Review: Italian edit maestro Luca "LTJ" Trevisi is nowhere near as prolific as he once was, making any new EP a cause for celebration. Here he delivers his first edit-focused outing of 2019, a four-track collection packed with playable cuts in his distinctive style. Trevisi starts in confident style via the flute-laden funk-soul bounce of "Your Dick Signature", before diving further into solo-laden mid-tempo funk territory on the metronomic "Feel The Gotha Funk". He ups the tempo and intensity on B-side opener "Its Unreal Love", a distinctive disco-funk number with urgent male lead vocals and a killer bassline, before treating us to a wealth of extended electric piano solos and skittish drum fills on killer closing cut "Take Me Writer".
Review: Third time's the charm. Low Bias parallel project Dream Cycle returns to the ever-comfortable Sneaker Social with the next part of their annual series. Once again it's a barrage of two-step delights ranging from dank and mystic to deep and dreamy. "Told You" kicks off proceedings on a serious London bumpy flex, all sassy vocal snippets and a steam roller sub line. "Long Time" follows and takes us down a much deeper, contemplative path that's almost Detroit in its mood with those lush pads and spirited piano lines. Deeper again we strike the more technoid twangs of "Sensa" before "Untitled Dream" closes the EP on the deepest, wooziest tip of the EP, all downbeat, trippy and far too addictive for its own good. The Cycle continues.
Review: The crew behind the Clut label has put together a fine debut EP here. It offers up a quartet of cuts from techno and electro producers renowned for the warm, melodious and emotive nature of their sound. To our ears, the best track comes from Riccardo Rizza, whose EP-closing "Mars" is a fine fusion of rolling tech-funk grooves, spacey chords and life-affirming, B12 style melodies. That said, John Shima's similarly-minded - and arguably even more positive - "Circulate" pushes it close, while Odracir's analogue bass-propelled bleep-out "Set" and Alec Falconer and Rob Amboule's wonderfully deep "Clarkspin" push it mighty close.
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: Having previously only appeared on WotNot Music in the past couple of years, K15 now slides over to Wild Oats to deliver a wholly appropriate slab of fluttering house romanticism rich in Detroit dreams and Chicago cheekiness, wherever the music might have been conceived. The cheekiness is no doubt most noticeable on "GWRH" with its homage to "Gypsy Woman", turning it into a fluttering Latino house jam, but before that comes the plush bump n rub of "The Story Of Her Life". "Insecurities" gets into a sexier kind of deep house funk, which "Gratitude" dutifully carries on until "Yellow" can round the record out with some largely beatless piano business.
Review: Diego Krause is a key part of the effervescing Berlin underground thanks to his work as a DJ, producer and co-founder of Beste Modus. Here he steps out on Mulen's 20th EP with three slick tracks that perfectly straddle the divide between deep house, tech and minimal. Opener "Apogee" gets busy on supple drum programming with all sorts of astral pads spiralling round the groove and a burrowing bassline brings the funk. "Dive" hits harder but is still detailed with deft synths, alien motifs and warped pads that make it so much more than a purely functional track and the lithe and elastic closer "Dominion" is simply irresistible.
Review: The name of the Space Drum Meditation label tells you everything about the sort of music they plan to release. After a well-received inaugural EP, the eponymous production duo behind the imprint (Eddie Ness and Liem, who have collaborated under their own names many times before) come correct with four more contemporary fusions of bass, breakbeat, techno and deep house that is best exemplified by the charming "Polar Peak". "Chatter" is a flurry of hits and jittery lines that will electrify any floor, then "Grapes" is a super slowed down and deep ambient day dream that resets the mood before "Dance Of The Snake" invites you into a sonic lava lamp and rhythmically inventive groove.
Review: It would be fair to say that Montreal duo Essaie Pas don't have a particularly positive view of our planet. "Earth, what a shithole," they moodily grumble on the title track from their latest EP on DFA, their first since the release of last year's "New Path" LP. The cut itself is perhaps not quite as dark as you'd expect, with its throbbing, dark Italo-style arpeggio bass and crunchy drum hits being peppered with sharp, trance style synthesizer motifs, bubbly electronic riffs and female vocals that add an extra frisson of positivity. Italian scene stalwart Marco Passarani delivers a flipside interpretation that brilliantly re-casts the cut as a Bobby Orlando style mid-1980s Hi-NRG club cut, while bonus track "Corps Etranger" is a pleasingly sparse, bubbly and alien-sounding chunk of intergalactic electro.
