Review: REPRESS ALERT: relik returns with a repackaged edition of one of the catalogue's most treasured releases. "Overcome" and "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)" need little introduction, and now come sporting the new TR11:11 matrix number. Written and produced by Thomas Melchior and Baby Ford aka Soul Capsule, these tracks came from one of the many sessions recorded at the West London Ifach Studio in 1999. On the A Side "Overcome" is stripped back and energetic, driven by rolling and shuffling garage style beats, tight bubbling bass and atmospheric synth pads. The intermittent vocal samples and the release's signature organ set you up for the flip, "Lady Science (NYC Sunrise)". Possibly one of house music's most emotive pieces, the track builds slowly with the introduction of each part building a story of soulful optimism based around a sparse palette of deep synths, uplifting keys and warm analogue bass. The understated beauty of the main vocal riff never seems to grow old or tired with the track lending itself perfectly to either main room, peak-time play or after-hours sessions alike. Remastered by Rashad at D & M.
Review: Those who heard Harvey Sutherland's excellent debut EP for Echovolt, Edges EP, will be familiar with his trademark sound - a toasty, analogue style take on deep house marked out by jazz-funk chord progressions, warming synthesizer melodies and shuffling grooves. He changes the script a little on this EP for Voyage Recordings, though there's still plenty of seductive deep house to enjoy (most notably opener "Oscillate" and the Inskwel style, boogie-influenced loveliness of "Bamboo"). Where the EP really comes into its own, though, is when he tries a different tack. "Old Wars" sounds like Moon B's electrofunk explorations wrapped in a snuggly duvet, while "Close Quarters" successfully fixes Herbie Hancock style synth melodies to loose, cymbal heavy beats.
Review: ** MCDE REPRESS ** Dani Plessow dons the Motor City Drum Ensemble name with Say A Prayer signaling a return to the production game following his much publicized creative burnout. It's clear that Plessow's period of convalescence has worked wonders, with the four tracks here every bit as deep and dusty as the much vaunted Raw Cuts series upon which the MCDE project was launched skywards. Proceedings open with the two part suite of the title track, laying down fuzzy chords and intermittent vocal swoons over a gritty 909 backbone on the opening track; part 2 meanwhile will have you digging out those Raw Cuts 12"s in order to do a MCDE master mix, such is it's immediate warmth and neck snapping drums. On the flip, Plessow uses "The Stranger" as a chance to traverse bleepier, rattling techno terrain with superb results, whilst "SP11" is rasping high octane house at it's finest.
Review: Berlin-based Korean Peggy Gou has been surprisingly quiet since first bursting onto the scene back in 2016. Here, she returns to action having graduated from Technicolour to parent label Ninja Tune. Many may already have heard EP standout "It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)", a percussively ambidextrous beast based around a bouncy, off-skilter, snare-heavy rhythm track. It has been much discussed online after Gou included it her recent Resident Advisor podcast. On the B-side you'll find tracks representative of her developing style, which draws together elements of European deep house, electro, early '90s U.S house, the rubbery disco eccentricity of Maurice Fulton and the instinctive polyrhythms more often found in traditional African music.
Review: ** REPRESS ** As the name suggests the groove of Soundhacks's Soundstream 12" is a bit less hard cut-up styled but more floating. This doesn't necessarily mean a lack of energy, funk and fun. Expect peak hour house tracks in full effect. Do not expect just another 'French filter house' record. Remember: it is Soundhack who is in charge here. Full satisfaction guaranteed!
Review: When it comes to crafting lengthy, disco fired dancefloor treats, DJ Koze has previous form. His "Extended Disco Version" of Lapsley's "Operator" quickly became a White Isle anthem in the summer of 2016, and we fully expect "Pick Up" to be one of the disco-house hits of 2018. Based around spine-tingling samples from a heart-felt, orchestrated 1970s disco treat - think Tom Trago's "Use Me Again", and you're close - the veteran producer slowly builds the pressure before really letting loose in the closing stages. B-side "The Love Truck" is an altogether deeper, dubbier and dreamier affair, seemingly designed for leisurely warm-up sets and gentle, early morning shuffling.
