Review: DJ Slyngshot's resurgent Yappin label is back with a second sizzling EP of 2019 after lying dormant from 2014 to 2017. We couldn't be happier about its return when it is unearthing the mind behind deep house like this latest one from Deesigner. Unsettling opener "Bringin The Funk" is a spaced-out late night rhythm with hints of jungle, and "Too Many LFOs" is a lumpy dub cut with muted, woolly synths sending you all gooey inside. "CY-39" cloys things out with some deft drum work and percolating rhythms that are clean, crisp and weirdly pleasing.
Review: The latest outing from Swiss reissue specialists WRWTFWW takes us back to 1981 and the debut single from Bern-based post-punk combo Grauzone. The 12" release of "Eisbaer" has long been a must-have amongst fans of off-kilter, dancefloor-ready new wave, and this replica reissue includes all three tracks featured on that version. Opener "Eisbar" sets the tone, with the bands weary, half spoken/half sung vocals rising above a backing track that's powered forwards by relentless bass guitar, screeching riffs and broken computer style electronics. "Film 2" is a heavy, synthesizer powered workout peppered with delay-laden drum hits and odd noises, while closing cut "Ich Liebe Sie" is a clicking and quietly melodious affair that's almost entirely electronic.
Review: Having previously only appeared on WotNot Music in the past couple of years, K15 now slides over to Wild Oats to deliver a wholly appropriate slab of fluttering house romanticism rich in Detroit dreams and Chicago cheekiness, wherever the music might have been conceived. The cheekiness is no doubt most noticeable on "GWRH" with its homage to "Gypsy Woman", turning it into a fluttering Latino house jam, but before that comes the plush bump n rub of "The Story Of Her Life". "Insecurities" gets into a sexier kind of deep house funk, which "Gratitude" dutifully carries on until "Yellow" can round the record out with some largely beatless piano business.
Review: Chonk Mob familia Koma joins the gang at White Peach with this far-out four-piece that showcases his broadest and most considered range. "Arrival" sets the scene with big cinematic pads, arpeggiated pipes and a mood that gets deeper and darker the more you stride into it. "Missing Amsterdam", meanwhile, shows a calmer Koma as we mooch to poignant chimes in the most contemplative way. Finally, the bashy steel drum twister "Tasteful" plays the consummate pudding course as Koma and fellow Chonkster Rygby serve up the final course of this exceptional feast. Koma back soon.
Review: Boo selector! Grime / UKG don Spooky updates his GHD series with four more long-awaited versions he's had on persy dub. First is a VIP of his still ice-cold take on MssingNo's "XE2", neatly complemented with the dope Capo Lee fronted version that's been requested for the best part of five years now. Flip for two more crucial weapons as "Run 4 Cover" gives us a stuttering funk-up of Ini Kamoze and the dramatic "Apprentice Riddim" gets us doing the air violin and drawing up business plans and sales pitches before we even know it. You're fired!
Review: Bottoms up! The Silver Rider and the Funk District saddle up for a two-way trip on the latest Whiskey Disco joint. Texan transdimensional traveller Silver Rider steps up for the A with a main course and a punchy side plate. "Woman" is a big War-style disco funk piece with precision spoken vocals and horns while "Hustle Up" is a stripped back wriggling bassline DJ tool guaranteed to disarm. Flip for the B to a trip into the heart of Mexico as the Funk District fires heated shots: "Imaki Ra Reo" is straight up Latin disco while "The Root Of Evil" takes us on an African International adventure for a stunning afrobeat finale.
Review: Classy Italian label Where We Met unveil a new signing on their seventh release, which also marks the mysterious ReKaB's debut. His skills belie that newbie status, because this is atmospheric techno with emotional and musical depth. "2019" is a real highlight with its twitchy synths and breezy electro grooves making for a pensive vibe before things cut loose on warm and rubbery house jam "The Hassle". The ambient synths that colour these tracks is what make them standout, and closer "Self-Destruct" is a prime example of that. "Music Makes It Better" is a title we can all relate to, and in the case of this track, it sure is a beautiful place to be.
