Review: Los Angeleno in Berlin Steve Huerta returns to homeboy Urulu's Amadeus imprint for the first time since 2016's Apache Line EP. Still very much a deep house producer, he's truly reached a new level with his sound on the new Amaso EP. From the emotive, neon-lit vibe of the enchanting title track, the lush rolling breaks of "Fake Leather Whatever" to the full throttle retro techno vibe of "Don't Be Gentle, It's A Rental" which is quite reminiscent of his other great efforts on Slow Life or Oscillat recently.
Review: Dahlback again in effect on his new second home, K2 out of Cologne. "Hearki" envelops you in a rotund bass drum, splashed with effects, nagging groove and delicately spotted with small percussive effects, deadly in the details. Watch out for the obliterated middle section as well, like a shoot out in an arcade, real horror show man. "Raido" flies a little too close to the big sun called preset for our tastes, but the choogling "Sailjo" rounds up and offers a necessary dry aftertaste to the aural palette, very new-Balearic, very good. Usual big stuff from Dahlback.
Review: Parisian groove sculptor Hugo Lascoux returns to his spiritual stomping ground to continue where he left us on the Nick V's label launch release. Gilded instrumentation, fluttering in pace and feel but still popping with a strong kick, there's a strong US twang deep in the blend which Karizma really brings to the fore in his own Kaytronik Mo' Bounce dub. Finally fellow Paris artiste Ambrose concludes the jam with a new hazier, smoochier twist on Hugo's previous Mona slaying session "Drifting Away". Just like their parties, Mona ain't messing.
Deep House Thang (feat Laffeyette Parker - instrumental) (8:45)
Deep House Thang (feat Laffeyette Parker - vocal) (8:36)
Get Down (8:53)
The Message (8:17)
Review: Following dope documents on the likes of P&D and Midnight Shift, the original Jackmaster Gene Hunt continues his rich vein of form. This time on Croatian label Burek. With its lyrics alone "Deep House Thang" should resonate with every dancefloor but the Amp Fiddler style soul and soft broken groove will most certainly seal the deal. Flip for more loose-limbed party funk as "Get Down" adds a little gospel touch to the vibe while "The Message" taps right back to the Chicago source. Timeless.
Review: Gene Hunt is one of the few producers from the original wave of Trax Records signees that still flies the flag for Chicago house with as much gusto as when he started. This is his second trip out on Inner Shift Music, and it finds the US house veteran on impeccable form. "Kayla Dream" is a light, airy jacker defined by amorphous synth washes that match the mellow mood of the label. "Distant Voyage" is a truly standout track though, dealing in crooked rhythmic structures and channelling the techno side of Hunt's muse. "Open Up Your Eyes" maintains the introspective mood, but this time welcomes some soulful vocal turns into the adventurous, machine-powered landscape.
Review: A few years back, the world discovered the nearly forgotten efforts of Ewan Jansen's fledgling '90s label Red Ember out of Perth, Western Australia. Jansen and label mate Justin Zerbst's underrated efforts in the pursuit of soulful deep house led to a renewed interest from a new generation - and it's quite fitting that the label's reboot serves up some fresh sounds from rookies on Deepsounds Three. South African producer Cheslon Hunter aka Markheros has an extensive digital discography thus far, but his vinyl debut was certainly worth the wait. He presents the late night deepness of "The Second Track". Likewise, Croatian producer Andrej Lasic premieres on wax too and we particularly enjoyed the emotive vibe of "Remember" calling to mind the work of Chris Gray's seminal deep4life label. Finally "Enough Names Already" sounds in order - this is a pleasant surprise from Jason Hogans. For those who don't now, he is a Detroit producer who's had releases on top labels like Planet E, Moods & Grooves and Third Ear.
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!
Review: HVL seems well thought of by many within the house and techno community, with labels queuing up to secure his services. Bizarre Realms marks his first appearance on Los Angeles' Hesperian Sound Division. It's an undeniably atmospheric affair, with the Georgian keen to show off his noted eye for detail. Check, for example, the spacey, Detroit deep house-goes-acid vibe of "Escape In Time", or the watery, deep space electronics and jazz-flecked rhythm of "Bizarre Realms". He's not afraid to doff a cap to techno, either, as both the deep and dubby "Sio", and the more ragged, mind-bending "Sforzando", so neatly prove.
