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 the moody, back room dub of "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 "Space Animals", a deliciously dubbed-out affair rich in sub bass and drifting, deep space chords. If that's not enough, flip over and trance out to B side "Seduction" and finally, the slamming techno beats, looped electronics and mind-mangling TB-303 motifs of closer "Dusty Acid".
Review: Matt Anderson has been surprisingly quiet of late, with this tasty four-tracker on Tresydos marking the tech-house producer's first solo single for almost two years. It's also one of his best to date, too, with each of the four tracks offering up a slightly different twist on the tech-house template. Opener "Description" is spacey, bass-heavy and undulating, with subtle melodic motifs and tipsy electronics rising above a swinging, sub-heavy groove. "Small Talk" is warmer with hybrid electro/two-step beats and sun-kissed instrumentation, while "Gangsta Vox" is a bombastic affair heavy on crunchy drums, mind-mangling acid bass and ghostly chords. The American wraps things up nicely via the dreamy bounce of "Inside A Neutron Star", whose hazy chords and bubbly electronic motifs are underpinned by suitably dubby bass and hypnotic beats.
Review: Brazilian label Allnite Music is back with another sure shot from label boss Apoena that locks into an immersive, head-nodding groove from the get go. "Retoside" is a perfect deep house burner, understated and yet utterly grooving where it counts. "Attachment" has a more sprightly, uplifting quality tailored to sunny situations, while "Hemp Restriction" takes things in an airy direction while rocking a solid 90s backbone. "The Sutilties" completes the set with a dreamy roller splash, with sweet leads and some chopped up vocal hooks that accent the innate funk of the track in fine style.
Review: Magnus Asberg, also known as C-Soul, has appeared all over the place from Viva Music to Ornate and Plastic City over the years, but now he launches Romana to carry more of his on-point tech house grooves. He makes the tasteful move to invite Asad Rizvi to drop a remix of "Life" on the A side. Under his Silverlining guise, Rizvi rolls out a typically classy, bumping jam with plenty of metallic shimmer and heavy grooving low end. The original of "Life" shores up on the B side - it's a more rolling, loopy affair for the long mixers out there.
Review: Crisp Recordings is a record label and production company founded by legend DJ Ra-Soul and Chicago by way of Memphis' Don Crisp. Black in Time is the moniker used by the pair which has resulted in three previous collaborative releases on the label, and they're back with the fourth after a long hiatus. Now they present the politically charged "Democracy Is Hypocrisy" with its powerful narrative fuelled by a groovy minimal acid arrangement. Comes with a handy instrumental version on the flip, in addition to a rough and ready acid dub that's perfect for getting weird at the afterhours. Much crossover appeal anticipated on this little treasure -tip!
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: Since 2015, Jacob Chenaux has been serving up singles made in collaboration with fellow Offenbach resident Martyne. Here he goes solo for the very first time with a four-track outing on Traffic. He eases us in gently via the crunchy techno-funk of "Frostnach" - all bouncy drum machine beats, rumbling bass and minor key organ melodies - before heading to deep space via the sci-fi bleeps, supersonic noises and robust drums of "Challenjour". Flip to the B-side for the wayward early morning techno throb of "Jericho" and the rubbery goodness of "Wrath", where Motor City style chords and chiming melodies rise above unfussy machine beats and a squelchy analogue bassline.
Review: Following releases from Huerta, Mandar and Makcim & Levi last year, Oscillat kicks off 2019 with an assured, brooding club 12" from long-serving producer Matthew Dekay.
Since surfacing in 2001, Dutch producer Dekay has put out a formidable body of work under a variety of aliases and in collaboration with producers including Lee Burridge and Maher Daniel. His sultry tech house approach has graced labels as highly regarded as Innervisions, Cecille, Aras and Maeve, and now he comes to Oscillat with "Spellbound," a track that finds him diving deeper than ever before into hypnotic, swinging rhythms loaded with atmosphere and longing.
On the B side, Oscillat bosses Mandar (Lazare Hoche, Malin Genie and Samuel Andre Madsen) take Dekay's original and inject it with an infectious peak time energy, creating a straight-up, acid-flecked workout that sits in neat contrast with the immersive shuffle of the original.
Review: Having demonstrated the breadth of his artistic vision with the excellent One Against Time album last year, John Dimas returns to Half Baked with a focused 12" of dancefloor heaters that keep the vibe varied but the beats ever-present. "5putn1k" is a cheeky, boxy workout with plenty of swing and some wriggling bassline flex. "@L5d" takes a trippier route through spaced out synth lines and a subliminal rhythm section for maximum lock-in, and then "5p@c3 T@lk" heads skywards with a gorgeous tapestry of melodious expression strapped to a rock-solid groove. "@rkyn" completes the set with a snagging 2-step funk and plenty of the space in the mix for the meditative crew to get all eyes-closed to.
Review: Tomoki Tamura and Tuccillo first fired up their Doublet collaboration back in 2015, and after a brief hiatus they've reignited the project with another three delicate and dynamic excursions. "Chotto Complications" is a crafty construction that works around an electro framework, with intricate beat programming and nimble synth lines anchored by fulsome chord drops. "Big Moon" takes things into a more hypnotic headspace, using hushed tones to mark out the atmosphere around an undulating deep house groove. "Tiger Nuts (dub)" is the feistiest track on the record, using a punchy rhythm section and nagging sample daggers to create an insistent groove that will do the damage for the tech house cognoscenti.