Review: Battista, John Swing and EMG's first hook-up under the SPS moniker - the thrillingly hard-to-pigeonhole Sintomi Di Gravita 12" - was arguably one of 2014's most slept-on records. Here they join forces for round two, delivering another two tracks that neatly sidestep the accepted norms of house and techno. A-side "Movimento (Consico Mix)" is a wonky chunk of well-swung, jazz-flecked deep house, smothered in filters and tipsy chords. Flip for the Inconsico Mix of the same track, a brilliantly far-out fusion of odd electronics, glitchy rhythms, shimmering synths and bubbling found sounds. It's hardly dancefloor-centric, but it's certainly really, really good.
Review: One of the deepest reaching projects from the multifaceted Vibraphone stable resurfaces for an extended trip through ambient sonics that marks possibly the most daring departure on the esteemed Italian label to date. The harmonious tones undulating throughout Sketches From Space are instant soothers, taking the odd cue from techno but defiantly beatless and meditative. It's a surprising addition to the long and winding Vibraphone story, but also feels like one of the strongest steps forward the resurgent label has taken since returning to the fray. Just try sinking into "Lagrangian Point L4" and you'll see exactly what we mean.
Review: The fourth release on Manchester-focused label Ad Hoc brings together a range of outernational grooves from some fast-rising talents. Cervo is aligned with the Banana Hill parties, and also previously released on Black Acre and Lumberjacks In Hell. His "Hesse Groove" takes a mellow, spaced out approach to dusty machine-powered house, while Taurtollo gets into a bongo-heavy jam for the eclectic warm up session. Chambers' "The Gentleman" is a loose and smooth jazzy number that revolves around a few key samples to create its seductive vibe, and then Yadava finishes the EP off with the free-roaming double bass exploration of "Kadampa 125."
Review: REPRESS ALERT: Niles Cooper had a very productive past year, and he strides into 2019 with some of his most refined productions to date. Melbourne label Kyoku is the latest outpost to carry his funky wares, and "The Juuc Miks EP" leads in with the sumptuous delights of "Strygere & Klaver," which then gets swiftly remixed into a peppy deep house jam by Joe Corti. On the B side Cooper starts flexing with some heavy samples to create a deadly heads down jam on "Joe's Gruv Juuc", before rounding the record off with the piano-lead pump of "Easy Listening Miks Juuc".
Review: No violence or fighting talk here, just pure love for innovative dancefloor gold from the heart of Prague. Deejay Astral sets the scene with soft focus breezes and a wonderful bumping subby low-end on "Polygon", Dx2ov gets a little freaky with a super cool spoken word sample, twisting around a wonked beat pattern and warped textures on "Teacher" while Jeals strips things back for a warehouse shattering machine funk meltdown on "Woolan". Finally Jus Jam close the show with two stellar tracks... The misty, loose-footed shuffle of "Y'all Ain't Ready" and the classic 1990 synth bass of "Make Ya Move". Czech it out.
Review: It's a new Palham Music episode, people! The German label has been at the forefront of the house-techno underground for over ten years now, and thanks to releases by artists such as Lowtec and The Analog Roland Orchestra, among others, Dan Bust's imprint has always been given the respect it deserves. For their new, limited Purple Series, it's Cologne's Ugly Drums who comes through with his singular brand of funked-up dance music! "Scorpio Things Related" is a Theo Parrish Kinda tune - jittery percussion and sweet chords - while "Can't Take You Down is deeper and more cerebral thanks to its broken beat and lower-than-low-end! On the flip, "Spend With It" showcases some more of Ugly Drums' inimitable percussion flex, whereas "Stick With It" is pure soulful house magic. Ah, what a load of sweet cuts! Screen-printed jackets!
Review: Mehmet Aslan and Miajica represent some of the finest operators in Basel, and their Fleeting Wax label is on hand to represent what's good in the Swiss scene and beyond. On this latest release they turn to Eva Geist, who has previously been spotted on Macadam Mambo and Elestial Sound with her beautiful mix of synths and vocals, striking a chord between noirish synth pop and heads down club music. "Blumareciano" is a wonderfully seductive, slightly spooky stew of a track which San Proper then injects with his usual freaky energy to make for a more uptempo party version. Then Geist's "Begum" stretches over the B-side in a bubbling blend of delayed voices, tribal percussion and general outernational surrealism.
Review: Jaunt Records' 10 year celebrations are spanning a series of 12"s that feature a broad spectrum of artists searching for the ultimate deep techno fix. The four contenders that occupy this Sea release all have their own agenda, but they sit together perfectly. Hiver weaves illustrious pads in between nimble electro drums and bubbling acid bass, while Artefakt creates eerie, fractured acid meanderings to send a shiver down your spine. Hinode does some deft break choppage to create a dreamy trip for the up all night crew, and then Region rolls the record out on an emotive tip while keeping the rhythm section pumped up for the floor.
