Review: 2DeepSoul are the core crew behind Inner Shift music, so as you might expect they've got a keen instinct for the finest strains of pure deep house as you'd happily dig from the likes of Patrice Scott or Fred P. They open up the Windows EP with the dreamy haze of "Clarity" before "Contour Lines" brings a pulsing, techy lead into the mixture of sweeping pads and snappy beats. "Someday" is a rich, harmonious ambient excursion, and then "It's A Sign" finishes the EP off with a truly meditative trip for the smoothest deep house cruisers to lock onto.
Review: Smile & Wave appears from out of nowhere with two unknown names heading up the first release. There's no indication of who is behind A Houseband or Russian Hackers, but both of them have done a damn fine job of bringing two sure fire killers to wax. The first is "Another Love Another Happiness", which as the title candidly suggests is yet another version of the oft-sampled "Love & Happiness", this time framed in a bubbling, dubby deep house context for the mellow heads to soak up. By way of contrast Russian Hackers get busy with "303", bringing some forthright jack to the table.
Review: Under the A Vision of Panorama alias, Mikhail Khavsko has released some of the most beguiling nu-Balearic music of the past few years. Aquafusion is his long-awaited debut album, and is sure to further enhance his already high reputation. Drawing on sun kissed synthesizer grooves, languid nu-disco and hazy pop for inspiration, the album boasts all manner of ear-pleasing highlights. These include the new age inspired ambient slinkiness of "Open Sequences", the Gigi Masin style bliss of "Seagulls", the mid-'80s synth-pop-goes-dancing bounce of "Barbados", and the baked, horizontal pop of "Duality" (which notably features the drowsy vocals of Krista Michaela).
Review: "Is the Cornuta Sound's return after a long resting time. This new 10" contains one of the most saved songs by Above Smoke (Deep Explorer) that runs into the jazz world and an outro take for djs. The flipside brings a great rework by the label boss (W&P Hgg)."
Review: We're not sure who's behind the mysterious AC-EXP project, but the shadowy figure returns with more of that strange, submerged house music he's been tickling discerning DJs with over the past few years. After taking last year off, "1A" is a fine place to start things up again with a strutting jack track carrying acidic synth pulses that flirt with measured delay processing. It's a jam that sounds steamy and sinister all at once. "1B" maintains this restrained but seductive vibe with the slightly trancey throb of the lead synths pivoting around the snappy drums to great effect.
Review: The latest release on DJ Bone's Subject Detroit label is a split 12" featuring Esteban Adame and Santiago Salazar. This is how they do techno, Californian style, and you can tell it from the off. The beats are tough as hell, but there's a sun-kissed vibrancy to the synth work that positively leaps out of the speakers and shakes your cerebellum. Adame leads on the A side with "Guaguanco", an effervescent stomper that takes a turn for the deep when Frequencia jumps on board for a remix. Salazar is in a housey frame of mind on "October 17", letting smooth pads lead the way without losing that all-important impact. The "Dub mix" of the track actually beefs things up with a grinding lead synth pitched at big room scenarios while maintaining a steady tempo.
Review: Adiel is resident at Goa Club in Rome, and over the past couple of years she's quietly issued 12"s that complement her DJ style with angular, experimental electronic variations. While the ingredients (drum machines, errant synths) may be familiar, the patterns and shapes are not. An icy dread lingers over the likes of "Vibra" with its uneasy reverb space and subtly unsettling undertones, but this is also utterly seductive dance music too. "Ritmo" in particular has a truly meditative quality to it that strikes even deeper thanks to the tense, percussion-led atmosphere. "Melodica" pours a little more techno propulsion into the mix, highlighting the compatability Adiel's creations have with more linear forms of drum machine science.
Review: As one of the foremost energies in Rome's electronic music scene, Adiel's productions on her own Danza Tribale label have communicated her take on minimalist, rhythmically inventive techno to the wider world. On this fourth installment, Adiel pays tribute to the Japanese capital with the snaking immersion and insistent propulsion of "Tokyo". On the flip, she truly opens up the filters of possibility with the kinetic, hyper-detailed percussive ripples of "Jungle". In an eerie, cavernous space, these needlepoint drum lines interlock and drive the listener deeper into a well of meditation, delivering the intended outcome of submission and transcendence that Adiel's music is engineered for.
