Review: Helena Hauff returns to her own Return To Disorder label after last year's joyously received "Qualm" album on Ninja Tune. It's the first fully solo record Hauff has released herself, and it more than lives up to expectation. "Catso" is a wonderfully expressive slice of noirish electro draped in vintage synth arps and twinkling leads as enchanting as they are spooky. "Why Look At Animals" has a more low down funk, but once again sports the richly harmonic synth hooks to make this appeal right across the board. "The Brush" ups the tempo, but keeps things sparse and moody, while "Slim Filter" gets a touch more nasty and sounds utterly fantastic with it. Compared to her rabid DJ sets, these productions represent the more measured side of Hauff, but they're no less deadly.
Lenny Fontana, Tension - "A Place Called Heaven" (Joey Negro dub Groove) (6:58)
Jay Denes, Ada Dyer - "You Make Me Whole" (Joey Negro Rhodes dub) (5:17)
Julian Sanza - "To Love" (5:16)
Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie, Andrea Mendez - "Bring Me Love" (Eventual dub) (6:56)
Review: Some serious no-nonsense house grooves for all true-school DJs to cop, dug out from the annals of club music history. Things kick off good and proper with Joey Negro's insanely powerful "Dub Groove" mix of Lenny Fontana's "A Place Called Heaven". Negro's on the buttons once again with the classic, pumping "Rhodes Dub" of "You Make Me Whole" by Jay Denes and Ada Dyer. On the flip, Julian Sanza drops the squelchy boogie inflected "To Love" before the record ends on a serious bang with the dream team of Frankie Knuckles, Satoshi Tomiie and Andrea Mendez's "Bring Me Love (Eventual Dub)". This is as actual house as actual house can get - the real deal, crystalised in four evergreen gems pressed on one handy record.
Review: After debuting his Pakzad moniker on Infiltrate last year, Justin Pak makes the leap to Burnski's Constant Sound with this assured set of electro workouts built for the modern age. "Timeless" is a snappy, vibrant cut with a serious amount of techno propulsion to match the crooked funk of the beats. "Clutch" has a more trippy, melodic twist, while "Correlation" hunkers down into a more backroom vibe as detailed as it is freaky. This is seriously executed electro from a fast-rising talent - nab a copy, drop it into a set and watch the bodies writhe.
The Funk District - "An Evening With El Diablo" (6:31)
Matt Hughes - "Get Down" (5:50)
Cody Currie - "Aquarian Girl" (5:17)
The Owl - "Funky Feelin" (4:12)
ED Wizard & Disco Double Dee - "Slippin" (4:22)
Review: More good value goodness from the Editorial label, one of the few re-edit focused outfits that manage to retain a high level of consistency. The Funk District kicks things off with a fine re-arrangement of an organ and electric piano-focused chunk of sweaty dancefloor soul ("An Evening With El Diablo"), before Matt Hughes gets busy with some elastic slap bass on flash-fried disco-funk revision "Get Down". Elsewhere, Label regulars Ed Wizard & Disco Double Dee dip the tempo on the slow and seductive "Slippin", the Owl stomps his way through the P-funk style heaviness of "Funky Feelin" and Cody Currie offers up a hazy sample-house cut rich in jazzy flourishes and warm electric piano chords.
Review: In 1976, French band Edition Speciale released their debut album, "Allee Des Tilleuls". While much of the album saw them explore progressive rock and jazz-rock territory, it did contain one suitably groovy and life-affirming trip into jazz-funk territory, surprise LP standout "Mr Business". Here that cut gets a single release for the very first time courtesy of the dusty-fingered diggers at Pepite. You'll find the little-known band's languid, Clavinet and synthesizer-heavy original version on side A, with Aroop Roy's tidy contemporary rework on the B. Aroop sticks a rocket up the track's bottom end, underpinning the original song with peak-time-ready drums while wisely emphasizing his own killer bassline and catchy vocals.
Review: Originally prolific in the late 90s and back with a renewed sense of vigour in the past few years, Dan Piu's classic, widescreen vision of hardware techno captures the verve of the original Detroit blueprint while bringing a fresh, welcome energy to the genre. This drop on Common Dreams brims with the same head-swirling magic, especially on vividly rendered lead track "Halo City". "Falling Framework" has a more mellow veneer, but there's still so much playful detail bringing the track to life. "Akira 2171" has an old-skool sci fi quality balanced out by its linear sense of progression, and "Ilipsyon" takes things deeper into a wistful jack reminiscent of the spookiest Trax output.
