Review: Phil Gerus is a rising talent that fits right into the (Emotional) Especial mould with his sharply realised 80s bombast and dynamic electro funk production style. Treating body-popping club tracks as a vessel for heartfelt expression, these tracks have it all from Linn Drum boogie to fully capable instrumental chops, all shot through with Gerus' choice new wave vocals. Lauer hops on board for a seductive remix of "Still Blind" that ups the sensual intensity of the track while keeping the club foremost in his mind, before Jamie Paton steps up on the flip with a couple of freakier turns that dub the original out into deadly, spooky jams for more adventurous party people to get loose to.
Review: Alphonse has already dropped a pair of 12"s on Especial in the past, but he's on especially excellent form this time around. A veteran of the halcyon rave days of the 90s, he's got a lot to draw on to conjure his particular kind of machine jams. "Moan Up" is a truly dazzling track, all twinkling synth lines interweaving around a crisp old school groove. As well as the loved up peaks of the original, there's also a beatless mix of the track that lets the melodies shine on their own. "White Pepper" takes things moodier and lets some sultry sax wail over the top, while retaining some of that boxy drum machine energy. There's even space for some tasteful guitar wailing - excellent.
Review: Hailing from Tel Aviv and featuring Antinote-affiliated Alek Lee, Project Runaway make good on their initial promise with a sterling club-ready record for [Emotional] Especial. "Met" is a perfect statement of intent - a dynamic peak time record with an urgent, insistent groove peppered with organic percussion, zippy FX and a freaky vocal to get overground and underground party people shaking unanimously. The dub on the flip takes things out to weirder territory for the freak-out crew, without losing sight of the necessary functionality of the track. This is as direct a hit as you could ever expect from [Emotional] Especial, but loaded with bags of personality to satisfy the more curious minds out there.
Review: The 1 Life crew had a strong start with the likes of Kerri Chandler, DJ Spen & Karizma and Joey Negro contributing to a disco-fied house sound. Volume two on the label is no slouch either, ranging from Vincent Inc & LA's smoky "Cafe Tropical" before launching into Rico De Almenda's sassy, joyous take on "Watermelon Man". Venus Attack Project get into a deeper, percussive mood on the incendiary "Grass Culture" before Vincent Floyd completes the set with the heartfelt acid bubble of "Trail Of Tears". From organic sounds to box jams, these tracks speak directly to the foundations on which house music was built.
Review: Representing Californian house music culture with its heart on its sleeve, 12 Inches Deep return for a second volume of "West Coast Dance Traxx" that features four up and comers from the underground. Ricky Tinez captures a perfect hazy summer mood on the dub mix of "That Day" - a true product of his environment. Akumen brings a sweatier vibe to "Inner Life (All Of Music)" which captures a little Chi-town pressure and then blows it wide open with some choice organ licks. Le Smoove is on a serious garage tip with "G Groovez" and Urbanite reaches skywards with the utterly infectious "Triple Filtered", spilling good vibes out from every angle.
Ortella - "She's On Fire" (feat François A) (7:25)
Chocky - "Lower Synth" (5:21)
Rotty - "Secrets" (6:49)
Heat Alliance - "Got The Groove" (6:15)
Reece Johnson - "I Like The Way You" (5:50)
Lu York - "C'mon & Dance" (7:35)
Chris Fry - "Can't Stop" (6:08)
Andy Buchan - "Eighty Four" (6:06)
Review: 124 Recordings are always a safe bet for true school deep house business, and they're also dab hands at putting together killer compilations as evidenced with the "Levels EP" last year. They're back at it again with this crucial double pack, which kicks off in fine style with bright and bold vocal bumper "She's On Fire" (feat Francois A)" by Ortella. There's a deeper, trippier vibe to Chocky's "Lower Synth", while Rotty's "Secrets" chops the samples up and ramps the swing up to 11. Heat Alliance has a tough, freaky NYC touch on "Got The Groove," while Reece Johnson piles the organs on heavy on "I Like The Way You", and that's just half the set. A whole lot of house goodness to chew on, with every track purpose built for maximum dancefloor damage.
