Review: Some five years after re-launching his Crayon label via a fine EP of vintage "Tracks From The Vault", original 1990s tech-house producer Mark Ambrose serves up more gems from his bulging archives. The quality threshold remains dizzyingly high throughout. Check first "Nightshift (Deeper Mix)", where gentle, alien synth lines and deep space chords tumble down over a heavy analogue bassline and locked-in beats, before turning your attention to the slamming techno beats, looped electronics and mind-mangling TB-303 motifs of "Dusty Acid". Also impressive is "Space Animals", a deliciously dubbed-out affair rich in sub bass and drifting, deep space chords.
Review: Ted Krisko and Eric Rickers hail from Detroit, and their distinctive brand of snappy, playful electro and techno has already landed them releases on KMS, Visionquest and others. Now they land on 20/20 Vision with the devilishly fun "One LFO," an unremitting acid jam shot through with crafty drum programming and enough robotic lubricant to get the rustiest joints greased up and moving. Fellow Detroit champs Luke Hess and Delano Smith shore up on the flip with classy remixes, Hess waving his dubby strains over the original in inimitable form and Smith taking things deep, smooth and just a little spooky.
Review: Rominimal veteran Barac Nicolae returns, and this time on Felipe Venegas' esteemed imprint Drumma with a pair of tight, infectious minimal tech house productions. The rolling and hypnotic main room grooves that he's built his reputation on can be heard loud and clear on the powerful "The Mirror Of Spirit", while the flipside houses a deeper, after-hours vibe via "909". Despite its name, the beats produced by the trusty Roland drum machine aren't the main attraction. We think "303" might be more well suited for this acid entrancer!
Review: Brawther returns to one of the stand out tracks from last year's "Transient States" LP and hands it over to a couple of more-than-capable remixers. "Jaxx Freaxx" becomes an irresistibly funky bumper in the hands of Fumiya Tanaka, whose "My Jaxx" version sounds like it would be right at home in the midst of a lengthy Panorama Bar session. Zweizig follows up on his recent "Rhythm Tension" 12" for Negentropy with a sublime, subtle twist on "Jaxx Freaxx" that matches swinging micro house with dubby FX ripples that sound like they were deployed with the after party in mind.
Review: Benjamin Brunn and Dave Wheels are old studio buddies, having worked together on and off since 2006. "2000", though, is their most ambitious joint project yet: a collaborative album for Sushitech that offers up breezy, melodious and cheery fusions of heady dub techno, gentle electronica, chugging sofa-friendly haziness and glitchy late night hypnotism. It's an interesting blend but one that certainly hits the spot. Highlights include the horizontal pulse of "Orainge", the wonderfully hypnotic after-hours throb of "Iratamoto (Version)", the bold and sun-kissed undulations of "In The Club" and the pie-eyed warmth of "Waldeck".
Review: In recent times, demand has soared for a trilogy of 12" singles that Matthew "Bushwacka!" Benjamin released on Sound As A Pound Recordings in 1996. This must-have 12" gathers together some of the series' most in-demand moments. Opener "8" is warm, positive and hypnotic, with marimba style memories and sun-kissed synth chords riding layered drums and a rich bassline, while "11" is a game-changing fusion of off-kilter breakbeats, heavy sub-bass and some seriously dreamy chords and lead lines. Flipside opener "5" adds sunrise-ready deep house chords and melodies to a funk-fuelled techno groove and is therefore the purest representation here of the early UK tech-house sound. As a bonus, Desert Sound Colony offers a tough and chunky peak-time revision of "8" that's altogether denser and heavier than Benjamin's original mix.
Review: Ever reliable Berlin duo Cab Drivers are back on Cabinet with more boompty minimal house business you've come to expect from the legendary duo. Powered by analogue soul throughout, Daniel Paul and ZKY go deep into the night with the emotive, bass-driven title track before getting freakier and darker on the flip with "Quotes". Well suited for the after-hours, this 12" is packed full of vintage drum machine flair and intoxicating electronics.
Review: Varme continues its musical exploration, with the purpose of releasing and promoting under the radar artists, carefully selected by its founder Paul Popa. Second release is by Crump, a rising producer from UK, who provided 3 tracks with a minimalistic touch + a breaksy remix by long-time friend Christian Jay.
