Sexy Merlin - "See You In The Dark" (Jamie Paton remix)
Guy Schalom - "Habibi" (Jamie Paton remix)
Blancmange - "Feel Me" (Jamie Paton remix)
Gatos Negros - "Overdrive" (Jamie Paton remix)
Review: Jamie Paton has been a regular fixture on [Emotional] Especial since the label first came to light, conjuring up a seductive blend of leftfield dance music with a broad range of influences. This time around he's turning out some of his remixes, leading in with the sweaty, dense throb of Sexy Merlin's "See You In The Dark". Guy Schlalom's "Habibi" by way of contrast becomes a lighter confection peppered with bubbly synth lines and an almost poppy persuasion. Blancmange's "Feel Me" has a more cosmic lilt in its voluminous tones, and "Overdrive" by Gatos Negros drifts out on an off-kilter kind of boogie for all manner of deviant dancers to get head-nodding to.
Review: It's been a hot minute since Timothy J. Fairplay slipped on his Junior Fairplay guise, but he's done just that for this bleep-tastic new 12" on (Emotional) Especial. "End Of Love" is unabashed in its embrace of early Yorkshire techno tones, making a fine job of resurrecting the bleep spectre and letting it shake up the dance once more. Roy Of The Ravers is a smart choice of remixer, and he brings an off-kilter acid rub to the table in his idiosyncratic, braindance-inflected style. The B-side is equal laden with purposefully dusty dance grooves transplanted from the late 80s / early 90s, with "Faxes From The Future" hitting a particularly sharp point in its lazy breakbeat roll and the clanging harmonies of the stabs.
Review: The pairing of Jeffrey Sfire with Samuel Long (aka PC Music producer Sophie) produced some discoid synth-pop manna for the CockTail d'Amore label when it first appeared back in 2013. Now the duo have been handed over to [Emotional] Especial, who have tasked two choice remixers with turning out some fresh versions of the tracks from the original EP. Timothy J. Fairplay keeps the wave dark and cold on his remix of "Sfire 2", using noirish synth lines to interplay with Sfire's on-point vocal. Meanwhile Willie Burns ramps up the atmospherics with some heavyweight pads on his first remix of "Sfire 3" before turning the original into a cheeky peak time burner for his second.
Review: Strange happenings are going on down at Scrutton Street, EC1. With release after release cementing the names of those based or working out of the studio bunker, a desire for pushing the boundaries of electronic music is primary with little concern for what's hip. So if anyone can Tim can and here with his newly birthed pseudonym comes Junior Fairplay. With a one-sided release and remix to his name on Crimes Of The Future a glimpse has been offered of what's in store, but How Do You Like Me Now? gives it straight. Pioneering and back to the British techno of early Black Dog, Reload, Stasis and of course, the seminal "Selected Works" clearly inspires, but so too does one of those musical moments where genres clash, tear and stretch as something new is being born. It all starts with the uplifting House anthem of Classic Version, eschewing the oft-tasted horror stylings and aims direct for that 4am MDMA airfild rush, before the EP drops, locks and spins on it's axis, with 3 pure breaks cuts to overload the senses and say, now is the time! A voyage to another side to the mythical lost chord via a moment in time where open filds, abandoned warehouses, the kick of 4/4 house, hip hop breaks and the dub of sound system culture merged but for a short while. Not house, not rave or jungle. A proto sound born of blood, sweat and Rage.
Review: Collaborations are often the fortune of timing. With Andy having moved on since closing the Dissident label to launching his Cave Paintings project to Tim's departure from Battant and striking out as Andrew Weatherall's engineer and soon to be co-member of The Asphodells, an alliance was born between the two to undertake a series of live jam sessions at each's respective studios. A love of new wave, new beat, UK Bleep and Detroit techno all feature in B-Ultras and the aptly titled, Neu Beat. Both cuts are heavily soaked in the pitch black, smoke machine funk and strob-laden fug of Andy's (and co-hort Joe Hart) infamous World Unknown dancefloor. Running at around 10 minutes the tracks are essentially an examination of acid house's ideals. Clattering hats, throbbing basslines, stabbing keys and doses of 303. Keeping it pretty simple but all about a pure groove on and on. Backing these up is a remix of B-Ultras from Jamie Paton that accentuates the groove and drags the acid deeper down to some B-boy Dub throwdown - with more to follow from all protagonists in 2014.
Love Is Enough (Jamie Paton Cloudy dub-out) (7:41)
Love Is Enough (Luke Solomon dub) (7:03)
Love Is Enough (Khidja dubstrumental) (6:27)
Love Is Enough (Alphonse dub) (5:57)
Review: Previously spotted on Emotional [Especial] with the fantastic Love Is Enough 12", Plus Instruments get the remix treatment in a classic '80s style with the Dub Is Enough single. The producers tasked with delivering versions vary wildly, but they make for a strong combination. Jamie Paton's "Cloudy Dub-Out" is masterful, simmering the elements down to a sensual bassline and delicate ripples on top, while Luke Solomon brings his bumpy, off-kilter house style to the table. Khidja has a more dramatic, synth laden approach and Alphonse creates a dusty, funky roller out of that killer bassline groove.