Review: 12th Isle's latest must-check release comes from Pataphysical, a shadowy outfit helmed by Camilo Tirado whose "imaginary solutions in sound" have previously appeared on Betwixt & Between Tapes. It's a quietly impressive debut album all told - a dreamy, drowsy and gently undulating journey through fluid synthesizer refrains, heady ambient electronics, drifting lead lines, effects-laden aural textures and atmospheric soundscapes that becalms and beguiles at every turn. Highlights are plentiful throughout, from the dubbed-out pulse of "Montoon" and broken computer-in-dub oddness of "Ken World", to the sparkling bliss of "Metaxy" and clandestine weirdness of "Energen".
Review: 12th Isle's latest must-check chunk of entertaining experimentalism comes from Lo Kindre, whose dub-wise 2017 debut on Optimo Music was arguably one of that year's most overlooked EPs. "Chlorophytum", the producer's first solo missive since then, is another lo-fi electronic dub treat. Of course, it's not all gentle bass-heavy rhythms, endless delay trails and cute electronic melodies - closing cut "For Sleep" is a buzzing electronic raga, for example - but it's on these bass-heavy excursions that Lo Kindre most frequently hits the spot. Highlights include the extraordinarily sub-heavy shuffle of "Sounder", the ambient dub wooziness of "Aibell" and the creepy alien-dub oddness of "No Hiding".
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.
M&M Vs Andrei Swipe - "Analog Express" (Don Carlos remix) (7:29)
Review: There's an undeniable air of quality that lingers over the 12"s emerging on 14th Level Of Paradise, the mysterious label presenting originals, edits and repressed tracks for true house devotees. First up is a little known track from Sasha Makin and Suntetic, given a shimmering polish by Don Carlos and Steven Perri to become a heavy funking masterpiece, before Joe Claussell drops in a percussive dub delight on Monday Michiru's "Higher". On the flip, Vincent Inc and LA get things pumping with the slow but chunky, jazz-licked "Red Room", before Carlos returns for another deep house reverie as he remixes M&M and Andrei Swipe's "Analog Express".
Review: Well hello there Mr Monty. One of the many super-talented producers to emerge from the thriving Toulouse scene in recent years, he returns to Alix Perez's 1985 with four new fire-ups. Arguably his best material to date (which is saying something), the EP takes up from the viper-like rattles and slithers of the lead track to the epic cavernous deep rollage of "Intoxication". In between we're treated to glacial soul ("Limbo" with Visages) and proper sandpaper funk roughage ("Legion") Never say goodbye...
Review: Many may know Seungyoung Lee AKA Mogwaa from his superb EPs and singles on Starwave, which sit somewhere between chillwave, boogie, proto-house and Italo-disco. There have been plenty of signs of his musical dexterity, though, and its' this side of his chameleon-like character that come to the fore on debut album "07307". While decidedly Balearic in vibe and tone, the album's nine instrumental soundscapes draw on a dizzying array of influences, from the synthesizer-based sounds he's known for to jazz, ambient, new age, dubbed-out synth-pop, Turkish style psychedelia and spaced-out movie soundtracks. In other words, it's a hugely enjoyable, atmospheric and alluring musical trip that surprises and delights at every turn.
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: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.
A Strong Move For Truth (feat Nadine Charles) (3:19)
Good Morning (feat Samii) (2:40)
Remini Dream (feat Ivana Santilli) (3:46)
I Don't Wanna Know (feat Obenewa) (3:21)
Unknown Faults (3:59)
Life Can Be Unreal (feat Sarina Leah) (3:26)
Too Much (feat Sharlene Hector) (1:58)
You Are Virgo (5:05)
Come Of Age (3:28)
Just Leave It (feat Lady Alma) (4:52)
Ogawa Okasan Said Just Play (4:45)
A Where Pringle Deh? (2:14)
My Standards Are (Not) Too High (8:40)
Review: In our eyes, 2000 Black lynchpin Dego can do no wrong. You'll therefore be unsurprised to hear that we're huge fans of the 4Hero founder member's latest solo album, a belated follow-up to 2015's "The More Things Stay The Same". It is, of course, superbly soulful, slicky produced and wonderfully paced, moving from the heady soul sweetness of "A Strong Move For Truth", to the deep jazz-funk/broken beat vibes of "My Standards Are (Not) Too High" via 12 other warm and seductive cuts of an equally high standard. Highlights include the summery bruk-soul bliss of "Remini Dream", the toasty boogie revivalism of "Unknown Faults" and the Clavinet-sporting brilliance of Lady Alma hook-up "Just Leave It".
