Review: On the A1 Chekov follows up their moves on Peach Discs and Timedance with a proper peak timer, they've been described by Ben UFO as 'king of the build up' and that's evident on this one. At the A2 London's Doppelate makes their Cong Burn debut with an elegant tech-house roller. Fresh from Russia's underground is Camin, on this, his debut 12" release he drops a useful tool which squeezes between electro and techno. Cong Burn founder Howes closes the B side with some warm hypnosis that could have landed in the golden era of Workshop.
Review: Cong Burn continues to exercise one of the most promising instincts for future-minded music on this, their third release. It's surprising they haven't done more previously, considering the maturity of their curation, but either way the quality remains at an all time high here, leading in with some light and liquefied 4/4 sonics from Chekov before pirouetting into one of Duckett's illustrious abstractions around the techno blueprint. Label regular Lack is back on side B with the stern and punchy "Track 3," and then Haddon finishes the record off with "Anabiosis," a densely textured, slow creeping trip of a track.
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: Super Tuff is a relatively new concern hailing from Brooklyn, committed to presenting a broad range of talent from the more curious corners of the house spectrum. On this third release we're introduced to the delightful sound of DJ Heure, who unfurls wonderful pattering percussion, jazzy notes and a mellow, ambient finish to pull at the heartstrings. There's a slightly more forthright thump to Hot Coffee's "On The Verge", but it's still a dusky twist on the typical deep house formula. Label boss M. Vaughan brings things a little more upfront on "Man 2 Man", and top-drawer German producer Tilman weaves a rich and invigorating tale with his swooning "A Day To Remember".
Review: If the smiley face clad centre label wasn't a sizeable enough clue, Happy Family is a new project from New York staples Eric Duncan and Justin Vandervolgen which sees the pair try their hand at acid house. Both are closely associated with disco edits of course, but if you've seen either DJ you'll know they are well up on all forms of dance music. This expertise is deployed perfectly on the two tracks here, with "Burnt" a relentless exercise in strobelit 303 madness that is a no brainer for the sweatiest part of a DJ set. They tone it down a bit on "Hard To Breathe" which despite the title is an altogether looser production with plenty of room between the tumbling drums and hypnotic lead synth lines.
Review: STRICTR Records is a brand new imprint from Aix-En-Provence in France. This is the label's debut outing, and contains four alluring tracks for discerning deep house DJs. Matthieu Fauborg's epic opener - the tactile, melodious, dreamy and life-affirming "Please Stay", which more than justifies its 10-minute duration - feels like a statement of intent, while Dub Striker's "Mood" recalls classic New York and New Jersey bumpers of old. On the flip, Harrison BDP gets busy with Syclops style synth bass, floatation tank chords and shuffling percussion on "Decompression", before Manooz goes ultra-deep on the dusty and woozy "Tinted Windows". A very fine debut, all told.
Review: Promising new label Criminal Practice is based in Kiev, Ukraine and headed up by DJs and producers Ghetto Sunrise, Hopper Field and Roman Khropko. They're certainly aren't messing around on their inaugural release, getting straight down to business in bold fashion. Grec serves up the hypnotic blip, blurp and bleep of "Worm" on the A side, followed by the infectious retro techno bounce of Sasha Zlykh's "Coulda Play For Dynamo" which will appeal to fans of Art Of Dark or Time Passages. On the flip, bust out those robotic dance moves to the sci-fi electro breaks of Hopper Field's "Big Ben" and take a trip down memory lane courtesy of Ghetto Sunrise's early UK techno tribute that is "Mocujin".
Review: Here's something to excite all those who like their stripped-back techno to come with a heavy dose of soul. It features Chilean minimal maestro Ricardo Villalobos join forces with Chez Damier and Ben Vedren's H2H project. On the A-side, Villalobos delivers a superb remix of "No More", wrapping lusciously soulful vocals and languid piano motifs around a typically bouncy and left-of-centre minimal techno rhythm. On the flip, Villalobos joins Damier and Verden to deliver a three-part "Conspiracy". Each of the three interpretations has its own distinctive vibe, but all deliver a near perfect balance between soul-flecked deep house, trippy tech-house, Chicago acid and the South American wonkiness that Villalobos does so well. In other words, it's a musical marriage made in Heaven.
