Review: Helena Hauff returns to her own Return To Disorder label after last year's joyously received "Qualm" album on Ninja Tune. It's the first fully solo record Hauff has released herself, and it more than lives up to expectation. "Catso" is a wonderfully expressive slice of noirish electro draped in vintage synth arps and twinkling leads as enchanting as they are spooky. "Why Look At Animals" has a more low down funk, but once again sports the richly harmonic synth hooks to make this appeal right across the board. "The Brush" ups the tempo, but keeps things sparse and moody, while "Slim Filter" gets a touch more nasty and sounds utterly fantastic with it. Compared to her rabid DJ sets, these productions represent the more measured side of Hauff, but they're no less deadly.
Lenny Fontana, Tension - "A Place Called Heaven" (Joey Negro dub Groove) (6:58)
Jay Denes, Ada Dyer - "You Make Me Whole" (Joey Negro Rhodes dub) (5:17)
Julian Sanza - "To Love" (5:16)
Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie, Andrea Mendez - "Bring Me Love" (Eventual dub) (6:56)
Review: Some serious no-nonsense house grooves for all true-school DJs to cop, dug out from the annals of club music history. Things kick off good and proper with Joey Negro's insanely powerful "Dub Groove" mix of Lenny Fontana's "A Place Called Heaven". Negro's on the buttons once again with the classic, pumping "Rhodes Dub" of "You Make Me Whole" by Jay Denes and Ada Dyer. On the flip, Julian Sanza drops the squelchy boogie inflected "To Love" before the record ends on a serious bang with the dream team of Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie and Andrea Mendez's "Bring Me Love (Eventual Dub)". This is as actual house as actual house can get - the real deal, crystalised in four evergreen gems pressed on one handy record.
Review: Originally prolific in the late 90s and back with a renewed sense of vigour in the past few years, Dan Piu's classic, widescreen vision of hardware techno captures the verve of the original Detroit blueprint while bringing a fresh, welcome energy to the genre. This drop on Common Dreams brims with the same head-swirling magic, especially on vividly rendered lead track "Halo City". "Falling Framework" has a more mellow veneer, but there's still so much playful detail bringing the track to life. "Akira 2171" has an old-skool sci fi quality balanced out by its linear sense of progression, and "Ilipsyon" takes things deeper into a wistful jack reminiscent of the spookiest Trax output.
Review: After debuting his Pakzad moniker on Infiltrate last year, Justin Pak makes the leap to Burnski's Constant Sound with this assured set of electro workouts built for the modern age. "Timeless" is a snappy, vibrant cut with a serious amount of techno propulsion to match the crooked funk of the beats. "Clutch" has a more trippy, melodic twist, while "Correlation" hunkers down into a more backroom vibe as detailed as it is freaky. This is seriously executed electro from a fast-rising talent - nab a copy, drop it into a set and watch the bodies writhe.
The Funk District - "An Evening With El Diablo" (6:31)
Matt Hughes - "Get Down" (5:50)
Cody Currie - "Aquarian Girl" (5:17)
The Owl - "Funky Feelin" (4:12)
ED Wizard & Disco Double Dee - "Slippin" (4:22)
Review: More good value goodness from the Editorial label, one of the few re-edit focused outfits that manage to retain a high level of consistency. The Funk District kicks things off with a fine re-arrangement of an organ and electric piano-focused chunk of sweaty dancefloor soul ("An Evening With El Diablo"), before Matt Hughes gets busy with some elastic slap bass on flash-fried disco-funk revision "Get Down". Elsewhere, Label regulars Ed Wizard & Disco Double Dee dip the tempo on the slow and seductive "Slippin", the Owl stomps his way through the P-funk style heaviness of "Funky Feelin" and Cody Currie offers up a hazy sample-house cut rich in jazzy flourishes and warm electric piano chords.
Review: In 1976, French band Edition Speciale released their debut album, "Allee Des Tilleuls". While much of the album saw them explore progressive rock and jazz-rock territory, it did contain one suitably groovy and life-affirming trip into jazz-funk territory, surprise LP standout "Mr Business". Here that cut gets a single release for the very first time courtesy of the dusty-fingered diggers at Pepite. You'll find the little-known band's languid, Clavinet and synthesizer-heavy original version on side A, with Aroop Roy's tidy contemporary rework on the B. The Brazilian sticks a rocket up the track's bottom end, underpinning the original song with peak-time-ready drums while wisely emphasizing the band's killer bassline and catchy vocals.
Review: Swiss producer Alci, also known as Shaolin Fantastic, landed with lauded releases on Robsoul before skipping to other labels like Apollonia and Meander. Following last year's excellent "Diversity" double pack, he lands on his own label Seeingsounds with this pitch perfect slice of dreamy minimal house. "Acid Drip" may be a misleading title - it's more of an unending groove draped in gorgeous, shimmering melodic finery. "Hiragana" takes things in a more twitchy direction, while "Apachi" brings another slant on reduced, oddball funk to get the up all night crowd loose and freaky in all the right ways.