Review: Michael Zucker continues to steer the good ship Finale Sessions with a steady hand on the deep house tiller, and this time he's enlisted Ornate regulars Jonno & Tommo as trusty deck hands. Their track "Dirty Nylons" opens the record up in a woozy haze of twinkling piano and dreamy chords slipping in and out of earshot. Zucker follows this up with the moody tones of "Just Believe", before leaping over to the B side to roll out the broken beats and heavy reverb of "Narrow Is The Gate". Jonno & Tommo then round the record off with the sensual rub down of "Shark City", pitting pattering percussion against snappy chords and a steamy vocal lick for saucier moments in the club.
Review: Jenifa Mayanja and Dakini 9's Sound Warrior label continues to fly the flag for female house producers, this time inviting North Carolina DJ Lady Fingers to make an appearance with the smoky throwdown of "Depth". Mayanja herself then steps up with the ethereal, broken beat tones of "Get Off My Back," Berlin-based Ena Lind takes things in a dramatic, evocative direction on "High & Over" before Lady Blacktronika delivers her inimitable style of shimmering house music with the hi-hat shaking "Chance Of Love." Executed with warmth and intrigue, the Warrior Formulation 12" is another direct hit for Sound Warrior - as if we expected anything less.
Review: Dutch producer Larry De Kat is finally back for the first time this year with a new clutch of off-kilter house treatments for the playful DJ to delight in. After the cat-tastic intro, "Moving Fingaz" lays out some choice keys and dusty, shuffling drums, while "7DJ" places everything on an impeccable shuffling minimal house beat. There's some offbeat disco reductions at work on "Insecure," and "Trapped" slows things down to a half step stagger for dubwise heads and boogie cruisers to get loose to. Whatever your persuasion, there's something for everyone on this rich and varied 12".
Review: Conoley Ospovat, having crossed paths with deep heads like Pier Bucci, Pablo Bolivar, and Area, now turns up with a fully-realized EP for Kimochi. Solitude is a pulsing meditation, but with the rays of sunshine breaking throughout, it's clear that if it's alone, it's not lonely. The springtime sounds are full of optimism as well as introspection. Ambient house for the adventurous.
Italian deep house producer Reekee returns to his own Wrong Notes label with another trip through beautifully rendered, highly musical soulful house. It's little wonder he has been snapped up by labels like Uzuri in the past. "It's Alright" is a track with huge crossover appeal, tapping into the kind of expressive keys that should sit right with soul heads as much as house devotees. The vocals add to the soaring melodic content, making this a life-affirming jam perfect for creating unforgettable, unifying dancefloor moments. Otwo gets busy with the track on the B-side, turning out a daring remix that spaces the core ingredients out with more than a little guidance from the Theo Parrish school of deep-rooted experimentation.
Review: Hold tight for a shocking, rare discovery from the dusty vaults of a forgotten 90s breakbeat house outfit's MiniDisc archives. The two tracks that make up the repertoire of the Two Bad Jews crew are steeped in the wistful optimism of the good old days - they just don't make them like this any more. "Holland Memory" rolls on a measured use of a break and a simple chord sequence that could melt on for days, plus there's space for the odd cheeky sample to remind you of the unpretentious era these tracks herald from. "Tony Hayers (dub)" meanwhile ups the DX7 funk with a rollicking house cut that would sit right with any true deep house head who wants a little UK attitude in their soul stew.
DJ Rubio - "The Domicile Of Endless Heartache" (7:23)
Bongorock - "Love Theme From Siltanen" (3:54)
V_T_X - "#9rl" (8:01)
Shuffless - "Ratina" (6:21)
TDJ - "All I Have Is My Memoirs" (2:59)
Review: Trevor Deep Jnr's HPTY imprint celebrates a landmark 10 releases with this immaculate compendium of native Finnish electronica. 13 tracks across four sides, HPTY's scope, range and aesthetic is flexed and develop through a whole host of styles and sounds; the eerie spaciousness and staggered vocals on Trevor's "Transpose Believer", the breathing cosmic pads and solitary toms of Byman & Stennabb's "Modern Dynamic Lounge Music", the mystic unhurried sinewy leads of DJ Rubio's "The Domicile Of Endless Heartache" and the brushed cymbal jazz and heritage synth tones of Shuffless' "Ratina" are just some of the homegrown delights on offer here. Grab it while you can.