Review: Well, here's something to raise the spirits: a first new 12" from Frank Timm's Sound Stream alias for three years. Those familiar with the German producer's work will know exactly what to expect, namely delicious disco house cut-ups that turn selected loops from largely forgotten gems into insatiable dancefloor gold. A-side "Bass Affairs" is particularly good, delivering a perfect blend of sun-kissed Brazilian guitars, rubbery slap bass loops and lilting Rhodes chords (all accompanied, of course, by thunderous kick drums). There's a more traditional disco-house feel about the filter-heavy "Sweep Magic", while "Starstrike" is a throbbing, stripped back affair that makes great use of looped-up bass guitars.
Review: Considering the success of Andres' first two EPs on La Vida, New For U and Second Time Around, it's surprising that it's taken nigh on three years for the ever-smiling Detroit producer to deliver this follow-up. Of course, those who lapped up those releases will love Believin'. The title track is something of a curiosity - a deliciously sweet and dusty deep house cut with an eccentric swing to the drum programming, finely chopped samples and more than a little nod to jazz. "Can't Shake It" finds Andres back on deep-but-bumping territory (the bassline, in particular, is superb), while "Jungle Pain" sees him layer twinkling electric pianos atop a typically undulating, rolling, snare-heavy jazz-house groove.
Review: Henry Wu's capacity for funked up productions wedged in the BPMs between beatdown and house was on full display with the fine release for Alex Nut's Ho Tep label earlier this year. It's an approach that clearly seduced the cats over at Berlin label Odd Socks! The four cuts on Motions of Wu Vol 1 sound every bit as vital as the previous Wu transmission and make the Juno review team want to seek out the nearest park with a portable turntable and some BBQ tackle. This is the sort of 12" DJs adore such is the variety of mood and tempo explored across both sides. Up top, the chunky shine of "Midtour" is complemented by the sweeter, deeper bump of "Sumner Road" whilst Wu veers off into house mode on the excellent "117 Careplan". Best of all is the supple broken vibes of "Back To Brukka" which would not look out of place on a 2000 Black record.
Review: By his own prolific standards, veteran deep house/techno producer Ramon Lisandro Quezada - better known since 2005 as DJ Qu - has been rather quiet of late. Having released just one single in 2014, he returns in early 2015 with one of his strongest EPs for some time. Several bases are covered on the Redtones EP. Contrast, for example, the drifting, sci-fi chords and dense, deep house goes tribal rhythms of the title track, with the picturesque pianos and crackly samples of downtempo bonus "Sadness In The Static". Best of all, though, is "Sweaty", a formidably wonky fusion of psychedelic electronics, trippy effects and throbbing, grime encrusted house beats.
Review: YES! We hadn't heard anything from Detroit's Kai Alce in a while so it's an absolute joy to see him back on our shelves and doing what he does best. This, of course, is a reissue of the "Dirty South Dirt" anthem that came out as a 7" on Omar S' FXHE label a while back but it hasn't been around for a while and some of us still hadn't picked up this absolute gem! Slow-building percussion and funky yet minimal melodies make up the track, and you also get a string-heavy version, too! On the flip, you have "Late Night Theme" and the bumpy "Work The Dub" to swing you from side to side. Highly recommended and downright essential.
Review: Paul Cottam's Ruff Draft label enjoyed a great first year in 2014, delivering white-hot material from the man himself, LK and Romansoff, amongst others. For the imprint's first missive of 2015, Cottam has recruited Cardiff-based rising star Chesus, who previously impressed via releases on Local Talk, 4 Lux and Catapult. There's naturally much to admire, from the acid-era electronics, delicate synth strings and shimmering chords of opener "Orbicular", to the DJ Gregory-ish stabs, wonky electronics and dense, organic-sounding percussion of "WYW". Bristol-based producer Owain K - best known for his hook-ups with Jamie Anderson on Dessous - lends a hand on "Let It Happen", a rather fine slice of warm, immersive, Balearic deep house goodness seemingly inspired by the Vangelis classic of the same name.
Review: Esteemed deep house producers Glen Astro and Max Graef have much in common musically, not least a shared love of crusty chords, fuzzy textures and dusty, soul-flecked samples. It's good to see the pair joining forces, not only in the studio, but also to launch the Money Sex label. This first collaborative EP (for both artists and label) is packed full of warm-but-distorted, immersive deep house, with a few curveballs thrown in for good measure. That's certainly how we'd describe the eccentric "Caribbean Screwdriver" (all loose, densely layered percussion, distant vocal samples and tactile electric pianos) and "Echoed Gehema", a tipsy chunk of enveloping deep house built around a shuffling but locked-in MPC style groove.
