Review: Following his recent strong turn on Cocktail D'Amore, Jules Etienne makes a trip back to Apersonal Music with more of that island groove for the smoothest slack-wearers in town. "Free As A Man" is a beautifully laid back but funky offering that speaks to all kinds of good times. Jex Opolis turns in a remix of the track that has a little more bite to suit the later demands of the dancefloor. "Don't Wanna Talk About It" sees Etienne linking up with Disco D and winding all kinds of slick strutting business into his sound, and then "Rhythm For The Garden" heads off into wonderful tribal percussion that serves as a handy tool for DJs who want to get some rich drum sounds into their set.
Review: Having sprung into action with the Sol Explorer EP on Girasole, William Caycedo is back with a new selection of jams on the ever-developing SlapFunk. As the label's remit for minimal house and techno broadens, we're treated to low slung leftfield beats on "Booty Call" before the peppier broken beat groove of "Ain't No Joke". "Creepin'" and "G Groove" head into more familiar territory for SlapFunk fans, but there's still space for the crisp, laid back funk of "Tales From The West" and the off-kilter jazzy vibes of "Yes We Do" thrown in for good measure.
Review: The Finale Sessions Select series finds Michael Zucker steering his label into new, techy pastures with a host of esteemed guests on board. For this fourth round, he's called upon Kai Alce and Reggie Dokes to stand alongside him in demonstrating exactly what's great about contemporary house and techno. Alce is up first with "Scene 2", bringing a bubbly, sleek confection of machine soul to the table. Zucker gets things rolling along steady with the heady trip of "Summer Time", and then Reggie Dokes sends the record drifting off on a wonderfully crooked tip with "Running".
Review: Dutch producer Larry De Kat has been spotted delivering an album to Lazare Hoche and sliding his wares onto SlapFunk and Dungeon Meat alike, but his Katnip label it the one to watch for some of his most personal wares. This new release finds him purring his way through downtempo, soul-inflected selections that open out a whole new dimension to this talented, versatile producer. Juno's vocals are the icing on a particularly funky cake on "Do For Love", while "So Damn Fine" is an instrumental beat worthy of D'Angelo (sadly not included). The jazzy licks pour out of this release like honey - Larry De Kat just upped his game yet again and we strongly advise you to take heed.
Review: Finale Sessions welcomes Anaxander to join label main man Michael Zucker for another one of those impeccable trips through top shelf deep house. Anaxander gets busy with "Stabs Of Love", a truly ear nagging piece that cuts through the glut of soundalike productions to say something truly special. Meanwhile his "Heart 2 Heart" resides on the B2, presenting a lighter, more playful cut peppered with pattering bongos and sprightly keys. Zucker gets into a slightly off kilter funk on "Greater Is He" before dropping into a perfect bump on "Lost Without You", putting some swing into dub house and making it sound natural.
Review: London's Sugarhouse crew have already made some waves with their first two releases, and now the gang are back with round three of their soul-drenched deep house adventures. This time it's Maurice Jnr and Seb Miguel teaming up for three crucial jams, each with something different to say. "Deebo's Quest" is rich with aqueous pad tones and a slick set of drums that shuffle just the way you want it, while "Science Of Life" takes a distinctly Detroit-influenced approach that wouldn't sound out of place on Mahogani Music. That leaves it to "Lovin' U" to round the EP out with a warm, upbeat roller for those who like their house loaded with passion.
Review: AntiDEEPressant is here to bring some positivity to your life by way of subliminal house music from the outer reaches. Vincent Inc is just the ticket to help deliver the good news, and his Abstract Life EP is loaded with soul-enriching vibes to get you through times of hardship. "Panic In Cosmos" is a fluttering, meditative melter that will coat your ears in honey on the way down, while "Rayskoye Mesto" takes an equally submerged approach that drifts further away from conventional beats into a beautifully executed, heavy-lidded excursion. "Mechta" sports a few more conventional house tropes, but keeps things varied and interesting just the same, and then "Jazz Night" rounds the EP off with some cracked piano lilt and soul infusions to cradle you on the way to the run out groove.