Review: Belgian label House Running has been in operation for some time as a digital affair, but now they're cutting their releases on wax and giving them a physical presence in the field of discofied house music. Hyas is making his first appearance with the two jams on the A side, both of which re-mould classic disco burners as stomping modern day house cuts. "Dat Musik Freak" is a heated, looped up riot of a track, while "Le Gardien Du Tekos" gets just as fierce and funky, channeling a little Detroit pressure in the extravagant filter usage and gritty rhythm section. Chinau's "Awareness (Feeling Of House Music)" is a lighter affair for easy going times, and then D-Nite rounds things out with the breakbeat-powered balladry of "Something About U."
Review: The Drifted Flow label made an early move in 2015 with a release from Tommy Vicari Jnr, but now returns with an entirely different premise - an eight-track double pack of fresh, invigorating minimal house jams from lesser-known and adventurous producers. Henry Hyde gets the collection off to a strong start with the wobbly funk of "Perchin," all dirty bass wobble and loose swinging rhythms. Elsewhere Martinez flirts with the crooked thump of electro, Alicia Hush wriggles through an abstraction of garage and Bilal channels a little of the Boogizm magic you might expect from S-Max or Fym. Overall, it's a release loaded with personality and flair for minimal spinners wanting some spicier ingredients for their mix.
Review: "HYDRAFUNK is an exciting Detroit Techno inspired collaboration between Immigrant Records owner and label manager Robin Porter and US analogue synth guru Mike Carr. The duo first collaborated back in 2002 releasing the 'Mental Stealth EP' on Immigrant, featuring the bassline and synth heavy 'Fathernature', a track that found it's way on 'Evil' Eddie Richard's Fabric 16 mix CD. Their debut three track EP, Beasts From Below, fuses the analogue aptitude of Mike Carr and Robin Porter's attention to sound frequency, arrangement detail and understanding of the dance floor, delivering an intoxicating peak time package of delight. "Underworld" is a deep journey of melodic synth work and chugging groove that travels into dark territories, complimented by uplifting percussion that builds into a peak time beast from the deep. On the flip, "Immortal Melody" delves even further into moody territory delivering a tantalising array of dreamy synths and jackin' old school percussion, that submerges into an abyss of texture before rising up into a dance floor banger. Closer "Hydra's Dance" is definitely not a token bonus track and is the most dance floor friendly cut; featuring Robin's knack for creating powerful basslines, unique vocals and Mike's ability to create depth and texture with his analogue synth programming."
Review: RISE is a house music concept born from the inspiration of the African continent and influenced by the endless rhythms of the motherland. Headed up by Cape Town expat Floyd Lavine, it holds a monthly residency at local superclub Watergate since 2015. World class acts including Black Coffee, Culoe De Song, Osunlade and Henrik Schwarz have all been booked to play with the residents. The mission for Rise is unity and creating bridges from Berlin to Africa and the rest of the world through music and art. After inaugurating the label with a release by Lavine himself, he now taps fellow resident Hyenah for its sophomore effort. Mysterious as he is, we do know that he is capable of some soulful music - as heard on top imprints such as Freerange and Objektivity. Beginning with the epic hi-tech soul of "You Made Me Who I Am" which is exactly the kind of life-affirming danfloor drama you could imagine the likes of Dixon dropping to an eager festival crowd. On the flip is the entrancing tribal raindance of "The Ritual" made with late night voodoo in mind.
Review: Marcel Vogel's Intimate Friends label welcomes a newcomer to the fold, with Hypoleon displaying a warm and inviting take on outboard, leftfield, electronic soul with a wavey edge to it. The vocals on the original tracks have a haunting edge to them thanks to some hefty processing, but the power in the delivery is undeniable. The tracks meanwhile channel acid, electro and minimal wave in understated ways, played out with a live band dynamic that hooks you in from the start. Jon McMillion's remix of "Tresberry" turns the track into a simmering 4/4 jam for the warm up heads to get loose to, while Tevo Howard brings some of his signature boxy acid to bear down on the track.
Review: Vox Populi's Field Works Vol.II sees the Berlin based label travelling to different parts of the world in order to collect sounds and archive some of the finest musical traditions. This record is the result of a trip to Japan led by Swiss anthropologist and label founder Fred Scharf. It was inspired by academic methods: particularly ethnomusicology and incorporates everything from field recordings, studio recordings, religious rituals, fighting championships and even wedding ceremonies. From the slo-mo acid of Japan Blues (Berceuse Heroique) seductive "Chapter V" to Frenchman Tim Karbon's exotic polythyrhms that hypnotise you on "Chapter VI" and Shizka (aka Inoue Shirabe) getting into some abstract groove theory on his splendid offering "Chapter VIII".