Review: Chicago Damn is the latest esteemed producer to shore up at Marcel Vogel's Intimate Friends label, following the Hypoleon EP with some forthright, sample heavy funk house concoctions that nod to his other work on Wolf Music and the like. "Bunny Hoppin" is a rowdy but soulful belter with a peppy tempo and an addictive line in looped up samples, while "Flush" takes things slower and dustier without getting too lost in the undergrowth. "The Truth" lays its samples out in bold, bright brushstrokes with a pattering, psyched out undercurrent for deeper, sunkissed moments, and then "Tipsy" finishes the EP off in a playful tryst of re-pitched piano trills and scuffed beats.
Review: It's been a while since we heard any new material from Rick Poppa Howard, the father of prodigious house talent Tevo Howard. The soul and raw, off-kilter production style runs in the family, and "Keep Holdin On" demonstrates this perfectly with its immediate warmth and unfussy arrangement. "Gimme That Love" is the real gem on this record though, toying with a rubbery bassline and a touch more atmospheric detail that makes Howards voice shine. That said, if you do require an instrumental version for any reason, the alternative cut stands proud on its own. For our money though, we'd say Howard's vocals are what makes this record special.
Review: Marcel Vogel's Intimate Friends label welcomes a newcomer to the fold, with Hypoleon displaying a warm and inviting take on outboard, leftfield, electronic soul with a wavey edge to it. The vocals on the original tracks have a haunting edge to them thanks to some hefty processing, but the power in the delivery is undeniable. The tracks meanwhile channel acid, electro and minimal wave in understated ways, played out with a live band dynamic that hooks you in from the start. Jon McMillion's remix of "Tresberry" turns the track into a simmering 4/4 jam for the warm up heads to get loose to, while Tevo Howard brings some of his signature boxy acid to bear down on the track.
Review: Bobby Van Putten's The Planty Herbs project has been reveling in the edit world since 2010, although his output is frustratingly scattered for those who appreciate his tender touch. Now though you can revel in the splendour of a full 12-track, double vinyl album that truly shows what Putten is made of. From the mellow soul food of "Nothing Lasts" to the laidback hip hop funk of "Downgrade", the dusty house experiments of "Akustika" to the poppy overtones of "Follow Me Now," this is the sound of an artist with a rich musical gift and a soulful instinct.
Review: The Marcel Vogel-fronted label Intimate Friends has already done sterling work releasing deep house from the likes of Roman Rauch and Reginald Omas Mamode IV, and now it's Simba's turn to step up and strut his stuff. The Goodbye Miss Misanthropy EP is loaded with curveball house music of the highest order, with "Remind Me Of Dancing" particularly standing out thanks to Jyroscope's inspiring vocal turn. There's some off-kilter jazz moods tumbling out of "ITB Jam", while a fractured soul vibe gives "Love Letter" its power. "Last Time" is a honey-coated closer that rides on the laziest of grooves with some added sample power from a titan of RnB.
Review: You will no doubt have spotted Marcel Vogel's handiwork steering the good ship Lumberjacks In Hell, or perhaps even his choice edits under the Em Vee banner, but increasingly the Dutch artist is turning to his own name to get some fine records laid down outside the realms of pure edit territory. This second outing on Intimate Friends comes on like a mini-album of sorts, with eight tracks made up of remixes as well as originals. It's a powerful step on for Vogel, touching on a grounded variation on neo-soul with a house kick in the rhythm department. Soulful vocal spots from Mey, Milos Gersi, Gianni Tam, Khadija and Tim Jules all add to the sensation, heading away from the dancefloor as an expansive EP for all time.