Review: Nebraska's Friends & Relations label continues to yield the finest club tackle for those who need the real deal in their DJ sets. 'Deep Tune' casts its net as low as the Mariana Trench while riding a sweet disco loop, setting the scene for a teasing, dramatic drum throwdown with nimble synth flourishes on 'Drum Track 01'. 'Shift' takes things on a more interstellar trajectory with a heady beat elevated by star-strafing lead lines, and then 'Drum Track 02' whips up another killer percussive workout that keeps the organic intensity of the beat intact while still making it totally workable for the floor.
Review: Belarus' Iner launches a new label with a strong cast of international names all pushing a deep and distinguished strain of house music for those who want soul and invention in equal measure. Tilman is up first with 'Sweet Dreamer', a mellow, looped up roller. Sune's 'Flutes' takes a breezier approach shaped out by fluttering jazz funk motifs. Yann Polewka celebrates the sweetest Philly strings and some classic vocal licks for a disco-infused burner you can't help but love. Iner himself keeps things loose and organic on the wonderful 'Respectfull Kind Music', while Scruscru goes for a sleek approach to chopped up funky house. That leaves it to Buzz Compass to get heady and hazy with the bass-leaning cuts coursing through 'That Nighter'.
Review: Having impressed with his drop on Aesthetic earlier this year, rising minimal house talent Nolga returns to the label with another batch of sprightly, springy bumpers to fire up your limbs and feed your brain. 'Motion To Delay' matches cascading melodic threads with a crisp, lightly swung rhythm section, while 'Conspiracy' follows a similar thread of wiggy lead lines and curvy bass. 'Fez' takes the template of the first two tracks and tips the balance towards a sumptuous palette of synth tones flitting around the sharp but snaking groove. If you need some smart but playful club tracks in your bag, look no further.
Review: Highrise continues to pile on the pressure through his breakout year in the buoyant UK garage scene, following up crucial spots on Plastik People and Shuffle 'n' Swing with more of that immaculately rendered 2-step tackle to get you shaking uncontrollably. 'Groovin' is steeped in soul and vibe, while 'Not Because Of You' gets even craftier with its organ chops and vocal slices. 'Teedra' on the B-side follows suit, displaying a razor sharp instinct for the funkiest slithers of sound to get bouncing around that deadly swing. If you need proof there's plenty of fresh garage being made these days, then cop yourself one of these before they're all snapped up.
Review: The ever-prolific Burnski is back on Constant Sound with some upfront bumpers that once again demonstrate his standing as a leading light in the modern tech house movement. 'Process' manages to balance moody, melodic atmospherics with a rock solid rhythm section, while 'Systems' takes things in a decidedly more jacking, tracky direction. 'Long Train' keeps the pressure up with a mean low end and some whipcrack claps to made your head spin. 'Effect' finishes the set off with a sumptuous dub excursion that will appeal to all those who like Basic Channel headspace matched with a sturdy house groove.
Review: Berlin-based Italian producer Audri has been scattering his smart, fine-tuned machine soul across a handful of labels over the past four years. Picking up the thread from the emotive and inventive end of the 90s techno spectrum, his latest drop on Albion should appeal to all those who can't get enough of that B12-flavoured sound. 'Inner Movement' sports plenty of classic Motor City influences, but given a crisp modern finish. 'Dizzy Freq' has a deeper demeanour that jacks and jives in equal measure, with a nod to the formative sound of bleep techno. Domenica Rosa delivers a fun and freaky twist on the original, before the legendary Titonton Duvante dubs things out nicely on his version of 'Inner Movement'.
Review: In 1965, the New Musical Express held its Poll Winners show at Wembley's Empire Pool, as 10,000 screaming teenagers packed in to see a stunning line up that featured Tom Jones, The Kinks, The Beatles and, of course, The Rolling Stones. Every screech of the crowd, every one of Keith's string squeaking chords and all the vocal swaggers of frontman Mick Jagger are all captured in their raw glory on this 7". It's a sweaty, dense, atmospheric listen that transports you right back to that era and cannot fail to ignite your soul.
Review: Ole Mic Odd aka Michael Padgett is a hardware operator and DJ from Los Angeles and runs the wonderfully named label The New U.S. Government. Here he sweeps to power with four tracks across four sides of vinyl for the Zement label, two following a slower, punishing pulse that's like P-funk remade in a robot factory, only with tons of added bubbling acid, Drexciya-style filtering and Juan Arkins-like synthetic strings. The other two are way faster, Ice So Bright sounding like someone secretly spiked Kraftwerk's cocoa with something extremely sinister, sending them racing off on their bikes at treble speed. Echo Park has an even more distinct flanging acid flavour and hyper, hooligan electro foundations, again with those Model 500 misty clouds of synthesiser floating overhead. Absolutely cracking stuff.
Review: The NME themselves called this particular show from 1965 "the greatest pop show in the world." Even if you do take that with a pinch of salt, the recording speaks for itself and does a good job of capturing the ambiance, crowd noise and all, of the 3.5 hour show in front of 10,000 fans at Wembley's Empire Pool. The Beatles weren't the only band to play - Tom Jones, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and Dusty Springfield were amongst many other headliners - so they only performed five songs. Each one is captured here, and each one is a classic in its own right.
Review: Calibre aka Dominick Martin pairs up with DRS, each taking one side of this 12" and each more than holding their own. Martin continues his current obsession with the pure sound of the real piano, a powerful antidote to the more synthetic sounds we're more used to hearing in the genre. Add a supreme male vocal in plaintive mood,. declaring "I've been looking for love in all the wrong places" and you've got something that really stand out of the crowd. Living For by DRS is more of straight anthem, with reggae influences and a hip-hop vocal giving it a proper lighters-in-the-air atmosphere, its conscious lyrics very much echoing the mood of Britain in 2020. Two very different tracks, for sure, but this package is strong in its diversity.
Review: Northern Ireland's Dominick Martin, or Calibre, to the drum & bass buying public, has a reputation for bringing new angles on this well-worn sound and these two new sides of vinyl are no exceptions. The VIP version of Falls To You sees his crisp, irresistible beats doing their magic but the piano, reflective vocal and minimal electronic flourishes lend this roller a spooky, eerie quality. The flip track End of Meaning has a slightly warmer, more optimistic vibe but is still reflective, the vocals being sent through echoey dub effects for maximum atmospherics. Definitely ploughing his own furrow, as ever, Calibre demonstrates here why those in the know will always check what he's up to.
Review: The 10th release on EYA comes from French producer Master Flashhh, who delivers punchy, cool-headed house music with a strong early 90s slant. 'Too Big To Fail' keeps things stripped back and weighty, with a bassline so thick you could sink your teeth into it. 'Beat Boxxx' has a more psychedelic, slow-techno slant to it, not least thanks to the ranging 303 gurgles sliding around the track. 'Boulevard Mystere' adds a little cinematic spookiness to the mix for an ear-snagging warm up track, and 'Enigma' completes the set with the kind of eerie mood and crisp box jam sounds that make artists like RVDS so compelling. Highly recommended for those who like their machine music with personality and punch in equal measure.