Review: The boy Naples hooks up with Bankhead again for what looks and sounds like a sequel to last year's much loved El Portal 12" for The Trilogy Tapes. Apparently named in honour of the hospitable reception young Anthony received whilst playing a party in the Columbian town of Zipacon, this four track release opens with "Perron" which sounds like previous Naples hit "Busy Signal" hollowed out. From here, "Zipacon" feels like a real high point with fizzing, intricate drum patterns and a warbling pad line that really captivates. Flipside cut "More Problem" offers a undeniably booming interlude before Naples gets really bugged out on the excellent "Crazy Spirit".
Review: With releases on Deepermotions, Rush Hour and Hometaping is Killing Music, Dutch producer Simon Weiss has established a reputation for combining a deep understanding of dancefloor dynamics with a sci-fi inspired futurist aesthetic. Back in 2015, he delivered his first EP for Tom Trago's Voyage Direct. It was 'an impressively intergalactic affair, full of supersonic synthesizer arpeggio lines, Motor City influences and robotic drum machine hits.' Two years since, he is back with the fabulous You Want A Cigarette EP. The dirty retro acid of "Brain Fever" has that distinct glide of the little silver Roland box, accompanied by classic vocoder and neon lit synths. Not forgetting the title track, which nails that good 'ol fashion Underground Resistance styled hi-tech soul to convincing effect.
Review: When a 12" turns up with a Ron Trent rework on the A-side, we tend to take notice. In this instance, we were particularly curious to hear what the deep house legend had done to "Krumandey", one of the standout cuts from Highlife legend Ebo Taylor's recent album, Yen Ara. Predictably, his version is superb, brilliantly joining the dots between Taylor's soaring Afro-beat, rolling Afro-house and Trent's own sumptuous deep house electronics. Turn to the flipside for two fresh revisions of "Mumduey Mumduey": a jaunty, sunshine-friendly tweak by Japanese producer Natureboy Flako and a heavy Afro-disco version by Nick The Record rich in bowel-bothering sub-bass and spacey deep house chords.
Review: De Gama has previously proven to be a master of dancefloor-focused musical fusion, delivering a string of singles that gleefully mine a variety of rhythmic styles from around the World for inspiration (most notably the polyrhythms of Africa and South America). He's at it again here, with flipside "Mantekilla" brilliantly joining the dots between dusty, horn-heavy Afrobeat and rolling deep house. While impressive, it's A-side "Yebo" - a heavy chunk of house-tempo dancefloor dub with clear Afrobeat influences - that's really floating our boat. Either way, it's another predictably strong 12" from the experienced producer.
Review: Firecracker Recordings' Unthank label has been a decidedly intermittent concern since it's eye catching arrival back in 2010 with the Parris Mitchell mangling antics of Berlin dwelling Estonian producer Bakey USTL. It makes for somewhat poetic reading that the label's sixth release should usher in the return of a producer whose last apparent production credit was a contribution to the Fudge Fingas cut "Fidgety Friends" way back in 2007! Quite what the West Yorkshire based Denaji has been doing in the subsequent years is not clear, but your focus should be on his contributions here, with the Wuhti 10" quite sublime. The title track and "Dharma Dharma" are the sort of star gazing boogie and fizzing deep house that fit snugly into the overarching Firecracker sonic canon and do check the wondrous remix of "Wuhti" from Norwegian Sex Tags mastermind DJ Sotofett.
Review: Under the clever Even Tuell alias (say it quickly out loud if you don't get the gag), Paul Rollmann has been a valued member of the Workshop family since 2009. Here he returns to the Hardwax affiliated deep house imprint with his first release of any sort for almost five years. Rollmann is in fine form throughout, opening with an alluring combination of crunchy, off-kilter machine beats and Music From Memory style ambient melodies (the wonderfully melodious "Rise March Mellow") before opting for a dustier and more lo-fi sound on pastoral techno workout "Highway Daydreams". "Domingo Nap" is a wonderfully spaced-out journey into trippy ambient territory awashed with delay-laden electric guitar motifs and fuzzy sub-bass, while closing cut "Sharp & Shallow" is a defiantly left-of-centre romp through glassy-eyed electro.
Review: Over the last 12 months, Tom Harris AKA Hidden Spheres has proved to be one of the most adaptable producers in the deep house scene. He not only delivered plenty of tropical and dreamy fare via his Fruit Merchant imprint, but also got rough, raw and ragged via an acid and electro-influenced EP on Lobster UNDR. "Words Can't Explain" is another deft change of direction, with honey-voiced guest Oscar Jerome offering a superb soul vocal over a warm and woozy backing track rich in broken house drums, toasty synth bass, drowsy Rhodes chords and effortlessly jazzy guitar solos. It's superb, and one of Harris' best tracks to date. Also worth checking is the club-ready revision by Yu Su, which not only utilizes heavy sub bass but also some crunchy drum machine percussion.
Review: In 1996, Dreamscape's Ed Marshall donned a new alias, Aplomb, and delivered the first fruits of his new project to New Age House Records. Only one track was ever released on a limited label promo, "Wondering". World Building's Ari Goldman, who previously put out a compilation of Marshall's work as Dreamscape, is a fan and has decided to rescue it from obscurity via this single-sided 12". The track itself is hard to accurately pigeonhole, combining as it does dense, carnival style drums, female scat vocals, warm bass, dreamy deep house chords and synthesizer flourishes reminiscent of early '80s jazz-funk. Either way, it's a sunny and groovy chunk of obscure house positivity that's well worth a place in your collection.
