Review: As soon as the sun pops out, we tend to reach for exuberant, celebratory fare. Helpfully, there's plenty of that kind of sweaty, arms-aloft fare to be found on Dan Snaith's latest outing as Daphni. While his releases under the alias were once percussive and Afro-centric, this one comes with a big dollop of funk-fuelled goodness and more dancefloor weight than you can shake a stick at. Check, for example, the pots-and-pans percussion, soaring strings and low-slung bass of disco-sampling smasher "Romeo", the saucer-eyed rush of "Just", where another loved-up disco cut is smothered in loose-limbed carnival drumming, and the jazz-house-goes-breakbeat heaviness of "If". Best of all, though, is "Sizzling (Featuring Paradise)", a colossal chunk of pitched-up carnival disco-house full of ear-catching vocal refrains, rubbery bass and tropical horn blasts.
Review: The sixth volume in Toy Tonics occasional "Tonic Edits" series comes courtesy of label regulars COEO, a Munich-based duo who previously proved their edit credentials via a tasty 12" on Razor-N-Tape. This collection is arguably even better than its predecessor and sees them take their rusty scalpels to a quartet of Japanese disco-pop tracks from the 1980s. There's much to admire, from the sleazy electrofunk grooves, bold pianos and sparkling pianos of "Matchbox" (A2) and the slap-bass propelled boogie goodness of the Teena Marie-esque "Uber Man" (B1), to the freestyle influenced synth-pop bounce of cheery closing cut "Tibetan Dance". Arguably best of all, though, is lead cut "Japanese Woman", a bi-lingual disco song rich in rubbery bass, Chic style guitars and sparkling synthesizer flourishes.
Review: Having recently rounded off his Prolific Trilogy 009 series with a third and final collection of deep and groovy club cuts, Samuel Andre Madsen returns to action via a tightly wound two-tracker full of funk-fuelled grooves and rush-inducing moments. There's something wonderfully loose-limbed about flipside "Alright", a post two-step club cut rich in foreboding acid bass, looped spoken word samples, acid flashes and twisted tech-house electronics. It's good but nowhere near as life affirming as lead cut "Fury's Laughter", an acid bass-propelled peak-time stomper blessed with the most wide-eyed and spine-tingling breakdown we've heard this month. The clips alone are giving us chills, which is always a good sign.
Review: While their obscure disco and Balearic re-edits tend towards the warm and groovy, Psychemagik's original productions have been getting increasingly tough and druggy in tone. "Rattlesnake", a hypnotic chunk of club-ready psychedelic disco rich in wonky electronics, trippy riffs, mind-altering bass and locked-in drums, may well be their most intoxicating and hallucinatory track to date. The duo's out-there original mix is made even weirder - and arguably more alluring - by Magda on her "Blotter Traxion Remix", which sounds like a tripping hippie trying to simultaneously mix electro, tech-house and techno. Vyvyan provides the other rework, wrapping doom-laden electronics and fizzing acid lines around crispy disco drums.
Review: From Copenhagen with love. After two years of planning, tweaking and fine-tuning, Danish groove monkeys Kasper Marott and Alfredo92 are proud to present their new label Axces. Repping their local crew, the label represents a community of artists including this single's co-producers Carl Emil and Lauge. "Os To" (which translates to 'the two of us') is as cute as it sounds. Dreamy, cosy, unhurried. "Fest Pa Taget" (party on the roof) raises the psychedelic factor a little as unearthly bubbles and chimes spin 360 around a jaunty rolling percussive beat. The start of something exciting and fresh; everyone has access to Axces.
Review: Following 2017 and 2018 outings on Concrete Music and Bass Culture Records, French producer Leo Pol returns to the Iile imprint he founded in 2016. There's plenty to admire across the five included tracks, from the rubbery acid bass, sweaty drums and glassy-eyed melodic breakdowns of opener "626 Mafia", to the sturdy beats, hustling drum fills, filter-laden chords and sweet vocal samples of closing cut "Keep This Thing". Leo's collaboration with Max Ulis, "On My Face", is a thrillingly high-octane fusion of ghetto-house, techno and woozy New Jersey garage, while "FEM" is an acid-flecked chunk of sun-kissed deep house breeziness that sounds like it could have been made in Italy in 1992.
