Review: Founder and leader of the Banana Hill parties out of Sheffield, Cervo has started churning out some seriously bad-mannered house music as of late. Interestingly, his devious blends of 4/4 dance recall the same sort of experimentation and freedom as Toddla T's tracks, the main star to have come out of Steel City. The man debuts on London's Black Acre with these two spicy rave bangers, kicking off with the smooth and liquid-like "Deyo", before turning everything into a bumpy stomp on the more acid-laden "Kasoa". The main thing about these two tunes is the funk running deep in its veins - boom!
Review: The unknown CFW GRF steps up with Seeking Balance, a three-track 12" that forms the third release from Malin Genie's recently established Vigenere label. Like the previous two releases, expect stripped-back minimal cuts geared towards club play. "The Light" is a real B-side gem!
Review: Kiwi brothers Chaos In The CBD return to Mule Musiq with their third EP for the long running Japanese label. They are in fine form throughout, offering up cuts that combine great ideas and intriguing musical motifs with just the right amount of serious dancefloor grunt. They're in full on saucer-eyed mode on A-side "Hydrate", a breakbeat-sporting deep house roller whose extended ambient intro, swirling chords, whispered vocal samples, gentle acid lines and early '90s U.S garage stabs combine to create a suitably loved-up vibe. Flipside "Searching For Signal" is similarly inclined but sounds a touch more psychedelic, with trance-inducing electronics and heady chord sequences catching the ear above another shuffling breakbeat-driven groove.
Review: On the A1 Chekov follows up their moves on Peach Discs and Timedance with a proper peak timer, they've been described by Ben UFO as 'king of the build up' and that's evident on this one. At the A2 London's Doppelate makes their Cong Burn debut with an elegant tech-house roller. Fresh from Russia's underground is Camin, on this, his debut 12" release he drops a useful tool which squeezes between electro and techno. Cong Burn founder Howes closes the B side with some warm hypnosis that could have landed in the golden era of Workshop.
Review: Cong Burn continues to exercise one of the most promising instincts for future-minded music on this, their third release. It's surprising they haven't done more previously, considering the maturity of their curation, but either way the quality remains at an all time high here, leading in with some light and liquefied 4/4 sonics from Chekov before pirouetting into one of Duckett's illustrious abstractions around the techno blueprint. Label regular Lack is back on side B with the stern and punchy "Track 3," and then Haddon finishes the record off with "Anabiosis," a densely textured, slow creeping trip of a track.
Review: Known most for his TC Studio work alongside Matei Tulbure, Traian Chereches has latterly taken to working in a solo capacity and demonstrated an equal degree of aplomb for unique rhythms and joyful sensations. Fans of the Romanian's work will delight in this double pack on his and Tulbure's prospering TC Studio label with the six tracks on Lobster Club really showing Chereches' full production range. Proceedings begin on an abstract note with "Wald 1975" memorable for some bold vocal sampling, though tracks such as the tumbling "A New Beat" and "Orchestra Rehearsal" will provide more than enough dancefloor satisfaction.
Review: Leading minimal label The Untold Stories are at it again, and after their star turn from STL recently they've now invited down another legend in the shape of Franco Cinelli. The original is classic Cinelli, pivoting around crisp, clean percussive lines and the bare essential atmospherics. Nektar Agu steps up for a remix that continues the minimalist theme, but adds some looming bass tones into the mix that pushes the track into a dubbier headspace. It's another slab of refined, stripped down tackle for the reductionist dancefloor, as you would expect from The Untold Stories.
Review: Since 2015, Bucharest-based producer Andrei Ciubuc's been releasing one EP per year and, while we'd like to hear more from him, they've all been similarly dope. This is no surprise, as the artist hails from what is now surely the headquarters of contemporary tech-house, but it's important to point out that he's definitely at the top of that food chain. "Strei2" comes through on the young and ambitious Cuplet label, and bursts through our charts with a powerful, wonderfully minimalistic groove that has a certain industrial flair about it, buzzing and twisting head-first into a whirlpool off strangely jazzy sonics and complex percussion patterns - a real floor burner. "Cel Putin", on the flip, oozes a magnetic, dub-filtered tone from all angles, and its bubbling drums are the perfect solution to any oversized sound system wishing to be taken to overdrive. Pressed up on heavyweight vinyl, too.
Review: Formerly one half of acclaimed duo Footprintz, Clarian North has really come into his own since flying solo, with some terrific releases over the last few years on Turbo, Balance Music and of course Kompakt - Time Safari being his third release for the Cologne based institution in only a mere couple of years. The EP was said to be a two year long process, from recordings made in South Africa with collaborators Richard Marshall and Blane Venter along with many locals along the way. From the futuristic, electro-influenced groove of the title track, the hypnotic and enchanting tech house of "Ancient Cave" awashed in shimmering delightful melodies to epic closer "Early Life", it's a sublime journey from start to finish.
Review: While Pheek may have been in operation for as long as anyone can remember within minimal house and techno, Cleymoore has been most productive more recently thanks to his Pluie/Noir label. Following on from last year's Seikou single on Xquisite, here Cleymoore and Pheek link up to deliver some densely packed, production rich jams that keep the spirit of mid-00s clicks and cuts alive. The beats themselves may be slender slices that carry the energy of the tracks, but it's all in the infinitesimal details in between that the true magic of this music comes alive.
Review: It's been a while since we heard from the Cobblestone Jazz boys and given their massive influence over contemporary house and techno, it's always a pleasure to listen to their truly singular take on dance music. The Matthew Jonson-led outfit return with an EP for the Itiswhatitis label, the original birthplace of Jonson's beats. "Northern Lights" is classic Cobblestone, where an ultra compressed kick meanders amidst calculated drips of sound pouring mathematically from every angle. "Drawn From The Side Of Crime" is a little more chirpy, its sounds bleeping away with greater intensity and freedom. It's a must have for fans of the group, recommended!