Review: James Ruskin's Blueprint label might be more than 50 releases deep, but it is still turning out vital techno. Famous beer lover Truncate is behind this latest no nonsense three tracker and first up he races out of the blocks with the wall rattling kicks and brilliantly linear grooves of "The Bell" which indeed has some eerie bell sounds bringing mystery to proceedings. "Initials" is for the messier late night hours, with loose synths unfolding in unpredictable patterns and melting your mind. "Timbre" is then the atmospheric closer that takes you inwards. Timeless stuff.
Goody Gap & The Inn House Crew - "Madness Badness" (feat Vin Gordon) (4:16)
Goody Gap & The Inn House Crew - "Madness Badness" (feat Vin Gordon - version) (4:19)
Review: The Inn House Crew has been serving up the platters that matter on Room In The Sky long enough to have a firm following by now. Once again they bring rather melancholic vibes to this new one. "Madness Badness" feat. Vin Gordon is a flabby dub with pillow bass and rounded drums, but the trumpets that ring out are beautifully muted and sombre. Flip over for an alternative version that's more amped up and direct for those who are after something more energetic. Whichever side you go for, this is one you will want to add to your collection.
Review: The well-established drum & bass label Circle Vision continues with its often mysterious, uncredited white label series. This third instalment comes under the Circle Vision alias, which could be one person, loads of people or whatever else. What we do know is that "Hollow" bangs - frazzled bass zips about under big jungle breaks, with sci-fi pads bringing a sense of futurism to this bassbin bothering banger. "Tings In Boots" hits just as hard with raved up, strobe lit chords and some brilliantly old school sub-bass. Dark, raw, physical, it is pure dancing music of the highest order.
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: Through a series of must-check releases on Nous'klaer Audio, Ruben Uvez AKA Konduku has proved to be one of the more thoughtful and inventive producers to emerge in recent times. While some of his previous releases have strayed away from the dancefloor, his first outing on Idle Hands is a wonderfully basement-bothering affair full of tracks tailor made for hazy, early morning sets. It boasts two suitably dark, dubby and clandestine cuts - the echoing dub techno pulse of "Lila" and the sub-heavy, Livity Sound style flex of "Bolu" - plus two more melodic outings. Of these, we're particularly enjoying "Caduata Di Massi", where deliciously dreamy chords ebb and flow around stabbing analogue bass and crunchy drums.
Review: It's only been a year since his last release but in that time Stones Throw man Kiefer has toured the USA and Europe, released a mini-album as well as making three beats for Anderson .Paak's last two albums "Oxnard" and "Ventura". "Superbloom" finds him at his best, with invigorating sunny day beats and bright synths soundtracking a lovely afternoon the park. Jazz stylings, introspective chords and plaintive piano playing make this an emotionally stirring record with real depth, and one that reveals more with each listen. It feels like Kiefer's most honest, vulnerable and personal album yet.
Rapha Pico & The Signal One Band - "Lead The Way" (4:58)
The Signal One Band - "Lead The Dub" (4:55)
Review: The Signal One Band formed in 2017 after a bunch of local regular session musicians linked up after meeting at Earth Works Studio in Amsterdam. Between them the gang has worked with big names from the worlds of ska, reggae and dubstep, and all this goes into a crucial melting pot that brews up the old and new, finished off with a warm vintage aesthetic. Their new label is minted with a rumbling, roots tune that has lush trumpets and billowing chords cushioning your daily grind. The dub on the flip is even fatter and perfectly easy to get lost in.
Review: New York City's Joseph Longo should need no introduction. One of the most important and genre defining artists on the scene, his seminal releases under aliases Earth People, French Touch and most notably Pal Joey, have left their indelible fingerprint on house music to this very day. German label Ornaments have sought out Japanese producer Takeshi Fukushima (GWM, Takecha) to curate this collection of some of Longo's finest moments under the Pal Joey moniker. Picking out a few favourites from the catalogue and adding some personal retouches, he presents the jazzy kinda somethin' of opener "Hot Music", the deep and sensuous bounce of numbers like "Mood 7" and "When I Get Kindness", the off-kilter/low slung boogie down vibe of "Bounce" and four other timeless classics that have all been given a respectful reshape for modern dancefloors. Absolutely essential!
Review: It's been a while since we last heard from the Mellophonia label and its star attraction, A Vision Of Panorama, but now the producer known as Mikhail Khvasko is back with a new record that expands on the soft and silky Balearic house sound he established himself with across some wonderful EPs and 2016's "Aquafusion" album. The sun is still very much shining down on this new record, which leads in with the fittingly titled "Delicious Saw". Khvasko's whole sound is geared towards celebration of gorgeous synth tones, and so it goes here thanks to that seriously tasty sawtooth wave. "Lum" cools down the boogie bump of its predecessor for something more reflective, while "Euphoria" gets into an oh-so-sweet house funk that would sound at home on Strictly Jaz Unit. "Fourth" finishes the EP off with a seriously sticky bassline squelch and some effervescent piano lines - another melodic marvel on a record full of them.
