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: 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'.
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: One of the most singular artists in the Romanian minimal scene, Chiriches Vincentiu Iulian returns with more of his idiosyncratic grooves for new imprint Contemporan following up a great inaugural release by Sublee. "Contempo EP" delivers four diverse yet functional grooves that are aimed squarely at the dance floor, both at peak time and also those creepy dark after-hours moments. Highlights are plentiful throughout; check the smooth and dubby deepness of opener "Fixfue", trippy bass-driven funk of "Sonara" and reduced alien transmissions of "S-ude CV".
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: Having not released an album since starting his recording career almost a decade ago, Mr Tophat clearly thinks he has some catching up to do. His debut full-length is something of an epic, charting an imaginary journey from dusk to dawn inspired by a month the Swedish producer spent living in Ibiza. The first disc (part one) starts sun-kissed, soft-focus and Balearic, before the Swede launches into a series of percussive and punchy, club-ready cuts. He ups the intensity on the more vocal-heavy second disc - look out for a great hook-up with Axel Boman - before he replicates the slow creep of sunrise via a third disc full to bursting with starry ambience, tactile Balearic beats and the odd juddering dancefloor workout.
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: 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.