Review: The SlapFunk crew have another new recruit for their mission to match minimal dance aesthetics with tough old-skool punch. Danish producer Martinez has plenty of experience having released everywhere from Guidance to Moon Harbour and Minibar, and he sounds right at home freaking the funk for the Dutch contingent. There's a straight up strut to the jacking drums on opener "Inter Species Relations", while "Aspired Commotion" slips into the kind of wriggling shuffle you'd expect from a SlapFunk release. "No Data" adopts a skippy 2-step stance with some eerie textures on top, and then "Shanty Town" finishes the record off with more swinging business peppered with delightful keys.
Review: Commonly found rocking out on Unison Wax, Constant Sound and Pleasure Zone, Diego Krause is a certified mover and shaker in the minimal house scene, and he's on fire with this latest round of missives for Blind Box. "Malice" leads the charge with a plethora of eerie synth textures flexing organically round the sturdy beat, while "Monolith" slips into a slinkier groove while keeping the tripped out tone tweaking at the forefront of our minds. "Return" brings a tougher, fist-pumping rhythm section with a snaking syn-cussion tones trickling throughout, providing Blind Box with plenty of material to sink their gnashers into on the remix.
Review: Nick Beringer's Rubisco has served up some wicked grooves lately by the likes of Maik Yells, Ed Herbst and Diego Krause among others. The next one on the Berlin-based imprint comes courtesy of David Gab, label owner of Talaman out of Amsterdam. He is in great form on "Timeframe EP" with the tripped-out afterhours groove of "Take Me To My Planet" which combines the very best of UK and Romanian tech house sounds. On the B side we have the rolling and hypnotic backroom dub that is the title track, followed by the deep and boompty late night cut "Watkins".
Review: Following releases from Huerta, Mandar and Makcim & Levi last year, Oscillat kicks off 2019 with an assured, brooding club 12" from long-serving producer Matthew Dekay.
Since surfacing in 2001, Dutch producer Dekay has put out a formidable body of work under a variety of aliases and in collaboration with producers including Lee Burridge and Maher Daniel. His sultry tech house approach has graced labels as highly regarded as Innervisions, Cecille, Aras and Maeve, and now he comes to Oscillat with "Spellbound," a track that finds him diving deeper than ever before into hypnotic, swinging rhythms loaded with atmosphere and longing.
On the B side, Oscillat bosses Mandar (Lazare Hoche, Malin Genie and Samuel Andre Madsen) take Dekay's original and inject it with an infectious peak time energy, creating a straight-up, acid-flecked workout that sits in neat contrast with the immersive shuffle of the original.
Review: Fans of stripped-back, minimalist techno - particularly the Eastern European variant focused around Romania's thriving scene - will happily tell you that every release from Christi Cons and Vlad Caia's Sideways Invisibility Theory project (AKA SIT) is worth checking. This, a double-pack containing half of the tracks from their new album (a second part is also available) is certainly noteworthy. It features a quintet of trippy, low-slung late night workouts seemingly designed to operate in the cracks between tech-house and minimal techno. There are naturally subtle variations throughout - a nod to dub techno here, a psychedelic acid line or dreamy deep house texture there - but throughout, their focus remains firmly on wonky early morning workouts.
Review: Australian techno royalty Carmelo Bianchetti has put out a lot of music under the Late Night Tuff Guy alias with his 2007 tweak of Roland Clark classic "I Get Deep" among his best work. Originally released through the short lived TBot's All Nite House Party label, the track is given a timely reissue through Bianchetti's own Tuff Cut label in newly remastered form. Clark's classic vocal would be arguably be a hit over anything with a 4/4 groove, but there is something satisfying about this grimy arrangement from LNTG. Complementing this is a fresh take on the track from Sydney's Cassian.
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: Asad Rizvi's bountiful archive of names and tunes continues to yield more fruit, this time in the shape of his Asadinho alias on regular haunt RvS. The bleeps cut through the shuffling drums on the Silverlining Mix of "When We Come To It" in a flurry of late night tech house finery. The original mix of the track is a tougher, slower twist with a straight-ahead groove but plenty of funk drizzled in between the joints. "Koppaitch" spreads itself across the B-side with a sizzling disco groove and more of those mean-tempered synths that project a dark and seedy side to Rizvi's many-sided musical dice.
