Review: Belfast lads done very good Bicep return with the Stash EP, their first full release of the year and it represents a triumphant return to Will Saul's Aus label with the. It's fair to say Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar ruled 2012, helping to pioneer a trend in backwards glancing house music across their various releases for Aus, Love Fever and their own Feel My Bicep label. So it makes for pleasant listening that Stash sees the duo expanding on their sound with four tracks more reflective of their personal tastes. The title track is full on peak time bliss which dovetails nicely with the glistening deepness of "Courtside Drama" and the chunk "Rise" which demonstrates a new found passion for infectious lead synth hooks. "The Game" offers a downtempo curveball, working in samples from HBO drama The Wire amidst a generally melancholic tone that owes more to Aphex Twin than Kerri Chandler.
Review: Breach first came to our attention back three or four years ago during the great 'post-dubstep' and 'future bass' boom, an explosion of ideas and musical freedom which has seen many of its artists go on to achieve great things across different corners of the electronic music sphere. Breach has kept true to his roots, the only major difference now being that his grooves are considerably more locked in a house tempo and not as loose or rattling. However, "Dim Sum" is still a track with a great personality, where a rigid percussion bundle makes up for the lack of a kick drum in its arrangement. On the flipside, "Anna Love" is the housier of the lot, a gorgeously full groove full of tribalism and soul, while "Purple" boasts the sort of UK street house that you wouldn't find elsewhere. In the game. Pure gold.
Review: Bwana aka Nathan Micay has already seen a release on Will Saul's Aus Music and his fluid, freeform house music returns with "Tengo", a melodic progressive house nugget that's both spacey and fit for any dancefloor. The same goes for "Drop Mechanism", an ethereal house stepper, while "Due West" goes in a lot harder with a vicious bundle of Power House drums punching and kicking their way across its chords. Effective floor bombs.
Review: Under the name Bwana, Nathan Micay made something of a splash back in 2012 with a pair of 12"s for the Somethinksounds label that wedged him snugly amidst the bass music cognoscenti of the time; think pitched up RnB samples, fluttering melodies and unpredictable juke style rhythms. Evidently keen not to get pigeon-holed, the Toronto-based artist chose to withdraw from the spotlight and spend some time honing his productions and this first offering of 2014 suggests this was a most productive spell indeed. Issued by Will Saul's tireless Aus imprint, the Flute Dreams EP finds Bwana embracing straight up house forms and doing it very well indeed - the bassline that consumes the title track is destined to be heard in clubs for years to come. SMD make their Aus bow on a fine reinterpretation of the "Flute Dreams" which feels like the track has been pulled inside out and Bwana further covers himself in glory with the startlingly bright, broken house of "Aomame".
Review: Former Panorama Bar resident and local Berlin fixture Cassy Britton presents her first full length release since giving up her residency and leaving Europe's clubbing capital for the sunny shores of Los Angeles. The Donna LP features some dusty classic house sounds of the deeper spectrum, as heard previously on her eponymous imprint, Uzuri or Perlon sporadically over the last 10 years and her great vocals which veer from spoken word, haunting/monotone to high pitched diva moves are a constant throughout. Highlights for us were the uplifting deep disco of "All I Do", the soulful deep funk on her cover of Prince's "Strange Relationship" or the emotive yet tough techno of "Move".
Review: Self-proclaimed sub-aquatic acid house producer, Cottam, has found his production time being replaced with nappy changing of late, but has thankfully managed to record this new EP. It's a good thing too as "Relapse" is sumptuously deep, with haunting synthscapes and subtle percussion. The tune is also remixed by Cosmin who lets it fly as a psychedelic trance bird in the sky. Back to Cottam though, whose "I Remember", is a really cool and nasty houser with attitude. Good stuff!
Review: Racking up 50 releases in just over seven years in no mean feat, and Will Saul's Aus Music celebrate the landmark in requisite fashion with a one side transmission from Deetron. As a label Aus command a powerful reputation and it's got there by operating as a platform for emergent artists like Midland, Dusky and Joy O as well as an outlet for established names in SCB and Lee Jones. Deetron of course belongs in the latter category and "Count On Me" is a perfect example of his current oeuvre, inherently warm and soulfully intoxicating in sound and drive forth by crisp, techy upward momentum.
