Review: New York-based Irishman Dec Lennon aka Krystal Klear had a massive year in 2018, with the disco epic "Neutron Dance" and the terrific Club Studies EP on Hot Haus Recs. Now, the Cold Tonic boss returns to Running Back with his electrifying new trip by the name of "Euphoric Dreams" which is a fitting title for this evocative and neon-lit dance floor burner which calls to mind the best of the golden era that was the '80s. He goes deeper into the night on the flip with "Miyoki"; a delightful boogie-down number which boasts of shimmering arpeggios, steely drum computers and an all-round vintage flair - there's more to come from Lennon this year for sure.
One More Round (86 House mix By Frankie Knuckles) (8:10)
Walkman (86 House mix By Brett Wilcots) (7:17)
Review: Best turn their attention to that sweet mid 80s spot when the petri dish of party music was shaken up between disco, boogie, Italo and the emergent house sound from Chicago. Claudio Simonetti was a titan of the Italian groove, but his monster jam as Kasso, "One More Round", reached the stratosphere when Windy City godfather Frankie Knuckles gave the track his Midas touch. No more justification is needed for this pressing, but don't overlook the flip which finds 80s remix supremo Brett Wilcots taking on "Walkman" and whipping up a boogie frenzy of the highest order.
Will Saul & Kommon - "Two For One" (original mix) (5:23)
Will Saul & Kommon - "Two For One" (Appleblim remix) (6:29)
Review: As a follow-up to Will Saul's exclusive-packed - and generally well received - DJ Kicks set, !K7 has decided to reissue two of the most celebrated tracks, with fresh new remixes. On the A-side you'll find Jabru and Joel Culpepper's "Church" - a decidedly organic, soulful chunk of deep house/UK garage fusion - with accompanying Zed Bias rub. The UKG veteran gives it a bouncy, bassy two-step makeover, wisely retaining Culpepper's brilliant vocals. Flip for Will Saul and Komon's spacey "Two For One", where dreamy flourishes rub shoulders with throbbing electronics and delicate house beats. The remix is provided by Appleblim, who adds a new layer of percussive toughness - in a bruk-meets-two-step style - whilst retaining the warmth of the original.
Review: From Kon's forthcoming compilation on BBE entitled Kon & The Gang, this 12? sampler features two cuts taken from the LP and an exclusive remix from Boston producer and mix engineer Caserta, namely "Timeless" (Caserta mix)" a tasty serving of super deep and low slung disco goodness. A more functional edit for DJ use follows on "Timeless" (remix - Caserta mix)". On the flip Truccy (better known as Compost's Rainer Truby and Corrado Bucci) present "Closer", a gorgeous slo-mo house jam with a rolling groove fetauring all the good stuff: swirling Rhodes keys, groovy congas and hypnotic vox.
Review: For the latest volume in their Foundations series on BBE, Kai Alce and DJ Spinna have decided to reissue one of the finest records from the earliest days of Chicago house, Chip-E's spellbinding 1985 anthem "Like This". This seven-inch edition features a fresh edit of Chip-E's original cub mix on the A-side. This version is essential largely because of the quality of K-Joy's impeccable vocal, though the re-mastered sound also makes Chip-E's crunchy Roland drum machine hits, bold synth-bass and spacey lead lines sound better than ever. Turn to the flip for the heavy and stripped-back "DDD Dub" version, which makes more use of the short "Like This" vocal, which was originally provided by the Godfather of House himself, Frankie Knuckles.
Review: On the latest Lumberjacks missive Marcel Vogel invites one of the strongest house vocalists of modern times, Khalil Anthony, to lend his distinctive croon to a loose-limbed slice of low-riding funk. "Dance The Blues Away" is a gutsy, full-bodied production that shows off Vogel's instrumental skills at their strongest, and Anthony's vocal rolls on in the many-layered mix perfectly. BB Boogie injects a little disco stomp to the track for the first remix on the 12", while Julien Dyne gets to turn out a remix and a dub. Both Dyne's efforts tap into a Detroit house feeling, all dusty sample loops and a laid back, smoky mood. It's a record made up of killer soul-soaked house music from start to finish.
