Review: Given that acid revivalists Paranoid London have yet to put a foot wrong, it's no surprise to find that "(Vi-Vi) Vicious Games" is another absolute belter. It's taken from the duo's forthcoming album and features sometime Posthuman collaborator Josh Caffe channeling his inner Robert Owens and Jamie Principle over a retro-futurist backing track. In its full length, the track brilliantly combines Paranoid London's jacking drums and thrusting acid bass with dreamy chords and just the right amount of glassy-eyed melodic flourishes. It sounds like a classic TRAX release given the Paranoid London treatment, which I'm sure we all agree is a very good thing indeed. If you're in the mood for something even sleazier and more driving, the Bam Bam-inspired Dub has it covered.
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (album edit) (6:45)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (club mix) (5:47)
Cult Hero (Do You Wanna Touch Me) (Slow) (7:29)
Review: House and techno badboys Paranoid London are proceeding the release of their second album with a bunch of singles from it. First up is "Cult Hero" featuring Simon Topping - one of many guest vocalists on the full length. It's a bristling acid house cut with tight, corrugated drums and relentless 303 mania ripping up the groove. Topping's deadpan vocals are layered over the top and bring to mind the more anthemic work of Depeche Mode. "Club Mix" is even more caustic and kinetic, while closer "Slow Mix" strips back everything but for the lunching drums and demonic vocals of Topping.
Review: Glasgow's Ooft! continues the FOTO-X series on his label with a sure shot 12" that presents two tracks sure to nestle their way into all manner of on-point record bags for many moons to come. First up is iLO who plays the long game with a yearning and burning slice of deep house that starts out stripped and subtle before blossoming into a fully-fledged vocal delight. Ooft! takes care of the B-side with a boogie-tasting get down entitled "Howard's Way" which will get heads nodding and bodies popping to a bassline that calls to mind Evelyn King's much loved "I'm In Love" low end destroyer.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: The unstoppable march of Dan Shake continues apace as he storms Lumberjacks HQ with some of that refined sample-a-delic house music that is fast making him a marquee booking for those who want their party started right. He sounds right at home on "Magic Marcel", throwing down an addictive bass hook and looping up the woozy romanticism of classic disco and filter house into a thoroughly potent brew. "The Bee Won" takes a more urgent approach, reaching towards a kind of jazz funk energy with some tumbling percussion shaken into the mix for good measure. Taking a cooler approach to round the record off, "Wake, Bake & Shake" lets the funk take centre stage and leaves the samples plain as day for that breezy Sunday afternoon feeling.
Review: Metalheadz might be celebrating 25 years in the game in 2019, but they are not spending too much time looking back. Instead, Goldie's vital label continues to serve up forward looking drum & bass, this time from Jem One. A year after his debut on the label he's back with another varied three tracker. Form the swirling pads of liquid roller "Lotus" to the more angsty, tightly coiled drums of old school jungle cut "Transpose" and on to darkened minimal stepper "The Hardcore", there is a lot to love here.
Review: In what is surely an unexpected collaboration in the field of house and techno, Mosaic mastermind Steve O'Sullivan teams up with Ricardo Villalobos for a hypnotic trip through minimal landscapes that plays to both of their strengths. The rock-solid rhythm of "Sullric" surely belongs to O'Sullivan while the rich, subtle layers of samples, tones and other such sonic decorations come straight from the Villalobos school of production. The two mixes on this 12" only have minor differences - whichever side you drop things will get considerably deeper than they were previously. Of such ingredients are classy, immersive techno joints made.
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: After launching with a buttechno 12", Russia's leading exponent of leftfield techno fires up his RASSVET label under his own name with a trip into the strange middle ground between trance and coldwave. "Main Loop" is certainly obscure in its leaning, coming on like an 80s soundtrack refrain, but there's no mistaking the dazzling leads undergoing surgery in "Chording". This is deconstructed trance mangled for the post club generation, all the euphoria straining against aggressive digital processing to create a very unsettling listening experience indeed. Trance aficionados will be aghast, techno snobs will be up in arms, and the new wave of heads drawing on all genres great and small will be relishing in the post modern madness of it all.
