Review: For the sophomore release on Ukraine's Kultura Zvuka, we have a right bunch of heavy hitters representing the global minimal tech house scene on the A side, with Traffic head honchos Bodin & Jacob bringing the sound of Frankfurt on "Sloushnash" while Brit Alec Falconer teams up with Kizoku for some bleepy retro electro bass on "Ricard Refreshmen". On the flip, it's an entirely local affair going back to Ukraine with Bejenec harking back to the golden rave days on "I Don't Do Festivals But" and Sasha Zlykh's trippy afterhours techno jam "Thugged Out Pissed Off" being a sure shot to bang the party.
Review: Ukraine's Tvir label continues to present a steady stream of quality sounds from emergent artists across the electronic music spectrum. Now on the fourth installment of their 'limited' series, they pit two partnerships against each other on a side of wax each. Bodin & Jacob shore up on the A side with two individual takes on electro and broken beat that swerve typical genre tropes to deliver something genuinely fresh. On the flip Komponente & Kurilo bring something a bit more rugged - a kind of ragga-infused rave-techno hybrid that could sit comfortably next to Neil Landstrumm in the dirty end of the dance pile.
Review: For the latest volume in their Foundations series on BBE, Kai Alce and DJ Spinna have decided to reissue one of the finest records from the earliest days of Chicago house, Chip-E's spellbinding 1985 anthem "Like This". This seven-inch edition features a fresh edit of Chip-E's original cub mix on the A-side. This version is essential largely because of the quality of K-Joy's impeccable vocal, though the re-mastered sound also makes Chip-E's crunchy Roland drum machine hits, bold synth-bass and spacey lead lines sound better than ever. Turn to the flip for the heavy and stripped-back "DDD Dub" version, which makes more use of the short "Like This" vocal, which was originally provided by the Godfather of House himself, Frankie Knuckles.
Crowns Of Glory - "Lord, Look At Your People" (Joaquin Joe Claussell mix) (5:48)
Keith Barrow - "A World Of Lonely People" (Joaquin Joe Claussell mix) (7:37)
Review: If the rich history of US gospel soul, funk and disco gets your juices flowing, you need this new 12" from Joaquin 'Joe' Claussell in your life. As with many of the storied producer's edit-focused 12" singles, it has been pressed in limited quantities and should therefore be grabbed before all the copies disappear. On the A-side he offers up a tidy, dancefloor-focused tweak of Crowns of Glory's hard-to-find 1976 gospel soul cut "Lord, Look At Your People", brilliantly teasing out the intro before unleashing the song in all its inspiring righteousness. Over on the flip Clausell turns his attention to the Clavinet-heavy, Blaxploitation-era gospel disco anthem that is Keith Barrow's equally as inspired 1977 gem "A World Of Lonely People".
Review: Following a sterling first drop from Nick Holder, Selections return in fine style with this EP from Tobi Danton. This is proper deep house in the modern mode - crisp beats and silky smooth synth lines shot through with a spaced-out attitude. Just tune in to "That's Right" and find yourself transported to the dancefloor of your dreams. "1988" is equally light and limber, with a classy vocal sample heralding the Chicago roots of the music, while "Last Dance" takes on a more anthemic tone with its strong melodic core and uplifting bump. Kevin Over comes on board for a remix of "Last Dance" that treats the original with care, edging some 90s motifs, dubby flourishes and a tougher jack into the mix without losing that hazy mood.
Review: We're used to seeing DJ Rocca in collaborative mode; since making his debut in 2005, he's worked alongside everyone from Dimitri From Paris and Hard Ton to Fred Ventura, Rodion and In Flagranti. His latest collaborator is label-hopping London producer Alex Warren AKA Kiwi. A-side "Bronze" is warm and breezy, with the pair wrapping heavy analogue tones, dream house style chords and cosmic synthesizer flourishes around a sturdy, suitably bass-heavy groove. "I Got A Toy" is arguably even more fluid and colourful, with the combination of melodic positivity, bubbly bass and crunchy machine drums making a suitably Balearic impression despite its obvious house credentials.
Review: Lyon might be known as the gastronomical capital of France, but the Undergroove label is doing a fine job of putting the city on the radar of tech house fans. This fourth release is another futuristic trip that kicks off with the punchy drum programming but squelchy synths of Feel the Jam's "UK Breakfast." Keraw gets you in a spin with the quickened and sleek grooves of his "Keutra" then Oden & Fatzo combine to triumphant effect on the high speed tech funk cut that is "Titontesttu" with its gorgeously freeform bassline taking centre stage. Herr Krank's "Fight Your Fears" closes out the adventure with an ever rising acid line that eventually leads to intergalactic tech house lift off. You best strap in!
Review: Tamed Monsters EP is an inaugural release of the new record label Pandora. New imprint will focus on ambient sounds, music for home-listening and unique artwork. The VA includes works from german producer Benedikt Frey, russian producers Shine Grooves, Unbroken Dub, and an ambient group Kurvenschreiber. Each artist offers a different sound, which lets the music evolve like a story and makes a nice combination of dreamy ambience and mesmerizing repetitive beats.
