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: Brussels mandem Bredren get all arsonist with this scorching EP debut for Alix Perez's 1985. Four tracks, each one a flamer, we kick off with the forthright headbutt of "Inferno" where T Man holds court with savage bars. Deeper into the EP we hit their classic stripped back rolling sound on "Get Physical" before "Flick Knife" cuts straight to the chase with some sinewy, creepy low end flourishes. Last but not least "Undress" gets everyone naked with some beautiful light-at-end-of-tunnel barbed soul. Four out of four, Bredren are firing right now.
Review: Some 15 months after the first multi-artist "Folio" EP landed in stores, 1985 Music has dropped a sequel. It's another all-action affair, with all four cuts hitting home hard. Label founder Alix Perez kicks things off with "White Lies", a minimalist roller where metallic percussion hits and evocative soul vocals rise above a thoroughly filthy, wobble-powered bassline. Label favourites Submarine step up with sub-heavy hot-stepper "Grunge", before Scepticz and Lavance take things up a notch or two via the industrial strength distorted bass, mind-altering electronics and punchy beats of "Flatline". To round things off, Hyroglifics and Visages get together on the skewed but energy-packed creepiness of "Searching".
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.