Review: The well-established drum & bass label Circle Vision continues with its often mysterious, uncredited white label series. This third instalment comes under the Circle Vision alias, which could be one person, loads of people or whatever else. What we do know is that "Hollow" bangs - frazzled bass zips about under big jungle breaks, with sci-fi pads bringing a sense of futurism to this bassbin bothering banger. "Tings In Boots" hits just as hard with raved up, strobe lit chords and some brilliantly old school sub-bass. Dark, raw, physical, it is pure dancing music of the highest order.
Review: "Call Of The Righteous" is the latest in an ongoing series of releases by Indica Dubs and Chazbo. Once again it is a 10" that boasts the perfectly interwoven drums, chords and bass of Indica, with the chest pumping, uplifting and warrior style synth leads of Chazbo. The bass rolls deep, the tops are crispy as bacon and the frequencies can be felt in your chest while hits ricochet about to enveloping effect. The low riding swagger and infinite horizons of "Raw (Dub Mix)" has to be the pick of the bunch for us.
Pimping People In High Places (Woodword Ave alternative mix) (6:50)
The Medusa Touch (6:52)
Review: Gary Martin is well known for his unique productions and his label Teknotika is surely a classic coming out of the famous motor city. This special 10" holds two sought after tracks that were found on a lost DAT tape by Yossi Amoyal and Gary Martin himself. On the A side we have a long time secret weapon, it's a hypnotic groove that was heard on many classic sets, Zip and Ben Klock to name a few. An extremely insane, hard to find Gigi Galaxy track that was changing hands for silly prices is on the B side, for those who know... massive release!
Review: Barefoot Beats is a series of EPs released on Mareh Music, a record label based in Sao Paulo whose people are also the curators of the Mareh music festival in Boipeba - a remote island in Bahia. For their label's ninth edition, Rio de Janeiro's Joutro Mundo (Midnight Riot/Outra) delivers an edit of a lovely neon-lit boogie down number on "Revele", while on the flip the man from New York City Jkriv (Razor-N-Tape) gets a deep, soulful and life-affirming number into the mix with "Povo De Zambi".
Review: White Peach / Fent Plates bossman Zha returns with another delicious naan platter. "Mumbai" is like a spicy roti - crisp in its flavour, a pepper packing punch in the twisted shehnai blasts and scorched bass grunts. "The Tale Of She" is more of a puran poli. Deep, sweet flavours but don't think you won't have anything to chew or digest; there's a lingering wholesomeness running through the whole dish. Best served warm and with friends.
Review: Church's latest release - a rather tasty, two-track ten-inch single - comes courtesy of South London sorts DJ Malcolm and Dabriel Garius. A-side "Lulo", a jazzy deep house cut smothered in expansive piano solos, dreamy synth chords and sampled female vocals, is particularly potent, with the duo expertly layering up the percussion to give the track a sun-kissed, carnival-friendly feel. Flipside "Guava" displays a similar jazz influence, with the duo trading electric piano and trumpet solos over elastic synth bass and swinging, semi-broken deep house grooves. It's what we imagine a contemporary collaboration between Phil Asher and 2000Black boys Dego and Kaidi Tatham would sound like, which is high praise indeed.
Review: Sleeper man Alex Fox debuted the GRAMZ alias earlier in the year via a two-track 12" on Sentry Records built around paranoid sonic textures, serious bass-weight and rolling 140 BPM beats. For this 10" outing on Crucial, Fox has taken a deeper approach, ratcheting up the smoky atmosphere while retaining sizeable low-end pressure. "Joken" and flipside "Get Them Bags" are hazy, ultra-deep dubstep workouts, with both doffing a cap towards hip-hop and grime (check out the manipulated MC vocal samples on the latter, in particular), as well as the crackling sonic textures of Burial. "Joken" rolls along nicely while remaining pleasingly subdued, while "Get Them Bags" has a little more sonic strut. Both, though, are excellent.
Review: It's been a long time between drinks for Present Sense, a Finnish combo helmed by experienced jazz bassist Jarno Lappalainen. Research confirms that the previous Pressent Sense single landed way back in 2004. For this return to the studio, American jazz vocalist Dean Bowman has joined in the fun. His Gregory Porter style vocals seemingly soar above the band's lilting, emotion-rich jazz on A-side "In The Present", with each musician getting solo space in the track's magical final moments. Turn to the B-side for "The Time", a more up-tempo jazz workout full of alternating horn solos and superb double bass playing by Lappalainen.
Review: Having dazzled disco lovers via a trio of sold-out 10" singles, the shadowy VEDIT crew delivers their first hand-stamped 12". This time round, the publicity-shy scalpel collective is focused more on left-of-centre synth-pop cuts from the new wave era. Our pick is undoubtedly the epic flipside revision, which takes a particularly wayward and intoxicating mid-'80s cut - think early Chicago house bass, discordant synth horns, experimental dub effects and half-spoken vocals - and turns it into something of an inspired beast. In contrast the two A-side cuts tamper with two slightly better known (though still relatively overlooked) left-of-centre synth-pop gems from 1984 and '85 respectively. They will no doubt get more rotations, but lack the insane thrills of the B-side edit.