Review: When it comes to offering up tough, mind-altering techno, few are quite as capable as Amelie Lens. Further proof arrives via the Belgian's second EP of the year, a four-track collection of dark and intense club cuts on regular home Lenske. Check first the thrusting weightiness of "Helium", where psychedelic lead lines rise above booming bass, trance-inducing drums and intoxicated late night electronics, before admiring the armour-plated stomp of "Man Over Machine", where Lens utters key words over another slamming rhythm track. Elsewhere, "Little Robot" is a mind-altering chunk of spiraling techno-trance, while "Storm" channels the raged intensity of Laurent Garnier's "Crispy Bacon" and re-imagines it for the 21st century.
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.
Review: The Dessert Island Discs series continues with yet more arch remixes from across the disco and boogie spectrum. Bubbles The Pimp kicks off the A side with a tasteful treatment of Gil Scott Heron's "Winter In America," which gets rustled up into a sweet and sassy house number with a cheeky acid b-line underneath. Nelly Wilson whips up a storm on the tightly clipped, peak time-oriented "Trapped & Confused". Pierre Pressure's "Love & Beyond" takes it easy on the B side with plenty of fluttering synth wobbles to offset the choppy funk of the guitar - it's a cosmically enhanced floor burner to get you all astral under the collar.
Review: We were really impressed by "Invisibility Theory", the Sushitech released debut album from Christi Cons and Vlad Caia's Sideways Invisibility Theory project. This speedy follow-up for Half Baked Records (under the truncated SIT pseudonym) is rather good, too. Check first A-side "Spectral", a typically epic excursion where warm ambient chords, deep space electronics and glistening electric guitar motifs bob and weave around a chunky analogue bassline and locked-in tech-house drums. B-side opener "Owl Farm" is notably wonkier and weirder, with druggy drums, mind-altering electronics and the trademark glitch-laden shuffle we've come to expect from Romanian electronic music. That vibe is explored further on twisted closing cut "Animation", a particularly alien example of skewed tech-house funk.
Review: Cannon & Mirrorball may not be the disco edit scene's answer to moustache-sporting 1970s/80s comedy heroes Cannon and Ball, but they certainly serve up tracks that will put a big goofy smile on your face. Their latest Disco Bits adventure begins via "Black Rhythm Rap", a chunky, hip-hop friendly rework of an obscure, late 1970s disco-rap bomb rich in funky guitar licks, cut-glass strings and party-starting MC flows. On the flip they get even cheekier, placing Loleatta Holloway's incredible "Love Sensation" vocal over a stomping, Blaxploitation-era disco-funk backing track and all manner of familiar soul and funk samples. Purists will no doubt sneer, but they really shouldn't: this is tastefully produced disco heat of the highest order.
Review: Dinky-Di is a modern disco ensemble conducted by Waq Takahashi with just a few key releases spread out across the past 15 years. Now Million Dollar Disco main man Al Kent has cherry picked one of the hottest jams from their oeuvre and given it a special rub down - the kind of treatment that warrants a single-sided 12" no less. In Al's hands, 2005 track "Gold Wave" becomes a sizzling party monster that romps along for more than 10 minutes. With scintillating peaks, heavyweight drum breakdowns and sumptuous musicianship throughout, this is how an epic disco bomb should sound in 2019.
Review: This is proving to be a big breakthrough year for Kosh, a producer hailing from Casablanca in Morocco. After making a first appearance last year on Casa Voyager, he's returned to that label a second time before dropping the "Endless Quest" 12" on eudemonia. But now he's made a marked leap forward with this transmission on 20:20 Vision, where his incredibly well-read take on vintage electro sounds right at home. There is quality pouring from every corner of this record, but we recommend you make a beeline for the sumptuous "Vicious Love," an acid-laced burner with soul to match its snarl.