Review: We've been waiting on this one since "J&W Beat" six years ago; there's something about Floating Points sound that instantly lends itself to full-length album immersion. It's clear he feels this way too; using the album to delve deeper into electronic deconstructions and delicate ensemble arrangements. At its most adventurous and contemporary classical "Argente" is up there with Frahm, at is dreamiest and jazz-influenced "For Marmish" is a deeply cosmic affair with disparate chords making more sense than they perhaps should. At its most traditional Floating Points we hit the finale "Perotation Six" where the brushed drums are buried under layers of sound and elements in a way that's not dissimilar to Radiohead. Well worth the wait.
Review: For deep house diggers, Soichi Terada has long been a source of inspiration. While he's still active, it's the early '90s material he released on the Far East Recordings label - an imprint he founded soon after his graduation in 1990 - that most excites. Following the 2014 re-release of his sublime hook-up with Nami Shimada, "Sunshower", Rush Hour has decided to put together this excellent retrospective. Compiled by self-confessed fan Hunee, Sounds From The Far East contains a mixture of hard-to-find Terada originals, collaborations, and tracks by fellow Far East Recordings artist Shinichiro Yokota, all in the label's trademark melody-rich, evocative deep house style.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Mandar are back on Oscillat Music following their stunning five-disc LP from last year, and the deep house super group are sounding as vital as ever. "String Theory" holds court over the A side and promises to be the soundtrack to many a heart-stirring moment under starry skies this summer. The titular strings are a powerful force in this track, bringing a classy brand of emotion to the slinky dancefloor tones Mandar are best known for. "Poisoned Worlds" is a deeper club cut that places the emphasis on crafty drum science for after hours crew, providing a neat balance to the show-stopping tones of the A side.
Review: **REPRESS**The last time a newcomer graced Theo Parrish's Sound Signature, it resulted in widespread praise for the Flowers EP from London based producer, DJ and singer Andrew Ashong, somehow we get the feeling this latest release on the label will prove to be as memorable. The Scorpio Rising EP sees Parrish look much closer to home and grant the DC-born, Detroit-bred producer Jay Daniel his debut release and the four track 12" more than lives up to his billing as one of Boiler Room's most exciting new discoveries at DEMF. Wild Oats obsessives will probably know Daniel from the Fundamentals residency shared with Kyle Hall and he's clearly spent some time honing his Detroit influenced craft, with cuts like "No Love Lost" expertly balanced between melody and rugged drum grit. "Brainz" is the kind of no-nonsense DJ tool you might have heard on a FXHE B Side circa 2008 whilst "I Have No Name" demonstrates Daniel is eminently capable of the sort of hope inducing Utopian house from the D that the much missed Aaron Carl was renowned for.
Andrew Ashong - "The Way She Moves" (short version)
Review: At first glance, the pairing of Forest Hill resident Andrew Ashong and Sound Signature boss Theo Parrish would seem strange. But the duo have worked together previously with the Ghanaian born vocalist (and supposed owner of a vinyl collection that would make most record shops look like a car boot sale) lending his soulful tones to Parrish's excellent nine minute plus translation of the Hot Chip and Spiritualised affiliated About Group. Whereas that collaboration was more about Ashong's voice being just one element of a production that was undoubtedly Parrish, the three tracks present on the Flowers EP look to showcase what a talent the Londoner is. Those trademark dust filled stacatto rhythms are present in the opening title track, but they never swamp Ashong's killer vocal delivery, while "Take It Slow" is bonafide D funk of the highest order. After the brutal, divisive nature of Theo's kung fu experimentalism on the Any Other Styles EP, these three tracks show him in a wholly new light and hopefully Parrish and Ashong will be making much more music together.
Review: It would be fair to say that Studio K7 has pulled off something of a coup in getting Kenny Dixon Jr. to agree to compile and mix the latest installment in the long-running DJ Kicks series. It is, somewhat remarkably, the legendary Detroiter's first commercially available mix set. This triple-vinyl edition features a whopping 19 cuts - all in unmixed form - from the 30 track mix. Musically, it's a blazed, jazzy, soulful and groovy as you'd expect, and contains a mixture of downtempo beats, nu-jazz and hazy house cuts from the likes of Flying Lotus, Dopehead, Peter Digital Orchestra, Nightmares On Wax, Soulful Session and Lady Alma.
Review: Belfast pair Bicep are smart operators. Having previously doffed a cap to both Italian house and classic New Jersey garage, recent releases have seen them play around with a variety of rhythmic patterns and more advanced musical elements. They're at it again here on their latest outing for Aus. Opener "Just" is pleasingly cheery, with simple but addictive electronic melodies and sweeping chords nestling above a head-nodding, hip-hop influenced groove. "Celeste" is undeniably Balearic, with sun-kissed pianos, dreamy pads and drifting vocal samples stretching out over delay-laden, African-influenced percussion. Finally, they return to their rush-inducing best on "Back 2 U (Tranz Dub)", a loving fusion of vintage progressive house builds, winding melodies and mid '90s beats.