Review: Bruno E has plenty of history in the field of future jazz and downtempo, and now he's been snapped up by D3 to deliver some of that cold-chilling lounge business with some interesting remixers on board. Pat Van Dyke is up first, creating a blissful version of "Ventos De Outono" that feels as cosy as a warm fire and a glass of whisky on an autumn evening. The original version of the track is actually a peppier affair with a broken beat lilt that wouldn't sound out of place alongside the Dego and Kaidi Tatham crew. Kirk Degiorgio is a natural fit for another remix given his jazzy roots, and his swirling techno treatment is the perfection lotion to pour over Bruno E's excellent original ingredients.
Review: Original Chicago deep house producer Vincent Floyd has enjoyed something of a career renaissance since the release of Moonlight Fantasy, a collection of previously unheard 1990s productions, on Rush Hour in 2014. Here the Dutch label dips into his vaults again and unearths another gem from the late 1990s. "Hard to Love" is every bit as warm, rich and loved-up as you'd expect, with Floyd providing a yearning, soul-fired vocal to accompany his rich Windy City grooves and cascading synthesizer melodies. On the flip you'll find a fabulous instrumental version that closely mirrors the vocal take. That it stands up on its own without the headline vocal is testament to Floyd's impeccable composition and production skills.
Review: Detroit/Houston based Kolour have had some pretty credible names feature on their new 10 inch series this year, such as Eddic C, Napoleon, Frank Booker and Lady Blacktronika. Now it is over to the Belarus based disco DJ Funkyjaws who serves up two irresistible jams on Vol 8 of the series. On the A side, we have the soulful and life affirming African boogie of "Them & Us". We have not heard the original but it sounds pretty seamless to us: a respectful edit indeed. On the flip, we have one seriously mad boogie-down jam in the form of "Peasant Dance" which is a truly exotic affair from god knows where! Accordions, wah-wah guitar and some super string arrangements clash wonderfully. This may sound like an unholy mixture but this is exactly the kind of disco deviance that truly floats our boat! The Grodno based producer last appeared for the label on Kolour LTD 22 a couple of years back, and in the meantime has also appeared for the likes of Shadeleaf Music and Austrian imprint Pusic.
Review: Tucked away in his Peak District hideaway, Jack Lever has been laying down sumptuous fusions of dusty ambience and lo-fi electronica for some time now. He first rose to prominence via a fine 12" on Apollo in 2013, before heading back to Derbyshire to self-release music from the archives on cassette and download. This return to wax is well worth a listen, if only for the drowsy, 6AM ambience of "Convair", which wraps shortwave radio crackle and yearning chord progressions around gentle acoustic guitars. "Torches" is a blissful and dusty outsider house shuffler, while lead cut "Roads" is a terrific, dancefloor-tempo trip-hop head-nodder rich in distorted guitars, cascading instrument solos and beefy dub disco bass.
When The Devil's Paid (Vanilla Dream DnB remix) (8:12)
Review: Here's a spot of unlikely cross-cultural collaboration, as Finnish jazz man Timo Lassy joins forces with veteran Brazilian soul man Ed Motta. The resultant cut, "When The Devil's Paid", is a summery and sun-kissed chunk of gentle samba-soul with Motta providing a typically breezy and emotion rich vocal. Lassy's old pal Jimi Tenor heads up the accompanying remix package, wrapping the original's snaking sax and heartfelt vocals over a hybrid electronic/acoustic groove. Elsewhere, Alex Trebo delivers a sensual nu-jazz rub and Vanilla Dream unfurls a pleasingly punchy and jazzy drum and bass interpretation. When the weather outside is grey and damp, stick this on and all will be well with the world.
Review: The ZX gunman returns! Here we find him filling in his signature space with vivid colours; Oriental scales cascade mesmerizingly across a series of synth textures, melodies and counter melodies while a stern bass hums with heavy voltage beneath. Kickless but kicking, it's another singular shot from the London shooter.
Review: Ekkohaus is no stranger to the house scene!! You can hear his intelligent, funktifying rhythms and grooves on imprints like Morris Audio, 2020 Vision, Circus Company, Flumo, Eklo, Mule Electronique, Brut, Moon Harbour, Holic Trax, Claap, Gruuv, Hudd Traxx, Diaphan Music and now MixxRecords!! We welcome the Greek native with open arms...
This special 10" purple colored vinyl is most appropriate as for the entitled "A" side is called "Purple Divine" and divine it is!! Playful percussion and drum-work along with a simplistic, melodic bass groove keeps you in hypnosis just longing for more!
You'll find a more jacked-up and jazzed up pump on the "B" side with "Ordinary People". DEFINITELY a house banger!!
Review: Absolute damage: Spooky finally unleashes two of his biggest summer dubs. And he's doing it in pure pink vinyl style. Fiesta slaps with a well-known sample before hopping onto the gulliest skank of his life. The groove says party, but the bass says murderation. Flip for an even fruitier piece of funk as Eric Donaldson's reggae classic gets the murking it never knew it needed. Make no mistakes: Spooky is donning it right now.