Review: Hodini is back on the ever reliable Wolf Music for his second EP. The Cologne-based DJ also moonlights as one of Germany's leading underground hip hop producers under the alias HulkHodn, therefore he brings elements from this background into this unique five tracker. In "WOLFEP 053", he dusts off long forgotten cuts, all sampled with that MPC chopped graininess and blending lo-fi vocal sound bites with deft jazz loops to give a distinct, textured edge to his work. From the dusty late night deepness of "Velved Groove", to the slo-mo Moodymann vibes of "Special Shout Out" and the lo-slung, jazzy kinda somethin' that is "Where's The Wine", Hodini delivers smokey deep house music with an undeniably urban flavour.
Review: Dortmund based producer Mr. Fries returns to Wolf Music for his third outing for the London label, with yet more sample heavy/MPC saturated cuts that follows up a terrific EP on Philpot. WOLFEP 045 opens with the sexy late night mood lighting of "Nocturnal" with its creamy Rhodes melody and dusty drums, the funky "Work" and its bass driven/Moodymann influenced groove, and the sunny open-air deepness of "Getright" which you could imagine hearing at a outdoor party on a summer Sunday in Berlin. Speaking of which, the fine EP closes out in blissed-out style with the very Money $ex/Tartelet sounding urban blues of "Thesimplethings" nailing that deep sound of the German capital.
Review: Killer new LP length project from the man that is Gifted & Blessed! Although Gabriel Reyes-Whittaker has been producing his soul-filled machine music under a number of aliases since 2004, most notably as Gifted & Blessed, the past year has seen him break out with releases for high profile labels like All City, Eglo and Wild Oats, with his release for the latter providing one of the most memorable bespoke vinyl releases of recent times. However, its his own eponymous label that has been the primary home for most of the producer's recent work, with the 3 Aspects of One EP providing the most recent example. One of this year's most appropriately named LPs, Within These Machines is by no means the LA resident' s first album but it does see him expand his style somewhat with typically excellent results. There are more overtly house and techno moments here for example, though tracks like the gurgling "Tesla's Notebook" and restless "Rain Dance" are as experimentally minded as ever.
Review: Oooh! Angie Stone's "Wish I Didn't Miss You" definitely belongs in the canon of all time modern soul classics. Taken from her 2001 second album Mahogany Soul, the Swizz Beats produced track made optimum usage of an O' Jays sample and was instrumental in that LP going gold and propelling the former D'Angelo collaborator to stardom. It also inspired countless official and under the counter remixes with Blaze's perhaps the most recognisable. So yes this reissue on 7" from Outta Sight is worthy if you don't have the original in your collection and features a housed up remix from Hex Hector on the flip.
Review: Omar S is clearly having fun this year - the subtle euphoria of "Here's Your Trance Now Dance" was followed by a new studio album, released recently with about six days notice - and now he's popped up with a new 12" featuring Colonel Abrams on FXHE. The legendary urban crooner turns in a typically soulful vocal turn on "Who Wrote The Rules Of Love", which comes in three versions: two R&B mixes (short and long) and a remix from Shadow Ray. It's the Shadow Ray tweak that will turn on the house heads, with a beefy acid line and chopped up vocals forming the backbone of the arrangement. Those who get in quick can grab the lovely coloured vinyl version!
Review: Omar S' FXHE stable has become synonymous with trend-setting house and techno over the last ten years. Moreover, each time Alex O Smith brings about a new name to the FXHE dynasty it's always exciting news - last time around OB Ignitt was introduced to us in fine style through his Star Wars-themed brand of raw-schooled house. John FM's "Where My Roots Lie" is similarly spacey and freaked out, synth-heavy and filled to the brim with intricate Roland percussion. On the B-side, "White Churches Be Like" is the ticket, where a broken beat arrangement is diced and shredded by ice-cold snares; but "Solace" is the unexpected track on here, a slow and funked-out r&b monster in true FXHE style. Another solid missile.
Review: Reno Ka first appeared alongside the Prince of Chicago house, Terrence Parker, on the mighty Planet E back in 2013 and, although we only heard her vocal talents on the particular EP, we knew that we'd somehow see her soon again. Here she is on the sixth outing from Music and Power with "Where Is The Love?", a smooth and silky house warmer that hangs in the balance between soulful and classic Chicago beatdown; it's one of those for the lovers, and a track that can be appreciated by both DJs and straight-up Saturday evening dancers. There's a dub version on the flipside where, of course, the vocals are stripped back to give more room to the sonics, a gentle sway of cooling synths and echoing flurries of harmonics. A wonderful EP that sits just right with us.
When You Love Someone (Groove instrumental) (7:55)
When You Love Someone (The Reconstruction mix) (8:18)
Review: The latest on-point reissue from Italy's Groovin' label takes us back to 1993, and the Peter Daou/Danny Tenaglia-produced debut single from vocalist Daphne Rubin-Vega. It's a far breezier, groovier and sweeter record than many of Tenaglia's later productions (which tended towards the muscular), with Rubin-Vega's quietly soulful vocal seemingly drifting across a backing track rich in warm chords and baggy, breakbeat-driven house grooves. All of the various mixes hit the spot, with the trippy, dub-style Reconstruction Mix, vibraphone-laden Groove Instrumental and low-slung Never Do Dub standing out. The Acapella Reprise, which features rich chords and vocal snippets, is also rather good.