Review: Ron Wilson's 777 serves up more raw and rusty house jams on a new various artists sampler entitled Internal Affairs: this is serious! On the A side is newcomer Brighton with "Tesla" (Leaves Remix), while Frankfurt's Orson Wells gives us "Ratio" where Saarbruckens finest: Roger 23 gets on the remix and delivers a lush deep acid rendition this side of Tin Man. On the flip, Leaves returns with the impressive "Third Floor" getting an awesome remix by Pablo Mateo; working those drum computers to impressive effect as always. Finally, Orson Wells stays on too; working the nightshift on his remix for Glyn's "Kevin Lomax" and giving it a lo-fi, neon lit makeover that will appeal to retroverts dancing well into the morning at Robert Johnson next Sunday morning.
Review: Miles Sagnia's British bastion of deepness, AER, returns with the LIFE EP, which sees the label foray into fresh territory. Tokyo's Tomi Chair opens proceedings with a sharp piece of deep techno called "Sunstroke" which is as uplifting as it is tough. Si Tappenden appears next under the newly established Ourra alias, contributing the dawn acid driver "Marine Morning" which is an inspired piece of dancefloor poetry. Finally rounding off the Ep is Miles Sagnia's 'Elements'. After years of experience as one of the UK's finest underground DJs, Sagnia is on point once again. A beautifully emotive track, that pulls on the heart strings and exhibits a serene gentility that works alongside the rhythm.
Obsolete Music Technology - "High Top Fade" (6:32)
Specter - "Butters Whipped" (6:02)
Isoke - "Soul Glo" (3:10)
Damon Lamar - "Bermuda Triangle" (7:02)
Chicago Skyway - "Edged Out" (6:04)
Review: Perpetual Rhythms is already well-regarded as a bastion of quality amongst contemporary Chicago house labels, and now they've downright sealed the deal with this mammoth compilation from a stellar cast of local cats. There's too many to all list in detail here, so focusing on the highlights, Dcee leads things in with the tumbling cosmic jazz leanings of "Suavecito," Hakim Murphy teases with a spacious and daring exploration in the liminal zone between ambient and house, and Obsolete Music Technology gets invigorating with the bouncy "High Top Fade." Those tracks alone are enough to deserve your hard earned, but there's reams of other excellent forward-facing Windy City jams to sink your teeth into.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Gravity Graffiti has been doing great things with its series of split 12"s already, but now the Italian label goes one better for its tenth release with this mighty double pack of heavy hitters. First up is the ever-untouchable Yoshinori Hayashi, who gets as straight up as he possibly could with the freaky house burner "Dissociative." Telephones is feeling particularly dubbed out and groovy on "Kalimbalimbo", while DB.Source and Riccardo Schiro take things strung out and textural on "Montevago". Dynamo Dreesen is in rave mode for the pepped up and delightfully weird "Reactivate", leaving the final side to Oyvind Morken & Kaman Leung's chugging "Tunnel Visjon" and the rubbery side swipes of Acidboychair's "The End (At Any Speed)".
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: Glasgow's Ooft! continues the FOTO-X series on his label with a sure shot 12" that presents two tracks sure to nestle their way into all manner of on-point record bags for many moons to come. First up is iLO who plays the long game with a yearning and burning slice of deep house that starts out stripped and subtle before blossoming into a fully-fledged vocal delight. Ooft! takes care of the B-side with a boogie-tasting get down entitled "Howard's Way" which will get heads nodding and bodies popping to a bassline that calls to mind Evelyn King's much loved "I'm In Love" low end destroyer.
Review: Having set out their stall via a fine first collaborative release on Bordello a Parigi a couple of months back, Mytron and Ofofo pitch up on Multi-Culti. As you'd expect from a label with such a strong track record of multi-cultural musical fusion, much of the EP defies easy categorization. Sure, you'll find a chunk of Italo-influenced electro ("Non-Binary Joys on the Venus Holodeck") and a couple of slabs of madcap disco-funk fusion ("Si Jambo" and "2Tac Onana"), but also a heavyweight slab of low-slung punk-funk/post disco ("Czary Mary"). Oh, and the skewed electro-funk-meets-intergalactic synth pop insanity of "Something for Your Mind", which also boasts some notably brain-melting vocoder action. More, please!
Review: The main track here shows a slightly different facette of Omar S. Thirteen/Two/Eight, released on FXHE, has a handclapping, twitching beat with a quirky lively synth melody, classic italo disco and early 80 boogie sounds from a Detroit point of view. A vivid techno track and a darker ambient outing keep the quality high.