Review: The hardest-working man in West London is back! By now we've become accustomed to Kaidi Tatham offering up regular doses of soul and jazz-funk-fired dancefloor goodness, but even by his high standards "You Find That I Got It" is something special. Warm, woozy, groovy and full of intricate musical details - brief synth solos, subtle orchestration and so on - the A-side title track is a wonderfully sunny slice of instrumental boogie-soul. Tatham's world-renowned keys playing comes to the fore on the organic broken beat/jazz-funk fusion of "Mjuvi", a flipside cut that's almost as good as the exceptional title track.
Review: 18 year-old Marvin Jupiter makes his bow on 2000 Black, serving up a track that effortlessly joins the dots between the bass-heavy weight of trap, indigenous South African rhythms, bustling West London broken beat and the synth-fired jazz-funk goodness of Herbie Hancock. The fact that such a young debutant is able to distill these influences into a brilliant, futurist house cut is, quite frankly, incredible. Dego and Lord's flipside revision is equally as tasty, too. Drawing on the track's bruk and jazz-funk inspirations while adding funky new Clavinet and guitar motifs, the West London stalwarts serve up a loose and groovy peak-time interpretation that should excite all those who like their beats broken and their basslines chunky.
Review: Blacks & Blues is a new name to 2000 Black, but the people behind the project are label stalwarts: Dego, Kaidi Tatham, Matt Lord (AKA Lordamercy) and vocalist Obenewa Aboah. With such talent on show, it's unsurprising that opener "Spin" - a cracking slab of broken-beat/soul fusion rich in military style drums, jazz-funk keys and summery vocals - is rather good. While dancefloor-friendly, the track feels loose, languid and tailor-made for outdoor parties. "Don't Know Why (Chant For Love)" is an even more lo-fi broken soul excursion (very Fatima), while "You Know The Feeling" recalls the jazz-funk-fired soulful club cuts of early 2000s broken beat heroes Bugz In The Attic.
Review: Tenderlonious' prolific explorations of contemporary jazz continue unabated with this new album from his supergroup, Ruby Rushton. With Mo Kolours and Yussef Dayes (formerly of Yussef Kamaal) amongst the highly skilled players in this ensemble, the quality spilling out of their fourth album need not be questioned. The band leader's signature flute stylings skip and twirl across the top of the music, with the overall brew striking that elusive but oh-so-sweet balance between loose, free-wheeling expression and rock solid groove. Fresh and satisfying at every turn, this is proof of why the modern jazz scene is so vibrant right now. Ruby Rushton can do no wrong!
Review: Given that he's been rather busy with 22a's jazz house band Ruby Rushton, it's quite a surprise to discover that Tenderlonious has found time to record another solo album, his first full-length solo effort for three years. It's a deep, woozy and atmospheric affair, with the storied Peckham producer flitting between jazz-funk-fuelled deep electro ("Buffalo Gurl"), lapsed lo-fi deep house ("Hard Rain", "Casey Jr"), blunted beats ("GU22"), sparkling ambient jazz ("Low Tide"), wonky futurist synthesizer grooves ("Another State Of Consciousness"), and cuts so deep, jazzy and off-kilter that they defy definition ("Aesop Thought", where his distinctive flute playing takes centre stage).
Review: We don't usually condone lying here at Juno, but when you tell seven of them across a beautiful nine track debut album, it's absolutely acceptable. Applaudable, even. Highlights across this deep, tightly woven bass adventure include the Portishead-style trippy dubtronica of "Comos Los Cerdos", the somnambulant drones and breathy washes of "Lies", the nagging techno loopery of "Dam" and the trembling graveyard soul of "Arcana".