Review: In recent years, Detroit Swindle's outings away from their own Heist Recordings imprint have been few and far between, so it's nice to see them popping up on Will Saul's Aus Music imprint. He's done a good job A&R-wise, with all three tracks hitting the expected highs. The Dutch duo are in fine form with "Wado Baya", a rubbery chunk of hot-stepping Afro-house where bleeping electronic melodies and glassy-eyed chords rise above a snappy-but-bouncy groove. "Rhythm Girl Swing" sounds like a slipped and slightly skewed take on hypnotic mid-90s house - all trippy riffs and slowly rising filtered motifs - while "Vibrations" sees them join the dots between warm and woozy early '90s deep house and organ-rich New Jersey flavours.
Review: Norwegian producer Henning Severud AKA Telephones has decided to launch his own label. Fittingly, he handles the imprint's debut himself, dipping into his archive to serve up three tracks recorded at different times between 1998 and 2018. Our pick of a warm, colourful and loved-up bunch is "Aquatrak (FM AM Mix)", where jangling, Balearic house style piano riffs and dreamy chords splash around atop a chunky disco bassline and rolling drums. The quality threshold remains high throughout, though, with the '90s New Jersey-influenced deep house flex of "Amerikadegari (453-459 Mix)" and the late '80s Italian deep house vibes of "Hurricane (Purple Mix)" being almost equally as good.
Review: Berlin deep house heroes Cinthie and Stevn Aint Leavn are back on their ever reliable Beste Modus imprint for its ninth edition and they aren't messing around on this one. Quality classic house vibes all the way - a timeless Windy City vibe dominates the A side courtesy of Cinthie, who serves up the sultry and swing-fuelled late night groover "Everything I Say" before taking it back to '94 with the dusty and soulful "Good For You & Me". On the flip, Stevn Aint Leavn is in fine form, too, particularly on the moody and bass-driven back room dub "Quins".
Review: Somewhat poetically, Anthony Naples describes his third album, "Fog FM", as a "house music transmission filtered through fluorescent static, from a station out of place and time". You'll certainly find some blasts of evocative radio static dotted around the album - see the drowsy wooziness of ambient numbers "Channel 2" and "Channel 3", not to mention the pops and crackles wrapped around sub-heavy, stripped back peak-time workout "Unhygenix" - but the lasting impression is of a smartly-produced set of mostly club-ready cuts that subtly doff a cap to many sub-genres of house and techno. It's a superb set, too, with highlights including the wayward techno intensity of "Benefit", the "Brown Album"-era Orbital heaviness of "Purple Iris" and the tough, dubbed-out deep house headiness of "Lucys".
With More Love (Special edit instrumental version) (6:42)
Review: Originally released back in 2009 in its' epic 13-minute original form, "With More Love" remains one of Joaquin "Joe" Claussell's most endearing tracks - a gorgeous chunk of sun-kissed spiritual house rich in fluid piano solos, sunset-ready classical guitar solos, undulating bass, non-verbal vocal harmonies and the producer's bouncy Afro-Latin house beats. Happily, Clausell has decided to reissue the track, offering up two scaled-down versions that fit on one tidy seven-inch single. On the A-side you'll find the "Special 7" Edit", a six minute blast of ultra-positive dancefloor bliss that's about the most positive thing we've heard in ages. Turn to the flip for a previously unreleased instrumental take that strips the track back further, allowing the gorgeous piano solos and busy bass guitar more room to breathe.
Review: Whereas the first volume in Joaquin "Joe" Claussell's "Cosmicdelic Africa" series focused on sneaky re-edits by the Sacred Rhythm founder, this second instalment focuses on original productions "for the dancefloor and the head". In other words, Clausell has offered up DJ-friendly extended versions of some of his most cosmic, Afro-centric creations. There's much to enjoy throughout, from the psychedelic rock guitar solos, restless bass, layered Latin house rhythms and rainforest sounds of Cosmic Ritual's "Abraxas (Demo Sketch Mix)", to the piano sporting cosmic house positivity of Mampo's "Emarofo Tech (Extended Sketch Mix)", via the spaced-out electronics, hallucinatory synth lines and sparse drums of intoxicating downtempo workout "Mundo De Agua (Psyxchdelic Transfusion Mix)".