Review: Wewantsounds' 2019 Record Store Day release takes us back to 1978 and a hard-to-find 12" single from Lebanese composer, pianist, playwright and political commentator Ziad Rahbani. "Abu Ali" is perhaps not Rahbani's best known work - in the Arab world his various albums are far more celebrated - but it is one that has chimed with Western audiences thanks to its assimilation of elements of American disco, soul and funk. The title track is something of a beast: a 10-minute epic that wraps Arabic orchestration, mazy horn refrains and prominent piano motifs around an atmospheric disco groove and intergalactic synthesizer lines. It's bonkers but brilliant, making this reissue more than welcome. On the flipside there's a chance to enjoy "Prelude (Theme from Mais El Rim)", an epic example of Rahbani's 1970s soundtrack work.
Review: Back in April, Blawan and Pariah rebooted their hardware-based Karenn project after a five-year hiatus via a rugged EP on their freshly minted Voam imprint. Here the pair inaugurates a new series, Voam Club Archive, in which they'll offer up tracks recorded during live performances. For fans of raging, hard-wired club techno, there's much to enjoy, from the intoxicating, acid-fired stomp of "Berlin - Live Cut 1" and the redlined intensity of the dark and distorted "Berlin - Live Cut 2", to the Sheffield style bleep melodies, wild electronics and Lory D style grooves of "Rome - Live Cut 1". Arguably best of all, though, is the metallic, forthright insanity of closing track "Amsterdam - Live Cut 1".
Review: The latest outing on Vatos Locos' "Limited" series comes courtesy of Amo, an artist whose last solo outing - a decent but largely overlooked debut EP on Dissonant - was released way back in 2013. There's plenty to admire across the four-tracks, with opener "Find Turn" delivering an impressively deep, woozy and hypnotic blend of soft-touch electronics, drowsy, effects-laden vocals, dubbed-out aural textures and shuffling tech-house drums. Elsewhere, "Spitgame" is a more bass-heavy affair rich in wonky vocal snippets and bouncy drums, while "Whattosay" is a mind-altering chunk of early morning tech-house smothered in trippy electronics. To complete the package, Hector and David Gtronic join forces to deliver an off-kilter, club-ready minimal house revision of "Find Turn".
Review: Sammy Massamba's "Azali" originally came out in 1990. The afrobeat artist's sound is shockingly potent, fusing his roots with disco and boogie to create the stuff party dreams are made of. The song has just the necessary edge to make a classic, with the vocals leading the way through the tune beautifully. "Birika" is a slower jam, but no less bold with its keyboard brass and choice guitar solo. Aroop Roy jumps on the flip to edit "Azali", stretching out a touch and adding a little subtle drum machine jack to the beat. It's tastefully done, keeping the vibe on the original intact.
Review: For the last couple years, Montreal's Project Pablo has been busing honing his own unique house sound across a wide range of labels. He's prolific, too, with this being his third EP on Verdicchio Music Publishing this year alone. He favours clean, thin harmonic keys and pads that can be either lush and dreamy or more rave-tinged. "Sofware" is a case of the former, with soft drums and mellifluous melodies getting you swaying. The underlapping drums on "Dead Channel" are to die for as yawning pads get you in a dream state, before "Boingo Myth" quickly wakes you up again with its scribbly, icy pads. "Scroll Up" marks a celebratory breaktbeat finale that will pump the party with euphoric cries and pianos to get hands in the air.
My Body (Louie Vega remix/Synth Bass instrumental) (8:58)
My Body (Louie Vega radio version) (3:46)
Review: Luther Vandross originally wrote and recorded "My Body" in 1979, though his version was never released; instead, the song was re-recorded by Stephanie Mills and included on her 1983 album "Merciless". Here we finally get a chance to hear Luther belt it out himself, with Masters At Work man Louie Vega providing production and a dizzying number of remixes. There are two bumpin' and life-affirming "Soul House" mixes (the second replacing Vandross' lead vocal with some mazy Rhodes solos), a fluid and positive "Remix/Synth Bass Mix" that packs plenty of dancefloor energy, and warmer "EOL Mix" and "EOL Dub" versions that utilize a warm bass guitar part and some tasty chord progressions. Throw in a couple of edits and instrumentals and you have a suitably epic set of reworks.