Review: The unstoppable Vogel machine is back on Lumberjacks with another serving of soul-soaked house goodness to warm the cockles as we step into Spring. This time around he's called on one of the great house vocalists of our times, Khalil Anthony, to lay down a vocal on "Brown Curls" that melts over Vogel's peppy, organic production. Nebraska bring a deeper, chunkier flavour to the track with their remix, and the results are just as captivating. Anthony's also on hand to croon over "You Are A Star", an equally simmering jam with more of that dusty house pressure from the deep end of the pool, while "Those Moments" finishes the record off on a funky, instrumental tip.
Review: Theo Parrish's Gentrified Love series seems to be a collaborative affair. Part two, available separately, contained hook-ups with fellow Detroiters Wajeed and Duminie Deporres. "Ghetto Proposal", which is available in Vocal and Instrumental versions, features sublime contributions from another Motor City legend, veteran modern soul man Amp Fiddler. It's something of a deliciously trippy affair, underpinned by a freaky, delay-heavy groove, fireside-warm Rhodes keys, meandering trumpet lines and - on the vocal version, at least, drowsy female vocals. Both artists jazz influence is clear, particularly in the crunchy percussion hits that begin to dominate as the track progresses. Interestingly, the instrumental moves a little further towards jazzy broken beat territory.
Paul Randolph, Kathy Kosins & Theo Parrish - "Be Like Me" (SS translation) (9:41)
John Douglas, Amp Fiddler, Ideeyah & Theo Parrish - "Leave The Funk To Us" (full mix) (6:37)
Review: Theo Parrish's "Gentrified Love" series hits its fourth instalment with two stunning extensions/takes. First up is a powerful expansion of "Leave The Funk To Us". First spotted on the second edition of the series, it's now full length with the golden touch of Amp Fiddler. "Be Like Me", meanwhile, takes Paul Randolph & Kathy Kosins' Brownswood Bubbler to a whole new cosmos with lavish twists and cleverly subverted layers. Yet another precision trip from Parrish.
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: A White Bear's Heaven... Is A Black Bear's Hell is something of a departure from the smooth, deep and undulating sound we've come to expect from Omar-S's FXHE label. It signals experienced producer Brian Kage's first outing for four years. While that release for Beretta Red paid tribute to atmospheric techno, this outing is far more inspired by late '80s Chicago house and acid. The standout is undoubtedly "Shut Your Eyes", a co-production with Omar-S that wraps James Garcia's soulful, heartfelt vocals around classic synth-strings, tactile stabs and pared-down, '80s style drum machine hits. He switches off the lights and signals more of a heads-down mood on the First Choice-sampling "It's Not Over" - a thrillingly tactile, synth-laden jacker - while "Bear Gonna Getcha" sounds like a warehouse anthem in waiting.
Review: Well know for his remix marathons and as the one and only party-hard guy. He brings us another full effect peak time guaranteed floor-filler. Big support from Kiki (Bpitch control) who remixed this tune, more minimal but also more than DJ friendly.
Sam Shure - "Nandoo" (Oliver Koletzki remix 2018) (7:23)
Oliver Koletzki & Niko Schwind - "Camps Bay" (Oliver Koletzki remix 2019) (7:24)
Review: Since releasing his debut single way back on 2005, Stil vor Talent founder Oliver Koletzki has become a prolific remixer. Here he gathers together some of his favourite revisions on one handy, DJ-friendly 12". Intriguingly, some of the standout moments are a little breezier, deeper or more melodious than you'd perhaps expect - see the bongo-driven bliss of the Koletzki & Schwind "Camps Bay" fix-up - but even this picturesque excursion is still 100% dancefloor-ready. We are also loving the moody, big-room ready mix of Howling's "Stole The Night", a jaunty dub-house take on Channel X's "Snug Descent" and the exotic and tribal remix of Sam Shure's "Nandoo".
Review: UK legend Dego and killer keys-man Kaidi Tatham have been in a rich vein of form of late, dropping brilliant EPs on Eglo, Sound Signature and Rush Hour (the latter under their 2000Black alias). Here, they return to Eglo with four more slices of warm, rich, soul-flecked fluidity. As with previous outings, much of the material has a laidback jazz-funk feel, particularly "Orbiting Uhara" and the delicious "The Vault Descends" (think bustling bruk rhythms and darting boogie synths). They also offer up some tougher, synth-laden bruk-funk in the shape of "Man Made", while "Black Is Key" sees them unfurl a head-nodding vocal roller.
