Review: Dutch producer Larry De Kat is finally back for the first time this year with a new clutch of off-kilter house treatments for the playful DJ to delight in. After the cat-tastic intro, "Moving Fingaz" lays out some choice keys and dusty, shuffling drums, while "7DJ" places everything on an impeccable shuffling minimal house beat. There's some offbeat disco reductions at work on "Insecure," and "Trapped" slows things down to a half step stagger for dubwise heads and boogie cruisers to get loose to. Whatever your persuasion, there's something for everyone on this rich and varied 12".
Review: Whether operating solo or alongside Gerd Janson as Tuff City Kids, Phillip Lauer's productions have always tended towards the loved-up, glassy-eyed and retro-futurist. "Power" - his first solo album for three years - ripples with giddy references to vintage dance styles of the '80s and '90s, from the synth-heavy Italo-disco revivalism of "Phaser7" and "Mirrors", to the rush-inducing electro positivity of "Direction" and the almost overwhelmingly sun-kissed pulse of Balearic-minded ambient opener "Blissos". While his inspirations are overwhelmingly old-fashioned in nature, the resultant tracks are rarely less than brilliant, with the instrumental synth-pop rush of "Realistic" and muscular, Bobby Orlando-esque sing-along "Power" amongst the many sparkling highlights.
Review: On this second album from his Ancient Moons project, Damian Lazarus has decided to switch focus. Whereas the outfit's debut album, Message From The Other World, combined global music influences with Lazarus's usual tech-house rhythms and a touch of psychedelia, Heart of Sky is much more heavily influenced by the Crosstown Rebels' chief's rarely discussed soul boy roots. Of course, the beats and basslines still largely stick to the powder house script, it's just that this time they come accompanied by starry-eyed soul vocals, 1960s dream pop influences, bold piano flourishes, gospel choruses and, on rare occasions, smoky trip-hop aesthetics. As a result, it's undoubtedly a much more "human" album, and one with far more crossover potential than its predecessor.
Review: [Standard album edition sans 10"] It's rare that electronic music artists push themselves to the same degree as Danny Wolfers. The Dutch artist is one of the most prolific contemporary artists, working under an often bewildering array of guises, but this latest release sees him go deeper than before. In part, this is due to Wolfers taking more time on the production process because he wanted to make his tracks as DJ-friendly as possible, but it is also due to the fact that he has matured as a producer. The Paranormal Soul is his most refined work to date, and there is an absence of the raw edges that characterised classic Legowelt releases like Klaus Kinski or Tower of the Gypsies. Yet despite this, Wolfers' music has not lost any of the touches and flourishes that make him so distinctive. "Renegade of a New Age" and "Elements of Houz Music" have those melodic, part-mysterious, part-cheesy synth lines that Wolfers pretty much owns, and "Voice of Triumph" and "I Only Move for You" see him revert to classic acid, with visceral jacking offset by warm, 303-soaked basslines. But the most significant measure of Wolfers's development lies in the fact that he has created his own interpretation of the early 90s techno sound that originally inspired him. "Rave Till Dawn" starts with "Red 2"-style chord stabs, but instead of bombast the track gets progressively more subtle thanks to fragile break beats and mellow pads. "Sketches From Another Century", with its dreamy sweeps and building chords sounds like classic Carl Craig, but just when the listener thought Wolfer was intent on making Detroit techno tribute track, those unmistakable melody lines and warbling bass kick in, the very manifestation of the Dutchman's musical soul.
Review: Second time around for Linkwood's delicious debut album, "System", which re-appears on vinyl a decade after it first hit record stores. The set has aged really well, with the Edinburgh producer's forays into Kraftwerkian electro ("Robot Parade", "Pumpernickel"), vocal nu-boogie (the Reggie Watts-voiced "Tears") and kaleidoscopic electrofunk ("Falling") sounding particularly on-trend. Of course, there's plenty more to set the pulse racing elsewhere across the EP, from the bustling, Chicago deep house jack of "Electricity", to the rhythmic ambient bliss of loved-up closing cut "Nectarine". It is, then, an album that's not only stood the test of time, but also boasts some genuinely stunning, club-ready moments.