Review: Collaborations are often the fortune of timing. With Andy having moved on since closing the Dissident label to launching his Cave Paintings project to Tim's departure from Battant and striking out as Andrew Weatherall's engineer and soon to be co-member of The Asphodells, an alliance was born between the two to undertake a series of live jam sessions at each's respective studios. A love of new wave, new beat, UK Bleep and Detroit techno all feature in B-Ultras and the aptly titled, Neu Beat. Both cuts are heavily soaked in the pitch black, smoke machine funk and strob-laden fug of Andy's (and co-hort Joe Hart) infamous World Unknown dancefloor. Running at around 10 minutes the tracks are essentially an examination of acid house's ideals. Clattering hats, throbbing basslines, stabbing keys and doses of 303. Keeping it pretty simple but all about a pure groove on and on. Backing these up is a remix of B-Ultras from Jamie Paton that accentuates the groove and drags the acid deeper down to some B-boy Dub throwdown - with more to follow from all protagonists in 2014.
Review: Blacks & Blues is a new name to 2000 Black, but the people behind the project are label stalwarts: Dego, Kaidi Tatham, Matt Lord (AKA Lordamercy) and vocalist Obenewa Aboah. With such talent on show, it's unsurprising that opener "Spin" - a cracking slab of broken-beat/soul fusion rich in military style drums, jazz-funk keys and summery vocals - is rather good. While dancefloor-friendly, the track feels loose, languid and tailor-made for outdoor parties. "Don't Know Why (Chant For Love)" is an even more lo-fi broken soul excursion (very Fatima), while "You Know The Feeling" recalls the jazz-funk-fired soulful club cuts of early 2000s broken beat heroes Bugz In The Attic.
Review: After a strong run in the early 00's, 3am Recordings came back into action in 2016 with a various artists release that featured a range of artists closely tied to the label's foundations. Now label boss Al Bradley is stretching his wings with "Night Owl", a refined production that demonstrates his experience in the field of tech house. Goshawk comes on board for a remix that takes the deep sweeping original and makes it into an effervescent summer time groover, while label regular Michael Scott nudges "Night Owl" into stripped down late night territory. The third remix from Fourfourfour heads into oddball territory for those who like their house music off kilter and playful.
Review: Ron Wilson's 777 serves up more raw and rusty house jams on a new various artists sampler entitled Internal Affairs: this is serious! On the A side is newcomer Brighton with "Tesla" (Leaves Remix), while Frankfurt's Orson Wells gives us "Ratio" where Saarbruckens finest: Roger 23 gets on the remix and delivers a lush deep acid rendition this side of Tin Man. On the flip, Leaves returns with the impressive "Third Floor" getting an awesome remix by Pablo Mateo; working those drum computers to impressive effect as always. Finally, Orson Wells stays on too; working the nightshift on his remix for Glyn's "Kevin Lomax" and giving it a lo-fi, neon lit makeover that will appeal to retroverts dancing well into the morning at Robert Johnson next Sunday morning.
Gus Gus - "Your Moves Are Mine" (Sanasol remix) (9:24)
Thor - "Black" (7:32)
Biogen - "Stream" (Sanasol Lost In Time remix) (6:39)
Review: Next up on the ever-excellent Oscillat is "Spellbound" by the supremely talented Matthew Dekay. This moving deep house jam uses a few key elements to make a soul-stirring confection for truly spine-tingling moments in the middle of the dance. From the slithers of vocal to the insistent key riff that bounces throughout, this is an outstanding slice of contemporary house music loaded with feeling. Mandar then take the original and inject it with a feisty peak time energy shot through with a little trancey magic and an acidic undertone. It's not a raging beast but rather an energizing workout for the brain and the body - just what you need in the midst of a marathon.
Review: Some two decades after delivering his first release, Pepe Bradock continues to make some of the most inventive - if occasionally overly challenging - house records around. This bizarrely titled 12" is the Parisian producer's first for almost a year and contains two typically eccentric cuts. A-side "Tresors" is underpinned by a loose but locked-in groove, but it's the smorgasbord of weird samples and effects - jazz synths, trippy noises, dubbed-out horns, buried acid lines, and so on - that really catches the ear. Flipside "Tsundonku" is arguably even more trippy thanks to Bradock's use of backwards percussion hits, grandiose filtered double bass, more weird noises and a rock solid, techno style kick-drum groove.
Review: By now, we should all know what to expect from Belfast boys Bicep, namely formidable dancefloor fare variously influenced by bumpin' US garage and vintage Italian house. This two-tracker for Aus is, though, a little different. For starters, lead cut "Circles" bites classic Detroit techno, adding woozy, picturesque electronic melodies to a typically in-your-face techno groove (check the relentless scymbals for proof of the track's Motor City credentials). "Track 2" is a deeper proposition, but no less fluid. Like its predecessor, it's more musically rich and enveloping than many of their tough, stripped-back productions. It's an intriguing new direction, and proves once and for all they're no "one trick" ponies.
Review: Belfast pair Bicep are smart operators. Having previously doffed a cap to both Italian house and classic New Jersey garage, recent releases have seen them play around with a variety of rhythmic patterns and more advanced musical elements. They're at it again here on their latest outing for Aus. Opener "Just" is pleasingly cheery, with simple but addictive electronic melodies and sweeping chords nestling above a head-nodding, hip-hop influenced groove. "Celeste" is undeniably Balearic, with sun-kissed pianos, dreamy pads and drifting vocal samples stretching out over delay-laden, African-influenced percussion. Finally, they return to their rush-inducing best on "Back 2 U (Tranz Dub)", a loving fusion of vintage progressive house builds, winding melodies and mid '90s beats.
