Review: This year marks 10 years since Bastian Volker first donned the Baaz alias. He remains one of deep house's most reliable producers, as this outing on longtime home Office Recordings deftly proves. He begins with the ocean-deep chords, softly spoken electronics and hypnotic groove of "Ween Been", before wrapping heart-aching pianos and drowsy chords around a barely audible drum track on the near-ambient bliss of "Absent". On the flipside you'll find the tech-tinged shuffle of "The Friend", where bolder kicks and snares rise above his liquid dreamscape, and the brilliant ambient electronica of sublime closer "Two (For You)". This is music for sunsets, sunrises and particularly sleepy afternoons.
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: Given that Tom "Contours" Burford has spent much of the last year making collaborative cuts for Banana Hill that draw on tropical rhythms and native African musicianship, it's probably unsurprising that his return to Shall Not Fade should also feature some of the same influences. It's nominally a deep house EP, but the set's three original tracks are much more nuanced and open-minded than that. Check, for example, the layered hand percussion and polyrhythmic instrumentation on the jazz-funk influenced deep house brilliance of "Lisbon" and the tropical-tinged, intergalactic sci-fi house of "5th Planet". The B-side boasts two versions of "North West": the lilting horns, music box melodies and soft-touch percussion of Burford's original, and the Herbie Hancock inspired bruk-up business of Kaidi Tatham's superb revision.
Review: It has been 16 years since Daze Maxim's last album, Same Place The Bot Got Smashed. Markus Manowki's new album is on his own Hello Repeat imprint that he runs with Jan Krueger. The title refers to meditative breathing exercises, something that he had begun at the same time as working on the LP. As you'd expect it is all fairly minimal, like most of his output since the label began. Starting out with the wacky ambience of "Diachronica" and the mellow piano led vibes of "Happy Collapse" it's soon business as usual like on the dubby deep house of "Melted Talk" or "On The Way Back", the druggy after-hours minimalism of "Darkness In Your Pocket" or "Shift Limbs" not to mention the several other interesting ambient and downbeat interludes throughout the album. All in all a strong effort.
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!
Father Part 2/Indentity Switch/Circuit Senses Part 1 (20:40)
Circuit Senses Part 2/Babel (16:38)
Transform/Heart Of Data/Find Part 1 (20:09)
Find Part 2/Up Rise (21:34)
Review: London industrial duo Nik Void and Gabe Gurnsey aka Factory Floor release their original score of Fritz Lang's 1927 classic Metropolis, via the band's own imprint H/O/D. They first performed the 150 minute score live in the museum's IMAX, which was commissioned by London's Science Museum in 2017. A Soundtrack For A Film arrives with artwork by British artist Haroon Mirza, adapted and arranged by Void in collaboration with illustrator Sam Moore. "Heart Of Data" and "Babel" were mixed by award-winning producer Marta Salogni. The box set includes the entire 2.5 reimagined score on four 12".
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: So far, the best part of Jouem's career seems to have been shaped by the Mojuba imprint, a label that rarely ever puts in something below excellent, and one whose label heads curate diligently. The shady artist returns with the fifth instalment of the series, and "Anomalous Diffusion" kicks it off with a deep, meandering pulse that showcases the best of what dubby house has to offer; on the flip, "Kazumi Cycle" strips the whole amalgam down to a mystical and pensive whirlpool of fuzzy bass waves and slow drum machine beats that are wrapped in a misty fog of sonics. "Contagion" is our favourite piece, its subtle addition of semi breaks at the core give it something special, and place it a step above any other recent house turn we've heard. This is some deep gear - we can't wait for the sixth chapter!
Review: KNLB first appeared with the Initialize 12" on Vibraphone in July of this year, and it's not taken them long to return with another slab of on-point, upfront house music loaded with flair and imagination. "Up Again" is a heavy, chugging and bumping jam that should inspire all manner of screwed up faces of appreciation on the floor, and then "Fog Machine Smell" simmers things down to a more measured house groove. "Half Life" brings a few more dubby elements into the mix, and then the club mix of "SIN" sends the record spinning off in a wonderfully dusty reverie of detuned pianos and late-hitting drums.
Review: Torino label We Play The Music We Love has already made a strong start with some immersive turns by Trevor Deep Jr and Rills, and now they provide a platform for Italian duo Luminer. "Indaco" is a charged up dub techno excursion with crisp percussion to propel the classic chord shimmer that course through the centre of the track. "Canadian" takes a deeper direction with a crafty tapestry of synth flares and a more understated rhythm section. Hiver's reconstruction of "Indaco" opts for a crooked electro foundation, nimble acid line and a shapeless swell of pad tones as the key ingredients, and then Icelandic techno champ Thor whips up a sharp-strutting dub techno variation of "Canadian" that sits comfortably with the Luminer tracks.
Review: After four volumes of smoking hot disco house business from El Nino, Jackie Brown turn their attention to debutant producer MB22, who understands the party-starting manifesto of the label intrinsically. "Shocked" kicks the record off in a flurry of heated chops and licks, all driven by a nagging hat, and then "Run Sally Run" switches stance to a winsome 80s tinged electro jam, tape-hiss included. "Slick Maneuver" takes things into smooth, boogie-indebted territory and then "Perfection Valley" rounds the record off with the kind of dusty electro funk that Moon B made his name with.
Review: After the late nite, neon-red funk of his last release 'The Digital Fantasy' (which picked up support from the likes of Benji B, Alexander Nut & Ross Allen), Quaid returns with a new ep: 'CFE'.AIn contrast to the strung out, hazy eroticism of 'The Digital Fantasy', here the heart rate has elevated and the signals pushed further into the red. 'Nightlyfe' best illustrates this with its rough hats, minor chords and irrepressible rhythm. 'Body Forms' is a nod back to the hydraulic, locked funk of Quaid's previous releases, whilst 'Tango' offers Huerco S style synths under subverted Prince Housequake-era drums.A'99%' weaves around a driving bass algorithm and the insistent vocal refrain supplied by longtime collaborator Dziko.A. There's a change in mood here, the night has passed and sunrise is moments away. Lights on tomorrow's horizon glint endless glass, dust and chrome...
Review: Riccardo Buccirossi is one of those artists who has no problem in pressing up his own debut release onto vinyl; he clearly has absolutely no need to go through other labels to get his point across, and we respect him for that. Of course, we should mention that this is some pretty stellar music, right here: the opener "Giraffe" shapes the minimal techno formula into something completely new and boundaries thanks to his use of electro as a guide to the arrangement, and the more beat-centric dub mix isn't anything short of brilliant. There's also a dub version of "Intothestruggles", a muddled, intricate web of washed-out sonics, followed by the glitchy folds of "Amazzonia" and the original mix of "Intothestruggles". All in all, this is a fine debut that will surely place this artist on the map.