Ahead Of Time (with Park Hye Jin - album mix) (6:59)
Study Of You (6:26)
Forever Alone (4:23)
Review: New York's Baltra follows up his well received debut album from 2016 with a new one named "Ted" in honour of his father who passed away unexpectedly during the writing process. Inevitably that lends the record an extra air of melancholy, even when the grooves are surging. Making a surprise appearance is South Korean artist Park Hye Jin on the busy melodic track "Ahead Of Time" with an intoxicating dreamy verse of her own. As is this artist's style, his crisp drum work is complemented with fizzing electronics and glowing harmonies that are almost impossibly bright and vivid. It makes for an album that really grabs your attention.
Review: Joe Claussell's Sacred Rhythm Music is back to present new music under his alias The Bayara Citizens. Elektrik Afrika is his second full length of the project, where he pursues yet more of his idiosyncratic style of 'spiritual life music'. By fusing acoustic and electronic together as one, the project represents evolution - producing its own genetics and speaking an individual dialect of rhythm and sound. Traces can be heard in "Zainabu" (Spirit Dancer) which fuses electronic harmonizing on the skins of traditional folkloric rhythms, or the soul power of "Mofo Congoietric" (Joaquin's Sacred Rhythm version), through to the tunnelling and hypnotic power of "Bambara" (The Tribes Of Distortion dub) and the truly life-affirming "Diamonds" (It's Time To Let Our People Go).
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: Of all DJ duos currently operating in British dance music, Belfast boys Bicep might be the hardest to pin down (Optimo aside, of course). Certainly, this debut album is not easy to pigeonhole, though it is an enjoyably cohesive listen. This is largely down to two factors; the frequent use of deliciously colorful and loved-up synthesizer parts, and the duo's innate ability to utilize beats tailor-made for dancefloor devastation. So while keen dancefloor historians may notice sly (and not so subtle) nods to '89 rave, U.S house and garage, Italo-disco, late '90s progressive house, jungle and early British hardcore, the album never sounds anything less than a fine set of Bicep tracks. Expect it to be one of the biggest albums of the year.
Review: The big man on campus returns! Fast becoming a staple on Dixon Avenue Basement Jams, the Glaswegian producer throws down an impressive full length demonstrating the diversity within his musical repertoire - and count us in as fans. From the deep and soulful late night house of "Our House" which will have you 'doin' the wiggly worm', Afrobeat meets Innervisions styled melodic house on "Hammond Groove" while "High Heavens" explores classic neon-lit electro aesthetics from the '80s. There's even some harder stuff in there, like demonstrated on "The Great Beast" that's a slow burning early '90s style techno jam (which blows the bloody doors off!) and "Gear Tension" which throws in more hallmarks of the golden era such as 303 acid and Joey Beltram styled mentasms.
Review: Brian Cullen's Bjak project provides the learned house producer with a chance to reach dizzying, transcendental heights through a hazy, soul and jazz indebted approach as spiritual as it is groove-oriented. Having previously charmed the likes of Deep Explorer and Eargasmic, the debut Bjak album now lands on sympathetic Swiss outpost deepArtSounds, where Cullen will be keeping fine company with the likes of Ron Trent, Above Smoke, Trinidadian Deep and many more. It's a sumptuous listen overflowing with buttery keys, smoky trumpets and expressive, organic rhythms to get all true-school deep house heads nodding with approval. Just check the beatbox flow of "Groove Train" with its canny fusion of ear-catching sampling and accomplished musicianship.
Review: Swedish producer Axel Boman seems to have been around forever, delivering solid and occasionally sensational deep house. In fact, he first emerged in 2009, and somewhat surprisingly Family Vacation is his debut album. It's a rather impressive beast, if truth be told, offering a whirlwind trip through his inspirations, from the downtempo analogue wooziness of "Let's Get Nervous" and jaunty, jazz-wise, US-influenced deep house of "Son of a Plumber", to the dreamy electronics and off-kilter rhythms of "No! No! No! No!", and the Theo Parrish-goes-Calypso vibes of "Bottoms Up". Most impressive of all, though, is the dark, humid, tropical pagan flex of "Kings & Emperors". Its' African voodoo atmosphere offers a startling alternative to the quiet positivity found elsewhere.
Review: Axel Boman's 2013 debut album "Family Vacation" was something of a triumph, so it's heartening to report that this belated sequel is every bit as inspired. He begins in fine style by delivering his most loved-up and glassy-eyed track yet - a Sister Sledge sampling chunk of rushing sunrise deep house - before flitting between booming sub-bass and more bliss-inducing musical flourishes on the down-low throb of "Slave To The Vibe". There's an intoxicating and exotic feel to the gently percussive cut that follows, killer ethno-house jam "Paid By The Rhythm", while "Copacabana Dub" is an expertly executed exercise in deep house/Latin percussion fusion. As if that lot wasn't enough to set our pulse racing, trippy slo-mo house chugger "Don't Bug Me" and opaque deep techno shuffler "Konoba Boba" are both suitably sublime.