Review: Politics Of Dancing celebrate five years of pristine deep and minimal house with this first installment in a series of various artist releases. Djebali and Stephan Bazbaz are in the mood for squelchy chords and undulating basslines on "J'Adore", while Boris Werner keeps things sleek and funky on the craftily executed "Omar Coming". Politics Of Dancing themselves kick off the B side with the gorgeous "Peace", and Rowlanz locks into a sharp and sassy minimal workout with lashings of jazzy goodness bedded into the groove. It's a package delivered with the high standards of dancefloor functionality and musical personality we've come to expect from the always-on-point Parisian label.
Henry Hyde - "Every Day's A Good Day For A Swim" (6:18)
Review: The ever-charitable Needs project continues apace with another stunning cast of characters offering up their dancefloor creations to help a good cause - the environmentally-focused Cool Earth NGO. On this 12", Eris Drew delivers the uplifting breakbeat celebration of "See You In Snow", while Edward takes things deeper with the tripped out minimal house groove of "Mind Loop". D. Tiffany brings a particularly crafty approach to her own drum funk science on "Sun Trip" and Henry Hyde cools things down with the mellow, new age 2 step stylings of "Every Day's A Good Day For A Swim."
Review: Madonna, Depeche Mode and Kelis - what do East End Edits have in store for us next? This seventh instalment harks back to the charming deep jazzy house of their inaugural release - think of the legendary St. Germain and that should give you a fairly good idea. The track's smoky, late night jazz bar vibe is complemented by a rolling bass and swinging rhythms that should appeal to the likes of Rhadoo or Petre Inspirescu - legends of the Romanian scene who themselves have lent their deft hand to the French producer's work as remixers in the past, too.
Review: Whether this is merely a double-EP or an album is a moot point, because either way it's Sequalog co-boss Etienne's most expansive release to date. It's every bit as alluring as his much-discussed EPs on Traffic, Art Of Dark (a split effort with Evan Baggs) and Undersound Recordings. Check, for example, the foreboding tech-house funk of "3rd Nuke", the mid '90s Orbital style dancefloor melodiousness of "Forget Me Not", the bleep-laden electro crackle of "All About", the analogue-heavy bounce of "Lies Inc" and the "peak time in a dark warehouse" flex of stab-happy stomper "The Doubtful Guest". Arguably best of all, though, is creepy dancefloor destroyer "Information Society", which sees Etienne wrap clandestine minor key melodies around a booming, "LFO" style bassline.
Review: The Default project graduates from event series to record label with a strong first installment that features a host of talented producers operating in the field of minimal and tech house. Exander leads the charge with the intricate, bubbling mechanics of "Confuso" before Rojid steps up with the wriggling percussive programming and processed vocal treatments of "Susano". Imbue stretches out over the B-side with the more melodic, subtly psychedelic sounds of "Twotwentyeight", which takes on an organic quality as it simmers away over a steady beat. The sharp focus on proper minimal techno here should appeal to all those craving fresh sounds from rising talents within the scene.
Review: British-born producer/DJ Christian 'Jay' Newman who now resides in techno mecca Berlin inaugurates his new Meld imprint (which he runs with some friends) with a four tracker that rides on the new wave of ex-minimal, retro-influenced techno/house. With a decent portfolio of releases for Idle Hands, Butter Side Up and NorthSouth, Newman is in great form here on the "Preservation EP". Whether it's the hyperware bleepy bounce of the title track, lo-slung UK breaks on "Greasy Spoon" or hypnotic afterhours tackle by closer "OJT", we foresee big things from this fledgling label. Fans of Time Passages, Pager or Limousine Dream will love this.
Review: Dewalta has been doing a fine job of curating his respected Meander imprint of late, with some stunning releases by the brightest stars in the minimal techno scene at present. Following up some quality EPs by newcomers like Sublee and Alci, we've got a stunning release by Italian virtuoso Christopher Ledger - who has carved his own distinct sonic path over the last few years with releases on Brouqade, Animae and Ada Kaleh. "Dark Moon EP" consolidates many of his sonic aesthetics on this 4-tracker: the moody and intoxicating title track with its UKG influence, to the straight up hypnotic tech house of "The Ninth Cloud" (which will mix in perfectly with most of the label's back catalogue), closing with the emotive breakbeat IDM of "Scarlet Heaven" which calls to mind a similar vibe as explored on his recent 'MPC Sketches' EP.