Review: Having made his Aus debut last year, restless producer Tom Demac makes his return to Will Saul's ever-dependable stable of talent with Linda's Theme. The title track is a raucous combination of raw, off-kilter drums and resonant 303 bass in the Gerry Read mould, characterised by its bold sample which sounds like it was ripped from a lost psychedelic 7" from the 1960s. "Vocoder's Revenge" is a little more what we'd expect from the producer, combining deep, sleazy sub bass and the titular vocoder which sounds like a codeine addled Daft Punk, while "Days with Poly" starts out as a stern tech house bumper before travelling into more emotive territory thanks to its soulful female vocal and warm pads. For peak time house fare, you'll find little better this month, that's for sure.
Review: After their breakthrough year in 2012, Dusky just keep on nailing the chunky deep house zeitgeist well into 2013. Returning to one of their key outposts, Aus, they bring yet more of that slick and peppy floor fodder, deft touches of vocal and rich melodics still very much present. "Careless" takes the gentle approach, keeping an open-topped quality to the production that sits well with the emotive vocal turns. "Rise For Love" flips the script with a claustrophobic growler fashioned with murky basements in mind, all menacing basslines and abrasive percussive hits, while "Esperanto Juggler" continues this foray into tense moods, albeit in a more stacatto way than its bouncy predecessor. "Words Later On" plies a different trade to the other tracks as it dips its toe into electro construction, even if it still comes off as an unmistakably Dusky sounding track.
Review: George Fitzgerald's all conquering "Child" gets the remix treatment on this essential 12" from the Aus stable. Obviously impressing Will Saul with this year's similarly thumping "Bang't", he has enlisted the services of Geeeman aka Gerd to rework the track. Taking only the vocal, he works his revivalist Chicago jack magic, with bone dry 909 rhythms, a rock solid bassline and expectedly tongue in cheek feel brought by some Green Velvet inspired synth freakery. Meanwhile, the NY Stomp remix walks the same path as the similar NY/Jersey house revivals of late, giving Bicep a run for their money in terms of muscular rhythmic flex and hands in the air chords.
Review: Aus add the supreme talents of Londoner George FitzGerald to their already impressive roster of artists, and the Silhouette EP betrays further evidence of the young producer's gift for modern house centric sounds. Anyone who checked Fitzgerald's two impressive drops for Hotflush will be all over this release as the title track fully demonstrates his talent for merging elements of hypnotic house and swinging 2-step and flushing them with his trademark pitched vocals. Given the warm reception afforded to John Roberts album last year, the Dial man was a smart choice for remix duties but you couldn't imagine the results if you tried. Stripping the track of its warm melodic excesses Roberts transforms it into a stuttering, fractured mass of heaving industrial psychedelia which is without comparison. On the flip FitzGerald swerves proceedings back towards a sense of danceability with the epic, sweeping Detroit meets Hackney Wick rhythms of "Reset".
Review: Huxley's come a long way since his formative releases on labels like Cecille Numbers, Tsuba and Kolour Recordings. In recent times he's delivered the goods to Rinse, Hypercolour and Defected with last year's impressive Chatsworth Sound collaboration with Shenoda. His second EP for Will Saul's Aus Music is a varied affair with something to please everyone with a taste for UK flavoured house. It's a certainty the bassline of "Callin" will make this track a summer smash - festival dancers watch out - while the grittier low end frequencies of "Machina" are more suited to a underground club vibe. Huxley goes deeper into the minimal end of tribalish house music on "Tendered Mess" while "Oil Spill" is a signature of Huxley's trademark bassline style.
Review: Huxley's recent LP Blurred saw the rising UK producer offer a more comprehensive display of his production range, dipping more thoroughly into his influences for an eight track set that covered UK garage, deep house, bumping techno and pitched down rave. This latter avenue was best explored on "Give 2 U" the collaboration with vocalist Femme, whose stirring tones were a perfect match for Huxley's winding production. It's got single material written all over it, so kudos to Will Saul for this 12" which features a darker house Club Rerub from Huxley himself as well as a brukkish remix from the Saul man and Bristolian Komon. Huxley fans will also appreciate the presence of a new production from the man that closes out matters.
Review: Essex bred Lee Jones lived in London until 2002, where he was producing and remixing as the downtempo/nu-jazz artist Hefner. After following his heart to Berlin, he was inspired by the music and clubs to move into a new production style. For the past two years he has been recording and performing live as part of the successful Playhouse signed trio My My. For "There Comes A Time" Lee's blissed out chords drift effortlessly around a squelchy melody while chunky drums bounce in and out of the mix. The tension builds as the groove evolves and then a more sublime melody is introduced into the arrangement that'll have you reaching for those lasers. It's one of those tracks that just oozes its own unique character. On the flip side Prins Thomas gets to work. The master of the delay unit creates a build-up of feedback and meshes this into an ominously throbbing bassline that swells with intensity throughout the arrangement to create tension and impact. When combined with Lee's euphoric chords it creates real excitement.