Review: The peeps behind the People Of Earth label claim that Rick Wade is on top form on their latest release. While that's undoubtedly true, the Detroiter has incredibly high standards and rarely puts out anything mediocre. The four tracks here are all deliciously deep and fluid, with the Fender Rhodes solos, meandering organ lines, warm bass and chunky beats of "Never Give Up" delivering just the right blend of instrumental goodness and dancefloor-ready weightiness. "Seen At Night" is an even deeper and hazier treat, while "Forever Alone" sees Wade wrap bongo-laden beats and eyes-closed electric piano chords around a ludicrously warm and heavy bassline. Solo-laden closing cut "Rooftop" is also superb - a proper sundown selection of the highest calibre.
Review: Moscow's Shanti Radio crew have really honed in on their own little music niche: deep, laced with trance tones, and emotive house. Tunes from this hotly anticipated EP by Volen Sentir has been doing the rounds in certain DJs sets for as much as six months. Highlights are plentiful throughout but the title track is arguably the standout. Languid piano chords dropped over soft, succulent, dubbed out drum rolls while tribal vocal chat bleeds in and out of focus to add to the hypnotic effect, and some sensitive xylophone sounds supporting an all-important melody line.
Review: These days we're accustomed to producers serving up deep, dreamy and life-affirming fusions of breakbeat, deep house and ambient techno. This wasn't so much the case when Ex-Terrestrial released his debut EP, "Paraworld" in 2016. As this surprise reissue proves, it remains one of the best EPs of its kind. There's much to admire throughout, from title track's bongo-laden, new age deep house warmth, to the seductive ambient bliss of "Dreams of Jupiter", which still reminds us of 2015's Slow Riffs 12" on Mood Hut. Arguably best of all, though, is "Blue Smoke", a brilliant fusion of pitched-down rave breakbeats and comforting, Pete Namlook style ambient chords.
Review: The sneaky scalpel fiends behind the Belpaese Edits imprint are back with more inspired reworks of obscure, little known and overlooked European - and mostly Italian - gems from the 1970s and '80s. First up is "Vieni Con Mi", a wonderfully overblown chunk of loose-limbed jazz-rock/disco-soul fusion blessed with breathy female vocals, mazy flutes, wah-wah guitars, heavy bass and drumming so wild it may well be capable of raising cadavers from their graves. Flipside "20 Secoli Di Favole" is similarly minded, if a little closer to Baldelli "cosmic rock" territory - all ragged rock riffs, manic female vocals, groovy bass and intergalactic analogue synthesizer lines.
Review: Icelandic label Lahar debuts with this highly impressive release from NonniMal, who was previously spotted dropping the classy "Freyja" 12" on AE Recordings back in 2016. Sound design is the order of the day on "Eitt" as a beautifully rendered set of percussive bell notes chime around a minimal rhythm section - a piece pointedly geared towards transcendence. "Tvo" has an intriguing slant to its groove, as the sharply oscillating synth wobble juts out against the grain of the drums. "Thrju" takes things in a bleak but captivating direction, while "Fjogur" cools the record down in a cloud of blissful, frostbitten ambience.
Review: Let's get one thing straight: Ravanelli Disco Club is exquisitely named. The output has proven just as tasty, too, and with Eben Rees at the buttons of this latest EP, you'll want to tuck in once more. He serves up a brace of breezy disco house tunes: opener "Bongo Boulevard" is a funk licked and perfectly carefree sort of tune you'd drop at sundown to hint at the fun to come, while "Dyfal Donc" gets more upbeat with an eco system of cosmic leads and pads dancing above well swung drums. Freerange man Jimpster provides a remix laden with wet claps and funk riffs, and Tech Support's rugged disco arps will make any floor take flight.
Review: Courtesy Of Balance is back right in time for kick your summer off in style by welcoming fellow French producer Gunnter, owner of Normandy Records. All three tracks have got that classic quality to them that'll please those deep and tech house afficionados. Naturally influenced by the golden age of the late 90's uk sound, Gunnter has digested it down to three to-the-point weapons, all endowed with the 3 sacred elements of proper tech house : jacking beats, wonky basslines and deep chords. The proof's in the pudding... drop the needle on the rekkid !
