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.
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: 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: 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.
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: 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: 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.
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".
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.
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: 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: After a strong run in the early 00's, 3am Recordings came back into action in 2016 with a various artists release that featured a range of artists closely tied to the label's foundations. Now label boss Al Bradley is stretching his wings with "Night Owl", a refined production that demonstrates his experience in the field of tech house. Goshawk comes on board for a remix that takes the deep sweeping original and makes it into an effervescent summer time groover, while label regular Michael Scott nudges "Night Owl" into stripped down late night territory. The third remix from Fourfourfour heads into oddball territory for those who like their house music off kilter and playful.
Generation Next - "Like Father, Like Son" (feat Big Strick)
Review: Like Father, Like Son sees Big Strick and his prodigious son Generation Next team up for a split 12" showcasing this pair of criminally underappreciated Detroit producers. "Rain Dance" sees the elder of the two deliver a deep techno journey filled with abstracted textures and organic chimes that sound, while the young Generation Next shows a remarkable maturity beyond his years on "And You Too", where sparse, subtle chords and the simplest of melodies drift by on a light rhythm. On "Like Father, Like Son" the two pair up for the most gently uplifting of deep piano jams. Just like pretty much everything on 7 Days Entertainment, this is some nigh on essential material.
Review: Big Stick's 7 Days Entertainment delivers more of the same quality house music from the Motor City that it has fast become renowned for. The Strickmaster's latest release comes from none other than his own offspring, the supremely talented Generation Next, whose Ender 12" will definitely appeal to anyone that checked last year's Like Father, Like Son. Lead cut "Ender" is uplifting and soulful with its tough beat, mesmerising pianos and that bassline! "Dream States" is all dreamy keys and cowbells; what more you want? (its equally as funky!). Closing out proceeding is "Joni" taking things deeper but that 808 beat is absolutely tight!
Review: Hot on the heels of Put Your Weight On It, his excellent recent EP for Running Back, Todd Osborn returns to Jared Wilson's label, 7777, with another dose of hard-to-pigeonhole dancefloor funk. "Throwdown" sets the tone, melding raw machine beats with rave-era acid bass, Belgian techno stabs and near psychedelic electronics. "Over & Over" , meanwhile, laces UK garage style melodies, darting synths and punchy vocal samples over a vintage house breakbeat. That track is given the remix treatment by MRSK, who turns it into an unfeasibly intense, jacking chunk of vintage acid house. It's the aural equivalent of being violently assaulted down a dark alley, only with less blood and more dancing.
Review: First volume of house tracks picked from the Velocet catalogue, Nail's previous label, which he ran very badly between 1995 and 1997. Most of the unsold, OG copies now lay in his ex-wife's cellar, covered in mushrooms.
300 on clear vinyl, no repress.
Review: Going by many names but primarily known as Nail, Neil Tolliday has been on searing form since getting back into the deep house game after a much celebrated run of releases back in the 90s. His 89:Ghost label is providing much of the new wave of material, and on this particular 12" he revives his The NG9 Project alias after a single on Robsoul in 2013. There's an irresistible micro house shuffle embedded into these tracks, with Nail's deft melodic touch scattered across the top to make for another essential, workable collection of jams for a more discerning crowd.
Review: Todd Sines has been on an incredibly productive roll of late, and now he's been invited to lay down some of his incendiary machine jams for Nail's 89:Ghost label. The Internal Dialogue EP kicks off with the creepy, metallic tones of "Pacifist", matching Sines' trademark jerking grooves with almost industrial textures. "Throat" takes things in an equally curious direction, pinging deep house dynamics into a weird zone where discord and sound processing subtly infect the blueprint with stunning results. "Plink" is remarkably upfront in comparison, not least thanks to the huge monosynth lead blurting out at the front of the mix. "Settle" finishes the record off with a brilliantly crooked deconstruction built around off-kilter drum hits and wonky key stabs that could only come from Sines' distinctive sound palette.
Review: The unstoppable house machine Nail is back once more on his 89:Ghost label with a grip of killer drops previously only available online. His advice is to "spark up a zug and chew on these meaty badboys", and we'd be inclined to agree. There's a heady, trippy quality to "Happen Dub" that suits all heavy lidded situations, while "Ese Dub" channels a few rugged bleep traits that hark back Nail's roots in DIY Discs and the free party scene. "Feets Dub" channels some sublime funk sampling that would sound right at home amongst the Detroit house grandmasters, and "Be Dub 2" takes things interstellar with some swirling, churning dub techno chords of the highest calibre.
