Review: Argy takes on the challenge to compose this year's summer soundtrack. From South America, to Africa and Persia, the young artist presents us his global music influences through a modern-electronic sound. On the A-side, "La Pasion", clearly presents the artist's passion for house music. Argy achieved to produce a modern but old skool sounding Latin track, which is definitely going to create a unique atmosphere and set dance floors on fire. "Third Night In Lebanon" takes us on a mental trip of oriental overtones. A reduced percussive piece with an intelligent arrangement of organic sounds consists one of Argy's most interesting works to date. The final track treats us to a sweeter, mood changing experience. "The Waves" is structured around a steady groove of airy and wet percussion layered with intriguing, spacey effects. Once again the young Greek combines innovative production with a raw sound full of passion and soul. Something he simplifies as nothing more than "Honest music from the heart".
Gut Man Cometh (Matthew Herberts Feel Right Rub) (6:40)
Destroyer (FOLD Lean Tape version) (6:59)
Review: The master of wacky techno returns. Matthew Dear donned his notorious Audion moniker again for his first album in years under the guise. The Alpha LP featured about a dozen woozy and disorienting dancefloor destroyers and two selections are present here getting the remix treatment by two fellow innovators. The legendary Matthew Herbert remixes "Gut Man Cometh", scaling back the high-octane psychedelia of the original into a driving journey track with interestingly spiced up vocal samples. Aus Music regular FOLD turns "Destroyer" into a tough deep house stomper with emotive pads being supported by some gutsy stomp and shuffle.
Review: Always a man with his hand on the swing button, Stephen Brown knows a thing or two about funk in a techno world, but on this single for Technorama there's a distinctly house finish to the track. That's helped in no small part by the soulful vocal lick that runs through the middle of the track, even if the beats still bump with the roughness that he has made his name on. Don Williams ups the ante on his remix by slicing the remix up into fine slithers and fattening up the drums to make for a big room beast of the highest calibre.
Review: Steve Bug is back with a brilliant release to close 2007. In between A&Ring three labels, mixing and promoting two high profile club mix compilations, ('Fuse Presents Steve Bug' earlier this year and the 37th edition of Fabric's 'Prestigious Mix' series, released in November) we are glad he has found some studio time. 'A World Without' on the a-side is what we love Steve Bug for - his analogue warm sound and his simple understated fashion but unhurried ability to bring in slowly burning intensity, taking things to a different level and his talent in using minimal elements for maximum effects. The track kicks off with a subtle groovy beat plus Steve's vocal sample and shows him adding layer over layer of nifty sounds, building up to a hypnotic groove, after which the ever-increasing, stomach-punching synth kicks in - he then strips things back to the nude again in exactly the right moment. The track has something magical to it from the very first beats, a sure dancefloor winner that will captivate dancers and listeners at both peaktime and after hour sets. 'Cru Sauvage' on the b-side is based on a bubbly, bleepy melody, a collage of deep and twisted effects grooving around the beats, heavy offbeat snares and unexpected house chords. An impeccable production and the perfect flipside to Steve's last release in 2007.
Review: This is a typical Steve Bug release and this is what makes it so impressive. Like much of his back catalogue, it effortlessly flits in mood from celebratory to deep before ending up in tripped out mode. The title track sees the Poker Flat boss in typically jaunty mode, with summery keys unfolding over an upbeat tech groove. "Thick As Mud" is much darker and rides a searing bass and tougher drums. Rounding off the release is "Pants on Fire", where Bug draws on his minimal background to deliver a pulsing, acid-soaked affair that is custom-made for after hour usage.
Review: Berlin's finest and Cabinet Records head honchos Jens Augustowsky and Daniel Paul return for more perfect loops with their signature all hardware setup. The most infectious and hypnotic minimal house served up to perfection on their newest offering. It starts off with the plonky swing fuelled groove of "Alternative Acts": a signature sound of theirs which you can hear in the work of other artists they no doubt influenced such as Mike Shannon. On the flip, there's the deep and emotive "Drive One" supported by thunderous toms and bittersweet pad textures complete with perfectly filtered chords. Finally "Holiday Ahead" is the most positive and uplifting offering here and perfect to play just as the sunlight starts to peer through the blinds on Sunday morning: there's hell of a lot of soul on this boompty acid jam.
Ich Schreib' Dir Ein Buch 2013 (feat Hildegard Knef)
Review: Though his career has taken many turns over the last decade, DJ Koze has remained that most illusive of creatures: a minimal-minded producer with an ear for a melody. This fourth full-length, packed to the rafters with big-name collaborations (Apparat, Caribou, Ada and Matthew Dear all feature), continues his move towards the home-listening sphere. So, while many of the heady rhythms and shuffling grooves hark back to his stripped-back past, Amygdala impresses with its woozy songs, genre-straddling fusions (see the modern soul meets deep house of "Homesick" or the steppy, tropical vibes of "Marilyn Whirlwind") and homely atmosphere.
Review: Almost 12 months after brilliantly joining the dots between house, techno and tech-house on the Exit Strategy released "No Limit EP", former Hypercolour and Hot Creations artist Tom Flynn makes his first appearance on Planet E. Of the three tracks, it's opener "Packard" - whose title doffs a cap to historic parties held at a former Detroit power plant - that makes the greatest impression. A thing of simple beauty, it sees jazz pianist Joshua Praiz unfurl stunningly heartfelt, slow-motion solos over hypnotic beats and crackly, looped vocal samples. "Anna" takes a similar approach, with a cut-up speech about fashion journalism stretching out over a smooth tech-house beat and fluid piano motifs, while "Marx" subtly doffs a cap to both Isolee and the deepest tech-house around.