Review: Dream Diary is a label operating out of Brixton that has previously featured the likes of Afriqua, Tom Gillieron and Richie Littler on its roster, and now it's the turn of the head honcho Oslo Roma to serve up some more of that subversive four-to-the-floor business. "Mars Water" is an infectious minimal roller with bass that wraps itself around your cerebellum and pulls you in deeper, while "Bubbles" does the same but without any drums to buffet it along. "How Good Is The Party" is a more experimental affair that deals with off kilter rhythmic fragments and spaced out textures, leaving EP closer "Twotet" to drop a more immediate slice of electro on the situation.
Review: Ooft! has been plenty busy over the years, both as an artist and label manager, and so it seems crazy that it's taken up until now for him to release his debut album. Whatever the case, the wait for Intricacies Of Modern Life has been well worth it, as the FOTO Recordings main man lets his imagination run wild in all the most fruitful corners of the deep house spectrum. There are bombastic moments like "Proteus Maximus", low slung Balearic chuggery a la "DSRV", peppy Motor City-flavoured beatdowns like "Keep On Pushin" and plenty more besides. Favouring the heady, warm up mood over anything too peak time, this is a record to be savoured like a fine wine.
Review: Building a formidable reputation as an artist with a diverse set of approaches in the field of electronic music, Ukranian producer Cape Cod delivers his debut album on Kiev House in a fine display of musicianship. From the opening track "Among The Stars" (which features Constantine on vocal) it's clear that this will be more than a straight up collection of dancefloor tracks. There are indeed some upbeat house tracks to be enjoyed, not least on the razor sharp garage bumper "We Don't Have To", but there's also equal space given over to more introspective jams such as "Put U Down".
Review: Sudd Records has been going for some time as a digital-only label, but now they make the leap to vinyl with the help of Detroit champ Gari Romalis. "Abstraxx (Linear Mix)" kicks off the record in a heady fog of undulating pads, the smoke positively drifting out of the speaker cones over a simple, deep-as-you-like drum pattern. "Dark Ryda (Sunset Mix)" gets a little more funk in its rhythm, but the same mellow mood prevails, almost reaching dub techno levels in its atmospheric chord swells. "Heat (Bout That Life Mix)" takes things out of the darkness and into a lighter frame of mind, but Romalis is still firmly in the deep end of the deep house pool with this final cut on the record.
Review: Hailing from France but now based in Tokyo, Jazzy Couscous is a label that explores all kinds of sounds pivoting around the axis of jazz and deep house, but keeping things wide open for variety and experimentation. Following releases from Brawther, Klodio and more besides, it's time for a hefty various artists release that shows off a whole heap of talent. Matthieu Faubourg keeps thing pumping and Detroit-flavoured on "A Long Way", while Drezb smooths things out to a Chez Damier-influenced deep house groove. Pascal Viscardi gets things properly jacking on the deep-diving "Digital Illusion", and then the record closes out with the blissful ambient excursion of Midori featuring Victor Santoni's "Distance".
Woman For A Day (Clandestino Dessert Trance remix)
Review: We have been patiently waiting for Pele to crop up on a release from the footy mad Rothmans, and what a time to play that card! Rothmans is back once again with his Aussie teammate Dawn Again, supported by a first appearance from Leeds legends Clandestino. EP opener 'Cobblejam' is nothing short of first class, a worthy and chugging Italo powerhouse that leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. The B-side finds us with the strangely named 'Woman For A Day', though there's nothing strange about the track itself, a deep and dark cut that slowly drives forward into the abyss. Finishing off the record is an excellent remix from the lads over at Clandestino, their 'Dessert Trance' vibe brings the record together as sweetly as Pele brought together that 1970 World Cup Winning team.