Review: Arvid Whetman has plenty going for him at the moment. As Sexazoid he's dropping all kinds of off-kilter machine beats on excellent labels like Born Free, while as Your Planet Is Next he builds on appearances on Junk Yard Connections, Waving Hands, Opal Tapes, Studio Barnhus and Klasse to deliver this chirpy four-tracker to Acid Waxa. From the twee vocals to the playful synths and straight up drums, this is club music crafted for an immediate hit. Whetman makes this approach work magnificently though, liberally applying his musical personality to lo-fi deep house and roughshod acid, with "Heartbreaker" being a firm favourite thanks to its fulsome 303 bassline and hooky vocal mantras.
Review: Hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee, Saint Thomas LeDoux makes his vinyl debut here with the ever-essential Finale Sessions. The label alone should give you an idea of the vibe on this record, where Detroit-inspired deep house with soul, flair and grit gets steered in intriguing new directions. So it goes on LeDoux's first outing, kicking off with the dazzling chord trickery of "Me Time" before "Feels Like" nestles down into a broken beat groove sprinkled with gorgeous arpeggios. "Raw Meat" takes a dramatic turn into a more global, percussive sound world with stunning results, and then "Grief" simmers things down with a home-listening cut loaded with craft FX processes and a jazzy demeanor to offset the artistic distortion.
Review: The Sugarhouse label hits its fifth outing with one of the core members of the collective, Roy Rozell. For the first time Rozell is at the helm on his own, and he sounds completely at ease twisting out refined deep house meanderings for the soulful crowd. "Last Time Around" has a resplendent amount of live key flexing going on, and all the while a loose and limber rhythm section rolls out underneath. "Easy Easy" maximises on plastic trumpet tones and lets them freestyle over the top of a sunkissed, smoked out groove. "100 Percent" takes over the B side with pan pipe moods and synthetic string swells aplenty, making for a truly atmospheric deep house jam.
Review: Minuendo calls upon Vincent Inc and Danijel Kevic to kick off their latest single, and they do so in fine style with the luxurious sweeping chords of "Space". Twinkling pianos, speech samples and a carefully measured set of deep house drums make this the consummate slice of pool-side dance music for those who can still find some sun at this time of year. Lola Allen steps up to the B side with something a little more sassy in the shape of "Afrofusion Jazz". As the title might suggest, there's a mixture of influences tumbling into this track, most notably with some wildly filtered jazz organ and funk licks stewing in the pot, and just when you think it's going to break it swerves off into submerged Moodymann territory. This is unpredictable house music at its finest.
Review: DJ Haus' ever-expanding deviant house music empire continues to impress with another installment of House Crime, this time committed by Szch. The 12" kicks off with the fast and freaky "Girl I Neva" which borders on juke levels of nagging sample chops, before the script gets crumpled up and tossed at the bin with the wonderfully scruffy rave deconstruction of "Peugeot 106 At Sunrise (Pingers Mix)". "Unconditional (Edit)" brings something a little smoother to the mix, although that underlying weirdness that comes with House Crime releases is still lurking in the wings. "UKLJUCEN TI JE BLUTUT" finishes the EP off in a rowdy yet reflective style - long may the strange tale of House Crime continue.
Review: Having helped launch the Sugarhouse label with his Paradise Forum brethren, Jamie Paul gets a chance to show off his talents on his debut 12", adding to the label's already impressive catalogue with another swathe of classy house jams with a modern twist. "Double G" definitely sports the chops for the peak of the night, but it's also shot through with a welcome weirdness and a fuzzy warmth that should find favour with a wide range of DJs. "Even So" is a more laid back, bumping affair that matches the smooth finish of the A-side, but says something different altogether. Label mate Maurice Jnr meanwhile serves up a remix of Even So that nudges the delicate tones in a techier direction.