Review: Always a tease, Levon Vincent chose to announce the release of his long-await debut album by drip-feeding information on social media. The subsequent meltdown among the online techno community may have been amusing to watch, but is testament to the Berlin-based New Yorker's impact over the last 10 years. Typically, concrete info has remained thin on the ground aside from the fact it stretches across some four slabs of vinyl and features a homage to Levon's cat Mona. Just before the physical copies were due for release, Vincent elected to give out the 11 track LP digitally for free so it's highly likely you know how it sounds already. If you are a true advocate of his output you'll want this quadruple wax edition! Next-level house and techno dedicated to the "ugly ducklings of the world"!
Review: Inner Shift Music presents Jacksonville aka Chris Lyth who was featured on their Collective Continents EP with 'The City Sleeps'. Jacksonville has had releases on several labels including Atmospheric Existence, Thug Records, and on his own rather excellent imprint Doppler Records.
The EP kicks off with Fragment One which is sure to be a dancefloor favourite with it's driving kick and bassline, warm pads and a hypnotic acid line that crescendos throughout the track keeping you hooked from start to finish. Fragment Two is on a much deeper tip with a lovely bassline and lush melodic synths that interweave doing a delicious dance with each other throughout. Seberg is classic deep house with driving percussion and a funky bassline mixed with rich pads and melodic lines. Last but certainly not least we get Every Single Word, a more harmonic track that finishes off the EP perfectly.
Review: The recent reappearance of "Green Marimbas" on a Mister Saturday Night 12" had us remembering with fondness how great a producer Ali 'Nebraska' Gibbs is - especially that Rush Hour LP Displacement. It's been a while since we last saw a new Nebraska 12" in the trollies at Juno so kudos to Delusions of Grandeur for coaxing some new cuts out of Gibbs for this fine Rye Lane Rhythms 12". From the moment "Aw-rite (Mute version)" slips into action it's like Nebraska has never been away, that attention to percussive and rhythmic detail still dead eyed and the musicality tight as ever. "Warp & Weft" veers off into fuzzy, minimalist beatdown territory that will appeal to fans of obscure Sound Signature B-sides whilst "Eighty Eights" is the sort of loop heavy house cut that you can tease dancefloors with.
Review: Following an acclaimed appearance on People's Potential Unlimited, Pender Street Steppers return home to Mood Hut with two chunks of willfully loose, dusty and picturesque analogue deep house gems. "Glass City" is superb, with fluttering synthesized horns and becalmed horns gracefully stretching out over a typically sparse but jazzy rhythm and a warm-to-touch bassline. They go even deeper and slower on the flip, with "Golden Garden" delivering pitched-down beats, unfeasibly dreamy, stretched-out chords, and oodles of well-placed dub delay. It's not so much new age house, as the most blazed deep house track you'll hear all year. And, yes, it's also superb.
Review: Following a string of hot releases from Leif, Jonno & Tommo, Rai Scott and Jordan, London-based label Ornate Music is reaching across the channel to Parisian producers and Flyance Records founders Ka One & St-Sene - who deliver four tracks of pitch-perfect, soul-searching 4/4 that align perfectly with the sonic philosophy of the label.
The EP comes to life with the energised insistence of "Necessary Illusions", which capitalises on a sprightly rhythm section balanced out by sweeping pads that help the track straddle the warm-up / peak-time divide with grace.
"404 Page Not Found" takes a more heads-down route into moody bass tones, snapping percussive hits and mysterious melodic swirls lingering in the far distance, making a haunting foil to the inviting tones of the opening track.
On the flip, "F/ck The Hype" channels the spirit of dub techno into a subtly funky confection, letting the aqueous chords bounce in their feedback echoes, neatly sidestepping the soporific qualities normally associated with the style.
"Facing You" meanwhile makes for the ideal EP closer with its submerged beats and elegant swathes of harmony, conjuring up a captivating melancholia in each lingering piano note and chiming bell.
With each track telling its own unique story, Ka One and St-Sene have crafted a rich and engrossing release that shows how much diversity there is to be enjoyed in the contemporary house and techno scene.