Review: It was only a matter of time before Henry Wu and K15 would link up with London's Eglo, and their respective prior releases for the likes of Wild Oats, Rhythm Section and 22a have earned them a spot in one of the finest house and broken beat labels around. "Love's Gambit" is a perfect example of the latter genre, a sublime blend of jazzy percussion swings and smooth melodic drifts, followed by the even more soulful bounces of the gentle "Space & Time" - one for the jazz fusion heads! "The Anthem" heads towards more housey spheres thanks to its stable beat pattern - it-s an absolute peach of a tune, by the way - but it's "Shahada" that governs the dancefloor with its rough MPC drum programming and finger-licking synth rotations. A beautiful and fitting addition to the catalogue.
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: Kolsch gets his freak on with this latest release on for the Kompakt Extra label which represents the Danish producer's fourth Speicher in total. We are not sure what Rune Reilly Kolsch was on when he was in the studio making "Papageno" but we sure would like some, as the production is bugged out to the extreme! Detuned synths and malfunctioning electronics collide magnificently with manipulated basslines and stripped back percussion before Kolsch introduces a most pleasant detour into a more melodic plane blessed by fluttering vocals from When Saints Go Machine's Waa Industry. On the flip, Kolsch teams up with pianist Gregor Schwellenbach for the sublime "Cassiopeia" which surely ranks as one of Kompakt's most affecting B Sides of recent memory.
Review: Danish artist Kolsch returns on Kompakt Extra following the success of last year's successful single "Grey". Alongside launching his own BBC1 residency, he continued to evolve as a DJ which has led to residencies launching in Cologne and Ibiza. On the A side is "Push" with its powerful string symphonies powered away by shimmering arpeggios, roaring synth leads and thundering snares: this one is absolutely epic. On the flip is "Goodbye", which is a delightfully moody and experimental cut with organ-like synth textures, retro-futuristic bleeps and fragmented alien voices.
Review: Hot on the heels of "Mission" earlier this year, Shuya Okino's Kyoto Jazz Sextet troupe present another gem from last year's Unity album complete with a remix of the highest calibre. This time the cascading, Latin rhythm and frenetic horn leads of "Rising" are given the midas dancefloor touch by none other than Ron Trent. Maintaining the wily spirit of the original while coating in warm organ blasts and subtly bumping kicks, it's a precision translation that brings the original into a whole new context.
Review: Having recently appeared on Bosconi Records and Altzmusica, Daisuke Kondo is a producer on the rise at present. This outing on Vibraphone adds fuel to that particular fire with four distinctive cuts that push to the outer edges of house music without losing sight of the groove. "Hold On To Love" is, on the surface, an upbeat, disco-infused house jam, but there's a certain trippy approach Kondo takes in the processing department that edges the music into a different head space. "Life" meanwhile gets gritty and bass heavy at one end of the frequency range, and airy and melodic at the other. "Feelin Blue" gets even dustier and scratchier with its sample treatment, and then "Fallen Star" lays down some unflinching machine beats with wonky, distant piano licks.
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: 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.
Review: The journey back into the vaults of seminal Italian house music label Vibraphone Records continues apace with this gem from 1993. K2 was a one-off project for central label figures The True Underground Sound of Rome, and this Loss Of Gravity 12" represents one of the most sought after rarities from the Vibraphone catalogue. The on-point breakbeats of "The Journey", the wistful tones of "In My Garden", the plush ambient refrains of "Lirica" - every inch of this record is steeped in class that belies the age of the music. Need we say more - this is a buy on sight reissue that won't stick around for long.
Karl Hector & Nicolas Tounga - "Ngunga Yeti Fofa" (The Joaquin Joe Claussell Electric Afrika version) (11:36)
Vito & Druzzi - "Night Masquerade" (7:30)
Kapote - "Besamo Fly" (7:03)
Review: There's much to enjoy on the latest volume in Toy Tonics' ongoing hallucinatory house series, regardless of your psychedelic state of mind. The undoubted standout is Joe Clausell's epic version of Karl Hector and Nicolas Tounga's "Ngunga Yeti Fofa", a feverish, dub-flecked deep house interpretation of a track rich in both African and South American vocals and instrumentation. That said, we're also fans of Vito and Druzzi's "Night Masquerade", where Steve Reich style marimba melodies and fizzing synthesizer solos rise about a jaunty, tropical house groove, while Kapote's "Besamo Fly" is a lolloping, mid-tempo romp full of delay-laden African vocal snippets, jaunty Afro-funk horns and sludgy drumbeats.