Review: After a string of releases for Omena, Transatlantyk and Studio Barnhus, Wroclaw-based Naphta delivers his first EP for Maciek Sienkiewicz's FASRAT label. This is house music like you've never heard before - loose, freaky, hippie, voodoo machine funk, highly infectious grooves for any modern dancefloor. As always FASRAT delivers also a stunning artwork - this time by renowned graphic designer Ania Goszczynska.
Review: Italian artist Paul Santangelo has been having fun messing with the sometimes po-faced traditions of the house music scene through a raft of home made productions on SoundCloud, but now with his Venetian Causeway label he's able to prove the clout to be found in his music. On this 10" the arch title "Generic House Traxx" actually does a disservice to the quality of the music contained within - Santangelo does a fine job of whipping up monosynth bass and ethereal pads astride an uptempo beat that, while familiar, has an atmosphere with considerable depth to it. "Please Him" on the B side goes further out on a mellow electro tip, plaintive leads and aqueous chords flirting with 808-style beats.
Review: Marcel Vogel's Intimate Friends label welcomes a newcomer to the fold, with Hypoleon displaying a warm and inviting take on outboard, leftfield, electronic soul with a wavey edge to it. The vocals on the original tracks have a haunting edge to them thanks to some hefty processing, but the power in the delivery is undeniable. The tracks meanwhile channel acid, electro and minimal wave in understated ways, played out with a live band dynamic that hooks you in from the start. Jon McMillion's remix of "Tresberry" turns the track into a simmering 4/4 jam for the warm up heads to get loose to, while Tevo Howard brings some of his signature boxy acid to bear down on the track.
Vocoder So Sexy (Quad IBB's Funk-Trib original mix)
Vocoder So Sexy (instrumental)
Review: Donnie Tempo has only appeared once previously as Knu Je', and that was way back in 2001. Now the alias is revived on Sound Reflection in a shimmering, twirling expression of broken beat and boogie sensibilities for those who like their beats soul n' sun drenched. It's actually his Quad IBB alias that serves up the "original mix" of "Vocoder So Sexy", and it's nothing short of stunning. The rich layers of vocals cavort with the expressive key changes and sharply angled beats, making for a truly striking cut that sounds equally fresh in its instrumental form on the B side.
Review: Brothers Simon and Robin Lee have long excelled at the album format, delivering occasional sets that ripple with impressive musicality, sinewy strings, cozy downtempo moods and upbeat dancefloor moments. Body of One, their fourth full length (their first dropped on Nuphonic back in 1997), continues this trend, offering a compelling trip through the pair's myriad influences. After opening with a sweaty post-punk thumper ("Prisoner of Your Love"), we're variously treated to Italo-influenced vintage house ("Magic Touch"), rubbery disco-funk ("Freak For Your Love"), Arthur Russell-influenced tropical downtempo pop ("Caruso's Monkey House"), dreamy Balearica ("Floating World") and string-laden gorgeousness. As for the title track, it sounds like So-era Peter Gabriel.
Review: Russian producer Kirill Sergeev has been setting light to the likes of Hell Yeah, Bordello A Parigi and Bahnsteig 23 in the past under his Kito Jempere alias, and now it's the turn of Pleasure Unit to get his unique treatment. "House Track" may seem like an innocuous title but don't be fooled, it's far from a conventional house jam. Loose, 80s tinted production vibes abound across the record, not least with the party heaters on the A side. "Never Been To Ibiza Beaches 1997" is a more laid back jam, but still sizzling with inventive energy, and "Jungle Mantra" explores tribal percussion with a fresh slant that will call out to the tropical spinners.
Review: After launching into Memory Box with aplomb on the deadly Acid Stomp 12", Robin Ball steps up on the London-based imprint once again with the saucy tones of his latest four track EP. "Drop It Down Low" and its accompanying dub mix are classy twists on the tech house formula that lean towards old-skool methods while keeping the sleaze factor ramped up high. "Remember" takes a more tripped out tribal approach, with the "Vibes mix" providing a more subtle twist to the warm, melodic undulations of the full fat version. It's an EP loaded with personality and flair for sophisticated dancefloors.