Review: Scott Fraser and Richard Sen launch a new project Hackney Vandal Patrol with this 12", tapping into their love of steamy US deep house from the early 90s. The mood is electric on "Bound By Faith", using a meandering vocal sample and organ keys over smoky jack beats and a throbbing bassline, while the "Bass Hit Mix" brings that pulsing low end to the front of the mix and strips everything but the beat back. The "Redemption Dub" strikes something of a balance between the two previous mixes, and then the "Instrumental" cuts the vocal but keeps the sweet and saucy organ line, so whichever bit of the track you like there's a mix for you.
Review: Cong Burn is a new label that features a range of producers plying a more interesting twist on the standard deep house formula. Take opening case in point Haddon, who uses oodles of processing to create a slippery, shifting tripper out of "Not Coming To The Club" and instantly stepping aside from the run of the mill milieu. Howes then pops up with the snaking, ultra-deep electro abstractions of "Untitled". L Pearson is in a particularly cheeky mood with the scratchy micro-sampling fun of "PSR1170", calling to mind the crafty chops of Paradroid et al, and then Perfume Advert book end the release with some beautifully horizontal deep house for the subliminally minded to revel in.
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: Hungarian imprint All Inn has done a terrific job with this reissue of US tech-house stalwart Halo's 2000 cut "Future", a rolling, percussive, late night classic that remains one of the producer's finest tracks. Alongside the original version, there's a gaggle of new remixes stretched out across the 10" and 12" package. Coldfish provides a languid, jazz-tinged, deep "broken house" interpretation, with French producer Janeret opting for a hypnotic and loopy take reminiscent of Circulation's best work. The Howl Ensemble bumps up the bass for a more dub-fuelled deep house feel, while Jaffa Surfa opts for a more metallic tech-house vibe. Also worth checking is the PolAmbient interpretation, which launches the track into deep space via heavy sub-bass and intergalactic effects.
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: UK tech house hero Archie Hamilton takes up the reins next for his Moscow imprint, teaming up with Nabucco records boss Noha here on a couple of functional and groove oriented tracks. The funky "Lip Service" is the kind of energetic and percussive driven funk that Hamilton would throw down at his appearances at the legendary FUSE London parties, while "Bored Of Life" is a reduced and trippy afterhours cut - that would be perfect for those 'get weird' moments at the morning time. Finally on the flip, Romanian power duo Cristi Cons & Vlad Caia aka SIT deliver yet another one of their awesome reworks. Their perspective of "Lip Service" ventures into esoteric and trance inducing territory, in captivating fashion as always.
Review: Fast-rising house producer Mark Hand makes his bow on Serbian stable Soul Print Recordings. Surprisingly, it's the Belgrade label's first release of 2018. It's rather good, too, with opener "Midnight" - an impeccable fusion of yearning Motor City electronics, Larry Heard smoothness and impeccably soulful vocals by guest singer Greg Blackman - providing the undoubted highlight. There's plenty to tickle the fancy elsewhere across the EP, too, from the ultra-deep house/jazz-house fusion of the Sio-fronted "Under The Winter", to the rubbery synth-bass, jazzy electric piano solos and delay-laden horn solos of Alex Hand hook-up "Mountains". Stellar stuff all told.
Review: Warren Harris did a sterling job on his first outing for Perpetual Rhythms as Hanna, and he's back for round two. Things are just as deep as you would hope and expect, with Harris' unique take on the Detroit house formula present and correct on the cleverly executed "Lake Shore Dr." "Parallel" finds him exploring his penchant for snagged, off-kilter rhythms matched with deep house delicacy, and "Gold Coast" takes things into lounge territory without ever sounding insipid. Therein lies the magic of Hanna, and beautiful experiment "Khords 1" is on hand to finish the EP off as a statement of just how special and unique Harris' music is.
Review: People of Earth proudly presents Warren Harris aka . Blessing us with a 4 track EP titled "From the Dark Sky". Delivering his signature bass licks and providing us with a vocal track on top of it all in "Last Forever". Hints of jazz, gospel and straight deep house throughout the record, all beautiful, uplifting and full of purpose.