Review: The annual Cocoon compilation is a perfect snapshot of what's going on in the more popular corners of the European techno scene. Curated by label head and Ibiza party king Sven Vath, this year's edition is a comparatively deep and melodic affair. A big shout goes to Talaboman for their excellently entitled "Big Room Anthemic Groovy Pounding Trance Dub Bomb Superb!" which is indeed a big room anthemic groovy pounding trance dub bomb, while Edward serves up a more twisted roller (the excellent "End Days"), Raxon goes deep with "The Turbulent" and Mark Broom hammers home with tripped out sci-fi banger "Jaded", amongst many other gems.
Review: The shadowy EEE series has already brought us tasty and much-played tech-house interpretations of a familiar jazz-house gem and a string-laden '80s synth-pop shuffler. Their third single-sided affair - as championed by Zip and Riccardo, no less - takes on a much-loved early noughties R&B classic, placing carefully selected and sequenced vocal snippets around a seriously snappy and sub-bass-heavy groove. Although tech-house in style - note the glitchy electronic noises and spacey effects fixed to the beats - the track's infectious rhythm track was clearly influenced by the current electro revival. This added swing and shoulder-swinging looseness, coupled with the familiarity of the vocal elements, makes EEE03 a guaranteed peak-time winner.
Review: Following choice wares from tape_hiss and Pascal Viscardi, Love Notes stride into winter with a fulsome offering from lesser-known artist Subtenant, who packs just the right balance of classic acid and modernist techno into the three original tracks on this 12". "Evergreen Soul" looks set to turn heads in the club with its playful organ flex hopping around the punchy 303 notes, while "Artisanal Acid" brings some homespun hardware handiwork to the table. "Know How It Feels" drops in at a slower tempo, but it's D'Marc Cantu who steals the show with a dynamic remix of the title track loaded with detail and shot through with dub.
Review: Dutch minimal house Maestro Ion Ludwig makes a somewhat surprising yet absolutely worthy appearance on Raresh's Metereze imprint. The Deventer native's idiosyncratic sound shines on "A Better Future To Long EP", comprised of what the label describes as three "electronic mandalas". Mesmerising A side cut "140 KM/H" is reminiscent of his acclaimed live sets - a long and meandering cut that's perfect for a deeper stage of trance after hours. The title track on the flip is as rolling, bass driven and hypnotic as you like it, and introspective minimal house cut "Abstracy" with its subtle dub techno inflections calls to mind some of the material on his seminal "Ghost To Coast" LP. Killer!
Review: It was way back in 1992 that Remake - an Italian quartet that serial pseudonym collector Alex Neri amongst its number - first released their take on Vangelis' legendary theme from Blade Runner. You can find their original version - a pulsating, floor-friendly take which heavily influenced the development of both trance and progressive house - tucked away on the B-side of this timely Renaissance reissue. The main attraction, though, is undoubtedly Maceo Plex's A-side remix. Fittingly, this not only comes smothered in creepy noises - very Blade Runner 2049 - and a fresh tech-house rhythm track, but also boasts sharp Fairlight-CMI stabs and far greater use of the oh-so-familiar piano melody.
Review: The fourth release from London-based label Eya continues to shape out an intriguing identity that nods to classic techno tropes while charging ahead with their own agenda. Label boss Jos' "Planet Eya" sets a lively pace with its forthright drum machine jack offset by warm synth licks. Evil Knebel matches the tempo and weaves in a cosmic set of tones, which Poten then cosigns with the equally trippy, propulsive "Intransigence". Jos is back at the helm for closing track "Purify", which strikes a darker tone without losing that raw, vintage techno flavour that makes this label one to watch.
Review: Next up on Acid Pauli and Nico Stojan's Ouie imprint are two veterans of the electronic music scene, but the label bosses are pretty tight lipped about their identity beyond that. Showing off some serious night moves on "Slow Down", the title track is perfect Berlin sunrise material: a lush serving of low-slung techno-pop that makes the perfect summer soundtrack. On remix duties is Lovestruckk, the duo comprising of Stojan and Holmar Filipsson (aka Thugfucker) inject more dancefloor dynamics before closer "Slow Down", a slinky and hypnotic tech house cut moves the EP into a moodier sonic territory.