Review: Detroit producer Scott Grooves returns to his Modified Suede imprint with Bitter Sweet, following on from the jazz-driven Motor City funk of "The Journey". This 12" sees the underappreciated Grooves on typically excellent form; the title track offers a piece of dusty, subtle Detroit house, where fuzzy Rhodes piano are joined by jazzy string melodies and a mechanical groove in a similar manner to Kevin Reynolds' similarly slow burning "Liaisons", while "C Track" offers a sublime piece of rolling house whose urgent yet gentle piano chords are caught in a swell of bottom heavy bass and rattling hi-hats.
Review: Natural Midi has been one of the primary homes to Scott Grooves' tunes, easily the most underrated producer from the Detroit area, and he's back on his own label with four new beauties. Grooves has been churning out exquisite deep house bangers since the 90's, a very specific brand of dance music that incorporates everything from jazz, to disco and funk; his basslines are always warm and soothing, while his percussion is dusty and the synth lines musical. In an age where 'outsider' house rules, his grounded approach is always a breath of fresh air to us. The opener "Finished" is a funky house swinger choc-a-bloc with gorgeous claps and stuttering toms, and "Inspiration Sound" scratches the 4/4 off for a bit of broken trip-hop - a certified winner. On side B, "The Sauce" is moody, spaced-out and offers subtle keys, while "Nitty Gritty" slams out a dicing little percussion with a lo-fi feel. Absolutely terrific.
Review: Following up some great releases by Voiron and Betonkunst, Parisian label Nocta Numerica returns with PQ17, a Russian producer said to be returning from a long hiatus. He shows huge potential and an inexhaustible amount of energy on his vinyl debut, "Somnus Ambulo", where he provides some immaculate and majestic perspectives on the electro sound. From the sublime cyborg romanticism of "Organismus", futurist electro-bass noir of "Disambiguation" packing just the right amount of punch for the dancefloor to the evocative neon-lit drama of "I'm All Right", which takes a more synthpop oriented route akin to Visonia.
Review: Given the label's soulful roots, it's perhaps a little surprising to find Eglo championing a wild, wonky, machine-made EP full of angular electro, IDM, house and techno fusions from debutant Destiny71z. It's apparently the first of three EPs from the little-known producer, who used modular kit and dusty analogue gear to create his unpredictable but undoubtedly brilliant electronic workouts. We're particularly enjoying the zany Autechre-does-two-step-garage flex of "Softbeta" and the weighty, bass-powered crankiness of the artist's self-titled track ("Destiny71z"), but the jazzy, sun-bright breeziness of "Foodprogramvoltage" is also superb, and arguably more in keeping with Eglo's eclectic-but-soulful ethos. Either way, an eye-opening EP that's well worth checking.
Review: Nick Raphael and Steve Gilder were Sound Iration and in 1990 they turned out this essential bit of early roots. It was initially super limited with just 350 copies with the b-side left totally blank. Long out of print and hard to find, it now gets a crisp reissue on Old Hard Bread and still gets you where it matters: The title track has a snaking lead harmonica line that wanders to and fro and takes you with it while tumbling drums and percolating synths ripple out into infinity. B side "Etched" is a more echoey and spaced out, fatter and deeper cut.
Dennis Brown - "Blessed Are The Men (The Pill)" (6:33)
Junior Delgado - "Cry, Cry" (6:32)
Review: The influence of The Crown Prince of Reggae, as Bob Marley used to call him, still looms large over the genre 20 years after he passed. The latest reminder of his considerable talent comes from this gem Dennis made with Jux produced by Niney in 1977. "Blessed Are The Men (The Pill)" is unusually long for a dub track at over six minutes, but it sinks you into it throughout via the cuddly groove, sliding snares, hanging guitar twangs and buttery vocals. Flip over for Junior Delgado's "Cry, Cry", an impassioned anthem with plenty of blazing potential.
Review: London's Jah Fingers present former Heptones singer Naggo Morris and producer Niney The Observer on this latest one. The A side houses the gentle roots and lovers rock combo of "Jah Guide": a steamy, earthy, humid cut that pairs great rim shots with the aloof vocal work of Morris. Flip over for a busier cut by The Observer. "Give Her My Love" features a lead line that rings out with naive charm, taut drum hits and prickly percussion that will keep your limbs moving. A two sided gem.