Review: Alphonse has already dropped a pair of 12"s on Especial in the past, but he's on especially excellent form this time around. A veteran of the halcyon rave days of the 90s, he's got a lot to draw on to conjure his particular kind of machine jams. "Moan Up" is a truly dazzling track, all twinkling synth lines interweaving around a crisp old school groove. As well as the loved up peaks of the original, there's also a beatless mix of the track that lets the melodies shine on their own. "White Pepper" takes things moodier and lets some sultry sax wail over the top, while retaining some of that boxy drum machine energy. There's even space for some tasteful guitar wailing - excellent.
Review: Hailing from Tel Aviv and featuring Antinote-affiliated Alek Lee, Project Runaway make good on their initial promise with a sterling club-ready record for [Emotional] Especial. "Met" is a perfect statement of intent - a dynamic peak time record with an urgent, insistent groove peppered with organic percussion, zippy FX and a freaky vocal to get overground and underground party people shaking unanimously. The dub on the flip takes things out to weirder territory for the freak-out crew, without losing sight of the necessary functionality of the track. This is as direct a hit as you could ever expect from [Emotional] Especial, but loaded with bags of personality to satisfy the more curious minds out there.
Review: All producers on this timeless EP known for their contribution to NuDisco/Deep House Music. 1 Life records has enlisted the services of top talents. Deep house veterans Mateo & Matos wrap drifting deep spheres, lilting electronics & warm synth rhodes chords around a chunky groove on his fine beat interpretation for a brighter & breezier deep house vibe on a remix that benefits greatly from a squeezable synth bassline & some undulating TB-303 style acid motifs, while Rune Lindbaek deliver with Frisvold a driving chunk of dub-disco/deep house fusion rich in sparkling synthesizer lines, sun-kissed chords & his own rubbery post-punk bass. Studio don Vincent Inc bring unforgettable impressions & inspiration for mind, body & soul together with his remix. 4 tracks came together to tell music stories about hypnotic deepest stuff, depression, happiness, loneliness, love, miracles & magical experiences
Review: The 1 Life crew had a strong start with the likes of Kerri Chandler, DJ Spen & Karizma and Joey Negro contributing to a disco-fied house sound. Volume two on the label is no slouch either, ranging from Vincent Inc & LA's smoky "Cafe Tropical" before launching into Rico De Almenda's sassy, joyous take on "Watermelon Man". Venus Attack Project get into a deeper, percussive mood on the incendiary "Grass Culture" before Vincent Floyd completes the set with the heartfelt acid bubble of "Trail Of Tears". From organic sounds to box jams, these tracks speak directly to the foundations on which house music was built.
Review: Since debuting last year, J. Albert has showcased his brand of hard-to-pigeonhole dance music on an impressive array of imprints (Lovers Rock, Black Opal and Cult Trip included). Here, the Exotic Dance co-founder pops up on 1080p, treating fans of the Vancouver institution to a quartet of ear-catching compositions. While there are a few fairly typical 1080p type cuts present (see the dreamy, breakbeat-driven deepness of "All In", and head-in-the-clouds broken house of "Strictly J"), it's arguably the most eccentric cuts that hit home hardest. Chief among these is opener "Pangs", which feels like pitched down jungle-jazz fused with horizontal deep house, though the bumpin'-but-ocean deep "For Soho" isn't far behind.
Review: A new concept here for Berlin based disco/house label founded by Deep88: 12Records. On Underground Is The New Upperclass EP, the title says it all: here are four emerging artists with their fresh and natural idea of house music that's keeping it real: no pictures, no posers. From Rhythm 2 Soul's tribute to 808 State on "Soul Catcher" and the gritty lo-slung acid of Colkin's "Boston Illegal" on the A side. The flip features the sensual and evocative deepness of Modena's MHCrew with "I Remember Aus" (featuring Krabah) and lastly PTR Zoo with the neon-lit "Lombok" taking its cues from hip-house and new jack swing.
Review: Representing Californian house music culture with its heart on its sleeve, 12 Inches Deep return for a second volume of "West Coast Dance Traxx" that features four up and comers from the underground. Ricky Tinez captures a perfect hazy summer mood on the dub mix of "That Day" - a true product of his environment. Akumen brings a sweatier vibe to "Inner Life (All Of Music)" which captures a little Chi-town pressure and then blows it wide open with some choice organ licks. Le Smoove is on a serious garage tip with "G Groovez" and Urbanite reaches skywards with the utterly infectious "Triple Filtered", spilling good vibes out from every angle.
Ortella - "She's On Fire" (feat François A) (7:25)
Chocky - "Lower Synth" (5:21)
Rotty - "Secrets" (6:49)
Heat Alliance - "Got The Groove" (6:15)
Reece Johnson - "I Like The Way You" (5:50)
Lu York - "C'mon & Dance" (7:35)
Chris Fry - "Can't Stop" (6:08)
Andy Buchan - "Eighty Four" (6:06)
Review: 124 Recordings are always a safe bet for true school deep house business, and they're also dab hands at putting together killer compilations as evidenced with the "Levels EP" last year. They're back at it again with this crucial double pack, which kicks off in fine style with bright and bold vocal bumper "She's On Fire" (feat Francois A)" by Ortella. There's a deeper, trippier vibe to Chocky's "Lower Synth", while Rotty's "Secrets" chops the samples up and ramps the swing up to 11. Heat Alliance has a tough, freaky NYC touch on "Got The Groove," while Reece Johnson piles the organs on heavy on "I Like The Way You", and that's just half the set. A whole lot of house goodness to chew on, with every track purpose built for maximum dancefloor damage.