Review: Ben Sims' Hardgroove label presents a new 12" from emergent Brighton producer Charles Green. Hold on tight for a serious throwdown on opener "Rave No Name", which pits darkside hardcore piano chops against an insistent techno thump. This one aims squarely at the peak time for maximum devastation. "Musikbox" has a bold set of sizzling drums and some head-spinning synth stabs, while "Strange Leader" gets back into that noirish early 90s mood. "Routes" completes the package with a broader, space-minded outlook that hits just as hard as the preceding tracks. Classy stuff indeed.
Don't You Want My Love (Joe Claussell 1986 Reel To Reel edit) (8:54)
Don't You Want My Love (Cratebug More Love remix) (9:06)
Review: Defected's fabulous Glitterbox off-shoot has thankfully repressed these two fist pumping disco remixes of Debbie Jacobs' classic "Don't You Want My Love". Stepping up on the a-side is the master of the mix, EQer extraordinaire and founder of the legendary Body & Soul party, Joe Claussell. His remix is perfect for said New York party with its loose percussion, big string stabs and relentless disco drums. Cratebug strips things back to a more functional and contemporary club track that builds in layers, with subtle filters bringing the tension until finally he lets the groove drop, no doubt to devastating scenes on the dance floor.
Review: Eglo Records' 10th birthday celebrations are in full swing. They've already notched up a riotous birthday party that got rave reviews, and later in the year will release a brand new compilation of previously unheard treats. It's this collection that's being trailed here via Kieran "K15" Ifill's "Devotion", a dancefloor-focused chunk of soul-flecked broken beat that Ego co-founder Alexander Nut recently described as "music for the mind, body and soul". Over on the flip there's a vinyl-only exclusive in the shape of Ifill's remix of Patrick Gibin and Javonntte's recent jazz-funk fired soulful house workout "Cloud 9". Ifill opts for a heavy bruk-up flavour, wrapping soulful musical elements from the original around punchy, loose-limbed beats and speaker-bothering low-end pressure.
Review: Mr. Sunshine is a new production duo hailing from London, and they're not pulling any punches as they land on HOMAGE with nothing to lose and everything to prove. "U Don't Know Me" is a truly deadly tech house bomb laced with massive bass flex and choppy vocals flown in from the UK garage tradition. Justin Cudmore turns the original into an acid-laced thumper precision engineered for the peak time. On the B-side, "My Knife" brings more wobbly b-line badness to get the kids freaking, and then "God Chord" brings a more urgent techy jack revolving around a mean bass and refined synth lead.
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: A year on from their last deep dive into the unreleased archives of Dutch producer Erik "RX-101" Jong, Suction Records has re-opened the vaults and put together the artist's first ever full-length excursion. As with their previous archival RX-101 releases, all the material on "Dopamine" was recorded between 1997 and '99. It sees the little-known Dutch producer offer up a range of melodious and atmospheric IDM and ambient techno tracks that were massively influenced by the early-to-mid '90s output of Warp Records and the more meditative and luscious works of Richard D James as Aphex Twin and Polygon Window. It's a wonderfully emotive excursion all told; an impeccably produced and impressively sequenced set that should be considered a long lost classic of '90s electronica.
Review: Transhumanism is a collective of Dutch producers who first met on the dance-floor at Dave Clarke's Whip It party at Melkweg in Amsterdam, so that will give you a reliable indicator of their sound: it's brash, serrated electro that fires your synapses and awakens your every sense. Juan Atkins and Helena Hauff have been dropping it all summer and it's easy to see why. There is strobe lit action from Slaves Of Sinus, walls of high intensity sound from RXmode, rave tinged stuff from W1b0 and a more throwback jam from TFHats to round out a high impact EP.
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.
Review: While he's continued to offer up occasional singles, Bonn-based producer Dominik Eulberg has not released an album for eight years. It's for this reason that "Mannigfaltig", the former Traum Schallplatten regular's new set, is big news. Interestingly, it's nowhere near as club-focused as you'd perhaps expect, with Eulberg combining his usual glitchy, tech-house influenced beats and sounds with a range of intricate electronic motifs, sumptuous melodies and atmospheric aural textures. There are one or two club cuts, of course, but majority of the tracks bob along at a more sedate pace, with Eulberg offering up cuts that draw influence from IDM and hazy electronica. As a result, it may well be his most coherent and "listenable" album to date.