Review: Having previously only appeared on WotNot Music in the past couple of years, K15 now slides over to Wild Oats to deliver a wholly appropriate slab of fluttering house romanticism rich in Detroit dreams and Chicago cheekiness, wherever the music might have been conceived. The cheekiness is no doubt most noticeable on "GWRH" with its homage to "Gypsy Woman", turning it into a fluttering Latino house jam, but before that comes the plush bump n rub of "The Story Of Her Life". "Insecurities" gets into a sexier kind of deep house funk, which "Gratitude" dutifully carries on until "Yellow" can round the record out with some largely beatless piano business.
Review: A Theo Parrish track plus Carl Craig's massive remix and a brand new version by Chateau Flight out on Syncophone! Another chance to grab the original which appeared only on a Third Ear Ltd Compilation in 2002 of which only 500 units were pressed.
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: It was only a matter of time before Henry Wu and K15 would link up with London's Eglo, and their respective prior releases for the likes of Wild Oats, Rhythm Section and 22a have earned them a spot in one of the finest house and broken beat labels around. "Love's Gambit" is a perfect example of the latter genre, a sublime blend of jazzy percussion swings and smooth melodic drifts, followed by the even more soulful bounces of the gentle "Space & Time" - one for the jazz fusion heads! "The Anthem" heads towards more housey spheres thanks to its stable beat pattern - it-s an absolute peach of a tune, by the way - but it's "Shahada" that governs the dancefloor with its rough MPC drum programming and finger-licking synth rotations. A beautiful and fitting addition to the catalogue.
Review: Given that this is the first album from the great Theo Parrish since 2007, it's unsurprising interest in American Intelligence has rocketed over the course of the year as Sound Signature left a trail of hints. Happily, American Intelligence is a fine album; deep and woozy in parts, undeniably soulful, shot through with jazz influences and full to bursting with killer cuts. By now, everyone should know the brilliant "Footwork" single (arguably one of the records of 2014); soon, clubs will swing to the off-kilter dancefloor jazz of "Make No War", the 21st century broken house of the epic "Fallen Funk" and the decidedly odd - but brilliant - "Helmut Lampshade".
The Ecstasy Boys - "Chi Chi Chi Gan Kanon" (feat Shiro Amamiya)
Jazzadelic - "I Got A Rhythm" (1991 original mix)
Akiko Kanazawa - "Sawauchi jinku" (Terada mix)
Yutsuko Chusonji - "Blessing" (Magic Ware remix)
YPF - "Trance Of Love" (Tokyo Offshore mix)
Yukihiro Fukutomi - "It's Gonna Be Alright"
Hiroshi Matsui - "Crazy Miracle dub"
Takeharu Kunimoto - "Home" (6AM mix)
Violets - "Sunset"
GWM - "Deep Loop" (edit)
Fake - "Square"
Hiraku Nagasawa - "Matrix Track"
Dan K - "Turquoise Love"
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Brawther and Alixkun present a collection of 15 underground Japanese house tracks from the early days of electronic dance music, back when the genre was sweeping across the globe. Ahead of a related documentary project titled 'HOUSE' in Japanese characters, the compilation is the first to showcase the works of Japanese house on an historical and global level, with classics and rare-as-a-hen's teeth tracks. Carefully selected by Brawther and his sidekick Ailxkun, this is a nectar of deep grooves and blissful melodies that form the blueprint of the Japanese House Sound. Legends like Soichi Terada, Yukihiro Fukutomi or The Ecstasy Boys are back to back with unsung hearoes like Takecha, Magic Ware or Katsumi Hidano. Aimed at the house music lover and overall music enthousiasts, this compilation is the one stop shop of all things early Japanese House, unveiling the mystery behind it all and shining a brand new light on it, dusted and remastered, for your listening pleasure.