Review: A new project based out of Copenhagen - Aether's Spring comes shrouded in mystery but makes a bold statement with this first transmission. WATER: Dancing Moon 12" leads in with "House In Blue Rain," a downcast track bathed in melancholic pads and blown out percussion around a steady 4/4 tick. "Dancing Moon" is a more kinetic affair that works with all kinds of synth shapes alongside some primal drum machine percussion that lends the track a new wave quality that suits it just fine. Closer "Throne Of Clay" spreads across the B side in a brooding, journeying epic fit for the likes of classic James Holden or a more wave-minded Jon Hopkins.
Review: You can always count on Afrikan Sciences to flip the script with what you think soulful electronic music should sound like. Tearing the grid up and pinging off on a cosmic voyage in between the notes, this is futuristic, jazz-minded machine music of the highest order. "Reciprocess" is a shuddering, but surprisingly focused exercise in cracking open the house music structure, while "Hullman Z" gets into a brilliantly futuristic boogie. "Just In Case I Do" takes a more laid back approach without eschewing the essential dose of freakiness, and "Son Shine" takes things in an explicitly broken beat direction with spellbinding results.
Review: Alex Puddu's Afro Soul Prophecy project continues to blaze into the year with pure molten lava grooves. "Daddy's Groove" is a perfect summer heater with its laid back horns that ooze over the wah wah licks and strutting rim-shots. "Let Me Be Your Lover" takes more of a Latin approach with its upbeat rhythm and bossa tendencies. Listen out for those cosmic guitars in the background... Dreamy business.
Review: Brooklyn's J Albert returns with more tripped-out lo-fi house. The Exotic Dance Records boss follows up some great releases of late on top labels such as 1080p, Hypercolour and Black Opal. Whether it's the euphoric strobe-lit ecstasy of "No Longer Me" (dub) that's awash in delay drenched rhythm patterns, snarling bass and hypnotic synth leads. Or the brooding B side cut "Smoke & Mirrors" which is reminiscent of fellow local Patricia and packed full of dusty drums, haunting pads and chilling chord progressions: this one's a totally heads down affair for very late at night. Black Orpheus is a Berlin based label run by expat Patrick Conway, who has appeared on such esteemed labels as REKIDS and Forbidden Planet.
Review: Swedish producer Albion Venables has been building up a formidable bank of oddball disco, boogie, wave and other groove-oriented delights on labels like Ambassador's Reception, Macadam Mambo and People Must Jam. After first appearing on the ever-excellent Bahnsteig 23 in 2016, he's back on the label with some more head-spinning obscurities from the outside tracks of synth music. "Poupee Mecanique" is a jovial French bopper, while "Balearo" cuts a more organic, reclining figure with its chugging bass plucks, laconic guitar and dreamy keys. "In Coherence" channels some funky AOR sass, and "OVNI" heads into heavy prog funk territory, rounding out a veritable wild card of a record.
Review: Underlying Form is a new vinyl only label run by Northern Irish DJ/Promoter Darren Allen. The first release, a debut for Darren, sets the tone for the labels future with 4 tracks of deep and abstract minimal techno on the 'Invisible Landscape EP'.
Review: While he may have been operating in the underground for some time, Darren Allen's music is only just coming to light through his own Underlying Form label now. There's a range of styles on offer across this EP, kicking off with the subtle pulse of "Feel" before moving on to a distinctly French-flavoured micro house groove on "Inmost Cave" that wouldn't sound out of place on Telegraph Records. On the B side, "Routine Kills Inspiration" switches the mood up with a rougher sound palette, even if the arrangement is still a minimally-minded affair. Then it's left to Vid Vai to drop a complex reworking of "MD Habitat" loaded with intricate textures.
Review: Don't be fooled by the smoky jazzy horns on the intro: The Allergies are still at the front of the party queue! They were just lulling us into a false sense of security before hitting us with a precision range of big soul swingers and dynamite party killers; both "Hold You Close" and "Since You've Been Gone" pop with big beat bangs, "Entitled To That" stamps and sweats like Wigan Pier is still holding the best dances in the country, "Main Event" parps and pumps while long-standing affiliate Andy Cooper reminds us who's boss while "It Won't Be Me" (also with Cooper) is coded with so much horn and guitar powered gusto you could be fooled into thinking Ugly Duckling are back. Yet another triumphant album from one of Jalapeno's most exciting acts.
