Review: Under the 2XM alias, super siblings the Murray Brothers have thus far proved to be rather good at fusing heady, smoky deep house with the dreamy chords of ambient house and a variety of interconnected influences. They're in fine form on this EP, too, effortlessly moving between two-step/dream house fusion ("Dancing Styles", which surprisingly reminded us of late '90s Irresistible Force Records), eyes-closed jazzy deep house bliss (the fluid electric piano solos, rich chords and dusty beats of "Doing It"), ultra-deep, Floating Points-esque soulfulness ("Gentle", featuring the evocative vocals of Neil Macleod) and jaunty, synth-sporting dancefloor haziness ("Sorry That You Love Me").
Review: It's been a while since we last heard from the Mellophonia label and its star attraction, A Vision Of Panorama, but now the producer known as Mikhail Khvasko is back with a new record that expands on the soft and silky Balearic house sound he established himself with across some wonderful EPs and 2016's "Aquafusion" album. The sun is still very much shining down on this new record, which leads in with the fittingly titled "Delicious Saw". Khvasko's whole sound is geared towards celebration of gorgeous synth tones, and so it goes here thanks to that seriously tasty sawtooth wave. "Lum" cools down the boogie bump of its predecessor for something more reflective, while "Euphoria" gets into an oh-so-sweet house funk that would sound at home on Strictly Jaz Unit. "Fourth" finishes the EP off with a seriously sticky bassline squelch and some effervescent piano lines - another melodic marvel on a record full of them.
Review: We can confirm that Adam "Admin" Wickens is not only a hugely talented DJ and producer, but also a thoroughly nice chap. Here he makes his bow on Better Listen with a three-tracker packed to the rafters with warmth, soul and groove. Check first A-side "Adjust Your Love", a sample-fired workout that effortlessly joins the dots between disco, deep house and star-kissed jazz-funk, before turning your attention to the chopped-and-screwed samples, toasty sub-bass, languid beats and echoing piano snippets of "Easy Love Dub". The Bristol-based producer rounds things off in fine style via "Horizons", a slightly bouncier house cut that makes great use of some bluesy piano samples and another stoned, glassy-eyed bassline.
Review: Alphonse has already dropped a pair of 12"s on Especial in the past, but he's on especially excellent form this time around. A veteran of the halcyon rave days of the 90s, he's got a lot to draw on to conjure his particular kind of machine jams. "Moan Up" is a truly dazzling track, all twinkling synth lines interweaving around a crisp old school groove. As well as the loved up peaks of the original, there's also a beatless mix of the track that lets the melodies shine on their own. "White Pepper" takes things moodier and lets some sultry sax wail over the top, while retaining some of that boxy drum machine energy. There's even space for some tasteful guitar wailing - excellent.
True To Myself (Karizma Kaytronik Truth dub) (6:57)
Review: New label LDF clearly understands the need to make a big first impression, because this soul-flecked single from Angel-A and producer Rahaan - one of Chicago's true underground heroes - is a very impressive debut. Rahaan's A-side "Original Mix" is rhythmically tough and crunchy - think weighty drum machine kicks and snares - but also warm and woozy, with Angel-A's superb vocal rising above rich electric piano chords and jazzy synthesizer flourishes. Over on side B Karizma takes over, offering up a "Kaytronik Truth Dub" that wraps hypnotic, mangled electric piano notes, analogue bass and tech-tinged flourishes around a wonderfully locked-in but percussively lively rhythm track. It's very different to the original but exceptionally deep and floor-friendly.
Review: In 1996, Dreamscape's Ed Marshall donned a new alias, Aplomb, and delivered the first fruits of his new project to New Age House Records. Only one track was ever released on a limited label promo, "Wondering". World Building's Ari Goldman, who previously put out a compilation of Marshall's work as Dreamscape, is a fan and has decided to rescue it from obscurity via this single-sided 12". The track itself is hard to accurately pigeonhole, combining as it does dense, carnival style drums, female scat vocals, warm bass, dreamy deep house chords and synthesizer flourishes reminiscent of early '80s jazz-funk. Either way, it's a sunny and groovy chunk of obscure house positivity that's well worth a place in your collection.
Cody Currie - "As Of Yet" (feat Joel Holmes) (5:09)
Grant Nelson - "In The Dark" (5:59)
Pontchartrain - "Don't Change It Up" (5:43)
Goddard - "Almasti" (6:11)
Review: With such a star-studded line-up of old and new talent involved, it's little surprise to find that De La Groove's fourth vinyl release is seriously good. It's that good, in fact, that there's no space to go into each and every highlight. Instead, we'll point you in the direction of some of our personal favourites. Check first the breezy and soulful US garage revivalism of Art of Tones' impeccable "So Sweet", before turning your attention to the dreamy, vibraphone-laden deep house sexiness of Cody Currie's "As of Yet (featuring Joel Holmes)". Grant Nelson's "In The Dark" is a fine slab of late '90s style UK garage, while Goddard's "Almasti" sounds like a nu-disco era riff on Pepe Bradock deep house classic "Deep Burnt".