Review: Genius Of Time and Running Back seems like such a perfect fit you wonder why the Swedish duo haven't graced Gerd Janson's label before now. It might be because Alexander Berg and Nils Krough aren't exactly the most prolific of duos when it comes to original material with only three EPs to their name since they inaugurated the Aniara project in such sublime fashion back in 2010. Fans of Genius of Time and John Talabot's DJ Kicks mix have added reason to engage in some vociferous rejoicing as the former's sublime offbeat number "Juno Jam" contribution to the latter release is centre stage on this 12". In addition to the A Side bliss of that Berg and Krough slip in two more percussive numbers on the flip which Running Back quite rightly point out would make "Joe Claussell proud".
Review: Such is the prolific nature of FXHE at the moment, which ever pressing plant Omar S uses must be pretty happy with their contract. Following swiftly from Omar S's ode to the Axel F sound comes the debut missive from Aaron "Fit" Siegel. Named so thanks to his work at the helm of Fit Distribution, Siegel is a key figure in ensuring the ongoing healthy output of Detroit's house and techno militia and "Tonite" proves to be an auspicious debut. Featuring the vocal talents of L'Renne, the track is one of those eminently soulful house tracks with a sparse approach to production, all the elements sounding so crisp and distinct in the mix but judged perfectly. Such a track and the tougher B Side Detroit Mix just demonstrate how on top of their game FXHE are right now - big tip!
Review: Italian duo Nu Guinea has previously proved adept at creating humid, sultry deep house and tropical-infused electronics. Here, they focus a little more on the latter with a concept album based around the distinctive Afrobeat rhythms of legendary drummer Tony Allen. With his blessing, and that of the Comet label on which he's been releasing since the 1980s, the Early Sounds Recordings pair has cut-up and re-constructed Allen's drums, combining them with their own steamy electronics, vintage synthesizer lines and classic drum machines. It's an intoxicating and hugely entertaining blend that sits somewhere between their previous outings, Danny Wolfers' material under the Nacho Patrol guise, and the dreamy late '80s/early '90s work of forgotten Italian producer Mr Marvin.
Review: Dego and Kaidi on Sound Signature whut???? Here's a partnership that makes perfect sense! The West London legends bring their signature blend of soul and brukked up grit to Theo Parrish's label across three stellar cuts resulting in a 12" that will remain long in the box. Lead track "Adam Rock Dissed" sets the tone, gliding out of the grooves with impeccably placed drums snapping away loosely as Kaidi lets loose with his magical fingers on keys. Next up, "Moths In Wallets" rolls forward and fat on a lazy breakbeat with the vibe enhanced by the low bass rumble and rich, rich keys. This might be our favourite cut on the 12" though B-side production "Backchat for Toprock" runs it close. Live drums get ripped up hard, rocking to their own broken step as Dego and Kaidi slowly tease out some heart wrenching chords amidst a flurry of heavy piano. The masters are in session, pay attention!
Review: Of all DJ duos currently operating in British dance music, Belfast boys Bicep might be the hardest to pin down (Optimo aside, of course). Certainly, this debut album is not easy to pigeonhole, though it is an enjoyably cohesive listen. This is largely down to two factors; the frequent use of deliciously colorful and loved-up synthesizer parts, and the duo's innate ability to utilize beats tailor-made for dancefloor devastation. So while keen dancefloor historians may notice sly (and not so subtle) nods to '89 rave, U.S house and garage, Italo-disco, late '90s progressive house, jungle and early British hardcore, the album never sounds anything less than a fine set of Bicep tracks. Expect it to be one of the biggest albums of the year.
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: 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,
Review: Ludovic Navarre aka St Germain requires no introduction, and the French house legend has literally seen and done it all ever since his first productions began to surface and influence other house artists back in the early 1990's golden era. The majority of his music has been released on F Communications, but his latest studio album drops on EMI's Parlophone sublabel. The self-titled St Germain is a proper LP, not a mere collection of house tracks put together helter-skelter. Inside, you'll hear many of Navarre's influences and inspirations, from Afro tribal melodies, to jazzy influences and even Middle-Eastern chimes. It's a house album in structure, but much more than that beneath the surface...as it always was from the legend of French dance music.
Review: Unstoppable Aussie house maverick Mall Grab takes a deep splash with three more premium cuts. "Pool Party Music" is a loopy, jacking slab of raw fun. If it soundtracks any particular time of a pool party it's when everyone starts pushing each other it. Joyously buzzy. "BFODAAS" takes us back to the earlier chapter of the party where the vibe is warming up, drinks are sliding down and there's not a cloud in the sky. Finally the warm, rolling bleepy "Catching Feelings" catches the moment where you're wrapped in a fluffy towel and cuddled up with pool friends old and new. Bliss.