I Want Magic (Dimitri From Paris vs Cotonete 12" version) (7:15)
I Want Magic (Dimitri From Paris vs Cotonete 12" dubstrumental) (7:14)
Review: "I Want Magic" is a welcome return to action from Jalapeno's premier soul sister, Izo FitzRoy, an artist whose 2017 debut album "Skyline" brilliantly joined the dots between classic soul, rhythm and blues and gospel. This time round she has her eyes firmly focused on the dancefloor, as producer Dimitri From Paris and backing band Cotonete (whose recent LP 'Super-vilains' is well worth a listen) join forces to cast a serious disco spell. "I Want Magic" is a revivalist disco jam per excellence; a tweak on the classic Chic sound with Cotonete adding a few sneaky solos and quality jazz-funk touches here and there. Of the two versions, it's the vocal mix (side A) that hits home hardest, thanks in no small part to a stunning lead vocal from FitzRoy that celebrates the giddy goodness of dancing like you're ten years old. Expect to hear it a lot at festivals throughout the summer.
Review: Vinyl Only reach their seventh release with a fresh grip of lesser known producers bringing high grade grooves to the table. Bubbadog opens the 12" up in a woozy fashion with the warbling piano chords of "Goin' Round", capturing a time-slip mood that carries through to the dusty jazz soaked beat down of Minus The Majors' "Strole On Through". On the B-side, Alex Zuiev gets into an exotic, chiming, 80s-inflected mood on "Down By The River", creating a slow-burning dancefloor heater out of classic ingredients. Ugly Frankie finishes the EP off with the stripped down funk of "Your Ears Look Great".
Prince Dred & Bunny Sigler - "Freak Like Me" (DJ Dan mix) (7:06)
DJ Homewrecker - "New World In My View" (Saison remix) (6:06)
DJ Mes - "90s Groove" (6:18)
Rescue - "Here & Now" (6:49)
Review: Of the many threads to the excellent Oakland-based deep house stable Guesthouse, the Super Secret Squirrel Trax series is one of the surefire highlights. Loaded with choice operators locked into some serious West Coast funk, things kick off in fine style with the infectious party starting antics of Prince Dred and Bunny Sigler, who get the remix treatment from DJ Dan on "Freak Like Me". Saison takes a more mainline approach when reworking DJ Homewrecker, while DJ Mes is in heads down mode on the tracky but addictive "90s Groove". Rescue's "Here & Now" serves up a cheeky R&B re-rub for the peak time crowd.
Review: Dungeon Meat's self-titled label is not known for its subtlety, and so it goes on this rip-roaring various artists 12" featuring three rough and ready jams for the peak time house crowd. Blunt Instruments get things going straight away with the mean New Jersey swing of "Kum On", as tough and bumping a house cut as you're ever likely to find. Ron Obvious steps up with "Mindful Vision", bringing an utterly addictive stripped down garage-y shuffle to the table, while Per Hammar finishes the EP off with the breaks-embellished "BX Chamber", a freaked-out dub-soaked affair for the heads down crowd.
Review: The low-key but long-serving D2B steps up on a self-manned label to deliver two surefire club smashers for those who appreciate the grit and soul of proper Detroit techno. "My Love" on the A side is the friendlier cut, its taut machine rhythms embellished with dextrous synth work from pulsing chords to simmering strings, all shot through with a smoky after hours haze. On the flip side, D2B gets a little rawer with the component parts of the track, jacking up the drums and spacing out the arrangement for a more intense workout that should satisfy anyone who wants techno with personality that still smacks hard.
Brian ‘Keys’ Tharme - "Best Of Your Love" (feat Memzee) (6:57)
Review: Albuquerque's finest deep house bastion is at it once again, presenting a pure and proud brand of NJ-flavoured deep house for those who still want it soulful. Sean McCabe doesn't need telling twice, kicking off the People's Choice 12" with the uplifting funk of "Get Together". Soul2Black offers up an exquisite broken beat confection laden with deft piano work and stirring vocals from Kimberley Kennedy. Johnny Rampin' is aiming straight for the peak of the night with the peppy vibes of "Love Who Rocks You", and brian 'Keys' Thame turns the garage swing up to 11 with the utterly sassy "Best Of Your Love".
