Review: If you're new to the Alex Giannascoli's world then make yourself comfortable - chances are, like us, you'll be here for a while. There are so many tangents, threads and stylistic shifts of shape it's possible to dive into his back catalogue and spend years never getting bored. It's now far quicker to understand what we're talking about, though, thanks to his latest album. There are multiple personalities at play here than you'd think could be coherent, but coherent this record is. Opener "Walk Away" sounds like an overview of the whole thing - growing from desperate cry into a grandiose, captivating thing of real beauty via reversed-out backing track and looped lyrics. All very Beta Band. From there we're locked-in, through the shimmering melodies of "Taking" to "Sugar"'s deep, tense atmospheric crescendos and vocoders. Ending on the stunning brass-accented blues rock of "SugarHouse (Live)", it's as complete a record as you could ask for.
Review: Disco Fruit come correct once again with that bright and bold house sound to get everybody shaking their thing. 84Bit's "Mamma Jamma" is an impossibly catchy, diva-led funky house jam with pristine production that harks back to the glory days of radio-friendly house music with more hooks than a fishing tackle shop. Hotmood keeps the vibe of the original intact but edges a little more club-ready bite into the mix, master editor Dr Packer takes a subtle approach that keeps the disco vibes front and centre, while Tonbe cools things down with a filter riding version.
Review: It's been a while since we last heard from the Mellophonia label and its star attraction, A Vision Of Panorama, but now the producer known as Mikhail Khvasko is back with a new record that expands on the soft and silky Balearic house sound he established himself with across some wonderful EPs and 2016's "Aquafusion" album. The sun is still very much shining down on this new record, which leads in with the fittingly titled "Delicious Saw". Khvasko's whole sound is geared towards celebration of gorgeous synth tones, and so it goes here thanks to that seriously tasty sawtooth wave. "Lum" cools down the boogie bump of its predecessor for something more reflective, while "Euphoria" gets into an oh-so-sweet house funk that would sound at home on Strictly Jaz Unit. "Fourth" finishes the EP off with a seriously sticky bassline squelch and some effervescent piano lines - another melodic marvel on a record full of them.
Shakmat, But Happy (Pauli Psychdelic Breakfast - take 9) (9:25)
Review: German deep house stalwart Martin Gretschmann aka Acid Pauli is back on Ouie, the Berlin-based label he runs with Nico Stojan. This self-deprecatingly titled EP showcases Gretschmann's dancefloor prowess yet again. From the slinky and hypnotic locomotion of "Dancing In The Trunk" which deservedly takes over the entire A side, while B side cut "Goran Utan" goes deep into the afterhours with its shimmering melodies, humming bass and clipped rhythm patterns and rounds off with even more minimal and reduced aesthetics on the disorienting "Shakmat, But Happy" (Pauli Psychdelic Breakfast - Take 9)".
Review: Exploring the sounds emanating from South Asia, Masaala is a new label with a fresh outlook. The first release features Manchester-based producers Raheel Khan and Adesi turning in some powerful edits that will appeal to anyone seeking invigorating sounds from further afield. Khan's twist on "Mast Qalandar" sounds like a striking version of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's "Mustt Mustt". Adesi offers up the lions share of the edits though, channeling South Asian sounds through grooves ranging from the fierce disco stomp of "Sansani" to the low slung funk groove of "Nah Nah Nah". "Kammata" has a more dense rhythmic complexity at its heart, and "Kuchi Kuchi" collides traditional sounds with contemporary broken beat to brilliant effect.
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: The Advent made for a perfect addition to the formidable Thema catalogue, and now he's back with the second volume of his "Dorian Blue" series. There are plentiful loops to get creative with, but the fully-formed tracks have their own cyclical qualities to inspire technically-minded DJs. "Structures" is an urgent, tightly wound piledriver, while "Interactive Loop" and "Digitize" cuts both take a sprightly, Motor City-styled approach to electro. With loops derived from these classy tracks and more besides, there's a lot to get the creative juices flowing as well as bodies popping.