Review: Atjazz & Jullian Gomes released their "Big Bad Crazy" album nearly a year ago to wide acclaim, and here is one of the LP's standout tracks which receives a rework from Freerange/Delusions Of Grandeur chief Jimpster. He replaces the sensual late night deepness of the original version of "It's My Time" with a slinky, hypnotic and absolutely mesmerising vibe, awash in shimmering melodies, delay drenched snippets of the original vocals and an absolutely addictive bassline. There's a handy instrumental on the flip too. Braintree's finest delivers the goods once again on this hit that's sure to have wide crossover appeal.
Review: After years of promoting events, Percolate has decided to embark on a new project - Percolate Records. They welcome longtime friend, British producer Austin Ato, to take them on the first steps of their new journey. Ato has appeared on a wide variety of imprints lately, from Me Me Me and Delusions Of Grandeur to Futureboogie and even Defected. "When Love Gets Cold" opens with the sweltering and finely filtered disco loops of the title track, paving the way for bouncy and euphoric house anthem "To Fall In Love" (which is equally as disco-fied!) and emotive Detroit house banger "All I Want". Speaking of the Motor City: he shows he is equally competent at hi-tech soul (with a UK rave influence too) on the breakbeat-driven and evocative "Blessed".
Review: There is lots to love about this one, from the tongue-in-cheek BBC moniker assumed by Bovell Brown and Cobby, to the unapologetic title, and of course on to the music. "Quality Weed" is a deep cut, heavy rolling rhythm with pitched down vocals that perfectly match the stoner mood. A noodling top line invites you to follow it to a higher state of consciousness and the warmth of the bass is truly irresistible. The remix on the flip is more upbeat and funkier thanks to the tight bass riff that rumbles away under the more house leaning drums.
Essential Paradise (feat Slikk Tim - Fred P Reshape) (6:57)
Mystery Of Fantasy (reprise) (2:34)
Mystery Of Fantasy (G Fantasy mix) (8:06)
120 Black Key Experiment (Continuation interlude) (2:48)
Review: Having decided to retire his long-serving Soul People Music label, Fred P has immediately replaced it with Perpetual Sound, an imprint he says will serve up a far more eclectic range of records. To mark the label's debut, the acclaimed deep house and techno producer has decided to reignite his Black Jazz Consortium project after a five-year hiatus. Up first is "Essential Paradise", delicious fusion of jazzy deep house and tech-soul whose spacey pads, bustling beats and Herbie Hancock synths come accompanied by some wild, unchained solos from keys player Slikk Tim. Elsewhere, attention will naturally fall on Mr G's sleazy, heavy and low-slung techno take on "Mystery of Fantasy", which is also available as a tasty, ambient style "Reprise" (all synthesized orchestral sweeps, warm bass and glassy-eyed electronics).
Review: Emmy Award-winning composer Jordan Lieb has previously proved to be a masterful maker of crackly, atmospheric deep house. We shouldn't be that surprised, then, that his latest mini-album for Scissor And Thread - the rather depressingly titled "Nothing Makes Me Feel (Good Anymore)" - is full of the stuff. The undoubted highlight for us is the poignant and melancholic title track, though for club plays you seriously can't beat the sub-heavy, R&B-sampling shuffle of the cut that follows it, "Street Emotion". You'll find more chopped-and-screwed vocal samples on the deep and chunky "Get Something", while "The Right Way" is a near perfect fusion of loved-up deep house musicality and laid back electro grooves. The New Jersey garage influenced "Hustle" and Dream 2 Science-esque "Golden Chains" are also superb.
Review: Having previously impressed on Argot and Home Taping Is Killing Music with her blends of evocative deep house and floor-friendly Chicago rhythms, The Black Madonna tries a different approach on this debut for the recently launched Night Owl Diner label. You could certainly describe both tracks as "Balearic", and there's a real air of wide-eyed positivity about the tumbling melodies, swirling synth-strings and mid-80s pop production of head-nodding deep house cut "Stay". It's pretty darn tasty, all told. Almost as good is "Requiem", which appears to be built around a loop lifted from Cherrelle and Alexander O'Neal's "Saturday Love" (with, of course, additional synths and tuneful electronics).