Review: Nervmusic is a minimal house/techno imprint formed in Russia but now based in Berlin. Following up some great releases by the likes of French micro-house maestro Lowris and Club Midi (Cluj-Napoca) resident g76, it is now over to the mysterious Fonetica. While not much is known of the producer at the time of writing, be assured there's some quirky and reductionist avant-garde grooves aimed squarely at the after-hours on offer here. Starting off with the lean and glitchy bounce of "Background" - which is perfect for early morning trance induction sessions aboard the Hoppetosse, we've also got the trippy and rolling bass driven groove of "Lost In Thought" for something more upbeat. Finally on the flip is yet more subtractive hypnotism on "Sleepy Hollow" which will appeal to fans of grooves from the quirker end of the spectrum popularised by the likes of Perlon, Minibar or Hello? Repeat.
Review: What really impresses about Meteorology, the third album from post minimal adventurer Daniel 'Frivolous' Gardner, is its cheeky playfulness. Sure, there's a minimal-ish swing to the beats and liberal use of crackly noises, but these are offset by deliciously melodic bounce, a wonderful sense of adventure and even the odd nod to jazz. Gardner regularly gets on the mic to add his own bittersweet vocals (see the swirling noughties jazz-house of "Red Tide"), and thinks nothing of offering up both Nicolas Jaar-ish experimentation ("One Fine Solstice", "Lunar Phaser") and global dancefloor fusions (the tango-techno of "Cinemascopique", chiming "Olstagia" and thrilling "Serenades Des Excentriques"). It makes for an album that entertains and exceeds expectations throughout.
Review: Here's something to excite all those who like their stripped-back techno to come with a heavy dose of soul. It features Chilean minimal maestro Ricardo Villalobos join forces with Chez Damier and Ben Vedren's H2H project. On the A-side, Villalobos delivers a superb remix of "No More", wrapping lusciously soulful vocals and languid piano motifs around a typically bouncy and left-of-centre minimal techno rhythm. On the flip, Villalobos joins Damier and Verden to deliver a three-part "Conspiracy". Each of the three interpretations has its own distinctive vibe, but all deliver a near perfect balance between soul-flecked deep house, trippy tech-house, Chicago acid and the South American wonkiness that Villalobos does so well. In other words, it's a musical marriage made in Heaven.
Review: We never quite know what to expect from leftfield explorer Jon Hopkins, but we know it will be worth a listen. Immunity, his fourth solo album (he's recorded two others, one with Brian Eno and another with King Creosote), doesn't disappoint. Rooted in shuffling, forthright and occasionally off-kilter rhythms, it melds hazy, late night atmospherics and subtle melodies with intense, droning chords, woozy electronics and all manner of inventive noises. It's a blend that repeatedly pays dividends, from the mournful pianos and jumpy rhythms of "Breathe This Air', to the crystalline, soundscape ambience of "Abandon Window", and glitchy wonkiness of "Form By Firelight".
Review: Swedish DJ and producer based in Berlin La Fleur is resident at local superclub Watergate, so sure knows what it takes to rock a dancefloor. "Flowerhead" was originally released in 2010 on her own Power Plant imprint and now gets a reprise by an all star cast. Starting off with another one of the city's leading stars; Panorama Bar resident Cassy, who provides a high octane rendition fuelled by some powerful arpeggios. The city's reigning queen of rolling house grooves Dana Ruh provides a very functional version, aimed for for DJ use as always. Finally, La Fleur herself delivers a a "2016 rework" to commemorate 10 years since the track's release: a true milestone in a very successful career thus far.
The Mole - "Set You Free" (Amorf interpretation) (8:36)
Valerie Temple Boyd - "Comb Over" (9:17)
The Mole - "Untitled Title X" (5:46)
Review: Dewalta's Meander imprint never fails to impress, with its careful curation of the finest minimal house and techno at present. Following up terrific releases by Swiss rising star Alci and Romania's Cristi Cons, the Berlin based imprint calls in veteran Canadian producer Colin de la Plante aka The Mole - for his take on subtle and understated groove music for the afterhours. While the deep and dubby bounce of "Set You Free" is decent enough in its original form, it's really all about Amorf's awe-inspiring rework where the aforementioned Cons teams up with right hand man Vlad Caia and Mischa Blanos for some drifting and hypnotic sonic sorcery. On the flip, there's a collaboration with de la Plante's Canadian homeboy Hreno (as Valerie Temple Boyd) on the tripped-out mini-funk of "Comb Over".
Review: Off the back of their blossoming indie-electronica sophomore LP Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, the Mount Kimbie duo undergoes the remix treatment from three well-equipped and idiosyncratic artists. First up Kyle Hall brings the Detroit grit but balances it with his sensitivity towards UK concerns for an uptempo and undeniably version of "You Took Your Time". DJ Koze brings a more tender kind of 4/4 full of esoteric melodic flourishes and the stark original vocal on "Made To Stray", and Lee Gamble rips it all up with his own aquatic blur of "You Took Your Time" that lets the drums fall muddily and the synths strain against a wall of sonic fluff, with fantastic end results.