Review: Joe Morris is back in action on Jacaranda Skies 8.02, exploring more of that balmy sound that Pleasure Unit love so dearly when having a good time down by the marina. This is how yacht rock would sound if it had got with the party program, not least on the illustrious "Jacaranda Skies". "The Lost Garden" is a more mysterious affair that trades in immersive atmospherics with a distinctly soundtracky feel. "Mangrove Dawn" is a sleepy affair that wraps around you like a perfectly timed silken scarf, and then "Skies Reprise" lets Morris sail back into those bountiful waters that gave us the lead track.
Review: The high grade, leftfield approach to house music Lyssna have set out as their MO continues in fine style on this new Colours series, starting with the Yellow EP and a strong cast of characters from the outer reaches. Riciar Ghir opens up proceedings with the tumbling deep house of "Cargo", making the keys dance with distinction and injection a subby rumble where it counts. Minimal Afrika follow that up with a percussive tryst entitled "Drakma Queen" that blossoms into a sumptuous ambient excursion. Robotalco takes a very different approach with some classically pumping sample-powered house music to shake feel-good fists to, and then Klubbhuset finishes up with an impassioned romp through peak time disco licks for the peak of the night.
I Can See It In My Dreams (Orgue Electronique remix) (6:04)
Review: The ever-impressive Organic Analogue returns with another crucial excursion into seductive hardware jams from the deeper end of the electronic gene pool. Marvis Dee is an alias for Dutch electro champ Jeremiah R, and finds the promising upstart on impeccable form. There's something seedy in the air on killer opening jam "Alpha", while "Dipper" makes no bones about its classic, Drexciya-informed electro intentions. "I Can See It In My Dreams" is a wistful trip into Chicago house territory, which Orgue Electronique dutifully remixes in his warm, effervescent manner. With "Intervention" and "Cygnus" taking a deeper direction it's a record with depth to match the other excellent releases on OA, and one of the strongest sleeve designs we've seen in some time.
Review: Having previously appeared alongside Tommi Vicari Jr on a 12" last year, Opto Mystics strike out on their own with this 12" for Italian powerhouse Vibraphone. New Horizon very much represents the new school approach with the long serving Italian house label, keeping that deep, melodic quality but embracing new rhythms, tones and approaches. "New Horizon" almost has an Akufen quality to it, while "Bucky Triangle" could easily transmit from the Motor City house scene. "M.I.Y.E." is a swirling blur of gorgeous synths, and "Suddent" finishes the EP off on a surprisingly experimental tip.
Review: KNLB first appeared with the Initialize 12" on Vibraphone in July of this year, and it's not taken them long to return with another slab of on-point, upfront house music loaded with flair and imagination. "Up Again" is a heavy, chugging and bumping jam that should inspire all manner of screwed up faces of appreciation on the floor, and then "Fog Machine Smell" simmers things down to a more measured house groove. "Half Life" brings a few more dubby elements into the mix, and then the club mix of "SIN" sends the record spinning off in a wonderfully dusty reverie of detuned pianos and late-hitting drums.
Review: Hold tight for a shocking, rare discovery from the dusty vaults of a forgotten 90s breakbeat house outfit's MiniDisc archives. The two tracks that make up the repertoire of the Two Bad Jews crew are steeped in the wistful optimism of the good old days - they just don't make them like this any more. "Holland Memory" rolls on a measured use of a break and a simple chord sequence that could melt on for days, plus there's space for the odd cheeky sample to remind you of the unpretentious era these tracks herald from. "Tony Hayers (dub)" meanwhile ups the DX7 funk with a rollicking house cut that would sit right with any true deep house head who wants a little UK attitude in their soul stew.
Review: Waxwing pops up on Re-Fix with a crafty, chopped up soulful house approach that will sit right with fans of Max Graef and Felix Lenferink. "Can You" is a summery jam with plenty of sliced and diced vocals and romantic sweeps of melody, while "LongFunk" gets a cheeky shuffle in the mix with splashy drum hits and nifty Rhodes stabs to get bodies popping uncontrollably. "Do It For 'Em" gets even twitchier in the edit, using all kinds of heavily funked up samples to create a killer groove. "Stand It" takes a more classic New Jersey approach without losing that instinct for crafty twirls and curls to spice the mix up.