Review: It's been a long time between drinks for Chris Korda, a transgender artist and activist whose last releases of note came on famed electroclash label International Deejay Gigolo way back in 2004. New album "Akoko Ajeji" is very much a surprise return to action, though its melodious, ear-pleasing and accessible blend of house and techno drums, digital synthesizer sounds and cheery post synth-pop refrains is both striking and hugely addictive. Korda's compositions offer subtle nods towards various vintage house and techno styles - particularly turn-of-the-90s deep house and early Chicago jack - but never sound anything less than thrillingly DIY productions giddily made in back rooms and bedrooms over the last decade and a half.
Review: This is a cheeky single-sided affair that contains a gently tooled-up, rolling and rearranged version of a Marlena Shaw-sampling jazz-house classic that is rightly considered something of a dancefloor classic. The edit itself is undoubtedly rather good, subtly adding a little more bottom-end grunt whilst making a little more of the original's snaking sax parts, much-loved vocal sample and groovy jazz percussion. You can decide or not whether the re-edit was needed; certainly, the mystery re-editor has done a rather tidy job on the rework.
Review: Brazilian label Allnite Music is back with another sure shot from label boss Apoena that locks into an immersive, head-nodding groove from the get go. "Retoside" is a perfect deep house burner, understated and yet utterly grooving where it counts. "Attachment" has a more sprightly, uplifting quality tailored to sunny situations, while "Hemp Restriction" takes things in an airy direction while rocking a solid 90s backbone. "The Sutilties" completes the set with a dreamy roller splash, with sweet leads and some chopped up vocal hooks that accent the innate funk of the track in fine style.
Review: Giles Smith and James Priestley have left an indelible mark on house and techno culture in the UK, not least thanks to their fabled Secretsundaze parties. These days they're taking that iconic stamp into the studio, and following up on strong turns for Mule Musiq and Phonica last year they're finally dropping a full length EP on their own label. The quality is as high as you would expect, from spicy, snarling fire starter "Mezcal" to the transcendental swirl of "Stand Up". On the B side, "Testing" takes things a little deeper with a heady stomp and a tricky disposition that will satisfy all the selectors.
Review: Since 2015, Jacob Chenaux has been serving up singles made in collaboration with fellow Offenbach resident Martyne. Here he goes solo for the very first time with a four-track outing on Traffic. He eases us in gently via the crunchy techno-funk of "Frostnach" - all bouncy drum machine beats, rumbling bass and minor key organ melodies - before heading to deep space via the sci-fi bleeps, supersonic noises and robust drums of "Challenjour". Flip to the B-side for the wayward early morning techno throb of "Jericho" and the rubbery goodness of "Wrath", where Motor City style chords and chiming melodies rise above unfussy machine beats and a squelchy analogue bassline.
Review: Staggeringly, this tidy tech-house EP from Dan Andrei is not only the Romanian's first release of any sort for four years, but also his first vinyl single since 2011. He begins in confident mood with "SOS", a gentle, undulating affair where pulsing electronics, drowsy chords and fizzing audio glitches clamber atop of a warm, mind-altering bassline and unfussy machine drums. "In The Bass" is a darker and wonkier workout for clubs that like it dark and clandestine, while "Still Unclear" adds warming deep house chords and dusty melodies to a futuristic tech-house groove. To round things off, Andrei offers up a spot of alien tech-house chug where swirling, deep space chords and another ear-catching bassline dominate the sound space.
Review: EYA Records branch out with this crafty, wriggling slab of freaky techno diversions on new imprint Lonewolf. Meta4 twists all kinds of gnarly subversion out of "Four Body Centers," where the funk of foundational Detroit techno collides with the rampant machine messing of UK acid for stunning results. There's an eerie ghost train vibe hovering over Jorge Gamarra's "Pact", while "Langan" by Twophaseu drops a fresh UK twist on electro. Meta4 returns to bookend this ear-snagging EP with the equally catchy oddball trysts of "666blank", another devilishly deviant slice of underground party music for the ghoulish crew.