Review: The third volume in 3024's "mini-compilation" series "FYE" is every bit as essential as its predecessors. Label chief Martyn sets the tone via superb EP opener "Recon", a bass-heavy chunk of polyrhythmic techno smothered in Motor City electronics and toaster-warm chords. NKC steps up next with the no-nonsense, percussion-heavy tribal house workout "Honest Drums", before Jacques Greene joins the dots between spacey '90s IDM, post-dubstep and electro on the aurally attractive "Say Nothing". Finally, Djoser rounds things off via the rumbling bass, layered tribal drums and looped, xylophone style melodies of "Wera".
Review: One year later, UVB-76's shadowy collective 4 6 2 5 strike again with two more unique startling schematics. Flexing across the tempo axis, "Sedition" leads with a fast 170 twist as hard pneumatic kicks cut through the dense foggy atmospherics before doubling up the momentum and taking unpredictable twists midway. "Crown Of Nails" maintains the hunchback pressure and that heavy foreboding sense synonymous with each member of the collective, but does so at a cool 105BPM pace giving space for each percussive element to ricochet around your purdy little pranged-out soul.
Review: It's fair to say that when The National release an album the Cincinnati originating supergroup garner the same type of attention that Radiohead once drew. With some futuristic production techniques creeping its way into the band's engineered sound, a new expressionism in the group's sound on "I Am Easy To Find" makes its way into the open, if only subtly. With the opening passages of "You Had Your Soul With You" sounding something like Battles' "Atlas", the music breaks down into a fanfare of traditional yet supercharged folk instrumentations; with drums, spoken word, strings in all their various forms, and the familiar smokey drawl of Matt Berninger's voice sitting snugly on top of subtle drum machines and synthesisers. Super ballads and sincerity.
Review: It's not hard to understand why people so often ignore album release blurb. Sales-y, hyperbolic, and on more than the odd occasion rather poorly written, it's hardly required reading in order to get the most out of the record. That is unless it's Big Thief's 'Two Hands', a collection of music that genuinely makes more sense when you know the back story. For one thing this long form offering is arriving just months after its predecessor, which is always either the sign of a band that don't need big ideas to facilitate rapid-fire output, or a band that have so many big ideas they literally can't stop the momentum. This is a case of the latter. Timescale aside, "Two Hands" genuinely feels as though it was born in the Badlands, epic songs that invoke endless vistas across barren settings in a way that makes you feel as small as you actually are in a global context. Like cosying up in a log cabin away from the chilly endless dark of a desert night.
Review: Although an outstanding pop artist, Hannah Rodger's music as Pixx sits well and truly in the alt-pop realm. Since surfacing in 2015 with Fall In - that was later followed up by her 2017 debut album Age Of Anxiety - she's continues her relationship with 4AD once more thanks to Small Mercies. This second LP sees the English artist collide future electronic pop and R&B genres with the grungy guitars and synth rock styles of yesteryear. And for this record, Pixx assumes a different persona than before, her label says, to introspectively examine the damage done by religion, gender-based power hierarchies and stereotypes. Our picks, "Disgrace" and the oh-so-grungey "Mary Magdalene".
Review: You can always rely on 5 Borough Breaks for some top shelf hip hop. The label's latest missive is a legendary one from O.C. - "Time's Up" is a rousing, hard hitting beat with an even tougher verse that rides on the booming kicks. It also samples Les DeMerle's "A Day In The Life" which just so happens to be pressed on the flip and yes, it is in fact a cover of The Beatles. Here though, it becomes a stirring big bang jazz cut that forms an impressive wall of retro sound that will inject realness and rawness into any party. Like always with this label, quantities are limited so move fast to get your fix.
