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: 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: 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: Infuse is a vinyl only label for the heads, and Per Hammer is a dub techno don for those who know, so they make a fine pairing on this fresh new three tracker. Opener "Side Effects" has a muted synth sequence that is gorgeously dreamy above a slick dub techno groove. It's a simple but effective trance-inducer, while "Document Save" is a more visceral cut with prickly drums. The best might well be saved for last: "Remote Dubb" is a seductive, aqueous dub techno cut with shimmering pads and shuffling percussion that is high grade dancing dynamite.
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: Back in the early-to-mid 2000s, Warren Harris AKA Hanna was responsible for making and releasing some of the most sumptuous and seductive blends of future jazz, broken beat, soul and deep house around. This 12" from Melodies International offers a neat reminder by serving up two tracks previously featured on a CD-only album from 2004. A-side "I Needed" is the clear standout: a glassy-eyed and loved-up slab of jaunty dancefloor deep house that combines the swing of future garage and the snappiness of jacking Chicago house with the smoothness of soul and the kaleidoscopic synthesizer lines of jazz-funk. Flipside "Intercession, On Behalf" is similarly minded with more of an emphasis on vibrant jazz-funk and the soul motifs and the soul-powered swing of U.S garage.
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.
Review: Melbourne's Andy Hart is known for heading up the Voyage imprint, which over the last few years has pursued the many shades of deep house with releases by the likes of Harvey Sutherland, Urulu and Youandewan. Here he inaugurates his new Voyager sublabel, which sees a noticeable change of tune. On "Neutron Capture" he delivers a slow burning deep space transmission aboard the acid express, while the functional B side cut "Lftrr" is a dubby and hypnotic techno jam suited to heads-down moments in dank warehouse spaces. If this is a sign of things to come for Hart's new outlet, expect a string of club ready and dancefloor orientated cuts.
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: 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)".