Review: Luca Murgia is Two Thou - an alias which has seen him land intriguing releases on Burek, Fields & Forests and his own Gifted Culture label. Now he's been snapped up by Uzuri with some star-gazing cuts that straddle broken beat, deep house and something more altogether cosmic. "Clavinet Discourse" is the consummate lead track, a true showstopper with astral synth flex and a sharp, snappy beat. "Talking Song" has a more pronounced deep house bump and leads that wouldn't sound out of place on Strictly Jaz Unit - the dub version does away with the leads if you want something subtler. "Thousands Of Chimes Together" completes the set with a spiritual throwdown to invigorate any open-minded dancefloor.
Review: Uncompromised 140 magic right here as Tokyo's Helktram returns with their first full single in over two years. This time coming on Trusik, each cut flexes into a different dimension. Opening track "Suggestive Effect" hits like a pneumatic techno drill, marching militantly into your cortex with its staccato drill. "Insecure" plays the consummate foil with its glacial textures and weeping, woozy chords while "Iron Box" brings things together with a classic Coki-style pinched wobble driving the groove both back and forth in time.
Review: By now we should know what to expect from Tropical Records, namely beefed-up, house style re-edits of disco and boogie tracks that tend towards the hot, sticky and humid. Sartorial kicks things off this time round via the swirling, Latin style disco-bounce of "Warping" - all low-slung bass, new house beats, big orchestration and snaking sax solos - before Moodena straightens out and tools up a hybrid jazz-funk/disco jam that boasts some seriously exotic guitar solos and jammed-out electric piano parts. Simon Kennedy's contribution, "Back To Soul", is a bumpy and bouncy take on a fine disco soul classic, while Hotmood's "Everybody" is a sweaty, house style revision of a P-funk flavoured boogie number.
Review: Long-serving electro project Transparent Sound come back full throttle with this expansive album of masterful machine music. Opening track "Pretend Like You Care" is a startling opener that feels like a wormhole back to the Cologne laboratories of the kosmische movement. The beats kick in proper from that point, and in consummate noirish fashion, with "No Call From New York", and proceed to trip through all manner of nocturnal dreamscapes lit in sleazy neon strip lighting. It's a lurid, evocative sound world the veteran duo concoct, and one you'll find yourself returning to again and again.
Review: Chicago's Jon Hester spent years as a dancer before he even touched the decks and that shows in his floor facing cuts for Transmat, which follows other high grade outings on taste-making techno labels Dystopian, Deeply Rooted and Rekids. Infectious rhythm is at the core of Hester's work and all the tracks here: "Dimension Seven" is epic techno that surges to the cosmos on warm solar synths and chattery percussion from the Windy City. "Return" is deeper and infused with a warm sense of machine soul then "Onward" has some fantastic drum programming and pinging kick drums that sweep you up and along for a most thrilling ride.
Review: Munich duo Rhode & Brown have been bringing the good stuff to Toy Tonics for some time now, and they're sounding especially vibrant on this new joint. "Nine To Shine" is a sweet and soulful, 90s flavoured deep house jam with catchy vocals and a bittersweet mood to help you throw off the baggage of the working life once the weekend rolls around. "Honeymoon Affair" piles on uplifting piano chords and smooth acid bass for a full-fat house burner, while "Sumthin" chops up some serious funk samples for a massive dose of feel-good. "Your Beauty Is A Spoiler" completes the set with a wistful mood centered on an impeccably edited soul hook, making this a house 12" with plenty of mileage for a multitude of situations.
Review: Batu's Timedance label is in red hot form and Aussie talent Air Max 97 only stokes the fires with this scintillating two tracker. It comes hot on the heels of his link-ups with Loft and TSVI on the "Falling Not Walking" EP back in summer and hones in on tight, well trimmed dance floor dynamite. "Ice Bridge" is post-jungle madness with bold sub bass underpinning a scampish brew of steel plated drums and hits. "Bruxis" is a crowd teasing slow jam with heavy, dragging drums and twisted vocals that will leave you begging for more as you tumble freely through a darkened corner of the cosmos.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Cisco Ferreira continues to fly the flag for rugged hardware powered techno with personality, well over 20 years since he first emerged. The Advent is rightly hailed as a mark of assured quality for good reason, and Thema make a smart move in signing up this fresh grip of tracks from the veteran producer. "Kombination 100" is a lurid, slightly unhinged acid workout from the outer limits, while "Dorian Blue" sets a more moody, aquatic tone with a dash of electro thrown in for good measure. "In Time" brings things up in tempo and attitude, sporting some surging 909 drums guaranteed to get bodies striding with purpose, and then "Rhythm" spins out into trippy electro territory for the heads-down travelers to get spiritually expanded to.
