Review: US skateboarding magazine Jenkem Mag has long hosted DJ mixes in a range of styles on its website, and in 2017 the spin-off Jenkem Records launched with a multi-genre compilation called 'Beginnings'. Now, over two years later (we're clearly operating on 'skater time' here), the label's second release is this four-track EP from Brooklyn duo and recently announced Rinse FM residents AceMoMa, and it's almost as eclectic as its album-length predecessor, taking in off-kilter melodic house ('Ethereal Stepping'), deep tribal techno ('Nothing Crazy') and drum & bass (the retro junglism of 'Lucky Number 12' and the Bukem-esque 'Soul Deep Management').
Review: Saktu is an alias of Sasha Kaktus, boss of the St. Petersburg-based Heisenberg label. He returns for a new EP with buddy Alex Adamov for the first time since 2016's Kacheli EP on Reshape Agency. On the A side we have a rolling and ethereal cut that is the title track - this one is certain to have major crossover appeal from fans of UK tech house to the Rominimal sound. On the flip, you are treated to the equally hypnotic futurist bounce of "Flicker" which will appeal to fans of Sublee or Piktor. It then gets a rework by Berlin-based deep house hero Maik Yells, who takes the track down a trippier and more arcane route.
Review: Techno heads with an appreciation of forgotten and almost-lost gems will be happy with this one. Mark Ambrose's 'Dimensions' first saw the light of day on Steve O'Sullivan's Mosaic way, way back in 1997, and here is finally remastered for the modern world. And what a treat it is. A shining example of just how compelling, addictive and inescapable tracks can be without needing to be particularly hard, those looking for adjectives will find them in the likes of tough, solid and crisp. The four tracks all follow a similar trajectory, deep but purposeful dancefloor stuff where sub bass rules and alien noises become warbling hooks- not leat on 'Cable Talk'. Those looking to stomp in the dark may find 'Signs 'N' Lights' is the go-to, 'Photo Funk' is pure darkroom mechanical groove and 'Bassoon' a sharp tech builder.
Review: Mark Ambrose brings his years of expertise in the deeper end of the techno spectrum to bear on this latest joint for Crayon, the label he founded way back in the mid 90s. "Destiny Angel" is a stomping, expansive cut with a cinematic lilt to its sound design and melodic progression - one for people to truly travel on. "Bleeps & Bits" is a more rugged workout that digs deep into intricate rhythm programming and FX processing to create a unique future-tribal flavour. "Just Tonight" keeps the beats dynamic and broken, but with a much hookier punch and some choice vocal snippets that should find favour with all kinds of DJs.
Review: Staggeringly, this tidy tech-house EP from Dan Andrei is not only the Romanian's first release of any sort for four years, but also his first vinyl single since 2011. He begins in confident mood with "SOS", a gentle, undulating affair where pulsing electronics, drowsy chords and fizzing audio glitches clamber atop of a warm, mind-altering bassline and unfussy machine drums. "In The Bass" is a darker and wonkier workout for clubs that like it dark and clandestine, while "Still Unclear" adds warming deep house chords and dusty melodies to a futuristic tech-house groove. To round things off, Andrei offers up a spot of alien tech-house chug where swirling, deep space chords and another ear-catching bassline dominate the sound space.
Review: Artists who made club-focused music tend to debut with singles or EPs, so it's something of a surprise to find that Arno's first release is a triple-vinyl album of tasty dancefloor tracks that sit somewhere between hypnotic tech-house, warm deep house and mind-altering electro missives. As debuts go, it's very impressive, with highlights dotted across all three slabs of wax. Our current favourites include the skittishly funky electro skip of "Sacre Bleu", the sparse, bass-heavy minimal techno throb of "Start Making Sense", the ghostly deep space shuffle of "Set Me Free" and the out-there wonder of "Cleopatra Jones", where oddball electronic noises rise above a deep and drowsy bed of hazy ambient chords and densely layered drums.
Review: Fresh from dropping some heat on Leftroom, Alex Arnout continues his productive streak with this sterling return to Jack's House after he last graced the label with its first release back in 2016. "Sync Jam" packs a serious shuffle that hits squarely in the pleasure plexus for any discerning tech house head, while "Calling U" adopts a playfully spooky tone as it wriggles through a plethora of freaky synth squiggles. "Resergen" completes the set with a spirited dash through hooky techno drum programming and a mean chord line that captures a little old-skool optimism in the process.
Review: Get your motors running! Hamburg DJ and occasional editor Automart drives off the forecourt with one of his first originals. With its stately tempo and soft harmonics creating a smooth discoid ride, "Discover Me" sets to cruise control in a subtly addictive unhurried speed. Loaded with both vocal and instrumental versions from Tom Noble, there's plenty of mileage in the tank on this one.
Review: Having previously blessed us with "Ocean Side" two years back, Benedek and Tom Noble return to Superior Elevation with two more Balearic gems. One for the night time, one for sunrise; "World Gruuv" hits the boogie spot with spiralling keys wandering freely up and down a tight shimmering synth-bass led groove. Meanwhile "Profesora" on the B brings us back into reality softly with its addictive percussive hook, aquatic backing and totally tropical taste. Imagine Art Of Noise on Claremont 56 and you're on the right route.
