Review: REPRESS ALERT: Especial is delighted to welcome Baris to the roster. Known for his edit series of obscure Turkish Psychedelic, Rock and Disco, here he takes the producer's chair to present "200". Working with musicians and singers to create a completely original production. The song's message for equality (of the sexes) highlights the bigotry and backward political and religious boundaries his country faces and acts as a siren to the current troubles. Handed to Emotional Recordings over 5 years ago but with no label to release it at that time, now we are delighted to be able to release 200's message. The original is backed with remixed from new production duo Khidja, as well as East London's finest, The Asphodells. Teaming up with guitarist Balabas, Romania's Khidja turn in a deep and introspective interpretation mixing their own heavy eastern influences, while the B-side sees Weatherall and Fairplay don their Asphodells mantle for two renditions that firmly lay it before the ALFOS alter. With artwork (by Jamie Paton) highlighting the struggle for fairness and freedom in his homeland, we hope the release can be seen as a support for their tribulations and highlight the talent that lays East.
Richard Sen - "Night Navigator" (Scott Fraser remix)
Scott Fraser - "Ask Your Control" (Richard Sen remix)
Review: Friends for many years, Richard Sen and Scott Fraser come together with a dose of mutual admiration and back slapping by remixing each other on this 2 track EP. However, what makes this collaboration different is there are no original versions appearing, just these remixes. By completing an unfinished track of each the other, the pair have taken the respective unarranged music and gone back to their East London studios to, in essence, finish the other's songs in the form a "remix". Known for a myriad of deep electronic dubs in the last few years, Scott provides plenty of surprises with his remix of Richard's Night Navigator. A driving 10+ minutes 'piano-house' opus, the late 80s Italian / Balearic vibrations run straight through his interpretation of that classic Mediterranean sound. Not for long though, as firmly dragging things straight back to the dark and wet streets of Hackney, Richard takes Scott's Ask For Control and creates a tough, percussive, deep dub remix that would propel any basement dance floor through the early hours.
Review: Strange happenings are going on down at Scrutton Street, EC1. With release after release cementing the names of those based or working out of the studio bunker, a desire for pushing the boundaries of electronic music is primary with little concern for what's hip. So if anyone can Tim can and here with his newly birthed pseudonym comes Junior Fairplay. With a one-sided release and remix to his name on Crimes Of The Future a glimpse has been offered of what's in store, but How Do You Like Me Now? gives it straight. Pioneering and back to the British techno of early Black Dog, Reload, Stasis and of course, the seminal "Selected Works" clearly inspires, but so too does one of those musical moments where genres clash, tear and stretch as something new is being born. It all starts with the uplifting House anthem of Classic Version, eschewing the oft-tasted horror stylings and aims direct for that 4am MDMA airfild rush, before the EP drops, locks and spins on it's axis, with 3 pure breaks cuts to overload the senses and say, now is the time! A voyage to another side to the mythical lost chord via a moment in time where open filds, abandoned warehouses, the kick of 4/4 house, hip hop breaks and the dub of sound system culture merged but for a short while. Not house, not rave or jungle. A proto sound born of blood, sweat and Rage.
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.
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: 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: 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: Dokta has been seen lurking around 20:20 Vision with a curious take on that label's particular brand of house. That step to the left becomes more pronounced on this record, where Dokta gets to call on a wealth of live instrumentation to animate his sound. On "London Nights" he interweaves vocal, ambling keys and crooked basslines into a curious and utterly inspired cocktail of cool-headed pressure, which Jason Heath then simmers down to a purely instrumental refrain. Burnski goes to the other extreme and beefs the track up for a firm and functional ride, while Ralph Lawson dubs the track out and gives it a low slung swagger.
Review: William J.Youngman's Headless Horseman project has created a new and exciting techno sound that was only an offshoot of EBM and industrial in years past. Stepping out of his own imprint, the dark horseman lands on Tommy Four Seven's excellent 47 label, tearing through the speakers from the get-go thanks to the toxic sounds of "Revelation", and the even nastier sway of "Concussion". Metallic and hard-nosed in absolutely every way, "Locust" follows up on that with a menacing pounce of beats and cavernous bass, while "Gravity" breaks the techno groove for something much more in line with the likes of Powell's Diagonal output. Big boy sounds.
