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: On previous albums, Francis Harris has tackled some weighty subjects, including memory, loss and grief, intertwining these artistic inspirations with a woozy, organic and multi-layered deep house framework. "Trivial Occupations", his third full-length excursion, is not only less conceptual in tone, but also marks a conscious attempt to move away from the constraints of the dancefloor. Of course, there are still hypnotic, ultra-deep house beats scattered around the album, it's just that they largely operate at a more leisurely pace and usually come smothered in crackling field recordings, ambient chord sequences and slowly shifting melodies designed to worm their way into your consciousness. Combine these cuts with some superb, beat-free ambient explorations, and you have a hugely atmospheric and entertaining set.
I'm So Glad (feat Jocelyn Brown - Satisfied mix) (5:00)
Summer Memory (7:29)
Six Sixty Groove (5:20)
Locked Out (5:29)
Feel The Music (6:21)
Wake Up, Baby! (6:04)
Something In Yr Head (6:36)
Apple Of My Eye (feat Timothy Blake) (5:33)
Review: Such has been the rise of Marquis Hawkes in recent times that this debut album must mark as one of the most anticipated house sets of 2016. Happily, Social Housing is a superb showcase not only for Hawkes' talents, but also his understanding of house music in its' many myriad forms. The album does include, of course, a sprinkling of jackin' workouts, but these are outnumbered by such thrilling chunks of loved-up positivity as the Tiger & Woods style loop funk of "Fantasy", the Theo Parrish-ish jazz fuzziness of "Summer Memory", and the cheeky, Todd Edwards style cut-up garage of "Something In Yr Head" [sic]. The album's most potent moment, though, is "I'm So Glad", a collaboration with Jocelyn Brown that already ranks among 2016's most potent tunes.
Review: We never quite know what to expect from leftfield explorer Jon Hopkins, but we know it will be worth a listen. Immunity, his fourth solo album (he's recorded two others, one with Brian Eno and another with King Creosote), doesn't disappoint. Rooted in shuffling, forthright and occasionally off-kilter rhythms, it melds hazy, late night atmospherics and subtle melodies with intense, droning chords, woozy electronics and all manner of inventive noises. It's a blend that repeatedly pays dividends, from the mournful pianos and jumpy rhythms of "Breathe This Air', to the crystalline, soundscape ambience of "Abandon Window", and glitchy wonkiness of "Form By Firelight".
Review: The lads behind Albion Records know a thing or two about where to look for fresh steps forwards in the minimal, house and techno scenes. After last year's Gab Jr release, they're finally back to hit number 10 with a double pack compilation that sets in stone what the label is all about. There's a lot to dig into here, but some of the standouts include the sharp and sneaky "Forgot Your Name" by Henry Hyde, the Boogizm-goes-electro freakery of Christian Jay's "Restive" and the swinging jazz surrealism of Phil Evans' "Hazard". With more than a little garage shuffle hovering over this release, it's set to be another huge one in all corners of the minimal tech house scene.