Review: 124 Recordings know how to put together a deep house compilation, and they're sounding fierce on this latest, appropriately titled Levels Up. The jams come heavy and funky from a range of on-point operators, leading in with Tom Jay's quintessential New Jersey bump n grind on "Hanging On". David Moran is a little more shadowy but no less groovesome, while Nicola Brusegan takes things on a sweet and smooth tip. Across the whole double pack there are classically informed jams to satisfy the most weary deep house heads, but keep an ear out for the old-school flavoured heft of Freak D's "Power Of Bass", which should get some seriously jacking airtime in the right kind of dance.
Review: Harlem NYC based 13th Hour return with more music for the witching hour on their third release, after having previously shown off great grooves by Belgian Ricky Razu, Tbilisi's Hamatsuki and local lad M. Vaughan. This time round they have decided to focus on two select talents, with the A side being taken care of by Colombia's Felipe Gordon. He takes a break from the three-piece Mercury to deliver the Jazzmatazz inspired cut "I'll Become Blue" and the dusty, emotive deepness of "The Last Time I Saw You". On the flip, things start to heat up with Australian Loure (Apparel/Slothboogie Jamz) who serves up some sexy late mood lighting on "So Dive" and vocal-led cut "Club Shade".
Vincent Inc - "Rayskoye Mesto" (Vincent Floyd remix) (6:43)
Lola Allen & Vincent Inc - "Gonna Be Alright" (5:00)
Lola Allen & Vincent Inc - "NuDisco Book 1" (7:25)
Vincent Inc - "Time Machine" (Julian Sanza remix) (6:22)
Review: 14th Level Of Paradise come good with another stunning selection of high grade jams from core members of their crew. Vincent Floyd drops a remix of Vincent Inc that leans in heavy on a wistful early 90s sound that splits the difference between B12, Stasis and Larry Heard. Lola Allen and Vincent Inc's "Gonna Be Alright" takes things slower and spacier, while their "NuDisco Book 1" locks into a classic slice of disco funk to set the floor ablaze. Julian Sanza remixes Vincent Inc's "Time Machine" to close out the EP, taking a sophisticated, sweet natured approach to disco house.
M&M Vs Andrei Swipe - "Analog Express" (Don Carlos remix) (7:29)
Review: There's an undeniable air of quality that lingers over the 12"s emerging on 14th Level Of Paradise, the mysterious label presenting originals, edits and repressed tracks for true house devotees. First up is a little known track from Sasha Makin and Suntetic, given a shimmering polish by Don Carlos and Steven Perri to become a heavy funking masterpiece, before Joe Claussell drops in a percussive dub delight on Monday Michiru's "Higher". On the flip, Vincent Inc and LA get things pumping with the slow but chunky, jazz-licked "Red Room", before Carlos returns for another deep house reverie as he remixes M&M and Andrei Swipe's "Analog Express".
Review: After delivering two well-received EPs to 20:20 Vision last year, Dokta is starting up his own series of releases on the long-standing tech house institution. He's starting this new mission in style with a single-sided, 15-minute long epic with Leonidas to send the dancefloor into a deep house rapture. There's a cosmic space flight narrative to get drawn into, a wealth of expressive sax playing, an extended meltdown, some well chosen shout outs to the pioneers, and a sweetly subdued roll out that feels very far from where the journey began, like all epic tracks should do. Talk about a statement release.
Review: Ted Krisko and Eric Rickers hail from Detroit, and their distinctive brand of snappy, playful electro and techno has already landed them releases on KMS, Visionquest and others. Now they land on 20/20 Vision with the devilishly fun "One LFO," an unremitting acid jam shot through with crafty drum programming and enough robotic lubricant to get the rustiest joints greased up and moving. Fellow Detroit champs Luke Hess and Delano Smith shore up on the flip with classy remixes, Hess waving his dubby strains over the original in inimitable form and Smith taking things deep, smooth and just a little spooky.
Review: Blacks & Blues is a new name to 2000 Black, but the people behind the project are label stalwarts: Dego, Kaidi Tatham, Matt Lord (AKA Lordamercy) and vocalist Obenewa Aboah. With such talent on show, it's unsurprising that opener "Spin" - a cracking slab of broken-beat/soul fusion rich in military style drums, jazz-funk keys and summery vocals - is rather good. While dancefloor-friendly, the track feels loose, languid and tailor-made for outdoor parties. "Don't Know Why (Chant For Love)" is an even more lo-fi broken soul excursion (very Fatima), while "You Know The Feeling" recalls the jazz-funk-fired soulful club cuts of early 2000s broken beat heroes Bugz In The Attic.