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: Last year K7's more experimental 7K offshoot released Hior Chronik's Out Of The Dust, an atmospheric album that joined the dots between ambient, drone and neo-classical. While great to listen to, there were few dancefloor moments - hence this remix 12". On side A Hungarian retro-futurist Gnork has his way with "Remember", wrapping Chronik's flotation tank chords, poignant strings and reverberating Clarinet lines around a bouncy rhythm track, rich sub-bass motifs and some particularly starry-eyed electronics. The results are spellbinding, sounding like a cross between 808 State's "Pacific" and Gnork's usually more robust fare. Lauren Ritter opts for a deeper take on "Cosmos", underpinning the inherent intergalactic vibes of Chronik's original elements with her own rolling deep house grooves.
Review: For the fourth and final edition of Matthew Herbert's Parts series, we have four further reductions from the UK producer's back catalogue - all in his idiosyncratic style. Timeless minimal house that has truly stood the test of time and sounds as captivating as it did over 20 years ago. Part Four came out on Phono back in 1996 and is reissued here on Herbert's Accidental imprint. From the dubbed-out heroin house of "Pen", the crunchy robo-jack of "Pump", more blip, blurp and bleep on "Take Me Back" or his knack for simply straight-up and emotive deep house as heard on the utterly sublime "Resident". The tracks on here are still relevant in today's musical landscape and completely essential, in our humble opinion.
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: Eleven years after he introduced us to his Mr White alias with the acidic bliss of "The Sun Can't Compare", Heard returns with two more extensive, immersive and stylised slices of house. "Virtual Emotion" is a breath-taking progressive odyssey that resonates in that perfect sweet spot between house and techno. "Supernova" takes a much more structured route with full nagging vocals and a sense of proto house theatre running throughout. With promise of a new album (his first in over 12 years), it's an exciting time to be a Larry Heard fan.
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.
Can Your Love Find Its Way (club instrumental) (5:19)
Review: Once in a while Tevo Howard has devoted some space on his Beautiful Granville label to the dulcet tones of his father, Rick 'Poppa' Howard. As a fitting tribute to Rick's sad passing, Tevo has dug out "Can Your Love Find A Way" and made a reissue that will stand the test of time as a gem of authentic, soul-stirring deep house crafted with passion and feeling. The plaintive keys on the title track are the perfect bed for Rick's croon, while the shaken-up urgency of "Who's Gonna Make Your Name" will suit livelier club situations. It's a moving record with added weight given the situation - true feelings feeding into true soul music that lives on forever.
Review: Manuel Costela's Bucketround label has always moved at a mellow pace, so it's no surprise to see it casually slide back into view after a couple of years out. Tominori Hosoya is a fine choice to steer the return of the label - the producer has been busy in the past few years releasing high grade deep house on labels like Mixx Records and Minuendo. Opening with the airy, subliminal sound of "Nov.7.2010," it's clear Hosoya is more than comfortable in the corner of deep house inhabited by Fred P, Dubbyman et al. "Happy Sunshine" is equally mellow, although with a little more machine soul bite than its predecessor. Costela jumps on with a subtle re-rub of "Nov.7.2010" while Ney Faustini takes on "Happy Sunshine," reducing it to an atmospheric minimal house groove.
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: Over the last 12 months, Tom Harris AKA Hidden Spheres has proved to be one of the most adaptable producers in the deep house scene. He not only delivered plenty of tropical and dreamy fare via his Fruit Merchant imprint, but also got rough, raw and ragged via an acid and electro-influenced EP on Lobster UNDR. "Words Can't Explain" is another deft change of direction, with honey-voiced guest Oscar Jerome offering a superb soul vocal over a warm and woozy backing track rich in broken house drums, toasty synth bass, drowsy Rhodes chords and effortlessly jazzy guitar solos. It's superb, and one of Harris' best tracks to date. Also worth checking is the club-ready revision by Yu Su, which not only utilizes heavy sub bass but also some crunchy drum machine percussion.
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.
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 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.
Review: Up next on Jennifer Cardini's ever surprising label are Italian expats in Berlin Hinode, who head up the Science Fiction imprint. It has presented tracks by the likes of NGLY, Jared Wilson and DJ Richard over the years - which gives you an idea of the gritty sound these guys are pushing. The Magnetic Field EP features three lo-fi and all analogue sounding cuts that you've come to expect from the pair: the A side features two grinding 303 led killers, but we particularly enjoyed the rusty and dusted down sleaze of "Render" featuring those seductive, delay drenched vocals. On the flip, "Toxic Hill" is the kind of techno that crosses over into EBM aesthetics, much like Phase Fatale or Blush Response are known to, while "Broken Shells" goes out all guns blazing on this trippy and hypnotic stomper.
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".
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: Few artists have taken us to heaven quite as much as Larry Heard. The blueprint setter who remains as relevant and resonant now as he did in 86 makes an appearance on Daily Session in dub and edit form. Mesmerising, simple but shining with soul "Heaven" has Heards' fingerprints all over it (sorry) Flip for treatment from fellow pioneer Jordan Fields (slick synths and jacking) and Daily Session's Monchan (New Jersey organs and a dreamy swing) Heaven sent.