Review: What a trip it's been for The Allergies; rolling from one killer album to the next, funk is flying from their HQ at a rate of knots. Here are two fine examples from their last LP Push On, both featuring their long-time friend and MC from Andy Cooper. Best known for his witty wordplay and character on Ugly Duckling records, here Andy gets to show off both sides to his expansive flow; "Main Event" is a chubby disco groove laced with mountains of funk, creating space for Andy's laidback-but-hypey charm. In perfect contrast "Buzzsaw" is a much sweatier funk jam allowing Cooper to get rapid and tongue-twisty in a way that only he knows how. Keep on pushing...
Review: Following it's recent reactivation and releases from JC & Kastil and D_Func, Ben Sims' Symbolism imprint sets out it's autumn stall with a blistering four tracker from Alphadrum. Rigourously roadtested by Sims himself over the past six months, this is an essential release from young italian producer, Alphadrum.
Review: Mark Ambrose doubles up on his appearance on Was/Is with this strident bout of deep end dwellers, kicking off in style with the charged up strut and punchy mono bass of "Makossa (mix 1)," making a point of stepping into a more peak time sound. "Makossa (mix 2)" takes things in a more bugging direction, but there's still plenty of pressure to be felt in the wriggling low end mess and nagging hi hats. The Teakup mix of "Makossa" is a devilish broken beat track, and then "Wagamama" slips in a loopy melodic hook and lets a firm but freaky slice of techno roll out underneath.
Review: Always a reliable destination for cult talents operating on exciting frontiers of techno, meandyou this time shine a light on J.S. Zeiter, who adopts the Analog 1 alias for some dense, meticulously crafted trips into the strange psychedelic underbelly of dub techno. "SM4L" features pastoral chord swells straining behind a babbling brook of high frequency sound design, while "Mistral" takes a classical approach to ambient composition, all yearning arpeggios and lingering keys. "Interlude" is a brief twirl around blown out drums and textural impulses, and then "SKIV Loop (Rework)" sets a more positive tone for the end of the EP, pushing classic dub techno sounds into a hazy, summery space away from the usual icy tundra the genre normally inhabits.
Review: The polish artist Aphreme (Octave Moods) just landed in Minuendo with new work called "Beneath The Windy Trees EP", this release contains three timeless deep house tracks with american flavour perfect to floor. Extra remix by Ernie, head of Minuendo Recordings.
Review: Building on his Brownswood debut earlier this year - "Go See" on the label's deep-digging We Out Here collection - Ezra Collective's pianist and composer lays down his most expansive and expressive body of work to date. Weighing in at near album size, it's a powerful experience from the off as Afrikan Revolution's Asheber sets a political framework and sense of freshness and unity on the title track. Elsewhere we're treated to hazy bluesy hip-hop on "Ragify", raw freeform fizz on "London's Face" and soul-soothing narratives in the form of "Mollison Dub". Stunning.
Review: Lost In Time has laid down some killer 12"s to date from the likes of Ralph Lawson and Tuccillo, and now they welcome London-based scene staple Alex Arnout to the label with an on-point EP of explorative house music variations. "No Borders" features long time US house veteran Jovonn, and the pair whip up a tracky tech house roller with serious percussive pressure and a subtle lick of dub in the mix. "Downtown 500" is a rough and tough, bashy house jam with a fresh drum palette, and by contrast "Riddim" brings a straight up deep house vibe with classic organ licks aplenty, that almost sound like they should be the handiwork of Jovonn as well. "Jam The Dance" finishes the EP off with a twitchy house cut peppered with vocal slices.
Review: Lemmy Ashton made quite a splash with his first outing on his own TNC label last year, and now he's back to follow up with another salvo of premium heaters geared towards disco-friendly dancers. There's a chunky, looped up quality to "Silver Suitcase" with its insistent bass lick and slamming drums, but there's equal space for soul thanks to the string-loaded sample hook. By way of contrast "Lunaire" fires up the acid flare and heads straight into a babbling brook of 303-related goodness. "Amsterdam" rounds the EP off on a stomp, whipping up the kind of bombastic disco drama that would get Studio 54 moving were it in action today.