Review: Icelandic label Lahar debuts with this highly impressive release from NonniMal, who was previously spotted dropping the classy "Freyja" 12" on AE Recordings back in 2016. Sound design is the order of the day on "Eitt" as a beautifully rendered set of percussive bell notes chime around a minimal rhythm section - a piece pointedly geared towards transcendence. "Tvo" has an intriguing slant to its groove, as the sharply oscillating synth wobble juts out against the grain of the drums. "Thrju" takes things in a bleak but captivating direction, while "Fjogur" cools the record down in a cloud of blissful, frostbitten ambience.
Review: These days we're accustomed to producers serving up deep, dreamy and life-affirming fusions of breakbeat, deep house and ambient techno. This wasn't so much the case when Ex-Terrestrial released his debut EP, "Paraworld" in 2016. As this surprise reissue proves, it remains one of the best EPs of its kind. There's much to admire throughout, from title track's bongo-laden, new age deep house warmth, to the seductive ambient bliss of "Dreams of Jupiter", which still reminds us of 2015's Slow Riffs 12" on Mood Hut. Arguably best of all, though, is "Blue Smoke", a brilliant fusion of pitched-down rave breakbeats and comforting, Pete Namlook style ambient chords.
Review: Who can resist an exotic edit? Certainly not us, and certainly not when they're as good as this sixth such offering from Belpaese. The eight minute "Vieni Con Me" is an extraordinarily lavish fusion of disco, Italo-funk and Balearic vibes with drawn out synth lines, golden chords and percolating drum work that all serves as an undercurrent to the steamy and seductive vocal line. On the flip is the slower but equally libidinous "20 Secoli Di Favole", with its snaking drums and cosmic chords all working the dance effort into a lather. Frankly, this EP's so hot is should come with an age restriction warning.
Review: A year on from their last deep dive into the unreleased archives of Dutch producer Erik "RX-101" Jong, Suction Records has re-opened the vaults and put together the artist's first ever full-length excursion. As with their previous archival RX-101 releases, all the material on "Dopamine" was recorded between 1997 and '99. It sees the little-known Dutch producer offer up a range of melodious and atmospheric IDM and ambient techno tracks that were massively influenced by the early-to-mid '90s output of Warp Records and the more meditative and luscious works of Richard D James as Aphex Twin and Polygon Window. It's a wonderfully emotive excursion all told; an impeccably produced and impressively sequenced set that should be considered a long lost classic of '90s electronica.
Review: Transhumanism is a collective of Dutch producers who first met on the dance-floor at Dave Clarke's Whip It party at Melkweg in Amsterdam, so that will give you a reliable indicator of their sound: it's brash, serrated electro that fires your synapses and awakens your every sense. Juan Atkins and Helena Hauff have been dropping it all summer and it's easy to see why. There is strobe lit action from Slaves Of Sinus, walls of high intensity sound from RXmode, rave tinged stuff from W1b0 and a more throwback jam from TFHats to round out a high impact EP.
Review: Uzuri is happy to welcome the talents of the berlin based ,Sardinian Venetian to the fold with a 4 track stunner of an ep taking quality deep house , broken beat and some esoteric meanderings .
Review: Alex "Kiwi" Warren has barely put a foot wrong in recent times, with a superb DJ Rocca collaboration and some fine EPs on Disco Halal, Cin Cin and Paradise Palms. Here he adds another record label to the CV via a second outing on Needwant. In its original form, "Kiya" is a baggy, sunrise-ready house cut drive forwards by low-slung bass, chiming melodies, layered percussion, twinkling pianos and choice snatches of vocal apparently borrowed from an old African record. The "Rave Mix" is a more driving excursion smothered in intergalactic motifs and trance-like synth sounds, while the Brian Ring revision is looser, sparser and altogether more glassy-eyed. Warren rounds things off via the "Dreamscape Mix", a stunning ambient interpretation for those who like their sounds swirling and beat free.
Review: While he's continued to offer up occasional singles, Bonn-based producer Dominik Eulberg has not released an album for eight years. It's for this reason that "Mannigfaltig", the former Traum Schallplatten regular's new set, is big news. Interestingly, it's nowhere near as club-focused as you'd perhaps expect, with Eulberg combining his usual glitchy, tech-house influenced beats and sounds with a range of intricate electronic motifs, sumptuous melodies and atmospheric aural textures. There are one or two club cuts, of course, but majority of the tracks bob along at a more sedate pace, with Eulberg offering up cuts that draw influence from IDM and hazy electronica. As a result, it may well be his most coherent and "listenable" album to date.
The Return (feat Thando, Jace XL, Alien & Whosane)
Don't Give Up (feat Mandarin Dreams)
Made Us Better (feat Blue Lab beats, Boadi & Lori)
Review: After Sampa's magic debut album it makes sense she's been signed by Ninja Tune for a follow up. Once again here the Zambian-born Australian singer-songwriter and rapper is in excellent form, delivering slick, complex verses that she says are "the most me to date". Exploring notions of race and relationships, amongst other things, her voice is couched in gorgeous broken beat, hip hop and r&b production. Highlights are plentiful throughout - "OMG" is a funky afro beat, "Any Day" is neo soul in the mould of Erykah Badu and "Final Form" is a trumpet lead, warrior queen anthem to get your chest pumping. Essential.