Review: Jimmy Billingham's HOLOVR project has grown into something of an essential listen for us these days, and we're not shy to say that we think this guy is one of the few remaining artists who are truly at the 'outside' of the house music spectrum. Many attempt to sound loose, explorative and lo-fi, but this guy has just cracked the formula. After an excellent string of appearances for the likes of Opal Tapes and, more recently, House Of Traps' Firecracker Recordings stable, the artist joins Bristol's Happy Skull imprint with two supremely ethereal slices of kinetic electronic waves. "Melody 4 Your Mind" is not all ambience, however, and it's flurry of melodies are actually locked into a tight percussive roll thanks to those bass drums travelling way down below; it's an endlessly wondrous affair, and one with a distinctive capability to appeal across the dance world. On the B-side, things get wilder with "You Belong 2", a buzzing, acid-laden dance abstraction that takes the whole acid house strain to a new and untrodden sort of territory. Recommended!
Review: It's not all minimal techno in Romania, as the P-Balans crew ably demonstrate on this second release from local hero The Holy Fix. The synths come down thick and gloopy on "The Void" before "Slagwise" ramps up the horror tones with a perfect distillation of what makes a soundtrack pop off. This is nightmarish disco music in the vein of Maiovvi and the like, and it's delivered impeccably. There is a greater focus on club tones amongst the atmospheric FX on Tracks & Traps though, with "Quite Vicious" in particular conjuring up a thrilling, madcap romp through buffed up disco techno.
Review: P-Balans is a new imprint in the Future Nuggets emerging constellation. A tehnodelia ramification within the Bucharest electronic scene that will host rising names like Khidja and Borusiade while introducing new characters like The Holy Fix (Camil Dumitrescu, co-member of Delusion Men) and Utopus (Ion D, producer of Steaua de Mare, Raze de Soare, Anahore?ii among others) already featured on "Sounds on the Unheard from Romania vol. 2". Keeping the same strategies of fusion and diffusion as Future Nuggets, P-Balans will explore the space traversal to techno, entering and exiting the dark halls of the club through multiple doors.
Review: Peter Horrevorts once again kicks over the dancefloor as sound-vaporizer. He delivers with "Vaporize" a stunning two tracker of a timeless electronic masterpiece. "Vaporize Part 1" comes with a forward rolling bassline and a really big portion of lightness whereas "Vaporize Part 2" sounds more deep, with mysterious and moody elements, but also always warm-hearted.
Review: Leeds-based Released Records finally made their vinyl bow earlier this year via a fine 12" from Comfy Bella. For the follow-up, they've offered a wax debut to "fresh-faced" Berlin duo Horsemen. The young production pair suitably delivers, expertly forging jazzy broken beats with rubbery, techno style analogue bass, foreboding electronics and drowsy female vocals on tasty A-side "Unknown", before offering up a surprisingly jacking and percussive take on bass-heavy peak-time deep house ("Motor Jungle"). To round things off, Released regular Jorgie goes in on "Unknown", returning to base camp with a spacey, mid-tempo deep house revision rich in dreamy chords, spacey electronics and trippy acid lines.
Review: Magda, Troy Pierce and Marc Houle's occasional label Items & Things makes a welcome return, featuring four more superlative grooves from Marc Houle, Kasper, Thrill Cosby and Alexi Delano. The label was created as an outlet for the weird, experimental and beautiful sounds the trio often come across on their travels and "Spies & Lies" fits the bill perfectly, containing music that will stimulate, overwhelm and confound in equal measures.
Review: In their offshoot label's formative years, San Francisco sorts Honey Soundsystem largely stuck to offering up fairly experimental albums and cassette compilations. The recent release of Bezier's excellent "Mina (Everyone)" 12" seems to have signaled a newfound desire to release more obviously dancefloor-friendly material, albeit with obviously vintage influences. Jackie House's "Skydive" certainly fits into this category, offering a spacey, synth-wave influenced take on early Chicago house. It swings, jacks and pumps in all the right places, with the action focused around a killer bassline. Matrixxman delivers the flipside remix, turning the loose and cheery original into a dark storm of thunderous kick drums, woozy chords and late night techno intent.
Review: UK trip hop legend Howie B teaming up with the Jersey deep house don Jus Ed? You better believe it! According to Howie B himself, who proudly declared on his Facebook page "The theme is cinema. The mood is deep." Cinetrax Vol. 1 is the first part of three 12"s which will be presented for the project. The slow grinding electro pop of "Salty Dance" is something that you could have imagined Ryan Gosling cruising the streets of DTLA after midnight in Drive, while "The Breach" does have cinematic aspects about it, in a way, but sounds more like an early Robert Hood track on -8; we really liked this bleepy and cyclical excursion in minimalism. On the flip "The Essence Of New" fuels some exotic daydream fantasies with its chilled and atmospheric beats while "Phat Harp Ban" is a darkly aquatic smack electro number, that brings to mind that epic underwater bank heist in scene in Sexy Beast.
Review: HVL has landed on many different labels in recent years, but Rough House Rosie will always be something of a spiritual home for the adventurous deep electro and techno craftsman. Across the Hidden Valley EP he displays a fluid, instinctive approach to composition - "Enslaver" rolls out like a live jam but the detail and control embedded in the track is astounding. "Distom Spook" is charged with nervous acidic energy, while "Lemon Stealer" takes things in a more experimental direction with all manner of snaking synth voices wriggling around a crisp electro beat. "Crow Hill" finishes the EP off with a slow, rolling breakbeat groove and hazy pads for a quintessential B2 wind-down session.