Slipping Into Darkness (Vincent Floyd remix) (7:12)
As You Are (7:17)
As You Are (Nick Anthony Simoncino remix) (7:00)
Review: Vibraphone Records continues to deepen its contemporary repertoire by inviting Andrew Soul into the fold with a vocal contribution from house music legend Robert Owens. "Slipping Into Darkness" is a beautifully rendered deep house gem with expressive piano work, rubbery bass synth tones, but in some ways the minimalism of Vincent Floyd's remix gives Owens' vocals a chance to take centre stage. "As You Are" is a crooked, broken beat exploration on the fringes of deep house, and Owens' voice sounds resplendent in the more experimental surroundings before Nick Anthony Simoncino comes on board with a 90s flavoured, darkside remix of the highest order.
Review: The ever strong Tusk Wax empire continues apace with this assured slice of cosmic tinkering from the somewhat mysterious Pork & Tony, supposedly featuring Private Agenda. Who's responsible hardly matters - the jams are what counts, and they're impeccable slices of disco-informed boogie crafted with woozy nights and red lights in mind. "Rhythm Ride" is a seductive trip peppered with (presumably Agenda's) vocals, and "Luke's Summer" gets gently melancholic while thumping out a rugged machine beat. Jay Shepheard comes on board to remix "Luke's Summer" and does so in a measured, patiently paced manner. Coyote's take on "Rhythm Ride" dubs the whole thing out magnificently, pushing the track even further out of the stratosphere thanks to shimmering dub processing and a nagging acid line.
Review: Having served as a reliable source of heads down deep house, deep techno and other such electronic gems for a long time now, Michael Zucker finally steps up to Finale Sessions with his debut album, and it was worth the wait. He frames it as presenting his life story across eight tracks, leading in with the elegant, heads-down tech house roll of "40 Days" and the immersive ambience of downtempo jam "Choosing Sides." There are diversions into broken beat on "Tokyo Sunrise" and rawer drum sounds powering "Divine Power," but the vibe is consistent across the LP. Melodic, mellow machine soul positively pours out of this one.
Review: Is It Balearic? welcome Ilija Rudman back to the fold for the first time since the excellent True Colours album back in 2015, and the Croatian disco house mainstay sounds like he's on searing form. "Motions" is a luscious deep house jam with a throbbing low end, but made all the more powerful by the sultry vocal turn from Andre Espeut. Italo house veteran Don Carlos is a smart shout for two remixes, kicking off with the uplifting yet understated groove of the vocal version before spreading over the B side with the beatless but driving pulse of the ambient mix.
Review: Laroze is flying the flag for US inspired house music in France, wearing influences from Nu Groove to Mahogani Music on his sleeve and delivering that classic strain of deep house that never dulls with time. "Bring It Down" is a soul-stirring boost of energy fuelled on the hedonism of optimism of vintage 90s house, from the chords to the vocal hook. "Port De La Lune" does a damn fine job of looping up some feel-good disco licks, and "You Better Give Up" shows a different side to Laroze that feels as indebted to R&B and downtempo as house music. Kosme comes on board to do a remix of the track that reframes it as a rolling breakbeat number.
Review: Georgian producer Hamatsuki appeared on GASP last year with the Uncertain Loops cassette release, but makes his vinyl debut on this damn fine 12" for the recently minted Sensu label. "Remember" is a rich, undulating swirl of deep house laden with melancholic pads, while "Rett" sports a sunnier tone for its own arsenal of soft, rounded synth tones. DJ Sports comes on board for a remix of "Rett" that plays with said synths and creates springy, computer jazz melodic threads out of them. "Inexplainable Inner Sadness" completes the set with another trip into warm, Chicago-indebted house tones for the introspective dancer.
Review: Ilija Rudman is certainly a prolific artist, regularly appearing on labels like Is It Balearic? and running his own Imogen label to ensure he's always got an outlet for the classically informed grooves he does so well. Paradigma is his third studio album, and it finds the Croatian producer exploring all manner of moods both day time and nocturnal. At one moment you might be wistfully cruising down the sultry boulevards of "Temptations Trial", only to cosy up with the comely tones of "Creamfields" or the vibrant chords of "Elastica". By and large it's a downtempo affair for private reflection, steeped in 80s glamour and produced with a crystalline perfection to add that all-important glint to your life.