Review: Number 7 in Music is Love's sister label MIL arrives and throws the spotlight on rising Irish producer Chris Hanna, last seen impressing for Ejeca's Exploris label. Opening proceedings on Muscle House is "Drone", a rough and distorted track that is narrated by the constant synth buzzing above the heavy groove laid down by Hanna. Complementing this, "The Colonel" maintains a peak time mood with some furiously paced drums cannoning around the mix atop a heavily sequenced bassline. Title track "Muscle House" opens the B-side, offering Hanna the chance to show off his prowess at acid lines, whilst closer "UM9" veers off into epic, emotive territory without losing any of the rugged, rhythmic physicality shown throughout the 12".
Review: Attention Vegetarian vinyl consumers - approach this excellent introduction to the I'm A Cliche canon proper from Hannulelauri with caution if the sight of bare meat causes your constitution consternation. Raw steak on the cover art aside, there's little other reason not to indulge in this brilliantly oddball take on house music from the Finnish duo. Opening track "Box To Box" splays a cheeky acid stab lead over rusted percussion steeped in off kilter rhythms, whilst deep in the machine what sounds like an elephant tries to play along in time - it's a wonderfully tongue in cheek riposte to po faced music everywhere. The accompanying remix from Throne Of Blood duo Populette does a sterling job of realigning the track to burning deep house bump that's a perfect fit for the midnight hour. On the flip the title track "Dysfunction" straddles a lysergic house pump that will prove potent in the right atmosphere, whilst Toby Tobias embellishes the track with some soulful excess via diva warbling and hand claps.
Chicago To Detroit (Byron The Aquarius remix) (5:31)
Chicago To Detroit (Brian Chicago Sur Seine mix) (5:10)
Chicago To Detroit (Patrice Scott remix) (7:04)
Review: From Moods & Grooves to Sistrum, Brian Harden has served up more than enough soulful, synth-led house and techno in his time. It's just the kind of style that suits the mood on D3, and so the label has picked up his essential "Chicago To Detroit" jam and called upon a fine selection of remixers to rework the track. First up is Byron The Aquarius, who drops some expressive broken beat drums into the mix to spar with the illustrious melodic tones to great effect. Meanwhile the label boss Brian gets busy with a classic, straight-up adaptation on his "Chicago Sur Seine Mix" before Patrice Scott opts for an energised variation with poignant new Rhodes-esque keys floating on top.
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.
Minor Forms (Valentino Mora Underwater rephase) (8:48)
Minor Forms (Valentino Mora Cosmic Trans rephase) (6:43)
Review: Astonishingly, Minor Forms is Francis Harris' first solo appearance on Scissor & Thread for four years - an astonishing fact when you consider that he was one of the label's founders. Opener "Move We Cannot Do" is almost astonishingly deep, with Harris's delicate melodies and undulating, cymbal-heavy rhythm track struggling to rise above enveloping chords and dub techno style aural textures. "Minor Forms" is a little chunkier and more bass-heavy, but still jaw dropping in its bluesy, late night deepness. Valentino Mora serves up two flipside interpretations of that track, first giving it a clanking, metallic techno makeover (the "Underwater Rephase") before diving headfirst into dreamy dub techno waters (the "Cosmic Trans Rephase").
Francis Harris - "Archive Fever" (Adamo Golan remix) (5:00)
Hamatsuki - "Kandzaia" (8:42)
Hamatsuki - "Picnic Attack" (7:17)
Review: Tbilisi's infamous Bassiani spot already has its own label, but now the queer-centric Horoom space within the club is launching an imprint of its own. Opening up the A side of this split 12", Francis Harris is a great choice for the first drop on the label with his smoky take on deep house sinking under the skin and leaving a chill in the air. Adamo Golan takes this seductively spooky mood and injects it with uptempo but equally submerged broken beats via his remix of "Archive Fever". Hamatsuki presents two original tracks on the B side, and while very different "Kandzaia" and "Picnic Attack" both project a more mellow side-room ambience that's a joy to sink into.