Review: Ever a tease with their releases, Italojohnson makes his first appearance in a year with this three tracker, as ever appearing on their own self-titled imprint. There is always a pleasing consistency to the Italojohnson sound, where neatly shaped drum machine pressure meets with playful synth tones to make for some forthright party-starting material. On this occasion, "Track 1" brings the light and airy vibes with swooning strings sitting comfortably over a steady house groove, while "Track 2" delves into a more edgy construction complete with nasty bass and distorted vocal snippets. "Track 3" edges into more electro-inspired territory with its cheeky synth lines and wobbly low end trickery, but it's no less built for the floor.
Review: Gnork is by far our favourite Hungarian DJ and producer with a deliciously facetious name and no strangers to the mysterious Yorkshire trio responsible for the Blind Jacks Journey and Crow Castle Cuts labels. Having appeared on several 12"s by the former, Gnork now brings his glistening command of deep house to the latter for this superb fourth edition of the latter's Raw series. This is one of those records where the soundclips speak for themselves really, the six tracks the sort of deep house productions DJs want to play and club goers want to hear. All of them hit the spot but the rush-inducing madness of "Transylvanian Night Drive" is particularly special. Satisfaction guaranteed.
Review: A Day In The Life, last year's album on Mule Musiq from Peter 'Lawrence' Kersten may well have seen the Hamburg producer indulge his interest in ambient sounds fully, but he's back to the distinctly European flavour of deep house he's renowned for here. Issued through his own Smallville label, Manhattan presents three Lawrence productions that all feel quite understated but will invariably weave their way into your affections the more you play around with them in sets. The closing number "Dark & Stormy" is the most immediate, thanks to that three bar loop and crisp, focused drums whilst "Nowhere Is A Place" seems to be the perfect set opener. Classy as usual from Lawrence.
Review: Our favourite German deep house producer Iron Curtis lands on the Office Recordings label after a relatively long period of silence. The KMS Years is Curtis at his best, where tracks like "Magnet" prove why this guy is underrated as hell; chunky deep house beats are looped into a tight groove and drizzled in just the right amount of dirt. "What Happened, Happened" is slower, dirtier, more swamped and certainly more experimental but it still manages to retain Curtis' palpable injection of soul. A serious EP, check it.
Review: Chicago, Chicago. It's our spiritual home here at Hizou. The city's musical influence and legacy shine brightly and proudly throughout our label. Perhaps never more so than on our latest release from enigmatic native Chicagoan, Spirit Of The Black 808. Having inherited his brother's seminal record collection at a young age and name-checking Larry Heard, Theo Parrish and Malik Pittman amongst his key influences, Sprit Of The Black 808 is steeped in the traditions we adore. His debut EP for us soundly testifies to that. Title-track Infroduction is a shuffling, slo-mo jam laden with atmosphere and groove in the mould of the great Mahogani Music and KDJ, a little more Detroit by design perhaps then, whereas by contrast Electronic Love is downright and unashamedly classic Chicago. Layers of melody and a super-deep groove are stamped all over I FunKd Up, whilst ethereal uptempo tool Rough Joint completes the package.
Review: Omar S' FXHE stable has become synonymous with trend-setting house and techno over the last ten years. Moreover, each time Alex O Smith brings about a new name to the FXHE dynasty it's always exciting news - last time around OB Ignitt was introduced to us in fine style through his Star Wars-themed brand of raw-schooled house. John FM's "Where My Roots Lie" is similarly spacey and freaked out, synth-heavy and filled to the brim with intricate Roland percussion. On the B-side, "White Churches Be Like" is the ticket, where a broken beat arrangement is diced and shredded by ice-cold snares; but "Solace" is the unexpected track on here, a slow and funked-out r&b monster in true FXHE style. Another solid missile.
Review: The notion of Jose Padilla releasing an album on International Feel makes perfect sense, the two go together like Bogart and Bacall. Last year the Cafe Del Mar legend appeared on Mark Barrott's label with Solito and this set the wheels in motion for an album by Padilla that remains under wraps for now. A taste of what is to come arrives in the shape of Day One, a 12" that sees Padilla working with Norwegian producer Telephones (a man who has his own LP due on Running Back) and it has set opener written indeliably into it's DNA. Few other tracks this week pack as much vivid detail and colour into them as the eight minutes of "Day One" do and Telephones achieves similar levels of magic on his accompanying Club Dub.