Review: Bristolian Kieran Lomax already has a respectable discography as Komonazmuk, but recently adopted the shortened Komon banner in order to move towards a sound that embraces house and bass music. After a couple of collaborative releases alongside Arkist and Appleblim for Hype Ltd and Apple Pips respectively, Komon goes solo landing on the Aus label overseen by Will Saul for the Walk The Walk 12". Already familiar to working with Saul, having contributed remixes for Sideshow and MyMy on Aus Music back in 2009, Lomax's two productions here find him in confident mood, with the title cut featuring the sort of sub bass you'd expect from a West Country boy, but applied deftly to a 4/4 mainframe.
Review: Offering up the cuts from his last release for Aus to go under the knife, Midland gets the remix treatment with two distinct results. First up Grain gets into a rolling tribal state of mind with a version of "Trace" honed for peak time dancefloor consumption. The drums fall in a circular pattern while insistent snippets from the track accentuate the functional abandon of this decidedly driving piece. Leon Vynehall meanwhile strings "For (Yacht) Club Only" up with a bugging backbone and heartfelt stabs that fall into a modern meltdown of future-minded house music for body-jerking physical responses.
Review: Harry 'Midland' Aguis has been responsible for some Aus gems, not least his 2010 debut with Ramadanman and this two track Trace 12" maintains his Midas touch for the label. The title track contains trace elements (geddit?) of Midland's previous work as thickly delivered synth tones combine deftly with booming 4/4 kicks and the sort of nonsensical vocal hook that worms its way all too easily into your cerebral cortex. Still though our favourite is the B Side production "For (Yacht) Club Use Only" which is clearly inspired by the Delroy Edwards production of the very similar name.
Review: It's safe to say Midland is now one of Aus Music's marquee artists. This Duster EP provides the Englishman with his seventh release on Will Saul's label since 2010 with that killer split 12" with Ramadanman (now Pearson Sound). The title track features a Caribou-like bassline and synths which swell and vary in size over a skipping house beat. "Replex" is rougher and frenetically percussive while still remaining melodic, while "Pitch Drift" is the deepest production on the record that some how, in amongst the trippiness of it all, stays tropical.
Review: The members of My My met and became friends through common interests in music, but it wasn't until they ended up as neighbours in Berlin's Mitte, that a lifestyle of committed partying, cake baking and long studio sessions lead to their debut release on Playhouse "Klatta" in early 2005. It was the result of previously downtempo producer Lee Jones (Hefner) working and partying with local Berlin DJ's Nick Höppner and Carsten Kleeman, who are residents respectively at Panorama Bar and Watergate. Following up their recent fantastic 12" on Circus Company "Butterflies & Zebras" is beautifully tripped-out expansive ambient house, summer after-hours here we come! Recorded live with Nick and Lee layering FX over the organic percussion as the mix develops. An acid infused bassline is slowly opened out as layers of lush strings and shimmering pads are teased into the arrangement. On Moneybowl the boys show the more jacking side of My My. Taught and lean with a groove that keeps on evolving, while weird and wonderful bleeps and clicks bounce around the mix. For the remix, John Dahlbäck twists the pads from the original and adds his own synth stabs. Then pulls out a bassline and arrangement that jumps straight onto the dancefloor.
Review: Everything Ramadanman touches at the moment becomes gold. Put simply, the (still very) young man is a genius, constantly pulling from various genres to keep his work new and exciting yet somehow retains a large amount of consistency and class. This release sees the Leeds based producer return to Aus imprint for a second outing, on a collaborative effort with Applepips head honcho Appleblim. "Void 23" is pitch black, 4am techno that carries your senses on a journey down a deep dark tunnel of thumping basslines pressured against snares that collapse on top the galloping percussion. It's also heavily full of vibes and clocks in at a little over nine minutes. This alone is reason enough to purchase the 12" but Aus deliver a real treat in securing the services of Carl Craig to deliver a flipside edit that indulges in just the right amount of tweakage. The little changes Craig implements in the rhythm structure succeed in embellishing the overall feel with more urgency. The release marks another A+ plus outing from Aus Music as well as Ramadanman and Appleblim, which effortlessly joins the canon of music that will be played in clubs for many years to come.