Review: A brand new vinyl-only imprint from Italy... A MA invites one of their most respected countrymen and international music connoisseurs Gerardo Frisina for a quad of stunning compositions that all speak with a passionate Latin tongue. "Burak" looks east and west for inspiration... East for the percussive, string and chanting vocal ingredients, and west for the techno dynamic that builds and subverts with wild-eyed abandon. "Zagara" is an equally floor-fired affair complete with bossa attitude, lush vocal textures and an infectious rhythmic insistency. The jazz-tickled "Michael's Vision", meanwhile, struts with a strange syncopated swing that neatly fits the frenetic sax noodles and "Take Five" style piano refrain. Finally we hit a jazz version of "Burak" where the techno dynamic is softened by sax and soothing Rhodes, but the beat insistency is still loud and clear.
Review: Rising star Al Zanders (real name Alex Buchan) returns to action, with regular vocalist Sheyi getting a shared credit for the very first time. Her contribution to A-side "Get It Together" is particularly strong, with her distinctive vocals perfectly complimenting Zanders' ear-catching combo of jazzy broken beat grooves, Maurice Fulton style electronics and cosmic soul synths. The bruk-up synth-soul vibes continue on near Balearic B-side opener "Satisfy", before Zanders abandons all caution with the ten-ton sub-bass, crunchy drum machines and sweaty broken beat rhythms of late night delight "GIT (Dub)", a notably heavier instrumental revision of the A-side opener.
Review: Yadava made a sterling debut appearance last year with the fully realised "It Rains Here" album on Church, and now he's following up that strong start with this equally excellent four tracker for Ad Hoc. The Manchester-based artist leads in with the natural bump and flex of "Grapefruits" and his jazzy chops are plain to hear throughout. "Heart Strings" lets spiritual strings and plenty of reverb shape out a misty mood that it's impossible to resist, while "Camomile Samba" brings a more uptempo feel to his honey-coated production. "Go Slow" finishes the record off on a supremely mellow beat down for those oh-so-sweet chill moments after the party.
Gus Gus - "Your Moves Are Mine" (Sanasol remix) (9:24)
Thor - "Black" (7:32)
Biogen - "Stream" (Sanasol Lost In Time remix) (6:39)
Review: Next up on the ever-excellent Oscillat is "Spellbound" by the supremely talented Matthew Dekay. This moving deep house jam uses a few key elements to make a soul-stirring confection for truly spine-tingling moments in the middle of the dance. From the slithers of vocal to the insistent key riff that bounces throughout, this is an outstanding slice of contemporary house music loaded with feeling. Mandar then take the original and inject it with a feisty peak time energy shot through with a little trancey magic and an acidic undertone. It's not a raging beast but rather an energizing workout for the brain and the body - just what you need in the midst of a marathon.
Review: The Aesthetic label is steadily growing as yet another strong side to the Constant Sound empire, and they're sounding fit as a fiddle with this latest drop from Niko Maxen. "Aesthetic 04" leads in with "Calibans Dance", a swirling, dubbed out affair with intriguing percussive tones to add an intriguing edge to the stripped back house groove. "Lessons" has a heads down, twitchy demeanour it's impossible to resist, and then "Twelvty" summons up some elegant synth strokes that hover in between the shuffling beats. The latter provides more than enough inspiration for Kepler to deliver an astounding remix that plays around with bouncy arps and pointed house rhythms in his inimitable style.
Review: First released during the Chicago house boom of 1987, "I'm Strong" remains one of the greatest Fingers Inc collaborations between Larry Heard and Robert Owens. This reissue on Heard's own Alleviated imprint draws together the two most essential versions of the track. On the A-side, you'll find Heard's instrumental version - an intoxicating blend of layered, delay-laden drum machine percussion, looped organ stabs and alien electronics. Owens comes to the fore on the flipside House Remix, laying down one of his most iconic vocal performances - a mixture of soulful singing and atmospheric speech - over one of Heard's most distinctive productions.
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: D'Marc Cantu's 2017 LP The Lodge was a high point for the ever prolific US producer, not to mention a jewel in Altered Moods' many-pronged crown. Now the label are revisiting one of the album highlights, "S.E.G," giving the punchy Chicago house jam another pressing before handing the reins over to a strong cast of remixers. The one and only Larry Heard plunges "S.E.G" into gorgeous, mystical realms of deep house spirituality like only he can, while Altered Moods boss Malcom Moore injects a different kind of spaced out energy to the track. Then Chicago Skyway finishes the package off with a distinctive version that reaches for a light and airy headspace while keeping the drums punchy and effective.
Review: Altered Moods strides into its 11th year of active service with a delectable platter of sumptuous house music presented by Jesus Gonsev. The Spanish producer has previously been spotted on deepArtSounds, Music With Content and his own Troubled Kids label. "Fuerza" is a billowing, dreamy trip loaded with heavy pads and submerged acid, leading into the gritty but soulful crunch of "Old Times." "Gargantua" is a loose-knit creation that celebrates skittering drums pinging around the anchor of the kick while wistful keys smooth the whole jam out. Life Energy taps into this feeling and runs with it on a remix of "Gargantua" that creates a more pumping backbone while amping up the romantic wooze of the melodic content too.