Review: Deep grime instrumentals; few labels are doing it like Oil Gang. The clue's in the title - the tight-knit London crew are dealing strictly in sinister, seeping, dark, slick sounds. This one's even darker than usual as Spooky drops the aggro and goes straight in with the deep dagger dynamics. All stealth-like and creepy, "Low Rider" isn't a track you want on your headphones walking home through the wrong postcode at night. Boylan ups the energy with a stampier twist the rhythm and a dramatic riff croaking from the humanized bass tones. Badness.
Review: Woof! Hyperdub bring together two of the most recognisable and enigmatic artists of recent times on this 10", as Zomby and Burial square down ahead of the former's new album for the label. Zomby's Ultra LP is undoubtedly one of this year's most anticipated albums and "Sweetz" suggests it may be a very moody affair indeed. Whilst rooted in UK dance, Zomby and Burial do look elsewhere for inspiration too. Just under seven minutes long, "Sweetz" veers through various sub-heavy soundscapes with intermittent rhythmic patters and a distinctive looped vocal sample whose pitch changes with dramatic effect.
Review: Longstanding Innamind representative Mikael sparks up our inner freaks once more with two system-primed sub smashers. "Wildfire" see-saws on a pivot-like atonal riff over a lolloping sub/kick flow and big splash rimshots while "Lintumies" is a spacier jam where stretched outer-space aesthetics play games with your head and the bass keeps kicking you out of orbit.
Review: Although most house and techno heads know him under a variety of different pseudonyms, Anthony Nicholson has been releasing smoking tunes since the 1990's for labels such as the mighty Prescription, on which he used to call himself African Blues. He's back in 2015 under his birth name, and he's landed on the lovely DeepartSounds, a home to artists such as Dubbyman, Giorgio Luceri, and the one like Ron Trent! On the A-side, "Optimum" fills your soul with a soothing array of gentle house swings, powered by sublime vocals and mid piano keys; the flipside is "Destination", and it's a funkier sort of tune, one that is a little less deep and little more disco. Beautiful house music for those looking for meditative gear.
Review: A limited yellow vinyl funk odyssey from Record Store Day, "I Get Lifted" is taken from KC & The Sunshine Band's second album (1975) Still sounding shiny and floor-minded, the original stands the test of time incredibly well. Todd Terje's edit, however, takes it to another level; upping the tempo (and, possibly, the key), he's extended the right places, added a little more emphasis on the kicks and made sure we can't miss the breakdowns and instrumental sections.
Review: Speak to anyone who lived through them about the glory days of IDM and German producer Arovane (aka Uwe Zahn) is probably one of the first names they will happily reel off. Between the late '90s and his apparent retirement in 2004, Zahn was responsible for birthing a clutch of classic IDM longplayers like Tides and Lillies, the 2004 LP for City Centre Offices that seemed to signal his withdrawl from music. However, the production bug bit him again in 2013 and there has been a steady stream of Arovane output leading up to this Aarlenpeers EP. Issued on the Touchin' Bass label operated by self professed Arovan fan Andrea Parker, these two cuts bristle and pulse with abstracted electronic life in a manner one expects from Zahn. "Il_Eth" is quite epic.
Review: Launched over the summer, the Rasta Vibez label looks to bridge the gap between drum and bass and classic dub and reggae that has grown somewhat since the heyday of Jungle. If you were swayed by the distinct charms of the debut drop Jungle On Broadway, it's highly likely you will be compelled to check out this second 12". There's no complex science to either "Ice Cream Sound" or "World A Jungle Music" just a well executed take on a formula that has worked perfectly well many times over; delay and fx meet classic dub strains and jungle rhythms uptown
Review: With two releases already under their belt, the quintessential anonymous producer Crue is back with another exercise in dynamic analogue house and techno. "Track 1" is a steady 90s house workout, rich with warm chord stabs and a punchy beat, primed for slotting in amongst other garage shuffle revivalists. "Track 2" is where things get spicy with the primal, Detroit-weighted clatter of the drums falling in an almost-breakbeat, and the melodic stabs zipping in overhead. It's a staggeringly fresh sounding track, even whilst using methods of the past. Whoever they might be, Crue is clearly in command of some serious kit and a keen ear for what works,
Jason Fine - "Puttin It Out" (A Made Up Sound remix)
Jason Fine - "Human Need" (Heinrich Mueller Celestial Sphere mix)
Review: Repress: As one of the younger breed of Detroit talents, Jason Fine is still just starting to get a foothold, despite having a good few years of releases behind him. His Kontra Musik relationship has proven to be the most fruitful, and this remix package capitalises on that with two top shelf commissions. A Made Up Sound brings his unmistakable broken house swing to bear, with warming subs and thick swathes of pad and melody twisted to Dave Huismann's crafty designs. Heinrich Muller brings the Drexciyan vibes in abundance with his punchy electro stance that remains peerless after all these years.