Review: When it comes to infusing deep house with elements of jazz, soul and Detroit techno, few have as good a track record as veteran Kiwi producer Recloose. It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that Spirit Knows, his latest EP for pal Will Saul's Aus Music imprint, is pretty darn tasty. The title track, featuring soulful vocalist MaraTK, sits somewhere between his classic work for Planet E (think "Ain't Changin" in particular) and the sort of organic, musically expansive deep house more often associated with soulful house producers such as Phil Asher. The producer's Motor City influences come to the fore on the spacey broken house of "No I Don't", while "Ezrakh-Georomancer" is a spoken word-boasting chunk of New Jersey garage influenced jazz-house smoothness.
Review: The mighty Recloose drops on AUS Music? Oh yes, you ain't trippin'. The Peacefrog, Planet E and Rush Hour mainstay aligns with Will Saul's label in it's tenth year of business and he brings with him a triplet of delightful house gems. "Honey Rocks" leads the way with a fluid, rolling groove filled with intricate melodies and a subtly tribalistic approach. "On&On" pushes forward a deeper, more swollen bass but the mood is still very much in the deep end of the pool, and "SideWalks" ties things off with a pulsating groove that is simply made for the DJ...
Review: Inside Out is a brand new series from Aus Music label head Will Saul. It invites DJs and producers to blur the boundaries between traditional artist albums and mix compilations. The concept encourages them to showcase their own music, or the music of those in their own individual circles. Depending on who is curating, it will take different forms. The idea stems from Saul's own approach in the club, which often finds him seeking out brand new and unheard music to play for the first time. There's a strong Detroit techno aesthetic throughout his inaugural release for the series: from the emotive hi-tech soul of his own collaboration with Komon entitled "Positive", Amsterdam legend Gerd had no problem channeling similarly timeless retro vibes either, as heard on the funky techno-soul of "Echoes". They save the best for last on the flip, with the legendary Floorplan's riveting rendition of Primitive Trust's "Little Love" - perfect to get that 3AM style strobe-lit tunnel vision in effect.
Small Moments (nb. mislabelled as "Sequence 1" (Mount Kimbie mix) on label)
Sequence 1 (Scuba remix)
Review: Mike Monday and Will Saul remix Scuba: Scuba remixes Mike Monday and Will Saul. Sounds fair right? Well that's what these diplomatic chaps have done, with Saul and Monday's Sequence 1 EP following a Scuba 12" which dropped last week. The title track sees Saul and Monday strip things back to a Roland 909, Korg Kaos Pad, and Dave Smith Polyevolver. In the true traditions of house music, they recorded their mix live, with Mike on the 909 and keys and Will on filters and effects. "Small Moments" swaps raw analogue jack for a melodic keys and shuffling percussion, offering a nice contrast. Flip over for Scuba's remix, which treads the line between house, dubstep and techno in the way that only Paul Rose can.
Review: Next year sees Aus boss Will Saul unveil the Closer project, a conduit for his long promised second album that's set for release on K7! and features contributions from the likes of Paul 'Tikiman' St. Hillaire, Scuba, Appleblim, Ewan Pearson and October. The final Aus release of 2012 has Saul collaborating with October, aka TANSTAAFL boss Julian Smith for the first time on "Light Sleeper" which sees Saul on synths and Smith on drums and makes for a pitch perfect distillation of their partnership with the track bristling in a manner similar to an insomnia riddled STL. Kompakt boss Michael Mayer is on remix duty, deftly balancing Saul and Smith's original sonic aspirations with his own creative urges - the results incorporating several broken rhythmic movements without sacrificing the warmth of the original production.
Review: Sideshow began in 2003 with the release of "Sound Of Today" on Simple, evolving into a deep broken percussive sound with lashings of melody. Sideshow's grown alongside the success of his more established alter ego Fink (Ninja Tune), a well respected producer, remixer and DJ. The sound was born of a need to play pure dance music, initially created as the antithesis to the sample heavy, turntablist Ninja culture but drawing on the experience. "Sound of Today" was followed in 2004 with "The Slide" EP, a delicious and twisted slice of deep percussive house, featuring the first remix by the Canadian tech lord Mathew Jonson. After Fink co-produced the Will Saul album "Space Between" for Simple and put his dub-blues Fink album to bed, Sideshow got back in the studio and comes straight back at us with his latest genre bending business, a fitting debut on Will Saul's new experimental label Aus. Over the coming months he's touring live with his band as Fink, creating new material for Matt Jonson's Wagon Repair and for Aus.
