Review: Enjoying a brief sojourn away from then 2000 Black label he's long called home, sometime 4hero member Dego pops up on Neroli with a two-tracker that blends his usual jazz-funk inspired instrumentation with warm and fragrant, dancefloor-focused grooves. The jazz-funk influence is strongest on flipside "Just Give It A Long Shot", a more languid affair rich in squiggly synth lines, toasty bass guitar, slack-tuned drum breaks and the kind of group vocals that would have once sent rare groove heads into a spin. A-side "Twelve Steps" is arguably even better, with whispered vocals, jazzy synth lines and sunny guitars wrapping around a pleasingly rubbery Brit-funk groove.
Review: Digger and editor extraordinaire John Zahl returns with three more deep dug oddities from the disco cosmos. Early 80s stadium synth boogie with Italo stamped deep into the core and some fantastic horn stabs, "Show Me Luv" kickstarts the party all synths blazing. It's backed up by an Alexander O'Neal meets-D-Train smoocher "Oh Jaaaz" before "Let Me Treble" closes the show with a vibe that you could imagine Abba sounding like if they spent a day on the beach jamming on high doses of peyote. Divine.
Review: Golf Channel and Emotional Response embark on a mission to bring together two generations of Kraut excellence as Dunkelziffer's Dominik Von Senger collaborates with the Montezumas Rache pairing of Jan Schulte and Christian Pannenborg. As you'd expect, the resultant EP is rather fine. They set the tone with "Rheinfaren", where a low-slung, dubbed-out groove is complimenting by twinkling guitars, delay-laden Jew's harp parts, and other sun-kissed elements. "Tangerine (Krauter Mix)" doffs a cap to Tangerine Dream and Dunkelziffer, with tumbling guitars - some effected by a wah-wah pedal - and vintage synths combining to create an effortlessly Balearic mood. Closer "Guten Morgen Bromio" is a fuzzier affair, combining grooves and sounds reminiscent of Pink Floyd's Animals full-length with the out-there attitude of classic krautrock.
Review: Under the Javonntte pseudonym, Brian Garrett has delivered some of the most impressive deep house records of recent years. Predictably, the quality threshold remains high throughout this latest Javonntte EP, Garett's first for Alex Attias's Visions Inc. label. On the A-side you'll find "Vocal" and "Radio" versions of "Searchin", a soul-powered chunk of analogue-rich deepness that sits somewhere between the musically complex brilliance of Ron Trent and the slick, rolling warmth of early '90s Goldtone Records releases. Turn to the B-side and you'll find "Private Party", a chunkier and rougher, riff-propelled peak-time bumper, and the redlined, Chez Damier-meets-Derrick Carter bounce of "Life Rhythm". As the old cliche goes, this is all killer and no filler.
Review: Over the course of the last two decades, Nicholas "I:Cube" Chaix has proved to be one of electronic music's most unique talents. He's pretty much done it all over the years, from epic ambient live performances and rip-snorting techno bangers, to jazzy broken beats and impeccable deep house. His latest EP for Versatile is another hard-to-pigeonhole classic, variously delivering creepy, metallic deep house ("Prepgav (Version 1)"), grandiose, otherworldly ambience ("Prepgav (Version 2)", and the beguiling "Sequence 3"), twinkling, 21st century piano jazz ("Walk With You") and Antinote style experimental synth-scapes (the rather quite brilliant "Ou Aileurs"). Throughout, Chaix's innate grasp of atmosphere, mood and melody shine through.
Review: London's Jeremy Duffy has been dishing out stone-cold disco-house killers for the last five years, and he's definitely earned his place as one of the British capital's and most fun and dance-centric producers. He's always released on his own Duff Disco imprint, but here we see him pop up on the ever-impressive Home Tape Is Killing Music with three hot tunes - "Feed The Horse" is a playful, squelchy house burner for everyone to enjoy, "The Heat" is deeper and a little more Chicago-leaning thanks to its sublime bass, and "You & Nothing Else" takes care of the funky element. A crafty and recommended house EP.
Review: Known best for their work on Blackest Ever Black as Raime, Tom Halstead and Joe Andrews resurface on the label under their lesser spotted alias Moin with this self titled EP. The music of Moin was first presented on Blackest Ever Black's Confessions 7-inch series last year on a split release with Pete Swanson, though the identities of those involved was not disclosed at the time. Described by the label as three tracks recorded with drums, guitar and bass, arranged with effects and sequencer" Halstead and Andrews plunder a more overtly sparse post punk sound as Moin. The darkness intrinsic to their celebrated work as Raime is still very much apparent here in the squalling, doom laden guitar drones, bursts of feedback and strange, unnerving chanting.
Review: Some of you may remember Ricardo Vincenzo from his 2015 debut Pororoca Transatlantica, a two-track missive that blended South American production with all the warmth of sun-kissed downtempo electronica. If anything, this belated follow-up for esteemed Finnish label Sahko is even better. Vincenzo begins with the farmyard animal samples, rolling tribal percussion, African chants and rich electronic bass of "Cabras No Elevado Quilombia", before chopping and looping a dusty old tango track on the mid-tempo house pulse of "Onna No Yujo". On the flip you'll find the low-slung, post-dubstep creepiness of "Haru", where exotic vocal samples drift across a sparse but heavy beat pattern, and the aural trip to Morocco that is "Excellent Drom".