Luke Solomon presents Jean Caffeine - "Jean Aftertought"
Point G - "La Lampe du Vizir Adjané"
Modal - "Lovers" (Roy Davis & Dj Skull remix)
Skymaster - "Final Link"
Lazare Hoche & Malin Génie - "Formes"
Nimbus Quartet - "Your House Is Yours"
Lazare Hoche & Malin Génie - "Session 2"
Unit T - "Mystery Tones"
Mandar - "Fouad"
Review: Lazare Hoche doesn't release that much music, but what he does put out is invariably excellent. Following a smattering of singles and an acclaimed collaborative album alongside Malin Genie - 2013's I Don't Sync So Volume II - he's decided to put together a compilation featuring his own productions and those by music industry mates. Access, then, is a lesson in warm and luscious deep house, with significant contributions coming from Luke Solomon (donning the Jean Caffeine guise on the dreamy and rolling "Jean Afterthought"), DJ Gregory's Point G project (the ultra-deep pulse of "La Lampe Du Vizir Adjane"), and pals Skymaster and Mandal. Hoche's own contributions rank amongst the compilation's highlights, with the title track delivering a pitch-perfect lesson in the seductive powers of dreamy, dust-encrusted deep house.
Review: Southern Moon is the first pre single of the upcoming Munk album and comes with remixes by HNNY (Local Talk) and Darius Syrossian (Hot Creations).. With its crisp house beat, funk baseline and beautiful singing of Lizzie Paige this track is a shiny little summersong that makes you think of the great production of Trevor Horn or Masters at Work with a new edge.
Review: For the first reference, Sounds of The City is happy to welcome the mysterious Spirit Of The Black 808, responsible for one of the hottest pieces of wax in 2013 for Eargasmic Recordings in Chicago. Invasion Of The Black Bass is also following the Eargasmic record in terms of style. It's warm in every way and infectious. Let's get invaded with Invasion of the Black Bass and Invasion of the Black House. Both tracks share the same chords grid, one could be a re-interpretation of the other. Both are very warm and melodic. Frenzy In Firenze on the other side demonstrates SB8's skills for groovy tools and more DJ oriented tunes.
Review: Not An Animal Records was formed in 2015 out of the ashes of the London-based party Bad Passion, and has thus far welcomed the likes of Man Power, Ess O Ess and Eric Duncan to release on the label. Now they turn to James Hadfield, a relatively new producer previously spotted on To Rack & Ruin and Me Me Me. On this four-tracker he deals in brooding synthwave tones mixed with classic jack track rhythms. "Literate" is just the kind of taut, sinister club creeper we can't get enough of, while "Buried Answers" takes a skippier but no less moody approach. On the remix front, Jamie Blanco takes the prize, turning "Buried Answers" into a bombastic slice of driving synth pop.
Review: Having built their reputation through 12" singles for the likes of Crosstown Rebels and Poker Flat, Dan Berkson and James What deliver their debut album, on their freshly minted imprint Modelmaker. Interestingly, Keep Up Appearances is an altogether warmer, melodious and more evocative set than you'd perhaps expect, with a smattering of rich downtempo cuts joining a solid selection of dancefloor-friendly deep house. You can hear a classic dub techno influence in cuts such as "Keep Up Appearances" and "Shadow Theory", while the acid-flecked, soul-soaked "Make It True" sounds like classic Osunlade. Best of all, though, are the more forthright efforts, with the ragged "Seraphim" standing out.
Review: Waze & Oddysey's W&O Streetracks imprint pulls together the likes of Eliphino, Ejeca, Citizen and XXXY for its first (unmixed) compilation released this Winter, W&O Streettracks Vol 1. Having clocked up eight releases on Street Tracks, it's the ideal time to throw down a milestone and document the sound of the label in one package and W&O Street Tracks does so with panache. The result of Waze & Oddyssey's plunge into their address book is a 12 track compilation that neatly reflects modern house music. Ejeca, Citizen and W&O themselves sit alongside newcomers like Mediman and Sage Caswell while the emergent talents of New Jack City and Eliphino make for a nicely profiled piece of work