Review: Sideshow is the alter ego of Fink - the well-respected work-o-holic producer, musician, remixer and live performer on Ninja Tune. "African Cheri" starts out straight and robotic until the disco loops and percussive samples are cut into the mix. The live bass is accompanied by Sideshow's typical dub flashes before things are taken to the next level with a squelchy electronic variation of the bassline that is, well, quite simply filthy.
Review: Amsterdam based Tom Ruijg has been producing since 2010 but has really come into his own under the alias Tracey. He serves up some seriously emotive and reflective modern electro for Aus Music on the Metamorphosis EP, which follows up some great releases of late for locals Tom Trago's Voyage Direct and on Midland's Intergraded label. From the sublime and hypnotic title track, to the moody sci-fi bounce of "Blue Invasion" and the old school analogue soul of "Helix" reminiscent of Detroit legends like Dopplereffekt or Drexciya - Ruijg proves his uncanny ability to summon those ghosts in the machine on this impressive release.
Review: Will Saul's Aus Music label is a decade old in 2016 and this celebratory compilation doubles up as a landmark 100th release. Due out across quadruple vinyl, triple CD and digital formats, the cunningly-titled Aus 100 features a weighty 24 tracks from a suitably high profile cast. Along with music from Saul himself, you'll find cuts here from label staples Bicep, Midland, Huxley, Deetron, Nick Hoppner, Pearson Sound, Youandewan, Marquis Hawkes, Gerd, Sei A (who presented the label's last full length release the Space In Your Mind LP), Bwana, Fold, Shenoda, Appleblim & Komon. Here's to another 100 eh Will?
Review: Uk producer Leon Vynehall has invariably had the prefix 'up & comer' attached to him over the past 18 months thanks to a succession of crunchy, sample laden releases for the likes of Well Rounded and Man Make Music. A recent release for the latter label as Lazlo Dancehall with A1 Bassline was Vynehall's most accomplished work to date and his arrival on Will Saul's Aus label with the Brother/Sister is a sign that this producer might soon be regarded as an established player in UK house circles. There's a sense of a serotonin injected Motor City Drum Ensemble at play here across both "Brother" and "Sister" with the former's rugged swagger complemented by the warbling melodic subtleties of the latter. Best Aus release in a hot minute!
Review: As the recent label compilation proved, Will Saul's Aus Music are dealing in strictly heavy hitters these days and they don't come much bigger than Paul Woolford do they? Heaven & Earth looks to be Woolford's latest concept-laden 12", arriving a few months after the Spesh Request man laid down the Mother & Child single for Hotflush. Split into two parts, "Heaven & Earth" finds Woolford channelling a rich brand of tech-laden house music and one that is adorned with swooping orchestral flourishes amidst the thick swathes of bass. The more pared-back part II just nudges it for us.
Review: Leeds legend Paul Woolford is an unstoppable force. Taking a break from creating retro flavoured warehouse bombs under his well received Special Request alias and returning under his birth name for some clean cut tech house for Will Saul's always reliable imprint. It's all in the name of the cross on here, if you catch our drift. Religious overtones aside: "Holy Ghost" is deeply emotive groove, carried by a strong arpeggiated bass and haunting strings; seductive and functional. On the flip, "Father" goes for some electro driven, early '90's, UK IDM vibes (which we found particularly charming) until "Son" closes the EP out in true style on this beatless ambient acid journey.
Review: Having spent the last seven years delivering impressive singles on a variety of labels - most notably Aus Music, Secretsundaze and Hype_Ltd - Ewan Smith has decided the time is right to unleash his debut album under the Youandewan alias. There Is No Right Time is a gently expansive affair, with the Scottish producer utilizing both electronic and acoustic instrumentation on tracks that perfectly showcase his diverse range of influences. Contrast, for example, the spacey jazz-house of "Be Good To Me, Poly", the dusty, pitched-down deep house warmth of "Time To Leave (Can't Mix)", and the sparkling, B12 style IDM/electro fusion of "Something Keeps Me Real Quiet"; all are immaculately produced and impressively melodious, but hugely different stylistically. He also joins forces with Huerta on album highlight "Left On Lucy", a glistening fusion of bubbly, synth-heavy deep house, Motor City futurism and sun-bright new age melodies.