Review: Steve Bicknell does not muck about on this one. The 25 year techno veteran is a UK mainstay but somehow often rather slips under the radar. Sure, he had a few years away from 2005 to 2013, but he has rarely made a misstep since for fans of hard, dense techno. After EPs on Ostgut Ton and highly touted collabs with Function and Luke Slater as LSD, he's back on his own 6dimensions with an EP that you may have already heard DJ Nobu and Jeff Mills playing in recent sets. Three of the cuts pack a visceral punch, with hammering drums and walls of sheet metal synths and frazzled percussion applying huge amounts of dance floor pressure. Our pick of the bunch: hypnotic and stripped back closer "Undue Identification".
Review: 7th Storey deliver the Globex goods once again as Tim Reaper recruits the label's usual motley lot for an en mass exploration of hardcore / jungle fusion. Each track untitled as standard, Dwarde joins the fray to bring the tension on their hunchbacked prang roller on "Track 1" and the velvet deep jungle sojourn that is "Track 3" while Mr Sensi tags in for the jungle techno, more four-beat oriented bulldozing on "Track 2". Finally, "Track 4" sees Dwarde, Reaper and Gand getting mucky in hardcore heaven. Play the corporate game!
Review: What's the Storey Globex glory? Usual suspects Reaper and Dwarde get back to the foundations once again for this awesome series of untitled tracks. Rough, heavy and authentic without any unnecessary dewy eyed nostalgia, each cut salutes and stings in equal measure; "Track 1" is pure jungle drumfunk, edits and chops galore, "Track 2" brings the floaty factor thanks to some beautiful pads and neat melodic frills on the fills, "Track 3" brings much more of a hardcore edge with those rolling kicks and crushed snares and a breakbeat/rewind-splashed massive boost up on the main groove, "Track 4" continues the 4x4 flavour and does so with some almighty transitions and sudden melodic layers, "Track 5" is the sound of you putting the needle down for another listen.
Money Boss Players & Large Professor - "Track 3" (3:52)
Serch - "Track 4" (0:37)
Non Phixion - "Track 5" (3:06)
Boot Camp Clik - "Track 6" (4:01)
Lord Finesse - "Track 7" (1:21)
Teflon & MOP9 - "Track 8" (2:05)
Outkast - "Track 9" (3:44)
Chino Xl - "Track 10" (2:05)
Mr Complex - "Track 11" (3:19)
Everlast & Divine Styler - "Track 12" (1:40)
Review: Freestyles are always fundamental to a rap artist's game. If you can drop a rhyme on the street and win over your hard-to-impress peers, then convincing music industry critics of your skills should be easy. Previously an unofficial release in 2004, this collection of freestyles arrives via US label 88HIPHOP, which was a B-Side TV network that produced and exchanged hip hop videos around the world. Dozens of MCs appeared on the live show and now recordings from the likes of Keith Murray, Serch, Mr Complex, Chino XL and many others all come together on a red hot collection.
Ahead Of Time (with Park Hye Jin - album mix) (6:59)
Study Of You (6:26)
Forever Alone (4:23)
Review: New York's Baltra follows up his well received debut album from 2016 with a new one named "Ted" in honour of his father who passed away unexpectedly during the writing process. Inevitably that lends the record an extra air of melancholy, even when the grooves are surging. Making a surprise appearance is South Korean artist Park Hye Jin on the busy melodic track "Ahead Of Time" with an intoxicating dreamy verse of her own. As is this artist's style, his crisp drum work is complemented with fizzing electronics and glowing harmonies that are almost impossibly bright and vivid. It makes for an album that really grabs your attention.
Review: After years spent offering up impressive blends of ambient, drone, electronica and experimental drum and bass as ASC, James Clements has decided to commit more time to Comit (sorry), an alternative project which first surfaced via a debut single in 2016. Here the San Diego-based Brit delivers a first full-length excursion under the alias. There's plenty to soothe and seduce on the eight tracks stretched across two slabs of wax, from the undulating, occasionally skittish beats and sweeping chord sequences of opener "Behind Dulled Eyes" and the icy, doom-laden electronic melancholy of "Reverie", to the early Black Dog Productions flex of "Clouded Over" and the dubbed-out, slow motion bliss of "Soft Focus".