Review: Daze's 2014 debut for Lobster Theremin's occasional white label series was something of a measured success, with the mysterious Australian producer gleefully joining the dots between a myriad of old and new house, techno and hardcore influences. Here he pops up on the label proper, with another EP that tries hard to defy categorization. The title track is deep, woozy and dreamy, with reverb-laden techno handclaps and kicks underpinning picturesque chords and lucid textures. The acid-peppered "Death Whirl" is darker and more basement friendly, while closer "Compton" impressively melds immersive deep house chords and swift vocal stabs with house-tempo rave breakbeats.
Review: Mic Newman, or otherwise known as the one and only Fantastic Man, returns to Fine Choice Records with yet more of his very own organic house music. With previous outings on Wolf Music and Let's Play House, among others, Fantastic Man has now weaved his way into dance music's epicentre and his tunes have been coveted by the likes of London's Tief and Feel My Bicep crews. "Snake Charmer" is a tropical house lick complete with monkey sounds and all, whereas "Donkey Punch" is somewhat of a hybrid thanks to its broken beat pattern and oddball bassline - what a peach! Over on the B-side, "El Tropo" is an uber deep cut with a rather lovely set of Balearic melodies, but the real treat is "Birds Of Paradise" thanks to its utter neglect of a 4/4 beat pattern. Instead, Newman creates a tight, functional groove out of sparse and airy flurries of sound. Recommended.
Review: Following impressive collaborative outings on Dirt Crew and their own Splendor & Squalor label, Brame and Hamo once again join forces, this time for Detroit Swindle's Heist Recordings. Predictably, there's genuine warmth throughout, as the duo showcases more tactile deep house compositions. Opener "Parish Rumours" sets the tone, lacing filter-clad female vocal samples and twinkling melodies over a compressed, cymbal-heavy groove. The filters once again come to the fore on the sweet, soul-sampling "Ghetto For You", while "Hotshot" delivers the kind of loose, hazy and jazz-flecked deep house jam - think hazy horns, tumbling chords, held-note strings and bluesy vocal cut-ups - that evokes images of humid days reclining on Adriatic terraces and Mediterranean cliff-tops.
Review: Four Walls, or otherwise known as Mihail Shvaikovski is an up and coming house producer who has appeared on Traxx Underground and a number of other labels thus far. This time around he lands on Eat More House with a seductive and laid-back house four-tracker for the deep moments. From "Constellations" to "African People", there's a distinctly jazzy sound around his beats and basslines, our favourite of the lot being "Techride", an acid-leaning late night beast with a driving groove and one mean mass hook. Let's eat more house!
Review: Junktion, Daniel Leseman and Kristoffer Ljunberg's Outplay imprint has been going strong for a couple of years now and the label heads have started branching out to new talent after each one of them put in an appearance early on. The dudes have picked up the up and coming Loz Goddard who comes through correct with four discofied floor cuts on the deep house side of things. Luscious basslines, gorgeous keys and intricate vocal chops make for an effective collection of tracks. Our pick is certainly "Monkey Tears" thanks to its jazzed-out vibes and rattling mass of kick drums...check "Move It On" for that French filter house sound, too!
Review: German producer Adryiano has been quietly issuing out material largely on Mario Castillo's Soul Notes imprint for the past couple of years, and he returns to the label with a new and varied selection of upfront house jams. "Down South" is a direct jam that features parping synths and sizzling drums, slipping into midtempo realms with ease, before "Phase Misery" turns the heat up with a fiery brand of peak time acid. "Feel What You Do (Dirty Mix)" gets a little more breakbeat action into the mix, even if it is surrounded by a smooth swathe of ambient pads, and "Moccassin Groove" takes things into a more slender tech house funk to ensure that each track is a unique experience on this particular 12".
Review: Since making his debut for Futureboogie Recordings back in 2003, Ben 'Crackazat' Jacobs has become a fully paid-up member of the Local Talk family. Here he delivers a third 12" for the Swedish imprint in little over a year. "Eye Light" is deliciously positive, with darting synth riffs and a melodious bassline riding a surprisingly loose and swinging deep house groove. Jacobs own "It's a Jam" rework takes the track into deeper territory, layering smooth chords and vocal snippets over a West London style broken beat rhythm. Flip for two reworks of "Silent Sing" from last year's Candle Coast EP; a high-tempo, Latin-tinged summer jam from Jacobs himself, and a dark, throbbing, warehouse-friendly revision from Tiger Stripes.