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: Back in the 1990s, Pauline Henry was the voice behind the Chimes and their stunningly soulful mid-tempo hit, "Heaven". This 12", which is dedicated to the late, great Paul "Trouble" Anderson, boasts fresh, club-ready remixes of the singer's solo cover of that loved-up club classic. Masters At Work man Louie Vega handles the A-side, placing Henry's fine vocal above a bed of swinging NYC house beats, fluid piano motifs and string-laden chords. Arguably even better is DJ Spen and Reelsoul's flipside revision, a more electronic affair with jauntier synth flourishes, elongated organ solos and a bumpin' rhythm track.
Review: They may not have released many records, but samba/soul/jazz fusionists the Han Litz group have been mainstays of the Dutch scene for a decade. Here they return with a wonderfully breezy, samba-soaked collection of cuts that's remarkably their first ever outing on wax. The A-side begins with two warm, afternoon fresh tracks that sound like authentic Brazilian samba jams from the 1970s, before Litz and company indulge in a little flute-heavy jazz ("Preludia") and Afro-tinged broken beat/jazz fusion ("Yemaya Olodo"). Also impressive is closing cut "Epiphany", which has been transformed by Yoruba Soul man Osunlade into a sumptuous shuffle through deep house/samba fusion complete with Flamenco style Spanish guitar solos.
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: 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: 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: Hodini is back on the ever reliable Wolf Music for his second EP. The Cologne-based DJ also moonlights as one of Germany's leading underground hip hop producers under the alias HulkHodn, therefore he brings elements from this background into this unique five tracker. In "WOLFEP 053", he dusts off long forgotten cuts, all sampled with that MPC chopped graininess and blending lo-fi vocal sound bites with deft jazz loops to give a distinct, textured edge to his work. From the dusty late night deepness of "Velved Groove", to the slo-mo Moodymann vibes of "Special Shout Out" and the lo-slung, jazzy kinda somethin' that is "Where's The Wine", Hodini delivers smokey deep house music with an undeniably urban flavour.
Review: St. Petersburg-based imprint Soviett is rather restrained when it comes to releasing music on wax, with this tidy EP marking only their third vinyl excursion in as many years. It is, though, packed with quietly impressive treats. Label co-founder Ivan Starzev kicks things off via the woozy melodies, dreamy chords and Pet Shop Boys circa "Behaviour" grooves of "Waiting", before Claes Rosen ups the tempo a little via the liquid deep house bounce of the undeniably picturesque "Cumulus". Over on side B, Hideo Kobayashi wraps warm and drowsy chords and trippy acid lines around a chunky, dub-fired deep house groove on "Perfect Perception", while Nightdrive joins the dots between analogue disco, razor-sharp synth pop and hazy deep house on tasty closing cut "Je T Aime".
Eternal Blue (Wata Igarashi Crossing remix) (7:36)
Review: REPRESS ALERT: In an age of over-information, it's refreshing to see Aurora Halal take her time with the Mutual Dreaming label, which notches up just its third release since launching in 2014. It's also the New York scene leader's first record in three years, and it's worth the wait. Some elements are familiar - Halal still has a keen instinct for heavy-hearted synth lines shaped out in bold curves, but the level of expression going into these tracks makes each one stand out like a striking painting. From the eerie mood of "Fattal 22" to the crunchy bleep workout "Nasty II", the character just oozes out of Halal's productions. With a remix from Wata Igarashi thrown into the mix as well, this is a record loaded with fresh and powerful takes on techno.
Review: Universally respected French artist Okain - master of house music - is up next on Ben Rau's META Imprint under his brand new alias House of Kain. The A-side "Throwback" is a rolling house track with a rumbling MPC groove that references the sounds of late 90's tech house, but updated for today's dancefloors. On the flip, things get even deeper and emotive with a full sense of swing on the super groovy "Time Factor". Following up some great releases on Be Chosen, Infuse and his own Talman Records - Samuel Thalmann continues on with a winning streak of killer records of late.
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: 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: 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.
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: London-based, Greek minimal tech house aficionados Holdie Gawn & Micawber return to present the tenth edition on their beloved Sylphe imprint. It's a limited edition affair as per usual, so don't sleep on this one. On the A side, Gawn (aka Kreon) serves up the tripped-out early morning reductions of "Gleech Huis"- the sort of oddball groove you could imagine the likes of Rhadoo playing at an ungodly hour of the morning. On the flip, it's over to Micawber, who is otherwise known as Alex Celler - so you know you're in for a treat courtesy of this true master of the art. His boompty minimal funk jam "Parsec Telemetry" is much more upbeat and less abstract than his usual work, and channels the early vibe of classic Daniel Bell.