Review: New York-based Evan Michael has been spotted on some respectable labels in the past, from Drumpoet Community to AirDrop, most recently appearing alongside Marco Passarani on a split 12" for Cin Cin. He makes his first appearance on the ever-prolific Hudd Trax with this diverse grip of deep house jams, leading in with the emotive tones of "Duende". "PCH Passing" is a fluttering affair laden with sweet natured synths, but it also knows when to rain the cascading melodies in to let the groove take the lead. "Machine Pepper" builds up around an on-point bassline and powerful brass stabs, and then "Rainmaker" finishes the EP off with some tricksy delay use and a crooked beat.
Review: There's been much debate over the years about whose version of this seminal track was in fact the best. Laurent Garnier's 1997 classic "Crispy Bacon" gets a vinyl re-issue and it still stands the test of time. You can just imagine how innovative and futuristic this adrenalised peak time weapon sounded like in the mid-nineties. On the flip, the equally legendary Jeff Mills delivers his take on the track, keeping in mind that this is one of only a handful he's ever done. There's relentless and punishing cyclicality on offer here; the sharply resonating loops, that brutally overdriven 808 kick.. it's one of those secret weapons that never leaves the bag of the best techno DJs. Choose your side, but either way it's a definitely a classic!
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.
Review: Chris Romans has been rolling out crucial electro jams for a number of highly regarded labels since the early 00s. Amongst them are Touchin' Bass, Shipwrec, Frustrated Funk and Central Processing Unit, so that tells you everything you need to know about the level he's operating at as 214. Now he comes to 20/20 Vision with some body-poppin' jams of the highest order, broadening the tech house label's remit to embrace the thriving electro scene with one of its most vital practitioners. "Potential Events" is a brooding, atmospheric affair while "Windeye" draws on a more playful, Detroit indebted palette of sounds. Radioactive Man remixes "Windeye" with a steady, finely detailed approach, and then "Back To Sine" finishes the record off with another snappy salvo of funky drums and bubbling synths.
Review: Robin Ball has been on a roll of late, flaunting his wares on the Memory Box label amongst others. He makes a second outing on Groovepressure with four tracks of dynamic, inventive machine jams touching on synthwave influences and a healthy dose of electro. There's atmosphere loaded into each of these forthright, roughly hewn workouts, not least on the eerie, trancey synth strings on "Mr Mumble". The B side features the steadiest material in the shape of two versions of "Satin" that tap into the housier end of Ball's output.
Review: Jonny 5 can rightly be considered a mainstay of Bahnsteig 23 now, as he returns to the label for the third time. It seems that the main source of inspiration for this latest opus from the intermittent producer has been the Indian sub continent, and he's channeled those vibes into three wild and wicked tracks for the weird dance party. "Bengali Dub" channels the proto electro vibes of 80s synth pop and shoots it through with some illustrious sample drops, while "Simha" works more like a particularly bold edit loping in a polyrhythmic fashion that will have the floor hopping like mad to keep up. "Tum Tum" turns up the heat on the B side with a deadly electronic revision of an Indian classic.
Review: The fourth sampler from Ben Sims' mammoth Tribology mix features another four of the must-have exclusives from this crucial document of contemporary techno. Function leads the way with "Introversion", a spooky and sleekly designed deep driver marked out by thin slithers of displaced vocal. Tripeo plays the opposite tact with a bright and bold synth hook front and centre of the mix on "Sequoia", and then Truncate trickles down a pattering array of drum machine rhythms and fluttering melodic chimes on the stunning "Rings." Blasha & Allatt bring the tough stuff to the B2 with the jacked up energy of "Broughton 93" - their debut appearance no less and a very strong one at that.
Review: Originally released in 1979, Francesco Cabiati's Mirage is a classic slice of holy grail electronic prog that has been searched for and fawned over for years by avid collectors. Now Galaxy have scored the record as their opening gambit, which should satisfy more than a few second hand vigilantes out there. It's a bombastic offering rich in Moog lines and dramatic themes, much like all the great instrumental synth offerings of the era. From the faithful treatment of the cover and labels to the quality of the remastering, it's everything a classic reissue of a hidden gem should be.