Review: Perpetual Rhythms continue to offer up fresh variations on the deep house formula with this classy new drop from Taelue. Crooked electro experiment "The 4th Dimension" opens the record up to any number of possibilities, before the forthright pump of "Twin Flame" locks things into a haunting workout. "Rage Against Oppression" takes things in an angrier direction, all ragged and snarling production values with an acid-techno leaning. "A Bleak Moment" provides more space for exploration away from the floor, and then "The Sunken Place" sinks into sinister soundwaves driven by a nervy arpeggio. "Reflections" finishes the EP off with a trip into slow, spaced-out, acidic ambience.
Review: The latest Hands Off joint features three artists making waves in intriguing corners of the deep house firmament. Desos opens up the A side with the dreamy groove of "Dubs", before Space Age lays down the classic, Mr Fingers-flavoured haze of "Sunday Rain". Desos returns on the flip with another subtle yet punchy cut, keeping the melodies submerged and sublime on "Jaaa" before Common Mode takes things in a distinctly dubby direction with "Beauty Queens".
Review: Three years on from the release of her acclaimed debut album, "Epoch Sinus", on Hotflush, Sophie Schnell once more dons the PYUR alias for a follow-up on Subtext. The Bristol-based experimental label says that the set explores Schnell's fascination with "the space between life and death"; it's certainly an unearthly, unsettling and occasionally hallucinatory affair that fuses neo-classical style musical elements (strings, operatic vocals) with evocative electronic motifs, crunchy IDM style drums and cutting-edge production techniques. It's a genuinely unique and mind-altering affair, but one that thrills and excites at every turn. A triumph!
Review: Sicknote's been on absolute fire this year what with his dubplate cutting business and a whole slew of collaborations firing on the likes of PAWS and Sonic Force. Here we find him returning to Abstract Illusion's 2017 "Lo Fi Selassi". The original (if you were lucky to get it) still cuts heads clean off to this day and Sicknote's maintained that tradition with even more bass rawness and savage amens. "Swiftly", on the B, sees him tagging in longstanding mates Dissect and Justice for more of a jazzy, spacious work-out. It's dreamy... But you know with these guys dreams can turn into nightmares very quickly. And we love it when they do. Limited so don't hang around.
Coyote - "Minamoto" (Shocks Wa Pulpit Chillout remix)
I-boat Captain - "Slower" (The Backwoods remix)
Max Essa - "Uptown Vibrations" (Mark Seven Downtown remix)
Social Disco Club - "Peaceful Warrior" (Soft Rocks Jesus Convention remix)
Coyote - "Crazy World"
The Project Club - "El Mar Y La Luna" (Lovefingers remix)
Khidja Looki - "Original" (unreleased exclusive)
Review: Alongside like-minded imprints Claremont 56 and International Feel, Coyote's Is It Balearic? label - a fitting name, given the difficulty in pinpointing the Balearic sound - has been at the forefront of the nu-Balearic scene for the last five years. Here, they celebrate that fact by offering up a celebratory compilation with pal Moonboots and Coyote each selecting a disc of unmixed favourites. There's predictably plenty of sun-kissed downtempo warmth (Windsurf's sunrise-friendly remix of Coyote's "Laidback", Gavin Gordon's flamenco-influenced "El Sueno Oscuro"), alongside a smattering of deliciously baggy and wide-eyed dancefloor moments (see Max Essa's jaunty Balearic disco jam "Heartache" and a thrillingly griity Soft Rocks remix of Social Disco Club). If that wasn't enough to get the juices flowing, the collection also features some stunning unreleased material from Freshro and Khidja Looki.
Review: New label Nuances de Nuit kick off in fine style with a various artists 12" that draws on some emergent names to lay out a vision of cross-style dance music that favours the deeper end of the pool. Things get going with an organ-rich house bumper from DJ Steaw that pumps in all the right places, before Armless Kid switches things up with an untitled slice of dynamic, richly layered electro. T. Jacques thumps out a crafty, swinging cut with techy inclinations and oodles of groove, and E. Wan takes things in a more linear, deep techno direction laden with gorgeous synth work and plenty of artful effects processing.
Review: Last year, NYC based revivalist "gospel quartet" group the Harlem Gospel Travelers finally made their vinyl debut album after five years wowing audiences on the live circuit. 12 months later, they're finally ready to release their first full-length excursion. A nostalgic trip through 1950s and 1960s style gospel-based rhythms and blues, soul, funk and doo-wop, the album's greatest strength - aside from the authenticity of the music and production of course - is the group's incredible vocals. Brilliantly arranged harmonies play a big part, though the lead vocals (shared between all four members) are little less than stunning.