Review: FXHE remain in outer orbit following that stellar Triangulum Australe 12" from Omar S, presenting their final transmission of a superb year in the shape of Oh Jabba, two tracks of stargazing house music from O B Ignitt. Last seen collaborating with Omar S on the dedication to Eddie Murphy's finest acting role, the impression that Ignitt likes his cinema is only strengthened here on the Star Wars referencing lead track with some deliciously lo fi art work of that slug like character on the inner label dispelling any possible doubt. The track itself is a wonderfully simple yet melodic house track, crunchy drum machine rhythms rippling away feverishly beneath a calming array of swooping Rhodes and Moog flourishes. Complementing this, "Space Age Stepping" is a more searching affair, relying more on the rugged drums and gurgling analogue bassline to achieve lift off.
Review: FXHE return with the master of the mysterious OB Ignitt! Arriving roughly a year on from the last slab of Ignitt goodness, Mysterious finds OB on imperious form, once more showing off his penchant for excellent track titles and singular slant on bumping Detroit business. The title track is a veritable epic of unquantifiable emotive stakes, emerging from a heat treated fog and easing into a subtle yet beguiling rhythmic framework which coaxes you into a spell that grows stronger as the track charges electrically forth. Face down, "Celestial Salacious" has that same rough edged bass line growl to it, but the skipping percussion and building layers of instrumentation give the track real energy, whilst you can almost feel the funk dripping off final track "Chocolate City" which sounds like DJ Nature hocked up on MDMA.
Review: Detroit bad man OB IGNITT returns to our charts with a two-tracker for his own OBONIT imprint, and the producer is joined by fellow Detroit producer Brian Kage - a man who has been churning out badness on the low-key since about 2004, and who has already appeared alongside Omar-S on FXHE. The newly formed duo kick off with "On The Run", a light and bumpy house attack with plenty of samples, blazing melodies, and an altogether 'upper tone' approach. On the flip, Ignitt comes through solo with "All We Do", a piano-led house charmer with a hefty level of kicks and bass, Detroit styleee!
Review: It's been a hot minute since we heard something new from Och, but he's back on Autoreply with a double 12" of high-grade, stripped back tech house shot through with oodles of imagination. "Panamax" is the consummate dubby house track, a true immersion chamber of a track, while "The Sadness" brings a shuffling groove and some peppy key stabs to the table. "The Healer" is a more overtly minimal affair that would sound at home on PAL SL, while "Linear Response Function" keeps things tight and focused with a sturdy rhythmic framework and some spartan piano notes. "Incompressible Flow" has a submerged jazzy undercurrent to it, and "Lovers Roll" gets into that freaky house bounce heard on "The Sadness". Overall, it's another sterling grip of refined tracks from a seasoned pro.
Review: Fred Everything's Lazy Days label is always one for summery sounds, and they've got that in abundance from Parages label regular OJPB. The vibe on "Lucy's Stomp" is insanely upbeat, all cheery funk licks with a little French psychedelia draped over the top. "Mis A Part Et Fini" has a more dreamy outlook with its sky-reaching lead synths and hazy strings. Fred Everything dives in on "Bridgetown's Pyramid" and makes it into a sizzling bongo-powered groover, bringing out the warm ingredients in OJPB's original and matching it with his instinct for a sustained dancefloor atmosphere.
Review: OK EG appears from out of nowhere in a haze of the mellowest ambient techno and downtempo delights for your mind to melt into. "Creek" is a smooth but strident route in, the tidal lilt of the pads dissected by a finely paced beat loop that should find a comfortable home amongst deepest house heads. "Colours" does away with the drums and uses a plaintive sprinkling of keys and delays to create an evocative backdrop for fragile females vocals. "Reef I & II" is the clubbier cut, rolling out over the B side with a looming monosynth bassline and some dub techno inflections making it a smart choice for warm up scenarios especially.
Review: A collection of dance tracks inspired by some well-known / lesser known songs from various music eras of the past - ranging from American soul to UK jazz-funk and early rave scene. Guess what, these are not re-edits. These are more than just reworks. The tracks can be considered stand-alone new versions or remixes that were never out. Just put the needle on the record and try to guess... Guess What!
