Pieces To Share (Kyle Hall & Steve Lehane mix) (3:14)
Nothing To Fear (4:00)
Review: Some ultra-limited business here from Kyle Hall, which remarkably marks his first release of 2019. The Detroiter is in fine form from the off, first peppering a hip-hop tempo "beatdown" groove with 8-bit sounds, jazz-funk synth doodles and rich Fender Rhodes motifs on "Rising" before breaking up the beats and channeling Kaidi Tatham/Dego on the warm and luscious "Full Play". Turn to the flip for the similarly inclined, loose and languid, analogue-heavy melodiousness of "Pieces To Share" and the delay-laden sunrise shimmer of "Nothing To Fear", a glistening and smile-inducing number that's almost overwhelmingly positive.
Review: Apart from a very limited under the radar release in 2015, it took Vincent Halliburton 13 years to deliver a follow-up to his 2002 debut single on Ferrispark "RM1x Files" (both records go for silly money). The Detroiter hasn't left it quite so long this time, with this alluring three-tracker appearing just four years after its predecessor. Clearly Halliburton believes in quality over quantity, because "Vibe Under A Different Frequency" is superb. Check first the swirling deep space chords, delay-laden vocal snippets and layered, Ron Trent style deep house percussion of the fittingly titled "On A Deep Groove", before gaping in awestruck wonder at the dreamy, deep and hypnotic "Going Away", which boasts some suitably breathy, out-there vocals from none other than Sade. He rounds things off in style via the groovy warmth and sun-kissed dancefloor positivity of "Go Down".
Review: Rory "Hammer" Hamilton has released on numerous labels since making his debut in 2015 - Optimo Music and Sulta Selects Secret Service included - but it seems like he reserves his best work for the imprint he's most associated with, Feel My Bicep. His latest EP for the Northern Irish outlet is certainly strong, with A-side "Parabola" offering an attractive, ear catching mixture of undulating neo-trance riffs, sustained sub-bass notes, relaxed machine beats and suitably psychedelic electronic effects. The same balance of rush-inducing melodic bliss, tactile synth bass and crispy drums comes to the fore on B-side opener "Panoptic", while closing cut "Entropy" is a slightly more psychedelic but no less melodic jaunt through big synth riffs, emotive chords and bustling drums.
Review: They may not have released many records, but samba/soul/jazz fusionists the Han Litz group have been mainstays of the Dutch scene for a decade. Here they return with a wonderfully breezy, samba-soaked collection of cuts that's remarkably their first ever outing on wax. The A-side begins with two warm, afternoon fresh tracks that sound like authentic Brazilian samba jams from the 1970s, before Litz and company indulge in a little flute-heavy jazz ("Preludia") and Afro-tinged broken beat/jazz fusion ("Yemaya Olodo"). Also impressive is closing cut "Epiphany", which has been transformed by Yoruba Soul man Osunlade into a sumptuous shuffle through deep house/samba fusion complete with Flamenco style Spanish guitar solos.
Review: Polyrhythm-loving dancefloor experimentalist Harmonious Thelonious is finally releasing a sequel to 2016's "International Dance Record", an album that remains amongst the prolific producer's most potent works. This is not an album, though, but rather an EP that boasts two previously unheard cuts and some fresh remixes of tracks featured on its' predecessor. Opener "Shark Dance" is exotic and Middle Eastern in outlook, with bleeping electronics and foreboding refrains riding a mixture of synthetic and acoustic percussive, while "Blinky" is a chugging, mind-altering affair that reminded us a little of the 1988 version of the KLF's "What Time Is Love?". Remix wise, Tolouse Low Trax goes bass-heavy and mind altering on his revision of "Rivera", before Jan Schulte's alter ego Wolf Muller turns "RFS" into a hallucinatory lo-fi drum jam.