Review: Boddhi Satva's highly tribalistic strain of house music has been at the top of our minds for a while, and riding high on our digging radars. This is because the artist has managed to tell his own story and detach himself from momentary scenes or fashions. Instead, tracks like "Ngnari Konon" use the house formula only as a backing rhythm, and with the help of Africa's Oumou Sangare, Satva produces what is more of a world music piece. The same goes for "Nankoumandjan", but "Benefit" strays closer to something like UK bassline thanks to its jump-up beat and r&b-style vocals by Omar, while "Fighting Spirit" is what you would call a classic 'bass house' joint, filled with gargling low-ends and plenty of sweet tribalism. Sick.
Review: Deep and sensual balearica on offer here from The Balek Band, brought to you by Beauty & The Beat - the in-house music label of the 'freeform psychedelic dance party' hosted in various east London venues over the years by Cyril Cornet, Jeremy Gilbert & Cedric Woo since 2005. The Balek Band are a French outfit - the side project of Vidock (Abstrack), accompanied by Samuel Creach (bass) & Zeppo (percussion). Together they create soundtracks for your perfect island dream as heard on "Tometsi", the deep down polyrhythmic spiritual entrancement of "Diconiels" .....
Review: Ed Banger favourite and electro-synth-pop demi-god, Breakbot saw his "One Out Of Two" track remixed by a healthy squadron of electronic artist this year. First up it was Oliver, who painted a fascinating disco-not-disco portrait of the original. Sneak Dream went all ape shit on everyone, forming a solid and tenacious tech house groove with a thumping good kick! There's also the original of "Programe" included here, a summery pop track with subtle hints of electro; and finally, Get A Room plant a serious electro bomb, one that explodes and releases its ferocious synth on yo ass...!
Review: The mysterious Bitter End return and its 'anonymous' controller is kicking off proceedings in a particular wonky mood. "Itchicrickitch" leads from the left foot with an off grid kick and bassline that gets all the wilier when the gutsy tribal cries weave into the mix for added intensity. "Princess (Ascension)" flips back to the label's more signature theme of outlandish funk as we're pumped from here to Jupiter and back on a synth driven disco piece that's laced with wry shades of highlife guitars and a rising hook that sucks you deeper and deeper into the groove. Bitter sweet.
Review: Blind Box heads Julien Sandre and Konstress know a thing or two about deep, undulating house grooves, and their continued exploration of immersive cuts for hidden corners of the dance yields further delights on this sixth instalment in the Blind Box series. The first side of this 12" finds the two label bosses twisting out immaculate jams shot through with playful sound design. "Would" locks into a subtle swing and revels in lopsided synth stabs, while "Hedone" plunges into a stunning intricate techno landscape peppered with glitchy tones. On the flip, Julian Alexander follows suit with the crisp, funky "Baku Man" and the more experimental tones of "Casserole".
Freaks vs Robert Owens - "Right Now" (Blue Mondays Tfbm mix) (7:31)
Blue Mondays - "Stop" (feat Kaysand - Swayzak Fac 10 rework) (13:04)
Review: Blue Mondays are a Mantua based project of Alex Ferrazzi and Keemani with singer Francesco Sperotto aka Kaysand (who got his start with deep house band Grammophono), on another fine EP for their eponymous imprint. First up is the deep down and dirty electro house of "Stop" featuring gritty synth arpeggios, dusty drums and sleazy vocals. The legendary Robert Owens should need no introduction, as do legendary British duo Justin Harris & Luke Solomon aka Freaks; whose brilliant "Right Now" appears in the form of a "Blue Mondays Tfbm mix" while the legendary Swayzak's version of "Stop" is an epic hypnotic techno journey over its full 13 minutes duration.
Review: Having served for eight years as one of the most dependable outlets for deep, thought provoking house in the UK, Boe Recordings recently announced its plans to shut up shop, and it does so in style. Calling on regular artists as well as fresh talent, it's a perfect swansong that demonstrates just how much quality is to be found in the Boe back catalogue. Leif's "That Ice Cream Tune" is a hypnagogic slice of broken beat, while label boss Ben Boe gets into a dreamy 2-step state of mind. That's just the tip of the iceberg on this flawless double-pack from a label that will be sorely missed.
Review: Bologna pride on display, on the fourth instalment of Bolo Represent. Four northern Italian talents strut their stuff on a colourful selection of grooves here. Starting with Smile & Stay High boss DJ Cream, who delivers some tough and swing fuelled shenanigans on "Dig IT", while Nudge goes ultra deep on the smooth and sensual mood lighting of "Tic Tok" rounding up the A side. On the flip we have Bassa Clan, comprised of veteran producer Dino Angioletti (Pastaboys/The Goodfellas) with the formerly m_nus affiliated producer Fabrizio Maurizi with the throwback sounds of classic deep house as heard on "Teero". Finally, Jacopo Latini (aka Hills Connection/Homequest/Voodoo Effect) serves up the hypnotic bounce of "Butter".
Review: The Splendor & Squalour boys aka Brame & Hamo are back, to deliver more of the trademark blend of house and disco on their eponymous imprint's fourth release. The Celebrity Impersonator EP features four dynamic cuts by the pairing of Conor Hamilton & Tiarnan McMorrow, such as the shimmering boogie-down antics of ''Midnight Express'', the raved-up tunnel vision of the tile track, and saving the best for last with the melodic power bliss of "Request Rhythm".
Review: This time Brian Cullen "BJAK" from Chicago, gives us an excellent and delicious "Dusk Til Dawn EP" with touches of deep and soulful grooves inside his special style, could not miss the collection of Bucketround, in this release, we have the opportunity to delight in a work of great quality for 2015, with the remix of the owner of Bucketround, "Manuel Costela" aka "Oval Future Face".