Review: The Dessert Island Discs series continues with yet more arch remixes from across the disco and boogie spectrum. Bubbles The Pimp kicks off the A side with a tasteful treatment of Gil Scott Heron's "Winter In America," which gets rustled up into a sweet and sassy house number with a cheeky acid b-line underneath. Nelly Wilson whips up a storm on the tightly clipped, peak time-oriented "Trapped & Confused". Pierre Pressure's "Love & Beyond" takes it easy on the B side with plenty of fluttering synth wobbles to offset the choppy funk of the guitar - it's a cosmically enhanced floor burner to get you all astral under the collar.
Review: Mainz-based house hooligan Butch teams up with good studio pal Christian Vogt (Yellow Tail/Rebirth) once again for their new thumper - a remix of Andy Gibbs of The Bee Gees' 1980 hit "Desire". Said to have been circulating for more than a year on selected USB sticks, it's finally available for all. The sexy and low slung main remix is sure to burn up any dancefloor, and is backed by a groovy and swing-fuelled dub version, a handy and functional drum tool and a nifty vocal tool too. It's what Gerd Janson & Co. best described themselves as "blue-eyed R&B house.. made to please and evoke those unifying and uplifting dancefloor moments".
Review: Pretty much anything Call Super has touched in recent years has turned to gold. This new collaboration with Parris is no different: it is a self-released project with a fictional backstory involving an ageing writer called Mortise Koshimitsu who lived in a small apartment. The music itself is uptempo but deep, with shimmering wooden hits gliding on elastic drums as ambient synth beauty bleeds into the spaces left behind. "Majenta" is a more cavernous and dreamier track that is as good for home listening as it does for tasteful dancing.
Review: Hot on the heels of a re-work of Bobby Caldwell, edit stylist Caserta is back with another golden nugget. This time he turns his attention to the one and only Luther Vandross and serves up two equally essential but very different tunes that pay homage to his unique voice. The King Street Mix is all hip swinging claps and nodding bass riffs that are organic and heartfelt, whereas the Henry Street Mix nods to the '90s heyday of New York. With warm neon organ stabs that will get any floor pumping, both interpretations have Luther's soulful voice front and centre.
Review: Originally a white label promo, Mark Knight and Co. are finally letting this one out of the bag. A seriously classy and infectious record from the new UK duo Cashio, "Dancing (With Me)" is a record that's had everyone talking, including some of the worlds top DJs like Annie Mac and Danny Howard to name but a few. A proper, disco-fied funky house anthem (with infectious vocals) that harks back to the glory days of the late '90s popularised by Def Mix, Subliminal and Soulfuric et al - is this a comeback? With the Toolroom crew heading to ADE at the end of the month, we're sure this one will bang the party there, until the later part of 2019 and beyond!
Kerri Chandler - "Peace Of Mind" (D'Julz remix) (6:46)
Lafayette - "Better Late Than Never" (Kettama Garage remix) (5:00)
Jiletta Riley - "The Way It Was" (Marquis Hawkes Classic club vocal) (6:57)
Review: There's little better, house-wise at least, than vintage Kerri Chandler productions, though these fresh remixes of tracks by the New York maestro would certainly run them close. German producer Henrik Schwarz steps up first to re-imagine Chandler and Jerome Sydenham's "Powder" as a fluid but hypnotic chunk of building, synthesizer-heavy house in his usual melodic, tech-tinged style, before D'Julz turns in a wonderfully warm, locked-in revision of "Peace of Mind" full of drum machine handclaps, woozy chords and fizzing electronics. Over on side B you'll find a superb Kettama Garage mix of Lafayette's Chandler-produced classic "Better Late Than Never" - think late '90s UK speed garage and you're close - as well as a partoculalry reverential take on Jiletta Riley jam "The Way It Was" by Marquis Hawkes.
Review: Cheeky upstart label Club Of Jacks follows up on a strong opening statement with this boisterous bout of house workouts geared towards the peak time. "Follow Me" is on a serious garage flex, with rude bass, hooky sax leads and some naughty breaks chops all feeding into the melting pot. "Bring It Back" is a more soulful jam with some great vocal licks and sweet piano leads, while "Need Your Loving" keeps the heartfelt heat up with another powerful diva vocal and a buttery smooth bassline. "Don't Know You" takes things deeper without losing that powerful vocal presence, providing a perfect balance to this solid, all-rounder house 12".
Review: It's been a while since we heard from the Cobblestone Jazz boys and given their massive influence over contemporary house and techno, it's always a pleasure to listen to their truly singular take on dance music. The Matthew Jonson-led outfit return with an EP for the Itiswhatitis label, the original birthplace of Jonson's beats. "Northern Lights" is classic Cobblestone, where an ultra compressed kick meanders amidst calculated drips of sound pouring mathematically from every angle. "Drawn From The Side Of Crime" is a little more chirpy, its sounds bleeping away with greater intensity and freedom. It's a must have for fans of the group, recommended!