Review: Alex is a brand new alias from the artist regularly known as Baba Stiltz - a Swedish producer whose quirky, off-kilter house and techno releases are rarely less than brilliant. His first Trilogy Tapes outing is suitably impressive. The real killer is "Samba", an inspired nine minute workout in which he layers deep, woozy electric piano motifs, sun-kissed chords, child-like vocal samples and rich bass atop a swinging, samba fired techno beat. The deeper and more bass-heavy "Memo" is even more epic; a near 13-minute journey through sparse, crunchy, hypnotic and dubbed-out minimal house rhythms and exotic, snake charmer solos. In other words, it's another top-notch EP from a producer who genuinely can do no wrong.
Review: Shadowy London producer Filter Dread returns from Beyond Saturn with four new futurist designs. This time on Seattle newcomer label Tech Startup. Maintaining his stark ravey elements, pneumatic breaks and grainy bass signature, the vibe remains hardcore, rough around the edges throughout. "Rainforest" is near militant with its drum edits and warped, detuned synth washes while "Blizzard" brings a crush sense of decay to the percussion and much more of a subverted electro feel to the mix. Flip for two more weapons: the gnarled, schizoid "Tripping Up" which touches on breakcore but at a much slower tempo and "RX 4 Real" which taps into the classic hardcore aesthetic and flips more switches than Battersea Power Station.
Review: It's finally here... V.I.V.E.K launches a brand new label and, as the title suggests, it's something a little different to the deep 140 piledrivers his System Sound is known for. Two rootsical excursions and two killer versions, this is the sound of the System champion bringing things back to the source. The title track (featuring longstanding System MC Dego Rankin) is a warm dub jam, spaced for good measure. Flip for "Galactic" as V.I.V.E.K flings us further east on a ship powered by Oriental strings and another rolling dub groove that's designed to make rigs purr. Beautiful.
Review: Fresh Sector 7, Bristol's Drone makes his debut on V.I.V.E.K's System Sound with two smoking slabs of bass weight. "Amphibious" funks up the radar for a bleep excursion through the swampiest of textures with only a trippy riser and noir spoken word. Flip for "Lucid Dreams" where things take a creepier undertone thanks to the cavernous space, waterdrops, roomy switchy kicks, pranged out reverse manoeuvres and a sub as thick as marmite. Immense.
Review: Rather unhelpfully, there's little info about the Superlux label available, other than the fact that it's run by the shadowy artists of the same name. They handle side A of this split EP, with Mike Gill's "Noisey Rework" of "White Noise" - a pulsating, otherworldly chunk of electro rich in trippy noises and elastic synth-bass - followed by the raw, foreboding, mid-tempo electro throb of "Chupa Track". Sometime Pleasure Club man Nick Glynn takes over on side two, first delivering the deep space club electro of EP standout "Take One", before inviting Dawl to re-invent it as a mind-mangling slab of electro/Yorkshire bleep fusion (minus the colossal sub-bass associated with that particular vintage style).
Review: Tom Noble's Superior Elevation label started life as a home for reissues of obscure disco and boogie material, but has since widened its remit to include original productions. Here, Noble welcomes fellow Brooklyn resident Willie Burns to the label for a spot of sweaty, basement-bothering house business. Intriguingly, Burns original - nestled on the flipside - is the looser of the two, with dexterous percussion hits accompanying restless drum machine hits and a killer, New Jersey influenced bassline. Noble chooses not to emphasize these disco elements, instead delivering a wild, low-slung, dub style reinterpretation that turns it into a surging, late night house stomper.
