Review: The Use of Weapons imprint has mastered the easy to grasp, hard to master formula of matching clutches of (excellent) original tracks from Cottam and label bosses Deep Space Orchestra with well-chosen and even better executed remixes from the likes of Hunee, Neville Watson and Marcello Napoletano. The fourth release sees a change in tack, with the label opting to focus on original material from 6th Borough Project, Haku, Andy Ash and of course Deep Space Orchestra. Graeme The Revenge Clark and Craig Smith kick off proceedings with the suitable thick set slow burning "Estranged Lover", though it's "Rugo" by Haku that impresses most. The new project of Deep Space Orchestra's Chris Barker, the track is a superb kaleidoscopic concoction of fizzing uptempo live percussion, synths and drum machines that has more than a touch of the Carl Craigs about it. Andy Ash switches proceedings back to chunky mutant discoid dirt with the heads down, tops off vibes of "Somehow" while the Deep Space Orchestra head for the expanses of future tech jazz with the ten minute odyssey "Erase Everything".
Review: After a successful first round that featured the likes of Kassem Mosse alongside Juniper and some lesser known friends of the label, Manchester promoters-turned-imprint Meandyou are back with another various artists release that plumbs further depths around the fringe pools of house and techno. Aatropa & Tephillin deliver the most upfront cut in "Bells Jam", which still lurks in oddball synth flourishes around a chunky thud of kick drum, before Fabric drifts out into ambient bliss. Herron meanwhile plies a long lead-in before blossoming into a dexterous and delicate broken techno formation of the highest order, and then Metropolis cools things back down with a winsome groan of a beatless excursion.
Review: Repressed and back in. Old skool Chicago tech-house. For fans of the Relief label, Mike Dearborn, and the recent Steve Poindexter record (which featured a Hieroglyphic Being cut). Just as funky as it is techy.
Chocolate Black Leather (Brennan Green instrumental remix)
Chocolate Black Leather (Brennan Green beatless version)
Review: Danny Was A Drag King, the delightfully named new record label initiative betwixt Ajello and Hell Yeah launches with a veritable bang! "Chocolate Black Leather" sees the former veterans of the contemporary Italo disco scene team up with it's premier queen, Hard Ton, for a delightfully loud mixture of crisp drums, acidic basslines and schizoid synth arpeggiations - all naturally engulfed in the diva stylings of Hard Ton. Just to add an extra smattering of "you might want to buy this" D.W.D.K. enlisted Brooklyn icon Brennan Green to get busy on the source material - and in a pique of generosity the China Town boss came through with no less than three variants. Whilst all three are tinged with acidic intent to varying degrees it is the full-on wig out of "Acid Dub" that impresses most.
Review: This split EP offers a number of attractions, not least a luscious sound that fixes classic, Detroit style futurism to vintage deep house grooves. There's something particularly galactic about the undulating synths and tight grooves of Hakim Murphy's "Hazey Plains In Time", while the same producer's "Chill" delivers a bubbling journey through warm electronics and tasty melodies. More obviously floor-friendly is Amir Alexander's borderline anthemic "Eyes Open Mouth Shut" - all touchy-feely chords, booming grooves and cascading synth melodies - while the quicker "Bittersweet Memories" evokes images of classic Motor City productions. Impressive stuff, all told.
Rob Amboule & Manuel Schatz - "Manz Not Hot" (6:30)
Peter Raw - "Brotherhood" (5:52)
HDV - "Digital Delight" (5:44)
Kosh - "The Mess" (5:08)
Review: Sounds Benefit founder Tom Joyce cast his net far and wide when sniffing out cuts to include on the label's latest multi-artist EP. There's plenty of little-known talent on show across the four tracks that make-up the EP, which come from artists based in Frankfurt, Paris and - most surprisingly - Casablanca. We're particularly enjoying the hybrid electro/spacey tech-house bounce of Peter Raw's wonderfully swinging "Brotherhood", though the deep and melodious electro bounce of Kosh's "The Mess" is also really rather good. Elsewhere, Manuel Schatz and Rob Amboule offer up some bold and snappy Motor City techno/acid house fusion, while HDV's "Digital Delight" is raw, analogue, funky and decidedly alien in tone.