakes, emerging from a heat treated fog and easing into a subtle yet beguiling rhythmic framework which coaxes you into a spell that grows stronger as the track charges electrically forth. Face down, "Celestial Salacious" has that same rough edged bass line growl to it, but the skipping percussion and building layers of instrumentation give the track real energy, whilst you can almost feel the funk dripping off final track "Chocolate City" which sounds like DJ Nature hocked up on MDMA.
Review: The main track here shows a slightly different facette of Omar S. Thirteen/Two/Eight, released on FXHE, has a handclapping, twitching beat with a quirky lively synth melody, classic italo disco and early 80 boogie sounds from a Detroit point of view. A vivid techno track and a darker ambient outing keep the quality high.
Review: Omar S adopts a new style for his new Side Trakx project. Detroit house meets sample based hip hop... and it really works. Possibly inspired by the passing of the late Jay Dilla, this music is perfect for relaxing and kicking back, or even warming up the early hours of the club. While Detroit hip-hop producers already proved that there's a mutual creative interaction between the cities house, techno and hip-hop scenes, it's now one of the cities hottest house producers laying down some smoked out, next level instrumentals in the vein of the late genius Jay Dilla, Madlib or Underground Resistance's Hipnotech sublabel.
Review: Six brand new shakers from Omar S...This is the sh*t! Never confined to one particular genre, Omar is again blending house, techno and even minimal styles into one big pot of deep Detroit underground funk. There's even some Basic Channel / Deep Chord vibes going on there somewhere. Simply killer.
Review: By Alex "Omar" Smith's standards, "I Wanna Know" is something of a curveball. It sees him joining forces with vocalist James Garcia to lay down the sort of spine-tingling vocal house cut that would have once been associated with Chicago acts such as Fingers Inc. Admittedly, it contains plenty of far-sighted Detroit electronics and Smith's usual percussive shuffle, but there's a genuine retro-futurist feel that may take some of his fans by surprise. It's rather wonderful, all told, and sounds like a crossover anthem in waiting. Turn to the flipside and you'll find the Extramental Mix, a superb instrumental version that gives Smith's sublime melodies, vintage synths and sparkling electronics a chance to shine. Artwork of the year too!
Review: Omar S' Detroit proud FXHE now has a staunch reputation as one of those buy on sight labels for a reason. This new release by rising star John FM follows up the well-received Alone and Where My Roots Lie EPs. Starting with the soulful machine funk of "Jehks" truly capturing the sounds of the city of industry in its heyday. There's then the fine R&B jam of "Motion" somewhat reminiscent of Theo Parrish & Andrew Ashong, but it's his smooth vocal delivery which undoubtedly makes it his own! On the flip, the mysterious and melancholic Omar-S remix of "Alone" is absolutely sublime, but just wait for the tough acid fuelled groove of "Gump" which truly takes it home in right fashion.
Review: Omar S' FXHE stable has become synonymous with trend-setting house and techno over the last ten years. Moreover, each time Alex O Smith brings about a new name to the FXHE dynasty it's always exciting news - last time around OB Ignitt was introduced to us in fine style through his Star Wars-themed brand of raw-schooled house. John FM's "Where My Roots Lie" is similarly spacey and freaked out, synth-heavy and filled to the brim with intricate Roland percussion. On the B-side, "White Churches Be Like" is the ticket, where a broken beat arrangement is diced and shredded by ice-cold snares; but "Solace" is the unexpected track on here, a slow and funked-out r&b monster in true FXHE style. Another solid missile.
Review: The latest installment of Alex Omar-Smith's Side-Trakx series - long an outlet for work that doesn't fit into his usual house/techno template - is a little different to its' predecessors. For starters, it features four versions of one track: Nite Jewel collaboration "Sky Train". The full-vocal original is something of a treat; a radio-friendly fusion of dreamy deep house sounds, picturesque vocals and a smooth but undulating, Herbie Hancock-influenced groove. The superb keys-work of local jazz pianist Ian Finkelstein comes to the fore on the hazier "Chattanooga TN" and "Finkell Avenue" versions (the latter an ambient treat), with the "Texas TN" mix moving further towards jazz-funk territory.
Review: The more Omar S material we get onto our shelves, the better off we all are. We love him, as you probably well know. The Detroit misfit has this knack for making simple house and techno sound rich and full of soul. That's not to say that he can't lay down some roughness and, in fact, that's exactly what we love about him. This EP, in particular, is one we've been wanting for a while' it's Alex O Smith at his damn best the whole way through, providing the dirt and the shine simultaneously. "Blown Valvetrane" is an absolute beat of an EP, a classic Detroit killer with an FX-drenched percussion, a simple drum machine groove and a whole heap of supreme nastiness - an absolute winner! "Busaru Beats" is a murky, distorted monster that lays in the shadows of its more aggressive A-side sibling, and "Deep Valve Cover" provides that classic Omar S hit; a joint that'll blow your mind with its utter simplicity and shady demeanour. SICK and BACK IN.