Review: Hailing from Romania and Spain, Barac and Baltazar are two producers with a particular ear for dread-out percussion. Both of them have released different sorts of tunes, with the former being part of NoiDoi, but this new collaboration to launch Romanian imprint, Shamandrum, sees them push their skills even further. For starters, Barac's "Povestea Lui Teofan" is one of the deepest, darkest examples of tribalism that we've heard this year, with the tune's deranged vocal samples blending ever so well into the sparse collection of drums beneath. Baltazar's effort, "Viento En Popa", is much more straight-edged and teched-out, surely with the power to appeal to minimal heads across the globe, and more than a few fans of imprints like Slow Life. This is minimal drumming at its finest!
Review: Tech-house queen Cassy aka Catherine Britton launches her own label, Kwench, after a decade of non-stop hits for the likes of Perlon, Uzuri and Aus Music. She has already launched her own imprint, Cassy, but this feels like a much more all-encompassing affair, teaming up with new talents and working on new beats for the next decade. The artists collaborates with Demuir on this new EP, opening the festivities with the relentless loops of "Stand Up (Your Life)", a bass-heavy looper for the big room! "Please Me" is an utter beauty, charged and driven forwards by a fuzzy bass loop that keeps on giving, whereas "Love Me - Now" turns to the deeper end of the house spectrum, bouncing back and forth with a magnetic - and utterly funky - bassline.
Review: Since launching in 2006, the men or women of mystery behind the sneaky Digwah series have delivered a couple of sought-after, single-sided 12" singles that blend familiar samples with rock solid tech-house grooves. Predictably, this third volume in the series sticks closely to the blueprint, wrapping twinkling electric piano motifs and a restless, looped bassline around a rhythm track rich in jazzy hi-hats, snappy drum machine snares and tough, locked-in kick-drums. It's arguably closer to deep house than its predecessors, with the tactile and warming samples - lifted, it seems, from the late '60s West Coast rock record - helping to create a rolling, late night feel. The previous Digwah releases sold out quickly, so you'll have to act fast to secure a copy of this one.
Review: Since donning the Floog alias last year, experienced producer George Gavanescu has impressed with a couple of self-released singles, a fine debut on Hoarder and a hook-up with Mahony on The Other Side. His first appearance on Mulen is quietly impressive, too. A-side "O Roata" is impressively energetic, with Gavanescu wrapping attractive flashes of melody and spacey chords around a bustling, all-action groove rich in throbbing bass and chunky drums. Over on side B, "My Acid" is closer in tone to his usual tech-house fare, with subtle TB-303 touches and deep space electronics riding a suitably booming bassline and smooth percussion. Finally, "Lightbulb" is big and bouncy, with snappy snares, liquid electronics and heavy sub-bass catching the ear.
Review: East End Dubz offshoot Eastenderz continues to go from strength to strength after killer releases from Romanians Lizz and Nami. Keeping on with their focus on the finest of emerging talent, they now tap Japanese artist in London Ittetsu for their tenth edition. Starting out on the first side in great fashion is "Lax", a raw and shuffling groove with the right amount of dust and bumpiness in its functionality. Next up the fittingly titled "Dub III" was probably our favourite, this rolling and emotive journey through deepness is reminiscent of Ion Ludwig. Finally on the flip is "11th", a reduced minimal funk jam with some wacky sound FX accompanied by a low slung groove that's perfect for the after-hours.
Review: DJ, producer, multi-instrumentalist, singer... Kalabrese's talents know no bounds. Naturally his range is equally bountiful, but nothing in his past discography matches the colour, warmth and scope of this extensive second album. Ranging from the WhoMadeWho style lollops of the title track to the ghostly Blakey echoes of "Das Haus Am Fluss", the Zurich-based artist has polished his technique with finesse. With a delivery that's not far off a young Byrne, and an ability to conjure up some very interesting studio sounds (case in point: the fluctuating bass on "Makossa"), Kalabrese has hit a rich vein of form. Available as a special gatefold vinyl and CD package, this is a very wise investment opportunity.
Review: Gird yourselves; starting from this month and running through until December, Dutch institution Dekmantel are celebrating a decade in the game with a series of monthly 12"s featuring a seriously all-star cast from Tony Allen to Villalobos. It starts right here as legendary innovative composer Gigi Masin opens with the lilting, delicate "Maja", Vakula brings us down from the clouds and back to the future with the body-jacking ghetto bump of "Robot Fuck The System" while Flugel blows the finale horn with the swampy Amazonian harmonic trip-out "Mice On Stick". This is the start of something very special.
Review: The singles accompanying Mr C's celebrated return to the album format keep on coming, this time drafting in some noted names to deliver remixes of "Ripple Effect". First up is Marc Houle who employs some of his trademark creepy bass tones to underpin a purposeful, driving slice of darkside party music. Noel Jackson is equally on edge with his version, although it's a more stripped down and sped up affair that borders on electro in its sense of tightly wound urgency. Chloe gets the run of the B-side to lay down a more varied remix that uses some punchy disco elements to create a more light hearted outlook on Mr C's original jam.
Review: Given that his bulging discography boasts over a decade's worth of releases for the likes of Tsuba. BPitch Control, No Fit State and Dogmatik, it would be fair to describe Samuel "Okain" Thalman as as reliable source of rock solid tech-house treats. Certainly, there's plenty to set the pulse racing on the Berlin-based Frenchman's first INFUSE EP, from the deep and spacey, sub-heavy bounce of opener "Place Des Fetes", to the breezier, breakbeat-driven crunchiness of swirling bonus cut "Magic Box". Rich NxT lends a hand on the flipside, turning in a rolling, mind-altering remix of "Place Des Fetes" that smothers a rubbery, low-slung bassline and snare-heavy beats with bubbly electronics and drifting, dubbed-out synth riffs.
Review: Berlin tech house heavyweights team up here on 'You Are Safe' a collaboration between &ME, Adam Port and Rampa on their Keinemusik imprint. The city natives hand in a collection of deep and evocative cuts, that are brought to life by some exceptional studio engineering, sitting somewhere between the sleek late night grooves of local imprint Souvenir as much as it does Innervisions with its melodic and futurist edge. Highlights on here include the hi-tech soul of "Civilist" calling to mind the sonic grooves of Toto Chiavetta or Ame, the sultry r'n'b of "Up & Down" featuring London songstress Chiara Noriko or the slinky moodlighting of "Bumper" featuring frequent collaborator Nomi Ruiz of Hercules & Love Affair fame. Keinemusik came to life in 2009, naming an existing friendship linked by the interests of six members - five DJs and one graphic designer/painter. Five releases per year have been released ever since, solely laid down by members of the crew.
Review: REPRESS ALERT: After years of staggering second hand prices, London's Silverlining is addressing the demand for some of his early work by issuing a series of 12"s with some of the finest tracks from his mid '90s era. This time around the tracks come from releases on Wiggle and Wrong, and they sound like they haven't aged one bit. "Pleasures & Treasures" is an upfront burner steeped in 909 drums and hubby synth tones, while "Ni-Cd Deluxe" works up a nagging line in emotive electro. "Spannered In Dub" may well be the track that gets the most airings with its minimal disposition, strong rhythm section and utterly addictive groove.