Review: Silas & Snare continue the heat on Madam X's Kaizen with their second single on the label this year. As always there's no letting up in terms of aesthetic, melting pot and energy. All sitting somewhere in the techno/hardcore/dub axis, "Pressure" lives up to its name with a rolling break, and warped grime basses, "Dreamscape" creates intensity with a loopy vocal hook and densely coded sense of tension while "Whistle Blower" brings us home on a deeper, more broken tip where noises aren't all what they seem. Feeling the pressure yet?
Review: The unstoppable Vogel machine is back on Lumberjacks with another serving of soul-soaked house goodness to warm the cockles as we step into Spring. This time around he's called on one of the great house vocalists of our times, Khalil Anthony, to lay down a vocal on "Brown Curls" that melts over Vogel's peppy, organic production. Nebraska bring a deeper, chunkier flavour to the track with their remix, and the results are just as captivating. Anthony's also on hand to croon over "You Are A Star", an equally simmering jam with more of that dusty house pressure from the deep end of the pool, while "Those Moments" finishes the record off on a funky, instrumental tip.
Review: Edward's graceful take on modern house and techno is a perfect fit for Trelik, and the German producer sounds comfortable as he unfurls swooning threads of otherworldly music for the tripped out dancefloor. The "Ogermania Mx" of "Mikko" is a hazy, string soaked affair pitched somewhere warm and dreamlike, but there's plenty of energy churning away in the lower register. "Lottery" is a more twitchy affair for darker times, all moody bass bounce and looming drones around a shuffling set of percussion. "Groaning Ghosts" is the techiest of the bunch, and there's a whole lot of freaked out sound design swirling around in the mix as well. This is simply stunning, highly advanced dance music from a modern day maestro.
Review: Having only made spotted appearances in the past, icy ambient techno artist Winter In June makes a fine first outing on vinyl with a press of his formerly digi-only EP Eternal Lovers. It's prime Silent Season material, using massive slabs of reverb and a foreboding sense of space as his main weapons while rolling out bleak machine matter that sounds as though it were blown across the tundra. "About Life & Death" is particularly moving with its heart monitor bleeps and forlorn strings, while "The Party Is Elsewhere" is a telling trip into the coldest of coldwave.
Review: IIB's latest release is an EP from The clandestino crew. First track is a slo mo cosmic melodic acid dub. A beautiful early evening trip. This is remixed by the Beat Broker who adds a few sublime uplifting west coast sprinkles. The first track on the B side is a solid disco tinged house beauty with synth stabs subtle acid undertones claps and a great sample. The final track is Beyond the Sun. A mellow eastern tinged sundowner featuring another great sample. This EP really captures the original IIB sound and philosophy. A real gem.
Le Syndicat - "Prothesis Pack Xtract 08 (1983)" (3:52)
Le Syndicat - "Maximalist" (Ekman remix) (6:05)
Review: Continuing their uncompromising fusions of artists new and old, Contort Yourself return with a punishing array of industrial thuggery from hardware manipulators you wouldn't take home to your mother. Novacom were last seen on Slumdiscs back in 2014 and here bring a fast and gnarly rhythmic tryst to bear before JK Flesh do their own snagging dance with oppressive synths and drums twirling into a heavyweight whole. French brutalists Le Syndicat then dominate the B-side with their confrontational bastardisation of techno and industrial, making the perfect source material for Ekman to get nasty with on his remix of "Maximalist".
Review: DJ Central presents three new aliases on this elegantly put together 12". Conjuring up the perfect recipe for a DJ Cake, Central blends and explores the likes of pulsating atmospheric techno on the track "Balast", smoothly escalating breaks on "Ko Ko Dak Dak" and hazy crackling ambient on the finale "Daeksel". Unique, inspiring and truly excellent works from the one they call DJ Central.
