Review: Joe Corti has had a breakthrough 12 months, with releases landing on Better Listen and his own China White. Bringing more of that sweet, disco tinged house music to the second volume on his label, Corti strikes a heady mood on "Move Your Seat" with a mixture of swirling Philly string samples and looped up elements that should set the dancefloor alight in that most tender of ways. "Think Twice" is on a similar tip, albeit with a choice run of dreamy trumpet coursing through the track. "Just You" has a slightly techier edge, but it's embellished with the kind of keys that will appeal to fans of Glenn Underground. Classy stuff from a rising talent.
Review: Without argument, Terror Danjah has been one of the most influential and respected producers in the grime scene since day one, and "Invasion" is his sixth album. Fully instrumental and loaded with ideas, samples and a myriad of musical twists and turns, this far excels any standard grime boundary and celebrates everything that's great about UK bass and beatmaking culture. Every beat has its own story; the soulful swoons on "Scene 1", the absolute gully daggers of "Snowfall", the wheezy eastern pipework of "TBC" and the dense, intense head-spin "After Dark". Total blueprint business and releases at a very poignant time. We wish Terror a speedy and full recovery.
Review: Hyperdub and Tectonic regular Walton finds himself on vital Munich label Ilian Tape for his next EP. The rhythmic innovator takes cues from the label's love of breakbeats in one track here. Opener "Before The Storm" is a suspensory bit of ambient with sustained pads and distant hits, crashes and pops speaking of alien life forms. "Rolla", a dusty and shadowy cut that skates along with a sense of uneasy menace. Last of all, "Depth Charge" is as it sounds: fathom deep bass lurches to and fro with machine gun like snares firing across the face of the track. It's boombing body music to make you move.
Review: Infuse is a vinyl only label for the heads, and Per Hammer is a dub techno don for those who know, so they make a fine pairing on this fresh new three tracker. Opener "Side Effects" has a muted synth sequence that is gorgeously dreamy above a slick dub techno groove. It's a simple but effective trance-inducer, while "Document Save" is a more visceral cut with prickly drums. The best might well be saved for last: "Remote Dubb" is a seductive, aqueous dub techno cut with shimmering pads and shuffling percussion that is high grade dancing dynamite.
Review: The mysterious NY Underground label and production team are keeping tight-lipped on their identity. What we do know is they love editing, dubbing and reworking Big Apple house and disco tunes and are good at it, too. Following a number of sold out EPs they come correct again with number 9. "New York Underground IX (part 1)" is a tense dance floor workout with acid prickles and flashes of synth that are perfect for strobe lit spaces. Part 2 then goes disco, with stomping drums you will likely recognise driving along some exotic synth lines and steamy vocal work. Top tools.
Review: There are no prizes for guessing the influences of this hand-stamped, screen printed 12" from illusive Dutch artist Proxyan given that its title, 313, is also the area code for Detroit. The mystery man channels those Motor Funk vibes through his own crystalline melodic filter and out the other side come three superbly evocative electro tunes. "Network 313" has a curious, inquisitive lead synth over slippery drums, while "Artificial Superstition" has a more doleful mood. "Human-Error Processor" is the crunchiest and most visceral of the lot, but the EP ends on the brain cleansing alien frequencies of Tracey's deft remix.
Review: Alex "Kiwi" Warren has barely put a foot wrong in recent times, with a superb DJ Rocca collaboration and some fine EPs on Disco Halal, Cin Cin and Paradise Palms. Here he adds another record label to the CV via a second outing on Needwant. In its original form, "Kiya" is a baggy, sunrise-ready house cut drive forwards by low-slung bass, chiming melodies, layered percussion, twinkling pianos and choice snatches of vocal apparently borrowed from an old African record. The "Rave Mix" is a more driving excursion smothered in intergalactic motifs and trance-like synth sounds, while the Brian Ring revision is looser, sparser and altogether more glassy-eyed. Warren rounds things off via the "Dreamscape Mix", a stunning ambient interpretation for those who like their sounds swirling and beat free.
Two Phase U - "Time Is Like Sand Through Your Fingers" (6:01)
Two Phase U - "Yolocreo" (8:01)
Review: Two Phase U has been busy recently and has a slew of releases out in the next few weeks, but first up is a split with relative newcomer Nemo Vachez for Opia. Every release on this label sells out in quick time, and for good reason: it deals in music that straddles a divide between house and techno, with elements of dub and breakbeat adding further vitality. Vachez's tech-funk opener sounds like classic Two Lone Swordsmen, while "Love From Jupiter" has infectious, fluttering metal snares and rugged bass. The flip features something you might describe as techno disco on "Time Is Like Sand Through Your Fingers", while "Yolocreo" is a blizzard of drums, toms, hits and restless melody that awakens your every sense.
Review: The celebrated Lady Starlight returns to Len Faki's Figure imprint to follow up last year's "Which One Of Us Is Me?". Her mentalist and barrelling techno expressions are on fine display again on 'W', featuring the frantic acid techno banger "AC1", the old school UK techno vibe of "GR16" with its hypnotic chord stabs and steely 909 rhythms that good friend Surgeon would have played at the legendary House Of God if it was released back in the day. On the flip, there couldn't be a better snapshot of 5AM at revered techno mecca Berghain via the strobe-lit peak time intensity of "Red 4" bringing this EP to an epic close.