Review: Marquis Hawkes lands on Bassiani sister label Horoom and duly nods to the label's cultural context by interpreting different Georgian myths. Opener "Zeskneli" spreads out over 10 minutes on the A side, holding down a tight and punchy groove, weaving understated surges of melody and displaced diva vocal over the top for a thoroughly moody end result. "Ukana Skneli" has a very different flavour that melds slices of boogie with loopy techno and a rugged old school house grind to create a surprisingly cohesive flow considering the diverse ingredients. "Qvesnkneli" has a pronounced funk to it, using swing in a low key way to create a head-soaking romper of the highest order.
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: Manuel Costela's Bucketround label has always moved at a mellow pace, so it's no surprise to see it casually slide back into view after a couple of years out. Tominori Hosoya is a fine choice to steer the return of the label - the producer has been busy in the past few years releasing high grade deep house on labels like Mixx Records and Minuendo. Opening with the airy, subliminal sound of "Nov.7.2010," it's clear Hosoya is more than comfortable in the corner of deep house inhabited by Fred P, Dubbyman et al. "Happy Sunshine" is equally mellow, although with a little more machine soul bite than its predecessor. Costela jumps on with a subtle re-rub of "Nov.7.2010" while Ney Faustini takes on "Happy Sunshine," reducing it to an atmospheric minimal house groove.
Coming To You (House N' HD Terry Hunter & Mike Dunn Soulfrica mix) (6:19)
Review: On vinyl here for the first time are four tracks by acclaimed soul songstress Jill Scott, remixed by house music veteran Terry Hunter. Originally released on his 4 T's Box Productions back in 2016, they were only available on digital for some time. Story has it that Scott's manager wanted to get proper remixes done from her 2015 opus "Woman" and they agreed that Hunter would be the best person to do it. Beginning with the super sexy funky house rework of "Can't Wait" before going deep and spiritual on the Afro-house vibe remix of "Lighthouse", the smooth late night romance on the "Chicago Remix" of "Prepared" and closing with fellow Chicagoan legend Mike Dunn under their House N' HD alias. Hunter is quoted as saying "it was a great remix package. It's an official one and I'm proud of that" - and rightfully so!
Ortella - "She's On Fire" (feat François A) (7:25)
Chocky - "Lower Synth" (5:21)
Rotty - "Secrets" (6:49)
Heat Alliance - "Got The Groove" (6:15)
Reece Johnson - "I Like The Way You" (5:50)
Lu York - "C'mon & Dance" (7:35)
Chris Fry - "Can't Stop" (6:08)
Andy Buchan - "Eighty Four" (6:06)
Review: 124 Recordings are always a safe bet for true school deep house business, and they're also dab hands at putting together killer compilations as evidenced with the "Levels EP" last year. They're back at it again with this crucial double pack, which kicks off in fine style with bright and bold vocal bumper "She's On Fire" (feat Francois A)" by Ortella. There's a deeper, trippier vibe to Chocky's "Lower Synth", while Rotty's "Secrets" chops the samples up and ramps the swing up to 11. Heat Alliance has a tough, freaky NYC touch on "Got The Groove," while Reece Johnson piles the organs on heavy on "I Like The Way You", and that's just half the set. A whole lot of house goodness to chew on, with every track purpose built for maximum dancefloor damage.
Review: St. Petersburg-based imprint Soviett is rather restrained when it comes to releasing music on wax, with this tidy EP marking only their third vinyl excursion in as many years. It is, though, packed with quietly impressive treats. Label co-founder Ivan Starzev kicks things off via the woozy melodies, dreamy chords and Pet Shop Boys circa "Behaviour" grooves of "Waiting", before Claes Rosen ups the tempo a little via the liquid deep house bounce of the undeniably picturesque "Cumulus". Over on side B, Hideo Kobayashi wraps warm and drowsy chords and trippy acid lines around a chunky, dub-fired deep house groove on "Perfect Perception", while Nightdrive joins the dots between analogue disco, razor-sharp synth pop and hazy deep house on tasty closing cut "Je T Aime".