Review: Lauren Lo Sung's star continues to rise as the talented minimal house producer and DJ partners up with the mighty Lazare Hoche. This four track EP is packed with bombs, from the shimmering, metallic deep house finery of "Running" to the cheeky acid wriggle of "Dusty Pink". Things take a darker, deeper turn on the fierce "Fixate," and then lift into fluttering after hours tones for the sublime and ever so slightly trippy "Lara's Dub". Now firmly entrenched in the cut and thrust of the European minimal house scene, Lo Sung's talents spill out in abundance on this assured pack of highly workable and versatile floor filling 4/4 burners.
Review: The always on-point SlapFunk continues its sixth round of Raw Joints with another four razor sharp jams from a gifted contingent of contemporary producers. Lopaski actually delivers something with the delicacy of Jan Jelinek's finest early micro house productions, but strapped to a more pronounced rhythmic undercarriage. Pascal Benjamin gets into a quintessential minimal house groove that sounds right at home on SlapFunk, while JAMM brings a tougher set of beats to the table. SE62 rounds things off with the loose and limber shuffle of "Fear", which doffs a cap to garage while keeping things dark and deadly.
Review: MDA Analog's scant discography points to just a few essential items from the mid 90s and one 12" in 2004, but those records made enough impact to now be highly sought after. Having returned earlier this year with the welcome reissue of "Shine", now they're turning their attention to "Pride", another 1996 jam that originally appeared on Nova Zembla. "Pride 2019" does a fine job of updating the original into a slower, funkier house framework, while the original "Pride 1996" has a pleasing rowdiness to offset the melodious harmony of the synth work. "Choose To Live" is a new production that applies a full-fat frequency range, from powerful basslines to swirling chords up top, while "Running Away From Home" creates a heady brew of hi-tech soul for astral travelers.
Review: AE Recordings turns its attention to Oculus, who they describe as a "titan of the Icelandic techno scene", famed for his live sets that have kept bodies moving for the past decade. He commits some of his sounds to wax here, maintaining the otherworldly emotional lilt that often comes from the scene orbiting AE and Thule Records, but with a bolder sound palette than some of the icy dubbed out artists he rubs shoulders with. "Nostalgia" deals in powerful, swooning chord progressions, while "Rydgad" pings a set of metallic percussion around a sturdy but crooked low end groove. "Morph" takes things deeper, while "Flod" offers up a classy take on the minimal techno aesthetic, with added sound design trysts for good measure.
Review: Fresh from the success of two top notch EPs on iile, Leo Pol unveils his most ambitious release to date. All I Got In Me is something of a beast, with seven tracks stretched across two slabs of wax. It's a rather pleasingly varied affair, all told, with the experienced producer flitting between Detroit style techno futurism ("BH2"), warm, chunky and occasionally tough deep house ("All I Got In Me", "Live Concrete"), spacey beatbox electro ("Live Love") and the kind of tech-house cuts that look to both the Motor City and Chicago for inspiration. As a bonus, he's also included a collaborative cut under the St Ouen Connection moniker, the deep and hazy, techno-tempo positivity of "Masile".
Review: Leeds veteran Paul Raymono continues with his winning streak of releases with this new thriller on Darius Syrossian's Moxy Muzik. It's all tough rolling tech house for the main room on this four track banger focused on the tripped-out hypnotic bounce of "Initiated" and rolling afterhours groove business of "Esperanza" with its rather familiar vocal house refrain. The latter receives a killer rework by the FUSE London affiliated Seb Zito on the flip, followed by the "Brandub 'Space' Remix" which gets down to business in minimal and bumping fashion.
Review: New York techno mainstay Reade Truth has skirted around widespread recognition with a long-standing commitment to underground techno approaches recognised by those that know as some of the best in the business. This release sees him dust down the first release on his label Path, 20 years after it originally did the business. It's high time tracks like "The Path" that get a fresh airing - the dynamic, detailed approach to drum programming and warm acid undulations sound as relevant now as they did back then. "319" is a more reflective jam that heads into emotive, moody territory that highlights the breadth in Truth's sound, before "Give Me Insanity" round things up by taking it super-deep thanks to expansive pad sweeps and shimmering hats aplenty.
Review: Times have changed since Jake Williams first donned the Rex The Dog alias for Kompakt in 2004, but his ability to deliver ear-pleasing, synth-heavy dancefloor cuts has never faltered. "Vortex", the lead cut from the producer's first EP on 2019, is a particular potent example of his art, with Williams building and releasing tension via sparse, spacey lead lines, new wave style synth chords, matter-or-fact techno beats, trance-inducing motifs and some suitably mind-altering breakdowns. It's arguably his strongest club cut for years and certainly the most alluring. Over on side B, "Elektromekanik" sees Williams brilliantly alternate between moments of loved-up, rush-inducing dreaminess and thrillingly angular, hard-wired modular electronics.