Review: 1993 business: Simon Bassline Smith's Smith Inc alias was a vital name in the dark hardcore crossover era with his Absolute 2 label and seminal cuts such as "Palomino". He was packing plenty dubplates which never saw the light of day. These are but three; "Power Of Darkness" is a brutal and daring piece of music that would have cleared floors for weeks before the crowd got their heads around it (thanks to DJs like Grooverider persisting with it) in contrast "Power Of Daylight" is brisk and breezy hardcore with skin rippling pads and some absolutely superb break rolling on the build that could play for days you'd remain locked in. Complete with the rolling thumps and glitches of "Diatonic", this EP gives you three reasons why Smith has remained valid and relevant for almost 30 years.
Review: 89:Ghost is on fire at present, having thrown down killer releases from Todd Sines, Logic System and Tomoki Tamura over the past year. Tommy Vicari Jr is a great addition to the roster, bringing a freaky, wobbly and distinctly hi tech approach on "All That Matters" that will have party people freaking out in a whole new way. "Things At Night" takes a completely different approach with its focus on delicately chopped up piano hooks. "Tlk 2 Me Wt Yr Bdy" flips the script yet again with a roughneck, 'ardcore sound palette and some filtered house elements riding atop a booming low end. "Likely Story" finishes this varied EP off with a cheeky garage house strut that will have just as many fans as the other killer jams on this well rounded record.
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: 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: Acid Waxa drew plenty of positive heat for carrying Roy Of The Ravers amongst many other respected braindancers, but now Hot Chip drummer Sarah Jones is getting the remix treatment on the label for her Pillow Person project, with some wild results. It's great to see Bogdan Raczynski back in action and bringing some gently wonked, emotional acid meanderings to "On Your Way", while Lechuga Zafiro makes an art out of aping footwork, and more specifically "Footcrab" while making it sound like someone just stubbed their toe and got stuck in a loop. IYDES however turns "In My Game" into a deconstructed but utterly bloated pop beast, and then Oliver Coates whips "Go Ahead" into a woozy, highly strung daze with billowing synths underneath Jones' vocal.
Review: The resurgence of Icelandic techno continues with the latest release on AE Recordings, seeing Bjarnar Jonsson returning to his long standing Ohm project alongside emergent talent Kvadrant. The pair were last seen on Kvadarant's Kontakt label, and their production partnership is clearly still yielding quality, dubbed out techno in the finest Scandinavian tradition. Even if all the tracks are built with a steely techno focus to them, the synth work and sound design scattered throughout the tracks elevates this to a higher level, not least on the bubbling geisers of signal processing that course through the middle of "Grip".
Review: Parisian minimal house hero and Aeternum Records boss Lowris is back with more reductionist mini-funk grooves on this neat three tracker; his second release since for 2017 after his impressive appearance on Russia's Nervmusic. On the A side, "Bestyolle" sees him still carrying the flame for classic microhouse sounds, channelling the heyday of seminal imprints such as Force Inc. and Background. With rhythms comprised of found sounds with assorted trippy synthesis: it's heady stuff right here! Next "Setup" is definitely more dancefloor friendly with its dubby groove; albeit particularly lean, but allowing the subtle tape delayed drums and random bass pulses to create lovely trance induction. The backdrop of yet more field recordings add to the mystery. On the flip, Berlin hero Edward (White/Giegling) delivers an upbeat remix of "Bestyolle" using his signature style of dusty broken beat, to carry the odd sample collage of the original into new and adventurous territory.
Review: Sainte Vie has been working away in the Mexican underground for some time, running Akumandra as a free, digital-only label to help promote all kinds of electronic music. Now it's time for Vie to step up with their first outright release, first time on wax, and hence a new era for the label. The tone is varied across the record, leading in with the worldly drum rattle and string strum of "Huracan", a whirlwind of drama and hand-played musicianship that stands out from the crowd. "Albatross" is a more introspective cut that brings Vie's vocals to the forefront, and then "Maria" chills things out further with a haunting vocal from Pascale and some delicate finger picking guitar delights over a dynamic set of drums.
Review: Also known as Damaskin or Nino, Seraphim Rytm has been rolling through the underground for some time, shoring up at labels like New York Haunted, Silent Season and Batti Batti. Now the shadowy entity drifts onto the equally shadowy Alpengluhen label with the subliminal throb of Mount Sinai, a four part rumination that will plunge you deep down into the depths of techno meditation. "Part 1" is a sumptuous affair that places the undulating bass front and centre for a long, entrancing ride, while "Part 2" weaves delicate chiming tones and subtle percussive ripples into the mix with ample reverb dripping over everything. "Part 3" is where things really space out with a high frequency wall of sound that has a coruscating effect, and then "Part 4" plunges right back into the depths with a low end pulse and distant dread pads that will leave a distinct chill in the room.
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.