Review: Much loved UK underground stalwart Truly Madly kicks off his new label with a trip to the outer edges of the dancefloor. It's a various artist affair drawing on some of the most interesting producers round right now. It's the much hyped Gene On Earth who kicks off with a cosmic tech workout for mind, body and soul, and Kepler keeps the uplifting vibes alive with his high speed and slick acid cracker. The flip side is taken care of firstly by Jhobei with his deeper, more spacious 'Grande Sultry' which erupts on fanatical sci-fi synths and Noiro cloys out with a gritty head-wrecker.
Review: The high grade, leftfield approach to house music Lyssna have set out as their MO continues in fine style on this new Colours series, starting with the Yellow EP and a strong cast of characters from the outer reaches. Riciar Ghir opens up proceedings with the tumbling deep house of "Cargo", making the keys dance with distinction and injection a subby rumble where it counts. Minimal Afrika follow that up with a percussive tryst entitled "Drakma Queen" that blossoms into a sumptuous ambient excursion. Robotalco takes a very different approach with some classically pumping sample-powered house music to shake feel-good fists to, and then Klubbhuset finishes up with an impassioned romp through peak time disco licks for the peak of the night.
Review: Verona-based Patrick "Twice" Gibin is making a habit of collaborating with nu-jazz and broken beat veterans. Having previously joined forces with one-time Sonar Kollektiv regular Clara Hill, this E.P sees him acquire the services of killer keys-man Kaidi Tatham of Bugz In The Attic fame. The latter's smart, jazz-funk influenced riffs are all over the sweet, gently soulful and wonderfully positive deep house A-side "Lights Out", but can also be heard on the woozy, broken beat-goes-boogie flex of "High Flames". "Flash Burn", another musically rich, organic house groover - this time complete with what sound like eyes-closed guitar solos - completes an excellent package.
Review: House music's ability to make you feel good is part of its appeal, and artists like New Jersey majesty Josh Milan of Blaze fame, and London broken beat astro Kaidi Tatham sure know that. They link here with Patrick Gibin for an EP that brims with summer time soul, joyous keys and funky bass riffs that are impossibly sweet. Jazz funk, house and boogie all colour the tracks here with "Don't Be Rude" brining the cosmic vibes and "Groove On" making you want to move for days with its killer b-line and disco energy. Gorgeous stuff, for sure.
Review: The Synthetic Gold story continues to unfold in the most curious nooks and crannies of the minimal techno scene, as this third volume welcomes in tracks selected by Anestie Gomez. Khan is in a looped up, insistent cycle loaded with alien synth tones and a focused rhythmic hiccup of a beat, truly aiming for the psych-out end of the night. Eloi Brunelle makes things a touch funkier on "Neneh", deploying choice splashes of dubbed out colour in between the sharp strut of the drums. Andres Garcia then spreads himself across the B-side with the loping funk of "Invisivel", working all manner of freaky sounds around the scuffed sway of the beats.
Greymatter - "Give Up (Never Gonna)" (feat Sophie Brown)
KRL - "Burn" (feat Sarah Blake)
Homeboy - "Spacelift"
Ishmael - "Lumo"
Review: The lupine London lot known simply as Wolf Music keep up the end of year pressure, issuing a 22nd edition of the split artists 12"s that have helped establish them as one of the capital's most trusted house music outlets. Wolf Music regulars Greymatter, KRL and Ishmael are present and correct and there's space for a label debut in the shape of Zagreb based producer Homeboy. Greymatter pulls rank and leads off with a wonderfully chunky production in the shape of "Give Up" which features some killer keylines and a manipulated vocal from Sophie Brown with the end result sounding as memorable as MJ Cole's "Sincere". Not to be outdone, KRL teams up with a female vocalist too on "The Game" which features some shamelessly euphoric piano samples. Face down and Homeboy provides the peak time moment with "Spacelift" whilst Ishmael is in Mark E style beatdown mode on "Lumo" - those pads!
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)".
Review: Rough House Rosie regular, HVL presents his alter ego - Kiyadama. The 10th release of the label coincides with its 3 year anniversary. The A side of the Cosmic Hum EP starts with two pieces of mesmerizing acid tracks and finishes with a smooth analog ambience. The B side offers even stronger acid cut 'Machine Terror' and 'There Will Be No Salvation', separated by a refreshing juke track - 'Slammbeat'.
You Stepped Right Into My Life (K Hand re-edit) (6:56)
Review: Detroit techno veteran Kelli Hand returns to action with her first EP of original productions since 2015. More impressively, it's the first volume in her Project series since the tail end of the 1990s (though, as nerds will point out, Project 5 was reissued in 2014). A-side "Boiler Room Teaser" feels like a product of the late 1990s, combining as it does no-nonsense Motor City techno drums and growling, razor-sharp riffs. There's a similarly dark, booming, warehouse-friendly feel to "K.Hand Live", a house/techno hybrid full of weighty kick drums and sparkling, spacey electronics. Curiously, the EP's other track - "You Stepped Right (K.Hand Re-Edit)" - is a pitched up, slightly beefed up rework of Melba Moore disco classic "You Stepped Into My Life".