Review: In 1981, a multi-cultural group of young musicians headed by local lad Harbans Srih headed into a tiny eight-track studio in Walsall to record what they hoped would become their debut single. 28 years later, that single, credited to Klimate, is finally getting a release thanks to the diggers at Super Disco Edits. A-side "ESP" is an inspired chunk of Brit-funk that wraps soulful vocals, delay-laden sax solos and intricate electric piano lines around a warm and heavy, jazz-funk inspired groove. Flipside "To See You" is equally as impressive, with the action focused on rubbery slap bass, meandering sax lines, twinkling keys, reggae-soul style vocals and the kind of flash-fried guitar licks that were so common on dancefloor cuts during the period.
Review: Techno heads with an appreciation of forgotten and almost-lost gems will be happy with this one. Mark Ambrose's 'Dimensions' first saw the light of day on Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic way, way back in 1997, and here is finally remastered for the modern world. And what a treat it is. A shining example of just how compelling, addictive and inescapable tracks can be without needing to be particularly hard, those looking for adjectives will find them in the likes of tough, solid and crisp. The four tracks all follow a similar trajectory, deep but purposeful dancefloor stuff where sub bass rules and alien noises become warbling hooks- not leat on 'Cable Talk'. Those looking to stomp in the dark may find 'Signs 'N' Lights' is the go-to, 'Photo Funk' is pure darkroom mechanical groove and 'Bassoon' a sharp tech builder.
Review: Following cuts on Gourmet and Trusik, Osaka's City1 makes his debut on Subaltern with three more reasons to keep him radar-locked. Hurling us into the mix with no warning, "Speak Out" takes the lead with Japanese steel licks and fire tongue truths from Rider Shafique before "Koroga" oozes its way in pursuit. All wet and wobbly, it's 2007 all over again but with a wily sense of direction that never sits still. "Zee" closes the EP in true pranged-out fashion. Off-key, warped and a grumpy bassline that harrumphs for days, if you need any more reasons to keep tabs on City1 just lift the needle and play again.
Review: Gotshell is Cristian Alexander Soto: a DJ and producer from Colombia that has appeared previously on Mord, Detroit Underground and X/OZ. His new new thriller comes courtesy of the ever reliable Suara label - and he lunges straight for the jugular on this fierce new offering. Kicking off with the barrelling intensity of "Peras Cosmic" which reaches near acid moments,, this is followed by the hypnotic sonar pulse of "19 Caracteres" (which calls to mind the work of legend Sleeparchive) and on the flip we have label staple Coyu - who delivers a right punch with his remix of "The Draft" which is as steely and austere as you like it.
Review: Ever-dependable hero of deep house since the good old days, Glenn Underground is back with fresh goodies for his Strictly Jazz Unit imprint, and if you liked what he's done before then there's no doubt you'll like this as well. "Shiloh (A King's Return)" is a steady roller, defined by the synth-sax freestyling over the top of a crisp beat and bluesy chord workout. "We, The Party (Let's Get Down)" is a more soaring affair, with some neat kinks in the drums and a sumptuous spread of Rhodes action all delivered in that quintessentially Blue Note GU flavour.
Review: We've been waiting a LONG time for this! Loxy & Resound's most demanded dub since 2008, "New Age" has cult status and it's not hard to hear why; super spacious and so broad and vital in its sound, it still sounds futuristic to this day. "Stone Cold" kicks ass for a 2009 track, too. Once again unreleased and demanded by the heads for the last 10 years, this one takes us deeper down Loxy & Resound's rabbit hole, before that divine vocal cuts through the mix and it's game over. Ageless.
Review: Stefan Senf is a man of many aliases. His most popular is Noize Creator but The Duke Of Juke is by far one of his wittiest. The tunes are just as sharp too. Gritty, glitchy and raw doffs a cap towards jungle's primordial melting pot ranging from the ballistic cuts and shunts of opener "Tuff Measures", to the twisted half/quarter time ghetto grunts and bumps of "Boomin' Dub". The staccato drum jitters of "High Plains Trouble Maker" and the peaktime break slammage and sudden dubby drops of "Undecided" are also not to be missed. Put your dukes up.