Review: Nicolas Jaar's Other People label is in fine fettle right now, encouraging a raft of experimental minds to improvise for the Terepa project or drawing the wider world to the attention of the excellent Italian artist Vaghe Stelle. The latest Other People release slips deep into the unknown with the unheralded Mrs Jones making her label debut with some lush and mysterious tech house. "Let/Forget" sets the tone with its looped vocal and driving bassline working in conjunction with sombre pads and claps drenched in reverb, all the elements work together well here. On the flip we have "96" which gets more and atmospheric with its dreamy and loopy melody persisting nicely over a cruisy broken beat.
Review: As the back cover makes clear, Negative Hallucination is a collaboration between Pittsburgh Track Authority member Thomas Cox, and Africans With Mainframes member Noleian Reusse. Given their respective recording histories, you'd perhaps expect this debut EP to be full of bumpin', acid-flecked house. In fact, it's an altogether looser and more melodious affair, with opener "Solitarity" [sic] expertly combining elements from krautrock, analogue house, and cheery Balearic disco. The freaky, alien attack that is off-kilter jacker "Police State" is perhaps more in-keeping with their analogue house histories, while "Surveillance" expertly joins the dots between dub techno, lo-fi house, and intergalactic electronica.
Review: Berlin's Alex Seidel is up next on Max Graef and Glenn Astro's new Money $ex Records and keeping on with the simply titled EP, which features five tracks fully in line with the label's aesthetic of dusty, sampled based, hip-hop derived deep house. Starting things off with the eerie soundscape of "-Encounter+" he soon launches into the usual biz you know him for, with the rusty acid workout of "Boogie Down Sessions" and the right party starter "Midnight Circle" which is reminiscent of Motor City Drum Ensemble's Raw Cuts series. Finally "W.T.T.D." presents us with yet another wacky VHS sci-fi soundscape.
Review: According to their Soundcloud page, the Balearic Gabba Sound System are "geezers with a common love for sonically weird, feel good, bona fide recordings with a twist..." and that's good enough for us! Marco Gallerani, Bjorn Torske and even Prins Thomas are rumoured to have been involved in the project. Following up some great releases and remixes on on Hell Yeah and Secret Life, they land on Phil South's stellar Golf Channel and get stuck in straight away on "Quando" a hazy, psychedelic and slow burning epic for the early evening punters or the early morning sunrise alike. "Adriatic Bolt" is a cute little pop-inflected 80's style number while "I Dont Care Who You Are" gets back to the chill-out room on this beatless cosmic affair, featuring some pretty impressive vocals. The bubblegum acid of "Quiet Force" closes out proceedings appropriately.
Review: Excellent debut EP from Paradisica with warm night Balearic dance vibes across all 4 tracks. A side, beautiful romantic dance grooves for the sunset hour. The flip 'Amore' brings a sexy and upbeat late 80s house vibe with a driving Pete Herbert mix to keep the party going strong.
Review: Aficionado welcome Swedish space cadets Farbror Resande Mac to their cause with the simply titled five track EP, a superb excursion into gently billowing Balearica. You may well know these Scandinavians from fine outings on Mystic & Quantum and Is It Balearic last year, and this new record suggests Farbror Resande Mac is a project we could happily hear alot more from. "Hagringen" would be perfect music to soundtrack the mooted Bladerunner sequel, a delay laden epic that manages to instil a sense of intensity whilst retaining an air of effortless grace. The mood veers off into different areas from here, with cosmic moments ("Chemtrails" and "Pacific Northeast") matched by downbeat funk ("Quaaludes") and guitar laden journey's into '80s soft rock ("Stockholmsnatt"). A Balearic DJs wet dream, this one.
Review: Tribal Balearic is the genre Aficionado are pushing to describe their latest 12" offering which is a split release from Max Essa and Basso, but put down that pinch of salt because it's another winner for the Mancunian label. Essa of course needs little introduction to anyone that indulges in some of the more horizontally inclined disco releases, whilst fans of the Black Disco label will remember Sebastian Graetz's killer contribution as Basso. There's a pleasant degree of chunkiness to "Chou Chou San," Essa's opening gambit where hefty drums are complemented well by the Oriental synth lines and spiritual pads that Max has made his own. "Peninsular" is most definitely not tribal but it is Balearic at it's most serenest and offers a moment of calm before Basso mans the B Side deck with the vibrant afro disco flavours of "Sore Sebi" and the languid "Waking Up Late".
Review: Through labels such as Playhouse and Moodmusic, Germany's LoSoul has been releasing quality house and deep techno since the mid 1990's. His vision hasn't been polluted since then, and he's stuck to the art form that he's always believed in, something that we love to see in any producer these days. He lands on France's Karat with a pair of ultra-stripped back house bombs: the A side "Break People" flutters its percussion through deep forests of dubby melodies and intricate low-end twists, while "Catch The Fade" enters total abstraction thanks to its beautiful swarms of bass and glitchy beats. Hot and recommended! For the fans of Ricardo...
Review: Thanks to the hard-to-define nature of the Balearic sound that inspired it, Aficionado Recordings can pretty much release whatever they like - providing, of course, that it fits their hazy, horizontal and loved-up ethos. It's also why they can release this surprise EP from Welsh "super-group" Bendith, whose five tracks explore the more pastoral, string-drenched end of the folk spectrum. Via a range of tracks built around acoustic guitar motifs, lilting strings, twinkling piano lines and Welsh-language vocals, Bendith deliver an EP as breezy and beautiful as anything Aficionado has released to date. It's undeniably traditional in feel - there's not a synthesizer or drum machine in sight - but that only adds to its alluring nature.