Review: Green Village has already proven itself to be a trusted outpost for all kinds of adventurous souls in the US house and techno game. Transmitting out of Jersey City, the label now invites Ali Asker to serve up a mixed bag of treats. "Standards" heads into classic electro territory, while "Concatenate" swerves into strange, fractured lands somewhere between deepest techno and outright tropical ambience. "Ascent" is a celestial soarer, all achingly beautiful arpeggios and sub bass pressure, which DJ Spider then drags into one of his knotted grooves. Patrice Scott's version is understandably lighter, favouring his trademark strain of soul-stirring deep house as a framework for whispers of the original to dart around.
Review: Assiduous presents their first vinyl release which is full of deep richness and undiluted soul. Side A contains heavy bass, synth stabs and a driving four to the floor beat that keeps the groove while a female vocal emerges later adding a bit of mysticism to the vibe on, "Meat And Potatoes". Side B brings to mind the sound of hard work in motion which is what the outfit, Assiduous is noted for. An aggressive deep house attribute that is also laced with a soulful female vocal that seems to stir up a spiritual overtone into the mix on, "No Mo".
Review: REPRESS! Sometimes there is a sound that lifts you so high you can't possibly come down. It's the kind of sound that many strive for, but few can ever reach. UK mainstay Aubrey has been hitting this pinnacle for years through his releases on renowned imprints such as Metroplex, Ostgut Ton, and Skudge, as well as his very own Solid Groove Records. "The Reflection" EP comes as no exception. As only a DJ and Producer of his stature can do, Aubrey goes above and beyond to take the listener through a spectrum of moods that culminate in a rounded and complex experience. From the uplifting, fast paced pads in "Peligro 45" to the disorienting rhythmic voodoo of "Roger Doger" and peak energy drive of "Train To The Fire" there is a sense of direction and otherworldly ambiance that will take any dance floor to the place it needs to be.
Review: Now The Future sees the return of Ram's heavily tatted neuro-monster Audio, offering up his first 12" salvo of 2016 for the drum and bass juggernaut and boy does it pack a punch! The sinister tones of the title track take you into the mind of Audio's twisted vision of the future, percussive elements ticking away under petrifying atmospheres, building up into an unstoppable bassline offensive. Complementing this, is the spine chilling "Drop It Human", a track that thrusts into a sonic array of growling mids and low end sub grit, delivering a devastating blow. Audio's precise, sharp, stepped trademark drum sound forms the backbone, marching the track through to inhuman perfection.
Review: Busta Rhymes has Flipmode, but Audio has Beastmode! After a slew of heavyweight albums on Virus, Audio is returning to the format with Beastmode forthcoming on the mighty RAM with this 12" sampler the first of many tasters. "Overdose" sets a high marker for the album, finding Audio returning with a brutish, rolling bassline, diced up with gritty drum loops and underpinned by quaking subs. Face down and Audio's signature RAM cut "Ultron" is given the Mefjus treatment, resulting in the sort of techy soundscape the Austrian producer reigns over. Mefjus moulds the original around the unfaltering guns of his peddled drums and wavering bassline.
Review: Kylie Auldist is a heavyweight Aussie soul singer whose powerful lungs have graced many a hit over the years. Now, with the help of Lance Ferguson and Graeme Pogson, she's recorded a solo album, Family Tree, and this here EP features a selection of tracks from it. Gone is the raw funk vibes of old with Auldist opting for a bright and synthetic mid-'80s pop-soul sound instead. It largely works too with the Donna Allen-esque "Sensational", the chrome and carpet grooves of "Family Tree" and the late-'70s US funk style of "Rewards" as standouts.
Review: The rise of London producer Daniel Avery has been little short of staggering. Less than two years ago, he was relatively unknown beyond the confines of blogland. Now, thanks to a string of acclaimed productions and a blossoming DJ career, he's been afforded the opportunity to mix the latest instalment of the FabricLive series. Musically, FabricLive 66 offers a snapshot of where he's at now, delivering a tough but flowing mix of fuzzy electronic rhythms, stripped-back techno, gnarled acid house and tactile, next-level electronica (see Gatto Fritto's superb remix of JR Seaton's "Way Savvy"). There are also occasional forays into electroclash-ish territory (Miss Kittin, Raudive) and a smattering of Avery's own productions, making FabricLive 66 a formidable proposition.