Turn Me On (Tony Humphries Got U Turned On dub) (7:50)
Save Me (Coldcut remix) (6:38)
Review: South Street's latest missive gathers together a trio of club-friendly remixes of Nina Simone classics that first appeared on the 2006 compilation "Remixed & Reimagined". Francois K impresses with an A-side revision of Simone's celebrated cover of Beatles classic "Here Comes The Sun" that sounds like a long lost Larry Heard record from his classic Fingers Inc. period. Those after something a little more rolling and funk-fuelled should wrap their ears around Tony Humphries' Dub of "Turn Me On", which boasts a seductive mixture of Romanthony style hard loops and rumbling, UK garage influenced bass. Completing the package is Coldcut's fine re-imagining of "Save Me", which places Simone's heart-arching vocal atop skittish, club-ready drums and looped guitars.
Review: Studio One have put out plenty of big tunes and this is the latest to get a big reissue on a super loud-cut 12" single for extra devastating impact. It's a well-known classic every self-respecting reggae fan should know and blows up any party, especially when tweaked like these two versions. They were originally produced by Studio One bossman Coxsone Dodd and have been covered by The Clash as well as sampled by The Fugees and hip hop MC KRS One. The snaking lead synth, the rumbling drums and classic ska trumpet are all straight up irresistible.
Review: It's been six years since Lewis Fautzi debuted on Soma, and since then he's become a real techno powerhouse. His latest shows yet more evolution in his sound across four streamlined and hypnotic "Extinction" cuts. "F01" is alluringly low key as drums roll over a frosty and frozen tundra, then "F02" ups the ante with steel plated kicks and sonar-like pulses that burrow deep. After the warped synths of "F03" comes closer "F04", the most heady of the lot thanks to its MIllsian minimalism and infinite melodic loops.
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Wesley - DJ Spinna Galactic Soul remix) (8:21)
Don't You Let Go (feat Kenny Weslet - Caserta At Work remix) (7:17)
Review: Sol Power Sound has had a solid 2019 but they aren't done yet: this new one features an all star cast with remixes by legendary DJ Spinna and LA's Joseph Caserta. DC-based vocalist Kenny Wesley is at the heart of the operation and features on "Don't You Let Go", with multi-layered drums and dub weight soaring to the skies. "Number One Station" features Daniel Meinecke and is a golden broken beat with all the hits and scattered percussion that make this such perfect body music. Spinna's remix is pure feel good, good time house music with old school spirituality, while Caserta pays more than a subtle tribute to Masters At Work's famously chunky drums with his "Caserta At Work" remix.
Review: Etch and Nico Lindsay make good musical bedfellows; the former's spacious left-footed soundscapes providing plenty of room for Nico's narrative, evolving lyrical style, they're kindred spirits linked by a glacial sense of adventure and refusal to compromise. Opener "Don't Wanna Know" kicks the doors down with force. Rough and switchy, there's a pulsing 2002 feel to both the step and flow while "Predator Vs Prey (Toxin)" takes us on a much swampier, weirded out trip that buns everything but survival. Finally, Tranq Sinatra joins the fray for an urgent finale where fast-tongue tales from Nico are backed from Tranq harmonies and another iced riddim from Etch. Cold.
Review: Four years deep into its disco, beatdown and edit adventures, Smokecloud's status is nigh-on impeccable. Here we find them uniting four of their most creative craftsmen for four straight-up dancefloor pacifiers. Highlights include the sludgy slo-mo Edwin Starr on acid flavoured "Caught Up" and the Diana Ross homage that is the sun-skanked reggae party jam "CC Tribute" by VinylAddicted & SMQ. Instant smiles.
Review: Edanticonf has been a mainstay of Silent Season for many years now, first delivering an album and EP to the Canadian label back in 2012. Since then he's travelled to labels such as M_REC, Wolfskuil, Phorma and Linear Movement, but he's back home to roost with this gorgeous four-tracker that plays on his trademark sound. Rich with melancholic synth work and moving with a purposeful but thoughtful pace, this is exactly the kind of evocative techno that makes Silent Season a buy on sight label. Every track tells its own story, but the starry twinkle of "The Metamorphosis Of Plants" is especially captivating.