Review: It's not often that you get to see Alan Oldham stepping out under his own name. The legendary Detroit artist is more commonly spotted as DJ T-1000 (or designing iconic artwork for techno labels) but this time around he's sharing some more house-minded delights for Finale Sessions. "Don't Take Me" is a haunting, mystical slice of deep house that fits into the Finale narrative perfectly, while "Wild" too offers up a distinctive approach that manages to be both refined and yet imbued with that Detroit roughness. "Breathe" may well be the best jam on the record, dealing in subtle threads of melody that conjure up the perfect dubby 4/4 confection.
Review: The late nite stepper, the strut in the stuff that leaves you wanting more. That goodnight kiss, that early morning mist. Mystery producer Olmos steps to the plate for his debut 12" on Hot Shot Sounds, boogie funk vibes paired with modern nods to house- stomping OG mix backed with remixes from label boss Inkswel and Faces & McDE maestro Pablo Valentino.
Review: FXHE has been brimming with activity in recent times, with a steadfast flurry of singles refusing to let the quality drop, and now the big bossman delivers another two slices of finely cured business in his inimitable style. The lead track is an arresting piece with just a kick to drive proceedings, leaving ample room for a haunting array of bleeps and a 'speak & spell' vocal until the track slowly ramps up with some more prominent drum programming. "Mayall II" on the flip is a less tense affair, with a cheery string refrain and old school jack-in-the-box beats disseminated in a plain and simple fashion.
Review: Despite having already released a 16 track album this year, Detroit's finest, Omar S, proves that there is quite simply nothing stopping him as he issues the four track Nelson County. "Don't Let Dis Be HapNin! Comes on like the classic "Psychotic Photosynthesis" at witnessed through a haze of smoked glass, while "U Heard What Da Man Said Muthafukka!!" is something much more driving, like taking a spin on Detroit's streets after dark in a souped up Dodge Charger, before "Nelson County" sees the tough house-focused denouement take place in a dingy backstreet club. As always with Omar S, this stuff doesn't mess about....
Review: We're so used to Omar-S pursuing a very particular form of Detroit deep house, that when the legendary producer tries something different, it takes us by surprise. Sidetrakx Volume #3 is full of surprises. Take "Uluu", for example; while still a deep house track, its' undulating dub bassline, spaced-out soul vocal and sparse beats are pleasingly different to his traditionally rolling fare. It's mighty impressive, all told, while flipside "Another One 2 Love" almost eschews deep house completely. Instead, Alex Smith delivers a sweet, almost cute soul song built around head-nodding post hip-hop beats and sweet melodies. It, too, is hugely enjoyable, and once again proves his mastery of multiple genres.
Review: With a title like Annoying Mumbling Alkaholik, you'd expect this three-tracker from the mighty Alex "Omar" Smith to be full of pent-up anger and bitter frustration. Sure, there's a raging rawness about the third track - an undulating trip into spiraling acid territory - but for the most part the EP is a beacon of simple beauty. The opening track is particularly picturesque, with beautiful, new-age influenced melodies and immersive pads riding a cymbal-heavy Detroit deep house groove. There's more Mood Hut/Future Times style synth work on the Tangerine Dream influenced "Track 2", which contrasts deep, sun-kissed melodic loops with a fuzzy drum machine groove.
Review: Despite some FXHE releases containing playful artistic references to the films that undoubtedly referenced the titles, this Romancing The Stone double pack from Omar S is sadly lacking in any MS Paint renditions of the Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner 90s vehicle of the same name. It does however contain four more fine examples of the fact no one does it quite like Omar S. Lead track "Leave" sets the tone, as ripples of percussion emerge from a pool of simmering sonic emotion and embarks on a masterclass in slow build dancefloor revelation at breakneck pace. "Romancing The Stone" pulls from the same palette of anthemic Omar S productions as "Here's Your Trance, Now Dance" and "Psychotic Photosynthesis" as a lead array of synths, keys and chords weave with supple grace over crunchy drums - watch out for the track finishing abruptly. On the second 12", "Frogs" dovetails from a simple disco guitar loop into fucked up abstract acid techno territory with little prior warning whilst "Surpass" finds AOS ending with some anthemic maximal piano house.
Review: Omar S adopts a new style for his new Side Trakx project. Detroit house meets sample based hip hop... and it really works. Possibly inspired by the passing of the late Jay Dilla, this music is perfect for relaxing and kicking back, or even warming up the early hours of the club. While Detroit hip-hop producers already proved that there's a mutual creative interaction between the cities house, techno and hip-hop scenes, it's now one of the cities hottest house producers laying down some smoked out, next level instrumentals in the vein of the late genius Jay Dilla, Madlib or Underground Resistance's Hipnotech sublabel.