Review: Sex Tags Mania chief Sotofett has had an ongoing friendship with Sydneysider Carlos Zarate, since appearing on the latter's Thug imprint with their collaborative Planetary Involvement EP back in 2016. Much like their previous outing, Arjun is another brazen tribute to the classic sounds of Detroit techno. From the classic hi-tech soul aesthetic of the title track with its celestial pads backed by bombastic electro-bass beats, plus sleazy G-funk leads. Speaking of which, the intergalactic funk of "Afroz" likewise gets its bass-heavy boom on, with melancholic strings and a wonky synth bass that's reminiscent of the Motor City's first wave - in particular Derrick May's Rhythim Is Rhythim releases.
Review: Owen Jay's Batti Batti label has carried a great selection of various artists releases throughout its back catalogue, and the tradition continues with this latest missive. The Palette EP kicks off with the ever-rising talents of Jayson Wynters, who plies a seductive strain of deep house on "Sherella's Kiss" that melts perfectly into the blissful, twinkling keys and gossamer percussion of Duccio's "Absurdation". Kiddmisha leads in on the B side with the sprightly electro of "Healing" before Weakmassive rounds things off with the mellow acid of "Sjhue," which matches a nagging 303 with sumptuous keys for a spine-tingling conclusion to a fantastic 12".
Review: The second installment of Multi-Culti's Moon Faze Sun Gaze series is a typically psychedelic affair, with an impressive cast of producers delivering a quintet of trippy workouts. Von Party & Dreems join forces to present "Wet Raga", a spaced-out combination of delay-laden drums, space disco electronics, and Eastern mysticism. The ever-reliable Red Axes fuses heavy post-punk bass, with punchy percussion and minimal wave melodies on the excellent "Boosha Gdola", while Dreems go solo on the weirdo acid-electro bubbler "Sine O'The Tymes". Nick Murray and Kris Baha underpin psychedelic disco electronics with the heavyweight throb of house on "Say Something", before Cocolo draws proceedings to a close with the pitched-down shuffle of analogue wobbler "F33lings".
Review: Minuendo calls upon Vincent Inc and Danijel Kevic to kick off their latest single, and they do so in fine style with the luxurious sweeping chords of "Space". Twinkling pianos, speech samples and a carefully measured set of deep house drums make this the consummate slice of pool-side dance music for those who can still find some sun at this time of year. Lola Allen steps up to the B side with something a little more sassy in the shape of "Afrofusion Jazz". As the title might suggest, there's a mixture of influences tumbling into this track, most notably with some wildly filtered jazz organ and funk licks stewing in the pot, and just when you think it's going to break it swerves off into submerged Moodymann territory. This is unpredictable house music at its finest.
Review: It has been two years since Jay Bliss presented the last installment of his respected Stomping Grounds imprint, and now he's back with a third various artists EP. Bliss certainly has selected some of the scene's very best for contributions on SG 005: the ever impressive VICARI serves up the deep and dubby afterhours stomp of "Uncalminginfluence", before the label boss teams up with fellow Club Guesthouse resident Dragos Ilici for some quirky and glitchin' minimal funk on "Oobleck". Label staple Discret Popescu (aka Crihan) makes an appearance too, serving up the rolling and hypnotic "Lose Touch".
Review: We've been waiting to see what would come next on Minneapolis Exchange after the excellent opening move from the mighty DJ Duke, and this time around there's a whole raft of talent on board. Jeff Swiff is on impeccable form with the soulful, bumping delights of "I Lost Control", while Christian James has an equally funkified approach that should have all true party people wiggling their middle in approval. Dan Ryan takes a punchier approach on the drums for "Pillar", but there's still lashings of vibin' keys bringing the warmth to the track. Ricky Tinez finishes the record off with a more introspective refrain that drifts in between the peppy thrust of the drums.
Review: Halle's Monaberry imprint receives nowhere near the amount of praise that it should. In all honesty, this has been one of the most consistent imprints to grace the tech-house sphere, with artists like Super Flu bringing some innovation and cutting-edge to that particular dance formula. Here, we have the label's seventh edition of the Herberts Best series, with a whole selection of new artists being given the chance to shine - including the ever-present Super Flu, of course. Stand-out tracks include "Gattara" by Bebetta, a tribalesque deep house joint with mounds of hypnotics; Jobe's "Maasai" makes for a supremely dubbed-out ocean of sonics; Sobek's "Handmade Desire" adds some industrial waves to what is a relatively 'housey' EP; "Arpo33" by Douglas Greed ends with a painfully on-point tech groove that dancers will find impossible not to shake to.
Review: DJ Sotofett's Wania imprint closes a wild and entertaining 2017 off with a pair of masterful EPs, both of them showcasing the Norwegian's genre-crossing tastes and outlook. First up is this steely 10", spear-headed by newcomer Salik, out of London Town. Up until now, the imprint has predominantly focussed on the US styles of dance music, a rough and ever-quirky blend of house and techno, but Salik's "Inna Brixton" verges on much more UK-centric territories with its near six minute spew of moody energy, clicking and bouncing steadily to the sound of deep, treacherous sub bass. The flipside features DJ SO-PHAT himself, coming through with a beatless away of acid-tinged melodies that blend into a tight little rhythm, before dissipating into a loose pool of drones and bass - Sotofett at his most outlandish. An essential buy.
Review: Ex-resident Tresor DJ Dave DK and new name Ricoshei provide Pampa Recordings with their first release of the year. First up is the poppy "Perfect Like You", which would feel right at home on Kompakt thanks to its similarities to Superpitcher's "Joanna". On the B-side is the track "Woolloomooloo", which takes its name from a harbourside suburb in Sydney that's home to famous Australians like Russell Crowe and ex-Manchester United goal keeper Mark Bosnich. Nevertheless, the track itself is a moody and phosphorescent, almost ambient, excursion through synthy textures and uplifting vibes.
Review: Spanish deep tech label Future Reactions are beginning to pick up serious pace. Now on their third release, it's a fully international affair with three superb constructions. First up is Madrid's Jose Rico with a relentless, progressive bed of atmospheres that majestically opens up with vibrant synths when you least expect it. Jose also appears with Leonid as Cygnuss whose "Journey To Outertape" adds roomy space between the star-gazing pad to fully hypnotic affect. "Restless Ride" flies us 6000 miles due south west to Buenos Aires for a classic Trax-style synth jam with just the right edge of sinewy acid. Powerful.
Prince Dred & Bunny Sigler - "Freak Like Me" (DJ Dan mix) (7:06)
DJ Homewrecker - "New World In My View" (Saison remix) (6:06)
DJ Mes - "90s Groove" (6:18)
Rescue - "Here & Now" (6:49)
Review: Of the many threads to the excellent Oakland-based deep house stable Guesthouse, the Super Secret Squirrel Trax series is one of the surefire highlights. Loaded with choice operators locked into some serious West Coast funk, things kick off in fine style with the infectious party starting antics of Prince Dred and Bunny Sigler, who get the remix treatment from DJ Dan on "Freak Like Me". Saison takes a more mainline approach when reworking DJ Homewrecker, while DJ Mes is in heads down mode on the tracky but addictive "90s Groove". Rescue's "Here & Now" serves up a cheeky R&B re-rub for the peak time crowd.