Review: After a two-year hiatus, the "Watergate Affairs" series returns with an EP of tracks from what the legendary Berlin label describes as "talent from outside the crew's immediate circle". Danish duo Baime step up first with the humid late night techno exotica of "Majka" - all Indonesian percussion, snake charmer synths and Teutonic grooves - before Kadosh offers up the melodious tech-house/deep-house fusion of "Better Days". Turn to the flip for a dash of quietly euphoric White Isle tech-house goodness from Ibiza-based Kintar ("Paradisou") and the extra-percussive throb of Kevin Di Serna's "Lucero Del Alma", where evocative electronic lead lines bubble above moody bass and pulsating synthesizer motifs.
Review: Infuse is a vinyl only label for the heads, and Per Hammer is a dub techno don for those who know, so they make a fine pairing on this fresh new three tracker. Opener "Side Effects" has a muted synth sequence that is gorgeously dreamy above a slick dub techno groove. It's a simple but effective trance-inducer, while "Document Save" is a more visceral cut with prickly drums. The best might well be saved for last: "Remote Dubb" is a seductive, aqueous dub techno cut with shimmering pads and shuffling percussion that is high grade dancing dynamite.
Review: Politics Of Dancing celebrate five years of pristine deep and minimal house with this first installment in a series of various artist releases. Djebali and Stephan Bazbaz are in the mood for squelchy chords and undulating basslines on "J'Adore", while Boris Werner keeps things sleek and funky on the craftily executed "Omar Coming". Politics Of Dancing themselves kick off the B side with the gorgeous "Peace", and Rowlanz locks into a sharp and sassy minimal workout with lashings of jazzy goodness bedded into the groove. It's a package delivered with the high standards of dancefloor functionality and musical personality we've come to expect from the always-on-point Parisian label.
Review: Although only a few months have passed since Constant Sound was first minted, the label run by Burnski and Jon Woodall is now ready to unleash its fourth EP. Entitled Raw Moments, it features a hot original by Paolo Rocco and is backed with accomplished remixes from the legendary Nail as well as boss man Burnski.
Canadian Rocco is well known on the Montreal circuit for his broad and energetic DJ sets, whilst he has also cracked the Beatport charts with his own tunes, namely 'Move Body, Move Forward' on Klasse, as well as with follow ups on Real Tone. He impresses once again here with 'Raw Moments', a track that does exactly what it says on the tin.
The whole track is built upon rock solid kick drums that bounce and bobble about as curious bird sounds and gloopy synths dart about next to cow bells and hi hats. It's expertly lively and robust.
First to re-imagine the track is Burnski, who injects some seriously fat bass, a subtle sense of shuffle and infectiously crafted grooves laden with dub motifs and rich reverb. It's perfectly designed for no frills and non stop dancing, frankly.
Last to remix is DIY Discs man, Classic Music Company associate and all round house tastemaker Nail. His Smoke Dub is a bulky house jam with buffed metal melodies, squelchy drums and sci-fi synth sounds that is deep, stays low and is perfect for back room basements.
This label might only be on its fourth release, but already it has announced itself as a go to outlet for fans of fresh intelligent sounding house, and this release only confirms that.
Review: The Jack's House label lays out a manifesto on the brand of refined deep and minimal house that makes its switch flick with this choice various artists release. Two Diggers are up first with "Trick Me", a subtle but immersive slice of deep house that punches where it counts. James Dexter takes a trippier approach with "Cables", letting artful delays and modulation ping around the mix for a truly standout club jam. 2VILAS have a focused drive behind "Verve", but then Miffy & Miller come bowling in at the 11th hour with "Vertiver" and pump things up to a mid-00s Plus 8 style bounce, and who can blame them when they bring such peak-time heat?
Review: Jack's House is back with another wedge of crucial cuts from a spread of big hitters, kicking off with Alex Arnout and the tightly wound roller "Hypersomnia." Tuccillo is in a heads down mood on "Another Day," letting the drums and the bassline do the brunt of the work. Terry Francis favours a heavy, smoky sound palette that has a bassline that will do some serious damage on a decent system - "Jua" is easily the strongest track on the record. Killan Vega closes the record with a smart deep house jam peppered with crafty sound design elements that lift the track beyond the average chord-led workout.