Review: Pascal Benjamin is next up on Constant Black, following strong prior bouts from Michael James and Daniel Akbar. The Dutch producer has been dropping bombs on SlapFunk, Botanic Minds and many more in recent years, and he's sounding taut and toned on this slab of after-hours goodness. "Rascale" is one of those snaking tech house joints where the devil is in the details, crying out for a crisp soundsystem to bring the subtleties of sound design to life. "5th Snooze" is a more tightly wound affair with a subtle jazziness rubbed into its joints, while "Full Colour" brings the kind of funky bump and trippy mood you used to find on the Trapez label. "Liez" completes the set with a sharp approach that wriggles its way under the skin.
Review: Romanian Native Bog has had a great run of releases of late on some of electronic music's most compelling labels, including Crosstown Rebels, Bedrock and Diynamic. He has steadily forged his reputation as one to watch. Following his contribution to Adana Twins' Watergate 25 compilation, he returns to the esteemed Berlin label - this time teaming up with exciting new vocal-led French trio LKF Project (Sapiens/Atlant). "Her Song" is a pop-inflected and evocative deep house anthem for the main room - you can expect to hear this a lot in 2019. This is backed up by the tension and suspense of "Discrete Class" that's sure to fuel those heads down moments under the strobelight.
Review: Tom Noble's Superior Elevation label started life as a home for reissues of obscure disco and boogie material, but has since widened its remit to include original productions. Here, Noble welcomes fellow Brooklyn resident Willie Burns to the label for a spot of sweaty, basement-bothering house business. Intriguingly, Burns original - nestled on the flipside - is the looser of the two, with dexterous percussion hits accompanying restless drum machine hits and a killer, New Jersey influenced bassline. Noble chooses not to emphasize these disco elements, instead delivering a wild, low-slung, dub style reinterpretation that turns it into a surging, late night house stomper.
Review: Just four releases into its life, London imprint Counterfeit Soul has managed to draft in some serious pedigree for this one, with bossman Frazer Campbell leading the charge via the gloriously heady heights of 'Cloud 909'. Shades of soulful Detroit more than a little audible, it's a warm and uplifting opening number. Logically, given its name, 'Doom Dub' from Jorge Zamacona is a stark contrast in terms of vibe. Less delicate, much more direct and relentless- barely letting up- it's an ever-growing and more than likely ever-green slice of what deep techiness should sound like from the legendary producer. Those looking for more of a Windy City tip can find plenty of Chicago influences on Jorge Caiado's 'Drifting With Aliens', while Ste Roberts goes raw, unpolished and compulsively danceable for 'Last Saturday Day!'
Review: Christian Schafer made his name a few years back via a swathe of releases on the admirable Comeme label that offered a distinctively off-kilter - if still formidably club-ready - take on house music. He's at it again on "Tannin", his debut for Munich's Permanent Vacation label. Schafer sets the tone via the cymbal-heavy machine percussion and warped acid bass of "Tannin", before joining forces with Sano on bongo-laden analogue deep house workout "Ritmo". "Passant" is a deliciously hypnotic and trance inducing voyage through locked-in drums and echoing waves of synthesizer sounds, while the Kolkut ELbay edit of "Dancer" is deep, trippy and wonderfully positive. Closing the EP is the original version of that track, a looser and slightly sleazier affair made in cahoots with old pal Matthias Agauyo.
Review: 2 Bit Crew member / Safe Radio representor CK returns to his local label PRS for another lesson in version artistry. One tune, four personal interpretations; "Cough" is first presented to us in the form of a classic early 90s trance form, all upbeat and bouncy. Its poignant arpeggio and chords are then presented in ambient form to show a whole other compositional and emotional side. Flip for two more revisions as both the Essence mix and Patience mix take more of a progressive tip with big pads, trippy tinges and skippy breakbeats that wouldn't have gone a miss in Sasha and John Digweed's seminal Northern Exposure mixes.
Review: Joe Corti returns to his own label China White for the second release a year after the first. The first release seeing alot of support from heavyweight DJs in the house game and also a load of views on youtube. China White as a whole have been busy throughout the year throwing succesfull party's in London.
Review: Although Salzburg sort Bernhard "Demuja" Weiss has previously released music on Shall Not Fade offshoot Lost Palms, this is the first time he's appeared on Kieran Williams' main label. He's delivered the goods, offering up a rock solid five-track EP that flits between loose and languid deepness (breezy opener "Do It"), locked-in late night grooves (the muscular beats, heavy bass and poignant piano samples of "Jito"), spacey, synth-laden deep house positivity (the sparkling "Can't Stop"), jazz-funk influenced mid-tempo house warmth ("Those Who") and Detroit techno influenced dancefloor futurism (the elongated deep space chords, ragged acid lines and bustling beats of "Tokyo").
Review: Difusion's Jamie McShane & Daniel Maunick hook up with the extremely talentented vocalist Ant Thomaz on two original killa tracks that brings their love of Jazz/Funk,Soul & House music all together.Includes a heavy remix from Daniel Maunick, producer of Azymuth, Marcos Valle, Incognito and many others! This is the first release of the newly relaunched Straight Talk Records, back after a 20 year hiatus, with 3 tracks full of soul & fire!
Review: A mysterious white label from a mysterious source with no details or even track titles. All we know is that there are only 200 copies and that they absolutely bump. "Track 1" is a real heads down driver with a well-known female vocal ghosting through the groove while "Track 2" brings home a job lot of funk with a much looser, off-grid groove and a breakdown to melt into. Get lifted.