Junior Fairplay - "End Of Love" (Roy Of The Ravers remix 2) (4:46)
Freeform Five - "Throwing Stones" (Jamie Paton remix) (7:23)
Red Axes - "Waiting For A Surprise" (Kris Baha remix) (7:21)
Bal5000 - "Kids" (7:26)
Review: (Emotional) Especial heralds its 30th release with a killer package from an all-star cast that takes in label regulars and newcomers alike. The vibe starts heated and heavy with modern acid champ Roy Of The Ravers taking a blunt instrument or two to Junior Fairplay's "End Of Love," firing off the kind of bludgeoning b-line and fizzing drums that makes his direct approach to the dancefloor so potent. It's somewhat surprising to see Freeform Five pop up on this 12", but Jamie Paton's remix of "Throwing Stones" sounds utterly natural in the habitat - a brooding, simmering trip shot through with noirish synths. Kris Baha gets busy with Red Axes' "Waiting For A Surprise," twisting out an exotic bubbler perfect for the low tempo chugging crowd, and then Bal5000 wraps things up with the gorgeous electro-disco delights of "Kids".
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".
Nick & Kev Set Controls For The Waning Moon (5:51)
Loneliest Animals Of Them All (4:52)
Disrecalling The Assassatoir (2:19)
Unfathomed Fathoms (6:35)
Tranquatic Slakes (3:57)
Extinct Song (8:24)
Review: Tucked away in a shed in Portland, Kevin Palmer continues to cultivate an unmistakable sound, grown around a seemingly untiring exploration of the machines that he works with. He has previously alluded to doing much of his production work in the small hours when his family are asleep. After over a dozen full length releases thus far, his newest one comes courtesy of Glasgow's 12th Isle and sees the Working Nights boss explore more introverted expressions in afterhours soul reflection on Enginetics & Plasmalterations. Mind the baffling titles, these jams are totally hot: from spooked-out minimal house jams like "Nick & Kev Set Controls For The Waning Moon" that treads the same territory as Lowtec or STL, to his idiosyncratic version of dub techno as heard on "Orbitiara or "Unfathomed Fathoms". Elsewhere there's noisy soundscapes, sublime ambience to knackered house - this one will cerianly to appeal to the insomniacs and loners out there and it's tremendous.
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".
Review: Harlem NYC based 13th Hour return with more music for the witching hour on their third release, after having previously shown off great grooves by Belgian Ricky Razu, Tbilisi's Hamatsuki and local lad M. Vaughan. This time round they have decided to focus on two select talents, with the A side being taken care of by Colombia's Felipe Gordon. He takes a break from the three-piece Mercury to deliver the Jazzmatazz inspired cut "I'll Become Blue" and the dusty, emotive deepness of "The Last Time I Saw You". On the flip, things start to heat up with Australian Loure (Apparel/Slothboogie Jamz) who serves up some sexy late mood lighting on "So Dive" and vocal-led cut "Club Shade".
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".
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.