Review: The force is strong in this electrifying new EP from DAED, who last appeared on this label in 2017 on a VA release. There are shades of IDM to his complex synths and melodies, while kinetic broken beat drum programming powers the tracks along. The mood is melancholic on "Aria" which is so frantic it feels like it might eat itself, "Voidal" has fizzing, icy textures that will tie you in knots before "H2FSBF6" really pulls of some impressive synth acrobatics. "Ephemeris" is the warp speed closer that tarps you in a gorgeous digital world.
Review: Butter Sessions latest must-check release comes courtesy of Melbourne-based rising star Furious Frank, whose recent EP on Paper-Cuts was particularly impressive. "Ahora Si" is similarly inspired, with the young Australian producer placing Ivy Barkakati's "Sueno Latino" style whispered vocal over a bold, alluring blend of jangling dream house pianos, rugged acid lines, sunrise-ready chords and loose-limbed analogue beats. He provides his own dream house style interpretation (the brilliant "Frank's Sunrise Mix") before inviting Ivan to give his take on the track. He adds some tribal percussion whilst retaining the cut's inherent dreaminess before Canadian producer D. Tiffany re-imagines "Ahora Si" as a bass-heavy chunk of UKG/breakbeat house fusion.
You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (Michael Gray remix) (7:33)
You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) (Michael Gray dub mix) (7:38)
Review: What more needs to be said about this timeless disco hit? A staple of DJ sets by everyone from Derrick May and Laurent Garnier to James Murphy, this Harvey Fuqua and Patrick Cowley production from 1979 is a truly timeless classic whose spirit still lives to this day on modern dancefloors. Here we are treated to a rework by Britain's undisputed king of funky house Michael Gray (Full Intention) on his Sultra label. With full respect to the original, Gray's rework injects some dancefloor dynamics for the modern sound system. You even get a bonus instrumental "Dub Mix" on the flip!
Review: Mint Condition's ear for essential reissues has struck gold time and time again. Next up in their spotlight is a 1996 EP from Two Full Minds that was first released by Bushwacka! & DJ Vorn. Whether the agelessness of this record is a testament to the producers' original vision or a sign that dance music doesn't evolve as much as it thinks is unclear, but what's certain is that these tracks bang. There's the impish cosmic synths and clacking breakbeats of the title track, the brilliantly named "I Hate Anthea Turner", which is a spaced out garage-tech kicker, and ecstasy rush of closer "Space Port" all ready to do damage on the floor.
Review: Sam Shepherd may have spent the last few years offering up off-kilter, jazz-fired grooves and heady ambient soundscapes, but he still knows how to rock a dancefloor. That much is proved by his first Floating Points single for almost two years. "LesAlpx (Extended)" is his most forthright, club-focused cut in ages - a thrusting chunk of rumbling, peak-time techno built around heavy bass, sweaty drums, twinkling electro piano motifs and raging, foreboding electronics. Shepherd teases in the most melodic, rush-inducing elements, introducing spacey synthesizers and dreamy chords midway through. It's breathtakingly good. Flipside "Coorabell" is similarly potent, with acid style electronics, warm chords and sun-kissed electronics wrapped around swinging, two-step influenced house beats and a weighty, sub-heavy bassline. In a word: essential.
Review: Emotional Response do a great service here to all lovers of braindance craving new fixes since Rephlex shut up shop. Brainwaltzera's debut EP Marzipan was a self-released concern that sold out quickly back in 2016, meeting with emotionally charged responses from those wanting to nab a copy. Now it's more widely available, the gorgeous lilt of bubbling 101 melodies and delicate drum machine patterns can spread their wings and bring some healing vibes to a broader audience of electronica devotees. Coming on with the sensitivity of Wisp and other contemporary braindancers, this is how comforting home listening beats should be done.
One More Round (86 House mix By Frankie Knuckles) (8:10)
Walkman (86 House mix By Brett Wilcots) (7:17)
Review: Best turn their attention to that sweet mid 80s spot when the petri dish of party music was shaken up between disco, boogie, Italo and the emergent house sound from Chicago. Claudio Simonetti was a titan of the Italian groove, but his monster jam as Kasso, "One More Round", reached the stratosphere when Windy City godfather Frankie Knuckles gave the track his Midas touch. No more justification is needed for this pressing, but don't overlook the flip which finds 80s remix supremo Brett Wilcots taking on "Walkman" and whipping up a boogie frenzy of the highest order.
Review: Kalita Records has thus far proved adept at sniffing out obscure, overlooked classics and reissuing them. Their latest "flip" is as rare, little known and hard-to-find as they come: a one-shot 1985 Caribbean boogie cut from Bahamian musicians Stirling March (now a minister and gospel singer) and bassist Rocky Rolle. "Under Cover Lover" is bright, breezy and sun-kissed, with jaunty synthesizer lead lines and hammered-out piano parts dancing above a tasty groove that fully showcases Rolle's boogie bass skills. Stirling March's lead vocal is superb too, with the Bahamian slickly delivering the loved-up lyrics with aplomb. The flipside "Instrumental" version is typical of New York style boogie dubs of the period, with more attention on the drums, bassline and ricocheting vocal snippets.