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: 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: 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: Few are held in as higher esteem or instill as much admiration as the Italian deep house legend, Don Carlos. Imogen Recordings continue their stellar release form, locking down the maestro for a blissful two tracker that gives just as much energy, awe and emotion as his early '90s output. 'Alina' is eyes closed business right from the off. Waves of atmospheric synth strings and hazy chords roll in, as blissful pads sway with filtered drum loops. First come the dusky piano twinkles, then the trademark Don Carlos analogue bass tones, proving as prominent as ever behind melt-in-the-mouth sax grooves. Every turn and tweak conjures up memories of carefree elation - its ecstasy inducing dance music without the need for artificial enhancements. Part II is a variation on this masterpiece, progressing through the intro in a speedier fashion for those that need an express ticket to that peak time power. Shakers, claps and congas are brighter in the mix whilst the addition of a springing synth arp, fluctuations to the bassline and a re-sleazed sax line give just enough diversity to make it distinctive. It's hardier than Part I, but with every bit as much finesse and feeling. This is the real deal - no nonsense house music from a heart and head that have seen it all. Alone on a Mediterraneo beach or surround by a packed dancefloor, Alina is one to get lost in from start to finish and a solid statement that Don Carlos certainly still has 'it'.
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: Prolific producer Arno Volker AKA Einzelkind returns with his first outing of 2019, this time in cahoots with regular studio buddy and Point of View label founder Giuliano Lomonte. Between them, the experienced pair has conjured up a couple of exceptionally strong peak-time workouts. We're particularly enjoying A side "Civil Stretch", a bounding and melodically attractive affair where bubbly electronic motifs, alien chords and jaunty stabs rise above a rubbery, hip-swinging house groove. Flipside "This N That" continues in a similar hybrid tech-house/deep house vein, with the duo bolting woozy chords and eccentric vocal samples onto bustling drums and a thickset electronic bassline.
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.