Review: Chicago Damn is the latest esteemed producer to shore up at Marcel Vogel's Intimate Friends label, following the Hypoleon EP with some forthright, sample heavy funk house concoctions that nod to his other work on Wolf Music and the like. "Bunny Hoppin" is a rowdy but soulful belter with a peppy tempo and an addictive line in looped up samples, while "Flush" takes things slower and dustier without getting too lost in the undergrowth. "The Truth" lays its samples out in bold, bright brushstrokes with a pattering, psyched out undercurrent for deeper, sunkissed moments, and then "Tipsy" finishes the EP off in a playful tryst of re-pitched piano trills and scuffed beats.
Review: Daniel Saxon Judd is plenty prolific as Sorcerer, turning out albums and EPs in abundance on Tirk some ten years ago not to mention more recently landing on Is It Balearic? and Real Balearic, two labels that tell you exactly where his mood is pitched. This five-track EP for Dreamtime keeps the island mindset at the forefront, from the slow and easy "Baked Wave" to the more limber strum-funk of "Drop Shadow". There's some wobbly boogie to enjoy on "Mango Messenger" and MOR grooves of the highest order on "Zoned For Fun" - it's a record swimming in smooth.
Review: Owen Jay and Melchior Sultana are frequently found working in tandem on their particular brand of contemporary deep house, and this is the second time they've been snapped up by Contrast Wax following The Aftermath EP back in 2014. The mood is smooth and sultry on the title track for this new 12", with a sensual sax lead taking centre stage over the kind of gentle bump that would sit comfortably on Guidance Recordings. "Bubbles Floating In The Sky", as the title would suggest, is an equally mellow mover, while B-side lounger "Saturn" heads into even calmer waters with its hushed pad tones and technoid synth pulses.
Review: After a short break in releases, Plastik People are back with the third installment of the Various People. We see label owner Marc Cotterell up first with his slice of 90's house music, incorperating slick grooves and catchy cut up vocals, along side mark on side A, a new addition to the Plastik People family from london, Charles Caliber, who graces the EP with a stunning soulful house groove called Moving On. On the flip side NYC artist Doug Gomez brings us a classic sounding, deep head nodding track which was originally releases on Frole records and we loved it so much that we decided it needed a vinyl releases, to round off the release, we are very pleased to have Mikki Funk back on Plastik People. he delivers us a splendid cut of UK garage, Mikki Funk has also previously released on RM Records and Music IS Love.
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: British legend Carl Finlow has always explored the darker, deeply charged realms of electro as Silicon Scally and he's feeling more dystopian than ever on this fierce four tracker for Sheffield's Central Processing Unit. Following up last years' terrific Projections EP, prepare to go deep underground on the brooding and cinematic drama of "Cobalt Blue", only to resurface once more on a serene note on the charming Kraftwerk influence of "Scintillation". On the flip, he's back to the program on the booming electro bass epic "Asynchronous" while the futuristic tension and suspense of "Protocol 2" closes out another fine effort by the genre's finest producers.
Review: For Those That Knoe are back with another wedge of dusted down delights from Casey Tucker, a hidden treasure of the mid 90s that nearly got away. Fortunately his effervescent machine soul jams have found a new lease of life with these reissues, and this fourth installment comes from a freshly unearthed box of DATs that pushes Tucker's story even further. "Inner Strength" is a pumped up shot of dynamic techno in the classic sense of the word, mysterious but hopeful, tough but sensitive. "Terraform," which previously aired on a long-deleted 12" from the 90s, takes things skywards with an unabashedly positive tone to the dense layers of synths and box beats. "Waiting Game" rounds the EP out on a wistful, acid-drenched tip - let's hope there's more jams of this quality to come from the Tucker archives.
Review: Following the excellent single-sided heater from Sharif Laffrey, Discos Capablanca is back in action once again with Odopt, previously only spotted on excellent Swedish label Born Free. The record opens up with the ominous, dramatic tones of "Belgrade", all searing synth swells and bloated drums working towards some cinematic apocalypse scenario. On the B-side, "Croque Trans Croque" has a cooler head but instead aims to unsettle with its off-key metal chimes atop a steady-ticking disco rhythm, and then "Rex Ingram" finishes the EP off with yet more surreal beatdowns that will send the party in a very interesting direction indeed.