Review: Artificial Intelligence welcome Austrian duo Air K & Cephei back to the fold with this gorgeous four-tracker. Their first full EP for the label, they've delivered in all directions; "All You Know" is a vocal hurricane armed with an equally hair-raising bassline, "Smiles" is an introspective-yet-sensual piano-tickler while "Reflections" is a genuine cosmic crusade built with layers and textures that go on for days. Finally "My Way" closes the show with a nice bit of closure. With added touches from Concept & Shnek, it's a powerful orchestral piece with all the essential drama you need in a summer set. Epic.
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: 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.
Les Mondes Engloutis (Psychemagik main mix) (7:17)
Les Mondes Engloutis (Psychemagik 5am mix) (9:07)
Review: Martin Brodin's MB Disco imprint continues to deliver the good stuff, this time featuring two utterly essential Psychemagik mixes of Alico vs Cagri's "Les Mondes Engloutis". These mixes actually first surfaced on a digital-only release back in 2013, but now they've been buffed up for a full vinyl pressing, and rightly so. A side "Main Mix" is a full bodied, emotional banger with a lead drop to get crowds waving arms and singing along wholeheartedly. Our pick is the "5am Mix" on the flip though, where the synths take on a more shimmering nocturnal tone without losing that bright and bold character that will land this 12" in all manner of record bags this summer.
Review: Amato brings the kind of nasty electro business that fits right in on Helena Hauff's mighty Return To Disorder stable, and you know it's serious from the opening strains of the VHS noir monster "Escape From Grenoble 2018". "Hydraulic Funk" takes things slower, coming on like a freaky Frak flipside and sounding excellent for it. "Machine Outil" takes things in a more muscular direction that sounds built for bench presses and body jerks - the consummate peak time sledgehammer. Umwelt takes this sturdy starting point and demolishes it into a hailstorm of acid malevolence that'll melt your face clean off.
Review: Mark Ambrose brings his years of expertise in the deeper end of the techno spectrum to bear on this latest joint for Crayon, the label he founded way back in the mid 90s. "Destiny Angel" is a stomping, expansive cut with a cinematic lilt to its sound design and melodic progression - one for people to truly travel on. "Bleeps & Bits" is a more rugged workout that digs deep into intricate rhythm programming and FX processing to create a unique future-tribal flavour. "Just Tonight" keeps the beats dynamic and broken, but with a much hookier punch and some choice vocal snippets that should find favour with all kinds of DJs.
Review: Never too shy for irony, Australian rock band from Melbourne, Amyl and The Sniffers, are keeping the mullet cuts and beer spitting sound of the southern land's sound well alive. It's Rough Trade that have taken up Amyl and The Sniffers for their debut album recorded in Sheffield with Ross Orton towards the end of 2018. Six months on and the four piece are rattling the walls more than ever with a raucous ballyhoo of garage-punk that sees the band's ferocious Pouges-y mix of Irish drunkenness hit the wall with the Californian sounds of Pennywise and Australia's own Frenzal Rhomb. With thrashings of guitars, unique and raw Australianisms, and sweaty, smashing drums: Amyl and The Sniffers are popping off.
Review: Last spotted on Vakant, Detroit's man of mystery returns to D'Julz' Bass Culture after four years with three more rough, warm Motor City jams. "Castaway" takes off without so much as a compass. Heading towards the light with every added rhythmic element and cascading arpeggio, it drives into the horizon with equal measure of focus and looseness. "Doin It To Ya Baby" takes a subaquatic disco approach - the wide beats are wrapped in subtle slapbass twangs and dubby overlays while "Wara Coco" is a trippier twist into the shadows as raindrop textures trickle over a low and slow groove and incessant humanised loops. Remix-wise Orlando Voorn peppers the lead track with a little analogue funk and mild acid tweaking. After this castaway you'll never want to come home...