Review: Following the excellent instalment from DJ Skull, Mentha continues to gather pace as a house and techno label of note with this sublime offering from Hakim Murphy. While the Chicago native may be known for some bruising hardware house and techno a lot of the time, he's showing his more sensitive side on this release with delicate tracks that head into deep techno waters. The title of the EP says it all, as nimble, expressive beats merge with soothing, aqueous pad tones for a most satisfying of listening experiences. Fans of early deep techno a la B12 and Stasis will find much to enjoy here.
Manuk & Oli Silva - "Nevermind The Crispies" (5:55)
Eliaz - "Verdico" (7:06)
Meta 4 - "Urnammu" (7:45)
Jorge Gamarra - "Dypac" (5:42)
Review: There's a certain air of buy-on-sight mystique around EYA Records, somewhere between the low-key presentation of the music and the cult artists they're calling on to realise their particular vision of deviant dancefloor business. This is unabashed freaky party tackle, from Manuk & Oli Silva's delirious B-movie jack track "Nevermind The Crispies" to the uneasy electro snarl of "Verdico". Meta 4 has equally nightmarish moods to share on the graveyard acid of "Urnammu" and Jorge Gamarra seals the deal with the schlocky braindance horror of "Dypac". It's the kind of record that you'll be reaching for come Halloween, trust.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Sideway Invisibility Theory are already well versed in the Romanian minimal scene both individually and as a duo - on top of their releases on Do Easy and Amphia, Cristi Cons and Vlad Caia represent two of the most prolific operators in the second wave of Bucharest-based dance music. With a mammoth wedge of music delivered to Sushitech in the form of two double packs entitled Invisibility Chapter I & II, this single serves as a pint-sized distillation of those records for the DJs with less time on their hands. "Alternate" is right at home on Sushitech, all elegant beat programming and huge, billowing clouds of dub chord. Label regular Steve O' Sullivan is right at home on such smoky ground, although his remix on the B-side blows the vapour away to deliver a tightly woven tool for the heads down crowd.
Review: Mint Condition's ear for essential reissues has struck gold time and time again. Next up in their spotlight is a 1996 EP from Two Full Minds that was first released by Bushwacka! & DJ Vorn. Whether the agelessness of this record is a testament to the producers' original vision or a sign that dance music doesn't evolve as much as it thinks is unclear, but what's certain is that these tracks bang. There's the impish cosmic synths and clacking breakbeats of the title track, the brilliantly named "I Hate Anthea Turner", which is a spaced out garage-tech kicker, and ecstasy rush of closer "Space Port" all ready to do damage on the floor.
Review: Asad Rizvi's Silverlining return to form (and archive purge) continues unabated with this latest instalment on his label. The tech house originator kicks off this ninth part in the Silverlining Dubs series with a fresh production, the stripped back and highly technical "Groundhog Rave". It's followed up by an older jam originally released on Eukahouse back in 1997. "Stolen Baggage" is a sweet, poignant club track with lingering keys that positively melt between the snaking beats. "Spinach, Mystery & Insult" brings things back to the here and now with a shimmering set of drums and sonar bleep synths aimed squarely at the deep end. Brief diversion "Sticky Snails" completes the package with a surprise foray into kosmische-inspired territory, pointing to the diversity tucked away in this seasoned producer's repertoire.
Review: The fifth Future Primitive release, Babylon Paralysis, sees the label work with an all-time favourite UK techno artist Steve O'Sullivan. We are super happy to be reissuing a classic slab of late '90s Bluetrain material from Steve in the shape of "Congo Shuffle", which originally surfaced as an untitled B1 on the timeless Echo Freaks 12". Newly extended and edited by O'Sullivan, "Congo Shuffle" has been lavishly cut at the Exchange giving new life to this bottom feeding monster.
On the flip, Steve blesses us with two brand new productions continuing the sub-heavy theme of the A side. Invisible Guest steps away from the straight up 4/4 productions he's nailed in recent years in favour of a stealthy broken dub approach that wouldn't be out of place on go-to Bristol label Idle Hands.
"Paralyzed Dub" is both the inspiration for the release title and another classic demonstration of Steve's ability to stun listeners with very few elements. Play loud and keep away from laptop speakers.