Review: Last month's debut salvo from off-kilter Balearic pop edit imprint Shelved Recordings sold out in record time, so it's likely you'll have to act fast to secure a copy of this speedy follow-up. Editor Andi Handley gets things going via the blissful bubbles of "Up and Down", where sustained synthesizer chords and meandering melodies stretch out across a sparse electronic rhythm, before diving even deeper into delay-laden slow-motion synth-pop pastures on the tactile and emotive drowsiness of "Stop Me". Best of all, though, is extended flipside edit "What Are You Fighting For", a typically dubby and on-point revision of an arpeggio-driven, guitar-laden alternative pop/post-punk cut by Marianne Faithfull.
Review: Trinidadian Deep is a master of long, winding, enchanting house grooves that are deep but also spiritual and laced with afro percussion. Shelter acquires his latest two efforts and the glorious "Native Culture" opens things in subtly uplifting fashion. Trilling organ chords rise through the mix to give life to the jumbled drums and sustained pads in the background which keep things deep and ensure maximum hypnosis. "Eggun" has a more bubbling sense of rhythm, with vocal coos and surging chords peppering the track and bringing motion. Powerful stuff.
Review: Moscow's Shanti Radio crew have really honed in on their own little music niche: deep, laced with trance tones, and emotive house. Tunes from this hotly anticipated EP by Volen Sentir has been doing the rounds in certain DJs sets for as much as six months. Highlights are plentiful throughout but the title track is arguably the standout. Languid piano chords dropped over soft, succulent, dubbed out drum rolls while tribal vocal chat bleeds in and out of focus to add to the hypnotic effect, and some sensitive xylophone sounds supporting an all-important melody line.
Review: This long promised debut album from Pete Cunningham's hybrid electronic/acoustic jazz collective, Ishmael Ensemble, has already received rave reviews. Listening back, it's easy to see why. The collective specializes in inventive, slow-burn epics that fuse the producer's dance music influences with more traditional jazz and seductive songs that recall the folksy bliss of the Minnie Riperton fronted Rotary Connection. They're capable of laying down bona-fide floor-rockers - see "Siren!" and the sweaty, bass-heavy swirl of "Lapwing" - but it's often the more considered and atmospheric pieces ("The Chapel", "Yellow House (feat Yama Warashi)" and the trumpet-driven brilliance of "The River") that leave the longest lasting impression. Either way, it's a superb debut album that's well worth a listen.
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: Second time around for Hi5ghost's most famous and celebrated release, 2015 single "Nook Shot". A bombastic chunk of grime heaviness built around military strength drums, Melodica style hooks, scattergun percussion hits and weighty bass, the producer's original version remains one of his most potent and dancefloor-friendly outings. In fact, it's still something of an anthem within the bass community, a factor that no doubt inspired this re-press. Arguably even better is Commodo's flipside revision, an altogether creepier and more clandestine affair that re-imagines Hi5ghost's bustling original as a weighty slab of post-dubstep brilliance replete with scattergun drum fills and woozy electronics.
Review: Michigan producer John Beltran is a master of atmosphere and emotion. His ambient has been used for countless seminal TV shows, he's been cited as an inspiration to Four Tet and has put out key albums on labels like Delsin and Peacefrog. Here he is in a distinctively club-focussed mood, but the synths still very much speak to your heart. "The Lake" is pure Motor City techno soul, and the ambient reprise allows you to wallow in his pads even more. "Twilight" then bustles with shimmering metal hits while pixelated keys drift about like a million fire flies in a warm night sky. Lush.
Review: Italian Latin jazz stalwart Nicola Conte first joined forces with trombonist Gianluca Petrella way back in 2001 on the nu-jazz era "New Standards" single. The pair started working on new material in 2014 and the "Free Your Mind EP" is their third joint release since. They're in a surprisingly up-beat, club-ready mood on EP opener "Free Your Mind", where Ebo Taylor style guitars, Africa 70 organs, tasty vocal samples and Afrobeat style horn lines are underpinned by a relaxed deep house groove. Vocalist Bridgette Amofah stars on the EP's other two cuts: the percussive tribal jazz of highlight "Imani River" and epic B-side "Infinity", a superb chunk of Afro-tinged deep house that sounds like it was inspired by Kai Alce and Ron Trent records.