Review: Kiasmos are a Reykjavik based duo comprised of BAFTA awarded composer Olafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen from the band Bloodgroup. The sounds of classical music and electro-pop collide fantastically on this release. First track "Drawn" is a sublime and emotional serving of trip-hop with Arnald's signature piano style floating on top of Rasmussen's immaculately programmed beats. And then that lush string section comes drifting in, its magnificent! "Gaunt" features some mutant pan pipes accompanied by a bleepy melody and sub-bass pulsations, but once again balanced out by Arnalds' lush piano and strings arrangements. On the flip "Swept" is a dreamy and melancholic deep house cut that could have come out on Kompakt, it's that good. There's even a remix of it by men of the moment Tale Of Us, who revise the track into one of their signature dark and adrenalised journey tracks, it's well done!
Review: Little seems to be known about Detroit native Marc King, whose introduction to most listeners came via Rick Wilhite's 2010 compilation, Vibes: New & Rare, on Rush Hour. King is something of a veteran, and had previously released 12" singles under a variety of pseudonyms during the mid to late 1990s. Here he pops up on Omar-S's FXHE imprint with a belated debut single under his given name. There's a classic house feel about opener "Equality", which boasts bold organs, synth strings and twinkling piano solos riding a vintage groove. There's a similar mid-to-late-90s feel to the deep, bass-heavy and intoxicating "Loquious", while "Water Of Life" sees King move further towards gnarled techno territory whilst retaining his trademark melodious warmth.
Review: Soundscape Versions delivers its third edition of the various artists series and offers four effective cuts between subtle house breaks, acid house, electro and atmospheric techno. Featuring Kintaro 89, Faune, Arian Alexander and Douala.
Review: The legacy of Vibraphone's second wave continues to represent the best of classic Italian house, as long-time producer Joy Kitikonti joins up with Vibraphone main man Stefano Di Carlo to present this EP of impeccable grooves made the good old fashioned way. "Beautiful Eyes" takes the romantic, Ibizan approach to trancey house with its hands-aloft lead lines, while "Drink For Peace" brings a bit more jacking attitude to the table. "Devotion D" perhaps speaks to the more classic Vibraphone sound with its heads down chords and throbbing bassline, capturing that 90s vibe in fine style.
Review: Alex "Kiwi" Warren has barely put a foot wrong in recent times, with a superb DJ Rocca collaboration and some fine EPs on Disco Halal, Cin Cin and Paradise Palms. Here he adds another record label to the CV via a second outing on Needwant. In its original form, "Kiya" is a baggy, sunrise-ready house cut drive forwards by low-slung bass, chiming melodies, layered percussion, twinkling pianos and choice snatches of vocal apparently borrowed from an old African record. The "Rave Mix" is a more driving excursion smothered in intergalactic motifs and trance-like synth sounds, while the Brian Ring revision is looser, sparser and altogether more glassy-eyed. Warren rounds things off via the "Dreamscape Mix", a stunning ambient interpretation for those who like their sounds swirling and beat free.
Review: After Franco Cinelli's opener for the Psyfunk label, the imprint returns to action in 2017 with this magnetic little debut from Klepzek, a mysterious deep house artist with a penchant for the bizarre and mysterious. The A-side is all clicks and heavily stripped-back percussive flair; the tune called "P/01" sounds a bit like Barnt's recent material, and would go down a storm in any sort of house set - raw, tech, outsider, or even Chicago. The B-side, ""P/02" is not too dissimilar form its cousin, except that the beat flex is harsher here, the bass bumps more rounded and polished off with a muscly sort of drum roll for the darker corners of the dancefloor. Tidy and effective.
Following the successful reception of klodio's debut EP, the Tokyo-based producer spent the year playing shows in Japan with various upcoming artists like Fulbert and label co-founder Alixkun, and taking part in disruptive events such as Pow Wow School of Music.
When klodio decided it was time to start recording his second EP, he took a slightly different direction, going from Techno-influenced Detroit House to House-influenced Detroit Techno. "Shinagawa Sunrise" is a fast-paced retro-futuristic Jazz jam which climaxes on a fantastic sax solo by the young and talented Ilia Skibinsky. Daiba goes a step further in this Techno journey, flowing from glowing, light, syncopated chords to a dark and aggressive atmosphere, and back again to the relaxing chords.
More polished, singular, deep, and yet aggressive than "Toktroit", "Rainbow Bridge EP" brings another stone in the Asia-infused universe that the French producer is bringing to the world of electronic music.
Review: KNLB first appeared with the Initialize 12" on Vibraphone in July of this year, and it's not taken them long to return with another slab of on-point, upfront house music loaded with flair and imagination. "Up Again" is a heavy, chugging and bumping jam that should inspire all manner of screwed up faces of appreciation on the floor, and then "Fog Machine Smell" simmers things down to a more measured house groove. "Half Life" brings a few more dubby elements into the mix, and then the club mix of "SIN" sends the record spinning off in a wonderfully dusty reverie of detuned pianos and late-hitting drums.
Vocoder So Sexy (Quad IBB's Funk-Trib original mix)
Vocoder So Sexy (instrumental)
Review: Donnie Tempo has only appeared once previously as Knu Je', and that was way back in 2001. Now the alias is revived on Sound Reflection in a shimmering, twirling expression of broken beat and boogie sensibilities for those who like their beats soul n' sun drenched. It's actually his Quad IBB alias that serves up the "original mix" of "Vocoder So Sexy", and it's nothing short of stunning. The rich layers of vocals cavort with the expressive key changes and sharply angled beats, making for a truly striking cut that sounds equally fresh in its instrumental form on the B side.
Review: Until recently, it was rare to see early Chicago house anthems on seven-inch single. Get Down Records is on a mission to change this and has been pumping out dinky TRAX reissues at a furious rate. Here they serve up a fresh pressing of Frankie Knuckles' most celebrated single: 1987's double A-side "Baby Wants To Ride/Your Love". Really, you should know both by now - they're amongst the most played and written-about house tracks of all time - but if not, check the sound clips. Remarkably, both the sleazy "Baby Wants To Ride" and luscious, rush-inducing house-soul of "Your Love" sound as fresh and inspiring now as they did 31 years ago.
Review: 2011 saw the launch of Frankie and long-time production partner Eric Kupper's 'Director's Cut' project, aiming to reproduce classic cuts from the godfather of house music's back catalogue to fit with the modern and evolving dancefloor. On his undisputed 1987 anthem " Baby Wants To Ride", Knuckles and Kupper have extended the intro and outro plus given it a crisper, more detailed feel to the overall production - while providing a subtle vibrancy to Jamie Principle's saucy vocals. On the flip, Detroit wunderkind Jimmy Edgar delivers a stomping re-edit of the track, which was originally a tribute release after Frankie's passing in 2014. The Frankie Knuckles Foundation will receive 50% of the profits from this project.