Review: Earlier in the decade, Alexander Skancke released a swathe of admired singles on NeoStrictly, Eskimo Recordings and Shadow Hide You, before promptly vanishing from view. "Jungle Japes" sees the Norwegian return to action after three long years via a heavy and mind altering four-tracker that we believe to be his strongest work to date. For proof, check the mangled, bowel-bothering two-step garage/minimal house fusion of "Dig It", and the lolloping "bassline" swing of "Inaflow", where Eastern European tech-house electronics bubble away above a suitably rugged and sub-heavy groove. Elsewhere, "Acid Cave" is a bounding chunk of out-there tech-house retro-futurism, while "Jungle Japes (Monkey Mix)" is a bounce-along slab of high-grade dancefloor silliness.
Review: After brief dalliances with Metereze, Meander and Serialism, Stefan Nicu aka Sublee brings his idiosyncratic, sublime and ethereal tones to inaugurate new Sao Paulo / Berlin / London-based imprint Moving People with the Moving Spaces EP. Quite possibly the most in-demand producer to have emerged from Bucharest's blossoming but elusive music scene recently, Nicu delivers the four-tracker in confident fashion beginning with the sublime yet tough rolling tech-funk of "Still About You", "Rokit" and the title track before going in deep with the hypnotic and evocative breakbeat action of "Miurshinis".
Review: Japanese techno legend Fumiya Tanaka returns to his own Sundance imprint with a brand new 12" with a customary strange and cryptic title. While information is scarce on the theme behind "We Would Like To Do Song For The Step", we can happily report that the Berlin-based artist's penchant for deep, hypnotic minimal house is on full force across the EP. We can easily imagine the dusty and understated title track being played on a Sunday afternoon at Hoppetosse, along with "In A Memorable 2018" where ethereal samples sit atop a groovy percussion layer. If you're longing for some old Tanaka material, the bass-driven and rolling minimal funk of "Don't Stuporous" calls to mind some of the quality grooves found on his acclaimed "Beautiful Days" series a couple of years back.
Review: 21 years have passed since Silverlining (aka Asad Rizvi) and Nathan Coles first joined forces as Two Right Wrongans and released "The Not Quite Right EP", a brilliant three-track collection of pioneering tech-house treats. That 12" has long been tricky to find - unless, of course, you're willing to fork out rather a lot to purchase an original copy online - so it's great to see the EP's two standout tracks getting the reissue treatment. A-side "System Error" is particularly potent, with fizzing sci-fi electronics and gently pulsing chords rising above a techno-tempo, house style rhythm track. "Straight Ahead Then Take The Next Wrong" is more hypnotic in tone, sounding like a blueprint for today's glitchy, bass-heavy tech-house tracks.
The PGA - "Deep In The Bunker" (Dogleg Detour mix) (6:31)
Chris Geschwindner - "Dale's Lullaby" (6:10)
Henry Hyde - "Hello Spcshp" (5:49)
Review: The fifth NorthSouth release plunges once again into the melting pot of producers seeking new variations on the house and techno format, leading in with London minimal champ Voigtmann. His "Separation Attitude" takes on the kind of wild, expressive machine funk you'd expect from Spacetravel, cosmic and pumping in equal measure. The "Dogleg Detour" mix of The PGA's "Deep In The Bunker" makes powerful use of a spacious mix to let the bassline strut its stuff, while Chris Geschwindner's crafty 2-step construction on "Dale's Lullaby" should appeal to all those digging garage beats matched with techno atmospherics. Henry Hyde's "Hello Spcshp" takes a distinctive approach to acid electro that should find favour with body popping freaks who like their jams playful and a little off kilter.
Review: The Beeyou label strikes ahead with its third release, continuing to champion warm, musical deep house from a range of emergent producers. XHZ makes a debut appearance here with the epic "Jazz 2 Jazz", which progresses through a woozy nocturnal mood to wind up in an effervescent, Rhodes-soaked finale. Jake Flory keeps things simmering on the tracky but engaging "14th Groove", before following up with the effortlessly cool chord drops of "Distress". With melodious invention at its heart and the needs of the dancefloor well catered for, the Beeyou crew have delivered another essential package for discerning spinners.